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2012 Pittsburgh Pirates Thread - 20 Losing Seasons and Still Going Strong!

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#1 Have A Gansett

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 10:23 AM

And so begins the 126th season in the history of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Will the Pirates add to their historic 20 season losing streak or finally break "The Curse of Tim Wakefield" once and for all? There are most definitely some promising signs such as the face of the franchise, Andrew McCutchen signing a multi-year deal with the franchise. Not only is this a great deal, it's a message to the fans that the Buccos are getting serious about retaining those players that will help them not only get to winning baseball, but hopefully championship baseball as well. The new core-four of the Buccos features Cutch, Jose Tabata, Neil Walker and Pedro Alvarez. Hopes are high that Alvarez will finally find his stroke and become the power hitter the Buccos are desparate for. Starling Marte is so far the most promising position player among the Pirates' prospects in the Grapefruit League right now. The PIrates have also welcomed newcomers Rod Barajas and Casey McGehee to the team. Barajas will take over the starting catcher position while McGehee will likely platoon with Garrett Jones at first base.

But, of course, it's all about the pitching. The Pirates no sooner welcomed A. J. Burnett to the team then he broke his orbital bone on a bunting drill postponing his debut with the team until sometime in June. Not good. The rotation until Burnett joins them includes newcomer Eric Bedard who, when healthy, can be an ace. The "when healthy" is key as he hasn't been able to do that in quite some time. We'll see. Jeff Karstens, Charlie Morton, Kevin Correia, and James McDonald comprise the five-man rotation along with Bedard. The Pirates bullpen looks halfway decent with closer Joel Hanrahan leading the pack. Setup man Evan Meek will look to bounce back to his 2010 form after an injury-filled 2011 season. Chris Resop, Jason Grilli and Daniel McCutchen look to make strong contributions as well.

Not sure if this lineup get the Buccos over the hump this season, but I believe they're going in the right direction. If they can avoid the injuries that plagued them last season, they've got a real good shot at it.

Beat 'em Bucs!

#2 robocopp

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 04:34 PM

fantastico !

#3 dynomite

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 05:46 PM

The Pirates were a strange team last season. As of the All-Star Break, they were the surprise team of the year. As late as July 28th they were 5 games above .500 (54-49) and only a game and a half behind the Brewers for the division lead. Then they started August with a 10 game losing streak and it was all over.

I've got a lot of friends who are Pirates fans, I love PNC Park, and I'd like to see the Pirates contend again. I'm just not sure it can happen with this rotation.

#4 Have A Gansett

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 08:10 AM

I agree dynomite. Lots of question marks in the current five-man rotation. However, the cavalry may be on its way if not for this season, then for 2013. Check out this article from Devan Kovacevic in the Pittsburgh Trib-Review: http://www.pittsburg...s/s_786382.html

Good insight on starting pitching prospects Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon and Luis Heredia.

#5 Jimy Hendrix

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 09:04 AM

The rotation is not the primary issue for this Pirates team. Their line-up last year was truly, utterly terrible. A few Pirates lineup facts.

- Of the 14 Pirates with 200+ PAs, 7 of them has OPSes under .650 (8 if you include Josh Harrison just sneaking over the threshold at .656)
- Two of those players had sub .600 OPSes
- Some of those putrid numbers came from what should be real power positions, including 1B (Lyle Overbay @ .649) and the corner OFs

Their pitching reverted to mean last year which helped to sink their magical division run, but it was that horrible lineup day in and day out that killed them. Fortunately, those numbers are so bad, they should be able to improve at least some of them. Some of the major keys are the following:

- McCutchen doesn't have anything to be too ashamed of, he hit .820 OPS while playing a good CF. However, he is just about the only guy on the team with the potential to blossom into a +.900 OPS lineup anchor, and they almost have to have him do that.

- Pedro Alvarez gave them a .560ish OPS, about what we are estimating/fearing will make Iglesias a terrible SS. That made him a beyond terrible 3rd baseman, he needs to get even mediocre, if not realize some of his power potential.

- Tabata has been a relatively bright spot in this lineup in that he has shown solid discipline, if not power, while most players have shown neither. They can hope for him to grow into some power, or at least combine his improved walkrate with an average more like 2010 to make a really useful leadoff hitter.

- Alex Presley made a solid outfield debut last year before getting hurt. If he can sustain having enough pop in the bat to have a .800+ OPS, or shit, even one in the .700s, he can both replace crap like Matt Diaz and also allow Garret Jones (mediocre, but at least reliably so for the past few years) to take first base and make it at least not the black hole it was last year.

#6 dynomite

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 12:42 PM

The rotation is not the primary issue for this Pirates team. Their line-up last year was truly, utterly terrible. A few Pirates lineup facts.

Their lineup was bad, but I still don't think their rotation is good enough to win 85+ games.

With Malholm gone and Bedard unlikely to pitch a full season, they're pretty thin. Their only returning starter who had an ERA+ above 100 is Jeff Karsten. He had a nice little year in 2011, but the discrepancy between his ERA (3.38) and FIP (4.29, with a 77% strand rate) gives me pause. Indeed, every single projection system (ZiPS, James, Marcel) puts his 2012 ERA north of 4.00, with ZiPS at 4.72.

#7 Have A Gansett

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 01:55 PM

First base was a black hole until they acquired Derrick Lee at the trading deadling. First time in a long time the Pirates were buyers and not sellers. I was hoping the Buccos would resign him for '12, but they are apparently going with the Jones/McGehee platoon.

#8 Jimy Hendrix

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 02:45 PM

First base was a black hole until they acquired Derrick Lee at the trading deadling. First time in a long time the Pirates were buyers and not sellers. I was hoping the Buccos would resign him for '12, but they are apparently going with the Jones/McGehee platoon.

There were a ton of black holes last year. 1st, 3rd, SS, C, and even both corner OF positions last year after Presley and Tabata got hurt.

That platoon should get 1B to average, Presley & Tabata should hopefully do at least that much for the OF. I don't think there are any great answers this season at SS or C (unless Tony Sanchez explodes in the minors), so then things hinge on Alvarez, whether he can pull himself from one of the worst in MLB last year to at least being league-average, if not actually realizing some of his tremendous potential.

Edited by Jimy Hendrix, 15 March 2012 - 02:54 PM.

#9 Have A Gansett

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 12:30 PM

No doubt Jimy. In my mind, Alvarez is the biggest question mark on this PIrates team. Apparently, he's being more aggressive in his batting approach this spring. He's first pitch swinging which, of course, would drive the likes of Theo and Tito crazy, but this is the approach he is taking. I hope it works out because if it doesn't, the Bucs take some big steps back if he fails.

#10 Have A Gansett

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 01:08 PM

Found this blog today:

Posted Image

1. It has to end soon: There are Pittsburgh Pirates fans all over this country. And yes, we are well aware our baseball team has lost 1,713 games over the past 19 years.
The last 19 years of our lives have been wrapped up in waiting for a winning season from the Bucs. Nineteen years of shaking our heads. Nineteen years of screaming into our hands at the top of our lungs as another first-round draft pick gets the news that he will be heading to see Dr. Andrews.
You're right. It has been a long time, with plenty of people calling the team a laughingstock along the way, but there is no way we can give up on 'em now. We have too much invested.
So before we leave for the opening day tailgate on April 5, we will take our familar spot in front of the bathroom mirror and say "this will be the year."

2. The franchise just signed a superstar: His name is Andrew McCutchen. He's faster than your center fielder. He's more powerful than your center fielder. He will be wearing black and gold for years to come.

3. There's a brand new bar opening in right field this year!: Just in case my trash talking fails and the losses start piling up once again, the Pirates now have both outfield corners covered with large bars to drown the sorrows of Bucco fans. It looks great with an open floor plan overlooking right field, as well as the Allegheny River and downtown Pittsburgh cityscape.
It's also a single dad's dream. Bucs getting blown out? Children are upset and want to head to the playground, but you don't want to miss the comeback? The new right-field bar answers your prayers. No longer do guys have to try and watch a game on that awful, glare filled, 15-inch, 300-pound television still around from 1992 while the kids rip up the playground. Now dad can keep one eye on the brats while enjoying an ice cold IC Light or God forbid a BL 'Num with his other eye on the Buccos. They don't call it the Best Ballpark in America for nothing.

4. The Pirates had the lineup that changed baseball: On Sept. 1, 1971, Pirates skipper Danny Murtaugh did something that no other manager had done before. All of his players on the lineup card were minorities. Because the Pittsburgh papers were on strike at the time here is what the Sporting News had to say:
What is believed to be the first all-Negro starting lineup in major league history turned back the Phillies on September 1. Manager Danny Murtaugh's combination of American and Latin Negroes pounded out 13 hits en route to a 10-7 victory.
"This is the first time," slugger Willie Stargell said. "Back in 1967, in Philadelphia, Harry Walker started eight of us, but the pitcher, Denny Ribant, was white."
That September lineup card was one that changed the game. It was a great time for the game, for the Pirates and for Pittsburgh.

5. Accessibility for musty smelling basement bloggers: The Pirates have embraced bloggers despite how badly we might smell. The team has given access to players for interviews, front office management, and has scheduled dates for blogger night events at PNC Park. The team gets it in regard to social media and has made significant improvements over the past few years. The fans of the Pittsburgh Pirates have some cool opportunities thanks to the recent efforts made by the team.

6. Waiting for what Mr. Bob Nutting will say next ... and waiting for him to sell the team: From the looks of things, Mr. Nutting is a very, very smart businessman. He has gained control of the Pittsburgh Pirates Baseball Club, which was valued at over $300 million, without paying nearly that amount of money.
But even smart businessmen say silly things. Nutting has called team president Frank Coonelly and GM Neal Huntington "the single best management team in all of baseball, maybe in all of sports." Some would say differently, but just how much of the trouble in Pittsburgh is due to Coonelly and Huntington? It boils down to the haves and have nots of MLB baseball.
To me, the Pittsburgh market is clearly a have not. The fact that it is controlled by a wily businessman who didn't have quite enough money to turn around the organization quickly sucks. But it's what we were dealt as fans.
So the fans of Pittsburgh are left to wait as the value of the organization grows. Hopefully it will grow quickly enough that Nutting might be able to cash out before he tells his players he believes the Pirates will win the National League Central this year. Wait ... he already told them that.

7. Fandom in Pittsburgh is divisive: Being a fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates is great. There are numerous places on any single day that a Bucco fan can go for information. But the information might not come easy. Visit any of the 239 Pirates blogs such as Bucs Dugout, McEffect, Raise the Jolly Roger, Pittsburgh Sports Tavern, Pirates Prospects, WHYGAVS versus some of the newspaper blogs and check out the comments section. It can be brutal.
The anti-Nuttings for a lack of a better term feel that they were simply promised better competitive baseball in return for their tax money. They feel the Nutting family are thieves and haven't held up their end of the deal. In essence, the franchise has grown exponentially in value, but the product for fans to enjoy has been the exact opposite.
Before McCutchen became the face of the franchise, he was the latest poster boy for a Pirates franchise that for many reasons was perceived as not serious about winning.
When the Bucs signed McCutchen, most fan bases would be thrilled that the franchise player would be building a new house, locked up in black and yellow until he is into his 30s. But not in the Steel City. Pirates fans have been through a lot since Barry Bonds threw wide to catcher Spanky Lavaillere that night in Atlanta, so trusting an owner doesn't come quickly.
But that's what we enjoy. The fiery Internet debates among Pirates fans all over the country are great fun because, you know, everyone is a 6-foot-6 U.S. Army Ranger trained tough guy on the Internet.

8. Pittsburgh is a baseball town: Our names are easy to remember. Willie Stargell. Bill Mazeroski. Honus Wagner. Pie Traynor. Josh Gibson. Satchel Paige. Barry Bonds. Baseball's last hero, Roberto Clemente.
Some would say that long before the Steelers won four Super Bowls in the '70s, or Mario Lemieux brought the Penguins back from the dead, that baseball ruled Pittsburgh. In 1903, the Pirates represented the National League in the first World Series losing to the Boston Pilgrims. The Pirates then won their first world championship in 1909.
In 1921, Pittsburgh's KDKA radio was the first station to broadcast a baseball game in the world. The Bucs won the World Series in 1925 when they beat the Senators. In 1927 the Pirates lost the Series to what many consider to be the best baseball team ever assembled -- a New York Yankees team with Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig leading the way. In an amusing side note, when the Pirates began trading off veterans from the 16th (or was it 17th) consecutive losing season, GM Neal Huntington laughed at reporters and said, "it's not like we're breaking up the '27 Yankees."
The Pirates have done a solid job of making sure the storied history of baseball in the city will never be forgotten. A baseball fan in Pittsburgh can't help but wonder what could have been if the amazing Negro League players that played for the Homestead Grays and the Pittsburgh Crawfords had been able to join the Pirates. Many of the Negro League players were invisible to most of America as segregation reigned, but several Pittsburgh businessmen put together some of the best teams baseball had ever seen.
The story written in the Pittsburgh Courier back in 1938 suggested the Pirates grab a few of the Negro League players and getting by those Chicago Cubs wouldn't be a problem. The Pirates ignored the article and the Cubs went on to snatch the tightly contested division.
The Bucs are well known for their 1960 World Series win over a stacked New York Yankees team. The 1971 and 1979 World Series titles over the Baltimore Orioles will never be forgotten. Being a baseball fan in Pittsburgh is special, hang around a few old-timers at the park and it's hard not getting caught up in some great stories from long ago. Nine NL pennants, five World Series victories -- all in the seventh game are hard to forget.

9. We pay less than what you're paying: The Pirates employ the most fan-friendly people in the game. The ticket staff is insanely great at what they do for the fans of the Bucs. Of course, Pirates baseball is the best value going. We pay less for tickets. We pay quite a bit less for 16 ounces of beer and soda, too.

10. The future: As much as baseball is built on its past, the stories from yesteryear only go so far with the current generation. Eight-year-old kids in Pittsburgh grow tired of the Arky Vaughn stories, hell, even an 80-year-old boy grows tired of hearing about why Smith's homer was just as important as Mazeroski's in Game 7. Eventually it comes down to can we win this year?
Well, the Pirates front office has put together a plan that certainly has things looking up in Pittsburgh. If everything falls into place, 7-year-olds won't be wearing Kent Tekulve shirts to PNC Park. They won't have to find their World Series heroes from teams 30-plus years ago.
That's progress.

#11 Have A Gansett

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 09:03 AM

Another fluff piece, this time from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: http://www.post-gaze...history-629543/

A mile from PNC Park, four Pirates fans take their lunch break at North Catholic High School. They're bright young men, seniors on their way to the next step in their lives, but there's one thing they haven't experienced as native Pittsburghers.

"We don't even have to make the playoffs or anything," said Jake Miller, 17. "Just reach the .500 mark, a winning season, and people will believe again."
Oh, the optimism of youth. The guys realize they may be a bit naive. They hear their parents and the adults around them disregard the Pirates each spring, only to be proved right each September. Still, the 19 consecutive losing seasons since Sid Bream's slide beat Mike LaValliere's tag in Game 7 of the 1992 National League Championship Series, sending the Atlanta Braves to the World Series and the Pirates back to Pittsburgh, haven't spoiled their enthusiasm -- yet.

"We've never seen a good team," said Zack Miller, 18. "While our parents have seen them in their prime when they had all the big-name Pirates, we just keep hoping for a good season."

For four months last season, their faith was rewarded. The North Shore buzzed with Bucco Fever as the Pirates sat atop the National League Central Division standings in late July. It was nearly unthinkable -- the Pirates leading Albert Pujols' St. Louis Cardinals and Prince Fielder's Milwaukee Brewers and the big-market Chicago Cubs -- but Josh Haefele wouldn't allow himself to enjoy it.

While his friends remain positive about the Pirates, Haefele, 18, can no longer muster good vibes. Listening to him, you begin to wonder if there really is a lost generation of Pirates fans.

Haefele is the North Catholic Trojan mascot. By function, he supports athletic endeavors, and he was once a huge Pirates fan. But last year, he didn't attend one game as the Pirates captivated his city. "It felt like it was almost temporary," he said. "At some point, I knew it was going to end, so why go full in?"
Haefele plans to attend a few games this season, mostly as social outings. He's open to caring again, but he needs to see more. "My hope is rebuilding," he said. "But my hope tank was on empty."

All over the city, it's not just the youth who are confused and don't know what to think. The Pirates finished 72-90 after a 19-43 skid to end the 2011 season.
The franchise's leadership group hears the criticism and understands it. Owner Bob Nutting, president Frank Coonelly and general manager Neal Huntington say all the right things -- that nobody wants to win more than they do. They're just asking for a little more patience, and soon, they believe, the long-ignored children of Pittsburgh will get to cheer a winner once more.

Restoring trust
Young Pirates fans have learned the rules of following a perennial loser, none more significant than this: Watching the July 31 trade deadline can be more important than tuning into any of the 162 merciless games.

In 2003, the Pirates traded their best player, outfielder Brian Giles, to the San Diego Padres at the trade deadline. In the deal, they received a young outfielder named Jason Bay, which turned out to be one of the best trades in recent memory.

By 2008, Bay had hit 117 home runs for the Pirates and emerged into the most productive Pirate since Barry Bonds. Problem was, the Pirates were in the process of rebuilding their organization from the bottom up with Nutting, Coonelly and Huntington having taken over a crumbling minor-league system in 2007. They simply couldn't pay Bay market value and weren't ready to commit that kind of money to the big-league club anyway. So, the Pirates traded Bay to the Boston Red Sox in a three-way deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers, receiving four prospects in return.

"Bay was probably my favorite player," Haefele said. "It was like, 'Why?' "

Of the prospects picked up in the Bay trade -- Bryan Morris, Andy LaRoche, Craig Hansen and Brandon Moss -- only Morris, a pitcher, is still in the Pirates organization (in Class AA Altoona).

Pirates brass have taken plenty of flack for the Bay trade and others, and it is with that backdrop that the events of March 6, 2012, should be viewed.
On that sunny Tuesday morning in Bradenton, Fla., at McKechnie Field, the Pirates prepared themselves for a rare positive public-relations opportunity. The previous day, they had announced the signing of center fielder Andrew McCutchen to a six-year, $51.5 million contract, locking up McCutchen through three arbitration years and three free-agency years.

McCutchen, a swift runner and dependable fielder with plenty of pop, had 23 home runs and 23 stolen bases last season. He is only 25 and likely on the uptick of his career.

As some national media members gathered around a table outside the Pirates clubhouse where a news conference would take place, Nutting took a private moment to gather himself. He pulled out a sheet of paper and reviewed the notes for his message.
Soon, with Huntington to his right and McCutchen to his left, Nutting had the microphone.

"This is a natural step in the process as we go forward," Nutting said. "From the first day that I became directly involved with the club, I made a commitment that we're going to build a championship organization."

Nutting felt he had to drive that point home, and there wouldn't have been a better time than then -- with McCutchen, the franchise's top player, sitting next to him, smiling. Yes, McCutchen wanted to be a Pirate for three years longer than he had to be, and that was saying something.

Nutting said he hoped people back in Pittsburgh were proud of where the Pirates are headed.

"I think that as much as anything should give our fans confidence that we have an organization truly committed to performing at a championship level in Pittsburgh," Nutting said later that day. "It's important our fans understand that. Because a lot of the anger and concern has been deserved, and today's a day we should be able to focus on moving forward in a great direction."

Nutting recalled the daunting task ahead when he took over for Kevin McClatchy. The Pirates' training facilities were subpar, and there was a dearth of talent at the minor- and major-league levels, but scarier than that was the rotten culture that had been permeating inside the franchise. Nutting spent that first summer talking to "high-performing organizations" inside and outside of baseball, trying to pinpoint what things create a successful environment.

Good, hard-working people were high on the list, and Nutting brought Coonelly and Huntington aboard. Huntington would be the person most responsible for setting the right tone day in and day out with the major-league club.

The son of a New England dairy farmer, Huntington grew up loving baseball and appreciating the way his father went about his business. "Just watching my dad, the love he had for farming," Huntington said, "the love he had for the animals and the pride he could take in the smallest of victories. I knew at a really young age I wanted to find something to feel about the way he did about farming."

Huntington thought he would become a teacher and a high school baseball coach, but he managed to get a couple of internships with the Montreal Expos. He worked his way through that organization and soon found himself as the assistant general manager of the Cleveland Indians. He helped the Indians rebuild into a contender in 2007 and was hired by Nutting that September. Almost five years later, the beauty is still in the details for Huntington. "There is not a day that goes by that I don't count my blessings," he said.

As the executor of the Bay trade and others that haven't served to bring immediate success to the Pirates, Huntington is well aware that many fans feel as if he went for quantity over quality in the early years when the Pirates were trying to bolster their farm system.

He admits he is not the most outgoing guy, but he has been willing to talk with fans around town who bring their grievances to him directly.

"You try to walk through the process behind it," he said. "Our fans are why we're here, and this fan base is why we work so hard to return the Pirates to winning baseball. Whatever their concern is, you try to give them a broader perspective of why we've done what we've done."

A different standard
For some, last season was a delicious taste of what winning baseball can feel like in Pittsburgh. For others, it was a cruel tease -- another reason to wonder if sustained excellence can ever happen in PNC Park.

For the Pirates and those in the organization, it was simply a rush, knowing that people were talking about them instead of counting the days until Steelers training camp.

"Last year was my first year basically going out to the grocery store and hearing the buzz," said Scott "Bones" Bonnett, the team's equipment manager, who has been with the team since 2000. "It was kind of exciting hearing people actually talking about the team positive instead of negative."

Sometimes, Bonnett would go out to dinner just to be exposed to the positive energy. Jeff Banister, the Pirates' bench coach who has been with the organization the last 27 years, relished it, too.

"I felt it the whole time," Banister said, "the electricity from the fans. I'd be in the coffee shop reading the newspaper and listening to people talk. They've got the fever, and it's up to us to continue to stoke that fire for them."

Has the culture changed enough to help make that happen? One thing is certain: The Pirates' clubhouse is a happy place. Make the rounds at spring training and you'll hear all the right things, often in cliche form: There aren't cliques among the players anymore. They have each other's backs now. When someone makes a mistake, the other players don't point fingers; they pick their teammate up. There are no egos big enough to cause destruction.

Most of the credit for this is handed to manager Clint Hurdle, whose motivational techniques once pushed the Colorado Rockies to the World Series, in 2007. Hurdle's management style is loud and proud, and one of his first messages to the Pirates when he took over in 2011 was that if you can't speak it, you can't accomplish it. So, the Pirates started talking about winning the division and going to the World Series. In fact, in the top right corner of the Pirates' daily schedule is a picture of the Commissioner's Trophy.

Hurdle never stops thinking about ways to get his club in the right frame of mind. Each morning, usually before the sun rises, he sends an email to the staff and players with a quote. One day in spring training, the Pirates players awoke to this gem from speaker Zig Ziglar: "People often say motivation doesn't last. Neither does bathing. That's why we recommend it daily."

"I look forward to them every morning," Banister said, "so much so that I have started forwarding them on to my own children. It seems like he has a really good feel for the day. They have a purpose, and I do think they're powerful."

The Pirates dream big, and, apparently, they no longer dwell on a depressing past that was mostly not their doing. The 19 consecutive losing seasons? Not a topic of discussion these days.

"It hasn't really been brought up this year," Bonnett said. "It's kind of odd. It's definitely different. Usually we come into spring training, that's the first thing everybody's talking about."

With Thursday's season opener against the Philadelphia Phillies at PNC Park just three days away, here's an important thing to know about this year's Pirates: A winning season is not their goal. While some fans would be dancing in the streets at the proposition of ending the streak of losing seasons before it hits 20, the Pirates say they would be disappointed with anything other than first place.

"The attitude here isn't just to be an average team," said catcher Rod Barajas, who signed with the Pirates in the offseason. "If 82 games wins us the Central [Division], then that's fine. If the fans just want a winning season, I think they're looking at it the wrong way. That's not what we're expecting out of ourselves. We're holding ourselves to a higher standard."

#12 Dehere

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 09:42 AM

A mile from PNC Park, four Pirates fans take their lunch break at North Catholic High School. They're bright young men, seniors on their way to the next step in their lives, but there's one thing they haven't experienced as native Pittsburghers.

I grew up in Pittsburgh. Those four kids can't be too bright. If they were they wouldn't be attending North Catholic.

Beat Em Bucs!!

#13 Have A Gansett

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 02:35 PM

Okay, taking two out of three from the vaunted Phillies is a pretty good start. What's even better is some fine pitching coming from the starters and the bullpen. Bats came alive in the last game a little bit. Two walk-off wins to start the season as well. 79 more to go!

Also, the Buccos will hopefully ruin the Dodgers' opening day in about a half and hour. The Dodgers will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of Dodger Stadium and wouldn't it be nice to spoil that party. Beat 'em Bucs!!

#14 Rudy Pemberton

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Posted 28 April 2012 - 11:02 AM

What's the deal with Pedro Alvarez?

#15 Have A Gansett

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Posted 21 May 2012 - 10:00 AM

What's the deal with Pedro Alvarez?

That's the $6 million dollar question, isn't it? Alvarez's bat seemed to have awakened earlier in May, but since he's been elevated to the cleanup spot behind Cutch, he's back to being anemic at the plate. It seems to be all mental with this kid. He's shown he can rake. He now needs to figure out how to do that consistently. Only problem is the Pirates have no clue as how to develop hitters.

It's absolutely amazing that the Bucs have seem to have solved their pitching puzzle after all these years. The hitting after Andrew McCutchen is pitiful.

#16 Lose Remerswaal

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Posted 21 May 2012 - 03:35 PM

Alvarez showed up out of shape last year. I haven't seen a Bucs game this year so not sure if that's still the problem. He also started this year making a ton of errors, but that's been cleaned up lately.

#17 75cent bleacher seat

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 11:07 AM


Hey Pirate fans get with it....they are a half game away from earning a wild card spot....With 31 games left to play they face

Brewers 5 games
Astro's 6
Cubs 7
Mets 4
Reds 6
Braves 3

Burnett 15-5 starts tonight vs. Estrada 2-5

Edited by 75cent bleacher seat, 01 September 2012 - 01:40 PM.

#18 Jimy Hendrix

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 12:18 PM

The offense has really sorted itself out. Still not a world-beater, but Alvarez has made himself a legitimate middle of the order bat post_ASB, with a torrid second-half. Additionally, Garret Jones is slugging better than he has in the past few years (OBP is another story, but the Pirates will gladly take it over anything else they've has at 1B recently), and a few guys who were either struggling (Todd Walker) or simply not present (Travis Snider) earlier in the year are chipping in at or near league average levels. Having a few more guys above .750 OPS doesn't sound that impressive as lineup depth goes in a vacuum, but it's a hell of a lot better than the parade of low .600 guys the Bucs have been trotting out in recent years, often at power positions.

#19 75cent bleacher seat

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Posted 02 September 2012 - 07:15 AM

Yesterday's 3-2 loss to the Brewers drops the Pirates back to 1.5 games in the wildcard standings. Today's game has the Pirates McDonald 12-6 ERA 3.57 vs. Milwaukees Gallardo 14-8, ERA 3.52.

When I watch McCutcheon at the plate and the manner in which he stands upright with the bat resting on his shoulder he presents himself as a guy playing in a casual softball game....we know otherwise of course....right?

Edited by 75cent bleacher seat, 02 September 2012 - 07:20 AM.

#20 E5 Yaz

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Posted 02 September 2012 - 01:49 PM

The Neil Walker has been a killer. They weren't deep offensively to start with, and he was having a great season

#21 75cent bleacher seat

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 08:18 AM


The Bucs have lost 4 straight putting them 2.5 games away from a wild card spot. Their next 2 games are against the Astros then 3 with the Cubs before moving on to Cincinnati....ESPN is giving them a 17.8 % chance of making the playoffs....I say it's gonna be tuff...thoughts?

#22 LogansDad

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 12:39 PM

It is going to be tough, but I think they have two things going for them. One is that St Louis and Atlanta aren't exactly lighting up the world right now, nor are the Dodgers.

The second is that their schedule is slightly favorable, with 6 left against the Cubs and 4 against the Astros, two teams that have barely combined to win more games than Natstown. Their other games are 3 vs Brewers and 4 @NY Mets, two teams that are underachieving, though both have been slightly warm over recent weeks. The touch part is going to be six against the Reds (3 H, 3 A).

If they can stay close, the final weekend against Atlanta could be a lot of fun, especially considering how last year ended for the Braves.

#23 E5 Yaz

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 12:48 PM

The Brewers have killed the Pirates this season, but if they fall short, they can look back to going 1-5 against the Padres in a home and home as the killer

#24 TheYaz67

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 12:19 AM

Poor Pirates, lost another tough one in 14, after having lead 3-0 early. Have lost 8 of their last 10, now only 4 games over .500 and wild card dreams hanging by a thread - its just all falling apart in the second half (again).

Will feel awful if they finish 80-82, albeit that would be a big improvement for them...

#25 soxhop411

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 10:54 PM

Posted Image

VIA ESPN stats.... very strange that its so close to the same #'s

#26 TheYaz67

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 07:07 AM

That is odd - the difference being the 19 inning game this year they actually WON! The game last year was very dispiriting b/c they blew several chance to win and then lost on a bad call by the ump. Many folks had hoped that the different outcome this year would instead propel them forward, but no such luck it seems. They just suck at August/September baseball it seems....

#27 TheYaz67

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Posted 20 September 2012 - 07:51 PM

Poor Pirates threw up on their shoes again, today.

Blew a 7-4 lead heading into the 8th and lost 7-9 as the bullpen again imploded - now 74 - 75..... oh noes!

Losing season 21 is firmly within their sights now, but still rooting for a 82-80 finish...

#28 TheYaz67

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 11:48 PM

Well, 75 - 78 now, so losing season # 21 in a row seems like a lock at this point. Remaining 9 games are against NYM, Braves and Reds - they are 6-9 against the Reds, and 3-4 against NYM/Atlanta, so not much hope they go 6-3 or 7-2 rest of the way, but one can hope...

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#29 Jinhocho

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Posted 25 July 2013 - 11:58 AM

piratesprospects.com is a great resource for following the pirates and the pirates farm system.

#30 Clemente38

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Posted 25 July 2013 - 12:44 PM

Since Jinhocho bumped the thread, I figured I'll jump in with some love for the Bucs and their season. They beat Strasburg last night, handing the Nats another loss, Liriano has 10 wins, and Melancon now has 3 saves. Not good that they lost their closer, but the Sox have lost more than just one closer this year. But Cole has been solid since stepping into the rotation, and Locke has pitched solid the entire season, they've got some vets that might help them keep it together in August and September this year. We'll see.


They have a better record (percentage wins) than the Sox. I'm thrilled with both teams and how the season has progressed. 


If the Sox play the Pirates in the World Series, I'm bailing on work for the entire series, and getting on the Boston-Pgh shuttle. Thought I'd put it in writing in case it actually happens. PNC is a great ballpark, y'all will love it.