Thursday, March 01, 2007

March 1, 2007

-- Pirates first (non-collegiate) game.

-- Goodbye to Porter and Haynes.

---In Like a Lamb---

It wasn't a complete slaughter, anyway.

Like most, I don't get too emotionally, or even analytically, involved in the preseason of any sport. The Bucs lost to the Reds today (not a split squad game for either team) 9-7. Reviewing the box score, however, I couldn't help noting a few things.

- Heralded (and controversially fast-tracked) prospect Andrew McCutcheon homered in his first at bat against Eric Milton. I believe that led off the game, too. Even if Milton can sometimes resemble a practice tee, that's still fairly impressive. He also doubled.

- Defending NL batting champ Freddy Sanchez went 0-for-3. Better now than in April. Or last September...

- Starter Zach Duke struck out 2 in as many innings, but allowed a solo home run to the ever-dangerous Adam Dunn. Duke and Paul Maholm, in particular, were guilty of giving up the long ball in last season's Spring Training games.

- The undisputed (at least by the Pirates) closer, Salomon Torres, surrendered 4 runs in 1 inning, including 2 home runs. He took the loss. Keep an eye on that.

- Luis Matos, a pick-up that was met with a "whatever", at best, by Pirate fans, hit two homers. One off Milton, the other off Paul Wilson.

- Paul Wilson got the win. Wilson is known for little else outside of Cincinnati but getting the tar beat out of him by Kyle Farnsworth in 2003. I lived in Chicago when that happened. What I couldn't figure out was: if Farnesworth charged the plate, why did Wilson, as the defender, drop the bat. Especially knowing Farnsworth was a former football player. Note in this archived article from the Taipei Times, the caption on the photo says that catcher Damian Miller is trying to pull them apart. Looks to me like he's trying to get an extra lick in.

- Speaking of Wilsons, Jack Wilson went 2-for-2. (Cool...) He also committed the Pirates only error (Uh-oh...)

- Cincinnati had 5 errors in the game.

- Adam LaRoche and Jason Bay did not play.

---Parting Ways---

Joey Porter is no longer a Steeler. Largely, I'm happy with this decision. Sure, Joey was a monster leading up to and during Superbowl XL's championship run, but last season was just one debacle after another.

His play declineed while he simultaneously talked about outplaying his contract (When you stop for a second, that almost makes sense in the sports world). And his dogs had lunch next door.

Better to let him go now. Either that will serve as motivation to get him working as much as his mouth, or he's just doomed to be mediocre at best for the remainder of his career. Either way, Porter + Steelers did not equal a mutually profitable future any longer.

As for Verron Haynes, at first, I didn't understand. But somewhere along the line, I'd forgotten that Najeh Davenport was still on the team. Of course, that makes the current 3rd stringer John Kuhn. He caught a fair amount of attention during preseason last year, and rushed twice for 18 yards during the regular season. So, I suppose that if they don't sign anyone else or draft a running back in a later round in April, the Steelers are taking the gamble that Kuhn will be at least as reliable as Haynes against your standard NFL competition.

Of course, the front office is saying the cuts were made for cap room. This is a science I don't fully understand yet, but "No Limit" at seems to understand just fine. It is due to be updated shortly.


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