Friday, August 24, 2007

#77: 10...9...8......

I'm half-tempted to embed Europe's "The Final Countdown" into this post, but I don't want to turn anyone away. If you'd prefer, go ahead and summon that tune into your mental jukebox.

Right now, the Pirates are only 11 losses away from making their 15th consecutive losing season official. With 36 games remaining, the Bucs would have to finish a vastly improbable 26-10 just to pull what Milwaukee did two seasons ago to break their franchise's streak: break even.


Two consecutive stretches of 13-5 baseball.


A 72.2% winning percentage over the final stretch.


It ain't gonna happen.

Last year, I ran Baby Pool of sorts as to when the Pirates would either win their 63rd or lose their 100th game.

I wanna play again, but I didn't get a great response. I'm not wealthy enough to pony up and have "Steeltown Sports" T-shirts made up (or some other prize). I really want to, though.

On what date will the Pirates lose their 82nd game and secure the 15th consecutive losing season?

Play along for bragging rights. I say loss #82 comes on September 12th. The last game of the next-to-last homestand against Milwaukee. I forsee a massive dropoff in play over the next 2.5 weeks. They'll end with 94 losses, one game better than last season.

And, if, by some divine intervention, the Pirates break even (or better?!?), I will print those T-shirts anyway and send one to everybody who plays.

C'mon! You've got nothing to lose!


My absence from the blogosphere lately is mainly a by-product of getting used to a new computer system at the radio station (which is usually the spot from where I throw in my two cents' worth).

Do check back every so often, though. Either this coming Thursday (Aug. 30th) or next (Sep. 6), will be the 2nd annual WMBS NFL Preview roundtable. 3 guys. 32 teams. 45 minutes. I'll keep you informed of any updates.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

#76: Sayonara, Kuwata

After spending a few months aboard a (technically) Major League ball club in the United States, Masumi Kuwata was designated for assignment. The Bucs have 10 days to waive, trade, or release him. Kuwata may also be able to join the AAA Indianapolis Indians, but he may also elect to end a career that began in Japan long before we were talking about consecutive losing seasons in Pittsburgh.

To the rest of the baseball world, I'm sure many folks are thinking, "It's nice that he got a chance to pitch in America and fulfill a dream." Here, I'm thinking, "And, of course, it just had to be us."

Like so many acquisitions made by the Syndicate, Kuwata was a way to get media attention, particularly in Pittsburgh, and addressed the issue of "How to get butts in seats" rather than "how to get Ws in the standings" (which, incidentally, would be an even better way to get butts in seats).

Seriously, you can liken the Pirates to a zoo.

"Come see the rare, Ancient Japanese Pitcher! He features pitches of such slowness, even Jamie Moyer concedes defeat! Did we mention he's Japanese? And in Pittsburgh? Come see this once-in-a-generation attraction at PNC Park!"

He goes alongside "The Left-Handed Power Hitter" who joined us this year, as well as "The Crop of Young Pitchers" and "The Amazing Disappearing Jason Bay".

Kuwata's Gyroball couldn't have found a home in some other organization's side show. He was a custom fit for the Pirates.

In other baseball-related thoughts:

Barry Bonds gets a largely classy reception from the Pittsburgh fans Monday night when he was introduces as the new Home Run record holder. Also good of him to acknowledge the fans.

I would have stood and applauded, as well, though I will always question the legitimacy of the record (if he never tests positive or is otherwise proven to have knowingly taken any performance-enhancing drugs). That's a lot of dingers against a crop of pitchers who, in my opinion, are the best (collectively) that have played the game. I'm not sure how many home runs the Babe or the Hammer hit if they have to face a Greg Maddox or a Trevor Hoffman or a Roger Clemens, or even a Nolan Ryan.

If you lower the mound for Ruth and Aaron for their entire careers (mound lowered 10 inches in 1969...Aaron still played 6 more years after that), maybe that offsets the talent of the pitcher and they break even and hit about 714 and 755 anyway.

It's impossible to definitively compare eras. To the purists, there will never be another hitter as good as Babe Ruth. No matter what Alex Rodriguez does the rest of his career. No matter what. They can have that.

I don't think Joe DiMaggio hits safely in 56 straight games today (if he were alive and young as he was in 1941, smart asses). I think Cal Ripken's endurance record may be the safest in professional sports, but certainly in baseball.

Congratulations, Barry. The record is yours, but so is the asterisk that will accompany it in the Court of Public Opinion.


If you needed any additional proof that Daniel Moskos was drafted #4 for his signability, then you need to read this article by Yahoo!s Jeff Passan.

Of course, Passan also seems to favor Boras and the Bonus Brigade because of Baseball's total revenue. I think the owners have the right of it. Maybe because I know the more money owners will be willing to spend, it's even less of a chance (if you can envision it) of the Pirates contending in my lifetime.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

#75: Wanted - Fact Checker

While at the radio station, I was trying to find some audio clips from postgame interviews or a wrap-up of the Pirates' 5-4 win over the St. Louis Cardinals.

The reporter here, Scott Stiller of Metro Networks (and several other local media credentials), makes no fewer than *three* factual errors in a 30-second wrap-up. No corrected audio has been placed as of this entry. Check it out and see if YOU can find the errors.

(Here's the box score to help you if you didn't see the game)

ANSWER KEY:----------------------------------

The Pirates are the Pirates,

Just wow.

(note: I did not play this sound byte over the air)