Friday, April 18, 2008

#95: The Rise of Nate McClouth

---Taking the Lead?---

Remember the days when visiting announcers would say: "(Their team) taking on Jason Bay and the Pittsburgh Pirates" or some other prominent player?

If you need proof that Pirates' centerfielder Nate McClouth is getting noticed around the league, just listen to this brief snipped that started off today's Pirates/Cubs broadcast on Chicago's WGN:


Nate McClouth is either going to be the breakout player in the Major Leagues this year, or he is going to struggle for the rest of the season once his impressive surge is over.

Shortly after opening day, I posted this brief article about how McClouth called his shot in Atlanta, which, had it not been for the bullpen that night, would have been the decisive blow (the Bucs won in 12, anyway, so maybe I should let it alone).

But through Friday's 3-2 loss at Wrigley to the Cubs, he has hit safely in all 16 games this season, sporting a .380 batting average and an on-base percentage near .440

And with a little early-season pop to his bat, and he's on pace for 30 home runs! Not only that, but all three of his homers this year have come in the 8th or 9th innings...ON THE ROAD.

The Pirates might actually have something resembling a clutch player on their squad this season. Or at least until general manager Neal Huntington is able to land a major-league ready prospect, and several other mid-level prospects for him.

Sell high.

And now some more screenshots:

Score of Monday's Dodger game as Takashi Saito hangs one...

after Saito hangs one.

Seriously. That's stuff that seems to happen to the Bucs when they have a tender lead.

Now, to another note.

My absolute dislike for the Chicago Cubs is pretty well documented. Most of that dislike stems from their fan base. They gave me another reason today.

In this series of screen shots, look at the stream of liquid that is coming from the top left.

Ha! The beverage missed him!

In this next shot, you can see the fan in the next shot getting ready to dump the drink.

WGN was savvy enough to cut away from their
replay before the spill was re-shown.

That's okay.

Nate gets a little bit of payback.

Unfortunately, he ended up missed the offending fan's head by about three sections to the left and four rows back. And there was no one else on base, but that's not his fault.

We might be seeing something special here.

Let's hope former pitching coach Jim Colborn doesn't emerge from somewhere to tinker with anything.


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