I’m a 27 year-old, grown ass man and as such I make grown ass man decisions like going to bed around 10:00 because I have work in the morning. Anyway, this grown-ass man turned over at 4:10 AM and decided to check the score to last night’s game (3-0 Bucs when he went to sleep) and found himself wide-eyed and making breakfast by 4:17.
I’ve reserved my sports discussions on YinZSTER to be more socially-oriented than game coverage, but last night’s game is going to be the topic of conversation wherever you work, so I’ll share my thoughts because you are going to hear some effing drivel today. I slept through the game, but watched the condensed version on MLB At Bat so I’m all caught up with a qualified opinion and here it is.
Yeah, he sure does. It’s gut-wrenching and unbelievable that he didn’t, but that’s as far as the conversation should go. It’s a freak incident that you need to take in stride if you want to be a Pirates fan. Hate to break it to you, but if you can’t handle things like that then feel free to close the book on your 60 game summer joy ride and go watch The Stillers go 7-9 this year. These are the Pittsburgh effing Pirates – that might be a 50/50 ball for whoever else they’ve had in left field depending on the season over the past twenty years (slight exaggeration, aside from when Jason Michaels was out there). This is the organization of Jerry Meals and Sid Bream and Daniel Moskos and The Collapsening. It’s MLB’s haunted house, people. You know this. Remember The Succos? Stand pat.
Here’s who I’d really like to prepare you for: Little League Guy. “Ooohhhhh he’s GOTTA USE TWO HANDS. THEY TEACH YOU THAT IN LITTLE LEAGUE!” No, bro. He doesn’t. Your try-hard 11th kid on the Scott Twp. travel team son might, but Marte is a Major League baseball player and this is what he does for a living. That’s the most routine play in the game and it’s a giant fluke that he didn’t catch it. That occurs 1 out of 1,000 balls, it just so happened to contribute to a brutal loss. “But this Marte guy is SUCH A SHOW BOAT! I’M TIRED OF IT! TWO HANDS!” Yeah, Marte plays with a lot of flair. He’s like 24 years old and he has 34 steals and five tools – I’d have flair too. I don’t have those gifts, so I dress business casual and toe the line, and so do you. He just dropped the ball, and he’s going to have to make up for it. I hate to say it, because Marte has been a good regular addition this year, but he now has one truly indelible Pirates legacy image with him and last night’s drop is it.
The situation was first and third with no outs. In the context of baseball strategy, this play is six-of-one, half-dozen-of-another and it didn’t go in our favor. Your fastest player is on third base with three opportunities to score, two of which only need to be fly balls, so you have two scenarios for a ground ball:
What made this play so ugly is that Pete Kozma was involved, and he plays shortstop with the grace and resemblance of a short Lance Berkman. If the ball is hit right at him, it’s the right call. If it goes through, we score anyway. But no, Pete has to make some lame, gross diving play and McCutchen (barring another Jerry Meals situation) scores if we send him on contact. But we don’t, so now everyone is going to cry about it. The big picture problem isn’t this particular play, but rather that the Pirates continue to put runs across the plate as willingly as girls return my text messages. Feel free to second-guess Hurdle, but in doing so please remember that his team is 70-48. Hurdle could lose all of the remaining 44 games and have produced more wins this year than the Pirates did in 10 OF THE LAST 20 SEASONS. They didn’t reach the 70 win total for six straight seasons from 2005 – 2010. There aren’t enough font options to emphasize those facts properly.
O.M.G. That’s four losses in a row. I can’t believe they’re gonna do this to us again. Every year I say I’m not going to get my hopes up, and then I let my guard down. The Cards are gonna sweep us. I’m not watching tonight. – Seemingly Everyone
I’m just as emotional about the Pirates as the next guy, and probably more-so. I have a lot of concerns about the Pirates. They score as often as I do, which is the opposite of prodigious. I seriously worry about the pH balance in the shark tank when we play this many one run games. Lambo looks terrible (kidding, Twitter joke).
But tonight we throw Liriano and tomorrow we throw Burnett. Then we throw an All-Star. Then we throw a phenom. Then we throw a guy that can conjure up electricity whenever he wants. And we do this for the rest of the season. We weren’t doing that in 2011 or 2012. If The Collapsening 3.0 does happen, alongside being the new mecca of mustaches and yarn-bombings, Pittsburgh will be the new mecca of sports psychologists. It would take a total mental breakdown, yinz.
Now is not the time to take the bridge, unless of course you are going to check out what Knit the Bridge has done to The Warhol. They might lose this series. They might get swept. They might get swept by the D-Backs this weekend, too. But do you know where that would put them if the season ended on Monday? That’d be October.