by The Last Hollywood Star
In my blogs during the week, I’ve commented on
• Sean Burnett’s remark that the Pirates are the “laughing stock of baseball”
ESPN, who had plenty to say to back Burnett up when the Bucs officially reached seventeen consecutive losing seasons, continued to pile it on the Pirates.
On Friday Jay Marioti, a panelist on Around the Horn, said that he went to the Steeler-Titan game on Thursday and witnessed what he called one of the greatest spectacles in sports---a Steeler home game in front of 65,000 rapid towel-waving fans.
Marioti complimented Pittsburgh as a great sports town where fans can watch Super Bowl and Stanley Cup world champions as well as take in a “AAA baseball game.”
• Kent Tekulve’s post-game observation that the middle innings determine the outcome of most baseball games.
Sure enough, the Pirates blew at least two games during disastrous late innings. In Wednesday’s 8-5 loss to the Chicago Cubs, Pirate relief pitchers Jeff Karstens and Denny Bautista gave up four runs on six hits and a walk in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings.
According to my math, without giving up those four runs the Pirates win 5-4.
On Saturday, during a 9-1 loss to the Houston Astros, in the seventh inning alone Joel Hanrahan and Jesse Chavez were belted for three hits, three walks and six runs. Not that the Pirates would have won the game without the seventh inning collapse but those six runs put it totally out of reach.
• The Pirates’ non-existent offense makes it impossible for the team to recover from any early inning deficit.
In the last eleven games, the Pirates have been outscored 22-1 in the first inning. Not only is that a mountain too high regarding the game’s outcome but it also results in thousands of television sets and radios being turned off.
Within Pittsburgh, the Pirates are about the tenth story on the sport pages behind local events like the Steelers, Panthers and Penguins, regional teams like the West Virginia and Penn State, national stories such as the U.S. Open, Derek Jeter, U.S.C-Ohio State to name but a few.
The only feel-good story from the Pirates this week was announcer Steve Blass’ two holes-in-one during a single round.
In addition to being a 1-in- 67 million long shot, Blass’ accomplishment gives his fellow announcers Tim Neverette and Bob Walk something fun to talk about instead of all the dreary Pirate realities.