Thursday, August 6, 2009

Making waves in the non-waiver zone - a recap of the trade deadline and beyond!

Wow, if I were to post each time the Pirates made a deal last wk, my little fingers would be typed off. As expected, the Pirates traded Freddy Sanchez and Jack Wilson. What wasn't expected was the deals of John Grabrow w/ Tom Gorzelanny thrown in for good measure. At first it was a shook to my system but when I saw young Lastings Milledge was getting the pass to Pittsburgh from Indy, I'll admit I was excited.

The new, young Bucs of tomorrow today busted out of the gate w/ two sweet wins over those dreaded Nationals. Although the wins were nice, I was great to see Nyjer Morgan looking all tall socky and smiles! But soon after the pep talk from Uncle Neil wore off and the new Pirates have come crashing back to earth w/ 4 straight loses; w/ last night being the hardest to stomach.

Holding on to a 2-1 lead after the other half of My Favorite Laroche's favorite laroch; Andy clubbed himself a 2 run homer, John Russell did what all in Pirate World is screaming about today -- he pulled Jesse Chavze for consistantly inconsistant Joel Hanrahan. I bet Ross, the boss was sitting in the dugout drowning in his own sweat as he helplessly watched is 6 innings of desent pitching and Chavze's one inning of light out 3 K's go down the toilet w/ each pitch Hanrahan throw or attempted to throw. In 10 short pitches, Joel walked a batter and flubbed what appeared to be the start of a possible double play to end the inning. He finally throw the slider to induce the ground ball he wanted right back to himself but then throw the ball right towards the ground in front to 2nd instant to tossing it toward's Ronny Cedeno's glove -- which not only prevents the double play but any chance of getting an out period. That led to holy Even Meek's hapless display of clutch pitching. Meek gave up two singles enabling the D-backs to take the lead for the win. Now the only thing that would have saved our fearfull reliever would be for 2 sole homers by sweet Garrett Jones and little Andy. We almost got our wish when Jone proved why he was named the NL rookie of the month by stroking home run #12 412 ft. over onto the river walk behind right center field! If only Dwelyn Young would have had a better at bat where he would have been on base prior to Jones getting up to bat -- we may have had us a tie game. But a "W" wasn't in our cards for last night. Hopefully tonight is a bit better.

On a side note, I must say I love the season tix. holder customer service folks. Our tix. rep. is off enjoying his honeymoon so I've been dealing w/ the customer service ladies. They have hooked me up greatly! Due to me finally working another game at my beloved PNC park, we've had to switch our tix. for Saturday and decided to go tonight. Tonight section 25 (right next to the dugout) row D -- I tell ya the truth we WILL smell them and I bet they all smell like heaven!!

Also, I must give a HUGE shout out to our favorite Twin fans who last wkend payed the Burgh a visit. It's great to know that there are more of us out there. More female baseball fans who not only love to look of the game but we know the game as well! You can be female, a baseball nerd, and sexy all together! Hope you ladies enjoy your floppy fishing caps!

Oh well, I'll post pics of Jack, Freddy, and Grabow as my way of saying "Thanks for the memories" later. Until next time -- LET'S GO BUCS!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Adam say "hello" to Boston!

Well, in only is 2nd game as a Red Sox, my favoriate laroche hit himself a 2 run blast into left center field. After coming home from seeing the Pirates of tomorrow last night, aka: the Altoona Curve, hammer their oppontants 9-3, I prompted logged into to check on Adam. I feel sort of parental in the sense that I was one of the few Adam Laroche fans while he was in the Burgh and I don't just want to drop him like Uncles Neil and Frank have. I am a true fan of the sport so w/ that in mind, I clicked on the Red Sox's site link and to my enjoyment saw the gift Adam gave to his new fan base!

Despite going 0-3 last night against the O's, Laroche showed Bean Town his elegant swan like swing and drove the ball over the Green Monster wall of Fenway! Now I would just like to caution my Boston baseball brothern not to get too used that sight. Cuz after the A.L. pitchers get their first looks at Adam, they will have his number; which is he can't really hit off-speed pitches too well. You will hear your share of "and he swings and misses for strike 3" when Adam is at the plate. But he will dazzle you with his defense and give you glimpses of glory w/ that swing. But my request is simple, please take care of Adam and make him feel at home. He's a nice guy and a great teammate w/ a fun sense of humor. If ya treat him right, he will love ya back w/ more Adam Bombs!

Adam, thanks for the memories. And thanks for wearing #25 and encouraging Andy to wear #15 cuz now I don't have to retire my #25 t-shirt. I can just fashion myself a #1 and velcro it over the #2, thus, recycling the LaRoche "T" for the rest of the season. But rest assured sweet Adam, you will always be my favorite laroche!! Okay, step aside it's Andy time!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Finally a series win against those dreaded Brewers!

As the title suggests, our beloved Buccos finally did what they've been unable to do for 17 almost 2 years; win a 3 game set against cry'n Ryan Braun and those dreaded Milwaukee Brewers. On a day where it was all but certain that my favorite Laroche was outed out of Pittsburgh, the boys sent sweet Adam out on a winning note.

This game had all the excitement of a great game. There were the 5 home runs by the Pirates; 3 homers in one inning lead by some steller defensive plays by both teams and some great bullpen pitching by both teams as well. What can I say, Cutch happens?! Andrew McCutchen not only had a home run but also some great hits and caughts in center field. Then there is Garrett Jones! Mr. Jones had several fantastic hits w/ another deeeeeep homerun! And I have to mention my favorite catcher; Ryan Doumit! Since coming off of a 2 month broken wrist rehab stint, Doumit has done so much better than anyone expected. He alone hit 2 home runs in yesterday's win. But by far the best plays of the game were in both halves of the 9th when the Big Bull Rider himself aka Matt Capps, came in and was able to get both Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder to strike out to end a scoring threat in the top of the 9th. Then 5 minutes later on a 0-1 pitch, Brandon Moss showed the Pirate nation why Neil Huntington and John Russell like him and keep giving him a chance to wear a Pirate uniform. He slammed relief pitcher Stetter's pitch into the bullpen. With the entire Pirate's been jumping w/ arms in the air, it was proclaimed a home run. PIRATES WIN, PIRATES WIN!

Not only was it sweet revenage to take this series from those whiners in Milwaukee but it was freakn' great to see our boys throw the whole un-tuck their jersey tops right in front of the Brewers. See that's what the Brewers are known for. When they win a game, they promptly un-tuck their uni's. It was great fun I say!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Picture Ode to My Favorite LaRoche; Adam

The Brother's Laroche sitting on the bench support their other "brothers" despite
Adam just learning he was traded.

Images of Adam's final game as a Pirate ~
he was getting ready to take a few warm-up swings in the batter's box.

A rare glimpse at Adam wearing "high water" socks during a throw back game earlier in June. Here he is w/ 3rd base coach, Tony Beasley after the 3rd out of the inning were he was on base. Out of the 3 games this summer where the Pirates wore some sort of throw back uni where tall socks was the look, this was the only game where Adam made an appearance. My Favorite Laroche girls jocked Adam had it in his contract that he refused to wear tall socks -- don't blame him there cuz he doesn't wear it well at all. He doesn't have the look I say!

This is a shot of Adam's great defensive abilities. Note how he uses his tall/long legs to stretch himself out and make the play at first to complete the double
play from either Jack or Freddy!

Adam is always ready to handle a pick-off attempt. Here you see Adam taking the throw from the pitcher as the base-runner dives back for safety. Again, notice how he uses his tall frame to protect against a stolen base. He's very leggy that Adam is!

Here's the strange stance that at times got the job done and
at times left us hang'n like a jilted bride at the alter.

The brother's Laroche sharing tender moments w/
Tony Beasley during batting practice.

I know I've posted this one before, but it's worth posting again. For about a full season, I've had the joy to watch Adam and Andy Laroche play the game they both love together - Andy at 3rd base and Adam at 1st. How cool that must have been
to feed your brother the ball for outs on a nightly basis?!

The other half of My Favorite Laroche always liked to say that Adam loved home cook'n. Well, despite his recent batting slump, eailer in the season that was true. Adam loved to go long yard at PNC Park. Here is Adam rounding 3rd
after hitting a bomb during a game.

Good Night My Sweet Prince

Well, it was bound to happen and it did. What you may ask? The departure of 1/2 of the brothers LaRoche. Yesterday our fare GM, Neil Huntington, pulled the trigger on a trade w/ the Boston Redsox w/ Adam LaRoche being the center of the deal. The Pirate nation was none too surprised by this turn of events. With Adam set to become a free agent at the end of the season combined w/ his slumping bat and high asking price of a salary for his production, the writing was on the wall for my favorite laroche.

The elder statesmen Laroche has been hammered in the blogsphere and media each of his 2 1/2 seasons w/ the Pirates. He had such a love hate relationship w/ the fans and media here in the Burgh. We loved to hate him for his under performance at the plate, the apparent lack of hustle in the field or rounding the bases, and his overall low key attitude. Many fellow bloggers took to calling him "Lachoke." And as noted on this very blog, he has had some very low moments at the plate w/ men in scoring position. But what seems to get lost is his glove. Adam is a darling at first. His tall frame and his long arms picked ball out of the dirt and stretched out to make a caught at a badly tossed ball many times; ensuring an out was recorded at first instead of an infield hit.

Despite the general fan base despising the elder Laroche, Adam commented in interviews yesterday that he wished he could have done more. He even went on to say he hopes the Pirates really turn it around and not just continue w/ the losing madness that's become part of Pirate baseball. He acted w/ class yesterday.

It is that same class that many local reporters and beat writers are now sharing in laments w/ the the general fandom. In several articles I've read, the beat writers talk about how easy going Adam was to interview and deal w/ on a daily basis in the clubhouse. He was always willing to give of his time to the media. And what's even more impressive is how much of a positive presence he was around the clubhouse. For being knocked for his apparent lack of passion, Adam was reported many times this season w/ being the veteran presence who would lead the closed door team meetings -- basically telling the guys to get their crap together and go out there and keep tyring harder. Adam was the veteran who took offence to cocky Carlos Beltran when he complained about being swept by the Pirates, that the Mets were a better team than us losers. Adam is the one who defended the organization to the media and called Beltran out as a "classless act." Adam was the guy who encouraged the youngsters such as Brandon Moss, Delwyn Young, and his brother Andy when they were struggling. He celebrated the victories of young Andrew McCutchen's walk-off single against the Indians and he took responsibility of his own poor performance.

And if you haven't got it by now, let me share one more reason Adam was an unsung hero for the Pirates. Yesterday he was benched for a day of rest. Despite the whole baseball world knowing he was traded to Boston before he did, Adam was in uniform sitting on the bench rooting his brothers on. When he got called into Huntington's office in the 6th inning to be informed of the trade, Adam decided to go back out and support his "boys." What a gentleman and a true leader? This guy's world has just been upset. He now has to uproot his family, find a place to live in the Boston area, mingle in w/ a new team, learn that team's way of doing things, and adjust to being a bench/role player instead of an every day guy. And in his own words, "it's a weird feeling." But despite his own emotions running high, Adam sucked it up and put himself last and focused on his team, or now x-team. And when Brandon Moss hit the walk-off homer to win the game in the bottom of the 9th yesterday, Adam was right there w/ the rest of the gang waiting at home plate to celebrate the victory over the Brewers. Wow, now that's true leadership! Stink'n Prince Fielder, the first basemen for the Brewers, couldn't understand why he was still on the bench and suited up when he was traded. Well Prince, let me tell ya it's because Adam Laroche IS the team player you should model and be like. You are half the 1st basemen Adam is w/ half his range and abilities on defense.

Although most of the Pirate nation is glad to see Adam go, I, for one, and a bit saddened. I loved watching his defense. I loved watching his sweet and very graceful swing. I loved watching him play baseball w/ his brother. But mostly, I loved his non-flashiness. He is a country boy who loves his hunting and outdoors and plays the game w/ intelligence and uses his body to his advantage. I'm going to missing seeing #25 caught the ball from #15, his brother Andy. I'm going to miss that rather interesting up-right batting stance. And I'm going to miss his center of gravity! Adam, may you find success, even if it's just for 2 months, in Bean-town!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

It's finally over. . .until today.

Garrett gett'n his talk on w/ Jeff Salzar
(Btw, w/ Jones getting regular playing time, Andrew McCutchen in center field, and Salazar on the bench, the Pirates have the Indianpolis Indians outfield on the 25 man roster)

I'm a sucker for video board pictures -- esp. w/ a face like that!

You can just tell he talks to his bat before swinging it. I bet he's whispering sweet nothings to it!

Nothing more needs to be said -- he's lovely!

Now that I've seen him in Pirate's black and gold pants, I still prefer tall socks!

So after 17 straight losses to the Brewers, the Pirates finally figured out how to shake this demon off their backs by hammering the Brew Crew 8-5! Now I know that a 3 run lead may not be what you would call a "hammering" per say, but after leading the game by 6 runs in the 9th inning it looked like it was going to be on heck of a win. Oh, but Jesse Chavez thought we needed just a bit more action in what was a 2 hr. rain delayed and bottom of the 8th bench clearing rumble game. He decided after 2 outs to give up 3 runs but then was able to get the Prince (Fielder) of the home run derby to strike out, ensuring the win.

It was a game of big at bats for the likes of Mr. Adam Laroche, Ryan Doumit, and a much bigger at bats for sweet smiling Delwyn Young or DK as he likes to be called and our HOT bat Garrett Jones. Each coming through w/ home runs. Jones homer has been his 8 of his short Bucco season. Considering he's only been wearing Pirates black-n-gold for oh, about 3 wks now that's incredible. As John Russell has described and My Favorite Laroche girls can a test to, he liked what he saw in Bradenton w/ Jone's bat! Yes, we did like what we saw I say! It didn't hurt that the Brewer's defense SUCKED and their pitching even worse! They had something like 3 fielding errors. It was as bad as I've seen all season from a team.
Let's talk a moment on those dreaded Brewers. They've sort of been in a tail spin the past month or so. What started out as being a really hot season for them has cooled off to almost a winning freeze. They've gone from leading the division almost the entire season to dropping to 4th place right behind the Astros -- the freaking Astros is say! What's happening to the Crew? Are they pooping out? Maybe they've hit their quota of home runs for the season and now like the soup nazi -- it's NO WINS FOR YOU? I don't know, but I like it. Right now we are 3 out of our last 4 games after the All-Star Break. If the rain holds out and we play ball like last night, we maybe able to over come the dismal pitching as of late by one Virgil Vasquez. Boy would I like to see us win tonight to ensure a series win against the Brewers. That would be like Christmas Day to me!! But I'll settle for striking out cry'n Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder, and smacking Jason Kendell w/ a pitch on his back side for good measure!

Now as I sign off for today, I'll leave for you viewing pleasure more pictures of who's becoming a fan favorite; Garrett Jones when he was still in AAA. BUT FOR THE RECORD, WE SAW HIM FIRST!!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Homerun Derby and Garrett Jone

Garrett during pre-game warm-ups

Garrett showing everyone on the 3rd base side that he can drill the ball back to the plate!

The view might be fuzzy but I think ya get the picture -- Garrett's got a sweet swing!

A view of Garrett after he hit a streaking double -- darn water on the lens!

A sweet spot of Jones at 3rd base!

Depite Paul Maholm giving up a 5 run lead to the Mets and despite Matt Capps wasting Adam Laroche's bottom of the 9th 2 run homer, Garrett Jones made the 5 hr. of rainy baseball worth it! These are a few shot of the Jones lighting up the Burgh! I'll post spring training and AAA ball pics of Jones later! For now, hope you enjoyed the Garrett Jones show!