Results tagged ‘ andrew mccutchen ’
On Friday afternoon, the Pirates set sail on their 2011 season albeit on some unusual competition, the State College of Florida Manatees. They also faced off against Rays on Saturday and Sunday, here are my thoughts.
While the city of Pittsburgh is buzzing over yet another trip to the Super Bowl for the Steelers, another group of people had reason to be excited this weekend. Glorious baseball made its return to the steel city for PirateFest 2011. I was able to come home this weekend and enjoy the festivities on Friday and Saturday.
The season is winding down for me. I have just this 10 game home stand to go before I head off to Ohio U. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend batting practice because of a million things I have going on. I got to the stadium about 6:15 and made my first stop of the year at Manny’s BBQ. It was a good feeling to know the delicious Pork sandwich was on the house, given that I had concession credit left on my season ticket. Named after former Pirates catcher Manny Sanguillen, it is a must visit for anyone stopping in PNC Park. Manny is there nearly every night, and I got my ticket stub signed by him.
As I mentioned in my last post this week was a blur to me. After the Reds game Tuesday, and work Wednesday, I spent Thursday and the first part of Friday at Ohio University.
(photo from ohio-realty.com)
While I was taking part in the Orientation activities and getting my classes scheduled, James Mcdonald was dominating the Rockies in his Pirates debut. After wraping things up Friday morning, me and my parents drove back home. Despite running on fumes from being up at 4 AM Thursday and 7 AM Friday, I still had a game to go to, and more importantly an Andrew McCutchen Bobblehead to get.
If it was any other promotion I would have most likely done an exchange. I was too tired for batting practice, and took a nap instead. I got to the ballpark around 6 PM. After buying extra tickets for bobbleheads for some family members, I met up with my usual friends for the game.
It was another disappointing loss. Zach Duke was his typical self giving up double digit hits but only 3 runs. Pedro Alvarez made things exciting when he crushed a 3 run home-run to tie it up 3-3. But in the top of the 7th, Chan Ho Park, fresh off of waivers and making his debut out of the bullpen gave up a crucial run. The Rockies would add two more runs off of Joel Hanrahan in the 9th, putting the game away.
While Friday’s game was a let-down for a variety of reasons, Saturday’s was the complete opposite.
I got to the park shortly before 4:30, since season ticket holders get in extra early on Saturdays. When the gates opened, the Pirates were still stretching and warming up down the third baseline.
Another great perk on Saturdays is our access to the stadium is not limited to the left field bleachers. I made my way to the main concourse and down to the first row down the line. On the way, I found a ball laying here behind the foul pole.
Though I wouldn’t get a ball from a player, I would get autographs from Daniel McCutchen and newbie Chan Ho Park (pictured below).
I went back to the bleachers as the Pirates started to hit. Shortly after they began hitting Paul Maholm tossed a ball to a dad with his young son and daughter. He couldn’t make the bare hand catch and the ball rolled to me. I gave the ball to his daughter, as I knew it wasn’t for me. Still counts though.
I would get a third from Wil Ledezma shortly after.
BP attendance was light for the season ticket portion, and better yet, the general public was held outside until 5:30 instead of the usual 5 PM on Saturdays. This made snagging so much easier.
To pass the time while the lefties were up, I snagged this picture of Ubaldo Jimenez jogging along the warning track.
Thursday’s hero James McDonald was doing the same.
I was hanging toward the back of the bleachers when BP hero Lastings Milledge began hitting. In what was my most unusual snag of the year, Lastings destroyed a ball that hit off the ramp above the bullpen, then hit off the gate keeping people out…
…and into the concourse under the bleachers. I was the only person who followed the ball, and I scooped the grounder for ball 4.
I was just one away from tying my season and career high of five. Unfortunately the clock struck 5:30, and the sell-out crowd filled the place. It was nearly impossible to get around and after a while I gave up.
It was a beautiful night for baseball.
And the park was packed.
At first the game was destined to be another low scoring loss for Ross Ohlendorf. He pitched wonderful again, giving up two runs in 6+ innings. The Pirates would finally get on the board when Chris Snyder hit his first home run as a Pirate, a towering three run homer off of the foul pole in right.
After a Garrett Jones home run in the 7th and another insurance run in the 8th, the Pirates looked poised to coast to a 5-2 victory.
In the top of the 9th however the Rockies would pound Joel Hanrahan again. After back to back singles to lead off the inning, Ian Stewart came to the plate. Me and my friends joked about him hitting a home run to tie the game just to make the Skyblast goers mad (this game featured a ton of pitching changes and was going on three and a half hours). Sure enough, he launched a pitch on to the Riverwalk to make it 5-5.George Thurougood fans were beside themselves
Though we got a good laugh over that, the joke was over in the top of the 10th when Todd Helton hit a two run home run off Sean Gallagher to make it 7-5. All looked lost.
To lead off the 10th, Andrew McCutchen hit a ball off the top of the fence in right center, the umpire signaled for a home run but the play was overturned after the second replay review in as many nights. With Cutch on 2nd, Jose Tabata flew out, and Neil Walker struk out.
Garrett Jones would keep the game alive putting together a 10 pitch at bat to draw a walk. In stepped Pedro Alvarez, and well you know what happens.
Even better was the call made by Greg Brown and Steve Blass on the radio that night. Steve’s hilarious reaction was very similar to mine the stands that night. It’s quickly becoming an online favorite across Pittsburgh.
Of course there were those debbie-downers on the call in shows shortly after saying whats the big deal, it’s only one game. Maybe that’s the case, especially for a team thats 39-72. But isn’t it moments like this that make it so great to be a baseball fan? The way the stadium sounded and celebrated, you could have sworn you were watching a playoff game, not some run-of-the-mill game in August between two teams with no chance to make the playoffs. Its something I could get used to. There has been a lot of debate about whether this tops Brian Giles walk off grand slam to complete a 8 run comback in the 9th inning back in 2001. All I know is that this was the most exciting game I’ve been to in the 100+ I’ve seen in person.
Unfortunately for me there is one last homestand that I’ll get to before heading off to college. I’m going to try and make as many of the 10 games I can before saying good-bye to the team for the rest of the season.
28 baseballs /19 games/1.47 average
Last week was another whirwind for me. I saw 3 games and had my college orientation. The first was a Tuesday nighter against the 1st place Reds.
Me and my friend Matt made our way down to the ballpark shortly before 5. Though we missed the gates opening, we were able to score front row seats above the Clemente wall from the Season Ticket office, and were in by 5:05. No loss there. The omnimous skys kept people away, and I was surprised they were taking batting practice. Batting practice hero Lastings Milledge found me yet again in the bleachers and hit a nice home run right to me. I now have as many homers from him in BP (3) as he has hit for the season. The curse of Jose Tabata would strike again as a fan beat me by a quarter of an inch to get a glove on a ground rule double. One of these days I’ll get it.
Reds BP was uneventful and unsuccesful as the droves of people from Cincy that made the trip filled in the outfield.
After bp we took our seats. This was the scene at 7:15, 10 minutes after the game was supposed to begin.
Im a little league umpire and you only delay games for two things: lightning and unplayable field conditions. Not clouds and a bone dry infield.
At 7:30 it was announced that the game was to start soon.
Paul Maholm and Mike Leake came out to warm up. At 7:45 it began raining. It was a light steady rain that games have been played through with no problem. Both pitchers had to quit their warm-ups half way through, and according to the rules wouldn’t get a second one. Way to go Pirates. The game would finally get underway at 8:30
The first event, and a really scary moment was when Andrew McCutchen was hit in the back of the neck with a pitch in the 2nd inning. (Crappy pic courtesy of my cell phone)
He came out of the game, but was back the next day. The Pirates would rally around that, and some shotty Reds defense, to break open a six run inning.
The desperate Reds would chip away the rest of the game. By the end of the 8th inning it was 7-6 Pirates.
Evan Meek managed to pitch two innings in releif of Maholm but tired throughout the 2nd one. He ended up throwing 50 pitches. Way too much for a reliever, but right now he and Hanrahan are the only two in the bullpen that can get people out.
When Joel Hanrahan came into the 9th to close it out, the drama was heightened as he let the lead-off man on. He would come back however, striking out two and slamming the door on the charging Reds to secure the win, and his first save as the new Pirates closer. This game was exciting, but much, much better ones were to come latter in the week.
Today’s lone ball
If you’re curious that is not an autograph on my ticket. Just a stupid “PW” they put on the stubs for playing the prize wheel.
Dem racing pierogi’s n’at.
24 balls/18 games/ 1.33 avg
Two games, two days, and two losses. After not showing up on Friday, the Pirates did come to play. However they would strand 14 baserunners and lose a tough one to the Braves 4-2.
It was a rainy day in Pittsburgh, no batting practice would be held. So me and my friends headed into town at 6 and grabbed some food at Jimmie Johns (probably the most underrated restaurant in America).
We got in at 6:30 and received our Garrett Jones Action Figures.
While there was potential with this giveaway, it looks nothing like him and you can’t pose it like a real action figure. I’ll take the photo wraps over it any day.
It began raining at 6:45 and the game would be delayed until 8:30. It wasn’t too bad at first, but when it started picking up around at 7 we were forced from our uncovered seats in the outfield to find shelter.
We would find refuge in an elevator lobby and would spendthe delay filling out All-Star ballots.
Needless to say, the chances of an all Pirates vs Royals starting lineup in the Midsummer Classic got a whole lot better.
We were also treated to such baseball classics like this Bugs Bunny cartoon on the TV.
The tarps came off at 8:15 and it was time to head back down.
Charlie Morton was the starter for the Pirates, bringing the leagues worst ERA into the game. After escaping unscathed from a bases-loaded jam in the first, and allowing three runs in the next two innings, it looked like we were in for a night of the same old Charlie.
He would settle down, and the Pirates broke their 20 inning scoreless streak and made the score 3-2 in the fourth. The Pirates would at least get one man in scoring position every inning for the rest of the game but they couldn’t score. Maybe John Russel will realize now that having Aki Iwamura batting leadoff and Bobby Crosby second is a major major MAJOR mistake. But even starts like Andrew McCutchen couldn’t get the big hit when needed. He struck out in the 8th with two men on and two outs.
In the 9th the Braves would add on one more run. With the bases loaded and two outs Joel Hanrahan pitched to Brian McCann. He swung and missed at strike three but the ball got away from Ryan Doumit (big surprise there). Rather than flip the ball to Hanrahan covering home for the force out, Doumit for some reason threw the ball to first. The throw was high and Jones couldn’t find the bag after comming down. 4-2 Braves. It was a close play and John Russell got thrown out arguing the call. It was just his third ejection in a little over 2 years at the helm. The Pirates got a man on second in the 9th, but again no one could pull through and the game was over.
Further angering me tonight other than the Pirates own offensive ineptitude were this group of drunk people sitting behind me. They showed up to the game loaded and spent the entire delay and 3 and 1/2 hour game yelling stupid lines from movies and incredibly inappropriate things regarding Nate McLouth’s mother. I was even more provoked when a toss-up from Andrew McCutchen between innings missed my glove by inches and one of the boozed up idiots caught it in his hat. I tried the new security texting number, being that there were families with young children having to put up with this nonsense, but it wouldn’t work.
Between those things, and the game ending after midnight, I don’t think I have ever left PNC Park so disgusted in my life. Luckily we made a trip to Eat n Park to redeem our Scratch and Win Saturday cards for free pie at 1 AM.
Now some pics
Watch out Facebook, here comes Bravesbook!
Jason Heward with
some kid Nate McLouth.
Nate and Jason were very good with the fans tossing balls up before every inning.
0 balls/ 11 total/ 1.83 average
Next game will be Memorial Day against the hated Cubs
I was in an exceptionally good mood going to the game on Saturday. The Pirates, comming off a walk-off win the night before, were back to .500 and starting to catch fire. Also, it would be the first batting practice of the year, and I couldn’t wait to get on the board.
However, the weather didn’t look pretty. A cold front passing through last night left the city in an overcast freeze with temps stuck in the 40s. However, my friend Colin who is a bat boy tipped me off at 3:00 that the Pirates and Reds would be taking BP as long as it doesn’t rain so that was all I needed. Me and Adam arrived a little after 4:30 when the gates opened. There were only 5 other season ticket holders that were as crazy as I am to stand in snow flurries (yes it did snow) and chase after batting practice balls.
The Pirates were up and many of the players were sending theirs to the opposite field. Most of the balls that went into the stands were bouncing off the warning track and into the stands. As usual there were close calls, but no dice.
I would finally get my first ball of the year from bullpen catcher Herbie Andrade. He had a bat and was hitting balls sitting in left field toward the infield. After a while he decided to have some fun with us and started hitting the balls backwards into the bleachers. The first one went straight up and i ranged a litte to my left to get in perfect position. With a few converging on me it somehow ended up in my glove. I soon caught another one from him hit right at me, and I gave the ball to a kid who was struggling to get one through the whole BP.
At 5 the gates opened to the general public and things got crowded in left field. Rather than battle the people we decided to walk around a bit. We hit up the Prize Wheel (won two free tickets) and Press Your Buc (Got one of those reusable shopping bags they gave away last year).
Along the riverwalk we noticed security people opening the gates to the seats above the Clemente Wall. We entered and I was greeted by an usher who gave me a ball when I reached the top of the steps. I thanked him and was happy to see that it had been tatooed by whoever hit it
After a little more time up there we left and walked around some more. Said hi to our usher friends in sec 108 and 8, grabbed something to eat and headed up to our seats for the game.
The view from section 316
It was our first time in our new seats for the season, and I would love to hear of a better view than this one, and only $14/game to boot.
The game meanwhile got off to a fast start, and followed almost the same script as Friday’s. The Reds struck first putting up one run in the top of the first. The Pirates countered against Johnny Cueto, with the “Cutch and Cluch” duo of Andrew McCutchen walking, and then having Lastings Milledge comming up with yet another clutch hit, a double, to knock him in and tie the game. Milledge would score on a double by Delwin Young to take the lead. The score would then become 3-1 in the second when Ronny Cedeno out of the 9-hole hit a homer to LF. The Reds countered with two more in the third inning, as starter Daniel McCutchen, starting in place of the injured Ross Ohlendorf, would only last 4 innings.
The game went into a lull in the middle and late innings. The Reds would take a 4-3 in the 5th on a Brandon Phillips double. The bullpen kept things quiet into the bottom of the 9th. It was time for those never-say-die buccos to pull it off again.
Jeff Clement (barely hovering above the Derek Bell line at .107) grounded out to start the bottom of the 9th. Ryan Church, who has been a great spark so far this year got things started with a single to left. Reds Closer Francisco Cordero was struggling mightily. He then walked Ronny Cedeno and Aki Iwamura to load the bases for Andrew McCutchen. Cutch couldn’t pull through as he lined out to left. Could Lastings Milledge deliver walk-off hits on back to back nights?
Almost, he walked which brought the tying run home.
Garette Jones was now up and after looking bad swinging and missing on the first two pitches, he had worked the count back full. With the crowd of 25,000+ on their feet Jones sent a rocket into right center field that went off the wall and brought the winning run home. It was walk-off wins on back to back nights, and three in the last four home games. So far this year PNC Park has been a very exciting place to be.
Here are some pics from the game.
Former Bucco Bronson Arroyo with a trainer
Cutch dancing his way out of danger at the plate
After the 6th Inning, we moved down to section 8 where one of Adam’s friends has season tickets.
Cutch again (right before he gets caught stealing for the first time all year)
Lastings Milledge (gotta love the gold cleats)
The team swarms Garrett Jones after the game winner. Funny to see Brandon Philips untuck his shirt and throw his glove like a baby comming off the field as it’s going on
Will be at the game against the hated Brewers on Tuesday. I will have a recap of that one as well once its all said and done.
Balls: 3 on the day (1.5/game)
Times hitting my shins on a bleacher: 2
Bucaroos hot dogs eaten: 2