Results tagged ‘ Joel Hanrahan ’
Thanks to the miracle of MLB.TV, I was able to enjoy today’s game with the rest of Pirate nation. It wasn’t much of a game, but here are my thoughts in typical bullet point fashion.
Ah the magical time is back upon us. Our favorite players have migrated south, and campus is littered with people sporting their team colors. Spring Training is here! I’m sure a lot of people have already reported on what is going on in Pirates camp so I’ll be brief.
The Pirates are going to add yet another arm into the mix for the rotation for 2011 by signing righty Kevin Correia to a two year, $8 million contract. While not an ace type arm, Correia should be welcomed depth to a depleted rotation.
I tried to make the most of my last homestand here by attending as many batting practices as I could, even if that meant not staying for the game. That was the case Monday, however the weather would give me quite a scare.
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
The good vibes of the Pirates taking 3 out of 4 against the hated Phillies were quickly destroyed by a 6 game losing streak before the All Star Break came around. The bucs were looking to get back on track, and I was looking to get back to the ballpark, somewhere I hadn’t been since July 4th.
I was there earlier than usual, as I had to wait in line for 30 minutes until 5:00 rolled around. When I got in it was nice to see the outfield was populated with Pirates pitchers, something I had not seen all year. Since a group of mostly lefties was up, I went over to the “North Side Notch” in left center where a bunch of pitchers were standing. Jeff Karstens noticed the 49 on the front of my Bullington jersey and asked me to turn around. He and Joel Hanrahan were both stumped, as they kept turning around and talked about it for a while.
BP was boring for both teams. I nearly had a Jose Tabata HR but yet again the sun was relentless and I missed it. Other than that, only one other ball made it to the stands.
Before the Pirates headed in Joel Hanrahan stopped to sign some autographs for a group of kids.
The Astros came out, and I changed into my dad’s old Nolan Ryan jersey.
It made me stick out like a sore thumb which I hoped would make it easier to get toss-ups. It would not. The ‘Stros were hitting everything the opposite way, and barely put any homers into the seats. I got lucky enough to snag my only ball of the day when it skipped off ballhawk Nick Pelesak’s glove (even he struggled today) and rolled into the row I was standing in. There were hardly any players in left field which made it hard to get toss-ups. It was ok though, my streak of consecutive games with a ball was up to an all-time high of four.
After grabbing some pizza I made my way upstairs for the game.
It was arguably one of the worst game the Pirates have played all season fundamentally. The Astro’s first run would come without a ball leaving the infield. An infield single by Jason Bourgeois would turn into basically a lead-off triple as he would quickly steal 2nd and 3rd on hapless catcher Ryan Doumit (who has only thrown out 12 percent of runners stealing on him). A ground out to short brought him home
What seemed to be the 100th passed ball by Doumit led to another early run. The Pirates even made Little Leagers look good by failing to tag out Hunter Pence when he got into a run down on a Zach Duke pick-off throw.
Reliever Sean Gallagher forgot that its a balk when you make a complete turn to first and don’t throw the ball.
The only thing that kept me from really being ticked about this game was the continued production of Pirates rookies Neil Walker, Pedro Alvarez, and Jose Tabata. They are beginning to show why they were so hyped.
The game was played under weird-looking skies.
There were storms toward the south but they never reached PNC Park. The bolts of lighting over the buildings were a welcomed distraction from the crap-show of a game going on. The Astros would win 5-2.
On my way back to my car, I snapped a pic of the PPG place fountains, one of the nicer places to be on a hot, humid night. Its also cool how the plaza is turned into an ice rink during Christmas time.
As a preview of things to come, I’ll be at the games on Thursday and Friday and will be in Cleveland on Sunday to visit Progressive Field. Make sure to check back to see how it goes.
18 balls/15 games/ 1.2 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
The day had finally come. Piratefest 2010 was upon us. Immediately after school i met up with my dad and brother and we were off to the convention center. However despite getting there nearly an hour before the 4 PM start time we were greated by this…
It was a line of 300 or so people that had already formed. They were here to see Bill Mazeroski who would be singing autographs for the early entry hour. In past years the crowd would be half the size.
Shortly after 4PM I had made my way into the Convention Center hall and in a short amount of time was waiting in another line to get my autograph. After what seemed like an eternity (but really one hour to be exact) I had made my way to the front of the line.
Here is the man himself signing my lithograph of his famous home run. On everything he signed, i noticed he put a little footnote like “HOF ’01″ or, in my case, he put “10-13-60″ which is the date he hit one of the greatest home runs in baseball history.
Along with Maz, Steve Pearce (red shirt) and Joel Hanrahan (black shirt) were signing.
I’ve always been a big fan of Steve Pearce. Maybe it’s the fact that he walks from his apartment on the North Side to PNC Park on gamedays, or that he got yelled at by a coach because he was talking to us rather than stretching with the team when we watched BP on the field last year. He’s a class act and it was a thrill to meet him. Im also a fan of Joel Hanrahan so getting both of their autographs was nice.
Soon after, I headed here…
The lost treasures area is chock full of game used jerseys, lineup cards, bats, and other miscellaneous things. I was determined to get a Pearce or Ohlendorf jersey but that hope came to an end with the price tags. All 2009 jerseys started at $200!! There was no way I would do that. Instead I found some other cheaper options including an Ian Snell Puerto Rico and John Grabow USA jerseys from the WBC last year. In the end I bought a 2008 Bryan Bullington jersey for $50.
The certificate certified that it was game issued rather than game used, meaning that he wore it while riding the pine in the bullpen. The fact he was taken over the likes of BJ Upton, Cole Hamles, Prince Fielder, and Ryan Howard in the 2002 draft have made him a symbol of all that has gone wrong the past 17 years. This jersey is my claim that I was around for the Dark Ages when the team finally turns things around.
Next I checked into the MVP zone. Since this was the early entry day for season ticket holders, it was packed. Charlie Morton, Daniel McCutchen, and Paul Maholm were inside signing. After getting them I heard a security person say Lastings Milledge was on his way. I immediately got back in line. After another 30 minutes….I made it
Andy LaRoche (who hasn’t met him?)….
And former Pirate (and pitt basketball broadcaster) Dick Groat accompanied him. The MVP Zone was much more crowded than in past years so the wait was long. My legs were tired so I stopped by the stage as the Q and A with the front office was about to begin. Unfortunately, the same old questions were asked and Neil and Frank were giving the same answers (Don’t these people read the news?) After hearing a question about missing out on Miguel Angel Sano for the fourth time I decided it was time to browse some more.
I came upon the radio booth and Extra Innings host Rocco DeMaro was preparing to do an interview with Andrew McCutchen.
Rocco is a great guy to listen to and hearing the interview was a real treat. After it was over, Cutch, along with security, was heading over to the MVP zone. I got back in line and after a 40 minute wait his signature was mine.
Ryan Doumit (who is probably my least favorite player) accompanied him. While waiting in line we got to meet Tim Nevrett. He is a great guy and we had a nice conversation with him. (Crappy pic quality courtesy of my cell phone).
The lines were dying down at the games so we did a full round in a short amount of time. We then left what was arguably the most productive day of Piratefest I ever had. Here are some other random pictures to leave you with.
The Maz Statue model
The site where it will be
The Cutch bobblehead (To be given out on August 8th)
The Garrett Jones Action Figure (Will be given out on May 22)
Not a giveaway but a ballin’ Barack Obama figure available for sale at one of the collector’s tables.
For golf, fans The US Womens Open trophy (the event is being held at Oakmont this year)
My pull for the day (not counting promo items).