Since Neal Huntington took over as Pirates’ GM in late 2007 I get one quesiton a lot: “When? When will the Pirates be good again? What are they building towards?” I’ve never had an answer, because it’s not something that’s apparent. When you start a book, you never know how long it will take to read until you’ve gotten a good hundred pages in. What’s the prose like? Is it full of endnotes? Was it translated into English? Is it interesting? But after 100 pages, you can answer those questions and figure out how long the remaining pages will take you to read.
So here we are. Pedro Alvarez is here. Andrew McCutchen is here. If the Pirates are ever going to pull out of the rut they’re mired in, these two are going to do the heaviest pulling. There’s still a lot of work to be done and I still can’t give an exact date or say that the Pirates will be a good team in 2012 or 2013 or 2014. But I can finally give a real window. If it’s going to happen in the foreseeable future, it’s going to happen with Pedro Alvarez and Andrew McCutchen. There’s no other way it can happen.
Forget the record, forget the losing streak, forget Bobby Crosby in the starting lineup, forget it all, sit back, and watch Pedro Alvarez tonight. Watch the ball leap off his bat when he makes contact. Watch his swing. Enjoy it. Remember that things only end once and what happens before then is just progress. Tonight, we get to see progress. Forget for a night about what’s left to be done and really, truly appreciate a lineup with four starters under the age of 25. A lineup with a third baseman that could drop a ball in the Allegheny River on a moment’s notice and a center fielder whose ceiling is so high that we still can’t see it.
Tomorrow, we can go back to wondering about Pedro’s strikeouts, about learning curves and talent evaluation, about signing draft picks and international budgets and player development, about who the hell is in charge of this front office. But tonight, enjoy this debut and think about how far the franchise has come since the day Rajai Davis was traded for Matt Morris. It’s progress.
The first pitch of the Pedro Alvarez era is at 7:05. Zach Duke and John Danks are on the mound. Clemente/Cangelosi is after the jump. Photo: Pat Lackey, WHYGAVS.com
Not sure what this is? Check here and here. Short version: in the comments pick the Pirates you think will be most and least valuable in today’s game. If you haven’t jumped aboard yet, it’s been a lot of fun so far and now’s as good a time as any to join in.
When Andrew McCutchen Clementes, that’s usually a good night for people. And when Ryan Church Cangelosis, that’s usually a good night for people. So we were two for two last night, as ‘Cutch’s three hits made him Clemente and Church’s usual ofer made him Cangelosi runner up to Brad Lincoln.
There’s lots of movement in the standings between Brian in second place and Woodward and ND Brian tied for fifth, but no one’s making up ground on Don atop the leaderboard. Can someone make things interesting? I’m thinking of rolling the scoreboard over at Game 81 and doing a second half competition, with occasional updates on the full-season leaderboard. If no one challenges Don in the next few weeks, I think that might be the way to go.
Anyways, here are the standings:
- Don_Madden: 36
- brian2: 23
- North Shore Ryan: 22
- dafletch: 21
- Woodward, ndbrian: 20
- Carnegie Chip: 18
- J. Latrobe: 17
- hisjazziness, pdiddy0020: 15
- Wizard of Woz, michaelbro8, Garrett 122: 14
- hwtrine68: 13
- michaelbro8, whygavs: 12
- UtesFan890, bwzimmerman, dboz: 8
- apk: 7
- TuckerD13, edgeman2k, Dave Mesing, Nate: 6
- TheHulk, WallyR, Cecelio_Guante, Nate: 5
- TomKaikis, Joek, tylerrcurtis, TheJewelryMan!, fruitbat: 3
- PatrickHealy, MattB, SteelCity66, BadAndy, spazaru, Adam_Reynolds, Mr. Ando, cocktailsfor2, appeal2smail, Polish Prodigy, hilltoppeer: 2
- FSU Bucs, Christy, appeal2smail, SeanGentile, shsteimer, TheHulk, Traco Bucco, Tate, Neopold, IndianaJohns04, wk kortas, jac8, Mr. Ando, DoctorGeeves, CoryR: 1
- Everyone else: 0
- NSN, Mosca, danatural, Teflon, John Sparrow, matt w, Fielding Yost, PHook4000: -1