Tag Archives: pittsburgh pirates

I’ll Miss AJ Burnett

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I'll miss the man and the pies.

Truth be told I really did like AJ Burnett.

I love what he brought to the New York Yankees organization. He was the screwball in an overly professional environment that livened everyone up that was around him and made the clubhouse a nuthouse.

He for sure wasn’t the prototypical Yankee. He had the most tats on any Yankee I’ve ever seen, he was almost never clean shaven and his shaving cream was mostly used for his infamous after game pies to the face (which I think everyone loved in N.Y.).

But that was AJ.

He gave the Yankees a new identity. At the beginning of 2009 Burnett, C.C. Sabathia & Nick Swisher were all part of a wave of newbies that came to the Bronx and turned it on its head. They were all tatted up, Mohawk wearing guys that changed the culture of the Yankees internally and made things more entertaining.

Burnett more than anybody else was the catalyst of it all. His game ending pies became a fan favorite highlight after big wins and his arm helped produce some big wins in his first season in New York.

His seven inning gem in August of 09 against the Red Sox helped keep the Sox at bay as the Yankees eventually won the AL East. His best performance came in the World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies. After Cliff Lee put the Yankees in a one game hole Burnett came out in game 2 and pitched the game of his life to tie the series. In seven innings and with nine strikeouts Burnett flipped the World Series and turned it in the Yankees favor.

Without him the Yankees don’t win the World Series that year. That’s why I appreciate Burnett so much.

Was he maddening to watch? Absolutely. Burnett has all of the talent in the world; a top notch fastball, nasty breaking pitches and when he’s on he can be unhittable.

But when he’s bad he’s putrid.

He’s one of the wildest pitchers in the game. His location can be non existent, he can walk batters as consistently as he can throw wild pitches. Burnett mentally has never always been there. When he fails it affects him for starts at a time.

He presses too much. Once he walks a batter he panics, one walk leads to another, then another, then a hit, then a run, then before you know it Burnett is a mess and the Yankees are in trouble.

The worst case of this was last year against the White Sox. The Yankees had a 13-0 lead in the fourth inning. My buddy Mike sent me a text message saying “AJ is gonna find a way to give all 13 of those back. WATCH!” Sure enough it was 13-7 in the bottom of the fifth with two runners in scoring position and no outs when Joe Girardi pulled him.

I wanted AJ to succeed so badly because he was just a great dude and those memories of 09 were still fresh in my brain… But he made me and all Yankees fans want to kill him. When Burnett pitched I don’t think there was one Yankees fan who didn’t have a bottle of Jack Daniels next to them because you needed it to watch him.

The pitching coaches couldn’t fix him and he sure as hell couldn’t do it himself. In the end in order for the Yankees to have a shot at winning another title they had to get rid of one of the main catalysts to its last title.

Trading Burnett was the right thing to do in the long run for the Yankees. One of the Yankees weaknesses last year was its rotation and after acquiring Michael Pineda and Hideki Kuroda they seem to have fixed their problems (at least on paper). After the two additions there was no room for Burnett and his end was seemingly eminent.

Now he’s gone and he’s taken his pies with him.

As maddening as he was I really like AJ. Pittsburgh is gonna love his antics, the way he brings guys close together and how he livens up the clubhouse.

Hopefully it’s pitching coaches can keep him focused and on point and Burnett can put together some good seasons. The guy deserves it.

Sure he couldn’t find the plate if he tried in stretches and was wildly erratic… but AJ Burnett helped the Yankees win a World Series and made life fun for all in the process.

That more than outweighs all the other stuff.

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Random Thoughts Vol.2

Hit me... I dare you.

It’s been a month… time for more random thoughts.

I’m pretty sure that even if Dontrelle Willis’s improbable comeback as a pitcher fizzles out, he can be a DH or first baseman with that bat.

The Pirates are now dead… I knew it couldn’t last.

FC Barcelona losing to Chivas USA is the equivalent of Michigan losing to Appalachian State.

Justin Verlander might throw 6 more no hitters this year… I’m not joking about that either.

The U.S. Women didn’t choke.

(I mean did you watch the game? Japan never died. They kept fighting back and took advantage of the opportunities that were given to them. Sure the U.S. missed chances in penalty kicks where the Japan goaltender all of a sudden looked like Ken Dryden. However, you can’t say that they choked the game away when Japan played well in the face of adversity. Sometimes teams give games away but most times teams pull victory from the jaws of defeat. That’s what Japan did.)

Isn’t it funny that Ben Roethlisberger provided good off-season news for the Steelers as opposed to everyone else?

I’m surprised Steve Williams didn’t rip Tiger Woods even more than he did.

The Red Sox have not had a solid starting staff for the entire season with bullpen issues… yet have been in first place since June. And you think Adrian Gonzalez doesn’t deserve MVP?

Randy Moss aint done… seriously.

Are Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand the more extreme version of Mike Richards and Jeff Carter?

Seguin and Marchand are really enjoying winning the Stanley Cup.

I hate Merrill Hoge… but he was right about Tim Tebow…

And LeBron James would back him up wouldn’t he.

(My least favorite basketball player who shrinks in the moment defending the most overrated athlete not named Jimmer Fredette… god has a sense of humor.)

Kevin Durant dropped 66 at the Rucker… somewhere Russell Westbrook was seething.

Nice to see that Shea Weber got $7.5 million in arbitration… he’ll get that when he’s a Red Wing next year too.

The most aggravating rotation in baseball would consist of A.J. Burnett, John Lackey, Barry Zito, Edinson Volquez and Zach Greinke… with Burnett leading the league in headaches.

(I hate A.J. Burnett.)

The Eagles are the new Heat.

Osi Umenyiora can talk about a new deal all he wants. However, if he follows up another big sack season with a small sack season… kick rocks.

Ocho and Brady… Jesus.

What do you think Carson Palmer will do with all that money now that he’s retired?

Kyle Orton has lost his starting jobs to Jay Cutler, Rex Grossman and Tim Tebow…if he went on a 12 month bender I wouldn’t judge him.

Oklahoma is no.1 in the coaches’ poll. The last team to start the season no.1 and finish it as such… 2004 USC… good luck Boomer Sooner.

Strasburg is coming back… *giddy face*.

Shaq and Barkley on TNT… I need my cable back and fast.

The Red Sox traded for Erik Bedard to help their rotation… his ERA at Fenway is near 7 lifetime… I’m starting to feel ok that the Yankees didn’t get anything before the deadline.

Ryan Howard in his last 3 games has 3 home runs and 6 RBI, yep it must be August.

Michael Irvin on the cover of a gay magazine to promote equality of all people. Don’t know if I would’ve done it but very gutsy.

I win... again.

Duke being investigated for violations in recruiting… told you that no one is clean anymore.

When is Verlander’s next start again?

(We’re at a point with Verlander that he is must see TV. Verlander throws harder than anyone else in the league and his location has improved to the point where now he is close to pinpoint accurate. If you play the Tigers and Verlander is up on the mound then you might as well take it as a loss. He’s currently baseball’s best hurler and he hasn’t even hit his prime yet. Imagine this guy in 4 years… scary.)

Yani Tseng is the most dominant athlete in the world right now. And I am well aware that she is a 22 year-old female golfer and not many people watch women’s golf, but you should watch her.

Dan Uggla has a 25 game hitting streak… yet is batting .213… ummm?

NFL players like talking smack about how bad Roger Goodell is in the media, yet the signed this new CBA like everything is ok. Either take action or shut the hell up.

Is it wrong that I’m more excited for Syracuse football than Ohio State football? Keep in mind that I’m an OSU grad though I grew up with the ‘Cuse.

When A-rod retires there will be no specials on his greatness, no lauding over his accomplishments… hell there maybe a party thrown just for the fact that we never get to hear his name again.

(I haven’t been on A-Rod in a while but he’s like a bad ex-girlfriend he always finds a way to drive you crazy.

Really A-rod… illegal poker rings? And you still go after MLB and the Yankees tell you not to?

The Yankees are in a pennant race, one game back of Boston with the biggest part of the season approaching and you decide to blow a few thousand in front of low lifes, coke users and violent outcasts.

Eat your heart out Red Sox Nation.

I always say that I’m over A-rod but I really mean it this time. If this is true and A-rod did violate MLB policy then the Yankees should find a loophole in his deal, drop him like a bad habit and let Eduardo Nunez go through his growing pains at third.

I’m over the A-rod drama, I’m over the fact that there is always something with him and I’m ready to move on from him. Hopefully the Yankees brass feels the same.)

Kate Upton’s a Yankees fan, thank you God.

Had to end it off positively. Have you ever seen Kate Upton? That would make anyone feel good even when your third baseman is a perennial screw up.


The Pirates Got Robbed

Eventually there has to be a winner of a game, period. However, sometimes the loser gets robbed in some form or fashion.

He's not out?

You could add the Pittsburgh Pirates to that list.

After 7 hours of a tight baseball matchup where runs came at a premium the Pirates were facing a tight scenario in the 19th inning of their game against the Atlanta Braves last night. With Julio Lugo on third and pitcher Scott Proctor at the plate Pirates pitcher Daniel McCutcheon forced what looked like an easy groundout to get Lugo at the plate and get the second out of the inning.

Unfortunately home plate umpire Jerry Meals didn’t see it that way and called Lugo safe, giving the Braves a 4-3 win. This would be ok except for the fact the ball beat Lugo by 30 miles and a tag was applied from every angle that I saw.

Maybe Meals was tired and wanted to go home. That’s my only explanation.

How could he miss that call? It was clear as day. He was right there in point blank range and there wasn’t a way that he couldn’t see it. Clint Hurdle was a tad heated and rightfully so. That loss placed them a game behind the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central race, which is tighter than skinny jeans on a fat girl at the moment.

Every game counts and games like these can swing a division later in the division.

So now the question is will Major League Baseball look to expand instant replay for situations like these?

We know umpires make mistakes all of the time more so in baseball than in other sports. However, I think it’s time that MLB pushes for more replay due to the fact that games like these are so important and can’t be tainted in any way.

If the Pirates lose the division by one game or miss out on the wildcard they can solely point to this game and that moment as the one that killed their season.

Replay could’ve found conclusive evidence and called Lugo out at home. Even if the Pirates would’ve lost the game afterwards the right call would’ve been made and we would’ve had an undisputed winner with no controversy.

Instead the Pirates go home down a game after a loss that was taken from them.  In their season of redemption some of that old Pirates bad luck that has plagued them in the last 20 years came back to bite them in the rear.

If there was instant replay for plays at the plate then it wouldn’t have.


The Return Of Random Thoughts

Wait a minute... we're still over .500? High five!

You know what we haven’t done in a while? A random thoughts blog.

Just things I’ve thought about that maybe you have as well in the last few weeks of watching sports.

With so much going on as far as sports since March Madness I think it’s time to do some rehashing.

So without further ado… HERE WE GO!

Is Zach Greinke really worth it? I mean he is 7-3 but he’s got a 5.66 ERA.

Anybody else think Kenny Williams is lying about the Adam Dunn deal?

Josh Harrelson a year ago was buried on the bench at Kentucky with Enes Kanter coming in. A year later he was a key component in the Wildcats Final Four run and will get minutes off of the bench for the Knicks. Life.

Hopefully the Sedin Twins take boxing lessons this summer.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, please gain 20 pounds.

Even though she is six foot five how many of us would hit on Jan Vesely’s girlfriend?

Federer couldn’t beat Nadal, Nadal can’t beat Djokovic… So who’s he going to have a problem with?

Why is it that Joe Girardi is the only person who thinks Derek Jeter should lead off?

David Ortiz couldn’t hit anything for the last two years now all of a sudden he’s hitting .301 with 17 home runs and 49 RBI… hmmmm….

Lebron James dunking on a kid doesn’t help his image.

(honestly at this point LeBron could cure cancer and we’d still hate him. And yes I’m serious about that statement.)

Mario Chalmers is now my new least favorite athlete in the world.

Did any team in the NBA Draft really help itself?

Sabine Lisicki also plays tennis. We'll talk about that later.

Nicklas Lidstrom came back for his 20th season. Can we engrave his name on the Norris Trophy in 2012 already?

Lets face it, Dany Heatley will never be “the guy.”

Neither will Andy Murray.

Anybody else happy that Brian Cashman corrected Alex Rodriguez by saying that Robinson Cano is better that Jose Reyes?

Can I call Austin Rivers “Baby Doc?”

Did Jose Bautista really just score the most votes in All-Star voting history?

How awesome was it that Virginia won the lacrosse title?

(think about this for a second. In the last two years lacrosse’s two most controversial teams fought back from media hell to win a title. Last years Duke team won after three years of dealing with the ugly aftermath of a stripper rape allegation and this year Virginia won after one of it’s own murdered women’s lacrosse player Yeardley Love.

The image of the Cavs men’s team was brutally tarnished and the turmoil around both mens and women’s teams was enough make anyone not want to put on pads and a helmet and sprint out onto the field again. However, Virginia fought through it’s adversity and came out a winner. Their win over Maryland in the Memorial Day title game cast a fantastic light on the team an buried whatever demons were left from the 2011 season.

Very commendable indeed.)

Are the Pirates really a game and a half out of first place?

Who the hell is Mike Morse?

Brian Wilson needs to shave that beard… Now!

Is Jim Riggleman; a, a gangster, b, salty or c, out of his bleeping mind?

Iman Shumpert… And yes I’m still stuck on that pick.

How funny would it be if the Winnipeg Jets won the southeast division this year?

(Winnipeg is six hours north of Minneapolis.)

It’s July… NFL step on it.

(I’m serious. The New York Giants tick me off, Eli Manning makes bad throws, I’ll see 85 Coughlin faces and understand each of them… AND IF I MISS ONE FREAKING GAME I WILL HUNT ROGER GOODELL AND DEMAURICE SMITH DOWN!!!)

By the way, if the MLB locks out in November then there is a real possibility that Hockey may be the only game in town come 2012….

New theory behind the Flyers trades; maybe Paul Holmgren used Jeff Carter and Mike Richards just to get the Winter Classic in Philly and then dumped them afterwards… Nope, trade still makes no sense.

I know Brett Favre is retired, but I’m still uncertain.

Quick, 3 things about Luke Picknell. Ready and… GO!

Is Maryland football a better job than Connecticut football? Randy Edsall are you listening?

Seattle Sounders FC draws more fans than the Mariners…

Anybody else think Cam Newton will bomb?

I still have no caption for this.

No seriously are the Pirates really only a game and a half out of first place?

(why is this not a huge story? The Pirates haven’t had a winning season in almost 20 years. That’s back to the Barry Bonds and Bobby Bonilla days.

Ever since then they have traded every and I mean every good player that they’ve had and have been in a never ending rebuild mode. Now here there are with Andrew McCutcheon as a dark horse MVP candidate, an All-Star in Joel Hanrahan and the Brewers, Reds and Cards all looking back in disbelief.

If they make the playoffs they are the story if the year hands down.)

Sabine Lisicki… Mmmmmm.

Will Tiger Woods fade into oblivion?

Even though Roger Federer has “lost it” he’s still the third best tennis player in the world.

And lastly… Dirk, a $90,000 bottle of champagne and pictures with Birdman and Lil’ Wayne… In LeBron and D-Wade’s backyard.

Cough on that Miami.