The Pirates won in impressive fashion today at PNC Park. Under sunny skies, the team answered questions on many levels. Starting pitching took another step forward, key members of the team that were acquired in the past year played well, and one got a curtain call. Yes, all of that happened in nine innings.
*Go ahead, I know you want to feel good about your Pittsburgh Pirates. It’s ok.
*Pirate Ian Snell was his old self today. Seven innings of great baseball. Snell allowed four hits and three walks. A Brave reached third base, once. I am still trying to get on his softball team. That story from our times in spring training is below for those who missed it.
*Snell threw 94 pitches. His slider was back to the days of old Ryan Doumit said on 104.7/Rocco’s show after the game.
*Snell threw 22 pitches through two innings. Vastly improved. He had a tough time in the first inning last year, but not today.
*Snell and a few Pirates began to walk off the field after recording two outs in the third inning. Then Snell walked the next batter, Braves pitcher Jo-Jo Reyes. In the pre-Kerrigan days, perhaps he gets upset? Not today.
*How about Andy LaRoche? The kid is making the front office look like masterminds. It just took a little longer than expected.
*Craig Monroe was a monster today. Two homeruns. Six RBI (all with two out). Senior VP of Creative Development at Rumbunter, John Phillips led a curtain call from the 20,000 in attendance at PNC Park. It’s been a while since that has happened. Thank you John for your leadership.
*Some take the curtain call as a sign of respect, Obviously, Carlos Delgado of the Mets didn’t in the curtain call controversy of 2008. Perhaps the curtain call will ‘show up’ the Braves, who haven’t showed up at PNC Park in this series. No runs?
*Ryan Doumit had three doubles. What a difference Doumit makes in the four spot.
*Pinch hitter Eric Hinske had his third double of the year. Hinske, who many thought would be playing much more, is batting .308. It is a good sign when our bench/role players can be just that, bench/role players.
*The Pirates bullpen has been solid.
*Many questions surrounded this team heading into the season. And many have been answered. Man it feels good to be heading to the game today.
Ok, so we are standing in the right field bleachers talking to the fans. Eavesdropping on the players workouts. Ian and Karstens are watching the game intently, signing autographs between innings for the rather light crowd.
Then the talking stopped as an indescribable woman enters our man space. Some snicker, some stare, and for some reason I snap a picture with the camera. The pictures might explain that. But her words were worth a thousand bucks on this bright sunny day in the city I love, Bradenton, Florida.
She slowly walked down in front of a child happily playing catch against the stairs as his Mom enjoyed the sun. She walked very slowly down the steps twirling her dirty hair which was covered by a camoflauge hat with each flip flopped step she took. At least ten people were shaking their heads by now. Did I mention she was moving very slowly?
She leaned over the railing, (I swear it took her ten seconds) and said something I will remember forever….,
“Heh…you…. yeh you, as she pointed her index finger, your Ian Snell right? I want you to know that I played church softball with your wife!”
Ian Snell is a nice guy. After a pause that seemed like thirty seconds, He responded with something like, “that’s cool, thanks.”
We were howling immediately.
She then asked, “is she here?”
After a loud ”NO” she walked defeated back up the steps taking just as long to exit as it did for her to make her grand entrance.
Ian popped his head up out of his hands a minute later, his eyes fixing on our small crowd at the side of the steps. He had a look of disbelief…he just had to get confirmation, “heh, guys did you just hear that conversation?”
I told him we all witnessed it and I just had to ask, “Ian is the team any good?” He quickly replied, “they are, but I never saw her on the field!” Ahh the life of Ian Snell. Good Luck in the World Baseball Classic.