Pittsburgh loves big money players.
The player that gets it done when it matters most is our guy. It’s in our blood as Pittsburghers, so it should come as no surprise that in a game Sunday when the Bucs were down by four runs with a ten game losing streak staring fans in the face, many of them rose to their feet and went nuts when closer Joel Hanrahan entered the game.
Yeah, it wasn’t a save situation. Doesn’t matter. Pittsburgh loves who we love.
Maybe it’s because he is hilarious with a microphone in ROOT Sports interviews. Maybe it’s because his high school buddies still give him shit on his popular twitter account – which has quadrupled in less than a year. Maybe it’s because he messes with Andrew McCutchen on the MLB Network.
Whatever it is, Pittsburgh is showing their admiration for the big guy from Iowa. Maybe it’s his leadership and great attitude that fans love. During a hell-a-cious losing streak Pirates fans saw very little of the Pirates’ best reliever.
Hanrahan never mentioned being upset about his lack of work during the Pirates’ season worst ten-game losing streak. Leaders don’t do shit like that. He actually seemed to do the complete opposite in a TR article when he said:
"“I’m a reliever, so whenever they call me I’m going to be ready, I’ll be ready to pinch-hit if they need me to.” Joel Hanrahan"
That pinch hitting idea is something to think about, because the guy can hit: he had a triple in his first big league at-bat. But on the first August Sunday of a magical 2011 season, many of the fans were simply thrilled to see their All-Star closer. Maybe others just loved hearing Slipknot rip from the PNC Park speakers. I know I do.
On average, it takes the Hanranator about 14 pitches to get through his typical ninth inning save. On Sunday, it only took 12 pitches to end the inning, popping the glove at 98 miles per hour a couple times–because as you know, that’s what big money players do.
Right on cue, the PNC Park faithful went crazy.
Hanrahan simply walked toward the dugout, giving his team one final chance. Of course, it would fail – – hell, maybe Hurdle should have let him hit, too?
You know it’s unlikely, but the day that Hanrahan gets his first rip at PNC Park will be the day he cements his already rising celebrity status to Pittsburgh icon. There doesn’t seem to be many things the big fella can’t do, but can you imagine the reaction when the closer rips a double into the Notch? [Hanrahan with a bat in his hand is in the video below]
Kent Tekulve is still working in Pittsburgh thanks to his performance in the 1979 World Series. His cult moment came when he played left field and caught a flyball. We are waiting for Hanrahan’s cult icon moment to come…World Series–eh, that might come, but for now let’s settle for a plate appearance.
Tha Hanranator did an interview with Batting Stance Guy recently… cue it up to 3:30 to see the stance and the walk off….
The Hardball Times took a look at what Hanrahan has done differently in this well-researched article that I highly recommend.
Just look at what he does against left handed hitters (the cool graph at the bottom of the article). Maybe he could give Charlie Morton a pep talk?