Jeff Banister and Josh Poytress join the Rumbunter Podcast to talk Pittsburgh Pirates baseball. Banister discusses bullpen usuage, removing slumping Pirates superstar Andrew McCutchen from a ballgame, and what have been some of the keys to the quick start to the 2013 Buccos season.
Poytress was released by the Pirates at the beginning of the season despite pitching well during his time with the Bucs. Listen as the left-handed pitcher shares how it all went down.
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If you’ve been around Pittsburgh for a while you might have heard about how we met Banister. Please excuse us as we tell the story again.
A few winters ago, we were standing at PirateFest talking to a couple friends after we had accomplished what had never been done before. The Pittsburgh Pirates had just held interviews with some of the best Pirates writers on the planet.
We felt great about what we had put together. Finally the Pittsburgh Pirates were talking to talented people from the best Pirates sites. People like Matt Bandi, Charlie and Vlad from Bucs Dugout, Kristy and Pirates Prospects. Each are very detailed and passionate about providing baseball fans with stories that are more detailed than you will ever find in any newspaper. (Of course, RumBunter isn’t real big on details so we exclude our site from that last sentence.)
Everyone that was backstage that night at PirateFest and some that couldn’t make it like Brian from Raise The Jolly Roger, Pat from WHYGAVS and Kipper from Pgh Sports Tavern are people that we have the utmost amount of respect for, because writing isn’t easy. Writing about the Pirates is downright difficult. We will take a guess and say they will be fans of the hometown team for life.
It was a cool moment and I happened to look up because if you have ever had the feeling someone was staring at you, that’s the feeling I had.
And guess what? Jeff Banister was giving me the eye.
My heart dropped a little bit as we had a lot of fun with Banister this past winter. We felt that Banister would have been a good selection as the Pirates new manager and not Clint Hurdle. But we also had a weird way, like usual, of saying it.
My mind raced because we also had a little over-the-top fun with some photoshops at Banister’s expense.
The man who had been employed by the Pittsburgh Pirates his entire life was starting to walk toward us. Personally, I have spent most of my career with one company. There is something to be said about a person that is loyal. But maybe Banister was going to be a little pissed off about what we had done.
The first thing we realized as Banister walked toward us was Banister takes care of himself.
Our next thought was his stare is pretty intense which made me think of protecting myself. I didn’t have any weapons other than a tape recorder, a Blackberry, and a pen that was out of ink. My right knee had just been surgically repaired so there was no way I could pull off a hit and run. But heh, I did have this makeshift crutch that might work, huh?
It must have been the four pills we popped to withstand the pain that sent us into a panic. Jeff Banister put out his hand and as we shook, he smiled and said something that describes what type of man Jeff Banister is.
"“Jeff Banister, Pittsburgh Pirates Bench Coach, how are you…heh that Step Brothers photoshop was hilarious.”"
Shit. I wasn’t going to get my ass kicked after all.
If for some reason you’re not familiar with Banister, check this out too from the NY Times.
"But there he was, a few hours later, in the Pirates’ locker room at Three Rivers Stadium, with a stall between Barry Bonds and Andy Van Slyke. He helped out in the bullpen until the eighth inning, when Manager Jim Leyland called him to hit for starter Doug Drabek. Teammates had hidden Banister’s bat and helmet, so he grabbed replacements and walked into his dream."
So after Banister got a hit in his only at-bat, we bet that he walked into the clubhouse and shook the hand of the practical joker too.
Banister is our kind of guy. Our kind of Lifer