Josh Harrison Is Baseball Jesus
By Tom Smith
Josh Harrison is Baseball Jesus
Pittsburgh Pirates utility man Josh Harrison is hotter than stink bug killer right now. Harrison is crushing baseballs, hitting another bomb in Los Angeles last night as the Bucs defeated the Dodgers 5-3. Bob Nutting couldn’t be happier. The right field situation for the Bucs elicits silly tweets that try to justify the reasoning behind not having the best 25 players on the Pirates Major League roster. Some people will do anything to predict the future. Some say that the Pirates have always done it this way. A lot of people do whatever it takes to justify the Pirates not putting the best possible product on the diamond nightly.
It’s a business.
We own businesses. We get it that baseball is a business. Save it. Please. I beg of you. We’ve wrote about it too many times. Gregory Polanco should have been on this club. Good Lord, look at what the Houston Astros did. Can Polanco do what Dave Parker did when he was called up? That’s a tall order. We think Polanco wins the NL Rookie of the Year. But like so many people have rightfully noted, Polanco can’t pitch.
A.J. Burnett should have been wrapped up in a bow shortly after the season. But everyone knows the Bucs simply weren’t interested in paying. The Pirates and the media are a lot smarter and know more about their players than we do. And right on cue, the media falls right into the stink bug trap and defends these moves. But enough about the mistakes of the past, the player everyone is scratching their heads about is Harrison.
J Hay had a month of May. A big month of May with an .844 OPS. But he also sucked in April with just five hits and a .670 OPS. Does that count?
It’s also interesting how Harrison made his way into the Player of the Month for the Pirates too. The utility player had some success early in May, but then was back on the bench. Not much more than some pinch running after that, but Clint Hurdle put him in the lineup at third in the second game of a double header at Yankee Stadium. (Thank God for the rainout, or perhaps JHay doesn’t even get in the lineup in New York?) But he did and it was ever so memorable. Harrison hit a seventh inning bomb that gave the Bucs the lead and then went out to left field when Starling Marte was injured and saved his fine work with a highlight catch.
It’s been all JHay since. But we still keep looking at his history and wonder where the success has came from this season.
We spent a few minutes in the Josh Harrison time machine. We watched some of the memorable moments the player that was acquired from the Chicago Cubs for John Grabow and Tom Gorzelanny has done with his time in the black and yellow. One moment really stood out, not that there are really that many outside of his amazing month of May.
Back in August of 2012, Harrison pounded St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina on a big time baseball play that wont be seen in baseball much anymore, if ever. It was the second inning of the game and the play didn’t mean much, but it was the type of play Harrison typically makes. Hell, it didn’t even produce a run, but the Bucs plated plenty more and James McDonald two hit the Cards for seven innings.
It’s that spark that so many fans point to when looking at Harrison. He’s gritty. He doesn’t fit the Pirates player profile and that’s what most everyone loves about him. His defense can help win games moving forward too. The confidence exudes and it’s obvious he feels like he is doing his life’s work. Meanwhile I keep waiting for reality to return.
But we can’t say it enough…Harrison is a player that believes he can do exactly what he is doing right now. Let’s trust he is right and that the Bucs have pulled a rabbit out of a hat, the career walk rate and plate awareness aside. We trust that it is more than just a smoke cloud that Bob Nutting is hiding behind. A career year from Josh Harrison would be a great thing.
We can’t imagine that Harrison keeps this torrid pace up, but after watching the Pirates take the series from the Dodgers we sure do love Clint Hurdle riding the hot Harrison bat.