Pittsburgh Pirates make decisions; receive acclaim – Rum Bunter Rumblings
The Pittsburgh Pirates are inching closer and closer to Opening Day. As they lurch towards bringing Bucco baseball back to the masses, we here at Rum Bunter lurch forward as well. It was a great week for Pirates fans, and the powderkeg of increased exposure and expectations finally exploded with a single tweet from Buster Olney:
Pirate fandom was set ablaze afterwards, and we chimed in with our take here. Nevertheless, the Pirates won’t just waltz into the fall classic. As we pointed out:
"Last year the Bucs limped out of April with a 10-16 record, with all but two of those losses coming in-division. For the team to truly compete for the NL Central and grab much-needed homefield advantage for the NLDS, a good start is absolutely necessary. A good finish will be needed as well, as the team faces a very tough 10 game roadtrip that bleeds into the last week of the season."
Jim Trufexis brought it to our attention that there is another perennial MVP candidate not named Andrew McCutchen in the Pirates’ lineup. His name is Starling Marte. Jim explains:
"It sounds crazy – but let’s take a look at the slash lines of each player: Player A put up a .348/.408/.567 line and Player B hit .295/.393/.482. And, that’s right. Player A is Starling Marte, who came back after the All-Star Break and put up ungodly numbers because of a few tweaks he made to his swing."
Speaking of McCutchen, as of this writing he is still being coddled with lower-body soreness. Clint Hurdle assures us that the all-world centerfielder will be ready for Opening Day. But if his words don’t soothe you, perhaps co-editor Jacob Misener‘s words will. From his reassuring piece on McCutchen:
"McCutchen took part in pregame drills on Tuesday for the first time since last week, telling reporters afterward that he “felt fine,” – a promising sign for the veteran outfielder who is coming off his lowest total games played during his big league career – 146."
Continuing his excellent series on local media and the Pirates, The Big Tuna raises the call for better Bucs coverage from the local talking heads:
"It was so disappointing to hear the clear lack of foresight and listen while literally every, single, local radio personality unanimously get it dead wrong about the Pirate’s season. How is that possible? Every…single…one."
When it comes to Spring Training, at the end of the day, just as Allen Iverson once famously said, We’re talkin about practice, man. Matt Bower reminds us of that fact:
"Ted Berg, of USA Today, reminds readers that the Grapefruit and Cactus League schedules run about 30 games. Even the guys who get the most playing time only amass about 50 or 60 at-bats, or pitch 20 to 25 innings. Besides catching a glimpse or two of a prospect that will be soon jettisoned to AAA, spring training should mean about as much to fans as a simulated game on MLB The Show."
The Rest of the Best
Clint Hurdle revealed the Pirate starting rotation. You can read our reaction here, including some little-known facts about the Bucs’ starters.
Jon Anderson showed us all exactly how Corey Hart‘s power will play at PNC Park. The results may surprise you.
Staff Writer Chris Hodgen returned to let us know how the Shark Tank is shaping up.
That does it for this week in the best of Rum Bunter. As always, thanks to the best readers in the business. See you next week!