Altoona Curve Game Recap

I lived in two different areas of Pennsylvania for about 12 years, living in the Altoona area for seven years. Unfortunately, the Altoona Curve didn’t move to the area until 2-3 years after I moved to Virginia.  So despite living in the Altoona area, this was my first visit to Blair County Ballpark.

I got to the park early, after making the excellent decision to pick up a jacket from the local mall.  When I left Virginia this past weekend, it was 90 degrees.  Around game time on Tuesday it was just under 50 degrees.  The jacket was worth every penny, as it was freezing the whole game.  One big reason why I would never live in Pennsylvania again.

I was one of the first people in the stadium, about an hour before the game began.  I walked around taking pictures before the game, figuring I wouldn’t get a chance during the game due to the video I was taking.  However, because the game went 14 innings, my video camera died, which allowed me to take some more pictures later on.  For all 115 pictures that I took, check out the BUCCO Fans Facebook page.  Here are a few of my favorites:

First, there’s the Skyliner, a roller coaster at Lakemont Park, which borders Blair County Ballpark.  A long time ago a friend of mine told me that someone caught a home run ball on the roller coaster.  It seems possible, since the first incline is right next to the right field wall…

Michael Crotta was making the start.  Crotta isn’t a guy a lot of people would be interested in seeing, but I was kind of intrigued.  Crotta has put up decent ratios in his career, and had a good outing in his first start of the season.  This gave me a chance to see a new Pirates pitching prospect.  I’ll have my video recap and analysis of Crotta up at a later date, probably on Monday next week…

Here is Josh Harrison warming up before the game.  Harrison went 3-for-6 in the game, including the game winning RBI single in the 14th inning…

About mid-way through Crotta’s start, I look around in the stands and who do I see?

None other than Dave Littlefield, sitting two rows back, and one section over.  Sure enough, guess who came in to relieve Crotta…

Yep, Daniel Moskos.  At one point, a Pirates fan went over and talked to him.  The conversation seemed cordial, and DL seemed like a nice guy from observing the interaction.  I’ve heard nothing but good things about his character.  I just can’t respect his skills as a GM.

At one point there was a play that I questioned.  Gorkys Hernandez was on first base with one out.  The next batter, Chase d’Arnaud, hit a shallow fly to right-center field.  Gorkys was stranded between first and second base, in what seemed like a no-win situation.  If the fielder catches the ball, Hernandez is out at first, and the inning is over.  If the fielder doesn’t catch the ball, Hernandez has a chance at second, but there’s a good chance he’s out there too.

Hernandez waited in between the bases, the fielder made a basket catch, and then Hernandez just watched.  He didn’t return to first base, and he didn’t go to second.  It was almost like he was challenging the fielder to get him caught up in a pickle.  The fielder lobbed a throw over to first to get Hernandez and end the inning.

In that situation, I’d probably just return to first, or at least stay a few steps off the bag.  This pretty much guarantees you another shot that inning, and also gives a chance at reaching second base if the fielder mis-plays the ball.  Anyways, here was Gorkys’ reaction after the play…

The game went so long that Matt Hague, who was removed as part of a double switch earlier, ended up being the bullpen catcher for Michael Dubee.  What is it with the Pirates thinking the catcher and first base positions are interchangeable?  Here is Hague with Jeff Sues in the bullpen…

Dubee didn’t need to enter the game though, as Josh Harrison came through with an RBI single to bring in Jordy Mercer, giving Altoona the 1-0 win…

Yes, that’s Hague chasing Harrison, along with Dubee to the right.  Both sprinted in from the bullpen when Harrison singled.  Personally, I think they were just trying to stay warm.

Overall it was a good game.  I got every pitch thrown by Crotta, two innings from M

oskos, one inning from Ronald Uviedo, and two batters that Derek Hankins threw to.  I also got a ton of at-bats by the Curve hitters, although there wasn’t too much action on that front.  I’ll be uploading those videos in three separate segments (Crotta, Bullpen, Hitters), starting next week.

I’ll be covering the Curve later this season when they come down to the Richmond area.  I’m not sure which games I’ll be able to make, although I’m hoping to catch Tim Alderson at some point.

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Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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