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Francisco Liriano no-hit the Cubs through six innings, but didn't factor in a decision for the first time this season. (Photo Credit: David Hague)

First Pitch: MTV VMAs — The 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates Version

I don’t know why, but the MTV Video Music Awards are a must watch for me every year. It’s probably fueled by nostalgic reasons, remembering back when the VMAs were amazing. This year they opened with Lady Gaga. That can’t compare to the year where they opened with The Smashing Pumpkins, which was an amazing performance that didn’t feature Lady Gaga’s ass.

I still watch the VMAs for the same reason that I watched several seasons of Jersey Shore, and for the same reason that I listen to hit radio: I’m a pop culture junkie. So when I was thinking up an article for tonight, I had the idea of combining the VMAs with the Pittsburgh Pirates, giving out VMA themed awards to Pittsburgh Pirates players this season. What follows is basically my life’s work.

The “Justin Timberlake Could Have Been the Entire Show” Award

If you watched the VMAs, how awesome was the Justin Timberlake performance? If you didn’t watch them, you need to at least watch that. Timberlake went through pretty much every song from the last 10-15 years, and all of them were good. He was clearly the best artist tonight and the best performer. Best performer? Consistently good? There’s pretty much one player who fits this description: Andrew McCutchen.

The “Let’s Have N’Sync Together, But Only Briefly” Award

An old band back together. They played a very small part of the show. Came on to add support to the best performer.

Justin Morneau?

He’s no longer the Justin Morneau of old, and he’d only help for a brief time this season. But you add him to support the Justin Timberlake of this team and you might get the equivalent of N’Sync returning tonight, leading to a championship performance.

The Miley Cyrus “Please Come Back” Award

This one goes to Garrett Jones. We’ve seen a sudden change with Jones this year, and like Miley Cyrus, it’s not something you want to watch. Jones went from being able to crush right handers — as recently as the start of this season — to twerking with the bat at every pitcher, regardless of what hand he throws with. Just like the current version of Miley Cyrus, no one wants to see this. Ask the Smith family.

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When it comes to Garrett Jones (and Miley Cyrus), Pirates fans just want to get back to Partying in the USA.

The “Catfish” Award

MTV has a show called Catfish, which to the best of my knowledge is about online dating, and the process of “Catfishing”, which is fooling someone in an online relationship by making them think you’re someone else. I’ve never seen the show, but based on all of the commercials tonight, it appears they go through the “Catfishing” process, then the person is revealed to be not as appealing as originally thought.

Jeff Locke’s numbers this season have been very “Catfish” like. They seemed too good to be true. There were warning signs that many ignored. And now it’s being revealed that Locke’s stats were using a Clayton Kershaw profile picture at the start of the year, when really they just look like your league average pitcher. Still, the Pirates could have a relationship with Locke’s revealed numbers for several years.

SPECIAL PERFORMANCE!

Before we get to more awards, we’ve got a performance from Oversized Glove Guy. Let’s go to YouTube, which is where people actually watch music videos these days.

Now back to the awards…

Francisco Liriano started from the bottom, now he's here. (Photo Credit: David Hague)

Francisco Liriano started from the bottom, now he’s here. (Photo Credit: David Hague)

The Drake “Started From the Bottom” Award

You could give this award to the Pittsburgh Pirates as an entire team. But if we’re going one player, it has to be Francisco Liriano. You might be able to go with Mark Melancon, but Liriano gets the edge for the fact that he was so bad the previous two seasons, and now he’s an ace.

The Macklemore “No One Expected Him To Be This Good” Award

When I first heard “Thrift Shop” (followed almost immediately by hearing it 2,000 more times), my thought was that Macklemore would be a one hit wonder. I didn’t expect him to follow up with two great songs in “Can’t Hold Us” and “Same Love”.

I think a lot of Pirates fans probably felt the same way about Charlie Morton. The 2011 season was “Thrift Shop”. Not many were expecting more than that. Now Morton is one of the top performers in the rotation, just like Macklemore was one of the top performers tonight. Once again, I don’t think many were expecting this. Except for me, because I’ve always been a Charlie Morton fan. And I can’t change. Even if I tried. Even if I wanted to.

The Eminem “Looking Forward to His Return” Award

It’s kind of weird that the two things I’m looking forward to the most this fall (outside of anything baseball related) are things I also was looking forward to about 12 years ago: a new Grand Theft Auto game and a new Eminem album. Assuming the Pirates lose at some point in the playoffs, there will be no better way to react than murdering hookers on my XBox while listening to angry music.

With his recent injury, Starling Marte gets this award. Like Eminem, he’s one of the best and most talented, and the Pirates could use that, just like I could use some new music to listen to. I’ve played the new Killers, Jimmy Eat World and Paramore albums to death.

The “Robin Thicke Wasn’t Appreciated” Award

It’s typical that One Direction, Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez would get the big awards, even if Robin Thicke had the better song. The VMAs didn’t appreciate Thicke, just like many Pirates fans don’t appreciate Gaby Sanchez. Sanchez is having a great year for his role — and that role is hitting left-handed pitching.

The problem here is that Garrett Jones has been bad in his role, which has led Sanchez to hitting against more right-handers. That makes the overall numbers for Sanchez look bad, and hides the fact that he’s been great for the role he’s supposed to play. Basically, Jones is ruining Sanchez this year. Just like Miley Cyrus ruined “Blurred Lines” tonight. This works more ways than one.

The Selena Gomez “When You’re Ready Come and Get It (Na, na, na, na)” Award

Right field has been a black hole. It was about as non-existent as Justin Bieber was at the VMAs this year (only that’s a good thing, and this isn’t as good for the Pirates). The Pirates are pretty much hoping for the best with their current options, and waiting for Gregory Polanco. With Polanco, the right field position is like a Selena Gomez song. When he’s ready, come and get it. I would have also accepted “I Love You Like a Love Song Baby”, but that’s only if we’re talking about how talented he is.

*****

I’d compare people to Taylor Swift, but that might be too mean, and I say that as someone who compared Garrett Jones to Miley Cyrus. Sorry Garrett Jones. That might be too harsh. No one’s season is that bad. I’d also compare someone to Katy Perry’s performance, but there’s no one on the Pirates roster I want to have sex with. And I say that not even sure the statement applies to Katy Perry, since that would also involve becoming Eskimo Brothers with Russell Brand. I might rather take The Collapsening 3.0.

Links and Notes

**The newest episode of the Pirates Prospects Podcast is up: P3 Episode 18: Prospect Talk With Pirates Farm Director Larry Broadway.

**Prospect Watch: Some Good Performances From Possible September Call-Ups.

**Polanco, Hanson Single as Curve Net Just Four Hits.

**Vogelsong, Giants Hold Pirates to Only Three Hits in 4-0 Loss.

**DSL Prospect Watch: Pirates1 End Season With One-Hitter, Pirates2 Make Playoffs.

**Minor League Schedule: Pimentel Gets Start Tonight in Indianapolis.

Enjoy this story? Pirates Prospects will be switching to a subscription site on 4/13, so that we can continue bringing you the best Pirates coverage there is. For a very small monthly price, you can continue getting articles like this, along with coverage from every minor league city. Get more information here, and subscribe today!

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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 AccuScore.com, 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.

First Pitch: Is Gregory Polanco’s Move to Right Field a Sign?

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First Pitch: The Most Important Two Weeks of the Year

  • http://www.facebook.com/lee.young.161 Lee Young

    Speaking of ‘ass’, I thought Fartman was the highlight for me.

    Foo Man

  • Kevin_Young

    That picture…priceless

  • Monkshot

    I’m getting old, and It’s starting to happen to me like it did to my Parents years ago, I have no idea who celebrities are anymore. Life is strange.

    • duckwoes

      I’m with you on that Monk. But of course I was in college when the first VMA’s were held (1984) and MTV was actually cool

  • ChirpCity

    Best first pitch evar.

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