On hand for a rainy night in Pittsburgh. I got my Garrett Jones action figure and then watched him go 0-5 an not field his position well.
Charlie Morton started off very rocky. He left the bases loaded in the first. He loaded the bases thanks in part to an infield single to Jason Heyward that happened because Jones dropped a throw from Ronny Cedeno on a bang-bang play at first. Should’ve been ruled an error.
He wasn’t as fortunate in the second. Melky Cabrera homered leading off. After two walks, Heyward again reached on a ball to Cedeno. This time Cedeno bobbled his bouncer and then threw errantly to second, pulling Aki Iwamura off the bag. Bases loaded. Chipper Jones grounded out, plating one more. Eric Hinske – former Bucco – homered leading off the third to make it 3-0. After that Morton settled down. No one else got two second base the rest of his outing. The line score reads three runs (two earned) on six hits and three walks. He whiffed three.
On the flip side, Derek Lowe was also scuffling a bit. The Pirates piled up five hits and four walks against him in five innings. Yet they could score only twice in the fourth. Ryan Church doubled and Lastings Milledge tripled him in. Cedeno’s safety squeeze brought Milledge home from 90 feet away. After Lowe was pulled, the Pirates were unable to score on the Atlanta bullpen, with Billy Wagner getting the save.
Some controversy in the 9th. Atlanta got an insurance run when Joel Hanrahan walked the bases loaded with two gone. Hanrahan whiffed Brian McCann, but the ball got away from Ryan Doumit and his throw to first pulled Jones off the bag (at least according to 1st base ump Tim Timmons) allowing the runner on third to score. He looked out from where I was sitting and John Russell agreed. He argued and was tossed.
Milledge and Church each had 3 hits.
Stranding 14 guys. Ugh.
Not getting some offense for Morton when he needed/deserved a when.
Among the luminaries on hand behind the plate last night were Wayne Krivsky, Jim Fregosi, Bill Scherrer and Ken the Lemonade guy. After the final out, Scherrer came sprinting up the aisle like he needed to pee.
Some changes I noticed in the ballpark atmosphere since last year. I don’t like the barbershop quartet version of ‘It’s Time to Shoot Some Hot Dogs.’ The old campy version of the song was just fine. I also still miss the mullet cam. Not sure when they stopped doing that, but I always, always enjoyed that.
Not sure how I feel abou the batter introductions where they have the player looking at video highlight rolling on a bedsheet. What’s really good is that for the players who haven’t played in Pittsburgh prior to this year, they show highlights of the good old days when the Buccos were competitive.
The Pirates need a change in their marketing department. I haven’t seen a worse sense of what people want to buy in any club like I continue to see in this club. You can’t tell me that a jersey t-shirt featuring Al Oliver or Manny Sanguillen or Andy Van Slyke wouldn’t sell. The newer style t-shirts look like they were ripped from a 2006 Abercrombie and Fitch catalog. I come into town every year looking to buy and always wind up disappointed. This will be the third straight year in which I will buy no clothing or hats from the team. But I did walk away with a nice replica 1972 Clemente jersey t-shirt. As part of the ‘Clemente package’ groups of 15 or more can pay $21 for their tickets and get the ticket and a replica jersey. The jerseys are given out upon proof of the package purchase along right field. So, I lingered and offered a teenager $10 if he’d give me his XL replica shirt. Deal.
In addition to that, the the dugout store is littered with silly slogans on the merchandise racks. Things like ‘Every Man an Arsenal’. Come on.
Throughout the game, my brother and I decided to come up with goofy Fleer multi-player cards like they used to have in the 1980s. They called them ‘Superstar Specials’ and it would feature two player who were somehow loosely connected. My all-time favorite and the muse for our activities was the 1982 Fleer Steve Carlton/Carlton Fisk card that was called ‘Carlton & Fisk’, playing off their names. My brother came up with Eddie Murray and Steve Christmas for ‘Murray Christmas’. I added Mike Frank and Matt Sinatro for ‘Frank Sinatro’. We also had Ron Cey and Eddie Watt for ‘Cey Watt’. We came up with dozens and dozens and resolved to make a blog of them including photoshopped cards.
Former Buc Nate McLouth was 0-3.
Ending on a high note: Aki Iwamura was 0-3. He has one hit in his last 46 at bats. I actually shreiked when I heard he was starting and batting lead off.