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Pirates Prospect Tony Sanchez Told to Get off Twitter?

Pittsburgh Pirates No. 2 prospect Tony Sanchez could make it in the UFC.  No, we have not seen him fight.  No, he doesn’t appear to be exceptionally big, tough, or insane.  He just likes to tweet and in the UFC you get paid for that type of thing.  Or, should I say, Sanchez liked to tweet.

According to CBSSports.com, the 22-year-old catcher deleted his Twitter account (@TSanchez26) at around 3:30 on Tuesday after writing, “See ya twitter. thanks to the fans for their support and continued support. Pittsburgh is the only goal and twitter is standing in my way.”  Although Pirates farm director Kyle Stark denied that the team told Sanchez to stop using Twitter, that tweet would certainly indicate he was given an ulterior motive.

As for the reasons why he either decided to or was encouraged to stop using Twitter, Sanchez has been a little too loose-lipped — or loose-fingered — with some of his tweets and had to apologize on several different occasions for it.  The first tweet he wrote that upset Stark had to do with throwing a party, and Sanchez later spoke to the Altoona Mirror and apologized for it.  Apparently he hadn’t learned his lesson.

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Pirates Encourage Boycott of Local Bar Offering Discount Following Losses

The Pirates haven’t had a winning season since 1992, giving the fans of Pittsburgh very little to pass the time between the Penguins and Steelers. We keep hoping that they’ll rebuild with good draft picks like Andrew McCutchen, but that appears to be unrealistic. Instead they’ve settled for being the laughingstock of baseball that’s perennially putting up fire sale signs in June. Given their apparent acceptance of losing, it’s odd to see members of their front office get so ticked off by negativity in the community.

WTAE in Pittsburgh via Ben Maller reports that two Pirates front office members called for a ban of Stroll Inn, a bar that offers a nickel off pitchers following Pirates losses. I don’t know how heavy of drinkers they are in Pittsburgh, but last I checked a nickel can’t even buy you a stick of gum, so this seems to be much more about the humor than the discount. Unsurprisingly, the same group that fired one of its pierogi racers for expressing negativity, is displeased with the bar.

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Pittsburgh Pirates Still a Hapless Bunch

Avast ye, matey’s! It has been said that Halley’s Comet might appear on Earth twice in a typical human lifetime. The same could be said of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Somewhere on the spectrum of winning the lottery a few times in a row and finding one of those stamps with the upside-down airplane on them lies a Pirates championship run. Since the last time the team was spotted playing in October, the team has found a way to lose 90-or-more games nine times while finishing 13 games or more behind first place all but one season since 1992. The team came into being in 1887, when it was designated as hailing from “Pittsburg.” At some point in history, the team added an “H,” left out a lot of “W’s” and has elicited a flurry of “Z’s.” The result has been a laughingstock where one is not warranted, kind of like a Bob Saget variety show.

It’s safe to say that William Kidd, Bartholomew Roberts, and Blackbeard never swung in on any chandeliers in the vicinity of Pittsburgh. At least those guys knew how to make someone walk the plank. The poor schmos in the Steel City have had a tough enough time finding a way to walk the 90 feet down to first base. It probably explains why there is a long list of managers that have been sent to Davey Jones’ locker, from Gene Lamont to Pete Mackanin, and John Russell. Perhaps Garrett Jones (no relation to Davey) and Jose Tabata could have learned a thing or two from Long John Silver about how to properly execute a hit-and-run. Coming off their 18th consecutive losing season, it is safe to say that things for Pittsburgh’s resident baseball team have been AAARRRRRR-duous.

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Pirates Think they Tricked Rockies into Pitching to Jose Tabata

The Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Colorado Rockies 4-3 in 14 innings Friday night. Both teams were shutout from the 7th inning on until the Pirates won things on a Jose Tabata walkoff double off the wall in right field.

The big question after the game was why the Rockies decided to pitch to Tabata with two outs and a man on in the 14th when relief pitcher Garrett Olson was on deck. Pittsburgh players were convinced a mind game intended to trick Colorado worked.

As Pirates writer Colin Dunlap explained, Pittsburgh sent Andrew McCutchen on deck even though he was really in the hole. They think seeing McCutchen on deck was enough to convince Colorado to throw to Tabata even though the right move would have been walking him to face the pitcher.

Tabata is Pittsburgh’s leadoff hitter and he’s batting .344 on the season. Olson is a relief pitcher who hardly ever bats. Nice call Jim Tracy, or maybe he just wanted to get out of there as soon as possible after the long night.

MLB 2011 Preview: Pittsburgh Pirates Apparently Happy With Status Quo

Previewing the 2011 MLB season, we’ve already named the Phillies, Yankees and Red Sox the top World Series favorites. Last week we looked at the how the NL Central might shape up with the Cardinals, Reds, Brewers and Cubs. Thursday: Pittsburgh Pirates; Friday: Houston Astros.
The Bottom Feeders: Pittsburgh Pirates

Off-Season Moves: The biggest — though not big — move for the Pirates this off-season involved trading left-handed pitcher Zach Duke to the Diamondbacks for righty Cesar Valdez. Duke went 8-15 last season with a 5.72 ERA, while Valdez went 1-2 with a 7.65 ERA in nine games for Arizona last season. In two seasons in AAA, Valdez was 13-16 with a 5.90 ERA.

Strengths: If nothing else, the Pirates are young. The active roster boasts nine players born after 1985 and only six born before 1982. New addition Lyle Overbay is the oldest at 34, while the youngest, starting outfielder Jose Tabata, won’t turn 23 until August. The organization has at least some hope for the future if the young players at the top of the order — Andrew McCutchen (pictured above), Tabata, Neil Walker and Pedro Alvarez — progress as expected. Though not a top team in either category, the Pirates fall right around the middle-of-the-pack in both doubles and triples, which is higher than they they rank in just about anything else.

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Pirates Fire Pierogi, End Losing Streak

We’ve ripped on the Pirates a number of times for a number of reasons. A few years ago their fans had a walkout to protest the ineptitude in the organization. Between not having a winning season since 1992 and trading away all their talented players, the fans have been given a lot of reasons to be unhappy. The Pirates also were riding a 12-game losing streak until Saturday night, and they got a heap of negative press for firing one of their pierogis recently, as I found out reading Mondesi’s House. No joke.

Andrew Kurtz is one of 18 people who dresses up in a pierogi costume and runs in the race the Pirates hold at PNC Park every home game. The Pirates fired Kurtz for negative comments he posted about the team on his facebook page, so Kurtz’s mom went crying to the newspaper about the situation. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, here’s what Andrew Kurtz said on his facebook:

Coonelly extended the contracts of Russell and Huntington through the 2011 season. That means a 19-straight losing streak. Way to go Pirates.”

It’s hard enough running an organization where you haven’t won since ’92 and you’re in the middle of a 12-game losing streak. It’s even harder to break that spell and turn things around when you have pissant pierogis ripping management and creating even more negativity within the organization. People may be laughing at the Pirates because the story is humorous and petty, but I think they did the right thing. It’s funny that they fired a pierogi as if that would be the answer to their problems, but the guy asked for it. Maybe things will work out for him running hot dog races at minor league parks.

Sources:
Pirates’ PR Nightmare Continues with Pierogi Dismissal [Mondesi's House]
Out at the plate: Pirates dump outspoken pierogi [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

Andrew McCutchen Gives Pirates Fans Hope for the Future

The Pittsburgh Pirates are rarely talked about. It’s been years since they’ve had anything to be excited about because they keep trading away all their decent or better players.  But now they have center fielder Andrew McCutchen, a young outfielder who last year said he was “just a step away from reaching his dreams.” Now at the Major League level for the second straight year, McCutchen is a symbol of hope for a deprived fan base.

The Pirates haven’t had a winning season since 1992 so the people of the Pirates organization can’t help but smile watching him play. Pirates outfielder Ryan Church commented on McCutchen’s wheels saying, “He’s so damn quick, it’s amazing. It looks like he’s just floating through the air.” It’s no surprise to read that when McCutchen was called up from Triple-A last year people said he was playing “like a 10-year veteran.” McCutchen has been turning heads in the big leagues ever since.

Despite my praise of McCutchen, I’m not crazy enough to think the Pirates winning season drought of 17 years will finally come to an end. Still, Pirates fans should be smiling when they get to see their speedy leadoff man and center fielder for he is their future. If their farm system can keep producing young talent like it has with McCutchen, we may soon see a different team competing for a top spot in the NL Central.

Sources:
Biding his time [Midwest Baseball Magazine]
A reason to believe in Pittsburgh [ESPN]