I have a soft spot for the Royals for some reason. I like the ballpark. I remember the exciting teams from the ‘80s with Brett, White, and Washington. Their uniforms are classic and the correct shade of blue. And, of course, I like to pull for the teams that go a few decades between winning seasons.
Here’s the thing, though: the Royals generally don’t help the Giants. The players that pass through Kansas City are players like Neifi Perez, Michael Tucker, and Jose Guillen -- players that go out of their way to not help the Giants. You have to go back to Atlee Hammaker to get some help from the Royals, and even that came with a fair amount of heartbreak. So while I like the concept of the Royals, they don’t like me.
The Pirates, though, are a-ok.
Back in 1992, someone with a fancy suit said, "$7M a year? For one player? Oh, no thanks. Best of luck." And that player formed the bulk of my baseball memories for a decade-plus.
Then the Pirates had this erratic starting pitcher that they wanted to get rid of because he was going to get expensive. The Giants gave up a brittle outfielder and a brittle pitcher, taught the pitcher a changeup, and enjoyed a true ace for the first time in years. Then, because they’re complete jerks, the Giants got the brittle pitcher back ten years later, just to prove a point or something.
The best gift from Pittsburgh, though, was a reliever they signed for less than $1M. The Giants gave up a quasi-promising outfielder and a spot starter, and they were rewarded with 24-2/3 innings of some of the best relief innings in team history. Small sample size? Well, sure. That doesn’t take away the gift of Javier Lopez, a magic trick that somehow turned John Bowker into a parade.
So the Pirates are cool in my book. Not cool enough to root for, but cool enough to feel guilty when the Giants keep ransacking their organization. And, hey, now the Giants need to beat them to get over a brutal sweep! I just hope they’ll cooperate. C’mon, Pirates. Help us out just this one more time. C’mon, man. Do us a solid.
Hitter to watch
JOHN BOWKER IS STILL GOING TO DEVELOP INTO AN ABOVE-AVERAGE CORNER OUTFIELDER!
I still believe that. Just me and Mrs. Bowker at this point. But, hey, he’s hitting .294/.313/.607 on the season! Wait, I’m reading that wrong. He’s hitting .250/.294/.313 with a .607 OPS. Whoops.
I’m still pulling for Bowker, though. I’d love for him to rip off a few good years for the Pirates. There isn’t a lot of room in the Pirates’ outfield of Tabata/McCutchen/Jones, though.
Pitcher to watch
In case you missed it:
"Roy Halladay now has an absolute clone on the Pittsburgh Pirates," one rival scout says. "(Charlie) Morton has copied his windup perfectly, from the way he starts to the way he finishes. It’s almost identical."
Which has led to this so far...
|2011 - Charlie Morton
ERA good! Peripheral numbers bad! I’m really curious to watch Morton pitch, though -- I want to check if I can see the same thing as that unnamed scout.
If the Pirates win the series, they won’t be so cute and cuddly, and I’ll unlike their Facebook page out of spite.