Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Chase-ing Pete Rose

The Bucs just recalled Chase d'Arnaud from AAA Indianapolis! Finally, d'Arnaud can get back to pursuing his declaration that he will have more hits than Pete Rose.

Just to recap, Rose, MLB's all-time hits leader, has 4,256 career hits. Chase d'Arnaud has 31. Only 4,225 to go!  d'Arnaud is 25 years old. Pete Rose had accumulated 723 hits through his age 25 season. At this rate, I'm wondering if Chase will have as many career hits as Rose did in 1973, when he led the league with 230.

Hey, I like delusion as much as the next guy, but this one takes the cake. It's even worse than believing that Rod Barajas is a legitimate major league catcher.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

I'm not complaining; I'm stating facts

MR. EVERYTHING's batting average on balls in play: .370
MR. EVERYTHING's defensive Wins Above Replacement: -0.1

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Too soon. TOO SOON!

H/t to FTC reader Jesse, for capturing this at the Giant Eagle before the Steelers-Colts preseason game Sunday. Just to clarify, this man was wearing a Chris Rainey jersey before the second preseason game of Chris Rainey's career.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Clint Clouds: Pennant Race Edition!

As always, courtesy of CGG.:

"It was like getting slapped by your girlfriend in front of your mother."

"We got in our way a couple times late."

"This is our worst patch of play during the season. We know what we're dealing with and we've got to find a way to turn it around."

And as a bonus, enjoy this Burnett Bubble!
"Sit the fuck down!"

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A.J. Burnett cordially invites you

Yesterday, Nils and I were sitting in a little watering hole down on the South Side following another heart-breaking loss for the Charcoal Nanners (official kickball team of Free Tank Carter), when topic inevitably turned to the Pirates' ongoing regression. I nearly melted down.

Right now, this team's clock reads 11:59. These guys have been unraveling since the break. The offense has disappeared and returned in spurts. The breakout pitcher who was one of the game's best in the first half is facing a relegation to bullpen duty. The relievers are walking guys at a normal, human clip again. Juan Cruz's neck exploded. Rod Barajas continues to play in way more games than he deserves to, and Michael McKenry continues to happily ride the pine 75 percent of the time because he's just a great team guy. The Padres made the Pirates look like the Padres -- or the Pirates made the Padres look like the 2003 Pirates; I'm not really sure how this simile goes, but they have Kip Wells now, so you get the idea.

And part of what's made me feel so fatalistic about the way the Bucs are playing right now, in addition to the piling on from the Nanners' summer season-ending loss, was the same thing that we were all fuming about in April and May. This is the offense? Really? This? And how bright is the future if Indy's getting shut out for six straight games? There are no bats in this system at all, and even the trio of golden arms can't change that right now. Oh, by the way, Tony Sanchez can't hit and Josh Bell's knee exploded. Even if Cole, Taillon and Heredia all pan out, which they won't, we're still looking kinda fucked here. Again, yeah, it's been fun, but I was one of the people happily ignoring the third-order winning percentage in June and July because I wanted so badly for this year to be different. In a sense, it will be. Unless the Pirates turn into Jerry Manuel's Mets, this will be the year the Streak ends. And that's great. But we flew too close to the sun on the wings of Andrew McCutchen's outrageously high BABIP. This organization, while incredibly better than it was five years ago, still won't be in a position to contend two, three, four years down the road unless they suddenly find hitters, and that's not something they've done at all to this point.

The Reds are loaded with bats. St. Louis is better this year than they were last year, and they're closing in. If they get into the playoffs, they can win the whole thing. Milwaukee is down, but won't be for long. The Astros are leaving the division, and the Cubs, mercifully, are and will continue to be garbage. Point is, this has been fun. It's been amazing. And I've tried to keep my optimism tempered, but I've been just as caught up in getting used to the Pirates being over .500 as everyone. I'm not sure that this team will contend next year. This is still ostensibly the same team that in March, I said would win 77, and Nils, a statistician so statistical that he has a goddamn PhD in statistics, said 68. Sixty-eight!

I guess this is all just a long way of saying that 19 years of ignominy have not made your favorite FTC authors immune to the occasional crises of faith and confidence. I was having one of of those crises yesterday.

Today, A.J. Burnett snapped me out of it.

Hanley Ramirez didn't go about his business while rounding the bases after his shot off Burnett in the fourth, and Burnett was visibly peeved. Hanley hit again in the sixth, and this is where a lot of pitchers, if they were going to retaliate at all, would drill a guy, because baseball is stupid like that.

Burnett didn't do that. He struck out Ramirez on a big, sweeping breaking ball, then told him in no uncertain terms to "Sit the Fuck Down."

This moved me. I had goosebumps for fifteen minutes after watching this. I don't know why I was so surprised. Burnett's done this kind of thing all year, and in just this way. He's so much better than everyone else at not giving a fuck, and in being that way, he gives more of a fuck than anyone has ever given a fuck. The level of this man's play and competitiveness are inspiring. He's the quiet, badass kid who kicks the shit out of the playground bully.

Not in my lifetime has anyone ever been this guy for the Pirates. Plenty of guys have talked about not letting other teams push the Bucs around, but those guys have mainly been terrible managers. I love this guy. And if he comes back next year and allows eight runs per start, I'll still love him. He's a sure-fire FTC first-ballot Hall-of-Famer.

Sure, we might not be looking at playoffs this year. And we might not next year. And we might regress to the mean from now until next July. But A.J. Burnett is not going to allow complacency. He will not stand for it.

Thanks for the shot in the arm, dude.

Dejan is a self-righteous wang sometimes, but so am I

Snider stinks because his BAbip of .382 is unsustainably high.

Sanchez career line: .261/.334/.420
McGehee career line: .260/.317/.421

I will say they were cheap whenever I damn well please. They sold prospects to the Astros in exchange for $5m to offset Wandy's contract.

I do not know what "Look at Chase Headley offer" means.

Ned Colletti is a dummy. Shane Victorino isn't a game changer. Hanley Ramirez is an F-factor. The Dodgers are irrelevant to Travis Snider being a shit ballplayer.

Failure to address the minor league bench? Are we talking about the 2011 trade deadline now?

Chad Qualls is garbage. But that doesn't mean I can't also complain that Travis Snider is garbage. The reason we got Qualls was because we were short an arm, because we traded Brad Lincoln for Travis "garbage" Snider. I don't care that he's hitting .325 right now. That's a silly-ass number made up by the BAbip fairy.

My criticism is simply: some of the players on our team suck. I don't know what about that doesn't make sense.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

FRANCO's movie review of the year

We have a lot of business to discuss on ol' Free Tank Carter. This Pirates Fan Advisor Network is the best fan-on-fan scam we've ever seen. The dude is just Nutting all over people's faces, and even the franchise thinks it's getting shameful. Don't worry. We'll get to it.

Tonight we have something far more important to discuss.
Have you ever had that experience where you discover a totally noteworthy movie you never knew existed? Tonight I discovered a totally noteworthy channel I never knew existed, something called "ion," and on it was something called The Fan.
What caught my attention was a black guy in a Giants uniform with an ear piercing, looking a lot like skinny Barry Bonds. "Are we really making movies about that guy already?" I thought. So I watched for another minute. And then out of nowhere came Robert De Niro!
Instantly, I'm transported from made-for-television roid-pic to a legitimate, feature length film about baseball. And I thought I knew all the feature length films about baseball!!!*
So I look this up on my computing machine (no longer just for stats!), and get the low-down from wikipedia.


There's no room for baseball on it because fear is about to strike!! Then read the first few lines of the synopsis!

Gil Renard,
Great name!
a struggling knife salesman,
Great occupation!
is a temperamental divorcé who has been neglecting his responsibilities, namely his young son and his job which he is on the verge of losing due to poor sales.
Shit's about to get real.
Gil has a fervent loyalty to his favorite sport, baseball, and his favorite team, the San Francisco Giants.
Change a couple words around, switch out one professional sports team for another, replace the "young son" with "a couple of hanging house plants," and this is a story about FTC's very own Matt.
I don't want to give away any mid-plot spoilers, so let's skip to the end...
Gil takes Rayburn's son to a baseball field and hides him there.
Maybe I have a weak imagination, but I'm not sure where you hide a person in a baseball field.
He contacts Rayburn to make one demand: hit a home run in the upcoming game, dedicating it to Gil, "a true fan", or he will kill Rayburn's son, after telling Rayburn that life can be unfair sometimes.
This is actually what happened with Jordy Mercer tonight. Bob De Niro abducted his kid, hid him in a baseball field, and then coaxed Jordy into going yard with a death threat. No other explanation.
With the Police on high alert, Gil enters the Giants' stadium in the midst of an on-and-off thunderstorm.
Also like tonight!
Rayburn struggles with his emotions while at bat.
He has a .222/.304/.371 slash line when his son is being held at gun point.
After several pitches, he finally hits the ball deep into the outfield but not over the fence.
HR/FB rate of 0%.
Rayburn attempts to score an inside-the-park home run.
Do not show this movie to Starling Marte.
He is called out, even though he is obviously safe.
When I take a player's son hostage, all I'm going to demand is that the guy not make outs on the bases.
Rayburn begins to argue with the umpire, who turns out to be Gil in disguise.
Rayburn knocks Gil to the ground.
Risking ejection and likely a suspension by the league.
Dozens of Police Officers swarm onto the field, pointing their firearms at the maniacal Gil Renard.
It was all a sting.
Before they arrive, Gil stabs another baseball player, Lanz (John Kruk), who tries to tackle him.
And that right there is the FTC sentence of the year!
I would recommend this movie to all of you, but seeing what that last sentence described couldn't possibly live up to what you imagined it looked like.
Go see it anyway. It's for people who didn't think Mr. 3000 was Taxi Driver enough. In other words: all of us.

* I'm willing to bet I could make a lineup card out of feature length films about baseball. Chew on this, fatties...

LF- The Sandlot
3B- Major League
SS- Bull Durham
RF- The Natural
1B- Pride of the Yankees
CF- Field of Dreams
C- Brewster's Millions
P- Rookie of the Year
2B- Little Big League

Angels In The Outfield is my fourth outfielder. And yes; I bat my pitcher 8th, because it IS more efficient.

Friday, August 3, 2012