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View Full Version : USA Today article: Pirates on the Verge of Breaking Through?


alittlejazzbird
03-20-2007, 03:13 PM
Nice article about the team....curious to know your thoughts on it, and on the season ahead...


Pirates on the verge of breaking through?
By Seth Livingstone, USA TODAY
BRADENTON, Fla. ? Pittsburgh Pirates manager Jim Tracy watched pitcher Paul Maholm give up three runs in the first inning of a spring training game against the New York Yankees. Yet Tracy wasn't bummed out. That's because Maholm limited the damage and followed with two shutout innings. "Last season we'd have been more than likely out of that game in the first inning," Tracy says. "To walk back out there like that kid did and rectify himself with two very easy innings, that's growth."

It's all about that maturation process for a Pittsburgh team that will ? on paper ? closely resemble the one that finished the season 37-35 after a 30-60 start last season. The 2006 team that dropped 24 of 33 one-run games before the break went 14-6 in those type of games in the second half.

"We have the opportunity to use that second half as a springboard," Tracy says. "There is enough talent in this room to be a very successful team."

Can the 2007 Pirates become a National League version of the 2006 Tigers? "I'm not in the prediction business, other than to say that I think we've gotten better and I think better days are ahead," general manager Dave Littlefield says.

There are parallels to the Tigers for a Pirates franchise down so long (14 consecutive losing seasons) that it seemed to have forgotten how to win.

As the Pirates pitching staff grows together, it might be complementing a lineup that's in full bloom. The Pirates added the left-handed power they were lacking by trading for first baseman Adam LaRoche, who hit a career-high 32 homers for the Atlanta Braves. He boosts an offense that was last in the NL in runs scored but features NL batting champ Freddy Sanchez at third and All-Star outfielder Jason Bay (35 homers, 109 RBI).

"He adds to our team a strategic component," Tracy says. "We were way too right-handed. All those one-run games we were involved in last year, teams passed on pitching to Sanchez and Bay."

Bay sees something else: "To be able to go out and find a guy who fit our profile ? a young guy like LaRoche, who was probably the No. 1 guy on the wish list ? how many teams are able to say, 'We want this guy,' and actually get him? That's big for us and our fans. We've been on the other end of a few of those deals."

Tracy is stressing that an unselfish, back-to-basics approach with his pitchers as well as position players. "Our pitchers are beginning to gain a full understanding of what they have to do in order to give themselves a chance to win," he says.

"I see a lot of young guys that are hungry to get on the right track and start wining," LaRoche says of his new surroundings. "For years, this team has asked guys to step into the middle of the fire. They don't have that year or two cushion. It's nice that just about all of them have at least a year's experience."

At 28, newly acquired right-hander Tony Armas is the only member of the rotation older than 25. Armas will be joined by lefties Maholm (11-11 in his first 36 big-league starts), opening-day starter Zach Duke (18-17 in his first two seasons) and Tom Gorzelanny (2-5 as a rookie), as well as right-hander Ian Snell, who won 14 games last year.

"Our guys still have to continue to get better, especially our starting pitching," Bay says. "That's basically where we live and die. But we're more confident knowing what Snell did last year and what Gorzelanny and Maholm did."

"It's the first time I've come to camp where you see everyone believing we have a chance to go out and do something special," says Jack Wilson, Pittsburgh's starting shortstop for a seventh season. "We do think we're going to turn some heads this season."

X-Terminator
03-20-2007, 06:45 PM
I'll believe it when I see it, cuz I've seen nothing that indicates that it won't be anything other business as usual this season.

The Pirates will NEVER win so long as the 3 Stooges and their lackey Littlebrain are in charge.

Borski
03-20-2007, 07:58 PM
There looking for another miracle team like a George Mason or something, I'm a Die-Hard Bucco's fan and I know this wont happen. I'll be happy if we finish over .500.

I think if we can spend some more money we might be competive in 2 or 3 years, if we dont, well, we'll be at the bottom of the league for a long time to come

BettisFan
03-20-2007, 10:26 PM
yea same i hope we can cut it even

tony hipchest
03-20-2007, 10:58 PM
by the looks of this article, the yankees and redsox must be pleased with the progress their farm team is showing.

depressing, but true. atleast the hope of finally reaching .500 is still alive and well (til mid may of course)

the 1 run loss count sure is a hoot though. 24 of 33 before the break :dang:

i sure am glad i dont care for baseball as much as football. i hope this article is on to something though (but i doubt it)

BettisFan
03-20-2007, 11:25 PM
yea baseball to me is the most boring sport i have tried i went to three games left all of them in the 3 inning!! sooo boring

Edman
03-23-2007, 05:07 PM
The Pirates were on the "verge of breaking through" for years now. So this article comes off to me as BS. I expect nothing different. Why? Mclacky, Littlefield, and the Nutcases still run the team and the MLB is still a "big teams win all" league with Brain-fart Buddy Selig running the show.

BettisFan
03-23-2007, 06:30 PM
i say we barley get over 500

Fire Haley
04-22-2007, 02:26 PM
not a chance


2007

MLB TEAM PAYROLL (US$)

1. NY Yankees 195,229,045
2. Boston 142,991,214
3. NY Mets 116,115,819
4. LA Angels 109,251,333
5. LA Dodgers 108,704,524
6. Seattle 106,516,833
7. Chicago Sox 100,680,167
8. Chicago Cubs 99,936,999
9. Detroit 95,180,369
10. San Francisco 90,469,056
11. St. Louis 90,286,823
12. Atlanta 89,492,685
13. Philadelphia 89,368,213
14. Houston 87,759,500
15. Baltimore 85,227,808
16. Oakland 79,938,369
17. Toronto 79,925,600
18. Milwaukee 71,986,500
19. Minnesota 71,439,500
20. Cincinnati 69,654,980
21. Texas 68,818,675
22. Kansas City 67,366,500
23. Cleveland 61,289,667
24. San Diego 58,235,567
25. Colorado 54,424,000
26. Arizona 52,067,546
27. Pittsburgh 38,604,500
28. Washington 36,967,500
29. Florida 30,507,000
30. Tampa Bay 24,124,200

rbryan
04-24-2007, 09:59 AM
Pretty soon we can all watch the Yankees play the Red Sox every other weekend. The knuckleheads running MLB don't seem to concerned with the fact that 2/3 of the franchises in Baseball are going to be out of business in the next ten years. If you live in NY,Boston LA, Atlanta, an maybe a handfull of other markets you love the game. And why not your team makes the playoffs every year.

No salary Cap, No point in watching. Baseball is a dying sport in this country.

Jeremy
04-24-2007, 10:05 AM
Pretty soon we can all watch the Yankees play the Red Sox every other weekend. The knuckleheads running MLB don't seem to concerned with the fact that 2/3 of the franchises in Baseball are going to be out of business in the next ten years. If you live in NY,Boston LA, Atlanta, an maybe a handfull of other markets you love the game. And why not your team makes the playoffs every year.

No salary Cap, No point in watching. Baseball is a dying sport in this country.

:blah:

That's why the independent leagues are expanding and setting attendance records.

Borski
04-24-2007, 10:11 AM
Pretty soon we can all watch the Yankees play the Red Sox every other weekend. The knuckleheads running MLB don't seem to concerned with the fact that 2/3 of the franchises in Baseball are going to be out of business in the next ten years. If you live in NY,Boston LA, Atlanta, an maybe a handfull of other markets you love the game. And why not your team makes the playoffs every year.

No salary Cap, No point in watching. Baseball is a dying sport in this country.

I agree, when one player on the Yankees makes more than the whole team of the Devil Rays, its pretty bad, the MLB needs to buckle down and fix its problem. I dont think it will ever get as populer as it used to be, but at least it will be fun to watch again.

rbryan
04-24-2007, 10:35 AM
:blah:

That's why the independent leagues are expanding and setting attendance records.

I stand corrected, "Major league" baseball is a dying sport. Your statement supports that. Most baseball fans are disgusted with MLB, thats why more are watching the independent leagues. But in the end, MLB's decline will drag down the sport altogether. Check out who's playing the sport on the high school level. Way more kids playing soccer than baseball anymore. It's sad.

Jeremy
04-24-2007, 10:50 AM
I stand corrected, "Major league" baseball is a dying sport. Your statement supports that. Most baseball fans are disgusted with MLB, thats why more are watching the independent leagues. But in the end, MLB's decline will drag down the sport altogether. Check out who's playing the sport on the high school level. Way more kids playing soccer than baseball anymore. It's sad.

I'm not sure where you live, but here in Arizona soccer is a third tier sport. Baseball is far and away more popular than soccer. I know for a fact the same thing goes for most of Florida and most of Texas.

Besides, soccer has never really gained the mainstream following that baseball still enjoys. Watch a MLS match sometime. The stands are maybe half full in the smaller stadium they're building here in the states. Kids who play soccer don't become adults who go to soccer matches. Hell, lacrosse has a better chance of catching on than soccer.