The Pirates have won only 3 of 21 games they have played this month. From AP-
Bronson Arroyo limited Pittsburgh to one run over seven innings and the Cincinnati Reds completed their second sweep of the plummeting Pirates in less than a month, winning 4-1 on Thursday to push the Pirates closer to a 100-loss season.
Joey Votto had a two-run double following Drew Sutton’s RBI double in a four-run third inning against Charlie Morton (4-9) as the Reds won their eighth in a row against the last-place Pirates. The Reds are 15 games ahead of the Pirates in the NL Central standings after falling behind them following a loss on Aug. 22.
Since then, fourth-place Cincinnati is 21-10 — although it remain only one loss away from a ninth consecutive losing season — and Pittsburgh is 5-25. Five more losses by the Pirates will give them 100 on the year.
Pittsburgh, long since assured of a record 17th consecutive losing season, has lost six in a row, nine of 10 and 23 of 26 amid the franchise’s worst September spinout since it was 5-22 in September 1998.
The Pirates have obviously given up for 2009. Speaking from experience, it’s hard to impossible to remain interested in a game or a sport you’re competing in if the outcome is of little or no value. In such situations, the usual inclination is to put up no more effort than is absolutely necessary.
At least for the Pirates’ sake, there weren’t many spectators. The paid attendance was 15,892, but the turnstile count was about 3,000
So Pirate fans are about as enthusiastic as the players are about the closing games of the 2009 season. Or is there another factor at work?
the G-20 summit being staged in downtown Pittsburgh held down the turnout.
The crowd was so small that the Pirates closed PNC Park’s upper deck for the first time since the 38,362-seat ballpark opened in 2001 and allowed fans to sit in the lower level.
Were all fans allowed to sit at field level? May as well, it might encourage people to come back to a game next September when the Pirates are again out of the playoff race.
Crowds of under 1,000 are not unheard of for a MLB game. I remember Atlanta Braves games in the 1970′s being played before such small crowds. A no-hitter in the 1960′s was also played before like 1-2,000 fans.
Fans had to go through metal detectors to enter the park. Combine that with the inconveniences caused by the G-20 summit and the meaninglessness of any games the Pirates play this year, I don’t blame Pittsburgh baseball fans for staying home today.
With today’s loss, the Bucs again assured themselves another losing season. From AP-
The Pittsburgh Pirates’ not-so-magic number is zero, or the number of winning teams they’ve had during a record-setting run of futility over 17 forgettable seasons.
The Chicago Cubs assured the Pirates of an unwanted place in baseball’s record book, getting two homers from Derrek Lee and an effective start from Ted Lilly while beating the last-place Pirates 4-2 on Monday.
By losing their 10th in 11 games, the Pirates are guaranteed of finishing below .500, just as they have every season since 1993. The 17 consecutive losing seasons represent the longest streak for any team in the four major North American pro team sports, and only the Phillies (1933-48) have also had as many as 16 in a row.
In 1950, the Phillies made it to the World Series. A quick survey of the present Pirate roster shows little chance of another Whiz Kids team forming. Therefore I think Pittsburgh’s losing streak will get to 20 or more seasons before it is halted.
It is over two years since the Bucs won a game in Milwaukee. From AP-
The streak began when Claudio Vargas beat the Pirates more than two years ago as a starter. After he was released, became a reliever and returned in a trade, the Brewers still haven’t lost to Pittsburgh at home.
Vargas (1-0) threw a scoreless inning in relief of Yovani Gallardo, pinch-hitter Jody Gerut doubled to score the go-ahead run and Milwaukee rallied off Kevin Hart’s wildness for their 20th straight win over the Pirates in Miller Park, beating Pittsburgh 7-3 on Saturday night.
“It’s unbelievable. I played here in ’07 and every time they come here, we win, and every time we go there, we lose,” said Vargas, who went six scoreless innings in a 10-0 win on May 4, 2007. “It’s fun because 20 games straight is real impressive.”
Andy LaRoche homered for the Pirates, but they couldn’t avoid the longest streak by one team over another at home since the Indians beat the Orioles franchise 27 consecutive times at Cleveland Municipal Stadium from 1952-54.
When I first read this, I wondered why the reporter didn’t just say the St. Louis Browns. Then I remembered the Browns transferred to Baltimore after the 1953 season. Unlike the Indians in the 1950′s, the Brewers haven’t been one of the best teams in baseball the last two years. That makes their winning streak pretty remarkable in my opinion.
After falling out of first place in the AL East, the Boston Red Sox took some steps to shore up their roster.
The Red Sox acquired slumping Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Adam LaRoche on Wednesday for two midlevel prospects, less than a year after they picked up All-Star outfielder Jason Bay from the Pirates.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity that a team like that wants me,” said LaRoche, who is hitting .109 since July 4.
The Pirates, who have traded five starting position players since last July, will receive Double-A shortstop Argenis Diaz and Class A right-hander Hunter Strickland, an 18th-round draft pick two years ago.
LaRoche is 29-years-old, and may have had his past years already. It can be argued the Pirates knew this and that was the logic behind the trade. IMHO, that is portraying Pittsburgh’s General Manager as far too intelligent and insightful when it comes to judging talent.
Why don’t MLB just declare Pittsburgh a minor league team? Nobody in that organization’s management or ownership appears dedicated to making the franchise even remotely respectable. The Bucs haven’t had a winning season in over a decade.
Old-time baseball fans will recall the Pirates were terrible in the post WW II years also. However it wasn’t for lack of trying. Branch Rickey was GM for some of those years(46-58) and did make an honest effort to overhaul the team. As bad as the Pirates were back then, they went only 9 years without a winning season compared to the 16-year that is going on at present.
He won 59 games in a career that spanned 10 years. He won 36 games in a Yankee uniform, notching 16 victories in both 1956 and 57. He pitched in three World Series alsoRIP
Tom Sturdivant, who pitched the New York Yankees to victory in Game 4 of the 1956 World Series on the day before Don Larsen’s famed perfect game, has died. He was 78.
Sturdivant threw a complete game in a 6-2 win against the Brooklyn Dodgers on Oct. 7, 1956, to even the best-of-seven series at 2-2 and set the stage for the only perfect game in World Series history. Whitey Ford, Sturdivant, Larsen, Bob Turley and Johnny Kucks threw five straight complete games in that series — a feat that hasn’t been accomplished since.
Sturdivant was a member of the Yankees teams that played in the World Series in three straight years, beginning in 1955. He went 16-8 in 1956 and 16-6 in 1957, when he led the American League in won-lost percentage and was second with a 2.54 ERA.
He hurt his arm the following year and spent the rest of his career pitching with six different teams — Kansas City, Boston, Washington, Pittsburgh, Detroit and the New York Mets.
He finished his 10-year career in 1964 with a record of 59-51 and a 3.74 ERA. He died early Saturday at INTEGRIS Southwest Medical Center in his native Oklahoma City, said hospital spokeswoman Brooke Cayot.
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I remember Roberts. He and Clay Kirby were the 1-2 pitching combo for the Padres in their infant years. His 14-17 2.10 ERA year with the 71 Padres was truly outstanding. For the Padres went 61-100 that year.
Roberts was a journeyman but one able to win over 100 ML games. Which according to wikipedia, makes him the 4th winningest Jewish pitcher in baseball history. He also swung a mean bat for a pitcher as seen in .194 career batting average, 7 career homeruns, and .500 Slugging Pct in 1977 for the Chicago Cubs. RIP.
Dave Roberts, a left-handed pitcher who played for the 1979 World Series champion Pittsburgh Pirates during a 13-year career in the majors, died of lung cancer Friday. He was 64.
Roberts died at his home in Short Gap, according to his wife, Carol, and stepdaughter Kristy Rogan.
Rogan said Roberts had developed lung cancer from asbestos exposure as a young man. During the offseasons, he worked as a boilermaker.
Roberts went 103-125 with a 3.78 ERA for eight teams, beginning in 1969 with the San Diego Padres and ending in 1981 with the New York Mets.
The Pirates got him from the San Francisco Giants in a five-player trade in June 1979 that also sent Bill Madlock to Pittsburgh. Roberts went 5-2 for the Pirates and made one relief appearance in the NL championship series that season.
Roberts also played with Houston, Detroit, the Chicago Cubs and Seattle. He finished second in the NL to Tom Seaver with a 2.10 ERA in 1971 for the Padres, and set career highs of 17 wins and six shutouts with Houston in 1973.
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I remember Ellis from his days pitching with the Pirates. He was a good pitcher, an excellent one in 1971. The story of his pitching a no-hitter while on LSD just doesn’t sound credible. The effect of that drug on people can make even simple activities impossible. RIP.
Dock Ellis, the former major league pitcher best remembered for his flamboyance and social activism as a member of the great Pittsburgh Pirates teams of the 1970s, died Friday of a liver ailment in California, his former agent, Tom Reich, confirmed. Ellis was 63.
His wife, Hjordis, told The Assocaited Press he died at the USC Medical Center in Los Angeles.
“It’s a tremendous loss to the family,” she said. “He’s been struggling for about a year with the end stages of liver disease.”
In his autobiography, “Dock Ellis in the Country of Baseball,” Ellis revealed that he threw a no-hitter against the San Diego Padres in June 1970 while under the influence of LSD.
In May 1974 — in an effort to inspire a lifeless Pittsburgh team — Ellis drilled Pete Rose, Joe Morgan and Dan Driessen in the top of the first inning. After walking Tony Perez, Ellis threw a pitch near Johnny Bench’s head and was lifted from the game by manager Danny Murtaugh.
Ellis also gave up Reggie Jackson’s memorable home run off the Tiger Stadium light tower in the 1971 All-Star Game in Detroit.
Off the field, Ellis spoke freely about racial issues, once telling reporters that he wouldn’t start against Oakland’s Vida Blue in the All-Star Game because Major League Baseball would never start “two soul brothers” against each other.
Ellis went 19-9 in 1971 for the Pirates, who beat the Orioles in the World Series.
“Dock Ellis was my first client in baseball, and he gave me as much joy as anybody outside of my family,” Reich said. “He was so unique. He was viewed by some people as an outlaw, but he was far from that. He was so ahead of his time. He was so intuitive and smart and talented and independent. And he wasn’t about to roll over for the incredible prejudices that existed at the time.
“He was a very special person and he had an absolute army of fans and friends. He was at the cutting edge of so many issues, and he never backed down. I was proud to be his friend and stand with him.”
Ellis suffered from cirrhosis of the liver and was placed on a list to receive a liver transplant in May. The Los Angeles Times wrote that Ellis had no health insurance, but received help paying his medical bills from friends in baseball.
Bill Scaringe, an agent who represented Ellis after he retired, said Ellis worked for years in the California department of corrections helping inmates transition from prison back to the community. He also ran a drug counseling center in Los Angeles.
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Talk about losing investments. From AP-
General Motors’ financial problems are spilling over to another entity that is losing a lot, the Pittsburgh Pirates.
General Motors, currently seeking a bailout worth billions of dollars from the federal government, is not renewing a sponsorship arrangement with the Pirates that expired at the end of last season.
Pittsburgh went 67-95 to tie a major league record with its 16th consecutive losing season.
The Pirates would not estimate Wednesday how much the GM sponsorship was worth, but emphasized the carmaker is ending such deals with other major league teams, not only the Pirates.
I think we’ll see more ripple effects in professional sports from the economic downturn. As of yet, it hasn’t decreased the salaries involved in big name signings.
He saved 28 games last year and was still pitching well. From AP-
Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Salomon Torres retired Tuesday after 12 major league seasons.
The 36-year-old reliever issued a statement through the team saying he wanted to spend more time with his family and faith.
Torres also told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Brewers GM Doug Melvin was very understanding of his decision.
“I had a wonderful experience in Milwaukee but he knows I am serious about it,” Torres told the newspaper.
Torres was 7-5 with a 3.49 ERA and a career-high 28 saves in 71 relief appearances last season. He had a 44-58 career record with a 4.31 ERA and 57 saves for San Francisco, Seattle, Montreal, Pittsburgh and Milwaukee.
Torres remains on the roster of the Brewers, who have until Saturday to exercise a $3.75 million option with a $300,000 buyout.
Torres took a pass on a great deal of money, there has to be a good reason. The ‘I want to spend more time with my family’ explanation probably shouldn’t be applied to athletes like it to politicians and coaches. Maybe Torres has some family issues. Good luck in retirement Salomon Torres.
He was a key member of the Brooklyn Dodgers in the late 40′s and early 50′s. His best year was 1951, when he went 22-3. What was Dodger Manager Charlie Dressen thinking in the famous ‘shot around the world’ game when he pulled Don Newcombe only to put in Ralph Branca. Branca hadn’t just pitched two days earlier but had given up numerous gopher balls to Bobby Thomson. I think 7 alone in 1951. Yes Branca gave the Dodgers the platoon advantage, but based on everything else Preacher Roe was the best available option. Roe, wasn’t used at all in the 3-game series versus the New York Giants. RIP.
Roe died Sunday in West Plains, Mo., said the funeral home handling the arrangements. His own Web site listed his age as 92 — other reference materials differed by a year or two.
Roe went 127-84 in a 12-year career with the Dodgers, Pittsburgh and St. Louis. But it was in Booklyn, where he played alongside the likes of Pee Wee Reese, Jackie Robinson, Gil Hodges, Ralph Branca and others at Ebbets Field, where he enjoyed his greatest success and acclaim.
Though those Dodgers teams of the 1940s and 1950s won only one World Series — Roe was part of three teams that lost to the New York Yankees — they became a beloved part of the borough. And Roe, a skinny left-hander and mathematics teacher from a small town in Arkansas, was among the fan favorites in the big city.
“He enjoyed playing the role of a country bumpkin, but he wasn’t one,” Branca recalled by phone Monday night. “He was real smart and real crafty on the mound.
“He threw two pitches, a slider and his ‘Beech-Nut slider.’ Beech-Nut was a gum we all chewed back then. He knew how to use that juice to get that ball all wet,” he said.
After retiring, Roe admitted in a Sports Illustrated story that he had benefited for years by throwing a spitball.
Like his age, there was no pinning down exactly how Elwin Charles Roe got his nickname. According to one family story, he dubbed himself “Preacher” at a young age because he admired a local preacher.
Branca remembered it differently.
“We all called him ‘Preacher’ because he could talk your ear off,” he said. “If there was no one around, he would talk to the wall.”
Roe led the NL in strikeouts in 1945 with Pittsburgh. He posted his best season in 1951, going 22-3 for the Dodgers — he did not, however, start in the three-game pennant playoff with the New York Giants, capped by Bobby Thomson’s famous home run.
Roe helped put the Dodgers into the World Series in 1949, 1952 and 1953. He started a game in each of those matchups with the Yankees, going 2-1 and completing all three outings.
Known for his sharp control, Roe finished with a career 3.43 ERA and pitched 101 complete games.
Roe made his big league debut with St. Louis in 1938 and pitched only once for the Cardinals. He spent the next several years in the minors and returned to the majors with Pittsburgh in 1944.
Roe’s path stalled for a few years following a brawl back home in Arkansas. He was coaching a girls’ high school basketball team, got into a dispute with a referee and, according to local stories, wound up with a fractured skull.
“He wouldn’t fly with us,” Branca said. “It made his head hurt. He always took the train.”
The Pirates traded Roe, infielder Billy Cox and reserve Gene Mauch to Brooklyn for former star outfielder Dixie Walker and two other players after the 1947 season.
Roe retired after going 3-4 in 1954 and later owned a grocery store in West Plains. He often attended the Dodgers’ adult baseball camps at Dodgertown in Vero Beach, Fla.
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