1979 Family Reunites as Pittsburgh Pirates Rout Cincinnati Reds

Members of the 1979 world championship Pirates together with the World Series trophy before Saturday night’s game. From left to right, top row, Omar Moreno, Bruce Kison, partially blocked by Chuck Tanner, Kent Tekulve, Bill Madlock, wife of the late slugger Willie Stargell, Margaret Stargell, Don Robinson, and Rennie Stennett,, Bottom row right to left are Dale Berra , Mike Easler, Grant Jackson, Steve Nicosia and Phil Garner.

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Often, when the Pirates have some commemorative event for a championship team, then win the game later the same day, all kinds of intangible, inspirational connections get made.

To be sure, plenty of those were heard after the 12-2 rout of the Cincinnati Reds last night before 32,570 at PNC Park: It brought a season-best five-game winning streak, and it followed a moving ceremony to honor 22 members of the 1979 Family, highlighted by Chuck Tanner, 80 years old and recovering from heart surgery, getting warmly embraced as all huddled around their World Series trophy.

It was, as pitcher Zach Duke would describe it, “A great moment, for us and for the city.”

For Ryan Doumit, it was more.

And not just because he busted out of a 4-for-34 funk with a home run, double, single and three RBIs.

Flash back to a few minutes before 7 p.m., as Doumit, Duke and pitching coach Joe Kerrigan came up the tunnel steps on the way to Duke’s warmup. Near the bat rack was Tanner, who is more than just an acquaintance to Doumit, having once pleaded his case to management that Doumit should be the everyday catcher by pounding his fist on a meeting-room table during spring training of 2008.

This time, Tanner grabbed Doumit by the elbow, caught his full attention and gave him an old-fashioned earful.

As always with Tanner, it was all positive.

How cool to see all those wonderful faces together again, holding that magic trophy.

One more time, sing it Sister:

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/

What the Hell is Wrong with the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Owners?

I was originally going to title this piece, “What the Hell is wrong with the Pittsburgh Pirates?”  However, I thought better of that.

It’s not the Pirates.  It’s the owners.

It’s the owners who are hell-bent on screwing this team into the ground.  And then killing them some more.

Why do these idiot owners trade away their brightest and strongest athletes?

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has the sad news:

If nothing else, these Pirates careened into the All-Star break with a clear course: Barring a huge reversal, they will break the major professional sports record with a 17th consecutive losing season.

Easily, at that.

With their no-suspense 5-2 loss to Philadelphia yesterday at Citizens Bank Park, one in which Virgil Vasquez was knocked out after 1 1/3 innings and the offense again mustered precious little, the Pirates:

  • Were swept in three by the Phillies.
  • Completed a 2-7 road trip, part of a broader 3-11 slide.
  • Dropped to a season-low 12 games under .500 at 38-50 overall.

That record projects to 69-93 over the full season, which, of course, projects to history.

It’s not the kids’ fault.  This is a calculated decision on the part of the ownership to maximize their revenue, and screw the team and the fans.  These owners are ONLY about money.  They’ve decided there’s no chance they can win, so they do everything possible to kill this team’s chances of success, including trading away every good and great player who has played for the team over the past 17 years.

Are these owners idiots, or just stupid?   Or are they just plain greedy?   Is it really that profitable to run a lousy baseball team?

The Pittsburgh Pirates have a long, noble tradition.

Not too long ago, there were people of honor working with and for the Pirates.  I believe most of the men on the roster today are men of honor.

Robert Nutting, who the hell are you anyway?  What is your interest in baseball, and why to you treat the Pirates as the National League’s favorite farm team?

Why is Nutting taking this noble team and systematically running it into the ground?  Who is he on the take for?

And what would our Roberto say about all of this?

Awesome Roberto Clemente Special on American Experience

American Experience on PBS ran an incredible special tonight on Roberto Clemente.  Seeing and hearing The Great One again was haunting.  Watching him reach his 3,000th hit was incredible.  It was only short time later that he took off  on that fateful flight on December 31, 1972…

Watch the entire special online here.

Here’s a brief excerpt from the introduction:

On December 31, 1972, Roberto Clemente, a thirty-eight-year-old baseball player for the Pittsburgh Pirates, boarded a DC-7 aircraft loaded with relief supplies for survivors of a catastrophic earthquake in Managua, Nicaragua. Concerned over reports that the Nicaraguan dictatorship was misusing shipments of aid, Clemente, a native of nearby Puerto Rico, hoped his involvement would persuade the government to distribute relief packages to the more than 300,000 people affected by the disaster. Shortly after take off, the overloaded aircraft plunged into the Atlantic Ocean, just one mile from the Puerto Rican coast. Roberto Clemente’s body was never recovered.

AMERICAN EXPERIENCE presents Roberto Clemente, a one-hour documentary about an exceptional baseball player and committed humanitarian, who challenged racial discrimination to become baseball’s first Latino superstar. From independent filmmaker Bernardo Ruiz, Clemente features interviews with Pulitzer Prize-winning authors David Maraniss (Clemente) and George F. Will (Men at Work: The Craft of Baseball), Clemente’s wife Vera, Baseball Hall of Famer Orlando Cepeda, and former teammates, to present an intimate and revealing portrait of a man whose passion and grace made him a legend.

Roberto Clemente’s untimely death brought an end to a spectacular career. In his eighteen seasons with the Pirates, he led the team to two World Series championships, won four National League batting titles, received the Most Valuable Player award, and earned twelve consecutive Gold Gloves. In his final turn at bat for the 1972 season, Clemente made his 3,000th career hit — an achievement that had been reached by ten major league players before him, and only fifteen since.

The Great One: Roberto Clemente.

Again, watch the entire special online here.