MLB 2013 (Primarily non-Nats/O's

Man cannot live by Redskins alone

Jugband McGillicuddy

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Army Marshall


MLB 2013 (Primarily non-Nats/O's)

The past two seasons have brought something to the city of Pittsburgh that had been in short supply in the previous two decades worth of springs. Hope.

It's not that false hopey-changey, feel-good crap we hear about come election time either. It's hope for legitimate change. Heading into 2013, I actually believe the current and longest streak of consecutive losing seasons by a major pro sports team in the United States is about to come to an end.

The Pirates were competitive until early summer in 2011; and into August last year. This year, I really believe they are poised for a deeper, and quite possibly playoff, run.

The resurgence has been led primarily by two guys. The first, Andrew McCutchen, became a household name in 2012.

McCutchen's power numbers have increased in each of his four big-league seasons. Last season, he led the NL in hits (194) while posting a huge .327 average, 31 dingers and 96 RBI. He's the kind of kid that we Bucs fans have become accustomed to watching, enduring their MLB growing pains, then watching them leave for greener pastures.

But this is a different team. And GM Neal Huntington is taking a different approach.

Huntington inked Cutch through 2018, with a team option for 2019. Seven years. For the next SEVEN YEARS, the best player on my favorite team will REMAIN with my favorite team. I can't tell you how good that feels, after having watched Bonds, Bonilla, Bell, Van Slyke, King, on and on, finish their careers NOT in black and gold.

He's a stellar CF too, earning his first gold glove a season ago. But as great as he is on the field, he's an even better guy. I went to a game last year that was followed by a Boyz II Men concert. During the show, Cutch came out, took a seat in the crowd, and just hung out, signing autographs and whatnot. He reminds me a lot of RG3. Great ball player. Better kid.

Speaking of the "good guys." I was surprised last year by how much of a leader A.J. Burnett is. He's almost taken on that Pops Stargell type of role. He mentors the younger pitchers. He's a rock for them to go to when they need an ear. And they all want to earn his respect.

He handed out t-shirts last year to the guys that exemplified what it is to be an MLB pitcher. And the guys wanted them. It meant something to them to get one.

Burnett himself resurrected his career last year too. After back-to-back seasons in New York posting ERAs over 5, posted a 3.51 en route to winning 16 games. We'll hope to have a similar turn around from Francisco Liriano this year. Liriano hasn't posted an ERA under 5 since 2010, but if he can return to his 2006-08 form, we should have a pretty formidable rotation -- Burnett, Wandy Rodriguez, McDonald, Liriano and Jeff Karstens. There isn't a true "ace" in the bunch. But there aren't any holes either.

The Pirates also outbid...haha...I can't believe I'm about to say this...THE PITTSBURGH PIRATES OUTBID THE NEW YORK YANKEES FOR CATCHER RUSSELL MARTIN!!! :laugh:

You don't think this is a new era of Bucco baseball? Read that one more time. The Pirates outbid the Yankees for a player! And it filled a colossal hole. Our backstops last year couldn't have thrown ME out if I was trying to steal second AND third on a single pitch.

We dealt Joel Hanrahan to the Red Sox, which sucks. He's a good closer, and a star in the community. But we got back legitimate prospects, as well as reliever Mark Melancon and 1B/OF Jerry Sands, both of whom could make the opening-day roster. (It'll be tougher for Sands, seeing as we already have about 57 1B/OFs on the 40-man roster. lol)

If Pedro Alvarez (30 HRs in 2012) continues to develop, and Starling Marte continues to look like the real deal in left, we have a pretty formidable lineup. McCutchen (31 HRs), Alvarez (30) and Garrett Jones (27) became the first trio of Pirates to hit more than 25 HRs in a season since Stargell, Clemente and Donn Clendenon did it in 1966. And in a full season, Marte could flirt with that number as well. I'd be shocked if he hit fewer than 20.


My 2013 predictions: 90 wins, 2nd in NLC. Wild Card. Cutch hits 35 HRs, drives in 112, but his average drops to the high .280s. Alvarez breaks out and flirts with 40 HRs. Marte adds 24. Liriano tosses a no-no. Clint Hurdle is MOY.


Thanks in advance for all the tl;dr's that are about to follow. But come on over here around the hot stove. It's almost time for pitchers and catchers to report.

LET'S GO BUCS!!! WHY NOT US?!?!

:)
 

tshile

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George Mason

I really like McCutchen. That's the extent of what I know about the pirates. I hope he has a great career :)
 

Elephant

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Florida State

So...who had the better record between the Bucs and the O's last year?
 

Elephant

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Florida State

O's.

Thanks for your usual outstanding contribution. ;)

Well, I was kinda wondering if you ever paid up on a bet you made about the Bucs finishing the season with a better record?
 

Jugband McGillicuddy

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Army Marshall

That was the statuses-for-a-week bet, right Brian? As I recall, you called that off after 4 or 5 days. If I owe you though, I certainly have NO problem paying up.
 

Elephant

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Florida State

That was the statuses-for-a-week bet, right Brian? As I recall, you called that off after 4 or 5 days. If I owe you though, I certainly have NO problem paying up.
I never called it off...
 

Elephant

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Florida State

It was a week's worth. I know you sent me 3 or 4. But I remember you saying at one point, basically, OK, that's enough.

Let's do this.

One more. Then we'll call it good.

Fair?
One more bet?
 

Elephant

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Florida State

I bet you that at some point you will over state the quality of the Pittsburgh Pirates during the 2013 season...
 

Jugband McGillicuddy

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Army Marshall

We struggled against garbage teams last year, Mike. No doubt. :)

In other news, '71 and '79, O's fans; both game 7's. Both in your house. Oh, and DC? We're also 1-0 against DC teams in the World Series. **** the 1925 Senators! lol
 

Jugband McGillicuddy

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Army Marshall

That's a great question. We played .500 ball against the world champs, so by your logic, we're as good as them. But worse than you...hmm...I'll have to get back to you on that. :)
 

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