Tag Archives: Pittsburgh

A Wild Wild Finish…It’s Just The Beginning…

Leading Off…

Still talking about that wild finish from what Vin called, The Wild Horse ? Baseball is a crazy game isn’t it ?…It’s no stretch when they say it’s a game of inches. If Nationals SS Danny Espinoza is shaded a couple more inches to his left that hard ground ball Puig hits up the middle gives this game a different ending huh ? A couple more inches to his left and Espinoza forgoes the dive toward the ball and instead of a mob at the plate a possible game ending 6-4-3 ends a 4 game losing streak for the NL East leading Nats and they’re the ones walking the post game victory line. Instead, the Nationals are now on a 5 game skid while the Dodgers are currently on a 6 game streak as well as winning 8 of their last 10.

A game of inches this great game is. For every line drive that finds a glove, a routine grounder finds a hole…It happens…That’s the law of averages…That’s baseball…No big deal right ? Puig keeps the rally going…Now we get runners on 1st and 2nd…Until that ground ball hit that was inches from Espinoza’s glove found more than just a hole…

 

yasiel-puig-walk-off-nationals-dodgers Photo: Harry How/Getty Images

 Nationals Center Fielder Michael Taylor, doing a bat flip ( Not that kind… ) after 1 of 5 times he would strike out ( AP Photo: Chris Carlson )

Striking out 5 times was not even the worst part of Taylor’s night. On a night the Dodgers would honor the current Nationals skipper with his own bobblehead, the frantic finish that couldn’t have been scripted by even the most acclaimed Hollywood writer…Michale Taylor’s performance Wednesday night could perhaps be the worst performance ever by a single MLB player.

My fandom for Dodger baseball and the game started in 1980. Dusty Baker was roaming the outfield for The Blue. I’m not so sure if I’ve seen a performance that was worse than what Taylor displayed Wednesday night. And yet, even with that performance, we all would trade in our bad day’s at the office for his…In a heartbeat. 

img_20160623_164222.jpgDusty Baker Bobblehead…I tend to think this looks more like Pedro Guerrero (Photo: Marly Rivera, ESPN)

Around The NL West…

The Dodgers have won 6 in a row, 8 of their last 10. Unfortunately, the Giants have been hot themselves, winning 11 of their last 12, including a just concluded 6-1 road trip. In that span, the Dodgers have gained a mere half game in the standings, finding themselves 6 back. At 41-33, only 4 other teams currently have more wins than The Boys in Blue. Not bad considering the inconsistencies our offense has endured as well as our health issues among the starting 5…

While the Rockies continue to hang around, while Zack Greinke has recovered from a slow start and another solid season from Paul Goldschmidt, the off-season expectations have not panned out for The Snakes. The Padres continue to look up at the rest of the division and may want to unload some pieces before the August 1st non-waiver deadline. I said before the season that Matt Kemp would be on the trading block and I still believe that. Known for his 2nd half of the season finishes, Kemp has actually had some decent offensive numbers to this point, going yard 15 times with 54 RBIs, ranking 4th in the NL with a modest .268 average. 

Because Kemp has been a defensive liability, something we would not have thought of in 2011, an AL team would be a good fit for him for the stretch run ( Yes folks, I’m thinking Matt as a DH, with some occasional starts in the OF). Perhaps the Astros, who have played some good ball lately, would be a good fit for Matt, especially at hitter friendly Minute Maid Park ?

Now back to The Blue. At 6 games back, the NL West race is far from over. The current 6 game wining streak, 4 of which found them pulling it off from the 8th inning on, should hopefully carry the momentum as they embark on a 7 game road trip that begins in Pittsburgh. 

As we all know, The Blue still needs reinforcements both offensively and among the backend of the starting 5. The latest talk has The Blue looking at both Sonny Gray and Julio Teheran to solidify the rotation.

On The Road…PNC Park, Pittsburgh PA

Dre_PNCPark One of 17 of the current 30 MLB parks i’ve visited, September 2005

One of my favorite parks I’ve had the chance to visit. A visit to PNC is definitely worth the hype… If you can, walk across the Roberto Clemente Bridge on your way to the game. The late Pirate legend has a statue outside the left field gate that every baseball fan should view…

Dre_PirateParrot Kicking’ it with The Pirate Parrot. ” Your Bucs we’re not help against the Jints this week ! ” 

9th Inning…BELIEVE

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A 6 game deficit in June is nothing….The Dog Days of Summer is only beginning folks…

 

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AT&T Park vs PNC Park

Over the years I have been blessed with the opportunity to travel to various yards throughout my Stadium Journey quest.  Putting personal bias aside, AT&T Park and PNC Park are no doubt two of the most scenic yards I have ventured to.  So, in Drei’s book, how do they match up ?  

Both yards are very intimate in size.  Both have scenic backdrops.  Both have a sense of charm that are reflect the local culture….

In and around AT&T Park, with a Touch of Blue….

In and around PNC Park, Sept 2005…

These two yards really do rank highly in my ballpark journey’s.  Outside The Ravine, if I had to choose which yard get’s the edge for that top spot in Drei’s book of ballpark’s traveled ?  Hmm ?  I think i’m gonna have to go with a tie-breaker on this one.  Who get’s the tie-breaker ?

PNC_NIGHT

Slight edge to PNC Park.  Two factors.  The first was a hard one.  Skyline or water ?  At night, the Pittsburgh skyline, accented with the Roberto Clemente Bridge, makes for a more picturesque backdrop especially at night.  The second factor ?  Let’s just say this…  A Dodger fan just wrote this piece….

Dre_PirateParrot

Kickin’ it with The Pirate Parrot.  Hey, 2 straight October’s at PNC Park for you !!!

PNC_CLEMENTE

Roberto Clemente statue outside the left field entrance with the Roberto Clemente bridge in the back.  Roberto Clemente started off in the Brooklyn Dodger organization, playing for their farm system in 1954 with the Montreal Royals.

For You Ballpark and Other Stadium Travelers…

Here’s a couple of formal reviews of AT&T Park and PNC Park .  Need some tips on your ballpark travels for 2015 or other stadium ventures ?  Check us out at Stadium Journey for your sports themed travel tips !!!

 

From 42 to 21, Some Dodgers/Pirates History and a Look at PNC Park

The Dodgers take on the Pirates tonight in the 2nd of a 3 game set at PNC Park, with the Boys in Blue winning last night behind 7 strong innings from Hyun-Jin Ryu and some early run support. The Dodgers and Pirates are two of the most storied franchises in the bigs. Both organizations can proudly say that two of the games most influential players played for them.

Dre_JackieNRoberto Two of my favorite pieces of baseball art, honoring Jackie Robinson and Roberto Clemente, numbers 42 and 21 respectively .

Most of you are familiar with Jackie Robinson’s story. You may also be familiar with Roberto Clemente as well, especially if you are a fan of the Bucs. But did you know that Roberto Clemente played one season with the Montreal Royals in 1954 , the Triple A affiliation of the Brooklyn Dodgers. The same organization where Jackie Robinson played before his historic entrance to the bigs in 1947.

Clemente_MontrealRoyals Roberto Clemente, Montreal Royals, 1954. Imagine Roberto Clemente donning the Dodger Blue and roaming the outfield of Dodger Stadium in the 60s …

There are plenty of tributes to Roberto Clemente in around PNC Park, one of my favorite yards I’ve had the privilege to visit.

ClementeBridge The Roberto Clemente Bridge, closed off to vehicular traffic on game days so fans can walk across the river to the park…

ClementeBridge_VideoPicofClemente Paying tribute to Roberto …

plaque

ClementeStatueNBridge Statue honoring Roberto Clemente behind the left field entrance of PNC Park with the Roberto Clemente Bridge in the distance. Perhaps someday Dodger Stadium will have a statue of Jackie Robinson. In the meantime, we do have the number 42 up on the top deck …

42_RetiredNumberTopDeck

If you do want to see a statue of Jackie Robinson…

Jackie_Statue Located along the 1st base concourse at Jackie Robinson stadium in L.A.’s west side, where the UCLA Bruins baseball team plays it’s home games .

Trivia

Clemente_21footwall Why is the right field wall at PNC Park exactly 21 feet high ?

More from my past visit to PNC Park, a yard that you ballpark road-trippers must visit…

PNC_behindhomeplate What a view …

Dre_PNCPark Greetings from PNC Park, September 2005 …

Dre_PirateParrot Another one of my furry friends i’ve befriended on my ballpark travels, the Pirate Parrot. Perhaps our teams may see each other in October Mr. Parrot ?

Coming Home, All Tied Up

With the series now evened at 1 games apiece, Hyun-Jin Ryu takes the hill tomorrow for the Blue in their attempt to move one game closer to a trip to the NLCS.  Aside from Kershaw’s dominant performance in Game 1, it’s been all about timely hitting as 9 of the 16 total runs scored between the two teams have been scored with 2 outs. All 5 of the Braves runs scored in the two games have come with 2 outs, including Jason Heyward’s clutch 2 out RBI single off Paco Rodriguez that gave the Braves a 4-1 cushion which would eventually loom big when Hanley Ramirez’s 2 run shot in the 8th brought the Dodgers to within 1 run. Many questioned Mattingly’s decision to have Rodriguez walk Reid Johnson to set up the lefty-lefty matchup against a struggling Heyward. Oh yeah, the 2nd guess ( Something we do a lot especially in October. I actually agreed with the move, it just wasn’t executed as planned. Also, on a sidenote, I’m sure most of you know that Paco has struggled the last month and a half now and many are speculating fatigue for the youngster, given he has not pitched this late into the season in his young career. However, should the Blue advance to the NLCS, do you go with just 1 other lefty in the bullpen in J.P. Howell and replace Paco with either Marmol or League. [ Did I just say Brandon League ?] ) . Oh the October storylines….

Gordon says replays show he was safe

Personally, I also thought he was safe to, and as much as I love to hate on umpires, that was too close to call. Also, leaving 10 on the basepaths and grounding into 3 double play’s sure didn’t help the Blue out last night. I watched [a replay] as soon as I came in,” Dee Gordon said. “I’m not going to harp on what he called. I thought I was safe.”

In Other NLDS News….

The Pirates, after being thrashed in Game 1 of their NLDS series with the Cardinals, bounced back nicely to take Game 2 of their series 7-1, knotting their series at 1 apiece as well heading to PNC Park for Game 3 . The Bucs had a decided edge against the Red Birds at PNC Park this season, winning 7 of 10 and will have one of their hottest pitchers going for them in Game 3 in Nelson Liriano. BucTober fever has sure caught on in the Steel City….

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From Pittsburgh’s St. Clair Hospital, dubbed as BuccoBabies. Hey, why not ?

BLUE OUT DODGER STADIUM

blue

Along with the rest of L.A., i’m expecting an electric atmosphere at The Ravine tomorrow. Heck, how ’bout a Blue Out ? Everyone in Blue, like you see in most sports venues these days during the playoffs. I’ve always been a strong supporter of the All as One look for the playoffs. Besides, plus, you’re at a Dodgers game, not at Staples Center ( As big a Lakers fan I am, there’s just too much bling there … )

OK….. STOP THE CHOP !!!!!

And Now…. We Wait

But if you still haven’t had enough from last Thursday, well then here goes…

Oh yeah, just to get this off my chest…. IT’S A SWIMMING POOL FOR CRYING OUT LOUD !!!! OK, I won’t go into any more of the pool crashing story lines, but I gotta say, it sure looked very inviting, could you really blame our Boys in Blue for taking the celebratory plunge ? Hey, having come from 9.5 back and to overcome the early season adversity, I’d say they certainly earned it…..

OK, now comes the waiting game. With 6 games to go, the only thing we do now aside from play out the string, is wait and see who we get in the LDS and see if we start here in L.A. or elsewhere. And with the records of the Dodgers, Cardinals, and Braves , the 3 division leaders, only seperated by 1.5 games, the top seed and still up for grab. As for the Cardinals, who are already guaranteed a post-season spot, they currently sit 2 games up on both the Reds and Pirates for the NL Central Crown. As for the Reds and Pirates, with both of them winning tonight, both have also been asured of playing past this Sunday as well, so congratulations to both clubs especially the Pittsburgh Pirates !!! Hey, 22 straight losing season is more than enough to endure. And with 5 games left, though they would need some help along the way they just may steal the NL Central…. Allright, here are the current NL standings….

MLB National League
NL Central W L PCT GB HOME AWAY L10 STRK

Cardinals 92 65 .586 – 49-27 43-38 6-4 W1

Reds 90 67 .573 2.0 49-26 41-41 7-3 W2

Pirates 90 67 .573 2.0 50-31 40-36 5-5 W1

Brewers 70 86 .449 21.5 37-44 33-42 6-4 W2

Cubs 65 92 .414 27.0 30-49 35-43 2-8 L2

NL West W L PCT GB HOME AWAY L10 STRK

Dodgers 90 66 .577 – 46-32 44-34 4-6 W2

Diamondbacks 79 77 .506 11.0 44-34 35-43 6-4 L1

Padres 73 83 .468 17.0 43-35 30-48 6-4 W1

Giants 72 84 .462 18.0 38-38 34-46 6-4 W1

Rockies 71 86 .452 19.5 44-35 27-51 4-6 L2

NL East W L PCT GB HOME AWAY L10 STRK

Braves 92 64 .590 – 52-23 40-41 4-6 L1

Nationals 84 73 .535 8.5 47-34 37-39 6-4 L1

Mets 71 85 .455 21.0 32-45 39-40 6-4 L1

Phillies 71 85 .455 21.0 43-38 28-47 3-7 L5

Marlins 58 99 .369 34.5 32-44 26-55 3-7 W1

Again, as you all can see, the only thing we know as of this moment is this….

weownthewest
And right now, that’s just fine by me. As excited as I am to see the Blue back in post-season play and as much as i’d like for us to have home field throughout the NL playoffs, I think i’ll just sit back and let the remaining 6 games dictate our destination come next Wednesday. My only concern is we head into October all in one piece, a thought i’m sure Mattingly is aware of as well and I can only guess our starters will see limited action, 5 innings at the most. Oh yeah, i’m not even going to try to explain possible tie-breaker scenarios. You have MLB.com for that…. ( We haven’t even reached October yet we’re all excited….)….

Need Some October Gear ?

A buddy of mine was so kind to model some Dodger stuff for a friend of his who owns Bling Circus in the Los Feliz area . Anyways, here are some of the Dodger apparel that’s on sale at Bling Circus, including these ladies cut shirts …

scully

And this lovely Dodgers jersey purse which, was so enthusiastically modeled by a good friend of mine….

jon ( Head was cut off to protect his identity…. ) The location, Bling Circus,http://blingcircus.com/, 1918 Hillhurst Ave

Outside the Yards….

And finally, of the NL teams in the playoffs, i’ve had the chance to visit St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and Atlanta, with Cincinatti not yet on my list of ballpark adventures. So tonight, I share with you 3 local landmarks in case some of you should be so fortunate to follow the Blue on the road throughout the playoffs, or yet, do some future ballpark adventures of your own…..

ebeneezer
The Ebeneezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. pastored, located in the Sweet Auburn neighborhood of Atlanta. Service is held there every year on Dr. King’s birthday….

rte66
The Chain of Rocks Bridge, St. Louis. Along old Rte 66 is this landmark pedestrian bridge depicting the old motherroad. Speaking of 66, here’s hoping that should The Blue take on the Red Birds our #66 leaves a lasting impression…..

cathedral The Cathedral of Learning, on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh. Many of you may recognize this landmark from the movie 42 in one of the last scenes when Jackie Robinson is rounding the bases in old Forbes Field . ( On a sidenote, it’s been said that Jackie Robinson did not hit a homer at Forbes in 1947 ) . Also, the flagpole you see there is one of the remnants that remain from old Forbes Field, just on the other side of some brick wall not in this picture. That brick wall ? Affectionately known as by the locals as Maz’s wall.