Tag Archives: PNC Park

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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Drei’s Food For Thought For 2016

dodgers0831_2 The Dodger Dog. The number one food item among generations of Dodgers fans. One of the things we Dodger fans look forward to when visiting The Ravine. This is the Super Dog, my preference. A lot more beef than the usual foot long. 

Ballpark dining has come a long way from the usual hot dog, peanuts and cracker jacks, with Dodger Stadium being no different. Speaking of cracker jacks…

img_20160326_162158.jpg How ’bout this latest creation ? A Cracker Jack & Mac Dog, to be served at PNC Park this season. This latest creation from Pittsburgh,a town known for throwing just about anything in their sandwiches, tops this dog off with mac and cheese, jalapenos, Cracker Jacks drizzled with caramel sauce on pita bread. I wonder if that toy prize actually comes with the dog ?

Of course PNC Park is hardly alone when it comes to ballpark dining creativity, or yet, throwing some form of popcorn into their dog…

img_20160326_164137.jpg @FoxSportsSouth  Meet TED, The Everything Dog, being served at Turner Field. On top of that all beef dog is pretty much everything in both your fridge and cupboard, and some, including popcorn, chili and Coca-Cola infused BBQ sauce, among other accoutrements… That’s not the only thing Turner Field is introducing in it’s final season…

 Twitter @darrenrovell  Dubbed the Burgerizza, this gut buster is “grilled 20-oz. all-beef patty, covered with five slices of cheddar cheese, topped with crispy bacon, and served between two 8-inch pepperoni pizzas.” Obviously not approved by the folks at PETA… These are just two of the creations Turner Field will be serving up Braves fans in it’s grand finale. Of course, the league ballpark dining creations don’t end there, many of these making Dodger Stadium’s new food items for 2016 seem rather tame. 

King's Hawaiian loaded hot dog Matthew Moreno-DodgerBlue.com

The King’s Hawaiian Dog, a Super Dog inside of course a King’s Hawaiian bun, topped off with a pineapple salsa. The Dodgers during the last few years have served up themed dog’s based on a particular heritage night being celebrated or who the visiting team is. The themed dog’s have been mostly a hit, but like our national pastime, some misses as well. So, you may be asking, what themed dog’s has Drei had ? 

Heritage Dogs

DODGERS_FIL DOG 2 DODGERS_FIL DOG

The Filipino Dog, served during last year’s Filipino Heritage Night. As a Filipino-American this was really more of a Hawaiian theme, with my fellow Pinoy Dodger fans echoing the same sentiment… Hit or Miss ? Miss

wpid-20140817_120823.jpg wpid-20140817_121625.jpg The Cuban Dog, served during Cuban Heritage Night/Day or when the Miami Marlins are in town. For those familiar the with the medianoche, this super dog is complimented with roast pork, ham, mustard, Swiss cheese and pickles. While I won’t be too picky to ask for this delight to be placed in a press, perhaps this dog would really go well on Cuban bread ? Hey, if the King’s Hawaiian can come in it’s own bread, why not the Cuban Dog ? Hit or Miss ? Hit

Visiting Team Theme Dog’s…

wpid-IMG_20130527_015246.jpg The St. Louis Dog, topped off with pulled pork, sweet bbq sauce and fried onion strips. Neither hit or miss, on this occasion I seemed to get more sauce than I did pork. 

Pike Dog The Pike Dog. Named after Seattle’s famous Pike Street, where on 1st and Pike some coffee shop sits, this was actually a Brooklyn Dog cream cheese and caramelized onions. Concept wasn’t quite there. Maybe some salmon inside the cream cheese could have bumped this dog up ? Hmm ? Lox and Dogs ? Hey, people in the Emerald City love their salmon…Hit or Miss ? Miss

PHILLY DOG The Philly Dog. My favorite of the visiting team themed dogs. There is no shortage of meat in this offering with this offering topped off with thinly sliced ribeye, whiz and onions. This even had the Phanatic’s approval, perhaps explaining why of the mascots featured here he has the biggest waist-line. A hit indeed and perhaps the only reason as of recent to  see the Phillies…

So those are some of the “themed” dogs that Drei has had a chance to devour, along with the Coney Dog (Tigers), Bratwurst ( Brewers. How original huh ? ) or the Chicago Dog (Cubs/White Sox), with the Philly Dog ranking as Drei’s top dog. Yeah, these Dog’s haven’t done much to help shrink Drei’s waist-line either… 

So, what other “visiting team themed dogs” does Drei here think Dodger Food Services can come up with? Hmm, how ’bout these suggestions…

Georgia Dog (Braves) Top it off with some sauteed vidalia onions and cole slaw

Cincy Dog (Reds) Some Cincy chili with a hint of cinammon

And if the Blue Jays ever make it back here 

Poutinne Dog. The thought of a super dog topped with fries, gravy and cheese curds has me drooling

 It probably won’t be long before they start selling tums or Rolaids in the stands. Frankly, I really don’t think the Dodgers are to worried about trying to outdo the league in regards to the ballpark culinary cuisine.  Because at the end of the day, the Dodger Dog is still the top dog among the blue blooded Dodger fans.

marls_2 GAMEOVER2 Seems like all this talk of food has got GlutenFreeSounds, Kid Marley Marlz,  into a food coma… Speaking of Gluten Free, something I highly doubt these food creations are, Kid Marley Marlz and his…GlutenFreeSounds

 

 

 

 

Magic Number Countdown…11… Celebrating Roberto Clemente Day…

Today MLB Baseball will be celebrating Roberto Clemente Day in honor of the late great Pittsburgh Pirate. Like Jackie Robinson, Roberto Clemente made his way through the Broooklyn Dodger minor league system, playing for the Montreal Royals in 1954, later to be ” Stolen ” from the Pittsburgh Pirates…

Clemente_MontrealRoyals Roberto Clemente, a one-time prospect of the Brooklyn Dodgers

ClementeBridge_VideoPicofClementeRoberto Clemente day, 9/7/2005 with the Pittsburgh skyline anchored by the Roberto Clemente Bridge…

PNC_CLEMENTEStatue honoring Roberto Clemente outside of PNC Park

Magic Number Countdown…11… Manny Mota

Pinch hitting for Pedro Borbon…

Manny Mota, the one-time pinch hit king of the Dodgers, also spent parts of his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates, playing alongside Roberto Clemente. In this next clip, Manny discusses playing with Roberto…

MANNYMOTA Manny Mota, the one-time king of the pinch hits…

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 !!!

 

Looking Back at Drei’s 2014 NL Forecast…

Yesterday, Drei here looked back upon his 2014 AL Forecast .  Like any pre-season predictions, there we’re hits, and there we’re plenty of misses.  In looking back at Drei’s 2014 NL Forecasts you will notice a little more accuracy around his Senior Circuit picks.

What Drei Said about the NL East

   ” it appears that there is no lack of pitching from the top on down the bottom. I still see this being a 2 team race between the Nationals and Braves. ”  

 “In my surprise pick, I’m picking the Marlins to finish beyond the NL East’s cellar. It will be interesting to how if NL ROY pitcher Jose Fernandez follows up his ROY campaign as he will be anchoring this young rotation. Marlins still have too many inexperience to pose a serious challenge for the division. ”  

Drei’s NL  East Projections…

Final NL East Standings…

After a slow start, the Nationals would finish strong once again, finishing with the leagues best record at 96-76.  Their strong finish would be capped off by Jordan Zimmerman’s no hitter on the final game of the season.  

I did say that the Marlins would not finish in the NL East’s cellar.  There we’re times when this young team displayed some flashes of how bright their future could be.  Season ending injuries to both Jose Fernandez and Giancarlo Stanton hurt, but both are still well into their youth, Fernandez is scheduled to be back by mid-season next year.  

What Drei Said about the NL Central…

 “The Bucs and their fans got a taste last year, now everyone in Steel City wants more, and they should. If they can add another solid bat or two to back Andrew McCutchen to their offense ranked 9th in the NL in scoring last year, the Bucs could make another serious run in October…. St Louis with all it’s depth is the favorite to win the division, but Pittsburgh and Cincinatti, the somewhat forgotten team of last season, could pose a serious challenge for the NL Central crown.”

Drei’s NL  Central Predictions…

Final NL Central Standings…

After starting off 12-20, one had to wonder if last season’s success was a mere blur for the Bucs.  However, the Bucs would finish strong, and with a 50-31 home record, would finish 88-74, taking the favored Cardinals to the final weekend of the season before finally finishing 2 games behind, making the playoffs for the 2nd straight season as a wild card.  

And Finally…

What Drei Said about the NL West…

With all the depth they have, there really is no reason to think the Dodgers will not win the division unless injuries, which no expert prognosticator, can ever predict. The starting 5 could potentially have 2 20 plus game winners in their rotation in Kershaw and Greinke, and a couple of 15 plus game winners with Haren and Ryu…”

     “Will they run away with the division ? No. I look for the Giants and DBacks to be the Dodgers closest contender, with the Padres and even the Rockies being possible sleepers to move up in the division. I still feel this is Matt Kemp’s team to lead….”

We all know the story of Clayton Kershaw by now.  Can the starting pitching get enough praise from us ?  Greinke would have another big season winning 17 games, while Ryu and a rejuvinated Dan Haren would also have solid season as well, winning 14 and 13 games each.  

I also did mention that the NL West would not be a runaway for The Blue and it was not until Game 159 of the season with the Giants in town when the Dodgers would finally clinch the NL West…

Also said by Drei back in April…

” Nothing has gone right for the DBacks this season, who currently stand at 5-18. I felt before the season that Kirk Gibson could be on the hot seat if the DBacks don’t make a run toward the post season. I’m starting to believe he may be gone before season’s end, maybe before the all-star break “

Well, I did say that Kirk Gibson would be gone before season’s end , even if the timing of his termination was rather odd, 3 days before the end of the regular season.  Why not just let him finish out the string ?  Then again, this is the Arizona Diamondbacks organization we are talking about here.  An organization who the last couple of years has had it’s share of mind boggling headlines.

Drei’s NL West Predictions…

Final NL West Standings…

The Boys in Blue head to the post-season on a roll, having won 8 of their last 10.  Everything seems to be clicking at this moment for the Blue.  If their is one concern I have heading into the post-season, it is the status of our bullpen .  It is no secret that our bullpen has been inconsistent, particularly our middle relievers.  The status of Hyun-Jin Ryu is a minor concern for me but in a Best of 5 the Dodgers may be able to get away with a 3 man rotation of Kershaw, Greinke and Haren. 

Drei’s NL Wild Cards….

Final …

After a hot start to the season, the Braves would come to a crashing halt late in the season and as a result would fire their GM Frank Wren .  The Pirates, after a 12-20 start, would turn things around to the point they we’re still in contention to win the NL Central flag on the games final day of the season.  For the Giants, it was a tale of 2 seasons, at one point having the Senior Circuits best record and a 9.5 game lead on the Dodgers.  Injuries and offensive inefficiencies would contribute greatly to the Giants mid-summer swoon, however, a mid-September run would put them in position to capture the NL’s second wild card spot.

So how do the Giants and Pirates matchup for their Wild Card showdown ?  The Pirates come into this matchup on a roll having won 18 of their last 24, while the Giants hit a rough patch during the season’s final 2 weeks.  However, the Giants do carry with them plenty of post-season experience and I do agree that the loud PNC Park crowd will not phase Madison Bumgarner as he matches up against Edison Volquez, winner of 5 straight.  Who does Drei pick to head north to DC ?

giants

I know this is not the popular choice around here, but I do feel that Bumgarner is more than battle tested having pitched in 2 World Series appearances.  However, I do expect a close pitchers duel between Bumgarner and Volquez. Does the PNC Park crowd give a repeat performance from last year’s Wild Card game ?  Oh the excitement of October…

Extra Innings…

Dre_PirateParrot I sure wish I could join this Pirate Parrot at PNC tomorrow…

wpid-20140909_185645.jpg Friday can’t come soon enough for our Rally Pet Minion Dave.  This fun loving mischivious character is excited for Blue October !!!

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 ?