As of this very minute, the Pittsburgh Pirates are a .600 baseball club. It’s a great story. They’ve slipped a little bit lately, and they’re mostly blacked out in my city of residence; so I am not getting the opportunity to enjoy their ride each night watching on MLB.tv.
However, tonight the Pirates take on the Oakland Athletics from Pittsburgh. Their de facto ace Francisco Liriano is going. You get the feel that Liriano has his badge of justice on, and the losing streak stops tonight.
In any event, they’re a fun bunch. McCutchen, Marte, Cole, Grilli, Melancon, Cole, Liriano and even shitty old Pedro Alvarez are a scrappy, fun bunch to pull for a little bit. That city deserves a baseball winner. I can’t wait to watch them tonight in their rare ESPN appearance.
When you’re one calendar year into your big league career, and you have a made for ESPN documentary film about you; it’s safe to say you’ve arrived at the big time.
Tonight at 9:00 ET on ESPN, “Bryce Begins” will air. The film features combed over clips of hundreds of hours of behind-the-scenes footage of Harper’s time with the Washington Nationals. Luckily for us, filmmaker Jess Atkinson spent time with Harper and his family in different cities around the United States. The documentary features interviews with Harper’s teammates, Cal Ripken, Mike Trout, and Harper’s father Ron.
This isn’t an official 30 for 30 film, but the ‘Worldwide Leader’ is trying to tell the masses that this is the closest look you’ve had so far of the generational player of your era (especially if you’re under 35 years of age).
This presentation will overlap with the last hour of the 7:00 games tonight, so make sure you have your DVR’s set to record. The nation is about to become a lot more interested in Bryce Harper than it was before, if you can believe that.
ESPN Releases it’s Sunday Night Baseball Schedule: Honestly, it’s not worth a full post. ESPN turned around and loaded the schedule for the first-half of the season with a bunch of large market teams. The Washington Nationals and Cincinnati Reds, two teams who are talented and will be very competitive did not crack it one time. Yes, there are a lot of ways to watch your team if you want to see them. But it’s still nice to close out a weekend with someone other than the Yankees, Cubs, Dodgers, Mets, Red Sox, Braves, White Sox or Cardinals involved. [Hardball Talk]
Yesterday ESPN released their Sunday Night Baseball telecast schedule for the first half of the season. The Cincinnati Reds will host a mid-July contest at Great American Ballpark to give fans that rare Sunday game under the lights.
It seems as a whole ESPN tried to buck the typical ways of throwing the Yankees, Red Sox, or Cubs on every Sunday Night. This schedule features good variability between teams which is partly in response to the playoff field containing teams like the Rangers and Rays last season.
April 8 Chicago White Sox at Texas
April 15 L.A. Angels at N.Y. Yankees
April 22 Yankees at Boston
April 29 Tampa Bay at Texas
May 6 Philadelphia at Washington
May 13 Angels at Texas
May 20 St. Louis at L.A. Dodgers
May 27 Washington at Atlanta
June 3-July 1 TBD
July 8 Yankees at Boston
July 15 St. Louis at Cincinnati
July 22-Sept 23 TBD
I like what I’m seeing here. As usual we’ll be doing the Sunday Night Liveblogs here at Diamond Hoggers, so we do hope you’ll make a habit of joining us and commenting on the action or at least having a few new dick jokes we can all add to our repertoire.
The low-light? How about rear-ending another car and totaling my fiance’s car on the way to work. Honestly, is there any worse feeling? I mean the immediate ‘oh shit, now I’ve done it’ when you are climbing out of the wrecked heap is absolutely the worst feeling in the world. Then the aftermath of your girl being mad at you of course.
If it’s not one thing, it’s another. So your regularly scheduled Anaheim Angels and Oakland A’s previews might have to wait until tomorrow. Or since we’ll be stuck at home without a car of any type for several days, maybe we’ll write the previews then.
Either way, being a shitshow, FTW.
My apologies to her dear 2002 Toyota Camry. I didn’t picture your life ending this way–just a mile from my work on a chilly Thursday morning. You were good to us. I’m so sorry I did this to you.
ESPN has named it’s Sunday Night Baseball crew for the upcoming 2011 season. Dan Shulman, Bobby Valentine and Orel Hershiser take over where Joe Morgan and Jon Miller (the Madden of MLB, sort of) left off.
Early reviews we hear a lot is that Hershiser is strong. He’s the next big thing in baseball broadcasting. Don’t know much about Shulman, and of course; we have a long-standing love affair with Bobby V. Even if he did hand us his garbage.
I was reading an article written by Timmy Virgin Kurkjian the other day on ESPN. The world according to Tim; is that the Reds not win the division because of how well they’ve played, but because the Cardinals played poorly.
Let’s allow Tim to put his foot in his mouth here, shall we?
National League Central
The Reds have lowered their magic number to three not necessarily because of how well they’ve played, but because the Cardinals’ stunning collapse has continued. The Reds could wrap up the division this weekend in San Diego against the Padres.
Whether it’s two and a half or one of the other, what does it matter? The Reds were bad less often than the Cardinals. Or in another way of talking about success, the Reds were better more often than the Cardinals.
Why can’t ESPN just accept that the Reds are part of this and their mighty Cardinals are not for one year?
Buster Olney was on ESPN last night for a segment of Baseball Tonight and he was talking about Jay Bruce’s defense. They were showing ‘the catch’ (should be the only synonymous catch in Reds-lore for a while, so we can call it that) that won the ballgame the other night.
Olney said that he had talked to Jay Bruce (Buster talked to a Reds player? Refreshing!) and Bruce told him that before the 2009 season he knew he had to improve his defense. They were showing replays of the catch the other night and talking about how Bruce improved his defense by doing a lot of anticipating where the ball was going to be hit. Olney said if you watch the play the other night, Bruce got back to the wall and scaled it (more like sprinted on the warning track) which allowed the Reds to in turn add a win to their total.
They then showed that it was the #1 web gem of the night and gave it 7.0/10 Buehrle’s? (I’m out of the loop).
His UZR is 14.0, 43% better than the 2nd best RF, Ichiro. Ichiro has also won 9-straight Gold Glove awards. Again, if Bruce doesn’t win a Gold Glove Award this season, the award no longer holds any weight in my eyes. I’ve watched him play all year and there is no one better (although I haven’t seen Micheal Bourn play a whole lot and I hear he’s unreal in center field in Houston).
More then anything I had to transcribe that they were talking about our boy on ESPN.
Jayson Stark says National League MVP of the Half-Year: Joey Votto, Reds–”We’re betting most Americans have heard and read more about Joey Votto in just the past week than they had in his entire career before now. But here at the Worldwide Leader, we can assure you that it isn’t because we’re trying to recruit him to star in a new reality show or anything. It’s because he’s the best player in baseball who’d managed to avoid nearly every radar screen in America before this. But Votto is more than merely the most deserving player left off the original All-Star rosters. He’s also the most valuable player in his whole league so far. You want numbers? How ’bout these numbers: The guy leads the league in homers (22), on-base percentage (.417), slugging (.595) and OPS (1.012). And the more important the situation, the better he’s been: .351 with men on base, .395 in the late innings of tight games, .379 from the seventh inning on, with 16 homers that have either tied games, put his team ahead, brought his team within a run or broken open a one-run game. But put those numbers aside for a second. The biggest reason this guy ekes out a tight MVP duel with Albert Pujols? Votto has been a culture changer for a team that hasn’t won a postseason game in 20 years. “He comes to play,” Braves manager Bobby Cox told Half-Year in Review. “He’s a dirt player. He’s a tough out. He’s really grown on me.” And, all of a sudden, he’s been growing on the rest of the hemisphere, too. Apologies to: Pujols, David Wright, Adrian Gonzalez, Scott Rolen, Martin Prado, Roy Halladay, Andre Ethier, Aubrey Huff. [ESPN - Jayson Stark]