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Friday, July 26, 2019

Pirates broadcasters complain about Yairo Muñoz stealing bases ahead seven runs

The Pirates’ broadcast team has not had the best year. In May, Bob Walk complained about Marcell Ozuna tagging up to advance to third base on a Yairo Muñoz fly ball to deep center field when the Cardinals led 16-4. Walk said, “Can you answer why he was tagging up there?” He continued, “There is no answer. None.” Later, Joe Block said, “Gotta play the game, I guess.” Walk snarked, “Is that what that’s called? I have a problem with that.”

In late May, John Wehner said Derek Dietrich‘s dead grandfather would be ashamed of him because he flipped his bat and watched some of the many home runs he hit against the Pirates early in the season. Specifically, Wehner said on Pittsburgh’s 93.7 The Fan Morning Show, “I heard of him because of his grandfather (Steve Demeter) who used to be a minor league coach for the Pirates. He was the nicest, sweetest guy in the world. He’s rolling in his grave every time this guy hits a home run. He’s embarrassed of his grandson.”

In early June, Steve Blass offered some ill-advised commentary on Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr.’s “jewelry” or “stuff.” After Acuña was hit by a pitch, Blass said, “I was getting ready to say, you know… With a young player doing all that stuff and all the jewelry and all the stuff, back in the day — I’m not saying it’s right or wrong…” Blass made similar comments about Cubs infielder Javier Báez two years ago, saying, “Anybody but Javier Baez. He’s a difficult player for me to root for. I’ll put it that way.” Block asked, “Is it because of his flashiness?” Blass responded, “That’s a nice way of putting it.

That leads us to Wednesday evening, when the Pirates hosted the Cardinals for the second game of a three-game series. The game got out of hand quickly as the Cardinals put up a nine-spot in the second inning and tacked on four more runs in the fourth to make it a 13-4 game. During that fourth inning, when the Cardinals led 11-4, Muñoz was on first base after grounding into a fielder’s choice. He easily stole second base on a 1-0 pitch from Luis Escobar. Play-by-play guy Greg Brown says with surprise in his voice, “The runner steals, ahead 11 to four. Wow.” He continued, “Always wonder about those unwritten rules.” As Walk was explaining how the unwritten rules have changed in recent years, Muñoz stole third base with just as much ease. The Pirates’ infield was playing back, so there was no chance to get Muñoz. The fans at PNC Park began to boo, which Brown used as evidence that what Muñoz did was wrong. Walk said, “I know exactly what would happen now — in a different era.” Brown said, “I’ve never heard the fans boo [over unwritten rules]. Basically, this is — again, these old, unwritten rules, but the fans don’t like it. I guess it’s possible [the fans are] just not happy with Escobar giving them this running lead.”

One of the many side-effects of being a Giants fan: Finding it legitimately bewildering what so many of the fans of other teams are willing to tolerate as broadcasters….

QLE Posted: July 26, 2019 at 07:40 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: broadcasters, pirates, yairo munoz

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

“I Got Lucky Man” Dennis Eckersley on Surviving His Tough Times

Then on March 30, 1978, near the end of spring training, Eckersley was traded to the Red Sox along with catcher Fred Kendall for an assortment of four players, none of whom wound up altering the Indians’ fortunes.

The same day, his wife Denise, whom he’d married when they were both 18 and with whom he had an infant daughter, Mandee, told him she wanted a divorce. A few months later she told him she wanted to marry his best friend, Indians center fielder Rick Manning….

During a Red Sox-Indians game earlier this season, I saw Eckersley behind the Fenway Park press box gathering intelligence on the Indians from one of the team’s broadcasters. The other guy looked familiar, an ex-ballplayer for sure, a face from a baseball card long since lost. I turned the corner to leave the press box, and then it hit me who it was: Rick Manning.

I mentioned it to Eckersley a few weeks later, after he had brought up the affair between his first wife and his best friend, and the heartbreak and sadness that led to him being traded to the Red Sox. “He’s the father to my daughter,” says Eckersley. “I mean, it’s been 40 years. It’s not about forgiveness. It’s about moving on with your life and living it. We were all young. I was on the road half the time, and I was hardly innocent myself, and suddenly you come home and you’re not that attractive anymore. It was an ugly way to have it happen. It was painful as hell.” He pauses, then says, “[We have] a daughter together. I’ve got to be nice.”

Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: July 16, 2019 at 10:08 PM | 41 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, broadcasters, cubs, hall of fame, red sox

 

 

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