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Thursday, May 28, 2015

Gene Collier: When it comes to playing baseball, Kang needs no interpreter | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

If Kang keeps playing well, he’ll help some Korean players (and their teams) get a lot of money.

Like Suzuki, Kang studied American pitchers feverishly before crossing the Pacific Ocean, and like Suzuki, his adjustments appear to have gone swimmingly.

“Girls,” he joked when asked his favorite thing about America. “No, the food. I like steak. I have nothing to complain about.”

Jim Furtado Posted: May 28, 2015 at 10:27 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: jung ho kang, korean baseball, pirates

Thursday, May 21, 2015

How has instant replay changed baserunning? - Bucs Dugout

As Brandon Phillips put it, the game changes and adjustments simply have to made. The keys for fielders today are simply to be more precise with their tags, and to make sure baserunners who should be called out are, in fact, called out.

“But now you have to make sure to try your best not to make any mistakes because people can reverse the call,” Phillips said. “So that is one that does cross everybody’s mind. They want to make sure that they do make things happen, that they make sure they do get that guy out.”

So, instant replay has changed the game in intended and perhaps some interestingly unintended ways. As Clint Hurdle succinctly summarized this new era of tag play replay: “There is no doubt it’s become more physical around the base. You got to get down there and stick your nose in there and stick with the play. Both sides.”

Jim Furtado Posted: May 21, 2015 at 11:03 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: baserunning, pirates, reds, rules of the game

Column: Isolating blame on Marte? Seriously? - DK on Pittsburgh Sports

Ouch.

Some Pirates are putting out all they’ve got.

Some Pirates are focused on putting the team first.

Some, but not all.

And if the people running this team, notably Clint Hurdle and Neal Huntington, aren’t seeing that at this point, then this whole ship is flying blind. Which is a far more frightening thought than being swept in two by the Twins or the 18-22 record that’s resulted.

Starling Marte has been the focal point, and he fully deserves it. His stroll to Mauer’s farcical three-run single Tuesday should have earned him much more than the day-after admonition Hurdle gave him before the game Wednesday.

In my eyes, Marte’s lapses always have been born of simply blanking out for whatever reason. He doesn’t have a lazy bone in his body. But the only way to address that focus is through hard action, as might have been evident by Marte responding with two doubles and an outfield assist Wednesday. The way Marte defiantly described to me late Tuesday night that he’d done nothing wrong … wow, that never should have happened. He should have been blistered before he touched the first step of the dugout.

Jim Furtado Posted: May 21, 2015 at 09:23 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: pirates, starling marte

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


“Big Data Baseball” A Big Hit – The Hardball Times

I’ve been waiting for this book. (Why did they wait so long?)

Jim Furtado Posted: May 19, 2015 at 06:53 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: book reviews, pirates, sabermetrics

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Maybe Phillies should follow Pirates’ roadmap for success

Theo? Even he can’t fast-forward an organization.

Analytics are great. And with the revolutionary data points being logged by MLB’s new Statcast system, the gap between the teams poised to make the best use of that information and the teams still struggling to catch up could widen significantly. But even the most proficient organizations can’t fast-forward through the rebuilding process. Unless they hire Theo Epstein.

Jim Furtado Posted: May 13, 2015 at 08:00 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: phillies, pirates

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Adam Bittner: Not yet time to give up on Josh Harrison, Jordy Mercer | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Harrison is a great super sub. The Pirates would maximize his value by using him in that role.

Jim Furtado Posted: May 12, 2015 at 08:37 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: jordy mercer, josh harrison, jung ho kang, pirates

Monday, May 11, 2015


Wednesday, May 06, 2015


Monday, May 04, 2015

Jeff Karstens announces his retirement

#HanginEmUp Just would like to give a huge thank you to all my family, friends, teammates, and coaches for all the support you’ve giving me on and off the field over the years. I will forever cherish all of the special moments and memories. #ThankYou

Few men have done more with less of a fastball.

Enjoy your retirement, Jeff.


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Kirk Gibson diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease

Just awful news.

Detroit Tigers legend and former Michigan State two-sport star Kirk Gibson has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

Gibson, in his first year back as an analyst with Fox Sports Detroit, has been absent from the FSD broadcast booth since the Opening Day telecast.

“I have faced many different obstacles in my life, and have always maintained a strong belief that no matter the circumstances, I could overcome those obstacles,” Gibson, 57, said in a released statement. “While this diagnosis poses a new kind of challenge for me, I intend to stay true to my beliefs. With the support of my family and friends, I will meet this challenge with the same determination and unwavering intensity that I have displayed in all of my endeavors in life. I look forward to being back at the ballpark as soon as possible.”

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects one’s movement. Well-known patients include Muhammad Ali and Michael J. Fox.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

TBL: Fan at Cubs-Pirates Taken Off on Stretcher After Foul Tip Hit Her Head Through Screen [UPDATE]

Scary. Very scary.

The Pirates-Cubs game Monday night was delayed in the top of the second inning for 23 minutes after a fan walking behind the home plate netting was struck by a foul tip off the bat of Starlin Castro. This one is very rough to watch and, fingers crossed, the fan is okay. The ball did not go through the netting, per reports. ...

UPDATE: The Pirates updated the fan’s status and said she was conscious and thanking the caregivers when taken to the hospital:

JE (Jason) Posted: April 21, 2015 at 08:02 AM | 53 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, fans, pirates

Saturday, April 18, 2015


Sunday, April 05, 2015

MLB preview: Flyover country is no longer irrelevant in baseball | TribLIVE

In the modern game, since 1961, there never has been a longer expansion drought. Baseball has not added a new team since admitting the Diamondbacks and Rays in 1998.

Last October, was the first full-season World Series without a 90-win team. Bookmakers peg only the Nationals and Dodgers to win 90-plus games this season. Manuel believes the lack of expansion has increased parity. Why?

“Pitching has had a chance to catch up,” he said.

Run scoring declined in baseball for an eighth consecutive season last year. Teams averaged 4.07 runs per game, the fewest since 1981. Teams averaged 5.14 runs per game in 2000.

The central divisions have a wealth of arms from the Cardinals’ Adam Wainwright to Chris Sale of the White Sox to reigning AL Cy Young winner Corey Kluber of Cleveland.

“If you draft and develop good pitching, you can compete,” Duquette said. “You don’t have to be a wealthy team to develop young pitching.”

Manuel, who started at Baseball America in 1996, said it’s “no coincidence” the last Yankee dynasty occurred after the last round of expansion (and before Moneyball and PED testing). And in today’s youth-driven and perhaps central-centric sport, it might be some time before the next Yankee dynasty.

Jim Furtado Posted: April 05, 2015 at 09:52 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: pirates

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Blue Jays, Pirates both love Russell Martin, but only Toronto has him | FOX Sports

The Pirates, meanwhile, are optimistic the catcher they acquired from the Yankees, Francisco Cervelli, will replicate much of what Martin offered defensively, if not his .832 OPS from 2014.

Heck, Martin probably will not match that outlier; his OPS the previous five seasons had been .702. But the Jays will be a postseason threat if they get even league-average pitching to complement their dynamic lineup. And that’s where Martin should make a difference.

Jim Furtado Posted: April 02, 2015 at 09:50 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays, francisco cervelli, pirates, russell martin

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Grantland (Lindbergh): 2015 NL Central Preview

Stats, charts, breakdowns, snark and the surprising admission that the best thing about the Cardinals is “The players, probably. The players are pretty good.”

Chris Fluit Posted: April 01, 2015 at 08:09 PM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: brewers, cardinals, cubs, nl central, pirates, reds

Monday, March 23, 2015

Andrew McCutchen is tired of John Fogerty’s ‘Centerfield’

Andrew McCutchen probably wants more Pavement played at ballparks.

Former National League MVP and perennial All-Star Andrew McCutchen has made his name in part due to his skills as a center fielder, but apparently would get by just fine if he never heard John Fogerty’s 1985 hit song “Centerfield” again at the ballpark.

So writes the face of the Pittsburgh Pirates franchise in a questionnaire he filled out at the Players’ Tribune on Friday.

The exact question: “The song I never want to hear again in an arena/ballpark/stadium is ... “

McCutchen’s brutally honest and unapologetic response: “Put me in coach,” which is easily the most repeated and recognizable lyric in the song, but the position in question and the title of the song remains “Centerfield.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 23, 2015 at 10:15 AM | 97 comment(s)
  Beats: andrew mccutchen, centerfield, john fogerty, music, pirates

Starting 9: Minor league options can lead to March roster madness | TribLIVE

Pirates options as Spring Training winds down.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 23, 2015 at 06:33 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: pirates

Monday, March 16, 2015

Pirates, South Korean star Kang optimistic bat will translate to MLB | TribLIVE

Partly because of his size, there are believers the power will migrate. Dan Farnsworth, a swing analyst for Fangraphs.com, predicted immediate stardom for Kang, just as he did for another unknown, Cuban hitter Jose Abreu.

The believers include the Pirates. Kang peppered the metal roof of batting cages beyond the left-field fence at a Pirate City back field early this spring. In his second spring at-bat, he homered to right-center against Toronto Blue Jays right-hander Marco Estrada.

While scouts doubt Kang has the range to stick at shortstop, the Pirates wanted the bat. Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said he believes in Kang’s ability to hit and adjust. He believes in his power.

“Everyone who watches him take batting practice,” Huntington said, “is going to very quickly realize he can drive a baseball.”

Jim Furtado Posted: March 16, 2015 at 07:15 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: jung ho kang, korean baseball, pirates

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Taillon ready to shed top prospect label - Timesonline.com: Pirates/MLB

“What I’m seeing (is) that he’s feeling real good, the ball is coming out of his hand very nice,” Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage said after a recent spring training workout. “He looks free and easy. You don’t have to watch him long to understand why he is so highly regarded.”

Jim Furtado Posted: March 05, 2015 at 06:37 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: jameson taillon, pirates

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Corey Hart slices foot stepping into a hot tub

Corey Hart got 3 stitches Sunday after slicing foot on hot tub. The good news is that Hart is only expected to be out for a few days.

Win Big Stein's Money Posted: March 03, 2015 at 12:13 PM | 29 comment(s)
  Beats: pirates

Tabata’s new swing is turning heads in Pirate City | pirates.com

So the Pirates extended him another lifeline, encouraging him to seek former short-lived teammate Marlon Byrd’s help in doctoring his swing. The Pirates have not given up on Tabata, because they can’t afford to—the contract he preserved by accepting those Minor League assignments pays him $4 million this season, making him the team’s fourth-highest-paid position player, whether he is on the team or not.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 03, 2015 at 06:28 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: jose tabata, pirates

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Pirates notebook: Team has big plans for newcomer Kang | TribLIVE

It seems like they intend to give him a chance to make the big-league roster.

“We believe we’ve brought in a player who’s going to be an everyday player,” manager Clint Hurdle said Monday. “When that happens, we don’t know. We want to prepare him for a starting role, see how the season plays out, see where he can fit and what he can add. Everybody’s vision down the road is for this man to post up and become a regular player in the Pirates’ lineup.”

Kang played shortstop in South Korea and also has experience at third base. The Pirates also want to test him at second base during spring training.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 24, 2015 at 08:20 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: jung ho kang, pirates

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Q&A: Travis Sawchik on ‘Big Data Baseball’ and the rise of the Pirates through analytics

An interview with Travis Sawchik, author of the upcoming book “Big Data Baseball: Math, Miracles and the End of a 20-Year Losing Streak.”

Jim Furtado Posted: February 21, 2015 at 10:50 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: books, pirates, sabermetrics

Friday, February 13, 2015

Ranking the teams: 6 through 1

6. Seattle Mariners

Probably unintentional, but the number 6 meme lives!

Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: February 13, 2015 at 06:52 PM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, dodgers, indians, mariners, nationals, pirates

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