SportsProf

(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Pirates Sweep Marlins, are 9-6! Pirates Fans: Go to the Park!

Yes, that's not a misprint, and for all of us Phillies' fans, we had to endure all of the talking heads on ESPN and MLB TV marveling over the glorious 11-1 start of the Marlins, how they were for real, how their hitting will hold up, their pitching staff is excellent, and how the Phillies and Mets will be in a run for their money come September. Memo to talking heads: yes, the fish are talented, but they beat up on the Nats for the most part and it's not even May 1 yet. Let's wait a little bit before the excitement should mount (remember, a Chinese leader once said that even at 200 years, it was too early to tell whether the U.S.A. is a success).

Anyway, the so-called lowly Pirates, they of having 16 straight seasons, swept the front-running Marlins in Pittsburgh, finishing them off today, 7-4. The Pirates are 9-6 and, some would argue, it is they and not the 11-4 Marlins who should be the talk of the National League. If you dig further into the land of the Pirates, you'll note that pitching coach Joe Kerrigan is doing wonders with the young pitching staff, which has given the Buccos five straight strong outings. Kerrigan, you may recall, worked wonders in Montreal, Boston and Philadelphia before flaming out in his hometown City of Brotherly Love and ending up as a bullpen coach in the Bronx. He has had a successful (if tempestuous at times) career (he failed in his stint as the manager in Boston), and might just be the pitch doctor that the Pirates needed to help give some rigor to a staff that, even for the Pirates, disappointed last year.

As someone who fondly recalls the great Pirates teams of the 1960's and 1970's and the great rivalries that they had with everyone, particularly the Phillies in the 1970's and early 1980's (and most certainly before MLB killed the rivalry by putting the Phillies and Pirates in different divisions), I am very happy to see this and hope it lasts for a while. Team president Frank Coonelly and GM Neil Huntington are working hard to undo a decade and a half's worth of damage (perhaps it's the curse of Barry Bonds, given that the Pirates haven't had a winning season since Bonds departed in the early 1990's). This sweep is great news for the Pirates, and their fans should celebrate.

And go to the ball park.

In droves.

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