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Thursday October 6 2022
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View From The Crow’s Nest

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News and notes from around the Pirates and Major League Baseball

*Pirates Chairman Bob Nutting is a better guy with better intentions than anyone in this town gives him credit for. The accusation that he’s lining his personal pockets with the team’s profits is way off base. As I’ve said in this column before, people don’t buy sports franchises to GET rich. They buy them because they ARE rich. Believe me, I understand why folks have run out of patience waiting for the Pirates to become winners again, but the team’s grass roots approach is the best strategy for them, and Nutting staying the course in the face of harsh criticism is admirable.

*ESPN’s “The Sports Reporters” is the network’s best program because it features real journalists giving sound perspective on the stories of the week, not a collection of idiots yammering on and trying to upstage each other. On a recent edition, Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press said of the Stephen Strasburg situation: “Throwing a baseball 100 miles an hour is not a normal thing for the human body to do. The guys who do that are always living on the razor’s edge.” And Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News added:“The dumbest money that’s spent in baseball is on long-term contracts for pitchers.” I agree.  No pitcher should ever get more than a three-year deal.

*During a game in St. Louis on July 31, Bucco Lastings Milledge lost a ball in the early evening sun that resulted in a Cardinals’ hit and led to their first run. For some reason, he had his sunglasses perched on the back of his cap at the time, where they were worthless. That reminded me of an old Vince Coleman story. During his tenure with the Mets, the speedy outfielder lost a ball in the sun that cost New York a game. He wasn’t wearing his sunglasses at the time. Later that same day, Coleman was photographed at a nightclub surrounded by beautiful women – and he was wearing sunglasses. The next day, a New York newspaper ran photos of the two happenings side by side. 

*In case you’re keeping a card, Bryan Bullington—who the Pirates selected number one overall in June of 2002—picked up his first ever major league win on August 15 this year as a member of the Royals. That was eight years and two months after he was drafted and a month and half before his 30th birthday. And don’t forget, Bullington was drafted out of college (Ball State), not high school. There’s been talk of the Pirates’ top two picks from this year—high schoolers Jameson Taillon and Stetson Allie—perhaps arriving in the majors in three or four years. That’s pretty optimistic.

*Quick Hits: Five of the six teams that finished last in their division in 2009—the Orioles, Royals, Nationals, Pirates and Diamondbacks—look like they’re going to do it again this year. The only exception is the A’s, who have been well ahead of the Mariners in the A.L. West all season… Just because Jose Bautista is having a 40 (maybe 50) homerun season with Toronto doesn’t make him qualified to comment on the Pirates’ finances or how they should spend their money, as he did recently. Still, his jump from 13 homers last year to more than 40 this year is pretty remarkable … New Pirate Chris Snyder is indeed a better defensive catcher than Ryan Doumit, but so far I haven’t seen as much of a gap between the two as I thought I would… On the days that C.C. Sabathia pitches the Yankees have four guys on the field that are earning at least $20 million this year – third baseman Alex Rodriguez ($33 million), shortstop Derek Jeter ($22.6 million), first baseman Mark Teixeira ($20.6 million), and good ol’ Carsten Charles himself ($24.2 million)… Zach Duke of the Pirates seems to have more bad outings than good outings, but he’s beaten two former Cy Young Award winners this year – Roy Halladay of the Phillies and Johan Santana of the Mets.

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