Written & 1st printed March, 2011:
I’m going to try and not go into a long diatribe regarding the last 19 years of Pirate baseball. I’m going to try and not rehash and rant about the pain of the Nuttings’ ownership, Francisco Cabrera, Bobby Bo’s free agency, Barry Bonds calling the team and the city racist, the fire sales starting with Aramis, Sid Bream, the grey cap in the late 90’s, Bob Walk finding a microphone, and yes, enough losing seasons that if they where among the living, they could vote. I can’t take seeing one of the earliest NL franchises, and one of the most storied, be a laughing stock anymore. So lets not talk about this crap anymore…
May we now focus on our farm grown prospects, that we have been nearly promised will not be sold for a couple middle relievers in the next several years. Among the future stars that are receiving a fair amount of recognition are Andrew McCutchen, Jose Tabata, Pedro Alvarez, and Pittsburgh born and raised Neil Walker. We finally have a young, talented, good looking bunch of young players, whom quickly worked their way up the minor league system, and might be tight enough with each other & the organization, to stay. Being five minutes from AA affiliate Altoona Curve, I was lucky enough to see 3 of these guys mature as ballplayers.
McCutchen, a native of Fort Meade, Florida, was drafted 11th overall by the Pirates in ’05. He made the first splash out of the four last season, and was an instant favorite in the city. Dynamic, explosive, and talented, he made us forget Nate McLouth & Nigel Morgan real fast, and happy that he might have been plucked from AAA Indianapolis too soon. Many expect him to make the All-Star team this year.
Walker, as 2004 graduate of Pine-Richland High School in Gibsonia, PA was a standout catcher, and wider receiver on the Ram’s football team. Neil’s father, Tom Walker, was a major league pitcher for the Expos & Angels in the ‘70’s. Neil was awarded the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s “Male Athlete of the Year” twice while in high school. He was signed by the Pirates in ’04, and was invited to spring training in ’07. His Pittsburgh heritage, as well as his RBI’s, has also made him a fan favorite. He is off to an amazing start in the 2011 season. Neil makes all western and central Pennsylvanians very proud that one of our own could help save our team from the basement...no pressure, Neil.
As a Bucco fan, I can always remember being optimistic in April and May, but never hopeful and excited. This year feels different, maybe not deep into the playoffs different, but leaving behind the “laughing stock of baseball” tag different.
Keep your fingers crossed, and don’t wash your socks, we could have a winner here.
* This design is printed on "Storm" colored Anvil ring spun cotton tees. These tees are incredibly soft, comfortable, and flexible. They have a sliming cut, but not enough that it throws off the sizing. Bottom line, these tees will be among your go-to favorite tees.
For more detailed information, including sizing, check them out at Anvils website: