I recently sat down to discuss Baseball with Tom Smith editor of http://rumbunter.com The Pirates site over here on Fansided. Here are the questions Stacie and I asked, and the answers Tom gave. The Pirates and Dodgers are only separated by 2.5 games in the Wild Card standings. The Pirates are having an unprecedented season of rejuvenation. The Pirates are in line to have a winning season for the first time in 20 years, and their first playoff berth in two decades as well. The Pirates are in second place in the NL Central with a record of 64-50. In this edition of our Conversation with the Enemy, we take a look at the Pirates, and the city of Pittsburgh. What an exciting time for Bucs fans. Here are the answers below.
Scott-How does it feel to finally have a winning ball club after nearly 20 years of losing?
It’s very exciting to see the team winning. After following the club for so long and seeing so many things go against the club, just the thought of post season play has ignited the city.
How is the atmosphere around PNC Park these days? It must be so exciting for you guys. (FYI we’re really happy for you guys. If there is any team and city that deserves a winner besides LA, it’s you guys, so after this series, best of luck to you)
The atmosphere is an odd one, but not anything that isn’t seen at parks throughout the country. Personally, we like it but after attending Saturday’s game we just can’t bring ourselves to go on the weekends anymore. PNC Park is a great yard, but the amount of people is a bit overwhelming when we were used to having the place to ourselves for so damn long. The concession lines our out of control. It’s all a good thing, it just changes so much of ones normal habits when at the game.
Stacie-What will your celebration entail if the Pirates finish the season with a winning record?
If you would have asked me a year ago, we would have said a tailgate of monstrous proportions. However, now the expectations have been raised to another level.
No longer is a winning season going to be acceptable for most of us. The team is just playing too well, so the party might actually just be a warm-up for something bigger and better.
Stacie-Andrew McCutchen. Wow. Do you think he has a chance at the MVP Award? How important is he to the franchise?
McCutchen has been rock solid. We think having Matt Kemp around this week should bring out the best in Cutch. His chances at an MVP award are great if he can continue to show power and drive in runs. Cutch is the face of the franchise. The Pirates signed him to an extension before the season which saved them millions should they have chosen to wait until after this season. It’s comforting to know that the Bucs have a player with his abilities locked up for so long into the future.
Stacie-How’s Rod Barajas a.k.a. Big Rod panning out? He hit an occasional homerun for us, but he was otherwise pretty useless
Well, not much has changed in that regard, but he is credited with being a leader for the team. It’s had to defend him getting the majority of the starts based on what he has done offensively.
But Clint Hurdle is a big defendant of Rod. He leans on the abilities Barajas has shown with the pitching staff. All of the qualities that aren’t measurable. The only thing is, the backup Michael McKenry has better numbers and isn’t seeing as much playing time.
One of the keys to the series will be the Dodgers ability to run all over Big Rod and McKenry. McKenry has thrown out about 13 % of runners and Big Rod has a percentage under ten. It’s a major weakness for the Bucs.
*Editor’s note*-Stacie and I and most Dodger fans can attest to this. We all remember Big Rod’s weak Juan Pierre like arm. It truly makes us appreciate a good catcher like A.J. Ellis who has a string arm.
Scott-What’s with this Zoltan thing?
I was really growing tired of it, but then the team hit that three game skid before another come from behind win yesterday and it was great to see it return. I shouldn’t have had ill will toward Zoltan. Freakin’ jinxed it.
It comes from the blockbuster hit ‘Dude Where’s My Car?’ The team started watching the movie together one day, and some of the guys discussed doing the ‘Zoltan.’ Your boy Rod Barajas flashed it first when he crushed a walk off homer, and the rest is history.
It’s hard to go anywhere on a game day and not see a fan in a Zoltan shirt. Just crazy.
You can check out our answers to Tom’s questions over at Rumbunter, and or the link inserted into the hub. Don’t miss out on this series, because it is going to be crazy! Seriously, don’t sleep.