Tag Archives: Pittsburgh Pirates

SBM Exclusive: Sports Doppelgangers, Volume 62 – Explaining the Indiana Pacers

Throughout the length and breadth of this NBA season, all we heard about was this vaunted race between the Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers for the coveted #1 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.  For 62 games, the Pacers looked like a championship team waiting to happen. The Pacers were 18-2 in their first 20 games, which included wins over play-off teams such as the Chicago, bulls, Memphis Grizzlies, Los Angeles Clippers, and the West’s #1 seed, the San Antonio Spurs. The Circle City Five reached the 62-game mark sporting a  46-16 mark, which was good to keep them 3 games ahead of the Heat.

But then the wheels came off. Over the last 20 games of the regular season, the Pacers limped to a 10-10 mark, including a 36-point ass-hammering by the Spurs, and a 20-point manhandling at the hands of the very same Atlanta Hawks who look to be taking command of their first-round series with Indiana.

So, what the hell happened? You can get as many different answers to that question as people you ask.  So, I’ve taken it upon myself to offer something you won’t get anywhere else on the web: A Doppelganger-based explanation as to what is wrong with the Indiana Pacers.

1) Luis has been a “Firework”

lius scola russell brand

While there are several theories as to who isn’t performing, you can’t apply any of them to Luis Scola. Unfortunately, you can’t say the same for his doppelganger, Russell Brand. That’s because nobody has given a shit about Brand since he stopped sticking his “firework” into Katy Perry.

2) The Disappearance of “P-Mac” George

paul george tracy mcgrady

I’m not sure why it took until now for me to realize the resemblance between the Pacers’ Paul George and Tracy McGrady, unless it because George lately has been playing like T-Mac, and not the NBA All-Star McGrady was in days gone by. Paul George has been basketball playing more like today’s T-Mac, who is now pitching for the Sugar Land Skeeters in the independent Atlantic League.

3) The Island of Dr. Hibbert

roy hibbert dr hibbert

Say what you will, but at some point in the last month, Roy Hibbert went from a potential All-Star center to the chuckling Cosby-esque Dr. Julius Hibbert from The Simpsons, except the doctor never got stuffed twice in one game by Kyle fucking Korver.

4) You Can’t Spell “DissaPPointment” without “P”

pacers purdue piratesFace it, the letter “P” doesn’t bode well for championship hopes. The last time the Pacers won a league title was in 1973 when they topped the now-defunct American Basketball Association. 60 miles to the northwest of Indianapolis lies Purdue University, which despite having won more B1G Ten titles than any other school has yet to win a national championship. Then there’s the Pittsburgh Pirates, who since their last World Series win 35 years ago have only managed four first-round play-off losses.

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SBM Exclusive: The Worst Teams Of All Time

always next year

Here’s another feature from Sports Blog Movement. One of the things we love to do in sports is celebrate success, but in order to truly appreciate greatness, we must look at the other side of the coin.  This series, aptly enough called the Worst Teams of All Time, is dedicated to some of the worst teams in the history of sports.  Some were just truly bad, and some became bad at the wrong time.  Either way, all of them exemplify the opposite of greatness. Some had laughable regular seasons, and some had strong ones, only to die in the post-season. In any event, sit back and enjoy a good laugh or a good cry and celebrate the teams that were woeful so you can better appreciate the teams that weren’t.

Part 41: The Michigan Wolverines in the 1985 NCAA Tournament

Part 40:  The 1992 Seattle Seahawks

Part 39: The 1976 Montreal Expos

Part 38: The 2013 Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Part 37: The 1982-83 Houston Rockets

Part 36: The 1992-93 Ottawa Senators

Part 35: The 2002 Saudi Arabian World Cup Soccer Team

Part 34:  The 1989 Dallas Cowboys

Part 33: The 1998 Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Part 32: The 1982 Pittsburgh Pirates

Part 31: The 1986-87 Los Angeles Clippers

Part 30: The 1977-78 Minnesota North Stars

Part 29: The 1998 U.S. World Cup Soccer Team

Part 28: The 1996 New York Jets

Part 27:  The 2007 Toronto Argonauts

Part 26: The 1982 Minnesota Twins

Part 25: The 2007-08 Miami Heat

Part 24: The 1984-85 Toronto Maple Leafs

Part 23: The 1994 Greek World Cup Soccer Team

Part 22: The 2004 San Francisco 49ers

Part 21: The 1985 Calgary Stampeders

Part 2o: The 1987 Cleveland Indians

Part 19: The 2000-01 Chicago Bulls

Part 18: The 2000-01 New York Islanders   

Part 17: The 2001 XFL Birmingham Thunderbolts

Part 16: The 1990 United Arab Emirates World Cup Soccer Team

Part 15: The 1980 New Orleans Saints

Part 14: The 2003 Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Part 13: The 1998 Florida Marlins

Part 12: The 2009-2010 New Jersey Nets

Part 11: The 1989-90 Quebec Nordiques

Part 1o: The 1986 Canada World Cup Soccer Team

Part 9: The 1976 Tampa Bat Buccaneers

Part 8: The 2003 Detroit Tigers

Part 7: The 1992-93 Dallas Mavericks

Part 6: The 1980-81 Winnipeg Jets

Part 5: The 1982 El Salvador World Cup Soccer Team

Part 4: The 2008 Detroit Lions

Part 3: The 1993 New York Mets

Part 2: The 1982-83 Cleveland Cavaliers

Part 1: The 1974-75 Washington Capitals

Stay tuned, there’s more to come…

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Could Seth McClung Make a Major League Comeback?

Originally posted at Obscure Athletes


Greenbrier East High School graduate Seth McClung has done about everything on a baseball diamond. He’s played six seasons in the big leagues, where he won 26 games, recorded six saves and struck out 314 hitters that have made it to the sport’s biggest stage.

  • McClung has 34 losses to go with his 26 victories, and 254 walks to go with his 314 strikeouts–to date he has a 5.46 ERA in parts of six Major League seasons. but hey, we’re not here to be negative– Like I said, huge McClung fan here.
  • Anyways, it looks like he’s signed a minor-league deal with the Pirates. McClung has played in Taiwan and Mexico recently, in addition to minor league stints with numerous organizations. The 32-year old righty hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2009 with the Brewers.
  • McClung was drafted by the D-Rays in 1999, and he made his debut with the big club on Opening Day, and he got the win in his first appearance. He pitched two no-hit innings in a 6-4 Tampa Bay victory over the Red Sox.
  • Make no mistake: THE PIRATES ARE GETTING A STEAL HERE. Bold prediction: McClung makes that Pirates pitching staff!

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1 AS (year 1, After Streak)

Back in the spring Pirates manager Clint Hurdle brazenly declared his team would win 95 games in 2013, and pretty much the entire world laughed. Including myself. In my multi-part MLB preview that used payroll and finances to predict the outcomes of the 2013 season my math pegged the Pirates as a 74 win team.

Looks like I’m the one who should be laughed at. Continue Reading

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Pittsburgh who?

I’ll admit it. I had doubts this would happen. I had very serious doubts this could happen.

The 1st place Pittsburgh Pirates.clip

Still sounds…out of place. The brain still reacts to that statement the same as it would if you heard someone ask for a fried chicken milkshake. Before the brain has time to adjust to a world in which the Pirates are in 1st place, comes the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster to accepted baseball doctrine:

The Pittsburgh Pirates are the best team in Major League Baseball. Continue Reading

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History will be made.

Everyone is familiar with the Pirates second half collapses the last two seasons, so I’ll spare you the details. The quick version is the Pirates were very good, and then inexplicably were just not very good. In 2011 and 2012 they were in position to end the streak of consecutive losing seasons, but then stumbled horribly late in the season.

But this year WILL. BE. DIFFERENT.

Unlike years past in which the Pirates actually over-achieved for their early season success, I believe they have actually UNDER-achieved so far this season. Continue Reading

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The 2013 Dubsism All-Star Break Baseball “Sucks/Doesn’t Suck” Rankings

pirates victory billboard

For me, the All-Star break has always represented the “far turn” in the horse race that is the Major League Baseball season. This is the point when general managers acting as jockeys must decide whether they are contenders or pretenders; whether to go to the whip (trade for talent to augment a “stretch run”) or “wait for next year” (have a fire sale). Not to mention, this another great opportunity to see how wrong we really were from the pre-season predictions.  And let’s be honest…we were wrong on a lot of stuff.

1)  Pittsburgh Pirates ↑ 15

What We Said:

Even though the Bucs just missed out on a .500 record, it had to be considered a successful campaign because their farm system took a big leap forward. Pirates fans need to be patient because I really think the turnaround is coming.


I get that it is hard to ask fans of a team that has sucked swamp water to two decades to be patient, especially in the light of two straight second-half collapses.  Breakout superstar Andrew McCutchen needs to lead an offense featuring Russell Martin, Gaby Sanchez, Travis Snider, and promoted prospect Starling Marte. The starting rotation has potential with a top three of A.J. Burnett, Wandy Rodriguez and James McDonald, but that three still has some questions. Beyond there’s more :what ifs,” such as Francisco Liriano Jonathan Sanchez. Boil it all down and I see the Pirates as an even bet to reach .500 for the first time in two decades.

What Happened:

Pitching wins, and the Pirates lead the National League in team ERA. The question is after two straight post All-Star Game folds, is this the year the Bucs finally can make a run all the way to they way.

2) Boston Red Sox ↑ 16

What We Said:

For the second year in a row, the mantra is Boston is as follows: The Red Sox are not nearly as bad as their record last year would indicate, it was just a storm of everything falling apart at exactly the same time.

The difference is that they seem to have grasped what the really need to do to rebuild over the long haul.  Namely, they needed to not make the same mistakes when it comes to giant money, long-term contracts. This past off-season, the Red Sox only signed free-agents who were willing to accept contracts of three years or fewer, who wouldn’t cost them a compensatory draft pick and who aren’t pains-in-the-ass.  Having said that, third-place is the upside for this team.

What Happened:

Remember what I just said about pitching? Well, Boston is second in the American League in team ERA. Top that off with the fact the Red Sox are also second in the AL in team batting average, and their #2 ranking, while surprising to me given what I though of this team at the beginning of the season, really shouldn’t be surprising.

Click Here To Continue Reading….

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The Rules: Addendum 7

Addendum to the Rules for being a Pittsburgh sports fan:

Rule #7- This past weekend I made the trip to see the Pirates play the Astros at PNC Park. It was a wonderful spring night in Pittsburgh: low 80’s at first pitch and cooled to a perfect 73 by game’s end. AJ Burnett pitched well, giving up only one run over 7 innings. It was even AJ bobble head night, and around here those are like free Christmas presents. They lost 4-2 in 11 innings, but other than the final score it was a perfect night for baseball.

Except for one small problem:

In the 8th inning, with the score tied at 2 runs apiece and the Pirates within a half game of the Reds for first place in the division, flocks of Pittsburgh “fans” were seen headed for the parking lot. Continue reading →

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SBM Exclusive Feature: Sports Doppelgangers, Volume 32

andrew mccutchen harold perrineau

Continuing with our baseball theme, we couldn’t help but notice the resemblance between Pittsburgh Pirates superstar Andrew McCutchen and actor Harold Perrineau  from “Lost.”

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Man…This kid IS GOOD.

2011 silver slugger and gold glove winner Andrew McCutchen. Only 6 other center-fielders have ever won the two awards in the same season.

2011 silver slugger and gold glove winner Andrew McCutchen. Only 6 other center-fielders have ever won the two awards in the same season.

It’s been so long since we had a baseball player in Pittsburgh the caliber of Andrew McCutchen I don’t think we are all fully aware of just how good he is. I know when I was in high school and I saw Barry Bonds play I was in awe, and had no idea what I was actually seeing.

While watching him sometime between 1989 or ’90,  I saw him jump on a ball into the left field gap, a ball hit so hard and with such authority that it was called a double by the announcer the second it left the bat. Barry tracked it down and made the catch look absolutely routine. He very obviously wasn’t even running all-out the entire time and if any one else but Barry Lamar Bonds had been in left field it would have gone to the wall. He flipped the ball into short stop with that casual nonchalant/arrogance he had and jogged back to the dugout as the announcers marveled at this athleticism. He knew he had just made an all-star play, and he slow jogged it back in.

The very next pitch in bottom half of the inning Barry sent a ball over the wall, opposite field in Three Rivers Stadium. And again, he didn’t even look like he was trying hard. He was just that good.

Read the rest here.

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