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21 March 2009

News, Notes, and Buried Treasures 3.0

  • The Pirates spring training record is 11-8-2. The Bucs have lost 4 of their last 6 games.
  • Andy LaRoche offered up his first hit less game this spring against the Minnesota Twins on 3/18 then followed that with a hit less effort on 3/20 vs the Boston Red Sox. Andy with a batting average of .438 has surrendered his MLB spring training batting title lead to Cory Hart of the Milwaukee Brewers who has a BA of .450. Andy now sits in 3rd behind Red Sox country boy Jed Lowrie who has a .439 BA.

  • Vince Lascheid Pirates Pride - Long time Pirates organist Vince Lascheid passed away early Friday morning at the age of 85. Anyone who has been lucky enough to have heard Vince in action knows just what he brought to the ball yard. Personally, without even thinking, I can hear that organ playing right now. It's sound and Vince's style are forever imprinted in my memory. Vince spent 29 of the last 31 years of Three Rivers Stadium existence playing for the Pirates and the first 6 seasons at PNC Park doing the same until his health forced him to retire in 2007. Vince also spent several years playing the organ at the Civic/Mellon Arena for the Penguins. Many people will remember Vince for playing different songs, in an a joking manner, when players stepped into the batters box or took the mound. My personal favorite is "How Much is that Doggy in the Window?" when Bill "Mad Dog" Madlock would step to the plate. I was young , but it's one of those things that sticks with you forever. Thank you Vince for everything you have done and meant for the Pittsburgh Pirates. REST IN PEACE Vince Lascheid.
  • More on Gorzo - Apparently, the timing of Tom Gorzelanny's demotion was not as unexpected as many outside the organization thought it was. In the eyes of Bucco management, Gorzo needs work, and lots of it. After compiling a 14-10 record his rookie season in 2007, he slid backwards in 2008 compiling a 6-9 record and ultimately being sent to AAA Indy by mid summer. Now, Gorzo has been demoted from the big league camp and the emotional aspect of being demoted twice in 2 years could be his biggest challenge. Gorzo was demoted after 4 laboring outings this spring and management cited a need to make his delivery more consistent, gain better command on his breaking ball, his change up and his fastball, and better conditioning. Geesh, is that all? GM Neil Huntington commented, "While he did great work to get himself in better condition [shedding about 20 pounds in the off season], he really just evened the playing field and put himself where he should have been all along. We need Tom Gorzelanny to make some adjustments and work his way back to the big leagues and earn a spot in this rotation."
  • Rotation Set? - With the demotion of Tom Gorzelanny, the starting rotation looks to be nearly set. Four pitchers remain in the "running", however Ross Ohlendorf and Jeff Karstens are expected to be named the #4 and #5 starters in the rotation behind Paul Maholm, Ian Snell, and Zach Duke. The 2 other starting pitcher candidates are Virgil Vasquez and Jason Davis however neither are deemed serious challengers.
  • The Pride of Pine Richland - Neil Walker was also demoted to AAA on Wednesday, but not for lack of good play. Walker fell victim to a technicality in his contract deeming it necessary to designate him to AAA Indy now to prevent his major league service clock from starting. Walker was made aware by management that this would happen, and he was assured that when the time came, he would be promoted accordingly. GM Neil Huntington called Walker the best defensive third baseman in the Pirates organization, which is a huge compliment and accomplishment considering he just began playing the position a little over 2 years ago. Walker was drafted as a catcher.
  • Professor Lanny - Lanny Frattere after leaving the Pittsburgh Pirates organization as a play by play announcer for 33 years has found a new way to occupy his time. Professor Lanny was hired by Waynesburg University on March 18th as the assistant professor of communication. He also will serve as special assistant to university relations. Professor Lanny's teaching duties will include sportscasting, news announcing, and public speaking courses. He also will work with student sportscasters for the Waynesburg University Sports Network. It had long been rumored that Frattare was seeking employeement after leaving the Pirates. There were rumblings of him applying for several Pittsburgh area high school athletic director jobs, however nothing ever materialized. This bit of news hits home, as yours truly lives only 7 miles from Waynesburg Univeristy and attended the then named Waynesburg College for a few semesters.
  • WBC Defeat - Pitcher Ian Snell and Utility Infielder Ramon Vazquez have returned to Pirate City after a heart breaking defeat to the USA in the World Baseball Classic on March 17th. Puerto Rico lost to the Americans in a 2nd round elimination game on a 9th inning 2 RBI walk off single by the Mets David Wright. John Grabow now is the only Pittsburgh Pirate remaining in the World Baseball Classic.
  • Upcoming TV Games - TODAY! 1:05pm vs Cincinnati Reds on FSN Pittsburgh and MLBTV. This is the 2nd and last spring training game to be aired on FSN Pittsburgh this spring. Your next glimpse of the Bucs will come on April 6th in St Louis at 4:15pm on FSN Pittsburgh HD.
  • 16 Days till Opening day!

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