Baseball

Sports
6:35 am
Thu October 2, 2014

Pirates, Volquez Fall Flat in Wild-Card Loss to San Francisco Giants

Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Justin Wilson is removed by manager Clint Hurdle, right, in the sixth inning the NL wild-card playoff baseball game against the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday in Pittsburgh.
Credit AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

The Pittsburgh Pirates believe they're building something special. The San Francisco Giants provided a reminder that much work remains to be done before a contender becomes a champion.

Geared up for another run at "Buctober," Pittsburgh's postseason journey lasted all of 3 hours, 12 minutes, just long enough for Madison Bumgarner and the Giants to overpower the Pirates for an 8-0 victory in the NL wild-card game Wednesday night.

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:37 pm
Mon August 18, 2014

The Great 21: Remembering Roberto Clemente

The statue of Roberto Clemente beside PNC Park is a memorial to the late player, who would have turned 80 years old today.
Credit Via Tsuji / Flickr

In October, a new play about Pirates legend Roberto Clemente is coming to Point Park University.

The musical, entitled 21, is written and composed by Alki Steriopoulos, who grew up in Pittsburgh. Steriopoulos began working on the play in 2007 but October will mark the debut of 21 as a full production.

Steriopoulos says he was compelled to write a musical about Clemente after writing a short story based on an incident where he first heard about Clemente’s death. After a New Year’s Eve party, Steriopoulos was falling asleep at the wheel. He had the radio on and woke up to the news flash of Clemente’s plane going down, just in time to avoid crashing into the back of an 18-wheeler.

“He had said, ‘If a man has the chance to make a difference in someone’s life, in life and doesn’t, then he hasn’t really been here.’ It started me thinking in so many ways, in fate or coincidence or synchronicity, everyone influences everyone else in ways sometimes that we can’t even know. In this case, I was here and was able to be a man and live a life because of Clemente’s death and there was no way that he could ever know that his death had saved my life.”

The musical focuses on Clemente’s life from his beginnings as a star in Puerto Rico until his death. Steriopoulos says the musical focuses on aspects of Clemente’s life that many may not have heard before. Clemente was especially influenced by the women in his life, including a deceased sister whose influence Clemente always carried with him as he played.

The musical 21 will premiere in Pittsburgh at the Playhouse Theater on October 17th and run through October 26th. It's presented by Point Park University’s Conservatory Theater Company.

Steve Blass and Clemente

Former Pirates pitcher Steve Blass also remembers Roberto Clemente on his 80th birthday. Blass was a teammate of Clemente's for nine seasons and together they led Pittsburgh to the 1971 World Series Championship.

Blass says Clemente was a guarded person as he tried to move beyond both the color stereotype and the language barrier between himself and the rest of the league. Despite these struggles, Blass remembers his former teammate as a kind person.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:44 pm
Mon August 18, 2014

An Assassination of Character

In addition to the Pittsburgh Pirates, Fritz Ostermueller played for the Boston Red Sox, pictured here.
Credit Boston Public Library / Flickr

The movie “42” tells the story of Jackie Robinson's first season in the big leagues. The film also portrays former Pirates pitcher Fritz Ostermueller, unfairly cast as a racist.

The movie shows Ostermueller beaning Robinson in the head, which never happened. Baseball writer Richard “Pete” Peterson talks about the unfortunate depiction and how the situation really happened.

He says that Robinson was never hit in the head his entire career.

“None of that happened. The pitch actually hit Robinson in the wrist. He was stunned for a moment, the Dodgers thought that perhaps it had hit him in the head, but it hadn’t. He dusted himself off, he trotted down to first base, and the game went on. He stayed in the game, he delivered a base hit, he had a bunt single, he played the rest of the season.”

Peterson describes how the inaccurate depiction of Ostermueller has affected his family.

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Essential Pittsburgh
3:50 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Former Pirate Dick Groat Revisits 1960 World Series Win

Dick Groat helped to earn the first World Series he had ever seen the Pirates win.
Credit Wikimedia

As the 1960 World Series exhibit continues at the Heinz History Center, we spoke with former Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Dick Groat, who was the National League's Most Valuable Player during that memorable season.

Much of his memorabilia, including his jersey worn that season, is included in the exhibit. At one point in his career, Groat played in both the NBA and the Major Leagues and was an All-American basketball player at Duke University.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:46 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Is Video Replay in Major League Baseball Worth the Wait?

A challenge flag is thrown, the Major League Baseball officials talk to the coach who throws it, and one official goes to a screen and reviews the play. The official comes back and rules the runner out at first base.

That scene can and did happen at the Pirates' opening day Major League Baseball game, thanks to new rule changes that have increased the use of video replay in umpiring.

Are all of these replays really necessary or is it not worth the price of slowing down the game? Pittsburgh Post-Gazette sportswriter emeritus Bob Dvorchak has covered the Pirates for many years and shared his opinion on the hot topic.

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Vox Pop
6:21 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Watch: At Opening Day, Pirates Fans Share Expectations For This Season

Fans pose for a picture outside PNC Park Monday. With a 1-0 win over the Cubs, things appear to be off to a good start for the Bucs fans.
Credit Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

Following their first playoff appearance in more than 20 years, the Pittsburgh Pirates hosted the Chicago Cubs on Opening Day Monday.

Fans flooded the North Shore for the game, with some stopping to share some thoughts on what they expect from their team this season.

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:14 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Reasons to Travel for MLB Spring Training Part 2: The Cactus League

Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West is one of the many attractions Elaine Labalme recommends visiting if you travel to Arizona for spring training
Credit Artotem / flickr

Last week we ventured to Florida to get an early look at Major League Baseball spring training in the Grapefruit League. This week, we venture west to see the players in action in the Cactus League.

Travel contributor Elaine Labalme  says spring training is the time to see a lot of teams in the cactus league that you wouldn’t ordinarily see. Check out a list of her recommendations:

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:13 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

5 Reasons Why People Should Go to MLB Spring Training

McKechnie Field is the spring training home of the Pittsburgh Pirates and is named for Bradenton, FL resident and baseball great, Bill McKechnie, who led the Pirates to a World Series title in 1925.
Credit Jamesb01 / Wikipedia Commons

This month the call of “play ball” will be heard in ballparks around the country.

Fans of the game who want an early look at the boys of summer may want to venture to Florida to participate in the annual spring training games for Major League Baseball.

Correspondent Elaine Labalme discussed the five benefits of traveling to these games.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:11 pm
Mon October 7, 2013

Is Pittsburgh a Baseball Town Again?

With all of the postseason excitement for the Pirates, is Pittsburgh finally a baseball town again?
Credit Flickr user RJ Schmidt

From the days of the first World Series game, played here in 1903, Pittsburgh was considered a baseball town. That is, until the Steel Curtain and the Super Steelers seemed to take over in the 1970s.

But Bob Dvorchak, sportswriter emeritus for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and creator of the website Sports ‘n ‘at, has a different view of Pittsburgh. “Pittsburgh is an event town.”

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Baseball
11:05 am
Wed October 2, 2013

Pirates Move on to NLDS After Beating Reds 6-2

Andrew McCutchen was in mid-answer when teammate A.J. Burnett stuck a bottle of champagne inside the jersey of the star Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder and turned it upside down.

"Feels good," McCutchen said with a laugh as the bottle emptied, further drenching his already soaked uniform. "I could get used to this."

So could the city he plays in.

After an absence of two decades, playoff baseball is back in Pittsburgh. And it's not going anywhere for a while.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:23 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

Pirates Post-Season Travel

From the home of Coca-Cola to the lightest fluffiest pancakes in the country. Find out where to visit while on the road with the Pirates.
Credit Cavalier92 / Flickr

After more than two decades, the Pirates will finally play in the post-season.

Travel contributor Elaine Labalme shares her favorite hangouts in potential Pirates playoff cities.

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Economy & Business
7:37 am
Mon September 23, 2013

When the Pirates Win, So Do Local Businesses

There are no statistics yet on merchandise sales, but ticket sales for the Pirates this year hit 2.2 million, which is a nearly a 40 percent increase over 2009.
Credit Flickr user jwalter522

Walk around town these days and you’re just about as likely to see someone sporting a Pittsburgh Pirates T-shirt as you are someone in Steelers garb.

Much of the Bucos team gear has been purchased this season as the Pirates won more games than they lost for the first time in 21 years and won back the hearts of fans that can’t remember the last time they had a reason to cheer on the home team in September. 

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Sports
7:29 am
Tue September 10, 2013

Pirates' 1-0 Win at Texas Clinches Winning Season

Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle had no special message for his team and there was no big celebration after what was a special victory for their long-suffering fans.

With their 1-0 victory at Texas on Monday night, the Pirates clinched their first winning season since 1992. But victory No. 82 was really just another step toward their goal of getting into the playoffs.

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Sports
7:50 am
Wed August 28, 2013

After 20 Years of Waiting, a Winning Season is Within Reach for Pirates Fans

The Pittsburgh Pirates hold the record for most consecutive losing seasons in all professional sports in U.S. history. Now, after 20 years, the team is on the verge of a winning season.
Credit Flickr user jwalter522

The year 1992 was an exceptional time to be a sports fan in Pittsburgh.

The Steelers finished first in their division, the Penguins won the Stanley Cup and the Pirates made it to the playoffs. Little did baseball fans know then that it would be two decades before the Pirates would have another winning season.

Now the Pirates are a handful of games away from ending the skid.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:10 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

Bob Dvorchak on Steroids in Baseball

Bob Dvorchak
Credit Bob Dvorchak / Sports n'at

Professional sports have an extensive history with performance enhancing drugs. From a mandatory training supplement to a pill that can lead to professional suspension, steroids have always been prevalent. But each sport has dealt with users differently. Bob Dvorchak, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Sports Writer Emeritus, says while major sports are implementing tough drug tests and punishments for users, steroids won’t be out of the athletic scene any time soon.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:44 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

The New Girl Explores the Nation's Midwest Ballparks

Bernie Brewer's trips down the slide are a highlight of any trip to a Milwaukee Brewers home game.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

For many, the summer months usher in the long standing tradition of a baseball pilgrimage. Baseball lovers roam the nation soaking up the atmosphere of the nation’s many ballparks.

Travel contributor Elaine Labalme undertook such a pilgrimage, exploring the midwest’s best ballyards. From singing the Beer Barrel Polka with Brewers fans, to enjoying Minneapolis’s artist designed mini-golf and St. Louis’s amazing barbecue which she describes as “an 11 on a scale of one to ten,” Labalme has plenty to say about her wonderful experiences in each town.

As for where the parks stack up, Labalme says Kansas City comes out on top, adding that “the fans had a lot to do with it.”

Essential Pittsburgh
3:23 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

Sports Talk with Bob: Baseball's All Star Game Turns 80

The Pittsburgh Pirates are a member of the National League and have hosted the All Star Game five times since its inception in 1933.
Credit Alan English / flickr

Tomorrow night at Citi Field in New York, the American League will play the National League in the 80th annual All Star Game. Pittsburgh Post Gazette Sports Writer Emeritus Bob Dvorchak explains the origins of the game in Chicago, Pittsburgh’s experience hosting the All Stars and the modern character of the game.

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:40 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

R.A. Dickey Pitches Memoirs and the Knuckleball

Starting pitcher R.A. Dickey of the Toronto Blue Jays in a game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on April 23, 2013 in Baltimore, Maryland.
Credit Keith Allison / Wikipedia Commons

Toronto Blue Jays pitcher,R.A. Dickey is a religious man, a family man and the only pitcher in the major leagues that still throws a unique pitch known as the knuckleball.  He addresses all of this in his book, Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball

Last year, after pitching for the New York Mets, Dickey became the first knuckleballer to win the prestigious National League Cy Young Award

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