Game 134 // Ninth Inning, St. Louis // The No-Namers

BOTTOM OF THE NINTH: CARDINALS 10 (5) – 8 PIRATES

 

The Cardinals are scraping by. Week by week. Plumbing the depths of decent, of well-roundedness—and, in a way we don’t know how, scraping their way into contention.

They’re down 8-5 in the ninth.

And a string of no-namers comes up: Bader, Voit, Munoz.

Continue reading “Game 134 // Ninth Inning, St. Louis // The No-Namers”

Game 122 // Sixth Inning, Pittsburgh // Baseball Winterland

TOP OF THE SIXTH: TWINS 6 (2) – PIRATES 3

 

The bullpen guys are rubbing their arms together, hopping around in their coats—as if whoever looks goofiest might be the last one picked to pitch.

It’s snowing, in April.

Whitecaps are swarming the surface of the Allegheny River.

A fleet of pirate ships are stuck in the ice. Clint Hurdle’s pegleg has frozen. His parrot has died. His eye patch whitens with frost. Continue reading “Game 122 // Sixth Inning, Pittsburgh // Baseball Winterland”

Game 105 // First Inning, Chicago // The Death of the 2017 Chicago Cubs

 TOP OF THE FIRST: PIRATES 10 (0) – 0 CUBS

 

Not yet 1:00pm central time. The sun just at its peak. Fifteen minutes into the first inning at Wrigley, Jon Lester down for the count. Pulled before the first inning ends. The worst of his career.

The world champion Cubs are… the world champion Cubs are… down by 10? It’s the first inning and they—10 runs?

10 runs. 10 runs? Holy cow.

This the end of the Cubs as we know them?

Continue reading “Game 105 // First Inning, Chicago // The Death of the 2017 Chicago Cubs”

8-7 Wrigley 2016 Montero Rizzo

Game 82 // Thirteenth Inning, Chicago // Hashtag We Are Good

TOP OF THE THIRTEENTH: CUBS 6 – (6) 7 PIRATES

 

“Freese hits an infield single off the glove of Rob Zaztryz…Zaztrzyz…Zastryzny,” and Len Kasper’s almost worked himself up into a sneeze, stuttering over the strange sounds of too many Z’s.

In the Cubs’ clubhouse the other day (via ESPN), there was one simple question, posed to the team: “Pronounce Rob Zastryzny”—with the full gamut of butcherings drawn out, from the almost-theres to the dead-ass-wrongs. Continue reading “Game 82 // Thirteenth Inning, Chicago // Hashtag We Are Good”

Gustavson Jaso Art Baseball

Game 80 // Fourth Inning, Milwaukee // The Pirates, Pirates, Pirates

Sketch by Henry Gustavson


TOP OF THE FOURTH: PIRATES 6 (1) – 5 BREWERS

 

Before McCutchen, there was Sparrow. Before Bonds, Hook. Before Clemente and Stargell and Waner and Wagner, there was One-Eyed Willy, Redbeard, Billy Bones, Long John Silver. There was, before the very first pirate set foot beside the Allegheny River, the long marauding history of the buccaneers, the raiders, the corsairs, the filibusters, the freebooters, sailing the seven seas and beyond—the seasick and the treasure-crazed, lumped together in mussed-up crews from Sardinia to Barbados.

John Jaso holds sway over them all. The man, in nearly every way, is a pirate. Continue reading “Game 80 // Fourth Inning, Milwaukee // The Pirates, Pirates, Pirates”

Vogelsong uniform Pirates baggy yelllow

Game 78 // Fifth Inning, Pittsburgh // The Marlin Sink the Galleon

TOP OF THE FIFTH: MARLINS 3 (1) – 2 PIRATES

 

The Pittsburgh skyline, with its yellow bridges and clustered office buildings, looks in on PNC Park and sees a sorry sight: the hometown Pirates, in mid-table struggle and fading, wearing the kind of outfit concocted from nightmares. Bright yellow baggy tops. Jet black baggy pants. Black shoes. The old kepi hats, striped yellow and black. Ryan Vogelsong hiking up his slipping pants after each pitch, with the elastic waistband too loose—and appearing, as the live-feed pixels blur out for a moment, like a big banana, dipped in tar. Continue reading “Game 78 // Fifth Inning, Pittsburgh // The Marlin Sink the Galleon”

Game 43 // Fifth Inning, Pittsburgh // Home of the Freese

BOTTOM OF THE FIFTH: PIRATES 5 (1) – 4 DIAMONDBACKS

 

Roses are red, Pirates are yellow, what the hell color are the Diamondbacks wearing?

They’ve got black lettering, charcoal gray fabric, and a black snakeskin pattern around the ankles that blends with black cleats as if they’ve been Continue reading “Game 43 // Fifth Inning, Pittsburgh // Home of the Freese”

Game 34 // Fifth Inning, Chicago // David Ross, Forever Young

BOTTOM OF THE FIFTH: CUBS 8 (3) – 0 PIRATES

 

David Wade Ross turned thirty-nine years old on March 13th. He’s played in over 800 games. He has over 100 gray hairs bespeckling his beard. And in a sunny, afternoon game against the Pirates, in the fifth inning, he hit career home run number 99—into the reaching hands of a dozen Cubs fans, shirtless and drunk with the dream of a winning team at Wrigley finally alive. Continue reading “Game 34 // Fifth Inning, Chicago // David Ross, Forever Young”