Thursday, January 09, 2014

America wants to see your Pirates

So much changed for the Pirates in 2013 the totality of it is sometimes hard to process, so I’m just going to illustrate the impact by yanking out this one little news item from a winter in which little news is the only news coming out of the club’s Federal Street executive suites.
Maybe you missed it, but May 11, the Pirates will perform on “Sunday Night Baseball.”
No seriously.
Pirates, Cardinals, 8:05 p.m., ESPN.
Don’t tell me that hasn’t happened in a month of Sundays because it’s actually closer to a year of Sundays. It will be the first “Sunday Night Baseball” telecast from PNC Park, a special occasion that will put the lie to unconfirmed suspicions that, given a choice, national television never would cover breaking Pirates action without an accompanying map of Somalia.
America wants to see the Pittsburgh Pirates, at long last, because the Pirates have the National League’s Most Valuable Ellen Show Marriage Proposer in Andrew McCutchen, the manager of the year in Clint Hurdle, so much young talent that Baseball America is about to anoint them the organization thickest with legitimate prospects, a newly recovered winning image, and a still-fresh list of positive indicators that no longer begins and ends with the most beautiful ballpark in America.
The Pirates this week shuffled three other games on the 2014 schedule into position for national television, including the opener March 31 against the Chicago Cubs from 1:35 to 1:05, so don’t stroll in from Mullen’s at 1:30 expecting to see A.J. Burnett deliver the first pitch.
In fact — and this is where Pirates imagery looks a little drearier than it does from the outside looking in — don’t expect to see Burnett at all. He made $16.5 million in 2013, half of it from the New York Yankees, and the Pirates plainly aren’t interested in carrying anything like that load alone.

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