February 1, 2010

The 2010 Championship Is Real

PITTSBURGH, Pa. / February 1, 2010

It has come to my attention that several Pittsburgh fans do not believe 2010 will be a World Championship season. The argument goes something like: The same players who formed a horrible team in last year's second half are coming back, there have only been minor offseason changes, and even if a few players improve the Pirates will only win 75 games.

Clearly this argument is wrong, because the Pirates are going to win the World Series this year, and 75 win teams don't win the World Series. To elaborate:

1. The offense is better at every position.
The average age for a position player's offensive peak is 27. Thus, it is reasonable to expect anyone who was under 27 in 2008 to be better in 2009. Several returning starters, SS Ronny Cedeno (27 in 2010), 3B Andy LaRoche (26), CF Andrew McCutchen (23), and LF Lastings Milledge (25) fall into this category. It's unlikely that any of these players have had their career years yet.

2B Akinori Iwamura is a ridiculous upgrade on Delwyn Young, a solid pinch hitter who couldn't field or hit as an everyday player. 1B Jeff Clement, while unproven, has to do better than the crapfest that was Steven Pearce's second half. C Ryan Doumit had a poor 2009 mainly due to injury and should bounce back given good health, while backup Jason Jaramillo hits the magic age 27 this year. And RF Garret Jones, while not possessing Brandon Moss's defensive skills, will play a full season and is a major offensive upgrade over Moss, who memorably drove in one run all of last April.

There's no way a lineup is going to click when it is inhabited by garbage players like Brian Bixler and Steven Pearce. While not featuring any superstars, the Pirates' 2010 lineup is a big improvement and has as much talent as say, the 1988 Dodgers, who won the World Series. I see 800 run potential. Note: I may or may not have made that bullshit 1988 Dodgers claim while only being able to think of three players in that lineup.

2. The girl on the right sidebar believes in the Pirates.
And it's not just her. Halloween falls on the same night as Game 4 of the World Series this year. Imagine the possibilities. So many girls in Oakland will dress up as Slutty Ross Ohlendorf.

3. The starting rotation will eat innings and throw strikes.
Unlike hitters, control-type starting pitchers usually improve until age 29 or 30. The Pirates' rotation is headlined by Zach Duke (age 27), Paul Maholm (28) and Ross Ohlendorf (27), all of whom were solid last year and all of whom should continue to get better. I expect the Big 3 to each pitch 200 innings with a sub-4.00 ERA and under 3 walks per nine innings. Few walks plus good defense is a recipe for success. At #4, Charlie Morton had a 4.55 ERA last year as a 25-year-old, and showed a lot of improvement throughout the summer. He should be a league average starter which is all you expect from your #4.

Finally at fifth starter, there are a few options but I expect Daniel McCutchen to win the job. Do you remember the Kevin Hart/Ian Snell disaster at #5 last season? Yeah, they combined to go 3-16 with a 5.98 ERA in the 5 hole. Daniel McCutchen has been solid in Triple A for two full seasons now and while no one was watching, put up a respectable 4.21 ERA in six starts last September. Bullshit projection systems have him at between a 4.27 and 4.67 ERA this year which is far better than an average fifth starter.

4. Momentum will carry the Pirates to the World Series.
Anyone with even an elementary understanding of fluid dynamics knows that by getting off to a good start at home - say a 2-1 series win over the Dodgers - the Pirates will establish an unstoppable force which will carry them to a championship.

5. The Marlins have won two World Series.
Their logo is a teal fish! Obviously it doesn't take much.

6. The bullpen is significantly upgraded.
As I explained in an earlier post, unlike in previous years the Pirates should have a bullpen made up of seven pitchers who aren't complete jokes. John Russell was hamstrung last year by only having one or two reliable bullpen options at any time, which gave him zero leverage in making decisions. The Pirates have completely revamped their bullpen, filling it with credible average to above-average major league arms.

7. Wearing all black to games.
People look awesome in all black.

8. Believe.
There's really no reason to be a baseball fan other than to root for a championship for your team. You want to start believing now so that you can enjoy this entire championship run, from spring training until the parade.

Once Pittsburgh wins the championship it's not going to be that great to say, I bitched for 15 years, have been believing in them since mid-October and went to one game. You want to say, I believed all along.

This is 2010.
This is our year.
Go Pens Pirates.


  1. I feel like reason #7 should be reason #1. If the all black thing catches on in the stands, can all black unis be that far off? Let's hope not.

  2. Belief can take you far in life. Clearly that is going to be the ace in the hole that the Pirates have. Nobody believes in Jesus anymore, but at least you can prove the existence in the Pirates. You gotta believe.