Monday, February 7, 2011

Moving Blog Site

Hey everyone! I want to thank you for coming by and reading my posts these last two months. I have had a great response to everything that I have done so far, and in two short months were able to get over 2,300 unique hits, while getting people from 10 different countries!

I have been somewhat restricted, as to what I would like to do with my blog site, so I have decided to move on to another. Everyone reading, through twitter and facebook, I will post new links and updates as I have before.

Once again, I want to thank everyone for stopping by!

Go see me @

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Frank Coonelly Chat: 2/2/11

**Updated with final questions @ 6:00 PM 2/2/2011
Here is the basic run down of today's chat, with Pirates President Frank Coonelly. **Please not that I am editing the questions and answers, but am not taking away from context.

Statement 1:
With the success in Bradenton and Altoona, in 2010, it looks like, for the first time in a long time, there is a winning atmosphere in the minor league system of the organization

Frank Coonelly:
 Development is always the our top priority in Minor League, it is important for us to develop a winning mentality as early as possible. We are excited that our players won a championship in Lynchburg in 2009, and many of the same players won a championship in Altoona in 2010. The talent level in our Minor League system is significantly above where we were just a few years ago, but as the additions of Jameson Taillon, Stetson Allie, and Luis Heredia last year demonstrate, we need to continue to add top talent every year.

Question 1: 
It was reported by the Tribune-Review, that a fan of the Boston Red Sox received a 'Thank You' email from the organization. Is that something new?

Frank Coonelly:
We appreciate fans who purchase Pirates tickets and have for some time thanked them for each online purchase.

Question 2: 
What types of offensive strategy changes will you fore see under Clint Hurdle's management

Frank Coonelly:
 ...can expect to see a more disciplined approach at the plate and more aggressive approach on the bases. Clint has very definitive theories as to an offensive plan and approach, and stresses to the players, the importance, of executing that plan during each at bat.

Question 3:
 Is there any chance the 2012 Winter Caravan will make its way to Buffalo New York?

Frank Coonelly: 
It could be difficult to schedule a stop in Buffalo, but will put it on our list to consider for next year. Now that a Penn State graduate owns the Sabres, perhaps there will be a greater opportunity for a Buffalo/Pittsburgh partnership.

Question 4: 
With the record attendance at Piratefest, do you see any chances that will show increase in attendance during the season?

Frank Coonelly: 
Our off season ticket sales are above last year's pace and I would expect that trend to continue into the season.

Question 5: 
What are the plans for Jameson Taillon? Will the injury to Stephen Strasburg have any impact on his movement through the minor leagues?

Frank Coonelly:
No final decision has been made, as to where Jameson will start, but I would expect him to start in Charleston (WV Power).

Question 6: 
If Rudy Owens is one of the top 2-3 starters in Spring Training, would you expect him to make the rotation for Opening Day?

Frank Coonelly: 
If Rudy is one of the top three starters, coming out of Spring Training, Rudy will break camp with the Pittsburgh Pirates... A jump from Double-A to the majors is unusual, but would not be unheard of and I wouldn't put it past Rudy Owens

Question 7: 
Is Pedro Alvarez's weight gain of concern?

Frank Coonelly: 
Weight figures reported last week by were not accurate. We have continued to stress the importance of his condition. Pedro has gotten stronger through an extensive off season conditioning program.

Question 8: 
What approach was used with the pitchers, to help win Single-A and Double-A titles? Will they make an appearance at the end of the season, regardless how they perform?

Frank Coonelly: 
It will be determined where those pitchers will start out the year, during Spring Training. Likely, they will start out the year in Indianapolis. None of the men will earn a promotion to Pittsburgh, regardless of performance, their performance will dictate when they are ready to pitch in the majors.

Question 9: 
Chris Resop pitched well out of the bullpen, given his success in Triple-A as a starter, will he be given that chance to earn a shot at competing for the 5th spot in the rotation?

Frank Coonelly: 
Chris performed well for us last year. While there is some temptation to allow him to compete, we are counting on him to pitch in leverage situation and do not want to weaken the bullpen.

Full chat transcripts can be viewed here: click here

Monday, January 31, 2011

Only A Few More Weeks

If baseball was a movie, then this past week was the teaser trailer. The Winter Caravan and Pirate Fest pacified our need for baseball, showing fan favorites, returning veterans and new additions to the team.

The week long festivities ended Sunday, at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, with Pirate Fest, an indoor carnival type atmosphere, for people of all ages. Unfortunately, I was only able to attend Friday night, exclusive to season ticket holders and their guests. As guests climbed the escalator, they were welcomed with a festive balloon arrangement, cleverly done, featuring a pirates head, in the center.

Arriving early seemed to be a good plan, but isn't when everyone else had that same idea. The line increasingly  grew, as the crowd, of over a thousand, became anxious to meet their favorite players, and have them sign some autographs. There were varieties of items, and memorabilia, that could be seen by all fans; bats, balls, posters, hats and jerseys.

Once the doors were open, it was a mad dash to the autograph line, where Paul Maholm, Andrew McCutchen and Kevin Correia were signing. For those lucky enough, they were able to get through the line fast enough, as it was the main attraction for, better part of the night. Maholm, McCutchen and Correia's time ran short, and were replaced by Jeff Karstens and, a surprise in, Jose Tabata. Waiting in line for over an hour to get a few baseballs autographed, was well worth it.

After clearing the line, I immediately found myself checking out a lot of the, carnival type, games and if you won, you could choose from many different give aways. I was fortunate enough to win two items, a bobblehead and a fleece blanket, both of which I hadn't received in the past (score for me!).

This upcoming season, as a lot of you may know, there aren't as many promotional give aways. Not many people were aware of the display cases, showing us what we are looking forward to this season, with the items, for all to see. The Andrew McCutchen action figure, in my opinion, isn't as cool the Garrett Jones action figure, from last year. Neil Walker has to be ecstatic to have his own bobblehead, from the team he grew up loving, and we all will love getting it in May. T-Shirt Friday's will give us a few cool shirts again, only in sizes Small and XL though (HA). In early June, the celebration of the 1971 World Series Championship begins, and they will be giving away another ceramic stein (not pictured) and a photo wrap canvas, of the iconic celebration between Steve Blass and Manny Sanguillen.

All kids (14 and younger), will be excited to received a lot of items this year as well; a miniature bat, a glove, and the ever popular pierogies. The obvious highlight, for the kids, is the alternate Pedro Alvarez replica jersey. Overall, there are still quality promotions, including the Sky Blasts and fireworks night. Don't be discouraged by, the Pirates, having less promotions, a lot of teams only have one per home stand, if that.

Some other attractions included, playing Guitar Hero, Deal or No Deal, We Are Fam-A-Lee Feud with some of your favorite players. Also had an interactive sports broadcast booth, with the new ROOT Sports Pittsburgh, and a baseball clinic, with Manager Clint Hurdle. 

What seemed to be the biggest attraction, was the Q & A with players and management. All types of questions were asked, some ridiculing ownership and management, and some fun questions, asking Andrew McCutchen to do the "Dougie."

Quite an impressive weekend by Pirates fans, coming in masses for the three day event, drawing 16,839, a record number for the event. Having a week off from football and hockey, baseball made its winter return, and will be back in full swing in only a few weeks. 

Friday, January 28, 2011

Pirates Sign Joe Beimel

It was reported, late Thursday night, that the Pirates will announce the signing of LHP Joe Beimel. There have been no details disclosed as of yet, but he was expected to be signing a one year, worth nearly $1M.

Joe Beimel
Beimel, an 18th round pick, in the 1998 amateur draft, by the Pirates, made his debut in 2001. After spending three years in Pittsburgh, has played with five different teams.

Last year in Colorado, he posted a 3.40 ERA/15 BB/21 K/1.356 WHIP

With today being the first day of PirateFest, and Beimel being from the area, they may take the opportunity to re-introduce him to the fan base.

Update to come later in the day, as contract details are released. 

*** UPDATE ***

More details have come out, about the deal bring Joe Beimel back to Pittsburgh. It is said to be a minor league deal, with the invite to spring training, and a clause, that if he doesn't make the 25-man roster, he becomes a free agent. He is very much expected, to make the 25-man roster. There is still no financial numbers release about the deal.

He represents the need for a left handed pitcher out of the bullpen, that Clint Hurdle is pursuing.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Pirates Caravan Day 1: Group 2

Hey, whats up guys and gals? Today was the official kick off of the 2011 Pirates Caravan, leading up to Pirate Fest, this weekend. I met up with Group 2, consisting of Neil Walker, Jeff Karstens, James McDonald, Ray Searage and Tim Neverett, in Uniontown. 

Arriving, at the Uniontown Mall, 2 hours early, there were several people already in line, by the time the caravan arrived, there were roughly 300 people in line and still growing. There was a very simple set up, with a stage, a projection screen, and stadium music.

At starting time, Tim Neverett made his way to the stage and gave a nice little speech to hype up the crowd, while showing some highlights from the 2010 season. Immediately after, introduced the headliners of Group 2, Pitching Coach Ray Searage, James McDonald, Jeff Karstens, Neil Walker and surprise guest, the Pirate Parrot. Prior to the 3 players, making there way to the stage, they had a very nice video montage, of each of them.

Ray Searage seemed to be enjoying himself, quite a bit, signing a few of his cards, from his days with the Mets and Brewers. 

James McDonald's video montage
James McDonald was pleased to be signing a few of his rookie cards, from the Dodgers, and actually had a laugh at an 8x10 photo, a fan had, of him pitching. He knew exactly which game it was, by the glove he was wearing, saying "I hated that glove, that was the first and only time I wore that. I got rid of it after that game."

Jeff Karsten's video montage
Jeff Karstens, also in his first caravan, was enjoying signing autographs for the kids. Though there was a cute moment that happened, a little boy, maybe 3 years old, had a ball and Jeff had to reach over the table and stage, to get the ball. It's nice to see a new generation of Pirates fans, so young.

Neil Walker's video montage
Neil Walker, easily the most popular guy there tonight, was talking with everyone that walked by and got something signed, obviously very humbled to be there. He was signing bats, balls, programs and cards, though there was one card that he didn't even know was made, of him. He signed one of my Bowman Platinum rookie cards, of his, and made the comment, "I've never seen one of these before. Looks like they owe me a little 'cheese,' from this one," obviously, jokingly.

Tim Neverett was no where to be found, on or around the stage

On a more personal note, for those on Twitter (@daveplavi) and Facebook, who were aware of me having the Pirate Parrot at my sons birthday party, I found it to be very amicable that he was able to recognize myself, my nephew and friend. He obviously wasn't speaking, due to children being around, but for a member of the Pirates organization, who spends time with the fans, to remember someone, is doing a great job and is fully engulfed in the role.

As some of you may have known, FSN Pittsburgh will be changing designations, to ROOT Sports, in April. ROOT Sports is owned by DirecTV and on the way out, I passed the team bus and snapped this photo. It'll be an interesting first month or two, being accustomed FSN Pittsburgh for so long.

Tuesday, I will be attending the Group 2 appearance at the Galleria Mills, in Pittsburgh, featuring Andrew McCutchen, Evan Meek, Ross Ohlendorf, Bob Walk and John Wehner. Hope to see you all there!

All the autographs I got tonight. My son's room is going to be awesome!

Saturday, January 22, 2011


Spent the last 30 minutes putting together a little design of a t-shirt that I'd like to see get made. I know there were some rumblings of this when Pedro first came up, but  nothing was ever made! Check out the design and vote which one you would like to see be made!




Remember to go to the left of the page and vote!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Pirates & Ohlendorf Going To Arbitration

The Pittsburgh Pirates will be making their first appearance in arbitration, meetings since 2004, with Ross Ohlendorf. Today he was offered $1.4M, by the Pirates, but was requesting $2.025M. The deadline, to file for arbitration, was this afternoon and even though an agreement hasn't been made, the two sides can still negotiate and come to an agreement before the meetings start, in February.

Ross Ohlendorf
Ohlendorf was sidelined with injuries for nearly 2 months, on and off, for the 2010 season, he posted a 1-11 record with a 4.07 ERA. Though his number may not show it, he started to show a turn around in late July and August, until he was sidelined for the remainder of the season with shoulder soreness.

It was well expected that he would be getting an increase, in salary, but I didn't expect the Pirates to accept a larger number than $1.5M, and after offering only the $1.4M to his requested $2.025, it's going to be a long month until the meetings. I don't expect him to get the full amount, he asked for, but do expect arbitration to set him somewhere near $1.8.