Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Here comes the rain...

...and out goes the warm temps for another month or so. Bummer! It was a nice little run of weather for mid-February, so I guess I can't complain too much. We had such a lovely afternoon of practice. Shorts and t-shirts in February is a rare occurrence in western PA.

The big question is whether this system that's about to come through will give us violent wind and storms like it did in Oklahoma and up the Ohio river valley. Stay tuned.
Not much else going on here. My workouts are still sporadic as I'm still in an off-season mode and I'm also more involved in the coaching end of things in track as compared to cross country when I ran with the guys every day.

The district playoff basketball seedings came out last night. The school where I teach has the girls as the #1 seed and the boys as the #3 seed (and predicted favorite). So, we'll see how it goes. After the district playoffs is the state playoffs where 4 or 5 teams from the district move on. It should be fun and I'll hopefully have another opportunity to be the basketball equivalent to the tackling dummy for the girls team in the next few weeks.

Two more days until Pirates pitchers and catchers report to spring training. I CAN'T WAIT!!! I don't know why I follow the Pirates with so much passion, but I do. One thing that I don't believe I've mentioned about over the past few weeks was the pickup of free agent Eric Hinske.

This is an interesting acquisition. I have to admit though that I'm a little biased in the Pirates signing him. The reason why is two summers ago before a trading deadline, I had the baseball equivalent of a man-crush on him. At the time, he was young (28 at the time), locked up for the next three years at a reasonable price, left-handed power bat (to mash balls into the Allegheny before they traded for Adam LaRoche), and expendable in Toronto (after they acquired Lyle Overbay & Troy Glaus and Alex Rios was beginning to take off).

Beth can vouch for this, but for about two weeks, I was pleading with the computer to hope that the Pirates would pick up Eric Hinske for their bench during the peak of the trading season in baseball. I even submitted questions to the Post-Gazette's Pirates Q&A outlining the merits of acquiring him to help lobby for him.

Alas, it didn't come to be. That year (August '06) The Boston Red Sox ended up acquiring him for practically nothing (the infamous minor league player to be named later). I was upset that the Pirates didn't at least look into it (nothing in the rumor mill about it even) since their bench consisted of guys like Rajai Davis, Yurendell DeCaster, Mike Edwards, Joe Randa, Jeromy Burnitz, and Jose Hernandez (all now out of baseball 2 years later).

And, do you know what happened to the Red Sox in 2007 when Hinske was a bench player for them? They won the World Series. In 2008, he was a free agent and signed a minor league contract with Tampa Bay (again, come on Pirates--low risk minor league free agent). He ended up being a key member of the Rays' bench and contributed as a starter for a stretch due to injuries. Guess what Tampa Bay did in 2008.....made the World Series.

This brings us to 2009. Eric Hinske is now a Pirate, so based on the past few years you can now expect the Pirates to.........yeah right. I can't even bring myself to write it the thought is so far-fetched.

I read this one article about him from his hometown paper from tiny Menasha, Wisconsin (Note: I looked it up on a map, it's this small town in the middle of Wisconsin near a Lake Winnebago). It really spoke to how strong of a character guy he is and how he helped some of the younger Tampa Bay guys get into some strong professional routines on gameday. So, while his signing meant that last year's clubhouse heart & soul (Doug Mientkiewicz) won't be re-signed, it sounds like Hinske's a pretty good guy, too.
Much more to come in the upcoming weeks on the Pirates and their (not so great) outlook for the 2009 season....


Beth said...

I think if I hear that name "Eric Hinske" one more time I might scream!!!! (just kidding) But I can vouch for the fact that he's a household name around here anyway... :)

Maijaleena said...

Thanks weatherman Oscar! I was going to check the weather channel, but now I don't need to! Now, what will the weather be like in NJ around 5:00pm? I plan to do a crazy brick...