How about those Buccos? I never got around to writing a season preview, but it probably would've been something like this:
Hitting: Hopefully Andrew McCutchen can continue his improvement and have a stronger 2nd half this year. I'm concerned about Neil Walker and hope he doesn't regress. I'm intrigued by Casey McGehee and his power he had in Milwaukee. Hopefully we'll get something out of Alvarez this year, closer to what he did back in 2010. Barajas and Barmes seem like decent pickups and should provide some veteran leadership.
Pitching: Will Charlie Morton continue his 2011 first half success? Will James McDonald get past the 5th inning in his starts? He's got the stuff. I'm interested to see if A.J. Burnett has anything left in the tank and will be a positive for this team. Since he got picked up for relatively little it's a low risk and anything the Pirates get out of him will be good. If Bedard stays healthy, will he contribute? Karstens stuff is unimpressive but he finds a way to pitch effectively (a crafty righty). Can it continue for a whole year.
Fast forward three and a half months and the Pirates' roller coaster season has them 11 games over .500 and in first place (1 game ahead of Cincinnati and 2.5 games ahead of St. Louis).
The success has translated to the ticket office, too. I went on a Monday at 1pm and this is the line I found to buy tickets. Awesome!
Naturally, in spite of having the best home record IN THE ENTIRE MAJOR LEAGUE, they managed to lose. Oh well. Just keep winning all the other games I guess.
Performances like that of Andrew McCutchen brings comparisons to superheros. Last summer, Beth and I were joking around how some local runners give phony names for races. Some pick celebrities (Theo Huxtable, Peyton Sawyer). Others make up a name, such as the "Northside Dragon." We presume this is because this runner lives on the North Side of Pittsburgh and perhaps went to Allderdice, whose mascot is the Dragons. So, while brainstorming, we thought what name would be appropriate for someone living in a town with the name Heights as part of it? Also, someone who enjoys racing up hills? Well, our conclusion became "The Heights Hilltopper." Kind of catchy, eh?
Of course, you can't have a superhero without a picture. So, with an evening of no baseball, here's what I came up with tonight.
Hopefully those black and gold superheros keep it up for the 2nd half. Let's Go, Bucs!