Sunday, May 5, 2013

May 5- Pittsburgh Pirates

Of all the New Era Caps I had my mother mail to me I thought this Pittsburgh Pirates hat was a winner. Of course, in my head I was under the impression that the Pirates had taken a page out of the San Diego Padres playbook and repped this Military Day hat primarily on Sundays. Nope! Here’s how it all went wrong, and then righted itself out.

If you’ve been following my tales for the last couple of days you would know that I decided to stay in Florida with my girlfriend Angie Kinderman (@sconnieangie) for an extra week. Well, what I forgot to take into consideration was that I was going to run short on hats to write about very fast. Hence the momentary delays in the last few days’ worth of posts. Anyway, my large assortment of hats are all chillin’ in my bedroom at my parents’ house because it’s a much safer place than in my storage unit in Eugene, Oregon. Going simply off memory, I sent a detailed email to my mother to round up enough hats to get me through the rest of my time with Angie. She did. And yet for some strange reason I chose this hat; even with the aid of the computer to guide me on my request. At the time when I sent the request I thought that this particular Pirates hat was one they had worn for every Sunday game in 2012; kind of like the way the Padres pay tribute to the military every Sunday home game in San Diego. My theory had been built up on the basis that I knew it wasn’t the 2012 Stars & Stripes Memorial Day cap the Pirates wore as I also own that cap as well, and I can point out the various differences between each.

When it, and a few others, arrived at Angie’s house on Saturday I still didn’t think much of it. I had planned to write about it tonight anyway so I didn’t see any reason to do any research on it the day before. I’ve grown accustomed to the challenge of doing “on the spot” research under a time crunch, but at the same time, as I mentioned above, I thought I had this one taken care of. So, Angie and I went out on out last date together before I would have to catch my plane back to Portland at 8:00 AM EST. We didn’t do anything too spectacular, just dinner and time together, which is all we ever really need. I’ve mentioned this on Twitter several times, but very few people seem to take me serious on it; I’m actually kind of a boring person in real life. I read all the time, I listen to a wide variety of music, I watch a lot of movies, and I cook, all for the sake of building a more intellectual style of writing and comedy. Most of the times it comes out right… I think. Angie and I are virtually identical, which is why we can be at peace with one another in the most pedestrian of situations; however, our brains are always churning with thoughts of jokes and baseball. Even though we were going out to dinner at one of her favorite restaurants in Fort Lauderdale I still rocked this Pirates cap. I didn’t wear it at dinner. I can be a gentleman at times, but Angie has grown accustom to my style and habits, and this is one that she can appreciate.

Traffic was absolutely absurd along the coastline of Fort Lauderdale. We had both neglected the fact that it was Cinco de Mayo. Personally, I’ve never been one to care for Cinco de Mayo.

1. I don’t drink that much.

2. The reason “we” celebrate the holiday has become lost over the years.

Contrary to popular belief, it is not Mexican Independence Day; that actually takes place in September. But I suppose I can’t give to much grief to such an event, especially considering that my March 17th post of the St. Patrick’s Day Boston Red Sox cap was written on a drinking holiday as well. Moving on; the main reason I bring this up is because I wanted to stop by a restaurant in the area to take a photo for this blog post. The restaurant; Primanti Brothers. I’ll dabble into greater detail in a future post, but what I can tell you now is that it’s a Pittsburgh-based restaurant that makes amazing sandwiches. So, being the clever guy that I am, I figured what better place to take a photo with this hat on than in front of a Pittsburgh-based establishment? In so few words, let’s just say that it was a bit high in foot traffic to be able to take a decent shot. Also, parking was lacking for our benefit. Without very many options we decided to press on back home. It was getting late and I needed to crank this bad boy out for the night.

Before we had gone out I made sure to get a few searches started involving some factoids about this hat, but I didn’t look over a single one of the until we got home. When I sat down and scanned through the first two pages my smile was unfortunately turned into a frown. What I thought had been a season long tribute had now turned into a weekend tribute. The Pirates only wore this hat for two days: May 26 and 27 against the Chicago Cubs in which both ended with the raising of the Jolly Roger. Well, at that moment I was in a bit of a panic. I was looking forward to go through several box scores to put some kind of a correlation or story together, but instead I had two games to work with.

For a while I thought this was an interesting point in time for the Pirates to use this hat; especially when considering that on Monday, May 28 they would be wearing the Stars & Stripes model for Memorial Day. I have something all ready reserved for that hat so I don’t want to spoil it with this. From my personal experience I know that these dates were two of my last days in the MLB Fan Cave, but nothing of real note occurred. Nope, this one was driving me a bit crazy for a good chunk of the night.

Call it fate, or just my mind blasting in a weird direction as it tends to do, but just as I was about to reach by boiling point my brain started scanning through comedies I had watched over the years when it randomly landed on “Dude, Where’s My Car?” It’s really not as random as you would think though. A few days prior Angie and I had been discussing Cameron Crowe movies as two of her favorite films of his are “Singles” and “Almost Famous.” Having not seen “Singles” I can’t say anything good or bad about it; however, “Almost Famous” is one of my least favorite movies. As much as I love music and film, it’s just one of those few that I can’t stand. Our Crowe battle continued and I poked fun at the fact that Crowe actually wrote the screenplay for “Dude, Where’s My Car?”… or so I thought. For 13 years I could have sworn that I remember seeing his name in the credits, but as it turned out it was Phillip Stark. She opted not to challenge me on that bit of knowledge, but I’m pretty sure she will after reading this. Anyway, the one thing about “Dude, Where’s My Car?” That suddenly crept back into my head was this scene:
For those of you who don’t remember from last season… at the end of April the Pirates started doing the Zoltan symbol anytime they got an extra-base hit. Where did they get the idea? “Dude, Where’s My Car?” I had luckily stumbled upon an article from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette to confirm this story, as Cameron Crowe had screwed me for the better part of 13 years. Here’s the link for that:
So, now that we’re dealing with extra-base hits I had a clearer mission at-hand. Unfortunately for the Pirates in their game of the 26th they had only hit singles, so nothing to go from there; however, on the 27th I got a bit more to wring with.

Z- I didn’t want to even attempt drawing to hands on my hat, so I just went with the “Z” for Zoltan. Don’t judge me.

#31- Even though Andrew McCutchen cranked a home run and popped the Zoltan that day, I figured it was too easy to roll with him, so I’ll save him for another post. Jose Tabata on the other hand, today’s your day.

Tabata went 2-3 on May 27th, which included and single, a triple and a big pop of the Zoltan. Tabata was in his third year with the club in 2012 and actually produced his worst season to date for the year. A .299 average in his rookie season had been the initial stepping stone in his Major League career, and it even laded him in eighth place in the National League Rookie of the Year vote. However, since we are talking about the NL here, Tabata hasn’t seen more than 103 games in a season on account so many players to rotate on account of pitching matchups and a lack of the designated hitter. But for that one day in May, Tabata got the club and fans fired up.

#46- This guy has been my fantasy baseball savior in back-to-back seasons to the point where I had to give him a fitting nickname. Garrett “Motherf---ing” Jones is one of those guys who can sneak up and bite a time when they least expect it. Pirates’ manager Clint Hurdle knows this all too well which is why Jones plays first base and the outfield and is utilized almost as often as McCutchen. In fantasy seasons passed I would spot start Jones when I knew he would be getting a lot of quality at-bats, and sure enough, he came through for me. The nickname I gave him also fits perfectly with the name, which is something that I had a tendency to shout a lot in the Fan Cave whenever he had a clutch hit; like on May 27th for example.

Jones was probably the clutch-iest dude on the Pirates that day, going 2-4 with a double and a home run. For those playing at home that equals “double Zoltan.” Dude pal might as well have gotten that tattooed across his chest. Equally as much, I did a power run through the home run slide for him that day.

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