For what seems like the millionth straight season, I am relegated to rooting for either:
1. a good story in the post-season or
2. a former Pirate to do well in the post-season
With the Cubs gone and the Brewers gone, the good stories shake out like this:
1. Tampa Bay in the post-season and worst to first
2. Joe Torre’s escape from New York
3. The Phillies going for just their second World Series title ever
4. The Red Sox becoming the new version of the Evil Empire
So, let’s look at all the ex-Pirates remaining in the playoffs.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Jason Johnson and Joe Beimel are in the bullpen. Johnson’s ML tenure with Pittsburgh was a meager three games back in 1997 before he was taken in the expansion draft. Beimel has come back from the edge of being out of baseball to becoming a rubber armed stud in the Dodgers bullpen. Over the last two seasons, he has pitched in 154 games, tossed 116-1/3 IP and allowed just one home run. His three seasons in Pittsburgh were quite a bit less successful. He never posted a better than league average ERA for the Buccos, but has done so in each of the past three years in La-La Land.
The Phils have Matt Stairs and a couple of almosts. The Pirates almost traded Kris Benson for Ryan Howard all those years ago. And the Buccos almost signed Chad Durbin this past off-season. Stairs had a solid single season in Pittsburgh.
Tampa Bay Rays
Al Reyes and his 15 games pitched in 2001 are it.
Boston Red Sox
Tons of ex-Pirates here. From the brief – Sean Casey and Dave Ross – to the long ago in Tim Wakefield to the painfully, recently removed in Jason Bay.
Clearly when looking at the crop of ex-Bucs on post-season rosters, the Red Sox have a huge upper hand.
So, who am I pulling for?
1. Tampa Bay – hard not to pull for a team that blindsided me and most everyone else
2. Boston – if the Sox beat the Rays in the ALCS, I’m hoping Bay puts up MVP numbers in the WS
3. Philadelphia – I was born there
4. LA – Torre already has his and so does Manny Ramirez