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That was 586 Bonds home runs ago.
That's why modern Pirates fans are approaching the stretch drive the way Charlie Brown approaches a football:
He's part of a rotation that also features Gerrit Cole, 22. The No. 1 pick in the 2011 draft is 6 6 with a 3.81 ERA. (Cole's girlfriend is Amy Crawford, the sister of Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford.) Cole has allowed three or fewer earned runs in all but one of his 13 starts.
of last year," said Jim Trdinich, the team's director of baseball communications and a full time club employee since 1989. "I'm sure that's hanging over a lot of people's heads here in Pittsburgh."
Despite the long wait, Szymkowiak acknowledges he still is healing from the Pirates' last trip to the playoffs. championship series against the Atlanta Braves.
a one time can't miss prospect who mostly missed and re emerged as one of the game's most respected managers.
Pittsburgh opens a four game series at AT Park starting Thursday. The Pirates arrive with a 74 52 record that puts them comfortably in range of a playoff spot. They are one game ahead of St. Louis in the National League Central and 2 ahead of Cincinnati, currently the second wild card team.
close to ending playoff drought
"He's a stud," said Garner, who now works as a special assistant in the A's front office and wants to see an Oakland Pittsburgh matchup in the World Series.
Third baseman Pedro Alvarez is tied for the National League lead with 31 home runs, the most by a Pirates left handed hitter since Brian Giles hit 38 in 2002. Pierzynski trade after the 2003 season, is 14 5 with a 2.53 ERA. Liriano is playing on a one year, $1 million deal but can earn $13.75 million plus award bonuses over two seasons in the incentive laden contract. He had agreed to but hadn't signed a $12.75 million, two year deal in December before suffering a broken right arm on Christmas Day while goofing around with his kids. He then agreed to the restructured contract.
Much of the hopes for this year's team hinges on Andrew McCutchen, playing the role of Bonds as the speedy, powerful outfielder and the face of the franchise. With one more home run, McCutchen would become the sixth player in team history to hit at least 100 home runs and steal at least 100 bases in his career. The others are Bonds, Al Martin, Andy Van Slyke, Dave Parker and Paul Waner.
So their current lackluster August they're 9 10 this month has fans on edge. Adam Szymkowiak, 30, a Pittsburgh native, said the swings are particularly tough Omega Seamaster James Bond Price
"He's had a great impact," said columnist Gene Collier, a two time Pulitzer Prize nominee from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette said by phone. "He's a very upbeat guy, a very positive guy. He knows how to deal with all the failures the game brings because he went through it as a player."
"The vibe is good, but there is still that overlying I don't know if it's fear or anxiety over the collapse Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Silver Dial
"You're darn right I'm watching them," Garner, now 64, said by phone this week. "I hope they don't falter this year. I'm really pulling for them because they've got a fun team and they have some kids who can play. I'm hoping that it brings back memories of '79 when we really finished off strong."
He remembers what the town was like before the Pirates fell into the abyss.
Presiding over all is Clint Hurdle, 56, Omega Seamaster 300m Chronometer
They've teased twice in recent years, only to spend August and September sky diving in the standings. In 2011, the Pirates were in first place as late as July 25 . and soon lost 10 games in a row en route to finishing 72 90, 24 games out of first place In 2012, they were 63 47 on Aug. 8 and went 16 36 the rest of the way.
Trdinich said this year feels like turning a new page at least in the morning paper
They really, really want to believe this time but . can they?
Is this the year? Collier says the so so August feels more like a "comfortable cruising altitude" than the collapse that sank the past few seasons. Trdinich said this year's squad is better mentally equipped to handle a rough patch because the younger players have been through late season pressure, and veteran additions such as catcher Russell Martin are well suited to calm a rocking Omega Seamaster Titane Quartz 120m Price boat.
on the bandwagon crowd.
"Usually every time by mid July, we would be pushed to Page 4 of the sports section because the Steelers are in camp. Now we're still above the fold," he said. "People have always said it's a football town. But it's a winning town."
All of that, of course, is the source of much consternation back home.
Liriano has been rounding into form since making his season debut May 11. In his last start, on Monday, he struck out a season high 13, including eight of the first 11 batters he faced.
"They go back and forth almost every game," Szymkowiak said. "They win, and it's, 'We're going to do it this year!' And then they lose a game and it's, 'No, they're going to falter.' If they lose a few games in a row, everybody panics."
Andrew McCutchen (22), de los Piratas de Pittsburgh, anota superando en el plato al receptor puertorrique Wil Nieves, de los Diamondbacks de Arizona, impulsado por un imparable del dominicano Pedro en la tercera entrada del juego del viernes 16 de agosto de 2013, en Pittsburgh. (Foto AP/Keith Srakocic)Phil Garner played in Pittsburgh when it was a confetti covered sports paradise, back when the Pirates joined the Steelers and Pitt atop the world to form the "City of Champions."
The Pirates haven't won the World Series since 1979 and haven't made the playoffs since 1992. That was their last finish above .500, and their 20 consecutive losing seasons since is the longest streak in North American major pro sports history.
So now that Pittsburgh first place Pittsburgh is within reach of ending a two decade losing streak, the man known as "Scrap Iron" is happy to see the franchise getting off the scrap heap.
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