the baseball battle of Pittsburgh


illustration by Samara Pearlstein

How freakin’ weird is it that half the Detroit coaches are former Pittsburgh Pirates managers? Of course Jim Leyland was the manager from 1986 to 1996. Gene Lamont was their manager from ’97 to 2000. And Legendary Lloyd was their manager from ’01 to ’05. So not only have all these Tiger coaches been large and in charge in Pittsburgh, they did it consecutively.

I mean, I know it’s because Leyland brought his buddies on board, and his buddies happen to be Pittsburgh people. It still feels strange. It does add a new dimension to the Incredibly Natural (Eyeroll) Interleague Rivalry of the Pirates and Tigers, though. Like MLB got lucky with their attempt to create an artificial interleague rivalry because there actually is a connection between these teams, at least for now. Clean out the coaching staff and MLB’s rivalry-fomenting dreams go flying out the window like so many memories of a healthy Joel Zumaya.

It’s hard for me to get super excited about interleague this year, because it is a big part of the reason why the Tigers are only playing two games all regular season in Boston, and you know that this is a great personal loss for me. And aside from the coachcest, why are we supposed to feel strongly about Pittsburgh? They aren’t real enemies. Heck, they’re family (Neil Walker! Don Kelly! Marriage of siblings!). Yet here we are, three games into interleague play, being forced to care about the Pirates all over again. Okaaaaayyyyy.

The Tigers lost two in semi-embarrassing fashion and scraped one win by the grace of Rick Porcello, which seems to demand some sort of reaction. It’s hard to write a coherent blog reaction when you’re mostly disgusted by the losses and simply relieved– rather than actually happy– about the win. Why is this offense so bad? Why is the bullpen so bad? Why can’t everyone be Justin Verlander? Why anything?

The best thing about playing the Pirates is getting to visit PNC Park.

Other things:

Brad Thomas was put on the DL with elbow derp. Charlie Furbush was called up to take his spot. Brayan Villarreal was sent down and Enrique Gonzalez was called up in an exchange of youth for agedness. Carlos Guillen was put on the 60 day DL and nobody is surprised. Magglio Ordonez’s return date is unspecified and nobody is surprised. Joaquin Benoit exists. Things change, yet everything remains the same.

2 responses to “the baseball battle of Pittsburgh

  1. The illustration says it all, really.

  2. A Leyland cigarette would go really well with one of those pillbox Pittsburgh hats. They just seem right together.

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