Last week, I made my introduction to the blogging world by posting a bite-sized rant about Pittsburgh Pirates fandom. I regret nothing.
Now, though, it’s time to get down to business. In the grand tradition of Myron Cope, Pittsburgh sportswriters remain some of the most intelligent and opinionated in their field and, with the exponential growth of Internet, so too have Pittsburgh sports bloggers grown, both in number and in opinion. Since Pirates bloggers are perhaps the most opinionated of the bunch, and since good journalism is essential to any good fan’s understanding of their team, I feel obligated to deliver to you at least a sampling of the finest the Internet has to offer, in terms of Pittsburgh baseball.
Baseball without statistics is like peanut butter without jelly, or a shopping cart without a broken wheel. If you head down to PNC Park and don’t hear about Pedro Alvarez’s slugging percentage in the last 20 day games at home, ask for your money back. What’s that? You don’t know what a slugging percentage is, you say? Perfect. Check out these websites and be enlightened.
Baseball Reference covers all the bases (no pun intended), providing information from a player’s batting average to his place of burial (if applicable). What’s more, the site provides formulas for the more complicated statistics, which can be found by simply hovering at the top of a column. Regardless of what you’re looking for, though, Baseball Reference is the place to start.
FanGraphs reads more like a blog than Baseball Reference does, and tends to cover a lot of straightforward baseball stuff (Here’s an article about The Pleasures of Team Allegiance, which probably does more convincing than I could ever hope to). Still, there’s a twist. FanGraphs is representative of the growing camp in baseball journalism that supports a larger integration of advanced statistics, called sabermetrics in analyzing how the game works, (see Moneyball for more information, or the book for even more information) which has ruffled the feathers of baseball “traditionalists” the world over. Stay tuned for news of a new world order, but in the meantime, let’s transition to the main attraction…
This is where we get specific. Any knowledge that you might acquire in the above websites can be used to better understand the blogs that follow, and likewise, you can use stats and facts to keep certain bloggers honest. Not that you’ll need to use your new superpowers on Pirates bloggers—those guys are on your side. Instead, cross-examine scheming Reds and Cubs bloggers, who might be trying to show you up.
A member of the SBNation network of blogs, Bucs Dugout is managed by Charlie Wilmoth, and covers late breaking news from the Pirates’ front office, (trades, free agent signings, etc.) as well as provides gamethreads for fans to comment on games in progress, and recaps past games. Additionally, the writers at Bucs Dugout often open the floor to fan submitted posts, photos and links.
Formerly B.U.C.C.O. Fans.com, (where B.U.C.C.O. stands for Bring Us a Championship Caliber Organization), Pirates Prospects is managed by Tim Williams, and is mostly concerned with the MLB draft and Pirates’ minor league system. Williams and company emphasize that the children, and not the current big leaguers, are the future of the organization.
Where Have You Gone, Andy Van Slyke?
W.H.Y.G.A.V.S.? derives its title from Pat Lackey’s understandable frustration with the team following its collapse in 1992, and the veritable disappearance of superstar players like Van Slyke. Recently, Lackey has had slightly less to be upset about, as the light at the end of the tunnel draws ever nearer, but he, like many other Pirates bloggers remain cautious about getting too excited for the team.
Raise the Jolly Roger
Brian McElhinny has a phenomenal Twitter presence, and, in addition to writing daily posts about the Buccos, can be seen to tweet the popular hashtag, “#RaiseIt,” whenever the Pirates get a win. Though the call to raise the Jolly Roger has become strongly associated with Pirates’ broadcaster Greg Brown, McElhinny deserves some praise for personifying the enthusiasm that Pirates fans can have for their team.
All of the bloggers discussed above, plus many other writers, can be found on Twitter, and have been compiled in a Twitter list for your convenience.