Ah! The smell of the grass. The crack of the bat. The taste of pine tar. The 2012 Major League Baseball season looms. Contrary to popular belief your Pittsburgh Pirates are a major league ball club, too. With the fresh start comes the veritable questions to be answered as the season unfolds. I’m not talking about the same old questions we ask every spring training. I’m talking about the questions no one is asking.
1. Will Andrew MCcutchen pack his bags and escape in the night?
McCutchen is clearly the most talented player on the team. Don’t you think he’s toyed with the notion of hoarding his belongings in a duffel bag and slipping out a hotel window during a road trip? Then he could do it Hannibal Lector style—kill a tourist and assume his identity to remain incognito. Two months later some dude named Bill Steinhauer, who looks an awful lot like Cutch, is batting leadoff for the Cardinals.
2. Is this the year the pitching machine makes the starting rotation?
There is no question the pitching staff received an upgrade in the offseason. However, it’s no secret that there are still question marks. If human arms falter, the pitching machine could crack the rotation. The thing spits 105 mph fastballs with pinpoint accuracy. If it breaks down, just oil it. Furthermore, its inanimate psyche insulates it from the ongoing misery of the “culture of losing,” which has already diminished living, breathing ballplayers to mush. Best of all, it’ll work for free.
3. Can Pedro Alvarez hit over .027?
After a horrendous showing at the plate in 2010 all eyes are on the former number 1 draft pick. The question is not whether or not Alvarez can reach his potential; it’s whether or not his bat will make any physical contact with a pitched ball in 2012. Reports are that management has instructed Alvarez to simply hold his bat over the plate and hope the ball hits it. If he receives 400 at-bats, the law of averages dictates that his batting average will be .027. Is luck on the Buc’s side this year?
4. Will Sauerkraut Saul see time as a pinch runner?
You’ve seen him during the Great Pierogi Race. The dude can fly. Why not put that speed on the base paths? Concerns are that Saul will slide hard into a base, which will rupture his doughy shell thus spewing his potato-y innards all over the infield grass like a lawn sprinkler. Is that conducive to a family environment? If it means more wins, then yes.
5. Will PNC Park see a Full Frontal Lobotomy Night?
Rumor has it that upper management is tinkering with the idea of performing free frontal lobotomies at the gates as part of an AGH promotion. Fans 14 and over would have the connections to and from the prefrontal cortex of their brains completely severed. Pirates’ medical staff claims that this procedure would substantially curb the negative psychological impact created by a sustained midseason losing streak. Fans 14 and under would receive Pirate Parrot figurines.
6. Which Ebenezer Scrooge is Bob Nutting?
Pirates’ owner Bob Nutting ash long been likened to the penny pinching miser of literary lore. He has recently promised to inject more money into the major league lineup. The question remains, is Bob Nutting the fiendish Ebenezer Scrooge who won’t allow his freezing employees to burn another lump of coal? Or is Bob Nutting the cheery Ebenezer Scrooge who wakes up Christmas morning and orders an 11-year-old beggar to scavenge the seedy streets of London for the plumpest turkey in all the land.
7. Will MLB fans finally be convinced that the Pittsburgh Pirates ball club actually exists?
A recent poll has concluded that the average casual baseball fan is more apt to believe in UFO abductions and Himalayan Yetis than the existence of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The truth is that the Bucs have been uncompetitive for so long that people have ceased to believe in their actual physical existence. The Bucs have gone from respected to irrelevant to Middle Earth in 20 years. If only Gandalf could hit a curveball.
Let’s Go Bucs!