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AUBREY BRUCE

Man, the weather during the beginning month of the Pirates’ 2018 season has been lousy. Oh but wait, lousy weather, great baseball is being played by the Pirates.

Pirates fans had better hope that they will be seeing salt trucks and snow plows in June the way this team is playing. The weather was so miserable for their season-opening series against the Detroit Tigers, but they won all three games. The beginning of the 2018 season has been a far cry from how they concluded the season last year. As of April 16, the Pirates were 11-5 and still sitting atop the NL Central Division. The Pirates ended the 2017 season with a .244 batting average and were 13th in the NL in pitching with a 4.22 ERA. By the way, their final won-loss record was 75-87, 12 games under .500 and 17 games out of first place in the NL Central.

JOSH HARRISON will be out for six weeks with a broken finger, suffered in a game against the Miami Marlins, April 15. (AP Photo)

The Pirates’ torrid start to the 2018 campaign may have come to a screeching halt as a result of All-Star second baseman Josh Harrison being out for six weeks after being hit by a pitch in the April 15 contest in Miami. “I just think guys need to know if they’re going to throw in, they need to be able to locate,” Harrison said in a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article last September. “I look around the league, I see guys that crowd the plate more than me, why am I the one to get hit? I get it you’ve got to throw in, but I think there could be something to it.”

There is something to it. Baseball is trying to uphold this fake “gladiator culture” by continuing to allow players’ lives and careers to be jeopardized and ended by archaic practices that may have been OK 125 years ago when baseball games were just recreation for workers that had one day off (Sunday), because the Bible allowed that day of rest. In the game of ice hockey, if a player is called for high-sticking, there is a penalty accessed. If a player is called for slashing, look for a penalty whether it was intentional or not. In the NFL players will be ejected if they commit two unsportsmanlike fouls of certain varieties. Regardless of intent, baseball players don’t have protection for the exposed areas of their bodies to prevent serious injuries as result of being hit by pitches. When a pitcher hits one batter, that batter should be awarded third base. If a pitcher hits a second batter the opposing team should be awarded one run and the batter awarded second base. If a third batter is hit that pitcher should be ejected. Watch the hit-by-pitch stats tank into the cellar. The Josh Harrison injury may cost the Pirates six weeks without him, while Marlins starter Jose Urena, the man who hit Harrison and hit the most players in the National League last year, won’t even miss his next start.

Harrison has a gripe. He gets hit by pitches way too much.

Baseball games are rained out, but when temperatures are below 30 degrees games should be “snowed out.” The Pirates must be apples because apple trees can survive in far colder temperatures than orange trees. There is nothing like a nice tall glass of hard apple cider on a crisp fall afternoon, waiting for the 2018 World Series to begin….Hmm, isn’t it nice sometimes to consider a few maybes or what ifs?

 

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