Monday, July 7, 2014

Let's Hear It For The Boys....

Congratulations go out to the following Pittsburgh Pirates selected to play in the All-Star game in Minneapolis next week.

First, the incomparable Andrew McCutchen, who by virtue of being the leading vote getter among all NL outfielders, becomes the first Pirate to start an All-Star Game since Jason Bay in 2005.

 McCutchen is having a superb season as a followup to last year's MVP season.  In fact, this is the fourth consecutive All-Star team to which McCutchen has been named.  You know what other Pirates were selected to play in four straight All-Star Games?  

Ralph Kiner and Roberto Clemente. 

That's it.  That's the list.

Pitcher Tony Watson, he of the 5-0 W/L, and 0.89 ERA has also been deservedly named to the squad.  There was a time when middle relievers never would have been considered for a spot on an All-Star team, but with the way the game has evolved, and the major role played by "set up men", then there can be no question as to Watson's qualifications.

But the real "feel good" story of the make up of this All-Star team is the inclusion of Josh Harrison, the J-Hey Kid, on the team.

Derided by many, including Yours Truly, as the quintessential "25th guy" on the roster, there can be no denying the important role that Harrison has played for the Pirates in 2014.  While Jose Tababta and Travis Snider struggled in right field (before the Polanco call up), Clint Hurdle, in a seemingly desperate move, put Harrison in right and both he and the team took off from there.  He is currently at .298 on the season with 5 HR, 25 RBI, 33 Runs, and a .788 OPS, and the Pirates can't keep him out of the line-up in one of four different positions.

He has been a real spark plug for the team.  Will water eventually seek it's own level with Harrison?  Maybe,  but until then, the Pirates need to keep riding him, and he has most definitely earned something that can never be taken away from him: He is a Major League All-Star.

One down note is that Neil Walker did not make the All-Star team. I am guessing that the stint on the DL hurt Walker's chances.  Too bad, because he is having a year worthy of being in Minneapolis for the game.

Way to go, Cutch, Tony, and J-Hey!!

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