Pirates will try anything to distract us

Leave a comment

arnold_palmer_090908.jpgThe Pittsburgh Pirates are doing their best to distract everyone from this, their 17th consecutive losing season. And while I’m not one to say their streak makes them the worst sports franchise in history, I’m also not above picking on them, or old people, for that matter.

Which brings us to Tuesday’s pregame ceremony, in which the Pirates honored Arnold Palmer in celebration of his 80th birthday, which is Thursday. Palmer, who hails from Latrobe, about an hour east of Pittsburgh, was interviewed by Jim Nantz on the field and shown a video tribute. Then the circus continued

Pirates pitcher Paul Maholm, team broadcaster and former pitcher Steve Blass and professional golfer Peter Jacobsen took part in a “closest to the pin” contest on the field while players from both teams watched from the dugouts.

Jacobsen was the only participant to hit the “pin” — really team mascot the Pirate Parrot — in center field on a shot from near home plate, earning money for charity.

The good news is that PNC Bank made a $1 million donation to Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh in Palmer’s name.

The bad news is that after the game finally started – 11 minutes late – it was back to reality, and the visiting Cubs tied a major league record by beginning the game with eight straight hits.

Sigh.

******

If you Twitter, and also like the ’74 Eldorado, follow me at @Bharks.

Report: Twins sign Erick Aybar to a minor-league deal

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Twins have reportedly signed free agent shortstop Erick Aybar to a minor-league deal, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune reported Friday. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman adds that the deal comes with a potential $1.25 million if Aybar reaches the majors, with additional incentives based on plate appearances. He’ll be able to opt out on March 27. The team has yet to confirm the signing.

Aybar, 34, is now four years removed from his career year in 2014. He’s been in a state of steady decline since then, slashing just .234/.300/.348 with seven home runs and 11 stolen bases over 370 plate appearances for the Padres in 2017. His poor performance wasn’t helped by a fractured left foot, either, which cost him almost six weeks on the disabled list.

Still, the Twins see something promising in the veteran infielder, and reportedly intend to use him as another utility option this spring. Per Neal, Aybar will join fellow backup infielders Eduardo Escobar and Ehire Adrianza and may even (temporarily) take over for Miguel Sano at third base if Sano isn’t able to shape up for the role by Opening Day.