Getty Images

The Pirates and Cardinals will play in “The Little League Classic” on August 20

6 Comments

Major League Baseball and the MLBPA just announced that the Pittsburgh Pirates and the St. Louis Cardinals will play a special regular season game during the 2017 Little League World Series on Sunday, August 2. It will be called “The Little League Classic” and will be played in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The Pirates will be the home team.

The game, which takes place during the Little League World Series, will air nationally on ESPN at 7pm that night. ESPN, of course, broadcasts the Little League World Series. This is what they call “synergy.”

The game will, sadly, not be played with pitching rubber 46 feet from home plate or a 225-foot outfield fence. Rather, it will be played at BB&T Ballpark — which you may know better as Bowman Field — which is home of the Class-A Williamsport Crosscutters of the NY-Penn League. They will be renovating the park for the big leaguers. On the day of the game, the Major Leaguers will attend Little League World Series games and then, later that night, the Little Leaguers and their families will go to the Pirates-Cards game.

This is pretty cool. It’d be cooler if they mic’d up Clint Hurdle, Little League World Series manager-style, so we could hear him when he visits Gerrit Cole or whoever on the mound. Maybe Cole will be a bit teary and Hurdle can say “hey kiddo, I’m proud of you,” as the camera pans to Cole’s mom and dad and stuff.

Giants remove pitching coach Dave Righetti

Getty Images
Leave a comment

After 18 years, 12 winning seasons, seven postseason runs and three World Championships, Dave Righetti is no longer a pitching coach for the Giants. He was removed from his post on Saturday, when the team announced a few reassignments as they shake up their coaching staff. Heading into the 2018 season, Righetti will serve as special assistant to general manager Bobby Evans, former bullpen coach Mark Gardner will step into a similar special assistant role to “assist in pitching evaluations,” and former assistant hitting coach Steve Decker will take a special assistant role in baseball operations.

According to MLB.com’s Chris Haft, Righetti was the longest-tenured pitching coach in the big leagues. He helped shape the careers of notable Giants’ aces like Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain — all Cy Young contenders (and, in Lincecum’s case, a two-time winner) at various points in their careers. He was there to assist Ryan Vogelsong during his stunning mid-career comeback in San Francisco. He helped newcomers like Chris Stratton and Ty Blach flourish even as the team stumbled to the bottom of the division. He was there to take the credit when a sterling rotation clinched the Giants’ 56-year, drought-snapping championship title in 2010 — and, when things went so horribly south in 2017, he took the blame as well.

Hardly anything went right for the Giants’ pitching staff in 2017. Madison Bumgarner was shelved after sustaining a serious shoulder injury in a dirt bike accident, Johnny Cueto couldn’t shake a cluster of blisters on his right hand and Mark Melancon found it difficult to justify a $62 million paycheck after pitching through an arm injury to four blown losses/saves and a 4.50 ERA. It would be a lot for any pitching coach to stay on top of, and given the team’s rapid descent from 2016 postseason contenders to last-place finishers in 2017, it’s not surprising that Evans felt the need to switch things up.

Successors have yet to be named for Righetti, Gardner or Decker, though Murray hears that the Giants could have interest in former major league pitching coach Jim Hickey. NBC Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic adds that Evans is searching for someone to “put a new voice” on the pitching staff and will likely target someone who, like Righetti, brings considerable experience to the role.