- Grove City, Pennsylvania


February 26, 2014

EXTRA INNINGS: For baseball fans, winter ends today

OPINION — WHILE THE calendar would dispute it, for baseball fans, winter ends today, a few minutes after 1 p.m. when the Pittsburgh Pirates take McKechnie Field and Francisco Liriano throws his first pitch against the New York Yankees. Even better, we can listen to winter melt into spring as the game will be carried on 93.7 The Fan, the first of 16 such broadcasts, some of which will also be aired locally by the stations that are part of the team’s radio network.

Pirates’ manager Clint Hurdle says that the team’s top winner from last season will be followed by newcomer Edinson Volquez. Jeanmar Gomez, Vin Mazzaro, Bryan Morris, Jared Hughes, Duke Welker, and Josh Kinney are also slated to pitch, each hurler tossing one inning.

Tomorrow, Charlie Morton will get the start in Tampa, again against the Yankees. Morton is scheduled to throw two innings, followed by Jeff Locke and Brandon Cumpton for two innings each. Minor leaguers Yao-Hsun Yang, Daniel Schlereth, and Cody Eppley are scheduled for an inning each.

On Friday at Toronto’s Dunedin home, Gerrit Cole will throw two innings against the Blue Jays in Dunedin, Fla., and on Saturday, Wandy Rodriguez is slated to start in Bradenton against Tampa and pitch for two innings. Hurdle had not released the rest of the pitching participants at this column’s deadline.

The Bucs will be on TV six times this spring, including the 1:05 p.m. Monday, March 24 game on ESPN against the Tigers. Root Sports will air the other five games: Sunday, March 9 with Boston; Monday, March 17 against the Yankees; and Saturday, March 29 against the Phillies is Philadelphia, with all four games starting at 1:05 p.m.

Two 7:05 p.m. games will also air: Wednesday, March 19 at the Red Sox and Friday, March 21 at the Yankees.

During the season, the Bucs will have four home games broadcast nationally, including the Sunday, May 11 game against the Cardinals, which has been moved to 8:05 p.m. The broadcast is the first Sunday night game ever aired from PNC Park and the first time the Bucs will have played on Sunday night since a road appearance in 2002.

Opening Day with the Cubs has been changed to a 1:05 p.m. start to accommodate ESPN’s national schedule of televised games. The game will also air on Root Sports.

Two other games will also change game times. The Saturday, May 24 game vs. Washington will begin at 7:15 p.m. as the game has been chosen for an exclusive FOX national telecast. And the Saturday, August 30 game vs. the Cincinnati Reds will start 4:05 p.m. and be aired nationally on Fox Sports 1. The game was originally scheduled as a Skyblast game featuring Gavin DeGraw; the post-game concert will still take place, but the fireworks night will be moved to a date to be announced.

The networks may schedule additional team appearances at a later time, according to team reports.

All five long-time broadcasters return for the Pirates: play-by-play men Greg Brown (21 years) and Tim Neverett (6) will be joined by color analysts Bob Walk (21), Steve Blass (29), and John Wehner (10), all three of whom also played for the Bucs.

Brown is the ideal homer, reminding fans of Bob Prince, thanks to his signature calls like “Raise the Jolly Roger” and “Clear the deck—cannonball comin’!” Only Prince and Lanny Frattare have called more games than Brown, who last season surpassed the 3,200 game mark.

Walk is generally regarded as in the top tier of analysts, and Blass is in his 55th season of association with the team, since signing his first professional contract on June 27, 1960. For the 10th year, Blass will work only home games.

Wehner again will work all road games and a few games at PNC Park. He hit the last home run in the history of Three Rivers Stadium on October 1, 2000; he also made the final out at the stadium.

Jim Sankey is a baseball columnist for Allied News.

Text Only
  • THE CHECKERED FLAG: Up and down week for Sodeman

    LAST FRIDAY I headed south to add I-77 Raceway Park to my track attended list, which made for 162nd track all-time.  I-77 is located south of Ripley, West Virginia just off Interstate 77.  This season, I-77 moved from the crowded Saturday night line-up to Friday night racing and teamed up with Ohio Valley Speedway.  I-77 normally runs Super Late Models, Semi-Late Models, E-Mods, Mod Lites, and 4-Cylinder Mini Stocks.  With the Sprint Cars on the schedule, I decided to make the trip and they were joined by the Super Late Models, Semi-Late Models, and E-Mods.

    July 21, 2014

  • THE CHECKERED FLAG: Blaney still running hot on area tracks

    LAST THURSDAY I headed southwest to Atomic Speedway, formerly known as KC Raceway.  The 1/3-mile high-banked dirt oval is located an hour south of Columbus, Ohio just off Route 23 near Alma.  It was my first visit in a couple years.  A big crowd turned out on Independence Day Eve as the All Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Cars were back along with the Super Late Models and E-Mods.  The Ohio Speedweek event the week before drew a huge 62-car field and Thursday’s event drew 33.
    After an astounding Speedweek winning the final three races and four of six, Dale Blaney returned to the track that he last got defeated at.  On the Speedweek show, Jac Haudenschild made the winning pass of Blaney, while Blaney finished second.  Last Thursday, even a seventh starting spot didn’t derail Blaney for long.  The Hartford, Ohio racer worked his way to the front and made the winning pass of race-long leader Tim Shaffer on lap 16.  One caution three laps from the finish was all that slowed Blaney’s run to another $5,000 payday.  It was Blaney’s fourth straight win, sixth of the season, and all-time leading 105th of his career with the All Stars.

    July 13, 2014

  • EXTRA INNINGS: Bucs fans loved Burnett, but let's leave him in Philly

    THERE IS NO no doubt that A.J. Burnett made a huge impact during his two seasons with the Pirates.
    When he arrived in the spring of 2012, so did hope for fans wearied by teams that hadn’t seen a winning record in 20 summers.
    While he certainly did not turn the tide by himself, he turned the wheel. His swagger sometimes didn’t play well with management, but even the Buc brass had to appreciate the new culture that Burnett helped his teammates create.

    July 9, 2014

  • NCAA Football: Rock 6-1 after 17-3 win over Cal U

    Slippery Rock University rode a length-of-the-field scoring drive by its offense and a goal-line stand by its No. 1-ranked defense late in the first half of action Saturday to a 17-3 win over 14th-ranked visiting California (Pa.).

    October 19, 2011

  • steez pc.jpg NFL: Steelers top Jags as Mendenhall makes return

    Mike Tomlin isn’t ready to say the Pittsburgh Steelers are back. Not after watching his team sleepwalk through the second half against Jacksonville on Sunday.

    October 19, 2011 1 Photo

  • wheldon, dan pc.jpg IndyCar Racing: Crash takes Wheldon’s life

    Every race car driver heads onto the track understanding this race could be the last and hoping it won’t be. On Sunday, IndyCar drivers got a harsh reminder when the worst happened to one of their own.

    October 19, 2011 3 Photos

  • pens pc.jpg NHL: Sabres beat Penguins 3-2

    The Buffalo Sabres have had trouble with the Pittsburgh Penguins whether Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin play or not.

    October 19, 2011 1 Photo

  • canadiens logo pc.jpg NHL Quick glance: Montreal at Pittsburgh

    A breakdown of the National Hockey League game Thursday night between the Pittsburgh Penguins and visiting Montreal Canadiens.

    October 19, 2011 4 Photos

  • High School Highlights: Oct. 19, 2011

    A look at the last few days in local high school fall sports action.

    October 19, 2011

  • washington, ron pc.jpg Leading Off: Oct. 19, 2011

    News and notes from the local, regional and national sports scene.

    October 19, 2011 5 Photos

Featured Ads
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide