Friday, April 30, 2021

Friday Video: Levitating

While this song has been out for a while now, I dig "Levitating" by Dua Lipa featuring DaBaby. 

They were great during the performance at the Grammys too. 

I'm half-way through my 30 blog posts in 30ish days challenge. Just curious, do you like these more frequent, but less detailed posts, or do you prefer the longer posts that come out once or twice a week?

Thursday, April 29, 2021


We refinanced late last year and are saving hundreds of dollars a month on our mortgage. Sure, there were closing costs, but those fees were included in the new mortgage, and we'll end up breaking even with those costs soon. Despite refinancing at a really good rate and fairly recently, the mortgage company started emailing me about refinancing. They emailed me on April 3rd and then again on April 9th, and April 10th. They took a few days off and then went crazy.

I received emails on the 13th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 19th, 20th, 21st, 22nd, and 23rd. I thought that was it, but then I got one more on the 28th. Finally, I figured that they must have some kind of amazing deal, so I decided to call them. They seemed surprised that I received all of the emails and then admitted that my current rate is better than anything they have to offer. 

I just hope that this means no more emails about refinancing for a while!

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

My Golf Course: Part II

Remember when I wrote that walking my golf course was my new happy place? Well, I took a few pictures from some recent walks. I even had a companion join me for one adventure.

It's going to be disappointing when the golfers start playing later hours, and when I can't walk because there will cicadas everywhere. In case you're wondering, I plan on writing several cicada posts in the next month or two. I can feel your excitement from here!

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Make Sports Blowouts Fun!

Something unusual happened at the end of the Pittsburgh Penguins-New Jersey Devils game on Saturday. No, it’s not the empty net, buzzer-beating goal by Sidney Crosby from the opposite side of the rink. It’s that Pens’ defenseman Kris Letang took the face off (or at least stood in the face off circle) to end the game. (Start at the 8:20 mark of the video for the Crosby goal and Letang "faceoff.")

According to Hockey Reference, Letang has played in 856 regular season games over 15 seasons. This was only the fifth time Letang took a face off in his NHL career. So my question is why don’t defensemen ever take face offs?

Look, I know that it’s about positioning. If a defenseman is taking the face off, that means that a center or wing will have to take his/her spot. Plus, it’s likely that defensemen never practice face offs. However, you’re telling me that no defenseman in the league could regularly win faceoffs? There are likely many NHL defensemen who played on offense growing up or in the minors. I’m sure they won plenty of faceoffs then. Maybe they were the best at winning faceoffs on their teams or even in their leagues. However, due to their professional position, they never (or very rarely) take faceoffs now. I feel like there has to be a few NHL defensemen who could win a faceoff if a team really needs a win at the end of a period or game. Or if the game is a blowout, why not let defensemen from each team take a face off for something different?

This goes to a larger point in sports. I think most people enjoy the unusual aspects of the game. It's fun to see a position player pitch in baseball, though this happens weekly now.

I enjoy seeing Phillip Evans leading the Pirates pitching staff in ERA!

To see an offensive or defensive lineman score a touchdown. 

To see a goalie score a goal, especially one from near their opponent's goal like the one at the 2:30 mark of the video.

I suggest more of this in sports. If a team is down by 10 in the 9th inning of a baseball game, have someone who throws left-handed play 3rd base, shortstop, or 2nd base! Play all defenders on a power play! Have your center play point guard! So many possibilities!

Monday, April 26, 2021

Presented Without Comment

 Big Sexy Hair:

My Big Sexy Hair:

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Reason #7366 Why I'm Old

A radio station labelled "Soft" by my vehicle played "Poison" by Bell Biv DeVoe. 

Never trust a big butt and a smile is considered soft.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Saturday Video: Golden

I'm convinced that the song "Golden" by Harry Styles was written in the hopes that it would be used frequently during the Tokyo Olympics. It's a catchy song, and you could definitely see NBC and other networks around the world playing this song constantly.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Friday Video: Ritt Momney

Perhaps you remember the 2006 song "Put Your Records On" by Corinne Bailey Rae. It's a really pleasant song that received several Grammy nominations. 

While the song isn't very old, Ritt Momney released a cover version late last year.

I know nothing about Ritt Momney other than what I just found in this Billboard interview. Apparently, Ritt Momney is a band, but it's pretty much one guy, Jack Rutter. I'd prefer that he called his group Jack Rutter since I think we can pretty much agree that Ritt Momney is a terrible band name. This has nothing to do with politics either. Boe Jiden, Hamala Karris, and Mitch McConnell would also be awful. Come to think of it though, Pancy Nelosi wouldn't be a bad band name.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Pittsburgh Pirates Jerseys

As of the date and time of this post, the Pirates are 8-10 and tied with the St. Louis Cardinals for fourth/last place in the National League Central division. They are 3 games back of the first-place Milwaukee Brewers, and have been competitive after a 1-6 start. No one expects the team to be in playoff contention, though they might be better than the 100-loss team many people predicted (including those in my Pirates predictions post).

I started thinking about what jerseys the team is selling on its website. Although Ke'Bryan Hayes is injured and only played in two games this season, he's an exciting young player that fans want to support. Phillip Evans is off to a good start, so maybe fans would be interested in buying a jersey with his name and number on the back. Not so much. The Pirates shop shows 63 jerseys on the top sellers page

You expect jerseys for Pirates icons Roberto Clemente and Willie Stargell to be at the top of the list, even though neither has played since 1972 and 1982 respectively. A "Your Name" jersey is also popular as is Josh Bell who was traded to the Washington Nationals in the offseason. According to the list, only 4 of the 63 jerseys are of current players, Kevin Newman and Adam Frazier. One of the Frazier jerseys is the most "popular" at #29 followed by a Starling Marte jersey at #30 and a Chris Archer jersey at #32. It should be noted that Marte was traded in January 2020, and Archer signed as a free agent with the Tampa Bay Rays after not pitching in 2020 after surgery. 

I know that there's not a lot to like about the Pirates team right now, but is it too much for the team to try to sell a Hayes, Keller, Reynolds, or Brubaker jersey?

Update: Just before I published the post, I clicked on the MLB shop website again. The Adam Frazier jerseys are now listed at #17 and #18. I doubt that many people bought Frazier jerseys in the last 24 hours, so I have no idea how the list is organized or if it changes daily.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

My Golf Course

I may have found a happy place. I’ve probably mentioned before that I live on/adjacent to a golf course, which sounds much fancier than it is. I pay homeowner association fees that help support the golf course, so I think I can fairly call it my golf course. Despite it being my golf course, I’m not actually allowed to just walk on it whenever I want to or at all. However, over the last two evenings, all of the golfers have finished their rounds, but there has still been some daylight, so I decided to walk on the cart path around the 14th and 15th holes. It’s really nice. Just me and a few geese. I wouldn’t say that it’s quiet since you can hear cars driving by, but it is some rare alone time for me. The walks have only lasted about 20 minutes, but I really hope that this becomes a regular thing.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Where Do The Paw Patrol Go To The Bathroom?

At various times of their lives, my kids have watched and enjoyed Paw Patrol. While The Moose and Pedro Tulo have outgrown the show, my three year old Luigi is a big fan. I've mentioned Paw Patrol several times over the years, but I've never asked the pressing question in the post title. 

On the surface, this seems simple. They are dogs, so they probably do their business on grass. However, the pups talk, drive vehicles, dance, snowboard, and solve all types of problems. You also never see the pups near a fire hydrant, so perhaps they use a toilet. A however to the earlier however is that the dogs continue to eat in bowls on the ground, meaning that although they may seem more human than human (to quote White Zombie/Rob Zombie), they continue to have dog characteristics. 

If I had to guess, I think the pups do their business on grass, but they clean up after themselves. Otherwise, part of every episode would focus on Ryder cleaning up after them!

And if your kids watch Paw Patrol, I apologize that you'll probably think about this every episode now!

Monday, April 19, 2021

The Moose Knows Basketball

My ten year old, The Moose, is obsessed with sports. I know that I’m to blame, but I wish he had other hobbies and interests like doing his schoolwork. My friend organized a men’s NCAA basketball tournament pool, and I submitted two entries and let The Moose and his now seven year old brother complete a bracket. Here are the results:

The Moose finished in 30,564th place. This doesn’t seem impressive except that’s 30,564 out of probably 15 million entries (and significantly better than me). That’s fantastic!

I would say that I should probably listen to his sports advice now, but that’s not happening. We watched Space Jam on Sunday, and The Moose told his brother that Michael Jordan was a basketball AND a baseball Hall of Famer from his time on the Chicago White Sox. Jordan never made the majors and is not in the baseball Hall of Fame.

On a complete tangent, I only saw one three pointer in the Tune Squad-Monstars basketball game, and it was by Wayne Knight by complete luck. I assume that the upcoming Space Jam movie starring LeBron James will be filled with threes to reflect the current NBA.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

How Much Do You Tip Food Delivery Drivers?

This is probably a question I could simply ask on Twitter or Facebook, but I need some content for my 30 blog posts in 30ish days challenge. If you eat at a restaurant, you probably tip around 20% of your bill. For my question, I’m specifically asking about food delivery from individual restaurants since I honestly don’t know the pricing structure for companies like DoorDash, UberEats, etc. works. I’m thinking about your general order from pizza chains like Dominos or Papa John's. It could be from Panera or your local Chinese restaurant too. Do you give a 20% tip like you do at a restaurant? If a restaurant already has delivery fee charge, does that impact the amount you tip?

Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Blue Hair

I'm really glad that I titled my challenge "30 in 30ish" since my goal of publishing 30 blog posts in 30 consecutive days reached a total of 3 days before I missed a day. Maybe 30 in 35 or 40 is more realistic.

Anyway, I was at the grocery store recently and came across this:

I don't have many options for what I can do with my hair, but changing the color is a possibility. Of course, all I could think about was the Progressive commercial where you're trying not to turn into your parents.

(My apologies for posting this version of the video where the guy says blue for 10 minutes. I can't seem to find the original commercial.) 

Thursday, April 15, 2021

2021 Best of The 'Burgh

Voting is currently underway in Pittsburgh Magazine's annual Best of the 'Burgh. As I mentioned last month, I want to sincerely thank my friends and family for nominating me in the Local Writer category. I'm a finalist up against an impressive group of nominees in Damon Young, Gene Collier, Merecedes J. Williams, Natalie Bencivenga, and Tony Norman. All of these individuals have better credentials than me and get paid to share their opinions. If you've read this blog at all, you can tell that no one is paying to hear from me. 

Before I go any further, I should probably address something fairly important for this contest. I'm not a local writer. I mean, I'm a local writer for where I live, but that place isn't Pittsburgh or Western Pennsylvania. With that written, I was born and raised in Pittsburgh. Before the pandemic, I tried to get back at least once a year to visit family and friends and to expose my kids to Pittsburgh. I regularly write about Pittsburgh in posts including our family vacation, the closing of one of my favorite restaurants, The O, and predictions for the Pirates this season. My guess is that at least 1,000 of my over 3,000 blog posts here reference Pittsburgh. Historically, more people in Western Pennsylvania read my blog than from anyone else. I am also a proud member of the Pittsburgh Bloggers group on Facebook, and the majority of the people I follow on Twitter have Pittsburgh ties. In addition, I regularly visit blogs and websites devoted to Pittsburgh and listen to Pittsburgh podcasts. Basically, I believe that I have the credentials of a local writer except that I don't have a phone number with a 412 area code.

So this is the part of the post where I should encourage you to vote for me. If you'd like to, please do. However, any of the other nominees are deserving (and probably more deserving), so I'm not going to start a "None of the Above" campaign.

Voting concludes on Saturday, April 17th at 11:59 PM. The local writer category is under "Personalities." And thanks for checking out my third blog post in my 30 in 30ish challenge.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

30 In 30ish

Nearly my entire life consists of being a parent to my three boys and working (with the occasional sleep thrown in there). Yes, it’s been like this since the pandemic started, but it seems even more prevalent lately. So I decided that I needed some sort of motivation to do something for myself. While I wish that this would be a vacation, exercising, or even finishing a book, the fatherhood and work responsibilities aren't going away, and the pandemic is still happening. Therefore, I settled on writing 30 blog posts in 30ish days. 

The goal is to write a post every day for 30 straight days or at least close to it. I also want to have a big finish around my birthday with a post focused on the anniversary of one of the greatest adventures of my life. In case you're wondering, I'm counting yesterday's blog post about raccoons in my neighborhood and remembering all the time I spent in computer labs as a college student as the first post. Maybe not the best starter, but it counts!

So consider this day 2 and enjoy the next 28ish days or so!

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Raccoon Adventures

I love my community message board. Sure, it seems like many of the posts consist of neighbors complaining about people not cleaning up after their dogs, but there are some hidden gems on occasion. Recently, a neighbor shared this lovely story.

Hello neighbors, I just saw an emaciated raccoon slowly walking around looking lethargic and confused. I called the police and they came out. The officer couldn’t find it. It was seen across the street from REDACTED. The officer said if you see it again, to call the police again. He said it may have distemper, as they have been getting a lot of similar reports.

Before I go further, since this is my blog, I thought I would share my raccoon story. During my freshman year of college, I returned to my residence hall by myself very late one night (or very early in the morning) from an amazing party. And by amazing party, I mean from finishing a paper in the computer lab. For those of you who aren't familiar with the term “computer lab,” in the 1990s, not everyone had their own computers. If you were lucky, you might have a friend or roommate who had a computer and would let you borrow it. Oh, and by borrow it, I mean that you would sit in that person's room at their desk since people only had heavy desktop computers back then. If you weren't lucky, you would go to one of the computer labs on campus and sit in a room full of people and computers for hours, or worse, wait for someone to finish using a computer and then sit in a room full of people and computers for hours.

Anyway, when I completed the paper, printed it in the computer lab, and saved it on disc (email was a thing back then, but email attachments were not), I walked back to my room. Just before reaching my residence hall, a raccoon popped out of the dumpster at probably around 4:00 AM and simply stared at me as if to say, "I'm eating here. Don't bother me, or suffer the consequences." Since I probably looked lethargic and confused myself, I turned around and walked in an entirely different direction to get back to my room.

Now back to your regularly scheduled neighborhood message board already in progress. 

The first reply: I too saw a very small sickly looking raccoon in [our neighborhood] last week.  I called the police and my husband and I followed it without getting too close until the officer arrived.  He put it down immediately.   Thank you for calling and trying to get help for the animal.  I’m keeping my eyes open. 

By "put it down," the person means, picked up the raccoon and rocked it to sleep for bedtime, right? Like, putting a child down for a nap.

Next reply: I called Animal Control last week but they weren’t open.  I then called the non-emergency number for the police.  They said they dispatch for animal control.  When the officer arrived he said he was “acting animal control.”

Who knew that acting animal control is one of the job titles and duties for police officers.

Final reply: My neighbor said that sometimes patrol officers cover for animal control officers.  In his encounter the police also implied they would put the animal down as well. Wonder how they make that call.

I never really thought of this before, but I assume that the officer is actually shooting the raccoon, right? Are there other ways of putting it down? I understand if it's a rabid raccoon that could be dangerous, but I'm not sure I want to hear (or see) police shooting a raccoon in a populated neighborhood.

Of course, maybe people were just confused between raccoons and bears again. Or they saw a fox instead and decided to publish a video of it on a blog instead of sharing it with the message board!

Monday, April 05, 2021

Old Spice?

When driving last week, the song "Dreams" by The Cranberries came on the radio. My 10 year old (The Moose) asked me to change the station because he hates when we listen to old songs. (The actual quote was "I hate when you listen to old songs.") A few months ago, I wrote that we started dancing to Just Dance songs on YouTube for exercise on cold and rainy days. I recently played "Wannabe" by the Spice Girls, and The Moose again criticized it for being an old song. He then asked if the members of the Spice Girls are still alive. After I replied yes, he asked how old are they? In their 70s?

To be fair to The Moose, both Dreams and Wannabe are about 25 years old. That is old to him. Plus, he really doesn't comprehend the age of songs or anything else. In his mind, the Spice Girls, Rolling Stones, and even Mozart could all be contemporaries. 

Still, I have failed as a parent in teaching The Moose and my other kids about music. I rarely play music in the house. I don't use Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, Tidal, or any other streaming services. I never had an iPod, and I don't have any songs on my phone. This might be surprising, but I have never downloaded any music either. Sure, I bought tapes and CDs in the past, but I don't think I've bought a new CD since The Moose was born. So much of the music The Moose listens to is from the radio when he's in the car. Therefore, he knows your Dua Lipas and Harry Styleses (Stylesi?), but I don't think he's very familiar with Prince or Tom Petty or The Beatles or really anyone from before 2010. 

This is the part of the blog post where I ask for advice. How do I get The Moose and his brothers to appreciate and listen to more music other than what's currently playing on pop radio? 

Photo by Getty Images.

Thursday, April 01, 2021

2021 Pittsburgh Pirates Predictions

With the 2021 baseball season starting today, I asked people to share their predictions for the Pittsburgh Pirates. While I’ve done similar predictions posts over the years about the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, the 2020 elections, and even the entire 2020s decade, this might be my favorite group of participants yet. Let’s begin with the introductions:

* Bob Pompeani - Longtime KDKA sports director and sports anchor

* Rich - Host of the Why, Bloody Valentine? podcast

* Josh - Creator of one of my favorite blogs, Josh’s World

* Brian - Founder of the now defunct Raise the Jolly Roger blog

* Jim - Founder of the now defunct North Side Notch blog.

* Dillon T. Pickle - The mascot and heart of the Portland Pickles baseball team (I really want to buy some Pickles gear.)

* Matt Gajtka - A jack of all trades in the Pittsburgh sports community including on Pittsburgh Sports Live and Pittsburgh Golf Now.

* Aaron Brame - Among his many accomplishments, Aaron wrote this really cool baseball poem.

* The Moose - My now 10 year old son. Please excuse his writing as he’s only in 4th grade.

And now to the predictions.

1. Most Pirates fans and many baseball fans are excited about 3rd baseman Ke'Bryan Hayes. How do you think he'll do this year? (Feel free to give predicted statistics.)

Bob: Hayes will have solid start but I believe the opposition pitcher will make adjustments to him in time...but still he is the bright spot on this franchise....281 16 HR 81 RBI

Rich: Great! Based on his performance last year and this Spring he could have a Rookie of the Year type season, if the rest of the offense doesn't completely tank. But honestly,  they might tank.

Josh: I think Ke'Bryan has a great year. I would say between .280-.300 average, 15-20 HRs...but I think he ends up finishing second for the ROY. Someone will emerge with a bigger year. And yes, I realize in my prediction post, I picked him to win the award. I like to hedge my bets.

Brian: There is no reason not to be extremely high on Hayes - he has the prospect pedigree, he was phenomenal after being called up in 2020, and has looked great again this spring. I do want to pump the brakes just a little bit, but that's not really because of anything he's done - it's just that the hype (ROY favorite, undisputed star of the team 24 games into his career) is going to be difficult to live up to for just about anyone. The numbers have to come down from the crazy production he put up last September - I'll be happy if he's able to stabilize as an above average hitter for a full season. Something like ~15 homers with an OPS north of .800 , maybe a .280 AVG or so would be a reasonable expectation. 

Jim: Count me as one of the fans expecting big things. As far as traditional statistics go, I think he could hit .280 with 20 HR. If we want to get more advanced, I think the glove will greatly help him and we’re looking at a 5 WAR season. 

Dillon: Ke'Bryan is not going to hit .376 again, but he will still rake. .300/350/450 sounds right 

Matt: I love Hayes' raw tools. He hit the ball so darn hard last year and his defense is off the charts for a youngster, especially. I think he gets a little more lift on those liners this year and hits 25 homers with a .350ish OBP.

Aaron: A dependable third baseman who can hit in the two spot? Yes, I am excited about this. Let’s make 2021 be the year of Ke’Bryan Hayes. May he become my favorite new Pirate and give a reason for me to tune in.

The Moose: I think he will be really good for the Pirates because he was so good last year at the end of the season.

2. What pitcher will have the most wins for the Pirates this season?

Bob: Most wins for the Pirates will be Chad Kuhl..  11

Rich: Kuhl? Who knows? I fear the Pirates won't hit enough to put their starters in a position to win many games and whoever the sixth starter/bullpen guy (Cahill?) might pick up enough wins between starting and relief to contest for the lead.

Josh: The Pirates pitchers are not good. I am guessing the team leader has nine wins and in all honesty, I would not be shocked if it ended up being a relief pitcher. I guess I will take Mitch Keller, but I would not count out someone like Michael Feliz or Chris Stratton. 

Brian:  Ugh, what a tough and sad question. Chad Kuhl is probably the best bet to get the most opportunities at the moment, so I'll choose him. 

Jim: So I think it’ll be a reliever. I’ll go with Chris Stratton. 

Dillon: Mitch Keller will get the most wins. 

Matt: When you're talking pitcher wins, you're pretty much talking about volume of innings. But there's no reliable vet on this pitching staff, and Steven Brault is out at least a  month, so ... I suppose I'll go with Chad Kuhl here. I remain a fan of his potential.

Aaron: I thought sabermetrics killed questions about win totals for pitchers. Or maybe not. I’m quite out of touch, so much so that none of the names on the current rotation ring a bell for me. 

The Moose: Chad Kuhl

3. Who will have a break-out year or at least surprise you (in a good way) in 2021?

Bob: Breakout season for Pirates will be Anthony Alford

Rich: Gregory Polanco! I don't know if it's my natural inclination to be a contrarian or the fact that I bought his jersey as a Rookie or that I truly believe it but I feel like he's going to turn it around. He's legitimately playing for his career this season, so hopefully that adds some motivation.

Josh: This is weird, but I think Gregory Polanco has a breakout year. If he can stay healthy and can get off to a hot start, then he should find himself a new home before the trade deadline. 

Brian: People are so down on Gregory Polanco, and (mostly) deservedly so. I get it. But we all know the potential that's in there, and now that things have been pointing in the wrong direction for a while, and you know it's at least possible he can play a lot better, that makes for a good breakout or surprise pick, right? His big (by Pirates' standards) contract can be bought out after this year, so if he wants to continue being overpaid or put himself in a position to be even a mildly attractive free agent, he needs to perform this year, and that can also help fuel surprise seasons sometimes. 

Jim: Tough question. I don’t know if it constitutes a “break-out” label, but I think Polanco can top his 2018 campaign. 

Dillon: Steven Wright will have a great year. His ERA flip flops from horrible to amazing every year he pitches, and considering he last pitched in 2019 to an 8.53 ERA, you can only expect greatness when the pendulum swings back. 

Matt: Bryan Reynolds will bounce back in a big way. I think he's too talented to be what we saw last season for any kind of significant period of time. Honorable mention to Kevin Newman, who made some swing adjustments and looks strong at the plate in spring.

Aaron: Your question prompted some googling, during which I discovered a rookie center fielder named Dustin Fowler who seems to have just made the squad recently. Yesterday, in fact. So let’s pull for this to be the year of the prospects and hope for both Hayes and Fowler to blow up. 

The Moose: Probably Ke’Bryan Hayes because he is so fast and so physical with the ball he can hit, steal bases so fast and good at saving singles. (Sean’s note: We need to work on grammar.) 


4. What is manager Derek Shelton thinking in this picture?

Bob: Shelton is thinking, where can I get more power in my lineup?

Rich: Pineapple on pizza. Obviously.

Josh: "Is it too late to go back to Minnesota?"

Brian: Haha, how about “What have I gotten myself into??”

Jim: This is the worst job I’ve had since I was in that Speed Hitter commercial. 

Dillon: "Will Bob Nutting be mad if we only get a 2nd round pick this year?"

Matt: "How many losing seasons do I get before my bosses get restless and I have to step on the gas pedal?"

Aaron: “This is fine.”

The Moose: About all the teams he has been on.

5. The Pirates have the #1 pick in the 2021 Major League Baseball draft in June. Who do you think they will pick: Jack Leiter, Kumar Rocker, or someone else?

Bob: It's a nice problem to have....I prefer Leiter but I believe they will take Rocker...either will give them a bona fide top of rotation guy....the question is when?  How soon?

Rich: It doesn't appear that you can go wrong with either one. I want them to pick Leiter because I think his last name will give endless wordplay opportunities for all of the unlicensed merchandise producers. I think they'll take Rocker though because of his size.

Josh: They should take Rocker. They would be crazy not to take Rocker. They will anger fans if they do not take Rocker. I can see the case for Jack Leiter, but I just think Kumar Rocker is the more complete, more MLB ready pitcher. 

Brian: Smart money is probably still on Rocker - bigger, probably more durable, and been #1 on the board for a while. But Leiter has been absolutely insane lately and to my very untrained eye (that also has barely actually seen either one pitch), he is starting to feel like the "safer" pick . I saw one Vanderbilt fan comment "Rocker COULD win a Cy Young, but Leiter WILL be an 8-time all-star. Obviously that is just one person's assessment (and more of a wild guess) but I can't get that thought out of my head, and if it's me with that choice I take Leiter. But if the draft was tomorrow, I would be thrilled with either and would not complain either way.

Jim: I think they take Kumar Rocker. His overall presence on the mound and excellent stuff makes him look like the prototypical ace you want on your staff. There’s still a lot of time for stuff to develop, though, so we’ll see!

Dillon: Kumar Rocker. He has all the hype

Matt: I'll go with Kumar Rocker since he has the longer successful track record in Division I ball. Disclaimer: I'm not a scout.

Aaron: They got the #1 pick? Sweet. Is that because they won 19 games last year? It’s probably because they only won 19 games last year isn’t it? But both those dudes sound like studs; I hope it works out! 

The Moose: Kumar Rocker

6. The Pirates traded many of its bigger name players during the offseason. What player or players will be traded before the end of the 2021 season?

Bob: Adam Frazier is the most likely to be traded...versatile, defender who can also be a good top of lineup on base guy....If he gets off to a good start, he should bring back more in a deal...  They can only hope Polanco gets off to a good start and somebody would be interested....but in any event, the Pirates will have to pick up a large portion of salary

Rich: Polanco if possible. Richard Rodriguez. Chad Kuhl will go if he performs well too.

Josh: I think they trade as much as they can if teams offer anything. This is a rebuild, so almost none of these guys will be here when they turn the corner. The only players to not trade are Hayes and probably Keller. Other than that, if someone makes an offer, they should take it. 

Brian: Well if my Polanco breakout pick comes true, he's probably out of here. But the other clear pick is Adam Frazier. I honestly have no idea how he wasn't traded during the offseason firesale, but if he can even somewhat carry his hot spring into the season, that will turn out to be a wise choice. 

Jim: I think there are a lot of good candidates: Trevor Cahill, Richard Rodriguez, Adam Frazier, and Gregory Polanco all seem to be pretty good guesses. 

Dillon: Say goodbye to Tyler Anderson, Adam Frazier, and Richard Rodriguez.

Matt: Now that it turns out Todd Frazier is sticking around -- which I like, since he always seemed fun to watch when he was tearing up the Pirates -- I think I'll go with him. Like you say, there's not much left on the ol' Pirates ship to deal.

Aaron: Josh Bell’s departure to the Nationals bummed me out, but then again the 2020 season was just a baseball shipwreck in a global quagmire. My wife and I got to see Bell in spring training in 2017, before he’d played much in the bigs, and I was hoping that he’d be around for years with the club, and that I could tell the story to my kids. Yeah, your mom and I saw that dude play when he was just starting out. But he’s gone, gone.

I don’t know if it will be a trade, but Polanco will be gone soon too. The Pirates aren’t going to pay him $12.5 million next year to lead the team in strikeouts. (They might.)

The Moose:  Adam Frazier 


7. Finally, what do you think the Pirates record will be, and what place will they finish in the National League central division?

Bob: Pirates will be 62-100 but that would be made more palatable IF they can develop a core beyond Hayes…

Rich: 69 -93, Fourth in the division.

Josh: 67-95. I do not think they lose 100 games. They will be bad though, and they will definitely finish last in the division. Most likely they finish in the bottom five of MLB. 

Brian: The last over-under I saw is 58.5. I have seen many people call that way too low - but let me remind these people that this team played at a 51-win pace, and the roster got worse, not better. I love the direction they have taken and the commitment to acquiring prospects, but this year is still going to be extremely ugly. There are a few things to be optimistic about - Hayes, potential bounce-backs from a couple of guys (Reynolds/Newman in particular), I really like Anthony Alford, and am excited to hopefully see some of these new young guys get some run .... plus, I do *somewhat* buy that last year was just so bad that they have to be a *little* better....but a little better still means 100 losses. 62-100.

Jim: This team is bad. 54-108, 5th place. 

Dillon: The Pirates will win a generous 66 games, good for last place. Next year! 

Matt: I think they'll go 65-97 and finish DFL (dead-freaking last) in the National League Central.

Aaron: My first real memory of watching a Pirates game was also my first visit to a bar. I was six, and we were visiting Pittsburgh, and my dad took us to a dark dive to meet the owner. They’d grown up together. There was a small television in the corner of the room broadcasting a day game from Three Rivers Stadium, and I watched a few innings. At the time the game was still new to me, and I wondered about things like why batters choked up high on the bat or why the ump would roll a clean baseball toward the mound after a final put-out. When I’d see a player bounce a liner off the right field wall and then slide safely into second I would say to myself, “That was a double.” I remember the Pirates’ white jerseys and their shiny yellow helmets. I recognized Jim Bibby’s name from a pennant my brother had hanging on his wall. Jim Bibby was the first Pirate to let me down. 

The Pirates are going to lose 95 games this year and end up in the cellar. Garrit Cole is going to win the Cy Young for the Yankees, and we’ll watch him in the playoffs and think bitter thoughts. Let’s go Bucs!

The Moose: They will probably do a little bit better. I will say 87- 75 and 2nd place.

So who will get the most predictions correct? I guess we'll find out in October. Please feel free to leave your own predictions in the comments section below.

In case you're wondering, I decided not to participate because I felt like I was taking other people's predictions. Besides, I'm kicking myself for not having any questions related to the Cole Tucker-Vanessa Hudgens relationship. What a missed opportunity! 

Ke'Bryan Hayes photo by Douglas P. DeFelice / Getty Images. The Tucker-Hudgens photo is from Vanessa's Instagram. (Vanessa and I are on a first name basis!)