I’m heading to Chicago early in the morning, where I’ll be covering the big series between the Pirates and Cubs this weekend. Sean McCool had live coverage from tonight’s playoff clinching game, and I suggest you read that to get your fill of tonight’s action, and to get a further breakdown of the adversity the Pirates faced to get back to the playoffs. A quick note on that: They’re now one of three teams to make the playoffs every year for the last three years, joining the Dodgers and Cardinals. This was no easy accomplishment.
I’ll also link my article from the other day about taking a break from baseball’s grind to enjoy clinching the playoffs, despite this process starting to become routine. It was only a few years ago when people would dream about actually going to the playoffs once, and that dream seemed impossible. Now, the Pirates are going for the third year in a row. And if you think that’s a fluke, then Sean had the perfect quote from the MVP tonight: “It’s not a fluke,” Andrew McCutchen said. “This is what it’s all about. This isn’t a one-time thing. We’re not a one hit wonder.”
Of course, the Pirates didn’t celebrate hard tonight. They went with a simple, and classy celebration, which was a big 180 from last year when Andrew McCutchen was walking around smoking a cigar with massive goggles, while Tony Sanchez double fisted beers in the background of every interview. Basically, the 2014 season was the equivalent to the Pirates in their 20’s, while this year they’re moving into their 30’s — have a glass of champagne, but don’t go too crazy because we’ve got a big day tomorrow picking out shelves at IKEA.
The crazy thing about the clinch is that the Pirates have now clinched on September 23rd for the third straight season. All of those have been on the road so far. Fortunately, they’re at home on September 23rd, 2016.
And now, let’s get to the notes. Because as of the time of this posting, I’ve got about one and a half hours until I need to leave for the airport.
**Pirates Overcame Plenty of Adversity For Their Third Straight Playoff Appearance. Sean’s live recap from Denver tonight, with an interesting look at how this wasn’t exactly an easy journey for the Pirates.
**The Bristol Pirates Top 10 Prospects Led By High Upside Pitchers. Our season recaps continue with a look at the top 10 prospects in Bristol this season. They were led by some high upside starting pitching prospects, and also featured a big breakout performance from Carlos Munoz.
**Carlos Munoz Makes Appalachian League Top 20 Prospects List. Speaking of Munoz, Baseball America named him the 20th best prospect in the Appalachian League. He was the only Pirate on the list, although Mitch Keller and Trey Supak missed due to a lack of innings.
**Some Upcoming Roster Predictions, Based on September Trends. Taking a look at some of the interesting roster decisions the Pirates will have, using the information we’ve learned so far in September.