Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Pirates 2012: A Periodic Assessment (Part 3 of 8)

In the last assessment at the quarter season mark, I noted that things seemed pretty steady state with the Bucs. They were still two games under .500, holding their own through solid pitching and McCutchen, but besides a few signs of life from the offense, not much else to report.

Well, times have changed.

The Pirates are now in first place. They are five games over .500. They are executing a more balanced offensive attack, though still heavily reliant on McCutchen - dangerously so. It remains a mystery to me why opposing teams aren't simply pitching around him but for whatever reason, they aren't.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Master Lee, Black Belt Martial Arts Center!

BBMAC Owner and Chief Instructor
Master Lee
As readers know, I like to connect with interesting people and explore their story. Usually the people I talk to have a Pittsburgh connection. However, this interview is with an individual closer to where I live now, in Kensington Maryland. I had a chance to spend some time with Master Robert Lee, the Chief instructor and owner of Kensington’s Black Belt Martial Arts Center (BBMAC). I could just TELL you that this is an inspiring individual, with great life lessons about setting goals and doing what it takes to achieve them; knowing what’s important in life; and the value of a positive outlook.  But Master Lee's story speaks for itself. Here’s our conversation.
Monte: Thank you for spending time with me today! The first thing I’d like to ask about is how you got started in Martial Arts. What made you decide that it was something you wanted to do?

Saturday, June 2, 2012

What WOULD Syd do?

"Losers make excuses; Winners find a way.”  Syd Thrift, former GM, Pittsburgh Pirates

How can you not love this guy?
This post isn’t a backdoor “let’s bash Neal Huntington” entry.  The Pirates are three games out, the hitting is showing some life, and we’re in “wait and see” mode to see what Huntington does to keep the Pirates in contention, and maybe even put them over the top. 
This post is about Syd Thrift, the Pirates’ general manager from 1985-1988, who in three years turned a pathetic franchise into a contender that would go on to win three division titles in a row.  Thrift was a great baseball character, a long-time baseball man, and a man who knew – and spoke – his mind. There aren’t many like him.

It’s inevitable, though, that in looking at Syd’s accomplishments in three years, one can’t help but wonder if there are lessons for the current GM, particularly at this promising time.