Pirates notebook: Clubhouse manager ready for celebration
With their magic number down to six, the Pirates could clinch a playoff bid before the end of this homestand. It's up to clubhouse manager Scott Bonnett to plan the celebration for what will be the team's first postseason berth since 1992.
Twenty-four cases of champagne are in storage for the clubhouse party. They'll pop the corks on 12 cases when the Pirates clinch at least a wild-card berth and save the rest in case the team goes on to win the NL Central title.
Bonnett did not order any goggles, even though some players like to put them on to protect their eyes from the spraying bubbly.
“It's been 21 years,” Bonnett said with a smile. “Let it burn.”
Boxes of T-shirts and hats with the generic 2013 MLB playoffs logo already have arrived. So have the playoff logo patches that must be sewn onto 300-odd jerseys. The Pirates will wear their home white, road gray and alternate black uniform tops in the postseason. The white, 1971-style jerseys are not in the mix.
“There's a lot of stuff that has to be ordered, set up, sewn on or stuck on,” Bonnett said.
The players and coaches get new hoodies and jackets. Special playoff stickers go on the batting helmets. A special plastic sheet emblazoned with Budweiser and Pirates logos will be tacked up to protect the lockers during the champagne spray-fest.
Each playoff team also must order dozens of new baseballs for batting practice and games. Traditionally, once a team is eliminated it keeps a few balls for itself and passes the rest along to the winning team to use in the next round.
And, at the end of the day, somebody has to clean up the mess.
“We'll have a cleaning crew come in late that night to do the best it can to shampoo the carpets and get things ready for the next day,” Bonnett said. “But it can take a while for things to dry out.”
Top minor leaguers
The Pirates named outfielder Andrew Lambo their minor league player of the year and right-hander Tyler Glasnow their minor league pitcher of the year.
Lambo hit a combined .282 with a .922 OPS this year with Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis. He hit 32 homers, the most by a Pirates farmhand since Brad Eldred cracked 38 in 2004, and was tops in the organization with 99 RBI.
“I never could have imagined all this,” said Lambo, who made his big league debut Aug. 13. “Being hurt all of last year opened up my eyes. You never know when this game is going to be taken away from you. You've got to believe in your ability and enjoy every day you have a jersey on.”
In 24 starts for Low-A West Virginia, Glasnow went 9-3 with a 2.18 ERA and a 1.033 WHIP. He racked up 164 strikeouts, the most by a Pirates minor leaguer since Tom Gorzelanny fanned 167 in 2004. Glasnow tossed 11 straight hitless innings to end the regular season.
Cutch and Clemente
Andrew McCutchen is among 30 nominees (one from each MLB team) for the Roberto Clemente Award. The annual award honors a major leaguer for his contributions on and off the field, including volunteer work in the community.
“Clemente is definitely a person I admire,” said McCutchen, who wore a T-shirt bearing the message “Retire 21,” a reference to Clemente's uniform number.
Last year, McCutchen became an official spokesman for Habitat for Humanity. He also is involved the Pittsburgh Promise program.
The only Pirates player to win the Clemente Award was Willie Stargell in 1974.
Morneau's wait is over
Justin Morneau's game-winning single in the eighth inning Sunday produced his first RBI in 50 plate appearances with the Pirates. It also was his first RBI since he homered Aug. 30 in his final game with the Twins.
According to Elias, Morneau's streak of 13 games without an RBI was the second-longest of his career. It was one game shy of his longest drought (14 games in 2007).