The Pittsburgh Pirates are living proof the real reason opposing National League teams and their fans are so critical of the St. Louis Cardinals is because the Birds win so much.
Sure, they say it's because the Redbirds are entitled whiners. But if entitled whining is the criteria, St. Louis can't hold a candle to the Pittsburghers who have apparently appointed themselves the Unwritten Rule police.
The Pirates, who earlier this year ended the season of Arizona Diamondbacks all-star slugger Paul Goldschmidt when they hit him with a pitch only to freak out to anyone who would listen when the D-Backs retaliated and hit Andrew McCutchen later in the series, were back at it again Wednesday.
Pirates starting pitcher Edinson Volquez hit St. Louis slugger Matt Holliday up high on his shoulder Wednesday. Later in the game St. Louis starter Shelby Miller threw a pitch NEAR McCutchen and the Pirates not only griped about it for the rest of the game. They griped about it after the game with Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle called the close call a "cheap shot."
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McCutchen groused after the game about not only the Miller pitch. But also about St. Louis reliever Carlos Martinez celebration after retiring McCutchen in the eighth inning. McCutchen bragged that he ALMOST hit a home run.
I guess if almost being hit by a pitch should count as an assassination attempt, fly balls short of the warning track should count for homers, too. It's only fair.
Pittsburgh's manager and players seem to have no trouble dishing out the rough play. But they don't have any tolerance at all for taking it.
Anyway, I can't recall any individual instance of the Cardinals whining more than the Pirates. So it's obviously not the complaining and the rough housing that's the problem. As far as I can tell the only difference between what the Redbirds do and what the Pirates do is winning division titles, playoff series and championships.
Maybe if the Pirates concentrated a little bit more on playing baseball and a little bit less on running their mouths they wouldn't have been swept by the Cardinals and pushed to the edge of being out of contention.
According to mlb.com, after the Pirates series the Redbirds have an 85 percent chance of making the playoffs. Pittsburgh's chances have dropped to 27 percent.