Lucky Number.

As I wrote in my review of Moneyball, I have been a longtime lover of baseball. What I may have not made clear was that I happen to root for the Pittsburgh Pirates. I spend a lot of time in pain.

Last year was exciting in that the Pirates were in first place in the NL Central for a legitimate chunk of time. Young talent was meshing (and hitting), the pitching rotation was coming together.. it was EXCITING. The season fizzled into nothingness (read: finishing 18 games under .500), which is nothing new for the Buccos, but it stung a little more after hope snuck its way in.

Welcome, sir.

With reservation, I have begun to pay attention to Pirates news again, most notably of late being that former Yankees P A.J. Burnett was traded to the Pirates. In New York, my Yankees-fan friends and colleagues are split on whether this is a “good riddance” or “good for the Pirates” situation. I saw Burnett pitch a few times this past season in pinstripes; sometimes he was wild, sometimes he locked games down. I had no idea what kind of guy he was outside of that (other than hearing he listens to wildass rock music). But today, I think I know him a little better.

Pirates P Daniel McCutchen (also a once-upon-a-time Yankee), is currently rostered as #34, which is Burnett’s number. It is tradition for veterans to purchase a gift for a player who is willing to give up his number (which McCutchen was). These gifts are usually nice, but I’ve never heard of this before –¬†Burnett, instead of getting McCutchen a nice watch, is going to start a college fund for McCutchen’s (currently in-utero) daughter, who is due in May 2012.

Well I’ll be damned.