CHICAGO -- Back in the early weeks of the season, the Pirates showed a video on the scoreboard before every game at PNC Park which depicted their current players watching a tape of Willie Stargell’s Hall of Fame induction speech in 1988. That video is no longer being played at the ballpark, though the Pirates continue to use it in their television ads.
It turns out a group of players approached management and asked that the video be dropped because they felt it showed the organization thinks more about the past than the present.
“They always talk about the Pirates’ tradition but they ain’t won nothing in 40 years," one player told me. "No one on this team was even alive back then. That’s ancient history. It’s time to quit living in the past. That’s a big part of the problem here."
The Pirates last appeared in and won the World Series in 1979.
• Francisco Cervelli told DK last Sunday that he no longer considers himself a catcher after a string of concussions. Neal Huntington mentioned first base, third base and right field as possible position options for Cervelli. However, there is a sense the Pirates might release Cervelli and eat the remainder of his $11.5-million salary. First base is clearly the domain of Josh Bell, and Colin Moran has seized the third base job, plus the Pirates have top prospects in Will Craig and Ke'Bryan Hayes behind Bell and Moran, respectively. And the Pirates already have a glut of outfielders that will grow when Gregory Polanco returns from the injured list. Quite simply, there doesn’t appear to be room on the roster for Cervelli if he can no longer be a catcher. -- Perrotto
• Chris Archer starts for the Pirates on Friday afternoon against the Cubs at Chicago and vows to use his slider more as he tries to turn around his season. Archer is 3-6 with a 5.49 ERA in 15 starts, including 0-3 with a 7.89 ERA in six road games. He has thrown his slider 35 percent of the time compared to going with 50 percent fastballs, 13 percent changeups and two percent curveballs. Many scouts rate the slider as Archer’s best pitch and have questioned why he hasn’t thrown more since arriving from the Rays in a trade last July 31. – Perrotto
• Dodgers right-hander Walker Buehler is one of the best young pitchers in the major leagues and appeared in his first All-Star Game Tuesday night in Cleveland. He would look good atop the Pirates’ rotation, and it could have happened. The Pirates picked Buehler in the 14th round of the 2012 amateur draft from Henry Clay High School in Lexington, Ky. However, the sides could not agree to terms and Buehler went on to play collegiately at Vanderbilt, where he won a college World Series title. “We just couldn’t work something out,” Buehler told me this week in Cleveland. “I think it was for the best that I went to Vandy. I was much more ready for professional baseball after that experience.” -- Perrotto
• Speaking of Vanderbilt, Buehler was teammates there with Bryan Reynolds. While Reynolds’ outstanding rookie season with the Pirates has come as a surprise to many, Buehler is not in that group. “He’s a really good player, very sound in all aspects of the game,” Buehler said. “He just knows how to play the game. I think everyone at Vandy knew he would be a successful big-league player. I know I sound like a coach here, but he has a slow heartbeat. Nothing bothers him.” Did Buehler ever see the stoic Reynolds smile? "Once or twice," Buehler said, laughing. -- Perrotto
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