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Rum Bunter Blog

March 12, 2012
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Rum Bunter Blog:

First, can you let readers know about RumBunter – what inspired the idea (and the name) and how you developed your unique approach in your coverage of the Pirates?

We wanted an original name.  Nobody has ever guessed what it means which I think is really cool.  We’ve had a bunch of people ask about it, and some have even ridiculed it a bit, cough John Perotto, but that just adds to the fun of the blog.  The Pirates are our team and we wanted to create something that fans could stop in and maybe laugh a bit and at the same time learn something too.
 
What should readers expect in 2012 from RumBunter?

It’s an election year, so more moaning and groaning than ever before.  Seriously, we have no idea, however we do have a much more talented roster than ever before.   

We were lucky enough to land two great writers recently.  Both come from well established blogs within the Pittsburgh sports scene.  Jon Anderson from mceffect.com and Jeff Snedden from steelworldorder.com.   Kurt Evans will be cranking a record number of photoshops when the regular season starts.  C. Fortwo and A. Pendl have been tremendous in getting the highest level of guests for the RumBunter Podcast Show.  
 
There seem to be an inordinate number of Pirates blogs compared to other Pittsburgh sports teams. How have you been able to differentiate yourself from other Pirates/baseball blogs – what do you think makes your blog a “destination site” for fans?

If RumBunter were a newspaper, we are the comics section.  That is always the best part, so that is what we want to be.  Sure there are somewhat serious posts, but baseball is still a game.  Let’s have some fun.
 
What have been your favorite and most interesting stories you’ve covered so far, and why?

When the Pirates were winning ballgames in the first four months of the 2011 season, it was by far the best story imaginable.  Hands down.   It was a blast.
 
Have you had the opportunity to meet any of the players? if so, who and how did that go – and if not, who would you most like to meet and have a beer with, and why?

Yes, we’ve met most of the players and it has been enjoyable.  We’ve been fortunate in that regard.  We still haven’t met AJ Burnett.  Having a beer with him would seem like a really good time.  It might need to be a few beers, actually.
 
How important was the McCutchen signing for your perspective – and do you think this plus the Burnett trade starts to finally make this team more attractive to other free agents?

Signing McCutchen was absolutely a must for the organization.  It makes the organization legit.  AJ Burnett having success will make the team attractive for free agents a little bit, but Erik Bedard, a lefty in PNC Park performing well could open the door even further.
 
Who do you think will be the biggest surprise/breakout players in 2012 for the Pirates?

I have been on a jinx stretch during the first part of spring training, so I must be very careful in my selections.  I mentioned a lefty in the question above, that is one and on offense El Toro will surprise.

Do you get the sense of a renewed optimism on the team for 2012? What should fans realistically expect from the Pirates in 2012? And is that enough of a jump from 2011?

I worry about the insanely challenging schedule in April.  It appears that Clint Hurdle is pushing the team to focus early on which will be very important, but I am not sure it will be enough. 

I believe fans can expect a more sound defensive team which will keep them in more games.  The team will be more competitive, without a doubt. 

The question I have is will the offense be enough?   The pitching was very strong in the beginning of 2011, if the offense could have been better the team would have won even more games, so the balance will be key.  

Who are the Pirates prospects you are most excited about seeing in the next couple of years in the majors?

In the immediate future:  Kyle McPherson.  Starling Marte.  Justin Wilson.    Rudy Owens.  Tony Sanchez.

In the distant future:  Josh Bell.  Jameson Taillon.  Gerrit Cole.  Josh Poytress.  Robbie Grossman. 

The talent is in the system.  We are really looking for some big years from the 2009 draft class.  The pitching talent in that 2009 class should really take a step forward this year.  When that happens the entire Pirates organization makes a big shift inside the top ten farm systems in baseball.  A move like that can open up some serious trade partners to fill some offensive holes the Pirates have.
 
If you had one day to take over as GM of the Pirates, what do you do, and why?

Kick a few kids in the ass from some of our more recent draft classes.  Especially a few from the 2009 class. The team is starting to look better and perform better, but it really needs quite a few more prospects to turn the corner to be a solid team. 
 
I would want a copy of the internal valuation system and how it was developed.   Great question.

Any last thoughts for readers?

Thank you for reading the blog.  God bless all of you.  This losing has to end sooner or later.  (Right??)

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