Attention Craig Hansen, Danny Moskos, and Andy LaRoche. Especially you, Andy LaRoche. If you perform well at baseball, people will forget all of the bad things they had been saying about you.
"Pedro Alvarez has Willie Stargell's swing," the patriarch of Pirates catchers [Manny Sanguillen] was saying Thursday. "I played with him a lot of years. I know that swing."
So you watch. Then you discover everybody else seems to be watching, too. On Friday, Sanguillen sidled over to a batting practice on Pirate City's Field 4, away from his usual bullpen haunts, to catch a glimpse. No more is this the second-overall selection of June's draft. No more is this the Vanderbilt third baseman with whose agent Pirates management performed a contract dance for 2 1/2 months. No more is this the kid whose diagnosed tendinitis in his knees left him out of shape in January's minicamp.
I am a big proponent of letting players be themselves. Pedro Alvarez will have enough trouble living up to his own hype to become the first Pedro Alvarez, let alone the second Willie Stargell. Still, it's awesome to read some positive things about this kid after the ugly beginning of his Pirate career. And while I don't know that his swing looks like Pop's swing, well, it sure is pretty.