Meadows should stay while he’s hot

Commentary

PITTSBURGH — Look at it this way: Last year the Pirates had trouble coming up with three starting outfielders.

This season they’re trying to wedge four outfielders into three spots.

That has to be progress, right?

They made the sensible decision Saturday when they kept Austin Meadows and instead shipped Jose Osuna back to Triple A Indianapolis when Starling Marte came off the disabled list.

Meadows, who has done nothing but look skilled beyond his years in the short time he’s been here, will find spot duty at both corners and sub for Marte in center on occasion.

It wouldn’t be a surprise if Meadows ultimately supplanted Gregory Polanco in right field, but the Pirates have too much invested in Polanco to just discard him. Plus, there’s the issue of how well Meadows can maintain what he’s done so far.

Nobody expects him to hit above .400. When you’ve yet to see a player really fail, it’s hard to visualize the tough times that will inevitably come. As noted previously, it wasn’t that long ago when Polanco was cast in the phenom role, rattling off an 11-game hitting streak as soon as he got to the major leagues.

This all has to be sorted out, and it will be. In the meantime, the bottom line is Meadows gets an extended look against major league competition. There’s nothing wrong with that.

By the way, while everyone is focused on Polanco’s continued failure, the real issue with the Pirates is getting the starting rotation in order.

One reason people are so anxious for Nick Kingham to pitch is not many of the other starters are doing much.

Simple explanation

There was a lot of stress over the Pirates’ losing consecutive series to teams with losing records, the San Diego Padres and Cincinnati Reds.

It’s easy enough to explain. It’s baseball.

This isn’t college football or basketball, where a school handpicks some cupcakes knowing it will win 98 out of 100 times.

Baseball is different. In 2008, the New York Yankees came to PNC Park, and the Pirates took two of three games from them. John Russell’s Pirates were 67-95 that season. They stacked the middle of their order with Ryan Doumit, Adam LaRoche and Doug Mientkiewicz. The 89-73 Yankees had Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano in their lineup.

How did the Pirates win a series against them that year? It’s baseball.

Oh say…

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell punted on the anthem question.

Reality is the NFL doesn’t care much about the issue. They’re trying to appease sponsors who are hearing from their customers.

The simple answer is to play the anthem before anyone in uniform is on the field, the way they used to do it.

On the menu

It’s going to be quite a lifestyle clash when the Pirates play the Reds at PNC Park on June 15.

It’s the second-ever Vegan Night, with a special menu that will be available with a $45 ticket in the Picnic Box. Fare includes Vegan burgers, baked beans, greens and grains salad, Hawaiian macaroni salad, fruit salad, chips and guacamole.

For the traditionalists, it’s also Dollar Dog night.

In what has to be considered tragic news for gluttons, the Pirates quietly eliminated the all-you-can-eat seats, which had been part of the right-field stands for several seasons.

There are still some deals to be had under a different arrangement, but the days when a hungry fan could stuff himself (and perhaps his pockets?) at a flat rate are gone.

Cup pick

If it’s in the 80s outside, it must be time for the Stanley Cup Final.

Here’s the pick: Washington in six.

Really.

Mehno can be reached at johnmehnocolumn@gmail.com.

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