Dunlap: Where Do Pirates Take ‘Musgrove Moment’ From Here?

Colin Dunlap
May 31, 2018 - 1:35 pm

© Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

We all know what Joe Musgrove did. 

We saw it and he told us about it. He made a run at Javier Baez. And good for him. 

After too much time of inactivity and lack of retribution, after too many chances went by and too many Pirates sat on their hands and did zero, Musgrove stood up for --- to be technical, slid down for --- teammate Elias Diaz.

You saw it like I did. Musgrove slid hard with a pop-up slide to break up a double play and (predictably) Baez was miffed. Because, well, Baez always gets miffed.

He muttered something to Musgrove, the benches emptied, no punches were thrown but the message was sent. Even if no one else in the Pirates clubhouse felt like doing anything to have the back of their teammate, Musgrove was going to participate in his own little show of force and let the Cubs know he didn’t appreciate what happened to his battery-mate a few days earlier. 

Good for him. Joe Musgrove is a hell of a teammate. Baseball needs more Joe Musgroves. Guys on teams need more teammates like Joe Musgrove. 

It was one of those things that falls in line with that archaic-yet-subscribed-to baseball code that, no matter what you think about it, needs to be adhered to. 

For me, however, what Musgrove did on Wednesday night is just the half of it. And you know, maybe not the most important half of it as we sit here today. 

Where do the Pirates take that slide from here? 

Can they do something to build off that ‘Musgrove Moment’? 

Can this team, mired in tough times, use that play as a bonding agent to come together, recalibrate and string some wins together?

For me, as Musgrove’s slide is now in the past, these are the important questions; these now come into focus as the real questions.  

You see, the Pirates are limping. There really isn’t much debate as to that. This is a club that has lost nine of their past 12 games. 

This is a club that has lost the last four series’ it has played, the last winning set just a two-gamer against the lowly White Sox. 

This is a club that is averaging fewer than 17,000 people in attendance for their home games, second worst in the National League. 

That slide by Musgrove --- and his seven stellar innings on the mound --- seems to have ignited the fan base for a day. People have a little bounce in their step today as the Pirates head into St. Louis for four games over the weekend. 

It’s not to say the slide won’t mean a thing, but it will mean just about next to nothing if the Pirates can’t grasp some traction from it. When Musgrove popped up into Baez, it was a clear and well-defined moment that should serve to galvanize the Pittsburgh Pirates. It was an instant that should force a union in this team where some, over the past few days since Diaz was slid into, have questioned it. It should be a rallying point and a springboard. 

But you know what --- it also needs to be the spark that leads to some wins. That’s the only way it will truly have an impact.