Excerpt from “The Voyages of Captain Hurdle” – A Pittsburgh Pirates preview

Scene: Deck of the Pitt’s Burgh, en route to the Navy Pier

Captain Hurdle: “Avast ye swabs! All hands hoay!”

::crew gathers::

Captain Hurdle: “As captain o’ this ere ship, all ye better shape up, or yer gonna be shark bait!”

Captain Hurdle: “I know yer thinkin’ about yer old’ mates, what with McCutchen bein’ captured by the Giants of Fog City…”

Coxswain Cervelli: (::muttering::) “Everybody liked him…”

Captain Hurdle: “…and our needin’ to barter Merciless Gerrit to sail to the depths of this ere league…”

First Mate Marte: (::to himself::) “I really don’t understand the decision-making around here.”

Captain Hurdle: “…but think on all of our plunder, mateys! We surprised ‘em all! The Tigers o’ the Motor City, the Reds, the baby bears o’ the very town we be about to sack, e’en the fish o’ the lower coast of the American main….errr…to be fair they gist be givin’ it away o’er there. But no matter! We found rough waters when we fought the Nats of the Potomac, but we will…..ARRRRGGHHHH!! Enemy ship! Starboard! Man the cannon, Lucky Williams!”

Lucky Williams: ::fires, misses the target four straight times::

Flat-plane Kuhl: “Dammit Trevor…”

Peg-leg Polanco: “Come on Trevor…”

::cannon fires in the distance, cannonball whizzes past Lucky Williams::

Williams: “See? They never hit me anyway! Ehhh…what?”

::Lucky Williams turns around, sees cannonball has crushed Flat-plane Kuhl’s leg::

Kuhl: “Every time! You dodge disaster and THEY ALWAYS HIT ME!”

Captain Hurdle: “Yarrrrr. That be like hittin’ a statue, boy! Ye be lackin’ a little thing we call ‘movement’. And you, Williams, if it weren’t for that rabbit’s foot ye’d be feedin’ the fish! I shoulda had Crazy Ivan launch one o’ ‘em sinkerbombs at the broadside o’ that vessel an’ ground it.”

Crazy Ivan: ::laughs maniacally::

Captain Hurdle: (::to himself::) “That boy’s why I lock my cabin door at night…”

Captain Hurdle: “Mudbeard Moran! What ye see from the crow’s nest? Use yer good eye!”

Mudbeard Moran: “Captain! The Burgh hasn’t encountered these scalawags since pillaging their ragtag bunch of half-measures led by Admiral Drake three years ago! They’ve…they’ve rebuilt themselves! It’s the White Socks! Back for revenge!”

Captain Hurdle: “Can ye see what vessel they be sailin’?”

Moran: “It’s the…the Guaranteed Rate, sir!”

Captain Hurdle: (::to himself::) “A residential mortgage company…are they serious with this or…”

Captain Hurdle: “Ahem. YARRRRRRGGHH!!! Arm the Burgh or yer gonna git a flogging! Boatswain Bell! ‘Ere boy! Ye’v only two bombins’ this entire voyage! Ye forget how to launch bombs?”

Boatswain Bell: “N-n-n-n-n-no sir!”

Captain Hurdle: “Then grab a cannon, ye scurvy dog! The rest of ye, prepare yourselves to attack the Guaranteed Rate! Drivelswigger Dickerson! Off yer dungbie! Yer a mercenary but ye better show loyalty! Whattr’ we payin’ ye?”

Drivelswigger Dickerson: “Not enough, sir.”

Captain Hurdle: “Yer a strong tar, but ye be too loose for me likin’! We be armin’ ourselves for the next few hours to strike the Rate at dusk! Savvy?”

Dickerson: ::grabs a weapon, immediately dives overboard, and begins swimming toward the Guaranteed Rate::

Captain Hurdle: “Whatter ye??? Guooooo. That boy can ne’er wait for a damn strike. Coxswain! Where ye be, lad?”

Cervelli: “Sir!”

Captain Hurdle: “Ye listen ‘ere boy. I know ye be the reason we be takin’ all this plunder on this year’s voyage. Look at t’ crew. Wheredya reckon we need t’ be ‘cleanin’ up’, if ye catch me drift.”

Cervelli: Frazier and Mercer, captain. When we fight our foes on foot, they just attack those two head-on. They know neither one’s gonna be able to put a hurt on them.

Captain Hurdle: “Frazier? If Frazier be so weak, why we be leadin’ wit him in battle? What addlepate came up wit’ that idea?”

Cervelli: ::stares blankly::

Captain Hurdle: “Don’t ye look at me like that, boy. Git outta here and fetch me t’ Jack o’ swords.”

Cervelli: “He’s over here…”

Polanco: “Captain!”

Captain Hurdle: “Look here, lad. This crew has weathered many a storm, and morale be low. I be the first to tell ye’, there’s been plenty o’ bilge ‘round here, what with men always gettin’ maimed and we be gist callin’ it ‘discomfort’, or our ol’ mate Kang always hittin’ t’ grog an’ bein’ three sheets to the wind at the helm. We be fadin’ fast, boy, and we be needin’ a score t’ keep these men in there fightin’. What be our odds wit’ these White Socks? Do ye think we be lootin’ ‘em again?”

Polanco: “It’s an embattled crew, to be sure, but a hearty one. Young Kingham has proven himself worthy, and I know it’s been up-and-down with the boy Jameson, but he’s got talent to be sure, and one of the strongest right arms I’ve seen on a buccaneer. We’re stronger than you think.”

Captain Hurdle: “Aye, lad! Then let the battle begin at dusk! We’ll sail right up t’ those landlubbers an’ I’ll hand the black spot t’ that Captain Renteria meself!”

Captain Hurdle: (::exits::)

Marte: “Sup, man.”

Polanco: “Nothin’ bro, just trying to improve the skipper’s mood a little bit before the game tonight.”

Marte: “Man, how long are we gonna keep indulging him with all this pirate stuff? Putting up with the way he talks is one thing, but what are we doing playing actual war games on Lake Michigan at seven in the morning?”

Polanco: “I dunno man, I’m not going tell him off, it’s not worth riding the bench.”

Marte: “Can’t wait to get traded far, far away from that wack job.”


Probable Starting Pitchers

Probable Lineup

  1. Adam Frazier – 2B
  2. Gregory Polanco – RF
  3. Starling Marte – CF
  4. Josh Bell – 1B
  5. Corey Dickerson – LF
  6. Francisco Cervelli – C
  7. David Freese – DH
  8. Colin Moran – 3B
  9. Jordy Mercer – SS


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This earns three Primanti’s sandwiches and a bowl of pho from Tram’s.


For your tastebuds, yes. Consult your cardiologist on the rest.


Well done First Mate Nolan, sir!

Ted Mulvey

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Lurker Laura

The snap back to reality after Hurdle exits is most excellent.

Relatedly, what’s the over/under on how long it takes Hurdle to chastise Anderson? 5 1/3 innings?

Josh Nelson

Young Kingham was demoted.

Reindeer Games

Yeah, I assumed it was to get an extra bat since they don’t need a full rotation.

Reindeer Games

I like the part about Dickerson being underpaid.


Creatively previewed as always pnoles. The SS White Sox vs the Pitt’s Burgh. Wait where are our cannons?

As Cirensica

Ha!….this was really good


This is gold, pirates’ gold!

John SF

7AM is actually 6 Bells, if you want to keep it pirate.