Eight Things We Can Learn From The Pirates' Holiday Card

PITTSBURGH - APRIL 05: Andrew McCutchen #22 of the Pittsburgh Pirates smiles while coming off the field while playing the Los Angeles Dodgers during the Home Opener for the Pittsburgh Pirates on April 5, 2010 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh won the game 11-5. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

The Pittsburgh Pirates would like to wish you happy holidays, and they'd like to teach you a couple of things while they're at it.

It's December 21. Albert Pujols has signed. The Yu Darvish bidding is over. You might think that there isn't a lot of baseball news these days. Well, you'd be wrong. The Pirates have a Flash-based Christmas card they'd like to share with you.

This is important stuff, and after carefully clicking on each link on the card, I think I'm ready to report the things we can all learn. Going from left to right on the card:

1. Charlie Morton pops out of a box just like Roy Halladay
You click the "OPEN GIFT!" button, and he shimmies out of the box with the exact same left-to-right motion as Roy Halladay. Uncanny.

2. The Pirates have a player named Mike McKedry or something
Pretty sure he's a catcher. Lemme look him up … give me a second … yep. Michael McKenry. He's a 26-year-old catcher who hit .222/.276/.322 last season, and for the holidays, the Pirates would like to remind you of him because they hate you. Well, that's not very nice, and it's not completely accurate, as his minor-league numbers suggest he might stick.

But as the second box under a team greeting card, it's a little strange. Then you click on the box, and you get it.


We're only two boxes in, and this greeting card is already threatening to ascend into poetry. I really can't put my finger on why I can't stop watching this one -- it's not like there's anything inherently funny about it. But it's the combination of the image staring at you while the animation loads, the earnest greeting, and the Eddie Haskell smile at the end that turns it into something awesome.

3. Alex Presley is someone the Pirates would like to remind you of
Three boxes in, and we just left Mike McKenry to get to Alex Presley. Oh. This isn't a referendum on McKenry or Presley -- both are players who deserve to be on a major-league team, and Presley had a very nice rookie season. But it reminds me of when I was a kid, and the ballpark giveaways for the 1985 Giants were things like Manny Trillo wristbands.

4. Andrew McCutchen is a natural, interesting fellow
He's natural in front of the camera, that is, signing and humming before pretending to notice that he's being recorded. It's by far the best part of the greeting card. So here we have Andrew McCutchen's holiday greeting card as organizational metaphor. He's the best on the team, and he has the most natural talent. With baseball too.

5. Clint Hurdle is an experienced, terrifying predator
You might remember Clint Hurdle from such stories in 2011 as "This Is A Purple Clint Hurdle" and "Why Is Clint Hurdle Purple?"

So for his greeting card, he deftly emerges from a purple box.


As this image of the card's background shows, this ... wait, that's not the background. Hurdle's in that shot! It's probably a little strong to say he's a predator -- it's not like he's popping out of the box to eat you. He probably just wants to ask you to bunt.

6. Joel Hanrahan goes to college with you right now, and his nickname is a funny, made-up word


He's the guy that stays in your dorm room just a little too late every night, and his nickname is something like Skitch or The Zoober. He's wearing sunglasses and an empty 12-pack box on his head, even though he's inside and it's 8:00 a.m. Has he even been to bed yet? I don't know, but, oh man, that's so Zoober!

7. Jeff Karstens


Jeff Karstens.

8. The Pirates' parrot mascot is named Pirate Parrot
This isn't new, just new to me. He's been around since 1979. But the Pirate Parrot? Was that named picked through a contest? Say, a contest that was only open to first graders, or ferns? Look, I'll take five seconds to make up a better name. Uh, Robirdo Clemente. See? Okay, maybe that took me two hours, but the Pirates have had over 30 years to think of something better than Pirate Parrot.

It's about time that someone put those high-flying Pirates in their place and poked a little fun at that them, so I was happy to oblige. Happy holidays from the Pirates! And, man, what is Zoober eating? That guy, I'll tell you ...

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