Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Seeing Red: AJ Parallels

AJ Burnett left the Pittsburgh Pirates for greener pastures in Philadelphia.  Although the location is closer to his family, it remains obvious that the money also played into AJ's decision to join the last place Philadelphia Phillies.
2013 Prizm Red Parallel
Many Yankees fans couldn't wait to get rid of AJ after the 2011 season due to his obvious Jekyll/Hyde performances issues.  I was ecstatic to add him to the roster right before the 2012 season started for a pair of subpar prospects.  I attended the first game he pitched in a Pirates uniform and remember the crowd booing and screaming no!!!!! when he went to bat for the first time and squared around to bunt.  (He had injured his eye during spring training bunting drills).  That game was a lot of fun as they shutout the Cardinals and AJ pitched exceptionally well while Pedro delivered the only RBIs of the game.
2013 Topps Target red parallel

That game felt like things were going to start to change and that Neal Huntington's plan was finally starting to come together.  The Bucs collapsed in September and finished 3 games under .500 for the 2012 season despite strong performances from the pitching staff and breakout performances by some of the younger arms.

AJ became a fan favorite and one of the best pitchers in the NL during his time with the Bucs and I was happy to see him regain his form with the Pirates that he had before heading to the Big Apple.

All the AJ Burnett red parallels were purchased for around a $1 a piece and I'm glad that I have a full page of AJs in my binder to remind myself what a small role AJ had on the franchise during his short two year tenure with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

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