On October 14, 1992, I remember sitting on the couch next to my pap doing what we did for years to come: watching sports. I didn’t know it at the time, but that would be the last day of the last winning season that the Pittsburgh Pirates and their fans would experience.
This week, the Pirates’ ownership has shown that they are willing to do what it takes to make this the year to break the streak by trading for Marlon Byrd and John Buck from the New York Mets, and by trading for veteran first basemen Justin Morneau from the Minnesota Twins on Saturday.
The team has responded as well by winning two convincing games from the division rival St. Louis Cardinals and gaining sole possession of first place in the NL Central.
On Saturday at PNC Park, the Pirates gave their fans something they have not had in a very long time: meaningful baseball going into September 1. The two former New York Yankees and now Pirates battery mates, A.J. Burnett and Russell Martin, led the way on both sides of the ball. Burnett’s RBI single started the game and Martin’s three-run home run put the game out of reach for the Cardinals.
The sold-out crowd in PNC Park let the team and its management know that they are behind them. Many fans brought and waved Jolly Roger flags while others threw up the Zoltan “Z” when the Pirates scored (Byrd even did a Zoltan “Z” mixed with a bird symbol). All of the Bucco fans shouted “Let’s Go Bucs” all the way up to the last out.
As someone who has been to PNC Park in August and September, I can assure you that this type of fan energy has been unheard of this late in the season since Barry Bonds still wore a Pirate uniform.
The city of Pittsburgh is ready to erase the
memories nightmares of the past 20 seasons. The team, management and fans are ready for important baseball in September and even possibly October, especially with the additions of Byrd, Buck and Morneau.
As my pap always said, “They are due, past due and overdue!” Hopefully, the message finally has gotten to Pittsburgh and it will continue to spread around MLB: the Pittsburgh Pirates are back!