The Pittsburgh Pirates have clinched a berth in the 2013 MLB playoffs. Don’t believe me? Let me try this again. The Pirates, for the first time since 1992, are going to be playing baseball in October.
For the first time since Sid Bream slid into home plate over 20 years ago, baseball is actually relevant in Pittsburgh again. Last night, the Pirates were able to clinch at least a Wild Card spot in the postseason. The Pirates gave up the lead to the Chicago Cubs late, but Pirates left fielder Starling Marte hit a monster home run to left field to give the Pirates the lead and eventually clinch a spot in the postseason. For anyone that saw the final play of the game, how fitting is it that the Pirates’ final win before clinching the playoffs came on a play at the plate?
The Pirates still have a shot at the division, so the season isn’t over; but the Pirates sprayed champagne last night, so this is a big deal. After two straight second half collapses, the Pirates were able to avoid a third straight collapse. Thanks to smart decisions in free agency, drafting and trades from the Pirates’ front office, this is all a reality. Nobody ever wants to admit it, but Pirates general manager Neal Huntington and owner Bob Nutting deserve a ton of credit.
It still feels surreal, to be honest. The playoffs seemed to be a guarantee since around the All-Star break, but now that it is official, it’s amazing. Even though it’s just the Wild Card and the Pirates still have a chance at the division title, we shouldn’t worry about it. This is the first time in my lifetime that the Pirates will be playing postseason baseball, and I am going to enjoy the final week of the regular season and beyond. I’m done worrying about trying to catch the St. Louis Cardinals. Everyone else should just enjoy this too; it might not happen again for 20 years.