5 Most Memorable Pittsburgh Pirates Moments From 2013
5 Memorable Pittsburgh Pirates Moments From 2013
The Pittsburgh Pirates had an incredibly successful season in 2013, surpassing even the most optimistic Bucs fan’s expectations. Some people thought the Pirates would finally finish above .500; some thought they wouldn’t even reach the .500 mark. Sure, a few folks blindly picked the Pirates to make the playoffs, but nobody really thought they would.
Just about everything went right for the Pirates in 2013, and just about everything had to go right for the Pirates. Bucs general manager Neal Huntington made a few, at the time, medium-sized acquisitions in the offseason that turned out to be some of the best moves made by any general manager over the offseason. Francisco Liriano was signed to a cheap deal and ended up pitching like a Cy Young award candidate. Russell Martin was given a two-year deal and the Pirates outbid the New York Yankees for his services. Several people questioned the Pirates decision to sign a catcher that seemed to be on the downside of his career, at least offensively, to a two-year deal. Martin went on to have a great season defensively for the Bucs and was above average offensively for a catcher. Marlon Byrd was acquired from the New York Mets at the waiver trade deadline and performed better than anyone could have expected during his time with the Pirates.
There were several memorable moments from the Pirates’ 2013 season, but I only had room for five. Take a minute to think about some of your most memorable moments. Are any of your favorite moments on my list?
5. 5-Game Series Against St. Louis Cardinals
Because of a rain-out, the Pittsburgh Pirates had to play a five-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals at PNC Park. Coming into the series, Pirates fans would have been happy winning three out of five, but the Pirates ended up winning four of the five games. It was a major statement series that let everyone know the Pirates were indeed for real in 2013.
4. Gerrit Cole's Debut
At the time, Gerrit Cole's debut was possibly the most anticipated games in PNC Park history; the Wild Card game would obviously surpass that later on. He would strike out his first batter faced in MLB, Gregor Blanco, on a fastball. Later in the game, Cole would also hit a two-run single to "help himself" as every broadcaster would say.
3. Gerrit Cole Out-Dueling Yu Darvish
In a game that would give the Pittsburgh Pirates their 82nd win, guaranteeing their first winning season in over 20 seasons, Gerrit Cole would beat Texas Rangers ace Yu Darvish in a great pitching duel. For the first time in his career, Cole finally had his strikeout pitch working; this started the amazing run that Cole would go on to finish his season, including two amazing postseason starts.
2. Clinching the Postseason
Starling Marte would give the Pittsburgh Pirates the lead over the Chicago Cubs with a solo home run after the Cubs had tied the game in the previous inning. The final play of the game came on a play at the plate that involved a very heads-up play from Justin Morneau to take the cut-off throw and flip it to Russell Martin at home plate to get the out. The Pirates didn't clinch with the win; they had to wait until after the game to see the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Washington Nationals, clinching a Wild Card spot for the Pirates.
Several players from the Pittsburgh Pirates called for a blackout at PNC Park, and the fans delivered. Fans started the #PNCBlackout hashtag campaign on Twitter, and sure enough, everyone wore black for the Wild Card game at PNC Park against the Cincinnati Reds. It was the best baseball crowd I have ever seen, by far. From the first pitch to the last out, the crowd was insane. From the "Cue-To..." chants to the raising of the jolly rogers, and beating the archenemy Reds, it was by far the best memory of the 2013 Pirates season.