Truly, all aboard.

Oh, Mark Madden. That you would just bite me. So hard.

Once again, as happened last year, the Pirates are doing good, really good, so good they’re ten games over .500 ball and in first place by two whole games, and as also happened last year, the bandwagon talk has begun.

Not the bandwagon talk that I do, which is the positive bandwagon talk i.e. ALL ABOARD YOU MOTHERS! GET ON THIS BANDWAGON WHILE THE WINNING IS STILL HOT, THE MARGARITAS ARE STILL COLD, THE ATMOSPHERE IS STILL PARTY ROCK AND THE BEWBS ARE STILL PERKY AND BUXOM.

Because as has been the case every single year, by late summer the winning is gone, the margaritas are soupy, the atmosphere is funeral-wakey and the bewbs are saggy, coin-filled tube socks.

Now mind you, I am not talking about the Pens bandwagon or the Steelers bandwagon or the bandwagon where people hop off all “LATER, LOSERS! YOU HAVE SAGGY BEWBS!” as soon as a team loses two in a row. I am talking about the Bucco bandwagon onto which tired, losing-weary, beat-up, long-dejected fans hop aboard years after they jumped off unable to take the losing anymore. Unable to justify spending money, time, tears, and hopes on a team that never ever repaid the sacrifice in two whole DECADES. Unable to support a management they saw running a once glorious team into the ground. Unable to stomach loss after loss. Unable to lather up enough desire to take their kids to the ballpark to spend $100 just to watch a depressing shell of a baseball team that was on the receiving end of quite serious “just get out of the majors” talk.  Unable to care after player upon player with talent was traded away for stale Cracker Jacks and two cases of flat pop. Jason Bay. Freddy Sanchez. Jason Kendall. Adam LaRoche. Jack Wilson. Nate McLouth.

I have said this before and it obviously needs to be repeated: I will pat you on the back for sticking with the Pirates through thick and thin, for watching the same number of games every year regardless of the record, for attending the same number of games every year regardless of the record, for buying the same number of dollars worth of merchandise every year regardless of the record, for tweeting and blogging and facebooking the same amount of Pirates-related updates regardless of the record — but I will also put forth that the number of fans that can actually say they have done all of those things is quite small.

Wanting to support winners is HUMAN. Do you get that? I don’t think you can judge a person for walking away from the Pirates any more than you can judge a person for refusing to go see a band in concert once that band starts putting out shitty records. Sure there are some groupies who are going to still go to every concert, buy every CD and t-shirt, update the fan site every day, etc., but for the most part, it is HUMAN to want to support a good product and when the product stinks, it is human nature to walk away and say, “I can’t support that anymore. I just won’t. Show me a better product and I’ll be your customer again.”

That’s what is happening. Economics. The product is getting better. Fans can justify spending their dollars and time on the team again and my bandwagon is absolutely bursting at the seams with fresh blood and big bewbs and lusty wenches and drunk pirates and I would not have it any other way. It’s more fun this way. We’re a bigger family throwing bigger parties and making a bigger noise.

Now, you diehards, and I don’t know that I can call myself a diehard because I truly jumped back on the bandwagon with both feet only five years ago, I get that it kinda sucks that it’s harder to get tickets now, but would you rather be sitting in a quiet stadium scattered with fans, or a stadium packed to the top with cheering fans and hoisted brooms and flying Jolly Rogers and awkward zoltans?

And then ask yourself this. Which do you think the PIRATES would prefer? A stadium scattered with only the diehards or a stadium absolutely crushed with fans who have come to appreciate the good product?

We ARE family and this family has been put through the wringer for two decades and maybe this is the year we finally reconcile and be a real family again. So please, take this pat on the back if you never wavered in your love of the team, but put the bandwagon talk away unless you’re saying “all aboard.”

Who knows. Maybe this is the year I don’t light that sucker afire and roll it into the Mon.

Let’s go Bucs!





36 Comments

  1. Katie
    July 6, 2012 12:20 pm

    Exactly!!! I’m about a 4 year bandwagon fan because I’ve lived elsewhere since I was 20. I moved back a few years ago and my boy loves baseball…so we loaded up on Pirates gear and started going to a few games. I have very precious memories of baseball with my Pap and I wanted my kids to have them too. And I’ll take the screaming, enthused, Zoltan flashing crowd any day! Baseball is supposed to be fun!! So I plan to enjoy it as long as it lasts..wether that’s Buctober or an early end to the season..but that’s the key.. I’m going to enjoy the heck out of it!



  2. pghlinda
    July 6, 2012 12:38 pm

    Welcome abroad the bandwagon, everyone! As one of those fans who kept the faith while all around were losing there’s I embrace every crazy person out there dressed like a Pirate or clothed in bubble wrap, flashing the Zoltan “Z”, grabbing their brooms and standing in ovation for young men who are ‘all in’! The Burgh has been straved for good baseball and anyone who wants to put a damper on what is happening in this sports city right now should forget about those negative thoughts and do a little bandwagon jumping themselves. This is one Pirate fan who is standing by my team and enjoying every moment.



  3. Lizzie
    July 6, 2012 12:47 pm

    1. Anyone who spells “good” as “gud,” especially if they claim to be a journalist, gets none of my attention.

    2. I have no shame admitting I’m a bandwagon jumper (or, re-jumper, I guess, since I was certainly on it in the past). I lived in Boston the last 12 years. You know what’s hard? Following a baseball team from afar. So many games! Never on my TV! Etc. You know what’s even harder? Finding the motivation to keep up when every time you seek out a final score or a recap, it’s another loss. So I moved back, the team is doing well, and I’m loving it. I’ve been to more games in a few months than the previous decade combined. And you know what? The actual diehards in my life, who attended dozens of games a year through the darkest seasons, are glad to have me back! They’re inviting me to games with them, not telling me I don’t deserve to be a fan.

    So, thanks Ginny and my brothers and everyone else welcoming me/us back to the wagon. Forget the rest of ’em.



  4. bigslacker
    July 6, 2012 1:04 pm

    “And then ask yourself this. Which do you think the PIRATES would prefer? ”

    If by PIRATES you mean the current players and coaching staff…OK, I’m down with you.

    But if you mean the organization as a whole…eff ’em and whatever they would prefer. They have done their level best to destroy baseball in this town with their well documented mind-numbing money grabbing ineptitude. They do not deserve to have their preferences considered.

    That said, my heart certainly hopes this most recent positive push is more than a early summer fling, but the real deal. My head tells me different though…..

    Go Bucs!



  5. Dan (Not Onorato)
    July 6, 2012 1:11 pm

    Wait…you lost me at lusty wenches….

    Whatev…go Bucs!



  6. Cassie
    July 6, 2012 1:12 pm

    I’ve always been a fan of baseball in general. Having moved here in 1991 from Minnesota right when the Twins won the world series, I would lie if I said I was a Pirates fan off the bat. Now, having lived her the better half of my life, I’m a fan of the Penguins and the Pirates, in good times and in bad. My husband is the perfect example of a love/hate relationship. He watches just about every Pirates and Penguins game, even when it’s looking bad. Even when the Pirates are down 10 to nothing and they’ve been down for 20 games. That’s dedication I don’t have.

    I’m glad there’s a balance between the fans and the die hard fans. If we were all die hard fans, then, well, it’d be a very competitive place out there. Part of what I love about Pittsburgh is the fact that we’re pretty equally balanced in our love for things.

    And I still totally wear my Jack Wilson jersey. What?



  7. WI Mom
    July 6, 2012 1:18 pm

    Have been a Pirates fan since listening to Maz’s WS home run as a elementary school kid. Was part of the “We Are Family” while in school in Connecticut. No matter what part of the country I have been living in, my heart bleeds black and gold. Go BUCS- and am praying this is the year of the big turnaround.



  8. lmw412
    July 6, 2012 1:21 pm

    I’ve been a Buccos fan since the day I was born 30 years ago. A die hard one. The one that still wants to go to a game – and still gets excited about going to a game – when they are a bajillion games out of first in September. It’s in my blood to absolutely love baseball and this team. I’m glad there are bandwagon fans. That’s life. The more the merrier. Let’s Go Bucs!
    And forget Madden….what does he know except how to piss people off?



  9. Katie
    July 6, 2012 1:27 pm

    Watching baseball games where one of the teams sucks (whether it’s the team you are rooting for or not) is BORING. Now that the Pirates are a better team and can actually hit the ball and have good pitching makes watching the games a lot more FUN! I am perfectly happy jumping on and off this bandwagon every year because I want some entertainment when I watch sports. Let’s hope they keep it up!



  10. Clayton
    July 6, 2012 1:41 pm

    Mark Madden is a is a fat bastard with floppy man-tits who couldn’t even fit on the bandwagon. AND, if he did get on, I would kick him off so I didn’t have to hear his fat wheezing all over the damn place.



  11. Patty
    July 6, 2012 2:43 pm

    Every since I moved back to Pittsburgh in 1996, I’ve listened to games while doing dishes on most game nights. Even those games in late September, when Greg Brown and Steve Blass sound bored beyond description and desperate to get somewhere warm to play golf or have a beer. And I was a fanatic in the 1970s, back when I grew up here and was younger than the players.

    But I agree, Virginia. Fair-weather fans are normal, healthy people. Loyalty is important for things like not defecting from the United States because you don’t like the election results or not divorcing your husband because he snores too much.

    We Pittsburghers have filled PNC Park. We have tried to good-naturedly make a sport out of our team’s lack of it. We don’t throw bottles at our sucky players. We have politely and cheerfully applauded each of our players, at the beginning of every damn losing game for the past 19 years. We have worn our Pirates shirts to all those hopeless games. But why would a normal person put extra energy into a club whose management has done so many things wrong, as you point out?

    Hey, we’ve got our lives to live. I didn’t see the Pirates pay us much loyalty. What idiot would go all-out for a team that disregards its players and fans as much as this club has? We may be nice Pittsburghers, but we don’t have Stupid written all over our faces.



  12. Pensgirl
    July 6, 2012 4:35 pm

    I say the following as someone who walked away from baseball (not the Pirates, the entire sport) as a teen, meaning I have zero emotional bias here.

    To say that Pittsburgh was never a baseball town is the precise definition of reinventing its history. If anything, it’s the city’s history as a baseball town that kept people invested over the last 20 years. The Pirates were #1 through most of the 20th century – hell, for a good chunk of it, our other current teams didn’t even exist! The Steelers only began to really compete for attention because of the 70s SB wins, and it probably wasn’t ’til the late 80s-early 90s Pens teams strengthened the hockey-loving market (which is itself underestimated historically, but that’s for another day) and the NFL in general rose as an uber-mega-behemoth-mo-money-mo-problems industry that the Steelers really grabbed full control of first place.

    And really, it’s not baseball or the Pirates that people are fair-weather about, and it’s not an issue unique to Pittsburgh. It’s just a symptom of the instant-gratification society we live in now, the same “24 hour news, internet, video games, yada yada” argument we’ve all seen before, that has made society as a whole more fair-weather about everything than it used to be. The slow burn of undying love for *anything* escapes us (as a collective, anyway).

    To talk about “history” and mean the last 20 years – well, that’s the opposite of history.



  13. Dash66
    July 6, 2012 5:46 pm

    Guess what “Die Hard” Pirates Fans, I am one of the Fair Weather Fans you talk about. Before this year, I had been to a grand total of 2 Pirates games in the past 21 years, and I had watched even fewer games on TV. This year I have watched probably 15 games on TV and have been to 1 game and am planning on going to at least 2 more. Why? Because they are winning.
    When I moved to the Pittsburgh area 21 years ago, I was only a football fan. I never watched Hockey or Baseball. Shortly after I moved here, the Penguins had their run for their first Stanley Cup. Because of that excitement, even though I moved from the Burgh so that I could join the military, I still rooted for the Penguins every year, and every time I got home, I tried to get to a Pens game. I became a die hard fan for the entire time I was in the military BECAUSE I jumped on that bandwagon.
    Next the Pirates. As I was rooting for the Pens and Steelers, I tried hard to root for my home town Pirates (yes, even though I had only lived in Pittsburgh for about 6 months, I still considered Pittsburgh my home town, but that’s another story) I tried to watch the games, I tried to root for the team, but when I couldn’t even have a 50% chance of seeing a victory, It’s hard to root for a team. Fast forward to this year. The Pirates have been doing well. I realize that if I see a Pirates game on TV, I have a better than 50% chance of seeing a win, and if I buy a ticket to a home game, I have a REALLY good chance of seeing a victory. So I’m going to games, I’m watching them on TV, I’m listening to the game on the radio when I get out of my night classes…I’m a heck of a fan. And if they can keep the winning up for a couple of years… not winning the World Series… not even going to the playoffs… just winning more games than they loose… I will go from being a Bandwagon fan to being a lifelong Diehard Fan.
    Just wondering, how many of these “Diehard fans” started watching the Pirates when they were winning (maybe not World Series, but winning) It is so much easier to attach yourself to a team when they are winning
    Here endeth the rant!!!



  14. YinzerInExile
    July 6, 2012 6:03 pm

    I have resolved to fly my long-suffering ass to wherever I need to be at the point the Pirates go for their 81st victory. And when that happens–WHEN. THAT. HAPPENS.–I will be the hot mess hanging over the dugout shooting tears, mascara and snot all over the team as they file back in.

    I just hope that, if it’s at home, some nearby recent bandwaggoner offers me a tissue. Or a bath towel.



  15. bucdaddy
    July 6, 2012 6:41 pm

    I never left.

    That said, anyone who’s been paying attention noticed Jason Bay, Jason Kendall, Jack Wilson, Nate McLouth and, arguably, Adam LaRoche had their best days behind them when they left.

    THAT said, GGGGGOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, BUCS!



    • bigslacker
      July 9, 2012 11:43 am

      Right…but what about Aramis Ramirez, Jose Bautista, Ryan Vogelsong, Jason Schmidt…to name a few?



      • bucdaddy
        July 9, 2012 11:59 am

        Ramirez was a salary dump for complex financial reasons.

        Bautista was on the verge of getting released by Toronto when he figured something out.

        Vogelsong had to go to Japan for a few years to learn how to pitch.

        The Pirates traded Schmidt for Vogelsong. Can’t have it both ways.

        None of this is meant to imply that anything Littlefield ever did was any good.



  16. Oswald Van Ooster
    July 6, 2012 7:07 pm

    Mark Madden needs a colonic real bad



  17. Janelle
    July 6, 2012 9:12 pm

    I’ve never been a huge fan of baseball. I went to one game when I was in middle school with my grandfather and we had lots of fun and it’s probably one of my favorite memories of him. This is a bandwagon I can totally get on.

    And then there’s my great-grandmother, who is 96 and has been following and loving that team basically forever. She was even still going to games a few years ago until she wasn’t able to, and there’s still always a game on in her room at her nursing home.



  18. FeelingLeftOut
    July 6, 2012 9:36 pm

    I am one of the diehards. I’ve always said the only bandwagoners I have a problem with are the ones who went out of their way to make fun of Pirates fans who DID stick with the team during the tough times. I love baseball and I love my Buccos – win or lose. I don’t need anyone insulting me for it.

    Now those same people are buying the Pirates shirts and hats, sitting at PNC.

    And if the Penguins have a bad season, they’ll be making fun of me once again.



  19. Joe D
    July 6, 2012 10:55 pm

    52 years old, 52 years of Steelers,Pirates, and Penguins! No Bandwagon here! Here we go! STEELER’S, PIRATE’S, PENGUIN’S!!!!!!!!!!!!!



    • Butcher's Dog
      July 9, 2012 1:42 pm

      Um…Joe? The Pens started in ’67. You can only claim 45 years of them. Just sayin’.



  20. Pingback: Off My Chest – Game Etiquette Edition « Running On Wine

  21. BOO to the YAH!
    July 7, 2012 9:15 am

    Hey bandwagoners and long time fans alike…..just a tip….still good seats left for the LAST game of the FIRST season in 20 years when we are over .500! Except the seven I bought this week for my friend sand family to thoroughly enjoy!

    SEE YOU THERE!!



  22. Butcher's Dog
    July 7, 2012 12:12 pm

    I never left either.

    If Mark Madden ever had all the shit pumped out of him, there’d be nothing left. Just sayin’.



  23. Borski
    July 8, 2012 3:06 am

    I’m not a bandwagon fan, but it sure is nice to see the ballpark filled more often now.



  24. Lauryn
    July 9, 2012 1:39 pm

    Sitting here in Northern VA reading about the Bucs and their record….with my Jason Bay shirt in the dresser. Talking to random people I see who happen to be wearing Pirates gear. Getting calls from relatives at the Nats/Bucs game, telling me that ‘Cutch is pretty good. Watching as many games as I can when I’m home in the ‘burgh, since I don’t get most of them on TV here. As a kid I used to have my birthday party at Three Rivers every year…in September. Thats dedication.

    I have spent most of my baseball watching life watching the Buccos stink. I was 12 last time they had a winning season. Am I ready for win 81? You betcha!

    Bring some margaritas Ginny, I’ll be sitting shotgun on the bandwagon! :-)



  25. Al Luccioni
    July 10, 2012 9:15 am

    a touch indelicate, but true, the numbers do not lie look at attendence, ratings, etc Pittsburgh is not a baseball town has not been since the 70s which is a shame because your average bucco fan (like my 90 year old Nonna) are classier by a mile than your average “stiller nation” yahoo