About last night.


(My husband, me, and my dad. Photo taken by the gorgeous Katie O’Malley of Pens-TV who just happened to be sitting directly behind me!)

I had this post all written out in my head if the Pirates lost.

I knew exactly where I was going to go with it.

I was 100% prepared to deal with a loss and all the myriad of feelings that would come with it.

I was not 100% prepared for what actually happened last night. I was 0% prepared.

There are sloths better prepared to take the SATs than I was prepared for what happened last night.


I was an emotional wreck leading up to the game as I sat in Las Velas sucking down two margaritas.

I was an emotional basket case as we crossed the Clemente Bridge.


I was an emotional lunatic sitting down in my seat an hour before the game. I distracted myself by helping a confused couple in front of me learn how to do the Zoltan. She was putting her pinkie to her thumb and looked like she was trying to make the world’s most elaborate butterfly shadow puppet, where the butterfly is also riding a horse.

I was not prepared for how cool the blackout looked. Some predicted it would look like there was no one in the crowd. Excuse me a second while I LOL at that. It looked amazing. A sea of black with glowing faces shining out. A spot of red here and there, but they were hard to find. They looked like drops of blood on a canvas of Pirate glory.

And that, my friends, is what we call “waxing eloquent.”

I was not prepared to see Doug Drabek, my old baseball crush, find the plate again, or how hard I still swoon for that delicious, delicious man.

I was not prepared for pre-game.


I wasn’t prepared for the roar for Jay Bell, for the Parrot to literally bow down to Clint Hurdle, for Andrew holding his hand to his heart as he was introduced to a chant of “MVP MVP MVP,” or his mother’s rendition of the National Anthem (Gene Simmons who?). It was the a perfect pre-game ceremony and PNC Park was all, “That was the best ten minutes of my life. Got a cigarette?”

I sure as heck was not prepared for first pitch.

I texted Woy:


And I guarantee no one, not one single person on either team or in any seat in that ballpark or media booth was prepared for the noise. THE NOISE was the tenth man on the Pirates’ team.

This was beyond Heinz Field. I have been to plenty of Steelers games and have never once felt the need to turn down the volume on my hearing aids. Last night, I kept nudging the volume lower and lower until by the second inning, as the CuEEEEE-toeeeeee chant grew to an absolute deafening, undulating, seizure-inducing roar, both of my hearing aids were as low as they could go without being turned off, and that’s only because they don’t actually have an off switch.


That “Cueto” chant? I’m sure you heard it if you watched the televised broadcast, but it does not do justice to what it sounded like standing in the midst of its wave-like cacophonous din. I wasn’t exaggerating when I wrote “seizure-inducing.” It was the perfect tone to crawl inside your head, take root in your brain, and just shake it mercilessly.  It was a brain earthquake. CuuuuEEEEEEEEEtoeeeeeee. CuuuuuuEEEEEEEEEEtoeeeeee. Like the Tomahawk Chop [patoooie] on steroids.

If I was ready to chuck my hearing aids over the railing because of that chant, I can’t imagine what it did to Cueto’s psyche. Well, yes I can; he dropped the ball and served a home run to Russell Martin on a silver platter with a side of cheese.

Fans, 1: Reds, 0

I spent most of the game, as they say, beside myself. Trying to keep it together and losing it anyway, whatever “it” is. Probably “my shit.”

I didn’t relax. Not once. 5-1 and I was still nervous. My brain was humming. My heart was pounding. My stomach was churning. I was shivering and sweating at the same time. The margaritas were threatening to evacuate the premises for higher ground. It was either the flu or menopause, I thought. It can’t just be nerves making me feel like I’m dying alive, right, Jaromir?

Somehow I made it to the top of the ninth without puking or fainting or texting “SECURITY” and my seat location to the number they flashed on the big screen and then when they arrived being all, “I AM NOT WELL, YOU GUYS. DO YOU HAVE ANY XANAX ON YOUR PERSON?”

It was there in the ninth that I lived and died by Jason Grilli. Each pitch had me at fever pitch. I stood up. Sat down. Put my head in my hands. Thought about barfing discreetly into my purse.

One out.


I stood up again.

And just like that … three.

I sat down.

I’m sure the place was loud, but I didn’t hear it. I didn’t even see the immediate on-field celebration where I’m sure Grilli beat Martin in the chest so hard he put a dent in him. I didn’t see, but I’m sure the outfielders did their little jump! celebration.

I was in my own world, just sitting there with my head in my hands in disbelief with a few tears falling from my eyes. Because I’m such a girl and there is SO crying in baseball, Tom Hanks.

Who died and made you king of baseball crying anyway?

There IS crying. And there’s giant flag-waving and chanting and hugging and high-fiving total strangers and there’s Cinderella stories that unfold before our very eyes.

And sometimes there’s barfing margaritas into purses.

Bring on the Cards, and let’s go, Bucs!

Especially you, Neil Walker. I’m still waiting for my prediction to come true.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go see a man about a Xanax prescription.


  1. Cole
    October 2, 2013 9:18 am

    I refused to use the bathroom for 5 inning because I though if I move the Reds would score. I love Buctober.

  2. Kenna Given
    October 2, 2013 9:19 am

    Oh to be in Pittsburgh last night! Hell yes, there’s crying in baseball and they’re tears of joy!

  3. SteelCityMagnolia
    October 2, 2013 9:27 am

    I am not permitted to watch playoff hockey because every time I watch a game, the Pens lose. So out of respect for folks like you and my Sissy (whose reaction to the game was much like yours to the 500th degree), I didn’t watch. I did, however, spend a big part of the night listening to the game via telephone with my sister, who was watching on TV.

    Basically, the entire gist of the conversation:

    “Geezus, I’m gonna puke.” (before the game even started, and uttered probably 500 times through the course of the conversation.)

    “Damn I wish we would have gotten tickets to this. Why didn’t I let you get me tickets?” (I had offered to buy her an early Christmas present because I really love my Sissy. She said no because it was a work night and because I’ve spent the last 3 weeks dying with a respiratory infection and my Sissy really loves me right back.)

    “I am so glad you didn’t get me tickets. I wouldn’t have been able to stand it and people sitting around me would have killed me and then I wouldn’t have been able to see them win.”

    “I gotta call you back. I think I’m gonna puke.”

    “If they blow this lead, I’m gonna puke.”

    Between near-puking and professing her love for various players all night (she’s threatening to leave her husband for McCutcheon, Grilli, and at least 5 other guys, and her husband knows it, too!) it was fun to listen to her. And apparently, after reading your post, puking was the common theme of the night!

    Not so sure I can listen to this the whole way through the post-season, though!

  4. Wendielu
    October 2, 2013 9:27 am

    Oh there’s totally crying. I cried reading Andrew Stockey’s Tweets. Full on cried. And then watching video snippets if locker room celebration. And just now reading this blog post. Oh, there’s crying in baseball!

  5. Ketchup is a veggie
    October 2, 2013 9:34 am

    My sons texted me 50 times, asking me How many people are at the game? and they could tell exactly what was being chanted over the TV because it was so loud!! They are all in the military and people at their squadrons kept asking them if they had moved the game to Heinz Field because they couldn’t believe how many people were there.

  6. Jim
    October 2, 2013 9:46 am


    This was a nice bit of writing, and fitting tribute to how awesome that game was for the team and the City.

  7. Fran Fieser
    October 2, 2013 9:56 am

    Superbly written – washed away years if heartache. Go Bucs!

  8. lisa
    October 2, 2013 10:01 am

    This. Feeling. Is. AMAZING.

    People are smiling, everyone is fist bumping today. The world is GREAT this morning! Just wait till we are in the big game. The faithful Burghers will be floating around the big Burgh! And any team from here on out, they are afraid.
    How cool is that?

  9. Craig
    October 2, 2013 10:16 am

    Thanks for being there, driving the bandwagon all these years, and finding words that almost capture the joy.

  10. Michelle
    October 2, 2013 10:17 am

    You made me cry….awesome job! Had chills last night on my couch and have them again at my desk after reading this!

  11. Butcher's dog
    October 2, 2013 10:17 am

    Waiting for bucdaddy’s take on all this.

    • bucdaddy
      October 3, 2013 3:00 am

      Pittgirl is adorable.

      And …

      It was a good win, but we have bigger fish to fry.

  12. red pen mama
    October 2, 2013 10:22 am

    I am a sports fan (hockey and football), and I am a Pittsburgh fan, and while I never lived and died by the Pirates, I got chills reading this description of last night’s game. I got chills listening to highlights on the radio. I am so happy for the baseball fans in this city. What a great time for you all! Let’s go, Bucs!

  13. jennviolet
    October 2, 2013 10:40 am

    Beautifully written. I’m getting all misty eyed again! Group hug!

  14. Sooska
    October 2, 2013 10:43 am

    I am a one-time Pirates fan who stopped after the 92 season. I could see the next 20 years and couldn’t stand the idea of putting my hard-earned money on a platter to some rich guys who didn’t care. I told everyone it was going o be 20 years of losing, sad to say. I was a little girl running a mile home from the school bus with a transitor radio to my ear in 1960 and made it home in time to see the top of the 9th, then Maz’s home run. I was a college kid who was so excited in 1971 to go to a World Series game to see her favorite player destroy the Os. In 92 I was an angry and disappointed Mom who had 4 World Series tickets in her hands, waiting to take her kids to see something every ardent baseball fan in 14 YO girls and 11 YO boys should see. I had the tickets but the coaches and star players failed utterly, then got sold off by inept ownership. That little girl, young woman, and excited Mom came back last night without the sadness and cynicism. She peeked out from behind the curtains. She always said she’d come back when they tried to win, when ownership allowed them to truly try. Last night was real and it was spectacular.

  15. Jennifer Duffy
    October 2, 2013 11:02 am

    You know what else I noticed last night – not one person in my section got beer. Part of it is because no one even left their seats! It was crazy, but FUN crazy, not scary crazy like my Steelers section.

  16. Pa-pop
    October 2, 2013 11:25 am

    “The margaritas were threatening to evacuate the premises for higher ground.” LMAO.
    Keep this up and the 10th Man’s awesome energy might help the Bucs go 81-0 at home next year.

  17. Sheila
    October 2, 2013 11:27 am

    Oh there’s crying – I cried during the “I believe” video on the jumbotron before the game, during the pregame & after. And I am admittedly a fair weather meh type of fan! But I’m a sucker for comebacks, hard fought emotional give it everything you have teams and thats what the Pirates did last night. And the fans were ready and desperate to change destiny

    Good job Pittsburgh – you make me proud! Except for the kid that jumped off the Clemente Bridge- really?!

  18. J. Helter
    October 2, 2013 11:31 am

    Virginia, thank you.

  19. Shmiller
    October 2, 2013 11:33 am

    You can take purse? Not a clear, quart-sized baggie?

    But seariouzly, it was a fun night to be ‘Burger.

  20. Jonathan
    October 2, 2013 11:37 am

    What a glorious post! You’ve been captain of the bandwagon for years and I’m so glad you were there to experience that night and share it with on. On to St. Louis!

  21. lemondrop
    October 2, 2013 12:12 pm

    Last night I dug deep into my closet and found the Pirates jersey I wore the day of the Bream slide in 1992 and threw it on for what might have been the first time in 20 years. It was time to exorcise that demon. Well, exorcism accomplished (with no pea soup involved). Funny thing though, as that demon exited after the final out in the ninth inning, it seemed to put an answer lot of dust in the air.

  22. bluzdude
    October 2, 2013 1:14 pm

    Thank you for taking me with you to the game, via this story. And that leading picture is absolutely perfect. You should totally have that one framed.

  23. Trish
    October 2, 2013 6:00 pm

    Dear Pirates,

    You’re welcome for Russell Martin. We’re still pissed Cashman let him go.

    Good luck in the playoffs,
    Yankees fans

    PS–the only thing that would be worse than that is Nick Swisher suddenly becomes a beast in the playoffs. Alas for Indians fans, he has a long history of sucking in the postseason.

    Wow, a Pirates/Indians World Series could happen. For a baseball fan this could be indescribably awesome.

  24. Jill
    October 3, 2013 4:40 am

    About the noise.
    I live in town across the river from the stadium. On a regular night, with our windows closed, we can hear the cheers when something big happens at a game – a home run, a really good catch.

    At Tuesday’s game, the noise from Liriano’s STRIKES was louder than anything we’ve ever heard before.

    The fact that we could actually hear the “MVP” and “Cueto” chants? Incredible.

    Just when I think I couldn’t love this city any more…

  25. WI Mom
    October 3, 2013 11:31 am

    I was actually in Cincinnati for work the evening of the game. I thought the “blackout” was magnificent. Drabek (also MY old baseball crush) throwing the first pitch was genius. Cuetto dropping the ball– what can I say except thank you, Buc Fans! The win was priceless.
    I still remember the night of the Sid Bream slide into home that broke our hearts.. and this has finally mended them. GO BUCS!

  26. bucdaddy
    October 4, 2013 1:48 am

    Hey, where’d everybody go? You lose ONE game …


    Giddyup, SJP.

    *bandwagon rolls down Federal Street*

  27. BigGeorge
    October 4, 2013 7:32 am

    Thank-you! I have been following your writing for along time.
    Almost as long as I have the Pirates. I could not be there, I am out of town.
    Your writing has made a part of it.

    Again’ Thank-You