Baseball is killing me. Featuring Jean Claude Van Damme.

I hate to make Pirates baseball all about me.

But let’s talk about me.

Let’s talk about me so you can talk about you and tell me if you are experiencing or have experienced something similar and that is this …

October baseball is killing me.


I am not handling it even remotely well. Amanda Bynes is handling things better than I am right now. I am a lunatic basketcase of craziness and nausea.

I am fortunate that because of our Bucs partial-season tickets, my family has our postseason tickets in hand all the way up to and including the [inhale] World Series [stress vomit].

I told you what it was like going to the Wildcard game. I almost died.

Yesterday, I almost died-er.

My sisters (all but one I’m looking at you Tina Fey get on a plane, bitch [throws signs]) came into town from Cincinnati [patooie!] and Richmond for a girls weekend full of Burghy awesomeness such as Kelly O’s, Strip District shopping, giant duck, Pens, and yes, the Bucs.


This was before the game started. Which is why I don’t look like death yet.

Again, like the Wildcard game, the ballpark was louder than anything I’ve ever heard. There are jet engines putting out less decibels than the rabid fans inside of PNC Park. My sisters were stunned with the noise volume and wished they had earplugs. I had my hearing aids turned the entire way down again, but could still very clearly make out the KELLLLLLLL-EEEEEEEEEEEE chant.

The KELLLLLL-EEEEEEEEEE chant was as brain-destroying as the Cueto one. With the ballpark filled with the waving sound, it felt like the ballpark was a huge ship full of pirates caught in a storm, chanting with the rise and fall of each ferocious wave. I mean that. That is how my brain processed it. KELLLLLLLL-EEEEEEEEEE. Blood-thirsty pirates shouting joyously in the face of danger. Daring doom to come closer.

When the Cardinals’ error happened at first base, I was one of the few who jumped out of their seat (sorry, twenty-something dude sitting next to me who had to deal with me all game. I shall call him Bob.) I yelled out a quick “YES!” and threw out a few Arsenio Hall pump/WOO!s then sat back down.


Then Byrd sends one down the middle and the ballpark and I erupt. Inside the swell of deafening roars and chaos, I stand up and begin to scream when suddenly a sea of blue blobs start overtaking my vision from behind me, moving forward and in, to a pinpoint. I could not see anything but the blue blobby shadows. My head was spinning so violently, I felt like someone had cranked that damned Rotor ride up to Mach ALL OF THEM.

I sat down with a thud as the cheering continued around me, and waited a good fifteen seconds before my vision cleared. I am not even joking … this is basically what I looked like:


Jean Claude made that movie only so that one day I would have the perfect GIF to illustrate exactly what I looked like when I almost passed out at a Pirates postseason game.

I had several similar spells during the Wildcard game, but nothing as intense as that. The remainder of the game, I did my best to stay in my chair lest I fold into Bob’s lap, but when I did spontaneously erupt and rise, the wave hit me and I had to sit right back down and guzzle a bottle of water. I couldn’t even stand up for the last out of the game. AND I TRIED.

After that final out, I felt just fine and was able to bounce down the three flights of stairs to the ballpark exit like an eager puppy about to go on a walk.

My sisters diagnosed me with one of several things:

1. Stress of 20 years of losing + extra stress of a close game + noise + me yelling + one beer + Twizzlers + standing up too fast = fainting.

2. Some sort of hereditary inner ear deformity, requiring surgery to correct, that causes the ear and brain to be unable to process noise correctly. There’s an official name for it and my sister Ta-Ta has it. Since I blame an “inner-ear thing” on my inability to parallel park, I could easily jump on this bandwagon of medical blame.

But really? The most likely cause of all of this?

3. I am a mental weakling with the emotional fortitude of a toddler and therefore October ball is killing me.

My body is a mess and there aren’t enough Tums in the world to fix what baseball is destroying, namely my stomach lining. My heart races and my palms sweat every time I put a picture of the Pirates in my brain. When Melancon allowed that home run in the 8th inning, I could feel my kidneys shutting down all, “WE ARE ON STRIKE. THESE ARE UNACCEPTABLE WORKING CONDITIONS.”

And it’s so dumb and first-worldy of me. There is a world of suffering out there and I am physically and emotionally falling apart over BASEBALL. That’s just pathetic; you don’t have to tell me.

I’m off today, sending my husband and son instead. This means I can do as I’ve done for countless games this year … watch in the comfort of my kitchen on my little wall-mounted TV where the whole thing feels much less threatening and terrifying. At the same time, I record the game to the DVR on the big living room TV so I can re-watch the non-scary parts.

Basically, for me, Pirates baseball is like watching a horror movie.

Let’s just hope this movie doesn’t end with me passed out in the stands at a World Series game with medical personnel hovering over me all, “CAN YOU HEAR US, MA’AM?! DO YOU KNOW WHAT YEAR IT IS?!”

I seriously need prescription meds, you guys. Or medical marijuana.


Group hug.

P.S. Dear Bob, I’m sorry I unthinkingly grabbed your arm in joy like that when I thought that Card was out at third base. Hope the nail marks heal. I’m not well.


  1. bucdaddy
    October 7, 2013 11:20 am

    Them’er some good lookin’ chickeedoos there, if I’m any judge of womanflesh.

    The one at the top I recognize. Can you ID the other three?

    And center and right are the twins, I take it, right down to their glasses. How cute is that? Somehow seems like a perfectly Yinzer thing to do.

    • Virginia
      October 7, 2013 11:45 am

      Ta-Ta, Princess Aurora, Pens Fan.

      • bucdaddy
        October 8, 2013 2:09 am


        Yinz are all adorable. I can’t imagine what it was like for guys to come to the house for the first time to take one of you out and suddenly scoping all the options. “Wait … there’s ANOTHER one? … and ANOTHER one? … and …? DAY-um.” And then realizing that if it didn’t work out, he couldn’t just ask out one of the others. It’s like the “Seinfeld” where Jerry asks George’s help to pull off the roommate switch. Only four times worse.

        The Roommate Switch? It could work.

        The Sister Switch? “Can’t be done.”

  2. Ginny's Dad
    October 7, 2013 11:34 am

    Glad I didn’t go. Mom and I couldn’t watch the ninth inning, so I taped it and we watched it later. While taping I periodically checked my IPad and relayed the status to mom. Oh Crap! First guy is on. Homerun will tie the game. C’mon Grilli! ….Now there’s one out, we need a double play. ” “Phew, now there are 2 outs! Then before I could check again, Mom screamed “We won!” Her sister informed her on Facebook. We are pathetic!

  3. Tina Fey
    October 7, 2013 11:42 am

    I actually contemplated getting myself on a giant tube of steely, fiery death. I got as far as pulling up the flight schedule to contemplate my flight/death options when I got the call that the The Beast’s surgery was going to be two days before I’d have to leave. Seeing as how I do not trust my husband to listen to and follow post-op instructions, I considered that to be a sign that I needed to stay home. Plus, the minute I turned on the TV the Cards tied the game. So the way I see it, the City of Pittsburgh owes me one giant thank-you for not showing up and jinxing the team. Tell the Pirates I would like to be thanked by receiving a cap like yours. You are welcome.

    • MattDC
      October 7, 2013 9:42 pm

      You get a big thanks and a cap of your choice IF you book your flight right now for the NL playoffs at PNC Park, which is way more important than a giant tube of fiery death. Your family likes Gerritt Cole on Wednesday. And Pine-Richland graduate Neil Walker. (Am I being too obvious about my alma mater?)

  4. HokieRider
    October 7, 2013 12:25 pm

    Totally streaming the game at work this afternoon in VA. Luckily I’ll be alone in the office, so I won’t have to work too hard to keep others from knowing what I’m doing. :-)

  5. Aimee St.Germain (Cooking the Strip)
    October 7, 2013 12:47 pm

    I am not handling this well either. I know what to do when the Steelers are in the playoffs, or when the Pens are going for the Stanley Cup. But I have no idea how to act when the Pirates are playing in October – I’m a basketcase.

    But I want the madness to continue! Let’s Go Bucs!!!

  6. bluzdude
    October 7, 2013 1:28 pm

    Yinz are so stinkin’ cute!

    Be careful with those blue, blobby shadows. They sound like what took the bad guy away from Patrick and Demi in “Ghost.”

  7. janmarietta
    October 7, 2013 5:51 pm

    Hmmm. You were at the first 2 games. Pirates won.
    You weren’t at the game today. Pirates lost.
    Is your family still speaking to you?

  8. MattDC
    October 7, 2013 9:23 pm

    Your description is a perfect review of Pittsburgh fan superstition, passed on to us from our parents and grandparents (thanks for the confirmation, Ginny’s Dad). I take the same approach to the Steelers and Pens. But baseball is something unique and ephemeral. Embrace it while you can. Stay with it through the bottom of the ninth and add your voice to the sound of a jet taking off, even in your living room. In this day and age, fabulous pitchers are so ubiquitous, any team can win or lose every single year. (As demonstrated by Wacha today.) Celebrate the moment. Even us oldsters have waited long enough, and we don’t know when it might come this way again.

  9. joel weasley
    October 9, 2013 11:01 pm

    Having just watched the end of the 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates baseball season, i immediately came to That’s Church because I had a thought.

    I know that now that the season is over, it’s time to torch the bandwagon before sending it to it’s watery grave in the Mon, but I had a different thought. Looking back at all the joy that the Buccos have brought us this season (the break of the curse, Buctober, hope), I just don’t think it’s fitting to light it all ablaze and send it off like a Viking funeral. Instead of torching the bandwagon, why don’t we simply put it aside for the winter. The storage shed. The garage.Anywhere. And when April comes around, we’ll pull it back out and see all of this year’s joys and think, “Last year was epic…but this year, THIS IS THE YEAR!”