Category Archives: Pirates
Look, I can’t really say I’m speaking on behalf of an entire city or an entire fan base — I’m not THAT egotistical –but for the past eight years I’ve heard a common refrain and that is this: “You wrote exactly what I was thinking, but couldn’t put into words.”
So, I’m going to try to put into words what I think the fans of the Pittsburgh Pirates are thinking as they wake up to the first morning of the 2013 offseason …
You didn’t do enough.
You did more than enough.
But before I get into that, you first have to understand what Pittsburgh’s passion for baseball was like back in March. It was a tiny, barely smoldering piece of tinder resting on the wet floor of a massive damp forest of disappointment that hadn’t seen a lick of flames in decades. Those were the odds stacked against you … lighting a fire in a monsoon. Good luck. You have a better chance of leashing the Kraken and taking it for a walk in the park.
What you managed to do as a team — a brotherhood — was to take that little piece of smoking tinder, and to slowly nurture it. Pick it up, blow on it gently, give it sun and warmth and oxygen. And when it grew ever so slightly, you didn’t let it get trampled or snuffed out. You protected it and fed it until that tiny flicker of light became a fire big enough to warm our hands on.
You didn’t stop there. When it died down ever so slightly, you went Bear Grylls on it — stoked it with wins until come September that once barely flickering tinder became a raging fire of baseball passion burning a path to the postseason and Smoky the Bear was all, “HAVE I TAUGHT YOU PEOPLE NOTHING?! LOOK AT THIS MESS, DAMN IT.”
You, not the team before you — not any of the teams before them — brought baseball back to Pittsburgh.
Who cares, right?
It’s just a sport.
Let’s get some perspective here, people. What about world peace, amirite?
Sure, it’s just a sport, but I haven’t found a single scripture in the Bible or the Brocode that says we can’t care about world peace while also caring about the fortunes of our baseball team. There’s nothing wrong with baseball mattering.
And you reminded us that, here in Pittsburgh, baseball … matters.
The sport of Roberto, of Maz, of kids in dirt fields. The sport of peanuts and Cracker Jacks and Jolly Rogers and Pierogie races (What’s in your purse, HANNAH?!), and high-fiving strangers, and the crack of the bat, and the glorious double play, and the slide into home with one finger gliding across the base, and living and dying by one single pitch in the bright late summer sun. It matters to us again, as it has mattered to America for centuries. You did that. You gave us that gift that will ripple on for years, and there’s no way for us to repay that gift to you.
You out-gifted us. You gave us a Mercedes with a big red bow on top; we are holding an engraved pen from Things Remembered behind our backs. Hope you like it. It says, “You’re #1.”
And that brings me back to my original point.
You did more than enough.
As a fan base, 2013 was like taking part in the Showcase Showdown on the Price is Right. “What would you say about this … FIRST NON-LOSING SEASON IN 21 YEARS?!”
“But wait, there’s more! Enjoy your non-losing season for a few days, but then we’re going to put you into this … GORGEOUS WINNING SEASON!”
“And that’s not all! After you’re done celebrating your winning season, why not step into this brand … new … WILDCARD GAME!”
“But before you bid on all that, step away from that Wildcard Game and make your way over to … your very own NATIONAL LEAGUE DIVISION SERIES!?”
We would have been happy to go home with the winning season. And maybe one of the Showcase Showdown models.
But you gave us more than that — more than enough for 2013.
You gave us our pastime back. You gave us baseball that was more than bobbleheads and Free Shirt Fridays and Fireworks Spectaculars.
You made it okay to love the Pirates — the baseball team — again. You negated two decades of losing. You gave us the blackouts and fist pumps and a Strip District once barely dotted with Pirates merchandise, now bursting at the seams with thousands of unlicensed Bucs shirts. You gave us incredible defense, a home-run king, the Shark Tank, and a Sid Bream palate cleanse. You gave us that grizzly bear lumberjack werewolf Gerrit Cole (grrrrrrrrmmmmrowrrrrr).
Sure it sucks that you didn’t win last night and it probably feels like the end of a road. But before you start blaring Boyz II Men in the clubhouse, I’ll remind you of the 2008 Pittsburgh Penguins who lost in the Stanley Cup Finals … only to win it the very next year.
This road ended last night, but come March, you’re going to step on another road, and for the first time in a long time, you’re going to walk that road with postseason experience, with the respect of the MLB, and with an entire city walking behind you. And I’m almost positive that road will lead us to an even better destination than this one did.
The bandwagon will not be burned and rolled into the Mon. It’s being cared for all winter. Upgraded. Bigger oxen. More margarita options. Extra taco topping choices. Additional seating not paid for with public dollars. And we’ll pull it out in March and we’ll climb in and we’ll raucously show America that indeed … baseball is back in Pittsburgh because the 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates gave it back to us.
Much love and sports butt slaps to every single damn one of you,
Me and all of Pittsburgh
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.
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.
Oh, I’ll never forget that post where I blew the bandwagon up back in 2010.
On this the eve of the Pirates’ first postseason game in 20 years, I went through my Buccos posts from 2006 to 2012 (not 2009, as my blog was shuttered for most of that year) and found for each year a snippet representing my feelings at the beginning of the season versus my feelings at later in the season. It’s an interesting look at one fan’s fluctuating and oftentimes tense relationship with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
April 11, 2006: “PittGirl reviews Opening Day 2006″
Maybe the Pirates would do a little better if they weren’t so damn scared of the ball.
July 12, 2006: “Dear Bud Selig”
How can we expect different results if the Pirates keep doing things the same way? This town could be a baseball town. Know how I know? Because of the lump that rose in my throat and lots of Burghers’ throats when the cheers rose up for Jason Bay and Freddy Sanchez during player introductions last night. We want to cheer for the Pirates. We want to be proud of them. Yesterday, we finally got a little taste of what it’s like to be proud of the Pirates. We liked it. We loved it. We want more of it. Let that put you, Kevin, and all those Nuttings on notice that we’ve had damn enough of this shittastic management. We’ve had it up to here with all the commitment and desperation and determination. We want some freaking results.
February 21, 2007: “What they’re really thinking: Spring training edition”
The Pirates are in Florida for spring training, hoping that this is the year they turn this team around … any way they can, including embracing Eastern philosophies.
July 25, 2007: “Losers”
The only way the Pirates will see first place any time soon is if they are there to clean First Place’s house or maybe mow its lawn. And even then, First Place would be like, “Please don’t make eye contact with me or speak directly to me unless I speak to you first, you loser.”
February 21, 2008: “Random n’at”
While we sit here trying to unfreeze our snots, the Pirates are down there in Florida … hopefully working their asses off. Burghers, looking at this picture of Freddy Sanchez at camp. I don’t know. It does something to me. It’s making me look forward to baseball season. Like maybe this will be the year? Is it too much to hope? They can’t lose forever can they?
September 15, 2008: “A Light in the suck”
This damn-giving. It is a beautiful thing on Dougie and for that I shall apologize to him for turning my back on him and the team and I will promise him that from now on, I will once again place myself in front of my television so that I can witness those few small moments of shining awesome that we’re fortunate to find hiding within the giant mass of sucking suck.
March 13, 2010: “The mumble-mumble pep talk of the year”
This is me, walking up and down the line, looking each of you in the eye and saying, “Who gives a crap what the editor of a golf magazine thinks about you? Golf isn’t even a sport. I mean, John Daly played professional golf as a 400-lb alcoholic. Your mother plays golf. Your grandmother plays golf. Let’s see them connect with a ninety-mile-an-hour four-seam fastball. And who gives a parrot cloaca about some computer?! Eff the computers! Eff the scientist who forgot to plug ‘playing with heart’ into his ‘algorithm.’ Eff the haters. Eff the pessimists. Eff the statistics. Eff the laws of probability. Eff the management and their shitty profit-driven decision-making. Because this is the year. This is the year you win despite playing for the worst management in all of professional sports and possibly amateur sports and possibly circle-time at the daycare. Screw it all. This is the year you play like you mean it. Play like you want to win. Play like you know a thing or two about hitting and throwing a ball. When that ball comes to you, you slow that ball down in your mind, you look that ball in the eye and you say, ‘Eff you, ball,’ and you hit it square in the nose. Win so they can’t laugh at you anymore. Win for the fans. Win for the kids. Win so I can send that Golf Magazine editor a nasty email. Win so you can kick that ‘algorithm’ right in the junk. Just win. Because I swear to God, if I lose this bet, I will not only make each and every one of you pox-riddled scallywags walk the plank, but I will personally push you overboard and let The Kraken have you for supper.
August 25, 2010: “Click. Click. KABOOM!”
For now, I’m just going to sit and watch the pretty fire, and drink what’s left of the margaritas until I’m too drunk to care about 18 years of losing. Burn, baby, burn.
February 28, 2011: “Destroying the Manatees”
I’m not saying “THIS IS THE YEAR!” because I promised you I wouldn’t do that no matter how rosy my Cult of Personality glasses make everything seem. I looked at a pile of dog poop the other day and it looked like a chocolate doughnut. These glasses are of the strongest rose-colored prescription money can buy.
I must let you know that the Pittsburgh Pirates spent a sunny Florida day bitchslapping the Manatees stupid.
September 14, 2011: “Tuck and Roll”
March 5, 2012: “This is important”
But things are changing. The tides are turning. This stinking, putrid, battle-maimed ship of scurvy and suck is afloat and heading in the vicinity of the right direction, as in if the “right direction” is east, we are heading south south east, which is better than west.
ANYWAY, my point, as always … THIS IS THE YEAR!
October 5, 2012: “Oh the Humanity!”
Me? The resident “everything else” blogger who built and piloted the Pirates bandwagon this year? Well, I just want to type a lot of profanity and then when I run out, I want to invent new, more expressive forms of profanity. I want to punch things and then kick them where they fall. All of my attempted heartfelt, nod-worthy and Amen-pulling sentences get interrupted with keyboard smashes. “The Pirates, for the first time in two decades, came so close to a winning season they jksdfj welkfjaf;lkjawe;flk awef;lkwejfj–”
As the unofficial builder, recruiter and driver of the bandwagon, I’m sad and I’m going to be sad and really really angry until about February. Then the weather is going to shift and by early March a warm rain is going to sweep away 2012 and I’m going to really wake up to 2013 and the possibilities it can bring to the Pittsburgh Pirates because I’m a sick individual. I’m going to build a new bandwagon and recruit like never before and I’m going to go to opening day and say, “This is the year!” and I’m going to believe it in my sick heart.
But for now, if you’re still on my bandwagon, I can’t say this adamantly enough: Tuck and roll, because this sucker is about to burn like the fires of hell before meeting the bottom of the Mon.
I bet that’s a pretty good representation of your relationship with the team too.
Hope. Despair. Hope! Despair! HOPE! EFF YOU, PIRATES! EFF YOU TO HELL!
Those days are gone. Tomorrow we put our butts in the seats, and I don’t care if we lose by a score of 20-1 … we stay in our seats and when that game is over, we stand up and we applaud those men for giving us more than what we’ve been wishing for for 20 years. They weren’t content with a winning season; they took us to the postseason, and then they brought the postseason home to us.
Tomorrow we go to bed loving the Pittsburgh Pirates. No matter what.
Let’s go, Bucs.
If you’re one of those people who reads my stuff here but doesn’t click over to read my stuff at the magazine … WHY?
Do you think I don’t bring my snark over there? I do. The only thing I don’t bring over there is my foul mouth.
I wrote about the Pirates clinching a playoff spot.
The word clinching and the word Pirates and it’s not about them clinching a losing season.
As I was saying, I wrote about the clinch. I wrote about how I felt and how I acted and what it meant and what it means and I even did some amazing math using Roberto’s numbers and Neil Walker’s numbers to predict that Neil Walker is going to do something epic in October.
MATH DOESN’T LIE, YOU GUYS.
So if there’s anything I’ve ever written over at the magazine, this is the one I want you to go read, because I’ve been writing it in my head for two decades.
I believed the curse. I did.
It took me about 17 years of futility, but I started to believe it. It went beyond poor management and the constant swapping of good working parts for cheap replacements in the ironic name of “rebuilding.” Something bigger was at work here, I told myself. It had to be.
So when my husband came to me a few weeks ago and said he had received the postseason ticket-order form and that he was getting ready to send our money in, I said, “Wait.”
WAIT JUST ONE SECOND, YOU BEAUTIFUL MEXICAN SON OF A —
I put my hand on his shoulder and said quite seriously — and if I’m making this up, may a pigeon snuggle with me every night for the rest of my days — “If you send that money in, we won’t make the postseason. BUT! … ”
My eyes were wide and maniacal now.
“… If you DON’T send that money in, we’ll probably win the World Series!”
I arched my eyebrows and flashed a maniacal, toothy smile like Lady Elaine Fairchilde after botched botox. I had become more superstitious than Sidney Crosby at 8:07 on Aug. 7.
He looked at me like I had just asked him to adopt a gaggle of baby pigeons. (So fluffy, honey!)
And then he sent the money in.
I not only believed in the curse, but I also believed a savior would come to save us from it.
Read about how I feel about Mark Appel [patooie!] and whether or not the Bucs should have celebrated the way they did last night (spoiler alert: HELL YES).
And most importantly … go see the math.
Now, let’s go, Bucs!
P.S. At some point this week, I’m going to mine my eight years of archives and pull up my favorite Pirates posts so we can relive all the drama. It will be legendary to revisit lines like this:
Apparently what happened, you guys, is that Nate McLouth started sucking upon his departure from the Pirates, which is unusual because when players leave the Pirates, they often start playing their Best Baseball Ever. “I’m HEALED!” That’s Satan.
Granted we got Charlie Morton in the McLouth trade, and depending on the month, that makes you either say, “Best trade ever!” or “God. Charlie Morton is a black hole of suck that is sucking more suck into its gaping abyss-like hole of suck.”
More soon. For now, go read.
- September 9, 2013
- filed under Ben Roethlisberger, Mike Tomlin, Pirates, Steelers, Troy Polamalu
- 23 comments
What a steaming pile of maggot-covered dog poop sitting on a giant mountain of worm-riddled elephant feces.
That is to say … PEE. EWE.
Don’t think I’ll be writing a WTRT for every Steelers game this season, but how could I not write one about the worst Steelers game in recent memory?
Injuries, stupid coaching decisions (have we come up with the new “Fire Bruce Arians” yet for Haley? Let’s get on that.), and just plain forgetting the basics of the game of football was the “Steelers Way” yesterday afternoon.
And with the score sitting at 2-0 for a good portion of the game, and then the Steelers being held to those two dismal points right up until late in the game. Two points.
It was an awful game to watch.
Let’s talk shitty football.
1. Pregame. Football’s back in town. Everyone is feeling good. Pittsburghers are preparing their food spreads and checking their Steelers-heavy fantasy teams. Dan Rooney is optimistic. So is the lady photobombing him.
She is ready! She is personifying Steeler Nation Enthusiasm and Optimism! She would photobomb the President if given the chance! Thumbs up!
Even Jesus is there! What could go wrong with Jesus on hand?
We are excited and hopeful and on top of the world!
2. And then the game started and what’s this?
We are freaking out. The Steelers are back. The Steel Curtain is back. The dismal preseason record really DID mean nothing.
Terrible Towels are being whipped into such a frenzy, Scott Harbaugh takes to the air with a breaking report:
3. And then…
We lost Hernandez-BFF Pouncey for the season because DeCastro took him out.
DeCastro is a Steeler.
We lost Foote for the season.
We lost Stevens-Howling for the season.
Sean Suisham pulled a hammy in pregame warmups.
5. After scoring those two points, the Steelers forgot how to football.
Redman fumbled the ball 300 times, and got so confused he even tried basketball with it.
7. Coaching? Now, you know here in Pittsburgh we love our coaches when they’re winning and we hate their faces and their guts and their mothers when they’re losing, but I’m going to go ahead and go on the record that yesterday’s coaching was a giant EFF MINUS.
That’s right. Mike Tomlin called a timeout with two seconds to go until the two-minute warning.
Try for a thousand years and you’ll never wrap your head around it.
8. Troysus was decent and he did that Superman/Jesus thing where he times the snap count perfectly and unleashes hell.
And … and … I’ve already run out of good things to say.
9. Even the fans forgot how to be fans.
This lady was so out of it by the time the Steelers finally got a touchdown that she was TWIRLING HER WATER BOTTLE.
SHE’S TWIRLING IT, YOU GUYS.
The STEELERS BROKE THE FANS.
10. It sucked and there’s a really good chance this whole season is going to suck now that our team is depleted with injuries and the guys who are left … kinda suck. And the coaches suck.
God help us next week when we play the Bengals and James Harrison.
He is going to hand us our ass with a big fat “f–k you” stapled to it.
Let us pray.
11. Meanwhile, over at PNC Park …
(Matt Freed/P-G source)