Archive for the ‘Zambelli’ Category

15 years of baseball in 3 hours.

July 27, 2007
One week ago, I attended a Pittsburgh Pirates baseball game. (Yes, they still have a team. Uniforms and everything. It’s really neat.) I was pretty excited: PNC Park, Primanti’s, and fireworks night. Also, we were playing the last place Astros, which meant a good chance at a W.
The seats were incredible, right behind the Bucco dugout. I had my Andy Van Slyke jersey on. The day was perfect. Then, in the first inning, a play happened that defined the rest of the game for the Pirates. And the game represented the past 15 years of being a Pirates fan.

The play in question was a long fly ball to left field. Jason Bay went back to the wall, made a half assed play at it, and the ball hit the top of the 4 foot wall and went for a 2-run home run. Even mediocre teams turn that play into an out.

The rest of the game played out like so:
  • Jack Wilson bunted foul with two strikes.
  • 4 lead-off doubles scored 1 run.
  • 11 players left on base, 5 in scoring position.
  • Bases loaded with one out in the 9th: Strike out, strike out, game over.

Oh, and that last strike out? Swing and a miss, the catcher missed it, and the ball hit the ump in the chest. For a few seconds the catcher couldn’t find it. Luckily, the runner at third wasn’t paying attention, got a late jump, and was out.

Missed opportunites and sloppy play. The game ran two hours and fifty-six minutes, but it was the last decade and a half that went through my mind. Did you know the last time the Pirates had a winning season, the X-Games didn’t exist?

So how does Pittsburgh still have a team? Well, the Zambelli fireworks show afterwards was the perfect metaphor. We don’t come to these games for the baseball, we come because of the entertainment. No one will remember who struck out in the 9th. People will remember that during the Pierogi Race, a giant banana came out and the speakers blasted the “Peanut Butter Jelly Song”.

This also leads to the continued cellar-ness of the Pirates. People stil come to games, and McClatchy still turns a profit. There will be no sale to Mark Cuban or someone that would spend some money when profits are to be made with bad baseball.

After the game, we rode home happy as clams. We saw fireworks and watched hotdogs get launched by an air cannon. We have the Steelers and Penguins for winning. The Pirates are for a relatively inexpensive good time.

Note: For any older fans out there, they played the classic video of the train guy shoveling baseballs into the furnace. Thing’s 20 years old, and the place went nuts. My girlfriend (a new Pirate fan, by default) looked at me like “What the hell was that?”

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