It didn’t seem like I was watching a baseball game Tuesday night.
PNC Park in Pittsburgh was an electric atmosphere for the Pirates first playoff game in 21
years. Not only was the stadium filled to capacity with standing room only, fans gathered on the nearby Roberto Clemente Bridge. Of course the Pirates responded to the tremendous outpouring of support to defeat Cincinnati, 6-2, to clinch a berth in the NLDS against St. Louis.
I don’t consider myself a true Pirates fan, but I’ve actually been to more baseball games in Pittsburgh than any other city. This includes about 20 to 25 games with and without friends while a college student at Point Park University in downtown Pittsburgh. Last night’s fan support was no where close to any game I’ve attended.
I would compare the fan support last night as if a big balloon was over PNC Park. The balloon would have represented all the frustrations of Pirates fans since Game 7 of the 1992 NLCS. Losing seasons, bad draft picks (Bryan Bullington) and free agent signings (Derek Bell) would be inside. Perhaps it even included bloopers, such as when catcher Ryan Doumit’s thrown to second base on a stolen base attempt hit pitcher John Grabow in the back.
Last night, the air would have been released from that balloon in the form of cheering and celebrating. Instead of just another playoff game, Pirates fans showed just how excited they were for a return of October baseball to Pittsburgh. It was fun listening to the cheers and for the Bucs and how the fans rattled Reds starting pitcher Johnny Cueto by chanting “Cue-to.” It was a scene some Pirates fans have never witnessed.
I’m a Yankees fan, and I sometimes get annoyed at the fan base for taking their playoff appearances for granted. If last night was any indication, that will not be a problem for Pirates fans.
The Pirates have been a great story during the 2013 season. Pittsburgh is arguably the greatest sports city in the country, and last night’s game showed why. The Pirates have shown that despite a long playoff drought, postseason baseball and Pittsburgh is truly a #Bucktober thing!