Sunday, July 24, 2011

Something has happened in Pittsburgh that has not happened for the better part of 20 years. The Pirates are fighting for first place in the National League Central Division and PNC Park is selling out. To put this all in perspective, July 10th, 2011 marked the first time I went to this park with the intention to watch good baseball and not just great pierogi races.

And wouldn't you know it! The entry-gate give-away was wind-up pierogi racers! Oh how appropriately fun!*

But honestly, Pittsburgh is going berserk for their Buccos and it is absolutely amazing. Want some more perspective? The following weekend, my family and some of our oldest family friends went up to Canadohta Lake, just south of Erie, PA and listened to the Sunday Pirate game on the radio of a neighbor's old pick-up while we fished off the boat. That lake is somewhat of a time warp to begin with, but it was quite easy to imagine that it was 1960, the Pirates were fantastic and that those baseball games, at the park or on the radio, were something everyone fancied.

As a little girl playing ball in the back yard with her dad, I'd always pretend I was Andy Van Slyke. Never too much of a social butterfly, neighborhood baseball games were one of the only social activities about which I wasn't shy. Sadly, it was probably somewhere around 1996 that I stopped caring. Stopped caring to the point that I didn't think I liked the game anymore. However, I always had crushes on the baseball players through both high school and college (haha, did I just use the past tense?) - and come on, you can't date a baseball player and not like the game!**

Honestly, I think I was angry at the Pirates, but something was still there. It took 2011 to resurrect that feeling. It isn't as much about being a fair-weather fan as it is about a city's pending redemption in the world of baseball, or about the absolute adrenaline that this Pirate team has brought back for the 'Burgh... or about feeling like I'm a kid again.

The crack of the bat, the trajectory of the ball, the eruption of the park. Frankly, it is a glorious thing to hear one of summer's sweetest sounds return to Pittsburgh after a two-decade vacation. And with that, all we hope to say is, "Welcome back, Buccos."

Pirates vs. Cubs/PNC Park/Pittsburgh, PA/7.10.11

*We don't have to mention how upset I got when they wouldn't give me one at the gate because it was "Kids' Day" and apparently they didn't feel I looked 14.

**For the record, I'm pretty sure I told all of them I didn't like it... typical.


Anonymous said...

**au contraire. You most certainly can/not.

Cait said...

Caught that. ;)