Pirates Can Be Show Stoppers if They Follow Brault's Lead
A Broadway musical about the life and times of the Pittsburgh Pirates? The idea might not be as farfetched as you think.
pnc park photo by dave dicello
Pirates pitcher Steven Brault knows you gotta have heart.
He also knows the lyrics.
And not just to songs from Broadway plays that have something to do with baseball.
“I know every word of the ‘Hamilton’ soundtrack,” Brault insisted. “I usually keep it to myself.”
It’s been that way ever since the sixth grade back in San Diego, when Brault tried out for a local production of “My Fair Lady” on a dare.
“I still remember all the words from that show,” Brault insisted. “I was like this tiny, little part but I just absolutely loved it.
“It’s such a weird, different part of my life that I don’t really get to use all that often now.”
Tuesday night was an exception, when Brault masterfully belted out “The Star-Spangled Banner” at PNC Park prior to the Pirates’ 3-2 loss to the Brewers.
The game notes distributed to the media that night revealed Brault’s experience in such an arena included playing the role of Joe Hardy in “Damn Yankees” in high school.
Seems like a perfect fit, in retrospect.
“A great slugger, we haven’t got. A great pitcher, we haven’t got. A great ballclub, we haven’t got. What do we got? We’ve got heart.”
Turns out the Pirates have more in common with the mid-1950s Washington Senators than most might have initially suspected.
“There are a lot more musicians in baseball than you would think,” Brault maintained.
He cited Pirates infielder David Freese (guitar), pitcher Trevor Williams (guitar and drums), pitcher Felipe Vazquez (in the process of learning how to play guitar) and shortstop prospect Cole Tucker (drums) as examples.
There are, likewise, more options for putting such talents to use than a “Damn Yankees” adaptation.
- “North Side Story” – Two rival gangs, one comprised by fans who want a winning team and one led by an ownership group that refuses to spend what’s necessary to compete financially, battle it out on the North Shore. General Manager Neal Huntington falls in love with a player from Puerto Rico named Clemente, but winds up trading him for prospects before he can leave via free agency.
- “Chicago” – A whimsical song-and-dance recap of Cubs’ pitchers plunking Pirates’ batters and Cubs’ base-runners upending Pirates’ catchers with take-out slides that are illegal but for some reason looked upon as acceptable by the umpires. The Pirates don’t do anything about any of it in response, and wind up fighting among themselves rather than with the Cubs.
- “Les Miserables” – They didn’t have to change the name for this one, either. All they had to do was review every Pirates season beginning in 1993 and skip the years 2013, 2014 and 2015 in succession.
- “Tommy” – Deaf, dumb and blind kid Tommy John, once a dominating pitcher, joins the Pirates after blowing out his elbow and undergoing the surgery that will ultimately bear his name for eternity. Although he’s been robbed of the formidable skills that made him so devastating on the mound, Tommy still appeals to the Pirates because of the financial flexibility he provides for the organization. Fans eventually revolt by smashing the pinball machines that had been installed at PNC Park to distract from the on-field product.
- “Guys and Dolls” – The guys are snappy dressers who aren’t especially good at playing baseball. The dolls are the succession of bobblehead trinkets management passes out periodically to entice just enough fans to through the turnstiles. Michael Keaton takes over the Frank Sinatra character and steals the show with a spectacular rendition of “At Some Point You Need to Write a Check,” a catchy number penned just for him. The cast will include a guest appearance by Serpico-era Al Pacino this Saturday for the “Sean Rodriguez Walkoff Bobblehead” giveaway.
Assuming they can find the right choreographer, anything’s possible.