Leave A.J. Burnett Alone!

After making an innocent observation about game-day attendance on Twitter, the Pirates pitcher was met with a deluge of tweets.



 

 

... And Twitter exploded.

With one tweet commenting on the empty seats at PNC Park last night — during a division championship race and on Clemente Day, no less — Pirates ace A.J. Burnett gave local sports talk-radio a gift-wrapped controversy. He even tied a bow on it with a little card that says, “For you. All my love, A.J.”

Now, before you claim that I’m an A.J. Burnett apologist, you should know I was one of those who wasn’t too pleased when he lost his cool last week on Clint Barmes in the dugout. In fact, I called it a Tom Brady move — and if you know how I feel about Tom Brady, you know I’m basically telling A.J. he was acting like a spoiled child upset because he got Cheer Bear and not Funshine Bear for Christmas.

Am I an A.J. Burnett fan? Oh, yes. I’m always a fan of the guys in the clubhouse who don’t have an ounce of apathy over this team — guys who care so much about winning and bringing us out of the ashes of decades of doom that they wear their passion and anger about it on their sleeves.

That’s why I fell in love with Doug Mientkiewicz. If you’re a new fan of the Buccos and aren’t aware of him, Doug came in a few years ago and brought leadership to the clubhouse as a utility man. He talked about winning, not rebuilding. He fired up the young guys. He got mad. He yelled. He fought. He didn't sugar-coat anything. He loved the team, and he wanted something more than complacency from them and the fans. In fact, one time, enraged, he charged the pitcher’s mound ... at Randy Johnson. It was beautiful. I could write a book of poetry about it. It would win awards.

A.J. is much like Doug. He’s older and wiser, and in this, the twilight of his career, he wants to win ... badly. He wants it probably more than we can really understand unless we’ve played professional sports. He scowls. He’s abrasive. If you stick a cigarette in his mouth, he looks like he could play the movie character who does the dirty work for the mob boss. He’s no delicate flower, that’s for sure.

In addition to his belief that everyone should just sit down, A.J. also has been adamant about wanting PNC Park “packed.” Packed. He talks about it on Twitter before and after every game. He encourages the fans to come out and talks about how such an electric atmosphere helps the team psychologically. Every sellout, he commends the fans for showing up and doing their part. He tells them, “Good job!” He hashtags things with #PackPNC. He tells us tomorrow is another game and let’s do this again. He tells us to STFD, but he means it with love.

So last night, the place wasn’t packed. In fact, surprising for such an important night, there were quite a few sections of empty seats. Based on the collective reaction from Twitter users, you’d think he tweeted things like, “Way to not show up, guys. You suck.” or “Terrible fans. Who needs you?” or “YOUR MOM.” In truth, he made an observation about attendance like he has been doing since he jumped on the #PackPNC bandwagon.

If the man throws a bad game, he hears about it from some fans. They will not sugar-coat it because Twitter hates sugar-coating; it’s allergic to it. They will call him names. Call him old. Tell him to STFD. But the second A.J. turns around and looks at those same fans and says in essence, “Hey. Lots of empty seats out there tonight. Let’s do better,” Twitter falls down and sucks its thumb in offense. Then it stands back up and starts screaming about stupid Funshine Bear.

A.J. wasn’t even pitching last night; this wasn’t a selfish thing he was moping about. This was him wanting better for his teammates who took the field. He wanted more from us ... for THEM.

Colin Dunlap of 93.7 The Fan, tweeted:
 



It was one tweet, making an observation about attendance in an effort to encourage more fans to come out to the games as each one becomes more important than the last.

The only reason it’s a distraction now is because of thin-skinned fans and mountain-making sports pundits who saw the molehill and said, “Well, this won’t do at all.”

A.J. loves this team. You love this team.

Stop picking nits and remember this: We are family.

Let’s go, Bucs!


 

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Two Cameras to Keep an Eye on Pittsburgh’s Bald Eagles

Two Cameras to Keep an Eye on Pittsburgh’s Bald Eagles

A Murrysville security company plans to install the new cameras, which should provide high-definition of the Hays eagles.
Pittsburgh Offers Free Holiday Parking

Pittsburgh Offers Free Holiday Parking

The city hopes that offering free parking to shoppers on some of the busiest commercial days of the year will give small businesses a lift.
Photo Gallery: Andy Warhol Bridge Yarn Bombing Wins Public Art Award

Photo Gallery: Andy Warhol Bridge Yarn Bombing Wins Public Art Award

The bridge was covered in more than 3,000 feet of colorful, hand-knit blankets in honor of the late pop artist’s 85th birthday.
Pittsburgh-Area Native Advances to Next Round on ‘The Voice’

Pittsburgh-Area Native Advances to Next Round on ‘The Voice’

Chris Jamison, 20, of Ross Township, is a 2012 graduate of North Hills High School.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from PittGirl:

3 #GottaHave Items When Snow Falls in Pittsburgh

3 #GottaHave Items When Snow Falls in Pittsburgh

PittGirl solves the mystery of why most ‘Burghers absolutely, positively refuse to run out of these three essentials.
What's Wrong with Having 'America's Ugliest Accent'?

What's Wrong with Having 'America's Ugliest Accent'?

PittGirl points out why we 'Burghers shouldn't hide the fact that we won Gawker's competition.
The Pirates Lost, and Twitter Went to Hell in a French-Fry Basket

The Pirates Lost, and Twitter Went to Hell in a French-Fry Basket

PittGirl recaps what transpired in the local Twittersphere after last night's Wild Card game.
PittGirl Declares She's Breaking up with the NFL

PittGirl Declares She's Breaking up with the NFL

Given recent developments, our resident fan of Pittsburgh — and football — says enough is enough.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Everything That's Awesome About Pittsburgh Today
Two Cameras to Keep an Eye on Pittsburgh’s Bald Eagles

Two Cameras to Keep an Eye on Pittsburgh’s Bald Eagles

A Murrysville security company plans to install the new cameras, which should provide high-definition of the Hays eagles.

Comments


Pittsburgh, only cooler
3 #GottaHave Items When Snow Falls in Pittsburgh

3 #GottaHave Items When Snow Falls in Pittsburgh

PittGirl solves the mystery of why most ‘Burghers absolutely, positively refuse to run out of these three essentials.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Meet Our New Restaurant Critic

Meet Our New Restaurant Critic

Pittsburgh Magazine is proud to welcome Hal B. Klein. In addition to becoming our new restaurant critic in 2015, he will blog regularly about Pittsburgh’s evolving food and drink culture.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
10 Best Lunch Spots That Won’t Bust Your Budget

10 Best Lunch Spots That Won’t Bust Your Budget

Come lunchtime, these Pittsburgh eateries serve food that's big on flavor and low on cost.

Comments


Five Things We Learned About Adult Beverages at the History Center

Five Things We Learned About Adult Beverages at the History Center

In anticipation of the “Tipsy History” event, After Dark visited the Sen. John Heinz History Center to uncover hidden bits of our saucy past.

Comments


How to Make a Healthy (and Out-of-This-World) Thanksgiving Dessert

How to Make a Healthy (and Out-of-This-World) Thanksgiving Dessert

Your (gluten-free, vegan) Thanksgiving dessert is here — and everyone can enjoy it.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
These Boots Are Made For Strutting

These Boots Are Made For Strutting

The Jagger combat boot by Schee has all the right moves.

Comments


This week's buzz from the PM editors
Visit the Fort Pitt Museum and Heinz History Center for Free

Visit the Fort Pitt Museum and Heinz History Center for Free

Through Sunday, enjoy free admission at both local institutions, courtesy The Jack Buncher Foundation.

Comments


Award-winning sports commentary by Sean Conboy
R.I.P. Corporate Penguins, 2009-2014

R.I.P. Corporate Penguins, 2009-2014

Fire Bylsma? Fire Shero? The Penguins' problems run deeper.

Comments

Edit Module