10 Reasons to Return to Pirates Baseball This Season
Why you should return to PNC Park this season ... and only one reason includes food or fireworks.
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6. THEY'RE PROBABLY GOING TO WIN (NO, REALLY.) Not in any grand sense, of course, and this probably won’t be the year to beat the losing streak. But last year, despite one of the worst records in team history, they were 40-41 at PNC Park. In 2009—exactly the same, 40-41. If they even improve a touch—a game or two, which is more or less inevitable—you’ll have a better chance to see your team win than lose. “They’re 50-50 in the past, and I’m saying they’re gonna be better,” Brown added. (He knows his stuff, too.)
7. A NEW MANAGER WHO'S PREACHING AGGRESSION. You don’t want too much aggression in professional sports (see Cooke, Matt), but just about anyone would agree that the sleepy approach to the game instilled by former skipper John Russell needed a bit more spunk. Enter new manager Clint Hurdle, who is trying to instill some fire in the young Buccos. “[Hurdle] has told them since day one, if you have to err, err on the side of being aggressive, not cautious,” Brown said.
8. THIS IS PITTSBURGH. Angry Pittsburghers of a certain age will tell you that this is a football town. Older Pittsburghers—and those with any sense of history—will correct this statement. Pittsburgh is a football town, a baseball town and a hockey town in equal measure—but we’ve been a baseball town for a good, long time. Remember, Pittsburghers were heading to the North Shore for Pirate games more than a decade before Art Rooney was even born. When you go to see the Pirates, you’re engaging in the most genuinely Pittsburgh activity imaginable.
9. THE OPPORTUNITY TO CHEER FOR TWO HOMETOWN HEROES. Neil Walker’s retired jersey still hangs at Pine Richland High School. The Bucs young second basemen grew up idolizing Bill Mazeroski and cheering for the Pirates; when he finally made it to the majors, it was in a Pirate uniform, and it was Mazeroski who taught him the ropes at second base. This is truly a feel-good story, and Walker has the potential to be one of the hottest middle infielders in baseball. And he’ll be joined this season by another western Pennsylvania native—Joe Beimel, originally from St. Mary's, Pa.
10. BELIEVE IN MIRACLES. “Blass called it the greatest moment in the history of the ballpark,” Brown says. “They had just given up the lead in the top of the ninth, here we go, same old Pirates. And now Pedro Alvarez gets up there—this is the guy that we believe will carry the team, maybe the next Willie Stargell. And he comes out here, knocks it out of the park and wins the game.” Even in the midst of a forgotten season, a night at the ballpark can always amaze you.