21st Times The Charm, Part 2; Cutch Us If You Can
I know the exact moment that I, and perhaps the entire city of Pittsburgh, stopped waiting, and started believing. July 30th. Game 2 of perhaps the biggest Doubleheader in the biggest series ever at PNC Park. The Pirates entered the day down .5 games in the Central. They had won game 1 on a walkoff “single” off the Pitchers glove. And now, they were leading 2-0 in Game 2. Then, up stepped Andrew McCutchen.
Andrew lifted a fly ball deep into the night. Well, deep into Matt Hollidays glove, and then into the night. And that’s when it happened. A fan, perhaps drunk beyond measure due to 4 hours or so of uninterrupted drinking, gave the city the permission to believe. Because instead of going after the homerun ball sitting next to him. He went after the outfielder standing in front of him. And this unidentified fan welcomed the city to a pennant race.
From then on, the ballpark seemed more alive. They chanted for your new NL Homerun leader Pedro Alvarez. They even turned Jose Tabata’s first name into a sing-song “Oly!” Chant. The playoffs had come to Pittsburgh.
Since that moment, any fear I felt for the Pirates has been nearly washed away. Even the teams inability to land literally any warm body at the deadline didn’t leave me discouraged. I don’t want anyone new. This is my team. I know everyone just by looking at how they run. How they swing. How they throw. If we’re going to win, this is going to be the group I want to do it. Even if Clint Barmes is involved.
Meanwhile in St. Louis, I can only imagine what it’s like. I feel that the city, having now lost 7 straight, must be on edge, especially with golden boy Molina out and your league leading offense being totally shutdown by the feared Brandon Cumpton of Triple A fame.
Earlier, I thought I would just be happy with a nice 83-81 record. But now, no. Now, it’s Playoffs or Bust. Not Wildcard game. Playoffs. And so, although I may never be completely done waiting for the other shoe to drop, my grip on the shoe has becoming far tighter. And I have officially begun my Pittsburgh Pirates Playoff fund. But shhhhh. Don’t tell anyone. I don’t want to Jinx it.