I've you've read this blog for more than a few months, you know that the Steelers aren't the only team we follow and root for like maniacs. I won't speak for the other writers, but I'm personally an avid fan of the Penguins, Pirates and Nittany Lions. So I'm looking forward to the PBC's opening day against the Dodgers tomorrow as much as I anticipate the Steelers taking the field for the first time each fall. Allow me to write one post about baseball each season...
This year will be a little more special for me as I've bought a partial season ticket plan for the first time ever and will be a frequent visitor to what I consider to be the best ballpark in America: PNC Park.
I'd say 75% of my family and friends think I'm either too rich (poor college student) or a sucker (I like to think not) for paying legitimate currency to spent many afternoons and evenings watching the losingest franchise in baseball...a team that I have no memories of being competitive in my lifetime. But I think of it a little differently.
I've always thought that real fans are the ones who, you know, actually follow their team through thick and thin...even when thin is a "valley" of losing 17 years in the making. Every "fan" as a right to do what they want, but boycotting the team, cracking lame jokes, or not taking the time to be educated about the current management's plan isn't going to help in any way.
Most baseball experts that actually do their jobs, as well as guys like Pat at WHYGAVS and Charlie at Bucs Dugout, will tell you that the Pirates are on the right path. Their plan involves building from the ground up and is similar to what teams like the Brewers, Twins, Rays, and Rockies have employed.
So maybe I'm a sucker for Bob Nutting's master plan to take over the world at the expense of Pittsburgh's baseball fans. Or maybe I've just got money to blow. But I know I'll probably be too excited tonight and I'll be like a kid on Christmas morning when I walk down Federal Street and into PNC Park tomorrow afternoon. I can't wait to see McCutchen and Milledge smiling in the outfield after one of them makes a diving catch. I can't wait to see Garret Jones launch a baseball onto the riverwalk behind the Clemente Wall. And I even can't wait to hear Greg Brown lose his mind over another "Raise the jolly roger!"
Yeah, the Pirates are all but destined for another losing season. But forget the streak. Forget Jason Bay, Jack Wilson, and Nate McLouth. I'm just excited about going to watch a baseball team that I love and one that can and will get better. It won't be this year and it might not be next year, but the day is coming when competitive baseball will be played on the north shore. And all of the fans who actually stick it out through the tough times will feel all the more proud when that moment happens.