Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Letting Our Freak Flag Fly

Watching last night's Pirates-Yankees game was fun -- unless you were a Yankees' fan, and there were plenty of New York supporters at PNC Park. That's okay. Welcome, New Yorkers. They have their 27 World Series championships, $218 million payroll, continuing robust revenue stream, unparalleled tradition and one massive, rabid, well-informed fan base.

Here in flyover land, in this backwater capitol of Appalachia, we'll be content with last night's win; with just this one sweet night when the stars aligned and just about everything clicked for the home team, a franchise nearly as old as the game itself.

As Doug Street, of the Washington Observer-Reporter, put it,

"For one night anyway, Pittsburgh was a relevant baseball town again.

"The Pirates played to a sellout crowd. They played the Yankees for the first time in Pittsburgh since the 1960 World Series. And they played inspired baseball, with outstanding hitting, strong defense and enough good pitching to win.

"It was strange to see everything work out perfectly for the Pirates, but on this night it did. The weather was perfect. The atmosphere was playoff-like. Pittsburgh pounded out a season-high 19 hits - including two home runs - and held the vaunted Yankees' offense in check as the Pirates defeated New York 12-5 in the first game of their three-game series in front of 38,867 at PNC Park, the Pirates' third-largest crowd in the park's eight-year history."

"Tomorrow, the Yankees will make their first trip to Pittsburgh since they walked off the field after the greatest game ever played. That, of course, was the seventh game of the 1960 World Series, which ended memorably on Bill Mazeroski's home run."

And The Detroit Free Press:

"You couldn’t top baseball in 1960 when the Pirates beat the Yankees in the most memorable World Series finish of them all. And you couldn’t top baseball Tuesday night when the Yankees played in Pittsburgh for the first time since that ’60 World Series."

Yes, last night was sweet. We know the Pirates are only moderately competent, but we'll take what little pleasures we can get.

And while the Yankees have perhaps the proudest tradition of any sports franchise, we Pirates fans have our own history, and our own reasons to be proud.
We'll cherish and savor that history, and our team, and hope for better days ahead, and more evenings like last night. After all, the Rickey-dink Pirates of the 1950s were even worse than this crew, and look what happened in 1960. Better days ahead. We can only hope.