You have to hand it to Pittsburgh Pirates fans. They’ve been in a drought that would have had most fans staying away from the ballpark for years. Last night, the Pirates drew not only the largest crowd on the season, it was the largest crowd ever at PNC Park in the steel city. 39,441 fans came out to see the resurgent Pirates, and they beat the Phillies 6-3 to send the fans home happy.
You really have to consider how long the Pirates have been in the dumps in the MLB to wonder how they still get the fan support they do. The last time the Pirates have seen the playoffs was in 1992. That is a long time ago. The Pirates lost in the NLCS in 1992, 1991, and 1990. That’s the closest they’ve come to the World Series since they won the series in 1979.
The Pirates franchise has been in a state of rebuilding, dismantling, and rebuilding again and again ever since the early 90’s. The team seems to get a few bright stars and then deals them off to the rest of the league probably because they can’t afford to keep them.
Names like Nate McLouth, Freddie Sanchez, and Jason Bay are prime examples. The players get a start in Pittsburgh, then they either get traded away or sign as free agents with other teams.
The Pirates franchise have won 5 World Championships, the last in 1979. Prior to this win in ‘79, you have to travel back to 1971 to find their next World Series appearance and win which they also won 4-3, as they did in 1979.
This series may very much feel like the playoffs to the Pirates. The Phillies came into town with their team of stars. The $165 plus million dollar per year payroll franchise that is now starting to look somewhat more normal over the last few weeks. The tide has turned for the moment against the Phillies. It’s almost like those steamships that we’ve been watching go under the Roberto Clemente Bridge while watching the games on local Philly tv, the Phillies are on one of those steamships now that is heading towards the rough seas and there is no explanation to get them back on track at the moment.