There was once a point in my life when I never understood how people failed to be on time. Somewhere along the lines, though, I suppose I grew up and now I feel like I’m constantly late for everything. This came to a head this afternoon, as I weaved through the streets of Pittsburgh only to find my favorite parking garage had converted to leases only and attempts to find somewhere else to park yielded closed streets for various reasons (parade, Arts Festival, construction) and the typical Pittsburgh one way streets. By the time I parked, I could hear Bill Guerin and Sidney Crosby being introduced with the Stanley Cup and it certainly looked like everyone that had gathered for WHYGAVS Day had vacated the bar. If you were waiting for me and didn’t find us in the stands this afternoon, I sincerely apologize.
Luckily, Brian thought to wear his vintage 2008 WHYGAVS shirt and I think most people who were planning on coming to the game managed to congregate around him and they all headed to the bleachers where I managed to find everyone as Andrew McCutchen was drawing his first walk of the afternoon. Shortly after I arrived and handed out shirts, the fallacy of moving our meetup to an afternoon game, then giving everyone black shirts became apparent. It was frigging hot out there.
Yeah, we all look thrilled to be alive. I think Ann’s arms are actually catching on fire as this picture was being taken. I know mine are, you just can’t see them. I also have a Jim Tracy sunglasses tan, which I find to be terrifying. Actually, though, we kind of were excited because there were these other professional Pittsburgh athletes at the game with this big piece of silverware.
You know that cop wants to touch it.
As if me being late and it being ten billion degrees out weren’t complicating things enough, it was also turn back the clock day. This is a brilliant idea in concept; the teams wore old uniforms and the scoreboard was completely turned off except for an old-timey graphic. There were no side scoreboards, no pitch counts, no between inning contests, nothing. This sounds really cool, and is confusing as hell in execution because when you’re in the bleachers you have to turn around the whole game to see the count, the batter (who was only identified by number), or any other sort of detail you might be interested in as the game progresses. Caroline kept score, which was pretty much the only reason any of us had any idea what was going on.
I don’t have a good shot of the Pirates’ uniforms, but the highlight of the 1909 uniforms was definitely Nyjer Morgan, who was rocking pants and a jersey so baggy that Kevin Young and Derek Bell were jealous, all with a popped collar. The difference between him and everyone else today was that he made the throwbacks look good. As we all sat in the bleachers and joked about Daryle Ward and wondered whether Andrew McCutchen or Nyjer Morgan would win a foot race and whether the grounds crew is cutting the grass longer with so much speed in the Pirates’ lineup, my mom (who took all of these pictures) went on a quest around the ballpark to answer the longstanding question that inspired this website.
Oh, there he is.
As for the game, APK was right when he said it was one of those games that really seemed like the Pirates were going to blow after they only cashed Dontrelle Willis’s eight walks and six hits in for six runs (they ended up leaving 14 runners on base). That didn’t happen, though because Ross Ohlendorf turned in a good start and other than Steven Jackson’s rough outing, the bullpen was good enough to close out the win. Andrew McCutchen got on base four times and scored twice (and made playing center field look easy) while Robinzon Diaz turned in the big hit of the game, a two-out, bases-loaded single that scored the fifth and sixth runs for the Pirates in the fourth inning. Eric Hinske turned in what is probably my favorite line of the year; he went 0-for-1 with a strikeout, four walks, and an RBI when he drew a bases loaded walk from Willis in the weird first inning where we kept loading the bases and scoring without actually getting a hit with the bases loaded.
Overall, it was a lot of fun, despite being roasted alive, and I think we can safely say it was a successful WHYGAVS Day, especially given the late day change. Of course, a big thanks goes out to everyone who made it out today and waited for me to navigate my way to the park. I sure hope you all had as much fun as I did. On a more personal sidenote, if I don’t make it back to PNC this year (it’s looking unlikely right now), this will be the first time since 1990 that the Pirates went undefeated in games I attended in person. This, along with the fact that the Steelers, Penguins, and Tar Heels have all won major championships this year pretty much makes the Pirates a lock for the playoffs as far as I’m concerned.