As you may or may not be aware, I’ve been traveling this weekend. I woke up at 7:30 AM on Saturday so that I could do laundry and pack (I, uh, stayed out until 2 on Friday instead of doing it then) and get to the airport by 10. I bounced around Western PA on Saturday afternoon, got to PNC Park to tailgate at 5:30, watched the Pirates win, caught a ride back to Hermitage on Sunday morning, stayed there for about an hour, and headed to Ann Arbor where I’ll be through next Monday morning. Besides Saturday’s game, the Pirates have reeled off a four-game winning streak on the periphery of my frantic weekend, pulling themselves back to an even 24-24 and managing to beat a red-hot Reds’ team after a sweep of the pitiful Cubs.
Of course, Saturday’s game is it’s own entity. You likely don’t need to hear yet another ode to PNC Park, so I’ll just say that there’s nothing better than PNC being full on a summer Saturday with a close game happening in front of you. Even the fireworks crowd rises and falls with the action, gasping when Adrian Cardenas doubled into right field and exploding when Josh Harrison and Neil Walker combined to throw out Blake Lalli at the plate. Matt Hague’s final at-bat was an intense moment and as a guy who’s in the portion of his life that tends to only include one Pirate game a year, it was unforgettable even with an anti-climactic ending.
From there, though, I was in the car for Pedro Alvarez’s homer and Greg Brown’s loud sigh of relief that the Pirates had finally hit their first three-run homer of the year. I was still there when the Pirates broke the ten-run barrier for the first time since July 3, 2011. I noted that I attended games on July 4, 2011 and May 26, 2012 (and only those two days in the last 14 months), with the Pirates scoring ten runs on July 3, 2011 and May 27, 2012. Maybe I’ve closed some kind of weird temporal loop.
I saw both of Pedro’s doubles live on Sunday and I caught most of James McDonald’s great start. One of the things that’s occasionally nice about traveling and putting the Pirates on the backburner for a span is that I’m content to know that the Pirates are on a four-game winning streak and at .500 and in the thick of the NL Central and NL wild card race without worrying about McDonald’s strikeout total from today or how bad the Cubs are or how bad the Pirates’ offense is and how the best way to go about fixing it might be. That kind of analysis and postulating is fine, of course, and it’s mostly what this blog is all about, but sometimes I need a reminder of how fun it is to just sit back and be a baseball fan.
I’ll be in Ann Arbor all week, and since I’ve got a conference to attend that’s mostly what I’ll be doing here as it relates to the Pirates. I’ll certainly be posting all week, but I can’t promise that anything will be too greatly in depth until I get back to North Carolina.