I was told that when the Pirates season was over, and they lost in the playoffs, it would be more devastating than if they had just sucked during the season.
Now that it’s over, I’d like to respond with an “Are you nuts?!?”
I got to watch my boys play meaningful baseball on October 9th when meaningful baseball used to end on April 9th. I got to watch a city fall in love with them again. I got six and a half months of fun. I have an offseason to dream about the future, instead of cringing about it. I’ve got the joy of knowing the Cincinnati Reds hate us like no one else. It’s been forever since the Bucs were worthy of being hated. I don’t have to think of the team I love as doormats and laughingstocks anymore. We got to have a Magic Number. ( I didn’t cry when they had the best record in baseball in July, I didn’t cry when they broke 81 wins. I didn’t cry when they won the WC game. The only time I cried all season as when I first heard we had a Magic Number. I was so overwhelmed by that, I sobbed. My favorite thing about Pirates fans of 2013 is none of us are jaded.) If I could, I would sell my soul to the devil for a guarantee of an exact replica next season, right down to the last strikeout. (That was hyperbole; I really wouldn’t. Those stories never go well.)
I really wouldn’t think you’d have to be a Pirates fan to possibly comprehend what twenty-one years of shit baseball was like. Or maybe you do, since people say idiotic things like that to me.
Here’s how devastated I was: I sent a “we’ll get ’em next year” text to Kelly, snapped the TV off since I was not about to watch the Cardinals celebrate on my time, then was deep into Stephen King Land in three minutes.
Aside: Doctor Sleep is so good. The caveat to that is I’m only 2/3rds done and you know how he gets, although this is shaping up to be a battle between good and evil, and he handles that OK. So far, it’s impossible to put down. (Damn that work stuff.) And filled with all kinds of references that make he love him all the more. I won’t talk about the plot, but the bad guys are called the True Knot, and their motto is “What’s tied can never be untied.” That convinces me King is a Game of Thrones fan and knows what the Ironborn’s motto is, later proven in the book when he mentioned Daenerys. They drive around in bunches of RV’s, and one of them was a Bounder, a nice tip of the pen to Breaking Bad.
King always rewards his constant readers with references to his previous books, and this is no different, except everyone who reads Doctor Sleep has read The Shining. Some nice flashbacks there I had forgotten.
A week or so before the regular season ended, I was sent a link about Sid Bream. I know, I know, who would be cruel enough to send that to a Pirates fan? But it wasn’t the video; it was audio of his recent appearance on NPR. Sid still lives in the area, and was talking about how he’s always getting harassed about the slide. He ended by saying Pirates fans should “get a life.”
Sid, this magical season was making me forget you, then you had to go be a Royal Jerk. I would have thought, since he lives here, he would get it. But sadly, he doesn’t, either.
Here’s what devastating is: Knowing your team is up 2-0 in the bottom of the ninth, feeling great and laughing about the lousy seats we had for the World Series, feeling a twinge of “Who, Me, Worry?” crossing your mind when it was 2-1. But boom, boom, two outs, two strikes to go to the World Series. What happened next was devastating. (Not my grandma has cancer devastating, just sports devastating.) No one in Pittsburgh says C-a-b-r-e-r-a-s name. Not ever. I slid off the couch and sat on the floor for a half hour, neither of us talking or comprehending. The next morning, the radio station I listen to played nothing but funeral dirges. The entire city was in a collective funk it would take two weeks to get out of. And Sid Bream became Enemy Number One.
And he thinks we need to get a life.
I would think a professional athlete would know a heartbreaking loss when he saw one, but I guess pros have to put it out of their minds to play the next day. But, Sid, if you can’t see what that loss cost, and was followed up by twenty-one years of dreck, you’re the stupidest man alive. Go move to Atlanta if you need adoration. You’ll never get it here.
172 days until Buccos baseball!