There is always one day a year where it is not fireworks, a concert or a bobblehead that lures fans to PNC Park. Whether it is raining, snowing or 70 degrees, fans flock to support the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Opening Day is a national holiday to many. People take the day off of work, skip school and crowd PNC Park, which is exactly what 39,078 people did Monday afternoon.
People who long for baseball – myself included – finally get in the ballpark after what seems like an eternity, experiencing the familiar sites, scenes and scents. While the game was one to forget for the Pirates fans, the ovations for the players as well as manager Clint Hurdle and hitting coach Jay Bell were worth it for the players and coaching staff.
Pirates fans have been criticized being called one of the least loyal in baseball by Forbes Magazine but you could not see that at this game. Upon walking to the game, I saw many tailgates and plenty of Pirates jerseys celebrating the start of the season through the surprising snow.
Even when entering, the excited fans grabbed their magnetic schedules and First Pitch programs and the buzz that comes with Opening Day started.
I went around the rotunda area partially to see what was new but also to get the general feel of the crowd and these fans seemed ready to go.
The fan applause began during the annual ceremony hosted by Pirates broadcaster Greg Brown. Andrew McCutchen received his Silver Slugger and Gold Glove Awards and that set the tone for the day as the Pirates players were introduced to applause.
While the wind was taken out of the sails when Anthony Rizzo hit a home run, the fans were treated to a solid pitching performance from A.J. Burnett. The offense sputtered and failed to show signs of life until it was too late.
Still for one day fans had Pirate fever once again. Opening Day is the one time where everything starts over, where everyone is 0-0 to start the season. The Pirates have excited fans with their competitiveness these past two seasons but have fallen short. While they fell short today, hopefully they have not fallen short in getting these fans to return.