The Pittsburgh Pirates’ success has everyone excited for a third consecutive season, leading many to wonder if this will finally be a winning year. Sports always tend to overlap, though, and one of the biggest clashes will occur on Friday when the Pittsburgh Steelers report for training camp.
The Steelers are coming off of a disappointing 8-8 season, but with the Ravens losing many of their key pieces from a season ago, the AFC North is wide open. Experts are divided on who will represent the division in the playoffs.
PNC Park has become crowded once again, not because school is out, but because the Pirates are winning and the city is excited. With hockey season over for the time being, people have been able to devote their full attention to the Pirates and their quest for the playoffs.
The past two seasons, the Steelers reporting for training camp has marked the beginning of the end for the Pirates. The attendance goes down as people travel to Latrobe. The Pirates also start to taper off, leading to many of the remaining fans leaving.
This year may be the most important year in recent Pirates history. Baseball has been the third sport in Pittsburgh since the Bucs’ losing streak started; however, this year there is a chance to close that gap.
The Steelers have one of the most dedicated fan bases in all of sports and I do believe some fans will leave, however not as many as before. The Pirates are a known commodity now and will be on ESPN for the second time this season on July 31, versus just once all of last season. Fox has also had them on for a few games in limited markets as well.
The bottom line is that Friday will be an important day for the Pirates, and perhaps their biggest test of the season. While they will be on the road facing the Miami Marlins, they will have to deal with the potential drop off in fans that has always hit the team around this time of the year.
How many fans they keep will depend on how much they can win. The question is which will be waving more come the beginning of the fall, the Terrible Towel or the Jolly Roger?