What an incredible night!
Kudos to the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, the players and the fans for what amounted to one of the biggest and best moments in Pittsburgh sports history. Sure, it was just a wild card game, a one-game playoff to decide who’s in and who’s out but that didn’t matter, it was still the biggest game of the year. (So far!)
To stress the importance of Tuesday night, you have to point out it was the first playoff game ever at PNC Park. You shouldn’t need reminded it was the first playoff game for this team in 21 years. Absolutely no need to mention the complete lack of interest in baseball for most of 20 years while players, managers, general managers, front office personnel and owners have switched over a few times.
In a storybook type of setting, the Pirates had their ace on the mound with Francisco Liriano, while the Cincinnati Reds brought out their No. 1 pitcher in Johnny Cueto. Liriano was on his game early, finishing the first three innings in order and looking as dominant as ever.
Cueto started off well but he gave up solo homers to Marlon Byrd and Russell Martin in the second inning, with another run added on a third-inning Pedro Alvarez sac fly, scoring Andrew McCutchen. The Pittsburgh faithful were in rare form with the chants of KWAY-toe, KWAY-toe, KWAY-toe, even causing ol’ Johnny to drop the ball and a laugh was had by all.
The Reds did get on the board with a run in the top of the fourth as Shin-Soo Choo scored from a Jay Bruce single, but Liriano once again shut the door quickly. Another story in this game was the Pirates’ ability to answer the call every time the Reds attempted to gain some ground.
In the bottom of the fouth, Neil Walker, batting right-handed, nailed a run-scoring double and the Reds’ Brandon Phillips gift-wrapped another run by bobbling a “sure” inning-ending double play. This isn’t a recap, but it would be impossible to talk about the game and not rehash the moments that made this game great. Even though Choo hit a solo homer in the eighth, the Shark Tank shut them down the rest of the way and the Buccos moved on to the NLDS.
I was watching the entire game on pins and needles, going through all of the emotions that a fan can go through during a game. The first emotion is excitement as the game is about to start. The second emotion is elation as the first couple of Pirates runs had scored, which carried through to the third run.
The third emotion is worry as the Reds not only score but threaten to take the lead on a Todd Frazier foul ball that just missed being a three-run homer. The fourth emotion is humor listening to the home crowd taunt the opposing pitchers by calling out their names.
The fifth emotion is relief as every real threat of the game is turned away and finally, the sixth emotion is complete happiness as the Pirates celebrate another victory. These emotions are what make the game of baseball great for fans, these same emotions are what can carry a team to play harder and faster with every inning and it’s the same emotions that we will go through again and again and again.
Here are some other news items from the game:
- A Pirates fan was so happy, he decided to jump off the Roberto Clemente Bridge in celebration as some fans cheered his name while others were scared for his safety. Luckily for this young guy, he was OK but it makes you wonder if this will become a common occurrence.
- Dallas Latos, the wife of Reds pitcher Mat Latos, said she was attacked during the game last night by Pirates fans. Twitter was buzzing about the alleged attack from the Pittsburgh fans talking about how “hot” she is to Reds fans saying how classless Pirates fans are to the Pittsburgh Police saying it’s case closed and no charges will be filed. Of course, anything named Dallas will never be treated fairly in Pittsburgh, no matter how “hot” they are.
- If you want to see how great this game truly was, simply watch this video clip as it says it all.
- Here’s a complete tribute to the awesome Pirates fans at the game.
Until next time,