So last week I made my yearly pilgrimage to NYC to catch my woeful Pittsburgh Pirates in Queens for one, sometimes two efforts of baseball indignity. This season it was two games to add to my string of losses while watching them live and further compound my misery. There was a 1-0 nothing, 10 inning loss in the first of four game set with the Mets where Chan-Ho Park came in a scoreless game and further exampled why Major League teams really need to stop paying this guy to wear a uniform. The second game though was a lot tougher to take. After briefly enjoying a five run lead in the fourth Pirates pitcher Paul maholm decided to throw batting practice while the defense decided to forget everything they learned in Little League. It wasn’t this that was so tough though.
Now I realize that I’m 46 years old and there are plenty of things far more important in this brief life than baseball, a lot of them involving trying to survive and remembering to feed the cats. But my love affair with my Pittsburgh Pirates Ballclub is something I can’t escape and has been ongoing now, winning or not, for 41 years or so. I guess I’m a true example of the loyal fan as the “winning or not” has been mostly “not” for most of those 41 years, but I still strap on my mental cleats and cup every exhibition season and look forward to another six months of knowing the names, numbers and watching the games, with tears or not. Baseball for some, is a passion that remembers the best times of youth and the dreams that can be associated with it as you pretended your favorite players in the backyard and played with all your heart on ballfields lost in time. However much baseball has sullied it’s own reputation with drugs and greed and hubris it is still, and always, baseball…a perfect game.
So it was this second game I made my way to, with Cumulus pal Jeremiah, at Citi Field, the third game in the 3 game series, that was extra tough because I missed catching a home run ball in the 9th inning by inches, twice, and missed the opportunity to relive a little those dreams. The disappointment I felt at the time and still do can seem kind of silly for it just being a game but in my six seasons of catching my boys live I have yet to see a victory (about 9 games or so I think) so it felt like I missed a gift the Pirate baseball gods offered up to me as a sort of recompense for my fandom travails. Those Bucco gods had Andrew McCutchen, Pirates center fielder, hit the homer right to me but I didn’t have my glove on, until too late, as I saw it coming our way. (This is the link to the highlight of that homerun).
Again the silliness of a grown man’s disappointment of missing a ball in a game is evident to the casual, but to me it hurt and still does and all can say is, alas. But I still love my Bucs, winners or not, and I will be there at some point next season wearing my bright gold pullover and also my glove, at all times, hoping those baseball gods give me a second shot.