Tag Archives: Pittsburgh Pirates


Pirates LogoAfter 20 years of frustration, the Pittsburgh Pirates finally played meaningful baseball games in September. The Pirates remained in the race for a playoff spot.

We also won meaningful baseball games in September. And tonight, we finally won enough that we clinched a spot in the playoffs. It remains unclear what that spot will be. Most likely it will be one of the wildcard spots. Hopefully the home spot. The wildcard teams play one game with the winner advancing and the loser ending their season. That makes the home team advantage all the more important.

The next five games will decide that. For now, we are  in. And that is good.

There will be meaningful baseball in October. Or as the Pittsburgh Pirates Twitter account has apparently dubbed the days ahead: Buctober!

See you along the Trail.

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First came baseball

baseball_2I am not sure I would have asked the question. Too many people have experienced abuse, abandonment, failure to love, and more from their fathers. Too many fathers have died too young. Too many wounds remain unhealed.

“What is your favorite memory of your father or your father figure?” Bob Brashear, pastor of West-Park Presbyterian Church, asked near the end of his sermon today.

My first thoughts went to those who had negative experiences of their fathers. I felt my heartstrings tightened as I considered the profound pain the simple question could touch.

Images of my father, gone too long, filled my head and heart. He was not perfect. None of us are. But he was a good, good man who loved me and my brother and sister well.

Memories came at me as thick as gnats on a hot, sultry night. When it came my turn to speak, I went with my first memories:

“Baseball. Playing catch in the back yard. Going to games. Baseball. In Pittsburgh.” I remembered, although I did not share, that as I child, when I would have to go to bed before a Pirates game finished, I would wake up in the morning to find a piece of paper with the score written in my father’s handwriting.

Memories. Blessed memories. As I rejoice in mine, my heart goes out to those who know pain.

Happy Father’s Day to fathers, stepfathers, grandfathers, and all, male and female alike, who have filled the role of fathers.

See you along the Trail.

Dodgers 3
Pirates 6


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A surprise

Pirates LogoRecovering, returning Pittsburgh Pirates fan that I am, I decided to subscribe to Major League Baseball’s Game Day Audio so I could listen to games. A friend posted on Facebook that the Pirates play in Detroit with Verlander pitching for the Tigers while we send Liriano to the mound.

The Pirates success combined with that match-up and the reality that I will spend most of today inside led me to the conclusion that I should find a way to listen. I went to purchase a subscription and discovered, to my surprise, that my previous subscription had automatically renewed.

On the one hand, this is good. Come 1:00 I will listen. On the other hand, this would have been nice to know in advance. I did not realize that they set up subscriptions in such a fashion. I need to go back and read the fine print. On the other, other hand, after reading the fine print, I need to learn how I could control this in the future.

Today, I will go with the one hand.

See you along the Trail.

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For tonight

After today’s win in St. Louis, the Pittsburgh Pirates are in first place in the Central Division of the National League.

The first place Pittsburgh Pirates.

They have not had a winning season since 1993.

The first place Pittsburgh Pirates.

That is a record for futility unequaled in any of the four major sports.

The first place Pittsburgh Pirates.

Last year they were at or near the top of the division until late in July.

The first place Pittsburgh Pirates.

A late August and September collapse washed them out of the wild card spot.

The first place Pittsburgh Pirates.

It is early in the season.

The first place Pittsburgh Pirates.

They have only played 25 games.

The first place Pittsburgh Pirates.

137 games remain … but for tonight, they are:

the first place Pittsburgh Pirates!

See you along the Trail.

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Recordando a Roberto

Roberto_ClementeI  first posted this three years ago. For some reason, Clemente has been on my mind today and so I repost.

Forty years ago this day, Pittsburgh Pirate Roberto Clemente climbed aboard a plane in Puerto Rico bound for Nicaragua.

A massive earthquake had struck Managua on December 23, 1972. The quake devastated the city, leaving thousands dead or homeless. Clemente organized relief efforts in Puerto Rico. When he learned that some of the aid had ended up in the pockets of the leaders and had not reached the people of Nicaragua, Clemente decided to deliver the next shipment personally. He assumed his stature would make sure that those in need received the supplies.

On December 31, 1972, Clemente stepped into a DC-7 plane along with the supplies. Not long after takeoff the plane suddenly lost altitude and crashed into the waters off Puerto Rico. Clemente’s body was never found.

The people of Puerto Rico, Latinos/as and Hispanics, the people of Western Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh, and others admired Clemente for his athletic prowess. He played with fire and passion and grace and an amazing ability.

More than that, the people admired Clemente for the way he lived his life. He challenged the prejudice and racism that affected Latino players. He demanded respect for himself and the people of Puerto Rico and other Latin American countries. He worked for people who lived in poverty and responded to the needs of his sisters and brothers. He reached out to children and provided them with opportunities to develop their own athletic talents.

I remember hearing the news the news of Roberto Clemente’s death on January 1, 1973 in Grove City, Pennsylvania. It devastated me. Clemente had been the hero of my childhood. At the time of his death, he was the hero of my youth.

And today – on the fortieth anniversary of his death – I remember and give thanks for Roberto Clemente – my hero still.

See you along the Trail.

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Let the games – and the bidding – begin

Dear supporters of the Tigers – dear followers of the Giants

As a lifelong Pittsburgh Pirates partisan, I am prepared to offer my unique fan gifts to the team of whoever makes me the best offer.

Why should this appeal to you? Quite simple – the Pirates have won every World Series in which they have appeared since I have been a fan.

Granted they don’t get there often – granted they have not had a winning season since 1992 – BUT – when they make it to the Big Dance, I can get them home.

For the right offer – and I have no idea what that would be, but give it a go – I will lend my support, with its unparalleled record of World Series victories, to your team.

Let the bidding begin.

See you along the Trail.

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A Pirates fan’s perspective

I visited my friend Bob Brashear, pastor of West-Park Presbyterian Church, today.

We share Pittsburgh roots. We bleed black and gold.

We have bled a lot for our Pirates the past twenty years.

This year appeared that it might bring a different result. Early in the year, they found themselves struggling for the division lead. And then they stayed in the wild card race. Late August and September brought a collapse. Now they stand at 77-82, destined for yet another losing season.

Bob told me that he went out to Shea Stadium last week a chance remained that they might break .500. But it did not happen.

Still … when was the last time that Pirate fans could conceive of going to a game late in September with a chance at a winning season. Our time will come.

See you along the Trail.

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