It was such a perfect day for a father and son to enjoy the great game of baseball. We had escaped the confines of home with two last minute tickets to see the Pittsburgh Pirates take on the New York Mets. We put Mom in the rear view mirror so fast the boy forgot his shoes. It was too late to turn around, we’d just stop and grab a pair on the way. It’s crazy to think that the game of baseball in Pittsburgh can still make a person that excited.
As we crossed the West End bridge, the city looked magnificent. The banners for Pitt football are in place. The cars were pulling into Rivers Casino. The Pirates fans were headed to the bars, grilling brats in the parking lot and standing five deep at the walk up ticket booth. Baseball in Pittsburgh still has a very active heartbeat and we love it.
The Pirates sales staff had a great party for families and it was cool to see all kinds of kids enjoying some entertainment far away from Captain Morgan who was throwing out the first pitch. It’s also easy to understand why people are still showing up at PNC Park, it’s the Pirates ”people.” They make a fan forget all about Bob Nutting.
As we made our way to our seats, it was obvious the Pirates sales team had done something incredible to attract this many Mets fans. We were surrounded. Maybe the sales team is too good we thought greedily, this park is too nice for a Mets fan to appreciate.
It didn’t take long for most of them to hate me. Especially when first base ump Adrian Johnson made a great call on Ronny Cedeno’s sparkling defensive play. It set off a turf war. My modified version of the Mets classic song, “Meet the Mets” wasn’t appreciated by any of them either. Well, maybe one….the heaviest wife of the Met fan in the first row gave me a wink.
But then it happened. John Russell worked some strategy. He let Sean Gallagher take his hacks with runners on second and third and the Pittsburgh Pirates staring directly at another losing season. Surely nobody named Garrett Jones or Delwyn Young agreed with the decision Russell made. The Pirates faithful certainly didn’t.
The Mets fans crucified me.
The Pirates fans let loose on Russell.
To the Pirates fans credit, they eased up as Gallagher hit, but when his at-bat was over, the boos returned. Whether you agree with the decision or not is what everyone is talking about today. Sure that’s the argument, but what was needed was a mentality that the Pirates could come back and win the game.
Isn’t that the message a manager sends to his young players? Something like ‘look I expect you to grab a bat and knock those runs in,’ followed by an ass slap as the bench gets fired up. But that didn’t happen. It was pathetic.
As the boos diminished, the questions came my way from my six-year old. It was very difficult to explain the thought process behind the decision, but I did. That’s when the toughest question came,
“Shouldn’t they play to win the game? ”—Brody Smith
The kid is tough. So after watching the debacle, I had to try and explain it. I gave up. It was a poor decision by a poor manager who has stared at a record number of losses.
Thus, having just vomitted in my mouth a little…. having pissed off the multitude of Mets fans with my rendition of their stupid song…. having obstructed the view of at least three Mets fans with Brody’s four-foot tall, double alien, ballon hat…., Dad needed a beer. So, off to the Hall of Fame Club we went.
Dad was pissed.
Brody was confused.
When you’re steaming mad, the decisons made at PNC Park are very hard to explain to the most inspirational person in my life. My only son. Even if he is wearing a super cool, double alien balloon hat.
Maybe Frank saying the team is underperforming means he will take care of it?