The Return of the Pittsburgh Pirates Freak Show

The Freakshow  has returned. Most Pirates fans remember the 1997 team that started the Freakshow nickname. 

It started on May 25 at Olympic Stadium against the Montreal Expos.

Kevin Young hit a grand slam off Lee Smith as the Pirates scored five runs in the eighth inning to highlight an epic comeback.  [This is from a cool article The Freak Show Turns 10]

“When Kevin came to bat with the bases loaded, I said to Bob Walk, ‘What we need here is for Young to go deep,'” Brown said. “And Bob said, ‘That would be freaky.’ And sure enough, on the next pitch, he homers. And I said, ‘It’s a freak show.’ I did more than just calmly say, ‘It’s a freak show.’ I said it three or four times, and Bob and I laughed about it.”

Little did Brown know that his call would wind up as one of the top highlights on ESPN’s SportsCenter that night.

“I was stunned,” Brown said. “Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann were calling it the ‘Freak Show’ edition of SportsCenter. I guess that’s all it needed to take off.”

The similarities to the 2011 team are being mentioned around Pittsburgh as the suddenly ‘baseball is hip again town’ searches for a new nickname for this amazing start to the 2011 season. 

Gene Lamont was in his first year as manager in 1997.  Of course, Clint Hurdle is in his first year as manager this season. 

Both the 97 team and this current Pirates team had few expectations coming into the season. 

Both teams had young players getting it done.  The 2011 Freak Show might have even more.  The ’97 team was led by the on base machine Jason Kendall.  The compelling  ’11 Pirates team is led by a snubbed All-Star Andrew McCutchen.

Kevin Young said it back then, “We did it with a bunch of working-class no names.”

Clint Hurdle said it last night, “Nobody cares who gets the credit.”

After 86 games, the 1997 Freak Show were 43-43 with a one game lead in the Central Division.

After 86 games, the 2011 Freak Show is 45-41 and in second place in the NL Central Division. 

It’s downright freaky. And so damn addictive to watch with a wild mix of characters and castoffs, budding stars and aging veterans that are keeping fans at PNC Park absolutely enthralled.

Like the midget on the bed of nails, Pirates fans are absolutely captivated at what could happen next in Pittsburgh.  Step right up….

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Cue it up to 1:20 for some phenomenal Neil Diamond done in Brother Clint Hurdle fashion by the one and only Mercerboy….


Tags: Freak Show Pittsburgh Pirates

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