With the 2012 Major League Baseball season in the rear view mirror, one memory sticks out for me. It haunts me. As you know, hindsight is an interesting thing, it allows you to look back on something and just be even more confused.
Remember when the Bucs blasted the reeling San Francisco Giants 13-2 to cruise into the All-Star break with sole possesion of the NL Central?
Andrew McCutchen was full-on daredevil, playing baseball while fully engulfed in flames hitting two bombs as the Pirates faithful chanted M-V-P! The sensational center fielder, who is a Gold Glove finalist, went into the break with 21 hits in his final 38 at-bats. Cutch closed out his first half of 2012 by ripping baseballs at a .552 clip leaving opposing pitchers shaking their heads in awe.
Neil Walker hit a bomb, doubled and ripped three singles. The big day extended Hometown’s hitting streak to twelve games.
The Bucs headed into the All-Star break with a 48-37 record putting them in sole possesion of first place in the NL Central.
The Pirates had the best record in Major League Baseball since my birthday, May 12, at 34 wins and 19 losses. The Bucs were 29-14 at home, best in the majors. They had won nine of eleven, and fourteen of seventeen at PNC Park.
In hindsight, I remember feeling ten-foot tall and bullet proof. That was a good feeling. Now, in hindsight, all I can say is Hoka Hey!
Clint Hurdles’ quote after the game rings true. “We worked hard to get to where we are, and we’ve earned our way so far.” The Bucs had sent the town into a frenzy winning 11 of their last 13 series while the Bucs showed they loved home cookin’ as they swaggered into the break by winning seven straight series at PNC Park.
A.J. Burnett had won his ninth straight decision. Two games earlier, his protege, James McDonald had scattered four hits over seven innings against the Giants lineup to grab his ninth win.
At least Pablo Sandoval got it right–his two run bomb off Burnett was all the offense the Giants, who headed into the break losing five of six and seven of nine.
Tim Lincecum gave up six runs and looked to be headed for a second half of pain, not being a bullpen hero as the Giants battled to their second World Series victory in three years.