Pittsburgh Pirate Jeff Banister: My Kind of Lifer


If you have ever

been to PirateFest, it’s a really good time. This past winter, we were standing at PirateFest talking to a couple friends after we had accomplished what had never been done before, the Pittsburgh Pirates held interviews with some of the best Pirates writers on the planet.

We felt great about what we had put together.  Finally the Pittsburgh Pirates were talking to talented people from the best Pirates sites.  People  like Matt Bandi, Charlie and Vlad from Bucs Dugout, Kristy and Pirates Prospects.  Each are very detailed and passionate about providing baseball fans with stories that are more detailed than you will ever find in any newspaper.  (Of course, RumBunter isn’t real big on details so we exclude our site from that last sentence.)

Everyone that was backstage that night at PirateFest and some that couldn’t make it like Brian from Raise The Jolly Roger, Pat from WHYGAVS and Kipper from Pgh Sports Tavern are people that we have the utmost amount of respect for, because writing isn’t easy.  Writing about the Pirates is downright difficult.  We will take a guess and say they will be fans of the hometown team for life.

It was a cool moment and I happened to look up because if you have ever had the feeling someone was staring at you, that’s the feeling I had.

And guess what? Jeff Banister was giving me the eye.

My heart dropped a little bit as we had a lot of fun with Banister this past winter. We felt that Banister would have been a good selection as the Pirates new manager.  But we also had a weird way, like usual, of saying it.

My mind raced because we also had a little over-the-top fun with some photoshops at Banister’s expense.

The man who had been employed by the Pittsburgh Pirates his entire life was starting to walk toward us.   Personally, I have spent most of my career with one company.  There is something to be said about a person that is loyal.  But maybe Banister was going to be a little pissed off about what this Pirate writer, one that isn’t as smart as everyone else, had to say about him.

The first thing we realized as Banister walked toward us was Banister takes care of himself.

Our next thought was his stare is pretty intense which made me think of protecting myself.  I didn’t have any weapons other than a tape recorder, a Blackberry, and a pen that was out of ink.  My right knee had just been surgically repaired so there was no way I could pull off a hit and run.  But heh, I did have this makeshift crutch that might work, huh?

It must have been the four pills we popped to withstand the pain that sent us into a panic.  Jeff Banister put out his hand and as we shook, he smiled and said something that describes what type of man Jeff Banister is.

"“That Step Brothers photoshop was hilarious.”"

Jeff Banister, Pittsburgh Pirates Bench Coach
Shit.  I wasn’t going to get my ass kicked by the Pirates bench coach after all. 

Their is a great story by the New York Times about Banister today. It has a few interesting parts, but our favorite one about discusses the moments right before his first, and only at-bat as a major leaguer.

"But there he was, a few hours later, in the Pirates’ locker room at Three Rivers Stadium, with a stall between Barry Bonds and Andy Van Slyke. He helped out in the bullpen until the eighth inning, when Manager Jim Leyland called him to hit for starter Doug Drabek. Teammates had hidden Banister’s bat and helmet, so he grabbed replacements and walked into his dream."

So after Banister got a hit in his only at-bat, we bet that he walked into the clubhouse and shook the hand of the practical joker too.  Banister is our kind of guy.  Our kind of Lifer.

Clipped from: www.nytimes.com (share this clip)

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