2013 Pittsburgh Pirates: This Party Was Off The Hook

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July 29th-August 1st: The most titanic clash of the regular season, a five game series between the Pirates and Cardinals at PNC Park. The Pirates took the first four games of the series, including a doubleheader on the 30th, highlighted by an Alex Presley walkoff that glanced off of Tyler Lyons’ glove in the eleventh inning. The series was nothing short of spectacular, the true coming out party of this year’s team. After so much futility and two second half collapses, it was a huge injection of confidence into a fan base and team that was so used to coming close, but not quite getting to the top of the heap.

August 4th: The three game series with the Rockies following the Cardinals series was much more subdued, but nobody told the fans at PNC Park, giving birth to what may be one of the three best GIFs from this whole season: 

August 6th: Josh Harrison walks the Pirates off against the Marlins. Performing his best Drew Sutton impression, Harrison walked the Pirates off against an inferior team. As far as unexpected heroics go, this was probably at the top of the list, or in a close second to Travis Snider’s shot in Milwaukee.

August 13th: Starling Marte drops a fly ball at the most inopportune time, and the Pirates drop a fourteen inning marathon to the Cardinals. Outside of the NLDS clinching loss on Wednesday, this was probably the most painful loss of the season. Marte’s drop was awful enough, but to have it happen in a game against the Cardinals was even worse. Nobody felt worse than he did, of course, but it’s still brutal to watch: 

August 23rd: Clint Barmes homers to put the Pirates up on the Giants. The Pirates were in 1st place at this point in the season, but it was a tight lead in a three team race. Trailing 1-0 against the Giants, Barmes stepped up with two on base, and launched a low line drive over the left field wall to give the Pirates a seventh inning lead, and subsequently a win for the Pirates and Charlie Morton on a cold night in San Francisco.

Sep 3, 2013; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates right fielder Travis Snider (right) hits a solo home run in the 9th inning as Milwaukee Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy watches at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

September 3rd: Travis Snider hits a solo home run in Milwaukee in the top of the ninth, to give the Pirates a 4-3 win, and break the longest losing streak in American sports history. Pirates fans spend the next six days arguing over whether win number eighty-one (non-losing clincher) or win number eighty-two (winning season clincher) was the real breaking of the streak.

September 9th: Gerrit Cole puts on his big boy pants, outduels Yu Darvish, and Pedro Alvarez doubles in a run to give the Pirates their eighty-second win of the season. Pirates fans cry a lot. To commemorate the occasion, smiley cookies are sold in a tomb with a Jolly Roger flag.

September 12th: Pirates beat the Cubs 3-1 thanks to a solid outing from Jeff Locke. That’s not the big story of the game though, oh no. The big story of the game is a full grown Pirates fan destroying a kid for a baseball(an act so despicably immature he earned an addition to the PNC Park Attendee’s Definitive Guide To Not Being A Jagoff): 

September 23rd: The Pirates clinch their first playoff berth in over two decades. Starling Marte hits a clutch home run in the ninth inning to give them the lead, and Jason Grilli closes the game off, thanks to a wild defensive relay going from Byrd to McCutchen to Morneau to Martin for the putout. The Nationals lost a few minutes afterwards, and the Pirates celebrated in the clubhouse (side note: Andrew McCutchen looks hilarious in chemistry goggles).

Sep 23, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Russell Martin (55) is greeted by Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Jason Grilli (39) after tagging out Chicago Cubs right fielder Nate Schierholtz (not pictured) at home plate to end the game at Wrigley Field. The Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Chicago Cubs 2-1.Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

September 27th-29th: The Pirates sweep the Reds in Cincinnati, clinching home field advantage for the wild card game, and setting the stage for the most raucous atmosphere in MLB this postseason. A thoroughly dominant series, the Pirates outscored the Reds 16-6 over three games.

October 1st: Cueeeeee-toooo Cueeeeetooo! Did we mention the raucous atmosphere? Yea, PNC Park was a bit loud. The stadium was electric from the first pitch, but it got truly loud after Marlon Byrd stepped in (in his first postseason at-bat) and launched a solo home run into the seats:

Oct 1, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates right fielder Marlon Byrd (2) hits a solo home run against the Cincinnati Reds in the second inning of the National League wild card playoff baseball game at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pirates weren’t done with Cueto yet, and neither were the fans. Throughout the inning, Cueto was visibly shaken, despite this he got a lineout from Alvarez, and then with a 2-1 count on Martin, he dropped the ball. Russell Martin had a good laugh at Cueto’s expense, followed by an even better laugh. Martin his a blast into the seats, and the Pirates ran away with the wild-card game. Sometimes the smallest things can set off a chain reaction. Sometimes a fanbase, starved of postseason play since 1992 can do it as well.

October 3rd-October 4th: A.J. Burnett gets shelled in game one, Bucs lose 9-1, ESPN tweets about the Pirates “just being happy to be there”. Follow that up with game two, and the Pirates show how happy they really are, and cruise to a 7-1 rout thanks to Gerrit Cole and Pedro Alvarez. Pedroseason goes into full effect. 

October 6th: Frank The Tank dominates again, and the Pirates take a 2-1 series lead over the Cardinals. Pedro Alvarez gets another RBI, extending his streak to four playoff games.

October 7th: Pirates get dominated by young Michael Wacha, scoring only one run, thanks to a monster blast from El Toro. TBS announcers remind everyone for the 800th time that Matt Adams is from Slippery Rock University. Charlie Morton was good, but not good enough to win with only one run. The season hangs in the balance and the decisive game will be played in St. Louis.

October 9th: Gerrit Cole twirls a solid five innings, but the Pirates are blown away by the Cardinals, and sent packing. Darkness draws over the souls of Pittsburgh sports fans as now they realize they don’t have the Pirates to distract them from how bad the Steelers are this year. Matt Adams is still from Slippery Rock, and it’s considered ironic that he buried the Pirates with a titanic shot off of Mark Melancon.

That’s it. The most memorable moments from the 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates. This team went further than any had before it in nearly a generation. They recaptured the hearts of baseball fans in Pittsburgh, and they hung with one of the best teams in baseball for a full series this postseason. While the team had plenty of faults, it’s hard to complain about the way this season went. The best part is, there’s no reason they won’t be back for more. But if “wait ’til next year” still isn’t enough to give you hope for the offseason, here is a gif of the Pirate Parrot falling over a railing in slow motion: 

This list covers many of the most memorable moments from the Pittsburgh Pirates season, but isn’t exhaustive by any means. What were some of your favorite moments? What moments stand out in your mind, good or bad? Leave them in the comments.