Our Favorite Pittsburgh Pirates Memorabilia

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Matt Bower tells us of one of the best moments he has had at the ballpark.

My “I Support The Third Inning Walk-Out” tee shirt is my favorite piece of Pirates memorabilia.

That was the statement printed on the front of the tee shirt, which I purchased from a street vendor five minutes before arriving at the PNC Park gates on a Saturday afternoon in 2007. The shirt was neon green; I looked like a PennDOT worker on break from pothole duty.

The third inning walk-out itself was a cockeyed idea meant as a statement of protest. Frustrated Pirates fans – the team was in the midst of a 15th losing season – were to walk out of their seats midway through the 3rd inning. Yes, THAT would call the attention of the Pirates’ brass to the fans’ disenchantment.

My friend and I walked out of our seats as instructed – partly in protest and partly due to the call of the Miller Lite vendor behind the grandstands. I was immediately confronted by a TV camera, and a reporter who requested an interview. Sensing a moment to briefly shine as a mouthpiece for millions of voiceless fans, I walked to the top of the stairs – near the bullpen – and let loose a visceral diatribe comparing the backhanded Pirates front office to the nefarious Bush regime and likening the woeful on-field product to the fruitless mission of American forces in a “G*****n bloody chessboard of sand and oil-fields.”

Feeling I’d wrung every last drip of disdain from my beer-logged consciousness, I turned and pointed at PNC Park, and punctuated my rant, “And I think all of these people would agree with me.” To my surprise, perhaps 50, or so, other protesters raised their fists like Jolly Rogers, and cheered in-tune with my words. Little did I know that – while I was venting – my friend had gathered a like-minded audience to stand behind the crackpot in the PennDOT shirt.

After the reporter and cameraman had fled – likely in fear and/or disgust – I was asked by a few people if I was the mastermind responsible for the protest.  I wish I was…I wish I was.

I Support The Third Inning Walk-Out

Next: The memory of a lifetime