Pittsburgh Pirates BDR: The Night Chicago Died


"I heard my mama cry I heard her pray the night Chicago died Brother what a night it really was Brother what a fight it really was, glory be"

Those lyrics are from the song “The Night Chicago Died,” performed by the seminal rock band Paper Lace.

Psyche! Paper Lace isn’t a seminal rock band. I don’t even know who the hell they are. However, The Night Chicago Died has stuck in my head since childhood, from the first time I heard it amongst the ebbing and flowing static on my clock radio during one of those restless late nights when I ran out of sheep, so I began counting the blades of grass under their hooves.

The Pittsburgh Pirates are coming off a three-game sweep of the Phillies in Pittsburgh. The home team scored a grand total of six runs in the series, four of those runs scored in the second game. In other words, the Bucs were damn lucky to win all three games. In other, other words, the Bucs were damn lucky to have faced a team with less offense then the Icelandic army.

The starting pitching specifically was stellar.  Gerrit Cole wasn’t his usual dominant self, but still managed the victory in the high-scoring 4-3 second game. Jeff Locke is going to hang around as the fifth starter for at least another start. And Batman was filthy.

Good teams win games when a major component of their game is lacking. The Pirates are a good team.

Now comes a brief shortened inter-league home series versus the Chicago White Sox.

Inter-league play still seems newfangled to me. I’m one of those fans who thinks baseball should always be played the way it was played during my formative childhood years. The American League champs should play the National League champs during the World Series, not the regular season. The All-Star Game is akin to a picnic wiffleball game, but less competitive. It should have no impact on the WS (Suggestion: During the National Anthem, time the word lyric — “braaave” — to footage of Pete Rose barreling over Ray Fosse on the Titan-Tron.) And finally, the only real American cities are the cities that hosted a major league baseball team prior to 1993.

Game 1:

Bucs 11, Sox 0

The crown of the Gulf Building blazes gold when the Pirates score. The energy bill in that place must be sky-high after Monday night. Apparently, the Pirates withheld offense against the lowly Phillies so they could unload on a troupe of twerps from the Junior Circuit.

The shutout was the largest in Pirates’ history since the 1904 World Series.

This game was cooked by time the White Sox activated the bullpen…in the first inning. Sox rookie starter Carlos Rodon, a former first-round selection, could be heard whispering “uncle” before the Pirates lineup could flip over.  On the other hand, Francisco Liriano recorded 12 strikeouts in eight scoreless frames.

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I suggest reading Rum Bunter’s game recap for a laundry list of the Pirates who contributed to the clinic at PNC Park. Starling Marte is rolling. He had four hits; he’s had four straight games of three or more hits, the first Bucco to accomplish such a feat since Willie Stargell. Josh Harrison also compiled four hits. Jung Ho Kang and Francisco Cervelli had two RBIs apiece. Blah blah blah. Even Jordy Mercer had two doubles.

I abandoned the television in the second inning, so confident in the prospective victory that I didn’t bother to pluck my handheld radio from the junk drawer before taking Uri for a walk. When I returned, the lead had increased by two. I watched the Pirates continue to curb stomp a dead horse.

Chicago died quickly Monday night.

Oh, one more thing. I don’t know exactly what that thing is that Pirates’ batters do when they reach base — that palms down/quasi-riding a surfboard pose. But Jung Ho kang did it after an RBI double. And let me tell you, it translated perfectly.

Game 3:

Bucs 3, Sox 0

I invested scant attention to the game as it unfolded. I was too busy pouring over the inspection report on the prospective — under buyer-seller contract — Bower family estate. Does anyone know a good landscaper/masonry worker/electrician/plumber/insulation installer/terminate exterminator/psychologist?

Jul 23, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates pierogi mascot Cheese Chester is loaded onto a cart after being injured during the pierogi race after the fifth inning of the game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. The Pirates won 6-1. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Me neither. The Bowers are staying put.

As for the game…51 straight scoreless innings for Francisco Cervelli. Yahtzee! The most scoreless innings in Pirates history since 1976. Frightfully Bully! Six wins in a row. Huzzah!

Charlie Morton pitched seven shutout innings and allowed only four hits. After a 22-pitch first inning, he got real. Remember those comparisons to Roy Halladay back in 2012… Not sayin’, just sayin’. Sean Rodriguez and Uncle Franky both hit dingers. Watson and The Shark were killer (Watson and The Shark? That would make for a whacky buddy cop film).

Luckily, during the ten-minute period when I did catch the game — near the end — Bob Walk summarized the marathon that is a major league baseball season perfectly. To summarize: the baseball season is like the Great Pierogi Race. At this point in the season, the pierogis are only nearing the bullpen. Saul has a ten-foot lead on Cheese. But when does the pierogi in the lead at the bullpen ever win the race?

In this race, the cheating/hacking Cardinals are the doomed Saul.

Next: Pittsburgh Pirates finding success for Starling Marte in two-hole