Buckle Up Baby, The Boys Of Summer Are Coming

Oct 2, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates left fielder Starling Marte (center) celebrates with teammates after hitting a two run game winning walk-off home run against the Cincinnati Reds during the twelfth inning at PNC Park. The Pirates won 6-4 in twelve innings. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 2, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates left fielder Starling Marte (center) celebrates with teammates after hitting a two run game winning walk-off home run against the Cincinnati Reds during the twelfth inning at PNC Park. The Pirates won 6-4 in twelve innings. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
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At 1:05pm on Sunday Francisco Liriano will hurl the 2016 Major League Baseball season’s first pitch as Matt Carpenter tries to collect a base hit off of it. The Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals will renew their rivalry on Sunday in Major League Baseball’s first game of the season. Buckle up baby, the boys of summer are coming.

The Major League Baseball season is full of ups and downs, peaks and valleys, and that is one of the many things that make this sport so great. Baseball is the only sport in the world where you can fail 70% of the time and still be great. Baseball is truly designed to break your heart.

Over the course of the next six, hopefully seven, months the Pirates will both break our hearts multiple times. They will also bring us fans tons and tons of joy during that stretch. For the fourth straight season the Pirates are one of the best teams in the National League, for 20 years we yearned for this so sit back and enjoy it.

There is nothing in sports that is more fun, magical, heartbreaking, gut wrenching, and joyous as a pennant race. Mentally brace yourself for all of the emotions that are coming, because the Pirates will be in a pennant race once again this season. Don’t yell that the team is collapsing every time they lose 3 or 4 in a row, don’t complain that Clint Hurdle is clueless every time he makes a move you do not agree with when he is one of the best managers in baseball, and don’t act like the Pirates and management do not care because they do. The ups and downs are all part of the baseball grind, enjoy it.

From every dazzling outfield catch by Starling Marte, or every time he guns someone down on the base paths. From every clutch hit by Andrew McCutchen, to each strike out by Gerrit Cole and Francisco Liriano. From each Mark Melancon save, to every time the god of on base John Jaso gets on base. From each time Josh Harrison and Francisco Cervelli go crazy after a big hit, to each time Jung-Ho Kang bat flips and pimps a home run. Enjoy it. Enjoy each and every second of it. Because there is nothing better than baseball. Especially when your favorite team is as good as the Pirates have become.

Stay calm, realize it’s a marathon not a sprint, enjoy it, root for the Bucs, and have fun. Baseball is simply the best. Especially baseball being played at the best, most beautiful ballpark in the world PNC Park.

Opening Day has always had a special feeling, even when the Pirates were bad. Now that the Pirates are one of the best run franchises in sports again, Opening Day has an even more special feeling. If you are going to be at PNC Park like I will be on Sunday, be loud and have fun. Hell, if you’re watching at home on TV do the same. It’s the best day of each and every calendar year after all, Opening freakin’ Day!

It is very fitting that the 2016 MLB season will open up with the Pirates and Cardinals. Over the course of the past three seasons this has become one of the best, most exciting rivalries in all of baseball. The past three seasons these teams have finished first and second in the National League Central Division, last year they finished with the two most wins in all of Major League Baseball, and they have done nothing but play one exciting game after another. This included a National League Division Series in 2013 that went to a decisive game 5. I expect this opening series between the Pirates and Cards to produce three more great games.

The longest, but best, grind in all of sports is about to begin. In a little over 24 hours the Pittsburgh Pirates’ 2016 season will begin. Buckle up baby, there is nothing better than baseball. And baseball is back.