The Pittsburgh Pirates are calling back of their most significant pitchers in recent history to throw out a first pitch. He will be throwing it to a former catcher as well.
Plenty of people are excited about the Pittsburgh Pirates season. Right now is a slow time in sports, the NHL and NBA are working toward the end of their seasons, and the NFL at least game wise is over. So now all attention turns towards Baseball and the optimism around the Pittsburgh Pirates future. While the Bucs are not expected to be amongst the best teams, they are expected to be significantly better in 2023. For instance, the team should not be in contention for the first overall pick in 2024, or something has seriously gone wrong.
The last time it was easy to be optimistic about the Pittsburgh Pirates was during the 2012-2016 years. The team was actually competitive and working towards being in the playoffs, not rebuilding or middling around. So the Pittsburgh Pirates are bringing back one of their most iconic players from those years. AJ Burnett announced that he would be throwing the first pitch for the 2023 Home Opener.
AJ Burnett returning to the mound obviously is exciting and should provide for a great atmosphere at PNC Park for the Home Opener. However, the fact that Russell Martin is also coming in to catch the pitch just makes it even more nostalgic. Add in the fact that Andrew McCutchen will be making his official return to PNC Park and it might be cannot miss.
This also should paint a great picture of the current roster. The Bucs are a young team that is trying to take that step forward, much like the 2011 and 2012 Pittsburgh Pirates teams. Bringing in these two is not just for the fans and Opening Day. It represents what this Organization is working towards, three of the most important players on the last good Pirate teams.