BUCN412 Archive

6/19

Picture this—Jordy Mercer bobblehead giveaway, a beautiful Saturday at PNC Park, the sun is shining, fluffy clouds, Super Nova is poised for yet another dominant game and we are playing the much hated Cubs. Pitching for Chicago is the even more despised, in my book anyway, Jake Arietta.

We reach our seats and yes, you guessed it, the only thing worse than the Cubs are their fans, which were seated directly behind me. I will just call him Mr. Cub, an older man, my guess mid-sixties, scruffy looking wearing his brand-new bandwagon Cubs’ World Champs tee, tan shorts and socks with sandals. As the game began and the Pirates players were announced he had to express his opinion about each. I just sighed and drank my cold refreshing Cub Fan Toleration potion, which today happened to be a Summer Shandy.

I do not have a problem with people supporting their team even when in our house—just don’t be disrespectful about it. Arietta was getting knocked around a bit, which I of course greatly enjoyed especially the home run hit by Cutch. Mr. Cub was getting more and more angry. Sorry if the Pirates fans around you were cheering and clapping as we all are rooting for Cutch to continue his winning ways. I could hear his conversation as Arietta was shall we say faltering, “Well normally he is just lights out, I am not sure what is going on.” I turned to my husband and said, “Lights are shining bright tonight!” Make no mistake, Arietta had our number, but he also had a good run and he is back to the pitcher he truly is human like the rest of them, good days and bad.

Mr. Cub just had to be “that guy” and clap exceptionally loud directly behind my head when the Cubs fought back a bit, but in the end it was all for nothing. The Pirates won and the fireworks were popping. It was awesome to turn to him and say great game, huh? He just looked miserable and walked away.

Raise it!

 

6/12

Well as excited as I was to see my favorite pitcher on the bump, it wasn’t much of a game, we lost 7-1 Thursday vs. Marlins as Gerrit Cole couldn’t get anything going. At least, it was a beautiful day to be at the ballpark, and a beautiful ballpark it is.

As season ticket holders one of our perks is to choose “events” to attend throughout the season, we had a STH tailgate party with hamburgers, hotdogs, chips, popcorn, cookies and beverages and a special bonus was Star Wars night. While in the picnic area we were visited by Ewoks, storm troopers, among other beings. My favorite visit was by our Pirates Ticket Representative Kyle, he is a great guy and is sure to give us his utmost attention whenever we have questions or requests. We took lots of photos and enjoyed the event before going to our seats.

The Star Wars theme was repeated inside and outside the stadium with a plethora of characters roaming everywhere you look. Strikeouts were even changed from the cannonball shot to a laser noise and even the Pirate Parrot took part in costume. It’s a good thing there was so much to distract from the lackluster performance by our Pirates. I won’t give up on this team, but we are not out of it yet and good things are on the horizon once everyone is back and healthy. I fully expect the force to be with us.

 

6/5

Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of all that is summer—swimming pools open and cookouts with friends and family. It’s red, white and blue, a celebration of all those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. What is more American than baseball and with Memorial Day here block parties on Federal Street are back every weekend.

The Clemente Bridge is closed to traffic, there are vendors and food trucks galore and you will pay a fraction of the cost compared to inside the park. A stage is set and bands rock out in the middle of the road, if you haven’t been there you are missing out. You can enjoy the band playing and take in the sights as there are many to see. Pirates fans and Mets fans, young and old, singing and dancing to the music and everyone having a wonderful time.

We walked around through the crowds and see the people streaming across the Clemente Bridge—a sight that never gets old. The band announces their last song and we headed toward the ballpark entrances. Who do I run into but Captain Chris from the Renegades of the Rotunda. I love their spirit and dedication. It’s great to see and they represent the city well. They are just good people enjoying life, the great sport and our fantastic city.

Going through the bag check, I am pleasantly surprised we still received a free shirt. Arriving at our seats and of course we have an entire row of Mets fans behind us. This reminded me of a Mets game I took my son Joe to in 2015. We arrived to see two entire sections full of blue and orange, and I mean solid blue and orange. Matt Harvey was pitching and the Mets fans were feeling lucky. First up was Josh Harrison and up goes the giant sign in the stands which read, “Happy Harvey Day!” Boom! Home run and down comes the sign. It was amazing. We went on to win that one 8-2, and took the series from them as well. That was a great game, but back to Saturday, May 27, 2017.

We rise for a moment of silence for those we’ve lost, a lovely tribute. Major League Baseball is representing our military with their uniforms this weekend. I personally enjoyed the tribute, others felt it was one more way to sell caps and make a buck.

By the 7th Inning stretch, we were within one of the Mets, time to walk and get some food. Again, the lovely Mets fan offered to keep my seat warm for me when I assured him, I’ll be right back. One of our favorite places to hang in PNC Park is Slice on Broadway, located behind the left field bleachers, you can enjoy an entire pie and still see the game.

We make it back to our seats, just in time for the beginning of the 9th inning. Once we tied it up, the moans and groans from the seats behind us sounded like a bunch of teenagers who didn’t want to get ready for school. Then before they could even quiet down the walk off win. Raise it!

Walking out of the ballpark we stopped for a photo op in front of the Bill Mazeroski statue, another wonderful night at PNC Park.

 

5/22

It was a beautiful day for a ball game, Nova on the bump versus the Phillies with 75 degrees, light breeze—what could be better…well I will tell you. Taking my granddaughter Lillie to her first game.

We parked in a lot on Stanwick street, started our trek across the Roberto Clemente bridge to PNC Park. As I watched her walk hand-in-hand with my son, her little pink purse hanging from her little arm, I couldn’t help but think this is her Pittsburgh rite of passage, something we all need to experience. We went through the security bag check, she had her little purse checked too, just like her Mimi, we collected our Bob Walk Bobble Chair giveaways and headed to our seats. We had to make a special stop however to our favorite usher John in section 315, and introduce him to the Lillie who’s he had heard so much about.

As we approached our seats I took notice of the four Phillies fans in seats 1-4 of our row 6, they shifted slightly to allow us to shuffle past to our seats end of the row. We had a lot in tow with a 21-month-old, but we managed. Lillie loved watching the Pirate Parrot make his rounds on the field and waving to the fans. She shook her little behind to the music and cheered as our Buccos were announced and yelled, “Let’s go Bucs!”

Not long into the first inning the usher came and asked to see the Phillies fans tickets, sure enough, they were in the wrong seats. It never ceases to amaze me that people do not know where they are sitting. PNC Park is not that difficult to figure out. I did feel somewhat relieved to see two older ladies who were supposed to be in the seats approach thinking to myself they will be more understanding of a small child at the ballpark.

The Bucs tied the game then really took hold in the 6th inning, next the excitement of a pierogi race was too much for Lillie as she was getting tired. We gathered up our items and headed toward the Majestic store for our first ballpark souvenir. She chose a bright pink Pirates bat and ball—a perfect choice. As we headed back toward the exit she waved, smiled and said goodbye to everyone we passed. As it turns out she is a good luck charm for the Pirates as they went on to win the game.

Ballpark memories must include food, hotdogs, cotton candy and licorice ropes. If sticky from head-to-toe is how you gage a fun time when you are pushing a two-year-old then we had the best time ever.

Keep on BUCN building memories everyone.

5/15

As I sit here writing, my stomach satisfied by a delicious Mother’s Day meal watching our Bucs playing the D-Backs now we are still holding the lead here in the 6th inning.

I’ve made it a tradition to take my Mom to the ballpark for Mother’s Day and we have made many memories there. Mom has become quite the fan and watches baseball religiously. One of my most fond memories was a couple years back now when I took my Mom to the Pirates/Cardinals game on Sunday May 10, 2015 at PNC Park. It was a beautiful day, warm and sunny and we won 4-3. I enjoy when the fans around you at a ballgame are just that—fans.

I must say I have met many types of fans season after season both Pirates fans as well as from other teams. They range from some who are there just for something to do and never watched a game in their lives to those who know or think they know everything there is to know about the game and offer information without being asked.

As we took our seats, I couldn’t help but notice the line of Cardinals fans behind us. So I say, “it’s a shame that yinz left your Moms at home and come all this way just to watch their team lose.”

That set the tone, we poked fun back and forth at each other. By games end the one guy says to me, “you know I really thought I was going to hate you, but you’re funny!” We ended up trading twitter handles and still keep in touch to this day. We especially enjoy rooting against the Cubs when our teams are playing them. We may be on different sides as far as teams go, but we all cheer for the game.

Mom and I will be planning our trip to the ballpark soon, hoping to catch some BP before the game making more memories and more friends. Happy Mother’s Day and Thank You, Mom for all you do for so many of us and for showing me how strong women can be.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the baseball Moms out there who drive their kids to the ballparks, who wash grass stains out of uniforms and who encourage their kids to love the game.

 

5/8

It’s May right!? Felt more like a cold November rain in the city of Pittsburgh Friday night as the Bucs readied themselves to take on the Brewers.

Those who know the Pittsburgh weather pack correctly with layers of clothing, water resistant shoes and the poncho of course. Diehard fans have the backpack at the ready with all that plus blankets and hand warmers. Yes, I’m talking from experience!

The rain didn’t dampen everyone’s spirits as those in rain gear and even those without danced in the stands to pass the time. You watch people act foolish or perhaps eat a bucket of wings and wash them down with some beer, if you’ve never waited out a rain delay eating ballpark food in a poncho don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. We all just have to make the most of it until they either call it or play ball! Your fingers are pruned and numb but you are there to see a game.

After what was a long delay (two and a half hours I believe) the tarp was finally removed. For those left in the stands we deserve a win, and a win is what we got in spectacular Josh Bell fashion with a home run into the Allegheny River! The Bucs went on to win 4-0.

The Bucs went in to win 2-of-3 in the series. Way to go Bucs. Now, on the road we go for #LateNightBUCN.

On a final note I have to mention that when I heard of Jameson’s surgery today like many I was shocked. Like many we all know someone touched by cancer. Please keep Jameson and his loved ones in your thoughts and prayers. #WeAreFamily

 

5/1

If you read any of my articles thus far, you know how much I love the game of baseball. My husband Joe, thankfully, enjoys the games although is not nearly the fan I am of baseball. Therefore, no surprise, when I found out the Cubs would be in town for our 25th wedding anniversary, there was no doubt that was where we were going to celebrate. Then my personal favorite player Gerrit Cole was pitching I didn’t think it could get better and with the major exception of getting the well-deserved win for Gerrit, it did.

Just prior to first pitch, we were notified of upgraded tickets in a suite. If you recall Tuesday April 25th was overcast and rain was a soft mist most of the day, much like our wedding day. So, an upgrade to a suite was very welcome news.

Earlier in the week we were chosen to participate in the “Box of Mystery.” For those of you who do not know what that is, well you need to partake in more ballgames. Anyway, it’s a game played between innings where you are asked a trivia question about Pittsburgh and if you get it correct, you win $100 in gift cards for the Majestic Store and if not you win a hat. Then you must decide what you want to do, keep the item you won or trade for what is in the big or small box of mystery. We got the question correct! Easy one though—what city the late great Arnold Palmer was from. We went for it… “go big or go home” my husband said.

Well, we traded gift cards for a lame trucker hat, thankfully it was our anniversary and they took pity on us and let us trade for the small box and we went home with an Adam Frazier (and another favorite of mine) autographed baseball. Funny thing, Joe told me not to worry, no one will recognize us. As we walked away and under the left field bleachers we get a thumb up and happy anniversary from a fellow fan. I just laughed, “yep no one will recognize us.” What a memorable experience.

We returned to our suite, which we shared with the other season ticket members graced with an upgrade experience from their ticket representatives. One was a Dad and his son, another Mom and son, two ladies who were more interested in the dessert cart in the next suite than the baseball game.

Then there was Rocky (a nickname I gave him), who looked like he had been a boxer in his early years, now probably mid-fifties, wearing a weathered ivy cap, dress shirt buttoned up, gray dress pants socks and leather strapped sandals. “Where you from,” he asked, “South Hills,” I replied, “you”? “North Side.” He answered. We had some idle chit chat, but for the most part when I am at the game, I’m all about the game. Do not stand up when there is a batter at the plate and please just wait for that pretzel when bases are loaded and we have two outs and Cutch is coming to the plate.

To me there is nothing better than beer, hotdogs, a slice of pizza and a great baseball game. There is something special about being there experiencing the smells, sounds, all of it. Well you know we went on to lose 1-0 to the Cubs, but all in all it was still quite a Suite Anniversary.

 

4/24

There’s nothing better to do on a Friday night after a long work week then taking the T over to the North Shore to feel the stress steadily leaving your body. There is a mixture of both Pirates and Yankees fans along Federal street, both unsure of what the game will bring.

Go through the gates of PNC Park, walk up the rotunda, taking in the amazing views of the city, smells of the park and settle into our seats. The Pirates will be paying respects to Dan Rooney this evening and the grounds crews are prepping the mound and behind the plate. On the pitching mound, a Steelers emblem is placed and behind the dish “Dan Rooney 1932-2017.” Well done, Pirates.

Baseball is so much more than just a game. When you go to the ballpark you are a part of something, it’s not only who wins or loses, although that is why we watch for the most part, but it’s all about the experience. I think back to the beginning of baseball when it was about getting all dolled up and wearing your Sunday best, men in sports coats and ladies in dresses that made it an event.

A young “trendy” couple sits next to us, he is well dressed down to his oxford wingtips, her dressed in a Yankees fitted sweatshirt but on point. The entire row behind us is empty, and will remain that way through the entire game. I cannot help but hear him throwing small jabs her way as the Pirates score on Jordy Mercer’s home run in the bottom of the first. He explained that they were both from Buffalo and she is a Yankee fan visiting, while he became a Pittsburgher and works at one of the hospitals here. He admitted he doesn’t know very much about the game, but enjoys coming to the ballpark. This became evident when he asked me if the song which began to play was the “mound song” for Freese. I asked, “you mean his walk-up song?” They laughed, “No,” I said. “That is just a song that is played when they approach the mound for a pow wow.”

This reminded me of the time I brought my Mom to the ballpark. I like to think that my love for the game is abso-BUCN-loutely contagious. Anyone who knows me knows I am always talking baseball and posting on social media, can’t help to see if you’re my friend. Mom began watching at home, she would ask what station the game was on. It turned out to be a true blessing later when she became ill and was laid up during the summer after heart surgery. She would look forward to game time to get her through, and even has a favorite player—Cervelli of course.

Once she was well enough we took our first trip to PNC Park. So used to watching on television, here we are sitting in this picturesque ballpark, I explain where everything is on the scoreboard and she says,” how do you know what base they are on? It’s not on the scoreboard?”

“Well, you look down at the bases.” I explain.

“Oh, well that makes sense, “she said with a laugh.

I’ll continue to welcome new fans to the ballpark I enjoy explaining the game, sharing my love and knowledge with them. Baseball has become my date nights with my husband and after 25 years of marriage (Tuesday, April 25th), its renewed our love for each other through another love of mine.

 

4/17

My name is Kim, and I’m addicted to baseball. I love to watch it, talk about it, debate it and share my love for it. As we all know, sometimes it’s not easy being a Pirates fan.

You can love the game, dislike management decisions, feel passionately about the performance or lack thereof, and still support and root for your team, that is a fan. Others find it more productive to troll Twitter and other social media to bash every decision made about everything usually without an intelligent argument for their side. Of course, these are the same people who will be at PNC Park holding the “Playing for Buctober” signs come mid-September.

It’s hard not to be sucked into the negativity especially when you are swept at home by a team that is not projected to do much this year, the Reds. Then we head out on the road, make up game versus Sox and a six-game trip against two division rivals.

Not to make light of any of the games at Wrigley, but I expected wins from Cole and Tallion if they pitch how we know they can we should get the win. When you put Glasnow, a pitcher who struggled up against arguably the Cubs best pitcher Arrieta, going down by four in the first inning, well let’s say you tend to not expect it.

First inning was tough, but Glasnow settled down and our bats came alive. As the saying goes, no lead is safe at Wrigley Field. Top of the second Cervelli homers, his second of the season, and Bucs are on the board. Top of the third Marte singles scoring Frazier and we are halfway there. So, your telling me there’s a chance? Bottom of the third felt a lot like the first, when Russell doubles leaving the Cubs up 6-2 over the Bucs. Top of the sixth, Marte home run off Arrieta was right in his sweet spot and gave us hope again. J-Hay follows his lead in the top of the seventh we are catching them. Hanson scores off Frazier’s single we are only down by one, this could really happen! Cutch comes to the plate battling like a warrior then finally, a thing of beauty home run putting us ahead of the Cubs and it’s 8-6 Pirates. Bryant homers off Watson in the ninth, but they hold them off for the win to #RaiseIt.

Pittsburgh in general loves to be the underdog. We love to be the blue collar “kick us when we’re down” mentality and we will not only get back up, but we will beat you into submission type of town. We play up so much better in every sport and unfortunately, we also tend to play down to teams we should easily beat. I think that is why we love our Bucs. They’re a perfect representation of our town. They know they may not have the flashy players with the giant payroll, but they can make the most of what they have, play their strengths and beat you at your own game. After the lackluster performance versus the Reds, our Pirates know we the fans really need it, what do they do, they go into Chicago and win not only one, but all three games. How sweep it is.

 

4/10

Remember when you were a kid in elementary school that last day before summer vacation? The anticipation of the final bell ringing and the freedom of summer rushing over you. That’s the feeling I get when I walk back into PNC Park on Opening Day. No, it didn’t matter it was 37 degrees, snowing, sleeting and miserable winds, it was that same freedom, the same rush knowing what may lay ahead of us.

I anticipated the crowd being smaller than last, with the weather forecast and the past season’s record less than mediocre. But the turnout was strong, the electricity, the diehard fans who just love the game, they were all there. When asked why they braved the weather, the overwhelming answer was “it’s Tradition.” This is Pittsburgh, we are a family, a band of Pirates rolling over the waves, our ups and our downs all the while together. You can feel it as you walk along Federal Street in a field of black and gold. Its arrived, baseball is back in the Burgh. The Renegades of the Rotunda took their places and the sleet and wind whipped around them creating a white out.

Grabbing a cold beer, we made our way to our seats. The city views as always are incredible, and notably the new out-of-town scoreboard in my opinion was a pleasant addition to the ballpark.

The first few innings were calm and allowed us to settle in. Bottom of the third, McCutchen is up, you can feel the crowd collectively hoping he can work that magic, and as if not to disappoint he hits a line drive single to left scoring Starling Marte and moving Bell to second, we are on the board.

Not to be outdone, Marte singles in the bottom of the fourth and Jordy Mercer makes it 2-0. These are our Pirates. The fifth inning which was such a thorn on Opening Day in Boston was our inning here at home, with back-to-back Freese and Cervelli home runs, there ain’t no stopping us now with a score of 4-1 Bucs. Although the Braves attempted to ruin our home opener festivities the Bucs held them off with at 5-4 win. Raise it!

As we exited the ballpark, jolly rogers waving and the smiles were evident on the faces of fans our boys of summer did their jobs and delivered a win on one of the coldest ballgames played at PNC Park. This is our team, these are our Pirates, a band of brothers who can make things happen when you believe. I will support them, I will root for them, this is our town, we are family.

 

4/2

‘Twas the night before the Opener and all through the Burgh,

Yinz could feel the excitement without saying a word.

The Buccos were in Boston all snug in their beds, while visions of a Pennant danced in their heads.

Morning dawns and awakens the true baseball fans, who gather their scorecards and gear in their hands.

You toss on your lucky cap and jump in the car, can’t be in Boston next best is a Pittsburgh Sports Bar.

You walk into the place and your fellow Bucco fans roar, the season has begun and we are hungry for more.

We are here for a mission for a treasure we seek, we train only for greatness our path beginning this week.

As Cole takes the mound and strikes out the side, Pirates fans are ready for one hell of a ride.

Marte’s bat is hot as he steps into the box, much to the dismay of the Boston Red Sox.

Beyond the Green Monster the ball it does fly, Erasing the sour taste of years gone by.

So raise a glass Bucco fans, it’ll be a great season,

It’s a Burgh thing and we love our sports for that reason.