Buckle up

As the ball skipped in the dirt, my heart skipped a beat. The sinking feeling that I knew all too well was returning deep inside my stomach. As Matt Capps walked a second batter, I knew we were in trouble. After years of watching the Pirates invent new methods of losing baseball games, my eye has become pretty adept at spotting disaster on the horizon. Matt Capps being unable to find the strike zone was clearly an ominous sign. Two batters later, Brian McCann lifted one softly to shallow left-center. I had allowed my hopes to lift for a just a moment, when I heard Greg Brown declare that this should end the game. I immediately felt my stomach drop. I smelled a problem.
When the ball fell harmlessly to the Atlanta grass, allowing the Braves to tie the game, I did not react for a second. Then I leaned back in my chair and laughed. The laughter masked the pain and anger that I could no longer muster. In the past 15 years, I have slapped my forehead in disbelief countless times. On this night, I simply took another drink and managed a small smile. If you want to be a part of this team, you have to buckle up from the start. This trip is not for the faint-hearted, not for the mentally weak. We must weather the storms and prepare ourselves for experiences that any normal man or woman could not possibly withstand.
When Xavier Nadys line drive cleared the right field fence, reestablishing the Pirate lead, emotion returned. With an exuberant pump of my fist and a youthful cry of joy, the celebration began. Obviously, the bottom of the inning would be perilous. However, as fans of the Pittsburgh Pirates, we are unfazed. You think you can show us something? We have already seen it. We have seen something ten times worse. We are strong, resilient men and women. If you think a crucial misplayed pop fly or blown five-run lead can defeat us, then you have no idea what you are up against. We have made gaffes and blunders that you have only seen in your nightmares. We are the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Buckle up, folks. There are 161 more of these to go.


One Response to “Buckle up”

  1. Aaron Benedict Says:

    On our way to 162-0 I hope we have some laughers along the way… 😉

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