My brother and I are out on our annual trek to Pittsburgh. Here are some roughly chronological notes:
We pitstopped on our drive across I-70 at the Ohio Valley Mall in St. Clairsville. We noticed as we walked into a number of stores the lack of Pirate related items. Steelers, Pitt, Penguins, WVA, OSU, but not much for the Buccos. Why doesn’t this team market itself better. It is a major league franchise for crying out loud.
We did our normal thing – checked into the Renaissance Hotel and ate at the pizza place three doors up the street. We got to the park well in advance of game time, as normal. And we checked out all the stores. I am still amazed at how poorly the Pirates market themselves. I am, admittedly, a very, very big Bucco fan. But, there was nothing that I saw that I had to have. I don’t know why the team only has shirts for Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell and Bill Mazeroski. Why not other stars – Dave Parker, Al Oliver, Manny Sanguillen and/or John Candelaria? The only shirt that I saw that I was genuinely interested in was the free long sleeve tee that you could get by signing up for a credit card. So, I did something I never do – I signed up for a credit card – and walked away with the object of my desire.
Tonight was Tom Gorzelanny bobblehead night. Doesn’t look bad. But, not too many people wanted them. Several were left behind in the stadium and the sax player who stations himself on the Clemente Bridge was left several bobbleheads instead of cash.
Attendance was respectable. But, there were a lot of Phillies fans in attendance. I’d say 30 to 40 percent of the crowd was rooting for the visitors.
With Matt Morris starting, before the game I wondered out loud to my brother which number would be higher: number of runs given up or number of outs recorded. Unfortunately, it was the number of outs recorded. When he was pulled, he was roundly booed by the handful of Pirate fans that were on hand. I refrained from booing. In the first inning, my brother started to do his “TV news anchor on election night routine”: with 5% of the precincts reporting, we are projecting a Phillies victory…
Ryan Howard’s routine when batting is to pause just before the pitcher winds up with only his right hand on the bat and the bat slightly pointed toward the mound. My idea was to quick pitch him. I said this and he homered off Morris on the next pitch.
I don’t know if the radar gun wasn’t working or if they turned it off because of Morris’ lack of velocity. Either way, there were no radar reports on the scoreboard.
I was dismayed that the “It’s time to shoot some hot dogs” jingle is not being used this year. It was very catchy and kitschy. On the bright side, we sat just up the 3rd base line from home and the lemonade vendor that we have come to grow fond of is still employed and still screeching, “Lemonaaaaaaade!” I also think the addition of “PNC Idol” is a good one.
My brother was shocked that Doug Mientkiewicz started at third. He said if he made the All-Star team as a third baseman that he’d name his first born Mientkiewicz. I have to say, he made all the plays. He didn’t look bad at all. Plus, he plays with his socks high.
Adam LaRoche comes to bat while the song “You’re the Best” by Phil Esposito off the Karate Kid soundtrack is played. If anyone hasn’t seen Karate Kid, you must see it immediately. Great movie, but also good for some unintentional laughs.
Most random Phillies jersey from tonight – Sal Fasano. As my brother said, “That’s the most random visiting team jersey I’ve ever seen.” I would’ve expected to see a Bake McBride or Gary Mathews jersey before a Fasano. He played in just 50 games with the Phillies.
This will be my 9th trip to Pittsburgh to watch a pair of games. In those 9 trips, I have yet to see the Bucs win both games. We’ll be back for tomorrow’s matinee.