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A year, and springtime

April 24, 2011

This is a blog post about the Pittsburgh Pirates, but it is also a blog post about the last year.

I have loved the Pirates since the first time I went through the Fort Pitt Tunnel in 1996, dangling out of the windows of Gero’s car and screaming fight songs and chants along with some imaginable song in my head. Ty hung out of one window, I hung out of the other, and somehow we balanced the car.

Ever since then — the first game I remember is a loss to the Florida Marlins in 1996 — I have rooted for the Pirates, from Greg Vaughn almost killing me to seeing Mark McGwire hit a homerun into a receding sunset the year he broke Maris’ record to meeting sportscaster Andrew Stockey (an alumn of Ohio University’s Honors Tutorial College, where I am a student) to watching Francisco Liriano put on one of the best pitching performances I have ever seen to seeing Barry Bonds fall down while being laughed at by 30,000 people to seeing Garrett Jones beat Tim Lincecum with two swings of his bat to seeing Pedro Alvarez and Andrew McCutchen demonstrate a new era of Pirate baseball.

I know this team isn’t good, and I know it isn’t going to be a contender immediately. But that doesn’t really matter. This is a team I have fallen in love with, be it with Charlie Morton’s not-always-on sinker to Cutch’s not-always-there ability to track a fly ball or Jose Tabata’s not-always-there ability to judge women. Sure, they aren’t perfect. But something feels different this year.

Somehow, this team feels like it is going to win baseball games. It is competing with the teams it should be competing with, but also doing things like taking three games out of four from the much-superior Cincinnati Reds on the road.

Maybe it means nothing, maybe it means everything. I don’t know.

It’s springtime. And that’s the beauty of it all.

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