Originally posted on The Sports Post  |  Last updated 7/10/13
I just recently went on a baseball trip to Pittsburgh and I’ve never seen the fans so excited about the Pirates. This was the fourth time going to PNC Park and the fans have never had this much to be excited about. The Pirates had the best record in baseball at the time (June 29) and the stadium was rocking. Pittsburgh has been mostly a Steelers and Penguins town since the Pirates haven’t been this good in years. Just about every fan in the stadium was wearing Pirates’ gear. In the past, I have seen several fans wear Steelers’ gear to the games. People were lined up an hour before the gates opened to go in. It was near a sell-out and the same was the case for the game the following day. Every time the Pirates’ scored (and they scored 10 times on the 29th), the fans went crazy. The Pirates are usually the team that other teams in the N.L. Central beat up on, especially the Brewers. The Brewers used to own the Pirates during the regular season, especially at PNC Park. Now the shoe’s on the other foot. The Brewers are struggling badly (I know, because I’m a Brewers fan) and the Pirates are fighting for first place. The Pirates used to be the team that sold their players at the trade deadline. Fans used to pray for football season to start. The stadium used to be half empty. Now they have a legit team to be excited about with four All-Stars named to the N.L. All-Star team. This is the first time in years that they have a chance to win it all. Now they hope to avoid the dreaded collapse that they’ve suffered the past few years. The usual suspects are producing for them, like Andrew McCutchen and A.J. Burnett, but guys like Pedro Alvarez, Jeff Locke, Gerrit Cole, Jason Grilli and several others are having career years. Cole was put in the rotation in June and is 4-2. Locke is 8-2 with a 2.15 ERA. Grilli, who’s serving as a closer for the first time in his career, has 28 saves. Alvarez has 23 homers and 58 RBI. The Pirates have never had this type of production from the entire team before. The staff has a 3.12 ERA and one of the best bullpens in baseball. As long as they avoid the collapse, the fans will continue to be excited, and good for them, it’s been 21 years since they last made the playoffs.   By: Joe Kleiber Twitter: @Chibeman
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