Pittsburgh Pirates fans don’t have to travel to Disney World to realize their dreams any longer. On Monday, the Pirates secured their 82nd win and clinched a winning season for the first time since 1992, when a young Barry Bonds was hitting bombs and swiping bases in the 'Burgh.
TSL warned you early on that the Pirates were coming. Now the Bucs are popping in Pa. again. Manager Clint Hurdle can’t even walk his kids to school without seeing Pirates gear plastered on every shorty in his hood.
"You could count the kids without Pirates gear on easier than you could count the kids who had Pirates gear on," Hurdle said."I asked the bus driver and he said, 'You have no idea. It's never been like this.'"
Twenty years of futility later (the longest consecutive losing-season streak in major professional North American sports) and the Pirates accomplished the feat the same way they've been winning all season—with timely hitting and gangster efforts from guys like rookie Gerrit Cole, who outdueled Texas Rangers' shutdown machine, Yu Darvis .
The older, scorned fan base is spreading that Pirates love, too. The Roberto Clemente Bridge which leads to the stadium resembles a pilgrimage before games with droves back on their proud Pirates flow. The North Shore bar and restaurant scene surrounding PNC Park has gone from “Baseball’s Saigon” to a live spot, and Pittsburgh should easily break the record of 19 sellouts in a season down the stretch.
The Pirates have little time to bask in yesterday’s accomplishments. They are in a dirty three-way battle for NL Central supremacy with St. Louis and Cincinnati, so to players like boss-basher Andrew McCutchen, slugger Pedro Alvarez and second baseman Neil Walker, it’s just a stepping stone to their larger goal of snatching World Series glory.