Monday, September 9, 2013

Our Day at Busch Stadium



Disclaimer: This blog post is about the Pittsburgh Pirates, and as such, deals with themes of dissappointment, misery, and loss.


The author, aged 6.
Dear Baseball:

Please look at this  photo to the right. This is who you are hurting. Take a long look at the victim of your inhumane nature: a helpless boy, already condemned to a lifelong devotion to the Pittsburgh Pirates.  

That's me, aged six, clutching--in case you didn't notice, baseball, you sadistic bastard--a little kitten in my arms. 
                   -Aaron Brame


We saw the Pirates play the Cardinals at Busch Stadium this Saturday, September the 7th. I bought these tickets on July 10th, nearly two months ago, when the team was 54-36. That night I checked out their schedule, did a little extrapolating in my head, and came to the conclusion that they just might be approaching their 82nd win right around the time that they visited St. Louis in the first week of September. It was too tempting to pass up, and I got us the best seats I could. I had faith that something great could happen.

Over the next two months, the Pirates' win total continued to climb, more or less in accordance with my best wishes. They won their 70th game in early August, their their 75th two weeks later, then their 80th five days ago.  By a gift of chance, the team won their 81st game at Miller Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on the third of September, and my brother was in attendance. He texted me all night long from his seat down the third base line, and after the victory I got on twitter and annoyed all of my followers with mirthful tweets about this Pirates team's march toward a winning season.

Flash forward to this weekend.  The Pirates are sitting on an 81-59 record and are on the absolute precipice of guaranteeing a winning year.  What's more, Renee and I have tickets. We are poised to witness the end of a 20-year losing streak in person, one win after my brother saw them eliminate the possibility of a losing one. Satisfaction on a psychic level is just a day away. This was a chance for everything to work out better than anyone could have ever expected.

Except for one thing.  Renee had such a bad cold that we spent all day on Friday at a minor medical, where she was diagnosed with bronchitis.  When she sent me to the Walgreens for her medication, I came home with a brown paper baggie loaded down with six different kinds of medicine.  The bag was so big that it looked like I had picked up some Chinese take-out, not just gone to a drugstore.  But Renee chose to suck it up and make the trip anyway, because she is the best.

Early Saturday, we got up and hit 55 North to St. Louis for our four-hour journey, which we called the "Twenty Years of Misery" tour. We were celebrating the end of twenty years of misery by watching the Pirates win.

I could feel my heart beating in my chest, and my palms got sweaty against the steering wheel every time I thought about watching the Bucs celebrate their 82nd victory. I asked my wife to dial up some New Order on the iPod, as I hadn't heard it in a while.  Halfway through Substance, I realized we were listening to New Order because we were about to usher in in a new order--not only of Pittsburgh Pirates baseball, but of life in general. It was providence.

Siete Luminarias
"Renee," I said, "we've been through a lot of things in our thirteen years together. But this might be special in a different kind of way."

(Yes. I actually said that to her. That's not artistic license.)

We ate at Sietes Luminaries on Cherokee Street (very nice--check it out) and went record shopping. After checking in to our hotel room in Cahokia, Illinois, we made it to Busch Stadium and found our seats.

The Pirates lost, 5-0.

The Pirates lost terribly. They were three-hit by the Cardinals pitchers, primarily Adam Wainwright, whose curveball was untouchable. The only Pirate who made any contact was Andrew McCutchen, who went 2-4 with a double. Add on a 9th inning double by Jose Tabata, and you've got all of the Pirates offense right there.  Not only did I not see the Pirates win game #82, I was present for them to relinquish first place to the Cards. Pathetic.

Renee offered for us to stay for the Sunday afternoon game. My brother, via text, urged me to do the same.  But I couldn't take any more disappointment.  So we drove home the next day, keeping up with the last game of the series, which the Cardinals won 9-2.

The only good part of the night was when I sold my promotional Willie McGee replica jersey to a Cards fan for $20.

The Pirates are still sitting on win 81 tonight. They're in second place now, and dropping. This is where the story ends.  This is where baseball wins again.



Does this look amusing to you?





ADDENDUM: The Pirates won game #82 in Texas on September 9, 2013, beating Yu Darvish, of all people. Great job, Buccos!

6 comments:

  1. This reminds me of one of my favorite stories from the Ken Burns' Baseball series. Do you have Netflix? Check out the Tenth Inning, Part 2 around the 1 hour 10 minute mark. Sums it all up.

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    1. Hey! Been meaning to get back to you. I will check out this "Baseball" chapter. I remember watching hours and hours of it when it was on, but I'm not sure what exactly you are referring to. And I still love Nick Hornby, even though he can disappoint me.

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  2. I'm sorry for your loss. Even though I grew up in the STL area and was raised a Cards fan, I am pulling for Pittsburgh this year, just because it's nice to see an underdog win. I'd do the same for the Cubs if they could ever get it together. The Cardinals are a great, historied team, but they have had such an embarrassment of riches, it's almost like rooting for the Yankees at this point.

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    1. Hooray for the underdogs, especially this year's Pirates team! I can't wait for the playoffs.

      I've been to St. Louis twice this summer and want to go back soon. We Memphians go to Nashville all the time, but we neglect St. Louis, for some weird reason.

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  3. sad :( but at least Renee looks cute in that hat!!

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