WASHINGTON, D.C.—Big patches of black and gold were sprinkled throughout a sea of red and grey, as Pittsburgh Pirates’ fans showed their true colors in the nation’s capital, while helping spur the young Battling Buccos on to a thrilling 4-2 victory over the Washington Nationals, July 24.
The atmosphere at Nationals Park on this recent evening was that of Pirates Pennant fever, as throngs of Pittsburgh fans invaded South Capitol Street as the second-place Buccos held on to nip the Nats. Pitcher Francisco Lariano failed to disappoint, as he notched his 10th victory in a pitcher’s dual with young phenom Stephen Strasburg.
Wilkinsburg native Walter Reid exemplified the wave of Pittsburgh fans and their strong attendance during the mid-week contest. Reid proudly waved his “Terrible Towel” as he blended Steelers pride with current Pirates success. “We already got six and now we’re ready for the National League playoffs,” said Reid, as he egged-on several Nationals fans in the centerfield stands, while referring to the Steelers six Super Bowl titles.
It’s estimated that nearly half of the more than 38,000 folks in attendance were Pittsburgh fans.
When Lariano was relieved in the 7th inning after a stellar performance —while keeping Nats batters hitless through six innings—the Pittsburgh faithfuls gave the pitcher a rousing standing ovation. Two years ago, Lariano pitched a no-hitter with the Minnesota Twins. The festive, warm-evening contest, provided an ambiance as if Pittsburgh was the home team—not the Nationals.
Although the Bucs would lose the final game of the four-game series with the Nats, they entered the final weekend of July with a 60-40 record—a whopping 20 games over .500.
Pennant fever is not only back in Pittsburgh, it’s spreading throughout the nation. A colleague of mine recently visited Indianapolis on business. He was pleasantly surprised by the joyous response he received from several restaurant customers and employees as he proudly wore his Pirates cap.
So, we’re hoping the Buccos can hold on and maintain their grip in the National League Central Division along with the St. Louis Cardinals and at least get into the 2013 NL Playoffs this fall.
“Here we go Pirates, Here we go!”