For New Pittsburgh Courier
MVP, MVP was the chant that I heard from the mouths of the PNC Park faithful every time Andrew McCutchen came up to bat in Sunday’s final game of the series between the Pirates and Miami Marlins. By the way, the Bucs swept the Marlins convincingly.
There were a few folks that even had the audacity to admit that they were “fly by nighters” ya know: those folks who only get behind the Pirates, Steelers or any other person, place or thing that generates a fair amount of notoriety based on a great deal of success. These are the same folks that will not try the new “bacon supreme” breakfast sandwich from Wendy’s unless they hear a testimonial from someone else.
My point is; in life as in sports there are always going to be two types of bees milling around your beehive. The “gonna bees” are the ones that will support you through thick and thin, hot or cold as well as good or bad times. The “wanna bees” are the shady, shaky, and scurrilous “supporters” that will pee on you when you are losing and swear to you that the warm and fuzzy liquid that you feel is actually a new flavor of “Snapple” that is exclusively being test marketed in your area.
My point is loyalty should not come and go like the seasons. When the brutal heat of July morphs into the bitter cold of December many folks have to adjust their wardrobe according to the weather because most of us do not have the financial wherewithal and freedom to hang out at a summer home in Toronto or a winter crib in the Bahamas.
When the Pirates, Steelers, Penguins or any of our other sports franchises are mired in a nasty losing streak we have to wear the sweater full of holes of defeat just as proudly as we wear the mink coat of success.
Have we so quickly forgotten that before the underdog Pirates won the 1960 World Series against the heavily favored New York Yankees, that the Bucs had not won any competition of substance in the previous 35 years? Before the historic homerun of Bill Mazeroski sealed the deal for the Pirates, the last time Pittsburgh had won a World Series was in 1925. After the highly unlikely series victory over the “Yanks,” Pittsburgh won again in 1971 and 1979. Considering the plight of the Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs, the fans of those cities must have concluded that the Pirates had to have been a franchise sent down from heaven. The Cubs won the Series in 1907 and 1908 but have not won a World Series in 103 years. The last time that the Cubs won anything, the miracle of the flight was still fresh off of the drawing board of Wilbur and Orrville Wright. Winning their last Series in 1918, it took the Red Sox 86 years until 2004 to win another championship prompting me to ask this question. In 1918 were they asking the great grandfather of “Big Papi” (David Ortiz) of the Red Sox the question, “Who’s yo daddy?”
From 1925-1979 the Pirates played in four World Series and won all four, you digg…Lean championship times around “Dahntawn” Pittsburgh have not been as thin as most of you have been led to believe. The Pirates during the past one hundred years did not have to worry too much about things such as salary caps, greedy agents or ex-GM/VP or player development/ bargain basement player marketing ace, Dave Littlefield.
Players did what they were told, when they were told and for all intents and purposes without any explanation being owed or forthcoming to them. Try that crap now! Try dictating anything to this bling-bling generation of athletes without an adequate or what they consider plausible explanation, yeah right.
Pittsburgh fans had better get on the baseball bandwagon because right now the only selling tool that any owner needs is to showcase a winning team with an anemic budget. Let me see, Charlotte, N.C., New Orleans, Oklahoma City, or Salt Lake City would snatch the Pirates quicker than you can say, “green weenie.”
There are people I have not heard from for a millennium now calling asking three questions. 1. “How is my mother doing?” I have to reluctantly inform them that the true light of my life went to join the ancestors on October 20, 1995. Question No. 2. is: “Can I get Pirate tickets?” My answer is always, heck yeah. Pregunta numero tres: “Will I get them Pirate tickets? My answer will now forever be heck no! Two years ago when loads of Pirates tickets were basically given away, folks politely refused my offer of “free” tickets to motivate participation in the African-American community. There was one instance in 2010 when I gave a certain church sixty tickets to attend a game and no one, not one of them redeemed one single ticket. Now get this, the same pastor called me two weeks ago and put in a very heartfelt and sincere request for tickets. I responded in a very warm and earnest tone of voice that I would be praying for him…to find a scalper that was reasonable. Now I lay me down to sleep…peace
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