Friday, May 18, 2007

Being a fan

I've been wanting to post on this for a bit, but I finally got some motivation reading Dejan's Q&A today, as well as Cory and Rowdy's responses to it.

Here's the deal. I am a huge Pirate fan. You probably guessed that, as anyone that can keep a blog going for two years and almost 2,000 posts about such a bad baseball team would have to be. I love baseball, I have for as long as I can remember. And I've been a Pirate fan for just as long. In fact, despite the fact that I just graduated from Duquesne with a BS in biochemistry and am going to grad school in the same field in the fall, the first thing most of my friends and family (even the friends I've made in the same major as me at Duquesne) think of when they think of me is the Pirates. Perhaps this means I am in the wrong field. I tend to think that it just means that I like baseball a whole lot.

But here's the thing. I know I'm unique. Last night with the season finales of The Office and Scrubs on, I still had a laptop open with the Giants and Astros playing on so that I could watch Roy Oswalt and Tim Lincecum go at it (how did we draft Lincoln ahead of Lincecum last year... but that's a different post). I didn't do it so that I could write about it for the Fanhouse, I did it because I was honestly excited by the pitching matchup. When both pitchers dominated, I was thrilled. Most people find a 1-1 game after nine innings boring, but I love it. I realize that I'm pretty unique. Maybe not among the people that read this blog, but among the general population. When I spent the last two summers in Pittsburgh, I went to probably 20 Pirates games each season. I didn't go to 20 games with one other person. I went with a various collection of people- I was the only constant.

But I get it. When people tell me that they're sick of the Pirates and they just can't muster up the heart to go to the ballpark any more, I don't ask why. It's obvious why. The Pirates are a soul-sucking mess. I'm not saying that to be funny or dramatic or superfluous. I mean it because it's absolutely true. There are nights when after watching the Pirates or being at PNC, I am physically and mentally drained. Games like this one inevitably lead to hour long phone calls or conversations with my dad about how hard it is to watch the Pirates. People are sick of it and I can understand that.

The Pirates are not lovable losers. They are not the Chicago Cubs. They have a proud history. Every single kid my age that grew up in Western PA watched Andy Van Slyke, Barry Bonds, Doug Drabek, and company go to the playoffs three years in a row while listening to stories from our dads about Roberto Clemente and Willie Stargell and the magical 1979 Pirates. A champion Pirate team is not some kind of strange and mythical beast that may or may not have existed. The 1979 DVD collection is staring at me as I type this. It is a real and tangible thing. It is achievable here in Pittsburgh right now, in 2007. But choices have been made through no fault of our own to keep the Pirates from adding to that legacy. If people want to stop going, how can anyone blame them?