Listen, I get it. It’s been a long 21 years waiting for the Pirates to return to .500 and the playoffs. And they’re in the Wild Card playoff game, not even in the divisional series yet. The Steelers have divisional games for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
But this shit? This is completely unacceptable.
This isn’t 1995-96 when the Steelers where in the Super Bowl and the Buccos were putting players like Zane Smith and Clint Sodowsky on the mound. This isn’t Operation Shutdown. This isn’t losing 100 games in a single season. This isn’t 1996-2004 when the only Pirates jersey people bought for current players had the name “Kendall” stitched on the back. (Fine, maybe some of you bought Brian Giles jerseys.) But for the most part, casual Pittsburgh Pirates fans bought shirts with the names Clemente and Stargell on them since they were safe from disappointment. Pittsburgh faithful could wear their Ward, Roethlisberger, Bettis and Polamalu jerseys to PNC Park and not feel any shame because hey, those were the good guys. They not only had winning seasons, they won multiple championships. So why not put their name on a Pirates jersey too? Why, there is no one on the Pirates worth noting, is there?
Except for players like Andrew McCutchen, Starling Marte, Jason Grilli, Francisco Liriano, A.J. Burnett, Neil Walker, Russell Martin and Justin Morneau.
Pittsburgh fans have rightfully earned a powerful, every-away-game-is-a-home-game-for-the-Steelers reputation over the past two decades of Pirates futility. They’ve also sadly earned a poor reputation among Pirate and Penguin fans as being the bullies of the Steel City, waving their Terrible Towels during important hockey games, including the two recent Stanley Cup appearances. Sure, it’s heartwarming to see Sidney Crosby take the ice and wave the iconic yellow terrycloth for the Steelers during the playoffs, but wouldn’t it be nice to great him with the same respect for his team? For the Pirates as they take the field tonight?
This isn’t (entirely) about the 0-4 start to the 2013 season, Steelers fans, but the slow it certainly isn’t helping things either. It’s about recognizing the city has more than just your stars out there playing for the Black and Gold. It’s time you gave them your respect too.
Because this? This isn’t cool. The Pirates are winning now.
Photos from Pirates-Padres August 21, 2013 at Petco Park.