Home team bias aside, yesterday was a phenomenal playoff game. A short list of reasons:
- A no-hitter into the 8th
- A no-hitter into the 8th by a rookie
- An emerging October superstar breaking it up with a mammoth HR
- A team getting their 1st hit in the 8th still in the game
- A team with their 1st hit in the 8th still in an elimination game
- A runner on in the bottom of the 9th in a 1-run elimination game
- A runner on with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th in a 1-run elimination game
- The probable league MVP representing the winning run with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th in an elimination game
That’s quite a list. The fact that the Pirates ended up on the losing side of this matters – don’t get me wrong. It would have been much more fun to write this after Cutch hit the ball over the fence.
But the playoffs don’t usually work that way. The playoffs usually seem to work a lot like life does. Our greatest dreams as fans don’t typically come true. In fact, much more often than not, teams lose. Only one of ten playoff teams actually finish the season with a win. That means roughly 90% of the baseball fans that are lucky enough to still care in October end up disappointed. Odd are, we’ll be disappointed, too.
Sound a little fatalistic? Maybe. But that’s why yesterday just adds fuel to the fan fire. If the Pirates won and we were just watching the calendar until the Dodgers series, we’d be left watching secondary teams vying for the AL side of things and chatting up nonsense on message boards and twitter.
With Wacha’s masterpiece and McCutchen’s pop-up, we get another hand-wringing, nail-chewing, heart-pounding night on the couch on Wednesday. What else gets us baseball fans this worked up?
And if Pirates win on Wednesday… Gerrit Cole will be one of the heroes. Gerrit Cole, less than 2 years out of UCLA, an $8M #1 pick; a man whose 120 innings of MLB experience is being picked over AJ Burnett’s 150 wins of MLB experience for the biggest Pirates baseball game of the last 20 years. (Yeah – that’s happening…)
And if the Pirates win on Wednesday… They’ll spill champagne all over the visiting clubhouse in front of the entitled, spoiled, and altogether passionless Cardinals fans: The fans that have littered the internet with unbelievable amounts of homophobic, violent, anti-Pittsburgh venom; the fans making fun of Pittsburgh because PNC PArk is really loud during playoff games; the fans supported by a mascot committed to poisoning our children and keeping the working class without healthcare or a livable wage.
Yesterday was hard. But there’s a decent chance that it’ll just be a memorable footnote underneath the legend the 2013 Pirates are continuing to write.