Reporting John Shumway
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — As Alex Presley’s seeing-eye single made its way into left field and Russell Martin scored the winning run Tuesday evening, you could see it on the faces of the Pirates – fun.
“That’s most important for me, to have fun on the team during something bad, good, whatever. I’m happy. I’m having fun,” said Pirates’ left fielder Starling Marte.
But the Bucs don’t need moments like that to enjoy the on- and off-field chemistry of the 2013 Pirates.
“Guys are pulling for each other; nobody cares who gets the credit. Different guys are chipping in. Every night seems like somebody else is coming through in the clutch. Everybody’s happy for everybody else,” said Pirates’ second baseman Neil Walker. “The egos are out the door with this team.”
Night after night, win after win, and sometimes even in defeat, these Pirates are enjoying the ride.
“We’re having a blast, winning is always fun. Even on the down nights this group is so tight in here,” said Pirates’ relief pitcher Tony Watson. “The chemistry is tight that you know we’re having a blast, and day in and day out it’s exciting to come to clubhouse, come to the park every day. Everybody’s feeding off one another and pulling for one another and we’re having a blast.”
Oh, and don’t expect to hear these guys spending much time talking about leading the division.
“That’s not even in our minds,” added Walker. “There’s way too much baseball yet to be played. We know where we are as a team; we know how well we’ve played. We deserve to be where we are right now, but there’s still a lot of baseball to be played. There’s two months left, talk to me maybe in late September.”
Meanwhile, fans are buying up game tickets. On the phone, online or in person, there’s no guarantee that what you want is available.
“I didn’t get like super great seats, but it wasn’t a big deal. I just go for the atmosphere,” said one fan.
And a winning team is sending more and more fans in search of the proper attire.
“Probably a jersey for a couple of the kids, couple of hats, things like that,” said fan Mark Tusznski, of Montour. “Whatever memorabilia we can find.”
These Pirates are making new fans, and enticing the long-suffering fans to open their wallets again.
“Actually, I’ve been a Pirates fan since I was a kid, so I’ve got some stuff at home,” said Mike Clarkin, of Oakdale. “It just don’t fit no more.”
“It’s been so much fun to see all this merchandise fly off the shelves and get this abundance of merchandise into the store,” said Chelsea Hamilton, of Dick’s Sporting Goods merchandising.