PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It was the “out” call heard around the National League.
The Pirates not only won the game in Chicago, but the Washington Nationals lost to the Saint Louis Cardinals. The combination secured the Pirates a spot in the playoffs for the first time in 21 years.
To celebrate, the Pirates brought out the champagne as well as their new post-season hats and tee-shirts in the Cubs’ visitors’ locker room Monday night.
The morning after, fans got into the act, buying up those same hats and tee-shirts at PNC Park.
“It’s great,” said fan Rich McKee. “I grew up when they were great back in the ‘60s and ‘70s, and it’s great to see them nowadays.”
The first 2,000 tee-shirts and hats began disappearing quickly from the racks.
“I went and got two; and then I got a text, I have to get more… three more,” said fan Julie Cooper.
Pirates President Frank Coonelly and others worked hard to put this team together.
“Russell Martin coming in here changed the character of the team; before that A.J. Burnett coming in here with his grit, determination and competitiveness,” said Coonelly.
With a 90-67 record, the Bucs still have a shot at winning the division over the last five games.
Coonelly gives much of the credit to the fans.
“They’ve been with us, engaged on every pitch, here in record numbers,” said Coonelly. “Twenty-three sellouts is a record for the Pittsburgh Pirates.”
Fans think it’s a good sign that the glory days are back.
“I have a 29-year-old son who doesn’t remember them ever winning,” added fan Rick Foust. “And I grew up in the ‘70s, it means a lot.”
“They’re going to go all the way,” said one fan.
Of course, this is only the beginning, the next step is the Division Championship followed by the National League Series Championship, and then it’s on to the World Series.
One thing is for sure we know the fans will be there.