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Pirates

Colin Dunlap: Pirates Earned Every Right To Celebrate

By: Colin Dunlap
Gaby Sanchez #17 of the Pittsburgh Pirates (L) hugs teammate Andrew McCutchen #22 as they celebrate after defeating the Chicago Cubs 2-1 to clinch a National League wild card berth at Wrigley Field on September 23, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. The playoff berth is the first for the Pirates in 21 years. (Photo by Brian Kersey/Getty Images)

Gaby Sanchez #17 of the Pittsburgh Pirates (L) hugs teammate Andrew McCutchen #22 as they celebrate after defeating the Chicago Cubs 2-1 to clinch a National League wild card berth at Wrigley Field on September 23, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. The playoff berth is the first for the Pirates in 21 years. (Photo by Brian Kersey/Getty Images)

dunlap-head-shot Colin Dunlap
Weeknights, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Colin grew up in Sharpsburg and...
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The lengths people will go to.

Seriously, the miserableness of some in this town never, ever, ceases to amaze me.

How about you? Crazy isn’t it, huh?

After the Pirates clinched a spot in the postseason with a 2-1 victory against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on Monday night, the squad huddled inside the cramped visiting clubhouse to await their playoff fate.

When it became apparent the Pirates had earned a spot in the postseason (in the one-game Wild Card, at the very least) the room roared.

Champagne was popped.

Beer was chugged.

Men hugged, hollered and screamed.

The place flipped into pandemonium. It was one huge Bucco bash.

And it should have been — according to most.

It should have been — according to me.

There is absolutely, positively, no doubt about it. These Pirates earned the right to go stupid, to lose themselves in the moment for a little while.

As always, however, there needed to be a few parade-rainers. Pittsburgh wouldn’t be Pittsburgh without the parade-rainers.

Among the most notable of the parade-rainers was a tweet that read, as follows:

1. “Congratulations to the Pittsburgh Pirates! You had a chance to cut the division lead to one game and you didn’t!”

What an asinine, dim, narrow-minded statement. What’s the proper Twitter lingo? Troll. Yes, that is it — a troll.

If the twitterer was attempting to look foolish, he accomplished his mission.

But here is the thing, it wasn’t the lone statement within the Twittersphere critical of the celebration undertaken by the long-suffering Pittsburgh Pirates, who finally stepped from the shadows cast overtop this franchise since Sid Bream slid across that plate in 1992.

There were plenty. And they were all, every single one of them, off-base.

But they weren’t the only ones. The Reds got into the act.

See, the Reds also clinched a playoff berth on Monday and there was no celebration from those guys who have made the playoffs the past three of four seasons.

The Reds were, apparently, above all the celebration this time. No cigars, no champagne, none of it.

Cincinnati second baseman Brandon Phillips, generally enemy No. 1 here in Pittsburgh said, “Hell no! You celebrate clinching a one-game playoff and then lose, you look stupid.”

There was more, however.

Reds manager Dusty Baker told USA Today, of not celebrating: “We’re looking to win the division, the wild card is consolation. We’ve got a chance to still take the division. I think these guys want it.”

But the Pirates are a unlike the Reds. This is a franchise that hadn’t had a winning season —- let alone secured a playoff berth — since 1992. A franchise that had been through countless, mainly self-inflicted, blunders in a two-decades long trudge through summers that always seemed to have a familiar refrain.

Any top-end player the Pirates cultivated would end up being shipped away and any equity built up by any early-season wins would eventually be frittered away by an endless traipse through losses after the All-Star Break.

That’s just the way it seemed to always happen. But not this time; not in 2013.

These Pirates, in game 157, finally put that all to bed — at least to some degree.

So you know what they did? They celebrated. The men on this Pirates team —- who play a game for a living —- were excited and acted like it. There wasn’t one ounce of phoniness about the merriment.

It couldn’t have been more perfect because, at least in my view, that’s what you do — you celebrate when the time calls for it.

Ask yourself, how could this time not have called for such a celebration? This wasn’t just the Pirates celebrating the accomplishments within that clubhouse, but a projection outward to the fans of the franchise who stuck with them through all the pitfalls and difficulties of the past two decades. It felt as if the Pirates, in the throes of that revelry, were just as excited for you the fans as they were for themselves.

There is this crazy notion that has been pushed forward by some that the Pirates should have subscribed to that antiquated, crusty, get-off-my-lawn axiom and should have acted like they had been there before.

No they shouldn’t. Know why? Because they hadn’t been there before.

This was all new to these guys and they got it exactly right.

It was time for a party.

Colin Dunlap is a featured columnist at CBSPittsburgh.com. He can also be heard weeknights from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Sports Radio 93-7 “The Fan.” You can e-mail him at colin.dunlap@cbsradio.com. Check out his bio here.

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