Reporting Bob Allen
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Pittsburgh Pirates will take the field this afternoon looking to punch their ticket to the National League Championship Series.
Standing in their way are the division-rival St. Louis Cardinals, but it won’t exactly be a fair fight at PNC Park because the Pirates are playing with a 10th man – the 40,000-plus fans who have been waiting for a moment like this for over 20 years.
The fan support is not going unrecognized either.
“The fans, they were pretty loud and they wanted to win,” Francisco Liriano said after the Pirates’ 5-3 win in Game 3.
“It was impactful. It was as loud a crowd as I’ve heard and I’ve been to a lot of loud places,” manager Clint Hurdle said.
There is no doubt that the fan enthusiasm at PNC Park has been special.
“Some even compared it to being better than a Steelers game. So, it’s just nice to hear the fans and people, the excitement, the energy that everyone is back into watching the Pirates’ games more and more,” one man said.
For those lucky to have attended one of the playoff games, it’s been a memorable experience. It’s also the result of 20 years of losing.
“I’m so excited. I can’t stand it. I mean it’s a really, really terrific comeback over 20 years to finally come back to the city in that new stadium,” one fan said.
“I know my dad who’s in Heaven is beside himself. It couldn’t be any better than this,” one woman said.
However, the Bucs still have work to do. A win today would wrap up the NLDS and send the Cardinals packing.
“People are starting to believe. Everybody’s not sure until it happens. But, they’ve got heart that I never saw before,” one man said.
Charlie Morton will be on the mound for the Pirates today with the first pitch coming at 3:07 p.m.