PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The success of the Pittsburgh Pirates so far this season — they have been leading the division for several days now — is resulting in the phone ringing in the Pirates ticket office.
Cole Tucker is just one of several young Pirates that said during spring training they were out to surprise people.
“He could be the real thing,” Rick Bloom, of Mt Lebanon, said.
“These guys believe in themselves,” Pirates president Frank Coonelly said.
Bloom says the Pirates are doing exactly what they need to do to draw fans.
“They’ve got some good young talent, and it’s just fun to come out and watch them play,” Bloom said.
After Tucker homered in his debut game and doubled the next day, fans have quickly embraced him.
“They’ve welcomed me with open arms, and it feels so good to be here and it feels so good to be in first place and be in the big leagues in this locker room with my name on a jersey. It’s literally everything I’ve ever dreamed about,” Tucker said.
He’s quickly learned they are paying attention.
“It’s so cool, man. I went out to dinner last night and I got clapped into the restaurant. You know, these people really care about who is on their team and how their teams are doing,” Tucker said.
Coonelly says with the “Cole Train” running, Josh Bell blasting balls out of the park, Gregory Polanco back in the lineup and the best starting pitching lineup in the division, the Pirates are on a roll and fans are responding.
“We’re up over 10 percent both in terms of attendance and in terms of broadcast ratings as well,” Coonelly said.
In fact more than 200,000 tuned in on television for Monday night’s game, and the Bucs have been consistently in the top five in baseball for viewers.
Coonelly says while empty stands are typical across baseball in chilly April, the team needs the seats filled for more than just revenue.
“The players really feed off of our fans and a full PNC Park really brings energy and life for our players,” Coonelly said.