You've got to love the Pittsburgh Pirates!
This beaten-down, sad-sack baseball franchise, which hasn't tasted post-season glory of any kind since 1992, has played well enough this season to contend for a division crown and a way back into the playoffs.
|Neil Walker #18 of the Pittsburgh Pirates hits a sacrifice ball to left field scoring Starling Marte in the ninth inning on Sunday.
Who wouldn't love to see the Buccos take on the powerful New York Yankees in the World Series (OK, full confession: I am a Yankee fan, and I'd be content to see my team playing the Pluto Tigers in the Fall Classic, if it ensured that the Yankees had a place).
So far, the good people of western Pennsylvania, accustomed to championship success with the football Steelers and even the hockey Penguins, have forgotten their stance of cautious optimism and gone all in.
It's nice to see that gleaming Pittsburgh home ballpark filling up, game after game, with both optimistic kids and wise old fans, who can tell us what it was like to watch Roberto Clemente and Willie Stargell and the other players from those Lumber Club squads bashing the ball in their prime.
Pitttsburgh has a special place in the annals of professional American team sports. It introduced the concept of the Terrible Towel, the ceremonial piece of cloth waved around old Three Rivers Stadium, beginning when the Steelers started getting very good back in 1972. These folks have a lot of spunk and plenty of spirit. No wonder the Steelers went on from there to win six Super Bowl title games over the next 40 NFL seasons.
Now, it's the turn of the plucky Pirates. The team has no real household names, though young Andrew McCutchen is having a Most Valuable Player-caliber season right now. He is powering the Pirates to dizzying heights the team hasn't seen since the 1992 season.
I don't know about you. But I'm rooting for these Buccos to win their division. It's about time. Pittsburgh deserves to be rewarded.
Jon Friedman writes the Media Web column for MarketWatch.com. Click here to read his latest column. He is also the author of "Forget About Today: Bob Dylan's Genius for (Re)invention, Shunning the Naysayers and Creating a Personal Revolution," which Penguin will publish Aug. 7. Read more reports from Jon Friedman — Click Here Now.
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