There’s probably not a better occasion to revive the blog here. This evening in Texas, the Pittsburgh Pirates secured win number 82 on the season, ensuring their first winning season since 1992. Many of you that read this don’t care about that. Many of you might.
Sports are often times scrutinized, rightly, for being too large a part of the American diet. We consume sports more than ever. However, the emotions we have regarding sports often stem from childhood memories. Probably more than any other sports event in Pittsburgh history, #82 means the most to me.
It was October of 1992. I was in Catholic elementary school. I lived with my mother and grandparents at the time. My ‘pap’ was basically my best friend then. I picked up some bad habits like drinking too much pop and eating Pop-Tarts with him, but we spent countless nights in the game room. The game room was legendary. A small, smoke filled basement with a worn La-Z-Boy recliner perfectly placed in the corner. It angled right towards the TV, with a 25 gallon aquarium built flush into the wall right beside it. I normally had to feed the fish. His home-made cardboard and lauan plywood shelves displayed his beer can collection that started during his time serving in World War II. I still display them to this day, proudly, in my own game room. Our favorite past time while watching Pirates games on TV was to play our own style of baseball. Bowling figurine baseball. See, my pap loved his beer-league bowling buddies. They gave each other funny trophies of sorts each season. If you need a visual, they were exactly like this:
There were enough to field 8 guys in the field [the game room carpet]. We had made up names for two rosters. Ping pong balls and a 1950’s wooden toy chest created the action. I whipped the ping pong balls at the toy chest at various speeds and angles. If it hit a figurine, its an out. If not, then score as necessary. The proportions were perfect, see, because a fake fireplace sat in the rear of the outfield. Make it in the fireplace, ground rule double. Hit above the mantle? Home run. Knock a beer can over? Automatic out. Can’t risk denting the beer cans.
We sat that night in October of 1992 playing just another game of bowling-figurine baseball when Sid Bream slid in to home and shattered my heart. The Pirates haven’t been winners since. Until tonight.
PS- Today, Sid Bream and I sit in the same row in church most Sundays.
Lets go Bucs.