You never know what Opening Day in Pittsburgh is going to bring. This year it was freezing cold temperatures mixed with sunburned faces for those fortunate enough to have seats in the sunny sections. And, oh yes, a big Pirates win over the Cards. So it begins for the 2016 Opening Series against the team we Bucco fans love to hate, the St. Louis Cardinals.
First let me begin by giving a big shout out to MLB or the Pirates or whomever it was responsible for moving the game to a Sunday...a SUNDAY...so that most people wouldn't have to take a day or half-day off work to attend. Purchasing tickets was an expensive hassle as single game tickets for Pirates home openers haven't been available since the Pirates' first winning season in 20 freaking years, from 1993-2012 - aka "The Dark Ages."
Now we must pay for this winning team by having to purchase season opener tickets via Craig's List or StubHub, home of the "applicable service, deliver and transactional fees" that can amount to more than the ticket price, in some instances. But if that's the price you must pay to watch a winning team, so be it. And, to be sure, Sunday's game against the Cardinals was a sight worth paying exorbitant fees.
On the way in to PNC Park, my husband, aka Sports Boy, tells a group of red-wearing Cardinal fans that he has just two words for them about today's game: "David Freese."
Sitting high up in Section 332, we are indeed in Peanut Heaven, but oh-so-glad to a part of the action - especially after being in the park for last year's wildly disappointing Wild Card game. But on this day, when temperatures barely made it to 40 degrees, we are even more glad to be sitting in full, unfiltered, unadulterated, magnificent, glorious sunshine!
The game begins with the broadcaster announcing a moment of silence for those in the Pirates' family who are no longer with us. "Like Neil Walker," quips the woman sitting behind us in Row T. Oh, this is going to be a good game.
And it is, one that is kick-started by a much more mature but still only 15-years-old Jackie Evancho singing an ear-astonishing rendition of the Star Spangled Banner. Then, it's our very first RBI by our pitcher, Francisco Liriano. Are you kidding me? And, TEN, count 'em TEN strikeouts in six innings? And the fore-mentioned Freeze having two hits and making two good plays? Yes, thank you very much former World Series MVB for the Cardinals.
Then there are those the two wry middle-aged women sitting behind us. When Franscexy Cervelli is up at bat, the pair screams like teenage girls. When there's a stop in the action for a review, they yell out with abandon: "Hurry up, Ump! We got a Penguins game to go to at 5 o'clock!" Yup, these two Pittsburgh fans are clearly serious about their sports. It's a double header for the Opening day for the Pirates. And last home game for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Both win. The Pirates sweep. And it's hail to the City of Champions.
P.S. – Happy Birthday wishes to Jackie Evancho who turned Sweet 16 on April 9!