What is better than baseball, barbecues with family and bombs bursting in air? No we are not talking about every morning when George Washington Connell wakes up. We are speaking about this past Fourth of July weekend.
I went to my first Pittsburgh Pirates game in over a year on Thursday night against the Arizona D-Backs; what a beautiful night it was! It truly could not be any better. If you ever go to PNC Park, I suggest parking in Station Square and taking the Gateway Clipper Fleet over to the ballpark. The breathtaking views of Point State Park, the Golden Triangle, and the City of Bridges is worth the price of admission. Just do not drink the water in the Monongahela, Allegheny or the Ohio Rivers…you will never be the same.
The Pirates had the chance to sweep the D-Backs and the brooms were abound in the park. As I sat their with my Iron City Light and my Primanti Bros. sandwich I knew the evening was going to be a special one. Vance, “the Vanimal” Worley had a perfect game through five innings and was looking sharp. A walk in the top of the 6th split that up and then shortly after a hit and three run homerun erased a 2-0 Pirates lead.
The Buccos played well into the 8th and kept the score close at 4-2, until our new “closer” Ernesto Frieri came into the game…. Let us say it straight, I left the ball park after he gave up the 6th run to Arizona. We got back on the Clipper and by the time we landed on the South Side it was 10-2…the Buccos had once again, for the 7th time, failed to sweep a series.
Then the floundering Fightin’ Phills came into town. A special 5:05 4th of July game greeted us on Friday and then the traditional Saturday and Sunday games. As I listened to all of the game on 93.7FM The Fan, I heard the Pirates play great ball (which is surprising to say) against the cross Commonwealth Rivals.
Friday: The Buccos bounded the Phills 8-2. As you can tell the fireworks were not just made by Zambelli (the Pittsburgh Firework Institution and nationwide providers). After the Bucs batted around in the first inning the Phills had nothing. MLB NL June Player of the Month, Andrew McCutchen was a homerun shy of the cycle. Of note, the Pirates had Red, White and Blue foul lines for the game. A nice touch I have to say.
Saturday; A close one, Bucs win 3-2. A close game the whole way through; the wild Edinson Volquez, allowed one run through 7 innings after he was told to slow down his mechanics as he went through his pitching motion. What made the game close was in the top of the ninth, ex-Pirates Marlon Byrd came up against closer mark Melancon and smacked a solo homer, bringing the score 3-2. That was all Melancon gave up and the Bucs had taken two of two.
Sunday: Bring out the Brooms, the Pirates Sweep the Phillies 6-2. A close game the whole way till the 8th inning; where Batman, AJ Burnett went up against his Robin, Jeff Locke. Before his first pitches, the ex-Buc, Burnett was taken aback by the warm reception and video tribute the Pirates gave to the man that helped take the Pirates to the playoffs in over 21 years. From the there the pleasantries went away and the pirates were in business. Locke threw 8 innings of solid, two earned run baseball (the unearned run came from Pedro “El Toro” Alvarez, who decided the baseball was more deserving to the fans in the stands, then to first basemen Ike Davis for the 2nd out of the inning: his 18th error of the season!!!!!!!) and gave up a solo homer to Marlon Bryd, the Pirate Killer. In the Bottom of the 8th, the Pirates scored three runs and solidified the series sweep. The Jolly Roger was raised and they were on their way to face the Red Birds in St. Louis.
Before last night’s game, the Pirates were a seasons best 47-71 and the Phillies were 37-51. Here’s to hoping we play the Phills some more and that we keep playing good baseball. Congrats as well to the All-Stars for each team. Philadelphia: Chase Utley, Pirates: Andrew McCutchen, Tony Watson and Super utility man Josh Harrison.
Here’s to everyone and hoping you had a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July weekend. Thank you to those who have served and allowed us to enjoy fun, freedom, friendship, baseball and this great country we call home. Without them, this Blog or United States of America would not be what it is today.
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I am Jarred S. Barnes and I approve this message.