It took over half the season, but I finally made it to a Pirates game. I've got to take this moment, I suppose, to thank my dad for the best tickets I think I've ever had. Section 22, Row F which is on top of the home dugout. Three yards closer, and I'm actually on the field. So that was nice. The only disappointing thing about sitting that close is that you're more or less forced to watch Craig Wilson not play throughout the entirety of the game. Still, disregarding how incredibly humid it was, here's some observations:
1. While seats on top of the home dugout are great, it's also a bit unnerving any time a lefty is up, as I was more or less convinced I was probably taking a foul ball to the face. Luckily, not so much.
2. If, for some reason, you think that Bay probably could have had a triple rather than a double, shouting it as loud as you can at Jeff Cox will get you nothing but confused looks from Craig Wilson and Tom Gorzellany. Betush learned this the hard way, though he didn't actually notice it.
3. It just seemed like we couldn't get a strike to save our lives today, but happened to luck out of a few situations that the pitching staff had worked itself into. Between Casey's unassisted double play and bringing Capps in for the one pitch end of the inning after walking the bases full, I'm pleased that, if nothing else, we seemed not to be so intensely unlucky for a night. On a side note, Matt Capps is exactly one month younger than I am, and that makes me feel like a fat sack of crap who spends all day in lab. Luckily, that's pretty accurate, so I don't feel too terrible.
4. Good to see the fact that, occasionally, we can actually hit the damn ball. Fifteen hits with the added support of two Nationals errors, which I'm okay with, was sufficient as we were able to plate some damn runs. The only thing that could have made anything any better was to have gotten Jack home safely in the bottom of the eighth. Sure, he's somewhat fallen to between 2004 Jack and 2005 Jack, but damn if he doesn't look ilke he's beating himself up after anything that doesn't go perfectly. At least it seems like he cares.
5. When Duke was pulled, he walked back to the dugout with a look on his face that said "Jim Tracy just shot my puppy." I'm not sure if that's something he always does, what with the looking really dejected, but man. I know he didn't have the best night, but the guy seriously looked like I do after grading labs.
6. If you're not really in to the clapping thing, smacking the brim of a hat on the top of the dugout makes an astonishingly loud noise. Perhaps that's why the adjective "Xtreme" for the caps with goofy silver trim that we got at the gate.
So that's all good.
In other sports related noise:
The Yankees finally busted up Contreras' absurd win streak, though it should be noted that he had quite a few no decisions this year, one against the Pirates (who eventually won).
Bonds is probably being indicted, which, right now I honestly have to say I don't care about. I just got to see my team play for the first time since last summer. Leave me be.
Ben Roethlisberger's been appearing in public again, to show the world that he doesn't actually look like Ben "Fallout Shelter" Roethlisberger anymore. Yes, seconds from death and all that, and I'm glad he survived and is relatively unscathed (other than they've put some other dude's face on him), but I'm going to have to take another opportunity to mention that he's a jackass for not wearing a helmet, given his position.
To clarify, I think it's something with his cheekbones. Or his chin. Or maybe just that he's somewhat clean shaven.
One more thing. I'm glad the All-Star game went so well, as it's a good thing for the City of Pittsburgh and the PNC Park staff that everyone seems so impressed by it. But the last thing Kevin McClatchy should be doing is basking in anything.