Much of baseball is taken with the storybook Pirates of Pittsburgh. National baseball writers pat themselves on the back publicly for finally giving the public their due. Meanwhile, Yinzer cartoon characters dressed as local columnists bemoan the lack of local coverage.
The people of Pittsburgh don’t seem to care too much about their public perception, they’re too busy embracing their Buccos.
The famous line from Field of Dreams claims “if you build it, they will come.” This cliche served as a rallying cry for opportunistic owners looking for public handouts to help fund new stadiums for years. The Pirates always proved the opposite is the case. Their ballpark is, arguably, the finest in baseball yet it sat nearly empty for years. A bad product on the field made to look worse when compared to successful neighbors like the NHL’s Penguins and the Steelers, one of the NFL’s most successful and beloved franchises.
With the Pirates finally playing great baseball behind a surprising pitching staff, baseball fans in Western Pennsylvania are coming out of the woodwork. First, the anecdotal evidence courtesy of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette:
How about something a little more concrete, like Google searches? Google has a window into your soul, especially if you’re from Pennsylvania and you’re searching “pittsburgh pirates.”
The good people of PA are coming around on the Bucs. Not only them, America has a new sweetheart, and his name is “McCutchen.”
Sure, Pirates fans are making themselves known with the keyboard, what about with their wallets? Are they coming up to the ballpark now that the team sits tied for the division lead? In a word: yes.
The Pirates continuing to hang in the NL Central depends on a lot of things, most of which look like wings and/or prayers. They’re in tough with three other good teams battling for the same spot atop the division. With a young core in place and a few decent arms in their system, the swelling ranks of Pirates fans have plenty of reasons for optimism.