Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Day 185: Pirates' Fans Rattle Reds Pitcher

I don't know about you, but I love Major League Baseball's new Wild Card format. There just isn't much that's more exciting than a one-game playoff. At least in baseball. And this year, the AL wild card needed two one-game playoffs to decide who would move on. On the NL side, the Pittsburgh Pirates hosted the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday and things got quite intense.

The Pittsburgh Pirates haven't seen post season play in a long time—21 years to be exact. The last time they made any type of respectable showing was the early 90's when they had a young MVP named Barry Bonds leading the charge. The Pirates won the NL East three years in a row (1990-1992) but lost in the NLCS each year. And then they spent a very long time, when Bonds left after the '92 season, being not very good.

So imagine being a Pirates fan. Imagine the disappointment year in and year out. I mean Sox fans had to wait 86 years for a World Series victory, but at least they won some pennants along the way. But for the Pirates... just nothing. I can imagine that those fans had some serious pent up team spirit that needed to be released.

Those fans unleashed their years of frustration on the poor, unsuspecting Cincinnati Reds' starting pitcher, Johnny Cueto. In the second inning, with the Pirates up 1-0, the fans started chanting Cueto... KWAY-toe... KWAY-toe... KWAY-toe... who knows if it was a coincidence or not but Johnny Cueto just dropped the ball. Not a huge deal, but then he left the next pitch, a 95 mph fastball, down the middle of the plate and Russell Martin lost it over the fence.

Cueto didn't last much longer after the name chanting began. He hung on for just 3.1 innings, giving up eight hits and four runs. The Pirates ended up winning the game 6-2, ending Cincinnati's season.

Once something like this has happened, the fans can't help but continue with the jeering. If you ask them, they'll say it worked. And since the Bucs are moving on to St. Louis for the Divisional Series, maybe it really did.

Too bad they won't get the opportunity to test that theory with chants of WAIN-wright... WAIN-wright on Thursday.

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