The Ecstasy and the Agony: Home Opener 2011

Picture this.

You’ve heard many great things from your friend about a certain girl or guy. They sound like a perfect match for you. You then finally get to meet this certain someone and they are far from what you have learned. You go running in the opposite direction.

I feel like the Pittsburgh Pirates are like that girl/guy you hear about.

They did great things on the road, starting the season 4-2. But when we get to see them in person, they laid an egg.

I was one of the 39,000+ that was at PNC Park today that witnessed the 7-1 whipping at the hands of the Colorado Rockies, but rather than focus on the negatives, like so many will, there were many great things that happened that made the day worthwhile.

I got to the stadium at 10:30. PNC gleamed in the morning sun.

I got into line and at 11:00 got into the stadium.

If you haven’t read my old blog much, you should know that I like to frequent batting practice at baseball games. There is nothing better than watching a 400 foot home run into your glove in the bleachers. Plus you get to have some cool experiences with the players in the meantime.

I’m usually worried about “getting on the board” early. However, I wouldn’t have to wait long. Just 8 minutes in, Matt Diaz bombed a home run that landed on the concrete area between the first and second deck of bleachers in left field. It took a high bounce landed halfway into the second deck and I ran up and picked it up.

(Photo taken after the fact)

Now that the pressure was off, I was able to loosen up. When the last group was up, Neil Walker hit a drive into left-center field. Though a lot of people played it in the front row, but it skipped past them. It came right to me. Two balls in 15 minutes! Couldn’t ask for a better day. I spent the rest of Pirates BP getting pics.

Josh Rodriguez

Steve Pearce (who would send the pitch .5 seconds afterwards right at me, almost breaking my camera)

It was also nice to catch up with the other batting practice regulars about what they were up to in the winter.

The beginning of the Rockies BP was quite boring, and my dad and brother met me. We then went to share the obligatory Opening Day feast of Primanti Brothers sandwiches. It could not have been a more beautiful day for baseball.

The pre-game ceremonies began with a nice tribute to former Pirates manager Chuck Tanner. Leading the Pirates to a World Series victory in 1979, he was beloved by all Pirate fans. Many members of that team were on hand, and an emotional Kent Tekulve gave a great speech. The scoreboard played this video montage.

They then unveiled a memorial in right-centerfield that will remain on the fence all season.

After the rest of the usual ceremonies it was time for the team introductions. The Rockies took their place along the first baseline, with plenty of boos for former Pirate manager Jim Tracy.

They along with the Parrot were looking in awe at this ridiculously stupid video that played before the Pirates introduction.

As Greg Brown introduced the Pirates one by one, I must say, it was the most electric of any Opening Day I have ever been to. Most of the stadium gave the team a standing ovation, giving every player from Andrew McCutchen to Michael Crotta a huge ovation. Unlike past years, the fans believe.

There are few things better in sports than the national anthem at a baseball team’s opener.

Paul Maholm throwing the first pitch at PNC Park in 2011

We all know how the game ended up, so I’ll share some photos. Here’s Jose Tabata.

Neil Walker

Lyle Overbay

Pedro Alvarez

Ryan Doumit

Garrett Jones

Cutch in centerfield

Esmil “Next Cy Young” Rogers

I had no idea Todd Helton still played baseball

Troy Tulowitzki

The Pirates are like the CBS of baseball when it comes to montages. This one aired before the team came to bat in the first and features the one of the new and always entertaining at bat pictures for 2011 at the end. Very cool.

Yesterday, the best and worst of baseball was seen at PNC Park. Yes, we could all rejoice that baseball had returned to the North Shore, but the harsh reality that the team can’t keep up the pace of their first week of play showed. Good thing for them is that there is a game tomorrow and the team is 4-3. I have a feeling that Clint Hurdle will do his best to get the team’s heads back in the game, something that wouldn’t have happened with John Russell at the helm.

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About suhlmann12
journalism student at Ohio University. Huge fan of Pittsburgh sports teams

3 Responses to The Ecstasy and the Agony: Home Opener 2011

  1. BuccoFan_4Life says:

    I remember I went to the Mcguire’s batting practice when he came to pgh at three rivers. He broke Aaron’s HR record that year. So you got Diaz’s and Neil’s batting practice homers… COOL – Nice pictures of the game! – I’m gonna subscribe to this page

  2. steveuhlmannya! says:

    The last paragraph…you mean never woulda happened with russell at the helm. Entertaining stuff tho

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