I felt very subdued.  It wasn’t what I expected at all.  The day the streak finally ended was a day I imagined dozens, if not hundreds of times in my head.  I figured I’d be raucous, joyous, laughing, screaming, blowing up Twitter.  None of that happened.

I watched #81 on television, listened to #82 on the radio.  Both games felt exactly the same.  Reflective.

What I’m supposed to do is make some jokes, list a bunch of different facts to show just how long the streak has been, maybe make a few ridiculous statements.  That’s not what I’m going to do though. It’s been done by everybody.

The problem with driving truck, especially at night like I do, is loneliness.  You have time to think.  It’s either a blessing or a curse.  I had plenty of time to think tonight and what this means most to me is a link to the past.

Most of you know I’m not from Pittsburgh, nor have I ever even lived in Western PA.  The reason I’m a Pirates fan is because my Grandfather and my Dad raised me right.

I remember leaving Tae Kwon Do classes as a really young kid during those 92 playoffs singing “Pittsburgh’s Goin’ to the World Series…. I got a feelin'”.  I remember the slide.  I remember crying.  I remember how bummed my dad was, I remember the blow it gave to my pap.

We were that close to going to the greatest game on earth.  We had the tickets.  I had Pittsburgh Pirates earrings dammit.  Snatched away.

My pap would never see another winning season, he died in March of 2002.

This struggle has been a link to the first person I really exulted to a form of Sainthood.  It’s been something I kind of carried around with me because of him.  He’s gone.  He’ll never see this, but it’s almost like I can share it with him.

That may sound psychotic.  It may be psychotic.

When I was playing Little League our sponsor literally left town.  Uniforms a disaster, no sponsor.  My pap rode in on his white horse, replaced all of our uniforms and sponsored the team…. we were known from that day forward as the Pirates.

It never failed that I could go to his pizza shop and throw some dough, or help mash up some sauce, but sports was always there.  A constant.  Horses, football, baseball, it was something to share.

Baseball in particular is what thawed an icy relationship with my father.  I can’t imagine there is anything we talk about more than the Pirates.  It pretty much saved that relationship.

Baseball, and sports in general, is just a game.  Except that it isn’t just a game.