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.