I attended two Pittsburgh Pirates-Washington Nationals games this week at Nationals Park. Unlike going to Pirates games in DC since the Nats moved from Montreal, it felt different this year based on the team’s success. Wearing Pirates gear to a Nats game was an amazing experience over the past few days. We were there to celebrate the second best team in baseball, a team that looks like a legitimate playoff team. After 20 years of losing seasons, we bonded over Gerrit Cole, Pedro Alvarez, Francisco Liriano, Josh Harrison (yes, Josh Harrison) and the rest of the Pirates. However, some Pirates fans took things a little too far.
During Thursday’s game, a Pirates fan a few rows in front of me in the left field stands was being quite obnoxious in the finals innings. He may have had one beer too many, but that’s not really an excuse. In the 8th inning, the guy yelled to Bryce Harper that that the star Nationals outfielder effing sucks. He did not yell effing. We’ll set aside the fact that Harper does not suck. Every Pirates fan would love Harper in Pittsburgh, especially if the team could trade Travis Snider and Jose Tabata for him. (Please excuse me as I dream of a Marte-McCutchen-Harper outfield. Okay, I’m back) Being that this was an afternoon game with kids around, this didn’t go over well. Although a few Nats fans didn’t take too kindly to the comment and confronted him, I never heard any insults or threats. They simply told him to knock it off. As the inning continued, the guy started insulting the Nats and pointing out how far back the Nats are behind the Pirates in the Wild Card race. Some of his friends talked him down and tried to make peace and things were somewhat civil through the rest of the game (though they guy rubbed it in a little when the Pirates tied the game in the top of the 9th; he wasn’t there for Harper’s walk-off home run in the bottom of the 9th).
One of the Nats fans who confronted the guy is a friend of a friend. She is a Nats season ticket-holder who I just met at the game, and I apologized letting her know that the guy does not represent Pirates fans. She appreciated the gesture and indicated that I’ve been the only nice Pirates fan sitting near her during the series. While I found there to be plenty of nice Pirates fans at the games on Tuesday and Thursday, I’m sure there were a few Pirates fans that were not as nice. Therefore, this message is for all Pirates fans attending away games, sitting near opposing fans at PNC Park or even talking with friends, coworkers or random folks at bars that are fans of other National League teams. Being enthusiastic about the Pirates is expected. It’s been a long 20 years. Share your happiness and feel free discuss Cutch’s greatness. Explain your concerns about Jason Grilli’s injury and the bench. Just keep it clean in front of kids and don’t disparage the opposing team.
Let’s Go Bucs!