So it turns out I’m not the biggest Pittsburgh Pirates fan in Woburn Bay, Grenada. It wouldn’t figure to take much after all. Significant only because my hometown’s hapless Pittsburgh Pirates — also known as the Bucs — did something that they haven’t done in twenty one years. They made the playoffs via something called a Wildcard, a winner-take-all game. They won convincingly, beating the hated Ohio team the Cincinnati Reds. I say “the hated” purely out of convention. In Pittsburgh we learn from a very young age that anything from Ohio is preceded by “the hated” although I suppose “despised” would also work. Could it be hill people vs flatlanders? I really don’t know why we do it, but we do it.
Anyone who knows me is saying hey wait a minute Jack, you’re not a baseball fan, you’re a Steelers football fan and I can understand how they might come to that conclusion, after all twenty one years is a long time. If memory serves me well the last time anyone was excited about the Bucs they were playing in Three Rivers Stadium skippered by Jim Leyland with Barry Bonds, Bobby Bonilla, and Andy Van Slyke in the outfield.
So Pittsburgh bankrupted itself building one of the loveliest baseball parks in all of baseball and watched as all that young talent left for greener pastures, read that as more money. After all, we had the champion Steelers, what more could you ask for? And we could still hate the Cleveland Browns who, after escaping Cleveland in the middle of the night, landed in Baltimore as the hated Ravens, trading orange and brown for purple, which left us with hating the Cincinnati Bengals with those silly orange tiger stripes all over in orange. Orange!. I like certain shades of orange, just not that orange. Besides, orange is not a football color. Black & Gold is.
As I say, the news slowly filters its way down to Grenada and thanks to friends on Facebook I gathered that something unusual was going on in Pittsburgh. Baseball in October!
We’d just finished my signature dinner in the cockpit, Pasta Surprise, when Marce turned to me and said, “I wonder if I can find an audio stream of the wildcard game in Pittsburgh?” Yep, over the internet using our long range wifi antenna. Under the stars, swinging at anchor out in Woburn Bay, in seconds we were listening to the Bucs thrash — wait for it — the hated Cincinnati Reds. Already in the third inning, we missed the early homers but we heard great pitching, hitting and great defense. Hmmm, this could be for real.
Dear escapees, by now you’re probably wondering what happened to the greatest Pirate fan in Grenada. It’s not Marce. We have a mixed marriage since she grew up with the Philadelphia Phillies. Can you imagine? She can’t stomach anything west of Penn State! As I was saying, I discovered him yesterday after a short dinghy ride over to a tiny marina run by a French-Canadian couple where they bake the most amazing fresh baguettes. Even at $8EC they sell out fast so I’ve made it my business to befriend the bread guy. That’s what I call him; he calls me Escape Velocity. Seems fair. Unusually rainy, It was the kind of day that just begs for some warm just out of the oven baguette. As I scanned the bread shelf I could plainly see that all the baguettes were reserved already. That’s when I saw it. A very well worn, much beloved Pittsburgh Pirates ball cap. I sputtered, “Is that your cap?!” He was proud of his cap. It was his favorite. He especially liked the colors, yellow with the red and black, and P, it turns out, is his favorite letter. I said, “That is a Pittsburgh Pirates cap and I’m from Pittsburgh!” He smiled, turned around and handed me a baguette from the reserved shelf. So by my reckoning I’m probably Grenada’s second best Pittsburgh Pirates Fan.