Following up the All-Star Break’s initial disappointing 5-5 home stand followed by an even harder to watch 1-9 road trip, the Colorado Rockies 2013 season appears to be walking the plank. With most Denver sports fans far more concerned with whom the Broncos starting center is two weeks into training camp, it appears that like Elvis, baseball has left the building in the Rocky Mountains. But for those baseball fans that are still looking for a team to cheer on as the summer winds down, there is another bandwagon to hop aboard, or should I say ship to stow away on.
The Pittsburgh Pirates, captained by every Rockies fan’s favorite spiky-haired fifty year old, Clint Hurdle, possess a real shot to do some damage come playoff time. Yes, the same Pittsburgh Pirates who haven’t posted a wining record since Barry Bonds’ head was the size of a grapefruit instead of a watermelon. The same Pirates who have managed to turn the past two season’s feel good first four months into humiliating final ones. If this past weekend’s series at PNC Park in Pittsburgh didn’t convince you enough, I encourage you to head to Coors Field this weekend and watch the Bucs in person, and you may even see a few familiar faces.
There are quite a few former Rockies now donning the black and gold. Former shortstop/second basemen Clint Barmes serves a backup role, and former catcher Michael McKenry and relief pitcher Jason Grilli, both of whom are currently on the disabled list. Even better, the pitcher currently filling in for All-Star closer Gilli, Mark Melancon was born in Wheat Ridge, and played his high school ball at Golden High School.
The 2013 Pirates are everything the 2013 Rockies are not. The Pirates have the top pitching staff in the National League, and while not the best for average hitters, they are a smart group of players who know how to manufacture runs, and are playing with a world of confidence right now. Come playoff time they have everything you look for on a team poised for a postseason run: deep starting pitching, a true star player in Andrew McCutchen, and a couple young guys who look ready to have their coming out party any minute (circa David Fresse 2011) in Pedro Alvarez, Starling Marte, or the starting to awaken out of a season long slump – Neil Walker.
So while I wait for another year for Rocktober to return, I am ready to don a new cap this weekend as Clint and the Pirates sail towards Buctober. Go Bucs!