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Pirates fans are coming out of the woodwork

Aug 8, 2013, 11:32 AM EDT

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This is by no means a scientific analysis but I think Pirates fans are starting to accept that this team is not going to crater on them and leave them sad for the 20 some-odth year in a row.

I base this on the fact that I wore my Pirates cap out in public last night and people got excited. It wasn’t for a long time. I only wore it to grab some food. But in that short amount of time out I had two people comment on it. Comment one was a long thing from the guy at the bar talking about how, finally, it’s “our” year and how “we” can finally wear Pirates gear with pride.  The other one was just a thumbs up and a “go Pirates” from a guy who was entering the restaurant as I was leaving.

I didn’t have the heart to tell either of these guys that I wasn’t a Pirates fan and that I tend to wear caps from any of a half dozen different teams at any given time simply because I like caps.

As for these guys: I didn’t get a sense of bandwagoning here. I mean, I can’t be sure, as there are now all kinds of Steelers fans in Columbus that never existed here before they got good again in the 90s and 2000s, and perhaps there is just some local affinity for winning Pittsburgh teams at work.  But I was here in the early 90s too and no one really got on the Pirates bandwagon then, so I sort of doubt this is what’s going on. These are people who probably always liked them but simply had nothing to cheer about for years and years. Now they do and, God, how good it must feel to finally be able to say something nice about their rooting interest.

But whether they’re bandwagon or genuine fans, I expect I’ll see a lot more of this over the next couple of months. I assume the Pirates will become a fashionable rooting interest among the otherwise non-aligned. And those who were always aligned, albeit silently, will finally be able to enjoy some October baseball. And we should enjoy that for their sake.

At least until they become insufferable like every other fan of every other winning team eventually does.

  1. blacksables - Aug 8, 2013 at 11:37 AM

    What’s a Steeler?

    • yahmule - Aug 8, 2013 at 4:46 PM

      That most Pirate fans are also Steeler fans makes it harder to be happy for them.

  2. yunkerimages - Aug 8, 2013 at 11:41 AM

    Bandwagging Steeler fans in Columbus…disgusting!

    • Caught Looking - Aug 8, 2013 at 11:47 AM

      I guess they all should be fans of the other pro team in Columbus – Ohio State.

      • vlock1 - Aug 8, 2013 at 12:34 PM

        Dunno if you’re a hockey fan at all, but don’t sleep on the Jackets. That team’s primed.

  3. nderdog - Aug 8, 2013 at 11:42 AM

    Yeah, those aren’t Pirates fan that you were talking to. Those of us who have been wearing Pirates gear proudly the last 20 years despite the team’s frustrations, that’s how you tell who is an actual fan. You’re not a fan if you like a team but pretend that you don’t in public because you’re worried that someone might say something unpleasant.

    • ucaneverscorenoughgoals - Aug 8, 2013 at 12:58 PM

      I just refuse to support a team that loses for more than 3 straight years. And I’m happier because:

      1.) I wasted less money supporting a loser.
      2.) I have fewer gray hairs to show for it.
      3.) I don’t have to listen to all the bashing and cynicism.

      If you’re proud of how you spent your time and energy during those 20 years, that’s you’re deal. I went to maybe 2 dozen games during that time and I’m glad I didn’t waste any more time or energy on them than I did.

      No fan should be expected to sit through what occured over the last 20 years.

      • magicrat13 - Aug 8, 2013 at 1:29 PM

        a fan is a fan no matter what….yes, you can be frustrated and angry but you should still be a fan….

        i haven’t been happy the last 20 years but not once have i not supported them….

      • ucaneverscorenoughgoals - Aug 8, 2013 at 1:51 PM

        “a fan is a fan no matter what”……really?!?!

        1.)If owenership doesn’t try to build a winner and simply pockets the money. They are taking my money and givin me nothing in return. Why should I root for them?

        2.) If a team quits trying, why should I root for them? They don’t deseve my money?

        This isn’t a marriage, they aren’t one’s children. There is no edict or proclamation that “you are a better person if you continue to support them.”

        You know what the majority of pirates fans were, that continued to think the pirates would win every year when all ownership did was just pocket money?…FOOLS…..IDIOTS…MORONS.

        Do I understand the desire to want to see it through?…. Absolutely!! But 20 years is not perseverance…’s an “insane” waste of time.

      • magicrat13 - Aug 8, 2013 at 1:58 PM

        yes really (add as many exclamation points or question marks you heart desires)…

        i guess our definition of a fan differs…..

        no skin off my back to be called a loser, moron, fool…..

        some might call you a front runner or a fair weathered friend….

      • apkyletexas - Aug 8, 2013 at 1:59 PM

        It wasn’t a very good 20 years for baseball (strike killing the World Series, rise of the ultra-rich teams dominating the game, steroid scandals). It’s been more enjoyable to root for my loveable loser Pirates than it would have been to root for a group of immature, billionaire owners and their competing over-muscled, over-paid drugged-out groups of power hitters and power pitchers. ESPN salivated over them, but I was never much interested.

        Baseball in the 70’s was some of the best I’ve ever seen, and I’m hoping that we are starting to head back toward that type of a simple, straightforward game. Paying a billion to buy a bunch of roided-out hitters and brute-force your way to a World Series just isn’t what I enjoy about the game. I like the smell of the grass and popcorn and peanuts, a well-turned double play, stolen bases, sacrifice flies, well-placed bunts, suicide squeezes. I don’t need to see 10 home runs a game – a big, bases-clearing double is just as impressive to me.

      • nderdog - Aug 8, 2013 at 2:03 PM

        I’m sorry, I didn’t realize that when you root for a team, we cheer for the GM and the owner. Personally, I root for the players. If you only care about a team when they do well, that’s cool, bro, do what you want, as long as you don’t claim to be a fan. A fan won’t abandon their team because they aren’t perennial contenders.

      • ucaneverscorenoughgoals - Aug 8, 2013 at 2:18 PM


        Our definition does differ, and that’s fine. But, the fans that are like me are still buying the team’s jersey’s, filling the seats, buying the food, watching on TV…..i.e……helping make the team profitable.

        Because of it, they should be welcomed not ridiculed.


        Needing to root for perennial contenders and not caring anymore when your city’s team hasn’t gotten over .500 for 20 straight years are about as opposite as one could imagine. There is no law the states how I am allowed to root or cheer for teams or what type of fan I am supposed to be.

        In fact if I am a front runner…I take pride in the fact that I am. I’m glad I got up from the crowd that sat there wishing and hoping thigs would change and then went home upset or frustrated and then eventually watched their kids do the same thing. Why is that even remotely ok? To me anything was a more positive experience than that.

      • nderdog - Aug 8, 2013 at 2:29 PM

        Okay, I get it now. Your note about “your city’s team” makes it clear that you aren’t a fan because of the team, but because of geography. Enough said.

      • asimonetti88 - Aug 8, 2013 at 3:05 PM

        I see your point and agree that if the ownership shows more interest in making money than winning, something should be done.

        But you can continue to root for the team without financially supporting them. Don’t go to the games, don’t buy (new) merchandise, but you can still be a fan and root for the team and hope for them to get better.

    • mmmpierogi - Aug 8, 2013 at 8:58 PM

      “Yeah, those aren’t Pirates fan that you were talking to. Those of us who have been wearing Pirates gear proudly the last 20 years despite the team’s frustrations …”

      Sorry, couldn’t disagree more. There’s an entire generation of people who’ve never seen a winning Pirate team — ever. My first year watching the Pirates was the next to last year before Bonds left, and I was almost too young to remember much of it. After that, almost nothing until now. I almost can’t even imagine what it’s like to see the Pirates in the playoffs at this point.

      I could see agreeing with you if the Pirates were simply coming off a three-, five-, or perhaps even ten-year stretch of mediocre-ish performance. Instead, it was twenty years of mismanagement, discontinuity, inexplicable personnel moves, movement into a division with teams that the Pirates had little history with (at one point in time, the Phillies and even the Mets were rivals. Now they’re in a division with teams that are 8-10 hours away — so much for road trips), and disappointment after disappointment. I still follow the Pirates on some level and I always will (as much as I can being that I haven’t lived in PA in seven years and never have time to watch television), but I would have absolutely no reason to fault some kid who says that she or he has never been a fan of the team but have gotten into them recently.

      Again, if it’d been a situation where the team had only been mediocre for a couple of years, different story. The Pirates had one of the longest streaks of poor performance in the history of North American professional sports, however. It’s not the same thing.

  4. koufaxmitzvah - Aug 8, 2013 at 11:42 AM

    Understandable reaction especially if you were wearing the painter’s hat Pirate cap.

    • koufaxmitzvah - Aug 8, 2013 at 11:45 AM

      I usually don’t make corrections post-mortem but

      *painter’s hat Pirates cap

      That’s some stuff right there.

      • nderdog - Aug 8, 2013 at 12:04 PM

        Would you please explain that to my wife? I rarely get to wear that cap because she thinks I look stupid in it. 😦

      • koufaxmitzvah - Aug 8, 2013 at 12:44 PM

        Add a corn cob pipe to your ensemble and see what she has to say then.

  5. number42is1 - Aug 8, 2013 at 11:46 AM

    GO BUCkS!

    • proudlycanadian - Aug 8, 2013 at 11:49 AM

      This is not a basketball blog!

      • yahmule - Aug 8, 2013 at 4:49 PM

        He’s actually an anti-hunting advocate.

  6. florida76 - Aug 8, 2013 at 12:05 PM

    Bandwagon fans will always attach themselves to winners, then move on to another team. In reality, there are a ton of Pirate fans across the country, just like Steeler fans, who were forced to relocate during the difficult economic times a couple of decades ago in Pittsburgh. Those fans definitely recall the winning tradition, and are naturally excited about the decisive way this 2013 club is on its way to destroying the losing streak.

    Baseball did not start in 1993, and this franchise is more accomplished than most, so it’s natural that you would see more gear worn by fans across the nation.

  7. ucaneverscorenoughgoals - Aug 8, 2013 at 12:11 PM

    Last time anyone checked, continuing to root for a team when they are losing didn’t earn a fan anything extra or special when it was all said and done.

    I welcome any and all bandwagon fans. The majority of them are easier to get along with and don’t consider themselves no it alls.

    Jump on the bandwagon, there’s plenty of room!!

    • historiophiliac - Aug 8, 2013 at 1:58 PM

      Well, it doesn’t earn you anything except the respect of other fans.

      • ucaneverscorenoughgoals - Aug 8, 2013 at 2:04 PM

        All the respect that could possibly be attained will get me exactly squat in the real world.

        I follow sports to be entertained…….other fans respect is a joke.

      • historiophiliac - Aug 8, 2013 at 2:05 PM

        Oh, I don’t think you have to worry about other fans’ respect.

      • ucaneverscorenoughgoals - Aug 8, 2013 at 2:19 PM

        I don’t

  8. mybrunoblog - Aug 8, 2013 at 12:11 PM

    You know a team is doing well when the bandwagon celebrities start showing up at the ballpark. I find them nauseating.

  9. eatitfanboy - Aug 8, 2013 at 12:16 PM

    I think it’s weird to wear hats of teams you don’t root for just because you like to wear hats. There are plenty of baseball style hats that have other designs. Clown move, bro.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Aug 8, 2013 at 1:22 PM

      But baseball logos are way better than Nike Swooshes or funny sayings or college football teams or what have you. Plus: the New Era fitted caps fit me best. If I want to get away from baseball teams I have to get stupid crap.

      • eatitfanboy - Aug 8, 2013 at 1:42 PM

        Fair enough. I would still feel a little strange knowing that everyone who saw me was thinking I rooted for that team. I doubt it would keep me up at night, though.

      • koufaxmitzvah - Aug 8, 2013 at 2:17 PM

        ” I would still feel a little strange knowing that everyone who saw me was thinking I rooted for that team.”

        The horror.

        Now I know how 49ers fans felt when their QB wore a Dolphins hat to the beach on 4th of July. And I’m about as unimpressed as when I couldn’t quite grasp why they would freak the fuck out.

      • pbastille - Aug 8, 2013 at 2:27 PM

        I’m with ya, bro. I have season tix to the Ravens, but I found this totally awesome Tampa Bay Bucs cap from their inaugural uni style I wear fairly regularly. Creamcicle orange with the foppish pirate that makes Jack Sparrow look like Terminator. Talk about a cap that gets comments!

      • eatitfanboy - Aug 8, 2013 at 3:01 PM

        Pretty dick move, koufax, leaving out the last part of my quote where I said I wouldn’t lose sleep over it. I never said it was a huge deal, just that I think it’s a little weird. I think the majority of baseball fans would only wear their team’s gear. Not all, but most.

      • apkyletexas - Aug 8, 2013 at 5:48 PM

        Another walk-off today – that’s 70 wins Craig. That’s more than we’ve had in several entire seasons recently. You feeling the Bucco fever?

        Wear that hat proud now. And be sure to shave and suck your gut in when you wear it – don’t want everyone thinking we are a bunch of Yinzer slobs, do we?

    • mybrunoblog - Aug 8, 2013 at 2:36 PM

      I disagree. Hats are cool. I’m a Yankee fan and I love my Yankee cap but i have a couple of others I wear from time to time. I do however refuse to wear a Red Sox or Mets cap but every other teams is fair game. I mean c’mon, who doesnt want to wear a expos cap?

      • eatitfanboy - Aug 8, 2013 at 3:04 PM

        Actually, I was at a Nats game last (happened to be in town- not a nats fan) and there were a bunch of people there in Expos gear, and it was VERY cool. I wasn’t trying to make a huge deal out of it I was trying to make the point that most fans wear team gear to show their fandom. Obviously not all, but most.

    • misterscmo - Aug 8, 2013 at 3:01 PM

      I make a point to never wear my teams gear to their game:always wear a Flyers cap at Phillies games, Phillies cap at Flyers games.

  10. Old Gator - Aug 8, 2013 at 12:24 PM

    Eh. Pirates fans don’t come out of the woodwork. They come through the rust holes in the iron plate.

  11. girardisbraces - Aug 8, 2013 at 12:25 PM

    If (when) the Yankees don’t make the playoffs, I’ll be totally rooting for the Pirates. It’s nice to see them winning after such a long stretch of crap teams. And this is coming from an AL guy.

    I’m still not wearing anything non-Yankee, though.

  12. neoshweaty - Aug 8, 2013 at 12:30 PM

    Pedro Alvarez went to one of our rival High Schools so I’ve been keeping tabs on him individually since he got to the majors. I don’t know why but I can’t help but root for him and get excited when he hits one of his monster shots. I also had been keeping tabs on the Pirates these last few seasons when they flirted with the playoffs because who doesn’t like an underdog. I’m a mets fan first and foremost but if the Pirates make the playoffs you can bet I’m going to be rooting for them. One of the storied franchises in all of the game with a ball park to drool over is actually good and has a fanbase strongly supporting them? Count me in (as long as my team isn’t facing them which isn’t likely to happen for a while).

  13. blackandyellow71 - Aug 8, 2013 at 12:40 PM

    I’m sick of people claiming they have been diehard fans for the last 20 years. It’s just not true. During the late 90’s early 2000’s there was no such thing as a die hard Pirate fan. Management was constantly trading away any talent on the roster and never brought in any free agents. The stadium was empty, drawing less than 10K. The Pirates were a running joke around the city. I think people started coming around after looking promising the last couple years and sure maybe they followed them through the lean years, but I call BS on the people who claim they are diehards.

    • wdsutherin - Aug 8, 2013 at 1:29 PM

      False. I’ve been intimately attached to this team as far back as I can remember, and have gone to anywhere between 10 and 20 games every year since I was old enough to drive. I’ve been wearing the same Pirates hat since 2001 – it’s actually brown now.

      Now, there aren’t very many people like me, but we’re here. We’re the ones yinz have all made fun of since approximately 1995.

    • nderdog - Aug 8, 2013 at 1:58 PM

      Just because you choose not to believe it doesn’t make it true. Being a fan of the team doesn’t have to mean that we were a fan of the management of said team. We still loved the team and rode it out, knowing that better days would come. It makes times like this when we can take pride in currently having the best record in baseball all the sweeter knowing that we didn’t pretend that they didn’t exist in the rough years.

      • babyfarkmcgeezax - Aug 8, 2013 at 3:08 PM

        nderdog – What do you want, a cookie?

  14. dayno66 - Aug 8, 2013 at 12:58 PM

    I really can’t stand it when people say things along the lines of, “No bro, this is how a TRUE fan acts.” As if rooting for a hapless team for 20 years is some badge of honor. The pirates didn’t deserve to have fans for a long time. There’s a difference between sticking with a team through a rebuilding process, and just being a sucker.

    • nderdog - Aug 8, 2013 at 2:00 PM

      Just like there’s a difference between rooting for a team and rooting for a management. Abandoning your team because you have a bad GM doesn’t make you a better person, just someone who can’t stand by their team through the bad times as well as the good. Picking and choosing when you root for a team in no way makes you a “fan”, it makes you a poor sport.

  15. goodellisruiningtheleague - Aug 8, 2013 at 1:16 PM

    Probably the same people tha were wearing Nationals gear in October last year

  16. imnotyourbuddyguy - Aug 8, 2013 at 1:19 PM

    Same fans that came out of the woodwork for the Penguins after drafting Malkin then Crosby

    • ucaneverscorenoughgoals - Aug 8, 2013 at 1:36 PM

      So what?

      I don’t buy tickets to see Travis Snyder or Joh McDonald play fot the pirates in the same way that I didn’t buy tickets to see Kris Beech, Milan Kraft, or Matt Bradley play for the penguins.

      It’s supposed to be entertainment……they didn’t entertain me…..Oh well.

  17. steelers88 - Aug 8, 2013 at 1:53 PM

    I cant stand these bandwagon fans if you don’t have the balls to stick with the team through the down years then DON’T comeback. I love that the Pirates are winning but I don’t like how it’s packed every night. The one major flaw with PNC Park is that the concourses are WAY to small and when it’s packed it’s virtually impossible to get around.

  18. clearwall - Aug 8, 2013 at 2:14 PM

    Just two more months or so until you get to run into the Braves in postseason again…

  19. IdahoMariner - Aug 8, 2013 at 2:40 PM

    I hope it’s not bandwagon-jumping to say that I genuinely am rooting for them to at least stay above .500, and hopefully stay on track to get into the playoffs. simply because it is nice to see a team pull itself out of the cellar like that. In fact, I am inclined to agree with Pos’s earlier tweet:
    @JPosnanski: Pittsburgh is 25 games over .500 and leads division by 3. Kansas City is 3.5 back for 2nd wildcard. The Dream World Series.

    If only for the craziness of it and the happiness it would bring their fans.

    But only this year.

    • nderdog - Aug 8, 2013 at 2:51 PM

      I don’t think that’s bandwagon-jumping at all. Rooting for a team to do well even when they aren’t your team is fine. If you were to suddenly start wearing Bucs hats and shirts and acting like they’ve always been your team when it’s not true, that’s when it’s annoying.

  20. ironcity6pak - Aug 8, 2013 at 8:33 PM

    So excited, I drove from the jersey shore to Pitt to see them play last wknd and witnessed AJ’s complete game. What an amazing site it was to see a record crowed and happy bucco fans. Go pirates!!

  21. theageofquarrel - Aug 8, 2013 at 9:50 PM


  22. ironcity6pak - Aug 9, 2013 at 4:55 AM

    Mmpier, don’t judge what you not know. I’m from Pitt n moved to nj years ago. Just don’t get chance to to go out west. I disagree with you, those are pirate fans. Who wants to pay for tickets to a 19 year losing team. Has nothing to do with loyalty so stop talking like your the only true pirate fan.

  23. markyunt - Aug 9, 2013 at 10:22 AM

    Here’s the deal- I had given up on baseball altogether in 1994 after the strike. I wanted nothing to do with the game; I was sick of it. My soon-to-be wife started a part-time job working for the Bucs selling tickets over the phone, and while the gig paid minimum wage, we had the perk of free tickets. It took a while, but I got hooked again when I went to the 10 inning no-hitter in july 1997. Yes, the team has sucked through most of that time and teased us in 2011 and 2012. Still, there is a magic about baseball (even with losing teams like the Pirates). Hope springs eternal. I have been a fan for almost my entire life and, yes, they have broken my heart most of the time. At least this year, when the scoreboard plays the bugle for ‘Charge!’, I don’t have to holler ‘Help!’ It’s fun and great to hear the local sports station lead their updates with Pirates news over Steelers news…

  24. foreverchipper10 - Aug 9, 2013 at 3:45 PM

    If the Braves don’t win it all this year I sure hope Pittsburgh does.

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