By Casey Domski
PITTSBURGH, Pa. – The Pirates may be out of the playoffs, but this season has put new life back into Pittsburgh baseball. Fans and residents agree that this historic season has set new standards.
For the first time in 21 years, the Pittsburgh Pirates managed to clinch a coveted playoff spot in this year MLB postseason playoffs, making this season a historic milestone in the team’s history. The team, headed by big names such as Neil Walker, Andrew McCutchen, and Marlon Byrd, managed to fight their way through the regular season and rebuild hope for baseball in Pittsburgh.
Over 40,000 fans packed the stadium as the Pittsburgh Pirates took on the Cincinnati Reds in the National League Wild Card Game, which secured the first home playoff game since 1992. Despite the Bucs being knocked out of the playoff in round one by the Saint Louis Cardinals, it is estimated that this year’s postseason earned the city more than $2.5 million in revenue with fans from all over the Pittsburgh area heading downtown to restaurants and bars for the games.
PNC park employee Aj Rees said that the playoff brought new life to the city.
“The excitement in and around PNC park during game one of the playoffs was amazing,” said Rees. “I had never seen people show so much support for the Bucs, and I think that support will definitely carry over to next season.”
Rees said that he feels this year’s playoffs have opened up a new chapter in Pirates baseball.
“I think this year’s playoff run will definitely fuel future ones,” said Rees. “The pressure’s on now for the Bucs; each season fans are going to expect them to go further and further thanks to this new confidence.”
Pirates’ fan Corey Cuadrado also said that he thinks this year’s playoff experience will carry over to next year.
“This was the first time in 21 years that the Bucs actually made it to the playoffs, and I definitely think it was a learning experience,” said Cuadrado. “I think if the momentum keeps up for next year we can certainly go even further.”
Cuadrado added that keeping the team together is crucial for next year.
“I think we can do it again next year as long as we keep the key parts of the team together,” said Cuadrado. “As long as McCutchen, Alvarez and Martin are on the team I think we can go far.”
Pittsburgh resident Steven Yusko said that, fan or not, the playoffs were an exciting time for the city.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re a Bucs fan or not, the Pirates made it to the playoffs and that’s a call for celebration,” said Yusko. “Win or lose, I think it’s definitely a proud time for baseball in Pittsburgh.”
The Pirates may be out of the playoffs but don’t expect to see those Bucco shirts going away anytime soon; many fans are already preparing for next season with hopes of even bigger playoff dreams.
Stewart Lee, also a Pittsburgh resident, said that he is already looking forward to next year.
“I’m already looking forward to next year,” said Lee. “I have never had as much fun at the Pirates game as I did this year. For once, people were actually excited for the games, and that’s something Pittsburgh has been missing for quite a while.”
Lee also said that he will still be sporting his Pirates shirts for many weeks to come.
“Just because the season is over doesn’t mean the spirit of Pirates baseball has to go away,” said Lee. “I will be wearing my Buccos shirts and hat all year round.”
Even though the postseason is over for the Pirates, fans can still get up to date information and stats about all the teams in this year’s MLB playoffs at mlb.mlb.com.