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Blog Entry

Everybody's a critic -- and fan -- in Pittsburgh

Posted on: July 17, 2011 8:55 pm
Edited on: July 18, 2011 12:06 pm
 

Until Sunday, Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan had been perfect this year, converting each of his 26 save opportunities.

But as is the case with any great artist, sometimes perfection isn't quite enough.

"My dad texted me [recently] and said, 'You're going to have to start doing a commercial for Just For Men, get an endorsement from them, with all the gray hair I'm getting'," Hanrahan says.

In the old days, not many more folks than the Pirates' dads were watching in Pittsburgh. But with Clint Hurdle's club playing well and gaining momentum, it's amazing who's paying attention. The crowds are starting to swell. The Bucs are averaging 23,578, and weekend crowds of 30,000-plus are becoming a regular thing. A community, you might say, is being galvanized by an unexpected source.

"Fans in Pittsburgh are excellent baseball fans," Hanrahan says. "Everyone knows about Penguins fans and Steelers fans, but now we're starting to see Pirates fans. Weekends are selling out.

"Our fans are really knowledgeable, and they don't feel embarrassed to come out any more. Before, the real baseball fans were sitting home cussing out the TV and cussing out the Pirates. And before, the fans who would come to see us were rocking Steelers' shirts.

"But now, you're seeing Andrew McCutchen and Neil Walker jerseys everywhere. It's a lot more fun."

Hanrahan, by the way, blew a save opportunity Sunday in Houston -- his first after converting each of 28 save opportunities in a row dating back to last season. But after he's picked up the Bucs so often this year, they picked him up and wound up beating the Astros in 11 innings.

That's the way it's been going in Pittsburgh this summer.

Likes: Looking forward to watching the Pirates' next test, 12 games against teams with a combined record of 212-167 -- Cincinnati, St. Louis, Philadelphia and Atlanta. ... Eli Whiteside actually stealing a base on Sunday (second of his career). ... Giants manager Bruce Bochy calling a (successful) suicide squeeze. When you're that offensively challenged, you've got to figure out ways, man. ... The weekend's Tigers-White Sox series. Midsummer, and it's easy to sense that each series is taking on a little more importance. ... National Ice Cream Day on Sunday. How can you not participate in that?

Dislikes: Disneyland ... Mickey Mouse. ... Goofy ... Snow White ... long lines ... overpriced tickets ... waiting in line 45 minutes for a roller coaster and then it breaks down when you're on the platform, up next ... overrated places.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"I know the rent is in arrears
"The dog has not been fed in years
"It's even worse than it appears, but
"It's alright
"Cows giving kerosene
"Kid can't read at seventeen
"The words he knows are all obscene, but
"It's alright
"I will get by, I will get by, I will get by
"I will survive"

-- Grateful Dead, Touch of Grey

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