Pirates Stay Humble, Fans Loyal
PITTSBURGH - Jeff Locke talked humbly to three reporters in the locker room Friday quietly saying, “the important thing” is trying to help the Pirates win the next game. On the way up the steps for batting practice manager Clint Hurdle said he was sad his father had just left after the two had spent the last 12 days together. “We were back in Little League mode, he was following me around making me pick everything up.” The team is still humble, but the fans packed PNC Park for 11 inning win Friday.
The boyish-faced Locke has not allowed a single run in five of his last 10 starts to make the All-Star team, but talked Friday like the same player who was not sure he would make the Pirates roster – much less the All-Star team – in Spring training. He looked almost surprised that we wanted to talk him on a day between starts.
All Hurdle has done is kept an even keel for a young team that was feeling the pressure after their fourth straight loss on Tuesday.
“That’s the great thing about this game, the story keeps writing itself. A player hits a home run the day after he strikes out six times,” Hurdle told reporters in his office three hours before the first pitch was thrown Friday.
As the players and team staff took the steps up to the field for batting practice, they sounded like a team that wanted a magical season to keep going, expressing concern and surprise when rain started to fall lightly.
The fans who have stood by this team through the record 20 consecutive losing seasons have stuck with them, certainly with lower attendance but still enthusiasm for the Pirates team.
Fans lined up hours before the game to wait to get in – despite the rain – and very few of the sellout crowd had left their seats when Pirates finally pulled out the win in the 11th inning.
The Pirates are 55-36 with just a 7:15 ET Saturday game on Fox and 1:35 ET game on Sunday against the Mets before the All-Star break.
(Breitbart Sports photo by Baron Coleman.)