Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Top 10 Things I'm Looking Forward to in 2009

It is finally here. The start of the 2009 season means that hope will again spring for the Pirates faithful. And for at least one day, PNC Park will be sold out. Fans will be cheering, celebrating yet another "New Pirates Generation". After April 13th, minimal crowds will fill the stadium, unless there are fireworks, bobbleheads, or musical acts. Oh, and maybe if the Pirates are a winning team, some people may come down for a game or two.

A lot of people are not looking forward to the 2009 season to be much different from the past 16. However, here are the top 10 things I will be looking forward to, as a season ticket holder, to the 2009 season.

10. Attending more games. I work as a behavior specialist for an alternative education program. That means I have the sweet teacher schedule without the hassle of a teaching certification. I will be able to attend more games this year than I have been able to in the previous 3 years as a STH. I just hope that they'll win more games to keep me interested in attending those games.

9. Vendor Guy, Beer Lady and the rest of Section 138. Vendor Guy is the first person I see on my journey across the Clemente Bridge to PNC Park. This guy's personality and conversation abilities have made me a faithful customer for 3 years. I will continue to honor his presence on the corner of 6th and Ft. Duquesne by purchasing $1 water and, if he has them, sun flower seeds. Beer Lady is just wonderful. It doesn't matter if she's working at her beer stand behind section 137 or over at Manny's BBQ, she's always happy, but always bitter at the same time. And of course, there is the wonderful people of Section 138 and those who wish they were in Section 138. Capps Crew, Sweater Girl, Pappy Where's My Wang, Cinderella Castle and his wife and kid are all regulars in the section. Then there are those who sit in the GA bleachers...Andreade's Girl, T-Rex, and the Mullet Family. If I were really creative, I could probably write a story about all of these people.

8. SoHo. The official post-game bar/restaurant for the past 3 years. Great nachos and chicken strips. There is also a pretty good steak sandwich. The only bad's really dark in there.

7. Saturday Afternoon Games. The good thing is that my Saturday nights will now be freed up at least twice this year so that I could have a life outside of sitting at PNC Park. The bad thing is that it'll be just like going to a Sunday game, only starting a hour earlier. Did I ever mention that I hate Sunday games?

6. Paul Maholm. I've had the opportunity to watch him slowly rise from an end of the rotation guy to the staff ace this year. I can't wait to see if he can handle the success and pressure that seems to go with being the ace, or if he'll implode like those before him (Perez, Gorzelanny, Snell).

5. Romulo! We are in the last month of the Fan Voted Bobblehead. While the vote for Romulo campaign has died down recently, I believe another campaign blitz will be necessary over the next couple of weeks. Vote early and often for this poor guy who was optioned to the minors, despite the wide spread popularity of the Romulo Sanchez bobblehead campaign. See you in September buddy.

4. Road Trip. I haven't decided if it's financially feasable, but I'd like to visit at least one other stadium this year when the Pirates are on a road trip. Ideally I'd like to be in Chicago at the end of May, but I don't think the odds of that happening are going to be that good. Maybe the new Yankees Stadium or Citi Field? Let me start writing my letter to Artie Lange now begging for tickets.

3. My Birthday. The Pirates will be home for my birthday this year. I'd like to celebrate it by sitting somewhere else during that game. Maybe right behind homeplate. Donations will be accepted and appreciated to make this come true.

2. McCutchen & Tabata. After years of hype and a breakout Spring Training, a lot of people are disappointed that Andrew McCutchen has not been promoted to the Pirates for the start of the season. It'll be ok, because he will be called up soon and we will all get to see the first of the 3 Messiahs for the Pirates. Jose Tabata will be here in September, sans a wife at that point.

1. September 28, 2009. That will be the end of another long, and I'm sure, losing season. The last game at PNC Park will be a Monday afternoon competition against the Dodgers. I will be more than ready for the season to be over at this point. But, thanks to the WBC, the Pirates will get to play some October ball!

There they are. The top 10 things I'll be looking forward to this season. With the exception of #1 and maybe #10, they really aren't in any particular order...the beauty of stream of conscious writing.

Lets Go Bucs!

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