Thanks for the memories
Bob Hope’s theme song seems like the most appropriate way to wrap up the 2013 Major League Baseball season.
Local fans were thrilled when all three of our teams -the Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians -made the 10-team postseason field.
Of course, the Reds and the Pirates had to play each other in the one-game wild card contest. Little did we know at the time that would be Dusty Baker’s last game as the Reds manager was let go with one year still remaining on his contract.
The Reds were a massively talented team that often seemed to go through the motions and lacked motivation.
Whoever ends up replacing Baker will inherit a team that will be an immediate contender.
I can’t wait to see Billy Hamilton play a full season. He might steal a triple-digit amount of bases. He and closer Aroldis Chapman give the Reds two of the most exciting players in the majors.
On to Cleveland, where the Tribe wasn’t expected to have a winning season. It not only accomplished that, but it also won 92 games, qualifying for the wild card contest, which it lost to Tampa Bay.
Still, it was great to see Cleveland in the playoffs without having to watch Major League.
Credit manager Terry Francona with molding the Tribe into a winner. The pitching staff is solid. The lineup one power hitter away from being likewise.
Parkersburg High graduate Nick Swisher easily made the transition from the Yankees’ Bronx Zoo to the tranquility of the Tribe. He seems content in Cleveland, where the fans love his hustling style and positive attitude.
But the best story of our three teams had to be the Pirates, whose long suffering fans not only were treated to a winning season, but a magical one.
Manager Clint Hurdle seemed to squeeze every ounce of talent out of his roster. He also had a knack for making all the right moves, playing his bullpen like a finely tuned fiddle.
Credit Pirates management with going out and making the late-season acquisitions necessary to give its team a chance to go all the way.
It was a magical summer in Pittsburgh. The atmosphere at PNC?Park was the best in the majors. What had long been a Steelers town became the domain of the Pirates. The Jolly Roger replaced The Terrible Towel.
Even though the Pirates came up short in their playoff series against the St. Louis Cardinals, few expected Pittsburgh to get that far.
Come next year, expectations will be considerably higher.
The Pirates will enter the 2014 season as a legitimate contender.
Baseball, despite all its worts, still is a grand old game and as much an American tradition as apple pie.
We’ll all wait to see who makes the World Series and tune in to the Fall Classic, where history is made.
Given the success of our three teams this season -to steal a line from Cubs fans -I can’t wait ’til next year.
Contact Dave Poe at firstname.lastname@example.org