PNC Park was full of Cubs fans that weekend, passengers aboard some travelling caravan of Chicagoans, but scattered here and there amongst them the Pittsburgh diehards were patient, or perhaps browbeaten, the singeing heat of failure showing on their faces like sunburn. In conversation they were stoical, long-eyed realists, but oh how they were hungry. Pittsburgh, I sensed, is one of those towns that holds a latent ability to come together — by this I mean actually nullify cultural and social differences to achieve a feeling of mass cohesion, of in-it-togetherness — behind a team like the Pirates, resulting in scenes very like those you might cull from an old VHS copy of Major League, wherein the whole damned city of Cleveland is losing its collective shit over the suddenly good Indians, only replace Clevelanders with Pittsburghers, of course. A whole city revelling in one of those strange seasons in which grocery baggers and lawyers exchange knowing looks and head nods, look down to see they are wearing the same t-shirts, and so feel warm, gooey kinship for their fellow citizens where before they had seen only differences.


From A Prayer for Pittsburgh, written during the Pirates’ ill-fated 2012 playoff push, which suggests that while I was wrong about that season, I was only off by a year. Go Bucs.


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