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‘Of Course I’m Going To Stay With The Team,’ Bittersweet Feelings As Pirates Season Starts

Gene J. Puskar
PNC Ground Crew Matt Brown, center, and Andy Burnette paint the field at PNC Park on Monday, March 26, 2018 in preparation for the home opener on Monday, April 2 against the Minnesota Twins in Pittsburgh.

Twenty consecutive losing seasons, followed by three years of making the playoffs, and now the Pirates will try to avoid a third straight losing season.  

The Bucs open the 2018 baseball season in Detroit Thursday against the Tigers without their best player for the last nine years, Andrew McCutchen, and their best pitcher from last year, Gerrit Cole, who were traded away in the off-season.

NPR’s biggest Pittsburgh sports fan, David Greene and 90.5 WESA’s Kevin Gavin talked about memories of opening days past and the season ahead.

Greene on Opening Day outside of the 'Burgh:

"I was at a Pittsburgh [sports] bar in Washington, D.C. It was a day game against the Cubs.  I had this warm feeling as the season was starting. I'm not just watching a losing team like I did for so many years."

On the bittersweet feeling of just barely making playoffs and losing again:

"To have that taste and to suddenly feel like it's gone away and maybe gone away for a long time, it's really a bummer."

On hanging on to optimism:

"I'm silly to suggest that I would actually not root for this team.  [But] There's no reason that we should be optimistic.  But I will say there have been small market teams where there was very little expectation who have done really well and even gone well into the playoffs--so who knows. Why can't it be us?"