Pittsburgh Pirates: The Little Things That Remind Us Why We Love The Game
|Photo Credit: Justin K Aller/Getty Images|
There's a reason why so many people gravitate towards sports, and we got a little bit of a taste of that on Thursday. They have real life storylines that turn into real life drama that you would usually need to watch a movie to see.
Other times they provide the kind of feel-good outings, uplifting and inspirational.
Sometimes it's everything all wrapped into one. Now there will be plenty of people talking about this, because it's worth it to talk about it.
This just happens to be one of the many reasons I love the game, so I really wanted to share.
Even the best of Hollywood movie writers couldn't have scripted this story much better than it actually played out in real life. A story of, for however brief it ends up being, redemption. Not even 24 hours before today's game, Gregory Polanco misplayed a ball in the outfield that eventually led to the Pittsburgh Pirates surrendering a lead and a chance to complete their first sweep of the season.
This after it coming out that Polanco was placed on waivers, open for any team to grab the only condition is that they take on his contract.
No one did.
So Polanco has to come back into the clubhouse, where without actually being able to talk to every player, you kind of get the feeling from the few you've heard from that there won't be even a slightly bad thing said about the 29-year old Polanco.
In fact, from what you hear, there may be no more liked player in the clubhouse than the Dominican born outfield who was once compared to a 'sick giraffe' as a young player.
The once heavily heralded prospect is far from the player he once was, and never quite became what was originally hoped he would become, but that hasn't stopped Polanco from enjoying every moment in the majors.
But this has been a trying year for Polanco, struggling to stay above the Mendoza line this season (.209 currently after Thursday game), and is currently a shell of himself in the outfield neither with the range nor arm he once had.
Still, there may not be a player who still gets as excited as Polanco to come to the field each day, even amongst his current struggles.
Even then, Pirates fans were even able to get to Polanco, after chants of 'D-F-A' started to ring out after his mishap. He let his frustration out to the media the next day on it.
He let it out even more against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Polanco's two-run double in the seventh was one of three hits on the night and gave the Pirates the lead after falling behind as much as 7-1 in the third inning. It capped an eight run inning that would eventually push the Pirates to an 11-7 victory.
It wasn't just Polanco stepping up big, the entire team seemed to rally around their teammate, as the Pirates hammered out 11 runs - with Michael Chavis (4), Colin Moran (4), and Wilmer Difo (3) all also collecting multiple hits on the night - with the team collecting 17 overall as well.
Sports can also be a brutal business, something we have seen play out over the last couple of days. I don't think anyone calling for Polanco to be released would say anything bad about him as a person, and I'd like to think each one would say they wish things were different.
I get it. It's understandable. Being a Pirates fan isn't the easiest of things. There's a lot of frustration that can be built up over an entire season, and when you seemed so close to getting one of those small victories, it's hard not to get a little emotional.
But even if losing out on the sweep sucked, out of it we had this beautiful moment created.
Maybe one of the better experiences in the history of PNC Park.
Personally speaking, I don't think I would have had it any other way.
Over the grueling marathon that is the 162-game baseball schedule, this two game stretch won't stand out over the rest of the year.
But I'd be hard pressed to find something that defines the 'romantic beauty' that is the game of baseball. Also years from now, it gives us a moment to hang on to when trying to find something good about this bad season.