The Monkees mega-hit, "I'm a Believer" was probably still somewhere on the pop charts the last time the Pittsburgh Pirates played big-league ball.
I'll reserve judgment on whether the Pirates can play when the leaves start turning. That remains to be seen.
But I'm a believer in manager Clint Hurdle. He and his staff have clearly done something with this hapless Pirates team that hasn't been done in my kids' lifetimes.
There was some actual, good old fashioned baseball played by them tonight. Get on base, move the runner over, score on a simple base hit. Chip away at the opponent's lead. Win the game.
Going into this five game series against the (formerly) division-leading Cardinals, I was hopeful the Pirates could win 2, which would have been a net drop of 1 game from what was already a 1.5-game deficit. But they've won 4 out of the first 4, including tonight's come-from-behind win. They have a 2.5 game lead in the division and the best record in baseball, for the moment.
I especially like having Kent Tekulve ("The Sidewinder") doing color commentary on the local cable channel. Maybe even more so than "Pops" Stargell, Tekulve was my favorite player the last time the Pirates were not just relevant, but dominant. I'm happy to see him up there, reassuring the faithful.
I used to hide a transistor radio under my pillow as a pre-teen, to listen to the Pirates play on the west coast. I've attended a game in each of two successful World Series for this hapless team. My kids (19 and 16) know them as perennial losers.
The big difference in this team, fighting through the nearly life-long culture of losing, is manager Clint Hurdle. Win or lose this fall, he has at least set the tinder alight. I love his plain-spoken-ness.
I don't believe in too much, but I believe that he's the reason our team is at least relevant.
After a lifetime of irrelevance,... God bless mere relevance!