- Grove City, Pennsylvania


April 19, 2011

Random Thoughts: Feel-good start has fans in a fever

— I'm fighting a sickness that seems to be sweeping the entire Pittsburgh area.

It’s not the Swine Flu, the Chicken Pox or some other ‘trendy’ illness that gains national prominence. It’s Bucco Fever.

The Pirates started the 2011 season 4-2 with back-to-back road series wins over the Chicago Cubs and the St. Louis Cardinals. The series wins were even more astounding considering the Bucs have accomplished that feat in four years and even more amazing considering the Pirates won just 17 games on the road a year ago.

That early season success has many Pirate fans’ hearts all atwitter with Bucco Fever, but I’m not sure I want to get sick just yet.

I watched a big chunk of the team’s second and third victories (5-4 wins over the Cubs and Cardinals) and found myself remembering the days of the ‘Killer Bees.’

Remember those days?

Barry Bonds, Bobby Bonilla and Andy Van Slyke leading the Pirates to three-straight National League East pennants (Well Bobby Bo didn’t help that final year but you know what I mean)?

I remember those days all too well.

I spent many a Sunday afternoon with a glove on my left hand sitting in Three Rivers Stadium’s upper deck or left field seats hoping and praying to catch a home run or foul ball. Also included in those days were heckling the opposing team’s left fielder.

I had Bucco Fever back in the day and the Pirates’ early season successes have it heating up again all over Western Pennsylvania

Many of the Pittsburgh area sports talkers are gushing about the Baby Bucs and all the excitement they’re instilling in their success starved fan base.

Chief among the excitement is the play of Pittsburgh’s own Neil Walker, who’s continued his rookie successes into his sophomore year by leading the NL in RBIs with eight through  six games.

Walker’s game-winning run in the top of the ninth Sunday against Cubs’ closer Carlos Marmol has many talking about how that may be the play of the season for the guys in Black and Gold.

Like many of you Pirate fans out there, I’m sick and tired of all this losing. Year after year for 18 years, I’m tired of watching an undermanned team go out and not have enough. People ask me if I’m a Pirate fan and while I’m ashamed to admit it, I eventually do say I root for the Pirates.

I admit it with one caveat: I watch them on TV and read about them in the newspaper or online, but I steadfastly refuse to line Bob Nutting’s pockets.

I’ve only been to one Pirate game in like 12 years - and that was just too good of a deal to pass up (a $16 ticket and transportation for $20) -- but outside of that, I’ve never been inside of PNC Park.

I wanna go back real bad, but like I said, I’m not gonna line the pockets of tight wad Nutting. I’d rather go watch minor leaguers or head down to Slippery Rock to see the Sliders.

Yes, I’m starting to feel the affects of Bucco Fever, but I’m fighting tooth and nail because I know that early summer swoon is coming.

It’s inevitable. It’s like the sun rising and then eventually setting.

The Pirates start out OK and get everyone excited that maybe this is the year the losing streak ends and then unfailingly, they start losing over and over and over and over and over again.

I just can’t see Andrew McCutchen hitting like 30 homers or Walker continuing his torrid pace. I don’t see Charlie Morton getting himself out of jam after jam like he did Monday. There’s no way Kevin Correia and his fellow starters keep them in games.

It just can’t happen. It won’t happen.

But if it does, I suppose I’ll have to man up, take some medicine and head down to the North Shore for some Major League Baseball.

It’s been way too long.

Eighteen years too long.

Agree or disagree? Contact Corey at

Text Only
  • THE CHECKERED FLAG: Up and down week for Sodeman

    LAST FRIDAY I headed south to add I-77 Raceway Park to my track attended list, which made for 162nd track all-time.  I-77 is located south of Ripley, West Virginia just off Interstate 77.  This season, I-77 moved from the crowded Saturday night line-up to Friday night racing and teamed up with Ohio Valley Speedway.  I-77 normally runs Super Late Models, Semi-Late Models, E-Mods, Mod Lites, and 4-Cylinder Mini Stocks.  With the Sprint Cars on the schedule, I decided to make the trip and they were joined by the Super Late Models, Semi-Late Models, and E-Mods.

    July 21, 2014

  • THE CHECKERED FLAG: Blaney still running hot on area tracks

    LAST THURSDAY I headed southwest to Atomic Speedway, formerly known as KC Raceway.  The 1/3-mile high-banked dirt oval is located an hour south of Columbus, Ohio just off Route 23 near Alma.  It was my first visit in a couple years.  A big crowd turned out on Independence Day Eve as the All Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Cars were back along with the Super Late Models and E-Mods.  The Ohio Speedweek event the week before drew a huge 62-car field and Thursday’s event drew 33.
    After an astounding Speedweek winning the final three races and four of six, Dale Blaney returned to the track that he last got defeated at.  On the Speedweek show, Jac Haudenschild made the winning pass of Blaney, while Blaney finished second.  Last Thursday, even a seventh starting spot didn’t derail Blaney for long.  The Hartford, Ohio racer worked his way to the front and made the winning pass of race-long leader Tim Shaffer on lap 16.  One caution three laps from the finish was all that slowed Blaney’s run to another $5,000 payday.  It was Blaney’s fourth straight win, sixth of the season, and all-time leading 105th of his career with the All Stars.

    July 13, 2014

  • EXTRA INNINGS: Bucs fans loved Burnett, but let's leave him in Philly

    THERE IS NO no doubt that A.J. Burnett made a huge impact during his two seasons with the Pirates.
    When he arrived in the spring of 2012, so did hope for fans wearied by teams that hadn’t seen a winning record in 20 summers.
    While he certainly did not turn the tide by himself, he turned the wheel. His swagger sometimes didn’t play well with management, but even the Buc brass had to appreciate the new culture that Burnett helped his teammates create.

    July 9, 2014

  • NCAA Football: Rock 6-1 after 17-3 win over Cal U

    Slippery Rock University rode a length-of-the-field scoring drive by its offense and a goal-line stand by its No. 1-ranked defense late in the first half of action Saturday to a 17-3 win over 14th-ranked visiting California (Pa.).

    October 19, 2011

  • steez pc.jpg NFL: Steelers top Jags as Mendenhall makes return

    Mike Tomlin isn’t ready to say the Pittsburgh Steelers are back. Not after watching his team sleepwalk through the second half against Jacksonville on Sunday.

    October 19, 2011 1 Photo

  • wheldon, dan pc.jpg IndyCar Racing: Crash takes Wheldon’s life

    Every race car driver heads onto the track understanding this race could be the last and hoping it won’t be. On Sunday, IndyCar drivers got a harsh reminder when the worst happened to one of their own.

    October 19, 2011 3 Photos

  • pens pc.jpg NHL: Sabres beat Penguins 3-2

    The Buffalo Sabres have had trouble with the Pittsburgh Penguins whether Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin play or not.

    October 19, 2011 1 Photo

  • canadiens logo pc.jpg NHL Quick glance: Montreal at Pittsburgh

    A breakdown of the National Hockey League game Thursday night between the Pittsburgh Penguins and visiting Montreal Canadiens.

    October 19, 2011 4 Photos

  • High School Highlights: Oct. 19, 2011

    A look at the last few days in local high school fall sports action.

    October 19, 2011

  • washington, ron pc.jpg Leading Off: Oct. 19, 2011

    News and notes from the local, regional and national sports scene.

    October 19, 2011 5 Photos

Featured Ads
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide