As one of the oldest franchises in baseball, there’s certainly a nostalgic history surrounding the Pittsburgh Pirates. Around the city, you’ll find fans who have grown up rooting for the Buccos, and fans who have recently jumped on the BUCN bandwagon. New or old, there are countless reasons we love to love the Pirates. Here are 10.
By Rebecca Torchia, Editorial Intern / Edited by Lauren Wells + Rachel Jones
1. The Stadium
PNC Park boasts one of the best views of any Major League Baseball stadium in the country. Pittsburgh’s skyline frames the game from any angle, complete with yellow bridges and building tops that glow black and gold when the team scores or wins. Plus, BallparkDigest.com just voted our dear PNC Park the top MLB facility in its “Best of the Ballparks” competition.
2. The Hometown Hero
Neil Walker grew up in the very city that now hails him as a baseball hero. Drafted to the minor leagues straight out of Pine-Richland High School, the “Hometown Kid” originally played catcher before taking on second base. But, he’s not just an infield star — Walker’s a force to reckon with as a batter, too.
3. The Losing Streak
Pittsburgh Pirates fans suffered through one of the longest losing streaks in North American sports history, surviving 20 consecutive years of losing seasons between 1992 and 2012. Those losses didn’t break down true fans, however — it only made winning feel that much sweeter.
4. The Cutch
Andrew McCutchen is one of the Pirates’ best known players, and for good reason. He led the National League in hits in 2012, won the NL’s Most Valuable Player Award in 2013, and was a five-time All-Star player. He’s amazing behind the scenes as well, recently ditching his iconic dreadlocks and instead donating the money he received from them to Pirates Charities.
5. The Unofficial Mascots
We all know and love the Pirate Parrot, but let’s face it — the Great Pierogi Race steals the spotlight at games. Hilarity ensues as Oliver Onion, Cheese Chester, Sauerkraut Saul, Jalapeño Hannah, Potato Pete, and the newest addition, Bacon Burt, race along the outfield wall.
6. The Historic Players
Some of baseball’s biggest names have played for the Pittsburgh Pirates: Barry Bonds, Willie Stargell, Honus Wagner, and perhaps most memorably, the great Roberto Clemente.
7. The Fridays
Translation: Free Shirt Fridays. Some tees feature star players, while others play up a current Pirates trend, such as 2012’s “Z for Zoltan” design. As a result, Friday night games often result in a sea of black, gold, gray, and white attire.
8. The Gateway Clipper Spectators
Not all Pirates fans find their seats in PNC Park on game nights. As the Gateway Clipper boats sail down the Allegheny River under the Clemente Bridge, the steamboats’ whistles sound, while fans in the stadium cheer and wave to the boats’ passengers.
9. The Fans
In general, Pittsburgh sports fans are some of the most intense fans in the nation. Whether they’re cheering for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Penguins, or Pirates, their support is unwavering. The atmosphere at any game is electric, regardless of the outcome.
10. The Flag
“Raise the Jolly Roger!” rings out once the Pirates secure a victory, setting off a massive celebration throughout PNC Park. As the crowd cheers and fireworks take flight, the skull and crossbones-bedecked flag rises for the occasion. Fans near and far celebrate with the social media tags #RaiseIt and #RTJR. The Jolly Roger is the Pirates’ ultimate symbol of victory; and lately, it’s been waving more often than not.