As I was sitting at PNC Park on Tuesday night waiting for the first pitch of the National League Wild Card Game, a strange thing happened. All of the Pirates got younger. Not really younger, but younger than me.
I was looking at the program and not a single player was older than me. The last time that I had taken my seat for a Pirates playoff game was in 1992 as a 17-year-old senior in high school and EVERY player on the team was older than me. I paused for a moment and looked over at my dad and smiled.
Although I am a football guy at heart, it hit me for the first time why baseball is considered to be America's pastime. I realized that I was right back to my childhood again, sitting next to my dad, rooting for our team, eating a hot dog, and talking about the lineups. Pretty soon we found ourselves cheering home runs, rattling Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto with the rest of the crowd, and singing Take Me Out to the Ballgame. You see, even if every player on the team is now younger than you, baseball makes you feel like a kid again.
So, as I looked over at my dad, I was thankful that the Bucs gave us that moment to share one more time. I reminisced a little about my childhood. I thought of the wonderful wife and children who I now have and who I didn't have the last time I saw a playoff game. And, I hoped that one day I would get to do the same with my kids.
That is what truly makes baseball great --- father and son can sit down for an evening, enjoy a hot dog together and be reminded of younger days. So even though I am 38 years old and my dad isn't the youngster he may have been the last time we saw a playoff game together, it didn't matter. Baseball serves as a bridge from one generation to the next. And, for one night, I got to be a kid again. Thanks, Buccos, for giving me that experience for one great Buctober night. Bring on the Cardinals!