|The King with Mike Carroll & Peter Farrell|
After we enjoyed our meal, we said our goodbyes and we went to PNC Park to see the Pirates play the Royals which was indeed the King's big day as he was witnessing his 7,000th live baseball game in person. What an accomplishment it was for him.
It was reported in Artvoice which is a local paper that circulates in the Buffalo, NY area back in late May that this day was coming sometime in June. This was the special occasion that the King had been waiting for quite some time. He started counting down when he was over two hundred games away.
Upon arrival at the ballpark we were greeted by another special guest none other than Peter Farrell from the USRT by the Willie Stargell statue out behind the left field gate. Peter drove three and a half hours to take part in this historic day. It was great to see him again. He joined the King, Steve Fekete aka the Padre Punk, Mike Carroll aka Sabre Mike and I for the festivities.
It was a fun day to be at the ballpark, which I might add is one of the best around. PNC Park is a modern jewel. This venue is intimate and the scenic views are second to none. The backdrop makes this ballpark what it is. With the Roberto Clemente Bridge behind right center field, the river behind right field and the downtown skyline in the distance right behind the bridge, it's a site to behold. They did a tremendous job laying the ground work for this ballpark when it was being built.
As for the game we saw, the Pirates' A.J. Burnett, a former Yankee, pitched well. He held the Royals hitless for the first five and a third innings but then the Peter Farrell Quest for a No Hitter jinx took over as the Royals finally got a hit by Alex Gordon to ruin Peter's day.
As for the King, he was in his glory especially in the top of the fifth inning. A.J. Burnett had walked a batter and hit another with one out the King yelled out one of his famous sayings. He said and I quote "did anyone say double play." With the next pitch to Jarrod Dyson, a ball was hit right to the shortstop who stepped on second and fired to first for the inning ending double play. That was just what the King had ordered. His loud mouth got the attention of the usher who was by section 116 where we were standing to watch the game behind home plate and he came by and gave the King a nice high five for his brilliant call. With that, the game became official because the Pirates were winning. As a result, his 7,000th game is now in the books. What a way to acknowledge it.
Before departing after pitching seven and a third innings, A.J. Burnett struck out six Royals prompting the King to do his signature strikeout call which caught the attention of three young lads in particular who thoroughly enjoyed his act. It made for a perfect afternoon to cap off his milestone day.
With the Pirates clinging to a 3-2 lead in the ninth inning, we got to see Jason Grilli come in to attempt to seal the deal. He did indeed despite allowing a lead off base hit that fell softly into right field and a walk along the way after a sacrifice bunt. Grilli came back to blow away the last two hitters one swinging and the last one looking to close out the game and he picked up his first save as a Pirate. It was a perfect ending to a very memorable day for the King.
After the game, we said goodbye to Steve and Peter and we made our way back home.
Stay tuned for the special post I'm going to do about Jason Grilli who has overcome numerous obstacles to get back into the Major Leagues again.
Thank you for reading and following along.