I purposely got there early so I could meet and greet some other roadtrippers who were going to be there too. First of all, I met fellow ballpark chaser Blair Long and his lovely wife Paula who drove early in the morning from their home in Central New Jersey. We had been in contact for a few weeks thanks to modern technology. On this night, we finally got to meet up. By doing so, we got to exchange stories of our past travels. Paula who's originally from Ireland told me how much she loves our country. She loves the idea of driving around to different parts of it so she can appreciate all this is do here. When she first met Blair she wasn't a baseball fan. Blair took her to a game and she loved it. With that being said, I told Blair he's a lucky man. They're happily married which is a rarity these days. After speaking for a while, we decided to walk around the concourse of the lower level since this was their first time at PNC Park.
We went out to the bullpen area in left field where a person I knew was. I'm referring to JeanAnn Harrison. She happens to be a business partner of Pirates' closer Jason Grilli. With that being said, she was watching batting practice and she was waiting to see Jason when he walked out to the bullpen just before the game started.
Since I was with Blair & Paula at the time, I introduced them to each other. Ironically, JeanAnn did the same since she was with a few friends of hers, Dawn & Scott. I told JeanAnn that I'll be back so I can see Jason too.
I proceeded to walk around to the team store behind home plate with Blair and Paula because Blair and I wanted to get our ballpark passports officially stamped & validated.
|Blair Long & I with our Passports stamped & validated|
I proceeded to walk back out to the outfield area. I stopped off in section 140 row B in right center field to see a guy named Dennis who I met at Wrigley Field the week before when I saw the Pirates play the Cubs. Those are his season tickets he said. He told me to look for him there and he'll buy me a beer. Honestly, I didn't care about the beer necessarily. I wanted to see him so I could back up my word that he would see me there. True to his word, he walked me to a beer stand and he bought me a beer as he said he would. For that, I was very grateful. I then went back to see JeanAnn by the bullpen. I introduced Dennis to her as well.
A few minutes later Jason Grilli made his way out there. I got to shake his hand again and he signed some pictures I took of him. I gave one to Dennis for his son Jack who I met at Wrigley Field. Stay tuned for a special post that I'm going to do about Jason.
After JeanAnn & I saw Jason we went to our seats to watch the game as the Pirates were hosting the Mets.
As for the game we saw, it was scoreless for the first three innings. In the top of the fourth inning, the Mets scored a run off Pirates' starter A.J. Burnett to go up 1-0. They added another run in the top of the fifth inning to take a 2-0 lead. In the bottom half of the fifth inning, the Pirates finally got to Mets' starter Carlos Torres. They cut the Met lead in half as they broke the shutout making it a 2-1 game. The Mets were lucky the Pirates didn't score more that inning. Since Torres was making a rare start, he was pulled after five innings. In the bottom of the sixth inning, the Pirates got even as center fielder Andrew McCutchen hit a solo homer to right center field to make it 2-2. It was the 39th Bucco Blast at home this season according to the tracker they have in right field. In the seventh inning, "Cutch" as he's called came through again in the clutch. He delivered a two out run scoring single after a costly error by Ike Davis of the Mets prolonged the inning. The Met bullpen made matters worse as they wound up walking catcher Russell Martin with the bases loaded to make it a 4-2 game. The Pirates called on the shark tank as their bullpen is called to shut it down in the late innings. Mark Melancon came in & he threw a 1,2,3 eighth inning setting up the ninth inning for Jason Grilli aka Grill Cheese for the potential save opportunity. After a thunderous introduction on the scoreboard, Jason also got the Mets out 1,2,3 in the ninth to seal the deal as the Pirates held off the Mets, 4-2. By doing so, he picked up his 29th save of the season.
After the game, they had a nice fireworks show which enabled me to beat the majority of the traffic as I drove 75 miles to Somerset, Pennsylvania where I spent the night.
Stay tuned for a special post I'm going to about a few special people that I met for breakfast that Sunday morning.
Thank you for reading and following along.