Monday, April 03, 2006

Happy Opening Day! 

On this, the afternoon of the Pirates 2006 opener, I thought I'd take a look at some of the noteworthy games I can remember attending over the years!

October 3, 1982: In attendance for Willie Stargell's final game. It's the first Pirate game I can actually remember.

May 5, 1991: I was down the third base line when then-rookie Jeff Bagwell hit the 9th upper deck home run in Three Rivers Stadium history. The mammoth shot was front-and-center in my mind the next spring when I drafted my first fantasy baseball team -- with Bagwell as the centerpiece.

May 25, 1991 -- The night the Penguins won their first Stanley Cup. The crowd was going insane every time the scoreboard announced a Pens' goal (and there were a lot of them -- they blew out the Northstars, 8-0). To cap it off the remarkable night, the Pirates won on a thrilling 11-th inning walkoff homerun by Orlando Merced.

September 27, 1992: Sitting in the nosebleed section with "The Boys" as the Bucs clinched the National League East for a third straight season.

October 9, 1992 and October 11, 1992 - Using very different styles, rookie Tim Wakefield and grisled veteran Bob Walk stymie the Braves, pitching unforgettable complete games in Games 3 and 5 of the NLCS.

July 11, 1994: It doesn't technically count, but Frank Thomas hits the longest home run in Three Rivers history (519 feet) -- at the Home Run Hitters' contest before the All-Star Game.

October 1, 2000: In the press box for the last game at Three Rivers. Willie Stargell, in failing health, made an emotional appearance as home plate was taken out and transported to the PNC Park construction site.

February 11, 2001: Ok, it wasn't a game. It was the implosion of Three Rivers. I was in the press area nearby. It was really cold, but fun. I have the official hard hat to show for it. And a tape of the CBS Radio hourly news at 9 that morning, in which the top story was my call of the stadium's collapse.

March 31, 2001 and April 9, 2001: The first exhibition and regular season games at Three Rivers. For the exhibition game, I had a press pass and was almost alone inside when I first went in. I'll never forget the beauty of it and the smell of the real grass after all those years of watching games at Three Rivers. It was like a baseball-style Christmas morning that comes around once in a lifetime.

September 6, 2004: Not a noteworthy game for you, but it was when I caught my first and only foul ball.

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