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Fay-West has 'Buc' fever

| Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013, 6:24 p.m.
Evan R. Sanders | Daily Courier
Eva Metzger, 6, of Connellsville looks over Pittsburgh Pirates merchandise at Wavie and Janes Emporium along West Apple Street in Connellsville on Wednesday, October 2, 2013.

The Fay-West community has “Buc” fever.

“Jolly Roger” flags are flying high. Black and gold Pirates shirts are being worn.

The Fay-West is ready for Thursday's National League Division Series when the Pittsburgh Pirates take on the St. Louis Cardinals in St. Louis. It's the first time in 21 years that the Pirates have made it to the playoffs.

Pirates fever is everywhere. Just ask longtime fan Kenneth Jaynes.

Jaynes joined more than 40,000 fans on Tuesday night when the Pirates beat the Cincinnati Reds, advancing the Bucs to the playoffs. It was a sea of black as Pirates fans created a “blackout” at PNC Park.

“There was probably only 10 red shirts there,” said Jaynes of Dunbar Township, a lifelong Pirates fan who attended Tuesday's game with his wife, Susan, and two of their children. “It was a sea of black.”

Jaynes has watched the Pirates play at Forbes Field, Three Rivers Stadium and PNC Park and has viewed playoff games for both the Steelers and the Penguins. This was his first Pirates wild-card playoff game.

“It was unbelievably incredible,” he said. “The way the fans bonded together, there was a real community atmosphere.”

In an indirect throwback to the “We Are Family” theme from the Pirates of the late 1970s, Tuesday night's game included family elements like outfielder Andrew McCutchen's mother, Petrina, singing the national anthem.

The crowd was so into in the game, there were very few lines at concession stands between innings, Jaynes noted.

“I'll be there for every home playoff game and World Series game,” he said.

The assurance that the Pirates will not only make it to the World Series and then win it is not only shared with the die-hard fans, but in the retail world as well.

Jeff Wallace with Wavie and Janes Emporium in Connellsville said the manufacturer they go through for Pirates merchandise is printing shirts declaring the Pittsburgh Pirates World Series Champions. Sales of Pirates items have taken an upward swing.

“Everything that is old is new again,” Wallace said as his 15 years of Pirates merchandise piling up in his warehouse is going from the bottom shelf to the top shelf in his seasonal store. Everything is going right out the door, he said.

“They're selling better than the Steelers,” he said.

Wallace said that undoubtedly, the Pirates T-shirts are the best sellers, especially the ones that read “AbsoBUCNlutely!” Other items in stock include bobbleheads, blankets, necklaces, hats, license plates, Roberto Clemente jerseys and more.

Pirates items are not only selling well locally, but because of the Internet, he's shipping Pittsburgh Pirates items to countries like Saudi Arabia, China and Australia — a far cry from when the merchandise was collecting dust and taking up space.

“Even when we were robbed (in early September), they didn't touch the Pirates stuff,” Wallace said.

Mark Hofmann is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-626-3539 or mhofmann@tribweb.com.

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