Those Battlin' Bucs: Playoffs bound!
It was the flub followed by the save followed by the relay followed by the throwout at home plate heard around Pirate Nation, if not the sporting world. And it doesn't get much more dramatic than this:
In Chicago, the Cubs' Ryan Sweeney singled to Pirates right fielder Marlon Byrd with two outs in the ninth inning. He bobbled the ball. But center fielder Andrew McCutchen scooped it up and fired it to first baseman Justin Morneau, who had positioned himself next to the pitcher's mound. He then fired a shot to catcher Russell Martin, who tagged out the Cubs' Nate Schierholtz, waved home on Byrd's bobble.
“OUT!” the umpire signaled — after a second that felt like days.
The Pirates won 2-1 and, with the help of a Washington Nationals loss, are guaranteed their first playoff berth since 1992. Twenty years of disappointment and embarrassment evaporated Monday night at Wrigley Field.
The Battlin' Bucs are assured of at least a wild card slot, that do-or-die, one-game-elimination system likely to pit Pittsburgh against the Cincinnati Reds. But the Pirates still have a shot at overcoming National League Central leader St. Louis and winning the division outright.
So break out those old Green Weenies, start practicing the sign of Zoltan and prepare for a wild ride, one that hopefully concludes with the previously unthinkable — a trip to, and a victory in, the World Series.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.