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Pirates

Despite trades, Pirates tickets still selling

| Friday, July 31, 2009

The ticket window outside PNC Park was buzzing, surprisingly, Thursday during lunch hour.

Apparently, the nine people waiting in line at 12:38 p.m. weren't turned off by middle infielders and fan-favorites Freddy Sanchez and Jack Wilson being traded the day before.

From noon until 1 p.m., there was a steady line that was at least four-deep.

The catch• Not many of them were loyal Pirates fans. Those are hard to come by these days.

"Quite honestly, I haven't followed them like I did as a kid because they (stink)," 36-year-old Brandie Mack said. "I don't even know who's gonna be playing."

These days, it's not so much the product on the field that is drawing these ticket-buyers to PNC Park.

Mack, of Bethel Park, grudgingly bought tickets to a game next Thursday as a birthday present for her father and sister, who lives out of town.

"I don't think we should be spending money to go and see them," said Mack, who hasn't been to a Pirates game since 2003. "It's a shame. We have to send some sort of message to the management, but I'm over here buying tickets so I feel kind of stupid saying that."

Mack said she made plans to attend the game with her father and sister before "half the team was traded away."

Paul Kolich, 53, of McKeesport purchased tickets for his children for Saturday's game. The main attraction: the post-game Jo Dee Messina concert.

"If it wasn't for the concert ... my kids haven't wanted to go in a couple years," Kolich said.

Kolich can see the big picture that Pirates management is preaching, but he's not that big of a fan to get worked up over the recent trades. In fact, the high turnover rate is what makes the Pirates so hard to follow for Pittsburghers such as Kolich. Only one starter — catcher Ryan Doumit — remains from the starting lineup this time last year.

"It's like you need to have Velcro on a shirt if you want to buy a shirt, as to whose name is gonna go on it," Kolich said.

Harold Sarver, of Hampton, bought three tickets so he could take two of his grandsons to a game simply because it's a place they can "eat and have a good time."

Sarver used to be a more avid Pirates fan, but his interest has waned given the 16 — soon to be 17 — consecutive losing seasons. He's tried to see the big picture, but it's hard when the plan never comes to fruition.

"They're building for the future," Sarver said. "It's a sacrifice now. Hopefully, it'll pay off in the future. The problem is, do they really have a plan, and will it really work• We've been hearing this for the past 15 years that we're building for the future. And unfortunately with my grandkids, they like to see the Wilsons and so on. They're gonna see nobody."

Rob Speer, 46, of Sarver, will attend his first Pirates game of the season tonight. He hasn't invested much time or passion into the Pirates, so he doesn't have strong feelings regarding the rebuilding project.

"We obviously weren't winning, so what's the point in keeping them?" he said. "Get something for them while you can, and let's try a different approach. Kind of blowing the whole team up and starting again is what was needed."

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