With all of the hoopla over the Super Bowl, Egypt, and the comeback of Beavis and Butthead, a pretty big occasion is being overlooked: This is going to be the ten-year anniversary of the opening of PNC Park. Most normal franchises would be making a huge deal out of this, complete with a nice compilation of great moments from the previous ten seasons that occurred in their park. The Pirates, however, are not a normal franchise, as most of you may have noticed. The great moments have been few and far between the past ten years. No perfect games, no playoff wins. Being the helpful fan that I am, I’ve decided to help the Pirates choose the best moments from the first decade of PNC Park - some of which may or may not have actually happened.
10. 2005 - To commemorate the 35th anniversary of Dock Ellis’ LSD no-hitter, the Pirates supply starting pitcher Kip Wells with some LSD tablets of his own. Unfortunately, he is unable to make his scheduled start as the sight of fellow pitcher Tom Gorzelanny while on acid caused uncontrollable screaming for 72 straight hours.
9. 2008 - To prove the point that he wouldn’t be trading away the 1927 Yankees if a fire-sale was initiated, GM Neal Huntington schedules a spring exhibition game at PNC Park with a freshly exhumed 1927 Yankees squad. The Pirates lose, 8-1.
8. 2010 – Lacking anything else to commemorate, the Pirates celebrate the tenth straight season of no grizzly bear attacks at PNC Park.
7. 2004 – During a double-header, Rob Mackowiak hits a walk-off grand slam and game-tying home run on the same day his son is born. Inspired, Ryan Vogelsong decides to give up a home run for each of his six children in his next start.
5. 2006 – Freddy Sanchez wins the National League batting title. While excited for his accomplishment, even he later admits that the huge post-game ceremony, which featured a parade of elephants and a virgin sacrifice, was “a bit much.”
4. 2006 – In an effort to make sure their worthy players play in the All Star game at PNC Park, the Pirates mount an epic ballot stuffing campaign for Jason Bay and Freddy Sanchez. The plan works too well as Bay and Sanchez not only are elected to the All Star game, but are crowned king and queen of the North Allegheny HS Senior Prom.
3. 2002 – In a universally-praised move, the Pirates announce a trade for All-Star pitcher Matt Morris in a press conference held at PNC Park. However, due to a paperwork snafu, they cannot legally finalize the trade for another five years.
2. 2009 – The Pirates set the professional sports record for consecutive losing seasons. They commemorate the occasion with a banner that says “Look out Prairie View A&M, you’re next.”
1. 2001 – Willie Stargell, easily the most beloved living Pirate alum, dies the day of PNC Park’s opening. This is the top moment because it defines the Pirates perfectly.