Right now the Pirates are in a bit of a unique situation. No other team and fanbase has really had to endure anything like what they have had to endure the past 18 years. Which leads me to the queston: Why are you a Pirates fan? Now obviously there are a lot of people around Pittsburgh right now who will say they are fans. But it takes a bit more dedication to be posting on a Pirates specific blog, especially if you've been here for years, and double especially for this team. It's not even a given that you're a fan if you live in Pittsburgh, like it usually is for the Steelers (and to a lesser extent, The Pens) This makes me think that there must be some interesting stories behind why you root for this team. Many of you don't live in Pittsburgh, and perhaps you grew up here, but maybe you didn't. Maybe some of you weren't even born in this country! This is what I want to know.
My personal story starts with my dad. He was born in Harrisburg so he grew up a Phillies fan. His favorite player was (shockingly) Mike Schmidt with Steve Carlton coming in a close second. So as I was growing up here in Pittsburgh, he used to take me to a good number of Pirates games, and then I started collecting baseball cards around 1990 or so, and I vaguely remember watching the Pirates in the playoffs those years. My favorite player growing, and still my favorite player ever is...Nolan Ryan. Yeah I know that doesn't really make and specific sense, but whatever. Around the time I started collecting cards he was getting his 5,000th strikeout, so I guess i just kind of took to him.
Anyway, years later when I started into my teams I started closely following the various sports here in town and actually watching every game I could and keeping track of the stats and standings and so forth. So I remember quite fondly the 1997 Freak Show even though I was just about to get started in high school. So I kept following the Pirates over the years, even with their complete lack of success. My favorite memory would have to be getting to go to the All-Star game in 2006 with my dad, when my grandfather (on the other side of the family, if it matters) got us partial season tickets in 05 and 06 in order to be able to get those All-Star game tickets.
So that's my story I suppose, not the most interesting story, but maybe we'll get some better ones as we go.