In late August 2002, I ventured to PNC Park for what was my favorite event every year. Kids Day at PNC Park had begun as a tradition, and as a member of a large family it was one of the affordable opportunities to go watch live sports.
A young prospect by the name of Bronson Arroyo toed the mound for the Bucs against the legend Tom Glavine for the Braves. Recognizable names like Chipper Jones, Javy Lopez, Andruw Jones, Rafael Furcal, Julio Franco and Vinny Castilla peppered across the Braves lineup that day. There was also the intrigue of Brian Giles matching up against his brother Marcus, Atlanta's second baseman at the time.
As a kid, I looked forward to Kids Day as one of the only opportunities each year I got to visit PNC Park and root for my team. We did not get Fox Sports Network, so I relied heavily on the newspapers and box scores to keep up with the team.
In those early days as a kid, seeing one or two games energized me and held me over for a whole season. Such an incredible change to today when I keep up with the team daily. To look back 15 years ago and see that young prospect Bronson Arroyo turned out a pretty darn good career, to see a handful of potential future HOF players like Chipper and Glavine, and to continue to irrationally believe that the 2002 Pirates were one or two lucky breaks away from competing. That pure feeling is why I am still a fan today, and why I see so many similarities between the child me and the adult me, particularly when it comes to keeping an irrational faith and continuing to root for my Bucs.