"Lean into boredom," that's the advice of Gayatri Devi, and other practitioners of mindfulness.
"Properly understood, boredom helps us understand time, and ourselves," Devi writes. "Unlike fun or work, boredom is not about anything; it is our encounter with pure time as form and content."
Although it's too early in the season to say that tonight wasn't "about anything," as the game technically mattered in the still clogged National League Central, it certainly was a night for Pirates fans to embrace boredom and encounter "pure time" during a two and half hour rain delay.
PNC Park was already a low energy place before the rain came. It reached Jeb Bush campaign depths of low energy when the rain fell and the tarp covered the field. When play started again in the fourth, the in-game entertainment echoed loudly and absurdly in the mostly empty park; and an hour and a half later "A New Pirate Generation" led the team off the field. It was a much needed victory after a disappointing series in Cincinnati.
But for those that made it through the six hours, it was also a good night for thinking. Specifically, it was an opportunity to think about the nature of thinking, or to just enjoy being bored with friends. Boredom doesn't have to be tedious, Devi and others say, if you allow yourself to really sink into it. Tonight's rain delay was boring and it wasn't bad. It was a nice way to end the week. I wish you all at least one nice long, boring rain delay this year.
"It's the same bat I used last year," Bell said. "It's [about] trying to get away from being long in my initial move towards the ball. It's a work in progress, but this game shows I'm taking steps in the right direction."
Bell waited out the rain and then poured an offensive barrage on the Brewers. The Pirates first baseman led off the bottom of the fourth with a double and came around to score on a single by Gregory Polanco two batters later.
In the fifth, Bell knocked a solo homer that took some bounces and landed in the Allegheny River.
"It found its way in the river," Bell said. "It's not the big fly that I hoped for, but maybe another time I'll make it in the air. We'll see."
Wade Leblanc added to the Pirates three-run fourth inning by hitting a bases loaded, two out, single to shallow left field. Francisco Cervelli scored easily from third on the hit and Jose Osuna was called out on a close play at the plate.
"I wasn't ready to get anything else but the fastball," LeBlanc said. "Put a swing on it, close your eyes and hope it finds some grass."
Kuhl, bullpen shutdown Brewers
Chad Kuhl pitched a scoreless three innings in his abbreviated start. He struck out two and allowed two hits.
"It was hard to have to turn the page on [Kuhl], he really came out throwing well," Clint Hurdle said. "He was on point. He was sharp. So, that's tough back-to-back starts having to pass on him."
Leblanc took over for Kuhl in the fourth and continued his strong early season performance. The left-hander went three scoreless innings, striking out four along the way.
"I've been having a blast," LeBlanc said. "Coming here and knowing you might play everyday is a dream. It's every kid's dream. I'm living it."
With the Pirates holding a 4-0 lead in the seventh, Juan Nicasio loaded the bases and was removed for Felipe Rivero, who quickly retired the last out of the inning. After Rivero went another inning, Daniel Hudson came in to close out the ninth. Pirates relievers combined for six scoreless innings and six strikeouts.
"It's what they do," Hurdle said of his bullpen. "They are more than capable. I thought LeBlanc did a fantastic job throttling a very dangerous lineup. And then to be able to hand the ball to the guys at the backend like that. ... it was very efficient."