October 1, 2012. The Atlanta Braves come into Pittsburgh on a cool, cloudy fall evening to play the Pirates in the final series of the regular season.
The Braves have already clinched a wild card spot and the Pirates are holding onto the second spot by a game. A crowd of over 30,000 excited fans are pumped for "Buctober." Their team has already clinched a winning season, ending the streak of losing at 19 years. A chant of "Let's Go Bucs" begins as the Pirates take the field and...you wake up in your recliner, realizing it was all a dream. A dream that many thought would be reality back in August.
Sadly, you're stuck with the reality that the Pirates have already made it 20 straight years of losing and this series means nothing for both teams. The Braves have secured a wild card spot and unless they can sweep the Pirates and hope for a Nationals collapse, they are set for a one game playoff against the second wild card team. The Pirates can finish 80-82 if they sweep Atlanta. But seriously, come on. We know that won't happen.
To think of what this series could have been. The Pirates, playing the team that won the 1992 National League pennant and sent the Pirates into a two decade spiral of mediocrity, are at PNC Park for the final three games of the season. The Pirates being able to not just finish over .500 and even clinch on a game winning play at home would be destiny. Unfortunately, this is the Pirates we're talking about. Destiny means a collapse in September. The stars seemed to align for Pittsburgh. Some believing that the Reds series would be a chance to compete for the division title, and this Braves series could have been a chance to knock Atlanta out of the postseason and steal their spot.
But no. Nap time before the first pitch is the only way it's gonna happen. Instead, less than 20,000 fans will go to the games this week, get some free stuff on fan appreciation day, and just say, "Oh well, until next April."
Is this series worth watching? You be the judge. If it turns ugly, drift off to dreamland and think of what could have been this week at PNC Park.