I grew up in the late '60s and '70s in Pittsburgh in the days of Roberto Clemente and Willie Stargell. It was a wondrous time to be a boy in Pittsburgh as my days often revolved around sports, especially baseball and football. My father and I would spend afternoons together hitting, catching, practicing. It was a very memorable time for me with my father and the dreams of maybe one day being a Pirate or Steeler.
My road took me in a different direction, and I now live in Florida. Instead of playing for a major league team, I flew helicopters for the Navy and now corporate jets, which has taken me to Europe, Central and South America, Southwest Asia and every state but Alaska. The other night I flew into Allegheny County Airport, where my father and I took our first flight lessons together. Waiting for my passengers, I tuned the radio in the cockpit to the local Pittsburgh station that was carrying the playoff game against the Reds. How thrilling it was to hear the end of the game as the Pirates won.
I stood outside of the plane on the ramp near the tower, and in the night air remembered all the places I have been in this world, but just for a moment I was back in Pittsburgh as a boy, hitting and catching with my father, playing "off the wall" with my boyhood friends, playing shortstop on my Little League team with my "magic blue glove" that seemed to catch everything. Just for a moment those boyhood dreams -- and all the magic that is baseball -- came to me.
Thank you, Pittsburgh Pirates! May you continue to do well as the playoffs progress. Thank you for the memories.
Ponte Vedra, Fla.
Thank you, Pirates, for opening PNC Park to the hometown fans for the Pirates-Cardinals game on Friday. Only in Pittsburgh can you find a yellow duck, a green parrot and a "Big Byrd" ... and all for free!
Let's go, Bucs!