The Pirates season got off to a smashing start on the North Shore yesterday -- cool temperatures, brilliant sunshine, classic baseball. It was a festive crowd, outside and inside PNC Park. It was juiced up for Pirates baseball with a dash of Barry Bonds.
As the much-anticipated pre-game festivities were about to begin, some people, understandably, were talking about what the reaction would be to the introduction of one of the greatest players in baseball history and one of the great villains in Pirates history. Many booed, which was their right. More cheered, which was their right. The cheers drowned out the boos. Bonds waved liked he was oblivious to the negativity. It figures to be many a year before he again makes an appearance at PNC Park.
The Pirates, as you surely know, beat the Chicago Cubs, 1-0, on a 10th inning home run by Neil Walker. Francisco Liriano picked up where he left off last season with six scoreless innings and 10 strikeouts.
Now that everyone has an ever-so-slight edge based on that first win, time for the annual posting on pick the Pirates' record. This year will be a bit different. In addition to their record, cite, if you wish, whether they’ll win the division, merely gain the wild card or sit out the playoffs.
The tie-breaker is: What will be the arrival date of Gregory Polanco? If not this year, 2015 will suffice.
Second tie-breaker: The number of home runs the Pirates will get from the first-base position?
I will go first:
Finish: No playoffs
Polanco arrival: June 29
1B home runs: 17