9-15-21 – By Gary Morgan – @garymo2007 on Twitter
Before I type one word about the game tonight, Roberto Clemente Night is at the very least something that appears to be sticking around, and I love it. The images, the quotes, the highlights, and all that pales to the human stories about the man and his legacy. We’ve been truly blessed in this city to have all time great players who happened to be great men too. Mario Lemieux, Sidney Crosby, Lynn Swann, Mel Blount, Rod Woodson, Troy Polamalu, Willie Stargell, and of course the Great One himself.
Thing is, I probably left off someone you think of in that light too. We spend a lot of time talking about what our sports franchises in this town don’t accomplish, but on a night like this I feel it appropriate to just take a moment and respect, honor and cherish the special person it takes to be everything to everyone, AND be one of the very best to ever do it in their chosen profession.
That’s what these men have been, nothing short of exemplary examples of people who wore the uniform with pride, treated the fans and themselves with respect and never forgot why they were there in the first place. Rare is the combination of all these talents, when they do it in your town, make sure they know you appreciate them doing it for your city, caring about your neighborhood, loving your colors, hating your rivals, being your neighbor, with grace. In some cases, with more grace than what was given. Some in a time when their talents weren’t accepted by everyone even while rooting for them.
I wrote this last year about Roberto on Clemente Day. Have a look if you’re looking to hear from the man himself.
Now onto today’s game.
The Pirates sent Mitch Keller to the mound and he needed a bounce back. The first inning he provided little hope, and the Reds took advantage to score 2 runs. The second had a scare or two, but didn’t clear the fence. Then he settled in and locked it down through 5.
The Bucs got to work, scoring 4 runs to take a two run lead which Mitch handed over after his own muscle through 5th inning.
The bullpen would leak the lead away as Chad Kuhl allowed one and Sam Howard gave up a short porch dinger in the 8th before Stratton tossed a scoreless 9th.
With one out Wilmer Difo doubled on a botched play in left. Reynolds was intentionally walked, and Moran grounded to 1st where Votto slightly mishandled it. And then Wilmer did this…
5-4 Pirates. Man, beautiful way to represent 21.
News & Notes
- “I think Clemente is proud tonight because this is how he played” Wilmer Difo post game. Think these guys don’t care? Take a look at Difo and Gamel together after the winning run crossed the plate.
- Mitch Keller looked better tonight, all in all I’d call it a positive night but he’ll need to stack a couple before I take it as real progress.
- First time since 2019 the Pirates have beaten the Reds in consecutive games.
- Yoshi Tsutsugo is batting.313 as a Pirate. Just sayin’, I hope they have a plan.
- Hayes went 0-5 tonight, but overall he’s been hot. Actually nice that one of the big guns can have an off night and the team still scores some runs. Don’t look now but the offense has really started to show up most nights. FAR too early to credit the firing of the hitting coach, but finish the season like this and I think you can make a case.
- Shelton makes a lot of moves many disagree with, myself included, but you can’t question how these guys play for him.