The Steel City will be rockin' tonight.
For the second straight year, the Pittsburgh Pirates have qualified for the MLB playoffs and will again host the National League Wild Card game. Already the first franchise to host the Wild Card game twice, Pittsburgh would become the first team to win the one-game playoff on multiple occasions.
Tonight, the Pirates take on the San Francisco Giants, who have won two world series titles this past decade but have also missed the playoffs on both occasions following their championship seasons. Pitcher Edison Volquez, who has been a steel curtain on the mound in his own right in his past several starts, will look to follow in Francisco Liriano's footsteps after Liriano allowed just four hits and one earned run in the Pirates' 6-2 win over the Reds in last year's Wild Card game.
Like Joe Greene and Chuck Noll did for the Steelers in 1969, Andrew McCutchen and Clint Hurdle ignited the franchise's emergence as the Pirates have improved each season since the duo teamed up in 2010. After 20 seasons of losing baseball, the Pirates are back to living up to the standard set during the team's rich history, as well as the ones established by the Penguins and Steelers.
I grew up listening to my family talk about how great it was when the Steelers and Pirates were both playing at elite levels during the 1970s. I always wondered back then how great it would be to have a Pirates team still competitive heading into the fall, as opposed to wondering when football season would finally arrive. That time is here now and, hopefully, the Pirates post-season run can roll well into the course of the Steelers' schedule this fall.
In the spirit of the "We are family" theme that was the Pirates' rallying cry during their World Series championship season in 1979, BTSC wishes the Pirates the best of luck tonight and throughout the 2014 MLB playoffs.