When GW was a pup being whelped in Oakland, everyone spent the summer sitting on their stoops, listening to the Bucs religiously on their transistor radio with an Iron City close at hand. GW has seen games in every Pittsburgh ballyard that's been since they tore Exposition Park down. One's a Pitt building now and the other's a parking lot. That's progress, so they say.
Yep, he has snow on the roof and gonna hit the big 6-0 this year. GW is certainly not a veteran among ball bloggers, but he has been around long enough to be their gramps. So when he gets a note that suggests a return to Pirate roots, he's all ears.
After seeing the post featuring some Gunnerisms written a few days back, long time Pirate fan Lonnie McCartney of Beaver took the time to send an e-mail with a plan to tie the old and new together at PNC Park. Lonnie said:
"Most of the current Pirate fans grew up with Lanny. At PNC, when a homerun occurs now we have fireworks and music. With all the available technology why couldn't the Pirates replay some of the famous sayings from Prince and Rosewell? When the young people ask, "who is that?", Dad or Grampa could tell a story about "Raise The Window Aunt Minnie" and "You Can Kiss It Good Bye." They could create a computer enhanced image like the little story before each game on the Jumbo Tron. This storytelling in the stands would educate the present fans about Pirate Voices of the past. Visiting the Gunner's Lounge is one thing, (but) to hear him call a homer at PNC would be awesome."
Well, GW loves the concept, and thinks that if anything, Lonnie's idea should be expanded.
We understand that the Pirate management has been doing everything they can to draw warm bodies into PNC, short, of course, of fielding a team. Fans get fireworks, bands, bobbleheads, cartoons, rock's greatest hits, weenies and t-shirts shot into the stands, pierogie races, and fan interviews, ad nauseam.
While that may be cool with the younger crowd, the oldsters pay to see a ballgame, not a variety show. Do you remember any AC/DC blaring or Jalapena Hannas by the dugout in "The Field of Dreams" or "The Natural?" Yah, some fans are still that old school - like GW.
So instead of blasting stadium rock and flashing lame 'toons across the screen for three hours, why don't the Pirates put that zillion dollar Diamond Vision Jumbotron to a higher use and show some clips of the good ol' days? Hey, it's not like it's tough; any intern worth his salt could put a few together over the winter.
Maybe between innings we could relive Maz's home run, Roberto's throw to third in the 1971 Series, Captain Willie crushin' one, or Candyman's no-no.
Vids of great moments and great players - and Pittsburgh has its share of Hall of Famers, championship-caliber athletes, and retired numbers - might actually add to the PNC experience, unless the suits have written off the fortysomething and older geezers as part of the team's youth movement.
Say what you may, GW still believes that baseball is the ultimate family sport, passed on from dad to the kids, and that connection is what links the generations, not just of families, but of franchises.
And for Lonnie's original idea...imagine a shot into the Allegheny, followed immediately by the face of Rosie, the Gunner, or Lanny on the scoreboard gleefully exhalting "Open the Window, Aunt Minnie," "Kiss It Good Bye," or "Go, Ball, Get Outta Here," then a starburst erupting over the Pittsbugh nighttime skyline. Just sayin'...