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Yesterday the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the San Diego Padres 5-4 via a walk-off extra inning home run. Normally, that’s enough to ignite a crowd but yesterday was different. Sean Rodriguez in his first game back as a member of the Pirates delivered the blast.
It was one of those moments of pure joy. The Pittsburgh Pirates since the final out of the 2015 NL Wildcard Game have mostly made people cynical and angry. However, for at least one day, I think we were all reminded of the simple joys surrounding the game of baseball. It can give you some genuinely perfect emotional catharsis. Sean Rodriguez didn’t just hit a game-winning home run in his first game back as a Pirate. It was a moment of joy for a player that had been through hell and back in the previous offseason. Rodriguez signs a deal with the Braves to play every day, he gets into a serious car accident. There are doubts whether he’ll play this year or even at all. He battles back from the injury to return earlier than anyone expected and after a mere 15 games as a member of the Braves, he is traded back to the Pirates.
Sports aren’t life. There are far more important things to worry about and get angry over but they are a great reminder that persistence can pay off in a big, big way. If you had told someone the story of Sean Rodriguez over the past 48 hours, no one would believe you. It’s far too sappy but sometimes real life can use a little bit of sappiness.
A Human Moment
When the Pirates traded Mark Melancon to the Washington Nationals for Felipe Rivero, they thought they were obtaining a pitcher, but for the most part, they obtained a super man. During his time as a Pirate, Rivero has been absolutely incredible. He has a 1.93ERA so far during his Pirates career and he’s been somehow even better this year. For the most part, Rivero has been invisible, especially since being named the Pirates’ closer.
However, yesterday, we finally saw a moment of humanity for the dominant southpaw. Rivero blew his first save as a closer and allowed multiple runs for only the second time this season. I doubt anyone is really angry at Rivero since he’s been so ridiculously dominant. Every closer has a hiccup every now and again and if anyone’s earned the benefit of the doubt, it’s Felipe Rivero. Heck, the fact he allowed some runs is almost a story in itself. That’s how absurdly good he has been in his time with the Pirates. You expect him to get the job done nearly 100 percent of the time. He didn’t yesterday but that’s because he wanted Sean Rodriguez to play the role of hero in extra-innings. Rivero is a great teammate too! Of course, Rivero would have preferred to shut the door and end the game in the ninth inning but everything happens for a reason. Rivero blew a save to give us one of the best moments of the 2017 season…so far.
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