There weren’t many good moments in tonight’s 8-0 Wild Card Game loss by the Pittsburgh Pirates. In fact, you could argue that after the pre-game excitement, there was only one good moment. That came in the ninth inning, during Russell Martin’s final at-bat.
The game was easily decided by this point, which meant Martin was coming to the plate possibly for the last time as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The remaining crowd at PNC Park responded with chants of “Re-Sign Russ” during the at-bat. After Martin flew out to center field, the crowd responded with a standing ovation, which prompted a tip of the cap from Martin. The chants continued with “Rus-sel Mar-tin” during the next at-bat, with the fans showing their appreciation for the potentially departing catcher.
“That was pretty special,” Martin said of the moment. “To get that type of reaction from a crowd, especially when you’re losing a big game. That was definitely one of the coolest moments I’ve had in baseball.”
Clint Hurdle talked about the appreciation the crowd showed for Martin after the game.
“It’s excellent,” Hurdle said. “They’re appreciating the volume of work. For two years, they’ve watched this guy lay it all out like many of our men have and have been very appreciative of the difference he’s been able to make in our ball club — behind the plate, working with the pitchers, controlling the running game, the offensive part of it. He has been a pleasure and a very productive player for us.”
Martin said he wasn’t thinking about his off-season decision at the moment, although he did offer some good comments about his time in Pittsburgh.
“I’ve had more fun playing baseball here than I have my whole career,” Martin said. “I’m definitely going to keep that in mind when the decision time comes.”
That decision is going to be a big topic this off-season for the Pirates. For now, if this was the final at-bat for Martin, it was a great way to end his time as one of the best free agent signings in Pirates history.
Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.
I think the 10-15K that stayed last night really wanted to give them some send off cheers, one last Lets Go Bucs. It was a happy coincidence that Martin batted in the 9th. Those of us still there made some pretty good noise despite our failing voices. I liked the Lets Go Bucs over top of the Giants hoping around the infield.
The other big difference was the level of expectation in the crowd. Last year it was euphoric from well before the 1st pitch. This year, it was a more late arriving crowd and once the game started fan nervousness tempered the raucous atmosphere. It was still loud and very engaged, but different. You could tell how much we wanted this game.
2015 rotation of Cole, Morton, Worley, Locke and ???
It’s going to be a long Buctober
Buctober is now over. Bumgarner rendered it the shortest month of the year, making February now the 2nd shortest.
The best moment was seeing PNC Park packed to over flowing for a meaningful baseball game in October!
To me, a good moment from last night was getting to see Holdzcom pitch in a playoff game to complete his fairy tale season. You just can’t even imagine the ride that this year took him on.
I wish they had won, but I didn’t think there were “no good moments”. After following a losing/loser team for 20 years, I have a lot to look forward to – especially the development of Polanco, the continued growth of Harrison & Mercer & Marte & Cole (and Stewart possibly), and the group of young pitchers who will be coming to Pittsburgh soon.
Bad night, but these are good times.