Sunday, September 05, 2010

SkyBlast III

Ian Desmond commits back to back errors with two outs in the bottom of the 2nd inning tonight at PNC Park. One pitch later, The Pittsburgh Pirates' Neil Walker lines the first pitch thrown to him right at Danny Espinosa manning second base for Our Washington Nationals to end the frame. While walking off the field, John Lannan gestures to his catcher, Ivan Rodriguez.

Pudge laughs.

No worries this evening.

Game over, right then and there.

Time to settle in for SkyBlast III.

Nobody had scored a single run yet, but Washington was in complete control. Our Number 31 was just too good and the offense behind him too powerful--even without Adam Dunn in the lineup. For the sixth time in seven starts since returning from AA Harrisburg, Lannan pitched another fine baseball game. His teammates assisting in his latest act by rocketing baseball after baseball in and around PNC Park. The post game fireworks were yet to come, but Washington's team was lighting up the evening sky with white baseballs silhouetted against the beautiful backdrop of downtown Pittsburgh.

Pudge Rodriguez starting the pyrotechnics early with his third home run of the year. A two run shot lined to right off The Buccos Paul Maholm that cleared the "Out Of Town" Scoreboard in the top of the 5th. Pretty much everyone in Washington's lineup getting into the offensive act this evening. Pudge and Desmond with three hits, Michael Morse and Danny Espinosa with two. Espinosa again a sparkler all over the field (can that young man flat out run!!).

Nine runs, 15 hits, an offensive explosion that incredibly paled to the post-game concert and fireworks extravaganza put on by The Pittsburgh Pirates Baseball Club. If you attended this game, in person at PNC Park, and DID NOT stay after to watch SkyBlast III--what were you thinking? As well as Our Washington Nationals played this evening in Pittsburgh, SkyBlast III was nothing short of spectacular. In all our years attending baseball games, The African Queen and I have never seen so few leave a ballpark after the final out was recorded--as was the case this night. We've never witnessed anything quite like this performance. It's hard to put in words, just how good the show truly was.

Fireworks from the infield. Fireworks from the outfield. Fireworks from the Allegheny River. Fireworks from the Clemente Bridge. And even fireworks from the top of buildings draping the Pittsburgh Skyline. All surrounded by Country Music Artist Luke Bryan and his band--who put on a tremendous 50 minute show. We've never experienced anything quite like SkyBlast.

Leaving PNC Park after the Post Game show was complete, there was no question in our minds--SkyBlast III was better than the game itself.

Final Score from PNC Park where Washington blew out the home side well before The Pittsburgh Pirates blew out the minds of 30,263 fans in a mesmerizing fireworks and concert spectacle: Our Washington Nationals 9 and The Pittsburgh Pirates 2. Curly "W" Number 58 was a great evening in one of the finest American Ballparks ever built. The best moment to remember from the actual game was watching D.C.'s Dugout smiling and laughing and just having a good ole time congratulating Pudge Rodriguez on his 308th homer this evening. Washington looked relaxed, in control, while John Lannan continued his resurrection back to his old self from 2008/2009 on the mound.

Not much wrong to say about this one--especially with the tremendous Bang!! Zoom!! Of The Fireworks!! that came after.

Pudge chuckling with John Lannan as they walked off the field in the bottom of the 2nd inning this evening had set the tone. Our Washington Nationals were going to have a blast playing baseball this cool September night in Western Pennsylvania. And then they were going to sit back, relax and enjoy SkyBlast III--the best fireworks show in a baseball venue we've ever seen in our lives.

No question about it. SkyBlast III was a total blast.

Game Notes & Highlights

Roger Bernadina thrilled every D.C. Fan in attendance with The Defensive Play Of This Game by tossing out former teammate, and former National, Lastings Milledge in the bottom of the 8th inning. A perfect strike to Pudge Rodriguez thrown from short leftfield after The Pirates Ronny Cedeno doubled down the line and off the left field baseline seats. A baseball that caromed back into short leftfield--giving Pittsburgh's 3rd Base Coach (And Former Nationals 3rd Base Coach) Tony Beasley enough confidence to send Lastings home. Bad decision when Roger nailed that young man wearing Number 85 at the plate--with no problem. Lastings Milledge out by so far, he didn't even attempt to run over Pudge.

Lastings had been called out and with it--the very last chance for The Pittsburgh Pirates and their fans to celebrate. At least until Luke Bryan took Center Stage at PNC Park to perform amidst the post-game fireworks.

We had great seats tonight, directly behind home plate and the Pirates Lexus Club. Just to our right were four rows of scouts, charting every play and directing their speed guns on every pitch. Near the end of the game, Sohna and I had a brief conversation with former Major League player, now scout, Bobby Wine. Wine once played for The Montreal Expos--now Washington Nationals.

The Pittsburgh season ticket holders sitting around us could not have been friendlier. We figure after 18 straight losing seasons, it's hard for Pirate Fans to look down on others, when their appears to be so much animosity shown toward their management. Bucco Fans want to see changes. And they want to see it now.

Our usher, Robert--was a total hoot. After Washington's Racing Presidents took on the Pittsburgh Pirogues at the end of the 5th inning--the Pirogues always head to The Lexus Club to greet fans. Robert The Usher lined up all these little children along the railings of the 1st row of our section--so they could reach out and touch the Pirogues. Quite the site and fun to watch.

Robert yelling out to each Pirogue: "Pause, Point For A Picture!!" And all five complied.

We loved this Lexus Club vendor wearing the retro Pirates pinstripe uniform and matching pinstripe beard.

And finally, here it is for all to see. The Famous Primanti Brothers Sandwich. Roast Beef, French Fries, Cole Slaw (lovingly called grass) and tomatoes all stuffed and cut between two gigantic layers of white bread. All the Artery clogging liquids added in for free. What a sandwich. A Pittsburgh Institution.

We are going to have more on our Pittsburgh trip later. But Saturday was quite the weekend day to be in this dramatically changed city. Plenty to do and see--including a wonderful tour of Heinz Field and The Pittsburgh Steelers Hall Of Fame--thanks to RibFest--a BBQ Championship taking place next to the football stadium. And a tour of the LST-325 Memorial WW2 Landing Ship and vintage WW2 Military Vehicles on display between Heinz Field and PNC Park.

Funny Moment--running into Lastings Milledge taking pictures with fans just outside PNC Park as we were heading back from RibFest.

All Photos Copyrighted--Nats320--All Rights Reserved


Edward J. Cunningham said...

I wondered why there were so many fans in the stands last night when the Bucs were trailing by so much and the Steelers were playing an exhibition game. Now I know! That fireworks display looks really impressive and is probably by itself worth the four-hour drive---even if the score of the game was reversed.

As far as Lastings goes---I wish him well. Like Nyjer, he has tremendous potential if he can learn the game and keep his head on his shoulders. I hope Nyjer does the same because I'd hate to see him either throw away his gifts or get his act together with another team.

Billy S. said...

Glad you enjoyed it! I was at SKyblast II earlier this year when George Thorogood was in concert. The game itself was a thriller with the Pirates beating the Rockies in 10 innings. The fireworks were even better! The best fireworks display I've ever seen, and I've seen Macy's 4th of July fireworks in NYC several times. Skyblast II was my first time in Pittsburgh & I can't wait to go back. Glad you had a good experience as well!