Meet Virginia? More like meet Kyle Blanks
Hey friends, back with another long-winded tale, though this one I’m sure is accurate as I was there to witness it.
Pretty fun little story, too (well, sez me).
Quickly, about me: Spent my formative years in the 1980s, listening to a lot of good (and a lot of bad) music. I saw the Police in concert, Blue Oyster Cult, Loverboy, Night Ranger. Well, you get the drift.
Flash forward to, well, present time. One of my favorite trips each year on the road — and it’s not so much for the city, but more the ballpark and the post-game entertainment and those crazy Primanti sandwiches — is Pittsburgh. It was a few years ago when someone there, proudly, told me that Pittsburgh was the classic rock capital of the country.
I didn’t know that. Did you?
How do the Pirates and PNC Park pay homage to this? On select nights during the summer, the Pirates host these postgame concerts shortly after the last out has been made. One year we saw the Steve Miller Band (in a driving rainstorm, no less). Last year, upon arrival, I soon discovered that Train would be playing after a game on August 6.
Yes, Train. I’m not sure how ‘classic’ or ‘rock’ really apply to these guys, but no one asked me.
Anyway, remember how the Pirates were the ‘feel-good’ story of baseball for a while last season? Well, the Padres arrived right about the time the bottom was falling out. In fact, the Pirates had lost nine consecutive games heading in their game with the Padres on August 6.
You think that deterred the fans from showing up on this night? No way, not with Train performing after the game. But getting to that postgame show for these fans couldn’t have been fun.
Here’s why: It wasn’t just that the game lasted three hours and three minutes but because the Padres couldn’t stop scoring runs. Yes, the very same team that scored 72 runs and scuffled badly in April scores two runs in the second inning, three in the fourth, six in the seventh and two runs in the eighth inning en route to a 13-2 victory.
Credit Kyle Blanks with a Herculean effort, hitting a grand slam. Rob Johnson even drove in three runs. All told, the Padres scored a club record 28 runs in consecutive games. They also hit grand slams in consecutive games for the first time in 20 years.
What does this have to do with Train, you ask?
Well you know how fans start to trickle out of the ballpark when the score gets ugly? Not the sold-out crowd of 39,251 that night. They all sat in their seats, praying Blanks wouldn’t hit again, hoping Chris Resop could get an out somehow and likely wondering if Train hadn’t skipped out of town on their way to their next gig (a casino outing in rural West Virginia, maybe?).
But these fans stayed. And when Padres pitcher Anthony Bass got Ronny Cedeno to pop-out in foul territory for the last out of the game, they got their wish.
They got their Train.
Corey Brock, MLB.com