At the Saturday nights game (4/09) against the Rockies, Pedro Alvarez stepped up to the plate with two men on base. The Pirates were down a run and here was a chance to tie the score or even pull ahead. The crowd began to chant... PEDRO... PEDRO... PEDRO... PEDRO!!! It was the first time I heard this in quite a while. Chanting from the fans in the stands in unison supporting our Buccos with very positive energy. That is what playing at the home field is all about. No matter how great the natural ability of the athlete, there is still a mental component. And stepping up to the plate with your home crowd boo'ing you or cheering you on makes all the difference in the world.
How do you get the fans to support you? Well winning games and playing good solid baseball definitely is number one, but getting to know and associate with the fans is just as important. As any parent that has a child in little league will tell you... they root and are behind their child 100% no matter if they win or lose. They try to help and support them no matter what. This is the way Pirate fans should be with their team. But making this association is a two way street and the players have to give a little of themselves also.
What do I mean? The players need to take a few minutes before and after home games to walk to the sideline and personally chat and sign some autographs with the fans. It is often an overwhelming task, but some players find time to do it quite frequently, some infrequently, and other never do it at all. When I was young and watched games at Forbes Field, I can remember going down to the field after the game and players would sign my baseball cards. In fact, I have clear memories of meeting Roberto Clemente several times and him signing my baseball cards. This simple little act of being accessible and talking for a few minutes with fans can make all the difference in the world.
SO WHAT EXCUSE DO OTHER PLAYERS HAVE FOR NOT TAKING A FEW MINUTES WITH THEIR FANS ON THE SIDELINE?
that calls out his name - A+