“I love September, especially when we’re in it.” – Willie Stargell

We’ve finally got a September Pops would have loved. Especially if, as you are reading this, the Pirates have won at least 82 games. Which would mean sweeping the Brewers in Milwaukee, and how sweet would that be? Sweet and not very likely, but it is likely that we’ll get the “winning season” monkey off our backs sometime soon. When you consider that George H. W. Bush was president the last year the Bucs had a winning season,  well, it was a pretty long time ago. Miley Cyrus was born in November of the last year the Pirates had a winning season. Selena Gomez was born in July. Yep, 1992 was the last year the Pirates had a winning season and Whitney Houston had the #1 hit single, “I Will Always Love You”, followed by Nirvana with “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. Bill Clinton had yet to meet a White House intern when the 1992 season concluded. The Pens swept the Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup, but the Steelers, Neil O’Donnell at quarterback, wrapped up an 11-5 1992 season by losing to the Buffalo Bills in the first round of the playoffs. The Bills. It was a long time ago.

Bar food

As cool and historic and everything as the winning season will be, it does present a bit of a problem from an idling point of view. For twenty years we’ve been able to take in a lot more football viewing by borrowing from televised baseball time. I mean, you’d be watching a late Pirate game with the Dodgers on the coast, and along about the third inning you’d flip over to the Oregon – Stanford game on a different channel. And it would dawn on you that you could just flip back to the Bucs at halftime to see how bad they were losing. Not any more. You have to stay with these Bucs. They’re contenders now and they’ve been known to break out a rally without warning and come from behind for the win. So we’re probably going to have to restrict ourselves to the ACC and the Big Ten to keep up with our local boys and let the PAC-12 go until after the Series. Life is about making choices.

Then there’s the whole competing snack issue that arises between baseball and football. With the former you’re traditionally looking at peanuts and crackerjack but of course also hot dogs, burgers and the occasional cold cut tray. You might want some slaw and relish on the side. With football you’ve got a more formidable lineup with your halupkis, rigatoni, lasagne, meatball hoagies, that sort of thing. And you’ve got all the chips, dips, fritos and cheetos (unless we’re playing the Bengals when the color is distracting.) It’s a whole different culinary approach.

On the beverage front, the Idler has conducted triple blind clinical studies on himself and the guys on his softball team that reveal that similar quantities of beer are consumed while viewing each sport. Or when viewing other sports. Or no sports. Other findings showed that baseball viewers lean toward lighter beers, pilsners and so-called “lawn-mower” beers, while football viewers seem to prefer lagers, ales and stouts. Those who preferred hard liquor were normally not available for comment at game’s end.

The Idler proposes a temperature solution. If the high temperature is 60F or above, the baseball menu applies; if it’s cooler, you go with the football menu. Go Bucs!

Comments – DickVerbo@hotmail.com

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