AJ Burnett Calls for a Blackout of PNC Park

Photo credit: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

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During the Tuesday evening Pittsburgh Pirates broadcast, Greg Brown was discussing how cool it would be for the fans at PNC Park to have a blackout for the return of AJ Burnett, Russell Martin, and Andrew McCutchen on Friday.  Cutch is, of course. now playing for the Pirates again, while Burnett and Martin are the battery mates for the ceremonial first pitch.  

The blackout would be a call back to the 2013 Wild Card Game against the Cincinnati Reds.  Those of us who were there remember it as one of, if not the, best sporting events we've ever been to.  Federal Street was a sea of black outfits. Johnny Cueto dropped the ball.  Martin hit a homer.  Francisco Liriano pitched a gem.  We all remember.  

So last night on Twitter, AJ Burnett made it official when he tweeted #blackoutPNC. No further context was needed.  When AJ calls for a blackout in his return to PNC Park, we shall do it.   

See, for some of us, those were the glory days of the Pittsburgh Pirates in our lifetimes.  McCutchen remains the most talented Pirate we've seen play, and Burnett may well have been the best pitcher.  He was a true stopper.  An ace.  And he had such a fierce competitive attitude that it reverberated through the fanbase.

Also, Russell Martin was probably the best catcher I have ever personally seen play for the Pirates.  The Pirates have been plagued with lousy catching options nearly my entire life, and this year isn't significantly better.  Some may argue Francisco Cervelli, but if it wasn't for his personality, I'm not sure anyone would particularly remember him.  His injuries really dampened his Pirates career.  

So if you are attending the home opener on Friday, make sure to put on your black shirts.  I will be wearing my black 2013 MLB Playoff hoodie that commemorated the first time I had ever seen the Pirates make the playoffs.  Also, you may want to get to the gates early so you can make it in time to see AJ throw a strike to Martin one more time.  And don't risk missing Cutch's first at-bat as a Pirate in PNC Park since 2017.  Especially coming off of a sweep of the Boston Red Sox in Fenway, I expect the stadium to be packed.