The Pirates got pounded to hell by the dreaded Cardinals Wednesday night, eventually losing by the score of 14–8. The score manages to misrepresent just how lopsided the game was—the Cardinals scored nine runs in the second inning and chased two Pirates pitchers before the end of the fourth inning. Garbage time produced four Pirates runs, which made the final score seem vaguely respectable. Pittsburgh ultimately used two position players as pitchers to close out the game. It was a drubbing.
So the worst of the damage was done early on. This produced a situation where a particularly fusty interpretation of the old unwritten rules would essentially forbid the Cardinals from continuing to compete in any meaningful sense after, oh, their sixth out of the game. So when Yairo Munoz of the Cardinals swiped two bags in the fourth inning, against a downright comatose Pirates defense, Pittsburgh’s grouchy television broadcast crew could hardly believe their eyes:
A player on the winning team stealing bases in, say, the ninth inning of a seven-run game might be lame, if for no other reason than because making a battery pay attention to a baserunner under those circumstances needlessly prolongs a game that is functionally over. But for crying out loud, this was the fourth inning! The Pirates would go on to score eight runs in this game; remaining aggressive and continuing to compete is exactly how the Cardinals pushed their lead out far enough for those four late Pirates runs to not matter. Greg Brown and Bob Walk have now made me defend the Cardinals. Dammit.
The best part of this is the crew briefly convincing themselves that there’s something special about Pirates fans booing when a Cardinals player steals two bases without so much as a throw, in a game the Pirates are losing by seven runs. A full 20 seconds elapse from the time that Brown brings up the booing before they consider the possibility that the booing might possibly be aimed at the shitty and indifferent home team. You can hear the moment when the idea first creeps into Brown’s head, when he opens the sentence with “I’ve never heard the fans boo,” and then can’t bring himself to finish it. They might not be booing the Cardinals. You think??