Local fans bask in Bucs’ success

Jeremy Vogel said watching the Pittsburgh Pirates play in the postseason for the first time in 21 years was “giving [him] chills.”

As he sipped a Pittsburgh-brewed I.C. Light emblazoned with the Bucs’ logo, Vogel of Altoona said it feels great to see the Pirates finally break their streak of consecutive losing seasons.

“Even now, my heart’s just pounding,” he said.

Vogel was among many regional Pirates fans who came out to area sports bars to watch Tuesday night’s National League Wild-Card game.

Champs Sports Grill was full of black-and-gold-wearing baseball fans eager to catch a glimpse of their favorite team’s first playoff game since 1992.

Every screen at the restaurant was set for the Bucs.

Vogel said he saw many current Pirates players take the field as part of the Altoona Curve, including star centerfielder Andrew McCutchen.

“I think my best memory of the team is watching ‘Cutch’ lead them,” he said.

Dano Burkhart, who is originally from Florida but was adopted into the Pittsburgh fan scene, echoed the sentiment of many fans.

“It’s just good to see them doing well,” he said.

Chris Mountain of Altoona said he wasn’t always a big fan of the Pirates as a kid, though he supported the Steelers and the Penguins.

“They were so horrible when I was younger that I actually liked the Mets for a while,” Mountain said.

He said he had to grow into liking baseball and now is excited to see the team succeeding.

“Everybody has that hometown team,” Mountain said.

Champs wasn’t the only Altoona spot hopping with Pirates fans. Mike’s Court, located at 1908 5th Street, also hosted a number of Bucs’ faithful and was offering specials on Iron City beers during and after the game.

Longtime fan Bob Cerully, of Altoona, said he was happy to see the team – which he said he’s “always” been a fan of – playing in October.

“After 21 years of futility,” he said, “it

doesn’t get better than this.”

Mirror Staff Writer Paige Minemyer is at 946-7535.