The Pittsburgh Pirates infamously have failed to reach a .500 record since 1992, but that doesn't mean the Bucs can't have the best starting lineup introductions in Major League Baseball.
The Pirates introduce their 1-through-9 by borrowing from "Saturday Night Live" (speaking of not being over .500 in a while) and, as Milwaukee Brewers media relations guru Mike Vassallo says, it's a brilliant idea and execution of it.
To do it right, three elements need to come together: 1) The visuals of Pittsburgh, cleverly made up to resemble New York City (along with the graphics of NBC). 2) Music imitating the SNL band, which Duquesne's School of Music pulls off flawlessly. 3) Participation by the Pirates, who need to mimic the facial expressions and body language of the SNL cast. From manager Clint Hurdle on down, they did it great.
The best random part of the intros might be the Thundercats T-shirt that Pedro Alvarez is wearing:
SNL might not be what it used to be, but one part remains consistent: The iconic cast/host introductions are as recognizable the show's best skits. The same goes for baseball: No matter who's in the lineup, a great intro can get the fans jazzed up.
The early returns on the Pirates season have been OK; They're 16-12 heading into play Thursday. It's too soon to say that they'll finish over .500 or even — gasp — make the playoffs. But first things first.