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Starting last Thursday, the Pittsburgh Pirates faced the Philadelphia Phillies in a four-game series in Philly. For the Phillies, it was just another home stand. For the Pirates, it was their sixth annual Dads’ Trip.
A Dads’ Trip is exactly what it sounds like: the Pirates brought the fathers of 20 Pirates players to Citizens Bank Park to see their sons play baseball in the majors. Stephen Pianovich of MLB.com wrote about the details. The dads met up at PNC Park on Wednesday and were on the team’s flight to Philly on Thursday. They even got to hang with their sons in the clubhouse before the game.
Clint Hurdle, who is going into his eighth season as Pirates manager, saw the Dads’ Trip tradition begin, and six years later he still thinks it’s incredibly special.
“It’s one of the best things I’ve ever been a part of in the Major Leagues. I’m so proud of our organization,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “… We’ve had some turnover and transition, and you get new dads that never, ever even thought they’d have a chance to do this. It’s like adult Disney World. It’s like a dad’s Disney World for four days.”
Hurdle thinks the weekend is so special that he even makes sure his players are respectful of their fathers — at least at mealtime.
“I slapped [a player] on the back of the head last night because he had his phone out at dinner with his dad. I thought it was inappropriate,” Hurdle said with a laugh. “Dad flew in to see you. You have your phone out? What are you doing?”
It’s clear that this weekend is a point of pride for the Pirates organization. Everyone’s on board — except for that player with his phone out, who is presumably nursing a very light bruise on the back of his head in the shape of Clint Hurdle’s hand — and proud of this tradition. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick seemed to be on the Dads’ Trip beat for the weekend, and appeared to be enjoying his assignment.
But you can’t control what happens once the games start. The Pirates came to Citizens Bank Park with a 12-6 record, at the top of the NL Central by 1.5 games … and then the Phillies swept them in four games. Two of the four games were close, and came down to hits and runs in the final innings. If a few hits had been placed differently, the Pirates could have left Philly with a split series. But instead they scored five total runs over four games and got swept. They left Philly in third place in the NL Central with a 12-10 record and 1.5 games out of first place.
For most Pirates fans, it was unfortunate and unpleasant. But for the dads who had to watch their sons’ team get swept, they probably wished things had gone a little differently.
There’s a little humor there, of course. Despite the way the series turned out for the Pirates as a team, several individual players had great weekends. The dads still got to see their sons play (at least some of them), they got treated well at PNC Park and Citizens Bank Park, and got to spend time together. But Crasnick couldn’t resist one more dad joke.
Nothing says “we’re done with fun, let’s just go home” like the cancellation of a Dairy Queen trip.
One Twitter user asked Crasnick if the Pirates did anything like the Dads’ Trip for the moms of Pirates players.
Jerry, cheesesteaks are a near-universal food. Bread. Meat. Sautéed vegetables. Cheese (or cheese-like substance). It has everything a man or woman could want in a meal. I’ve seen many a woman go to town on a cheesesteak at a ballpark, so the Pirates moms would feel right at home at Citizens Bank Park. Or any ballpark! (It’s not like cheesesteaks are the only food they’re allowed to sell.)
The moms of Pirates players should definitely have their own weekend trip. But after seeing how this Dads’ Trip turned out, it’s understandable if they want to wait until next year.
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