Things I’ve Done Since 1999

The Pittsburgh Pirates won last night, pushing their record to 34-33, which is significant, as it’s the first time the Pirates have been over .500 after June 1st since August 15th, 1999.  That’s a long time to go without seeing a team have a shot after the first two months of the season, which really illustrates how disappointing this losing streak has been.  To demonstrate how long the stretch was, I decided to go back and look at all of the things I’ve done since the last time the Pirates were above .500 after June 1st.

-I got my driver’s license.

-I went to prom three times (oh yeah, sophomore at prom, someone was good with the laaaadiiieeesss)

-Survived Y2K

-Got in to professional wrestling for the first time since the 80s, when it somehow became the biggest thing on TV (remember when Monday Night Football was losing in the ratings to Stone Cold Steve Austin?)

-I staged an epic comeback against the number one tennis team in the district, coming back from down 4 games in the deciding match, and winning on an overhead spike on the final point.  I was then destroyed by my teammates.  This is my shining moment as an athlete.  Well, maybe it was the time I hit my doubles partner in the balls with my racket (definitely by accident, and not in any way a joke), only to immediately hear the coach say (you guys are up), which led to me having to pretty much play the other team 1-on-2.  My doubles partner finally got rid of the urge to throw up, and had an amazing rebound, which allowed us to win easily, and established a pre-game tradition.  Surprisingly, we’re still friends.

-Gave up watching baseball for a year or two.  Call it left overs from the 1994 strike.  This is around 2000-2001.  I know this, because those are the questions I get wrong on Sporcle.

-I graduated high school (how much does high school suck? nothing happened except a tennis match and three lame dances)

-I enrolled in college

-I started working at a movie theatre to help pay for college

-I got promoted at the movie theatre one month later, a position I held for 6 years, or about 600+ free movies worth.  Currently can’t watch movies in theaters after having six years worth of private screenings three days before the movies came out.

-I had my first drink of alcohol.  It was so horrible that it was almost my last.  Damn you (checking to see if they’re a sponsor…nope) Coor’s Light.

-I had my first legal drink of alcohol.

-I had my first drink of liquor, and realized that beer is not alcohol.

-I went to about 20 concerts, ranging from Train (back when they were more southern rock, and less high pitched whiney love songs) to Staind to Snoop Dogg and Linkin Park.

-On that last note, went to a Snoop Dogg concert and didn’t get shot.  Granted, this was the post-Old School Snoop Dogg, where I’m sure half the audience made “Bring your Green Hat” jokes about 2.7 times per minute on average.  Probably not as cool as a 90s Snoop Dogg concert.

-While we’re on music and concerts, inexplicably liked the following people for about a week: Dane Cook, Nickelback.

-Bought four cars between 1999 and now.  Currently refuse to drive anything that’s not a Volkswagen Jetta TDI. Preferably something that’s 2006 or earlier, because the hippies complained about diesel emissions and ruined the new ones.

-Met my wife, who was actually one of my employees when I worked at the movie theatre

-Learned how to cook.

-Got in to “24” like 5 seasons too late.  Watched the first five seasons in about 3 days.  Watched every episode to the end, and have since watched each season at least twice while introducing everyone I know to it.

-Somehow graduated college.  I don’t know how I did it, and I don’t remember any of it.  Except for all of the nights staying up until 3 AM playing online poker with my roommate while watching documentaries on the East Coast/West Coast rap wars, narrated by old white guys.  I wish I could find this on YouTube.

-Left my job at the theatre when faced with a decision between running my own theatre in Cleveland, or accepting a sports writing job that only had a one year guarantee of employment.  Might not have been the best career path, but I took the sports writing job.  I don’t regret it.  I mean, come on.  Cleveland?

-Celebrated the day that Dave Littlefield was removed as the General Manager of the Pirates.  I don’t usually celebrate when someone loses their job, and I’m sure Dave is a good guy, but he was a god awful General Manager.

-Back tracking, saw the Pirates draft Sean Burnett, John Van Benschoten, Bryan Bullington, Paul Maholm, Neil Walker, Andrew McCutchen, Brad Lincoln, Daniel Moskos, Pedro Alvarez, Tony Sanchez, Jameson Taillon, and Gerrit Cole in the first round.  Some of that list was difficult to type.

-Became a fan of Brian Giles.

-Became a fan of Jason Bay after he hit two grand slams in one game shortly after the Giles trade.

-Drove up to as many Oliver Perez starts that I could: note, it’s a six hour round trip.

-Learned that the Penguins won the chance to draft Sidney Crosby.  I was in a car with my parents and brother, driving from LA to San Diego.  Amount of time my dad, brother and I DIDN’T talk about hockey: 5 minutes (we had to eat).

-Bought season tickets to the Penguins in the first post-lockout year (note: 6 hour round trip drive)

-Went to way too many Penguins games with my roommate on school nights, when we had class at 8 AM the next day, and usually got back at 5 AM.  You know what was better than class those days?  The Primanti Brothers we brought back every time.

-Gave up my season tickets.  Used the money to buy an engagement ring for my wife.  Proposed at PNC Park, on the scoreboard.  After she said yes (which still surprises me to this day) the Jolly Roger mascot brought us a basket with champagne, cotton candy, cracker jacks, peanuts, and wedding baseball caps.  Because nothing says romance and class like champagne and cotton candy while you’re wearing a baseball hat with a tuxedo on it.

-Traveled to the following places for the first time: LA, San Diego, Chicago, New York, Australia, Jamaica.  The flight alone for the Australia trip took about one year each way.  Now gives me something to talk about with Mitchell Fienemann.

-Got married.

-Lived with my parents for the first six months of marriage.  A lot of couples do this.  Not recommended, unless you want to test the limits of your marriage, and end sex about five years too early.

-Got gray hair.  I’m only 27, so I blame this on the last two bullet points.

-Discovered Woodford Reserve.  Realized that the liquor I drank in college wasn’t really liquor.

-Started a Pittsburgh Pirates blog after getting tired of seeing questions like “when does this player become a free agent” or “what’s the story on (insert minor league prospect here)”.

-Sure enough, the sports writing job turned out to be a one year deal, actually one year and four months.  Still don’t regret it.  How many people can say they’ve had worked published in the Wall Street Journal?  Alright.  How many people can say they’ve had a fantasy football column published in the Wall Street Journal?  I win.

-Following the 2009 draft coverage, got a shout out from Rob Neyer on ESPN for my recap: Suddenly the Draft Looks Great.  Immediately trumped any accomplishment I made writing for national outlets.

-Went from saying “a blog might pay my phone bill each month, but it will never be a career” to doing this full time.  Granted, I’m currently in the “it pays the bills, but it needs to continue to grow to make things easier” stage.

-Went to Wrigley Field for the first time.  Almost made me want to be a Cubs fan.  Then I watched the team on the field.

-Served as the best man in my friend’s wedding.  The same friend who was my tennis doubles partner, who I hit in the balls before each match following our win in that first match.  I should probably apologize to his wife.

-Got credentials with every team in the Pirates’ minor league system.

-Watched the Pirates beat the Astros easily on June 15th, 2011, thinking to myself “This really isn’t a big deal.  I’d rather see them compete.”

What have you done?

Tim Williams

Author: Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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