It was mid-September and a light rain was in the Pittsburgh air. As we had done countless times before, my dad and I got into the car and headed down to Three Rivers Stadium. The Astros were in town, and there was baseball to be played. That was not exactly an unusual occurrence, but things were different on this night. After four straight seasons spent as an afterthought, the Pirates were within striking distance of the playoffs. With 11 games left on the schedule, the team was 3.5 games behind the first place Astros. Five of those final 11 games would be played against Houston. The postseason was a legitimate possibility.

As we slowly snaked through the rush-hour traffic, the clock crept closer to game time. We were not going to make it. Traffic was worse than usual, and we s...

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