Take me home, Country Roads

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So the Pirates have been on a hot streak since my last time blogging. The battling Buccos have just swept the  Brewers and have shown me something that I have been begging for since the firesale and trades-a sign of some encouragement. I got just that in these past few games and have loved every minute of it.

The middle infield combination of Ronny Cedeno and Delwyn Young is turning heads. At the plate the duo has been getting on base and knocking the ball around. Lastings Milledge has been looking good and showing improvement. He belted his first homerun as a Pirate and has been hustling all over the diamond. Pitching has been on key thanks to Ross Ohlendorf and Paul Maholm. This tandem has been mowing down hitters and getting outs. Its great to see them turn around, especially against my most hated team-the Brew Crew.

In the midst of this winning streak I have been longing to go back to school. Its that time of year again where I pack up the Nissan and head back to another year of collegiate education. I am embarking on my junior year of college at West Virginia University. With two years under my belt it is simply amazing how time flies. I can remember moving into my dorm room with my parents by my side. Now I have my own apartment with three good friends ready to accept the challenge of becoming adults once again.

While I am happy to become a seasoned vet of the Moutaineers it is all bittersweet. It’s sad leaving everything I have back home in Youngstown. My family and friends are 2 and a half hours away but I still keep in touch with them. Here is a little taste of what I leave behind each fall when I head to Morgantown.

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We’ll start in the basement. As you as you descened the steps you are welcomed with a staple of all Pittsburgh sports, the Terrible Towel. Coined by legendary announcer Myron Cope, the Terrible Towel is always seen floating around at Steeler games .While it is not necessarily the first rally towel of sorts it is probably the most famous. For years and years people will and will always wave and show off this yellow piece of cloth.

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From Pittsburgh pride to WVU passion. We have a wall dedicated to the blue and gold of West Virginia. With a Fathead as teh centerpiece and programs around it this wall is very special to my family. With a long line of graduates I take great honor in carrying the WVU tradition.

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One of the most memorable sporting events I have ever attended was the MLB All-Star game in 2006. Seeing a collection of the greatest players all on one field was outstanding. The game itself was thrilling. Trevor Hoffman blew the save and Michael Young drove in the winning run with a double off the wall in centerfield. The Homerun Derby was my favorite event of the week. Ryan Howard capped off the exhibition by banging a shot off on eof the “HIT IT HERE” signs. The crowd went nuts. It was the perfect eneding to the great showdown. The celebrity softball game and futures game were cool as well. I’m glad that we have a wall in honor of the week.

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My dad’s favorite player in all of baseball history is Roberto Clemente. A true Pirate fan he stays at home with his honors, however there has always been a special place in his heart for Nolan Ryan. We have a nice set up for him which includes the ever famous 1964 Rookie Card. My father loved his hard throwing abilities and record setting years.

You may be wondering why there is a random pennant of the Twins and Nationals on the wall. However there is a legit reason. We also have 25 other MLB teams along the walls of the basement. Every stadium we go to we buy a pennant of the home team. Just as a way to remember our time with the team.

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From the basement we travel to my room. Over this summer I created this shrine to the Stanley Cup Champion Penguins. I simply fell in love with the team and found a greater apprecitation for the game of hockey. Some may call me a front runner, but the Pens have always been my team. The passion is nowhere near that of the Pirates but they are still black and gold and deserve my support.

oh-wv 012.jpgDidn’t believe me when I said I was a big Ian Snell fan. While now you should. Over the years I have collected these 10 cards of Snell. Whether it was from packs, card stores or ebay I got my hands on them and displayed them proudly.

oh-wv 014.jpgAlong with the Snell cards I also have a display of Pirate cards from all over the histor
y of the team. It took me a while I collect all of these cards but I have some from old players as well as current Bucs.

The picture at the top of the entry is me before taking off to Morgantown. I am now here in Mountaineer country ready to ‘study’ and get back in touch with my college spirt. I will post pictures of my apartment room setting in my next entry.

The Pirates are hosting the Reds this weekend. My dad, brother and some of his friends will be there. It is kind of sad seeing them go off like this. I would love to go with them but I have obligations here now. My life is progressing and my brother and dad will enjoy memories that we shared at one time as well.

13 Comments

Matt: It is amazing how time flies. This baseball season is almost over! As well as my summer, which means school is right around the corner, and learning to drive, and the SAT’s, and AP exams, and more summer, ok that’s enough.
I like all the sport stuff you have there. I think the pennant thing is cool. It makes me think you are a sentimental guy. That’s nice. -Virginia
http://southernbelle.mlblogs.com

Matt, very nice post. I enjoyed seeing all your sports memorabilia and glad to see that sports is a family tradition. I congratulate you on your college endeavors. I know your family is very proud of you. I wish you success in everything you do. Please post pictures of your college. West Virginia must be beautiful.
http://catlovesthedodgers.mlblogs.com

The Buccos have been playing well lately. Great stuff.
-Dillon
http://dillonm.mlblogs.com

Good luck and have fun this year in college!

Your basement looks awesome, too. A great tribute to all Pittsburgh sports.

http://the3rs.mlblogs.com

Wow! what a great collection and I noticed how well organized you have it. I should go home and organize my stuff. Good luck in college. Wtih your post, you reminded me of a Roberto Clemente book that I want to read.
Emma
http://crzblue.mlblogs.com/

*You already know what my take is on this Matt… I was devistated to see Snell get traded, (as well as the others this season,) – but it seems as though Seattle is getting him out of his ‘funk.’ (The Mariners jacket you had on in a previous post is making a lot more sense now lol,) – because ever since Nyjer became a National – I suddenly keep an eye on Washington to see how they’ve been doing. It’s funny how trades seem to effect the fans… Gorzalanny is a Cub – and I still keep tabs on how he’s been handling Chicago. McLouth and LaRoche are Braves, and I try to watch every Atlanta game that comes on the MLB channel whenever possible. I don’t have love for any of those teams, but considering all of the former Pirates traded this year were excellent players – they’re still worth following. Great collection man, and congrats on being a WVU student. I’ll be working hard this year in school myself, with hopes of transfering to a sweeter college next year… Do I smell Syracuse?

http://jquist.mlblogs.com/

Matt – you and your family have a great connection together through sports; and it is something that will bind you together throughout your whole life. Have a great year at school!

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

Now, I have heard that there is not much to do in Morgantown and that it is pretty isolated from everything else. Is that true? It is nice to see the Bucs getting some wins after they got blasted by just about everybody for cleaning house. Those moves ain’t looking too bad now. Enjoy heading back to college. I’d love to head back myself!
http://raysfanboy.mlblogs.com/

Great decorations here. I see you have some West Virgina Pride over there along with the pennants and baseball cards. I wonder why they call it the terrible towel. It’s a funny name for a rally towel.

Matthew Tang
http://matt7.mlblogs.com/

*When you get a chance, check out my new RYAN DOUMIT read – He deserved some shine…

http://jquist.mlblogs.com/

College does go by pretty fast, I couldn’t believe it when I was finally a senior and graduating and I can’t believe I’m already starting my 3rd year of graduate school next month. Good luck with classes and everything, junior year was one of my toughest, but hopefully that’s not the case for you!
The Pirates played pretty well this weekend against my Reds…but the fact that the young/new team is starting to gel and win games gives me a little hope that it might happen with the Reds. Hopefully sooner rather than later…
~AZ
http://azinneck.mlblogs.com

You must be busy with moving and settling in since you haven’t posted for a while. Please let us know how you are doing.
http://catlovesthedodgers.mlblogs.com

Back in college… and with the Phillies in town for a few days….. hope things go well this year, in colege that is, not the WVU sports, I root for Penn State, and seem to live in OSU country..sucks… good luck anyway…
~peter
Outside the Phillies Looking In
http://devilabrit.mlblogs.com

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