The attendance in PNC Park was just under 16,000 when the Pirates brought Pedro Alvarez up from the minors for his debut against the Chicago White Sox on June 16th.
However, the few faithful fans did show support by clapping for the second overall pick in the 2008 first-year player draft when he stepped to the plate in the second inning.
There was also some name chanting and some fans even stood in addition to the ovation. The at-bat ended with him swinging and missing on a full-count, 92 MPH fastball from left hander Jason Danks.
The crowd still cheered.
Following that at-bat, he went 0-for-1 with a walk and a run scored.
In six games since, the rookie third baseman has gone 3 for 24 with one double and three RBIs and has been walked twice.
That’s not the kind of results that the Pittsburgh fan-base was looking for whenever they got the news that the Pirates were finally going to bring up their top power-hitting prospect.
But it can’t be terrible knowing that Alvarez is getting the ‘on the job training’ that is required for him to effectively progress to the next level as a professional.
That night at the ballpark, each fan received a canvas photo of Bill Mazeroski after he’d hit his famous home run to solidify a victory for the Pirates in the 1960 World Series. Maybe it would’ve been better if the Buccos handed out the same kind of photo, except with Pedro whiffing on that pitch from Danks.
That’s picturesque to say the least.
The marketing tactics that the Pirates will have to use to actually get people to come out to the park may be a daunting task over these next few years while the organization is "rebuilding."
Even more so, Pedro will have to find a way to produce while being the household name for one of the worst professional franchises in modern history and that task could be even greater.
Sounds like a lose-lose situation for all parties involved, for the time being.
Yet, I wouldn’t give up hope in the long run for Alvarez and the other big names that have been leaking out of the Pirates farm system as of late.
This team is truly “under construction” and could show signs of life real soon.