Sports News Without Access, Favor, Or Discretion

This summer in Pittsburgh, the Pirates are messing with peoples' hearts again. After countless seasons of sub-.500 finishes, occasional spurts of excellence followed by long stretches of crappy play and, saints preserve us, a decades-long slog of mediocrity unmatched in the majors since ... well, ever, the Bucs are (as of this very minute) playing .600 ball. And just because we're not even at the All-Star break are we to presume that, as in years past, the Pirates will again lurch into a hideous swoon sometime between now and late September, leaving their title-parched and fidgety fans once again bereft? And fidgety? And parched?

Yeah. Probably.

That said, just look at this George Silk photograph of Pirates fans atop the city's Cathedral of Learning — men and women freaking out, most of them seeming to float in mid-air for sheer joy as far, far below, on the dirt and grass of storied old Forbes Field, the Bucs beat the Yankees in Game 7 of the 1960 World Series. It's a wonderful picture, filled with a kind of vertiginous, giddy energy. It neatly captures a great moment in a great city's sporting life. And maybe it feels more and more special as time passes for the simple reason that the chance of that scene playing itself out again any time soon for Pirates fans is painfully remote.

But that's why we're fans, right? Because the painfully remote chance is sometimes the only one we've got. And incredibly, improbably, that's enough to see us through another season.

See a gallery of LIFE's best baseball pictures.

Ben Cosgrove is the editor of Picture This is his weekly feature for The Stacks.

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