After the Pittsburgh Pirates' 161st game of the regular season on Saturday in Cincinnati, Andrew McCutchen shared some interesting words.
"I think [Saturday] showed how bad we wanted to go home," McCutchen told Michael Sanserino of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
The center fielder's postgame sentiments, taken out of context, might seem better fit for a team that would rather skip its 162nd game to get a head start on another absence from the postseason.
On Saturday, however, the Pittsburgh Pirates clinched home-field advantage for the Wild Card Game with an 8-3 win over the Cincinnati Reds.
Their National League MVP candidate was summarizing the feelings of his teammates, coaching staff, executives and patient fanbase.
The Bucs didn't win the NL Central and they hadn't yet secured a five-game postseason series. But they have guaranteed themselves at least a sudden-death fight to play in the divisional series and, win or lose, they will stage it in front of their eager, playoff-parched home crowd.
Manager Clint Hurdle explained to Sanserino, "The important part for me is getting these guys home to play in a park where we won 50 games and giving our fans a taste of postseason baseball...That's significant for me."
This is Pittsburgh's first baseball postseason in 21 years, and Tuesday evening will mark the first playoff game in PNC Park's young history. Both are long awaited and much deserved.
McCutchen went on to say, "It's better to be home than on the road...That's the way I look at it. That's all that needs to be said about it."
But in a town where the number of years without October baseball matched the legal drinking age, there is definitely more to be said about the enormity of Tuesday's game at PNC Park.
Whether you've secured your space aboard the S.S. Bandwagon or you're a Pittsburgh native and fan who has been in a stupor of disbelief since April, here are a few background glimpses into how the Pirates have survived the hard times and have flourished into 2013, why their run is already a true underdog success story and what a win Tuesday would mean for this franchise and this city.