Jays-Pirates: Could have been in '92

KP WeeSenior Writer IJune 20, 2008

The Toronto Blue Jays took on the Pirates in Pittsburgh for the first time ever in a game that counted, when the two teams hooked up for the first of a three-game series on Friday night.

The Jays lost 1-0 in 12 innings, in Cito Gaston's first game back managing the team.

Unfortunately, neither the Jays nor Pirates are going anywhere this season.

Jays-Pirates could have squared off in a meaningful series 16 years ago, but it wasn't meant to be.

Thanks to the Pirates' meltdown in the bottom of the ninth inning in Atlanta in the 1992 NLCS--and Braves backup catcher Francisco Cabrera's game-ending two-run single--Pittsburgh couldn't capture the National League pennant.

Had it not been for Cabrera's heroics, the Pirates would have beaten the Braves 2-1 and met the Blue Jays in the 1992 World Series.

Barry Bonds and rookie Tim Wakefield would have reached the Fall Classic under manager Jim Leyland.

Bonds would have been taking his hacks against the Blue Jays' tough hard-throwing pitchers such as David Cone, Juan Guzman, Duane Ward, and Tom Henke.

Jays sluggers Dave Winfield and Joe Carter would have been trying to solve the knuckleballing Wakefield, who was all but unhittable since being called up from the minors.

But it wasn't meant to be.

The Pirates have never made it back to the postseason since then.

16 years later, Blue Jays-Pirates just isn't that special, at all.

At least Cito is back with the Jays.

At least the Pirates won a great pitcher's duel on Friday night.