Andy Van Slyke Jersey

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As the newest contributor of Bucs Dugout, I would like to formally introduce myself to their loyal readers. I am an avid sports fan, following and writing about all things sports related. However, baseball is my first love, as I am a lifelong die-hard baseball fan, who has been a student of the game since the age of five, when I would memorize the statistics on the back of my baseball cards.

While admittedly, my first love in baseball is the Boston Red Sox, as I was born into a Red Sox family and attended my first Red Sox game at the ripe old age of 6 months old. Furthermore, growing up, the Red Sox Single A affiliate, the Elmira Pioneers, were located just 30 minutes from my hometown, cementing my Red Sox fandom.

That said, I have always had a soft spot for the Pirates, as I was able to meet a young Moises Alou, Jay Buhner and future Red Sox legend, Tim Wakefield, when the Watertown Pirates played the Pioneers. In addition, I have always been a history buff, which parlayed into an interest in the history of baseball that led me to watch a documentary on Roberto Clemente at a young age, which was extremely transformative. I fondly remember watching the old black and white reruns of the Home Run Derby television show, that aired from 1959-1961, and loved the sleeveless jersey that former Pirates first baseman and power hitter Dick Stuart wore. Finally, in the 1990’s I remember pulling for the underdog Jim Leyland managed Pirates, as they took on the dynastic Atlanta Braves in the 1992 NLCS, led by the likes of Barry Bonds, Andy Van Slyke and Doug Drabek. While the ending still haunts Pittsburgh fans, that series further solidified the Pirates as a favorite of mine.

In addition to watching and studying baseball, I remain extremely passionate about fantasy baseball. I have remained very familiar with the Pittsburgh Pirates roster through my decade and a half of competitive fantasy baseball participation.

I am an avid fan of minor league baseball, working to attend as many games as possible, along with my wife and three children. Given that I now reside in North Carolina, the plethora of minor league teams in close proximity of my home is a dream come true. I plan on regularly attending games of the newest affiliate of the Pirates, the Greensboro Grasshoppers, in an effort to report on the Single A players for the Pittsburgh. I also hope to attend games throughout the Carolinas where the Pirates minor league affiliates travel to play.

It is my intention to give the readers of Bucs Dugouts comprehensive analysis of all things Pirates baseball in an effort to provide them with informative and entertaining material. It is an honor to contribute to such a passionate fan base and I look forward to the opportunity to work with the great staff at Bucs Dugout.

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