Pirates 2nd baseman Neil Walker was 7 years and a month old when Sid Bream of the Braves beat a Barry Bonds throw home in Game 7 of the 1992 NLCS. As a 28-year-old, he helped his hometown team finally break a 20-year streak of sub-.500 baseball since that game. And it didn't end there, as Walker and the Buccos clinched a playoff spot, showing the improvements made in the 2013 campaign would not end with the mediocrity of .500 baseball and no October playoff push. So forgive Neil, and the fans, for celebrating a playoff spot as if it's the greatest thing in a generation or two. Because it is.
We've been down this road before with Pittsburgh athletes celebrating accomplishments with liquor, because liquor is awesome. Hines Ward gave his Super Bowl XLIII teammates some Crown Royal Cask No. 16 (one of which I may or may not have also gotten...I'LL NEVER TELL!). And Jerome Bettis had his exceptional career commemorated with his own version of Jose Cuervo Platino Tequila.
Now, Neil Walker wanted to celebrate this incredible season and playoff appearance with some Johnnie Walker Blue. So he gifted a bottle to each of his teammates. And as a fan of Scotch whisky myself, I gotta say GOOD CHOICE, NEIL!
Our team has worked hard to put ourselves in the position we’re in today. Overcoming a tough division, along with twenty years of Pirates’ history, to secure a winning season and capture the playoff berth is a tremendous accomplishment for our entire organization. We’re pleased, but we’re not satisfied. We know that this was only one step in our journey. It’s the next steps – during the playoffs and beyond – that will truly define us. I gifted each of my teammates a bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue Label to remind them it's not over yet, we need to Keep Walking.
Should the Pirates move forward and to a possible World Series win, Johnnie Walker may have to go and rename itself Neillie Walker. It's only fitting.
Thanks to Thomas for the tip.