Gregory Polanco, red-hot Pirates may yet thaw Pittsburgh’s heart

This winter in Pittsburgh was straight out of “Richard III.” You know the line, the one about jersey for cheap  Actually, discontent might be a mild way to describe the collective frame of mind of the Pirates’ fan base.

The fans in the Steel City had every right to be upset. Fan favorite Andrew McCutchen was shipped to the Giants. Top starter Gerrit Cole sent to the champion Astros. After years of what many fans felt was a less-than-overwhelming effort by ownership to maximize Pittsburgh’s most recent window of contention, a petition was started, aimed at convincing Major League Baseball to force owner Bob Nutting to sell the team. It attracted thousands of signatures. Later, the players’ union filed a grievance accusing the Pirates and three other franchises of misusing revenue-sharing funds.

Then the season started.

Maybe, just maybe, the good people of Pittsburgh should have been more focused on the players who are still around rather than the ones the club sent packing. Players like Gregory Polanco. Because those players, during the coldest opening month in baseball in years, are collectively smoldering-hot.

“We’re having fun,” Polanco said. “We have to keep it like that.”

Polanco went deep twice at Wrigley Field on Thursday as the Pirates took the rubber match of a three-game set, beating the Cubs 6-1. Those are the bare facts, but what they signify might mean a lot more to a Pittsburgh sleeper bid for a postseason slot.

“It was a very good day for the analysts,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle joked. “Strikeouts don’t matter and the home runs count. [Polanco’s] swing has been so athletic and strong. He took some funny swings, but what I love is the short memory he’s got going on up there. One at-bat is not leaking into the next.”

OK, we’ll settle down. It’s early, early, early. Pittsburgh is 9-3 and already holds a 2?-game edge over Milwaukee in the National League jerseys cheap authentic But 12 games is a mere 7.4 percent of a full season. Of what is to come, we know so little. Pennants are not won on April 12.

“I think this can get overcooked,” Hurdle said after the Pirates won the series opener Tuesday. “We’ve played 10 ballgames.”