Pirates prepare for 'sea of red' at Busch Stadium
ST. LOUIS -- For many of the Pirates, the scene at PNC Park on Tuesday night was unlike anything they'd ever seen. The same could be said for what may come on Thursday, when that same kind of raucous crowd will be turned against them.
"I thought the atmosphere last night was great," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said Wednesday of the PNC Park crowd at the National League Wild Card Game. "You could hear it, you could feel it just through the TV. But the fans there are excited, and rightfully so. We have the same thing here. That's playoff baseball."
Even Pirates manager Clint Hurdle referenced the "sea of red" which is expected to be out en masse on Thursday (5 p.m. ET, TBS) at Busch Stadium for Game 1 of the NL Division Series. More than 40,000 rocked PNC Park on Tuesday night. Busch Stadium's total capacity, including standing room, is 46,861.
"It's a great crowd here," Hurdle said. "It's a sea of red. It's going to be a sea of red. They'll be enthusiastic. It will be fun. It's going to be competitive. I'm very confident in [A.J. Burnett]'s abilities and demeanor, so I don't anticipate any restrictions from A.J. or any complications due to the crowd."
Burnett echoed Hurdle's thoughts about pitching in a rowdy atmosphere, and the pitcher said he didn't expect it to faze him the way some say it did for Reds starter Johnny Cueto on Tuesday night in Pittsburgh.
"I don't think I'll drop the ball, but I've had crowds get on me before -- really loud ones -- so I'll be ready for anything," Burnett said.
Pirates closer Jason Grilli likened Tuesday night's atmosphere to a "hockey mentality," And center fielder Andrew McCutchen said he expects Cardinals fans to turn it up a notch, as well.
"It's going to be big," McCutchen said. "But, honestly, I don't think it's going to be bigger than it was when we were at home in front of our home crowd. I honestly don't think anything could be bigger than that. Coming here, I know it's going to be a big crowd. They've been here before, so you kind of know what to expect. They know what to expect."