With all that has happened within the Pirates' world the past couple days, Wednesday's 4-1 loss to the Mariners barely registered as a blip on the radar.
Up until a couple days ago, the idea of playing in front of a nearly empty PNC Park with an injury-plagued lineup on Roberto Clemente Day would have been a story line. It was not one on Wednesday due to the aftershocks of the Felipe Vazquez arrest and the new developments in the case that morning.
It is a dark cloud that will hang over this team through the rest of the season. Wise words are welcome at a time like this, and Trevor Williams may have inadvertently said them on Sunday. At the time, the Pirates had finished one of the worst pitched series in their franchise's history, with Williams starting the final game, a 16-6 loss to the Cubs. In his post-game interview, he was asked how the pitchers will regroup. He answered:
"It's hard to find positives in a three-game series like this," Williams said then. "However, we have to search for those and we have to glorify those."
Finding positives took on a whole new meaning these last 48 hours, and some eye bleach could be used by all. There was a positive to be glorified Wednesday, and fittingly, it involved Williams.
Last week, the Pirates announced Williams as their nominee for the Roberto Clemente award, recognizing his work with Project 34, a charity he co-founded that provides aid to people with spinal cord injuries.
On Wednesday, he was presented the award by Vera and Lorna Clemente.
"It's such an honor just to be recognized with the award that shares the name Roberto Clemente," Williams was telling me at his locker. "How much he means to baseball, to Puerto Rico, to the Latin America community, to Pittsburgh. It's a tremendous honor. I think if you were to ask every nominee, they would say, 'I am extremely unworthy of this.'
"I think we all strive to be a fraction of the man that Roberto was. Then you're probably doing something good with your life."
Clint Hurdle's response on Williams being the nominee: "Right man, right spot."
"He's a good teammate. He's a good pitcher. He's a good father, he's a good husband. He's a good man in the community, and the foundation that he supports, Project 34, is doing wonderful things," Hurdle said. "I'm very proud of him."
To tack on to Hurdle's "right man, right spot" sentiment, I would like to add "right time." There will be more reports and articles about one individual's sickening actions to come. Even if this was just for a day, there was some good. There was still far more bad than good, but there was at least something to latch onto.
As I wrapped up the interview, I asked Williams, can this day be a positive that can be glorified?
He did not answer it directly. Instead, he said something better.
"We've been dealt really everything this year," Williams said. "Really, everything. I think the guys in this clubhouse know we're good, the guys in this clubhouse know that there are good men in this clubhouse. There's a lot to look forward to in the coming years.
"This is the storm. This is the bottom. And I think the guys in here believe that we can get out of it."
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