Some 1,500 demonstrators began a sit-in late last evening at PNC Park, calling for the Pittsburgh baseball franchise to change its name from the Pirates to the "Adventurers." Most of the people, who brought tents and sleeping bags -- an overt homage to the Occupy Wall Street protest -- were either self-proclaimed "real" pirates or dressed in pirate garb. Oddly, nobody seemed to mind that the naming rights to the park -- now in its twelfth season -- were won by a large financial services firm.
The group was hastily organized by a pirate who wished to remain anonymous for obvious reasons. "Our group, the International Pirates Association, is offended by the continuing denigrating depiction of our membership," he said, reading from a prepared statement. He said that such a terrible team had given a bad name to a group of people that have been misunderstood for hundreds of years. "Real pirates are Errol Flynn and Johnny Depp," he said. "In fact, I heard Depp can actually hit some and play a pretty good second base, but I won't go there for now."
The IPA, it should be noted, has made millions in Super PAC donations to every political candidate except for Ron Paul, who does not like baseball.
Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl appeared with a bullhorn, saying that he sympathized with the pirates' demands, and would allow the protesters to stay encamped in the PNC parking lot, "at least until the Pirates win their next ball game."
The IPA had been quietly petitioning Pittsburgh management to change its name for the past two seasons, but negotiations came to a halt when management suggested a compromise name -- the Pittsburgh Swashbucklers. This was rejected by the lobby as sort of candy-assed, contending that the organization's constituents neither "swashed" nor "buckled." And the "Buccaneers" name was already taken. One protester said, "We think 'Adventurer' is politically correct and absolutely appropriate for a 72-90 team that appears to be having an adventure every time it takes the field."
Other pirates milling around the tents admitted that they were "there for the party, and didn't really care" what they called the team any more. "Hey, I've never seen such a large gathering of eye patches and peg-legs," said one reveler whose hip flask was filled with -- what else? -- rum. Not to mention all the parrots.
In a CNN interview Mayor Ravenstahl admitted that the pirate protesters were actually welcome to the city, giving Pittsburgh some much-needed economic stimulus. "We'd prefer a TARP-style rescue, but you have to be thankful for whatever you can get."