Pirates take over Blue Jays' home run jacket

The red-hot Pirates are one of MLB's best stories in 2023 and they just became even more fun.

Pirates take over Blue Jays' home run jacket

One person’s trash is another person’s treasure, or at least that is the mindset behind the Pittsburgh Pirates’ new home run celebration.

Post-home run traditions have quickly become accepted across Major League Baseball, with almost every team featuring a prop or two. The Toronto Blue Jays are no longer one of those clubs, as they shelved their home run jacket ahead of the 2023 season.

The Pirates, meanwhile, celebrate home runs with a fake sword and give a plush Pikachu doll to the player of the game. On Sunday, they introduced another item to their collection: a custom jacket called “La Gente Del Barrio,” featuring the same name as the Blue Jays’ retired blazer.

Toronto’s home run jacket, which debuted in the summer of 2021, was put in the closet as the Blue Jays underwent a culture shift last offseason. But it wasn’t long before it found a new home.

Pirates representatives contacted the Blue Jays during spring training and asked if they could continue the tradition, according to Sportsnet’s Jamie Campbell, and they evidently received Toronto's blessing.

Pittsburgh’s hitters didn’t get an opportunity to showcase their new jacket during Sunday’s contest versus the Cincinnati Reds, as they were held without a round-tripper. They did earn a 2-0 victory, though, improving to an NL Central-leading 16-7 on the season.

The Blue Jays retired the Home Run Jacket in 2023 but a new team has taken up the torch. (Photo via @justdelossantos/Twitter)
The Blue Jays retired the Home Run Jacket in 2023 but a new team has taken up the torch. (Photo via @justdelossantos/Twitter)

The Pirates, who haven’t made the playoffs since 2015, have been one of baseball’s top early-season stories thus far. Despite coming off consecutive 100-loss campaigns, they have been red-hot out of the gate, excelling at preventing and scoring runs.

The starting rotation has stood out as an early surprise, entering Sunday ranked second in the majors in innings pitched and 10th in ERA. Johan Oviedo is a big reason for that success, as the rookie hurler carries a 2.22 ERA and 25 strikeouts across four starts.

Generating offence has also come easily thanks to the return of franchise icon Andrew McCutchen, who’s hitting .277/.388 /.523 with four home runs, 11 RBIs and a 144 wRC+ over 19 games in his 10th season with the Buccos across two stints.

It will be interesting to see if the Pirates can show off their new blazer against the Blue Jays during their three-game series that begins May 5 at PNC Park.