Those of us old enough to remember baseball back in the 1970s, will recall that the decade was dominated by a pair of baseball teams in the National League, the Cincinnati Reds and the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Reds, also known as the Big Red Machine, captured two World Series championships and played in five, while the Pirates, known as Lumber and Lightning also claimed a series title, while making six appearances in the playoffs.
Since then, both clubs have fallen on hard times with each club making only a total of three playoff appearences.
Pittsburgh has not had a winning season in just shy of 20 years, while last year's playoff appearance for the Reds was their first in 15.
Along the way beautiful new ballparks have been built in each city and both teams have been moved into the same division.
Arguably there have not been many meaningful games played between these one time rivals in the existence of both Great American Ball Park in Cincy and PNC Park in downtown Pittsburgh .
That is what makes this week's matchup between the RedLegs and the Buccos so appealing.
The upstart Pirates come in to the series with a 49-44 record, trailing the Milwaukee Brewers by only a half game in the NL Central, while the Reds sit only 3-1/2 games off the pace.
PNC park is seeing crowds in excess of 30,000 to watch their Pirates and excellent turnouts are expected for all three games with the Reds.
There is even talk of the frugal Bucs going out on the market at the trade deadline to add talent, instead of trading it away and the Reds have been mentioned to have interest in adding talent as well.
The best part is both clubs are built to not only be good now, but also have outstanding farm systems that could allow them to remain competitive for many years to come. An exciting, meaningful, Reds/Pirates series in front of packed houses in July. It's been a long time coming for these two river cities. Oh, and don't forget about that other team on the lake this year, either.
Mike Morrison is a part-time Marietta Times sports writer.