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Regis at root of Pirates' difficult decades?

Regis at root of Pirates' difficult decades?

Regis at root of Pirates' difficult decades?
PITTSBURGH -- The mystery behind 19 years of losing -- and the ongoing resurgence everyone in town hopes will stick -- has possibly been solved.

The departure of Barry Bonds? Player-development slump? Fiscal restraints?

No, no and no.

Regis Philbin.

The personable television icon grew up in New York and attended Notre Dame but, somewhere along the way, became a huge Pirates booster. Whenever the Bucs would go on a mild streak, Philbin would begin trumpeting that they were on their way to the World Series.

"I've been a Pirates fan all my life," Philbin said on local radio station 973TheFan last September. "And so I've been keeping my eye on them for years and years and years, and I hate the fact that year after year they're destined to be last, you know, and get beat up by everybody. I tried to pull them through, and I had them in first place in July. And then of course, you know, they threw it away. "

Like Gabriel bringing down the walls of Jericho, Philbin's trumpet would bring down the Bucs.

Regis is now retired, being off the air for the first time since the invention of television. So the Pirates could be safe.

Aware of his allegiance, the club often tried to lure Philbin to PNC Park to throw out the first pitch prior to a Pirates game, without success.

If the Bucs qualify for the postseason, perhaps Philbin will finally do the honors before Game 1 of the National League Division Series.

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