ST. LOUIS -- The picture arrived on Matt Adams' phone sometime Tuesday evening, and it showed one of his college friends dressed as a Pirate, hoisting a flag that had a line crossing through the Cardinals' logo. Adams got a laugh out of the text, which was also a reminder that there will be plenty of mixed allegiances among his friends and family as the Cardinals' first baseman prepares to play the Pirates in the National League Division Series (Game 1 on Thursday at 4 p.m. CT on TBS).
A Philipsburg, Pa., native who went to college 50 miles north of Pittsburgh, Adams was raised a Pirates fan. He stopped paying much attention to them after Barry Bonds left town, but he did find himself surrounded by plenty of Pirates faithful during his time at Slippery Rock (Pa.) University.
Adams said that several of his former college teammates were at PNC Park for Tuesday's NL Wild Card Game, and they let him know how loud the crowd was. Said Adams: "I could have told you before the game that it was going to be crazy."
In order to limit potential distractions when the series shifts to Pittsburgh, Adams said he'll only worry about ticket requests for his parents. He expects several other friends and family members to secure their own tickets and said that most "hope that personally I do well, but that the Pirates do better."
A raucous crowd at PNC Park on Tuesday night made an impression on others within the organization, too. While they don't expect the crowd to be that much of a factor in the series, the Cardinals will be returning to a ballpark at which they went just 3-7 during the regular season.
"You know, no real explanation for why it's given us trouble," manager Mike Matheny said. "It's a park that guys like playing at. It's a fun park. I thought the atmosphere last night was great. You could hear it. You could feel it just through the TV. But the fans there are excited, and rightfully so. We have the same thing here. That's playoff baseball."
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. Chad Thornburg is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.