I’ve finally given up the fight. Up until this point, I held out hope that the Pittsburgh Pirates would bust out of this slump that has lasted the entire month of August and storm into the playoffs. I was one of the optimistic ones. A lot of people already thought it was over. There are still a few out there that believe it isn’t. But it is. If you watched the game on Sunday against the Milwaukee Brewers, you know it’s over. They got embarrassed. The quest for .500 has made it’s way to the forefront once again. If they get there, which I think they should, it’s nothing to be mad about it. It’s good enough for me.
Turn on the radio and listen to The Fan for awhile and all you will hear are hosts and callers crying about what’s happening. I expect it out of the callers. One of them on Chris Mueller’s show on Saturday complained about the Travis Snider trade because “we already had our right fielder in Josh Harrison.” But it’s the hosts that get me. I can understand bandwagon fans being upset. I really can. They jumped on because the team was winning. That was the only reason. It makes sense. But for the hardcore, die hard fans, .500 should be enough.
I have been a fan of this team since I was a little kid. I really got into it around the age of 10 because that’s when I really started to get into most sports. So that’s 15 years that I’ve dealt with losing. I’ve seen guys like Jose Hernandez and Jeromy Burnitz play every day for this team. I’ve seen Ron Villone and Ian Snell as Opening Day starters. I have never been able to look towards the future with any kind of optimism. Now I can. This team has more talent than it has since I’ve understood the game. This organization has big time prospects for the first time. No more Bryan Bullington‘s. No more Chad Hermansen‘s.
We all knew this team was playing over their heads, didn’t we? Yes, certain aspects of this team’s game appeared more sustainable than they did last year. For instance, I thought the pitching would have a better chance of holding up because they had more guys that missed bats. It didn’t end up that way. This team has not had a lead off hitter all year. They have gotten historically bad defense out of the catcher position this year. It all caught up with them at the same time.
Combine the fact that they have played over their heads with their competition, and it’s the perfect storm. They are now behind the defending World Series champions in the wild card race. And we’ve seen this story before. The Cardinals always do this. They did it last year. They didn’t get into the playoffs until the final day of the regular season. It’s what they do. And now there are the Dodgers who just made a ridiculous trade which makes them more talented than the Pirates if they weren’t already.
Not making the playoffs is going to be disappointing. But it doesn’t take the joy of breaking a streak of losing away from me, personally. Now if they manage to blow that, you may need to fish me out of the river but I really don’t think they will. Of course there are things that management and the front office do that I don’t necessarily agree with. But at least they have a vision for the future. A vision that involves putting some pride into the product that they put on the field. They playoffs may not happen now but it’s going to happen soon.
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