Now that the devastation of that cold February Sunday has just about worn off ((Though the Penguins injury woes have only multiplied at this point.)), I’ve had a few moments to weigh the upcoming Pirates season. In doing so, I’m trying to decide if they’re worth following seriously or not. I’m not a huge baseball fan and have been overwhelmingly apathetic towards the Pirates as their ongoing record setting consecutive losing seasons streak builds over the
years decades. And for good reason.
This organization has been one of the most pathetic in all of professional sports over the past twenty years. The Pirates are constantly at the bottom of the spending charts in baseball, not to mention the standings. Unfortunately in this league, those two measures are inextricably linked. As a result, the Pirates have repeatedly reached down in the draft in order to secure players that won’t incur outstanding contracts due to their rockstar agents.
Worst of all, they take what’s left of their fans for granted, repeatedly giving them a poor product both on and off the field. They throw a poor team on the field, trade away any high profile players in return for prospects that never pan out, and then expect fireworks and gimmicks to make it all better. Sure, that new stadium ((Corporate sponsorships hold no weight here.)) they had built for them is one of the nicest in the league. Pittsburgh taxpayers helped fund it in order to keep their team in town, believing that it would generate local jobs and feed revenue back into the surrounding area. Adding insult to injury, the most heard and remembered claim was the a new baseball park was the last piece the Pirates needed to become competitive. That was ten years ago.
Not only ten years of not making the playoffs, but ten years of under .500 baseball. Plus the eight years prior in Three Rivers ((Until 2009, my last baseball game in Pittsburgh occurred sometime in the early ’90s. All I know is they had a better logo back then. How the team fared didn’t matter. But I like to think they won.)).
So then the question becomes, “Why give them another chance? Why not just walk away forever?” And this is complicated. I want to see them succeed after the veritable dark age, but I also don’t want to condone all the penny pinching that has gone on. I’ve been to a few games in the past two years, and somehow the Buccos won a majority of them. They’re starting to get a core of players that they’ll hopefully build around ((If they sell them off again for nothing, I’m done.)). Is this the year they turn the corner? It’s possible, but not probable. But 2011 will be the year I gave them a chance.
And if they crash and burn again, I can always hop onto the Red Sox bandwagon.