It's a post 20 seasons in the making. It's a post that unknowingly started in 1992 with a slide into home. It's a post that a large part of me never thought I'd ever write. It's a post that may seem stupid to some but cathartic to others.
It's a post that I take great joy in publishing on my little sports blog, allowing myself to be a fan for just a moment as my first love finally loves me back.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have 82 wins.
In the past Case and Point covered the trials and tribulations of the Pittsburgh Pirates. A two part series examined the rich history of the Pirates as well as their recent struggles. Also included were reasons for hope, finally, after years in the basement and years of absolute despair. Now those players are beginning to blossom.
MVP caliber play from Andrew McCutchen, a blossoming power bat in Pedro Alvarez, an arm that shows flashes of brilliance in James McDonald. Though some have fizzled (Jose Tabata), others have stepped up and flourished (hometown boy Neil Walker, Garret Jones). They have helped usher in something the Pirates have not seen since Sid Bream slid into home under a Barry Bonds throw from the outfield:
A reason to care.
If this were just an 82 win season fireworks would be flaring endlessly. As it still stands, however, the Pirates have a legitimate shot at the post season for the first time since 1992. They can celebrate their accomplishments later. While they won't win the World Series, barring some unforeseen and amazing run, they can show the league that they should finally be taken seriously.
And it's a sight for many tired and sore eyes.
of an historic slide. For the second straight year the Pirates have imploded. There are pieces that are promising in McCutchen (who fell like a lead balloon out of the MVP race and all but lost the batting title), McDonald (whose arm became rubber), and Pedro (who gave us glimpses of his true abilities) and yet the future remains muddied with little hope of change.
The loss last night at the hands of the Cincinnati Reds, a friggin' no hitter by Homer Bailey (whom I wish would have paid more attention to my blog), sealed the deal. At 76-81 they are denied a wining season even if they win the next five games. They won't win their next five games. They'll be lucky to win one more game. At 16 games over .500 two months ago they could finish 77-85. That's a 20 game drop in two months. TWENTY GAMES. TWENTY #%&$@ GAMES.
Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me. You get one more reprieve for my heart, Pittsburgh Pirates. After the 2013 season I may be gone for good. Or at least find a new team to follow. I'll just pick the nicest hat or something.