A year ago I made a post to celebrate the end of a horrible, draining losing streak for the Pittsburgh Pirates. It touted AJ Burnett, Pedro Alvarez, and Andrew McCutchen as those most important for changing making history.
It was never published with its original intent in mind.
Tonight that post gets a second chance. After 20 years the celebration can begin.
In 1992 Sid Bream slid home and forever killed a generation of Pirates fans. The NLCS of the 1992 season was the last time the Pirates had any hope. For the next 20 years there was little to cheer about. PNC Park, Brian Giles, Jason Kendall and Jack Wilson basically sum up that list.
For each of them there was a Bryan Bullington, Kris Benson, or Chad Hermansen who spoke of promise then flamed out in a spectacular fashion or found their way out of town and with good reason. Gone were the days of We Are Family, Maz, Roberto, Pops, and the beloved figures that define a great franchise. The new definition was failure.
The Pirates were a dumpster fire. No one wanted to come here. In some cases they did and quite changed their mind. Operation: Shutdown showed what regrets look like in major league baseball. Every game in PNC's beautiful backdrop, even on the clearest of summer day, still had dark clouds hanging around the general malaise built up by echoes of past failures.
Now that's all in the past. The Pirates have won 82 games for the first time since 1992. Bonds, Bell, Van Slyke, Bonilla, Drebek have been replaced by new heroes in Walker, McCutchen, Alvarez, Burnett, Cole, Liriano and many more.
A new era begins tonight in Pittsburgh. Not one of pity or of sadness or of disappointment.
It's now one of pride, one of accomplishment, and one of expectations.
The Pirates are no longer losers. Tonight, after a generation, the Pirates are winners.
Bring on October.