Monday, September 29, 2008

One more season and Pittsburgh sets a record

While baseball fans around the country are looking forward to the playoffs and the World Series, we Pittsburgh Pirates fans at least have something in common with our favorite team.

Yes, we'll be watching the games in our living rooms and wondering if next year will be any better. Unfortunately, Pittsburgh is terrible and there aren't any signs the team is improving.

How bad is Pittsburgh? The team hasn't had a winning season since 1992 and is tied for the most consecutive losses of any team in professional sports. By closing out this season at 67-92, the Pirates never got close to the magical .500 mark.

If the Pirates turn in another rotten season next year, they'll set an undistinguished record -- 17 losing seasons. No team in any major American pro sport has been able to achieve that level of suckness. Well, at least they've got a shot at doing something rather well. If you're going to stink, why not go all out, right?

The Pirates are so bad that named the Pirates the worst franchise in American pro sports way on back in May. There were 10 teams on that list, and the Pirates edged out some real stinkers such as the Kansas City Royals, Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Clippers and Detroit Lions.

That's terrible, folks. That's so bad that the Pirates might want to consider changing that "P" logo on their caps to read "Pee."

The obvious question, of course, is how did the Pirates get so bad. Just what the hell happened to a team that played in the first World Series in 1903 and picked up World Series victories in 1909, 1925, 1960, 1971 and 1979? What happened to the team that was one rotten inning away from the World Series in 1992?

Simple -- the Pirates have adopted a strategy of fielding young, inexperienced and cheap players. After the 1992 season, for example, the Pirates lost Barry Bonds. That trend of getting rid of solid players has plagued the Pirates, a team that was once the home to the likes of Aramis Ramirez and Jason Kendall.

The Pirates, oddly, have adopted the confusing habit of trading good players for a bunch of prospects, then trading the prospects that develop into solid players for more youngsters. Let's say, for example, that Pittsburgh trades a standout player for prospects A, B and C. The following season, A and B develop into fair-to-middling players, while C is outstanding.

What happens? The Pirates keep their mitts on A and B and trade C for some more prospects. And the cycle continues. It's no wonder, then, that we loyal Pirates fans would go absolutely insane if the team managed to win 81 games and enjoy something that seems impossible to us -- a .500 season.

That's just pitiful. How many baseball fans would consider 81 wins a failure? A lot of them, to be sure, but we Pirates fans might get so excited that we'd start burning couches in our front lawns.

I know at least one blogger out their shares my pain when it comes to the Pirates -- Brian McElhinny at Raise the Jolly Roger. There's a man who's keeping the faith. Good for him.

Should you want to see when I gave up on the season, see an earlier post of mine right here.

5 comments: said...

I remember when the Pirates had Dave Parker and Willie Stargell. Those Pittsburgh ball clubs were good!

"We are family!"

Lawrence said...

I don't know much about Pittsburgh, but I'm thinking that its a football town more than a baseball town. It's that way in Philadelphia. I am a lifelong Eagles,Sixers,Flyers,Phillies Phan. However I think if you gave the fans a choice (Super Bowl victory or World Series Champion), an overwhelming majority would take the football title! Baseball season is over at the end of August for many of the NFL addicts and College Football freaks. I still hold a candle for my Phillies and live off the magic of 1980,when I was 13! But now is the time to sing "Fly Eagles Fly", even as the Phils begin NL playoffs. Great post Hawg!

Da Old Man said...

It stinks to see such a great franchise fall apart.

Mike Golch said...

I think we need a bums of the week for sports teams. I can nominate 3 treams for poor performance the three Great spots teams the Cleveland Clowns,the cleve Idiots and the Cleve Cadavers. every damn year we keep hearing the same ole B.S. that this is the year that they make a difference.

The Natural State Hawg said...

Paul -- Ah, the good old days! I don't miss those caps, however.

lawrence -- Pittsburgh is, indeed, a football town. The way the Pirates play, they don't have much choice over there.

Da Old Man -- It does stink, indeed...

Mike -- At least the Cleveland Indians have a great pitcher. Yes, it's Cliff Lee -- a Benton boy!