Sunday, March 12, 2006

It's Still a Ballgame

Ever since I've followed baseball closely, contention has been a fleeting thing. No, it's been beyond fleeting -- it's been foreign. My hometown Pittsburgh Pirates have always just sucked. Even before I paid attention to stats sheets and scouting reports, I would go to games with my dad for the food, and for the fireworks, and for the Baseball Bloopers, and for every other form of entertainment designed by Kevin McClatchy to divert my and the rest of the unsuspecting audience's attention from the unacceptable standard of play taking place on the field. It was around my twelfth year of existence (2001 season) that I began to take notice and take offense.

When I started taking notice and taking offense, I started shouting.

"Meares, you stink!"
"Young, you stink!"
"Simon, you stink!"
"Tike, you stink!"
"Ward, you stink!"
"Wigginton, you stink!"
"Redman, you stink!"
"Mesa, you stink!"

And upon the announcement of Lloyd McClendon's name in the starting lineup:

But regardless of how much I hollered, the situation never got any better. 75% of the games we attended went sour by the 6th inning or so, and my dad would say something along the lines of, "These damn Pirates... but hey, it's still a ballgame." I think we're a classic example of how and why this city has put up with losing baseball for so long: as much as it kills us, we're Pirate fans, and we feel like this is our team, and we'll damn well watch 'em no matter how bad it gets. I suppose it shows our devotion, though others might call it our foolishness.

In the same way that I hollered and my team got no better, Lloyd hollered and his team got no better. Maybe Tracy's approach of positivity will be more successful. But no amount of managerial expertise can win a pennant, and as much as I hope for the contrary, no team with only one offensive threat can win a pennant either.

But hey, it's still a ballgame.


Anonymous BT said...

I understand your pain. I grew up a Cleveland Indians fan. They broke .500 seven times from 1962 to 1995 and never made the post season. Finally, when I was 33 years old, they made it to the World Series for the first time since 1954. Things really can change. It just might take a long, long time.

10:20 AM  
Anonymous Bill Stiteler said...

I know the feeling Calvin, I've been a Buccos fan since 96', and let me tell it wasn't all bad. There were some exciting seasons in the late nineties. In 97 we finished 79-83 and were second in the NL Central, that was the year I developed my love for baseball. My mom and I would grab general admission ticks for tons of weekend games that season. We'd sit in the out field and watch Smilin' Joe Randa, Jason Kendall, Tony Womack, Esteban Loaiza, Jon Lieber, Jermaine Allensworth and big Fransico Cordova guide the Pirates to an almost even season. I remember there even being talk about some sort of playoff between us and the Astros if we finished even. They made a similar run at .500 in 1999, but it didn't come through. I've stopped following so in depth lately, they were just so hard to watch the past five years. But I do like where we're going, and I can't wait for the day that we make that glorious run at .500 and get my Pirates fever back. Let's Go Bucs!

6:42 PM  

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