October 10, 2013

A laughing stock no more: A few years ago when the Pirates set the record for most losing seasons in a row among the 4 "major" sports I took the opportunity to rant on this page. Last year when the streak hit 20 I did again. After 20 years of memories of Sid Bream beating Bonds throw from left I would like to thank the Pirates for giving me something to cheer about again. The Pirates finished the year 94-68. I number no one would have guessed at the start of the season. Players from the minors moved up and made an impact(Cole last night among others). The team made moved at the deadline to add offense not dump salary. They were run like a real franchise this year. Most importantly they made a city care again. PNC Park packed and rocking is amazing. After 20 years of frustration we finally have a winner. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come and we wont have to wait another 20. This team has a solid young core and some real good pitching. As long as ownership doesnt trade it all away Pirate baseball is back!

posted by Debo270 to baseball at 08:21 AM - 15 comments

Good to have the Pirates back. As a Cardinals fan, was impressed with the Pirates all year and in this last playoff series, and would have put my rooting interests behind the Pirates had they advanced. Great core of young talent, and if they can keep their players (having McCutchen locked in for 6 or so more years and Cole under team control for a while certainly helps on that front), the future is bright. I think re-signing Martin is going to be key for them, as he seems to handle that staff really well and makes up for mediocre offense with great defense.

posted by holden at 09:45 AM on October 10, 2013

Martin was a huge addition. He really knows how to call a game and should be a goalie in the offseason with how many blocks he has.

posted by Debo270 at 12:03 PM on October 10, 2013

Yeah, I was rooting hard for them yesterday; I'd rather see a team like the Pirates in the NLCS than the Cardinals, "The Yankees of the National League". Here's hoping they can start contending with more regularity!

posted by hincandenza at 01:58 PM on October 10, 2013

hincandenza, I think the Cardinals are about to play the Yankees of the National League in the NLCS (if you go by payroll and market size). If you are going by historical and more recent sustained excellence and being a regular face in the post-season (at least in the divisional era), then yeah.

posted by holden at 04:05 PM on October 10, 2013

If you are going by historical and more recent sustained excellence and being a regular face in the post-season (at least in the divisional era), then yeah.

...In which case, ironically perhaps, the Red Sox are the Yankees of the American league.

posted by Joey Michaels at 04:28 PM on October 10, 2013

That's sort of fair; the Dodgers have been on a crazy spending spree the last couple of years to put themselves into YES-level spending. Heck, the Red Sox success this year can be significantly attributed to the Dodgers taking so much payroll off their hands last year- which would make it even more amazing if the Sox/Dodgers ends up being the World Series matchup this year. I disagree that the Sox can be called the Yankees of the AL, but I can understand how some smaller market teams see them as just as rich and annoyingly successful as the Yankees historically were.

However, what I meant by my comment is that the Cardinals are second to only the Yankees in overall Championships with 11 wins in 18 series appearances, including two titles since 2006. Outside of St. Louis, how can you root for them to get a third WS (anymore than non-Boston fans would root for the Red Sox this year) so soon?

Teams like the Dodgers and A's are high on the list of series wins and appearances, however if you consider only the franchises in their current cities (i.e., not counting the Mack-era Philadelphia A's or the Brooklyn Dodgers long history of being WS runners up) they haven't been omnipresent in the post-season for a while. THE Dodgers were last in the WS in 1988, and the A's in 1990.

So it's not like they're the Giants or Cardinals or Yankees or yes even the Red Sox of late (although again, we endured a LONG wait before we got those two rings last decade!). And the Pirates, I was definitely rooting for the Pirates most of all in the NL.

posted by hincandenza at 05:01 PM on October 10, 2013

The Pirates and Cubs have both been high on my list of teams to love when Boston isn't doing so hot, so, yeah, I was rooting for them, too.

Nothing against the Cardinals, though. They seem to be a decent bunch of players and a fine team.

posted by Joey Michaels at 05:59 PM on October 10, 2013

Debo, as a long-time fan of the Bengals, I know how nice it is when your perennial doormat of a team finally gets its shit together and starts to compete. The Pirates are a fun young team to have in the division, and it sure seems like they're here to stay. I look forward to the burgeoning Reds/Pirates rivalry being a lot of fun for the foreseeable future.

But because I have to add just a bit of snark, or I might feel dirty--How many of those "rabid" Pirates fans from this September and October will continue to be rabid if the Pirates have a rough start next season? And how many wil lose interest next fall if the Steelers remember how to play football?

posted by tahoemoj at 11:17 AM on October 11, 2013

If you are going by historical and more recent sustained excellence and being a regular face in the post-season (at least in the divisional era), then yeah.

Is the whole city of St. Louis trolling us or are you people True Believers? Drew Magary wants to know.

posted by yerfatma at 12:03 PM on October 11, 2013

Tahoe, the die hard fans have always been there. the 9,000 average that showed up for the last 10 yrs, but this has really created a new fan base here. The 20 something year olds that have never experience this love it and are still talking about it and the younger kids finally have a reason to talk parents into taking them to a game. The Steelers will always be sold out if the fans show or not. I think the club will be able to sell this winning season for years even though i expect a little fall off next year as a team.

posted by Debo270 at 12:15 PM on October 11, 2013

I like that image, fatty. What paper is it from?

posted by Scottymac at 04:07 PM on October 11, 2013

The Post-Dispatch.

posted by yerfatma at 04:38 PM on October 11, 2013

That is pretty awful from the Post-Dispatch. The one thing that grates on me about certain corners of Cardinals' fandom (and media cheerleaders apparently) is the sanctimonious "right way/Cardinal way" and "best fans in baseball" crap. St. Louis is actually a great baseball town, with generally knowledgeable fans, but a number of fanbases can say that. The fans also tend to be irrationally exuberant about "scrappy" (i.e., small, white) no-hit middle infielders such as David Eckstein, Brendan Ryan,Skip Schumacher, and Bo Hart. Magary's screed is certainly a bit over the top, but some Cardinals fans are not helping the cause.

posted by holden at 06:21 PM on October 11, 2013

If you think St.Louisians are pridefully obsessive about the Cards, they're even more so when it comes to lawn care.

posted by beaverboard at 07:30 PM on October 11, 2013

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