As the Pittsburgh Pirates close the books on their 5th straight last-place finish, saved byfrom 100 losses by an un-played rainout, I’m left to ponder. How did this franchise get so incredibly bad?? And is there any hope of them recovering?
How bad is it? 2009 is the 17th straight season that the Pirates have had a losing record. An amazing feat of futility, a record for any North American sports franchise. They’ve finished in last place 4 of the last 5 years, and it’s been a decade since they managed as high as 3rd…
But it wasn’t always that way. I lived in Pittsburgh every summer from 1971 through 1980. During those 10 years, the Pirates won the World Series twice, won their division 5 times, and never finished below 3rd place.
I grew up watching those great Pirate teams of the 70’s, and I will always be a Pirate fan at heart. A high point of my life was attending a World Series game in 1971, with my dad (when I was 11). And I still have the Pirates cap I wore as a back then. But the reality is the current Pirates stink, and they have stunk for a long time. And there is little hope that they won’t stink down the road. And while I’ll always hope that the Pirates come back, I see no reason to expect it.
Nowadays, I live in the St. Louis area. Not a bad town for baseball, and the Cardinals are usually pretty good. And I follow them, and root for them, and hope to watch them in the World Series with my son (who is almost 10). Maybe we could manage a game, like my dad and I did 38 years ago…..