Thursday, October 8, 2009


I expected this to be a really tough year for "yer Buccos". But even I, an eternal optimist, never expected it to turn out as bad as it ended up. So how bad was it you ask? Try this one for size: The Pirates had their second worst record during the 17 year drought period. Still not convinced? The Pirates' finish, losing 22 of last 25 was the worst since baseball went to the 162 game schedule! All that effort and still no Bryce Harper! Add to that the fact that shortstop pheenom, Miguel Sano, signed with the Minnesota Twins instead of signing with a proven winner like yer Buccos and you have the ending of yet another putrid season.

There were three bright spots in this otherwise meaningless pile of rubble. Andrew McCutchen is the "Real McCoy". He should fetch quite the number of prospects in a few years. Just imagine how well-stocked the farm will be then! Garrett Jones had an outstanding year which proves that even a front office like Pittsburgh's can get lucky once every 20 years or so. Ross Ohlendorf was able to win on a bad team. Imagine what he would have done on the Yankees or Red Sox? He could have probably won 40 or 50 games! The Buccos should trade him now while his value is at its' highest.

ABOVE: Pirate fans have been forced to take cover in the most hideous of cellars ever seen. They won't be escaping anytime soon either.

Pirate fans are fed up because the team has literally been psychotic in its' trading of players. I swear they'd trade ushers and beer vendors if it was legal. But what the yeam hasn't figured out is that even the moderately casual fan knows who the more valuable players on the team are, and when you haven't won in 17 years and are trading away hard-working everyday players like Nate McLouth, Jack Wilson and Freddy Sanchez, well expect a backlash from your fans who've been experiencing losing for 17 consecutive seasons.

A guy like Adam LaRoche, who was an offensive disaster, is a player who had to go, no argument there. But Nate? Wouldn't this team have looked better with Nate in right and Garrett Jones at first? Couldn't we have used Jones and McLouth's bats both in this lineup? This is where the Pirates are losing a lot of fans forever and all of their little remaining credibility. Unless Pedro Alvarez and two or three other prospects make this roster, it's going to look quite correctly that it was yet another salary dump, pure and simple.

ABOVE: Caught by our roving cameraman, Dave Navis, this startled cellar dwellar rises up from his sleeping bag. Note clever use of wine barrels to keep away from moisture and God knows what else. Buccos need creative thinking such as this.

Amazingly, the Buccos even managed to blow the Bryce Harper Derby by allowing another pathetic franchise, the Washington Nationals, to actually perform worse than they did. Washington won 59 games, yer Buccos 62. So a measly three games is the answer to the forthcoming trivia question: By how many games did the Pirates lose out on getting the next Babe Ruth?

While Bryce Harper is the highest rated prospect ever, the unanimous second pick overall is one Anthony Ranaudo, a 6'7" 231 pound right-hander out of LSU. He sure fits the Neal Huntington mold for monster-sized pitchers, so expect him to be drafted. He probably will also be the answer to another trivia question: Who was the next player drafted after the second coming of Babe Ruth? Why Anthony Ranaudo, of course! Ranaudo could turn out to be great though. But I'm just bitter over the Buccos not getting Harper. Just imagine what he could bring in prospects! It's sickening to even think about it!

ABOVE: Godzilla-sized pitcher Anthony Renaudo, a concensus number two to Babe Ruth II.

But exactly how bad was this season from a historic perspective? Other than losing the Bryce Harper Sweepstakes, the Pirates also lost 99 other contests this year. The worst team in modern times continues to be the 1962 Mets though. Those guys managed to go 40-120 (.250) so yer Pirates 62-99 (.385) absolutely dwarfs those losers. The 2003 Detroit Tigers (yes, the same team that just blew a three game lead in the last four games of the season only to lose a playoff to the Minnesota Twins) finished with a 43-119 (.265) mark! Even the 1952 Pirates were much worse than this year's team, finishing 42-112 (.273).

ABOVE: The horrible thing about being a cellar dwellar is the shape of nightmares to come.

But as the Pirates continue through this torturous period of record-setting losing, their attendance continues to dwindle as well. This year, the team finished up averaging 19,479. The only team with a worse attendance record was the Oakland A's who averaged just 17,392. I was in that stadium once. If it was in Pittsburgh, yer Pirates would have averaged about 150... (beer, coke and popcorn vendors). No one else would have come.

Every time that it looks like the Pirates have hit rock bottom, they surprise us by trading away their entire roster. But they aren't the worst ever, you've got to concede that. They've only been doing it the longest time!


Epilogue: Three years after losing 119 games in 2003, the Detroit Tigers went 95-67 and won their tenth American League pennant before losing the World Series to the St. Louis Cardinals. Since the Pirates lost "only" 99 games this year nothing short of a Division Title,  National League Pennant and World Series appearance in 2011 will be acceptable.


1 comment:

rakeback said...

The #1 picks in baseball have historically not produced great results. The names Brien Taylor and Ben McDonald immediately come to mind. I think this kid has all the talent in the world a la Josh Hamilton, but he is far from a sure thing!