The Pittsburgh Pirates shot at the perfect 162-0 season ended today with a 10-2 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
All Pirates fans knew it had to end at some point, but that doesn't make it hurt any less. How awesome would that have been? The team that local and national media alike mock every chance they get, going perfect in the regular season to end a 17-year drought of losing seasons. Damn you Dodgers!
Seriously though, what a great start for the Buccos. Taking the opening series against a team with far superior talent. Unfortunately, the Negative Nancies, Debbie Downers, Pauley Pessimistics and Bob Smiziks will continue to remind us that this team stinks, the good opening series means nothing and the Pirates will lose 100 games.
Well screw them.
Let them rip on Jeff Clement's offense, defense and existence. Let them tell us that Garret Jones is destined to fail because he didn't get to the majors until he was 28. Let them cry about Jack Wilson and Freddy Sanchez being traded away, which makes our team defense much worse. And let them repeatedly tell us how the rotation is filled with guys who would be fringe No. 4 and No. 5 starters on most teams.
The truth is, most of Clement's critics have only seen him play a handful of games. Yes, Jones is 28, but Jason Bay was 26 when he broke on the scene and won the NL Rookie of the Year. Sure, the defense takes a hit without Freddy and Jack, but Sanchez is on the DL (again) and Wilson won't hit .250 this year or double digit homers. And the rotation is young and consists of guys who are trying to prove themselves with every pitch.
These players, and the whole team, will hit roadblocks and slumps, and the media and fans will respond with nothing but cries of "We need new owners," and "I can't support a team that isn't trying to win." Yet, when they win, these same people will tell us how the team still sucks and will get crushed in the next game.
I understand the frustration. I'm in the same boat as a Pirates fan who can hardly remember what playoff baseball feels like. But it's just too easy to poke holes in every thing about this team. Instead, try and look at how much fun this season will be. Many of these players are fresh out of the minors or have very limited time in the pros. This is an opportunity for them that thy don't want to ruin with poor play, and then a demotion back to the place they fought so hard to get out of.
So instead of joining the growing crowd of people screaming how the team sucks, let's support them and enjoy the effort they give us every day. Let's focus on every positive that presents itself and see how we can build on it, rather than pick out every bad thing and try to knock the team down.
The Pirates will be a playoff team again. Really, it's going to happen. Odds are it won't be this year, but it very well be with this core of players a few years down the line. So I plead for the people of Pittsburgh to enjoy the wins we get along the way and support this team as they grow.
Peter Gabriel - Don't Give Up