Friday, July 23, 2010

Young Pirates give hope for future

By Jeff

Before any readers start telling me how stupid I am and how terrible the Pittsburgh Pirates are, let me be clear in saying I still think the Pirates are going to lose more than 100 games this season.

With that being said, this past week has shown that perhaps next season and the following will be significant steps forward for this ailing franchise. Mostly because the Pirates scored 50 runs and recorded 78 hits in the past six games. In that span, rookie and top prospect Pedro Alvarez had two multi-home run games, fellow rookie Neil Walker batted .593 and Lastings Milledge's hot hitting continued without the terrible defense.

Also in that span, the team went 4-2 and are now .500 at home this season. Professional teams should be better at home, but it's a start and gives fans a reason to go to the ballpark. If you have a 50 percent chance of seeing your team win, chances are you're going to be more inclined to attend a game. The more fans the more motivated these young players will be to work harder to maintain their good play.

As crazy as this sounds, but the past week's game have led me to believe that it is a good time to be a Pirates fan right now. Yeah, I said it. The team will finish the season well below .500 for an Major League Baseball record of 18 consecutive seasons, but there are multiple players showing lots of potential. This is not like the teams of recent memory who had one or two players get hot (Tike Redman and Chris Duffy come to mind) and then tank. These are first round draft picks beginning to show what they are capable of at young ages.

Debbie Downers are already pointing out that the two teams the Pirates played this week are not exactly championship contenders. The Houston Astros and Milwaukee Brewers are 39-56 and 44-53, respectively (not to be confused with respectable). They are also saying other than Yovani Gallardo, who shut down the Pirates, and Roy Oswalt, who the Pirates chased out of the game in the fourth inning, the Pirates faced mediocre and just bad pitchers.

Those are very valid points. The Pirates are professionals and should be able to hit the likes of Bud Norris, Dave Bush and Randy Wolf. But how many times have Pirates fans witnessed these low profile pitchers shutting down the Buccos like a staff ace would? Too many. Seeing the Pirates jump on bad pitchers multiple times in a week is progress.

It's easy to say that this is just a lucky streak they are on and the team will go back to suck shortly. Hell, it's probably likely. But this is the first time so many young players have shown so much potential at once on this team. I know it's not easy, but now is the time to hope this is the core that breaks the losing atmosphere surrounding the Pirates. It's also the time to head to PNC Park and support this team. I'm not saying support the cheap owners. I'm saying support these young players and enjoy watching them grow into good to great players.


Velvet Underground - White Light/White Heat

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