The boys and girls of Pittsburgh are talking about math and science today. They’re talking about new backpacks and pencils and notebooks and calculators. They’re talking about the upcoming school year with anticipation and wonder. They’ve forgotten how relieved they were when school had ended just a few months ago.
Almost as quickly as they have forgotten about their Pirates and contention, or their Pirates and winning.
The men of Pittsburgh have turned their attention to the Steelers. Mini camp and preseason has replaced pennant races and hopes of a postseason.
The sun is setting quickly on the Pirates season, and I’m ready to admit it. Less than a week ago I was defending the Pirates and their little slump. But now they are crumpling under the weight of 10-straight losses. They are 10 games out of first place when two weeks ago they were in first.
The Pirates may recover, and they may finish over .500. However, they 5 games under and coming off being swept by the Padres. Not only were they swept, but they gave up 35 runs in three games. This does not look like the same team scratching out wins. Instead, it looks like the Pirates of old.
It’s sad for the city of Pittsburgh. To get so close only to see it washed away. The promise of big things, buying at the trade deadline, and nationally televised games were all for not. That is, unless Pittsburgh learns from this.
A quick look at the stands over the weekend showed a dramatic increase in attendance over years past. For a three-game set against the last place Padres, Pirates fans packed the park. The Pirates ownership cannot expect to see turnouts like that continue over the next few years if they do not remain competitive. Give the fans something to cheer about so that they want to come out. The Pirate’s organization is faced with a fork in the road. One road leads towards fielding a consistently competitive ball club, the other leads towards more losing seasons and less fans. Which fork they take is anyone’s guess, but as the sun sets on this once promising season for the Pirates, I hope it’s the former.