Your view of the Pittsburgh Pirates franchise likely depends on how long you have been watching and keeping up with baseball.
Many new fans might think of them as just another struggling small market franchise that doesn’t have the money to compete. That isn’t the view I have however. I remember when one of the best outfields in baseball was Bobby Bonilla, Andy Van Slyke and of course, Barry Bonds. Those teams came over twenty years ago. and the glory years with Roberto Clemente were even longer ago than that.
What is the point? The point is that this isn’t a franchise that doesn’t care about winning. It certainly isn’t a franchise whose fans don’t care. Pirates fans didn’t leave their team, and the Pirates didn’t walk away from baseball. Something happened about half way through the 2012 season that ruined their playoff chances, but they had a shot.
This year they plan to do better than have a shot, and A.J. Burnett is poised to lead the starting pitchers in the process.
Burnett has always seemed just on the other side of greatness. His stuff has always been above average. In his return to the National League last season, his ERA dropped almost two points. This season, he will get the ball on opening day as the Pirates try to prove once again that they are here to compete for real.
Look for Burnett to possibly have an even better season this year as things begin to line-up in Pirates land. It might not be this year, but then again, it might. Things are about to get fun in Pittsburgh.