There are four things that Pittsburgh Pirates fans don’t ever like hearing about;
The Atlanta Braves, Sid Bream, Francisco Cabrera, and 1992.
They don’t want to hear about how a third string catcher and an aging former Pirates first baseman crushed their dreams in 1992, and seemingly took an entire franchise down with them.
But it happened, and 1992 was the last time that the Pittsburgh Pirates played beyond game 162 in a season. Barry Bonds, Doug Drabek, Andy Van Slyke and company are long gone, and it seems like distant memories of when the Pirates were considered the class of the National League.
The Pirates have teased recently, trying to claw their way back into a place of relevance in baseball. Even as late as the third week of July in 2012 Pittsburgh was sitting atop the National League Central. But once again, the Pirates ran out of gas and coasted into the end of the season with a 79-83 record and a 4th place finish.
Well I’m here to tell you that the suffering and agony for baseball fans in Pittsburgh is going to come to an end in 2013, as the Pittsburgh Pirates are going to play postseason baseball.
I’ve watched this organization over the past few years, and they’re doing things the right way. Although some of their work may not have shown up on the field or in the standings yet, sometimes it’s just about waiting for it all to come together. The Braves did it in 1991 after years of muddling in the cellar of the division, and the Pirates are about to go on a similar run.
The reasons are quite simple. They have a legitimate star and centerpiece in outfielder Andrew McCutchen, and the Pirates have made moves/promotions to make other upgrades such as Travis Snider, Starling Marte and Jose Tabata in the outfield, and Pedro Alvarez at third base.
The Pirates have built from within, putting together an excellent farm system. Rather than trade away a lot of the future talent to “win now”, the Pirates have used some of their better veteran players to help strengthen their minor league teams. The result is that now, Pittsburgh is primed to start showing off the fruits of these deals.
You’ll see a lot of new names on the Pirates’ final roster this season, and you’ll hear about them more and more as the year goes on. Pittsburgh didn’t make many off-season changes to their roster, and that’s because they are counting on this young talent to be the next crop of big league stars. The Pirates may not have enough to overtake the powerful Cincinnati Reds this year, but a position as one of the two NL Wild Card teams is well within their reach.
As long as the video game cover curse doesn’t hit McCutchen, 2013 will be a year that Pittsburgh fans can finally shake the memories of the night that Sid slid, and the Pirates dropped off the baseball map.