Since 1992, the Pittsburgh Pirates have been an afterthought in the Steel City. Thanks in large part to them not being a good team in 20 years, along with the fact that the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pittsburgh Penguins have dominated their respective leagues for a major portion of those two decades, the Pirates just haven’t been a factor in the Pittsburgh sports scene.
The 2013 Pirates have changed that mindset.
No one thought this team had a chance. Despite all the experts and sports writers both locally and nationally predicting this team to miss the playoffs, they found a way. Sure, some thought they could at least break the 20-year streak of consecutive losing seasons, but nobody could have predicted this.
Baseball has been dormant in Pittsburgh for all this time, but now we have seen that Pittsburgh really can be a “baseball town” — when given the chance. The great thing about baseball is that it is played almost every day for over half of the calender year; it brings families together and creates a lot to talk about among friends and co-workers.
Unfortunately, the 20 seasons of hopelessness rubbed a lot of people the wrong way and caused a lot of baseball fans to lose their passion for the sport. An entire generation of sports fans have missed out on a chance to see a winning baseball team. The 2013 Pirates have changed everything.
The Pirates have beat the odds all season, and there is no reason to believe they can’t continue to do so. Low payroll? Pirates GM Neal Huntington didn’t care; he just found a way to build a playoff team with one of the lowest payrolls in MLB. A lost fan base? Obviously, winning changes everything as the fan base is rocking now.
Teams that are more talented than them? Sure, the St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds have more talent on their rosters, but there’s just something special about the 2013 Pirates squad. They have found ways to win ball games this season, not believing for one second that they are out of any game.
Led by A.J. Burnett, Francisco Liriano, Andrew McCutchen and Jason Grilli, the Pirates really have done something special. They have done something that no Pirates team has been able to do in two decades — finish above .500 and make the postseason. The 2013 Pirates have revived a fan base and ended a streak of consecutive losing seasons that some folks didn’t think would ever end.
Even if Game 5 of the NLDS against the Cardinals doesn’t end well for the Bucs, this has been a season of positive change for an organization that needed something positive to happen.
For all of these reasons, the 2013 Pirates team should, and will always be remembered for what they have done. They gave us, fans of baseball in Pittsburgh, a reason to watch the MLB playoffs. For that, I thank you, Pirates.