Friday, September 28, 2012

The Pirates are a sickness

Back in June, after the Pirates faced Justin Verlander for the second time this season, I remarked to Nils that it's incredible how the club hasn't been no-hit at some point during The Streak. In fact, until tonight, the Pirates hadn't been on the losing end of a no-hitter since Bob Gibson mowed them down in an 11-0 drubbing back in August of 1971.

As the de facto cap to the most disappointing season in Pirates history -- the 82nd loss seems like a formality at this point -- this seems entirely appropriate, and there's nothing much to say for this club. But at this point, it's not about the players on the team, and it's not even about the manager. Right now, it's not even really about the management team or the ownership, much as the local talking heads might try to tell you otherwise.

Right now, it's about us.

These are the darkest days on the Pittsburgh baseball calendar. The fair-weathers who packed the park for Styx and fireworks and 16 games over are long gone -- they were the first ones out the door. The casuals were next. And then, just as they do every year, the self-proclaimed die-hards who say they're "done with this team," jumped ship -- don't worry, though; they do this every year. They'll be back. They all will, at one point or another.

But right now, it's just us.

We know what these guys do. We know how it goes every year. But still, we convince ourselves that next year will be different -- or, more realistically, that two or three years from now will be different, and that we don't have expectations for the now.

Even when we're tempered and pragmatic about it, this club finds innovative ways to take us by the hand, lure us out and lift us up to improbable and irresistible highs, only let go right at the precipice -- every year from just a little higher up than the last year. Every year, we fall to our deaths.

We hate them for doing this every year. And we hate ourselves. We're afraid of success. We're afraid of change. We don't learn. We're in an abusive, co-dependent relationship. With a baseball club.

Nobody who is still a fan of this team has a healthy relationship with it. As such, everyone who remains a Pirates fan is, in some way, sick.

As someone who watches baseball for the love of baseball, I feel particularly stupid for caring. I don't know why I still care. I don't know why I'm still angry. I don't know why I allow myself to give a shit. Maybe Neal Huntington is right, and I'm the idiot.

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