Pittsburgh Pirates v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

For a person who has grown up rooting for everything Pittsburgh, baseball has been somewhat of a lost cause.  As long as I can remember, the Pirates have been every example of futility imaginable.  Whether it be having hopes crushed in a late season collapse or knowing from opening day that your team is more than likely out of it, by the end of seasons end the only thing diehard Pirate fans can say is “there is always next year”.  As a 23 year old, I would hear stories of the “glory days” of championships, Barry Bonds in his (pre-steroid) prime, as well as recounts of when everybody in baseball were scared to face the Pirates because of there status as one of the best teams in baseball.  As great as all this sounds, all these “stories” took place at the very latest, when I was 3 years old.

For the past 20 seasons the Pittsburgh Pirates have had losing seasons.  I will tell you that twenty years is a long time.  After a while, no matter how hard you try to will your team to victory, you just lose hope.  Baseball does not have the same feel and enjoyability when you know your team will not win anything of importance this year.  Eventually you become indifferent to the sport altogether because the pain of watching a continuously losing product is too much to bare.  Instead you start to think about ways the team could and should be better, starting with the most logical ideas to the most irrational thoughts that pop into a fans head.  All the while, you just hope that eventually your team finds a way to turn it around.  For me, that moment came last year.  The Pirates were sitting pretty going into the home stretch of the year, and I finally started to get my hopes up.  I let my heart get into the potential playoff push, and baseball got exciting again due to the emotional investment.

As every baseball fan knows by now, the Pirates provided an epic collapse going 16-36 to finish the season.  This was possibly the hardest of all seasons to go through, having hopes raised so high, only to be shot down so dramatically.  Not only did they collapse…and miss the playoffs…but this also capped off the 20th losing season in a row for my favorite team.  Pirates’ fans were left wondering what would be in store next season for our team.  The optimism paid off when the Pirates came into the 2013 season and showed that they were a team to be respected, actually leading the majors in wins and some proclaiming them the best team in baseball.

Now the season is almost over and the Pirates have went from virtual lock to win the division and be a force in the playoffs, to recently being swept by the St. Louis Cardinals and facing a potential wild-card playoff game that could find Pittsburgh’s playoff schedule only lasting one game.  The emotional involvement that should be nothing new to teams with established track records feels almost too much to bare to a fanbase who is used to collapses, ineptitude when it matters most, and ultimately failing to rise to the occasion.

Now that the season is coming to a close the Pirates have now clinched their first non-losing record, but they now have to seal the deal and make it to the playoffs.  For a member of a fanbase who has seen every bit of disappointment from this team imaginable, they cannot let this opportunity to make things right with Pirates Nation go awry.  So as a fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates I will watch every strike, every home run, and every win with the hopes that this is finally the beginning of a Pirates era I can tell stories about in the future.