After a long hiatus here, I've been inspired to come back to the world of husband-wife sports blogging by a conversation Bob and I had in the car on the way home from Damon's tonight. (Or as we have come to call it, Damo's. But that's another story for another blog.)
It's worth noting right off the bat (the BAT, get it? Har har) that I am no major fan of major league baseball. Oh sure, I'll follow the World Series and whatever big star is acting like a six year old child and the latest scandal but I get a little tired of it. It's a long season, and frankly, it's difficult to get worked up about major league baseball when you live in Pittsburgh, AKA the Farm Team for the Rest of Baseball.
After coming frighteningly close to reaching .500 this year, the Pirates have engineered a series of brilliant trades, guaranteed to ensure their continued lack of playoff appearances. I'm starting to wonder if the Bucco's head offices have a non-compete deal signed with the Rooneys or something to avoid conflicting schedules once NFL season is in full swing. Not that there's much competition between the Pirates and the Steelers here in da 'burgh, anyway. The Steelers rule, and everyone knows it. Shame that it is, because there's certainly enough love to go around, anyone who followed the Penguins' march to the Stanley Cup finals this year knows that.
At any rate, the Pirates sit proudly in last place in their division, the unremarkable 51-59 record pretty much guaranteed to not improve. Last Saturday, the Pirates traded Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte to the Yankees, AKA the Best Team Money Can Buy, for prospects. In the middle of a game. Seriously. Nady led the team with a .330 batting average, and Marte was the Bucs only real threat as a closer. We got pitching prospects for them. I can't say it any better than Bob Smizik does here, so I won't try. But wait, that's not all. For years, the Pirates management has traded away stars the moment they start showing talent, and we still had one hanging in there. Jason Bay, who claimed over and over to NOT want to be traded, was traded on Friday in a three way deal with Manny Ramirez and some prospects. Guess who got Manny Ramirez? Here's a hint kids. It wasn't the Pirates. But I can't say it any better than Gene Collier does here, so I won't try.
So another season goes down the toilet. This one wasn't too far out of it anyway, but there was that slim, slim hope of reaching .500, of maybe having a not-unreasonable "magic number" for the first time in 25 years, the glimmer of a playoff spot standing shining in the distance, waving in the breeze like a pennant, like Jack Wilson's hair, like the legions of fans who wanted so much to believe that "WE WILL", as the Pirate slogan was so inelegantly and cryptically stated last year. (We Will what? We will play 162 Games? We Will have fireworks? We Will lose a lot of them? We Will sell off all our best players to the real grownup teams in Baseball?) It's all too much for someone who used to be a fan, who might have once wanted to be a fan.
There's still hope, though. We still have the Pirate Parrot, and the guy who runs around the bases dressed as a giant pierogie. NOBODY's getting them. Although I've heard we can be talked out of Lanny Frattere , both LaRoche brothers, and Tom Gorzelanny for a bowl of really good homemade guacamole, a bag of those awesome lime tortilla chips, and tickets to see the next Monster Truck Rally at the Arena.