Pirates at 17-What Does It Mean?

The Pirates lost their 82nd game and set a new record for most consecutive losing seasons but what does that mean? It means the obvious, that this has not been a good team for a long time. Beyond that it is just a number. It is something to talk about.

When did you first learn the record was 16? 5 years ago? Not likely. Fans know 56 even if no one is close to it. They know 60, 61, 73, 714, 762, and that Ted Williams is the last to hit .400. Anyone know what the longest streak without a winning season is? It is the same or did some team have 10 losing seasons, have a season at .500, then ten more losing seasons? I don’t know and bet no one reading this knows.

In 1997 the Pirates finished 79-83 so let’s see what happens if they had won two more games and finished 81-81. I can see it now—PNC Park is sold out every game and the fans are happy! Anyone think finishing 81-81 in 1997 would lead to that? The fans are no more upset at 17 than were at 16 or 15 or 14.

The goal of teams should be winning championships, not having a winning record. I would be happier if they finished 80-82 and won the division than if they finished 90-72 and 3rd in the division.

17 losing seasons is relatively meaningless because one season does not affect another. Look at 1997 again, almost made it to .500. Did that carry over to a more successful 1998? With the housecleaning that took place this season the Pirates have no players who endured more than 4 or 5 of the 17 seasons. Most of the current team is in its first or second year with the Pirates.

The focus should not be on the past 17 seasons but on the next season and the season after that. What needs to happen to produce a competitive team? Are the trades of the past two seasons building a better tomorrow or just once more around the block with the same old thing?

At least the Pirates have a number of fans who remember a World Series win and many who remember more than one. Find a Cubs fan who remembers a World Series winner.

There will be much written about 17. Teeth will gnash, tears will flow, anger will erupt but, with apologies to Shakespeare, it will be much ado about very little.

[Submitted and Written by Joe. What do you think?]

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