Dear Pirates fans,
It’s me. Kurt. Heh, I have been there before. Actually, I’ll describe it for you to a tee:
Your team is young and talented. You know they are going places – maybe this year, probably next year. Their pitching is a dream – the guys in the rotation (all of them talented) do not spin curveballs so much as shutouts and low-scoring, high-drama affairs. The bullpen, filled with tense guys who probably scream mirrors into submission, leave you dancing on the edge of dismay every night – and yet, somehow, you still find yourself dancing nonetheless.
Then, your team finds themselves playing a nobody. A nothing team whose concept of a “motivational speech” probably sounds something like, “If we lose a lot this year, we’ll get a good draft pick so go lose e’m good!” Sure, this nothing team plays in a good home ballpark and has passionate fans but they were not built to win. They were, in fact, built to occupy the basement of the division because somebody has to and it might as well be a city with great beer.
Then, that nobody team hammers them with the holy fury of a thousand hells. (Did I just mix metaphors?) It takes the wind out of you, to see so much promise squashed like Kirstie Alley’s latest diet as she stands before an open pizza buffet.
Remember, I told you that I’ve been there before. This is how I know that dejected and despondent feeling you have right now. My team is the Chicago Cubs. (Yes, those guys who just beat you like a pimp.) The year was 2004. The Cubs were The Team to Beat (note the capitals? That’s how you know they were serious about it). The date was Friday, May 28th. Their opponents – the hapless, luckless, useless Pittsburgh Pirates. I was so stoked – I traveled to Pittsburgh to see my first double header; surely a brutal affair that would involve the Cubs lighting Pittsburgh up like a firecracker.
Then it all went horribly wrong. The Pirates brutalized the Cubs in both games. Both were come-from-behind wins for Pittsburgh. Point of fact – I’ve lamented this day in the past, probably on this very blog. So I’ll move past it now, and if you are wondering… I have dust in my eye, okay? It’s just dust.
So the Cubs got squashed by the Pirates in 2004, just like the Pirates got run over by the Cubs these past four days. And you’re waking up from this surprise season with a hangover, wondering what it was that ever made you think that these Pirates could sneak into anywhere but maybe third place. Except, guys, I’ve been there before and I am here to tell you this:
It’s not over. Four games do not make a baseball season. While baseball players are – despite some appearances* – made of flesh, it is true that they take on the features not of epoxy, but of rubber. This stuff bounces right off of them. They aren’t quite as fanatical, nor as obsessive, as we are. They will survive to play another day.
(*I cannot confirm nor deny the rumor that Hanrahan is indeed half machine)
So – relax. Take a drink, or even just a deep breath. If four wins in a row does NOT mean that the Cubs are a good team, than four losses in a row does not mean that the Pirates are a bad one. And while I am hardly advocating that your team is on a Highway to October**, they aren’t done for yet, either.
(**Although I now want to make that into the next photoshop series because it sounds awesome)
Let’s see where things are in September. Right now things are ugly, but hardly telling. Give it two weeks – then start panicking. But, then again, this tends to be the kind of advice I give Cub fans most year whenever they start jumping off cliffs and abandoning the team, and I have to admit that so far they have always been right. However, that just might have to do with Cubs Suckage being even more perennial than the grass.
RumBunter Photoshop Extraordinary