Do Pirates Fans Want To Lose?

Pirates fans are an odd bunch, anyone loyal enough to follow a team that’s lost for two straight decades must be. That loyalty is great, but the further the Pirates season goes on, the collapse prediction crowd grows louder and more clamorous, telling everyone who will listen “I always knew this would happen!” and “Mark my words this team will finish in third place!” ad nauseum. Why they do this, I don’t know, but I have a guess. They want the Pirates to lose. They’ve become so used to being a miserable last place team with 15,000 fans in attendance at games, that some of the fans can’t handle the change.

Why anyone would be so miserable as to want a team to lose just so they can say “I was right, I wasn’t hoodwinked like you” and that’s not a good attitude to have towards a team. There’s such a thing as realistic expectations, but you have to be realistic on both sides. No Pirates fan in their right mind would look at this year’s team and say they’re going to win 120 games, just as no fan in their right mind would look at this team and say they’d lose 100 games. It’s not about being super happy go lucky about the team at all times, it’s about being reasonable.

The Pirates have lost four straight games, and that hurts, but let’s put things in perspective here. They’re twenty-two games over .500 on August fourteenth. Their odds of making the playoffs this year are 98.6%, and they still have the best odds by far of any N.L. Central team to win their division. The fifth pitcher on the starting staff has an ERA of 3.79, they have the best team ERA in the N.L., and the bullpen is one of the deepest and best in the league, with worthy guys ready to step up from AAA at a moment’s notice.

Aug 13, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen (22) hits a two run home run off of St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright (not pictured) during the first inning at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

At the plate the Pirates are less impressive, but they still have an MVP candidate in Andrew McCutchen, a twenty-four year old outfielder who’s eighth in the league among position players in WAR in Starling Marte, and the second best home run hitter in the league in Pedro Alvarez (who’s also eighth in RBI). This is not the 2011 or 2012 team. It’s not the poor team that got by for a while in 2011, or the mediocre one that got by for longer in 2012, this is the best team the Pirates have put on the field since the early 1990s, and there’s no reason for this team to be viewed as another team that’s going to collapse.

Like it or not, these Pirates aren’t just a winning team, but they’re a playoff team and a built to be a legitimate contender for several years. If by some stroke of insane, Steve Bartman-esque bad luck the Pirates fall apart over the next six weeks like a poorly rolled cigar, and you called it, congratulations, you guessed better than the rest of us. Until then, can we hold off on the collapse talk because of one bad (and slightly disconcerting) stretch of games?

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Tags: Pittsburgh Pirates

  • Matt Gajtka

    Well done. It would take a team of psychologists to determine why some people are happier being miserable than being, well, happy.

    • Campbell Sproul

      I just can’t wrap my mind around it. I mean you get these guys who jump up and down all proud of themselves for “being right about the collapse” when the Pirates lose a few games. Hopefully the Pirates find a way to shut them up.

  • Brian Krueger

    Totally agree, and I can’t wait to shove it up the arses of all doomsayers! Liriano dominates tonight. Go Bucs!

  • Tj Streib

    I’m pessimistic, but not because I want to be. I’ve had my bubble burst numerous times over the past 20 losing seasons & especially the past two. Has anyone noticed they always completely tank once a certain football team starts playing – look it up! – and the last 2 collapses were absolutely mind boggling. How could a team playing so well for the first 2/3 of the season become WORSE than even the worst bad Pirate teams over their final 50 or so. I don’t want to be right! I HOPE I’m not! But until win #82 is recorded, I’m not betting against Nutting trying to outdo even last year’s total implosion. The Marte drop? I still can’t believe that one!

  • Bradley James McEachern

    I think Campbell, people are like that because when you have had two straight collapses like the Pirates did in ’11 and ’12 and you haven’t had a winning season since 1992, fans of this team are quick to press the panic button because nothing has gone their way in the last 20 years so as a result are waiting for something bad to happen because of the lack of confidence most fans have.

    I can understand those feelings, but it doesn’t mean there right though.

  • Andrew

    I’ve got to say that I am definitely one of the people calling for #collapse after losing in extra innings to the cardinals. I couldn’t get to sleep and it was about 1-2 A.M. and I was just staring at the schedule picking out wins and loses and thinking if it could be feasible to not even break 500.

    At 70 wins and 20 odd games over .500 I was still looking for the impossible and freaking out.

    I won’t be able to relax until they reach 82 and then again not until they stave off the d backs and nationals.