This is just a recurring theme all of a sudden.
It’s a common thing, and something fans always live up to. When Pedro Alvarez is doing awful, fans act like he is the worst player in the league. But when he’s on a roll, everyone loves him. It’s like that for a lot of players around the league, but Alvarez is the prime example for that with the Pirates.
He took tons of heat last season, and went onto bomb thirty home runs. He’s a streaky hitter. There’s no other way to put it. Fans can’t stand the guy when he’s having trouble hitting the ball, but when he’s hitting bombs, he’s the man around Pittsburgh.
Example: Alvarez hit three home runs last August when the Pirates were in contention for the NL Central in what some called “the biggest series in PNC Park history.” The Bucs were playing the St. Louis Cardinals, and needed someone to step up because Andrew McCutchen was really in a slump. Alvarez hit three home runs in the series, which included the longest home run in PNC Park history, and everyone loved him.
June 17, 2012; Cleveland, OH, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez (24) points to the sky after hitting a three-run home run in the fifth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Example: Last Summer, the Pirates got swept in Baltimore. They went into the series tied for the lead in the NL Central, and had a rough interleague series against the Orioles. They really needed a pick-me-up after the sweep, and headed into Cleveland, which is where Alvarez started the Pirates amazing streak. In the last two games of the series, Alvarez hit four home runs, and drove in nine runs. What happened after that June series in Cleveland? The Pirates won 23 of their next 30 games.
Those are the two examples that pop into my mind when it comes to Pirate fans being completely unreasonable with Alvarez. The one I tend to laugh at occurred just earlier this week. The Pirates had their embarrassing ninth inning against the Cubs, where they stranded the tying run on third base despite having him there with nobody out. Don’t get me wrong, Alvarez had an awful at-bat. He took three ugly swings, and was set right down. Neil Walker stepped to the plate, had an even worse at-bat, and grounded into a double play to end the game. But hey, it’s all on Alvarez. Sure, he put together a horrible attempt at driving in the tying run, but where were all the fans hating on Walker, the guy who really screwed the Pirates over?
Times are tough and I, along with all other Pirate fans, understand that. They’re 1-5, and currently look like a Little League team. Alvarez isn’t hitting, but neither is the rest of the team. Don’t use Alvarez as a scapegoat for the Pirates team batting .117 as a whole. People tend to forget that this is the same guy that hit thirty home runs last season. Alvarez will come around, and he’ll be crushing the ball when he does. When that happens, everyone will be all about El Toro and his hot streak(s). Until then, I’ll have to sit back and watch him get criticized at games and on Twitter, by the same people who will love him when he puts the team on his back.