As I write this, the Pittsburgh Pirates are set to embark on spring training. Soon the familiar and inviting sounds of leather and wood will somehow make their way through the ether to cold and dreary Pittsburgh and steel us until Opening Day. Over the past two seasons, Pirates baseball has been re-birthed in our city and elsewhere. I personally can tell you stories during the time that I lived in Washington D.C. and saw random folks flashing Zoltan Zs when they saw my Pirates hat. I cried just like a lot of folks did when The Streak was broken and I sat in awe as we made an NLDS run in 2013. With the continued building blocks of success, my baseball passions stirred in me just like every other beleaguered Bucs fan.
But now it is time to expect more.
There are many news outlets, sometimes including this one, that are still treating the Pirates like a surprise contender. There are many reporters, writers and bloggers, sometimes including myself, that pump out congratulatory posts pointing out the latest respect given to us by national media. I say to all Pirates fans: let’s fully allow ourselves to graduate to fans of legitimate contenders. Fans of legitimate contenders are not satisfied with seeing players on top 10 lists. Those fans expect a reasonable level of success at minimum. I’m suggesting that right here and now, we end our satisfaction with our successes and stay hungry for improvement. I’m not saying that the Pirates must go out and win the world series in 2015 or else we can’t be happy with the team. Far from it. Rather, I’m asking you to ask more from your team. To ask them to put out the best team possible. Ask them to always look for ways to improve their roster, even if it’s non-conventional. Ask the coaching staff to maximize their everyday lineups and continue to work wonders with the pitching staff. Ask Pedro Alvarez to give it 100% at first base. Ask Starling Marte to take a few more pitches. Ask Josh Harrison to do everything he can to build upon his 2014. Ask A.J. Burnett to give us every last drop of talent he has left. These questions are what winning fans ask winning teams. Eventually, instead of asking, we should start expecting.
Of course, this is nothing new, as Pirate fans have been asking for more from the front office for years, and surely before The Streak was snapped. Let’s take a moment and notice that I just capitalized The Streak. Let’s make that ‘the streak’ from now on. It is in our collective past and no longer deserves to be looked upon as its own entity.
Please join me as I will begin to expect more of our team. We have earned this time to be selfish. We deserve to want more. The Pittsburgh Pirates have done everything possible to raise the bar in the organization.
It’s time for their fans to join them up there.