Over the years the Pittsburgh Pirates have been mainly an afterthought in the city of Pittsburgh. Aside from a small contingent of loyal Pirate fans, most Pittsburghers craved Football immediately following the last drop of the puck. Baseball was not of interest. No one cared.
I’ve came to realize that sentiment wasn’t found exclusively within the common fan in Pittsburgh. The local radio personalities that cover sports in this town shared the same disinterest for the Pirates. As much as I wanted to grab each and every one of them by the shoulders over the last three years and scream for them to wake up, or to tell them that the Pirates were the most talented young team in baseball, I had to say I couldn’t blame them.
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As the lack of appetite for the Pirates grew, there inevitably started to be a shortage of overall baseball fans in the region. The game flat out lost its appeal and as a result, almost no one followed baseball past July, if not sooner. The fact of the matter is that the media in Pittsburgh was very much a reflection of the overall demographic when it came to baseball. They didn’t watch them play. They didn’t follow the sport more than they were paid to do. They certainly weren’t students of the game. Why would they be?
The problem that we’re seeing with this is that as the interest for the Pirates have soared over the last two years, out of nowhere the personalities on the radio were forced to talk about the team almost daily. Remember when you got a pop quiz put on your desk in high school without having even opened the text book? That is what happened to the Pittsburgh media in 2013 when people wanted to talk about nothing but baseball.
Naturally the analysts on the radio were grossly under prepared to have these detailed discussions about the game. The knowledge of the sport just wasn’t there so the opinions and predictions that we heard on the radio from people like Mark Madden and others were inevitably uneducated and more often than not ended up being critically wrong.
Remember when the Pirates were losing in April and May of last year? We had to listen to countless segments on all of the local radio stations slamming the team for “just not having it this year.” For playing “above their talent level in 2013.” For “not spending the money needed to win ballgames.’ The Pirates were completely written off by anyone with a voice.
And all of this after just 45 games into an 162 game season. What a shame.
It was so disappointing to hear the clear lack of foresight and listen while literally every, single, local radio personality unanimously get it dead wrong about the Pirate’s season. How is that possible? Every…single…one.
Luckily I was here to be the voice of reason as evidence by this article posted 5/23/14 explaining why the Pirates are still going to make the playoffs while they were sitting 19-26 with one third of the season already past. This is the type of knowledge that should be coming from the experts on the radio. This is what they get paid for – to be more educated than the average fan. To actually provide some deeper analysis as to WHY the Pirates were 19-26 and not JUST that the pirates were 19-26.
Naturally the analysts on the radio were grossly under prepared to have these detailed discussions about the game. The knowledge of the sport just wasn’t there
It never happened. And sadly, even after two straight playoff appearances the same old predictions still reverberate on the local airwaves even today.
While Buster Olney is predicting the Pirates to win the World Series, sports media in town is predicting the collapse of the starting rotation. If that doesn’t demonstrate just how wide the knowledge gap actually is, then nothing does. Do you think they even realize just how many major league baseball teams would kill to have a 4-5 consisting of Charlie Morton and Vance Worley?
Unfortunately there are no Buster Olneys on the radio in Pittsburgh. There are no true students of the game of baseball. The Pirates performance over the last two decades prevented that from happening. However, I’m confident that as the game’s popularity continues to soar in Pittsburgh that we’ll start hearing some better insight into the Pirate’s season instead of hosts changing their opinion on how good or bad the Pirates are based on the results of a losing or winning road trip.
Pittsburgh Pirates fans like me are dying to hear something on the radio that makes me think. Something I didn’t know about the game. A favorable match-up I didn’t realize. An opinion that is actually backed up by facts and analytics and a prediction that actually comes true for once! THAT is what we deserve. So here’s some advice to our friends in the media.
Baseball is the longest season in American sport. There are going to be bad months. We will get swept. We will get shut out. We will look terrible for weeks at a time. But it doesn’t matter. Just remember that throughout the ebbs and flows of the season that the Pirates are, and will continue to be, arguably the most talented and loaded team in the major leagues from top to bottom. Please base your opinions off of the indisputable fact that talent wins ballgames and make this the year Pirate fans get exactly what they deserve.
A voice of reason.