The Pittsburgh Pirates currently have the second best record in the National League and the third best record in all of baseball. That isn’t an opinion, that is a fact, but because of the Cardinals, they are currently six games out of first place in the NL Central. Because of this fact, it seems that way too many fans aren’t enjoying the season the Pirates are having. The Pirates are 63-44 on the season but the way some fans act you would think the Pirates have underachieved.
I’m on twitter way more often than I care to admit and of course follow a wide variety of Pirates’ fans. You cannot deny the passion, but not a night goes by that I don’t see people tweeting the amount of games the Pirates are behind the Cardinals in the standings. The Pirates have gone 5-5 against the Cardinals this season, which is par the course for the two teams. In 2013 and 2014, the Pirates went 18-20 against the Cardinals. Not good by any means, but not disastrous given how even the two teams are.
The smarmy tweets aren’t only saved for when the Pirates and Cardinals are playing. I see plenty of tweets when the Cardinals are playing the Rockies. As if the Pirates can control what the Cardinals do against other opponents. The Pirates do need to do better against their NL Central rivals, no one can deny that, but the Pirates do regularly beat the Cardinals, especially at PNC Park.
This post, however, is not about the Pirates record against the Cardinals, their record against the Central division, or the fact they’ve won nine of their last 13 games. It’s about enjoying the ride. I feel like way too many fans aren’t having fun watching one of the elite teams in all of baseball. They’re too focused on what the Cardinals are doing or what trades the Pirates should have apparently made at the deadline. If you told a Pirates’ fan in 2010 that in five seasons, the Pirates would be 63-44 and a section of the fan base would be disappointed by that, they’d punch you in the face and then laugh at the thought of the Pirates being 19 games over .500 in August. I want to win the NL Central and avoid the Wildcard game as much as anyone, but if the Pirates play to their pace and win 93-95 games and fail to win the division, I will not look at this season as a failure. If you build a team that wins that many games, you have yourself a tremendous ball club.
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I am not trying to “fan police” anyone, but I just think it’s backwards to watch a team as good as the Pirates and feel angry all the time about what other teams are doing. It’s annoying that the Cardinals seem to win every single night, but it isn’t like the Pirates don’t win a lot too. You don’t get to the second best record in the NL by accident. The Pirates are very, very good and I think it’s important to not lose focus of that. We all want to catch the Cardinals, but it’s really old seeing the “5.5 games back” tweets when the Cardinals beat the Padres or any opponent for that matter.
The Pirates must control their own destiny against the Cardinals when the opportunity presents itself. However, until that point all you can do is play the games in front of you and hope the Pirates continue to do what they’ve done all season and that’s win. If the Cardinals don’t cooperate, then there is nothing you do until you play them.
I love that we’re in August and people are mostly ignoring Steelers training camp in favor of the Pirates’ pennant race, but I just want all of you to actually enjoy the ride. Don’t spend your days getting worked up over things that are ultimately out of the Pirates control. We must beat the Cardinals when we play them, but we can’t will the Cardinals to lose a series to the Rockies or Brewers. All we as fans can do is watch and support one of the elite teams in baseball. Sports are supposed to be fun, remember? Enjoying the ride and not getting super angry all the time doesn’t make you a less passionate fan. So everyone, let’s continue to pack PNC and go crazy watching one of the best teams in baseball, the Pittsburgh Pirates.