The February stretch before spring training games begin but after the players report is one of the most challenging times of the year. There’s not much to talk about that really is meaty. News cycles move slow. We’re all just waiting for baseball to begin.
But that all changed today.
It was announced that we’re going to get to watch the Pirates play in the best/worst uniforms ever. The yellow jersey, black pants – you know what I’m talking about. They are coming back for Sunday home games.
But other than the big uniform news, the Pirates just don’t get the love. Even though they have three straight post season appearances. Even though over the last two years they are the second most winning team in baseball. It was really no surprise when Sports Illustrated rated the team’s offseason moves at a C- or when some projections had them as low as 78 win projected season. Fangraphs gave them 84 wins. USA Today, 88 wins. Back in December of 2015, 81% of fans thought the team will win between 85-94 games if you look at this BucsDugout poll. The poll also highlights the fact that only 6% thought the team would win more than 95. In February the same questions were asked, this time 80% think the team will win between 85-94 games, while 13% think the team will win more than 95 games now.
It’s all part of getting no love.
It has to do with how the Pirates manage their finances in a smaller market, how they manage minor league talent, contract negotiations, player acquisitions and the roster in general. They are very deliberate and don’t let too much hubris get in the way. The “Pirate Way” of doing things is undeniably different than the rest of the league.
Without question, Manager Clint Hurdle and Pitching Coach Ray Searage are some of the best in the game. Searage’s name is on the top of the mind for every die hard fan. Can Searage do it again? Hurdle’s words to the MLB’s Adam Berry should warm some hearts though.
With the Cubs adding Jason Heyward, John Lackey and Ben Zoybrist and the Bucs losing A.J. Burnett, Charlie Morton, Pedro Alvarez, Neil Walker, Joakim Soria, Joe Blanton, Antonio Bastardo and others while only picking up Ryan Vogelsong, John Niese, Juan Nicasio, John Jaso and a few others – there may be some reason to be afraid this year.
News today that the Pirates ace, Gerritt Cole has some inflammation that is effecting him is certainly worrisome to some. What is the underlying injury? How did it happen?
Some Willie Stargell zen…