Pittsburgh Pirates 2016 vs. 2017 Part 1: The offense
By Joe Smeltzer
Analysis: Pedestrian. In my 19 years as a Pittsburgh Pirates fan, never has this word applied to my team. But 2017 seems a little different.
For the first 14 years of my life, every spring was filled with complaints. Those complaints were justified, as Pittsburgh was in the process of a historically awful 20-year losing streak. Therefore, every year as the snow melted, there was a mix of depression/anger from a majority of the fan-base. After Clint Hurdle had taken over as manager in 2011, things started to turn around. From 2013-15, springtime took on a different feel. Sure, there were still detractors who love to complain about anything and everything, but for the most part, the city was happy with where this franchise was going. The Pittsburgh Pirates were back to being a buzz around town.
Then 2016 happened, and for the first time that I can remember, Pirate baseball was boring. Not good enough to rave about, and not weak enough to laugh at. Just bland. 78 wins. Almost exactly average, which is something that is new for fans of my generation. The interesting thing is that, as flat as things seem for PBC at the beginning stages of 2017, they really shouldn’t be.
The Pittsburgh Pirates are, at worst, a good baseball team. To this writer, they border on very good. To prove my point, I will compare this Pirates team to the one that was on the field at the beginning of last season, starting with the infield.