Diary of a long-suffering Pirates fan: About that Breakout Game. We just beat the #1 team. Where's the love?

The Pirates' prospects totally dominated MLB's top rated farm system. And the media acts like there is nothing to see here.

Baltimore Orioles v Pittsburgh Pirates
Baltimore Orioles v Pittsburgh Pirates / Christopher Pasatieri/GettyImages

It wasn't the World Series. And nobody won a trophy. So, in the aftermath of the Pirates' prospects victory over the Baltimore Orioles' prospects, there was not a ton of celebration. And no one in the national media was suggesting that this game was of any significant importance.

On the contrary, to the extent that anyone was talking about the game, the talk was about the Pirates' top prospect, Paul Skenes, versus Baltimore's top prospect, Jackson Holliday. Holliday is rated the number one prospect in all of baseball by several outlets. And Skenes is rated the top pitching prospect in many of those same outlets. And in the first inning of the game, the two faced off against one another. Skenes won the battle, striking out Holliday with a filthy changeup after flashing 102-mph heat.

So the narrative the next day in both the national and local media was more focused on the outcome of Skenes vs. Holliday than the actual outcome of the game.

And, in my opinion, by focusing on Skenes vs. Holliday, the media missed the bigger story, and/or the bigger implications.

Sure you can say that this was another meaningless Spring Training game played by prospects who are not yet major leaguers. And except for Skenes, nothing to get excited about here. Yes, you can say that.

But as a long-suffering Pirates fan, I think this game was so much more. This game was hope.

If the Pirates do turn things around in the ensuing years, this is a game that we can point to and say, "Yes, this is where I saw the turnaround coming. This simple little Spring Training game. Our best prospects vs. the Orioles' best prospects: Mano a mano. And the Pirates won."

Why do I feel that this victory was so important? Two reasons:

#1. The Orioles are said to have the top-rated minor league system in all of baseball. And the Pirates' pitchers mowed them down.

#2. This was a mini coming-out party for the Pirates' pitching prospects. We have had three Pirates general managers tell us that the path to post-season glory is to build your own pitching. Former general managers David Littlefield and Neil Huntington failed in their efforts to execute that plan. Ben Cherington, on the other hand, seems to be executing this plan very well.

Let's look at the glorious details of this victory. It was a seven-inning game. The Pirates used five pitchers, who combined to limit the Orioles to just one hit (a bunt single, no less). Those five Pirate pitchers struck out nine batters. Again this was only in seven innings. And we only threw two of our biggest guns against them (Skenes and Bubba Chandler). There is arguably plenty more pitching where that came from.

And let's look at that vaunted Orioles' prospect system. Their starting lineup included three players ranked in MLB Pipeline's top 100 prospects - the aforementioned Jackson Holliday (#1), Samuel Basallo (#17), Coby Mayo (#30) - and 2023 first-rounder Enrique Bradfield, Jr. Each of these hitters struck out in the game. Combined they were one-for-eight.

In my heart of hearts, I know that this was just a Spring Training game. And being so conditioned to this franchise losing, perhaps I get a little carried away when shown a glimpse of competence.

But I know what I saw with my eyes on Thursday. For one glorious day, the Pirates had the best prospect pool in all of baseball. And I watched that prospect pool totally dominate the #1 rated minor league system in all of baseball.

One game does not make a champion. But it does perhaps beget a trend and a mindset. A winning mindset.

And so to the national sports media that may be missing this story. I say, "Yes, this Paul Skenes fellow is pretty good. But you know what? So are these other pitchers. You might want to take notice of them, too."