Diary of a long-suffering Pirates Fan: If you cannot believe in your team during Spring, when can you?

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It’s the most common article in all of baseball.  The obligatory MLB pre-season prediction think piece.  But nowadays with new-fangled statistics and on-line betting forums, these prediction pieces are more analytical, more numbers-focused, and ho-hum more predictable.  Is there any media outlet not predicting that either the Dodgers, Braves, or Astros will win the World Series?  And is there any media outlet not predicting that the A’s, Pirates, and Nationals to finish last?  If you want to read that kind of think piece, you’ve come to the wrong place.  For me, it’s March.  And hope springs eternal.  Last year’s numbers tell last year’s stories; not this year’s.  And experts can tell me until their blue in the face that the Pirates will finish last.  But, I’m here to tell you.  This year, they’re wrong.  This year the Pirates are going to the World Series.  You can count on it just like Charlie Brown can count on Lucy letting him kick the football this year.

I’m often asked how I manage to hang in there year after year with the Pirates, knowing in your heart of hearts, that the baseball season is not likely to turn out well.  And the answer to that is:  “It’s  complicated.”  It’s a combination of unjust optimism, my love of the sport, and an unnatural and unhealthy desire to slow down to see the car wreck on the side of the road that is the Pirates that keeps me watching.

But it is also a creative thinking exercise I do every Spring where I completely and utterly buy into what the Pirates are selling.  It’s an exercise where I carefully consider the additions and subtractions to the Pirates roster the likely call-ups from the minors during the course of the season, and where there will be improvements over last year, and then armed with that information and the pre-season propaganda that the Pirates try to feed us every off-season (which basically can be summed up as “wait till next year,”), I concoct in my mind the Pirates path to the world series. Mind you, since 1980 the path I dream about every year is a path that never gets taken. It is not only the path not taken, it is a path, that in most years, never even exists.  But every spring I will my way to believing that a mythical path does exist and all it takes is for the Pirates to find the path and then to follow it to championship glory.

This is that 2024 path to world series glory for the Pirates.