If you told a Pirate fan before the season that the Bucs would be 76-80 heading into the season's final week, that fan would probably be pretty happy. Most outlets expected the Pirates to win around 70 games this season, and their performance has exceeded those expectations.
Because of the way the 2012 season progressed in Pittsburgh, most fans are understandably disappointed. The Pirates were a legitimate playoff candidate into September, and in the middle of August it was unfathomable that the Bucs would actually fail to break their infamous streak of 19 consecutive losing seasons. Yet here they are, looking at their second straight late-season collapse.
The Pirates' collapse is unquestionably awful, and fans and the team alike have to view 2012 as a huge missed opportunity. But unlike 2011, when a team that was in over its head simply fell off the pace, the Bucs can take plenty of positives from the 2012 season that will hopefully be part of Pirate baseball for years to come.