It Ain't Easy Being a Pittsburgh Pirates Fan

Colin CoulahanCorrespondent IJuly 4, 2009

CHICAGO - MAY 27: Brandon Moss #44 of the Pittsburgh Pirates hits the ball against the Chicago Cubs on May 27, 2009 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs defeated the Pirates 5-2. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

You know, I have a lot of respect for Pittsburgh Pirates fans. I really do. They have had nothing to be happy about for the past 17 years. The pitching has been awful, offense mediocre, and front-office moves questionable. And then, of course, the losing season after losing season.

But this year really might have been the one. There was a definite chance that this team could finish at .500, maybe a game or two over.

The pitching certainly hasn't blown people away, but there has been improvement. That plus a good crop of young talent gave people hope.

Then the trades started.

First outfielder Nate McLouth was traded to the Atlanta Braves for three prospects. That was a great move for Atlanta, bad for Pittsburgh. McLouth is signed until 2011 and at a good price. He was one of the top players in the lineup, and some players had no trouble expressing their disagreement.

"Wow," second baseman Freddy Sanchez said Thursday of the trade, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "I think the biggest thing was the shock factor. It's obviously a tough pill to swallow. Our No. 3 hitter just got taken away, the guy who leads our team in home runs and RBIs, and we were 6½ games out.
There ain't a guy in here who ain't [ticked] off about it," said first baseman Adam LaRoche, according to the report. "It's kind of like being with your platoon in a battle, and guys keep dropping around you. You keep hanging on, hanging on, and you've got to figure: How much longer till you sink?

Well the front office was not done sending starters away for prospects after all of that. They then sent Nyjer Morgan and Sean Burnett to the Washington Nationals and Eric Hinske to the Yankees. And of course there were some less than happy reactions from the Pirates locker room.

It’s tough for the guys who’ve been here and have seen these trades happen and absolutely do nothing,” Wilson said several hours after the deals were made. “I’ve seen these trades two or three times a year and we still haven’t had a winning season.

How hard is it for people to continue supporting this team? Morgan and Burnett were good players, with a lot of potential.

That Pittsburgh bullpen relied on Burnett. And now that support is gone. You're best overall hitter leaves, and then you're catalyst. And for what? Prospects. Players that may be good.

And honestly, what does that say about the front office's faith in the team? Yeah, they aren't a great team, but when you're only six games out in the CENTRAL division, you still have a chance. And it when you still have a chance, you do not give away stars.

The thing about rebuilding that I don't think Pittsburgh's front office has realized that eventually you are finished with the construction. The four players that have left the team this year are young players. Young players with gobs of talent.

This may be something we see every year. Develop some great players and when there aren't instant results trade them away for next year's stars. I really feel for Pirates fans.

First they can't get a winning season, now they don't even have the luxury of watching their stars play.