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. Say those two words to any Pirates
fan and a cold chill will be sent down their spine. The 1992 NLCS still lingers fresh in many minds. Barry Bonds
, the eventual National League MVP
, failed to throw out quite possibly the slowest player
in baseball. We all know the rest. The Braves
celebrated on the field and went on to their second consecutive World Series
while the Pirates were left empty handed.
Fast forward to 2010. The Braves are still a force in the league with a title from the 90's. They have a young superstar in Jason Heyward . The Pirates, on the other hand, have never seen a winning season since. They have 17 straight losing seasons, and it's almost assured the streak will continue this year.
Sure, the Red Sox
had to wait 86 years until they won a championship thanks to the "Curse of the Bambino
." Don't forget about the Cubs
and their 100-plus years of no championships. But at least they had a few winning seasons tucked in there. The Pirates? None. Zip. Nada. Babe who?
I am 18 years old. I'm too young to ever remember Doug Drabek
. I never saw Bobby Bonilla
live. And I never saw Barry Bonds play for anyone but the Giants
. But that does not mean that I have not felt the pain of "The Slide." I have lived in the Pittsburgh area all my life. I live for baseball season. And after seeing the recent changes in our lineup, I have to ask myself a simple question: "Is this the core that'll end the streak?"
Brad Lincoln is a great prospect to help out the rotation with Zach Duke and Paul Maholm . None of them have reached their full potential yet. Evan Meek leads the bullpen. Jose Tabata is everything I expected: fast, hardworking, and a great all-around player. Neil Walker has been a nice surprise. Garret Jones is a force in the middle of the lineup. Lastings Milledge is looking better every day. Pedro Alvarez is an elite talent. Andrew McCutchen is becoming the face of the franchise, and rightfully so.
For years, the Pittsburgh Pirates
have been the joke of baseball. The once proud franchise is now a perennial loser. The fans are some of the most faithful in the entire league. While the Pirates don't enjoy sell-out crowds every game like the Yankees
, the true fans show out to every game, hoping for a glimpse at the future and the chance to erase Sid Bream from their memories. With this core set into place, one can only hope. With the call up of Alvarez, I officially believe.
The future is now.