When Do I Get My Chance to See Pirate Greatness?
No offense to the rest of you old fogeys, but I’m in my prime. Early 20s, college student, all that jazz. No one’s going to call me a geezer. I have the whole world in front of me.
My only question is this: Will the Pirates ever be a competitive baseball team in my lifetime?
An entry in Dejan Kovacevic’s Post-Gazette Q&A hit home this morning:
I am 22 and vaguely remember watching the Bucs vs. Braves at my grandmother’s Carrick home in 1992. My question is: Do the Pirates publicly acknowledge that they lost my entire generation of fans who are now apathetic? And do they realize the problems of building the next generation based on bobblehead junk?
My little brother and his friends, born around 1994, only know of rumors connecting “Pirates” to “baseball.” Now at age 13, they also outgrew the promo junk and have not one winning memory.
If Nutting doesn’t start spending money, how does he think the Pirates will exist without two generations of fans?
Like Dave Yochum of Scott Township, I have only vague memories of going to Three Rivers Stadium as a child. My family had a season ticket package and I do remember bouncing around through the bowels of the ballpark, playing games with a crumpled-up hot dog wrapper for a ball and my extended arm as a bat. I think I may have even sat through a few innings of a game here and there.
The most disappointing aspect of losing year after year is the otherwise proud tradition of the Pirates. I have the A&E DVD set of the 1979 World Series, and the highlight videos from 1991 and 1992. When I was attending the University of Pittsburgh, I stepped on Forbes Field’s home plate and touched the old outfield wall. My favorite jersey to wear to a game is a custom replica with “Wagner #33″ on the back. I know that the Pirates used to win.
But will I ever see it with my own eyes?
When I was younger, I loved baseball with all my heart. I started Little League a year early, and I was coordinated enough to make the All-Star teams until pitchers started throwing breaking balls. Still, I played up until high school before quitting the sport in favor of scholastic wrestling.
I’m still not sure why I did that. Part of me knows it’s because I was flat-out terrible at the plate but decent on the mat. The other part wants to think the pathetic Pirates had something to do with it—I didn’t have anyone to look up to.
It’s never been cool to root for the Pirates. No one will ever, ever accuse me of being a bandwagon fan. Truth be told, I don’t even know how I got back into baseball after a handful of seasons away. Maybe all the bobbleheads helped.
Now that I’m writing about the Bucs on a daily basis, though, I have to wonder when my turn will come. I hear all the time about guys who were in the stands for Mazeroski’s walk-off blast or Clemente’s 3,000th hit. But will I ever see a moment like that?
The Pirates don’t have a single star in their system. Even Andrew McCutchen projects to be a modern day Marquis Grissom. It could be another decade before a first-class talent comes through Pittsburgh.
When do I get my chance to see Pirate greatness? And will anyone still care enough to watch it with me?