I have to be honest, I’ve never really cared about the losing streak.
Watching bad baseball for 20 years? That wasn’t good. Watching horrible move after horrible move for 20 years? It made you turn to your XBox, which was the only place the Pirates had a realistic shot of winning.
But how many years in a row the Pirates had lost? I didn’t care. If the Pirates had won a few more games in 1997 or 1999, they wouldn’t have the streak. But that wouldn’t have meant that they weren’t a bad team all of those years. It just would have meant they had 3-4 extra wins one year, after falling short in all of the other 19 years.
The thing about the streak is that it never mattered when looking at future years and looking at how the team should be built. There were so many years where people only cared about the losing streak, and criticized any rebuilding efforts by discussing how long the losing streak would extend. The thing people should have cared about was how the Pirates could have gotten to this point.
But this is all a discussion of what you were pulling for. I never cared about seeing the losing streak ending unless it was quickly followed by the Pirates going to the playoffs. That said, there was another aspect to the streak: the social aspect.
No matter how you followed the Pirates, you couldn’t avoid the losing streak. Someone asked you who your favorite team was, and you’d cringe because you knew what their reaction would be when you said the Pirates. For me that even applied for a few years when people asked what team I wrote about. The streak was toxic. It invaded everything. You couldn’t even enjoy the Steelers winning a Super Bowl or the Penguins winning a Stanley Cup without hearing about it. Think about that. Another team in another sport in the same city wins a championship — the perfect situation to forget everything else and celebrate only that moment — and it was always met with jokes about how bad the Pirates have been. If another Pittsburgh team winning a title doesn’t grant you some escape from the streak, then there’s pretty much no escape.
The streak makes you feel old. There’s this video that details everything that happened between Sid Bream and the end of the 2012 season. Some of the highlights include Bryce Harper being born, then making the playoffs. The Florida Marlins and Arizona Diamondbacks being created, then winning a World Series. The Tampa Bay Rays and Colorado Rockies also being formed and winning pennants. And speaking of things being born, if you’re old enough to remember 1992, then how old do you feel today hearing people talk about how they weren’t even born yet the last time the Pirates were winners?
Even if you don’t care about the concept of losing X amount of seasons in a row, all of the above combined makes you want to do this to the losing streak:
So what has the losing streak meant to you? One of the above? All of the above? Never really thought about it, but glad you no longer need to hear about it? Share your thoughts in the comments below. Tomorrow the Pirates go for win number 82, for their first winning season. After that, the real fun begins.
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