But, oh God, sometimes the Green Mile seems so long.
For a long time, I was the kid that used to tell everyone every spring that this year was the year that the Pirates would break their losing streak. I gave up on that a few years ago, when I finally realized each spring that bad teams don’t magically turn in to good teams. As has been said ad nauseum this year, there’s a difference between teams like last year’s Rays, who were a good team that most people slept on because of their bad history, and this year’s Pirates.
And still, every single spring, I get excited when baseball starts. And when the Pirates roll through April at 12-11? Yep. I’m as excited as anyone. I can’t help it. When I write, I try to ground myself in reality as much as possible and I tell myself things like, “This can’t last, these guys aren’t that good,” because I know that’s the truth, but there’s always a little voice in my head that says, “Maybe this year is different. Maybe you missed something. Maybe the upgrade of the defense means more than you think. Maybe the Joe Kerrigan effect is bigger than anything you can quantify. Maybe this is for real.”
And that leads us to my least favorite day of the baseball season. The day the crippling reality sets in that the Pittsburgh Pirates are going to be bad again. It’s never easy to pinpoint the moment, but I’m pretty sure it happened earlier this week against the Brewers this year. That’s actually not bad; it’s happened at the home opener before.
It always amazes me when this realization disappoints me. I’ve known the Pirates were going to be bad in 2009 since at least 2007. It’s not surprising that they’re bad, but it’s still somehow disappointing. It’s like getting in trouble at school as a kid. At my school, they’d always call you to the principal’s office, where she’d then tell you that she was calling your parents. And for the rest of the day, you’d hope that for some reason, your mom or dad wouldn’t have gotten the message and that they wouldn’t be upset when they got home. You might even convince yourself that was the case, but then your mom would come home and tell you that she had an interesting conversation with Mrs. Chess, and you’d know you were in trouble.
I know that I’m the guy that’s been writing that the front office has a plan and things are looking up and things will get better, and I really do believe that. But I can’t deny that this team is frustrating to watch sometimes, or that weeks like this one make me really wonder if the universe will ever allow the Pirates to field a good team. I’m not embarrassed to be a Pirate fan, nor am I giving up on the team. But sometimes, I just wish it didn’t have to be so bad.