I tend to lean a little toward the positive side of things when it comes to the Pirates, hell, I probably do it with all my favorite teams. That said, I try to keep it grounded in reality. Some folks like to pretend it’s more complicated than that or to see things positively in any way you must be employed by the Nutting family.
There are very real reasons to be positive about this baseball team. For one thing this is a young team, with room to grow. In other words, there are players who will actually get even better as they gain more experience. Ke’Bryan Hayes actually will get even better.
Case in point. Early in the Spring Ke’ had one of his only MLB mistakes, and I’m potentially being unfair by even saying it was his mistake. He broke for third on a ground ball and Kevin Newman stayed put at 3rd. This caused an out as both players were at the same station.
Just two games back the exact same situation cropped up. This time, Hayes played it perfectly. See, good young players will often have things that require polish, great young players will often make a mistake and learn from it. What a wonderful example of how players aren’t static representations of their stats.
I’m not saying Hayes is on this level, almost nobody is, but this is just like Sidney Crosby who isn’t happy with his faceoff win percentage and goes into the offseason with an intent to improve and leads the league in that metric the next season.
Some players actually do get better. Some don’t and it’s important to recognize that as well. Because optimism without the counterbalance of reality is blindness.
When I tell you I think Cole Tucker is a player I never see truly living up to his first round pedigree, I’m not being a ‘hater’, I’m simply calling it like I see it. And I’m not basing it on what he’s done alone, no, I’m looking at what he’s doing now. I’m watching the 3rd time the team has tweaked his stance and approach at the plate. The third time it’s looked like it took. The third time it looked like playing him consecutive games caused the lessons he learned to almost erode before our very eyes.
It’s not fun to tell a fan base I believe yet another first rounder isn’t going to pan out, and when I tell you I hope I’m wrong, I truly mean it.
When I tell you the team won’t be as bad as many seem to think, believe it or not, that doesn’t mean I’m saying they’ll be in the World Series mix. It means you can stop telling me about Elijah Greene, next year’s far too early expected number 1 pick.
When we say too many of you decided to marry Kumar Rocker as the number one pick a year ago, it’s again not because we’re haters or can’t see the talent, it’s because we know how things change with a college and high school baseball season still to play. We also know there is plenty of competition. No matter how passionately you tell me, he’s the right pick the race is MUCH closer than you think.
I say this because I fully expect as an opinion writer and podcaster to have people disagree with me. It’s quite literally part of the job. If you never disagree with me, chances are, I’m not doing a very good job or at the very least not taking a strong enough stance on anything. I want you to agree or disagree and ultimately I want you to feel I’m fair and can be swayed by a good argument. That’s what this is all about really. If I get you thinking, I’ve done my job.
Baseball is a terrific game for real passionate discussion because tiny things like that Hayes story up there can truly be seen multiple ways and all of them could be right to a degree.
Let me tell you the number one reason for optimism about this club, sometime this season make your way to Altoona to take in a game. That Curve team has a chance to be special, I mean like league champion special. I can’t sit here and tell you two years from now that whole team is in Pittsburgh, but a decent amount will be. That’s positivity, optimism, soaked in reality. It doesn’t mean the current MLB squad isn’t worth watching, it doesn’t mean there aren’t parts and pieces that will be part of a winner here. It just means, we aren’t looking into some future based on a ton of lottery ticket prospects. We’re looking at a future grounded in currently blooming prospects.
You aren’t a fool for believing, and you aren’t one for being guarded either. If you actively try to see both sides where you land will usually be pretty close to the truth. That’s what we’re trying to provide here. Fair Pirates Coverage is the Point.