Pandora’s Box is a relic from Greek Mythology that when opened, released sickness, death and other unspeakable evils into the world. As the story goes, the act of opening what was in reality a jar-not a box-happened because Pandora herself was curious as to the contents contained inside. Of course when she realized exactly what she had done she hastily attempted to close the lid, leaving only one thing behind…hope; or if you are a pessimist, it could be translated into “deceptive expectations”.
Now, as I am very aware, the simple act of attempting to project the Pittsburgh Pirates lineup for 2023 and beyond will not release any sort of sickness, death or unspeakable evil onto humanity. However, they often used as a tool-by experts and amateurs alike-to give hope for the future; or for the more cynical in nature…deceptive expectations.,
What actually got me thinking about this, more than the normal fan like myself sharing our thoughts, was expert Jonathan Mayo from MLB Pipeline sharing his thoughts on the Pittsburgh’s Starting Lineup for 2023 during the AT&T SportsNet Pirates Broadcast on Wednesday Night.
In theory, and in practice, this type of activity is fairly harmless, if looked at through the proper lenses; including those that do not see this lineup as the only option, ones that do not see any other version of the Pirates lineup as a failure, a lens that does not take the ETA’s of particular prospects as gospel and most importantly those that avoid equating this future alignment as a successful one simply because it is filled mostly by top prospects-current and former.
Unfortunately, as this exercise is deployed, it is often prefaced with several caveats that request you to toss away any of these potentially unfavorable optics in order to glean hope from the conceivable accomplishments-ultimately a World Series-a lineup of this magnitude could bring back to the city of Pittsburgh. And, if you dare question the process of how this great feat will be achieved, it is obvious that don’t know how any of this works; even if you point out facts like the overall success rate of prospects or faults in any particular player based on actual stats.
I mean, what could go wrong? Aside from injury, players not reaching their perceived potential, never being able to develop that third pitch, inability to fix a hole in their swing, exploitation of a weakness as they move from level to level, poor decisions on and/or off the field, lack of confidence, getting a case of the yips or countless other reasons as to why prospects fizzle out before or after they arrive in the Majors.
Hence, the rationality behind General Manager Ben Cherington’s continued acquisition of prospects at every position and level by any means necessary and watching the waiver with reckless abandon searching for lighting in a bottle or a discarded gem in an effort to maximize the probability of being successful with strength in numbers.
So, hope for impenetrable lineup, rotation and bullpen if you will, predict the World Series contending lineup if you must and scoff at anyone who attempts to rain on your parade at all costs if you so choose, but please don’t ask me what I think of a Pittsburgh Pirates lineup for 2023 or beyond when I can hardly envision exactly who will take the field on October 3rd to close out the 2021 season.