9-15-22 – By Gary Morgan – @garymo2007 on Twitter
The Pirates just had easily their best series since they swept the Dodgers in Los Angeles earlier this season. They hit, they pitched, they even played some defense. They took a double header and successfully debuted a kid most of us didn’t even begin to place on the peripheral of contending for a starting role with this club in 2023.
None of this changes the overall trajectory of their season, that’s simply been brutal.
Still, I was shocked today when more than one fan asked me simply, “Is it OK to Get Excited?”
If the question were asked ironically, maybe I’d not have even paused, but this time it was different. What they might as well have said something like, am I going to get burned if I buy in to some of these kids? Or, Am I going to get made fun of if I show my excitement about some of what I’m seeing?
The Pirates have really hurt fans in this town was all I could think about. To the point it almost overshadowed what I was thinking an feeling about the series and the team itself. The other day, in between the two Pirates victories, I popped out to the grocery store and ran into a man who saw my Pitt hat and Pirates shirt and for some reason started just talking sports to me right there in the pasta aisle.
Wonderful man, total stranger, easily in his 70’s, started telling me about hanging out in the press box at old Pitt stadium and Three Rivers Stadium. He had a buddy who used to work the PA for both of those venues. His friend was disabled so he and another buddy would carry him up the stairs and back down and in exchange they got to hang out up there with him time to time.
After all those stories, after all that joy, he simply looked at me and said, “The Pirates broke my heart, and it kills me my kids don’t even care anymore.”
Should I tell him they just won two games? Maybe tell him about Oneil Cruz? Then again, why is my gut reaction to try to show this guy something good is happening?
I didn’t know what to say.
I know why though. It’s because of doing stuff like this, and it’s from hearing sentiments like that at a near constant level.
The Pittsburgh Pirates, through multiple owners, multiple GMs, countless players, a ton of coaches and managers have beaten the hell out of this fan base.
All ages, all sexes, every race, none of that matters, if you’ve been a fan of the Pittsburgh Baseball Club, even if you got to personally watch Roberto Clemente play rather than damn near resent the fact that the 2022 version of the club is still using him to sell the product they’ve put on the field, they’ve hurt you.
So is it ok to get excited?
Sure it is.
Most of what you’ve seen recently has been players who will be here next year and into the future. This isn’t like watching someone do well who is about to leave, hell some of them quite literally just started.
They all have room to improve too.
Folks, I’ve set out to do one thing here on this site. I never want to fill your head with fantasy, I’ve never wanted to make you feel like what this team is currently doing was a sure thing, all I’ve ever wanted to do is try as hard as I can to explain as much of what is happening as I possibly could.
For that reason, even right now I can’t sit here and tell you this is going to land in a championship team. That said, if you worry about being excited because some ass hole on social media is going to make you feel stupid, forget that. When you feel it, you let it out. Don’t get hung up on that stuff.
The Pirates didn’t treat you right over the years, some of the “fans” have been even worse.
Like it or don’t. No matter what you predicted. No matter who you think is going to purposefully destroy it when they get close. This thing is headed in the right direction.
It is going to get good, and it’s going to start happening faster now. Again, I’m not telling you it means championship, but I am telling you it’s going to get better, and soon.
Some of the players we’ve been waiting for are here. More are coming.
Some we never even heard of will rocket through the system and next thing you know they’re in your immediate plans.
This is different, even if we don’t like every move they made on the way here. Even if we’re still annoyed at their arrogance when dealing with our expectations. Even if they still can’t seem to coach up the talent as well as would like them to.
The story of this season to me, the one I’ll probably wrap this whole thing up with when the last pitch is thrown, is really what in my mind was this management team’s biggest mistake. Bringing back all the underperforming veterans from the IL at the expense of kids who at the very least mattered more. Because much of what we’re seeing now was simply delayed by the team itself.
All of that is still there, but what’s done is done. I’ll complain about it more, but…
Look, if you can’t find a way to get excited about these rookies hitting homeruns regularly, and young starters making a really promising showing this year, and positions that seem absolutely locked up, well, maybe we’re asking the wrong question here.
Why wouldn’t it be ok to get excited?