You Don’t Need Permission to Enjoy these Pirates

4/22/23 – By Gary Morgan – @garymo2007 on Twitter

The Pirates are a better team in 2023.

That shouldn’t be a controversial statement, shouldn’t feel like a bold call, in fact feeling the need to even say it speaks to a fanbase that was so beaten down by losing they stopped paying attention to what was actually happening long ago.

There are absolutely going to be hard times ahead, along with more good, but in 162 games, you simply aren’t going to just be one thing. Players will come in and out, guys will catch fire and go cold, arms will get tired, others will step in and you’ll wonder how they got by without them.

That’s baseball.

I expected this team in 2023 to flirt with .500, and that’s still what I expect.

See, I can say that, knowing the team is completely outpacing what I thought, just like you can get past whatever you predicted and enjoy what the actual team is doing.

It doesn’t matter if you liked trading for Connor Joe. Who cares if you railed at the team on social media for their “Our Guy Vinnie” meme. Nobody gives a crap if you assumed Chris Owings was going to be this year’s Josh VanMeter. Cutch was too old and signing him was a total PR move right?

Who cares.

All of that only matters if you let it. All of that only matters to the people who are here just to make sure everyone knows who was wrong, well, you know, unless it was them of course.

Waste time worrying what a few bad eggs will have to say if you dared to let this team raise your expectations if you like. Spend your energy concerned about being wrong, man, I can’t think of an easier way to waste your life and miss some really nice vibes this particular mix of players is providing.

The funny thing is, when this team does get back to the playoffs, whether that’s this year or not, the stands will be filled with all the idiots that called you stupid for paying attention at all these past few seasons. They’ll turn around and high five you, scream about that Connor Joe kid they believed in all along.

All of the cheers will sound the same. Even that one dude who blames Nutting for things like dudes missing the urinal in the restroom, he’ll be there too, cheering his ass off, completely ignoring that you were someone he constantly called a bootlicker.

This isn’t the Freak Show team though people, this team has already survived, hell, thrived, through some things that would have sent the teams from the past few seasons into the tank.

After Oneil Cruz went on the IL, tell me you didn’t see them falling off a cliff. Further, tell me you thought they could take that, and Reynolds cooling off at the same time. C’mon, no you didn’t.

They went straight from that, to fight through another one against the White Sox, then take on the defending Champs, go toe to toe with their nemesis the Cardinals, destroy a team that actually is in the running for 100 losses, and now back home wrapping up 17 consecutive games with no day off, clearly tired, yet still taking care of business against the scrappy Reds.

Is this for real?

Is it sustainable?

I can’t tell you the answer to those questions. All I can tell you is right now, this is a good team.

They have a solid lineup, with a solid bench, in fact, they have players who I really want to see more of, who can’t get 10 at bats a week.

The bullpen has been really good. You can pick apart the performances of a few here and there of course, but name a team you couldn’t. Maybe Houston last year in the playoffs? OK, you win, they aren’t there yet. That said, you get this team to the 7th with a lead, I like their chances.

The Starters, my goodness, what more can you say? 11 straight quality starts. The easiest answer to any question ever is can they keep this up. NOOOOOO. No starting rotation can keep this up. It’s only happened in all of baseball 5 times in the past 8 years.

Should we expect them all to be All Stars? No, of course not, but Keller looks every bit a top of the rotation guy. Roansy and Oviedo, young, hungry, sick stuff, determined to learn from and excel with their leadership.

Rich Hill and Vince Velasquez, exactly what you’d like. Veterans doing what the team needs them to do. How long will it last? Nobody could possibly know.

All in all though, it’s a good roster. Let’s worry about which prospects come up when later, but lets also not forget they’re there. Because as good as this has all been, as much fun as it’s been watching and feeling, those prospects are still coming, and when they do for whatever reason they get here, some of this story will change.

You aren’t crazy for liking what you see.

And if anyone tells you to wait and see, proudly puff out your chest and tell them, you friggin’ plan to.

Your Pirates are making you proud, for once, let yourself stop worrying about how they got there, where it might go, who did or said what on the way. Let the trolls have their moments that are sure to come, it won’t overshadow the times you’ve been enjoying.

You know, if you don’t let them have power, they don’t have any.

Lets Go Bucs!

Published by Gary Morgan

Former contributor for Inside the Pirates an SI Team Channel

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