I can remember a game in 1992, it was my 11th birthday and my dad had promised to take me to a Pirate game. They were good then, Barry Bonds, Zane Smith, Andy Van Slyke, Jay Bell..... I could go on and on, because I remember it like it was yesterday.
I remember my dad was running late from work so we were in a huge hurry to get there, but of course we made it. He even bought me a pack of the Pirates team baseball cards, in a hard plastic case! I was pumped to watch the game with my dad. It was one of those things where we watched and he taught me things about the sport, the game, the pros. I was spending the night watching my favorite sport with the most important guy in my life and he knew everything about baseball. To an 11 year old girl in 1992 that was the best birthday present ever (okay maybe not to every 11 year old girl, but to me it sure was!) If I had known then that I was watching the last group of Pirates to actually play meaningful baseball I would have paid even more attention.
The last twenty years have been a bit harsh on all of us Pirate fans. Some, like my dad, seemed to know that they would stop being good, because he stopped watching. Others, like me, continue to hold out hope that they will find the right combination of guys to finally be a contender again. Briefly this season I thought they may have found that group of guys this year, but alas I was wrong.
As much as I am angry about yet another season below the 500 mark, I did see improvements and I do still have faith. As long as the Pirates don't conduct a huge yard sale during the off-season they really do have some great young talent. If the young group of pitcher that are being groomed in the Minor Leagues can mature quickly enough we could see them next season. I don't expect lights out baseball from Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon in their first season.... but I do expect some improvement to the Pirates.
If prospect Josh Bell can recover from knee surgery and get some successful game time in the Minors we may also see him within the next two years. If he is worth his reputation he could be the bat that the Buccos desperately need.
Somehow I have never seen winning baseball in my entire adult life and yet I remain loyal and hopeful that someone can help the Buccos. It was a great first half of the season, maybe next year we can keep the momentum through September, and maybe this year the Pirates will make the right off season acquisitions.