“You always get a special kick on Opening Day, no matter how many you go through. You look forward to it like a birthday party when you’re a kid. You think something wonderful is going to happen.” –Joe DiMaggio
Welcome to the greatest day of the year, Opening Day. The offseason has come and gone. The players have all gone through a few weeks worth of spring training games. It’s time for the games to count. Last season doesn’t matter anymore. Each team and each player gets a fresh start. A new beginning. A clean slate.
Every team starts with 0 wins and 0 losses, with no team ahead of the other in the standings. It doesn’t matter if you’re a powerhouse or a cellar dweller, everyone starts at the same spot on Opening Day. Every player’s stats reset to a batting average of .000, with 0 home runs and 0 RBI. Whether you are an All-Star power hitter or a rookie utility player, everyone starts fresh today.
In a 162 game season, there are sure to be ups and downs, winning streaks and losing streaks, but that’s what makes baseball so great. The game is truly unpredictable, and it’s one of the only aspects of life where it’s acceptable to fail 70% of the time; getting a hit 3 out of 10 times is tremendous.
Failure is a part of baseball. Strikeouts, errors, and losses are all part of the game. But as a fan, you have to keep with it. Sure the Pirates haven’t been winners since 1992, but who says this can’t be our year? In Fever Pitch, a kid named Ryan asks Ben if being a fan is really worth it:
Specifically, he says, “You love the Red Sox, but have they ever loved you back?”
Obviously, the Sox went on to win the World Series and it was worth it for Ben to keep his tickets. However, if the Sox lost that year, how could it have been different? The same can be said about being a Pirates fan; is it really worth it? There is not a doubt in our minds that tells us that the Pirates won’t be successful in the future. In the long run, our love for the Pirates is going to pay off. Don’t give up now as a fan even though it’s been nearly two decades of losing baseball in Pittsburgh. (Click HERE for our article on why we are Pirates fans.)
Neither of us have seen a winning season in our lifetimes. The Bucs gave us a sample of what winning baseball is like last summer. Sitting in first place in mid-July was unreal; the Pirates were the talk of the town. Although the Buccos went into a downward spiral in August, it was certainly refreshing to see “Pittsburgh” at the top of the NL Central standings for a few weeks in July. After years of watching guys like Tike Redman, Abraham Nunez, and Daryle Ward take the field at PNC Park, it felt like everything was finally falling into place. We feel even better now about the outlook of the organization. Andrew McCutchen has been locked up for 6 more years. Starling Marte looks like a star in the making. Top picks Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon are a just a few years away. Youngsters Josh Bell and Luis Heredia are top prospects as well.
There’s a million reasons why the Pirates don’t have a chance to contend in 2012. However, the last 19 seasons shouldn’t mean anything anymore, and there’s no sense in looking at projections for this season. No one knows how the season will play out until it’s all said and done. The Pirates are going to win 54 games and they’re going to lose 54 games. But it’s what they do with the other 54 that matter the most. It’s a new Pirate generation in Buctown.
Baseball is back in the ‘Burgh.