Tuesday, September 10, 2013

It's Over!

Yeah, you know what I'm talking about - the streak, or, rather, The Streak, the twenty year Longest-Losing-Streak-in-the-History-of-Professional-Sports-in-North-America, is now, finally, officially over. With the Pirates' 1-0 victory over the Texas Rangers last night, The Streak has now been relegated to ignominious history.
And how about that game. The pitching match-up between Texas' Yu Darvish and the Bucs' Gerrit Cole was one for the ages (or it would be if this game had taken place in, say, the World Series, or a Sunday Night ESPN Yankees-Red Sox game).  Darvish was almost unhittable, allowing only one hit in the first six innings, but Cole matched him....

....and gave Pirates fans a glimpse as to why he was selected #1 overall in the 2011 Draft. He was magnificent in his start last night, and what you saw makes you almost giddy with excitement as to what he might have in store for the Pirates and their fans in the years ahead.

And how about that other #1 pick, Pedro Alvarez going to the opposite field for a double that drove in the Pirates only run and won the game against Darvish and the Rangers.

More importantly, the win ended a four game losing streak and brought the Pirates within one game of the first place Cardinals, and put them a game ahead of the third place Reds.

In the post game interview on TV, Andrew McCutchen said all the right things about understanding what the 82nd win means to the fans, but that there are bigger goals to be reached, and on and on, but look at his face and the faces of his fellow outfielders at the top if this post.  You can't tell me that this game was just another win for the team.

Now, let's win 12 or 13 (or even 10 or 11) of the nineteen games left and have a deep run into October!

We need not refer to The Streak ever again, except as we might talk about some ne'er-do-well member of the family tree who is now deceased.  And with that in mind, a word about Sid Bream and Barry Bonds....

It is one of those unimportant things in life that has bothered me, like a stone in your shoe, that people, especially this summer as it became fairly clear that the team would have a winning season, to refer to "The Curse of Sid Bream" or "The Curse of Barry Bonds" because of Game Seven of the 1992 NLCS.  Can we please stop with that?  Sid Bream was a solid if unspectacular ball player, whose career included six fairly solid seasons with the Pirates, I might add, who was just doing his job that night.  Bonds was the Pirates best player and the NL MVP in 1992, whose throw to the plate was not quite perfect.  It happens.

There are lots of reasons not to like Barry Bonds, but that throw to the plate that didn't quite get Bream isn't one of them.  And there are lots of reason to like Bream, who has chosen to live in the Pittsburgh area long after his playing career has ended.  Neither Bream nor Bonds "caused" the twenty year losing streak.  Twenty years of lousy players, and lousier management decisions, caused The Streak.  Non-existent "curses" did not.

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