Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Here's to the Next 17 Years!

As most of you probably already know, the Pirates clinched their record 17th consecutive losing season on Monday following a 4-2 loss to the Cubs. It seems nothing's gone right for the Pirates since that devastating loss in Game 7 of the 1992 NLCS, and Pittsburgh's season-long fire sale suggests that the streak could hit 20 unless some young Pirates develop quickly and simultaneously in the next couple years.

So how do small-market franchises like the Pirates, Royals, and Nationals compete? Joe Posnanski has some ideas. As always, Joe P's piece is a damned good read, but with apologies to Joe, I think my favorite part of his article this time 'round is actually a link: "How David Beats Goliath" is one of the most enjoyable New Yorker essays I've read in a long while (which is saying something), and it's food for thought for a beleaguered small-budget ball club. And as Justin Bopp's recent BtB post illustrates, a small-market club can get a lot of bang for its bucks if it makes smart (and lucky) investments or manages to exploit inefficiencies in the market (as Sabermetricians have attempted to do since time immemorial).

#17 is all but in the books now, Pittsburgh front office. It's time to do something gutsy and innovative. Hire Bill James. Bat your best hitter second. Scout soft-tossing control artists. Put together a team of banjo-hitting defenders that makes the Mariners outfield look like Little Leaguers trying to shag flies in a 30 mph crosswind. Sign a golden retriever. But don't simply stay the course and doom your fans to 17 more years of "rebuilding."


  1. Just to make it sink in how incredible this is: that is a record for consecutive losing seasons by a professional team across all major sports.

    Their slogan for 2009 was "Pride. Passion. Pittsburgh Pirates." Be proud Pirate fans. Your team has failed the way no team has failed.

    For the record no one should feel sorry for Pittsburgh. At all.

  2. 2010 team slogan: "Pride. Power. Bad ass mothers who don't take no crap off of nobody."