“It’s so bad, it’s almost beautiful.” These words were uttered by Rocco DeMaro during the Pirates’ postgame show Saturday night. The Bucs lost that game 8-4, behind Matt Morris’ discouraging final start in a Pirate uniform and three errors in the field. But Rocco’s remark was not in reference to the ugly game played that night by the home team, but was instead a description of how incredibly pathetic former management has left this organization.
I have a severe emotional investment in this team. I live and die with how they perform on the field, a fact that has been largely unhealthy for me over the past 15 years. Writing about them for the past couple seasons has been a great outlet for me to convey emotions I probably never could express verbally. Some of my most honest baseball thoughts have emerged via the written word, and I think that has greatly helped me cope with the pain and agony of watching this team struggle for many years.
A little less than a year ago, while having a drink alone in Times Square, I completely lost hope in this franchise. It suddenly hit me, just how far the team was from actually competing. I met up with some friends later that night and mentioned some of what I was thinking. I am typically a very optimistic person, and they seemed somewhat disturbed at my hopelessness. The next day, I began writing about it. By the end of that post, I had managed to regain some of my optimism.
I bring this up because things are no longer hopeless. Yes, the current team is lousy, and will probably be at the bottom of the standings again at the end of the year. Yes, the farm system is still in terrible shape, with little help on the way to Pittsburgh. Yes, we are still a long way from contention. But there is hope.
In less than a year, we have completely revamped our front office. Competency and the desire to restore this franchise are everywhere. So far, new management has done almost everything right. The only perceived knock on them has been too much patience in the rebuilding process. But it takes time to turn a pile of rubble into a glorious skyscraper. It is going to take a few years, but they will turn this franchise around. This was Rocco’s point. We are at the bottom of the ocean, but we are preparing to start drifting to the surface.
As I relaxed in section 302 on Saturday night, watching the Phillies pound Morris’ 84 MPH fastball all over PNC Park, I smiled. The Pirates are going to struggle this year. They are going to have games that just last season would have ruined my night. Not this year. I am looking at the big picture. As Morris’ was removed from the game after recording only five outs, he was greeted with a chorus of boos. It was a familiar scene.
I sat quietly, taking in the entire scene and envisioning a scenario a few years down the road. Sitting at PNC Park, I will turn to a friend and say, “Hey, remember when we had Matt Morris? Remember we were here for his final start? Remember how miserable that game was?” Then we will enjoy a hearty laugh and turn our attention back to the game. We will enjoy another Pirate victory.
Stay strong, Pirate fans. Enjoy this season as much as you can. These memories will make our future triumph that much sweeter.