On Saturday you could
RAISE THE JOLLY ROGER…26-29
for a 6-4 Pirates win over the Astros. But the real story takes place over the last 16 years.
For the past 16 years the Pirates have been on quite the skid. 16 straight losing seasons and bleak moments sure to come the past decade and a half has been depressing for baseball fans in the Burgh. The once proud franchise known as the Pittsburgh Pirates have turned into a laughing stock amongst all professional sports. With teams like the Red Sox and Yankees all over outlets such as ESPN, FOX Sports, Sports Illustrated, Sporting News etc, its hard for a small-market team like the Pirates to get the face time. Other small market teams have found their way into the niche ove rthe years. The A’s and their money ball manager Billy Beane use their small ball tactics as a model for MLB success, the success of the Rays allowed them to break out of their dip in national attention. Teams like the Twins, Indians and Marlins have always been competitive and therefore are shown considerably on the national level.
The Bucs, not so much. I can’t tell you the last time I’ve watched teh Pirates on ESPN. Actually, I can. It was this year and it was a complete fluke. There was a rain delay on a Tuesday night in Boston and the national TV audience was thrust into PNC Park for a brief live look in at the Pirates game. But I digress. The Pirates have never been on Sunday Night Baseball, TBS on Sunday or FOX on Saturday. While I am able to see every game on TV thanks to FSN Pittsburgh, it would just be cool to see neutral announcers broadcasting my team. It would also give baseball fans across the country to see that baseball in Pittsburgh does exist, and they actually have fans that cheer for the team. Once again I digress.
This week has been great in terms of national media exposure.
The Nate McLouth trade obviously allowed a throng of reporters and attention towards the Pirates. Its nice to see the Pirates mentioned with interviews with players, general managers and coaches all talking about the Pirates and analyzing the trade to a T. But prior to the trade Pittsburgh was put on the map.
The June 1st edition of ESPN magazine allowed a national audience to feel the pain we as Pirates fans have felt for way too long.
The article is called “That was then, this (sigh) is now” It’s a great look at the struggles and future of the organization. The reporter did a great job of capturing all of the failed manuevers and stop-gap tactics that set the Pirates back further than needed to be. There are also interview blurbs with Pittsburgh residents, Neil Walker, the Director of Media and Reltions and Patty LaRoche, Andy and Adam’s mom.
I just came across this acrticle today on the front page of the ESPN.com baseball section.
It is written by my favorite baseball personality Tim Kurkjian. Mr. Kurkjian is a hero of mine. I’ve read his book and enjoy his insight of the game. He is a good guy with a great personality. He pretty much does what I hope to do one day. I can only wish to be half the writer he is today.
Tim wrote a nice essay on Pirates pitcher Ross Ohlendorf. Ohlendorf is smarter than the average baseball player. He went to Princeton and excelled in the classroom. He used his Ivy League education and superb baseball skills to write a senior thesis that general managers would drool over. He analyzed draft results and team success and translated how certain players will fare in the major leagues. He really puts his brain to work on and off the field. How Kurkjian presents Ohlendorf to the national readers.
While the Pirates haven’t gotten the pub for the overall success of the club its good to see these little things being covered.