On October 14, 1992, my parents sent me to bed sometime before the 9th inning of game 7 of the National League Championship series. That was the last time the Pirates were above .500 at the end of the season. A full ¾ of my life has now been spent with a team that is below .500, and those have been consecutive years. Last year we toyed around with a .500 record last year, but we really just overachieved in the first half, and eventually the law of large numbers caught up to a rotation that relied on Kevin Correia as our number one starter. This year was different.
In early August, we reached 16 games over .500 (We were never more than 7 games over in 2011). We were competing for the NL Central and nipping at the heels of a Reds team that was the best team in baseball for a while. This was it. We were really competing and getting to find out what it was like to be a real baseball team. We were going back and forth with Atlanta to see who would host the wild card game and we were smart buyers at the trade deadline.
Then we lost 5 of 6 to San Diego, 3 of 4 to the Dodgers, got swept by Milwaukee and are—as of this moment—in the middle of a 7 game losing streak that includes 4 losses to the lowly Cubs. We’re a single game over .500 with 19 games left, and we look like we may never win another baseball game again.
So I’ve decided that this is the Pirates’ last chance to keep me as a fan. 20 years of losing baseball is enough. 1992 was a kick in the nuts, but this 2012 season is made out of the stuff that Dick Cheney would have refused to sign off on. To make matters worse, the Cardinals (who overtook the Pirates for the second wildcard spot) are sucking almost as much as the Pirates, so not only are we getting teased with .500, but with a possible wildcard spot to boot.
I’m just ready for it to end. It has to stop. So here is my ultimatum for the Pittsburgh Pirates: Finish above .500 or I’m out. I don’t know if I’ll become a fan of another team or just drop baseball all together, but I’ll be done going to Pirates games, buying any Pirates stuff, or following twitter accounts about Zoltan.
The Pirates have 19 games over the next 19 days. If they don’t win 9 of them, then I become an MLB fan free agent.