We interrupt our usual non-stop stream of snark and unusually convoluted sub-references to offer congratulations to the Pittsburgh Pirates, who yesterday clinched the franchise's first playoff berth in 20 years.
Or, to put it another way, the last time the Pirates made the playoffs, Mariano Rivera, who is retiring after an unprecedented run as a closer after a ridiculously long career, was in the minors.
So, congrats, Pirates, and congratulations to your long-suffering fans. You have endured the horrors of the Pat Meares contract and the Aramis Ramirez trade. You have endured multiple iterations of Jose Hernandez. You have endured Operation Shutdown and years spent waiting for Kip Wells to turn into a decent major league pitcher. You have survived the decimation of an entire generation of arms, as the ghosts of Ian Snell and Tom Gorzelanny and Zach Duke will attest. You have seen Kevin Young at first base and the zombie shell of post-injury Jason Kendall at catcher. You have seen legendary second-half collapses and trades that cost Jose Bautista and Adam Laroche in exchange for guys like Jody Gerut and Matt Morris and Akinori Iwamura. You have seen a trade for Brandon Moss, watched him stink up the joint, then seen him leave and turn into a monster in Oakland. You endured multiple iterations of ownership, management, and general management, and you have been forced to answer when your fellow fans asked you what the hell was up with that whole weird Navy SEAL training thing for prospects.
You have a gorgeous ballpark. You have Andrew McCutcheon, who should be the National League MVP. You have sharks in your bullpen and a loaded farm system, a third baseman with light-tower power and a catcher with the coolest middle name ever. And this year, you have the playoffs.