Wednesday, September 04, 2013

The Pirate List

Sometime in the very near future, the Pittsburgh Pirates are going to win their 82nd game of the season, thus guaranteeing themselves a winning record. (They got #81 tonight, meaning the worst they can do is .500) This is a good thing, particularly for A)the Pirates organization B)fans of the team and C)anyone still mad at the St. Louis Cardinals for hiring Mike Matheny as manager instead of eminently qualified Cardinals lifer Jose Oquendo (like, say, my wife). And it's a big deal for baseball fans because the Pirates haven't had a winning season since 1992.
That, in case, you were wondering, is a very long time. It's the longest active streak of losing seasons in major professional team sports (No, the Washington Generals don't count). And when the Pirates do cross that magical 82-win barrier, you can expect a barrage of Beloit List-like articles detailing exactly how long it's been since the Buccos had a winning record. Things like "The last time the Pirates had a winning season..."

  • Barry Bonds could wear hats made for human beings and not superdeformed anime characters.
  • Andy Van Slyke was close to washing out of the league, instead of his kid being close to washing out of the league.
  • Nobody was talking about the next Dwight Gooden because we still had the last Dwight Gooden.
  • Jim Leyland could stay awake through an entire game he was managing.
  • Bryce Harper wasn't.
  • The RBI leader for the American League was a chunky dude named Fielder who played for Detroit...OK, that one's tricky.
  • You could still see Max Patkin performing live at a stadium. You do know who Max Patkin was, right? Right?
  • The Brewers came in 2nd in the AL East. The Astros came in 4th in the NL West.
  • Nobody used the words "wild card" and "baseball" together without someone breaking out in hysterical laughter.
  • Bobby Bonilla...well, people knew who you were talking about if you said "Bobby Bonilla".
  • We didn't have retro jersey night because those were the jerseys.
  • Derek Jeter was still 3 years away from his first post-coital gift basket.
  • The Braves lost the World Series. This is different, of course, because in those days the Braves occasionally made the World Series.
  • Someone was happy to get Sammy Sosa in a trade.
  • Bip Roberts. Let me just say that again: Bip Roberts.
  • Everyone thought a Dice-K was something people played Dungeons and Dragons with. And by people, I mean nerds. Like me. Who would have loved to have had a Dice-K. Whatever it might have been.
  • For most of us, "Advanced statistics" meant "figuring out OBP without using a calculator, and sabermetrics were probably something Zorro did.
  • Chris Berman broadcast sporting events.
  • More people knew Tommy John the pitcher than Tommy John the surgery.
  • There were still Expos, and they were actually good.

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