The Pittsburgh Pirates–the D-Backs current opponents–are a true example of how not to run a MLB franchise.
I’m allowed to say this, because you see as a lifelong Detroit Tigers fan I remember the 1990s and early 2000s. Until Dave Dombrowski took over the team in the early 2000s, the Tigers greatest achievement since the 1980s was a 50 home run season by Cecil Fielder. Before 2006, the Tigers went 19 consecutive seasons without a playoff appearance and had 13 consecutive losing seasons. The Pirates, on the other hand, are re-writing the book on failure in MLB. The owners of 19 consecutive losing seasons have gotten off to a 3-7 start in 2012, a season with little to no expectations heading into it. After 13 seasons of 75 wins or less, their fans must be screaming for relevance. The Pirates answer? Their opening day starter was Eric Bedard…yes that guy. If you need advice on a good surgeon, he’s the guy you want to go to. But at being your clubs ace? Not so much. Since their three consecutive NLCS appearances in the early 2000s, the Pirates have given their fans nothing but failure, culminating in a complete collapse last season after being competitive into July.
The D-Backs, meanwhile have only existed 14 seasons. They’ve made it to the playoffs 5 times and won a World Series championship. After consecutive last place finishes in 2009 and 2010, the team has quickly rebounded to return to the playoffs in 2011 and become one of the favorites in the NL this season. This is a team that has continually adapted and rebuilt to remain competitive. They’ve made the controvercial moves to make the team better and been extremely dilligent in their free agent signings, always with an eye on their future. The Pirates are continually relying on one or two stars to carry a team that is otherwise devoid of talent.
While my words might seem harsh, it’s nothing that Pirates fans aren’t familiar with. They’ve been screaming for relevance. In a team with the Steelers and Penguins, they just don’t fit in. Neither the D-Backs or Pirates are big market clubs and both need to operate in different guidelines than teams in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles need to. The fact that the D-Backs have made 5 playoff appearances in 14 years while the Pirates haven’t even sniffed .500 in that time is a complete shame for the faithful Pirates fans. Sadly, the Pirates have become a sigh of relief in a team’s schedule and it’s not fair to their millions of supporters.