Mercifully, the 129th edition of the Pittsburgh Pirate/Allegheny’s Baseball Club’s Season has ended. True, it was somewhat better than 2010’s record, but the 18 year saga continues.
Fans will debate at least until next year the reason or reasons this team finished as it did.
Could the 10 game losing streak after the All-Star Break have begun the descent? They were close for the first time in a while. How close? Had they won 7% more of their games, around 1 additional win for ever 14 games they played, they could have finished above the “mythical” (for this team) .500 mark.
But they did show a spark of hope that unfortunately was quickly snuffed out.
Did the debacle in Atlanta really leave a lasting mental hurt? Possibly. Did this team play well above it’s actual potential? Again, possibly. OR was it the fact that the other teams were simply more mediocre this year which gave the Bucs a better “look?” Whatever the case, it’s obvious changes are still needed.
Is this club headed in the right direction after so many inept seasons with poor players, poor coaching and very questionable ownership? Still again, probably. But only if current ownership wants it that way.
The players gave it their best, at least most did. Oh, there are times when the game is so far lost, it’s just a matter of “being there” or "showing up" to finish. But you’ll find that with all clubs in this league. I can’t believe a player, whatever the standings of his club, would play less than his best unless he has no love, no passion for the game and is solely motivated for money.
2012 will be a pivotal year for the Pirates for both players and management. Those who have supported this team over these dark years may finally have something to look forward to.
Overall, it seems to me at least, this club, this group of players tried. They didn’t end as they wanted but they did seem to try.
There’s a poem by Edmund Vance Cooke entitled “How Did You Die?” that expresses my feelings toward these guys. Ironically, it was written in 1903, the year the Bucs lost to the Boston Americans in the World Series. I’ve paraphrased it by changing a couple of words. Google the title if you wish to read the original. But here are my sentiments, with apologies to Mr. Cooke:
How did you Try?
Did you tackle that trouble that came your way
With a resolute heart and cheerful?
Or hide your face from the light of day
With a craven soul and fearful?
Oh, a trouble's a ton, or a trouble's an ounce,
Or a trouble is what you make it,
And it isn't the fact that you're hurt that counts,
But only how did you take it?
You are beaten to earth? Well, well, what's that?
Come up with a smiling face.
It's nothing against you to fall down flat,
But to lie there -- that's disgrace.
The harder you're thrown, why the higher you bounce;
Be proud of your blackened eye!
It isn't the fact that you're licked that counts,
It's how did you fight -- and why?
And though you be done to the death, what then?
If you battled the best you could,
If you played your part in the world of men,
Why, the Critic will call it good.
Defeat comes with a crawl, or comes with a pounce,
And whether it's slow or spry,
It isn't the fact that you've lost that counts,
But only how did you try?
I think they tried.