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What Keeps Us Going

Here's a good article in the Post-Gazette about what it's like to be a Pirates fan.

"It all depends on how diehard you are," said Mark D'Angelo, 41, of Whitehall, whose Pirates tattoo on his arm testified to his status. "If you don't have hope, you don't have anything"...

Personally, I think it's silly to blindly maintain one's allegiance to an organization that plainly no longer takes baseball or its fans seriously. The only good, rational reason I can think of to continue rooting for the Bucs is that if and when they're finally a respectable franchise again, it's going to feel really sweet.

I root for the Bucs because I grew up near Pittsburgh. I was about two weeks old when they won their last World Series, in 1979. My dad, a lifelong Pirates fan, told me stories about Roberto Clemente, Bill Mazeroski and other Pirates from his youth. In the 1980s, when I was very young, I was at the game in which Ralph Kiner's number was retired. Then the Pirates were very good in the early 1990s, when I was entering middle school. Those things keep me going - I root for the Pirates not for who they are now, but for a tradition of good baseball. Every year, I hope that the jerks who have taken that tradition hostage will change their minds or give up, but so far that hasn't happened. The most painful part of being a fan, for me, isn't the baseball itself - I can get lost in the minutiae of a long season no matter how bad the team is - but rather the offseason, which I begin each year hoping that the Pirates' management has changed its mind or learned some things. Every year, I am disappointed.

I live in California now. Since I graduated from high school, I've moved around the country. At various points I've tried to forget about the Pirates and root for other, better-run teams, sometimes corresponding to my geographical location, sometimes not. I've tried to pull for the A's, Dodgers, Padres, Indians, Red Sox, and so on. It never works, even though I don't really think the current Pirates deserve my time and they certainly don't deserve my money. If they ever do win, though, it's going to feel fantastic, much better than a World Series for the Padres would.

What keeps you going as a fan of the Bucs? Do you think you'll ever give up?