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St. Louis vs. Pittsburgh, 1 August 2007


Braden Looper (8-8, 4.85) vs. Tony Armas (0-3, 6.93).

I can't believe Tony Armas is starting this game. I can't believe we're paying Matt Morris $10 million next year. I can't believe Shawn Chacon is still on the team. I can't believe we've only scored 420 runs so far, fewer than any team except the Nationals.

A little over a year ago, a diarist at the Giants website McCovey Chronicles posted a thread called "Nobody Reads Bucs Dugout." Parts of the thread were actually pretty thoughtful, as various readers tried to answer the question of why there wasn't a Pirate blog at the time that had a consistent community. Along the way, one reader wrote this:

There is NOTHING easier for good sports bloggers than ripping a bad team. Losing franchises lend themselves to satire, pathos, high and low comedy, sarcasm, irony....the works.

True enough, but it gets old. As David Foster Wallace put it,

Even gifted ironists work best in sound bites. I find gifted ironists sort of wickedly funny to listen to at parties, but I always walk away feeling like I've had several radical surgical procedures. And as for actually driving cross-country with a gifted ironist, or sitting through a 300-page novel full of nothing by trendy sardonic exhaustion, one ends up feeling not only empty but somehow... oppressed.

I think that, for most Pirate fans as serious as I am, Dave Littlefield's actions long ago passed the point where waxing ironic is satisfying. Now they're just brutal and pathetic. The Primer thread I posted earlier today about nonsensical trades is genuinely funny, but I didn't laugh, I just shrugged my shoulders and thought, "Yep, that's our GM."

We Pirates bloggers are actually exploring uncharted territory. We provide opinions on a regular - in some cases, daily - basis on a team that's run like the military in the novel Catch 22. Who else does this? Some radio-show host, maybe? Before we existed, there were beat writers, but they're mostly just supposed to report the facts. There were columnists, but they only write every couple of weeks. And there were television commentators, but they rarely comment on the team in the direct, personal way we do. And there's no team (except maybe the Orioles, and even then it's to a lesser degree) that's nearly as hopeless as the Pirates. So I think Pirate bloggers are really entering a realm no one else has.

So what should we do here? At some point, there's only so far you can go with irony. And I think most hardcore Pirate fans have probably had just about enough of it. I haven't read Catch 22 in a while, but I think part of the beauty of it was that the character Yossarian gives you little scraps of humanity that stand out against a background of absurdity and inhumanity. Maybe that's what we do, or try to do. Or maybe - probably, actually - I'm acting way too self-important here.

But let's say I'm right. One thing that has really troubled me about the responses to the protest that have been published on the internet is that many people are fed up about the Pirates management but seem to consider themselves totally powerless to do anything about it.

That's so incredibly depressing - humanity fights against absurdity, and absurdity wins. Most of me thinks I'm being ridiculous and melodramatic for thinking this, and I will probably regret posting this later, but screw it - seriously, this team is soul-crushing. Dave Littlefield is Colonel Cathcart and Beelzebub combined into one person.

Will I be watching this game? No. No, I will not.