While strolling through the museums and philosophy departments and monocle-repair shops of the greater Pittsburgh area today, my ears were filled with typically repetitive, insipid, almost mind-numbing praise for the Pirates' offense. As well they should be, one might say; when one sees the same thing enough times, one can almost reflexively blurt the same adulatory adjectives without even watching the games.
But, alas, my dear readers, not this time. I must take this opportunity to be the first to say: enough. The Pirates' offense is almost too perfect, and with every bullet of a line drive hit on a pitch in the zone, with every hard-earned 3-1 count, with every judicious take of a high fastball, with every effortless stolen base, I must roll my eyes. Is this all?
It's akin to the gorgeous cinematography and flawless dialogue in The Room; or Tucker Max's exquisite sensitivity to matters of gender; or the airtight logic and marvelous insight of the works of Bob Smizik. At some point, the viewer craves some evidence of a flaw, some indication that the Pirates' hitters actually be, dare I say, human. But with each new batter the Pirates introduce into the lineup -- your Yamaico Navarros, your Gorkys Hernandezes -- we merely get more of the same.
Once, just once, I would like to see a mistake -- a terrible swing on the first pitch of an at-bat, a lunge at a fastball a foot and a half out of the zone. I should like to see an opposing pitcher throw a curveball right down the middle on a 2-2 count ... and see a Pirate hitter watch it go by. How odd, how refreshing, a sensation would that be?
I must confess a bit of guilt for voicing these criticisms, but who among us has not, at one point or another, chased thoughts like these from our minds? If only the Pirates had not been run quite so well over the past two decades; if only Major League Baseball had not bestowed the Pittsburgh franchise with such obvious advantages, while neglecting poor clubs like the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox! The machine-like efficiency of the Pittsburgh offense was once pleasing, if only in a crude way. But at some point, in the midst of what will surely be a 20th consecutive winning season, it has become mundane.
UPDATE From David: Charlie and I fought to write the recap. He won, but I'm including mine anyway:
Lather, Rinse, Repeat