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Baseball, Ray

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

While the Steelers can no longer lay claim to the unique position of being the one NFL team with 6 Super Bowl victories, the Pirates still are the lone, not NL team, not MLB team, but the lone major franchise to have endured twenty straight losing seasons. That’s a record for the ages, likely to outlast Dimaggio’s streak. Which, of course, can cause a great deal of frustration for Pittsburgh Pirates fans. Frustration can lead to anger, and anger to bitterness. Which is why it is good, from time to time, to stop and give thanks, to remember the things we should be grateful for. Like baseball.

TA Mann’s speech in the greatest sports movie ever made, Field of Dreams, never fails to stir me. “The one constant through it all? Baseball, Ray.” For twenty years losing was a constant for us. For more than a hundred years, however, baseball has been a constant for us. There have been, of course, changes along the way. Artificial turf, instant replay, free agency, the devil’s own tool, the DH and the DH’s invasion of the NL through that monstrosity known as inter-league play have massaged the game, but thus far, it still remains baseball. The one constant.

I want the Pittsburgh Pirates to win. Getting above .500 was great. Winning the play-in was wonderful. Instead of progressing from there, however, we have since regressed. In another two decades we may end up breaking our own record for futility. The good news, however, is that we would do so while playing baseball. Right in the greatest city on the planet. If you can’t be excited about that, I have a suggestion for you. Find your son, or a suitable fill-in, or your dad, or a suitable fill-in. Have a catch. It will do you good.

Pitchers and catchers are coming. Hot stoves are cooling down, while Bradenton is warming up. Before long games that count will begin. Let’s enjoy the season.