Making History … and Not Happy About It

We are the of the Three Rivers, the home to industry and new technology, “America’s Most Livable City” and we lead the way when it comes to the “greening” of America.

Pittsburgh can now add more title to its list of accomplishment. We are now the home of the worst professional sports franchise – ever. Thank you Pittsburgh Pirates for bringing the game of baseball to a new low. Sunday, the team lost at San Francisco thus allowing them to clinch their 16th consecutive losing season. That, my friends, is the longest consecutive streak of losing season in the history of pro sports. No football, baseball, basketball, soccer, hockey or tennis team ( yes, there is pro tennis ) has ever been this bad this long.

Think about it. The last time the Pirates finished with a winning record was 1992. Even the rookies on that team are nearing age 40. Back then, Bush was in the White House ( the first one ) and Al Gore hadn’t invented the internet yet ( just kidding ). In 1992 Bill Cowher was a rookie coach and Sidney Crosby hadn’t laced up a pair of skates.

The Pirates logo: The “Jolly Roger” is not so happy these days

So why should you care? It’s just a game after all, right? Not when your city becomes a symbol of what is wrong with professional sports. The Pirates have what is arguably the best ballpark in the country and it was built with your tax dollars and on the simple premise that if they had a new multi-million dollar state-of-the-art stadium, the team would make more money. The cash infusion would allow the team to increase payroll and spend more money on top free agent players, thus making the team more competitive.

Instead, the “best ballpark in America” continues to house the worst franchise in sports with mediocre talent. As a fan, you should be offended and as a taxpayer, you should be enraged. The team has gotten richer and somehow at the same time, they have gotten worse.

I grew up outside of Boston and watched the Red Sox and the one thing that I always loved about baseball was that every year my team had a shot. That is not the case here. Consider this: the youngest children at the time of the Pirates last winning season will graduate from high school next year.

Enough bashing of the Bucs. The real fear for the franchise should be this: Pittsburgh’s baseball team becomes less of a fan-driven entertainment option and more of a casual viewing sort of thing. The team depends on fans buying season tickets, but if the club is not competitive why would you continue to show up? Soon, Pirate baseball may rank up there with the movies: something you watch every now and then but would never invest a lot of money in.

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