Inside Conditions…No more excuses for Pirates

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AUBREY BRUCE

 

No woman no cry, no woman no cry. When it comes to the Pittsburgh Pirates in regards to the last 18 seasons, many Buccos’ fans thought the words to the famous Bob Marley tune meant; “No Pittsburgh, no cry,” well at least when it came to watching the Pirates lose season after season after season.

But ya know what, yense? This might be the year for putting away the crying towels and bringing out the “babushkas’” and the “green weenies.”

Okay, I may be getting carried away because as most of us know those devices might help the faithful get through tough times but most of us realize that the only thing that matters in sports is that your guy is bigger, faster, stronger and smarter than the opposition, period. There are no magic formulas for winning.

Most of the time the teams with the deepest pockets have the largest mantle piece on which to place their numerous championship trophies, because huge reservoirs of “dough” are able to buy huge reservoirs of talent. But somewhere there is evidence aplenty in regards to when the Pittsburgh Pirates stopped being the “lumber” company and became the “slumber” company.

According to many and doubted by few, the Pittsburgh Pirates fell into the “abyss of losing” on Oct. 14, 1992 when Atlanta Braves’ infielder Sid Bream slid across home plate to win the National League Championship Series against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Bream who might have timed in the 100 meters at 1000.06 was slower than molasses in Times Square on Jan. 1 at minus 10 degrees. How he scored from second base is still one of the seven unsolved mysteries since the beginning of time.

Also Sid Beam wore a Pirates uniform before being traded to the Braves before the 1991 season.

According to a report written by J. Brady McCollough for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette McCollough said that; “The Pirates of 1992 are not the type to believe in the supernatural. They are tried and true baseball men, believing only that, when round ball hits round bat, anything can happen. Still, they look for answers—ways to explain the events of an Autumn night in Atlanta that now feels predestined.”

As far as I am concerned, destiny or our valid transport towards it can only be feasible when one is equipped with the proper vehicle, roadmap and companions to keep you on the right track as you travel toward the destination. If one of the aforementioned components is missing, chances are that the odds of me, you or the gatepost reaching any arrival point is slim, slim, slim and none. …If you have the perfect vehicle but yet you have no GPS system, roadmap or traveling companion to keep you from falling asleep the wheel the chances of you making past “home plate” in one piece are not very good.

At one time not only did a few of the Pirates past managing partners fall asleep at the wheel, they were pulled over and charged with several violations of d.u.i.o.s or simply put in laymen’s terms, driving under the influence of stupidity.

For more than a decade they gave away filet mignon and received chuck roast in return. Sid Bream did not initiate the Pirates evolution toward the “dark side” of competitiveness, ill thought out and reckless management decisions resulted in fielding Pittsburgh teams that for many years resembled AAA or some cases even AA minor league franchises.

The article by Mr. McCollough goes on to point out that, “After the 1991 season, they [the Pirates] lost slugger Bobby Bonilla to the New York Mets in free agency.

Because the organization couldn’t pony up for Bonilla, it was clear to the players that the Pirates also wouldn’t be resigning Barry Bonds and Drabek when their contracts expired after the 1992 season.

The window was already closing fast when they arrived in Bradenton, Fla., for spring training. And it was during those normally hopeful six weeks in the sun that the sand began rapidly slipping through the hourglass. One day, the Pirates arrived at the clubhouse to find that pitcher John Smiley, who had won 20 games in 1991, had been traded to the Minnesota Twins for two prospects—pitcher Denny Neagle and outfielder Midre Cummings.

Neagle would go on to win 59 games for the Pirates in five seasons, and Cummings would never eclipse 31 RBIs in a season. Everybody was absolutely distraught, pissed, mad, throwing things,” said Bob Walk, then a Pirates starting pitcher. “It was a slap in everybody’s face.”

In regards to that fateful slide ex-Pirates centerfielder Andy Van Slyke was quoted in the aforementioned article as saying, “all the stars lined up against us.” Hell, ya’ll, if that small bit of astrological info happens to be true how were the stars lined up on the night when ex-Pirate GM Dave Littlefield was hired? Some even talk about the “Bream Curse.” Well it is always considered a curse when the fish you allowed to get away bites you in the “bootay.” One of the reasons that Bream was “allegedly” traded away was because of his lack of speed; attt, wrong answer.

If ex-Pirates manager Jim Leyland had been smart that day, Leyland would have pulled a “Woody Hayes” and rushed out of the dugout as Mr. Bream rounded third base and sucker punched him square in the mouth. Mr. Hayes once the proud head coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes punched a player from the opposition and sucker punched himself out of a job. I betcha Mr. “Slowsky” I’m so sorry, I meant Mr. Bream would not have victoriously slid across home plate then. I have a feeling that in 2013 the fans in Chicago and Milwaukee are going to be singing, no playoffs, no cry because if the stars stay lined up as they currently are all the signs are pointing to the Pittsburgh Pirates as being on their way.

(Aubrey Bruce can be reached at: abruce@new­pittsburgh­courier.com or 412-583-6741)

 

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