Not-Jinxing the Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pittsburgh Pirates really are a good baseball team. There's no harm in believing that, right? Um, right?
Share |

This isn't a jinx. It can't be my fault if the Pirates do the same thing they did in 2011 and 2012. This isn't a jinx because SABR looks at the standings every day and shakes its head and mutters profoundly about Pythagoras and K/9 and OPS. This isn't a jinx because jinxes aren't real.

The 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates are a good team. Probably not the best team in baseball. Quite possibly the third-best team in its division. And yet, a playoff-quality team that should get better as the season goes on and once the organizational powers that be recognize that Brandon Inge, for example, could be very readily replaced by half the AAA roster. Mike McKenry would be another example of someone with a worth-a-shot replacement playing in Indianapolis. Travis Snider would be yet another example. Clint Barmes was an example, but no longer is, because he has already been replaced, which gives hope that the other examples will be noted. This isn’t a jinx because Brandon Inge is still on the roster, despite hitting like a relief pitcher with undiagnosed astigmatism.

And yet, all three of those examples are bench players, which, as roster complaints go, is a decent problem to have. Two Pirates position players made the All-Star team and two more reasonably could have. Two pitchers made the All-Star team and two more could have, as well. A fan can easily look at a given day's lineup without gagging or struggling to stifle the urge to curse, which had previously been a serious problem. This isn’t a jinx because Brandon Inge started on the day I wrote this, and I cursed.

And it isn’t like the Pirates have been perfectly lucky or perfectly healthy. The only starter from the Opening Day rotation not to see significant injury time has been fifth-starter-cum-All-Star Jeff Locke, who only made the rotation because Francisco Liriano is Fun Dad. A.J. Burnett, born again as a leadership-minded ace, just recently made his first start in a month. Wandy Rodriguez, last year's stretch gamble and the staff's presumed co-ace, is out for the season. Jeff Karstens is out for the season. James McDonald was awful, then hurt, and is presently being both awful and hurt in Indianapolis. Jonathan Sanchez spent April throwing batting practice in live game situations, which doesn't qualify as an injury but was debilitating and quite possibly a reason for injury in others, and was eventually released. Jeanmar Gomez replaced Sanchez in the rotation and spent much of June on the DL nursing a right forearm injury. Charlie Morton missed most of the first half recovering from Tommy John surgery. Rookie Gerritt Cole left a game after taking a line drive off of his ass, which isn’t really a big deal since he didn’t miss a start, but after 20 years looking up at .500 Pirates fans should be forgiven for any shockwave of oh-shit-here-we-go dread when he was listed as day-to-day the following morning. This is not a jinx because the rotation was already cursed.

The bullpen has been startlingly, amazingly great which is the sort of thing that always feels unsustainable, and mostly is. The answer for this, I've found, is not worrying about good things being unsustainable. This is a technique I’ve imported from my marriage, because “intangibles” are the only thing that would explain my wife still being here. I’m shit on paper, lucky to make the veteran minimum and rapidly losing what little mobility I had; any frank assessment has me well into my decline phase. This isn’t a jinx because, well, we have a son and he’ll make her overlook a lot of flaws in me.

And so here we all are, you and me and Clint Hurdle and the Pirates, at the All-Star break, with the Pirates looking and playing and feeling like a baseball team that should make the playoffs. The recent memories of the last two years' crushing second-half collapses argue against optimism; two decades of failure have made the feeling strange in the extreme. And yet the predominant thought in my mind—and in the minds of the visible Pirates community—isn’t “here we go again.” Pirates fans have been allowing themselves to feel hope and happiness at how the first half of the season went without treating two-game losing streaks as ominous portents. This isn’t a jinx because also, sometimes, we sort of have.

In the short term, it's because—on the day I wrote this, after Pittsburgh's fourth loss in six games, this one against the Cubs—the Pirates outhit the Cubs. And because, even though they’ve lost four of six, they’ve gotten on base more often than their opponent in two of the losses and both of the wins. Losing because of scattering hits harmlessly across limp innings is a 2013 Pirates problem; losing games because you scatter your hits across limp games was a 2012 Pirates problem. This isn’t a jinx because the Pirates have eight wins in which they have scored two or fewer runs, so they aren’t the only team with hard-luck losses, or one heartbreakingly prone to them.

There are warning signs for the second half strewn throughout the preceding; they're there to see, everywhere, and I see them. But these signs they don’t necessarily point to a bad team hiding inside this good one, waiting for the right August day to come out and start skying foul pop-ups and serving up homers. They suggest, instead—as a Pirates fan might want them to, but as a baseball fan would understand—a good team with several flaws and areas of over-performance. They suggest a good team that is getting better as the season unfolds. A good team that is having fun and playing a thrilling brand of baseball. This isn’t a jinx because, even in the slack days of July, there is no time for jinxes. There is baseball to be played, and Pirates games I want to watch.


Share |

Comments

I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article. I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well. In fact your creative writing abilities has inspired me to start my own BlogEngine blog now. Really the blogging is spreading its wings rapidly. Your write up is a fine example of it.best way to get guys to notice you online

I was just browsing through the internet looking for some information and came across your blog. I am impressed by the information that you have on this blog. It shows how well you understand this subject. Bookmarked this page, will come back for more.yacht hire Greece

It’s very informative and you are obviously very knowledgeable in this area. You have opened my eyes to varying views on this topic with interesting and solid content. Actually I read it yesterday but I had some thoughts about it and today I wanted to read it again because it is very well written.แทงบอลออนไลน์

I really enjoy simply reading all of your weblogs. Simply wanted to inform you that you have people like me who appreciate your work. Definitely a great post. Hats off to you! The information that you have provided is very helpful. consultas de tarot

This is my first time i visit here. I found so many entertaining stuff in your blog, especially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not the only one having all the leisure here! Keep up the good work. I have been meaning to write something like this on my website and you have given me an idea.How To Remove Sticker Residue

The next time I read a blog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as much as this one. I mean, I know it was my choice to read, but I actually thought youd have something interesting to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you could fix if you werent too busy looking for attention.PNR Status Check

The next time I read a blog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as much as this one. I mean, I know it was my choice to read, but I actually thought youd have something interesting to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you could fix if you werent too busy looking for attention.scanning

Great post full of useful tips! My site is fairly new and I am also having a hard time getting my readers to leave comments. Analytics shows they are coming to the site but I have a feeling “nobody wants to be first”.http://www.slideshare.net/textyourexbackforum/text-your-ex-back-michael-fiore-pdf-ebook-review-and-download

Great post full of useful tips! My site is fairly new and I am also having a hard time getting my readers to leave comments. Analytics shows they are coming to the site but I have a feeling “nobody wants to be first”.DNA testing while pregnant

Eagle Water Treatment Systems is an international company in the water treatment industry covering residential, commercial and industrial sectors. We were founded over 30 years ago by a man name Dennis Lynch.Click this link

Eagle Water Treatment Systems is an international company in the water treatment industry covering residential, commercial and industrial sectors. We were founded over 30 years ago by a man name Dennis Lynch.Click here

Eagle water products can help you save money, time and effort. With our systems, there is no more need to buy bottle water which is better for our environment. Soon, bottle water will be a thing of the past Visit this link

Robert Peers' ideas about combining accounting, legal and financial services are a result of his eclectic interests and experiences.Article

Eagle Water Treatment Systems has developed a new system which does more than just soften your water. With the help of this product we remove undesirable substance and contaminants caused by man-kind that can be harmful to our health.View this site

Brampton Limousines I am really impressed by reading this article. Interesting post and I really like your take on the issue. I now have a clear idea on what this matter is all about.

Truly, this article is really one of the very best in the history of articles. I am a antique ’Article’ collector and I sometimes read some new articles if I find them interesting. And I found this one pretty fascinating and it should go into my collection. Very good work!مهاجرت به امریکا

I think this is an informative post and it is very useful and knowledgeable. therefore, I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article.mycashnow

I am a new user of this site so here i saw multiple articles and posts posted by this site,I curious more interest in some of them hope you will give more information on this topics in your next articles. Glad to chat your blog, I seem to be forward to more reliable articles and I think we all wish to thank so many good articles, blog to share with us. t25

This post is very simple to read and appreciate without leaving any details out. Great work! You completed certain reliable points there. I did a search on the subject and found nearly all persons will agree with your blog.parfum pas cher

Really impressed! Everything is very open and very clear clarification of issues. It contains truly facts. Your website is very valuable. Thanks for sharing. It's late finding this act. At least, it's a thing to be familiar with that there are such events exist. I agree with your Blog and I will be back to inspect it more in the future so please keep up your act.subzero refrigerator repair orange county

It has fully emerged to crown Singapore's southern shores and undoubtedly placed her on the global map of residential landmarks. I still scored the more points than I ever have in a season for GS. I think you would be hard pressed to find somebody with the same consistency I have had over the years so I am happy with that.Natural Quartz

I finally found great post here.I will get back here. I just added your blog to my bookmark sites. thanks.Quality posts is the crucial to invite the visitors to visit the web page, that's what this web page is providing. Vehicle detailed California

After reading your article I was amazed. I know that you explain it very well. And I hope that other readers will also experience how I feel after reading your article. I feel very grateful that I read this. It is very helpful and very informative and I really learned a lot from it. retro eyeglasses for sale

Nice information, valuable and excellent design, as share good stuff with good ideas and concepts, lots of great information and inspiration, both of which I need, thanks to offer such a helpful information here.progressive prescription sunglasses polarized

Great post full of useful tips! My site is fairly new and I am also having a hard time getting my readers to leave comments. Analytics shows they are coming to the site but I have a feeling “nobody wants to be first lowes project starter coupon

It is perfect time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy. I've read this post and if I could I desire to suggest you some interesting things or suggestions. Perhaps you could write next articles referring to this article. I want to read more things about it!StealthGenie pro

I was just browsing through the internet looking for some information and came across your blog. I am impressed by the information that you have on this blog. It shows how well you understand this subject. Bookmarked this page, will come back for more.fut 15 coins

It’s very informative and you are obviously very knowledgeable in this area. You have opened my eyes to varying views on this topic with interesting and solid content. Actually I read it yesterday but I had some thoughts about it and today I wanted to read it again because it is very well written.drone camera

Gangaur Realtech is a professionally managed organisation specializing in real estate services where integrated services are provided by professionals to its clients seeking increased value by owning, occupying or investing in real estate. I am impressed by the information that you have on this blog. It shows how well you understand this subject.Stop smoking

I'm impressed, I must say. Very rarely do I come across a blog that's both informative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you've hit the nail on the head. Your blog is important..find a perfect girlfriend

Mr. Riaz Mamdani is the Founder of Strategic Group and serves as its Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Mamdani served as the Chief Financial Officer of Ponderosa Lumber, Inc. (also known as JAWS Technologies Inc. and also JAWZ, Inc.) from July 1999 to March 31, 2001 and served as its Consultant View this site

It has fully emerged to crown Singapore's southern shores and undoubtedly placed her on the global map of residential landmarks. I still scored the more points than I ever have in a season for GS. I think you would be hard pressed to find somebody with the same consistency I have had over the years so I am happy with that.Blog-Post

Larry Weltman works as a Customer Service Rep. at AccessEasyFunds Ltd., the country’s leading commission advance company that helps real estate professionals fund their commissions Visit this link

Larry is an accountant by training. He has been with AEF since its inception; as was involved in the research and development, and implementation of the AEF model/concept; providing an affordable cash flow solution for real estate agents Click this link

Really appreciate this wonderful post that you have provided for us.Great site and a great topic as well i really get amazed to read this. Its really good.לימוזינה לחתונה

It has fully emerged to crown Singapore's southern shores and undoubtedly placed her on the global map of residential landmarks. I still scored the more points than I ever have in a season for GS. I think you would be hard pressed to find somebody with the same consistency I have had over the years so I am happy with that.long island wedding photographer

I have express a few of the articles on your website now, and I really like your style of blogging. I added it to my favorite’s blog site list and will be checking back soon…http://www.adoptconsulting.com/giving-a-child-up-for-adoption/

Mr. Riaz Mamdani served as Director of Corporate Finance at Ponderosa Lumber from March 1999 to July 1999. He was responsible for the development of operational financing including securities issuances Visit this site

I really enjoy simply reading all of your weblogs. Simply wanted to inform you that you have people like me who appreciate your work. Definitely a great post. Hats off to you! The information that you have provided is very helpful. مهاجرت به کانادا

I am really enjoying reading your well written articles. It looks like you spend a lot of effort and time on your blog. I have bookmarked it and I am looking forward to reading new articles. Keep up the good work. ibs medication

I am really enjoying reading your well written articles. It looks like you spend a lot of effort and time on your blog. I have bookmarked it and I am looking forward to reading new articles. Keep up the good work. Gmail correo

Mr Paterson has also served as Vice Chairman of the Toronto Stock Exchange, Chairman of the Venture Exchange, Governor of the Investment Dealers Association of Canada and Director of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund amongst other investment industry roles. View this site

Mr Paterson has also served as Vice Chairman of the Toronto Stock Exchange, Chairman of the Venture Exchange, Governor of the Investment Dealers Association of Canada and Director of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund amongst other investment industry roles View this site

Paterson was appointed to the Board of Directors that same year and added the role of Chairman of Lionsgate's Audit Committee a decade later. Today he is largest shareholder of the independent Board members. Visit this link

If your looking for Online Illinois license plate sticker renewals then you have need to come to the right place.We offer the fastest Illinois license plate sticker renewals in the state. We are tied directly into the sate’s renewal database which allows us to process your request almost instantly.need help talking dirty to boyfriend

This post is really magnificent. I really like this post. It is one of the best posts that I’ve read in a long time. Thanks a lot for this really good post. I really appreciate it!ways to get an ex back that actually work

Awesome blog. I enjoyed reading your articles. This is truly a great read for me. I have bookmarked it and I am looking forward to reading new articles. Keep up the good work!Share

Thanks for ones marvelous posting! I genuinely enjoyed reading it, you are a great author. I will be sure to bookmark your blog and may come back very soon. I want to encourage you to definitely continue your great job, have a nice weekend.!! bangalore female escort

I don't have sufficient energy right now to completely read your site but I have bookmarked it and likewise include your RSS channels. I will be back in a day or two. much obliged concerning an incredible site.
Auto Profit Replicator

We want to take you on a journey of discovering why it is you don't have a girlfriend or why you are finding it hard to get a girlfriend. We will help you become the guy you need to be to get the girlfriend of your dreams! PPC company