April seems like so long ago.
After what can only be described as an optimistic first month of the season, the Pirates have crashed to Earth in May. They have won only two games during the month, being swept by Milwaukee, St. Louis and New York.
And in what can only be considered a tumble from 2nd to last, the Pirates now sit at the bottom of the NL Central.
There is little positive to relay during the eight game losing streak. Tonight as I type, the Buccos have gone ahead and taken down the Cards winning their second game of the month 7-1. Zach Duke with the win. Nyger Morgan with the triple.
But these are the same old Bucs.
I got the chance to catch the Pirates last Friday night at New Shea/Citi Field right in the middle of their epic losing streak that will almost certainly guarantee that the Pirates spend the rest of the season below .500 and near to dead last in the Division. It is funny how for certain teams these May slides spell doom. Most see a losing streak as a necessary evil during a long tumultuous 162 game season.
The Pirates seem to embrace it as a birthright.
So I made it to New Shea and settled into my seat in Left/Center, five rows from the wall. You would be hard pressed to find a bad seat in New Shea. The walkways are open and provide views of the game during bathroom breaks and beer runs. The amenities are state of the art with plenty of bells and whistles – plasma screens and imported beer.
But something is missing.
Maybe it was just nostalgia for a past time where ugly stadiums were built and kept up as badges of honor – what you don’t like my stadium? Who are you? Maybe there was a feeling of newness from a team that seems set on establishing themselves historically with the legendary Brooklyn Dodgers. Maybe it’s that Cowbell Man doesn’t seem quite at home amongst single seats whose price could be used for mortgage payments.
Or maybe it’s just tough to watch the Pirates lose amidst such surroundings.
(K)arstens has gotten a lot of flack from me here on the blog, but he was not the problem on Friday night. No, it was the bullpen that exploded like a ticking time bomb. You knew watching that it was only a matter of time before it happened.
But do we cut the red wire, or the blue? Damn it! I can never remember.
High point of the night was Nyger Morgan. If you ever get the chance to see Morgan play on the road, take it. He is an absolute joy. By the end of the game, due to his extraordinary ability to rile up fans with a mixture of hand gesture and posturing, he had all of New Shea chanting his name. Add that to the fact that he swiped a bag (seemingly two – close call) and Morgan proved to be the only Pirates player worth his salt.
At the very least he was entertaining.
I am convinced that Morgan could play in a large market team. His ceiling seems to sit somewhere between Juan Pierre and Johnny Damon. His personality is infectious and given the chance to play, he is able to perform. If the Pirates decide to go another way this season – go younger etc. – it is obvious to me that Morgan will be moved to a large market playoff bound team and contribute immediately.
This season is what it is though – another rebuilding year. When the Pirates blew the game in the 8th inning it became apparent that unless they consider bullpen help, this year’s team and next year’s team and the team after that, is relegated to nothing more than high hopes in April and meaningless games in September.
We saw a glimmer of hope this year, but it seems to have vanished already leaving us to wonder if we ever really saw it in the first place.
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Written by David Fulco