This year hasn’t been a great year to be a Pirates fan. The Reds just swept my boys in black and gold and put a winning season out of their reach. We had a losing season last year, too, although we were at least in wild card contention at the end of that August.
It hasn’t even been long since the Pirates were a playoff team, not just a winning team. They made the NL wild card from 2013 to 2015. The only WC game they won was in 2013 (against the Reds, go figure), but before that, they hadn’t had a winning season in 21 years. I watched my dad get super excited about his team being good again, and now we’re both bummed out watching it backtrack.
Manager Clint Hurdle recently signed a four-year contract extension, and I have to admit I was a little disappointed when I heard. I’m a very impatient sports fan, so when one of my teams starts performing poorly on a regular basis, I start hoping they’ll change their management (don’t get me or my parents started on Brian Kelly and the Notre Dame football team). Besides, Hurdle changes the batting lineup almost daily, and it throws the team off sometimes.
Hurdle took over as manager in 2011 and has seen the Buccos rise and fall since then. I didn’t become a hardcore fan until the 2013 wild card, so I’m really not sure how Hurdle guided them to that point. But whatever he did then, he should and probably could start doing again. Maybe I just need to give him another year or two. We have some really good rookies and second-year players, which means our minor league system is pretty good and we’ll have more of those players in the next couple seasons. I know it’s cliche, but maybe we’ll be good next year, and maybe Hurdle will get the Pirates back where we all know they can be.