I really don't remember the Pirates ever being good. Apparently, though, they actually were good once upon a time. They actually won the NL East three straight years, 1990-1992. Coincidentally (or not), 1993 was the first year Barry Bonds played out on the west coast. Since then, the Pirates have been perennial bottom dwellers of the now NL Central, finishing in second place only once, while finishing in the bottom two teams a whopping seven times. Well, at least they have the Steelers. My own personal enmity with playing the Pirates manifests itself mostly in the guise of George Grande. For those of you not regular FSN Ohio viewers, Grande insists not only on saying ridiculous bullshit, and then repeating it over and over. When the Reds play the Pirates, Grande repeatedly refers to them as the "Buck-O's". Get it? Pirates -> Buccaneers -> Bucks -> Buck-O's (cue sarcastic laugh). It's as if he refuses to even say the actual team name, or he is convinced that he is utterly hilarious. This is infuriating to me and makes me dread Pittsburgh games.
I'm actually watching the Reds/Buck-O's game as I type this and trying to feel some empathy for everyone in the sub-freezing temperatures. It sucks out there. I was there Wednesday night and it was fucking snowing. The Pirates aren't really instilling any confidence in me. I don't get this lineup. Is anybody supposed to drive in runs? I like Jason Bay despite his looking like a 12 year old, but I'm not completely sold on Freddy Sanchez. Sure he won the batting title last year, hitting .344, but his OBP was only .378 and he only walked 31 times and only stole 3 bases. Not exactly your prototypical leadoff hitter*. As a point of reference, Adam Dunn hit only .264 last year but his OBP was .365 and he did have those 40 HR to soften the blow.
With all due respec to Zach Duke, the pitching staff is crummy too. I don't have the energy to go into why, I think you know why. They don't have good players. Get over it. So, without anything more to say about this team, I'm picking them to finish last in the division in 2007.
*This thought was inspired by Chris Welsch on the FSN broadcast, who is far less loathesome than George Grande