I started working on a Pittsburgh Pirates 2014 season recap today, but truthfully I need a few days to digest the end of the season before I get started on that. I was also going to be on the road for most of today, and didn’t want to rush through the article. So I’m hoping to have my thoughts on the season on Sunday, along with an early off-season look. For now, a simple question:
With the Pirates out, who are you pulling for in the playoffs?
Here are the options, with my own personal thoughts on each team.
Los Angeles Angels/Los Angeles Dodgers
I wanted to pair these teams, because my feeling on them is the same. There’s no way I’d cheer for either of these teams to win the World Series. I have a soul. In another way, every time a team in the top half in payroll wins the World Series (which is almost every time), it kills the argument that baseball is fair because teams like the Pirates and Athletics can make the playoffs. If these two teams played in the World Series, I think I would take a few weeks off from baseball.
This video sums up my thoughts about the Cardinals winning the World Series.
They’re big spenders, but not necessarily a big market. They just have a super-rich owner. I’d pull for them over any NL team if they made it. Especially since I’d want to see David Price win a World Series.
They beat the Pirates, but I can’t hate the Giants. They’ve pretty much built their team the right way. Build through the farm, add a few key external pieces, and use advanced metrics to get an edge. Also, there’s the ex-Pirates connection with Erik Cordier and Hunter Strickland. Plus, if a team wins the World Series while starting Travis Ishikawa, that would basically be the best thing to ever happen.
As someone who lived in Virginia for 17 years, and had to deal with Washington fans for all sports, I can say there’s no way I’d ever root for a Washington team. It’s the same as the Cardinals, where the fans are annoying. Only Washington fans aren’t the type of fans who proclaim themselves the best, then hide under their covers smelling their own farts all night. Instead, Washington fans are the type of fans who are arrogant for no reason.
Every time the football team would beat the Steelers in a pre-season game, I heard about it for weeks. It’s pre-season.
Pittsburgh fans know all about the hockey attitude. All of this despite the fact that the Capitals have never won a Stanley Cup. Also, the idea that Alexander Ovechkin is the best player in the league is ridiculous. It was when I was a hockey writer six years ago, and I’m pretty sure that’s still the case now.
Then there’s baseball. I like a lot of the guys on their team. I refuse to trade Ian Desmond from my dynasty league team, and I like Anthony Rendon and the breakout year he is having. But the fact that their baseball fans have been arrogant since before they even had a winning season will never escape me.
I grew up an Orioles fan. They were my favorite team for a long time. Then Cal Ripken retired, and my interest started fading. That was mostly due to the fact that their owner meddled too much, and tried to be a George Steinbrenner-lite. The result was that they made horrible moves for a small market team, and if they ever won, it would have come with the disclaimer that they took the same approach that the Yankees did. It’s like how Red Sox fans always complain about the big spending Yankees, while acting like their $150+ M per year is “small market”.
But the Orioles seem to be on a better track now. They’re missing a lot of good players, so it might be difficult for them to make it. If they do, I’d probably cheer for them. I’ve got a lot of friends who are Orioles fans, so I’d want to see them experience a winner. On the other hand, many of those friends are Ravens fans, which means I never want them to experience a winner in any sport they follow.
And now we get to the team that I’m pulling for. Let’s run down the list.
1. A long playoff drought? Check.
2. A recent history of losing? Check.
3. A GM who sometimes reminds you of the Dave Littlefield days in Pittsburgh? Check.
4. A manager who insists on stupid baseball decisions like excessive bunting? Oh yeah.
This team feels like the Pirates, pre-2013. They even have a Raul Mondesi in their organization. They have Jayson Nix off the bench, which is this year’s Pirates. They have Raul Ibanez, who is pretty much their version of Jeromy Burnitz.
But overall, I’m rooting for the Royals because of a friend of mine who is a Royals fan. I texted him the other night during the Wild Card game, right after Kansas City took a 3-2 lead early in the game. After Yordano Ventura gave up a three run homer, the flood gates opened and I was hit with an outrage against Ned Yost like no other. These messages might be NSFW.
I may or may not have done some trolling here.
At this point I’m on my drive back from PNC Park after the workout day. This is about the time when the Royals came back. Here is the reaction.
And now we get to extra innings and the excessive bunting by Yost.
This isn’t even trolling. It’s just explaining the situation…
A true friend honors this request. I was about 70% sure that my friend was going to have a heart attack at this point. Or that my phone would have caught on fire from the constant alerts.
Obviously the last one was right after the stolen base. And now, the walk off…
Back story for this next part: my friend and his wife are pregnant. Like, not at the same time. He obviously can’t have babies. But however you say that a couple has a kid on the way, they’re that.
Additional back story for this next part: My friend’s wife is a Cubs fan.
Further back story: I’m guessing he’s hammered at this point, so I try to get him in trouble.
And that is why I’m now rooting for the Kansas City Royals to win the World Series. Because I can’t look at their situation, and look at my friend’s roller coaster of emotions — complete with an extreme “no bunting” philosophy — and not be reminded of what it has been like in the past to follow the Pirates. I don’t necessarily want to cheer for Dayton Moore or Ned Yost. But I will cheer for Royals fans.
Links and Notes
**AFL to be Used as a Testing Ground for Faster Games
**Reese McGuire and Austin Meadows Make Baseball America’s Top 20 SAL Prospect List
Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.
I don’t see how any of you can “pull” for anyone else than the Bucs. I find it impossible personally. Watch and enjoy the games, sure, but root for no one.
Tim, if it’s all the same to you, I’ll make my own decisions on who to cheer for and why.
As a proud east coast snob, I keep trying to write off KC as a dull, flat, boring, mid-western wasteland. But it is actually not that terrible of a place… for the mid-west, of course. Still, I cannot force myself to root for KC.
KC / Oakland was a classic David (speedy KC) / Goliath (power hitting Oakland) game. I thought maybe KC would try to steal home in the 8th (Gore on 3rd with 1 out), 9th (Dyson on 3rd with 1 out), or 10th (Hosmer on 3rd with 2 out).
Last player to straight steal home during the playoffs was Jackie Robinson in 1955.
Yogi Berra goes nuts!!!
I can’t root for the Royals team because although I would love to see their fans win a World Series, it appears that Hosmer, Moustakas, and Billy Butler are a trio of overgrown children. The writer in the article below is one Eno Sarris, who I admit has a very odd way of expressing his views, but the story told seems believable enough. I realize most players probably have this attitude, but it still turns my stomach to read it in print.
I am not sure if you are allowed to add links to other sites in the comments. If not, I apologize but wanted to provide the reference to which I was speaking.
Dude needs to get thicker skin. Read the article and then read the comments below – the one about Dave Parker made me bust a gut.
Agreed, and the Parker one well placed.
Man that’s a bummer. I guess it highlights that a lot of these guys are really just… jocks and/or jerks.
This is why you trade Wil Myers, and Jake Orodrizzi, the goal is to win the World Series not accumulate top prospects accolades.
my issue with the Wil Myers trade has never been about the actual value of Myers vs Shields. I think it was a fair trade. Shields is also one of my favorite pitchers, so i guess i’m biased.
My issue was that they traded Myers away, but were still propping up Jeff Francouer out there in RF.
They gained wins in their rotation, but they lost wins in their RF. If they had another great player in RF, then i would’ve been okay with it. At least they have some players who are actually decent out there this year. 2013 was poor planning. 2014 has better execution.
I was joking about the Shields trade, it wasn’t a fair trade by any stretch, for the reason you illustrate. The Royals traded wins in RF for wins from pitching. The Royals received 8.0 – 9.0 Wins plus a draft pick from Shields and paid Shields $22.5 million. Myers has worth 2.0 Wins last year, (replacement level this season) and Orodrizzi 2.0 Wins this season, in addition they are under control until 2019 and being paid the minimum. Why not take that $22 million and sign a starting pitcher, Moore is not a good GM.
Same reason why i didn’t really like the Tigers getting Price the way that they did. And the opposite of why i loved the A’s trade for Lester
Sure they improved their rotation this year and next a little bit because Price > Smyly , but Smyly + A Jackson is pretty close to as good as Price.
They got an Ace, which is awesome, but left CF duties to Rajai Davis and Ezequiel Carrera. Like the Royals did with Francouer.
and the Athletics traded Cespedes, but had a stable of outfielders to mix and match with and even brought in more reinforcements that day. Moss, Gomes, Fuld, Vogt, Crisp, etc can all make up for 98% of Yoenis.
So if they dont win the WS, is it okay for Royals fans to get upset at their asshat GM trading the best player in the minors at age 21 for a few “chances”? It reeked of a desperate move to bring playoff baseball 1 time to KC and use that to keep his job for years. A healthy Myers was ROY and Shields walks in FA. Good for the Royals for this season, but no that doesnt make it a good trade. They created a window and if they dont win a WS, all they have is 1 nice run while TB has 5 cheap years of a very young stud.
we still don’t know if Myers is a stud though. At least i don’t think we know
Yeah, cause “average game” James Shields sure was lights out the other night. On another note, I bet the Seattle Mariners don’t regret trading Adam Jones (of 147 PA) and prospect Chris Tillman for Erik Bedard in back in ’08.
Which team winning it all helps the Bucs the most? I’d argue the Cards & Nats. Both built heavily from within, but will pay up when necessary.
If KC wins okay, if they lose okay, what I have not figured out is what they have that would make me think they can win any game or something that makes me want to watch them.
Sometimes it is your year and it could be that this is the Royals year. So far they have one guy that I really like and that is their set up guy. They kind of look like a Whitey Herzog team.
So we should root for the Royals, so Grampy Bud Selig can, on his way out the door, can say what great shape the game is in and how it’s so great that markets like Pittsburgh and KC can compete (oh, and please ignore all the things the Commissioner’s Office has done to take every stinkin’ advantage small market teams might have employed) and, gosh and golly, isn’t everything great? Sorry, not me.
Nope, just can’t do it. I always root for the NL in the World Series. Sick and tired of the AL being considered the superior league.
And I lived in northern Virginia for 30+ years and never had the problems with “arrogance” that you seemed to have. Perhaps a little teasing, but no big deal, excepting the year that Mark Rypien and the Redskins won the Super Bowl. And I watched them often enough to know…
they WERE a great team.
Hey Tim, I think i read here or on BD that the Royals are a poorly run team. I don’t follow them enough to know anything about them. Could you explain that a bit?
Love the part about DC, try being in Texas with some of these A** Hat Cowboys fan. The year the Steelers won the Super Bowl a couple of them were going on about the Boys winning a “pre season game.” No kidding, the first pre season game. True, Cowboy fans have more tradition and titles, but like the Bucs until recently those glories are fading further and further into the past.
See, my take is exactly the opposite. I want the Pirates to be the ONLY good small-revenue team. KC, Rays, Oakland? Screw them…I want them to lose miserably. I don’t want some other team to be the giant slayers…only the Pirates.
I’m rooting for the Orioles in the AL and either the Giants or Dodgers in the NL. I love watching Kershaw pitch and I love watching Puig play…the more Dodger games we get the better. I hold no ill will towards them for spending money…I sure wish my team had that much money to spend.
Your comments about DC are spot on as I am living here in Northern VA. As you stated, the DC fans are arrogant but what really gets me is their entire frontrunner mentality. If the team is doing really well then you hear all about it, however, if the team starts, just starts, to scuffle it’s like they don’t exist. They’ve won their division going away so natch they are the best team evah. And now I have to hear it from the casual baseball fan how awesome the Nats are and “Natitude” and “Curly Ws” – vomit. I take solice in the fact the we have Cutch and they have Harper. Cutch is the hard working, team first engine that makes the Bucs go and the other is a whiny Prima Donna what won’t run out a fly ball and pouts it he’s not batting where he thinks he should be batting in the lineup. No, I would not let my 11 year old son be a Nats fan as I have a soul. Go Bucs!
Imagine, a frontrunner mentality existing in DC – shocking. Would that be anything like the political party in power being the toast of the town until they become unpopular – and then they don’t even really exist in the opinion of most DC residents?
Why did we let Hunter Strickland go anyways? Tried to sneak him off the 40 man and just didn’t work out?
He was DFA for Jonathan Sanchez, he needed UCL reconstruction after some 20 innings with the Giants high A team. Quite possible the ligament was not fully intact when he was pitching with Pirates. Looks bad in hindsight but good relievers can come out of nowhere, Grilli was sitting in AAA, where any team could have signed him.
I’m just upset that 1 of the Athletics and Royals had to be eliminated. Two of my favorite nonPirate teams.
oh well. Let’s go Royals. Eric Hosmer is too handsome to not have a WS ring.
*starts blasting Lorde music (jk)
You sold me on the Royals, Tim. That was a great read. Ten years from now we are going to ask you if your friend calls his daughter “Sal”? Of course, now that I’m on board, they are sure to lose in a brutal sweep to the Angels.
This looks like another Giants’ year to me. Bochy plus Posey plus Panda and any two decent pitchers is enough to win against any of the teams left. The one team that looks like a total fraud (besides Detroit tonight) is the Dodgers.
I’ve got an idea – if the Nats beat the Giants in the NLDS, then the Nats should have to give us a first round draft pick or something major because they almost certainly would have won only because they faced Bumgarner a single time due solely to his pitching against us in the WC. That would only be fair, right?
The part about Washington was perfect.