Are the Pirates for real?
What makes this Pirate team for real, after last year’s team teased all of us into thinking they were going to finally finish above .500 for the first time in 20 years?
First off, they have depth in their starting rotation. What Jeff Locke and Gerrit Cole have done has been impressive. When you have a mixture of youth and veterans in the rotation, it makes for a situation where the vets now feel like they have to go out and and at least do as well as the young guys. It is a pride thing. They also will be getting A.J. Burnett back. That adds to their depth.
I did my power rankings on air the other night and I didn’t rank the pirates in the top 5. Is that because I don’t think they are one of the five best teams in baseball? No, it’s not. But I do think that if they continue to have people doubt what they can do, they will go out there with a chip on their shoulders to prove everyone wrong. To me, that is the greatest motivation of all. When the only people who believe in you are the 25 guys in the clubhouse, that makes it a very close clubhouse.
Also the Pirates’ bullpen has been phenomenal. If they can keep doing what they have been doing, the Pirates will be looking not only at their first winning season in 20 years, but the Postseason as well.
But for all you Pirates fans who think I’m not giving your team its due, I am, but I won’t be doing it on air. I know what it is like to feel like no one believes in you. And it will bring their pride to the surface. Proving people wrong is so much fun!