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Don't you dare tell me it was a fluke: An open letter to my beloved Pirates

| Wednesday, May 7, 2014, 7:09 p.m.

I love baseball. Specifically, I love Pirates baseball. But, like many of you, probably, I'm feeling a little jilted right now — like the honeymoon might be over — like the Pirate ship is sailing head-on into wicked seas.

No. I refuse to accept that. And don't anyone even utter the word “fluke” to me about last year's stellar season — not yet. I mean, the boys did show some signs of life during this past weekend's stretch.

And while my appetite for Cracker Jack and tendency to don my oh-so-cute Bucs shirts has waned a bit, I'm not ready to toss them in the trash. Instead, indulge me a moment while I personally address a few of our Boys of Summer:

Dear ...

Jason Grilli: Hey, big cheese, we need that spunk and skill back that you had last year. Don't act so tired. Maybe it's all those melted cheese sandwiches slowing you down. No doubt, you're sampling a few while you're serving them. But get it back on track, will you, please? And stay healthy, for Pete's sake.

Starling Marte: We all know you're great at stealing bases, but could you maybe try to get on them more often in the first place. You did a good job working on that at home last weekend, but if they haven't forced you into it already, maybe it's time to demand a little more batting coaching.

Andrew “Cutch” McCutchen: You're still making the great plays and hitting pretty well for us, but do you think you could spread some of your unwavering faith in a higher power around the team? I think several of your colleagues could use some divine intervention.

Pedro “El Toro” Alvarez: Just keep doing what you're doing, only more of it. We'll keep cheering for you if you keep knocking in runs.

Neil Walker: They don't call you the Pittsburgh Kid for nothing. You're our guy. Can't you impress upon your teammates how much you all mean to us, the greatest sports fans in all the land, and get them to bump it up a notch and make us believe in magic for another season?

Clint Hurdle: Come on, guy, you weren't awarded for your management for nothing. But you certainly aren't doing all you can right now. Get these players hitting help. And get some of the promising hotshots we've been hearing about up here and on the PNC Park field. We need some help.

Last season was incredible for us baseball — and Pirates — fanatics. And we don't want to think we had you all wrong.

So c'mon, men, and shrink that deficit — and fast.

I'll keep being a fan — for better or worse — and I vow not to fly the Jolly Roger at half-mast just yet.

Mya Koch is editor of the Sewickley Herald. Reach her at 412-324-1403 or mkoch@tribweb.com.

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