The Bucs are back
This is an unforgettable year for Pirates' fans — the end of the 20-year nightmare of consecutive losing seasons and the playoffs. But if you're like me, you still can't get over what happened on Oct. 14, 1992, at Atlanta's Fulton County Stadium.
Something evil transpired that evening, which only now has been exorcised. The Braves defeated the Pirates in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series. The Braves advanced to the World Series, where they lost to the Toronto Blue Jays.
For the Pirates, their hopeful run was over. Was it really that bad? You know it was.
Since 1887, the Pittsburgh Pirates had been one of the most storied franchises in sports. By the mid-1980s, the golden years were a distant memory. A bunch of sorry individuals trudged through the clubhouse, culminating in the embarrassing drug trials. The city had hemorrhaged population. The Pirates had dwindled into a small-market team struggling to retain talent.
Alas, a wondrous thing happened. The Pirates got a general manager named Syd Thrift and unknown coach named Jim Leyland. Through some shrewd deals, Thrift assembled a superb team. The Buccos surged, displacing the arrogant New York Mets atop the National League. They made the NLCS three years in a row, fielding arguably baseball's best team, but they couldn't break into the World Series.
That was troubling enough but the Pirates' chances were slipping not only in the immediate term; other teams with gobs more cash — the Mets, the Braves — were poised to buy away the Pirates' stars. It wasn't that those cities had more dedicated fans. As a percentage of local population, the Pirates outdrew them.
No, they had more money because of massive cable TV revenues. For the Braves, that reality was particularly revolting: they had gazillions thanks to owner Ted Turner, a cable TV maven and radical leftist contemptuous of the very system that permitted his riches. Turner's politics matched those of his wife, Jane Fonda. “(I)f you understood communism,” the Viet Cong pinup girl once told a student audience, “you would pray on your knees that we would someday be communist.”
Well, America wasn't communist, to Jane and her hubby's bizarre chagrin and to the extraordinary financial benefit of the Braves.
Such was the ownership of the Braves on Oct. 14, 1992. It was such teams that meant the Pirates had a very short window. This was it. And the Buccos succumbed.
For the Pirates, it was all over, as each and every top player assuredly left. It was baseball death. It was death for a literal generation, the longest losing streak in professional sports history.
Well, the debacle finally is over. And for that reason alone, the 2013 baseball season is satisfying enough.
Paul Kengor is a professor of political science at Grove City College. His books include “The Communist: Frank Marshall Davis, The Untold Story of Barack Obama‘s Mentor” and “Dupes: How America‘s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Fumbling foreign policy
- Next hurdle for health care likely tax season
- Additional negotiating session fails to resolve threateded East Allegheny strike
- Golf outing a fitting tribute
- Daily Courier roundup: Pierce scores twice as Laurel Highlands wins
- Valley edges emotional Burrell team on OT field goal
- Deer Lakes releases info on administrators’ raises
- Police warn of burglaries
- Quick start fuels Shady Side Academy to opening win
- Burrell, psychologist settle lawsuit
- Secret judicial ruling blocks release of sexually explicit emails