Tim Benz: No need for infighting, Pirates fans. You can have it both ways.
The Pirates are 26-17. They are in first place. All is well!
Until you get to baseball fans and media in Pittsburgh.
Since the Penguins got eliminated, there has been a big uptick in Pirates discussion. Reading online, being on social media and listening to sports talk radio, Pirates fans and media seem to be cannibalizing themselves these days.
The big arguments seem to be about how to best interpret and react to this surprisingly hot start.
There are three distinct groups.
Group 1: "Hey, the Buccos are in first place. Enjoy the ride! Jump on the bandwagon! Go to the games. Watch on TV. Let's talk about them like they are the top story in town until the Steelers start the regular season."
Group 2: "It's just a hot start. Wake me up at the trade deadline. Let's see if they are still in contention then. And if they are, let's see if management bothers to add payroll to get them over the top."
Group 3: "Who cares!? I'm boycotting because I'm mad at management for being cheap and selling off Andrew McCutchen and Gerrit Cole for mid-level prospects."
I can't do anything about that last group. If you are going to protest, then protest. You'll probably give yourself an excuse as to why you've changed your stance if they stay in contention. And I imagine that excuse will occur somewhere around Aug. 1.
To the other two groups I say, "Why can't it be both?"
Why can't we be happy about the Pirates early success and have a wait-and-see attitude at the same time? These don't appear to be mutually exclusive options to me.
After all, this is the same franchise that fell apart so tragically in 2012 and so rarely makes a move to get over the top at the deadline.
Sure, I will watch more intently moving forward. And the team should be praised for a good start. But they have played 43 games. Not 143.
Let's keep some perspective.
It appears most of the public agrees with me. Go ahead and add your vote.
If you are a Pirates fan, which description best represents you?— Tim Benz (@TimBenzPGH) May 17, 2018