Skip to main content

That 1997 season by the Bucs wasn't so bad

The Pittsburgh Pirates have been taking a lot of heat lately for their string of trades in order to build a winning team.

Many people think it's purely based on saving a buck.

In their criticisms of the franchise, pundits are quick to point out that the Pirates haven't had a winning season since 1992.

They're right, of course. How could any Pirates fan forget?

But it hasn't been a total disaster since '92.

In all of the negative comments about the franchise -- and I've heaped my share in the past -- no one likes to remember the season of 1997.

I like to think of it as the last time the Pirates were competitive, not 1992.

They weren't expected to compete in '97, as their payroll in the neighborhood of $9 million. They proved many people wrong. The Bucs were in first place as late as mid-July and were .500 or better as late as August. They finished in second place in a weak NL Central.

One of the highlights that season was the combined no-hitter from Francisco Cordova and Ricardo Rincon against the Houston Astros in 10 innings. Another bright spot was a three-game sweep against the Chicago White Sox, a team featuring Albert Belle and Frank Thomas, who were getting more money than the entire Pirates roster.

That season included a pennant race, ultimately lost to the Astros. It also featured a trade for Shawon Dunston to help get the team over the hump. Dunston didn't help much, but it was nice having a team buying instead of selling.

I know, I know, it might be trivial to point out a season in which the Bucs finished 79-83. It didn't end a string of losing seasons that goes to this day. And it doesn't say much for a franchise to point toward a losing record as a highlight.

But it wasn't bad, either.

I can't wait for the next pennant chase.


Popular posts from this blog

Baseball and poker similar in how action unfolds

The game of poker has received a bad rap for years for being too boring. Due to longperiods of inactivity in a game, players tend to tune out of the game. The funny thing
is, Baseball is also one that many of these same people happen to like even though
sometimes it also has has similar long periods of inactivity, even if those long periods are
not shown on TV.

In big poker tournaments, such as the highlights we see in the World Series of Poker, has
skewed the reality of how long of a process that the game can really be. Sometimes even
in baseball, during the World Series there are long period of innings where there isn’t
much going on, like in poker except one person raising and others folding.

That can change quickly and sometimes just as dramatically as a big solo shot homer. A
player can make a raise, followed by a three-bet from another player. The original raiser
then moves all-in and gets called. Now, all the people watching the event are on their
feet cheering and screaming fo…

So much for Byron the great backup

I never understood the Steelers' fascination with their backup quarterbacks.

They've had either Charlie Batch and Byron Leftwich for what seems like ages now.

And when the Steelers really needed a backup, Leftwich couldn't deliver.

Leftwich rambled 31 yards for a touchdown Sunday against the Ravens, but other than that burst, the Steelers couldn't do anything on offense in a 13-10 loss that puts them in a bad position in the AFC North.

Leftwich, with his long delivery, looks better suited for the Pirates' bullpen than behind center.

He went 18-for-39 passing for 201 yards, but couldn't help a Steelers' offense that looks lost right now.

The Ravens came into the game with a weak defense. The thought was Leftwich could manage the game, the Steelers could find a running back to rely on and they'd escape with a win.

It didn't work out that way.

And it looks like we could see Batch at QB this week -- or someone else.

The Steelers are worried about Leftw…