I know that rooting for a Pittsburgh sports franchise is sacrilege here in my hometown of Baltimore, Maryland. Normally, I would never violate our fan’s code of conduct. Unfortunately, this year, I’m going to do just that. For the next couple of months, my new favorite baseball team is the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m still -and always will be- a die-hard Orioles fan.
But I find myself hoping that the Pirates can continue their surprising season and make it into the playoffs for the first time since Barry Bonds played for them.
Pittsburgh has been a pitiful organization for almost 20 years. Even worse than the Orioles. The small-market Pirates have not had a winning season since 1992. Ah, 1992. A year when gas was about a dollar a gallon and Sir Mix-A-Lot topped the pop charts.
They have been mismanaged and have been an afterthought for many years. However, the 2011 season has been a different story. The Pirates are in the thick of the race in the NL Central. For the first time in a long time, they will be buyers and not sellers at the trade deadline.
Deep down inside, I still dislike Pittsburgh teams. The Ravens’ rivalry with the Steelers is one of the most intense in all of sports. I was at game one of the 1971 World Series between the Orioles and Pirates. I vividly remember the 1979 Birds blowing a 3-1 lead to Willie Stargell and the ” We Are Family” team and lose the World Title in seven games. Let’s not forget the Steelers spanking the Colts in the ’75 and ’76 NFL Playoffs. So, I get it.
Here in Baltimore, we like to complain about the Yankees and Red Sox buying any star player they like and, because of that, the Orioles will never compete in the AL East.
Well, this year, I’m rooting for the little guy. I’m rooting for the Pirates.