Life After Littlefield: 82

It is difficult to decide how to start this post because last night’s 1-0 over the Rangers meant so much more than just another win in September to the Pirates’ organization and its’ fans.  With their 82nd win of the season last night, the Pirates clinched a winning season for the first time since 1992 and will look to turn a new leaf, as the losing from the past 2 decades is over and nothing more than a really long, bad dream.

For some fans the losing starts with Francisco Cabrera finding a nut, for some it starts Jason Kendall’s ankle exploding trying to beat out a bunt, for others it begins with a 100-loss inaugural season at PNC Park, and finally (and is guess fortunately depending on how you look at it) the losing beings with a 20-0 loss in 2010.  Whatever year you began watching, I’m sure it wasn’t easy.  The names that came and went, the embarrassing front office decisions, and the constant feeling of inferiority are frequently used when dissecting the past 20 years.

Since 1992, the Pirates have had seven different managers filling out lineup cards on a nightly basis and four general managers making mostly bad front office moves with a few intelligent ones sprinkled in over the latter end of the streak.  In the past 20 years, we’ve seen names like Bonds, Drabek, Van Slyke, Giles, Ramirez, Kendall, and Bay leave Pittsburgh and crush the hearts of many.  Also in the past two decades, we have seen the Pirates lose 90+ games 10 times and not a single winning one once.  Until now that is.

Although it took a little longer than some expected, the Pirates finally got win number 82 last night as Gerrit Cole took the ball and straight-up dealt.  Through seven shutout innings of work, Cole gave up just three hits and fanned nine Rangers.  With the help of a Pedro Alvarez RBI-double in the 7th and the Shark Tank, Cole earned his 7th win and an 82nd win the Pirates fans everywhere have waited anxiously for.  Something awesome that is lost in this is how Gerrit Cole won the Pirates 81st win his last start out and wins their 82nd win last night.  Storybook stuff.

For the first time in my life last night I went to bed the fan of a winning baseball team, and it was everything that I had ever dreamed of it to be.  No more will we have to deal with the “Is this the year?” or “How can you root for such a cheap, bad team?” questions.  Those are a thing of the past because the Pittsburgh Pirates are a winning baseball team that is built for the long run and have even bigger plans for the rest of this season, as they chance an NL Central Division title and possibly a World Series title.  Liriano squares off against Martin Perez and the Rangers tonight at 8:05 PM, as the Pirates look to keep up their winning ways of 2013.


Here are a couple links of other great reads about the Pirates and the number 82.

Tim Williams over at Pirates Prospects

Pat Lackey at Where Have You Gone Andy Van Slyke?