The Pirates beat the Astros on Tuesday night, which in itself is not a particularly noteworthy accomplishment. Many Little League teams are probably capable of the same task.
But where the victory puts the Pirates IS something to write home about.
With a 45-41 record, the Bucs are four games over .500 this late in a season for the first time since 1992, which is the last time they finished with a winning record as well as the last time they reached the playoffs. Yet somehow the fact that the Pirates have not been .500 since I was in fifth grade is not the most incredible statistic here.
In my mind, it’s this: last season, the Pirates did not pick up their 45th win until September 3. So they are a full two months ahead of schedule, winning a game around Independence Day that did not come until Labor Day in 2010.
Another notable item is that Pittsburgh unexpectedly finds itself in second place, just a game behind the Cardinals. The Pirates are in the totally unfamiliar position of being potential buyers at the trade deadline, or at least they will be if they keep this up another couple of weeks. From the looks of it, they could desperately use some help at third base — hey irony fans, how about the thought of Aramis Ramirez going back to Steel Town? — but with some quality young players in place they may just want to continue building towards the future.
In my mind, and I’m guessing in the minds of every Pirate fan, 19 years has probably been sufficient waiting time so anything that can be done to start winning now would be greatly appreciated.
Whether the Pirates can continue building on this modest success remains to be seen. But what they have accomplished so far is impressive in itself — for one, I did not anticipate writing about them twice this baseball season, let alone in the span of one month. (For those keeping record, the Pirates are now 14-9 since Huey Lewis rocked the house at PNC Park).