82. It matters.
I know I’m about 24 hours late here, but I was surprised at how satisfying it felt to see the Buccos nail down their 82nd W yesterday. I’ve only been here for about 40 percent of the record setting (in all 4 sports!) 21-year losing streak. but in the past 8 years, the curse has seemed to settle heavier and heavier over Pirate baseball each year.
And after the near misses caused by August and September the past two seasons, I was beginning to have my doubts that this group would do it. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Hurdle and Cutch and Marte, but I was doubting the development of Alvarez and Burnett wasn’t getting any younger and our big off-season move was a catcher?
That’s why I don’t make a living in baseball. The Pirates took over baseball this year to such an extent that the winning season became inevitable in June. As we watch the standings and try to remember how to calculate a magic number and what it means, all we can think of is making the playoffs — something that seemed a pipe dream last Spring. The winning season just wasn’t that big a deal.
Then, last night, we hit it and you could almost feel the weight lifting off this baseball city. For perspective, let’s remember what was going on the last time the Pirates finished above .500 — the day this happened.
It was October 14, 1992.
George H. W. Bush was in his final month as President.
Gerrit Cole was four days old.
This was on the newsstand…
This was the top movie:
Ross Perot was running for President. A week earlier, Dan Quayle and Al Gore faced off in a presidential debate.
Howard Stern’s TV show premiered that week.
Madonna, who was promoting a coffee table sex book, criticized Sinead O’Connor for ripping up a photo of the Pope on Saturday Night Live.
The three highest-rated TV shows were Roseanne, Murphy Brown, and Coach.
Garth Brooks had the best-selling album, but Boyz II Men had the #1 song.
The was the Dream Team that year.
Charles Barkley was skinny, y’all.
And the Steelers would go 11-5 with Neil O’Donnell at QB and leading rusher Barry Foster.
That’s a lot of water under the bridge. But now it’s done.
82 wins matters, after all. The losing is over.
The monkey is off our back.
The curse is buried. Good riddance.
Now, it’s World Series or bust.