Well, not yet, but it’s coming.
Balls, strikes, pine tar and cleats. Diving catches, tape-measure home runs and doubles stretched into triples.
It’s on its way back.
And I cannot wait.
Even though they cannot really contend for anything more than an 85-90-win season, right?
That is just another of many unanswered questions facing the Pittsburgh Pirates heading into 2019. Others include, can Jameson Taillon become a for real ace, can Trevor Williams pitch anything close to the way he ended 2018, and do it for an entire season, can Joe Musgrove stay healthy for 10 minutes, was the Chris Archer trade worth it, and can Mitch Keller secure that fifth starter’s spot?
And those are just from the starting rotation – the group Clint Hurdle and Neal Huntingdon are counting on to keep the Pirates in the discussion for the postseason.
The lineup has even more unanswered questions ranging from whether or not Jung Ho Kang can regain his stroke, to Josh Bell overcoming a sophomore slump, to why did the Pirates sign Lonnie Chisenhall and Melky Cabrera?
When will Gregory Polanco return (and how long will it take for him to return to form,) is there a Major League shortstop on the roster and how will Adam Frazier field second base are also legitimate questions/concerns for the 2019 Pirates.
If every question is answered and the answers all favor the Pirates, 2019 could be a fun year – the starting rotation does have some serious potential – but a team like the Pirates – a team with modest resources unwilling to spend up to compete – has very little margin for error.
Until reality sets in, whatever that might be for the 2019 Pittsburgh Pirates, I will enjoy the optimistic delusion that seems to come with almost every new baseball season.
- I am glad I held off. I wanted to pile on and lambaste Jim Rutherford for dereliction of duty, for bad trades and misuse of resources, for ruining last season, this season, and the foreseeable future. Then I remembered – Sidney Crosby is still a Penguin. Sid’s recent run recalls some of the greatest hockey of his career and reminds even the most negative of curmudgeons that as long as 87 is on the roster, the Pens are in it.
- I hope Pitt basketball fans are not discouraged by the Panthers’ long losing streak in the ACC. While Jeff Capel took steps forward with the program, Pitt competes in the best college basketball league in the country and is enduring the growing pains of a program with precious few ACC caliber players. Pitt is headed in the right direction, Capel knows what he needs to play with the blue bloods, and Pitt is not too far away from playing meaningful basketball in March.
- AB AB AB AB AB AB AB AB AB AB AB AB AB AB AB AB AB AB AB AB AB AB – hold on, let me count . . . 19, 20, 21, 22 – ok, AB AB AB AB AB. There, 27 AB mentions should be enough for the mandatory, Pittsburgh Sports Column AB Mention Minimum Requirements. That’s an official thing – see how I capitalized the title? Only one way to end this super positive column – where will AB land and what will the Steelers get back? Who cares?