It was the best of times, it was. . . too easy, and corny.
It is not the best of times for the Pittsburgh Steelers, but optimism is very high for the franchise that a division title and potential Super Bowl run is within reach.
It is the worst of times for the Pittsburgh Pirates, mired in a 4-24 slump that has been painful to watch, who seem to have nothing much in the pipeline and no reason for optimism.
A major cause for concern where the Pirates are concerned is that nothing will be done. Nothing.
Bob Nutting will not pay Clint Hurdle or Neal Huntington to sit around and count their millions, so he will allow for their public demise and the destruction of his cash cow.
No significant trades or signings will occur, nobody on the current roster who is average or less than will suddenly become good, and the Pirates will continue to downwards spiral into the dredges of Major League Baseball.
Marlins and Orioles fans will soon be laughing at the Pirates.
And they deserve it.
It is easy to pile on when a team is performing the way the Pirates are performing, but it is the hopeless reality that the Pirates will never spend what it takes to be a true contender for a championship that makes one understand that this season is very likely the beginning of another prolonged losing stretch for a franchise that saw 20 years of losing B.M. (before McCutchen),
It is sad.
Sadly, gate receipts are such a small part of the Pirates’ (and every MLB team’s) profits, that even a fan boycott will not effect change.
That said, if the Pirates draw more than 2,500 fans to any remaining home game, it is the second greatest con job in human history.
Pirates fans deserve better.
Steelers fans are routinely given a competitive product. They have addressed several areas of need on defense, but still have weaknesses that could derail the aforementioned optimism for a run at the AFC North, but at least they are trying.
Bud DuPree remains a major weakness. He can talk all he wants about doubling his 2018 sack total, but his history tells a different story. Still, if he can correct some of his flaws, it could go a long way in helping the Steelers’ defense have an impact.
The secondary also remains a huge question mark. The corners are average to below average, and the safeties have been unable to make big plays at big times, and too often get beat in the middle of the field.
The Steelers have addressed those issues, they think, and there is reason to believe that they can be good enough to get the Steelers back to the top of the AFC North. Devin Bush mania might actually be legitimate as his NFL debut was very impressive, and the Steelers’ offense should be solid again.
And even though it was only the first preseason game, man was it good to see Chris Boswell drill all of his kicks.
The Pirates’ and Steelers’ arcs are in radically different places. Even though both missed the playoffs with records dangerously close to .500 in 2018, how the franchises responded to that failure (which the Pirates probably viewed as a success), speaks volumes about why the Steelers have hope, and why the Pirates are hopeless.