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July 21, 2011

Are you rooting for the Pittsburgh Pirates?

One of the best stories in baseball is happening a few hours to our west.

Despite a loss on Wednesday, the Pittsburgh Pirates (51-45) are in the thick of the National League Central pennant race. They’re in a fistfight for first place. They’re trading blows with the Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals and are attempting to hold off the Cincinnati Reds, teams that were supposed to be in the mix in late July.

Everyone loves an underdog, so you have to be pulling for the Pirates, right?

Well, maybe everywhere else but here. Things get a little complicated here.

The Pirates have the longest active consecutive losing streak in the history of the four major North American sports at 18 straight seasons and counting.

But if the Pirates go .500 or better this year, the biggest loser baseball crown will be turned over the Orioles, who have had 13-straight losing seasons and counting.

So Orioles fans would have to deal with that indignity. Then there’s the fact that the Pirates play in Pittsburgh. And Pirates fans are, theoretically, Steelers fans as well. And I know most of you that hang out in this bar don’t want joy, of any kind, to rest on the shoulders of Steelers fans.

Then there’s the faction of you that still can’t stand the Pirates because of the 1971/1979 World Series. (I am a professional. I have moved on, but I still can’t hear Sister Sledge without wincing just a tiny bit).

So here’s what I am wondering: Are you pulling for the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Cinderella story? Are you glad that at least one of baseball’s tortured franchises is experiencing hope? Or is that impossible for you because of where this Cinderella grew up? Or the fact that she may wear the glass slipper that Baltimore wants to put on its toes? Maybe that hurts even more.

Daily Think Special: Are you rooting for the Pittsburgh Pirates?

Posted by Dan Connolly at 6:00 AM | | Comments (53)
Categories: Connolly's Corner Sports Bar


I wasnt alive when the Pirates won the world series against us, but I still don't like them. I wish people would stop bandwagoning to other teams like Nationals, the Orioles are bad because we have no money, and the Pirates dont have many fans because of the Phillies. I feel bad for them too, but im not gonna root for 'em. Buy go Mike McKenry!

Rooting hard against them. Can't stand anything Pittsburgh.

Most people here are rooting for the Pirates. Why? Because we want the O's to have the spotlight as the biggest losers in baseball because the lapdog media in this town is in Peter's pocket and won't shine the light on this mess. Well other than WNST and Z on TV that is.

You bet your a$$ i am rooting for pittsburgh, and cleveland and anybody else that hasn't won in awhile and does things the right way.The orioles on the other hand are so far behind the rest of these teams it's laughable. We were all sold a complete bill of goods by andy and this organization isn't any better now then when he came here. He should be ashamed of his self for the job he has done here.Why draft picks don't even want to sign here, when a organization say's it's only able to sign 25 out of 50 draft picks something is wrong somewhere.

Yes, I am rooting for the Pirates. I am willing to set aside the more personal things you noted for "what is best for baseball." Recently, I had an extended baseball conversation with a colleague. He noted that the balance of baseball will have returned when the Pirates, Reds, and the Orioles are competing for the postseason. These are three of the great old franchises that have recently struggled. So, when they rise, true competitive baseball wil have resurrected. So, in the best interest, I am rooting for the Pirates, Reds, and the O's to rise again.


I definitely have mixed feelings. On the one hand, it shows it's possible for teams to pick themselves up off the mat. On the other hand, the Pirates don't play in the AL East. With the unbalanced schedule, would the Pirates be anywhere close to .500 if they played in the AL East? I doubt it. I hate to make excuses, but the Orioles play three perennial playoff teams (Yankees, Red Sox, and Rays) much more than other teams. Moreover, while other teams go through cycles of developing, contending, and then rebuilding, allowing other terms to compete when they are in the down part of the cycle, the Yankees and Red Sox do not because they can plug holes by spending tons of money (Adrian Gonzales, Carl Crawford, CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira). I have to imagine it is hard for young pitchers to develop when constantly facing the best hitters in baseball and getting their brains beat in. The Pirates don't have to deal with that. It is a serious problem for the Orioles and I'm not sure of the way out. (Sure, the Rays did it, but they were so bad for so long that they had the top draft pick how many times in the draft? Let's see where the Rays are in 2-3 years -- I know they had a big draft this year but the jury's still out.

Bottom line: until MLB deals with the inequities the unbalanced schedule creates, and the advantages it gives some "downtrodden" teams over others, I'm not going to root for or enjoy anyone else's feel-good stories.

No. And not for any of the reasons that you mention. It comes down to this, The Pirates have not even tried to put a winning product on the field, yet they still are better than the orioles. As an O's fan it is demoralizing.


Yes Dan,

I am pulling for the Pirates. Peter Angelos was named the worst owner in Baseball by SI two years ago and a .500 year or better by the Pirates would cement that honor. I was in Pittsburgh a few weeks ago and the fans are embracing their team and attendance is up out there.

Here in Baltimore, it's the same old same old, with no end to the losing in sight. This franchise is actually contracting, shutting down minor league teams, and we can only sign half of our draft choices because there is nowhere to send them all. Rather than open the checkbook to scout the Caribbean, Angelos is strangling the existing feeder system because he just doesn't want to spend the money it will take to become competitive. Sure, it's his team and he can do with it what he wants. Just look what he has done. He is a disgrace to Major League Baseball.

Peter Angelos does not deserve to own a professional sports franchise, I think that is pretty clear by now. Attendance is down for more than a few teams, and when and if Baseball decides to contract, Baltimore will be a prime target...and rightly so.

I didn't have to delve into Connolly's text; the headline was sufficient.

After 1971 and 1979, there is ^no^ ^way^ in God's green earth (or in heaven above) that I will root for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

To this day, should "We Are Family" come on the radio or tee vee, i will turn it off ^immediately^.

Period. ^NO^ ^WAY^.

I didn't have to delve into Connolly's text; the headline was sufficient.

After 1971 and 1979, there is ^no^ ^way^ in God's green earth (or in heaven above) that I will root for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

To this day, should "We Are Family" come on the radio or tee vee, i will turn it off ^immediately^.

Period. ^NO^ ^WAY^.

My wife and I just went to one of their games against Cinci. We did the same thing several years ago in the midst of the slump. The difference in the city was remarkable. Love the team or hate the team, it's nice to see long suffering fans have something to be happy about.

A few years back, the Pirates ownership made an effort to straighten out there system from the bottom up. Sure, they play in a weak division, but the effort is reaping some dividends. I can't begrudge them for experiencing a bit of success for their efforts.

The O's have never committed to fixing their system. MacPhail preached straightening out the minors and producing an inventory of players, but the O's ownerships seems to have never committed. They instead look for continual quick fixes to get to 81 wins. It's a losing strategy and the O's have the record to prove it.

I wish things were different, but I have absolutely no control over the decisions either club makes. You ought to ask Peter Angelos if he cares about (potentially) carrying the title of owner with the longest current streak of losing seasons.

Are you nuts? No - not rooting for anything Pittsburgh - not now, not soon, not ever - with all due respect - that's ridiculous!!!!...........especially since it seems like half of Pittsburgh actually lives here - no jobs there - and they make themselves as obnoxious as possible with their banners, shirts, howls, and chest thumping over their Steelers - I say - a Steeler fan's favorite saying: "We hate your football team but we LOVE your jobs!" Just go away Pittsburgh people!


I am definitely rooting for the Pirates. They're like our 1989 team. The fact that they have had more straight losing seasons has never been a solace to me: I just want to see a good Orioles team. Besides, if we're talking about fans I am generally much more annoyed with the fans of teams that have been winning a lot the past few years than those of losing teams.

I don't think the Pirates will do it, I have to say, but I'll be vaguely rooting for them.

You must really be hard up for something to write about. This is just insipid for an alleged sportswriter.

Really? Off day. Orioles stink. Pirates are a story. I am a national baseball writer. Seems like a perfect topic for this bar forum, which was designed to be a place for laid-back discussion. Sometimes contentious, sometimes light. Maybe you stepped into the wrong place.

Oh, hell no. As a long time O's fan who remembers 1971 and sat in a lower box seat at Memorial Stadium in front of Pirates family members blowing whistles in my ear, game 7, 1979, I can not bring myself to ever root for the Pittsburg Pirates. Sorry.

Absolutely not! As a person who lives and breathes everything Ravens I will not root for any Crapsburgh team. I even became a hug Capitals fan when I realized their biggest rival was the Penguins.

I just want the Pirates to finish over .500 so then the O's will be known as the longest losing team in baseball. That way the O's will get a few more seconds of notoriety on the national scene, whether it be in print or TV, which in effect, could put more pressure on ownership and management to turn thing around even faster. I'm probably just dreaming though that any sense of pressure to turn things around even exists.

Yes, I am absolutely rooting for the Pirates. Why? Because when you're as bad as the Orioles you have to hit rock bottom before you can begin recovery. Hopefully being owners of the longest seasonal losing streak in the sport will be rock bottom and help this team begin its recovery. Probably not, but since the Pirates' record has no real bearing on the Orioles anyway, it certainly can't hurt.

And yes, I still dislike the Pirates for 71 and 79. Also for being from the same city as the Steelers and Penguins.

Not a chance. I've never forgiven them for 71, 79, or stealing "we are family" from us. besides, any team that comes from the same town as the Steelers is ultimately tainted.

I want them to finish with a winning record. Thats about it so the Orioles will inherit the longest streak of losing seasons. I've never really harbored any ill feelings toward the people of Pittsburgh anyway. Its the weasels spread around the country that root for the Steelers that bother me. I'm talking to YOU, Popp!!!!

Remember when......

The Pirates WON the series against the O's?

Think of that the next time AM and PA talk about how they can't compete in the AL East.

Then think of the series loss against the dreaded Washington Nationals, etc etc, etc....

Then root for the Royals tomorrow, since if they win and the O's lose, we will be back at the bottom of the league....

Think about that everyone...... ALL the HYPE before the season by the team, the media and the fans..... and THIS is what you've got.

Sometimes - folks simply get what they deserve

What a ridiculous question -- why we I do that?

I would never, ever, EVER root for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Especially after '71 and '79...


No. As much as seeing the Pirates turn things around makes me want to think, 'well, we must almost be there'. I can't root for this team. Game 7 of the 79 series was my 13th birthday, I don't know if my therapist would say I have yet to recover. The only thing having them do well is it gives us one more spot up the draft pick ladder.

Dan, Peter Angelos deserves the Biggest Loser in Baseball Crown.

Three winning seasons out of 19 years of ownership? The facts speak for themselves.

Peter Angelos is a loser, and I wish the media would demand him to field a winning product.

A 30 year resident of Pittsburgh (including Penn State), or course I'm rooting for the Black-n-Gold. I followed Roberto Clemente growing up, and have the greatest respect for the Orioles franchise (Frank Robinson). In a related matter, everything of the "rust belt' cities such as Buffalo, Cinci, Cleve and I'd include Balti - I root ofr, except when they place Pittsburgh. BTW, what's the name of that NFL team from MD?

Regardless of the fact that I am a long time Pirate and Oriole fan-- born in Western PA and raised in Baltimore, I love the 2011 Pirates story. They are a team that plays hard and is really good about maximizing their talent by manufacturing runs, etc. Sometimes Clint Hurdle will use 4 guys in the 8th inning of a close game to do whatever is necessary to get to their shutdown closer in the 9th. And it usually ends up working out.

The Pirates have gotten fat on the Cubs, Nats and Astros over the last few weeks, so we will know their fate over the course of the next few weeks as they play all contending teams.

This Pirates team reminds me of the 89 Orioles in a lot of ways and that is another reason to cheer for them from the viewpoint of a Baltimorean.


Although I gotta say that a dream WS matchup someday would be to beat the Pirates- both b/c of how bad we have both been recently- and avenge the '79 (and '71) WS debacle. Totally with you, Dan- "We are Family" song makes me sick every time I hear it!

No bloody way. I hope they lose every game for the rest of the season.

I always root for the underdog! Every year there is that one team that defies the odds, like the Padres did last year, or the Rays a few years ago when they suddenly got good, or Detroit in 2006. Still it’s only ever one team. Hurdle should win NL Manager of the Year. The NL Central is the biggest thing that has made October baseball interesting; it’s never the same team twice! It’s nice when a team earns their way to the top, rather than buying their way there. Wouldn’t it be nice if someone outside he AL East won the Wild Card? How about either Baltimore or Toronto being in the running in September? The 2010 Blue Jays were probably the best team that was one spot out of last, in baseball history (85 wins!) I think I’ll be able to tell you how the 2012 baseball season will go. Baltimore has earned the longest losing streak in baseball! Every word of criticism this team gets, they have earned!!! This will be just another gem on the loser crown. We’ve got a mountain to climb, but Pittsburg is showing us that it can be done!
I’ve never been a football fan so I’m not concerned about the Steelers/Ravens thing, it always felt kinda forced to start with. Not to mention I’ve got a lot of family in PA so I have a bit of a connection to Pittsburgh. As for 71 and 79, I think that they’ve suffered enough. I’m more upset at Toronto for ending our 1989 season and I’ll proudly put on a Blue Jays hat if it looks like there will be a bit of a difference in the standings.
There are several teams that have suffered during the Selig years in order to give bigger markets better teams. Thus improving the ratings on the national games and putting baseball in a better light nationally. For those of us in AAAA teams it has gotten old. As a baseball fan I’m very happy that Selig has turned the ship around, but Orioles baseball has gotten very boring. Heck, I’m not interested in seeing Philadelphia, New York, Boston or San Fran any more! That too has gotten boring. There needs to be realignment while the sport is not struggling, and a bit more diversity as well.

As soon as I hear "Pittsburgh", can only be reminded of how they have beat us in some of the most important games in Baltimore history. Can't root for them, but I do love when teams like the Orioles find a way to crawl out of the hole it offers hope to Orioles fans and maybe even provides another possible blueprint for success without spending.

Every O's fan should be rooting for the Pirates.. If they win, then the O's will be an even bigger laughing stock than they already are...The sad thing is, King Peter doesn't care what he puts on the field, or what people think of him as an owner.. It's his team, if you don't like it, screw you.. That's the little man's attitude toward the fans of Baltimore...Not until Major League Baseball police's it's owners, making them accountable for how they run a team, nothing is going to change...Not until Angelos finally sells, will the O's ever put a winner back on the field...ADMIT IT, you little dweeb of an owner, you may be a good lawyer, but you're a HORRIBLE owner, and the good people of Baltimore deserve better..Continue to laugh your way to the bank, you'll get yours, ONE DAY !!!

Baltimore needs to get over their Pittsburgh envy. How many times has the Sun written articles and columns in recent years that have a "Why we hate Pittsburgh" theme?

Always root for the small markets over the money teams. The Pirates have lost for 18 straight years and the O's for 14 and the Royals for 17 out of 18 because of the haves vs. the have nots system that is MLB. Pirates payroll is 20% of that of the Yankees and 25% of the Phillies. You have to root for them as they are the ultimate David vs. Goliath.

Having lived in both places I can tell you Balt and Pitt are more similar than different. Same kind of down to earth folks who know the meaning of a hard day's work and who take pride in their teams.

If Baltimore wants to hate a city, New York makes more sense given SB III, the 69 World Series and being in the same division as the super rich Yankees.

yes, as an orioles fan it gives me hope that a perennial last place team can climb to the top -regardless of division.

I'm happy for the Bucs that they have finally turned things around, but I'm pulling for the Brew Crew to win the Central this year before Prince skips town. If any town is more starved for a championship of any sort then we are, it's Milwaukee.

I don't usually post on the Daily Think for more reasons than there are posts here already (and that's assuming I pass the incredible scrutiny this site possesses), but sure ... why not?

Rooting for the Pirates? Not really.

Rooting against the Pirates? Not really.

The truth is the Pirates have no bearing on the Orioles at all -- unless you want to count the three games they played against each other. Then, yeah, I wish the Orioles had gone 3-0 against them instead of 1-2.

The Pirates staying ahead of the Orioles in the losing season streak is just as dependent on what the Orioles are doing -- or not doing -- as it is on the Pirates. In fact, if the Orioles have winning seasons, we don't have to concern ourselves with anybody's losing season streak.

Sure, I still roll my eyes whenever I hear "We Are Family" and not just because it signified what was astray musically in the '70s. And Omar Moreno's wife still deserves a bucket of mustard spilled her way. And Steeler fans are as annoying as they are self-righteous. And four 20-game winners didn't get us four WS wins in '71.

But, that is all unimportant. Their losing doesn't erase our losing (except for the lame interleague play that sparks oh so much interest).

Conversely, the Pirates erasing their own losing season streak would make ours more pronounced. But would it really make a difference?

Fourteen straight losing seasons is still 14 regardless if Pittsburgh hits the reset button or not. The Orioles are either going to change their ways or find new ways to stay the same either way. They will continue to head towards a new standard -- or not -- either way.

(I interrupt my diatribe to bring The Daily Think today's Daily Fact. Many people thought of the Red Sox going 86 years without a championship was futility. A curse even. Truth is Boston was 46-37-3 with winning seasons during that span.)

Back to the Pirates. There is no comparison between the two teams and their situation. Pittsburgh is six games over .500 while being ten games over .500 in their own division which is 39 games under .500. Baltimore is 17 games under .500 while being 13 games under .500 in their own division which is 30 games over .500.

That's not to make excuses for the Orioles. They have (ahem) earned their stripes. They do nothing well.

And I mean n-o-t-h-i-n-g.

At the same time, the Pirates are the proverbial apples to the Orioles' oranges. Taking the metaphor a step further, the Orioles need to stop trying to exhume Anita Bryant, and try and joing the 21st Century.


I will NEVER root for anything Pittsburgh, Dan.

I'm rooting for 0-162. People say it can't get worse and this is rock bottom. Until PA sells, it can get worse.

Why in the world would I ever root for the Pirates?

Bartender – I root for one team and only one team. Really? The Pittsburgh Pirates….

Fail, next question please.

“If you ain't first, you're last” – Ricky Bobby

Get over it folks. The fans there deserved better and are showing up to support an improving team. What's the Orioles excuse for just the last four years? The Pits still need a bat and a couple of power arms to make the playoffs but my misery doesn't need company.

I'm not a Pirates fan, but I'm rooting for them because they have built their team the right way> That's the same way which has been receiving lip service from O's management: Trading productive players for multitudes of prospects, giving minor-leaguers excellent coaching, and waiting it out until the high minors are bulging with MLB-ready performers. The Pirates are going to be sending successful ML players down soon, while the O's are moving players who are not ready up to the big show. If a team I don't care much about buys their way into contention, I root against them. But the Pirates have done it with patience, consistency, and attention to detail, and I will root for them against the perennial powers and the big-money guys.

You Bet I'm rooting for the Buccos.
I attend at least one Pirates game per year. The food is great, the seat prices are lower than OPCY; and almost every game is a sellout for a last place team (until this year). Their games are fun events for families. They have GREAT graphics and intros on the jumbotron with a Priates of the Caribbean type theme, Their banner boards give not only the pitch speed but the drop in elevation and the side to side distance change.
I am still an O's fan, but there are many days when I wonder why. If I lived closer to Pittsburgh, I might have to trade my orange shirts for black and gold.

I definitely root for the Pirates. Growing up in Pitt, I absolutely hated the Pirates and was an ORIOLE fan (and still am)..but as I moved away to Nebraska and dad getting older I gave up the fighting and got closer to my dad by liking the Pirates AND the Orioles. Yes it still hurts being upset by the Pirates twice but why hate the Bucs this year, they are a really nice team with one of the 3-4 best ballparks...gottcha NYY and Rsox! Go Bucs, go Birds....if ever the two meet....Go Birds!!

Gotta root for them, b/c if they can break the slide, there's hope for the O's. I'm more of an Eagles fan since the Ravens didn't exist when I was a kid, so I hate the Steelers just as much as Ravens fans, but baseball is a different sport, and the Pirates run gives me hope more than anything.

Now, I think we've been to the playoffs more recently than a few teams (KC, TOR, WSH/MON). I find some peace with that, haha.

I said it all before; I'll say it all again. I'm a native Baltimoron and Os fan living in Pittsburgh for the last 13 years. I was alive when the Os lost to them in '71 and "79. It was tough, but after losing to the Mets in '69, not quite as bitter. For the last several years the Os and Bucs have had a lot in common -- losing (especially losing because of clueless ownership). You gotta love an underdog. You gotta love a small market team w/o out a lot of big name free agents that is winning. The Pittsburgh fan base is re-energized. Their success gives me hope that maybe someday the Os can do the same thing. Who would you rather see win the WS: the Yankees, the BoSox or the Pirates. I'll take the Pirates.

Having lived in both, I can say that Baltimore and Pittsburgh are very similar towns. Support your home team with all your heart, and remember, it's just a game anyway.

No way I will ever root for Pittsburgh - baseball or football! Like a few other posters, I remember the losses in 1971 and 1979 and I was in the stands during Game 7 of '79.
Believe me, I still haven't recovered from that. I don't care if Pittsburgh plays well, but I certainly don't want to see them in the post-season. Let them watch from home and they can have We Are Family playing in the background.

Dan, I am an Oriole fan but yes, I root for the Pirates to succeed this year. Their fans have suffered with a team much like the Orioles. I have been to their park several times and their fans have been very cordial and polite. Hopefully, we can see the day when the Orioles are in a similar position!!

What a provocative question, Dan! Great idea. (Ignore the guy that called it "insipid".)

I'm rooting for the Pirates. Like you said, everyone loves an underdog. Ideal scenario- both the Pirates and the Orioles regain their former luster and end up in the World Series- giving us the opportunity for vengeance.

I am rooting for the team not the city or it's fans! I hate bandwagon fans and since they moved into they great new park you could not give tickets away to draw in the fans. The fans only want to support the team when it wins and that is sad and as a die hard O's fan, I see that slowly starting here. My parents love the Pirates growing up in Western MD and it would be fun to see the underdog claw it's way to the top!

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About the bloggers
A Baltimore native, Dan Connolly has been covering sports for 14 years, and baseball and the Orioles for 10 seasons, including the past six with The Sun. His first year covering baseball on a daily basis was Cal Ripken Jr.'s final season as a player. It's believed that is just a coincidence.

Steve Gould is an assistant sports editor for The Sun, overseeing Orioles coverage. The Columbia native joined The Sun as a sports copy editor in 2006 after graduating from the University of Maryland.

Peter Schmuck has been covering baseball for a lot longer than Steve Gould has been on this earth. He is now a general sports columnist, but has been a beat writer covering three major league teams (the Dodgers, Angels and Orioles) and also spent a decade as the Sun's national baseball writer. If you want more of his insight on the Orioles and other sports issues, check out his personal blog -- The Schmuck Stops Here.

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