Pirate Fans Should Not Cling to These World Series Predictions

Photo credit: Matt Freed/Post-Gazette

The Pirates are beginning to get national attention, but do not get pulled into these predictions that could leave you disappointed.  Live in the now.

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This past weekend, longtime baseball writer Peter Gammons wrote the following in an article of his on The Athletic. 

Gammons' article talks about the Pirates trying to determine where they stand as the trade deadline approaches.  He includes this to say that the team is on an upward trajectory.  However, while this is nice to hear and all, Pirates fans need to take these types of predictions with a grain of salt.  We’ve heard so many of these championship "promises" over the years, that it’s time to stop buying into timeframes like this to estimate the Pirates’ future successes since they are so rarely accurate. 

First, I want to start off by saying that when it comes to Pirates’ Twitter, I prefer to only dip my toe in. I believe that if you get in too deep, you can get lost.  The narratives you hear in an echo chamber like that can be so loud and frequent that it can start to distort how most fans truly feel. 

As a result, I can’t speak to how well this excerpt has made its way around Pirates’ Twitter.  However, if it came across my timeline as someone on the fringe of it, I like to think many others have seen it too so I thought it should be addressed.  Mainly because I suggest if any of you have taken any shred of this to heart, I would erase it from your memory now.

There are a lot of reasons why I say that, but the main one is there are just so many possibilities of what can happen in five years. Truly endless outcomes. While this organizational instructor that Gammons is quoting could in fact end up being correct, from just a statistical standpoint, it’s so improbable. 

There are 29 other teams that also intend on winning a title in five years.  Five years in the baseball world is such a substantial amount of time.  Injuries, which seem to happen more frequently as the years go on, can change the trajectory of a team’s outlook in a heartbeat.  There's just so much that needs to go right, while so many things can go wrong.

I must also mention this isn’t a slight to the Pirates.  I’d much rather hear this than negativity on the team’s future coming out of their camp.  However, you just can’t put any stock into it. It seems like just three years ago, I was hearing how they were three years away from a championship run. And now here we are, three years later, and we’re hearing yet again how the team is five years away from a title. 

It will make you crazy living in this type of world where you’re always waiting for these timeframes to come to fruition.  Speaking as someone who has bought into these before, you can easily get caught up in this vicious cycle and find it hard to get out.  When the present looks bleak, you find yourself clinging to these future outlooks and when they don't pan out, you're left resenting the team.  It's a horrible spot to be in.

That’s why I highly suggest that we, as Pirates fans, ignore these forecasts. I don’t care how connected to the team the prognosticator is, or if it’s your favorite media personality telling you this… there’s just no way to predict this sort of thing. Instead, take it one year at a time. 

Our biggest prospect in the past few years, shortstop Oneil Cruz, just got promoted.  We should be looking for him to live up to the expectations we’ve already placed on him, not wasting time hoping that all of the other prospects set to come up behind him for the next half decade all pan out too. I hate to be the guy to break it to you, but you’re going to be sadly disappointed if you stick with the latter option - it's part of the vicious cycle I mentioned earlier.  Luckily, you don't need them ALL to pan out.

Instead, we need to take baby steps with this organization. So I write this to recommend not living in the future with this team by clutching onto every predicted success that seems to come out any time a Pirates prospect looks to be turning a corner. It's a hopes-and-dashed-hopes lifestyle as a fan.  

Rather, be excited that there are some prospects both currently on the Major League roster and waiting in the wings in the minors to help this team achieve what we Pirates fans have yearned for for so long.  This team is hopefully on the precipice of success.  But holding onto the expectation of a World Series win every five years is simply asking for yourself to be let down time and time again.