Pirates Bandwagon Filling Up Fast After Cruz's Great Game

Photo Credit: USATSI

I am not the almighty gatekeeper of the Pittsburgh Pirates.  I welcome all those who want to jump on this newly formed Pittsburgh Pirates bandwagon driven by Oneil Cruz himself.  Let’s enjoy this ride together.

However, as a Pirates’ season ticket holder, of now 17 years, I have faced ridicule, scorn, and name-calling for the better part of two decades.  At 28 years old now, I've been a season ticket holder more years than I haven't been.  

I have been told I’m brainwashed by the owner.  I have been told I should stop going to games in protest.  And anytime a player does anything above average there are many replies of “well he’ll be traded in a year anyway if he keeps this up.” (Please stop these replies.  They are beyond nauseating.) That’s what 14 of the last 17 years have been as a diehard Pittsburgh Pirates fan.

Now, the savior has come.  The tallest, fastest, and strongest shortstop in all of Major League Baseball.  And that's not hyperbole.  

At 6’7”, Cruz is the tallest shortstop to play the position in MLB history.  He also, in just his first game of the 2022 season last night, set records for sprint speed and his throw from short was the fastest by an infielder this season.  Cruz is truly the tallest, fastest, and strongest shortstop in the league right now per several metrics.

And no doubt Cruz deserves this attention and will garner more of it all season.  Last night, Cruz was 2 for 5 with four RBI and a double.  He also appeared to force the error committed in his first at-bat because Cubs’ 2nd baseman, Jonathan Villar, saw Cruz flying down the line.  Cruz then later scored on a sacrifice fly that wasn’t much more than 40 feet out of the infield.

Every inning it appeared Cruz was doing something other-worldly.  He is already a superstar and there is no sign of that changing.

However, now it seems everyone wants to get in on the Pirates bandwagon.  A certain flagship station, who hasn’t talked about the Pirates since before the NFL Draft, now has tweet after tweet about the Pirates and Oneil Cruz.  Those who haven’t written or blogged about the Pirates since Kenny Pickett’s Pro Day are demanding the Pirates trade Bryan Reynolds for pitching help.  ESPN tweeted something positive about the Pirates for the first time since Andrew McCutchen was on the team.  And I know the next time I’m at a game there will be many of the fans who made fun for the first 65 games of this 2022 season, and have been making fun much longer than that. 

So while I am not here to throw anyone off this newly exciting ride of ours, just remember who has been taking it on the chin for months now.  Those of us that watched, and reported, on the Pirates so you didn’t have to.  We’ve seen some s**t, so to speak.

We watched the Pirates lose 21-0 to this same Cubs team just 59 days ago.  We watched the Pirates suffer eight straight losses just this month.  We’ve heard the insults and the ridicule every time we’ve tweeted something positive or posted a positive Pirates blog for months now.  So this is our time to shine just as much as it’s your time to join.

And don’t be the kind of bandwagon fan who jumps off after a series loss.  This team is still very young.  In fact, last night Bligh Madris accounted for the team’s 11th MLB debut this season.  And I don’t want to fail to mention Madris who had an even better night than Cruz.  He went 3 for 4 with a double, two RBI, and a stolen base.

But this team is very young, and as manager Derek Shelton said, they will do some extraordinary things, but will also do some very stupid things.  It’s the nature of a young team.  So if you’re getting on the bandwagon after one night of Cruz and Madris, great!  Welcome aboard! 

But don’t be a wishy washy bandwagoner.  Once you’re on the boat, there’s no getting off.  The ship has sailed and we’re not docking for a while.