A step, not a destination
I like the way the Pirates are shrugging off having reached .500. It’s significant to outsiders, because whenever the Bucs get there, it’s their opportunity to revisit the whole 0-for-19 thing. But the fact the players — and staff — treat it as ho-hum is proof that they’re thinking way more than a winning record.
“We want a championship, not just .500,” Andrew McCutchen says.
It’s good to not be satisfied with just chasing .500. And realistic, when you look at the long list of teams that recently coincided ends of long losing eras with postseason appearances. The 2007 Rockies (Clint Hurdle’s Rockies), 2008 Rays and 2010 Reds, to name a few.
This attitude could be part of what Hurdle has meant when he so often has said that 2011 prepared the Pirates for this season. When the Bucs broke through the .500 ceiling last season and even occupied first place for a spell, the guys in uniform reflected the fans’ feeling of satisfaction. And they had little left, emotionally as well as physically, when it went south.
Now the guys who were here last year know better than be satisfied. And among the guys who weren’t are postseason vets such as Rod Barajas, Clint Barmes, Casey McGehee and A.J. Burnett who won’t let them.
Monday’s 4-1 win was noteworthy and convincing; the Reds had come in hot and smoking. But had the Pirates celebrated it, it would’ve been disappointing. Taking it stride was much better.
Right now, I just want to see how far they can take this, just to see the reaction of the legions of people who had already stamped them one of the worst clubs ever assembled. Yeah, they were talking mainly offense, but implicit in that dis was the feeling their pitchers couldn’t come close to carrying the load.
They haven’t dropped it yet.