THE PIRATES OF THE ALLEGHENY

No Johnny Depp starring vehicle here. No lusty wenches and, in the end, there was more buckling than swash.

But instead of a movie generated from the same group of creative minds who drew from their own amusment park attraction, this tale is much more classical.

One can find elements of Shakespearean comedies, most notably the aptly titled Comedy of Errors or perhaps Love’s Labour’s Lost with the fitting line

Affliction may one day smile again; and till then, sit thee down, sorrow!

Or maybe one of  Shakespeare’s  tragedies is more apropos. Macbeth, after all, is a tale of high ambition that ends in a bloodbath.

But most assuredly one finds many elements of the Faustian legend assembled here. From the sudden turnaround from mere competency, if that, to dominence (undoubtedly the result of a deal with the devil) only to see the deal is tainted, unsustainable and, in the end,  Old Scratch claims the soul of the loyal fan, not of the once heroic protagonist(s).

I’m speaking of course of my beloved Pittsburgh Pirates, just several minutes past the completion of their twentieth consecutive season of sub .500 baseball.

There were highlights galore, most especially in June and July following a so-so April and May. But the season…unfortunately…extends through August…nay…into early October in this year’s edition and the 2 and 3 run home runs grew further apart and 1-2-3 innings recorded  by the pitchers consisted more often of runs than outs.

Much criticism is and will be directed at the owner…Bob Nutting… for not allowing his General Manager Neal Huntington to make expensive acquisitions at the trade deadline  in July or even through waiver deals in August. However, take note that the contending team which took on over $200 million in additional payroll in an August waiver transaction, the Dodgers, was 14-20 after that and also missed the playoffs.

One can look at the 2012 accomplishments…and there were many…as both favorable for today and promising for the future. The inadequacies were more prominently on display when the previously more than adequate too often came up short over the last 60 or so games.

No need here for a detailed recap nor for the presentation of statistics to bolster my observations. Baseball record books and web sites are readily available for those whose curiosity is not sated by this piece.

My greatest personal disappointment stemming from the “collapse” is that both of my sons were fully invested in the presumed turnaround from loser to contender visible before August. That is not because baseball or the Pirate team specifically are so vital to our lives, but because the relationship between the three of us was nurtured so much by a shared love of the game and of the team.

Likewise my relationship with my own father featured the National Pastime, though not based solely upon it. Think Field of Dreams.

In the meantime, I’ll express myself with the decalaration seemingly a part of the game since time immemorial

WAIT TILL NEXT YEAR!

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