Hanging it up on the Pirates … for a price

July 29, 2009
Sid Bream beats the tag, and starts the longest losing streak in pro sports history.

Sid Bream beats the tag, and starts the longest losing streak in pro sports history.

The 1992 NLCSPittsburgh Pirates at Atlanta Braves. Game 7.

One of the worst nights of my life.  And I remember it like yesterday.

The Pittsburgh Pirates, after two years of NLCS flameouts, were just one strike away from the World Series.

Then, Francisco Cabrera’s hit off Stan Belinda found the outfield … one run scores to tie the game … and Barry Bonds (the non-juiced variety) fails to throw out a gimp-legged Sid Bream at the plate for the winning run.

And the Bucco Blues began for the City of Pittsburgh … the “Outfield of Dreams” (Bonilla, Van Slyke, Bonds) broke up to free agency in the offseason, key pitchers departed as well. And the team was great no more.

After years of rooting for the Pirates as a youngster with my grandfather, and seeing many great NL East rivalry games at Three Rivers Stadium, my heart was crushed by “The Slide” in the NLCS. Little did I know that the pain of that loss would linger still today.

Since that ’92 NLCS game, the Pirates have failed to make the NLCS or World Series, much less the playoffs!  The 16-year losing streak — tying a record in professional sports — will most undoubtedly end this year with the Buccos setting a new record for futility with their 17th under-.500 season. They will be lucky not to lose 100 games.

Today, the Pirates traded away two of my long-time favorite players — defensive wizards SS Jack Wilson, and 2B Freddy Sanchez — for a flurry of prospects. Earlier this season, the fan base nearly rioted as all-star CF Nate McLouth was shipped away. And 1B Andy LaRoche was dealt as well last week.

Again, for prospects, just as the Pirates had done in past seasons with present/future stars like Jason Bay, Brian Giles, Jason Kendall, Aramis Ramirez, and the like.  The Pirates will enter 2010 with the lowest payroll in the majors — $30 Million. Disgusting!!

It pains me so much to see the Pirates, who have five World Series championships in their storied history and play in one of the most beautiful ballparks in the world, to have front-office management that suffer from “small market syndrome” and ownership that refuse to spend the money necessary to compete in a questionably-good NL Central division.

So today, I am doing the previously unthinkable…

I am done with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
I am putting up my baseball team allegiances to the highest bidder. On eBay.

While I still remain faithful to Pittsburgh’s other championship teams, the 2009 NFL Champion Steelers and the 2009 NHL Stanley Cup Champion Penguins, I can no longer support a baseball team that refuses to respect its fan base in the blatant manner the Pirates’ management does. To perform the way they do is a stain on the City of Champions and a slap in the face to the hard-working people and identity of Pittsburgh.

My Pirates jersey and cap. All for sale, along with my allegiances.

My Pirates jersey and cap. All for sale, along with my allegiances.

So, since eBay does not allow an auction of something “intangible” like fan allegiances … I am including in this auction the tangible items that symbolize my Pirates’ support for the past 24 years: My authentic Pirates jersey (with CLAYTON and 33 on the back, my name and number) and my authentic Pirates New Era 50/50 cap, size 8.

In an effort to wash away the failure of the Pirates (and to help fund my upcoming wedding to my beautiful bride-to-be this October, which makes this sacrifice even more personal), I am offering my fan allegiance to ANY PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL TEAM in the United States, currently in the major, minor or independent leagues.

I ask the following of the winner of this auction. In order to properly embrace the team of their choosing, I ask that they promptly:

1. Provide a fitted ballcap — size 8 — of the team I’m to support. Will wear it proudly.
2. Provide some sort of t-shirt or jersey with the team’s logo to wear in photos for the Internet. (Size 3XL or equivalent)

As a new fan of the winning bidder’s team, I will do the following:

1. Learn the team’s history, players’ names/postitions and season statistics. I will also follow the team’s parent club(s), if any.
2. Follow their games via Internet on team’s Web sites and/or other sports sources
3. Try to attend as many games as possible, within given geographic constraints.
4. Include a weekly segment/update on my podcast (at http://www.BUCKETremix.com) about the team’s progress through the season.

As a charitable donation to the city that has given us so many non-baseball championship moments as of late, 10% of the final auction price will be donated to the Mario Lemieux Foundation, who helps fund such much-needed research in the fight against cancer, which my grandfather (an avid Pirates fan) passed away from.

The auction begins Wednesday, August 5 at Noon PDT on eBay. Click here for a link to the auction.

More details will be given about the winning team on BUCKET, my podcast, during its re-debut August 21st. (subscribe here). Updates on the progress of the auction will be displayed on the BUCKET Twitter account at http://twitter.com/MyBUCKET.

Any questions about this auction should be directed to Corey at BUCKETRemix(at)gmail.com. He will reply as soon as possible.

Im sorry, Parrot!

I'm sorry, Parrot!

And may the Pirate Parrot have mercy on my soul…


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