Hello, and welcome to Analysis around the Horn. I hope to use this blog as a means to purvey my thoughts in relation to the Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals, and baseball analysis.
My father raised me as an avid baseball fan. We attended more baseball games than I could possibly count, including memorable and life-changing games such as the 1994 All Star Game; the final game at Three Rivers Stadium before it was demolished to make way for PNC Park in 2000; and attending games in Florida, Tampa Bay, Anaheim, and San Francisco.
I only played three years of baseball during my childhood, and I was terrible at it. I always embraced the statistical nature of the sport, even creating my own fantasy baseball league when I was only ten years old before I knew fantasy baseball existed. It was exciting once I finally discovered it in magazines and online. I graduated with a bachelors of science degree in business from Penn State Fayette in 2007 and from Frazier High School in 2002.
My love of baseball took a hit during the Pirates losing skid after their first place finish in 1992, their last winning season to date. It was frustrating to see them acquire young talent during this timeframe, and then trade them away. We lost (semi) memorable players likes Barry Bonds, Esteban Loaiza, Jason Schmidt, Aramis Ramirez, Brian Giles, Jason Bay, Nate McLouth, and Jose Bautista. Sadly, I could make this list longer. It seemed management had no intention or ambition to create a winning team.
During this 18-year span, the Steelers made 12 playoff appearances and won the Super Bowl twice. The Penguins were division champions four times, conference champions twice, and won the Stanley Cup once. Many of my friends have given up on the Pirates and baseball due to the lack of a salary cap.
I agree it seems unfair in a world where the Yankees maintain a payroll of $196 million, while the Pirates only pay $45 million. But consider the following, the Rays have the second lowest payroll ($41 million) and owns the 9th best record in the majors. Meanwhile the Cubs have the 6th highest payroll ($126 million) and is tied for the 6th worse record in the majors. It goes to show that money isn’t everything.
The 2010 season seemed to prove my theory regarding Pirates’ management and marked the third most losses in Pirates franchise history, which made my move to St. Louis in November all the more easier. I joked to friends and family the Pirates would start winning and Albert Pujols would be traded once I made the transition into Cardinals nation. It seemed so farfetched.
The 2011 season has been full of excitement and heartaches. Trade rumors have been swirling around Albert since spring training. The Cards lost their ace, Adam Wainwright, to surgery before the season began and their closer, Ryan Franklin, imploded to cost the team at least four losses to start the season. Players across both leagues were taking trips to the disabled list like it was the new Disney World.
Meanwhile, the Pirates actually started winning games. Their season peaked on July 19th where they were 7 games over .500 and first in the division, then actually made some positive moves before the trade deadline. It felt like I was going to be metaphorically eating my hat by the end of the season, and then the Pirates were robbed due to the infamous botched call by Jerry Meals. Something must have snapped in the Pirates clubhouse because the wheels stopped turning after that night and they started to free fall.
Many of my Facebook rants went unnoticed, thus a more public domain became a personal necessity and here we are today. Thanks for visiting!