With three more losses, the Pittsburgh Pirates will be guaranteed their 17th consecutive losing season, something no other major American professional sports team has been inept enough to pull off.
Take a moment to consider the enormity of that feat. There are kids just about out of high school who have NEVER seen the Pirates finish even 81-81, let alone threaten to win a championship. The last time the Pirates had a winning season …
— Hannah Montana was about to enter the world.
— It was Iraq war, not wars.
— Jay Leno replaced Johnny Carson as host of the Tonight Show.
— Madonna turned 34, which is how old A-Rod is now.
So are the Pirates the worst U.S. sports franchise ever? It’s tempting to say so, but 17 years is a long time, and our memories are short. The Pirates used to be proud, used to be talented.
They’ve got five championships and nine pennants on their resume, and of their 128 seasons, 69 of them have been winning campaigns.
So they’ve been terrible in recent years, and their current team isn’t worthy of cleaning the bathrooms in that beautiful stadium. But worst ever? Afraid not. Not even the worst in baseball history.
Pick on the Astros, or the Mariners or the Rangers or the Brewers. But lay off the Pirates. At least for now.
Of course, there’s still time.
If you Twitter, and can appreciate a happy Pirates story, follow me at @Bharks.
Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area hints that the Giants may be done with outfielder Hunter Pence. It’s not clear just how seriously the club is contemplating such a decision, but there are six days remaining on Pence’s rehab assignment, at which point they’ll be able to recall him, reassign him to the minors or release him.
The 35-year-old outfielder has struggled to make a full recovery after spraining his right thumb during the first week of the season. Pence bounced back for a 17-game run with the Giants in April, during which he slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 with one double and one stolen base in 61 plate appearances, but was eventually placed on the disabled list with recurring soreness in his finger. He currently sports a promising .318/.359/.388 batting line with four extra-base hits (including a grand slam) over 92 PA in Triple-A Sacramento.
Despite his recent resurgence in Triple-A, the Giants may not need the additional outfield depth just yet. Mac Williamson, who was recalled in the wake of Pence’s DL assignment, has already cemented the starting role in left field and is off to a strong start at the plate as well. Of course, if the Giants decide to say a premature goodbye to their veteran outfielder (who, it should be said, helped them to two World Series championships over the last seven seasons), it’ll cost them the remaining balance on his $18.5 million salary for 2018.