I actually have a real soft spot in my heart for the Buccos. I lived in Pittsburgh from August 1983-May 1987, and I went to a lot of Pirates games. I was at opening night in 1986, which was great fun, although I froze my ass off that night. I had only a suit coat to wear, and it got MIGHTY cold long about the 7th inning. I saw R. J. Reynolds hit a lead-off homer off Doc Gooden as the Mets began their World Series run. In those days, the Pirates were atrocious, and nobody went to their games, so management came up with a great idea--every Wednesday night home game was Buck Night. It went like this: a buck to get in, a buck to park your car, and for a third buck, you got a Coke and a hot dog. Even on my extraordinarily limited student budget, that was an entertainment value. My roommate Al and I spent many an enjoyable Wednesday evening sitting in the cheap seats, smoking bad cigars and drinking warm Iron City, watching the Pirates lose game after game. I saw one of Barry Bonds' first games in the major leagues, and I was at Three Rivers Stadium the day Mike Schmidt hit his 500th homer off Don Robinson in the 9th inning of a game to win one for the Phightins.
Pitt's law school--my alma mater--stands on the spot where old Forbes Field stood. The next building over, called Forbes Quadrangle, has home plate imbedded in the floor where it would have been in the old stadium. The angle in the old wall in center field and the flagpole there still stand, and there used to be a brass plaque embedded in a parking lot marking the spot where Bill Mazeroski's 1960 World Series homer went out to beat the Yankees. I spent many an hour wandering around those spots while a student at Pitt, and as a baseball fan, it still thrills me to stand in some of those historic spots and think about all of the great players who also stood there.
I also remember some great rivalry games between the Phils and Pirates in the 1970's, when those two teams dominated the National League East for nearly an entire decade. I particularly remember the 1979 pennant race when old Pops Stargell and Dave Parker carried the team to its last world championship over a much better Baltimore Orioles team. I remember Kent Tekulve, and Manny Sanguillen, Jim Rooker, Rick Rhoden, Bruce "The Barber" Kison, and Bob "The Gunner" Prince, and especially Roberto Clemente, possibly the best right fielder to ever take the field.
I rooted for the Pirates when they were awful, and I enjoyed the success of their fine teams in the late 1980's and early 1990's, and I regret their lack of success today. This team is saddled with a tiny market, no budget, terrible ownership, and a lot of mediocre players. Unfortunately, they seem destined to continue to be awful, which is too bad. I'd love to see them at least break the .500 barrier last year, because as it stands, they've joined the true pantheon of epically bad baseball teams with this dubious honor they've just achieved.