Sunday, April 10, 2011

Introducing The Pittsburgh Pirates Care-O-Meter

The major league baseball season has just started. Millions of fans across the nation will watch and root for their favorite team in a heralded sport that for decades has been a beloved American institution despite the fact that I have seen congressional hearings more exciting.

I'm not a huge baseball fan. I like it, I suppose, and I'll watch a game now and then and follow the playoffs when they start. But I'm just not into it, to the chagrin of my wife.

There are several reasons for this, of course. I think Major League Baseball is broken: I don't like the luxury tax, I don't like how a handful of teams can spend so much money to buy mercenary players, I don't like how there is an incentive for small-market teams to lose and still make money, I don't like how baseball purists have stunted needed change to allow the game to evolve, and the strikes, scandals, and steroids has more or less shattered the illusion of "America's Pasttime" and turned it into just another team-based sport. Other sports have had their problems as well, but it seems that only baseball has been monumentally resistant to change for the better.

Of course, the biggest reason I am not a huge fan of baseball is the fact that I live in the Pittsburgh area. The local team is the perennially embarrassing Pittsburgh Pirates, who have an eighteen year losing record. Not eighteen years of missing the playoffs--eighteen years of losing more games than they won. This is the longest streak in the history of modern organized sports.

That said, this year there is a new manager--Clint Hurdle--and the season started off to a promising start, takes two away series and keeping their head well above .500. Then they played four games in their home opener series and managed to scrape only one win. So here we are, about a week in, and the much-maligned Buccos are playing even.

I want to like baseball, and so I was excited that this years seemed to start out promising. I have been shaken, a little, because promising starts followed by a summer of suffering and pestilence have been well-rehearsed for years. I hope for better, but expect nothing less.

So, I present to you, the Crank Crank Revolution Pittsburgh Pirates Care-O-Meter.

I have modeled this Care-O-Meter after the Department of Homeland Security's Terror Alertness Chart. The similarities are...striking. As the team does well, I'll care more about their performance. As they collapse dramatically into the expected depths of comically inept ball playing, my interest in the Pittsburgh Pirates, and baseball in general, will wane. My care will more or less depend on two things: 1) what their record is at any given time, and 2) when I actually remember to update the damn thing. Other factors may get involves, such as if they end up having a Free Julie Bologna Action Figure Night or the Pirate Parrot gets caught selling cocaine again.* You will be able to follow the Care-O-Meter by looking to the bar on your right, right below the Twitter updates.

Honestly, I will probably keep this up long past the point in which it will be funny or meaningful to anybody and I'll probably stop caring about it after a couple of weeks.** Though, to be fair, that more or less accurately describes the state of the Pirates for nearly two decades.

*To those non-Pittsburgers: This is true. The Pirate Parrot sold drugs to the players during the Cocaine Sevel trials back in the 80's. This is not a joke.
**Perhaps I need a Care-O-Meter for the Care-O-Meter. Inception!

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