For a long time now, I have been encouraging Pirate fans to embrace their team’s historic losing streak. It’s official now. Your Buccos have become the most consistent loser in North American team sports history.
Unfortunately here in Pittsburgh, the Pirate fan base has a misguided notion that it can actually do something about it. Bucs fans tend feel they can emotionally will the team to succeed through cock-eyed optimism and a bottomless barrel of hope.
But that theory was once again debunked on a rainy Labor Day afternoon when, as the sky cried the tears of Willie Stargell, Honus Wagner and Roberto Clemente, the Pirates clinched a 17th consecutive losing season with loss #82 of 2009.
Other fan bases wallow in their teams’ ineptitude. Boston did it for the Red Sox for decades. Cub fans have been doing it for a century. Fans of the Saints became the ‘Aints. Detroit turned an 0-16 Lions campaign into a source of civic unity a year ago. The terrible Indians had movies made about them. And even Bengal fans are reveling in the circus surrounding their franchise every week on HBO.
Pirate fans should adopt a similar mentality. To paraphrase the great Bobby Knight: “Lay back and enjoy it.”
In fact, might I suggest the franchise itself help the fan base wrap its arms around the record losing streak?
That’s why I’m pushing the following idea for a Pirate promotional campaign in 2010: Seventeen Bobbleheads for Seventeen Losing Seasons.
That’s right. Instead of the endless parade of bobbleheads of players on the current team we don’t care about, why not come up with a way to honor those most responsible for this fabulous era of losing we’ve all endured?
Don’t they deserved to have their images captured in $2.00 worth of cheap Korean plastic and spring technology like Maz, Clemente, and Pops did? Or at least Pokey Reese?
So here we go…17 bobbleheads for 17 years of losing:
*Day 1…Operation Shutdown Bobblehead doll day. Derek Bell sitting shirtless on his boat (Under-age call-girls not included. PNC Park is a family setting after all).
*Day 2…. The first time the Brewers come to town… Randall Simon “Bratwurst Bonk” Bobblehead doll day. Both the Randall’s head and the Bratwurst’s head bobble.
*Day 3…. Kris and Anna Benson Bobblehead doll day. Kris’ head doesn’t bobble. But Anna’s sure does.
*Day 4… Lloyd McClendon Bobblehead doll day. To be distributed on the anniversary of McClendon’s infamous first base toss in honor of the greatest managerial moment of this era. McClendon’s head will bobble (hatless) while hurling first base.
*Day 5… Matt Wieters Bobblehead doll day. To be distributed the day before the draft. The Wieters doll shall wear a Pirate uniform….you know, just so Pirate fans could see what it would’ve looked like (Dan Moskos bobblehead not included).
*Day 6… Brian Bullington Bobblehead doll day. To be distributed on draft day. But this time Bryan Bullington will be wearing BJ Upton’s uniform… you know, just so Pirate fans can see what it would’ve looked like.
*Day 7…. Dr. James Andrews Bobblehead doll day. To be distributed the day after the draft (since usually that’s when most Pirate top pitching draft choices had their first reconstructive surgery).
*Day 8…. Jose Hernandez Bobblehead doll day. Jose’s bat bobbles back and forth in the air hitting nothing…. Ever.
*Day 9… Jimmy Anderson Bobblebelly doll day. Similar to the infamous Pirate Parrot Bobblebelly Day of a few years ago. A great homage to the portly former Pirate Southpaw (box of Kit-Kat’s not included)
*Day 10… John Van Benschoten Bobblehead doll day. JVB’s bobblehead is captured as it puts its bat away in its locker…never to be used again..
*Day 11… Jason Kendall Bobbleankle doll day. First base from Three Rivers stadium not included.
*Day 12…. Dave Clark/Jacob Brumfield Talking Bobblehead doll day. Both bobblehead dolls scream “I got it” as their faces mash together.
*Day 13… Al Martin Bobblehead doll day. Al’s head bobbles around as he stands between all of bobblehead wives
*Day 14… Mrs. Jose Tabata Bobblehead doll day. Her head bobbles. So does that of the stolen baby in the stroller she is pushing.
*Day 15… Raul Mondesi Bobblehead doll day. Doll is distributed in a box shaped like a milk carton. Raul’s face peers out through it.
*Day 16… Jody Gerut Bobblehead doll day. Doll is crouching in front of its locker looking for its knee brace.
*Day 17… Tom Gorzelanny re-issued Bobblehead doll day. In honor of the ill-fated Gorzelanny bobblehead which fans got a year ago… only to notice the doll was giving everybody the middle finger through his glove. Except this time, the bobblehead will be wearing Cubs gear… and extending both middle fingers.
****And a bonus bobblehead to be disturbed when the Pirates lose game #82 next year clinching the 18th consecutive losing season.
*Day 18… The Holy Trinity Bobblehead doll day (Kevin McClatchy, Bob Nutting, and Dave Littlefield). Much like the Duke, Doumit, and Duffy bobblehead doll passed out two seasons ago. This one should be the given to Pirate fans on fan appreciation day in early September. After all, who better for fans to look at and recall the 18 years of losing than these three wise men.
With this promotional campaign and a few fireworks nights sprinkled in as well, PNC Park will have record attendance in 2010!