Barry Bonds Barry Bonds

2012 MLB Season Preview: Pittsburgh Pirates

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If you’re a Pirates fan, it’s been hard rooting for them since Barry Bonds left back in 1992 since the organization hasn’t seen a winning season in Pittsburgh since then. John Russel had been at the helm for three years, and the Pirates’ win total decreased each year (67, 62, and 57); after experiencing their first 100-loss season since 2001 and worst record since their streak of futility began, the front office decided to part ways with Russell and bring in former Rockies manager, Clint Hurdle.

With Hurdle steering the ship ( no pun intended), the Pirates were able to accomplish a lot in 2011, including:

  •  Beating the Blue Jays in Toronto on June 28th, marking their first road inter-league victory in two years.
  • They entered the All-Star break above .500, the first time that’s happened since 1992, and also sent three players to the mid-summer classic, which hasn’t happened since 1990.
  • They were in first place on July 18th, which was the latest in the season they have been in first since 1997
  • On July 25th, their game against the Braves was televised on ESPN, the first time that’s happened since September of 2004.

For the first time in what seemed like ages, the Pirates were buyers around the MLB Trading Deadline, acquiring Derek Lee from Baltimore to try and keep themselves over .500 for the first time in nearly 20 years. However, it wasn’t meant to be for the young Bucs, fading during the dog days of August with an 8-22 record during the month and finishing the year 72-90. This was an encouraging season for Pittsburgh and its fans because they hadn’t posted this many wins since 2004, and Hurdle is trying to get his team over .500 for the year before the streak hits two decades.