Whenever you read about the Pittsburgh Pirates these days, you hear about 2013 being the summit of a 21-year-slog. With their win over the Texas Rangers on Monday, it was officially the end of more than two decades of losing baseball, dating back to 1992. Barring a massive collapse over the next two weeks, it's soon going to also be the end of a playoff drought going back to that same season.
As the NL Central race heats up, the Pirates have been treading water, having lost 16 of 30 games over the past month of play. After being swept by St. Louis, they finished off a sweep in Texas on Wednesday. To date, this season has seen them spend 52 days in first place, but it could end without a single home playoff game should they be unable to hold off the Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals and end up with the second wild-card spot. Wouldn't that end up being the most Pirates way possible to end the streak?
Yet for all of the discussion about what the Pirates are in position to end, the state of this franchise is far more about the future than the ghosts they're about to excise. The 2013 season isn't the end. It's merely the beginning because this organization is being built for the long haul, not just to poke above .500 for one year before falling back off. (Looking at you, 2003 Kansas City Royals and 2009 Seattle Mariners.)