A couple of weeks ago, based on the findings of a rigorous study, I offered advice to those baseball fans whose teams were effectively (though not mathematically) out of contention for a playoff spot this year. The advice was: regarding the AL, root for the A’s or the Orioles; regarding the NL, adopt the Pittsburgh Pirates.
As both Navin and Mississippi Matt have pointed out in the last week, there’s magic and mystery surrounding the Orioles as they continue to win despite what their run differential might suggest. They’re sitting in a tie for first place in the AL East, having bested the Yankees in a Labor Day weekend series.
The Oakland A’s have also been playing out of their minds, posting a 39-17 record since July 1. They’re still in the AL West divisional race, and, if the regular season ended today, would receive the second wild card spot.
Meanwhile, the Pirates have gone 12-20 since the beginning of August, all but wasting their 59-44 record before that.
On July 18th, the Bucs were in first place in the NL Central; now they sit 11 games out of first. [Thanks to Baseball-Reference for the awesome figures here.) Granted, they’re just 2.5 games out of a wild card spot with 27 games to play, but baseball fans in the City of Bridges, née City of Champions, who haven’t seen a winning season in over a decade, might be preparing for even more proverbial rain.
The City of Pittsburgh’s motto is Benigno Numine, which is sorta translated as “By the favor of heaven.” By the favor of heaven, Pittsburgh is a beautiful city — naturally, architecturally, historically. By the favor of heaven, it has remained economically rigorous even after the hundred-year-long steel era. By the favor of heaven, the next four weeks will produce many wins for the Pittsburgh Pirates, and somehow, somehow they will find themselves in the post-season again.