The cities of Baltimore and Pittsburgh have been through quite a bit with their baseball teams in the last decade. They are roughly four hours apart in terms of driving distance, and of course, have passionate fan bases when it comes to their sports.
As we all know, both cities have quite a few parallels; however, none of them mirror more closely than the futility of their baseball franchises.
The Orioles have not had a winning season since 1998, and the Pirates have not had one since Barry Bonds left the franchise after losing the National League Championship to the Atlanta Braves - more than 18 seasons ago.
The two franchises are playing one another this week in interleague play, and last night, fans - who either watched the game on TV or were lucky enough to see the action in person - saw them partake in “Turn Back the Clock Night”.
They wore replica jerseys from the 1971 season on Tuesday, and for one night, the game might have literally symbolized, “what things once were”.
As it is in 2011, the Orioles and Pirates are trying to reclaim some lost glory and instill hope with their fan bases that they both may have a fighting shot to win in their respective leagues.
At this point, the winning process is going to take time and a whole lot of patience. The Orioles have been trying to rebuild for 13 years, the Pirates for 18, and they still are struggling to find the “magic formula”.
The good news is this: so far, both teams are greatly improved from their respective situations from last year. We all know the impact that Buck Showalter has had for the Orioles; meanwhile, in Pittsburgh, another manager who has won the past - Clint Hurdle - had the Pirates over .500 as of last week.
The two squads have emerging young stars on the field and on the mound. We’ve seen what Adam Jones has done for Baltimore in the past few years, along with Matt Wieters; meanwhile, the Pirates have Andrew McCutchen, who looks like the next big thing, as he seems to be the prototypical five-tool player.
Both teams have improved their roster from last season, however, they are nowhere close to contending. The Pirates and Orioles may not even reach .500 this season, but they have given their fan bases hope. The goal should be improving from within; plus, using the draft to build the major and minor leagues.
However, as a fan that pays to go to ballgames in Baltimore and loves sports in general, I want to see my team win and be entertained for the money I dish out. No one can stand continual losing - especially if has been 13 years. I can only imagine what a Pirates fan feels like.
Fans in Pittsburgh also want the same for their Pirates.
It would be nice if fans had the patience to watch a team rebuild and get to really know their athletes; however, in the sports world - and in the entertainment business - most fans want instant gratification and don’t have time for patience.
The talent for both teams is there, and they have capable men at the helm as managers, therefore, everything just has to come together.
The question simply is: how long is it going to take to win?
Anthony Amobi blogs about the Orioles at Oriole Post. His observations about the O’s appear as part of MASNsports.com’s season-long initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our site. All opinions expressed are those of the guest bloggers, who are not employed by MASNsports.com but are just as passionate about their baseball as our roster of writers.