Are the Pirates a real Major League Baseball team or are they, as I’ve been saying for years, a Major League Team in Name Only?

They stink again this season.

They’re going to have their 20th consecutive losing season.

Let’s pause here and think about how long that is.

JFK was assassinated in 1963. It was 21 years between that event and the Penguins drafting Mario Lemieux.

Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980. George Bush was elected in 2000.

The last time the Pirates had a winning season, I was 43 years old. I’m 63 now and have six grand kids.

When you’re living through something that drags on like this, you tend to lose sight of just how bad it is because one year is just layered on top of another.

We’re talking a failure of epic if not biblical proportions. (What’s worse epic or biblical?)

As Joe Starkey points out in his column, this year’s team is on pace to become one of the worst offensive teams in the history of baseball.

Stop and think about what “in the history of baseball” means. We’re talking about the turn of the previous century.

Think about how many groups of 25 men have been joined together to form a Major League Baseball team in the last, oh, let’s say 112 years.

The Pirates have a chance to be worse than any of them when it comes to, you know, actually hitting the ball.

Last year they made it into first place.

What did they do?

They put together the worst collapse of any first place team in THE HISTORY OF BASEBALL.

So, now they have a surplus of pitching. They’re one of the best pitching teams in the Major Leagues.

There’s talk of making a trade.

But there’s also lots of calls for caution.

“You can’t trade Player X. He’s off the table. That would be giving up too much.”

If the Pirates were a real Major League Team, they would be spending every minute of every day trying to locate a hitter.

Not a guy who used to be a good hitter — a real Major League good hitter. There has to be a team out there that is deep in hitters and desperate to find a pitcher.

The Pirates are still very much in contention for their division.

Did I mention that they haven’t had a winning season in 20 years?

One more real Major League hitter in their lineup the last month and a half probably would have had them in first place right now.

They have a plan in place that includes some really promising young pitchers in the minor league system. A couple of them might even start making a contribution next season.

It’s almost the end of May. They are in contention. Teams that are in contention and have obvious flaws that need to be corrected in order to stay in contention, make bold moves.

They risk sacrificing a little bit of their future for a big piece of the present.

Sometimes they risk a big part of their future.

What do teams that have had 20 consecutive losing seasons do?

Nobody knows because it’s never happened before in the history of baseball.

If the Pirates are to be taken seriously, (I stopped a long time ago and only pay attention because I have to.) they will make a trade for at least one hitter before they fall out of contention. And they’ll give up whatever or whoever it takes to get him.