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Pirates Are 32-27, But Have They Really Changed?

In a characteristically creative piece for SB Nation's Baseball Nation hub, Grant Brisbee "breaks up with" the 2012 Pirates, exchanging text messages and a phone call with a team that's doing everything it can to convince him they're worth it.

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But I'm rooting for the best. I'm pulling for you. Oh, god, how I'm pulling for you. I just can't commit right now. I'm sorry. I just can't. Please believe me: You mean the world to me. And if you somehow made it to the playoffs, I'd be thrilled. Beyond thrilled. Euphoric. But I can't commit right now.

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I just can't.

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This is the part where I write "It's not you. It's me." Except it's always you. It's never me. It's always you. So I'm sorry. But I can't do this.

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That's a pretty good metaphor. Despite the Bucs' 32-27 record, excitement about the team hasn't really reached a fever pitch yet, and I think Brisbee's piece does a pretty good job explaining why. We saw the 2011 Bucs contend for four months, after which they completely fell apart. This year's team is more talented than last year's, but it shows clear signs of not being as good as its record so far this year suggests. It has allowed more runs than it's scored, usually the mark of a below-average team. Other indicators, such as Baseball Prospectus' second- and third-order win percentage (which produces won-loss percentages based not only on runs scored and allowed, but also on "run components" such as hits, total bases, etc.), suggest the team is even worse than that.

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Hey, there are only about 100 games left. Last year's team showed that crazy things can happen in 100 games. There's hope, or at least some of it. But I think that if you're going to be a fair-weather fan like Brisbee's piece suggests, it's not quite time to climb on the bandwagon.

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For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.