from 105.9 The X
So far this Pirates season hasn’t exactly incited the fever of a pennant race, but at least the Bucs have been flirting with that ever-elusive .500 mark for awhile now. As far as Pittsburgh baseball goes, that’s kind of like a pennant race. A sad and demented pennant race, but we’ll inhale a deep breath of mediocrity whenever we can sniff it. When the Pirates last had a season ending record above .500, I was just a single young man away for my first year of college, full of piss and vinegar. These days I’m still a single man, but in my 30s and mostly full of just piss.
I don’t really complain about bachelor life because it isn’t for lack of trying. Much like the Bucs’ quest to draft a blue chip player, I’ve just never found the perfect mate. When it comes to girlfriends I’ve made plenty of bad personnel decisions, let too many talented prospects slip by, and didn’t have the payroll to keep the ones I really wanted. I am the Dave Littlefield of dating.
Lately, I’ve come to realize that my dating life for the past 15 years and Pittsburgh Pirates baseball mirror each other in a strange and somewhat symbolic way. I think some of my ex-girlfriends are very much like ex-Pittsburgh Pirates. Here are a few of the women that I have dated and their Pirate player equivalent.
The Bitter Break Up
She’s the girl who still causes your blood pressure to increase with just the mere mention of her name. Your relationship was both rocky and passionate. When things were good between you, they were really good. When things were bad, they were just plain ugly. After one last tumultuous fight, she leaves you for a guy with more money… or better looks… or who has less of a criminal record. You rejoice years later when you see that she got fat and has four kids to three different fathers.
The Ex-Girlfriend - Her name was Jenn (with two N’s). She was attractive. Like, out of my league attractive. She was also high maintenance and loved to argue. I was willing to look past her surliness because of her obvious “talents”, but eventually she grew tired of me and moved on to date a new guy (who I’m pretty sure had a sizable trust fund). Regardless, it did make me feel warm inside years later when I found out that she became a stripper to support a coke habit.
The Ex-Pirate - Barry Bonds
We loved him (Perhaps the greatest pure talent to wear a Pirates uniform). We hated his attitude (He threw a pizza at poor RJ Reynolds). We’ll never forgive him for that lousy throw (it was Sid Bream for crying out loud). Eventually he left us for more money and took his demons with him. While it feels great to boo him, the little steroid problem and his lack of a World Series ring are icing on our hateful cake… but we’re not bitter.
The Party Girl
She was the life of the party. The girl you called at 2AM and she always picked up the phone. Your relationship with her involved both copious amounts of alcohol and nudity. Your time together was fast, furious, and lasted about as long as an Adam LaRoche hitting streak. She never met your mother.
The Ex-Girlfriend – Her name was Kristy. She was a bleach blond part time waitress at Hooters. Everybody liked her. Our relationship consisted of drinking four or five nights a week and then hooking up afterwards. I knew she’d been around the block a few times, but it didn’t bother me. Aside from the wretched shots of Sambuca she would buy me, she was truly the perfect girlfriend. However, it had to end before my liver filed for divorce. So as quickly as it started, it ended with no hard feelings between us. She had another happy hour to go to and I had an AA meeting to attend.
The Ex-Pirate - Kenny Lofton.
Everybody loved Kenny. Speaking of having been around the block, you look up the term journeyman in the baseball dictionary and it says “See: Kenny Lofton”. He was one of the few past-their-prime free agents that ended up being fairly productive during his stint in a Bucco’s uniform, but it didn’t last. There were other teams out there for him to play for. He’d already been around the league with the Astros, Braves, Indians, White Sox, and Giants. So, off he went to the Cubs (then the Yankees, Phillies, Dodgers, Rangers, etc.).
We’ve all dated one and afterwards scratched our heads and wondered why we put up with her for so long. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Perhaps we mistook her bad attitude as moxy. Regardless, things were better without her and as we found out after she was gone, none of our friends liked her either.
The Ex-Girlfriend – Jen (with one N). I was somehow deceptively convinced that she was the perfect woman and carried on a relationship with her for months. It wasn’t until after we broke up that I realized the amount of misery she had inflicted. Not only did she spend most of her time complaining about my apartment, clothes, friends, car, etc., but she also managed to give most of my baseball card collection to her little brother and throw away my high school letter jacket. She still owes me $350. Considering she borrowed it in 1998, I don’t think I’ll be getting repaid anytime soon.
The Ex-Pirate – Jason Kendall
Jason Kendall had us fooled. We thought he was the player we couldn’t live without. We thought he was the heart and soul of the team. Perhaps we thought wrong. While he was perceived as a “leave nothing on the field” type of player, he also was a clubhouse cancer. Notorious for greeting new players to the team with a hearty “Welcome to Hell”, he was also perturbed by Jack Wilson’s youthful enthusiasm, and built a shrine in his buddy Pat Meares’ locker as a display of disgust towards team management. As a predominately single-hitting catcher, he was paid a power hitter’s salary and for years his bloated contract prevented the financially strapped Pirates from spending on other more pressing needs. And to think, we actually felt bad about that ankle injury.
The Ex That You Got Back Together With
You used to date her and then split up. After she was gone, you realized that you missed her. Why not give it another chance? It has to be better the second time. It wasn’t.
The Ex-Girlfriend – Her name was Dana. We dated during college for a few months before we decided to call it quits. She would be spending a semester studying in France, while I spent a semester in a Milwaukee’s Best induced stupor perfecting the spin move on NHL ’95 for Sega. She returned from her semester abroad and we decided to give it another shot, but things weren’t the same the second time around. She kept comparing everything to Europe and I kept thinking about how much I preferred Sega.
The Ex-Pirate – Joe Randa
In 1997, the Pirates acquired The Joker as part of a trade that sent Jeff King and Jay Bell to Kansas City. He hit a respectable .302 with 60 RBIs during that season (which also happened to be the last time the Bucs were in any kind of a pennant race). So naturally, the Pirates decided to leave him unprotected in the expansion draft the following year; they then watched him get picked up by Arizona and promptly traded to Detroit. Obviously undervalued his first time in Pittsburgh, the Pirates brought him back to play third base in 2006 (Randa banked $4 million bucks for the one year deal). The only problem was that the second time around he wasn’t quite the same player. Yet, the Pirates continued to start him ahead of a promising young prospect named Freddy Sanchez. Fortunately for Freddy, Joe Randa suffered an injury (probably while on the way to a buffet) that allowed Sanchez to finally see some playing time and subsequently go on to win the NL batting title.
She loved the attention and led you on just enough to make you keep coming back, but just when things started to get good, she always got cold. There was always a “wait until next time” or “not right now”. You kept trying in hopes of hitting pay dirt, but the day never came.
The Ex-Girlfriend – Heather. She was a cute cocktail waitress at Rosebud who I probably never would have even had to courage to ask out had she not offered me her phone number. She would constantly flirt and toy with me. Foolishly, I spent nearly two months pursuing her with nothing to show for it. Dinners, backstage passes to concerts, and tickets to a Penguins playoff game all wasted. I was the equivalent of Butters at Raisins. It wasn’t until after I finally gave up that a friend of hers told me that Heather already had a boyfriend… who she happened to live with.
The Ex-Pirate – Oliver Perez
Ollie came to town as part of the Brian Giles trade. In his first full season with the Bucs, he looked like he would lead us to the Promised Land by ringing up 239 strike outs with a 2.39 ERA. Then the wheels started to come off. He became wildly inconsistent over the next few seasons, showing moments of brilliance followed by long stretches of ineptitude. By the time the Pirates unloaded him in 2006, he was sporting a record of 2-10 as a starter and had an ERA of 6.63. Now he gives Mets fans the same fits he gave us.
The Girl Who Was Batsh*t Insane
This one is pretty self explanatory. Most of us will admit that women can be a little crazy at times. However, there is always that one girl who is crazy miles beyond all the others.
The Ex-Girlfriend – Janey. I should have known she was a little off when I met her (she had crashed a wedding that I was attending). In the very short time we were together; she threatened to never speak to me again because she did not like the website of the company I worked for, refused to ride in my car after she found out that I had fixed my own brakes (presumably because I lack the proper A.S.E. certification), once changed her mind on where we should eat three different times in the same evening (twice after having already been seated in two different restaurants), and accused me of installing a “secret program” on her home computer so that I could spy on her email. Then on the second date…
The Ex-Pirate – Raul Mondesi
Despite having a namesake blog being his only legacy to his time in Pittsburgh, Raul Mondesi does have the dubious distinction of possibly being the most dysfunctional player in a franchise overflowing with dysfunctional players. Think of it, Doc Ellis’ no hitter on acid, Dale Berra’s cocaine encrusted mustache, and Derek Bell’s Operation Shutdown somewhat pale in comparison to the madness of the Legend of Mondesi. After signing a deal with the Pirates, he managed to find a way out of his contract by claiming that his home in the Dominican Republic was under siege by gunmen. So, the Bucs shredded his contract. Ten days later, he had a new deal with the Anaheim Angels. Since his last stint in the majors, Raul has been fined for stealing electricity and now is a politician representing the Dominican Revolutionary Party. To quote Chuck Noll, it’s obvious he’s gone on with his life’s work. On the Island of Misfit Toys known as the Pittsburgh Pirates, he is the Charlie in The Box.