For six months out of the year, when listening to ESPN radio Pittsburgh sports fans are tuned in for pretty much one thing, and one thing only: news about their beloved Pirates. And this year, baseball radio in the Steel City got really interesting. For the last 20 years or so, ESPN radio Pittsburgh has had to report sad news to Pirates fans as the Pirates racked up some of the most miserable statistics in the league. In fact, they had the longest stretch of losing seasons in the history of North American professional sports, chalking up 1,796 losses into the books. Ouch, Pittsburgh.
But things are looking up, and ESPN radio Pittsburgh is loving it. On Monday, the Pirates defeated the Rangers, adding their 82nd win for the season and bringing live sports radio listeners to their feet. Sports radio stations across the city were awestruck.
But how did they manage it? Pittsburgh certainly doesn’t have the resources available to teams like the Yankees, BoSox, Phillies, or Angels. What they do have, to quote the great baseball musical Damn Yankees is heart. By drafting young players like Andrew McCutchen, winner of the leagues MVP award, Starling Marte, Pedro Alvarez, and Gerrit Cole and locking some of them in with long term deals, they’ve signaled to ESPN radio Pittsburgh listeners that they’re in for more than just winning season broadcasts. They’re gunning for the World Series radio broadcast.
Impressively, that’s all been executed on the MLB’s fifth smallest payroll. They’ve recognized that baseball success doesn’t have to come from big Yankee level money. It comes from being smarter, savvier, and even a little riskier than other franchises. Only time will tell whether the Pirates can keep up their streak. In the meantime, however, they’ve given ESPN radio Pittsburgh listeners something to tune in for, and after 20 years, that’s something pretty special.