Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Compare and Contrast - Being a Pirate fan to being a Pens fan

This may sound strange coming from a guy who is so in tune with the minor leagues of baseball and passionate about the inner workings of MLB, but my favorite pro sport to watch is hockey. Specifically, the Pittsburgh Penguins.

It's a weird dichotomy being both a Pirates fan and a Pens fan. Right now, they are on completely opposite sides of the competition spectrum.

Last night, the Pens made their second trade deadline deal in as many days, this time getting Ponikarovsky from TOR for minor leaguer Luca Caputi and spare part defenseman Martin Skoula. It is clear that Ray Shero (top 5 GM in hockey) has set the Pens up for another hopefully-protracted march to the Stanley Cup.

But think about it from Toronto's perspective. They traded a soon-to-be-free agent for a bench player and a prospect. Wow, in this case the Toronto Maple Leafs are the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Leafs are trading anything not bolted down to the Air Canada Centre for draft picks and young players. They are building the farm, the same way the Pirates are trying to build theirs.

As a Pens fan, they can burn the whole farm system down and trade as many draft picks as they want...Flags Fly Forever. It's weird being on the other side of the argument in this sport. Here, the Pens are pretty much like the Yankees or Red Sox. Perennial contender, talent envied (and at the same despised) by the rest of the league, wealthy owner, soon a new arena, and willing to empty the farm to make a run at a title. By getting players from the have-nots of the league.

Recently, I found the site It's like the Baseball America for hockey. At the beginning of this season, they ranked the Pens' farm 28th out of 30. And I don't care. I look at our prospects and think "That guy can fill a role on the 3rd line. That defenseman can be our 4th, 5th, or 6th d-man." It's because we don't NEED our farm to produce stars. The stars are already on the roster and locked up for good cap numbers for long times. We just need to fill the supporting cast around them for the next 3-4 years. And that's all our farm needs to do.

I hope that in the coming days, perhaps in 2011, the Pirates can stop being like the Maple Leafs and start being like the Pens. Use our farm to obtain the missing pieces we need to make a run at a division title or a championship.

Maybe then my "sports brain" won't be so schizophrenic.

1 comment:

  1. New Jersey was a Worldwide Trending Topic on Twitter today I'm just glad it was about Skoula and nothing to do with Snooki.