I hope this finds you well. How is the A1C and the cholesterol? Maybe lay off the cookies this year. Wait, please don’t mark this as read. I know I have asked for the same gift every year since December of 1979, a Pirates World Series, but I am changing it up this year. All I want for Christmas this year is a National League Central Division title.
Did you know the current division format has existed since 1995? I am sure you know the Pittsburgh Pirates have never won the N.L. Central, that’s right not once in 29 seasons. As a matter of fact, the Pirates and Colorado Rockies are the only teams to have never won their division since the current format was instituted in 1995. And at least the Rockies have a fantastic Wild Card run culminating in a World Series appearance to keep them warm at night. Yes, Santa, Oakland, Kansas City, Baltimore, Tampa Bay, Miami, and even the Cubs have won a Division.
I know as a follower of the Pirates since 1879 you may find this shocking. The team that has produced some of the greatest players ever to play and have participated in some of the greatest moments in MLB history have never once won a N.L. Central division title. The Cardinals obviously have won the most with 12, the Cubs have six (that’s right the lovable losers of MLB) Milwaukee and Houston each have four and neither one of them has been a member of the division for the entire time, and the Reds have three. What makes it worse is this isn’t a very good division, in just about any given year at least three of the teams are in some sort of rebuild. The Pirates themselves are in the 23rd year of their five-year plan.
Santa, I know you find this hard to believe, the same team that won the National League Pennant six times from 1901 to 1968 and the National League Eastern Division nine times from 1969 to 1994, is now a team that hasn’t won a Division crown in 29 seasons. Why, after all of these years asking for a World Series title, have I set my sights lower? All signs point to MLB expansion and realignment in the very near future. Who knows where the Pirates will end up? It will just be awful to not have at least one division title. Santa, I have been good all year. Please no more lumps of coal. All I ask for is the 2024 National League Central Title.
P.S. A show of good faith on your part would be an above-average Major League pitcher signed to a three-plus-year contract in December.