We get plenty of letters here at CBSSports.com, some even written in functional English. But nothing I've received during my tenure as a sportswriter-type person touched my heart the way this note, from a brave young lad named Timmy, did. Get your hankies ready.
|Second baseman Freddy Sanchez is a doubles-hitting machine. (Getty Images)|
I've had a tough life. My father never hugged me. My mother is sleeping with the Sweet Angels Above, or whatever her gang from the work-release program is calling itself nowadays. I have no hearing in my left ear and was recently diagnosed with a mutated strain of scurvy.
Also, I'm a Pittsburgh Pirates fan.
The Pirates have been pretty down in recent seasons, but I just know they're going to turn it around soon -- hopefully by the time I move up on the kidney transplant list. They won 75 games as recently as 2003, so a 78-win season can't be far behind. When I close my eyes really hard and think happy thoughts to block out the yelling and the bad people and the voice in my head that says to burn things, I see the Pirates joyfully celebrating on the mound, basking in the glory of finishing a game over .500.
It's so very cold in the orphanage tonight.
My pencil is down to a nub and I still haven't written my letter asking Santa for a washcloth. So please, Mr. Dobrow, won't you propose a course of action that will save my beloved Pirates?
P.S. Merry Christmas! Unless, you're Jewish or Muslim!
Wow. What a courageous little guy. And can you believe he writes so legibly from inside an iron lung? I'm all about goodwill toward my fellow man, except Duke Snider (a long story, one which I'll save for when I'm starved for a column idea). So let's see if we can't effect a little Christmas miracle of our own and Save This Franchise!™©®. For Timmy!
Short-term outlook: The Pirates careen into 2008 in much the same manner they've entered every season since Barry Bonds left for the West Coast 15 years ago: without a hope or a clue. The potential opening-day lineup, rotation, bullpen and defense are almost morbidly mediocre. The farm system is barren of impact players beyond CF Andrew McCutchen -- who, if recent history repeats itself, will be rushed to the majors and then traded for Ryan Church. It's bad, dude.
Assets: Tom Gorzelanny and Ian Snell are young, cheap and talented. Gorzelanny's funky throwing motion (he puts his left foot in, he puts his left foot out) and Snell's size (he appears smaller than his listed 5-feet-11, 190 pounds) might be a concern down the road, but for now they're one of the better young top-of-the-rotation tandems in the game. If they played anywhere else, they'd be getting hyped up the wazoo.
The Pirates boast a stronger, more reliable right side of the infield than most other teams; only the Phillies duo of Ryan Howard and Chase Utley is clearly superior. Adam LaRoche and Freddy Sanchez have doubles power and field their positions ably, even though they're miscast as core pieces. Jason Bay, his drippy, injury-nicked 2007 notwithstanding, remains a versatile offensive threat.