In a select few cities in this broad land—Detroit, Boston, St. Louis, Los Angeles—a not-so-wild dream continues to burn brightly for a World Series appearance at minimum, and maybe victory itself. But for many other cities, the discussion has moved on to football.
Nowhere does the pain feel so acute, I suspect, than in Pittsburgh, where crestfallen Pittsburgh Pirate fans are mourning the closure of PNC Park until the spring, following the team's’ loss to St. Louis last week in the deciding Game 5 of the National League Divisional series.
I took the accompanying shot of this beautiful stadium last July, when the team’s fortunes were at their zenith. In retrospect, you can see the shadows already beginning to creep in. The sense of anticlimax might be stronger this year there than ever before, because the once-mighty football Steelers as of this writing offer not the slightest bit of consolation. They don’t even have a win yet—and, very likely, will finish the season with a losing record.
With such a young team, the Pirates can always take comfort in the cry, “Wait till next year.” It might not be so simple, though, in the brave new world of free agency, and especially playoff schedules. More teams can slip into the playoffs more easily than ever—but more teams can also fall by the wayside early in the going.