Ever see the movie "Enter the Dragon," starring Bruce Lee? Near the end of the movie, Lee fights LITERALLY dozens and dozens of henchmen during his quest to bring down the henchmen's boss, Han. Lee fights off one henchman after another, as they come in wave after wave. As you might expect, Lee, the baddest man who ever lived, defeats every single bad guy, including the main one at the end.
As the Pittsburgh Pirates begin the post-All Star Game portion of their 2013 season, there is great angst in Bucco Nation about how the team will finish and if a third-straight second-half collapse is even possible with a 56-37 record.
I haven't the foggiest idea--just like everyone else--but I know I won't rest until the season is over and I know once and for all if there will be a great finish to celebrate or another awful one to mourn. Just like Lee in the movie, I'll always be looking over my shoulder for the next great worry. Will the pitching hold up? Is Neil Walker's latest injury enough to keep him out for a lengthy period of time? Even if he does come back early enough, will his bat ever wake up? Will any other Pirate suffer a serious injury? What moves will Neal Huntington make at the trade deadline? Will those trades ruin the team chemistry? What if Huntington doesn't make any major trades, but the Cardinals and Reds do? Will those moves make those teams so much better than Pittsburgh?
The fear of the unknown may be the greatest fear of all. In the case of the Pirates, most fans under the age of 25 have no idea what it's like to cheer on a postseason team, so until it happens, it's going to be kind of hard to believe it'll actually come to pass--up until now, all they've witnessed is failure.
Heck, even fans who were old enough to witness postseason baseball in Pittsburgh (Yours truly) aren't going to believe it until they can party like it's 1992.
And, no matter what they say, the players themselves won't truly believe it until they close the deal. To paraphrase Steelers Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw, "You never know if you have the team to win a championship until you actually do it."
No, we don't know, and yes, we do have fear. But like Lee fighting off those henchmen in Han's dungeon, we're going to keep moving forward because we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Happy second half, Pirates fans!