As a baseball fan, I have never been a part of a longer, stranger season than the 2009 Pirates' season. The Pirates entered the season looking like a 95-loss team with an awful pitching staff and three impending free agents. They exit the season as a 99-loss team with surprising pitching depth and a bunch of question marks. They traded half of the position players that took the field on Opening Day, two starting pitchers that seemed like the future of the franchise just two short years ago, and one of their best relievers. They set a record for both Major League Baseball and all American sports by racking up their seventeenth consecutive losing season. Before a late season hot streak to avoid 100 losses, they dropped 23 of 26 games.
And despite all of this, I'm not kidding even a little bit when I say that on October 4, 2009, I feel better about the future of the Pirates than I have at any point since the inception of this blog. The turnover on the big league roster this year was remarkable and it gets most of the focus from the public, but internally the focus has been on rebuilding a minor league system to feed that big league club and strides made there are what's important for the future of the Pirates. Keep reading after the jump.