Sometime this week, the Pirates will suffer their 88th defeat of the season and officially become the losingest Pittsburgh team in 22 years. No parade is scheduled. At their current pace, they will finish the year with a record of 51-111, the worst by any big league team since the 1965 Mets. Yet young players like Khalifa and outfielder Joe Orsulak, the NL's top-hitting rookie (.283), see reason to hope. This is their chance to prove themselves. They certainly don't complain, as Candelaria once did, about minor matters like taking cheap commercial flights.
"In California they put us on charters and fed us crab legs," says Brown, who has hit .346 since joining the Bucs. "I'll tell you, crab legs don't mean much when you aren't playing. I'm very, very happy to have this opportunity."
"We're just having a bad-season like any other club can have," says Stargell, ever the leader. "As long as everyone keeps rowing the boat, we'll keep going until we see land." Land? Ho.