While we watch the playoffs and celebrate the teams who had great 2012s, it's time to bring a much-needed dose of realism, sadness, and cynicism to the table. With that outlook in life, it's shocking that my social calendar has so many openings. As we look back to see who deserves the title of Most Unhappy Bunch of 2012, you'll notice that no Cubs, Astros, Mariners and their ilk are included. There's nothing wrong with a bad season or a rebuilding year, hell, sometimes they're fun what with the sloppy errors and cheap tickets. But to truly have the worst year in baseball, one that is so miserable and nasty, you need to mix high expectations with a healthy dose of underperformance, preferably with a scandal or two.
As noted scholar and philosopher, Bane, once said, "There can be no true despair without hope." Nowhere is this more true than Pittsburgh. After the team surprised the baseball world through the beginning of August, at one point 16 games above .500 and in position to take the wild card, the Primanti Bros-eating folk that cheer on this team saw their hopes rise, thinking that the Pirates had finally stopped being an easy punchline. While the team had been playing above their heads, plenty of people of people thought they'd remain competitive, at least in comparison to those ridiculous, run differential-defying Orioles (Oh, how one day we'll laugh). Instead, outside of Pedro Alvarez, Andrew McCutchen, and AJ Burnett, everyone else forgot to hit, pitch, field, or do whatever it was that they were paid to do.
Thanks to some poor play by the Cardinals and Dodgers, the Pirates were left to linger at the fringes of the playoff field, like the corpses of real pirates, their bodies rotting as a warning for others considering their path. Pirates fans could have accepted another October at home, but playing Astros-like baseball for the last two months and bringing the team a 20th straight sub .500 record was cruelly tacked on, like a new George Lucas prequel. It was gross.