We usually do the top-10 moments of the Curve season at this time of year, but sadly, there were nowhere near 10 moments good enough to fill such a list.
It's been a long, long season that included the club starting 0-8, bottoming out at 26 games below .500 and finishing up the home portion of the schedule with a five-game losing streak.
Instead of trying to pick out the 10 best moments, this year we're making it the 10 biggest story lines of the season.
Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski
Curve players emerge from corn on the outfield wall prior to Thursday’s game.
No. 1: Alvarez amazes
Pedro Alvarez came to Altoona with great hype, and those kinds of players usually don't come close to living up to expectations. Alvarez, the Pirates' top prospect and the organization's best hope for future stardom, turned out to be even better than expected.
The third baseman will go down as one of the best players in Curve history despite playing just 60 games. He batted .333 with 13 homers and 40 RBIs and showed a flare for the dramatic with two long balls in his home finale.
No. 2: Bad team
It was difficult watching the Curve the first half of the season. They got off to an awful start, and for an extended period they had the worst record in all of minor league baseball.
The club is currently 18 games below .500, on pace to break the franchise record for futility of 16 below in 2001.
We got spoiled in Altoona watching good teams early in Curve history, and the four straight playoff appearances from 2003-06 were a lot of fun. What transpired for much of this season was not fun to watch.
No. 3: Bad attendance
The Curve finished down 16.7 percent - the reasons why were laid out in Sunday's Mirror - as they averaged 4,312 fans per game at Blair County Ballpark.
No. 4: The second half
The Curve were one of the best teams in the Eastern League in July and August, thanks in large part to Alvarez coming up from Single-A Lynchburg. First baseman Miles Durham also helped solidify the offense after coming up along with Alvarez.
The team recently had a seven-game winning streak, the second longest during one season in franchise history. Unfortunately, the club was buried so badly in the standings that it never came close to getting back into playoff contention.
No. 5: Lincoln's legacy
Brad Lincoln emerged as one of the best pitchers in Curve history, showing a power arm, great stuff and good mound presence. He departed for Triple-A ranked second in the Eastern League with a 2.28 ERA.
Lincoln also pitched one of the best games in franchise history with a two-hit shutout at Bowie on May 21.
No. 6: Addition by subtraction
Two big Pirates trades brought a couple of prized prospects to Altoona. Center fielder Gorkys Hernandez came over from the Braves in the Nate McLouth trade, while pitcher Tim Alderson came from the Giants in the Freddy Sanchez deal.
Those two, along with Alvarez and outfielder Jose Tabata, provided Curve fans a chance to watch four of the minor leagues' best prospects at BCB.
No. 7: The low points
Three things stick out the most when it comes to the team's struggles on the field.
A 19-2 drubbing against Erie on July 7 was the worst loss in club history. A little more than a month earlier, on June 2, the Curve blew a 9-1 lead at Erie and lost, 12-9.
The single-worst play occurred on May 20 at Bowie. The Baysox dropped down a 45-foot bunt, and the Curve defense kicked the ball around so badly that two runs scored and the guy who bunted it came all the way around to tie the game.
No. 8: Saying goodbye
The most heartbreaking story of the year occurred in May when former Curve staff member Kerri McEachern died of cancer at age 24. McEachern was the fiance of former Curve broadcaster Jason Dambach, the current general manager of the State College Spikes.
Dambach was on hand for Thursday's home finale to receive a check for $2,000 to be donated in McEachern's name to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
No. 9: Parney to Richmond
Former Curve GM Todd Parnell left his job with the Spikes and Greenberg Sports Group to become part of the front office with the new Double-A team in Richmond, Va.
Parnell was a huge part of the Curve's success for seven years, and the franchise never would have enjoyed the success it did without him.
No. 10: Pirates country
The Curve signed a four-year extension to the player-development contract with the Pirates on May 23, guaranteeing that Bucco minor leaguers will be playing in Altoona through the 2014 season.
The two sides would sign a lifetime agreement if possible, but rules prohibit that.
Hopefully at some point in our lifetimes we will see the players who came through Altoona go on to win a World Series with the Pirates.
Cory Giger can be reached at 949-7031 and firstname.lastname@example.org.