"Pitchers and catchers report."
For any hardcore baseball fan, those words are magical. Especially in an offseason where a report dominated the headlines and Clemens made us sit through another Congressional hearing.
However, for any real Pittsburgh Pirate fan out there, it brings another word to mind: Hope.
Laugh all you want, but every February 14, a new season begins, and the hope and need for that streak of 15 to come to an end becomes great. The desire to see the record of at least 81-81 becomes exciting, and the longing to see the sun reflect off the rivers on Opening Day begins to surface.
While it may seem that the front office didn't do anything to help the team this offseason, I'm pretty sure that they have done more then they are letting on. The joyous removal of David Littlefield and pretty much the entire management and coaching staff was the best thing that could happen.
Littlefield did nothing but hurt the team for seven years. Not drafting the best players, making terrible contracts, and dumping salary.
Not to mention, actually telling the team that they will not win.
While the first pitch in Atlanta won't occur for another 42 days, the first pictures of Zach Duke throwing, Freddy Sanchez rehabbing, and Nate McClouth and Nyjer Morgan beginning their battle for center field, bring hope and a smile in the gloomy, grey February days.
At least I know it does for me.