The Pirates going into spring training had absolutely no expectations. What comes with no expectations?
Going into camp this year Huntington and Russell made it known that very few spots were locks. Competition brings out the best in players.
The best was brought out of Duke, Ohlendorf, Monroe, Salazar, Jones, Jason Davis, Tyler Yates, Donnie Veal, Andy LaRoche among others.
The worst was brought out of Nyjer Morgan, Brandon Moss, Steven Pearce, Jimmy Barthmaier, Daniel McCutchen, Sean Burnett, Tom Gorzelanny, Jeff Karstens among others.
Overall this spring has been a major success mainly due to the fact that there was serious competition for a handful of starting jobs, as well as bench spots.
Players like Andy LaRoche, and Jason Davis have helped to solidify their future in Pittsburgh, while Nyjer Morgan and Tom Gorzelanny become more expendable.
On Apr. 13 when the Pirates open PNC park at 1:35 against the Houston Astros, what will fans expect after seven games? Regardless of the start they have against St. Louis and Cincinnati, most Pirates fans will remain pessimistic.
Tampa Bay last year had a lot of the same qualities this years Pirates team has, a mix of veteran role players and youth.
The Rays also had no pressure going into the season and had an excellent spring.
Am I saying the Pirates will make the World Series? That's a long shot for sure, but to say they will be futile like in years past is ridiculous. This Pirate team is here to challenger for a Wild Card spot in the National League.
Time to Raise the Jolly Roger.