Whether you think that hope springs eternal or not is really a personal preference, but you'll never hear the phrase more than during Spring Training. The easy fallback of almost every baseball writer is that the slate is wiped clean and even the most pathetic teams have a chance to start over. As Pirate fans, we know this is absolutely not true. Still, in keeping with spring tradition, I'm already being mildly chided for crushing people's hopes for the season before exhibition games even start. I'm not going to change my outlook here, but I'd like to try something a bit different today.
Just because I don't think that the Pirates will win the NL Central or finish .500 or win 75 games doesn't mean there aren't things I'm hoping to see this year. It's just that I'm a little more ... realistic. So these are the things I'm hoping for in 2009 that I think have a chance to happen:
- That Joe Kerrigan really teaches Ian Snell how to pitch and he recaptures the dominant form he flashed in the first half of 2007.
- That Andy LaRoche actually can hit and shows us that he can.
- That we finish ahead of the Astros. Ed Wade is just as bad as Dave Littlefield and he must be stopped. Plus, he'll never take anyone we want ahead of us in the draft.
- That we have another good draft.
- That Andrew McCutchen can handle his first taste of the majors.
- That by this year's signing date for draft picks, Pedro Alvarez has hit well enough that we've all forgotten the drama he's created.
- That Brad Lincoln has a strong second year back from Tommy John surgery.
- That Danny Moskos starts to turn things around as a reliever. Sure, Littlefield screwed up by drafting him, but no human being deserves the rancor leveled at him from Pirate fans. It's not his fault.
- That we don't lose 100 games. Think about how bad the Nationals were last year. I don't want to watch that.
Perhaps this is a sad way of doing things, but even if we don't win one more game in 2009 than 2008, I'll consider it a successful year if all those things happen.