became a baseball stadium last year PNC Park
- Last season for the first time maybe in its existence PNC was a lively place to be and the reason wasn't fireworks or pierogi races. The Pirates were able to compete into July for the first time in what seemed like forever. The feel at the ballpark was entirely different than it had been in recent years. Before 'Jerry Meals' happened and the pitching staff imploded the team was right in the thick of it with the eventual World Champion St. Louis Cardinals. There is no reason to believe that should they be able to start strong out of the gates that PNC will maintain the raucous atmosphere that makes a night at the ballgame all that more enjoyable.
2. Andrew McCutchen superstar
- McCutchen is turning into the superstar the Pirates management expected when they used a 1st round pick on him in 2005. He has the potential to produce a 30/30 season while driving in 100 runs. The Bucs have not had a player of his caliber since the ML career home run leader stalked the outfield at Three River Stadium. Cutch is also a premier defensive center-fielder. All of these skills combined and he alone is worth the now slightly increased price of admission.
- With the additions of Erik Bedard and A.J. Burnett the Pirates rotation will boast pitchers with legitimate ability to miss bats. Now both come with red flags, but the ability to miss bats is typically more exciting than the pitch to contact approach that has been employed at the confluence for all these years. If James McDonald can take another step forward, the black and gold could have three pitchers with a chance for 170+ Ks.
4. The Lowest Payroll in Baseball
- While at first glance this appears to be a negative, a sign that the Nuttings will just continue to stuff their pockets with more cash; there is something positive about this. If we are to believe press reports that the opening payroll will be about 10-13 million below where the owners want it, and that they would be willing to make a significant addition should they be in place to make the postseason , ten this is a huge plus. The only team in the NL central who got better was the Cincinnati Reds. So the division is wide open. Having that extra cash could be helpful if the Bucs sit in a similar position this upcoming season as they were last.
5. 20 is a round number
- Now this definitely is a negative. The Pirates streak of futility reached 19 season last year. While no Pirate fan wants to endure any more losing the future is much brighter than what is has been. With premier prospects in the system, even should the streak hit 20 the Bucs are no longer a laughingstock of the league.