I thought since we've had 14 years of negativity I would post my 3 reasons why we can be optimistic about this season. I will let you post the reasons to be pessimistic in the comments section.
1. The Pirates were over .500 in the second half of last season winning 35 games and losing 33. If they continue over from the end of last year, we should believe that they can play competitive baseball. The Pirates were also over .500 for the first time in the history of PNC Park. I don't mean to sound like .500 is the goal, however playing around .500 is good enough to fight to get into the playoffs as we've seen in the past few seasons. Making the playoffs is the goal, not playing .500.
2. The Pirates pitchers have progressed and Maholm, Duke, and Snell have all had a full season in the majors and learned what they need to do to be successful at the top level. Gorzelanny got some starts as well, and is a lock for a position in the rotation. If these pitchers all pitch the way we know they are capable of pitching, they could help lead the Pirates to a winning season.
3. The addition of Adam LaRoche to the lineup should provide some much needed pop to a flat offense. The Pirates were last in the league in runs scored per game last season and to be successful they must improve their offense. The addition of LaRoche, the continued development of our young players, and consistency from Bay and Sanchez should provide a boost to the offense.