PITTSBURGH The family reunion will be short. Whether it will be sweet hardly matters. At last, the wounds of 21 years of futility have finally started to heal.
One magical summer took care of all that.
When the Pittsburgh Pirates jerseys take the field for today opener against the rebuilding Chicago Cubs jerseys, they do it without the burden of two decades of losing. They do it with the momentum that comes after the best season in a generation, and something just as valuable as they try to prove their breakout 2013 was no fluke: legitimate optimism.
feel very confident about the hunger in the room, the focus on getting better, cheap baseball jerseys manager Clint Hurdle said. guys work hard and they have a lot of fun. It a unique combination to be a part of. last bit of housekeeping awaits for the Pirates jerseys before 2014 begins. In a nod to the club storied past and its promising present, two familiar faces will provide some closure on a breathtaking season when Barry Bonds and Jim Leyland present their current day counterparts with a little hardware.
Bonds will hand star center fielder cheap Andrew McCutchen jersey the 2013 NL MVP Award. Leyland will do the same for Hurdle, the 2013 NL Manager of the Year.
Leyland remains a beloved figure 18 years after his departure. Bonds, whose decision to leave Pittsburgh for San Francisco following the 1992 season marked the start of the darkest era in Pirates jerseys history, does not.
Though their reception might be mixed, their presence will serve as a symbolic closing of one of the most ignominious chapters in the history of professional sports.
Finally, baseball is back in Pittsburgh. And the current group of Pirates jerseys plans to keep it that way.
is a group that has come together, Hurdle said. know what they want, they know the sacrifice they have to make to get there. They don overcook things mentally and they pretty good at moving on from minor disappointments or setbacks. it fitting then, that the player who exemplified Pittsburgh resurgence in 2013 will take the mound in the opener. Last spring, left hander cheap Francisco Liriano jersey was rehabilitating a broken right arm and wondering if the mechanical changes to his delivery would ever pay off. Burnett bolted for Philadelphia in free agency.
It a position Liriano does not take for granted after spending five years trying to regain the form he flashed before Tommy John surgery derailed his career in 2007.
an honor, Liriano said. just want to stay calm and try to go as deep in the game as I can. most preseason predictions have the Pirates jerseys still in the mix in the highly competitive NL Central, the Cubs jerseys have replaced Pittsburgh as the team moored at the bottom of the standings. Chicago hasn finished above .500 in five years, the club longest streak of futility since 1985 88.
Though President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein project remains very much a work in progress, the Cubs jerseys have some building blocks, including opening day starter cheap Jeff Samardzija jersey. The right hander pitched eight innings of two hit ball while beating Pittsburgh in the opener last year, though it did little to prevent Chicago from a miserable April that doomed it to another also ran finish.
Although the Cubs jerseys allow they have some catching up to do, they not exactly planning on playing down to diminished expectations.
going to stick with the positive mentality, pitcher cheap Jason Hammel jersey said. a big year for everybody. We not going to pay attention to what everybody else says. We know what we have in this clubhouse and we just going to keep pushing each other and picking each other up. We have very high expectations for ourselves and that just the way it is. If we get off on a good roll, who knows what can happen?.