BRADENTON, FL (93.7 the Fan) – If you set your season on what baseball experts are saying about the Pirates, settle in for a long year. Not one of the major publications or networks have the Pirates higher than fourth in the NL Central, none have them with a winning record and most have them in the basement.
Sports Illustrated went as far as to quote an anonymous scout saying “if they go .500, they should be jumping for joy”.
“I’ve seen it,” said second baseman Adam Frazier said of the projections. “We outdid those predictions last year. We know what we have here. We’re not worried about what is out there.”
“I don’t care what people think about us, good or bad,” said catcher Francisco Cervelli. “The only expectation we need to have for our guys--very positive and very high and not paying attention to noise. Whoever wants to come and say good about us, we are going to listen. The other stuff, we don’t care.”
“I don’t really give a lot of weight to what other people think,” said first baseman Josh Bell. “I know that we hold ourselves to a very high standard in here. I know what the overall buzz is. There is a lot of excitement in the room.”
“If our offense plays, our pitchers are going to keep their bats quiet. It’s kinda on us on the offensive side and if we do what we are capable of doing we are definitely a force to be reckoned with.”
“This group is a young group, people are hungry,” said closer Felipe Vazquez. “There are a lot of young guys who want to play, me, I want to play. All the guys want to go out there and play. I feel comfortable with what we have.”
“Our goal is to make people believe,” said starter Jameson Taillon. “They might call us crazy right now in spring and then hopefully we get people on board and they start believing what we are thinking and what we are working on.”
Not everyone is paying attention to what is said outside the room. For optimists, maybe the words from outfielder Corey Dickerson ring most true when asked about listing to outsiders.
“No, because that is uncontrollable, that is beyond our control,” Dickerson said when asked if he followed the predictions. “Anybody can have a breakout year. Anybody can get injured. Anything can happen.”