It took 21 years, but the Pittsburgh Pirates' rebuilding plan finally paid off in a big way last season. The team made the postseason for the first time since 1992, took St. Louis to five games in the National League Division Series and Andrew McCutchen was named NL MVP.
An all-around outstanding year for a city that has been yearning to cheer for its baseball team. The good news is things are actually going to get better very soon.
Gone are the days of drafting Bryan Bullington with the first overall pick in the draft. Here are the times when the Pirates boast one of the best players in baseball, an ace starting pitcher in the making and a terrific farm system that will churn out several future stars in the next two years.
Optimism isn't normal around the Pirates, but the tide is turning. The only negative thing you can say about them right now is they have to play in the same division as the St. Louis Cardinals, though that could turn into one of the best rivalries in baseball very soon, if it isn't already.
Heading into spring training, here are the things the Pirates have done to make themselves better in 2014 and the storylines to follow when the exhibition games start.