PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pirates’ fans have had to walk the plank for the last 19 seasons.

It’s a tough life, taking both dedication and enduring optimism. And Opening Day always brings the hope of a winning season.

“Regardless, win or lose, I’ve been here for the team,” says fan Bobbie Latwin.

Coming off half a successful season last year, Pirates’ President Frank Coonelly says the team – with some new additions – will impress the fans once again.

“The guys put in the work in Spring Training,” he said. “They’re ready to go. We think we addressed needs that we had during the off-season. The guys we brought in here have really worked hard, along with the guys that were here last year.”

But here in Pittsburgh, fans have become realistic as to what the future holds for the Pirates, it’s baby steps first.

“I’m not gonna sit here and say they’re gonna win the division, they’re gonna win the Series. That would be a crazy thing to happen,” said Mark Alterici, another fan. “They’re at least making progress, and at least there’s light at the end of the tunnel, finally.”

“I think with the fan base that did show up when they had a winning record, was key,” said Eric Evanko, of Scott Township. “It showed the Pirate ownership that if you put a team on the field that will produce, people will show up.”

Alterici has been coming to home openers since 1972. Like many diehard fans, whatever happens this season, he’s anchored in for life.

“Win or lose. I have a long standing bet with a friend of mine, we’ve been doing for 18 years actually,” he said. “I bet him every year on a .500 season. I help pay for a lot of his tickets, he always jokes.”

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