CHAMPION - Players signed autographs and spun game wheels.
The Pirate Parrot rubbed heads and posed for pictures.
But if anyone expected bold talk and brash predictions at Seven Springs Mountain Resort on Sunday afternoon when the Pirates started their annual Winter Caravan, none were heard.
Rather than advertise what they planned to accomplish this season, players and executives were more intent to show them on the field instead.
"You won't know how good we'll be until you come out and watch us," outfielder Andrew McCutchen said. "That's all I can say - come out and watch us.
"I can't predict anything. I can't say what will happen. All I can say is that (general manager) Neal Huntington picked up some good players (in the off-season). We're gonna have a good team."
"We'll be better than last season" was as much as first baseman-outfielder Garrett Jones would say for now. "All our young talent has had one year to improve and we got a lot of new veterans that will definitely help us. We're hungry to win. That will be a key for us this season."
The don't-say-it, just-do-it attitude was music to the ears of team owner Bob Nutting, who didn't have to be told that words were cheap, especially at this time of year.
"As an individual, I would much rather rely on what we accomplish rather than make a promise that could be an empty one," Nutting said. "Our fans have heard every story, every excuse over and over again. They deserve results, not promises."
"There is no lack of enthusiasm here, but we won't make an empty promise. I would much rather say at the end of the day, 'Look at what we've delivered' as we have in player development and the draft. We'll get credibility when we execute."
The Pirates won 62 games last season, but any similarities between the team that finished the 2009 season and starts the 2010 campaign will be few in number. When it became apparent that the team would fall well short of expectations last season, Huntington moved quickly to address several problem areas.
While much of the Central Division played a pat hand in the last three months, the Pirates added second baseman Akinori Iwamura in a trade, outfielder John Raynor in the Rule 5 draft and shortstop Bobby Crosby, outfielder Ryan Church and relief pitchers D.J. Carrasco, Brendan Donnelly, Octavio Dotel and Javier Lopez in the free-agent market.
While Huntington conceded to unfinished business in the future, he was confident that the arrow pointed up for the team. Based on the many happy faces around him, it appeared that he wasn't alone.
"Cautiously optimistic," Huntington assessed the mood of the fans between autographs and hand-shakes. "They're frustrated by how we finished last season as we all are, but they do understand that we have a plan and are in the middle of it. The casual fan only cares about wins and losses. The die-hard fan understands that our situation wasn't an easy thing to turn around overnight."