In Bull Durham Crash Davis said the difference between .250 and .300 was "just one extra flare a week - just one - a gorp… you get a groundball, you get a groundball with eyes… you get a dying quail, just one more dying quail a week..."
I know we didn't even win 70 games last year, and 82 itself doesn't mean anything really, so in a sense who cares what the difference is. But, to paraphrase Crash Davis, the difference between a miserable 16th losing season in a row and a winning team is two wins a month. One game when your closer doesn't blow a save without letting a ball out of the infield (Torres, v. Milwaukee I think). One game where your manager doesn't bring in Marty McLeary with the bases loaded.
And so on. I intended to go through last season and find 12 games that could be perceived as being thrown away by Pittsburgh, but I don't have the energy right now and wanted to post this. Yes -- I know the same difference applies to 70 and 58! But I wonder if Huntington isn't including Tracy and DL on his list of underachievers from last year. Maybe he thinks Russell is worth just five more wins. If a pitcher was an underachiever, especially Duke or Maholm, and they get even a little better, I can see reason for optimism.
And maybe Huntington thinks he is bold enough to have his cake and eat it too. To make deals without giving up completely in 2008. I didn't intend this to answer Charlie's post about the article in the PG, I'm just using that phrase here too.
Really, I'm not even that optimistic about this season, but I do daydream sometimes, and when I do, everything goes right.
I guess my point is that I do think we're closer to 82 wins than most other people think, but the difference between 82 and 90 is much greater than the difference between 82 and 70, or even 65. And if the org wants to shoot for 82 this year, and still make deals with an eye toward 90+ down the road, I don't think it's that unrealistic.