Or rather, What will realistic success for the 2012 Pirates mean?
I'm not going to be causing any arguments by saying the Pirates are not going to win the World Series this year, they aren't going to win the division, they probably will not be within 10 games of 1st place for entire months of the season and a losing record is very likely. So...
What is a winning season for the 2012 Pirates going to mean?
I'd argue, as many on this site have, that win-loss in absolute terms (right now) is meaningless. The Drive for 75 is give up talk. And if the team wins 65 or 60 it matters from a fan perspective of winning games is more enjoyable, but it doesn't really matter in the larger picture. I'd trade 20 wins from the 2012 season for wins in the 2014 season. I'd trade 40 wins for Pedro to have turned out differently. I'd trade every single 2012 win for another Cutch.
And to a similar extent, April statistics, in a vacuum, also don't matter. Especially if we are, mixed-metaphorically speaking, in the early June of rebuilding.
My question becomes that, what will a "playoff" season mean for the 2012 Pirates? What would a "World Series" mean for the Pirates? Is it x number of players that with a WAR? Is it x number of prospects showing a certain level of progress? Is it good trades that help the team in the longterm? Is it specific improvements of players, or specific statements by ownership, is it ballpark attendance, or fan giveaways, the price of hot dogs or the weather in August?
The Pirates aren't going to be competitive this year in the classical sense, but that doesn't mean they can't be competitive against realistic goals, they can't play against their handicap and reach attainable achievements.