There's been a lot said and written about our team and the changes that are taking place, but I consider it all talk until we prove it on the field.

Guys in here would be lying if they didn't say they weren't aware of what was being said, but, at the same time, it has no bearing. Those opinions don't affect how we go out and play. We still need to bust our tails to do the things we need to do to win games. We need to take it to the field. At this early point in the season, that approach seems to be working.

The biggest difference from the last three or four years compared to this year is the way we compete. We've been in virtually every game so far, and even if we're down a run or two or three, we stay after it until the end. During our home opener against the Cubs, we were down, 7-0, after three innings. In the past it would have been a 'here-we-go-again' feel. But by the sixth inning we had the game tied, 8-8. Hopefully, that kind of character will be evident in the way we play all season.

With a new manager and a new staff here, it's making a big difference. They've come in with a new approach. They know we're a young team and they've really led us. They've been very specific about what we need to work on to improve and they've showed us how. We go through the process of breaking down a lot of areas of the game. That's been a great approach for our club.

When we do finally get things turned around, the city is really going to get behind us. It is a die-hard sports town. Everybody knows that. The fans are starving for a winner. We were 30-30 at the 60-game point two years ago and people were really excited about the Pirates. Fans were coming out in large numbers, and, though we didn't finish the way we wanted to, we know from that experience that the fan base is there if we win. With the success of the Steelers and the Penguins, it's obvious that people around here want to get excited about their sports.

We're also fortunate to have such a great ballpark to come out to. I'm a little biased because I play there, but I think PNC Park is the best stadium in the league. It has a great atmosphere and people love coming out. There would be nothing better than to have a good team out there and to start winning again.

We have a lot of the same guys on our club but we also have a very different attitude.

Jason Bay, the NL Rookie of the Year in 2004 and a two-time All-Star, has been with the Pirates since 2003 but has new hope for a franchise that hasn't had a winning season in 15 years. The 29-year-old outfielder from Trail, British Columbia, had three homers in the club's first 12 games this year.