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Bucs don't inspire as Opening Day looms

Spring is supposed to be the time of year where baseball fans -- actually, all baseball fans -- should have some optimism for their teams.

In the past, no matter what the Pittsburgh Pirates have looked like, I've tried to go with that approach.

That includes the Grapefruit League seasons when Derek Bell was on the roster as well.

I can't drum up much optimism for the Bucs this season.

I posted earlier this year when Pirates tickets went on sale. I didn't buy any on that first day.

I still haven't purchased any tickets.

That's probably not a big deal for many people. For me, it's something.

For more than 20 years, I've been going to Opening Day at Three Rivers or PNC Park. It would have been a consecutive-years streak but I lived out of state for two years.

But the point is, the streak looks like it will end.

Will I watch them on TV? Sure.

Will I go to a game this season? I'd like to think I will. But, honestly, I'm not so sure.

Is it a protest against the way the team is run? Probably not. And if it were, I don't think it would change ownership's approach.

It's probably the weight of 18 straight losing seasons that will become 19 this season.

There's still time for it to change. And it probably will.

I just don't know when that will happen.


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So much for Byron the great backup

I never understood the Steelers' fascination with their backup quarterbacks.

They've had either Charlie Batch and Byron Leftwich for what seems like ages now.

And when the Steelers really needed a backup, Leftwich couldn't deliver.

Leftwich rambled 31 yards for a touchdown Sunday against the Ravens, but other than that burst, the Steelers couldn't do anything on offense in a 13-10 loss that puts them in a bad position in the AFC North.

Leftwich, with his long delivery, looks better suited for the Pirates' bullpen than behind center.

He went 18-for-39 passing for 201 yards, but couldn't help a Steelers' offense that looks lost right now.

The Ravens came into the game with a weak defense. The thought was Leftwich could manage the game, the Steelers could find a running back to rely on and they'd escape with a win.

It didn't work out that way.

And it looks like we could see Batch at QB this week -- or someone else.

The Steelers are worried about Leftw…