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Bucs have a big Hurdle to clear

I'm often perplexed by the moves made by the Pittsburgh Pirates.

I didn't like the hiring of John Russell a couple of seasons ago. It didn't make sense to me for an organization to hire a manager that wasn't good enough to stay on the coaching staff.

With the slow-as-molasses approach to hiring a new manager, it appears Clint Hurdle is the front-runner.

My guess is the Bucs wait until there are no other managerial vacancies. They can offer Hurdle a take-it or leave-it deal and get a manager on the cheap. In other words, they can get someone no one else wants.

Another thing I find troubling: Hurdle makes Jim Tracy look like a genius. Hurdle was fired from the Rockies and Tracy took an underachieving team and made it a winner.

Tracy wasn't good enough for the Pirates. Why should we expect Clint Hurdle to be an improvement?

Hopefully, Hurdle isn't hired.


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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…