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Bucs need to be buyers at the deadline

I want to buy into the hype that the Pirates are contenders.

The crowds and excitement generated last weekend were unbelievable. They're playing good baseball, to boot.

But I'm still not convinced. Maybe it has something to do with 18 straight losing seasons. That's a long history that's hard to erase.

So I'm still on the fence.

But I know what will get me to buy into this season. The Pirates need to be buyers at the trading deadline.

If the organization believes in this team and is willing to spend money, then I'm on board.

The Bucs begin the second half only one game out of first place. This division is up for grabs.

The Cardinals and Brewers don't have the look of inevitability this season, even with the Brewers acquiring Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez.

The Bucs need to take their shot. You never know when that chance might come around again.

Teams are looking to shed payroll -- like the Pirates used to -- and key hitters could be acquired. And you don't need to give up top talent to get a bat in that weak Bucco lineup. Just job your memories of past purges by the Pirates. The key is to stand firm.

I'm not convinced GM Neal Huntington has it in him. But I'll wait and watch. And hope, too.

We'll find out soon enough. If the Pirates stay put, or, even worse, sell, I'll watch the rest of the season from the sidelines.

I've been burned too many times believing the franchise has turned things around to fall victim again -- unless they prove it to me.


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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…