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The Bucs' first half has been a blast

I took the family to a beach yesterday.

On our way in, we needed to stop to pay admission.

That's when I got a little surprise.

The cost ($3) wasn't a problem; it was the person taking my money.

"How 'bout them Bucs?" he asked.

For a second, I was stunned. Why would he ask me about the Pirates?

Then it hit me, I had on a Pirates T-shirt I got during a promotion a few years ago. It was old and worn, but perfect for a day in the water.

"Heck of a first half," I said to the attendant. "Let's hope they keep it up."

I never would have believed they would be in first place in the NL Central Division at the All-Star break.

They've been a real treat to watch this last month, especially with the hitting coming around.

And how about that Andrew McCutchen guy? His first half has been incredible.

Not only does he lead the majors in hitting (.362), but he's among the NL leaders in homers (18) and RBIs (60).

To no surprise, he's my pick -- along with a host of others -- as NL MVP for the first half.

It's quite a turnaround. The Bucs are 11 games over .500 (48-37) and they have the best record at home (29-14). And, if you check's standings, they have a neat little thing that has the team's percentage chance to make the playoffs. Right now, it's at 72.4.

Not too shabby at all.


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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.

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