PITTSBURGH - So how do you like Pedro Alvarez now?
People are ready to start fan clubs for him after his demolition of the Cleveland Indians over the weekend.
That's funny, because people were taking collections for his bus fare out of town just a few hours before than explosion.
It seems cruel to use the word "patience" with a fan base that hasn't seen a winning season since 1992, but it does apply.
Alvarez is the textbook definition of a work in progress. He was rushed through the minor league system, probably to his detriment. (That's a lesson to keep in mind as other phenoms follow).
He's still figuring things out and adjusting to the adjustments opponents make to him. When things are working, he's capable of the kind of power the Pittsburgh Pirates haven't seen in a long time.
When things aren't working, he's almost an automatic out. The challenge for Clint Hurdle and the coaching staff is to even out Alvarez's game.
He's not going to always hit four home runs in two games, but he also can't go a month with a handful of hits. He has to figure out a way to be productive when he's not incredibly hot, just like pitchers learn to compete on days when they don't have their best stuff.
If Alvarez harnesses his talent, he'll be a legitimate bat for the middle of the order. He'll join Andrew McCutchen with that status.
With the pitching talent in the organization, the Pirates could soon be talking about contending regularly instead of just having a .500 season.
That's how important Alvarez is to their future, and why they're giving him every chance to improve his game.
Wonder what the tab is for the money wasted by the government chasing headlines by investigating steroids in baseball?
There were Congressional hearings, and subsequent perjury trials for Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds, neither resulting in a significant conviction.
What was the point anyway? To prove that players used steroids? Didn't Bonds' lineman physique pretty much answer that question?
Mehno can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org