As a non-Pirate fan but a Los Angeles Dodgers fan, I have more confidence at this point in the season to say the Pittsburgh Pirates will break their 19-year losing streak and go into the NCLS playoffs as winners of the Central Division.
Since I don't root for the Pirates, and there are no emotions on part in my assessment on how Pittsburgh will do, I can look at this picture with an open mind.
This year's Pirates team learned much from their failures in 2011. They had a taste of winning, but they weren't emotionally mature enough to take it all the way. Their pitchers, with starters James McDonald and A.J. Burnett supported by Joel Hanrahan from the bullpen, are hungry to do well and show the National League the Pirates are no fluke.
In the beginning of the season, Pirate hitting was weak, but that has all changed with Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker, Garrett Jones and now Pedro Alvarez really coming on.
The Pirates have one of the lowest team salaries in the major leagues but have the players and the right chemistry coming together. Manager Clint Hurdle has changed the culture of this organization and has the players buying into his philosophy of finishing what you start.
Something can also be said about high salaries and what an organization is worth.
The Dodgers are a good example. They are in a big market and have one of the highest payrolls in the majors. Just look at the two highest salaries they are paying Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier. Kemp is recovering from a hamstring injury, and Ethier has his problems and can't carry the offense by himself.
Dodger pitching is second only to the Washington Nationals but LA has no run support. Magic Johnson and his ownership group were robbed in purchasing the Dodgers organization for $2.2 billion.
Former owner Frank McCourt played the Johnson group for suckers. In short, money is only a short-term motivator.
Show your pride Pirate fans for being patient with this Pirate organization.
Appreciates support of July 4 races
I would like to acknowledge everyone involved who once again organized the July 4 races in Altoona.
All of you go out of your way to not only make the elite runners feel welcomed, but you do the same for the "back of the pack" runners as well.
Also I would like give a special shout out to Sheetz for providing a lot of good food as well as the police and firefighters who do the thankless job of controlling traffic while in some cases having to tolerate verbal abuse from irate motorists.
It is greatly appreciated.