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Gene J. Puskar | Associated Press
Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Brandon Cumpton delivers against the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday.

And now, a brief detour from reality

OK, OK, O-kay. I will confess. Things are looking up to such a degree now it's starting to become almost impossible to believe my Pittsburgh Pirates will deliver their annual crushing letdown.

I mean, for crying out loud, they're in first place on the last day of July. They've whupped the Cardinals three straight times in their head-to-head duel for first. And, good lord, they're 22 games over .500.

So, the chances of them finishing under .500 again for the 21st straight time are somewhere between slim and none, and slim is about to walk out the door. This is a real team now with real playoff aspirations.

Wow. I can't believe I just wrote that.

Ben Smith's blog.

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