It has been a long time since the Pittsburgh Pirates and their fans could say the team was closer to the top of the NL Central Division standings then it was to the bottom. But here we are.
After 81 games heading in to July 2nd, the Buccos are 41-40 and are currently 3.0 games back of the division lead. This is a lot to take in for fans. Especially those who remember the last winning season, 1992.
While it would be foolish to plunk money down on 2011 Central Division Championship merchandise, there are plenty of reasons to stay interested the rest of the way for casual fans or those new to the Pirates.
Obviously, it would be great to finish the season above the .500 mark, but there is so much more to it than that.
The future looks bright in terms of pitchers that will either be added to the team down the line or used to trade for additional players. Gerrit Cole, Jameson Tallion, Stetson Allie and young Luis Heredia are among the arms in the system.
While position players look light, you never know who will catch lightning in a bottle. Remember, this current team's front office was ready to run Neil Walker out of town and grudgingly gave him a shot at second base, his third position.
But for the first time in long while, it is not just about the future or thinking of next year. There are reasons to care about the Pittsburgh Pirates right now! Let's look at 10 of them...and for the die-hards I will spoil the list for you. PNC Park is not any of the 10 slides!