Posted on: April 26, 2009 7:37 pm

At the End of Every Hard-Earned Day

At the end of every hard-earned day people find some reason to believe.
The boss, Bruce Springsteen, sings those inspiring words.  And that song is starting to personify our 2009 Buccos.

Yes, everyone will remind us that it's only April.  But 18 games is 11% of the season in the books.  Certainly enough games to get a feel for a ballclub.

And this ballclub feels like a special ballclub right now.

No true major league baseball pundit should examine the series win in San Diego and write it off as nothing to be excited about.

The Pirates went across the country and took two of three games; the lone loss an extra-inning battle to the finish.

They upped their record to 11-7 and remain right behind the front-running Cards in the NL Central, the same Cards they split a four-game series with in St. Louis to open this promising campaign.

They accomplished the series win in San Diego without three of their veteran regulars in the lineup for most of the games; up-the-middle stalwarts in Ryan Doumit, Jack Wilson and Nate McLouth.

The heart of the order may have been unable to play, but the heart of this team, from top-to-bottom, was beating right along.

When a team starts winning without their regulars, that can have an untold, magical effect on the entire organization.  Chemistry, confidence and unity are terms that start being peppered in most of the articles written about them.

It happened with the Steelers in 2004, when three quarterbacks started and won games and all 50+ guys on the roster came through in some way to help the team to an AFC all-time best 15-1 record.

This 2009 Pirate team, you can take just about every guy that's been on the active roster so far, I think it's been 28 or 29 men now, and if you look at each of the games they have played, you'll find something positive that each one has done to keep them in a game or help them win it.

I think the pitching staff as a whole and the bench are really stepping up right now.  A lot of credit has to be given to the coaching staff. JR brought in some key teachers in Perry Hill and Joe Kerrigan.  Those additions are paying immediate dividends at the major league level.  Also, we've recently learned that Tony Beasley has taken over the batting-coach duties of the pitchers.  And it seems like Ian Snell has already surpassed his career hit total in under a handful of starts!  There are great stories to be told on this club, and the nation will discover them soon enough as long as they keep winning as many series as they can.  Jim Leyland always used to say (and I'm sure he still does in Detroit) that if you win two out of three in most of your series, you'll write your ticket to the playoffs easily.  So far, so good for the Bucs this year.

I know I'm a homer, I know I love this team win or lose.  I know I see this great start through black, gold and rose-colored glasses.

But, to paraphrase the boss, I don't see any reason not to believe.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com