Kovacevic: Why not the Pirates?

ATLANTA -- "It's a more talented team. Honestly, I think it's just a better team all around."

That was Clint Hurdle, offering a rare comparison of his 2014 Pirates and the 2013 model Thursday in his office at Turner Field, and he just might be right. I'm thinking, actually, that he is.

At the same time, I'm wondering why there's any hesitation at all to share the sentiment.

Is it for the simple reason that the 2013 team finished with 94 wins while this one, after the 10-1 thrashing of the Braves by nightfall, is 87-72?

Is it because that team flew into the playoffs while this one has had to fight for every inch?

Is it because that team had A.J. Burnett and was brashly inviting opponents to take a seat?

Is it because Pedro Alvarez was the National League's home run champion and brought the first real feeling of thunder to the lineup in a long, long time?

Is it because the rush that accompanies trade-deadline acquisitions such as Marlon Byrd and Justin Morneau never came close to being matched this summer?

Well, whatever combination of all that it might be, know this: Hurdle's right. This team is better.

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