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Baseball is the slowest of the major American sports, but only because its excitement comes in very short bursts. There's plenty of action to be had from the moment the pitcher winds up. SweetSpot blogger David Schoenfield has put together a list of the five most exciting players in baseball. How would you rate them? Submit your rankings now!

MLB's most exciting players

Miguel Cabrera

Yu Darvish

Andrew McCutchen

Yasiel Puig

Mike Trout

Your Rankings

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Your choice for AL/NL MVP?

Baseball's MVP awards races are among the most entertaining in all of sports -- fans tend to scream themselves hoarse advocating for their favorite candidates. This year's NL race is like last year's AL race -- a battle between multiple deserving candidates on teams in the midst of pennant races. The AL award this year could already be wrapped up -- front-runner Miguel Cabrera has stiff competition, but said competition plays for teams that aren't going to make the playoffs. Should an MVP candidate fall out of contention because of the failure of his team as a whole?

  • Who would be the best choice for NL MVP?

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      19%
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      44%
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      16%
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      21%

    Discuss (Total votes: 26,996)

  • Who would be the best choice for AL MVP?

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      72%
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      28%

    Discuss (Total votes: 18,934)

  • Would you vote a player on a nonplayoff team for MVP if he was statistically the best player in the league?

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      83%
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      17%

    Discuss (Total votes: 2,190)

  • In general, which league's MVP award(s) most consistently identifies the best player in that league?

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      22%
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      50%
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      21%
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      7%

    Discuss (Total votes: 2,232)

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Are the Pirates baseball's best?

The Pirates have long been something of a joke -- ever since Sid Bream slid in ahead of Barry Bonds' throw in Game 7 of the NLCS, the team has struggled to find an identity. That's changed this season. After a two-game sweep of the rival Cardinals, the Pirates are 1.5 games up in the NL Central race and, perhaps more importantly, owners of the best record in all of baseball. Not bad for a team that lost 105 games three seasons ago.

  • Are the Pirates a legitimate threat to make the World Series?

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      63%
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      37%

    Discuss (Total votes: 33,060)

  • Will the Pirates (64-42) finish the season with baseball's best record?

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      16%
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      41%
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      43%

    Discuss (Total votes: 16,020)

  • Who has been a bigger factor in the Pirates' success this season?

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      56%
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      44%

    Discuss (Total votes: 13,977)

  • Do the Pirates need to make a deal at the trade deadline?

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      32%
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      13%
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      13%
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      42%

    Discuss (Total votes: 13,491)

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We've spent considerably more time over the last couple of months talking about the Pirates than their basement-dwelling peers like the Royals and Orioles, but they just make it so easy. After all, an inability to field a competitive team is one thing -- Elgin Baylor made a nice living out of it -- but trading away a potential contender over the course of two seasons? That takes a certain something special. Surely, Pirates GM Neal Huntington deserves to be ranked ahead of Royals GM Dayton Moore for chutzpah alone.

The latest to leave the fold were shortstop Jack Wilson, second baseman Freddy Sanchez and pitcher Ian Snell. And look, this whole rebuilding thing might work, even if SportsNation isn't buying it. The haul for Sanchez was Tim Alderson, the Giants' No. 4 prospect according to Baseball America, and the guys at USS Mariner, who are right more often than they're wrong about these things, weren't thrilled about how much Seattle gave away for a good defensive shortstop in Wilson and an enigmatic pitcher in Snell.

But even if Alderson, Jeff Clement, Lastings Milledge and Andrew McCutchen are the second coming of the "We Are Family" Pirates, the franchise has a serious credibility problem. Just ask SportsNation blogger Fairsoldier50, who says it's time for Huntington to buy a cabin in the woods.

redguy12588

Any Pirates fan that doesn't like either of these trades is not really a Pirates fan.

-- redguy12588
brianlarry

I GIVE UP!!!!!! How can I watch and cheer for a team that wants to suck. I just gave all my stuff to a bum because thats how i feel about the Pirates. Pirates ownership sucks soooo bad, pay me half the money those guys make and I can do just as good as them and maybe better. oh, I just threw up in my mouth. I am so glad that football is starting soon so i can watch a team that wants to win in Pittsburgh, THE STEELERS!!!!

-- BrianLarry
bus3668

The Pirates ownership continues to bilk the fans buy putting out a terrible product in a nice package (PNC Park). They wouldn't even spend to a salary cap, if there was one because they don't care enough. How long can you continue to rebuild a team for? The last time they were any good, Barry Bonds was a skinny young man. They have gone beyond rebuilding. It's a constant cycle. Pathetic..

-- bus3668

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We've all been there. You meet up with an old friend, tell some war stories from back in the day and have a laugh. Then the hours drag on and you start to realize why you haven't talked for so long.

Nate McLouth might have felt that way about the Pirates by about the 14th inning of Monday's marathon game between his new team, the Braves, and his old team. The Braves finally won 7-6 in 15 innings, and both McLouth and the man who replaced him, uber-prospect Andrew McCutchen played big roles. Who would you rather build around?

While you ponder the not-so-eternal McLouth-McCuthen debate, here's a rundown of a busy day of baseball chats to celebrate draft day.

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