Busy time has arrived

Once we get to the middle of August, it’s officially crazy time in the office.

Notwithstanding the fact there’s a daily newspaper which has to be put out, the number of responsibilities continue to grow as school begins and athletics rev toward being full speed ahead.

Even though I’m not sure I’m quite ready, it’s time to hop on the train or get left behind.

As most people know, I’m an avid baseball fan and this is one of my favorite times of the year.

Volleyball is starting soon, football is in full swing with scrimmages right around the corner and the true dog days for Major League Baseball are upon us.

It’s the time where the proverbial men are separated from the boys.

Most teams basically have 40-plus games left in the season and that includes the Pittsburgh Pirates. Skipper Clint Hurdle’s team has been playing pretty solid baseball of late, despite not having the likes of reigning National League Most Valuable Player Andrew McCutchen roaming center, local favorite Neil Walker at second and starting right-hander Gerrit Cole.

McCutchen, who is eligible to return this coming Tuesday, is on the disabled list for the first time in his career. While he’s expected back soon along with Walker, the news gets even better with Cole. Evidently, the 6-foot-4 UCLA product is expected to make his final rehab start for Class AAA Indianapolis on Saturday and also should be back trying to help raise the Jolly Roger soon.

Right behind the Milwaukee Brewers in the race for NL Central crown, the current odds of reaching the postseason for the Pirates look pretty good, at least to the computers. According to fangraphs.com, after play on Tuesday night, the Pirates had a 69.7 percent chance of making the playoffs. That included a 35 percent shot at winning the division title.

While the annual News and Sentinel Half Marathon will keep us quite busy on Saturday here in Parkersburg, I’ll be meandering the countryside on Friday.

Current plans call for a trip to Roane County to meet up with the Raiders of head football coach Paul Burdette for the annual media day in Spencer. After that, it’s off on the fun drive to Gilmer County to check in on the Titans of first-year head gridiron coach Isac Osborne. Hopefully, I’ll have a chance to spend a little time at Morris Stadium at some point on Friday to check out how things are going in the extreme early portion of camp for the Pioneers of Glenville State College.

As is always the case when it gets to this point during the calendar year, I’m once again looking for fearless guest prognosticators.

If anyone runs into me while I’m out and about on Friday and has an interest to be a guest football picker, let me know.

Otherwise, feel free to fire me off an e-mail and give me a little background about yourself and why you would like the opportunity to match wits on a Friday night for picks with the scribes on the sports staff.

Contact Jay Bennett at jbennett@newsandsentinel.com