Cubs get all the attention, but division-rival Pirates are a sleeping giant

Led by an outstanding outfield trio of Starling Marte, Andrew McCutchen and Gregory Polanco, the Pirates have won their past five games and 10 of their past 12. Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports

If Major League Baseball issued its own version of a high school yearbook in 2016, the Chicago Cubs would sweep the voting. Most popular. Most fun. Class clowns.

Best dressed. Best looking. Noisiest. Coolest. Most athletic. And, of course, most likely to succeed.

With the Cubs filling the pages of the current narrative, the Pittsburgh Pirates would be the short kid mostly obscured in the back row of a Science Club photo.

Everything the Cubs do draws attention, and deservedly so. When their 39-year-old part-time catcher clubs a homer, as David Ross did Friday, it's something worthy of a curtain call and postgame chorus. The Cubs hold the best parties, daily.

But here's the thing: Nobody should be surprised if the Pirates show up at the 10th reunion of this season in helicopters. Because Pittsburgh is a really good team that seems to be getting better and better, with understated strengths.