Gunned Down

September 26th, 2014

The most exciting play in baseball.

THE OUTFIELD ASSIST: AN APPRECIATION

Gunning down a baserunner from the outfield remains an overlooked piece of baseball art

https://medium.com/@brianlutz/the-outfield-assist-an-appreciation-6d3fb9c3cc0a

 

Just A Good Ol’ Boy

July 11th, 2014

 

In retirement, Randy Moss remains as fascinating as ever:

https://medium.com/the-cauldron/just-a-good-ol-boy-f7f11ac2dded

 

Super Who?

June 25th, 2014

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Gregory Polanco’s first 11 games in the majors coincided with his first 11-game hitting streak.  He’s currently working on another, and, judging by his stat line above, he hasn’t had much trouble making the leap from Triple-A ball to the bigs.  No one in the NL has a better record than the Pirates since early May, and the question of whether or not Polanco should’ve been brought up sooner may be moot by September.  But if the Pirates narrowly miss a Wild Card berth?  That may be a higher price to pay than the supposed future savings of avoiding Super Two status.

It shouldn’t have mattered so much, especially to a team on the brink of becoming a perennial contender.  News broke today that Polanco and Pirates are still discussing a long-term deal.  Holding him in the minors did nothing but possibly save money in a distant future.  In April, the Astros called up top prospect George Springer.  He hit 10 home runs in May, and Houston had their first winning month since 2010.

Raise your hand if you think the Pirates would be worse off today had Polanco been called up early.  He might be working on his third or fourth 11-game hitting streak by now.

 

**************

 

The Penguins (finally) have a new head coach.  Mike Johnston, former head coach of the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks, was hired today.  For those bemoaning the fact that he’s never been a head coach at the highest level of his sport, keep in mind that this also applied to the following people at the time they were hired in Pittsburgh:

Chuck Noll (R.I.P.)

Bill Cowher

Mike Tomlin

Jim Leyland

Danny Murtaugh

Dan Bylsma (yeah, I know, but still)

Johnston has had an eventful first day on the job, hiring Rick Tocchet, retaining Jacques Martin, and firing assistants Tony Granato and Todd Reirden.  It’s not quite as franchise-altering as Noll’s first day with the Steelers, when he drafted Mean Joe Greene first overall.  Johnston probably isn’t going to be as successful as Chuck Noll.  But let’s give him a chance to be.

 

We’ll Always Have ’09

June 6th, 2014

 

Big news today in hockeyland.  Dan Bylsma, the Penguins’ winningest coach in franchse history and also the overlord of some of their worst postseason dissappointments, has been fired by newly minted G.M. Jim Rutherford.  #thankgoodnessitwasntpierre

Capture

Rutherford was the longtime G.M. for the Harford Whalers/Carolina Hurricanes, where he won a Stanley Cup in 2006.  He also played goalie for the Pens back in the early ’70s.  Apparently he was the first goalie to decorate his mask, kicking off a leaguewide trend that continues to this day.

That sound you heard today was a collective sigh of relief that the Penguins didn’t hire you-know-who.  Some of the local media are speculating that this is a temporary, stop-gap hire, including Mark Madden, who chimed in with perhaps the most honest reaction to the news:  “Rutherford is 65 and looks 100.”

It’s been a long time since the Penguins have had such a turbulent summer.  This past month has made #jagrwatch look like a picnic.

***

Could this have been the House that Clemente built?

From MLB Catherals, check out this previously unseen (as far as we know) 1960s rendering of Three Rivers Stadium, designed as an open-ended, baseball-only beauty:

Nothing cookie-cutter about that.

Nothing cookie-cutter about that.

 

It was only after the Steelers got involved in this project that Three Rivers became the soulless concrete behmoth that we all remember so fondly.  Just more proof of what we all knew already:  The NFL ruins everything.

 

The Ball Is Tipped…

April 7th, 2014

Did You Know…

March 31st, 2014

The Pittsburgh Pirates have not had a losing season since 2012.

Also, the lox.  Plunder the lox.

Go Buccos.

 

 

 

The Dock-tor Is In

February 28th, 2014

On the long list of facsinating athletes who have worn the black and gold of a Pittsburgh franchise, Dock Ellis has to be near the top.  Classically ahead of his time, Ellis’ antics – which included intentional beanballs, hair curlers, and the famous no-hitter on LSD – overshadowed a remarkable career and perhaps even more remakable life.  Ellis is the subject of a new “Dockumentary” which looks every bit worth seeing based on this remarkable  trailer.

 

Pittsburgh fans:  If you’re unfamiliar with Ellis, stop what you’re doing and carve out 20 minutes to read this tremendous profile of Ellis, written by Patrick Hruby for ESPN’s Outside the Lines.

Or you can pick up the oddly brilliant baseball memoir, Dock Ellis in the Country of Baseball.

Check out “No No:  A Dockumentary” on Facebook, or read one of the many glowing reviews currently floating around the internet.

Another Fine [Regular] Season

January 31st, 2014

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The Penguins are on cruise control once again.  And still, mostly, dominating.

http://www.pittsburghsportingnews.com/another-fine-regular-season/

 

 

Playing For Pride

December 14th, 2013

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The Steelers played their most complete game of the season tonight and throttled the Bengals for their most impressive win since…well, who can even remember?  At 6-8 and all but mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, the once-mighty Steelers have fallen on hard times, and they’re only one week removed from rock bottom.

http://www.pittsburghsportingnews.com/steelers-at-rock-bottom/

*Originally published 12/10/13*

 

Steelers-Ravens: Delivering the Goods Since 2001

November 30th, 2013

No other NFL opponents bring out the best in each other quite like the we’d-love-you-if-you-were-us doppelgangers from Pittsburgh and Baltimore.  The Ravens and Steelers, so similar yet so distinct, have developed an organic rivalry that seems sturdier than all the rest.  Made in the USA and built to last:  Years from now, when the talking heads have long declared this rivalry to be dead, over and yesterday’s news, the Steelers and Ravens will still be staging masterful theater that, more often than not, leaves you wanting more.  Bring it on.

Here’s a look back at the state the rivalry on the eve of their most recent playoff tilt, one that Bill Simmons recently called “The Last Great Hard-Hitting Game before the Concussion Awareness era kicked in.”  Troy Polamalu’s late pick-six and Ryan Clark’s bone-chilling hit on Willis McGahee (pictured above) are forever embedded in any all-time Steeler playoff highlight reel.

http://brokencigars.com/2011/01/steelers-ravens-love-the-hate/

 


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