Archive for April, 2009

No Hands . . .

Posted on April 28, 2009. Filed under: Beer, MLB | Tags: , , , |

PNC Park, Pittsburgh

PNC Park, Pittsburgh

LEFT FIELD BLEACHERS AT PNC PARK . . . 

During a recent rainy visit to watch the Pirates on dollar ticket night – hey, they had to do something to attract fans while the Penguins were playing playoff hockey, although there were probably only 8,000 people in the stands anyway – my husband and I were lucky enough to run into a father and son who couldn’t sit in the front row of the left field bleachers because the 6 year old couldn’t see over the fence.

That’s right, they gave us their seats.  Close enough to pat the left fielder on the tookas . . .

My husband Jason tells the little boy with his tiny glove on, “If I get a ball from Nyjer Morgan (Buccos’ left fielder) I am going to give it to you.”  The kid was thrilled!  A promise of a real, live, major league game used baseball . . . you could plainly see that he could feel it in his little hands already.

So what happens?

Before the beginning of the first inning, Jason is yelling for Nyjer to throw the warm up ball to him, and I mean really workin’ it for that ball to give to the young man like he promised.   Nyjer Morgan turns around and obliges.  Here it comes!  Jason tries to balance a beer in his left hand as he reaches up to snag it out of the air.  Then THUD . . . .

It hit him right in the palm as his $8 beer was spilling out of the cup . . . and he missed it.  It bounced off of his hand, onto the ground where a fan with a glove scooped it up . . . 

Nyjer Morgan waves him off with a big smile on his face as if to say, “how’d ya miss that McFly?”  A minute later, after the crowd dissipated, that cute, wide-eyed, grateful little boy comes over to Jason and says

“YOU SHOULDA HAD THAT!”

Then walked away . . .

It was one of the funniest scenes I had ever well, seen . . .

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John Madden Follows Brett Favre Into Retirement . . .

Posted on April 16, 2009. Filed under: NFL | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

YOU COULD SEE IT COMING . . . The moment Brett Favre retired for real, you knew John Madden wasn’t far behind.    Without the favrelous one on the field, is football even worth watching?  Not for the Godfather of video games.  Check this out and be sure your volume is up – it’s hysterical:

That is of course, courtesy of Mike and Mike, ESPN Radio and Frank Caliendo.   Good stuff.

All kidding aside, if John Madden doesn’t Brettire instead of retire and is really gone from the broadcast booth, he will be sorely missed.  At least by me.  I learned all the nooks and crannies of the game of football from him.  He is a unique personality and I will always remember he and Pat Summerall calling Dallas Cowboys games and Madden giving play-by-play of the offensive line’s sweaty pants race.  And him still being bitter about the immaculate reception . . .

I wonder if the turducken will live on?

My husband always said that Madden was Mr. Obvious, but that’s how I became a football afficienado – listening to him repeat himself over and over again, talking in circles, and cracking jokes.  

And BOOM! now he’s gone . . .

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Puck Off! A Rivals Rematch Begins Tonight . . .

Posted on April 15, 2009. Filed under: NHL | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

READY FOR A CAGE MATCH?  I don’t pretend to know a lot about hockey.  But I do know a few things.  One of them is that the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Philadelphia Flyers abhor each other.  That’s right, they hate each other so much that the word “hate” can’t describe it.  I had to dig into the vocab closet and pull out something even more nasty.  Abhor . . .

Young Penguins Fans Tell The Flyers How It Is

Young Penguins Fans Tell The Flyers How It Is

And that’s exactly how the NHL’s second season opens up in the Eastern Conference playoffs tonight.  With the disdain heavy rematch of last year’s conference finals that is sure to provoke a fight or two between fans.  Because they abhor each other too.  Here are some thoughts on what I like to call, the PUCK OFF:

The Flyers are slumping into this series having blown a third period lead during the last game of the season – played at home – against the New York Rangers, that would have given them home ice in this series.  Doh! 

The Pens are 18-3-4 since the firing of Michel Therrien and rookie head coach, Dan Bylsma, has taken the blinders off this young, offensive minded team and they are “flying” into the playoffs.  Philadelphia should be jealous . . . 

Philadelphia is healthier this year than last with their top two defensemen, Kimmo Timonen and Braydon Coburn in the lineup this time around.  That is a huge help, but is it enough to handle the talented trio of Crosby, Malkin and Staal down the middle?  

With NO apologies to Alexander Ovechkin, the Penguins have the best player in the league as evidenced by the NHL scoring title, Evgeni Malkin.  Geno is the record 13th Art Ross winner for the Penguins and not only did he lead the league in points, he also led the NHL in takeaways, creating more opportunities for his skilled offense to score. 

By the way, Sidney Crosby was third in scoring behind Ovechkin . . .

Players to watch:  Mike Richards and if he can ruffle Crosby’s feathers enough to knock him off his game.  Billy Guerin and if his veteran presence keeps the Pens even keeled and confident.  And of course, as it usually does, the play of the two netminders, Fleury and Biron, will probably decide the winner of this series.   

One of the other things I know about hockey is that the flashy Capitals’ Left Wing is a show off.  I’m waiting for someone to spear him with a stick when he skates by the Rangers bench tonight celebrating  excessively.  Jerk . . .

Oh I almost forgot a few more things: Sean Avery of the Rangers is a prick and the Flyers’ Scott Hartnell is a dirty player.  However seeing them get into it on Sunday in the waning seconds of the game as Philadelphia let home ice slip through their fingers was great and just proves Hartnell is dirty.  Avery probably deserved it for something he did previously though, because he is a prick.

Check it out:

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MLB Quick Hitters . . .

Posted on April 14, 2009. Filed under: MLB | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

As we move into the meat of the second week of the young baseball season, I have a few thoughts on what has taken place so far on the diamond:

I GOT 5 ON A STEINBRENNER EXPLODING . . . Hey Bud Selig, I would dedicate an official to monitoring Alex Rodriguez closely as he rehabs.  Someone in the Yankees organization just might try to pump him up with HGH so he can heal faster.  Cody Ransom looks lost in the field and is batting .083.  Nick Swisher is leading the team in every offensive category, which is NOT a good thing, and he pitched a scoreless eighth inning last night in the game against the Rays that should have ended in the 5th inning via the mercy rule.   Watch the madness for yourself:

P.S.  And the Pirates have a better record.  We are just starting the 2009 campaign, and Joe Girardi has got to be looking over his shoulder . . .

OH WHERE OH WHERE HAVE MY CY YOUNG AWARD WINNERS GONE?  I could have told you that Cliff Lee was going to fall off the face of the Earth this year.  In fact, I did on my radio show  when I previewed fantasy baseball action.  He was always inconsistent, and in 2007 was even sent to the minors, without pitching 100 innings at the major league level.  Could last year be an “I’m going to show them” aberration?  With an 0-2 record and an ERA of 9.90, it’s looking that way so far.  We’ll see.

Tim Lincecum is also sitting ugly with an ERA of 7.56, winless in two starts this season.  Lincecum is having trouble locating his heat with only 56.1% catching the strike zone.  Last year he had amazing command with two-thirds of his fastballs thrown for strikes as he led the majors in strikeouts.  With two seasons of work to scout, hitting coaches will have more material to research so batters won’t be as wide eyed at the plate, and that’s expected during a young pitcher’s development. 

However, I’m more confident in Lincecum shaping up once he regains confidence in his fastball than I am in Lee figuring out whatever it is that’s making last season’s performace look like mirage . . .

 

Nyjer Morgan leads the Pirates in hits (12) and average (.387)

Nyjer Morgan leads the Pirates in hits (12) and average (.387)

QUICK!  END THE SEASON . . .

At 4-3, the Pittsburgh Pirates are still above .500.  They look like they have a new attitude and it starts with their scrappy lead off hitter and left fielder, Nyjer Morgan.  He is tearing up the base paths with an OBP of .424 and 3 steals, breaking up double plays and drawing from his hockey playing days to take out catchers at the plate – just ask Ramon Hernandez of the Reds what it feels like to be bulldozed.  In Sunday’s loss to Cincinnati, Jack Wilson and Freddy Sanchez not only turned an amazing, “oh no you didn’t” double play, but they chimed in on a triple play, the first for the franchise in 16 years.  Oh, what a coincidence, the Pirates haven’t had a winning season in 16 years either . . . 

PLUS . . . pitcher Zach Duke is returning to form, undefeated in two starts at 2-0 with a minuscule ERA of .59.  Pirate fans are wearing out their knees, praying that they can keep this up, avoiding their 17th consecutive losing season and the distinguished title of professional sports’ worst franchise.  Let’s go Bucs . . .    

CARL PAVANO’S ERA IS 81.00 . . . No, that’s not a typo.  Plus he’s making $11 million this season.  Where’s Alyssa Milano when you need her?  Heck, with Cleveland’s pitching making fans sick, they’d be better off bringing in Charlie Sheen to pitch as Rick Vaughn.  At least they’d be entertained while almost winless . . .

YOU RANG?  Is it me, or does Aaron HARANG look like Lurch from the Addams Family?   At 6’7″ he’s definitely tall enough.  To get the full effect you have to pronounce Harang in the same drawn out, creepy way Lurch delivered his infamous line “You rang?”  See for yourselves . . .

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It Happens In Threes . . .

Posted on April 14, 2009. Filed under: Life, MLB | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

THEY SAY . . . Bad things happen in threes.  Why does this statement always ring true?  And who are “they”?  When tragedy strikes once, the second and third instances are never far behind.  On the heels of Nick Adenhart’s senseless death, the usual time for optimism and excitement during the opening weeks of baseball season have been cast with a somber shadow twice more yesterday.

 

Harry Kalas, 1936 - 2009

Harry Kalas, 1936 - 2009

HARRY KALAS, 73 . . .

The voice.  We will all miss the voice.  Distinctive, baritone, calming.  For almost 40 years, Harry Kalas epitomized Philadelphia baseball and on Monday afternoon around 12:30pm, he was found on the floor of the broadcast booth before the Phillies game against the Washington Nationals and pronounced dead as he was rushed to the hospital.  His love for baseball began with Washington.  He always said the Senators sparked his lifelong passion for the game and his sudden passing happened the only place it could . . . in the broadcast booth in D.C.

I will always remember him as the stormy voice behind NFL Films.  He could send chills through you and emotionally take you to that exact instant in the game as you watched on the edge of your seat, hanging on every word, even though you already knew the outcome.  You will be sorely missed Harry.  Irreplaceable.   

 THE BIRD, 54 . . . Resembling Big Bird from Sesame Street with his curly coif, the animated, former Detroit Tigers pitcher, Mark “The Bird” Fidrych was found dead under a 10-wheel dump truck on his farm in Massachusetts at 2:30pm on Monday.  Fidrych baffled baseball fans with his antics as he would groom the mound with his hands and

Mark The Bird Fidrych 1954 - 2009
Mark “The Bird” Fidrych 1954 – 2009

talk to the baseball incessantly, among other things.  In 1976 he threw batters into fits and won the American League Rookie of the Year Award with a record of 19-9, an ERA of 2.34, 24 complete games and a trip to the All-Star Game.  Sadly, injuries cut his career short and he only had a handful more starts, leaving the majors with a career record of 29-9.  Yesterday, his life was cut short as well, but his spirit and approach to the game will always live on.

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James Harrison SLAMS Browns Fan

Posted on April 13, 2009. Filed under: NFL |

I felt nostalgic when posting the picture of James Harrison slamming a Cleveland Browns fan in my previous blog entry (see below) so my husband unearthed the live video.   Here it is for your viewing pleasure.  Go ahead Browns fans . . . chuckle.  It’s funny!

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2008 NFL Defensive Player Of The Year Will Be Back

Posted on April 13, 2009. Filed under: NFL | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

 

One of James Harrisons Most Memorable Moments, Tackling A Cleveland Browns Fan Crazy Enough To Run On The Field

One of James Harrison's Most Memorable Moments, Tackling A Cleveland Browns Fan Crazy Enough To Run On The Field

SILVERBACK, THAT IS . . .

or maybe his new nickname will be PLATINUMback . . . The Pittsburgh Post Gazette is reporting that James Harrison will return to the Steelers to the tune of $51.75 Million over the next six years and $20 Million in bonus cash.

This record-breaking deal is worth more than any other defensive player’s contract in Steelers’ history and second only to Ben Roethlisberger’s whopping eight year, $102 Million pay day.  

So on the morning of the Pirates’ home opener, the Steelers steal the spotlight in the football partisan Pittsburgh public with their much anticipated announcement that the league’s most dynamic defender will be donning the black and gold for the prime years of his career.  Coincidence?  You decide . . .

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Best & Worst MLB Promotions . . .

Posted on April 11, 2009. Filed under: MLB, Random | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

FUNNY . . . I happened upon this article from ESPN.com’s Page 2 – which always has some hysterical content – and this list of best and worst promotions at the ballpark by DJ Gallo is definitely worth your read. 

Here’s a sampling of some of my favorites:

WORST PROMOTIONS

Miguel Cabrera Bobblehead Presented by Little Caesars (Tigers, April 13)
Also presented by Little Caesars: Miguel Cabrera’s waistline.

Fausto Carmona Hat Clip Figurine (Indians, August 13)
“Why do I have a three-inch-tall Fausto Carmona clipped to the bill of my hat? I say why NOT have a three-inch-tall Fausto Carmona clipped to the bill of my hat?”

BEST PROMOTIONS 

Crab Mallet Set (Orioles, June 13)
You’re an Orioles fan. It’s mid-June. Now’s about the time you’ll be jonesing to beat the @#%& out of another living thing.

Kids Pirates Pillow (Pirates, July 19)
This one is only available to those 14 and under. So everyone who gets this item will not have been alive the last time the Pirates had a winning season. And they very well might be asked by their father to hold the pillow over his face until he is sent to a place where the Pirates don’t suck.

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CORNY Local Baseball Commercials – Pittsburgh You Are NOT Alone

Posted on April 10, 2009. Filed under: MLB, Random | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

THANK YOU COMCAST . . . For the first week of the season, our cable provider aired a free preview of their Major League Baseball season package, so we could watch EVERY game on its local networks.  I was happy to see that Fox Sports was not limiting its corniness to it’s local Pittsburgh coverage.  It’s everywhere. 

You know what I am talking about.   The low-budget, poorly written productions starring your favorite players, coaches and announcers and their bad acting jobs . . .  

For their latest attempt, the Pirates have bit off the shamwow guy, Vince Shlomi.  Of course, they weren’t the only ones.  Shlomi was just arrested for beating up a hooker after she bit his tongue and wouldn’t let go – which makes me wonder WHY IN THE HELL are the Bucs imitating a prostitute beating “john” pitch man in their commercial?

Why was this guy even paying a hooker anyway?  Can’t he have any girl he wants with his shamwow “celebrity”? 

From ShamWOW to ShamOW

From ShamWOW to ShamOW

 
Um, never mind.  I understand why now.  I guess with a name like Vince Shlomi you are destined for two things:  quick tongued, slimy hard selling on infomercials and propositioning prostitutes . . .

Anyway, the Pittsburgh Pirates have always had goofy commercials to try and entice fans to come to the ballpark.  Give it up.  It’s counterproductive.  Here’s an idea . . . put a competitive team on the field.  I think they are going in the right direction, but until then, stick with the fireworks and bobble heads, Buccos.

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Why . . .

Posted on April 10, 2009. Filed under: Life, MLB | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Why does it happen? 

It’s a question we ask after tragedy strikes.  Over and over.  Even when there’s no real answer. 

Nick Adenhart 1986-2009

Nick Adenhart 1986-2009

The sudden death of 22-year old up and coming Angels pitcher, Nick Adenhart, sucker punched baseball.  A family has been robbed of a son, teammates have been robbed of friendships maybe not even cultivated yet, and the baseball world has been robbed of a promising young talent, and the opportunity to proudly watch him grow. 

All because of a hit and run car accident.  And a suspected drunk driver . . .

Someone dies from a traffic accident involving a drunk driver every 40 minutes.  Every 40 minutes, a family gets the worst news they can possibly hear, that one of their loved ones is gone. 

Without reason.  Without an answer to WHY?

I wonder how Leon Hall, who was just arrested for DUI this week is feeling.  Like he is lucky to not have had a tragic end to his misdecision?  Remorseful?  I wonder how Donte Stallworth is feeling with this news.  I wonder how anyone who takes that chance to get behind the wheel after having one too many feels. 

I know how I feel . . .

The only thing we can do is keep Nick’s family, friends and teammates in our thoughts and prayers.  As well as the other two victims that are now gone, way too soon. 

Oh, and we can make the smart choice when deciding to drive after having a few drinks.  The life you take might not be your own . . .

Nick Adenharts Agent, Scott Boras, Breaks Down During News Conference

Nick Adenhart's Agent, Scott Boras, Breaks Down During News Conference

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