Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Hey Kids!

So it's been a long time since anyone has posted anything on the blog so i figured what the hell why not post some stuff. So a few things have been going on recently in the news and sports and my personal world. Lets review...

1. The Pirates are just the worst ever. I can't say much else, my frustration with the organization is just billowing over into the realm of pure disgust. The only starters left from the beginning of the year are andy laroche, moss and doumit not counting pitchers. I'm annoyed with the whole situation and don't want to get into it any further.

2. I got promoted so I'm not with Hollister at South Hills Village anymore, so if I have any fun work stories they will come as Store Manager at Ross Park abercrombie kids. I already have had some interesting things happen none needing a story but I'm sure I'll have one soon enough. If you are ever in Ross Park mall come in and say hello.

3. Steelers season kicks off with pre season game one on Thursday. Who gives a shit about pre season? I know I don't. It's nice sometimes to see some of the guys who will never play a snap in a regular season game fighting for their jobs. Still, for the most part games are sloppy, boring, and risk the big name players on the team getting injured. The big story from training camp is obviously Big Ben's rape allegation. I just have a tough time believing that the QB of the reigning super bowl champs needs to rape someone to get some booty. Plus, did you see the chick? I'm not saying Ben is a stud, but he is a multi-millionaire QB of the best football team in the world. I think he could do better. So, we'll see how it all plays out. Regardless of pre-season or not, I'm just glad I have something to watch other than the Succo's.

4. OK so I am a member of the LA fitness that the fellow decided to shoot up. It literally is a minute up the road from my house. I have been going for a year or so and I was going 3 or 4 times a week up until I got my promotion to Ross Park. It has been hard to get into the gym when I have to drive 45 minutes there, work 9 hours and drive all the way back home. So, luckily I had just worked a 9 hour day and drove 45 minutes home so I was not about to go to the gym that night. A few friends from high school however were there. One of them was one who got shot in the knee, the other 2 got out of the class safely. So I wish Melina a speedy recovery, and I'm glad Jen and Lisa got out safe. My dad who is a paramedic and volunteer fireman was at the scene as a staging manager directing all of the emergency response vehicles and keeping things organized, he also was at the Fire Department after he left the scene helping families who didn't know if their relatives were involved. He and all the other police, paramedics and emergency responders and doctors and nurses at the hospitals should always be treated with a great deal of respect as they dedicate their lives to helping others and making the world around us a little more safe. It's a pretty screwed up world sometimes. It seems like things like this are just the most horrible thing that can happen, innocent people being shot is just awful. With how many crazy people there are in the world, I'm just glad stuff like this doesn't happen more often. It's just surreal to have it happen to people you know at a place you go to every week right up the road from your house.

So, that's what is going on in the world today. Sorry to leave on a such a depressing note but I have to get ready for my 45 minute trek to work. Until next time bitches.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Pirates Trades Analysis!

A long time ago, this blog was updated frequently with all your up to date Pittsburgh sports news. Sadly, everyone who has written for this blog has died.

Anyway, The Pirates traded Eric Hinske for two 24 year old bums. This is just a guess but if you're 24 and still in Single A ball, you'll probably never make the majors. Not that this really bugs me. Hinske doesn't need to be here. He didn't really contribute and the team isn't going anywhere. Why not take a chance on two prospects. You never know. We could get lucky.

I like the Morgan for Milledge trade. We need power and its possible Morgan is just a flash in the pan. Although I did like his attitude and work ethic, that hasn't lead to winning games as a team. For the other half of the trade, Burnett had been doing a pretty good job out of the bullpen. Let's hope Joel Hanrahan ca get his stuff together.

That's it. Go Bucs!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Penguin time!

Hey Everybody! It's been quite awhile since I posted a blog. So the pens are down 3-2 in the finals. Well at least I called that they were going to repeat as east champs back before the season started. Don't believe me? Check out my blog from said beginning of the season http://classicgangonly.blogspot.com/2008/09/10-questions-about-upcoming-penguins.html

Well, we stand in the same place as last year. Tonight is it ladies and gents. The season is over if we don't pull this game out. The Pens have looked better then last year minus of course the game 5 melee'. I will be pretty upset if the pens don't at least take it to game 7. I'm even more pissed because hoessa might look like a soothsayer by going to Detroit to win the cup and that makes me physically ill. Why i'll be more upset that Hossa actually wins the cup is that the Pens are going to be good for at least 5 more years. Detoit is on it's last legs as a good bulk of thier team is old or underpaid and going to be looking to get out of there via retirement or free agency. It's the Dallas Cowboy method. Have people come to your team and take a paycut to win a championship. Then when they get old or thier contracts run out. They will go to a place that will pay them. So I have a good feeling that we will get a few cups in the upcoming years if not this year so I'm not too concerned about not getting to see a cup come to the burgh soon.

If and hopefully when the Pens do win tonight it will be a one game playoff back at "The Joe." This means it could come down to one game kids, basicly a super bowl of hockey, which is too exciting to put in to words. But even before that, tonight it's win or go home for our beloved Pens. Placed in this position my only concern is Fleury. He had just a horrid game 5 and he has proven throughout his career to be a little bit of a head case and get rattled if he lets a soft goal in. Keep an eye on his play in game 6. I think if he keeps it together we will see the Wings back in Detroit.

So, I know you are wondering to yourself after knowing my history with correct predictions (Whitney getting traded, picking up Kunitz and Guerin as wingers for Sid, Pens as east champs again, needing and getting a players coach like a Bob Johnson, and even changing style of play to suit the team. All of which I predicted before the events occured). "Steve, what do you think will happen in these last 2 games?" Pens win tonight 3-1 and game 7 goes into overtime and crosby nets the OT winner thus shutting up every person who hates on him for no reason. How you like them apples? Do I really believe this will actually happen, i'm not sure. If it does I will shit in my pants... Seriously. That's it for now kids!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Pens Pounded in Detroit

Game five didn't exactly go the way we had all planned. Actually it was enough to make any of us vomit. It was a horrible game for our Pittsburgh Penguins. I could go on and on about it, but I'm not. Fact is they got dominated by the Red Wings. If the Pens want to win the Cup, they have to win two straight, which they have done already on two occasions this playoff year (against the Capitals and against the Red Wings). It can be done. Fact is niether team has played well enough on the road to really win a game. You have to think the Penguins would have won game one or two the way they played in those games. But they didn't. They did win games three and four against a Red Wings team that looked tired and worn out. The Pens looked tired and worn out in game 5. Two days off will give the teams a chance to regroup. I suspect the Pens will win game six and we'll be going back to Detroit for a game seven.

Also remember back in game four near the end of the game when Kirk Maltby took a whack at the back of Sidney Crosby's leg and it wasn't called? That was a real classy move by Maltby, a four time cup champion. So now some moron that writes for the Denver Post has totally begun ripping on the Penguins calling them the Utah Jazz/Phoenix Suns of the NHL. What? Really? He also talked about how classless it was for the Pens to take the dumb penaltys in the game last night against the Red Wings. Hmmmm. So it's ok if a Red Wing player whacks at our star player and its not considered to be classless, but when the shoe is on the other foot,we are all of a sudden put down on the same level as the Flyers? This guy must be an idiot (LINK).

This team is very young. rosby and Malkin have a lot of good years ahead of them. For someone to say that the Pens are the Jazz/Suns of the NHL, must not have a clue what they are talking about. Besides, how can you compare the NHL to the NBA anyhow? They are two totally different games that require two totally different attitudes and psyche to play in. I don't watch alot of the NBA, but I can tell you one thing is that to play in the NHL it takes a special person, especially in the playoffs. The stuff these players go through to win the Stanley Cup is what makes it the greatest trophy in sports.

Also I really hope that the NHL takes the opportunity to rid itself of NBC's horrible coverage when their contract ends, which isn't until 2011. ESPN really needs to get hockey back because right now NBC is horrible. I think Pierre Mcguire may be the worst person I have to listen to during a game. Edzo and Doc compliment each other well, but I can't stand Edzo anymore. He was great in Pittsburgh, but I don't know what happened to him that makes him so bad now. All of the analysts with the exception of Darren Pang, who does a solid job dating back to his ESPN days and even Mike Milbury a little bit, but not often, Are horrible. I don't care for Versus much, but they are way better than NBC and they don't have nearly the population watching them that NBC does.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Pens Down 2-0 In Finals

While it doesn't look good for the Penguins in the 2009 edition of the Stanley Cup Finals, don't fret. Even though Detroit looks unstoppable, they have simply been getting the bounces. Compared to last year, the Penguins look much better. In fact, even though the Penguins are down in the series, I still like them in Pittsburgh for games 3 and 4. Here are some things the Pens need to do to win and get back into the series.
  • Fleury needs to step it up. While in game one, there were two flukey goals scored against him, he still played well. In game two it was the same story, except he gave up a bad goal to let the wings go up 3-1. Fleury simply needs to get some confidence back.
  • The Pens need to play a little better defense. They are playing solid defense, but at times Detroit gets some chances and with their experience and skill, that can't happen.
  • The hockey gods need to give the Pens some bounces. All of the bounces have seem to gone Detroits way. At some point that changes because it just doesn't happen for an entire series.

Also it has come to my attention that 41 of the last 44 times a team has taken a 2-0 series lead in the stanley cup finals, they have gone on to win the cup. The three times a team has blown a 2-0 series lead in the finals and lost were...

1942: Toronto vs. Detroit...Detroit actually won the first three games and then Toronto came storming back to win four straight and the series.

1966: Montreal vs. Detroit...Detroit won the first two and then Montreal won the next four to win the cup.

1971: Chicago vs. Montreal...Chicago took a 2-0 series lead and then Montreal came back to win the series in seven games.

Perhaps Detroit is due for a collapse? We'll see. But don't lose hope Penguins fans. Pittsburgh is clearly just as good as Detroit, they just need to find a way to get some goals and coming home to Pittsburgh is just what the doctor ordered.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Stanley Cup Finals Preview


So here it is. What we have been waiting for all season long. Not just a trip back to the Stanley Cup Finals, but a rematch with the Detroit Red Wings and Benedict Hossa. The Pens will be seeking revenge while Detroit will try to stamp their place in history among some of the great dynasty's in the history of the game. Here is my preview....shall we?


It would be really easy to look at last years series and say that the Pens didnt show up for game 1 or 2, which would be a true statement, but the fact of the matter is that regardless of whether or not the Penguins would have shown up for game 1 or 2 wouldn't have mattered. Detroit was the superior team. They would have won no matter what based on experience. Last season was an experienced, talented Detroit squad making it's fifth appearance in the finals in a 12 season span, which under todays standards is impressive, compared to a talented, inexperienced Penguins team making its first appearance. No matter how much you think that if the Pens showed up for game 1 or 2, they werent gonna beat the Red Wings. It has taken me one year to realize that, but fact is you can't beat experience. Now the Pens have experience and it will mean a huge difference. This time around things will be different.


You still have to give the Red Wings and advantage in the experience department, since they are the defending champions and they know what it takes. Like I said above, the Pens finally know what it takes and I think that they will be better prepared for the Finals this time around. Still I think Detroit has an edge having been through these battles before.


Offensively its a tough decision too, but the Penguins have the edge. It's hard to go against Crosby and Malkin. Detroit has Zetterberg, Hossa, Datsyuk and Franzen, but the way Geno and Sid have been playing lately, compared to a bruised up Detroit team, its an advantage for the Penguins. Nobody even knows if Datsuyk will play since he has missed the last few games. Somthing is obviously wrong with him and I doubt he plays if he doesnt think he can be a factor.


Defensively I give Detroit the edge. They have an experienced group compared to the Penguins. Lidstrom is the anchor and if the Pens can beat him down playing a physical game, they increase their chances. The entire unit however has to feel the pain in order for the Pens to win the series. This also applys to the forwards of the Red Wings. The more physical you play against them, the better off you are.


Goaltending is what wins you Stanley Cups. Detroit should have the edge with Osgood, but I really feel like he has shown some weaknesses this post season. The Pens have faced some tough goalies this season in Varlamov and Ward, but Osgood is a Stanley Cup winner. Until Fleury can defeat him, Osgood will be the top dog. I still feel like Fleury is the x-factor. Advantage goes to the Penguins since they have faced some tough goalies this post season. Fleury will still have to play out of his mind in the Finals though for the Pens to have a shot at winning.


Overall I feel like the Penguins have a little bit of an edge. The schedule favors them since they are healthy and Detroit is a little banged up. Starting the series with back to back games in Detroit is a huge plus and will allow the Pens to either rebound quickly if they lose game one or to take a somewhat commanding lead heading back to Pittsburgh for game three if they win the first two. But that theory works both ways too. Still, the Penguins know what to expect and are more focused coming into the Finals this year compared to last year.


My prediction: I really like the Penguins chances this season. Detroit is hurting, Pittsburgh is healthy and they have last years series loss on their minds. It will still be a very tough series, but in the end Penguins win. Penguins in 6.


Some quick trivia...


  • The St. Louis Blues are the only team to appear in three straight Stanley Cup Finals and lose each one, being swept in each series (Montreal in 1968 and 1969, Boston in 1970).

  • Since 1967, only three times have the same two teams met in the Stanley Cup Finals (1968 and 1969 Montreal over St. Louis, 1977 and 1978 Montreal over Boston and in 1983 NY Islanders over Edmonton and 1984 Edmonton over NY Islanders).

  • No team has repeated as Stanley Cup champions since the Detroit Red Wings in 1997 (swept Flyers) and 1998 (swept Capitals).

  • No team has lost back to back Finals since the Boston Bruins in 1977 and 1978.

Also I wanted to do a quick comparison to the 1983 and 1984 Stanley Cup Finals between Edmonton and New York, since the comparisons between the Oilers and Penguins are constantly being made. In 1983, the Oilers were completely dominated in the series being shut out in game one and losing by three goals (6-3) in game two. They then lost game three (5-2) and game four (4-1) to be swept by the New York Islanders, which had just won their fourth straight Stanley Cup. In 1984 however, it was a different story. Edmonton squeezed out a win in game one (1-0) before being embarrassed by the Islanders in game two (6-1). At that point many thought the Islanders would go on to win the Stanley Cup, but Edmonton would win the remaining games by impressive scores of 7-2 in game three and four and eventually closing out the series in the fifth game (5-2). Although the Penguins won two games the basic point is that one year can make a huge difference, especially when it boils down to a young team that is learning what it takes to win. Hopefully the Penguins have learned what it takes and they can win it all this year.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Conference Finals Preview

With the conclusion of some exciting game seven's played last night, it is now time to move on the the conference finals. Here is my preview of the two (West and East).

Western Confernce Finals
Detroit Red Wings vs. Chicago Blackhawks
This is an interesting matchup and should be exciting. Hockey in Chicago has been revived thanks to ownership that actually cares now and a solid young group of players. Detroit won four of the six games played between the two this season, including the outdoor game played at Wrigley Field on New Years Day. This is really a tough series to predict. The Red Wings are the defending Stanley Cup champions and the Blackhawks are an up and coming team. Detroit knows what it takes, while Chicago may be getting another lesson in what it takes to win a Stanley Cup. Chicago has the goaltending edge over Detroit for the simple fact that Chris Osgood has been inconsistent and Nikolai (I don't know how to spell his last name) has been playing outstanding so far. Chicago is very talented on the blueline (Brian Campbell) and have three outstanding young forwards (Kane, Toews and Sharp). But Detroit has experience and that could be the x-factor. We all know about them. My pick is Detroit in six.
This is the first time Detroit and Chicago have met in a playoff series since the 1995 Western Conference Finals. Detroit won the series.

Eastern Conference Finals
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Carolina Hurricanes
Honestly, who would have thought in January or even February that the Pens would be in the Conference Finals? Not too many. But this team is resilient. They have rebounded from so much this season and in the playoffs too. The overall edge goes to the Penguins, because, lets face it, how do you go against Sidney Crosby when he is playing so well? He seems to really be motivated from last seasons loss in the Cup finals. The edge in goaltending has to go to Carolina. Cam Ward already has one Cup and a Conn Smythe (Playoff MVP). Overall I really feel the Penguins are a better team, but Cam Ward is the one man that could change that. Expect a simliar performance like the one Varlamov had in the 2nd round against the Penguins. If Gonchar is healthy that is a plus and of course the Stall brothers will be fun to watch too. It should be a good series. My pick is Penguins in 6.
Carolina is actually the Hartford Whalers. The team moved from Hartford following the 1996-97 season to Carolina. The two teams have never met in the playoffs before.

So there it is. Also on another side note, all games can be watched on the big screen outside Mellon Arena since it doesn't appear NBC will have any games in the series.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Pens Advance To Conference Finals!!!


What a series. What a matchup. Hockey fans couldn't have asked for anything better during the 7 games that the Capitals and Penguins played. The only thing that would have made this better, would have been if the series was the Stanley Cup Finals. Crosby and Ovechkin both showed why they are the two best players in the world. It was simply one of the best series in recent memory. Some are saying that it ranks with some of the best seven game series in hockey history.

Regardless, last night was a little anti-climatic. Pens and Caps fans probably thought going into game seven, that the game would be decided by one goal for sure, perhaps even an overtime or two. This series had every thing except for a blowout and a multiple OT game. We finally did get a little bit of everything. The better team prevailed in this series. The only reason it went seven games was because rookie goaltender Simeon Varlamov stole some games and that was what made the difference in the series. If he isnt in net, this would have been a 5 game series easily, maybe even a sweep.

The play of the game last night however, was Fluery's stop of Ovechkin on a breakaway. If Ovie scores on that breakaway, I think we see a totally different game. I still think that the Pens were going to win, but maybe if that shot goes in, its a different game. Fluery made the big save when he needed to. The Pens now wait for the winner of the Boston/Carolina series.

Here is my prediction for tonights game sevens...
Boston/Carolina: Carolina had control of this series. They had a 3-1 series lead. Boston fought back to force a game seven. This doesnt look good for the Hurricanes. Boston is probably one of the best teams in hockey right now. They have a ton of depth. I think Carolina has a goaltending edge however in Cam Ward. The guy is amazing and already has one cup under his belt. But I think it is going to be a collapse for the Canes. Bruins win.
Anaheim/Detroit: Here is another great series. Both teams hate each other. Anaheim apparently is sick of Detroits ways, because at the end of Game 6, they started beating up on Detroits stars literally. This one could go either way. I think Detroit has the edge however. They are a very deep team and the defending champs. As much as I hate them and would love to see them eliminated, I just dont see it happening. Red Wings win.

One more thing.....
Phoenix filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy. This is somthing that Penguins fans know all too well (Pens filed twice in their existence). It looks like the team may be moved but the NHL is saying they are behind the Phoenix area and want it to recover. My bet is the NHL allows the team to move. I think it would be better for everyone in this case. I hate to see it happen, but to me it is only a matter of time until the Coyotes leave town. The team would probably be relocated to Kansas City or to Canada. KC seems likely since they have a new arena in place and wanted the Pens very badly. If the team would move to Canada, its hard to say where it would go. I personally would like to see a team back in Quebec, but that is probably unlikely. Winnipeg I believe lost their team because they couldn't support the franchise. Hamilton seems likely or maybe Toronto could get a second team. I don't think that would be wise, but you can never be to sure until it happens. New York has two teams. Several other cities in other sports have two teams. Who knows.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Jason Calls His Mom: Jason Does a Girl

My Newest Video, where I call my mom.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

You Had To Be There To Believe It - Pens Beat Flyers


Courtesy of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Wow. Thats all I can really say concerning Game 6 against the Flyers. I was a mess the entire day, since I had to work real late the night before. I opted to listen to Mike Lange and the Ol' Two-Niner, but the warm April sun was putting me to sleep, so I watched the game on NBC instead. From the time I left my radio to the time I got the TV warmed up, it was 2-0 Flyers. Ouch. Next thing I know it's 3-0 Flyers and as much as it pains me to say this, I thought the game and possibly the series was over. I couldn't believe it. But I should have kept telling myself that momentum changes in the blink of an eye. And it did. Max Talbot sucks Daniel Carcillo into a fight, which wasn't the time for the Flyers to be dropping the gloves. It recharges the Pens. Malkin drives to the net and all of a sudden you realize that hope is not lost. Fedotenko picks up the trash and it's a 3-1 game. I honestly think that the Flyers thought they had it won at that point however. Braydon Coburn knocks down Fedotenko for no reason at all right after the goal. Typical Flyers being dumb and tyring to be tough guys. All of a sudden the momentum changes. Momentum is what the Stanley Cup Playoffs are all about. Mark Eaton knocks one out of the air to make it 3-2. Then Crosby does the same thing after Biron juggles the puck. 3-3 hockey game. You just knew that all the Pens had to do was play mistake free hockey the rest of the way. Fleury was AMAZING in the 3rd period. Gonchar rips a slapper from downtown. 4-3 Pens. At that point you knew the Flyers were toast. Crosby gets the empty netter and seals a 5-3 win for the Pens and the series. What a comeback. Now we will await the next opponent for round 2. It should be pretty exciting from here on out.


Some real quick tidbits.....



  • How nice was it to not have to listen to Pierre Mcguire during the broadcast yesterday. Darren Pang was a blast from the past to the days of ESPN. Mcguire is a joke and I've lost all respect for him.

  • Fluery was MVP of the series without a doubt. He played out of his mind when he needed to and thats all you can ask.

  • Not sure what happened to Scuderi, but hopefully he can return to play the next round.

What a way to beat the Flyers. They had a 3-0 lead and then watched it fall apart faster than Donovan McNabb in the final two minutes of a super bowl. This could be a momentum changer for the Pens. Lets hope so. GO PENS!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Some Hockey Thoughts

Well....can I first say how much I love this time of year? Hockey has now moved into it's second season and it's getting warm outside. I LOVE THIS! This is the time of year when moments are made. Hockey fans will become so consumed with the game and their team, it will be like nothing else matters. Every shot will make you jump from your seat. Every save makes you breath a sigh of relief. Every win makes you more and more excited, while every loss makes you feel deflated. You will lose your voice cheering every goal. It truely is the most wonderful time of the year for a hockey fan. With that being said, I'd like to share some thoughts on the opening week of this playoff year.

Flying Into Philadelphia
The Penguins have a 2-0 series lead heading into the game tomorrow with the Flyers in Philly. Although last nights OT was the first playoff hockey I have gotten to see all season, I have listened when I can to Mike Lange and it really sounds like the Pens are simply out playing the Flyers. The OT last night also showed how undiciplined and stupid the Flyers can be. Here is my prediction: If Pittsburgh wins game 3 tomorrow and takes a 3-0 series lead, look for this series to get ugly. Philly will try and beat the snot out of the Pens and take as many cheap shots as possible. Keep you fingers crossed the Pens can get out without any major injuries. If Philly wins game 3, it's going to be a whole new ballgame. No series lead is safe until it is won. Even some of the best teams have blown 2-0 and even 3-0 series leads. I doubt that happens to the Pens, but momentum in hockey can change with one big goal, a huge save or a devastating body check.

Chicago Revival
How great is it to see the Blackhawks back in the playoffs. I think it was great to see them play so well this season and to have the city behind them again. Let's not forget that home games used to be blacked out in Chicago. It's nice to see an origional six team doing well again.

Big Screen Gone?
By now most know that the big screen will not show games broadcast by NBC. I will let you read what the Tribune-Review (here) and Pittsburgh Post Gazette (here) reported and what Channel 11 (here) had to say in response. Basically what it boils down to, is that NBC has poor ratings and doesn't want it to suffer anymore than it already has. It's too bad. I always wanted to go to a game and watch it outside. It's funny that this is all happening now. If it was such a big deal why didn't it happen before this playoff season? I guess thats the way the cookie crumbles. It just shows however that the hockey has a poor TV package and NBC has a shitty broadcast team. Mike Emerick is the only person I can stand to listen to during their games to begin with.


Comments On The Super Genius
I was listening to Mark Madden before the Pens game on my way to work the other night before game 2. Madden does offer solid insight to hockey and the Penguins, but i admit some nights I love him and some nights I don't. Madden was pretty good last night. One caller specific was asking about an update on Jaromir Jagr possibly coming back to the Pens (won't happen for future reference). Madden simply responded by saying "what? Didn't you hear? He's playing tonight!" First of all, Jagr is the farthest person from anyones mind right now, so why bring him up? Second, don't worry about it, cuz he ain't comin back to Pittsburgh. If he does return to the NHL it will be to the team that will pay him the most.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Broadcasters Sometimes More Popular Than Players

More sad news coming from the baseball world today. Longtime Philadelphia Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas passed away today. He was 73. You can read more about his sudden passing at the bottom of the page. While I sit here and watch the Pirates home opener, it makes me think about all of the great broadcasters in Pittsburgh and how lucky we are to have so many good ones.

With the Pirates, broadcasting legend Lanny Frattare just retired at the end of last season. I loved listening to Lanny. He had such a great voice for baseball. On nights that Lanny was doing radio, I almost always listened to him instead of watching the game. He was the face of the franchise for the last 15 seasons, which was no picnic with the continuous losing. He may have been more popular than some of the players as the losing continued. Lanny recently got a job as a professor at Waynesburg University and also did an interview with Channel 11 talking about his abuse of alcohol, which you can read about at the bottom of the page too. There is Noooo doubt about the fact that Lanny was loved by many Pirates fans and will be for a long time to come. Today Tim Nettinger is doing the game and he sounds great. It almost sounds like he should be doing a national broadcast for TBS or somthing like that, but I like him thus far.

The Penguins have had Mike Lange behind the microphone for the past 30 plus years and there is nothing that I love more than listening to him. Once Lange's voice comes over the airwaves saying "It's a hockey night in Pittsburgh" that alone is enough to get me ready for a game. The one thing I love about Lange though is that he pulls for the Pens, but he calls the game fairly. He isn't so much of a homer that he tries defending the Penguins when they mess up or somthing like that. I respect Lange so much for staying in Pittsburgh when he could have left after being fired. I recently found out that he had recieved offers prior to the lockout from ESPN and the Chicago Blackhawks to be their play-by-play person. The day Lange retires is the day a good thing comes to an end.

We have also had some other great broadcasters in Pittsburgh. Bob Prince broadcasted Pirates games for 28 years and was probably the most popular broadcaster in Pittsburgh history when he passed away in 1985. He had many different sayings, but he always ended a Bucco win with "we had em alllll the way." Myron Cope was also a legend broadcasting Steeler games. We really don't need to say much more about Myron other than he was very unique.

Below are some links that add to the article.....

ESPN.com reports on the death of Harry Kalas
Lanny Frattare talks about his life after broadcasting
Gunnerisms from Bob Prince

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Some Thoughts On A Crazy Week


It's been a crazy week. Not just for me, but in the sports world too. I can't blog like I want to, since I work 60 hours a week, but this is a chance I can mention some stuff, so here it goes....



  • How about the Buccos? A pretty solid start for a team that isn't supposed to do much this year. I hope they continue to play this way for the entire season. Could this be the year? Maholm looks like the ace the Pirates need him to be. The Buccos are hitting well too. Home opener is on Monday against the Astros at 1:30pm. They finish up the weekend against the Reds tomorrow.

  • Penguins won tonight meaning they will play the Flyers in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs! If Philly loses on Sunday, then the Pens will have home ice in the series. Malkin also won the Art Ross trophy (scoring title). He now joins Mario Lemieux (6), Jaromir Jagr (5), and Sidney Crosby (1) as the only Penguins to win the Art Ross trophy. Some early keys to the Flyers/Penguins playoff series will be the Penguins ability to score on the Power Play and Fleury's ability to shut down the Flyers. Also the physical factor always is important with the Flyers, but I think the Pens can give it right back if they need to. I think they can win the series. I say Pens in 6.

  • Tiger Woods is four under par at the Masters. We never talk golf on here, but everyone wants to know about Tiger. It doesn't look good since the leaders are at 11 under par, but ya never know with old Tiger in the hunt going into the final day. I'd watch but I have to work.

  • On a sad note, Nick Adenhart, a pitcher with the Los Angeles Angels was killed by a drunk driver on April 9 (my birthday for those that care). But needless to say I felt so horrible when I found out about this. Its really sad to hear about such a great young player with such talent being taken away by someone so careless. It really makes me realize how important it is to enjoy life and take advantage of every opportunity. Adenhart was only 22 and had his entire career and life ahead of him. Just a very sad incident that should have never happened. R.I.P, Nick

BUCCO NOTES



  • Has anyone notice how the Pirates have been getting quality start after quality start from their pitchers early on this season. Maholm seems to maybe be turning into that pitcher our bullpen can rely on giving them rest. I can atleast say I am shocked that so early in the season that our pitching is looking good. The pitch counts and walks (9 walks all season)have been pretty low espically when you look how deep some of the pitchers are going into the game (Maholm & Ohlendorf).Espically since they were suppose to be the weakest link for this team.

  • Pirate batters are also working the count and being aggressively smart at the plate. I know it is early in the season, but if you have all watched Pirate baseball in the past, you know that their at bats were far from smart and aggressive. I see them working the pitchers into deep counts forcing the other team to use their bullpen in the 6 and 7 th innnings rather then in the middle of the 7 and 8 th innings.

  • Some things I see the Buccos need to cut down on is their multi -error games and strike outs. To start the season in thier in the first five games the Pirates have struck out 43 times. Andy LaRoche seems to be the easiest one to point the finger at when it comes to both of these stats. However, the rest of the team has accounted for their fair share.

  • NOTE*** HOLY CRAP - RYAN DOUMIT JUST HIT A GRANDSLAM, JUST AS I AM BLOGGING THIS. WOW, TRIVIA WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME A PIRATE HIT A GRANDSLAM, BETTER YET WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU WITNESSED A PIRATE GRANDSLAM.

  • NOTE***ADAM LAROCHE JUST HIT A HOMERUN BACK TO BACK HOMERUNS FOR THE BUCCOS.

  • The other stat I have notice the Buccos have cut down on is leaving runners stranded on the basepads. This has always been are achilles heel. Espically being that we are a small ball team, we need all the base runners we can get to generate runs

  • It seems that nothing much has changed much, other then an addition with the same last name. Adam Laroche is off to another poor and slow start, other then that HR he just hit. He and his Brother Andy LaRoche up to the point where Adam just hit that HR were 0 - 19. Andy is 0-12 to start the season. I understand the kid had a good spring, but what has that ever proved in the past. Nothing is the answer, spring ball means nothing. There comes a time where you change rolls and give someone else a chance to hit and play. If your the Pirates you want to put the best bats you have on the field. Lets face it Andy's fielding has been terrible as well. So if you give someone else a shot early on your not losing out on much. It doesn't seem that the name LaRoche will be receiving a warm welcome to PNC Park this Monday for the home opener. If anything it will be receive more boo's then ever now that we have added another. lol. Atleast we know they can be consistant.

  • The last note on the bad side is our bullpen, who I think is more of a question mark then our startes. They have looked bad. Guys like Grabow and Yates, who you think you could count on as veterans to come in and make the pitches you need to make to get out of an inning or to secure a a 9th inning save for Capps. They just aren't doing it.Bullpen definitly needs to pick up their play if we stand a chance to have more wins this season.

Well thats all for me, I am out and hope you have enjoyable EASTER HOLIDAY WEEKEND. Now that I have ended this blog the Buccos have closed out the Reds in their game and now are 3-2. Let's go Bucs!!


Thursday, April 9, 2009

DECLARING FOR THE NBA DRAFT


Now that the NCAA has crowned a 2009 champion, it is time to see who is leaving to go to the NBA draft and who is staying. I think when you have peaked out your game or if you have made such an impact of college basketball to the point where your getting more media coverage then you would normally get, GO PRO! Go and get your money, I am sorry, but I do not believe in the saying," It will be there waiting for you next season." Not True, if you are not a favorite in the eyes of the media or you have a bad season the following year, trust me it will not be there.(atleast in the amount it was $$)
Now that we have came to an understanding on declaring for the draft. I move to a guy named Dejaun Blair. He is a sophomore out of the University of Pittsburgh, who is a beast in his own right , but a tweener in the next level. He is the prime example of my arguement, "Get it while you can." Here we have a player who could and can handle any big man in all of college basketball, but when it comes to playing at the next level...not so much. Blair is what we would all consider a tweener in the NBA. He has the ability, length , and strength to play with the bigs in the NBA, but lacks the height. He also has the size in all aspects to play with the small forwards in the NBA, but lacks the consistant 15 footer and speed. However, forunately for Blair his stock is high. We all know you sell, sell, sell. That is just what Dejuan Blair is doing. We all know he could come back and be great for Pitt and the NCAA for another yr and maybe get Pitt back in the hunt for a national championship. Why would you ever come back for a bunch of maybe's when you can go with the next step in your career that is certain, which is a late 1st round pick and gurantee of millions of dollars. Hey , I know you all remember a guy by the name of Aaron Gray, who wasn't the most touted center coming out of the college basketball. Guess what, he has a million dollar roster spot on the Chicago Bulls and rarely plays. Now you tell me what you would do if you were Dejaun Blair.
This whole tweener theory also applies to one the best most decreative college basketball players of my time Mr. Tyler Hansbrough. The only thing different with him is, he stayed all fours of college due to the fact that he comes from blessed family with money and wasn't in the situation of having to support his family. I am just being honest here , I am a Hansbrough guy. I think its guys like him, that make college basketball so much fun to watch. Espically when guys like Tyler take on the one and dones year after year.
Finally, I would invite all if any to blog your opinons on this topic and maybe even expand. This is more or less one of the main reasons that the NCAA doesn't carry a great relationship with the NBA.
**Prediction - Blake Griffin was the best in college basketball this year and could have been one of the greatest college players, but why waste your time when you have conquered big man after big man. There is nothing more to prove, we all know this kid can out ball the boys. Now it's time to see him ball with the men and get his money. He will be a successful pro that is the most obvious number one pick in the last couple of years.

Monday, April 6, 2009

NEW START - LETS GO BUCS!!


  • Hello live from Pittsburgh, Pa. I know the weather is terrible in St.Louis, it s not any better here or where Bice is at. I know Bice will be blogging live all day and doing updatesand has the lineups set up for our viewers. One thing I can say I like about the Pirates this yr. is thier new look in uniforms. Looks like they are as desperate as us for a winning season by wearing the uniforms from when Barry Bonds once played for us. Very nice call by Management!!
  • 1st Inning - Buccos up first to bat, Morgan leads off with a single and looks aggressive on the base pads with a steal. Looks like the Pirate hitters are learning how to work the counts and pitchers early on. Buccos loaded the bases and leave them that way with a strike out. That was a pretty good start for the top half of the 1st inning espically considering the weather conditions.Well same old story as Puljos starts his season with a double for the Pirates, seems to me that still haven't found way to slow him down. Lucky for us LaRoche has a good glove at first base to save the inning from being a mess. Maholm weathers the storm and gets out of the inning.SCORE 0-0
  • 2nd Inning -Buccos come up in the top of the 2nd inning and continue to look strong at the plate. Maholm drove a base hit to left center and Morgan singles for his second single of the day. No runs came out of this, but the bats are looking strong and aggresive in a smart way. Another double let up by Maholm this inning but, so far so good for ole Pat Maholm he is throwing strikes early on and getting ahead of the count. He has his curve ball working and is getting batters to do what he needs them to do. Fly out and ground out. The defense is looking good making some routine and out of routine plays.Score 0 - 0
  • 3rd Inning - Uneventful inning for the Pirates going 3 up and 3 down, but they are still taking solid at bats. The Cards got their first two batters on base and loaded the bases up on one out and scored 2 runs. Maholm seem to have some control issues could be the weather or it could be Maholm being Maholm.Pirates worked out of the jam doing what they do best in all of the National league last yr and end it in a double play. Score 0-2 Cardinals.
  • 4th Inning- 3 up and 3 down again for the Buccos, seems to me that they are slacking off at the plate and starting to lose the aggressive smart at bats that they had early on. Not really much action on the bottom half of the inning. Although another extra base hit was let up to the pitcher of the Cards. How many times can we get away with giving up extra base hits until they hurt us. More on the in the coming innings. LOL....Score 0-2

  • Sorry for the intermission... had to take a nap, but i woke up in time to watch the Pirates show me that old habits never die..errors, strike outs, and control problems. However, that wasn't the only old habit on the field that didn't die out. The Cardinals problems from last year contintued to haunt them as they took their 4 to 2 lead into the top of the 9 th inning with 2 outs. Thats when the St. Louis Cardinals problems at the closer position continued into their 2009 season. I was referring to it all day long, the aggressive at bats and working the counts came into play. Jack flash, flashed his bat on a 2 out base clearing double to give the Battling Buccos a 6 to 4 lead. They never looked back as the MAD CAPPER came in to close the game. He did a very good job as usual, as he went in and just threw strikes. Buccos came away with a resilant win. Buccos record 1- 0 winning record in 2009.
  • BAD NOTES - NEED TO CUT DOWN ON STRIKE OUTS, NEED TO CUT DOWN ON ERRORS, AND NEED TO MAINTAIN CONTROL ON THE MOUND
  • GOOD NOTES - VERY AGGRESSIVE AND SMART AT BATS, STAYED CONFIDENT AND RESILANT, KEY PLAYERS HAD KEY AT BATS WHEN NEEDED.

That will wrapped it up for the Buccos opening day game for the 2009 season. I hope you enjoyed all the blogs that were created during this time as well as hope you visit the Classic Gang Only blogsite again.

Opening Day: Live Blog- Bucs VS. Cards


Greetings from Boston! The weather is shitty and the Sox Opener has been Postponed leaving thousands of Band-wagoners crying across the nation. But we here at CGO could not care less. The Pirates are in St. Louis, they are playing, and with a new season brings new hope. At least for a week or so.

According to the PBC, the weather isn't much better in St. Louis either. It's not raining though, and a game will be played!

Let's check out the line-ups

Bucs

1. Nyjer Morgan, LF

2. Freddy Sanchez, 2B

3. Nate McLouth, CF

4. Ryan Doumit, C

5. Adam LaRoche, 1B

6. Andy LaRoche, 3B

7. Brandon Moss, RF

8. Jack Wilson, SS

9. Maholm, P

Pretty Predictable line-up for the Pirates. Nyjer's got to get a good start to the season after a pretty sub-par spring and Brandon Moss better watch his back with Craig Monroe waiting in the wings showing he's still got some pop in that bat of his.

Cardinals

1. Brendan Ryan, 2B

2. Rick Ankiel, CF

3. Albert Pujols, 1B

4. Khalil Greene, SS

5. Ryan Ludwick, RF

6. Yadier Molina, C

7. Chris Duncan, LF

8. Brian Barden, 3B

9. Wainwright, P

Aside from Pujols the Pirate Killer, this line-up doesn't look to strike fear into anyone (not even the Pirates.) Why is Khalil Greene hitting 4th? He sucks. Let's hope Paul Maholm can improve on last years great pitching performances.

UPDATE: 2 minutes till game time and mlb.tv is already having issues. F my life.

UPDATE: OK, the fsn broadcast is soundless so I'm on the Cardinals Broadcast.

Nice start for Morgan. Base hit sliced to left field.

Morgan Steals. Sanchez strikes out. and McLouth walks.

Doumit flies out to center. 2 Outs

Base Hit Adam Laroches. For the first time in history he's batting 1.000 in April! Bases Juiced.

And Andy strikes out. The Pirates miss a good opportunity but i liked what I saw from Nyjer coming out getting a hit and a steal right off the bat is big. Also, I'm liking the new Unis!

One Pitch One out. Like it.

3 Pitches 2 Outs. Love it.

And there's no I want some more of it as I was going for. Pujols doubles inside the 3rd baseline.

LaRoche makes the catch but had he missed it would have nailed Moss right in the face. 3 Outs and Paul is looking good. Onto the 2nd.

Pirates 0 Cardinals 0

Moss hits to shallow center but a diving catch by Ankiel makes for out number 1.

Jack strikes out looking. 2 outs.

Paul is helping his cause. Base hit into left center.

Nyjer is my new favorite player. 2-2. man on first and second.

Slow Freddy ends the inning with a liner to 2nd onto first for the out.

And Ludwick hits it to third. Laroche picks it up and throws onto Laroche. 1 out.

Molina hits it into center field. McLouth makes the catch. 2 outs.

Double for Duncan as Nyjer lost his footing and doesn't make a play he should have.

But Nate makes a catch in center to end the inning. 3 outs.

Pirates 0 Cardinals 0

UPDATE: The stream for the FSN Pirates game is completely gone now. I don't know if this is MLBTV's fault or FSN's but we all know about Fox's shitty production.

Nate hits a liner to Greene who throws onto first. 1 out.

Pujols ranges to his right to scoop up the ball and throws on to Wainwright. Doumit gone. 2 outs.

LaRoche lines it into right for the 3rd out. Bucs go down in order for the first time.

Wainwright puts the ball in play and reaches first on a stupid misplay by the younger Laroche. One man on.

Brendan Ryan hits a base-hit. 2 men on. no outs.

Ankiel lines it to second. 1 out. But guess who's up.

Pujols loads the bases with a hit up the middle. Let's see how Paul handles Greene.

Of course I talk bad about the guy and Greene gets a base hit. 1-0 Cardinals.

And Ludwick gets a base-hit. 2-0 Cardinals.

Double Play ends the inning.

Cards 2 Pirates 0

Ludwick almost misplays Andy LaRoches fly ball to right. Keyword: Almost. 1 out.

Moss strikes out. 2 Outs.

And Wainwright has sent Seven straight down as Jack gets out.

Ball hit to first. One Out. It seems like the Cards have been swinging at Paul's first pitches recently.

Paul rings up his first K of the day. 2 Outs.

Wainwright with his second hit of the game. Classic Pirates giving up hits to the Pitcher.

Adam L makes the catch in foul territory for the 3rd out.

Onto the 5th

Cards 2 Pirates 0

Paul walks. 1 on.

Nyjer Strikes out. No longer my favorite player. 1 out. 1 on.

Freddy lines out to right. 2 outs.

Nate walks again. 2 on 2 outs for Ryan Doumit.

And Doumit strikes out. Buccos leaving a lot of men on base today.

Ankiel pops it up in the infield and Adam LaRoche makes the catch. 1 away.

And Pujols is human after all. Moss catches a pop up in right field. 2 outs.

Greene hits it softly to Jack, who throws onto first. 3 outs.

Cards 2 Pirates 0

Something cool about MLBTV is that u can add your fantasy baseball players to be tracked during the games. Then whenever your player comes up, it alerts you and allows you to go right to the game your player is playing in.

Classic Adam LaRoche. He strikes out. 1 out.

Wow, that was a gift. Andy LaRoche walks on a 3-2 count.

LaRoche moves to second on a passed ball.

And Wainwright just can't seem to find the zone now. Time for a boring mound visit.

Moss walks. Men on first and second with one out.

LaRussa pulls Wainwright for Josh Kinney.

Wilson flies out to Khalil Greene. 2 outs.

Maholm walks! Bases Loaded for Nyjer.

Trevor Miller comes in to try and retire Morgan.

BASE HIT MORGAN. 2-2 tie game. Guess who's my favorite player again!

Blooper base hit by Sanchez but Maholm gets caught between 3rd and home. Still the Pirates tie it up and we have a whole new ball game.

Bouncer back to Maholm, the throw onto first and Paul has one out in the 6th.

Wilson scoops up a ball hit to short. Throws onto 1st for the 2nd out.

Another error for Andy LaRoche. Let's hope it doesn't come back to bite us in the ass again.

And it doesn't. Infield pop up to Sanchez. Into the 7th we go all tied up at 2.

Nasty Nate Strikes out. One out.

Greene commits an error as Doumit's ball skips right under him. One on One out.

LaRoche strikes out for the second consecutive time. 2 outs.

Larussa is bringing in Kyle McClellan and David Freese for a double switch. Let's hope Andy LaRoche makes up for his earlier miscues.

Nope. One Pitch one Out and that makes 3.

Freese hits the ball softly to third. 1 out.

Ball popped up, caught by LaRoche. 2 outs.

Maholm goes too far inside and hits Ankiel. Something you don't want to do with Pujols on deck.

Ankiel moves to second on a wild pitch. Intentionally walking Pujols. Smart Move.

Maholm's day is done. Double Switch bringing in Yates and Vasquez.

McClouth catches Greene's fly ball to end the inning.

Into the 8th still 2-2.

Moss hits a ball to the warning track but its caught by Ankiel. 1 out.

Wilson strikes out. 2 outs.

Vasquez gets a base-hit. 1 man on. 2 outs.

Morgan bounces into a fielders choice. 3 outs.

Ludwick hits one out. 3-2 Cardinals.

Molina pops out to Sanchez. One out.

Chris Duncan walks.

Shumaker comes in to hit for McClellan.

Shumaker lines a two strike base hit into center. Runners at 1st and 3rd.

Fly ball to Moss for the out but Pinch-Runner Thurston comes home. 4-2 Cards.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Things That Make Me Laugh


I suppose I could write a post about the Pens or the Buccos or Jay Cutler or Tiger Woods or my sex life. But since my life is now occupied by two jobs, I decided that I would write about what makes me laugh. Just some things this past week that forced a chuckle out of me. Here it goes...


Have you ever worked at a fast food place like me? Of course you have. Well I am sure that you have had the same experiences I've had too. The other day I wasn't very busy, working the front counter when a gentleman walked into McDonalds. I approached my register, but he walked past me into the rest room. So I waited for him....and waited. He then left the store. My biggest suprise was yet to come. I suppose you think I am going to tell you that I walked into the rest room a few minutes later and found playboy and hustler on the ground with the pages all sticky or the walls covered in shit. Well, sorry to dissapoint you. I did see him in the drive thru though. Think about it, who walks inside to use the restroom and then goes through drive thru to order food? I don't know, but it made me laugh.

I was able to catch some TV the other day between jobs (actually just some commercials) and guess who I saw? Billy Mays! He was advertising some goofy glue that fixes anything. At one point he was trying to prove how strong it was by standing in a wind tunnel with the flag blowing at storm strength winds. His hair was blowing in the wind. It made me laugh.

Something else that would make me laugh would be Bice in a wheelchair. But thats not very nice.

I hope you found my stories to be funny too. See ya next time!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Opening Day: Live Blog Coming Monday

These Girls are ready for Opening Day!

Hey Gang! Haven't updated the blog in a while. It seems like either we're all blogging or no one is which doesn't give you much incentive to visit us too often. Anyway, I'll be live blogging the Bucco's opener Monday as well as reviewing MLB.TV's new features. So if you don't have a TV and nothing better to do, Be sure to stop by Classic Gang Only as we watch our beloved Pirates try to avoid another losing season.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

So what changed?



A few weeks ago on the verge of an epic collapse, I wrote a blog about our favorite Pittsburgh Penguins. In the blog I was questioning if they would make the playoffs and wondering just what the hell was wrong with them. I gave a few suggestions on what they needed to do to get back on track. If you don't remember the blog you can read it here. It turns out I am more of a super genius than Mark Madden because my suggestions were spot on. Lets go over them shall we?

Step one was to get an identity as a team and a coach who is a motivator who is likable and will get down to the basics and not switch up lines all the time.

Step one, Check.
The pens have done just that. They dropped the attempts to play a defensive game. They are aggressive and it is paying off with an offence like the pens have and defencemen like Letang and Gonchar who can score both the offence and defence have gotten better. Fluery is not facing as many shots because the pens are controlling the zone. Dan Blysma has been just what the Lemieux Group LP ordered. He is a young guy who can relate to the players but has been around the game a long time and has a style of play that really fits this club. He seems to be doing nothing wrong and the team has rallied around him and really played a better more fitting style of hockey. Blysma said it best on inside penguins hockey the other day. Hockey is a game of mistakes. If you are playing the majority of the game in the opposing teams zone when you make a mistake the negative outcome from that mistake won't lead to much other than a possession change or something small. If your opponent makes a mistake in their own zone, you can generate great opportunities to put the puck in the net. The pens have bought into that philosophy and it is showing with only one game in the month of march without bringing home at least a point.

Step two was to get rid of Ryan Whitney and Satan and bring in a winger for Crosby.

Step Two, Check.
They got rid of that bum Ryan Shitney and picked up my man, Chris Kunitz. Now not only is his name very similar to another Pittsburgh legend Rusty Kuntz, he has been a perfect fit for this team. We have him for a few more years which is also a plus. He is the winger Crosby needed, a guy with good skill and hockey sense who is tough and will park his ass right in front of the net and put home the trash. Alongside that we dropped Satan down to Wilkes-Barre so we didn't take that cap hit and we brought in another veteran leader in Bill Guerin. Now our first line is playing like the first line, our second line is playing like a first line and hell our third line is playing like a first line alternate. Jordan Staal has really emerged as the player I knew he was from the start for a while people were hating on Staal but you can't argue with his production over the past few weeks. But the biggest plus for this time was ditching Shitney.

It has been exciting to watch this team return back to premier form over the past month. As it stands now it looks like they will storm into the playoffs on a high note and lets see if they can keep it up and make it back to the Cup Finals. Maybe this time Malkin won't shit all over himself in the playoffs.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Down to 16: NCAA Tournament Musings

Arguably the most exciting four days in all of sports has just passed, the two opening rounds of the NCAA Tournament. There were a couple of surprises along the way, however none of the top three seeds have been taken out.

The first day of the tournament lacked excitement, with the UCLA/VCU game probably being the best of the day. Western Kentucky "upsetting" Illinois being the biggest seed upset of the day. I don't buy that it was really an upset in the first place because the Big 10 is relatively crappy. Illinois lost a 39-32 game against Penn State earlier in the year. How in the blue hell as a major Division I program do you only put up 32 points? The top seeds rolled on with UConn, Carolina, Oklahoma and Duke all advanced. Memphis, Kansas, Villanova pulled away late with Marquette hanging on against Utah State. Clemson shit the bed and on my bracket with its loss to Michigan. I had Clemson beating Oklahoma....whoops.

Day 2 provided a little bit more intrigue. Pitt played like absolute ass and escaped the clutches of mighty East Tennessee State, who strikes me more as a non-conference football opponent for Penn State (I can't resist taking digs at Penn State/Big 10 whenever possible). Arizona pulled a "upset" over Utah. Everyone was bitching about Arizona getting in but I had a feeling that they would make some noise. They were always flaky in years past, for example losing to Steve Nash and Santa Clara as a two seed in the early 90s and winning it all as a four seed with Mike Bibby and company. However, with Jordan Hill, Nic Wise and Chase Budinger, probably three NBA level players they are all of a sudden very dangerous now that their heads are removed from their asses. There aren't too many teams who have three NBA level players in the field, let alone a 12 seed.

The night games provided us with some upsets. Cleveland State taking down a Wake Forest team that in my opinion was very flaky. The Vikings raced to an early lead and never looked back. Wake has struggled mightly on offense at times this season and it bit them in the ass against Cleveland State. I had Wake losing to Louisville in my bracket. In a game that made my blood boil was Florida State losing to Wisconsin. The Seminoles shit the bed in the second half and proceeded to lose in overtime to a middle of the road Big 10 team (Yeah, I had FSU beating Pitt...another whoops). Goodbye to Toney Douglas who was a good player that I liked. Siena beat Ohio State in double-overtime but I don't really make mention of the 8-9 games because they are always coin-flips and they usually get whipped by the one seed.

The second round started out with little intrigue. Villanova rolled over UCLA, UConn trounced A&M, Carolina beat LSU and put the SEC out of its misery. Memphis and Oklahoma had little trouble with dispatching Maryland and Michigan, respectively. Purdue helped carry the tattered flag of the Big 10 with its 76-74 win over Washington. I must bid adieu to another one of my favorite players in Washington forward, Jon Brockman. A very tough, hard-nosed player who doesn't act like a total douchenozzle, looking at you Mr. Hansbrough.

Duke survived a second half run by Texas thanks to Gerald Henderson and some awesome referreeing. Western Kentucky and Gonzaga gave the viewers the best ending of the tournament thus far. Steffphon Pettigrew (what the hell is with the two f's and the ph?) tipped in a shot to give the Hilltoppers a one-point lead with 7 seconds to play. Gonzaga's Demetri Goodson drove the length of the floor and hit a runner to give the Zags the win. Good call by Gonzaga coach Mark Few, in not calling a timeout. The WKU defense wasn't organized and Gonzaga has guards who can get to the hoop, which proved to be the difference in the contest.

Part two of the second-round saw Syracuse advance thanks to some good perimeter shooting in its win over Arizona State. ASU star guard, James Harden, decided not to show up again and big man Jeff Pendergraph fouled out with about 10 minutes left in the game. Pitt won a narrow 84-76 victory over an average Oklahoma State team. The Cowboys were shooting well to start but had no answer for Sam Young and DeJuan Blair. Xavier and Kansas rolled into the Sweet 16 while Arizona advanced over Cleveland State.

The game between Marquette and Missouri gave us a shitty way to lose the game 101. The game was tied coming down the stretch and Missouri guard J.T. Tiller got a wide open layup attempt on a screen and roll. The Marquette defenders ran into each other and Tiller was fouled. Hell you probably defend a pick and roll a thousand times a year between games and practice but that got bumbled. However, Tiller was unable to shoot the free throws so the Tigers brought in Kim English and he hit both free throws. Winding up, Tiller checked back in right after the free throws. I looked it up and Tiller was a 74% shooter to English's 68%. Who knows though, Tiller could be a choke artist. On the imbounds, Lazar Hayward, stepped on the line and turned it over, in a Chris Webberesque moment. Missouri hit both free throws and took a four point lead. Maurice Acker's halfcourt heave missed, but it looked like he was mugged to me and Missouri won.

Louisville did nothing to inspire confidence as the number one overall seed in its 79-72 win over Siena. Michigan State hung on because USC can't shoot worth a shit, going 1-10 from 3-point range. That about wraps everything up in the first weekend of the tournament. I have 11 of 16 and seven out of the Elite 8 remaining in my bracket.

Now on to the winners and losers.
WINNERS

1. The Big East. Five out of the 16 remaining, could've been six had Marquette not brain-farted its way home. It proved once again that the Big East was the top conference.

2. The Big 12. Three Sweet 16 teams and the conference went 5-0 in the opening round.

3. The top 3 seeds. Every single one, two and three seeds advanced. Even though Louisville and Pitt looked shaky, as long as your playing another day, that's all that really matters. UConn and UNC had very little trouble as well.

LOSERS
1. The ACC. In the running with the Big East for top conference billing. Didn't quite happen that way. Boston College looked listless in its pounding against USC. Clemson couldn't figure out how to beat a zone, so it relied on bombing away to a tune of 5 for 22. Terrance Oglesby and K.C. Rivers couldn't hit the water if they fell out of the damn boat and Oglesby got tossed for throwing an elbow. Good work Clemson. Florida State's inexplicable bed-shitting against Wisconsin. Maryland won one but got thumped by Memphis. Topped off by Wake Forest getting mauled by Cleveland State, the ACC has done horribly. UNC and Duke are all that's left and that's just as many teams as the crap-ass Big 10 (Mich. State, Purdue).

2. The Pac-10/SEC. Arizona is the only team left out of the Pac-10 and the SEC only got three teams in and they were all sent packing.

3. CBS. Jesus Christ, does CBS stand for Commercial Broadcasting Station. If not, it should. The amount of commercials was complete and total overkill. Every time out = commercial. Hell, it was more unbearable than its football broadcasts.

4. The "Cinderellas." Not one of them made it to the Sweet 16. Don't call Arizona one for reasons I've previously stated.

That about does it for the first weekend of March Madness. The fun starts back up again on Thursday.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Gorzo-GONE-y



Well, it looks like the old weight loss during the off season doesn't make a damn bit of difference for old Gorzo. He was sent down to Triple-A earlier today by Neal Huntington in an apparent effort to send a message. That message being: You Suck.

It's sad, really. I mean just two years ago, Gorzo was the ace of the staff. A future New York Yankee, if you will. In fact, he even got his own bobblehead the following year. (Other notable Pirates Players who received Bobbleheads: Chris Duffy, Ronny Paulino, Mike Williams and his 13.55 ERA. )

Personally, it seems a little pre-mature to send Gorzo down. It's still spring training and we all know Spring Training stats aren't supposed to mean anything. You have a guy who's been successful for you in the past and no one else is really setting themselves apart from the other candidates. I.E. Virgil Vasquez had a terrible outing last night. Why not at least give him a few more spring starts to redeem himself?

On the other hand, maybe this will motivate Tom. If the end result means getting Gorzo back to his 2007 form, I'm all for it.

For Bob Smiziks take on the Gorzo demotion Click Here.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Formal letter to Jay Cutler

Dear Mr. Cutler,

You have got to be the biggest cry baby I have ever seen in my life. When you're on a team that hasn't made the playoffs in years, anyone, even you, is expendable. In case you haven't heard, the NFL is first and foremost a business, and if the Broncos could have traded you for a few pieces that would have made the team better then that's what they've got to do. I mean you've lost more games than you've won in your career and you're a douchebag.

In the end, YOU DIDN'T EVEN GET TRADED. But now, you're feelings are so hurt that you'll show the Broncos! You'll put your Denver area home up on the market. That'll teach them a lesson for sure. Maybe you can refuse to go to team meetings as well. Oh wait, you did that too.

Wah Wah, I'm a baby.

There's actually been rumors that you may get traded to the Browns for Brady Quinn, which will give me another reason to hate you. I'm not really a fan of over-rated Brady Quinn either but when he is confronted with questions about him being traded, he responds by saying he's just going to continue to work hard and whatever happens, happens. That sounds like a very professional answer. Maybe you should take a page out of Brady's Book. That is if you can read.

It is my hope that you do get your wish and get traded. Hopefully to Detroit. That way you will be terrible next year in Fantasy Football and Carroll will curse the day he ever drafted you.

Sincerely,

Jason Bice

Sunday, March 15, 2009

UFC 96: A First Person Recap


Let me start out by saying that UFC 96 was my first MMA event I've ever attended. Being from Pennsylvania (the law-makers finally did something right and sanctioned it recently) and not making a lot of money, the four hour drive to Columbus would be the closest I would get. Unfortunately, I was unable to enjoy the full experience of the weekend (the Arnolds/Weigh-ins) because my job prevented me from leaving until Saturday.

My friend and I arrived in Columbus around 4:30 p.m. and the arena was easy to find, parking wasn't a problem or outrageously expensive ($10).

After the four-hour trek, we figured we would get a bite to eat and a couple drinks before the fight. We found an establishment called Brothers just up the way from where we parked. The food didn't look bad, the service was good considering how busy the place was and the drinks were reasonably priced. The funny thing about Brothers was I've never been in a bar in which 95% of the patrons could probably kick my ass. Usually, the ratio is a little closer to 50%.

Around 6:45 we made our way to the Nationwide Arena. The line to get in was fairly long but from when the gates opened, getting in wasn't a problem. We took a walk around the arena and it was really nice. I saw why other arenas built afterward were modeled after Nationwide. Since I was still hungry, I sampled a hot sausage and fry basket for $8.75. The food was good and the staff at the arena were friendly and courteous. The beers they had on sale were predominately Anheuser Busch products (go figure). A 24 ounce can of Budweiser/Bud Light were going for $10. I'm not sure where that price compares to others but at PNC Park I can get a 16 oz draft for $6.75. If you stay past the 7th inning to watch the Pirates, they should be free.

The evening kicked off with a lightweight bout between Aaron Riley and Shane Nelson. We took our seats just as the fight was brought to a controversial early stoppage by referee Rick Fike. Check that, horrible early stoppage as Riley pulled guard after taking two rights from Nelson. So the event got off to a dubious start. The next match that Fike referreed, which one escapes me at the moment, he received a heavy dose of boos from the Columbus crowd.

Up next was Brandon Vera vs. Mike Patt, with Vera likely needing to win to stay in the UFC. What amazed me about this fight was the volume of Vera's leg kicks. Hearing them crack like a whip from the upper bowl is a lot different than hearing them on television. Patt was very clearly over matched in this contest.

Tim Boetsch vs. Jason Brillz was next on the card. Boetsch got the better of Brillz in the the first round. Rounds two and three, Brillz took him down and wore him out for the unanimous decision.

The last two fights of the undercard saw Kendall Grove keep his job in the UFC with a straight right hand, followed up by elbows against Jason Day. Tamden McCrory beat an over matched Ryan Madigan with a first round TKO.

There is a little lull in the action but before the main card starts the UFC plays a highlight reel to the tune of "Teenage Wasteland" that got the crowd fired up. The highlight still gives me chills.

Off we go to the main card. During the opening crowd shots, there was a very attractive girl who was well-endowed jumping up and down shown on the big screens. This got one of the biggest crowd reactions of the evening.

Gray Maynard and Jim Miller open up the televised portion of the card. Basically, Miller couldn't take him down and Maynard outpointed him on the feet.

However, during the second round, a guy two rows in front of me fires up a joint. Hell, I went to a fight and a Tom Petty concert broke out. He was not too shy about the doobie either. He blew the smoke everywhere and our whole section reeked of pot. Some people laughed, some wanted more of the smoke, others looked disgusted. But, no one said anything and Cheech stayed there the whole fight. Ballsy or stupid, you be the judge.

After the Maynard fight, Brock Lesnar who was sitting in a box about 100-200 feet or so to my right. He stepped out and gave a wave to the crowd but only a few people in my section saw him. Good lord was he huge.

Anyways, the Matt Hamill/Mark Munoz fight was next. Hamill came out to "Snoopy Hang on" or whatever it's called. Everyone was chanting O-H-I-O. Being a Steeler fan and a Pennsylvanian, I would rather lose a finger than take part in this chant. I take solace in that the Steelers always slap around the Browns and Bengals.

So the fight starts out as a feeling out process but once Hamill figured him out he landed a massive head kick that knocked Munoz cold. Two meaningless Hamill punches later the ref steps in.

What they didn't show you on the pay-per-view broadcast, was Munoz was down for about 10 minutes. The EMT's were in the ring with the stretcher and everything else. Thankfully, Munoz left the Octagon under his own power with a neck brace.

The next fight beween Pete Sell and Matt Brown also drew the ire of everyone in the arena. Brown starts out quickly and has Sell in big trouble. Yves Lavigne looked like he was going to put a stop to it. Nope, so Sell just catches more of a beating. Brown had his hands raised in disbelief as Sell was out on his feet. Brown just pushed and punched him two more times before Lavigne finally stepped in. Most of the crowd around me basically said, "WTF?" The fight should've been stopped way earlier than that.

Shane Carwin proved one thing in his fight with Gabe Gonzaga; he has extrodinary power. Even though Gonzaga's hand were down after the clinch (bad idea), Carwin knocked him cold with a straight right without stepping into it.

The main event was a closer than expected fight with Rampage Jackson picking up the decision. The crowd, at least in my section, was split between the two. Cheech, from earlier, stood up in his messed mind state and screamed "Dean of Fucking Mean" then almost fell over.

The heat that the crowd gave Rashad after the fight was astounding. By far, the loudest crowd heat. Rick Fike's awesome refereeing also drew the ire of the Columbus crowd. Rampage was a big favorite with the crowd as well as Hamill. The girl jumping up and down in the beginning was also a favorite.

Getting out of the arena wasn't too bad, all things considering. From the end of the fight till we were out of Columbus took about 45 minutes or so.

Now on to what I didn't like:

1. The soundsystem. At least where we were at the bass was absolutely overpowering. I thought I was at a concert as opposed to an evening at the fights. On top of that, we couldn't hear the post-fight interviews.

2. Merchandising. I was looking for some stuff to buy of my favorite fighters and such in the arena and I could not find any. The only things I saw were shirts that just said UFC or UFC 96 shirts. I don't understand why they aren't promoting the individual fighters a lot more. This would be like shopping at your favorite pro team's arena and not being able to get jerseys of your favorite players.

All in all it was a good trip and a good show. I was unable to enjoy the whole weekend's festivities but it was a good experience. Now that MMA is finally sanctioned in Pennsylvania, I'll be able to check out some smaller shows.

WTF IS HAPPENING!!!!

OK....So the Penguins have once again found a way to lose a game. It was great seeing them win seven games in a row. But now they seem to be doing another turn around for the worse. Yesterdays game was very hard to watch. They started off well but then let Ottawa back into the game in the third period. Then lost it in the shootout. OUCH! Granted it was nice to get one point, but this was definitely a game they should have gotten two points. Regardless, they need to go back to their winning ways starting today. The Pens kicked off a huge eight game homestand yesterday and there would be no tougher way to start it than by losing their first two games of the homestand.

Here are the things that the Penguins need to do if they are a serious playoff team....

1)Score on the Power Play: The Pens seemed to get their PP back on track when Gonchar came back, but the last three or four games have been shit on the PP. This to me is priority number one for them. A power play goal yesterday gives you the win. It didn't happen. Plain and simple, if you don't score on the PP, you don't win.

2)Play 60 minutes: I know the Pens are a good team. But they aren't a good team when they are playing their asses off for 5 minutes and then on vacation for 10 minutes. You dont win hockey games by playing inconsistent. Every team spaces out for about 5 minutes during the game. It happens. But the Pens seem to just totally shut it down for about 10 minutes in the third period. If there is one period you can't afford to let up it's in the third. I hate to say this, but if you do this in the Cup Finals or even the Eastern Conference Finals...YOU LOSE. It's that simple. The Pens need to start playing better through the game and especially in the third period.

3)Faceoffs: Jordan Stall was on the ice yesterday for (I think this was right) three faceoffs during the OT period in our end. As I recall, he didn't win a single one. Fleury was amazing during that 2 minute period when the Sens had a PP. A lesser goalie would have given up a goal. But the Pens need to get better on faceoffs. They were solid on faceoffs until Mike Zigomanis (pictured above) was hurt. It was about that time the Pens started playing like shit. Zigomanis is currently on IR and I don't know if he will be back for the playoffs or not. He is a very solid faceoff guy and should help them if he can return.

There you have it. Three simple ways the Pens can get better. Also this homestand is huge. The Pens host the Bruins today and will then host the Thrashers, Kings, Flyers, Flames, Rangers and Devils. Then they finish the season off visiting the Hurricanes, Panthers and Lightning, come home to face the Islanders and then travel to play the Canadiens to end their regulars season. That is a total of 12 games remaining in their schedule....the homestand being extremely important.
The Pens need to beat the bubble teams and the teams that they are fighting for a playoff spot with (Flyers, Rangers, Panthers, Hurricanes and Canadiens). The Pens have 80 points and are the 6th seed. If the playoffs began today we would play the Capitals in the opening round. I see no reason the Pens couldn't get to the 4th seed. Of their final 12 games, the Pens are playing 7 playoff teams (teams in the playoffs if they started today). It will be a tough end to the season but if the Pens get hot going into the playoffs....anything can happen.

Friday, March 13, 2009

How High Can They Go?

Wayne Gretzky holds alot of NHL records. All of the following are Gretzky records that will likely never be touched: 1981-82 he scored 92 goals in a season, 1985-86 he scored 215 points in a season (he went over 200 points three other times in his career), and he scored 50 goals in 39 games during the 1981-82 season. Looking at all of these records makes you realize how great he really was. I want to make the point also that the 1980's was a time when the game was very offensive and goaltending was poor. I think players like Gretzky and Lemieux would have had the same kind of success in this era because they were that damn good (Lemieux by the way is the only other player I know of to come close to Gretzky's feats). But this begs one question....how great will this group of players we are watching now become (Crosby, Ovechkin and Malkin)?

On NHL.com last week John Buccigross recieved an email from a reader asking what he thought that these three players would reach in terms of their peak (Goals, Assists and Points) in their careers. I could go into a very long dissertation of how this could happen and the factors involved in it. Maybe I will this weekend with my extra day off, but regardless its interesting to wonder. Buccigross however feels that the peaks for the three players should be about this: Ovechkin's line from last season (65-47-112) with a possibility of 70 goals in a season next year or the year after if he stays hot, Crosby should have a line of about 45-101-146 if he gets that scoring winger he needs but it could be around 38-94-132 given the parity in the leage, Malkin on the other hand could go even higher. He could end up with a line of 54-90-144 but he also said that he wouldnt be suprised to see a line of 61-101-162 in the future simply because Malkin keeps getting better and better. The biggest point is that Crosby is shooting less and Malkin is shooting more and getting more assists. The whole point of this post, is that its going to be very exciting to see these three players the next couple of years. I hope every day that any or all of these three will challenge one of those records. Crosby is hailed as the "Next One" however I think that Malkin will be better because of his size. Ovechkin could have a problem with injuries if he continues to play the way he does. Stay tuned for a more interesting, longer post in the coming days and check out the links below....

John Buccigross wrote a solid article about play-by-play announcers and their relationships with local fans this week on ESPN.com

Read more about the 50 in 50 feat on wikipedia.org

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Just A Thought

Ryan Whitney is gone and the penguins win like 6 in a row. Coincidence? I think not.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

I Got Laid Off So WPXI Could Host A Stupid Party

As most know by now, I work at shitty McDonalds. I did have a nice job at WPXI for two months when they told me the economy was "too bad" to still employee me. So I took my shit and left with no hard feelings. But now I am a little pissed. It seems like WPXI has been hosting a ton of parties since I left. Maybe its because they know they are such a shitty station that they need to do somthing to make themselves look good. I dont know. But recently they hosted a party at some new night club called Dolce and also had Conan O'Brien in town. Click on the links to read the stories and look at all the douches that showed up just to say they could rub shoulders with a super bowl MVP and the new face of late night. I suppose its no suprise that a bunch of WPXI employees showed up. But regardless I'm bitter. You would think that a place of business would know how they are doing financially to determine if they could keep employees longer than two months. And I doubt that Conan just shows up for free. It may be in his contract to visit affiliates, but I doubt it. I am willing to bet money that they paid and made arrangements to have him come in. I dont see celebrities visiting other TV networks in the region. So that is my rant. Have a nice day!!!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Another Reason to Hate Jay Cutler



So poor Jay Cutler is crying about a trade that didn't even happen. Maybe he should be crying about how he's never won anything or about how he can't play a full season of decent football. It seems that every season the Broncos get off to a good start and everyone is ready to herald them a great team. I can rip on Cutler all day but Gene Wojciechowski does it better.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Pirates Indian Pitchers on MSNBC!



I'm sure you've probably all heard this story by now. I like the comment about the new guys pitching beside "the leagues best." Wah Wah Wah

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Jason Calls His Mom: The Dishes


This is the latest of a series of videos in which I call my mom because I don't know how to do simple things.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

There is a God. Shitney is OUT!



This Will be short and sweet. Ryan Whitney is gone (cue applause and fanfare)! If you have been a loyal follower of our blog here, you are well aware of my long standing hatred for Ryan Whitney. I hated him before it was the cool thing to do. It seems over the last few weeks people have been joining in thinking they were the first to be anti-Whitney. I Assure you they were not. I have hated him for quite some time. People called me crazy when I would say he is the worst defensive player on the team and makes more mistakes than a bum like Eric Godard (editorial note: if you are reading this Mr. Godard you are not really a bum please don't punch me in the face). One of my best friends and fan of the blog Sam has been a long hater of Whitney and I have to give him props for propelling my extreme dislike for him into the realm of pure hatred. Thanks Sam. So even if we didn't get much in return for him, anything is better than that ass clown. Hell, I would have taken Michele Oullet back for Whitney. I think it was a move to get a cheap decent player and some cap room to possibly bring in a big name with an even bigger trade. I'm interested to see how it goes before the trade deadline. We will keep you all posted. Until next time kids.