Sunday, January 28, 2007

January 28, 2007 (short one)

-- Steeltown visits the Pirates Winter Caravan in Uniontown and chats it up with Greg Brown.

-- Penguins rolling

-- Preliminary Superbowl thought

---Greg Brown: Crooner---

On Monday, January 22, WMBS was at the Uniontown Mall for some live check-ins from the Pirates Winter Caravan. My boss and I were there for a couple hours as Jack Wilson, Jim Tracy, Salomon Torres, and Freddy Sanchez were signing autographs for several hundred fans. We got to chat on the air with color commentator John Wehner and broadcaster Greg Brown.

I know that I'm not overly fond of Brown as a broadcaster, mainly because he has a tendency to repeat himself, but he's a very nice man.

Apparently, he's also a crooner. Or a karaoke king. Or something. You decide.

I've liiiiived...a life that's fuuuullll...

Of course, he's totally bought into the "LaRoche is the bat we've been missing" theory (I'm optimistic, but not invested...remember the last lefty power bat the Pirates brought least LaRoche is younger...). We discussed lineups off the air, and he's still got Jack Wilson batting second, pretty much citing "conventional baseball wisdom" that you put your best hitter in the 3rd slot.

Now, while I'm not quite with Pat at WHYGAVS that Wilson is a "black hole" in the lineup, I can definitely agree that you don't want Wilson batting 2nd. A .273 average isn't that bad (it was just 2 points lower than the league average). Unfortunately, his inability to draw a walk makes him a not-so-good choice to put before the heavy hitters. Naturally, I didn't have this info in the front of my mind to suggest during our discussion.

However, he made a smooth segue emphasizing that the success of the club revolves around the starting rotation; an assertion with which I completely agree.


I gave away a couple of passes to Piratefest on the air Saturday morning that my good friend Justin at Sports Events International hooked me up with but I couldn't use.


I'm afraid I'm actually getting a bit excited for the season. The team may actually be just good enough to help the franchise avoid that historical mark for losing seasons. There are a couple reasons for my fear.

1) The team is not well-run enough to warrant such hope.

2) It may be one of those "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me fifteen times..." type of things.

---Pens on a Hot Streak---

Rapid fire:

Sidney came up empty during the All-Star game, but apparently won one of the skills competitions. But I'm sure he'll take winning 5 out of 6 games that count over kicking ass in an exhibition game (that 6th game, they still got a point out of).

And the Pens actually won a shootout.

How hot have the Pens been? Last night, the Yahoo! Fantasy Sports window on the NHL page had 3 Penguins as their "Hot Forwards".

And finally, my favorite hockey columnist, Kara Yorio, strikes again with this wonderful assertion that the NHL should convince some franchise to come to Las Vegas. Were it not for her picking the Hurricanes at the outset of last year's playoffs, I would have rooted for Carolina. That's how much I love her.

---XLI (part I)---

-- Great offense is favored to win Superbowl XLI over great defense. Of course, "great defense" has been absent in Chicago since week 11 or so, so it may not be a stretch.

In any case, how well Indianapolis is expected to do has remained about the same. What I've been hearing is, "For Chicago to succeed" this and this and the other thing need to happen. The one constant as far as that is concerned is based around Rex Grossman. It seems that shortly after Chicago's wins in New York against the Jets and Giants, the league caught up with him, because he's been hit and miss since.

Let's not forget that Peyton Manning, while largely a surgeon against the New England secondary, has not had a good playoff run overall. Indy should have beat Kansas City about about 300 in the Wild Card round. A superior defense in Baltimore left it to Adam Vinatieri to be the hero.

I'll take Chicago's offense over Baltimore's.

From the bettor's angle, the line has not budged from 7 points, nor has the over/under changed from 48.5. Money appears to be on Chicago (55%) to cover the spread, and 70% is on the over.

Given that, I think the Superbowl is going to resemble the IND/BAL Divisional Playoff game. Personally, I'm taking Chicago to cover the spread. Not sure yet if I think they're going to win the game.


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