Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

-- Pirates alone atop the NL Central.

-- An optimal set-up?

-- The Nature of Steeltown Sports: Live!

---Enjoy it Now---

Not to say that this Pirate team can't overachieve this year. Not even ruling out that they could win 81 or more games. I still expect them to falter sooner rather than later.

Yeah, I know. Killjoy.

I've been enjoying the absolute hell out of the last three games. I will be able to ride the high for an extra day because the Bucs can't lose tomorrow (off day). I will enjoy that the Pirates can't possibly fall below .500 until Monday. Any win against the Reds this weekend will move that dubious mark to Wednesday.

But look!

Looking down on the rest, but the rare
sweep Garners (no pun intended) mid-level interest.

There have been some good signs in 3 games, though you certainly can't say: "This is what the team will be like this season."

1) All 3 victories were come from behind. In several of the 6 losses the Pirates had to open 2006, they rallied, but consistently fell short. They've shown some heart, especially in the first game. They didn't crack the scoreboard until Nate McClouth did some cracking of his own with an opposite field homerun off one of the premiere pitchers in the league.

2) Three walks by the starters in a combined 18 innings. One of these walks was intentional. The bullpen, in 10 innings, have not issued one. This is exactly the first step to: a) limiting early damage, and b) keeping the starters in games longer.

3) The home runs that have been hit (all 4 of them) have been clutch. Even Nady's 2nd inning bomb on Tuesday helped give the Pirates an early lead.

4) Adam LaRoche has not been the central figure in any of the rallies, though he has contributed. This only means that his time to contribute is coming.

Can Duke, Snell, Gorzelanny, etc, keep it up? What will the offense look like once Freddy Sanchez is batting 3rd? Can Chris Duffy and Jack Wilson continue to be acceptable at the plate, giving the sluggers more ABs? They've had a couple of thrilling wins, and another in an ugly, ugly game (tonight). Good to see they can grind it out.

My expectations have not changed, but my hopes have been raised. Just like the Jolly Roger over Minute Maid Park the last 3 nights.

Congratulations, boys.

---Incredible Inevitable Egg---

The Penguins laid down and bowed for the Buffalo Sabres, the Eastern Conference regular season champions. Ottawa took New Jersey to overtime before succumbing in a shootout.

The Penguins showdown in Ottawa tomorrow will either decide home ice for Ottawa or give the Penguins a chance to have home ice advantage, against those same Senators in the first round (I rule out any possibility of Philadelphia beating the Devils, whose magic number for the Atlantic crown is 1).

I hope the Penguins dropping their last 2 games (and they were very fortunate to get a point out of that first loss) is just the natural progression of sports (read: win some, lose some). Ottawa is still hot. Winning in Jersey is tough for anyone and they took the Devils the distance. I'll almost have a better feeling about the playoffs if Ottawa beats Pittsburgh and Boston to close out the season. The natural progression will then work against the Senators.

Some fan I am, eh?

---My Show (and Stuff)---

I'd once again like to thank Steeltown's Angels for letting me know my blog is being read.

Karri, the brunette angel (without the auburn 'lites), asked about this Saturday's broadcast. It got me all choked up inside.

Here's how "Steeltown Sports: Live!" works:

1) I do not actually have a regular time slot. I am a fill-in at WMBS-AM so far as my sports talk program goes.

2) On Saturdays of late, I have been used to bridge "The Sportsline" with George Von Benko (ending at Noon) until either 12:30PM or 1PM, leading into a Penguins or Pirates game. The thought of the station being (and I mention this to a caller in the 3rd segment of my last program) to not have to drop from sports programming to our normal music format (consisting of a lot of Frank Sinatra, Barry Manilow, Patti Page, etc) for that brief time, only to come back into more sports. So, they just want to keep it sports. I'm ready and willing.

3) I have not had a lot of notice to prepare for a couple of my most recent broadcasts. As for attaining guests, my network is still in progress. This is why I've only actually had a live interview with one Pittsburgh athlete (Ike Taylor last July). I'm doubtful of my ability to call up the Penguins and say, "Hey, it's Steeltown. Do you think Mario is down to chat with me Saturday afternoon?" Not that it couldn't happen, but I'd probably need to know a couple weeks in advance to even gauge if I could get 5-10 minutes of Le Magnifique's time for a specific slot.

I appreciate yinz rooting for another show. I listened to MM the other day for a short time and was somewhat depressed to hear that he's the undisputed ratings leader in Pittsburgh sports talk for almost 11 years. On one hand, what are the other options? On the other, evening drive is THE prime audience for sports fans.

Of course, now that I've done a little bit of live sports talk, I am forced to respect him. It really isn't as easy as it might seem, even though I detest how he treats most of his callers. A sports talk show should not be intimidating. I do not find this entertaining or informative.

Then again, a lot of people think "The Office" is funny, so I'm probably the odd man out on what constitutes a good sports talk show.

When the next broadcast comes up on my schedules, you'll know about it.


Anonymous karri said...

Mike...thanks for the update. :)

I honestly didn't know that you did not have your own regular show. I heard about you and saw your link when I was reading a post at ThePensblog. I'm unable to receive the radio signal from 590 am. I'm a little too far north. I end up picking up 570 am out of Ohio for some bizarre reason. So, I liked what I heard and read from you and just figured you had a regular show. (You know, you should.)

Anyway, now I'm a passionate viewer of your posts and I really like what you've got to say. I love Pittsburgh sports and you have a way of talking about them that keeps me coming back here.

Totally understand about the possibility of getting Mario as a guest. (haha) I know that's hard for Stan Savran to do, if he even can...Also, thanks for the podcasts. I wouldn't get to hear you if it wasn't for them.

4/05/2007 4:22 PM  
Anonymous nicole said...

Hey Mike,
I didn't know about you not having a regular time-slot either. Wow. How blonde of me.

Well, you do a really good job covering Pgh sports.

And the sweep...oh, YES!

Also, the Pens win in Ottawa - awesome!!

Look forward to the next post.

4/06/2007 12:41 AM  

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