Monday, May 14, 2007

Monday, May 14, 2007

-- Faneca situation overblown.

-- Bucs explode. Finally.

-- Oh, Canada.

---Faneca-cal Rantings---

Ok. My attempt at making "Faneca-cal" read like "Fanatical" failed. Forget it.

"I've done my piece, I've done my time, I've done everything I can for this organization.

"I lived and breathed Steelers football for nine years and gave them everything I had, helped them win a Super Bowl. In my mind, I've earned the right to be treated fairly. To make me go out there this year, play football with no security ... for what I've done for this organization, in my mind is not right."
-- Alan Faneca, Steelers guard

This is old news to anyone who follows the Steelers even semi-regularly during the off-season. It has a majority of the people who care saying to go ahead and run Faneca out on a rail. Most of the rest claiming that Faneca has a very valid point.

Another take on this, and I find myself believing this more than not, comes from George Von Benko, host of "The Sportsline" (Saturdays 10:15AM-Noon on 590AM, WMBS) and writer of the recaps for the Pirates during home games. He was at that press conference and said that the whole thing was very structured. He knew what he was doing, pretty much following the textbook example set by previous disgruntled players, like Joey Porter. The other half is that other teams are paying out the wazoo for offensive linemen.

Like Right Tackle Langston Walker. Signed with the Bills for $10 million in guaranteed money. Just a year after playing for a putrid Oakland Raiders squad.

I've heard tell that one of the Bengals also signed some egregious contract, but I can't find it. It's this kind of spending that makes relievers in the major leagues so highly-paid. Fortunately, there is such a thing as a salary cap. Unfortunately, that salary cap is something that will be growing.

Bottom line, Faneca's view of his own worth as a frequent pro-bowler and a critical member of a championship squad will see him unhappy all year unless the Steelers cut him loose now or sign him to a multi-year deal.

The Steelers, in their first draft under Mike Tomlin, obviously made a commitment to attempt to strengthen the defensive side of their game first. Unfortunately, they didn't save any bones in the cupboard for the hungry dogs who will be keeping Ben the Large safe.

Of course, if the new offense under Bruce Arians is going to take on an Indy-esque feel, as Yahoo!'s Charles Robinson writes, the Steelers are going to have to do something to either keep Faneca happy for another season, whether it's here in Pittsburgh or not.

---Equal and Opposite---

If someone told you last week that the Pirates were going to score a total of 20 runs in a three-game series soon, you would have accused that person of being a hopeless homer. If they had said 20 runs in a 2-game span, you would have had no choice but to ask them point blank: "Have you been watching the Bucs this year?"

Following a 13-2 rout of Atlanta on Mother's Day and a 7-0 win tonight, the Pirate offense shows signs that it might just be waking up. A big part of that: Freddy Sanchez.

His 7-for-11 with 5 RBIs in those two games pretty much provided all the run support that studs Ian Snell and Tom Gorzelanny would need. Every starter except for Snell got at least one hit Sunday, and only Jack Wilson was denied a knock tonight (but he did draw a walk and scored the first Pirate run). Heck, even Jose Castillo, playing tonight because of an injury to Jose Bautista raised his average above the Mendoza line and is now at .205.

More amazingly, only one of those 20 points came from a home run. And even that Ronny Paulino blast wasn't cheap; his laser-shot went out at just about the deepest place PNC Park has to offer.

Consecutive hits will work wonders for your offense.

The optimist looks at this and says, "Finally, the Pirates are putting together the offense we were half-expecting to see. They're making up for some of the runs they didn't score early on right now."

The pessimist says, "They're coming back to Earth very soon."

Right now, I have to lean in the pessimist's direction, and it's all based on averages. Even after tonight, the Pirates on-base percentage will still only be good enough for 2nd worst in the National League (Yahoo! hasn't updated their stats yet, so I don't officially won't be better than 2nd worst). They are among the last in home runs hit. And while you don't want your team relying solely on the long ball, you have to know it can happen every once in a timely while.

The Pirate offense has a lot to make up for. Much to do to make even a slightly-pessimistic fan think: hey, the first fifth of the year was an aberration. Unfortunately, very few people will be sold on it until Adam LaRoche can break out of what we can only hope is an extended slump.

We need an equal and opposite reaction from him to mirror this Newtonian reversal that we've glimpsed from the rest of the offense the past two games.

T-minus 65 wins with 125 to play.

---Canada on Top---

And I'm not only referring to the team that our neighbors to the north sent to Moscow for the World Championships.

The Ottawa Senators have a ball-squeezing 3-0 advantage over their foes from across Lake Ontario, the Buffalo Sabres.

I haven't seen much of either, so I can't really comment on it.

But, enjoy Jordan Staal and Colby Armstrong having something to celebrate when it's all said and done:

"Oooooh, Caaa-na-duuuuh..."

Consider this practice for something else, Mr. Staal.

Incidently, Jarkko Ruutu of Finland scored a silver medal while Evgeni Malkin and Sergei Gonchar came up with bronze medals, accounting for all the Penguins who participated in the World Championships.

Canada went 9-0 in the tournament. Without Sidney Crosby. With whom they'd have probably somehow gone 11-0.


Anonymous nicole said...

Redundant89 is a chick....another Angel...who knows stats...interesting...hahaha.

Well, glad you said something about Faneca, and - "My attempt at making "Faneca-cal" read like "Fanatical" failed." - it didn't...hahahaha

I'll go on record to say that I'm..."claiming that Faneca has a very valid point." - Just give him more money!

About the Pirates....come on Mike. Be an optimist. Its definitely more fun.

And lastly, thanks for the pics of the Staal brothers and Army. Very nice to see them enjoy a victory.

5/15/2007 6:03 PM  
Anonymous karri said...

Hey Mike...agree with you on Faneca...old news every off-season...but I just don't have a good feeling about Tomlin, yet...I'm getting nervous!

Now the Pirates...I listened last night on the radio to MLB TV. I never listen to the radio...even in the car (except Sirius). Sadly, there I was last night...trying to find an avatar (icon) for GDC...slowly dying in the first four innings...when the Pirate bats come alive! Wow!

However...who the F*** was doing the play-by-play there? (tuned in as the first pitch was thrown) I have no idea, was horrible! The ridiculous nonsense they talk about between batters...well...I may not waste my time again. Just might check the score box online.

You need to apply...I wish I knew somebody in management. :)

And...How great is that Staal pic! Thanks!

P.S. Did you hear about the Fone Zone pranks? (hahahahaha) Can't wait for the YouTube this weekend!

5/18/2007 10:45 AM  
Blogger Tiffany said...

Consider this practice for something else, Mr. Staal.

Very nice....I also enjoyed those pics & can't wait for the '07-'08 season to start. It'll be interesting to see how everyone's matured. And (of course) it'll also be interesting to see if Mr. Gary Roberts resigns with the Pens--since we all want him to. ;-)

Now to switch subjects to the gamedaychat...
Pretty good times, Mikey, when it was you, redundant89, Karri, Murphy, GDC Admin, & some others who stopped by.
So Nicole, you really must join us sometime. We all want you there. (~_~)

The invitation is also extended to anyone else who wants to join the Pirates gamedaychat with us. We welcome all with open arms...

5/23/2007 12:16 AM  

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