Monday, October 01, 2007

#81: Sweet Starts, Agonizing Endings

-- Will new GM do something with 2nd overall pick in 2008 draft?

-- Steelers lone loss to non-conference opponent.

-- Hockey returns.

---We Will (Start Anew)---

We can only hope, anyway.

The 2007 season ends with the Pirates owning the worst record in the National League by three games, losing 13 of their final 15.

If there's any good news to be had, it's that David Littlefield will not be one of the men involved in deciding who to take with the second overall pick in the 2008 draft.

Neal Huntington will be in the driver's seat when that decision was made.

Unfortunately, he's driving the Nutting Company Car.

That's a car that doesn't usually let its chauffeurs purchase high-octane fuel, regularly flush the transmission, or otherwise replace the parts that need replacing.

It does have a damn nice garage, though.

All that was a fairly poor analogy for me saying: As long as Bob Nutting owns this team, you'll see 'signs' that he's trying to improve the team, but it's all smoke and mirrors. The smoke and mirrors just gets a little more showy as time goes on.

Yet, I hold out hope that the Bucs will make enough moves that they'll luck into an 82-80 season.

Over at WHYGAVS, they're half-heartedly debating whether it would be better to go balls-out and have a winning season next year to avoid history, even if it would mean "mortgaging the future", or taking the time to build everything back up from nothing to have a consistent contender down the road.

The concensus is that it's acceptable to claim the record and build the team solidly from it's foundation and up.

Ideally, I agree, I suppose. But I have noticed that the discussion seems to have the pretense that one of the two things will happen.

As I recall, the Bucs have been "rebuilding" with the previous two general managers. I am not willing to give this Nutting-hired GM the benefit of the doubt. No, the Syndicate didn't hire Bonifay, but I think they liked what they saw from him.

My 2 cents on the debate is that the Pirates will set the record (17 years +) AND mortgage the future in doing it. Just a hunch. History repeats itself. The definition of insanity is doing things the same way an expecting a different result.

Huntington, with no disrespect intended, will have to show me that he can surround himself with people who can build a team, and, further, be able to work within the financial limitations of the ownership.

To dream the impossible dream...

Maybe later I'll delve through some depressing statistics, but the spirit left me with regards to the 2007 Pirates roundabout September 1.

---Bring on the Seahawks---

I've made my feelings and my facts clear about those who claim to be able to a) know football, and (simultaneously) b) think Seattle got screwed more than any team that ever got screwed in Superbowl-dom (Bottom of this entry, titled "Enlightening the Clueless", after I talk about 2nd teams).

In spite of myself, I keep thinking that folks all over football are going to look at the upcoming game between the Steelers and Seahawks at Heinz Field as some kind of do-over.

Rosters totally different. No Porter, no Stevens. No D-Jack, no Randle El. No Bettis.

This is a non-conference game during the regular season. That's all. This is not Superbowl XL: The Rematch.

Speaking of non-conference games, a lot of Steeler Fan's pride is wounded because former coaches Russ Grimm and Ken Whizenhunt got the better of their old team. That doesn't bother me. No one's going to go 16-0 this year. Not even the Patriots (they'll lose in Miami like they always do, if nothing else). If you're going to lose, it's best that it happens to a non-conference opponent. I'll take it.

Still, during that game, I saw the Steelers commiting miscues left and right, and then smiling about it. That disturbed me much more. The game was never a run-away, and Roethlisberger, and even Tomlin, are grinning ear to ear.


So much for all-business.

Please, oh, please, Coach Tomlin, don't convert to a player's coach. Things were going so well when players were complaining about you having 15 2-a-days during training camp. Last week looked like a flashback to any number of games in 2006.

Oh, yeah. And, dear Offensive Line, please suit up next week.

---Four Days---

The NHL season is underway with the Kings and Ducks splitting a two-game series in Londontown.

The Penguins don't get a taste of action until Friday when they take on the Hurricanes.

Penguins fans will like this article from USAToday that has the Penguins winning the Cup. Seems like a fluff piece, mostly, but should they be correct, you won't see me complaining.

I am surprised that Kristofer Letang was demoted to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, but other than that, the recent cuts that were made to trim the roster make some sense.

I am concerned that Danny Sabourin is the back-up goalie to Fleury. That's a major liability. Pray now for Marc-Andre Fleury's season-long good-health. Or for Ray Shero to work a deal or find some diamond-in-the-rough off waivers.

The rest will have to wait until the puck drops.