Saturday, November 03, 2007

#82: No, I'm Not on a Milk Carton

It's been a while, and this post doesn't necessarily mean I'm "back". Things in the work life and personal life have been keeping me from issuing forth my fluff, and I don't have the large following that some of the other Pittsburgh Sports-based blogs have to justify logging on and putting down something just to let people know I didn't get hit by a bus.

Quick thoughts, without all the fancy graphics:


Pirates


I have it on fairly good authority that John Russell, a "relic" of the Lloyd McClendon era, will be the next manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates. I just noticed that Charlie over at Bucs Dugout is on this as of last night. He's got it laid out pretty well.

I think it's a big mistake to bring someone back to the organization who was not here when the Pirates were at least competitive (meaning circa 1992). The new manager should have absolutely no part of the past 15 years of losing.

George VonBenko, on his weekly Saturday morning sports talk show (10AM-Noon EST, 590AM WMBS, or online at WMBS590.com), made two points that I couldn't agree more with:

1) When Neal Huntington took over as general manager, he talked about bringing in a manager who would infuse drive and fire and pride in the team. John Russell may be a sound baseball man (and that has yet to be seen from the driver's seat), but he's closer to a Jim Tracy than, say, a Lou Piniella. Sure, the Cubs weren't exactly a good team, but they were the best team out of a crappy division. There were some outbursts in the dugout, but, heck, that team was able to focus that energy and put it into winning more baseball games than the other teams in the National League Central.

2) Names such as Dave Holliday and Ken Macha, and, to my knowledge, Tony Pena were never even called for an interview. All three of these guys have ties to the organization and would have a desire to see the team win more than bringing in even a Joe Torre.

Bottom line, and I'm sure I'll write this many more times before the end of next year: As long as the Nuttings own the franchise, it will be the same product.


Steelers


Almost halfway done with the season and a 5-2 record. A win on Monday night against Baltimore puts Pittsburgh in the driver's seat in the division. How much in the driver's seat depends on if Cleveland loses to Seattle (I say the Brownies win). A Steeler win puts them at 3-0 in the division, and that's the most important tiebreaker of all.

Then, the game of the year may very well be Cleveland at Pittsburgh next weekend. Cleveland looks a lot different now than they did in week one. They're playing with confidence, and while confidence will only get you so far, sometimes in the difference in these division rivalry games.

And New England is going to go unbeaten this year.


Penguins


I've only watched about 2 periods of hockey on TV so far this season, and listened to about 9 periods on the radio. The team is largely the same, but I can't help but feel their struggling.

Reason number one, and I alluded to this in my last post, is the goalie situation. Through 9 games started in net, Marc-Andre Fluery has a 3.50 Goals Against Average, which is good for 38th in the league among qualified leaders. He is tied for 31st in save percentage at .891. His record is 4-4, with the potential 5th loss getting turned into an overtime loss for backup goaline Dany Sabourin, who replaced him during a game that the Penguin offense rallied to tie, only to lose in a shootout with the Montreal Canadiens.

Sabourin has a .917 SV% and a 2.28 GAA, which isn't super fantastic, but obviously better than Fleury so far. However, he has a tendency to meltdown at times, too, as evidenced by Thursday's loss to (my least favorite franchise in hockey) the Colorado Avalanche. I believe he allowed 3 goals in under 4 minutes. Not acceptable in this league.

And is it me, or am I seeing the same names on Penguins goals and assists night in, night out? That leads me to believe that only a certain few have carried this team to be within striking distance of the division lead, despite the breakdowns between the pipes.


Pitt Panthers


First, on the football side, even with all the injuries that have plagued the Panthers' football team, it should be readily apparent that the coaching staff has no idea what it's doing. The offensive playcalling is in WTF-land, and they might as well not have a defensive coordinator. I think Dave Wannestedt should coach from the press box, as they were able to steal a win from the Cincinnati Bearcats under that circumstance. Still, with better coaches, they wouldn't have tried to throw on 3rd and 4th down against Navy from the 2 yard line, and I don't know what happened against Louisville, but I'm left with the impression that Pitt had a chance there, too.

Now to hoops, Pitt opens at #22 and #20 in the AP Poll and the ESPN/USA Today top 25 respectively. I don't know how the Panthers are going to adjust to life after Aaron Gray, who was, admittedly, an overrated player, but he was a presence that tended to draw double-teams and could Shaq it (that is, camp under the basket and wait for a pass or a rebound/tip-in). From the bits and pieces I've heard from Jamie Dixon, it sounds like he'll be content with another NCAA Field of 65 appearance and a 2nd round loss. You read it here first.

I think.



New Friend


Dan (a.k.a. "Snack") has started a new blog with a perfect Pittsburghese title. Please check out 'Pierogis N'at'.

(Snack, no commenting? C'mon, dude!)

1 Comments:

Blogger Big Snack said...

HAHA you're right bro, no comments was weak, but we finally figured out how to get them up...My dumb ass forgot to click something, of course...lol

PS - Snack is Rocco, Dan's one of the guys who helps us out, but he's kind of a turd so we don't let him write...HAHAHA

1/02/2008 4:19 PM  

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