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Showing posts from March, 2010

Bucs don't inspire as Opening Day looms

Spring is supposed to be the time of year where baseball fans -- actually, all baseball fans -- should have some optimism for their teams.

In the past, no matter what the Pittsburgh Pirates have looked like, I've tried to go with that approach.

That includes the Grapefruit League seasons when Derek Bell was on the roster as well.

I can't drum up much optimism for the Bucs this season.

I posted earlier this year when Pirates tickets went on sale. I didn't buy any on that first day.

I still haven't purchased any tickets.

That's probably not a big deal for many people. For me, it's something.

For more than 20 years, I've been going to Opening Day at Three Rivers or PNC Park. It would have been a consecutive-years streak but I lived out of state for two years.

But the point is, the streak looks like it will end.

Will I watch them on TV? Sure.

Will I go to a game this season? I'd like to think I will. But, honestly, I'm not so sure.

Is it a protest again…

Pirates shouldn't worry about Mauer

Joe Mauer's new $23 million-a-year contract shouldn't make Pirates fans worry.

There's been some nervousness out there that Mauer's deal will have some ramifications on the Pittsburgh Pirates.

I wish that could be true.

First, you have to suspend belief that the Pirates will ever develop a player of Mauer's caliber. Mauer is a three-time American League batting champion and is the reigning AL MVP.

When was the last time the Pirates had that?

Then, taking the leap of faith that an Andrew McCutchen or Pedro Alvarez becomes a player like that, you need to buy into the theory that Nutting and Co. would keep a player like that on the roster long enough to negotiate such a deal.

Chances are McCutchen or Alvarez would be traded before negotiations would ever get reasonable close to a deal happening.

In fact, with Alvarez being represented by everybody's favorite agent, Scott Boras, it's highly doubtful Alvarez would spend a second longer with the franchise than he…

Pitt still isn't it in the tournament (and Dixon, too)

I've always had this theory that Pitt athletics will break your heart.

This year's basketball team lived up to that saying once again.

By all accounts, the Panthers overachieved this season. They reached the top 10 in the polls at one point, they finished second in the Big East and they received a No. 3 seed in the NCAA tournament.

All great accomplishments.

Yet it means nothing when you lose in the second round of the NCAA tournament against a team your supposed to beat.

But that's Pitt basketball. It seems every season they fall about one round short of what they're supposed to do.

Here's their recent history:
2009: 3-1: They lost to Villanova in the regional final.2008: 1-1. They lost to Michigan State in the second round.2006: 1-1. They lost to Bradley in the second round.2005: 0-1. They lost to Pacific in the first round.The Villanova loss last season was a tough one to take. But as a No. 1 seed, Pitt was a better team than Villanova and should have earned a…

Bracket Racket picks the tourney winner

St. Patrick's day is tomorrow, so it's definitely a day of celebration.

But before you go out and have a great time, fill out your college basketball bracket. By the time you recover on Thursday, the games will have tipped off.

And before you turn in that sheet, take a look at my Bracket Racket formula. It's picked three of the past six winners, with narrow misses in the years that it failed.

Let's get right to it:

Eliminate all No. 16 seeds. We start off simple by crossing out a seed that never has won a game.

Next, letters spell disaster. A team that goes by a couple letters won't win the couple games it needs to cut down the nets. That means UNLV, UTEP, BYU, Texas A&M, N.M. State and UC Santa Barbra are out of consideration.

My wife gets directionally challenged sometimes, and that applies to this year's tournament. Don't bet your bracket on Northern Iowa, North Texas and West Virginia.

I know teams like to make a statement, but State schools won…

The Sports Monitor turns 1

One year and 100-plus posts later, the Sports Monitor turns one today.

We watched Pitt come within a shot of the Final Four, the Penguins hoist the Stanley Cup and the Steelers fall short in the defense of their Super Bowl championship. The Pirates, well, last season was forgetful.

A sincere thank-you to everyone who has checked us out the past 12 months.

McLouth opens my eyes to some problems with Pirates

Braves outfielder Nate McLouth greeted his former Pirates teammates Thursday with a run scored in Atlanta's Grapefruit League win.

That's not so much news.

What really stood out were two comments from McLouth, as reported by the Post-Gazette.

The first, from Chuck Finder's story:
"Guess they do [an eye exam] in spring training, but a blind man could pass that test. So I'd never really done a full eye exam. Got home a couple of days after the season ended and ended up getting contacts. It was kind of interesting to find that out when I got home. ... The way I describe it, it's kind of like going from watching standard-definition television to watching HD. It just kind of sharpens things up a bit. It has been a big help. Absolutely. Both in seeing pitches and in the outfield." 
Can the Pirates, who really need every advantage they possibly could get, really cut short eye exams? Did anyone in the organization see "Major League"?

Ricky "…

Pirates' promises fall to bottom -- just like the team

If you tell a lie often enough, it becomes the truth.

That adage might work in politics, but it certainly doesn't work when it comes to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

At least that's my feelings a week after Pirates president Frank Coonelly uttered the phrase that soon will not be forgotten. "Today is our future because 2010 is the beginning of the next dynasty of the Pirates for me."

I'm sure you heard it. And it's probably a safe bet that you're just as flabbergasted as I am this long after his proclamation.

2010 simply will be another year in a long line of losing seasons for the Pirates, no matter what Coonelly says.

Spring training is supposed to be a time of optimism. I don't have it this season when it comes to the Bucs.

Bob Nutting can boast about a great team. GM Neal Huntington can, too. Same goes for manager John Russell.

I can't trust or believe a word these guys say -- just like a politician.

Do they really think anyone that follows the Pir…