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Showing posts from July, 2012

Pirates make a play for power

The Pittsburgh Pirates have their power-hitting outfielder.

The question is: Will it pay off this year for them?

The Bucs picked up Travis Snider from the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for pitcher Brad Lincoln.

On the surface, it appears the Pirates got a minor league player for a successful reliever.

This trade should be better than that.

Snider provides a power-hitting threat needed. He's also under control for at least three seasons, meaning the Bucs should have an outfield of Starling Marte, Andrew McCutchen and Snider for a few years.

That should be a very good outfield.

I'm not sold on Lincoln as a starting pitcher in the future. I think he could be a future closer, which always is appealing.

However, relievers aren't as difficult to find. Plus, they can bottom out really fast. Remember Evan Meek, the former All-Star for the Pirates?

This also reminds me of the deal that sent Ricardo Rincon to the Indians for Brian Giles.

We'll find out soon enough.

Is this the begining of the end for Mike Wallace?

Antonio Brown got paid by the Pittsburgh Steelers Friday night.

Mike Wallace hasn't.

And maybe he won't.

Brown got the long-term deal Wallace wanted.

Brown's five-year extension is worth a reported $42.5 million. Wallace currently is sitting out, wanting some big bucks that likely won't come from the Steelers.

Wallace can earn $2.7 million this season.

It looks like it will be his last with the Steelers.

Brown, the team's MVP last year, is the better choice for the long-term deal.

He clearly passed Wallace at the end of last year and looks like a legit No. 1 receiver in the NFL.

LeBron James must be Dreaming ...

First, Kobe Bryant claimed this year's U.S men's basketball team would beat the 1992 Dream Team.

Now, LeBron James said the same thing.

It's nice to talk, but James and Bryant must be dreaming.

This year's team would not beat the 1992 team.

No way.

This year's team would not beat the 1996 team.

And I'm not sure this year's team is a lock to win gold in London, either.

The 1992 team was stacked with Hall of Famers in Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Michael Jordan. But the list doesn't stop there. There were 11 Hall of Famers on that team.

Other than Kobe and LeBron, I'm not sure anyone else from this year's team makes that 1992 squad.

And you can say the London team is more athletic, but tell me who on that team would stop David Robinson, Patrick Ewing or Karl Malone in the post?

No one.

That's this team's biggest weakness, no big men.

But it looks like dreaming could become a bigger shortcoming. They should focus on gold before they lose.

I'm back, but will Penn State be after NCAA punishment?

After several days of recharging at Allegany State Park near Salamanca, N.Y., I get back to reality with some big news.

The biggest has been the punishment handed down by the NCAA to Penn State.

It's quite a lot to take in:
$60 million fineNo bowl appearances for four yearsLoss of scholarshipsLoss of all wins dating to 1998Players can freely transfer Boom.

Now, Penn State starts to rebuild.

Coach Bill O'Brien has rolled up his sleeves to keep the team together.

Quarterback Matt McGloin and others are saying that they'll stay with the team.

That should be the least of O'Brien's worries. In fact, I think he'll be able to keep everyone on the team. He'll be able to rally the players and fans to support the team through this four-year postseason ban. The Us. Vs. The World cry will win over the players already on the team.

The biggest hurdle to overcome is the loss of scholarships. We won't know the full effect of that for years.

As for the punishment itsel…

Paterno family defends JoePa

A headline on ESPN.com said it all: Family says no Paterno coverup for Sandusky.

You can read the story here.

My question: What else would Joe Paterno's family say about the Jerry Sandusky scandal at Penn State?

If reports are true, Thursday is the day we'll hear about the Sandusky scandal.

The Bucs' first half has been a blast

I took the family to a beach yesterday.

On our way in, we needed to stop to pay admission.

That's when I got a little surprise.

The cost ($3) wasn't a problem; it was the person taking my money.

"How 'bout them Bucs?" he asked.

For a second, I was stunned. Why would he ask me about the Pirates?

Then it hit me, I had on a Pirates T-shirt I got during a promotion a few years ago. It was old and worn, but perfect for a day in the water.

"Heck of a first half," I said to the attendant. "Let's hope they keep it up."

I never would have believed they would be in first place in the NL Central Division at the All-Star break.

They've been a real treat to watch this last month, especially with the hitting coming around.

And how about that Andrew McCutchen guy? His first half has been incredible.

Not only does he lead the majors in hitting (.362), but he's among the NL leaders in homers (18) and RBIs (60).

To no surprise, he's my pick -- a…

Federer reminds us how great he really is

Is Roger Federer the greatest to play tennis?

It seems hard to argue.

He's won all of the Grand Slams, including Wimbledon seven times after Sunday's four-set win over Andy Murray.

And he's No. 1 in the world again.

Pete Sampras was my favorite  player, but Federer has surpassed him.

Sunday's win, the 17th major for Federer, cemented it.

There's no other way around it.

Why's La Russa the NL manager at the All-Star Game?

Tony La Russa won't go away.

The guy retired from baseball after winning the World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals last year.

But he won't go quietly into the sunset. He's back for the All-Star Game and he's ticking off some people.

The Reds and Brewers aren't happy with La Russa's picks. Milwaukee thinks Zack Greinke (9-2, 2.82 ERA) should be on the team, while Cincy says Brandon Phillips (.285-10-46) and Johnny Cueto (9-4, 2.26 ERA) should be, too.

It's hard to argue.

The fact is, La Russa is the one who shouldn't be there. Commissioner Bud Selig asked him and La Russa accepted.

Mike Matheny, the current Cards manager, should be the one making the picks, not La Russa.

And Matheny should be the one getting the criticism for the picks.

End MLB's tradition of one player represented from each time at the All-Star Game

I get it. Baseball is all about tradition.

When it comes to the All-Star Game, I've had it with the tradition of every team being represented.

I didn't agree with it when the Pirates were represented by Mike Williams, and I like it even less when Bryan LaHair is named as an All-Star.

I have nothing against LaHair personally. He's just not worthy of being an All-Star this season.

I'm not sure anyone from the Chicago Cubs deserves to be at the game, but LaHair was named as the guy to represent the Cubs, so it's his name that gets the attention.

LaHair is having a respectable season, hitting .284 with 13 home runs and 28 RBIs, but it's not All-Star worthy.

And when you look a little deeper and see that LaHair hit .390 in April but followed that month up with averages of .253 and .231 in May and June, and you see something that got a nice little bonus living off that one hot month.

But this isn't about one player. This is about ending one bad rule.

I understand…