Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Morgan Gone

Well it is a done deal. Earlier today I had posted about Nyger maybe going to the Nationals today, and well, it happened.

DK from the PG just finalized it. You can read all the updates here.

As I said before I like Nyger Morgan. He is a good clubhouse guy, has good speed, and a average to below average bat. Nyger is hitting somewhere around .277 so he has probably exceeded any expectations that he had coming into the season. The Pirates are selling high. Morgan is going to be 29 years old in a few days. Milledge is 25 with much, much more potential. He has had some issues with effort but from what I am reading some people say he is a good guy, just falls into lapses. Who knows. Burnett is also going to Washington. He has been up and down, not only this year but throughout his career.

Overall I like the deal. Get younger and better with Milledge, although I will really miss Nyger.

Around The Horn: 6/30/09

The Pirates dropped the first game of their three game set against Rich Harden and the Chicago Cubs. The game story is here. This is the box.

It was a pretty good pitchers matchup as Zach Duke also pitched pretty well, picking up another quality start. Harden was just better. As the game story outlines that when Harden got two strikes on a Bucco they only had one hit in 12 at bats. Harden also struck out nine, including Adam LaRoche three times. The Pirates were only 1-8 with runners in scoring position which included a groundout to Harden by Freddy Sanchez with the bases loaded and two outs in one of the innings. The Pirates are god awful against the NL Central. 10-22 in the division. Wow.

On a positive note, Nyger Morgan had three of the Pirates nine hits while the bullpen pitched a shutout in both runs and hits. That is about it. Hopefully the Dorfer will get the bounce back win tonight against the Cubs. Game time is set for 7:05 PM.

The Pirates have also traded Eric Hinske to the Yankees for Eric Fryer and Casey Erickson. Not sure what to make of this. Hinske was not that great here so if the Pirates got anything of relevance from the Yankees it would be good. Here is a breakdown of the prospects from DK at the PG.

DK also is reporting that the Nyger Morgan deal could also go down today. He has been rumored to being shopped to the Nats for Lastings Milledge. Nyger Morgan is 29 years old. He is batting around .277 and gets caught stealing as much as he steals bases. For the record, I like Nyger Morgan. I had no idea he was 29, as most people probably don’t. Milledge is 25 years old and has more offensive upside than Morgan. He has character issues which are why he is not longer with the Mets and soon to be ex Nat. We will see how this goes down.

The Pens signed a few players yesterday. Billy Guerin signed a one year - $2 million contract and Craig Adams signed a two year - $550,000 salary. Both took pay cuts to play for the Pens. For the record I love both deals. The Penguins now have about $5.5ish million left under the cap to sign a few players.

Here is what Ray Shero is looking at right now when it comes to the Pen’s line-up.

Kunitz - Crosby - Guerin
XXXXX - Malkin - Talbot
Cooke - Staal - Kennedy
Dupuis - Adams- Godard

Goligoski/ XXXXX

Curry ??

So Shero is looking for a top-6 forward and a top-6 D-men to look for along with a backup goaltender along with whatever WBS players that need to be signed. Not sure what this says about Tenk and Scuds. You probably can’t sign both and Tenk has been hot and cold with Ray about what is going on. Great article on The Pensblog about free agency and what we are looking at.

Not sure what I think. I would let things play out. Knuble would be nice to see here. I wouldn’t mind seeing him play with Geno at all. Sure he is from Philly which makes him hated just in nature, but dude had 27 goals last season. Also what do you do with Sykora/Satan/Gill? In my opinion I think all of them are gone. Tenk is a better signing than either Sykora or Satan and with Gogo signing his contract along with Lovejoy I think the Pens can move on without Gill. All of them were integral parts of the team, but this is a business.

Speaking of Lovejoy, he, Curry, and Wallace were all tendered yesterday.

The PG is reporting that Mike Zigomanis will not be back. I really think this might hurt the Pens as I feel he could have been a real asset to the team. Right handed faceoff guy would have been clutch, not to mention that before he got hurt he led the NHL is faceoff percentage. Sure he didn’t play down the stretch, but I bet he had a better chance to win those faceoffs in the final minute of game seven that would have made it a lot easier on our hearts.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Around The Horn: 6/29/09

The Bucs dropped the last game of the series against the KC Royals 3-2. Here is the recap. Here is the box score. Zach Greinke had a solid start for the Royals and in the same respect so did Charlie Morton. Morton did not have his A game but pitched well enough. It was interesting, to watch him on a replay, covering first base because you can clearly see that his hammy is not 100%. Hopefully he can get healthy and we can see what he can do. Adam LaRoche was solid going 3-3 while brother Andy went 2-3. Mom and Pops LaRoche were somewhat happy.

On the Ian Snell front we see that he struck out 17 in his debut in AAA Indy. He also did a great job of throwing everything but the bums outside of PNC Park under the bus. On the PG’s Pirates Notebook, Dejan Kovacevic goes over Snell’s start.

And here is where the bus comes in. This is what Ian says after the game via Scott McCauley’s Indianapolis Indians blog:

"I just worked off my fastball. The guys made me feel welcome
here. It was just fun to see this relaxed and fun atmosphere.
Nothing against the guys up there you know they work hard they do
everything. I just have a lot of thoughts going through my head and I just
wanted to get my thoughts together and it felt great. I felt awesome today
and they made me feel awesome."

"It's just the fans are electric here. You can tell, even though they
don't say much or cheer much they pay attention to the game. It was just
fun pitching in front of them again."

"I owe a lot of credit to (Catcher Erik) Kratz. He did a tremendous
job of setting up you know he didn't set up too early where they can see where
I'm going. He mixed the pitches real well and when I left a pitch up he
reminded me you know your elbow is hanging over or your head is bouncing
over. A lot of it had to do with him and I have to give a lot of the
credit to him because he did a great job of game-calling."

Well thanks Ian. You know just saying “nothing against the guys up there” doesn’t mean that it makes it ok. That would be like telling your wife/girlfriend “no offense hun, but you are just not as good looking as you once were”. See how that goes for you. When you say something that is preceded by “nothing against you” or “no offense but” that does not make people automatically feel better about your statement that follows it. If you want out of Pittsburgh Ian then just say so.

From Greg over at Puck Daddy we find our quote of the day. Even better than what Ian says. The Rangers GM, Glen Sather, says about Nik Antropov’s agent who wanted a deal for his client at $5 mil a year says: “There’s a snowball’s chance in hell that’s going to happen. It’s ridiculous. I hate to criticize an agent, but let’s have a little bit of reality here.” Oh man. That is great.

I probably could find a lot more stuff more this post. But forget it. I am tired.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Bucs Look For Sweep. Only FIVE games out.

The Bucs won their fourth in a row last night as they beat the Royals 6-2. Here is the recap. Here is the box score.

Does anyone realize the Pirates are only five games out in the Central?

Last season at this point the Pirates were 35-39 after a 1-0, 12 inning victory over Toronto.

Charlie Morton against hot start Zach Greinke at 1:35 for the series sweep.

2009 Draft Review for the Pens from Frank over at Pensburgh. He did a great job actually being at the draft in Montreal. Make sure you serach the site for all of his pictures/coverage.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Pittsburgh ESPY Nominations

The Oscars of the sports world are coming soon upon us, which are the ESPY's. The nominations have been made and I took the time to compile the list of the awards our Pittsburgh team's are up for this season. Winning two championships will help the cause to get you nominated and the Penguins/Steelers find themselves on quite a few. I threw in my two cents on the awards and we should see the Burgh bring home some hardware. And here it is...

Best Game

1) SB XLIII – Steelers defeat Cardinals on last second touchdown

2) #2Rafael Nadal defeats #1 Rodger Federer in the 2008 Wimbledon Final

3) Syracuse vs. UConn in 2008 Big East Tournament Quarterfinal in six OT Syracuse wins 127-117

TRBB Pick: In what might have been one of the best Super Bowls in the history of the NFL I have to give the pick to the Syracuse/UConn game. If the difference would come down to tens of votes to declare this winner then I would not be surprised. Six overtimes though? I watched that game and was glued to it. I know I might take some flack being from Pittsburgh but for a Big East Tournament Quarterfinal game to get a nomination says something. Six overtimes. What a game and I feel it will just barely edge out the Super Bowl. What must not be underscored is the Nadal/Federer match. Tennis is not huge in the nation but this was a terrific match.

Best Play

1) Big Ben’s hook up to Santonio Holmes with 35 seconds left to win Super Bowl XLIII

2) Alexander Ovechkin goal vs. New York Rangers in game five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

3) Manny Pacquiao KO’s Hatten

4) Michael Crabtree makes game winnings catch with one second left vs. Texas

TRBB Pick: AO does not get the nod here. The Steelers get it. AO’s play probably comes in third place in my book. Crabtree’s play was ballsy to say the least. He choose to stay in bounce with no timeouts rather than take the safe play and go out of bounce and kick the FG. But this was not even a bowl game. The Steelers were in the Super Bowl and Tone had no room for error, and neither did Ben. What a play for one of the biggest, if not the biggest, sports games in the nation. Plus I am from Pittsburgh and AO sucks. On a side note James Harrison should have been a nomination for his TD to end the half. Should be there. Might have even won. He got hosed.

Best Team

1) UConn Women’s Basketball – Perfect 39-0 season with a National Championship

2) LA Lakers – NBA Champions

3) UNC Men’s Basketball – Fifth team in NCAA history to win all games by double digits

4) Philadelphia Phillies – World Series Champions

5) Pittsburgh Penguins – NHL Champions

6) Pittsburgh Steelers – Super Bowl Champions

TRBB Pick: Oh man. Two teams on this list. Feels real good. The darkhorse in this pick is the UConn women’s team. 39-0. Not losing a single game. I really have a hard time making this pick because I throw out the Phillies and UNC team right away. Philadelphia sucks anyways. Congrats on finally winning something with your four teams. I am picking the Steelers with the Penguins coming in second. The game was amazing and they deserve it. The Penguins won two games sevens, on the road. This is really a toss up for me. You know what. Forget it. They tie and both get the trophy. Yea, I can do that.

Best Coach

1) Geno Auriemma – UConn women’s basketball coach

2) Dan Bylsma – Pittsburgh Penguins coach

3) Phil Jackson – LA Lakers coach

4) Joe Maddon - TB Rays coach

5) Mike Tomlin – Pittsburgh Steelers coach

TRBB – Disco Dan didn’t come in till late so I really don’t think he has much of a chance even though he has done a great job. I have to make it between Phil Jackson and Geno Auriemma. Jason has 10 NBA titles and Auriemma went undefeated and has an amazing resume too. Since this is an ESPY nomination for this year I am going to go with Geno. 39-0 is amazing. Everyone thought the Patriots were the shoe in a few years ago and they kinda got big heads. To deal with women everyday and keep them on track and focused for all of those games is remarkable.

NFL Player

1) Larry Fitzgerald

2) James Harrison

3) Payton Manning

4) Adrian Peterson

5) Kurt Warner

TRBB – This is a really, really tough pick. AP had an amazing year rushing for like 100,000 yards while he had no passing game to speak of. Kurt is old and got his team to the Super Bowl, Fitz is just a beast, Peyton Manning had a solid year, and James Harrison was the defensive player of the year in the NFL. The Steelers won the Super Bowl and he made the play that changed the game. That says something to me. James Harrison with Fitz coming in second. The Steelers won, not the Cardinals. If the Cardinals pulled out the game I would say Fitz. Defense wins championships.

NHL Player

1) Evgeni Malkin

2) Sidney Crosby

3) Alexander Ovechkin

4) Pavel Datsyuk

TRBB – Crosby over Malkin. Crosby is the captain and led the league in playoff scoring. Malkin will be close, but I hope they do not split fan votes and leave it for AO. That would be a crime. Although Sid did not score much in the Finals he neutralized Lidstrom and Zetterberg and really made them work very very hard for a lot of minutes which opened up the ice for Geno. Sid should win this award with Geno being the runner up. I hope they still interview Geno though. I love when he does interviews.

Well there you have it. The winners will be announced on July 19th. The results will come from complete fan voting and you can vote for all the Pittsburgh nominee's here. Happy voting.

Friday, June 26, 2009

"Yea We Won The Cup"

This has to be its own post:

From Pierre LeBrun:

"Our line of the day? We e-mailed Penguins GM Ray Shero and asked him if anything was up with his team. His response: "Yeah, we won the Cup."

What a beast.

NHL Draft/Pirates

Well, the Bucs won last night during a pretty exciting game. They pulled out a 3-2 victory on an Andrew McCutchen RBI single in the ninth. This was set up by a great head up play by Jack Wilson to steal third with no outs. McCutchen was trying to bunt Wilson to third and the Indians had the wheel play on. McCutchen missed the bunt but Wilson beats the shortstop to third base and shows what heads up baseball can do. McCutchen then wins the ball game with a single to left. Ball game.

Nice overall game. Beat a good pitcher, Ross threw a nice game, bullpen came in and got the job done and the Bucs clutched up. Took the series from Cleveland (can they beat us at anything?) and that is all she wrote.

I have to agree with Pat over at WHYGAVS in his post about the game when he says Cutch has surpassed every expectation he had of him coming in. 22 years old and he is performing like this. He is almost averaging an RBI a game and is hitting triples like it’s his job (well it kinda is, but you get the point). He can run, play defense, and hit. I feel more confident with him at the plate than almost anyone on the team. Is this more of a fact that Cutch is the real deal or that we just don’t have the clutch player? No idea, but if he keeps this up we are looking at a legit candidate for ROY.

It also must be noted that I loved what JR did sticking up for Nyger Morgan after he was hit by a pitch and the home plate umpire said it was a foul ball. JR gets run, probably for saying the f bomb as it didn’t look like he did too much to get tossed, and then he really gets his money’s worth. He walks away and then storms back, much to the joy of the 30,000+ at PNC Park and really stands up for Nyger. Love it.

Forbes Field 100 years.

NHL draft is hours away and to even guess who the Penguins are going to take is a stab in the dark. It is nice to pick 30th. Winning the Cup is awesome. Nobody is even really sure who is going to go number one. Tavares? Hedman? Duchene? Who knows. Maybe we will see some trades.

The Pensblog has a great look at the draft needs of the teams. Very good post by the staff over there. Personal favorites are the breakdowns of Montreal and Philadelphia. Classic.

The NHL also stated today that they are setting the cap at $56.8 mil. Slight increase from last season. It remains to be seen how the Penguins will use their cap space. It'll be a very interesting free agency period with some teams that have a ton of cap and some teams that don't have enough cap room to buy a pack of gum. I can't wait to see how the Lightning can mess up and sign some average players for Geno money. Oh the NHL is great.

NHL.com does a nice job here making an all-star team of players taken after the 150th pick, a team of players picked from 100 or below, and a team of undrafted players.

Blair and Young got picked back to back in last nights draft with Young getting picked by Memphis at picked 36th overall by Memphis and Blair taken 37th overall by San Antonio. Thought one, or both, might go in the first round, but they didn’t. The biggest difference is that first round players get guaranteed money, second round players don’t.

RIP Michael Jackson. King of pop will be missed. One of my favorite songs:

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Around The Horn: 6/25/09

A couple quick hits today. Not really sure if I will get to get a recap of the Bucs game tonight so I just wanted to drop a few lines of things that were going on today.

In about an hour and a half the Bucs will take on the Indians for the last game of the series tonight. Cliff Lee (4-6, 2.94 ERA) will take on Ross Ohlendorf (6-6, 4.94 ERA). In his last start Ohlendorf took a 7-3 loss at Colorado. He went five innings giving up six runs on five hits. He will need to be much better than that tonight. Despite the 4-6 record Cliff Lee has given up more than three runs in one of his last 10 starts and won his last two decisions.

This will be interested to see which Pirate team shows up tonight. The team that got rocked in game one which the Pirates lost 5-4 (the score does not indicate the domination that the Indians put on the Pirates) or the team who brought out the bats in a 10-6 win.

Per the PG and per Pat at WHYGAVS, Ian Snell was sent down to AAA Indianapolis and it actually might have been asked for by Snell. Click the link to read more.

Pedro Alverez and Brad Lincoln were selected to play in the Futures game for All-Star weekend in St. Louis. Good for those two. Nice to see the Pirates final have some “futures”.

The Penguins ratings for game seven of the Cup Finals were just ridiculous.

The Pensblog, via Faceoff Factor, gives us a nice look at what the Penguins might take in this years draft.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Bucs Win: Pirates 10, Tribe 6

Hard to believe that you can win a baseball game with good pitching, good hitting, AND good defense? Who thought of this ridiculous baseball equation. Well, whatever the case the Pirates played it to a T tonight in game two of the series against the Cleveland Indians and set the rubber match for tomorrow.

The Pirates started the game with an onslaught of hits, picking up 12 in the first four innings alone to go along with nine runs. The first four innings were capped off with a Jason Jaramillo two run home run with two outs in the fourth, one batter after starter Carl Pavano got yanked. Every Pirate got a hit in the first four innings, including starter Zach Duke who drove in the first run of the game.

Pavano, who has let hitters hit just under .300 against him this season, could not make it out of the fourth inning giving up 11 hits and eights runs, although only three of the runs were earned. Coming into the game I looked at Pavano’s stats and made the comparison that they are close to Huff’s numbers from last night. I then immediately thought that Pavano would throw a complete game two hitter. Just the luck of the Bucs and how the losing streak was going.

I would have been wrong. Finally seeing some offense and it was nice. The Bucs also stole some bases tonight as Nyger Morgan picked up one as did Adam LaRoche. LaRoche had a nice night at the plate going 3 for 4 with a home run and three RBI. Morgan, Sanchez, and Jaramillo also had multiple hits tonight.

Zach Duke came out and did what the Pirates pitchers need to do. Throw strikes. Duke went 6 innings yielding only one right and threw 63 of his 94 pitches for strikes. The Pirates have a good defense, let them make plays. Zach Duke did what he needed to do to win.

Although the game was played very well by the Bucs leave it to Steven Jackson to give up five runs in the ninth on two home runs. That is why you score ten runs, so you can give up five in the ninth and still be up by four, I guess. Whatever.

I must say, Nyger Morgan should have a mic on for every single game. Listening to him during the game was a nice change of pace and he embraced it whole heartedly. At the beginning of the game he welcomed everyone to the ballpark and gave us a weather update. He then proceeded to tell first baseman Victor Martinez to say hi to everyone in the burgh and then told him “I am going to get number 18 (stolen base of the season) here.” And he did. As Jaramillo hit his home run he was walking up the step, grabbed the mic on his shirt and put it up to his mouth and said “much love to the Jaramillo family.” It was awesome and I hope they do that with him more often.

All in all a great performance tonight by the Pirates, picking up from the ninth inning last night. Let’s hope they can come back and win the series tomorrow night.


Let me preface this by saying that I am not really a huge soccer fan. I will not watch American soccer leagues and I am not enough of a follower to watch any premier leagues even if I could. I will however watch the USA in the World Cup and in huge matches, like today.

Spain came in as the number one team in the world. Hadn’t lost an international match in 35 contests. The USA has only beaten a number one team once, ever. Spain has only allowed two goals in the last 13 matches.

USA – 2, Spain – 0

Shock and awe.

For the first time ever the USA is in the final of the Confederation Cup. Way to go. We might no be the best team in soccer, as proof by getting man handled by Italy and Brazil a few games ago, but we have heart. The USA played great defense as Spain came with an absolute onslaught to end the game. Who cares. USA baby!

Just like in a game seven, anything can happen in one game. Winner take all. The USA took down a power and shocked the world.

Does this mean they will win the World Cup next year? No.

Does this give a shred of hope for a better result than the past few World Cup’s past? Sure.

Does this mean much for Pittsburgh? No

Does it mean much for America? Maybe

Am I proud to be from America? Hell Yea!

Bucs Drop 5th Straight

Well in the game preview I wrote earlier yesterday I gave a few statistics about how Ian Snell has not been pitching that badly. I actually thought he would come in strong against a struggling Indians team. An Indians team, mind you, that had a rookie throwing off the mound with a 7+ ERA and an opponent batting average of .301. I could have not been more wrong about tonight. Another poor pitching performance.

This was not ALL on Ian tonight though. Just let me as someone wtf was Steve Pearce doing in right field in the third inning? He runs up on a ball that literally bounces right beside him and proceeds to go the whole way to the wall with runners on first and second base. Needless to say he turned in a single, that probably would not have scored a run, into a stand up triple that scored two. The book will not show an error, but what a horrible, terrible, and unwatchable play.

Ian Snell would proceed to walk a few batters, give up two more runs in the inning, giving him the hook after only 2.2 innings. Through two innings Snell only threw 19 pitches, and in two thirds of an inning after that 51. 51 pitches in part of the third inning. That is what three walks will do. How much longer is he in the rotation? Does he get thrown to the pen like Karstens?

I must give credit where credit is due. Jeff Karstens has been pitching very well in his new role as long relief. He went a perfect 1.1 inning tonight and has only given up 1 earned run in his last 9.1 innings pitched. Maybe not a starter, but nice to have someone come out of the pen during nights like to tonight where it basically could be a start.

The rest of the Bucs pen was pretty solid tonight after a few off days. Burnett went an inning only giving up a hit, Evan Meek gave up a home run on his first pitch but battled back to not give up another hit in his two innings of work. Jesse Chavez also went a scoreless inning as did Matt Capps. A shame we can’t get both starting and relief pitching at the same time.

The Pirates offense was pretty stagnant tonight. Outside of the frantic ninth inning the Pirates only were able to bang out four hits. Adam LaRoche, Diaz, and Jack Wilson all had two hits each for the Bucs. They battle hard late but need to produce a run here and there in the first eight innings. Five run, ninth inning comebacks do not happen all that often.

Hopefully tonight turns around the five game losing streak.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Pirates/Tribe, Steelers Sign Starks

The Bucs open up a three game stand with the Cleveland Indians tonight. Ian Snell is going to be on the bump for the Bucs, not sure if that is good or bad for the Pirates chances. Snell comes into tonight’s contest with a 2-7 record with a 5.08 ERA and has been very inconsistent for most of the season. Despite the record these are the number of earned runs that Snell has given up over the past ten starts: 2, 2, 3, 5, 6, 3, 3, 3, 5, 1. That is an average of 3.3 earned runs given up per game. In that same stretch Snell has six quality starts during that ten game frame. Not bad. The stats are much better than his record or ERA. Let’s see if the offense and bullpen can back him up tonight.

Dejan Kovacevic of the PG put together a pretty good article today about the ten reasons to get excited for the Pirates-Indians series that sets off tonight. His number one reason should sum it all up for anyone from Pittsburgh.

Speaking of which, this notion was brought up on ESPN Radio this morning. Should the Pirates be playing the Indians every year in interleague play in order to form some sort of rivalry. I have to initially say yes. This is a no brainer. To take it a step further I feel the Pirates should play the Phillies more. Those two teams should be natural rivals for the Bucs just on distance alone. The Steelers have the Browns, the Pens have the Flyers and the Bucs have neither. Sure the Pirates are struggling and so are the Indians, but come on. Pittsburgh vs. Cleveland. That is what it comes down to. Close trip, and when these teams turn it around this could become very good. The Yankees/Mets and Dodgers/Angels play each other so why not Pirates/Indians? Food for thought I guess.

Max Starks just signed a new four year deal to be with the Steelers through 2012. The financials were not disclosed. That will be interesting. This locks down a lineman for the Steelers for the long term and pending the cap hit that he will take should be a pretty good deal. If there is one thing about the Steelers it’s that they are very good at evaluating players and signing the right ones. I will back them until they prove me otherwise.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Around The Horn 6/22/09

No game tonight for our battlin’ Bucs. They really took it on the chin in Colorado and new coach Jim Tracey. The Rockies showed the Pirates that their top of the lineup is very, very potent and inevitably that is what beat them this past series. Ian Snell will start for the Bucs tomorrow as they face off against the Cleveland Indians.

Pedro Alvarez was promoted to class AA Altoona from Lynchburg today. As all of your probably know Alvarez was the Pirates first round draft pick last year. At the age of 22, Alvarez was hitting .247 with 14 home runs and 55 RBI in 243 at bats. Alvarez is looking to move quickly through the Pirates system. It will be interested to see how quickly he moves to AAA. It will mostly be determined on two things. One is how successful he is in AA. Right now Alvarez is striking out 29% of his at bats so that will most certainly need improving. As he moves up in the system pitchers will study him more and his weaknesses will be exposed more. The transition will be very interesting to watch. The second key in the progression is how Andy LaRoche holds up at third base. Right now LaRoche is playing very well both offensively and defensively so that can let the Pirates slow down the movement of Alvarez if he is struggling in some aspects.

Brad Lincoln was also promoted to class AAA Indianapolis. On the season Lincoln was 1-5 but boasts a 2.28 ERA with 65 strikeouts and 18 walks. Impressive for Lincoln. Not a great record but pitching very well. It would be nice to see one of the Pirates top draft picks come up and contribute for the big team. Like Alvarez only time will tell.

Seth from Empty Netters has a great piece on a game by game recap of the season. Seth includes a video from NHL.com and his in game blog for every game in the recap. Very nice job and a definite read.

Pens Universe also put together a great piece. A Mike Lange soundboard. Most all the calls are there. Have a great time listening.

Great Article by Rob Rossi the other day in the Trib about how Malkin has adjusted to the Burgh.

Short post today. Trying to get a free agent list up with the salary cap mumbo jumbo for a post.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sweep City, Bucs Lose

Interesting stat on Paul Maholm coming into today’s game. When you look at the bad starts that Maholm has this year you see that his very next start he always does a complete 180 in terms of performance. Here is a breakdown of Paul’s rollercoaster ride through the season:

4/28 @ Milwaukee 5.1 IP, 5 R
5/4 vs. Milwaukee 7.1 IP, 2 R

5/9 @ New York (NL) 5 IP, 7 R, 10 H
5/15 vs. Colorado 7 IP, 0 R, 5 H

5/25 @ Chicago (NL) 4 IP, 7 R
5/31 vs. Houston 7 IP, 2 R

After a tough outing that he had against Minnesota the other night (5 IP, 8 R, 14 H) we could have expected Maholm to come back with a strong seven inning victory today against Colorado. Instead Paul went five innings and gave up five runs while walking four. The one bright spot? He struck out seven. Not much of a bright spot for the Bucs.

The Pirates were able to jump out front 3-0 on Colorado and looked as if they could salvage a win in the series, but it was all for not. The Rockies answered a Freddy Sanchez two run home run in the second with three of their own runs to tie the ball game. The Rockies stayed hot as they have one 16 of their past 17 games.

For the Pirates, Andrew McCutchen stayed hot this season going 2 for 5 with another triple. The triple was Cutch’s fifth of the season which is tied for second in the league, along with Nyger Morgan. It is weird to finally see speed on the Buccos now isn’t it? Steady Freddy had two hits and drove in three runs and is hitting .319 on the season.

Overall this series the Bucs just ran into a better team that was really, really hot at the time. Better pitching overall could have got the Pirates two wins this series. A bad pen lost the game for them last night and not being able to hold a three run lead killed them today.

Brandon Moss had a nice game today. Although only in a pinch hitting role he closed the score 5-4 in the sixth with a two out single with a 3-2 count. It was a very good at bat for Moss. The past week Moss has been playing much better going six for his last nine at bats over the past four games. Hopefully this gives Moss the confidence he needs to increase that batting average.

Game was up in the air but the Bucs couldn’t capitalize on their chances and gave the Rockies way too many chances and they did just enough to win.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Around The Horn: 6/20/09

The Buccos dropped the ball last night and took a beating by the Rockies. Granted the Rockies have been the hottest team in baseball over the past 20 some odd games when Jim Tracey took over as skipper. They won 7-3 last night. Jason Marquis got his fifth win of the season for Colorado going 8.2 giving up three runs. The Dorfer took the L only going five innings and giving up six earned runs. The Bucs will look to rebound tonight. First pitch is set for 8:10.

The Pirates have also designated Craig Monroe to AAA Indianapolis and called up Steve Pearce. Monroe was only hitting .215 so this should give Pearce another chance. He has not been successful his past few stints up so this should help us see if he has improved.

If anyone that comes here reads one article I link it better be this one. I just found this today. All the preaching I do about the Pirates is summed up here by DJ Gallo. Normally he does all the wall, funny posts, but he also does serious ones. This is one of them. Great read. Here is the link. Notice number one. .500 is not a goal. 81-81 is the same as 62-100 without a great draft pick. See someone else agrees with me.

Looks as if the Tennessee Titans are already trying to talk some smack on the Steelers before they open up the season against them on September 10th. After an OTA practice Keith Bulluck, who stomped on the Terrible Towel after they beat Pittsburgh in Nashville last year, pulled out a Super Bowl XLIII Terrible Towl and said he was a marked man because he supposedly received it from someone from Pittsburgh. He also stated the reason he stomped on it was because “they came into out house waving their 15,000 towels or whatever.” Seems like you should take out that aggression on your fans who are selling their tickets to Pittsburghers. Good luck talking trash Keith. Joke.

In the same article LenDale White also said that if someone wants to freeze a Ben Roethlisberger sandwich and send it to him he would be more than happy to eat it. Did you really need to say that LenDale?

Not much going on. NHL free agency is going to start heating up so that will be something to look forward too as well as the all star break for baseball. Looks as if Freddy will be the Bucs rep. Camp is coming up for the Steelers also. A lot to look forward to.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Around The Horn: 6/19/09

Imagine you are out on a Friday night and the best looking girl/guy comes up to you and starts talking to you. You think this must be some sick joke by her friends but you notice that she really seems interested in you. You get to the end of the night and you are about to ask for her number, but surprisingly she asks for yours. You give them your number and stumble back to your place and pass out. The next day you think nothing of it but you do go through all of your text messages and phone calls you made while you were under the influence of all the Pepsi you drank the night before. So you go out to get some lunch and realize that you have only a little bit of battery life left, that is when it happens, that same person from the night before calls. You panic thinking that you only have like one minute left on your phone. You panic and try to make an excuse as to why you have to go. Imagine the scene.

That is what happened to Dan Bylsma yesterday. Well kind of. Bylsma got a call from President Obama congratulating him on the win. He actually had one bar left on his phone and when he picked it up he heard “Hold for the President…” What a rush for HCDB. Pretty sweet.

Well, as amazing as we think the holders of the Cup are they have not yet mastered the task of reading road directions. In trying to get to Mario’s house the keepers of the Cup got totally lost and city police had to actually point them in the right direction. In exchange for their help the keepers let the officers handle the Cup. Talk about being in the right place at the right time.

Last night was the Awards show for the NHL in Las Vegas, NV. Talk about a three ring circus. Not so much for the winners but for the whole presentation of the night. Half of the people presenting the awards could not even say the player’s names. What a joke. And the musical guest? Chaka Khan. Really? You couldn’t find anyone? Good lord.

Here are the winners:

Masterton: Steve Sullivan, Nashville
Pearson: Alex Ovechkin, Washington
Jack Adams: Claude Julien, Boston
Selke: Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit
Lady Byng: Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit
Calder: Steve Mason, Columbus
Norris: Zdeno Chara, Boston
Vezina: Tim Thomas, Boston
Hart: Alex Ovechkin, Washington

A couple quick notes about the actual awards. Watching how pissed Mike Green was when he didn’t win the Norris was awesome. Green must have missed the part where you actually need to play some defense to win that award. I know you can’t take playoffs into it but when there is an Amber Alert out for you during the most crucial series in the past decade you don’t deserve it. You kind of knew AO was going to win the Hart, but Geno could not really see the Hart Trophy because the glare from the Conn Smythe Trophy was too bright. Suck it Washington. AO also said they were going to win the Cup next year. Good Luck.

Malkin here was actually telling AO that he owns them and tells him if he wants to touch the Cup he has to ask permission first.

Malkin was also named to the First Team All NHL along with Tim Thomas, Ovechkin, Chara, and Green. Good job Geno.

Interesting article on the MVP voting from Rob Rossi of the Trib today.

The Steelers signed some more draft picks today. They now have seven of their nine picks already signed as of today. First round draft pick Ziggy Hood and third round pick Kraig Urbik are yet to be signed.

Nice Ron Cook article today in the Post about why I was right that the McLouth trade is good. Here is the best quote from the article by GM Neil Huntington:

"If we didn't care about winning, it would be easy to just coast along, make the popular moves, make the low-impact moves. We care about winning this much. We're doing this to win."

Exactly right.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Twins 5, Pirates 1

The Pirates dropped the rubber match in Minnesota today as they fell to 31-35 overall and the Twins improved to 34-34. Zach Duke took the loss on the mound although he was able to pick up another quality start.

Duke went six innings, yielding three runs on only seven hits. Nick Blackburn got the rare complete game victory today for the Twins. He scattered six hits and threw only 107 pitches in the game. The Bucs lone run came on an Adam LaRoche single in the ninth.

Not much to say about this one. When a pitcher is on, he is on. From what I have read it was more of a fact that Blackburn was on. The game was not televised locally so hard to pick different things about the game.

The Pirates got a huge lift when all star Joe Mauer was scratched from the starting lineup due to flu like symptoms. That, however, was not enough to take the game and the series.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Around the Horn: 6/17/09

Here are some tidbits on the three major sports here in the burgh. I will try to get something like this up as a short post with some things I seen/heard/read during the day. Maybe a few of these a few times a week or as much as needed.

I will probably not be able to get a Pirates recap on tonight so you might have to actually watch the game. Ian Snell is going tonight. Mauer is hitting .429, how much of a shot does he have at actually hitting .400? It might see crazy but he is tearing it up after being out for the beginning of the season.

A player that fans should pay attention to is Delwyn Young. He is hitting .365 coming into tonight’s game in 85 at bats with 11 RBI. Young does strike out a good bit (22 times in 93 at bats) but he has been on fire lately. He is a utility guy that can play the outfield/second base but he is getting his chances and cashing in.

A nice comparison on the FSN pregame show today about Brandon Moss. So far Moss is hitting .243 in 169 at bats and has fans calling for his release and benching. When you take a look at Moss’s numbers compared to McLouth’s through the first 430 career at bats this is what it looks like:

Moss: .247 average, 9 HR, 49 RBI, 27 2B
McLouth: .240 average, 13 HR, 30 RBI, 23 2B

Both players are at the age of 25 at the time of their 430 at bats and they are very, very similar. All the uproar over trading our all star center fielder and Moss has better numbers to start his career. So if you are complaining about the trade and also complaining about Moss they you need to cool your jets and give it a chance.

Also the Pirates have signed their 23rd, 24th, 30th, 33rd, and 42nd round picks today.

Today on PTI on ESPN they had Big Ben on for an interview about shooting 81 at Bethpage Black the other day. Both of the hosts actually said they had to eat crow because they didn’t think Ben could get under 100, as did Tiger Woods who said the same. Towards the end of the interview Kornheiser asked Ben if he would rather win a PGA tour event or win another Super Bowl and without hesitation he said win another Super Bowl. He went on to say he wants to win three more, for a total of five. Interesting thought Ben. I like it.

Looking over MAF stats today I found a rather startling amount of numbers for MAF over the last two playoff runs. His numbers in the past two post seasons he has accumulated a 30-14 record, 2.36 GAA, .920 save percentage with three shutouts. Those are some numbers. Despite the great numbers people still want to consider him an average goaltender. Yes, he lets in soft goals but show me a goaltender who doesn’t. Winnings matters. He went from a 45 win season to a Stanley Cup Final loss to a Stanley Cup Final victory. What more do you want? Less soft goals? He has had three great years back to back to back. Give him a break. He is clutch. Ask Marty Brodeur, the so called best goal in the league, about clutch. Two goals in the last minute to lose a first round playoff series. That would not happen to MAF.

Tomorrow night on FSN they will have a new spotlight special named Pens Faceoff: Season in Review. Dan Potash will host and take the fans through the entire preseason, regular season and post season. Should be a really good show so tune into FSN and check it out tomorrow night at 7:30.

Pens Sign Go-Go for 3 more years.

Per penguins.com: The Penguins resigned defenseman Alex Goligoski to a three year contract. Coming into the off-season Goligoski was on the last year of his contract and was paid a little under $984,000.

Go-Go was coming off a strong year for the Penguins where he was the primary fill in for injured defenseman Sergei Gonchar when he was out for most of the season with shoulder surgery. Goligoski maned the point on the power play and contributed 20 points (6+14) in 45 games for the Pens. Go-Go also participated in this year's Stanley Cup playoffs when Sarge went down against Washington.

As we can see Ray Shero was just not hanging out at the pool with Mario and the Cup the past couple of days. With three potential defenseman being UFA's this offseason it was good to see he could replace one of those by resigning Go-Go.

Go-Go should be here for the future and played well in his time this season. You have to figure that the Penguins are not going to resign Gill, Scuds, and Boucher so Go-Go should be an everyday defenseman next year on the team. A spot he definatly deserves.

Here is the link.

Edit: Go-Go's contract is three years at $5.5 million. That will shake out to $1,833,333 cap hit over the term of his contract. Once again, good signing for King Shero.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Twin Dome, Bucs Lose

Our Bucs dropped the first game of their trip to Minnesota against the Twins. The Pirates move to 30-34 on the season. The game basically came down to Paul Maholm not being able to do much with any of his pitches and Joe Mauer being an absolute beast.

One of the bright spots in the night for the Bucs came in the second inning when Jason Kubel hit a ball of the garbage bags that the Twins consider a right field wall and made a perfect relay to Freddy who gunned down a run at the plate trying to score from first.

About the last good the Pirates did all night came in the top of the third. Nyger Morgan tied the score with a two run home run. Let me say that again. Nyger Morgan tied the score with a two run home run. This was no cheap. This was a no doubt home run which was Morgan’s first of the season and second of his career.

Andrew McCutchen lost a ball in the bottom of the fifth inning in the roof of the dome which cost the Pirates a run. Adam LaRoche also did not help the cause when the score was 4-2 and he grounded into an inning ending double play with the bases loaded and only one out. After having some life in the game early it was shortly live as the Twins offense just had their way with Pirates pitching.

Maholm only went 5+ innings giving up 14 hits and eight earned runs. Paul was all over the place and was only aided by three double play balls that Freddy and Jack turned to get him out of a few jams.

The Twins were just an offensive machine tonight. Every time Paul had a decent pitch the Twins hitters spoiled it and either hit the ball straight back up the middle or the other day. If you wanted to learn how to hit you could have watched the Twins tonight.

The Twins had hits in each of the first six innings and having two or more hits in five of those innings. They scored in every inning but the fourth during that stretch. Every Twins starter but Nick Punto had a hit by the end of the third inning. For what it is worth every hitter for the Pirates except for Andy LaRoche and Jaramillo had a hit, but only McCutchen and Delwyn Young had more than one hit.

If you wanted to pick out one players and say that he is who you want to build your team around not named Puljos it would be Joe Mauer. Coming into the game he was hitting .415, and his average went up. I mean are you kidding me? What a gifted athlete. He ended the game hitting .429 after going 4 for 4 with a couple of runs scored.

Below is something I am going to try to do for games. Not sure if it is going to be worthwhile or not so let me know if you like it. I will put a screen shot of the box score at the bottom. If it is not readable then you can drag it into another tab in your browser to make it readable or you can click on it. Hope you enjoy it. Go Bucs.

Top 10 Plays of the 2009 Penguins Playoff Run

This post is going to be devoted to the top 10 moments of the Penguins playoff run which ended in their third Stanley Cup in franchise history. Please feel free to leave comments and let me know if I missed any or if they should be in a different order. I am sure I have missed some plays, but these are the top 10 in my mind of this year’s playoff run. Without further ado:

10) Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin both score hat tricks in game two of the quarterfinals of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

An unbelievable display of why these are two of the best players in the game. First it was Alex Ovechkin who netted a hat trick and send the crowd at the Verizon Center into a frenzy, a game in which I was at. Hats were being thrown for several mintues and it gave the Capitals a late two goal lead. Not to be outdone was Crosby who scored his own hat trick in the waning seconds of the game on a power play. Now I know you are saying “how can this be on the top ten moments of the playoffs for the Penguins, they lost” but if you sit and think about it you might never see a performance like this in the playoffs for a very, very long time. Two of the best, most hyped players in the game, living up to the hype and giving the fans what they paid for. Truly something Penguin fans will look over because of the loss, but most defiantly a top 10 moment.

9) Mario Lemieux writing the note and sending a text message to the team after game five of the Stanley Cup Finals after the team’s 5-0 loss in Detroit.

After the Penguins 5-0 blowout loss in game five of the Stanley Cup Finals, which put them down 3-2 in the series, it was a very somber locker room as you can imagine. Marc Andre Fleury had been pulled from the game, they had been shut out for the third time in the past six playoff games at the Joe, and they had only scored two goals in three games in the current playoffs. This is where we enter the man they call Le Magnifigue. After the morning skate the next day he left a message on the white board which said something to the effect that they would win the cup on Friday and that he had all the confidence in them. Then this article in the PG outlines a text message Lemieux sent to Ray Shero. The rest is history. What a man. That is why he is a Pittsburgh legend. Not to mention his playoff beard.

8) Evgeni Malkin backhand goal in game three of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Hurricanes.

I was watching this game in a local establishment, drinking a few beverages, enjoying the Penguins success when this happened. As Geno put the puck in the net, I threw my hands up, put my drink down in disbelief, turned to my friend and said I could not believe that I just saw that. Are you even kidding me? Maybe the best goal in the entire playoffs. For a hat trick none the less. A highlight reel goal that we will see for the rest of our lives. What a shot. Nothing more to say about that. If you can’t appreciate that then there is something wrong with you.

7) Marc Andre Fleury’s save on Jeff Carter in game two of the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs to keep the score 2-1 Flyers.

Marc Andre Fleury made one of his many saves in the playoffs, this was a game saver. Late in the third period with a handful of minutes left Fleury makes and initial save and the rebound pops to the left post where Jeff Carter is so wide open it would be harder to miss an empty net goal than this one. Fleury does a full split across the goal crease to get a toe on the puck just as it is on the goal line. What a save. It can be said that this probably saved the series for the Penguins. If the Flyers score that goal the game is over. Consequently the Penguins tie the game up then Bill Guerin scores past Marty Biron in overtime to win it. If the Penguins lose that game they are tied 1-1 in the series and the Flyers might win the series. They played the Penguins much tougher after that. Who knows, but that is a big time save.

6) Jordan Staal scores a short handed goal in game four of the Stanley Cup Finals to tie the game at two.

Down by one in the second period the Penguins are on a PK when Max Talbot springs Jordan Staal down the middle of the ice. Jordan gets a step on Brian Rafalski and puts it under the pad of Chris Osgood and ties the game at two. The goal changed the whole momentum of the series and sent the crowd at the Mellon just absolutely insane. The Penguins go on to score two more goals in the period and put an exclamation point in a 4-2 win.

5) Max Talbot fighting Dan Carcillo in game six of the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Game six of the first round of the playoffs. Penguins are in Philadelphia and fall down 3-0 in the second period. Off a faceoff at center ice Max Talbot baits Dan Carcillo into fighting with him. Edzo goes absolutely nuts in the booth wondering why Carcillo would fight Talbot in that situation. As Talbot goes to the box, after losing the fight, he puts his finger to his mouth and tells the Philly crowd to quite down. That move by Talbot put chills down my spine and you could feel the game changing. Change it did. The Penguins come back and dominate the rest of the game winning the series as Sidney Crosby threw it into the empty net to end all hope. I love when Sid scored in Philly. Keep chanting “Crosby Sucks” Philadelphia, he loves it.

4) Marc Andre Fleury makes break away save on Alexander Ovechkin in Game 7 of the second round matchup of the Penguins/Capitals Series.

Game seven. Verizon Center. Three best players in the world. Big Stage. Marc Andre Fleury had given up many goals to AO during the series. If you said “oh shit” while AO had the breakaway in the first period you weren’t the only one. MAF should have gotten 5-10 for what he did to AO on that play. The route was on. The Penguins win 6-1 and the game was never really close. Sarge was back and assisted on the first them offensive presence Craig Adams scored like a second later and it was over. AO would score, but it was 5-0 at that point. Maybe his second series saving goal of the playoffs for MAF. That goal goes in and the crowd gets into it, which defiantly AO thrives on, and we have a totally different game. No sir. Game. Series.

3) Max Talbot’s second goal in game seven of the Stanley Cup Finals.

A one goal lead didn’t mean much in this series. A two goal lead basically meant the game was over. That is why this goal was so huge for the Penguins. Even though there was a lot of time left on the clock a two goal lead was a lot. Everyone knew the Wings would score, but the Penguins were playing so well defensively that it looked tough for the Wings to get a second. How right was that. 2-1 win. Game winning goal for Max. As Mike Lange says “He beat him like a rented mule.”

2) Rob Scuderi’s goaltender like save in game six of the Stanley Cup Finals.

If Marc Andre already had two series saving saves then Rob Scuderi might have made one himself for game six. With under 20 seconds left in the game MAF was out past the left post leaving most of the net open but Rob Scuderi got down on one knee and made a goaltender like save on a few shots. If that goal goes in it would have been a tie game and the Wings could very well have won the game, the series, and the Cup in overtime. A big time play by a guy who really showed a lot of metal this post season.

1) Marc Andre Fluery makes a game saving stop with 1.5 seconds left on Detroit’s Nick Lidstrom in game seven of the Stanley Cup Finals to ensure the Penguins their first Stanley Cup since 1992.

Last but not least the save of the playoffs. MAF saved a series against Philly and Washington, but he won the Cup with his save on defensive guru Nick Lidstrom with 1.5 seconds remaining in the game and the Penguins leading 2-1. MAF made the initial save and the puck bounced out to Lidstrom with a partially open net, but MAF was able to take two quick shuffles and just throw his body in front of the puck and seal the Stanley Cup coming back to the burgh. All the critics that said that Marc could not win the big game had to shut their mouth and watch Max Talbot, Rob Scuderi, Evgeni Malkin and the rest of the Penguins mob him as they celebrating winning the Cup.

Those are your top 10 plays from the playoff run this year. Like I said you can comment, agree, disagree or just have general comments about the list. There are some more odds and ends YouTube’s and such that will be coming over the next couple of weeks from the playoffs. The CBC did a really nice job of putting videos together for the playoffs so expect some posts about that over the summer.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Around the Horn

It seems as if the Pirates are looking to shop a few players. Both Jack Wilson and Ian Snell have been rumored to be moved shortly. Not really surprised that Jack Wilson talk has been heating up. Boston has been the team that has been inquiring as their shortstop, Jed Lowrie is on the DL.

Under espn.com rumors they have said that Boston management has went to some players asking about Wilson, including Jason Bay, to see if he would be a good fit. It would be interested to see if this went down who the Pirates might get. I was fairly shocked to see the Pirates not go with a shortstop earlier in the draft. They did not take a shortstop in the top 10 rounds. Brian Bixler is in the minors, but I am not yet convinced that he is the future answer at shortstop. Bixler has a career .165 average in 133 at bats. That is not a significant number of at bats to form an opinion, but when the Pirates are not calling him up when Wilson gets hurt after playing in parts of the past two seasons that might say something about his development.

The Ian Snell trade talk is as much of a rumor that is. I first heard it on the 6 o’clock news (of all things) and said that the Colorado Rockies were a viable trading partner. The Pittsburgh Sports Insider was the source the news used, so I am not sure how much I want to look into this being that there isn’t a lot of substantial back up on any other blog or MLB.com or even the rumor line on espn.com. It would be interesting however to follow in on this. Snell has really struggled going 1-7 so far this season so it would be really interesting to see what the Pirates could get back. The Rockies are hot, and it has been seen that now manager Jim Tracy was a huge fan of Snell’s so it could be a fit.

For what it is worth Keith Law has ranked the Boston minor league system as seventh best in the league because of their recent strong drafts. This could be very beneficial to the Pirates as shown by the recent trades they have made over the past two years are focused on stocking the minor leagues. He ranks Colorado as 16th best so they are about middle of the road. Like I said I am not sure about the Snell trade value. I am sure having Tracy liking him helps, but we will see soon.

In the first Steelers news of Three Rivers Burgh Blog it was noted today that Big Ben shot an 81 at Bethpage Black. For what it is worth Bethpage Black is known as one of the hardest PGA golf courses on the tour. Tiger Woods recently said that both Ben and Jordan would not be able to break 100 on the course. Guess Ben really showed him. This just is a testament to how good of an athlete Roethlisberger is. Mentally preparing for the challenge and following through with the game plan is something he does all the time. Having Rocco Mediate as your caddie does not hurt either.

The Steelers also signed their first draft picks the other day. The Steelers signed third round pick Keenan Lewis, and fifth round picks Joe Burnett and Frank Summers.

A little late on this one, but the Steelers Super Bowl Ring is massive. Really some people could wear that as a bracelet.

Wide Receiver Santonio Holmes had his drug charges dropped. The defense that Holmes’ attorney was that the Holmes’ rights were violated because the search warrant wasn’t specific enough. Bottom line, if you want to smoke up, do it at home. Not in front of Mellon Arena (or whatever is there after next year).

Hockey Heaven

“In Detroit they call it Hockeytown, in Pittsburgh we call it Hockey Heaven!”

Those words led off a rowdy victory parade by the Pittsburgh Penguins in downtown Pittsburgh today. What an atmosphere to be at today at Stanwix Street, the end of the parade. I was in attendance today, and although I was a little farther back in the pack it was worth the two and a half hours I waited for the parade to start.

Going to the parade I thought there was no way that this could compare to the Steelers Super Bowl parade a few months earlier, but I was dead wrong. There was just as many people there today than there was back in February.

Per the PG, an estimated 375,000 people were at the parade today. That would best the Steelers Super Bowl parade. Simply amazing.

I would just like to say that the city and the Penguins did a much better job this time of the parade than the Steelers. There was a big screen behind the stage that showed what Channel 11 was broadcasting so that everyone could see the festivities, even if they couldn’t see the stage. The sound system was much better, and the entire time they showed highlights and played music. Great job.

What I was so impressed with was the interaction with the fans. Jordan Staal, Max Talbot, Bill Guerin, Dan Bylsma along with many more were out of the car, interacting with fans, signing autographs and taking pictures. Players were grabbing signs from fans and holding them up.

All of the players were just in awe of the whole situation. At one point Max Talbot was sitting beside Bill Guerin on a truck and he said “we are on the big screen!” Just pure elation from the players.

Steigy was the lead speaker and just hearing how excited he was just made the place go nuts. Chants of Mario rained down as he was the first to speak followed by Shero and Bylsma. Bing was the first to speak and then Billy Guerin come to the mic. “One more year, one more year, one more year” was chanted by all in attendance. The best part of the chant was seeing Jordan Staal chanting the same thing on the screen.

Geno Malkin came up and the first thing he did was turn to Billy and say “one more year.” That is what it is all about.

People throwing footballs, hitting balls with players names on it, balls with “Hossa Sucks” on it was going on the whole time.

The Hey Song was busted out for the last time as Bing and Flower came through with the Stanley Cup. Here it is:

All in all a great experience. Way to go Pens!

Playoff Notes:

A great collection put together by James Mirtle on the front pages from papers around the nation.

The Penguins visited PNC Park yesterday.

Sid should be alright in a few weeks.

Who is going to stick around next year?

The draft order is set for the NHL draft which is soon upcoming.

Zetterberg did not like that Sidney Crosby did not shake some hands on Friday night.

No link for this one, but it is via ESPN Radio on Mike and Mike in the morning, the Penguins are one of four cities in the past 30 years to hold titles in two different sports in the same calendar year. Pittsburgh has done it twice as has Los Angeles (twice), Boston (twice), and New York.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

What Chu Talkin Bout Willis, Bucs Win

Tigers 3 5 0
Pirates 6 9 1

The Pittsburgh Pirates won their second game in a row after a 6-3 win over the Detroit Tigers this afternoon. If anyone is keeping score that is four wins and one loss in the past five games between the Penguins/Pirates and the Wings/Tigers.

The day started with a small ceremony congratulating the Pittsburgh Penguins on their Stanley Cup achievement. There were a good amount of people at PNC Park today and everyone was standing as Sidney Crosby brought the Cup onto the field with a handful of teammates.

BA Bill Guerin was interviewed during the bottom of the second. The guys in the booth basically quit watching the game in order to stare at the Cup and talk to Billy. It was awesome. At the start of the third they had to rehash the past inning so they could catch themselves back up to speed. It really showed how much this meant to the city of Pittsburgh.

Today was turn back the clock day at the ballpark as both teams represented the 1909 jerseys. The park was also like it was in 1909, there was no side LED panels on, the main scoreboard just showed the line score, hitter and pitchers.

The Bucco’s did play the game too as they got to Tigers starter Dontrelle Willis walked three Pirates in the first and saw the first four batters successfully reach base. The Bucs scored two runs on bases loaded walks and scored three in the inning.

Willis had trouble all day. Walking starting pitcher Ross Ohlendorf to lead of the second inning and walking Monroe to lead off the third and then walking Hinske two batters later.

Willis walked six through the first three innings. Seemingly the Pirates should have had about 7 runs or so but they could not capitalize fully on the wildness.

Although the Pirates capitalized in the first inning off of Willis’ wildness they were very undisciplined at the plate. Robinzon Diaz, Jack Wilson and Ross Ohlendorf went 1-2-3 after the Pirates loaded up the bases with nobody out in the third. Understandable for Ohlendorf to end the inning, being the pitcher, but Diaz and Wilson were swinging with 1-0 counts and swinging at balls after Willis had walked two of the last three batters. This game could have been well out of reach in the third if not for the bad at bats by our Bucco’s. The Pirates finshed the game 3-15 with runners in scoring position and two of those hits were from Freddy Sanchez.

Tough for someone like Dontrelle to do this to a Pirates team. Although they were very undisciplined coming into the game they were third in the NL hitting .271 with runners in scoring position. You can’t give a team with stats like that six walks in three innings. Not a formula for winning.

Dontrelle only lasted 3.2 today. Walked the lead off batter in every inning, which most baseball fans know that when you walk the lead off hitter, he usually scored. Willis walked eight batters today and threw 88 pitches leaving the game down 6-1.
The Dorfer really pitched well today. He threw strikes and got outs. When you are givin a 3-0 first inning lead that’s all you need to do. After a leadoff hit in the first Ross retired the next nine batters. That is back to back good starts for Ross and hopefully he can continue to throw quality starts.

Delwyn Young was solid today as he was 3 of 4 at the plate with a run scored and an RBI. Andrew McCutchen and Freddy Sanchez also had two hit each for the Bucs. The Pirates were walked eleven times. That’s right, eleven times. Hinske was walked four times himself. Terrible job by the Detroit pitching staff. In the first inning the Pirates barely had to get their should off their bat. Actually come to think of it, the Pirates actually were the ones who got themselves out the first three innings.

It must be noted that not only has Andy LaRoche improved offensively, but his defense has been really really good lately. At the beginning of the season Andy was shaky at best at third, but he has been rock solid for this team at third base. Freddy and Jack have also been very good up the middle (who would have thought). The Buccos are second in MLB in double plays turned (69 coming into the game) which is a huge help to the pitching staff.

The Pirates also have 40 stolen bases this year in 63 games. Last year they had 57 for the whole season.

The Bucs improved to 30-33 which ironically is the same exact record they had through 63 games last year.

26,565 at the park today.

These Broken Wings

Well another night has gone by. Yes, the Penguins are still your cup champions!

I have watched numerous parts/whole game a few times on NHL Network and seen the SportsCenter clips about a billion times. It never gets old. What a feeling.

As promised I am back here today, got my pictures downloaded onto the hard drive of my computer and the following are a few of the favorites from the magical night.

The Joe Outside:

The Pre-Game Video:

Anthem Pic:

The Wings watching the Pens celebrate:

The Handshake Line:

2-1 Pens

Super Mario Lifting the Cup

How Sweet It Is

Sid and His Old Man

The Cup Banner

Some glaring statistics that I have noticed in looking over both overall scoring and game 7 itself:

Pittsburgh blocked 20 shots in game 7. 20 shots. The Wings only blocked three. That is exactly what Sidney Crosby talked about all the sacrifices the team has made through the playoffs. What a gutsy effort by not just the defense but the forwards as well. Orpik blocked five shots and Dupuis also blocked 3 of his own.

Despite being dominated in the faceoff circle, losing 33 of 47 face offs, the Penguins were still able to keep the Wings at bay. Detroit was able to get a lot of offensive zone face offs, especially late. The Penguins are lucky this stat didn’t burn them.

The Penguins were also outshot 24-18. The Penguins had only one shot in the third period which was a wrist shot from Geno Malkin 15:45 into the period.

The Wings had 25 giveaways and the Penguins had 10 takeaways. Detroit was very sloppy with the puck.

“Its coming home baby, the Stanley Cup is coming home!”

The Penguins did a little bit of celebrating last night.

There will be some kind of party tomorrow for the Penguins.

Marion Hossa said that he does not regret the decision he made. Right. I’m sure.

Pascal Dupuis does not feel bad about though.

The Penguins will take the Cup to PNC Park today. Billy Guerin will be throwing out the first pitch.

Some headlines from the papers/websites around the media:


The Detroit News
Broken Wings

Detroit Free Press
Just Not Enough
Pitty Party

That is all I have for now...so many things to go over. Way to go Pens!