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At this year's PirateFest, Kipper and I were able to sit down and chat with new Pittsburgh Pirates catcher, Francisco Cervelli, thanks to Pirates Social Media Director, Terry Rodgers. I asked Francisco how long it took him to look at video of our pitching staff once he became a Pittsburgh Pirate, and while he thought it was important to do that, he said he hadn't yet done it because he was on vacation. Kipper asked him what he knew about the Pirates before coming here and Cervelli responded by naming off a list of players, including, A.J., Marte, Hughes and a few others he has played against in the minor leagues. All Cervelli seemed interested in was learning where to go to eat and do things around the city.
When talk switched to places to live in Pittsburgh, Kipper suggested living in the suburbs, but Cervelli expressed the desire to live where it is noisy, with ambulance sirens and the ****ter clatter of trains, anything short of gun shots. I guess when you're used to living in Yonkers, sleeping with silence just won't do. Cervelli grew up in Venezuela being an Indians fan because of Omar Vizquel, a Venezuelan citizen himself. Francisco hated the Yankees and didn't really talk much about his time playing for them. He thought it was cool how Pittsburgh fans "love to wave their towels".
It was a pleasant change of pace to learn that Francisco Cervelli was interested in the Arts and the culture of Pittsburgh, where museums and types of restaurants were. Sure he was impressed with the electric atmosphere that was created by the fans at PNC Park and how the Pirates fans are creating a presence on the road, but he genuinely seemed impressed with the people of Pittsburgh themselves and how nice and respectful they are. That was what he wanted the focus of the conversation to be on and what the Pittsburgh lifestyle was like. This says a lot about Cervelli, the man, truly becoming a part of the city he will be playing in,... [Read More]
With the Cincinnati Bengals looking to put a strangle hold on the AFC North Sunday afternoon, the Pittsburgh Steelers stung them with their best performance on the road all season. Trailing 21-17 heading into the 4th quarter, the Steelers used the final 15 minutes to turn a close game into a 42-21 laugher and pulled to within a half game of the division lead.
Le'Veon Bell had another monster game with 26 carries for 185 yards and another 50 yards on 6 receptions. He topped 200 total yards for the third straight game, joining Walter Payton as the only players to accomplish that feat. Bell found the end zone three times as well, twice on the ground and once in the air.
Antonio Brown extended his obscure NFL record of consecutive games with 5 receptions and 50 yards to 27, catching 9 balls for 117 yards. Although Brown never found the end zone, he opened things up for Le'Veon Bell and Martavis Bryant, who also went over 100 yards receiving, and kept several drives alive with clutch receptions that tortured the Bengals secondary. After today, Bryant has 7 touchdowns in 7 games and has become a bona-fide deep threat for Roethlisberger.
Ben Roethlisberger is having the finest season of his career and loves playing in Ohio. He showed why in this crucial showdown with the division leaders. He finished the day going 25 of 39 for 350 yards with 3 touchdown passes, one each to Heath Miller, Le'Veon Bell and a 94 yard strike to rookie Martavis Bryant that put the game away and put Ben over the 4,000 yard mark for the 4th time in the last 6 seasons.
The Steelers need to use this win as a springboard to a playoff birth, and if they win out, they will win the AFC North. Despite their penchant for losing to sub-.500 teams, they still control their own destiny, which means they need to beat another sub-.500 team in the Atlanta Falcons, next week at the Georgia Dome.
| Dec 07, 2014 - 8:46 PM
That is how I can best describe myself preparing to head down to the Chuck Tanner Banquet Awards. The Suits and Ties, the Dresses and Heels.. all of it there, with a lot of higher profile folks from within the Baseball industry locally and nationally.
How out of place would I be?
On paper, the answer to that question is "very". However, as soon as I handed my coat off, I felt a sense of relief. I looked around, saw all of these people in the same venue as me and comfort started to sink in. They didn't know who I was, for all they knew, I was someone important. I had a suit on, the lovely Kim from Baseball and Bling was standing next to me, working out her nervousness.. we were a couple of bloggers that looked as important as most everyone else.
First things first, you can't walk around a place like this without a drink in your hand. The man needs a beer, the woman needs a glass of wine. You simply look more important this way. If Jim Leyland can carry around a beer, dagnabbit... so can I !! After buying raffle tickets and displacing them in baskets that there was no way of winning, due to luck, it was off to the bar.
While walking around, the eyes are always on alert. You're trying to see who is who. "Is that?" I'd ask. "Do you think that is?", Kim would ask. In a way it was like Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles walking around, but that is what makes it exciting; The experience for the first time.
Next on the agenda was an art revealing by the well known sports artist, Kevin John - ... [Read More]
We gotta fire Haley....Dick LeBeau has to go....Tomlin can't beat teams with losing records, gotta fire him too. These are all things that fans are saying that must happen for the Steelers to return to the playoffs. I've said some of these things in the emotional heat caused by watching this team deteriorate against the Buccaneers, Jets and Saints. In reality, what we are seeing now, is what happens when an aging team converges with a salary cap situation that forces the team to keep declining and aging vets over young talent, because of bad contracts given out to those veterans in the name of one more Super Bowl run. Steeler Nation is an extremely loyal but demanding bunch, we don't accept losing very well, but all things considered, things could've been a lot worse than the last two 8-8 seasons.
The two things the Steelers have going for them are in fact, Ben Roethlisberger is the QB and that the coaches mentioned above are all still in place. All I need to put things in perspective, from a fans point of view, is to take a look at another tradition laden franchise, the Chicago Bears, who are a complete train wreck from top to bottom, with little hope for any type of success in the near future. The constant shuffling of the coaching staff along with bad financial decisions, Jay Cutler's recent contract, have all but demoralized their fanbase. The Steelers on the other hand are the epitome of stability, hiring only 3 head coaches in the last 43 years. It's that stability throughout the organization that ended 40 years of consistent losing and led to 6 Lombardi Trophy's.
As frustrating as it is to see the Steelers lay eggs against the sub-.500 teams on their schedule this year, along with Ike Taylor being back on the field, the Steelers aren't that far away from Super Bowl contention. On offense, Munchak has done a great job turning around the Offensive Line, allowing Ben to have perhaps the best season of his career. Martavis Bryant and Markus Wheaton look like they are going to join Antonio Brown to form an explosive threesome at Wide Receiver, while Le'Veon Bell has blossomed into the best overall Running Back in the NFL.
One has to wonder how far along the defense would have developed if Jarvis Jones and Ryan Shazier would have been healthy all season. The positive take out of the injuries on defense is the play of Sean Spence, essentially a rookie in his own right, and Stephon Tuitt in a limited role. If... [Read More]
| Nov 17, 2014 - 1:35 PM
Unless you're stuck at work, without a phone or live in a cave, you know by now that the Toronto Bluejays signed Russell Martin to a 5 year contract worth $82 Million.
Great deal for Russell Martin, bad deal for the Bluejays in the long run.
That breaks down to $16.4 million per year.
The Pittsburgh Pirates reportedly offered Russell Martin a 3 year contract worth $48 million.
That breaks down to $16 million per year.
I'm sure that the Pirates could've scraped up $400K if needed to match the dollar figures. This however was about years. The length of the contract. At 32 years of age, this is Russ's last contract and whoever gave him the most years was likely to be the winner. The Dodgers could've easily outbid in terms of $$$$$ same with the Cubs. Both are teams that like to spend with reckless abandon with little to show for it.
Martin wanted job security.
He got it.
3 years was plenty to offer Russell Martin. That would've kept him here until he was 35. He could've mentored Pirates prospect Elias Diaz to take over with Reese McGuire in the background. What the Pirates didn't want is to be paying a catcher at the age of 36 and 37 the remainder of a hefty contract that is likely to be over $10 million per year regardless of how it's structured. The Toronto Bluejays had no problems doing this. It's also why the Blue Jays are never anything more than a 3rd-4th place team in their division.
The Pirates offered the same money. This isn't about being cheap. The internet shouldn't be complaining. This should be about personal decisions made on the length of the contract and if Martin was valuable enough for years 4-5...
.. but that pesky internet!!!! Who didn't see the Bob Nutting whiners??
First off, the Pirates have stated publicly the last couple of seasons that they will be raising ticket prices... [Read More]