Share It

Monday, September 29, 2008

Is there any such thing as an awful win?

If such a thing does exist,then the Cleveland Browns own one as the Browns won their first game of the season in one of the more boring and poorly played games that I have seen in a while defeating the Cincinnati Bengals 20-12 by the Ohio River.
The Browns scored three points on their first drive and would not score again until a 17 point fourth quarter that was highlighted by a good catch and worse showboat maneuver by Braylon Edwards for the touchdown that took the lead for Cleveland.....
As always,we have a few thoughts on the win....

Shawn's Thoughts

1) Braylon Edwards salvaged yet another bad outing with his one handed TD grab for about three seconds before pissing all over it with a guitar playing celebration that was not only bad and tasteless (Pete Townsend,he isnt),but was somehow not found to have exceeded celebration rules.
Sorry,Braylon,but three catches for 22 yards is far for top notch material and your first TD should have been celebrated by handing the ball to the ref,which is something noted hot dog Chad Johnson did on his score.
Imagine losing a battle of class with Chad Johnson...........
My mind is reeling....

2) Another player that we criticize often,Kamerion Wimbley, did make two plays in the contest,as he had his first sack of the season and forced a fumble by the Bengals Chris Perry that was recovered by Cleveland and led to a Jamal Lewis TD run.
Long way to go,but a decent game....

3) The secondary played pretty well,but please remember it was Ryan Fitzpatrick at the controls not Carson Palmer.
Mike Adams intercepted a pass and recovered the fumble forced by Wimbley,Eric Wright picked one off,but handed it right back to the Bengals by fumbling and Terry Cousin grabbed the pass that ended any comeback hopes for the Southern Ohioans.

4) The Browns did get Jerome Harrison on the field more often in the game.
His numbers weren't overwhelming (4 carries 20 yards and 1 catch for 5 yds),but still he adds a dimension that neither Jamal Lewis or Jason Wright have to the lineup.

5) My dislike for Brady Quinn is well known,but Derek Anderson seemed to have no chance of being taken from the game by Romeo Crennel.
If he wasn't pulled after a bad interception in the third quarter,then he had nothing to worry about.

6) Since Crennel had no intention of using Quinn,why the grand pronouncement of being "on notice"?
And did he do Anderson any favors with the statement?

7) Anderson did make one very good throw on a bullet to Syndric Steptoe and put the ball on a line where only Steptoe could catch it.

8) That was countered by a low throw to Steve Heiden on a 4th and one that could have been a huge gain for the wide open tight end

9) I really liked the Browns commitment to the run early as the Browns never threw a pass on the first drive and slammed the ball right at the Bengals.
The problem was that thereafter,the Browns got away from the run for more of a mix and as a result would not score until the 4th period.
The run was the key to this game and the Browns were on their way with a smart game plan until the second possession.

10) Rookie Alex Hall continues to show glimpses of being the possible pass rush threat at linebacker that Wimbley was heralded to be.
It was his hit on Fitzpatrick that forced a fumble that the Browns recovered to end the final Bengal chance of the game.
It was the only play that Hall made and he certainly is a project in the making,but enough is there to keep you wanting more.

Bonus: It is going to take a lot more than this to beat the Giants two weeks from tonight.
Wins all count the same,but this looks like a contest between two pretty bad football teams...


The Pirates finished a bad season that looks to be better than anything that is coming in 2009 with a 6-1 win over the Padres.
The Pirates finish with a 67-95 record on the year.
Tyler Yates was the winner to improve to 6-3,while Adam LaRoche (25) and Steve "Bam Bam" Pearce (4) homered for the Pirates.

The Pirates fired pitching coach Jeff Andrews and first base coach Lou Frazier,after it looked like all the coaches on John Russell's staff were safe for 2009.
Andrews was reputed to be a tremendous coach,but other than an improvement from Paul Maholm,I didn't really see it.
The death knell for Andrews was the horrible years by Ian Snell and Tom Gorzelanny,much like the downturn in Zach Duke's career meant a bus ticket out of town for Jim Colborn.
When you are relying on young pitching like the Pirates have in the last few years and it fails-someone has to be the fall guy and usually it is the pitching coach.

No thoughts on the game.I am working on a roundtable of questions for Wilbur Miller and I and if all falls right,it could go up as an hiatus offering.....

Bullpen Notes

The happiest people around (other than Milwaukee and their fans) about the Brewers making the playoffs are the Cleveland Indians.
Why so?
The player to be named later as the final player in the C.C. Sabathia will be one off a four player list.
If the Brewers made the playoffs,Cleveland would be allowed to select the player,if the Brewers had not,they would be the selectors....

Since baseball season is now over,you may notice that the "Schmap" to your right is now for the New Jersey Devils.
The Pirates 2008 schmap is still here,just at the bottom of the page.

Photo Credits
Lewis and Hall:Joshua Gunter-Cleveland Plain Dealer
Pearce:Don Boomer-AP Photo

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Bucks cruise,Bucs lose

The Ohio State Buckeyes were never truly threatened by the Golden Gophers of Minnesota despite a deceiving final score of 34-21.
Terrelle Pryor rushed for two TD's and tossed another and Chris Wells rushed for over 100 yards in his return to the field.
The Buckeyes travel to Camp Randall Stadium for an encounter next Saturday night vs the Wisconsin Badgers in a game that would have been much bigger had Wisconsin not been upset by michigan yesterday in a game that I was told was a hose job by a person that watched the game with no bias.
OK,Sorry-it was Ryan and he has a bias.

Shawn's thoughts

1) If you liked the old days of option football,you will like these Buckeyes.
Sure,they pass more than the old wishbone and veer teams,but much of what they do when Terrelle Pryor is on the field takes you back a couple of decades.

2) Chris Wells may not be able to cut back against the grain with his still tender tootsie,but his skills are still there.
His hurdle of a Gopher on a long run made me think that OSU's track team should be recruiting him for duty after the season!


3) Eight catches for Brian Robiskie and a touchdown yesterday.
Nice to see him back in the offense,but lets hope that as Pryor matures in the passing game,he can start hitting Robiskie deep to stretch defenses are sure to be playing the Pryor/Wells running game more than the deep pass.

4) The Buckeye defense didn't allow a TD in the game and shut the Gophers down throughout.
Minnesota's two TD's came late in the game against the second and third teamers to create a closer score than the game truly was.

5) Todd Boeckman played some in the second half and threw a TD.
I am for Boeckman playing in some of these decided games,as Terrelle Pryor's style shows that the chance of injury is there with every run.
Why risk that in a 34-6 game???

Bonus: Next week is going to be a tough one in Madison.
I know Penn State is undefeated and all,but Wisconsin is the team to beat in the Big Ten,if the Buckeyes want another Big Ten title....

The Pirates lost in San Diego 3-2.
Jimmy Barthmaier(0-3) allowed all three runs in the Padre first in a losing five inning effort.
Pirate killer Chris Young added another win to his belt for San Diego.

Shawn's Thoughts

1) I have just one-Get this season over with!!!

The Seattle Seahawks are off until next week against the Giants.
Battlin Bob is ticked at some Seahawk fans over at Grumblings and Rumblings.

The Cleveland Browns put any hope saving their season on the line today in Cincinnati against the Bengals.
1-3 is not exactly great going into the bye week,but 0-4 means Roy Orbison time!

Romeo Crennel says Derek Anderson is on a short leash for this one and I am not sure that the way to turn around a QB with confidence issues is to tell him he will not get much time to get past a mistake,but this game is huge and whatever it takes to win it.

Browns Keys

1) RUN THE FOOTBALL!
Jamal Lewis needs to get 20 carries or more!
Slam the ball at them and take the heat off the struggling Anderson to win the game.

2) Pressure Carson Palmer
Palmer will likely play,but he is not 100% and he is not agile at his peak-make him hurry to get his passes off..

3) Do not be afraid to blitz.
This team supposedly bulked up its pass rush,but the numbers don't back that up.
Send the linebackers once in a while and mix up who you are sending!

4) Use Steve Heiden here and there.
Heiden (backup tight end) has dependable hands and since none of the WRs seem interested in catching the ball,maybe Heiden on some checkdowns could open things up for Kellen Winslow....

5) Show some desperation!
This game is a MUST,do something different!
A trick play or a variation on a play for a new look.
Pull out all the stops!

Prediction-Record 3-3
This is a hard game to pick,the Bengals played well in taking the Giants to overtime last week and the game is in Cinci,but lets pick with the heart just this once.
Browns 27-21

Shane Mosley knocked out Ricardo Mayorga with one second to go in the fight in a Jr.Middleweight fight.
We had Mosley ahead by a wide margin.
On the undercard,Andre Berto kept his WBC Welter title with a unanimous decision over Steve Forbes.
We scored the bout 117-111 for Berto.
Photo Credits
Pryor:Neal Lauron_Columbus Dispatch
Helmets:Helmet Project
Boxing:Danny Moloshok-Reuters

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Pirates win in San Diego and debate thoughts

Ian Snell pitched no hit baseball for four and two thirds before allowing a homer and leaving with a cramped calf after the innings conclusion to lead the Pirates to a 6-3 win over the Padres.
Snell finished the season at 7-12 and Matt Capps pitched the ninth to earn his 21st save.
Ryan Doumit (15) and Freddy Sanchez (9) homered for the Pirates.

Shawn's Thoughts

1) After a miserable season,it was nice to Snell finish strong,even if it was against the lowly (even more so than the Bucs) Padres.
Snell was the best stuff on the staff and I like his hard nosed mentality,but sometimes it works against him.
Snell needs to understand that a strong mind is as important in this game as a strong arm.

2) Two nice outings in a row from Tyler Yates.
Yates has a power arm that is truly effective when he finds the strike zone,which does not always occur....

3) The Pirates locked them into the fourth pick in next years draft and the Padres will pick third.
Had the Padres swept the three game series,the Bucs would have slid into the third slot.

4) Former Pirate farmhand Chris Young takes the ball for San Diego tonight.
Looks like bad news for the Bucs as Young is 3-0 with a 1.52 ERA in four starts against Pittsburgh.

Pitching Matchup
Pittsburgh: Jimmy Barthmaier (0-1 15.19 ERA) at San Diego: Chris Young (6-6 4.11 ERA) 10:05

Debate Thoughts

I thought last nights debate was pretty even overall and likely didn't change any minds one way or the other,but a few thoughts.

1) Looks like the whining of 2000 by the Republicans about Al Gore's "lack of respect" towards George Bush could backfire eight years later.
John McCain rarely even looked over to acknowledge Barack Obama and when he did,McCain looked openly contemptuous towards the Illinois Senator.

2) Is that a silly point?
Yep.But when you are a party that lives and dies with the silly non-issue,sometimes it can return to bite you in the ass.

3) I did chuckle once when McCain admonished Obama for "not caring enough" to travel to Afghanistan and therefore doesn't know what he is talking about because he wasn't there.....
If this is such an important part of leadership and is a requirement,why hasn't your stuttering Mel Tillis in drag been over to add this experience to her resume"?

4) As important as this debate was,next Thursdays battle between the VP candidates looms perhaps larger.
Most elections aren't decided by the second spot on the ticket,but this one could and Sarah Palin could go a long way towards determining the winning team with her performance in St.Louis.
Or least do far better than this fiasco.............

Bullpen Notes

The Ohio State Buckeyes kickoff the Big Ten season against unbeaten Minnesota today in Columbus.
Word is that Chris Wells is likely to play in this one and hopefully that will kick start a limping offense.
Minnesota likes to run the spread option that OSU struggles to defend,but I think the Bucks wear them down and take a 31-14 win.


The Ashland Arrows ended a four game losing streak with a Homecoming win over the West Holmes Knights 20-13 behind a 156 yard rushing night by Shane Kipp.

Photo Credits
Pirates;Lenny Ignelz-AP Photo
Helmets:Helmet Project

Friday, September 26, 2008

One more for the road.........


Ryan Braun slugged a game winning grand slam off Jesse Chavez (0-1) in the bottom of the tenth to give the Milwaukee Brewers yet one final win over the Pirates 5-1.
Pirates run scored by Steven Pearce,who hit his third homer of the year and second in the series.
Two quick notes on injuries.
Brandon Moss will miss at least 4-6 months after knee surgery and Nyjer Morgan will likely be down for the last three games in San Diego after pulling a hamstring early in the loss to the Brewers.

Shawn's Thoughts

1) The Pirates against the Brewers this season?
1-14.
If Milwaukee gets in the playoffs this weekend,I think they owe the Pirates something.
A playoff share,a visit from Bernie Brewer or how about Alex Periard and call it even.

2) The Moss and Morgan injuries mean that likely Steve Pearce will play the three games against the Padres,unless Pittsburgh plays someone that I'm not thinking about right now.

3) The Post-Gazette says the open Pirate spot for the Arizona Fall League will go to Jamie Romak.
Good decision,although he should have been picked already to begin with.

4) Zach Duke finished the season well last night in Milwaukee with 1 run allowed over seven innings.
Duke finishes an unimpressive 5-14 on the season.

5) Brandon Moss said he told the Red Sox that he was having knee problems on certain surfaces before coming to Pittsburgh.
Did the Sawx tell Neil Huntington about this?
If not,Pittsburgh could file a grievance and perhaps get an extra prospect from Boston.
Or perhaps return Moss for an even higher prospect.
There is precedence for this between the two franchises as Brandon Lyon was found to be injured after being obtained for Jeff Suppan.
The player that was landed in the revised deal?
Freddy Sanchez.

Pitching Matchup
Pittsburgh: Ian Snell (6-12 5.54 ERA) at San Diego: Josh Geer (2-1 2.86 ERA) 10:05

Bullpen Notes

Former batting champ Mickey Vernon died at the age of 90 yesterday.
Vernon played for both the Pirates and Indians,but his prime years were spent with awful teams in Washington as a member of the Senators.
Vernon won batting titles in 1946 and 1953 and was a seven time member of the all-star team.
Vernon was named as one of the the pre-1943 finalists for the veterans committee to consider during their next meeting in December.

Gettin excited for tonight's debate yet?
Nice to see John McCain is going to show up,but after watching Sarah Palin bumble through an interview with note softballer Katie Couric,I think he had to do something or the dam wall could bust through on him.

The Detroit Lions firing of Matt Millen got Jonah Keri thinking about the worst GM of all time.
Keri combined Cam Bonifay and Captain Dave Littlefield and ranked them sixth.
A little low in our opinion,but I cannot really argue against the five that are ahead of them.
To each their own.

Watching Oregon State's Jacquizz Rodgers run up the middle with little problem last night in Oregon State's upset of USC makes me think that maybe a healthy Chris Wells might have made more of a difference than I thought originallly after the Trojans trouncing of Ohio State.
The Trojans were too strong that night still ,in my opinion,but now there is at least food for thought.

The Ashland Arrows (1-4) attempt to stop their losing skid against the West Holmes Knights at home tonight in Ashland.

Until tomorrow
Celebration:AP
Vernon:RedMan Tobacco

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Pirates lose two strange ones and Pedro Alvarez finally shows up


The Pirates handed two games to the Milwaukee Brewers in an attempt to help them make the playoffs.
On Tuesday,Prince Fielder took T.J.Beam(LP 2-2) over the wall with two outs in the ninth that broke a 5-5 tie in a 7-5 Milwaukee win.
Steve Pearce smacked his second homer for the only Pirate longball.
Wednesday's game saw the Pirates hold the Brewers to just two hits,but Paul Maholm(LP 9-9) and Denny Bautista combined to walk NINE in a 4-2 loss.
Maholm actually walked in two of the Brewer runs.
Adam LaRoche hit his 24th homer in the ninth inning of the loss.

Shawn's Thoughts

1) Maholm's loss means that no Pirate will reach double digits in victories for the season.
This is the first time (other than the strike shortened seasons) since 1890 that this has happened for the club.

2) The sudden increase in the Maholm walk rate is concerning to me,but I think it is just a matter of a long season coming to a close.
Maholm threw the most innings in his career this season and pitched 39 more than last season.
Just part of the workload.
So I hope.

3) Tom Gorzelanny was placed on the 60 day DL in a paper move to be able to put Pedro Alvarez on the 40 man roster (more below) as part of his revised contract.
Nothing new to note other than that.

4) Some fans on various blogs think the Pirates should explore dealing Freddy Sanchez instead of Jack Wilson this off season.
I disagree.
Wilson will be at his max value with the shortstop market being low this off season and could bring two good prospects.
Sanchez ,on the other hand,suffered through an injury-plagued season that was his least productive ever that places his value at its lowest point.
Trading chips when they are at their lowest point is exactly the stuff that Dave Littlefield used to do.

5) Give some credit to the Pirates front office for this,even though they knuckled under a bit at the end to Scott Boras,they did the right thing by sending Pedro Alvarez to Florida instead of a more prestigious assignment to Florida or Hawaii.
Why? Because sending Alvarez to either of those means someone would need to come off the roster.
Sometimes doing the right thing can be a sign to players that the right thing is more important than the prudent thing..

Pedro Alvarez finally signed his contract (with revisions) and will begin to play ball.
It appears that the two revisions are these-the contract is now a major league deal instead of a minor league deal and he got about 300,000 extra bucks to make Scotty Boras feel warm inside.
The Pirates made no claims on where the third baseman will start,but my guess is that he will start in Lynchburg and with a good six weeks or so,could be at Altoona....

Still no word on the final piece to the local leagues affiliation puzzle in Winston-Salem.

You will excuse me for thinking that John McCain's "throw it against the wall" style is in play again with this "I am needed" Underdog type claim to delay tomorrow's debate.

I have no problems with either campaign suspending ads and campaigning while the bailout issue is in debate/negotiations,but I struggle to believe that after many practices and the amount of time that both candidates have spent preparing that both Senators could not fly down to Mississippi in mid afternoon and be ready to go.
And if you cannot handle that,how can the American people expect you to juggle the various issues that a President deals with?

Until next time

Photo Credits
Pearce and Maholm:AP Photo
Alvarez:David Arrigo:Pittsburgh Pirates

Looking at the tape:Seahawks smack Rams

Back after a few slow days.
Will be posting twice to catch up on things.

Watched the tape of the Seattle Seahawks 34-13 pasting of the Rams and have some thoughts on the win.

Shawn's Thoughts

1: Julius Jones seems to be back to the runner that many people thought was going to be an elite back in the league.
Granted,his last two games were against two pretty bad teams,but for me it wasn't the yardage as much as how he did it.
Hitting the hole and shooting through it instead of tap dancing behind the line.

2: Jones could be on the way to salvaging his career in the same way his brother (Thomas) did after being considered a bust in Arizona.
Thomas was worthless in Arizona,but has been a reasonably talented performer ever since.
The good news for Seattle fans is the Julius is the more talented of the two.

3: Jones and T.J. Duckett enabled the Seahawks to not have to rely on the passing game and therefore not counting on rookies (John Carlson and Michael Bumpus) and new acquistions (Keary Colbert and Billy McMullen) to have to make game changing plays.
Usually for Seattle,the pass sets up the run,but for now the opposite will have to be the case for the Seahawks to be successful.

4: Here is hoping the Seahawks keep rookie Michael Bumpus around after the veterans starting marching home again.
Not just because he grabbed a TD pass in the game,but because he seems to have long term potential and I really like his hands,despite a fumble in the contest.

5: The offensive line kept the Rams off balance and gave all aspects of the offense time to make plays.
Again,it was just the Rams,but a nice job nonetheless....

6: Leroy Hill often gets overshadowed by Lofa Tatupu and Julian Peterson,but he was the standout against the Rams with ten tackles.
Hill is the type of steady backer that teams need to funnel runners towards Tatupu and can stay home while Peterson goes after the quarterback.
Now if he could just cover his area better in zone coverage,he could develop into a top notch backer!

7: Deon Grant intercepted one pass,but I was more impressed by one that he didn't pick off.
On a fourth down in the final quarter,Grant had an easy pick far down field,but instead batted the ball away and that resulted in about 30 yards of field position.
Smart and heady play by the veteran.

8: Josh Wilson gets better every week at one corner and is showing the type of toughness shown by the Browns Josh Cribbs in returning punts.

9: The Seahawks use their bye week this week and return against the Giants in New Jersey on OCt 5th.
Looks like a tough test.
I would rather have the Giants this week without Plaxico Burress..

10: The 1-2 start is disappointing,but can you imagine 0-3?
Oh,wait,I can-Think about the Browns!

Bullpen Notes

Sorry to hear about former Viking all-pro Wally Hilgenberg passing away last week at the age of 66 from the effects of Lou Gehrig's disease.
As a fan of the Bud Grant era Vikings,Hilgenberg was a important part of the Purple People Eaters from 1968 to 1979 after spending his early career with the Lions.
Condolences to his family.

A poiganant column on Hilgenberg over last winter as he battled ALS is well worth reading here.
Great job by Patrick Reusse of Minneapolis Star-Tribune....

Kudos for the Detroit Lions for finally firing Matt Millen as their football head..
Wait a minute this isn't 2005????
Never mind.

Will try to be back later with a baseball catchup

Photo Credits
Jones and Team:AP Photo
Hilgenberg:Topps

Monday, September 22, 2008

It's Over........Browns @#$%!!!!!!

As Roy Orbison once sang,its over.
Sorry Browns fans,but an 0-3 start against this schedule with little of any kind of performance to encourage me,this is a lost season.

The Browns traveled to Baltimore to scrimmage the Ratbirds and after a disastrous third quarter caused them to drop a 28-10 decision.

Shawn's Thoughts

1: I know Derek Anderson played poorly and many fans are shouting for Brady Quinn,but I would say give Anderson one more shot at turning things around-this week in Cincinnati.
If things do not work out,then Quinn has the bye week to get up to speed for a tough Monday night game against the Giants....

2: You can blame Anderson for many things in the loss (the gift TD to Ed Reed) for one,but you cannot blame him for the Chris McAllister pick that turned the game around.
Ray Lewis (for a change) laid a huge hit on Kellen Winslow to force the ball into the air,but the pass was on the money.

3: I am continued to be confused by the lack of use of Jerome Harrison.
Harrison grabbed a pass for the Browns only touchdown and then saw the field sparingly thereafter.
The same thing happened against the Steelers and I am having a hard time figuring out why the only guy that is making plays isn't playing.

4: Mr Softee continues with his poor play with 3 catches for 27 yards and just as many drops.

5: I have heard Browns fans calling for the head of Romeo Crennel,but firing Crennel now makes no sense and as bad as he has performed,I hear very little asking about the status of Phil Savage.
Savage after all is the "genius" putting the "talent" together.
To me,lets play it out and see how it goes and either both stay or both get the axe.
It strikes me as very unfair to keep either of the architects of this mess and move the other out the door.

6: In a 28-10 loss,a few players on the defensive side played well.
D'qwell Jackson was all over the field and intercepted a pass and I liked the play of Alex Hall.
Eric Wright made some nice hits as well,although I would like to see him bat more balls down in coverage.

7: But on the flip side,Corey Williams was pushed around on the line of scrimmage and except for a fumble recovery,never heard his name called and Kamerion Wimbley continues to be going down the road to Bust City.

8: The Browns simply have no playmakers on defense.None.
The Ravens (even though I don't see them as a great team) have 4 of them.
See the difference?

9: As good as Joe Thomas usually is,he struggled yesterday against Terrell Suggs and Trevor Pryce in pass blocking.
Chalk this one up to missing his linemate on the left side for the day (Eric Steinbach) and maybe a bad day.....

10: Jamal Lewis didn't rush for a lot of yards,but averaged over four yards a carry,why didn't the Browns pound the ball at Baltimore,especially at 14-10 when Anderson seemed mentally fragile??
Just wondering....

The Seattle Seahawks did their job by avoiding a 0-3 start by pounding the St.Louis Rams 37-13.
Look for my thoughts on the win in a few days after I review the tape.
Both teams played at 4,so I missed the Seattle game live.....

The Texas Rangers are the new team in town for the Hickory Crawdads as the only two teams that needed a Low A team decided on their teams.
The other,the Seattle Mariners will be in the Midwest League in Clinton Iowa.

Roy Oswalt shut the Pirates down again in a 6-2 loss in the Pirates home finale'.
Jack Wilson pinch hit again and singled after a huge ovation.

The Pirates resolved this Pedro Alvarez mess and avoided a ugly situation.
Alvarez apparently is eligible to play in either Arizona or Hawaii.
Look for more on this tomorrow....

Photo Credits
Harrison:Ap Photo
Jackson:John Kuntz-Cleveland Plain Dealer

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Buckeyes win and Jack Wilson says his goodbyes to Pittsburgh

The Terrelle Pryor era began yesterday as Pryor started and led the Buckeyes to a workmanlike 28-10 win over the visitors from Alabama in the Troy Trojans.

Shawn's Thoughts

1: Pryor played well,but don't be overly impressed with his four TD passes.
Other than a 38 yard blazer to Brian Robiskie,most of his completions were shorter "catch and run" passes.
The jury is still out on his long passing touch.

2: I realize that Jim Tressel wants to break Pryor in slowly and that makes sense,but this team is going to face eight man fronts at the line of scrimmage soon in Big Ten Play,so he needs to let Pryor loose on long passes.
Brian Robiskie is one of the best pass catchers in the country and when teams stack the line against Chris Wells and Pryor,the Buckeyes will need to show the long pass.

3: Poor Buckeye tackling on the lone Troy TD,Battlin Bob and I counted five missed tackles on the play.
After watching similar miscues against "The other" Trojans,maybe the defensive needs to practice wrapping up before Minnesota next week.

4: Full Credit to two players for terrific plays.
Tight end Rory Nicol's leaping TD in the first half gave Pryor a TD that would have fallen incomplete without the excellent play by the senior.
Safety Kurt Coleman picked off two Troy passes and one ended a Troy scoring drive.
The threat ender was on an high passes that Coleman snared after a huge jump and tackled himself as his foot was caught on James Laurinatis' shoulder pad.

5: Give some kudos to punter A.J.Trapasso as well.
The booter stopped three punts inside Troy's seven yard line and helped provide valuable field position.

In a game so insignificant that Yahoo didnt even bother to do a post game recap and was not televised on either the Houston or Pittsburgh networks,The Bucs scrapped out a rare 6-4 win.
The Pirates scored five in the first and another in the second and that was enough for the win.
Jason Davis earned the win in relief (2-4) and Matt Capps grabbed save number 20.

Shawn's Thoughts

1: Jimmy Barthmaier allowed two runs in three innings to lower his ERA 12 runs,which showed you how far it had to go!
But seriously-This looks to be Barthmaier's last start of the year and even if it isnt,he would have just one more,so why not (considering the big lead) allow him to get through two more innings and get big league win 1?

2: Time to acknowledge Ryan Doumit for a great year after a 3 RBI night.
Doumit is hitting .322 and pretty much has pushed the Ronny Paulino supporters aside.

3: Jack Wilson has been killing himself to be able to play this weekend despite his damaged finger,so he can make a final appearance before the Pirate faithful at home.
Wilson was able to make a pinch hitting appearance and flied to center.
Wilson is convinced that today is his last home game at PNC.

4: So am I

5: Nice job by the bullpen as five of the six pitchers that appeared out of the pen allowed no hits.
Only Tyler Yates allowed runs and hits of the bunch.

Bonus Round:
Good luck in doing anything against the seemingly overwhelming Roy Oswalt.
Oswalt has been nearly unhittable in the last two months with the exception of allowing five runs to the Marlins in his start and even then Oswalt fanned ten Marlins.

Pitching Matchup
Houston:Roy Oswalt (15-10 3.66 ERA) at Pittsburgh:Ross Ohlendorf (1-3 6.79 ERA) 1:35

Two big games for the Browns and Seahawks today as both 0-2 teams cannot afford to go to 0-3 considering the opponents.

The Browns travel to Baltimore to play the 1-0 Ravens.
As disappointing as the Browns have been thus far,I am surprised the Ravens are the favorite in this one.
Why,Because they beat the Bengals?
Whoo Hoo.
Cleveland will have to stop the Baltimore running game of Willis McGahee,Ray Rice and Le'ron McClain as they will have rookie Joe Flacco throw the ball as little as possible if they have their way.
Meanwhile,the Browns will likely try to use Jamal Lewis as their main weapon along with short passes to Kellen Winslow to keep them honest.
Braylon Edwards is questionable for this game and may not play.
And tell me how this would be different from the first games?

The Seahawks host the worst team in football in the St.Louis Rams.
I want to hear no excuses on this,if they lose.
Should be lots of sacks for the Hawks as the Rams have struggled protecting Marc Bulger.

Our Predictions-2008 record 2-2
Browns over Ravens 20-13
Seahawks over Rams 34-17

On the side with the links and stuff,Blogger has added a followers gadget.
If you click on that,you will be considered a follower here,will be listed as such and the more of those that we get,the more exclusive features we are eligible for in the future..

Photo Credits
Pryor:Courtney Hergesheimer-Columbus Dispatch
Nicol:Jonathan Quilter-Columbus Dispatch
Helmets;Helmet Project

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Pirates fall again



From the nothing new department,the Pirates lost to the Astros 5-1 at PNC Park.
Adam LaRoche's 23rd homer of the season produced the only Pirate run.
Ian Snell allowed 2 runs in six innings to get the loss (6-12).

Shawn's Thoughts

1: Ian Snell had good stuff again,but his problem all season was the same as last night.
When you walk almost a batter(5) an inning,it makes it real tough to win games,even if you allow just three hits.
Just too many free passes.

2: Snell was able to keep the game close for six innings until Denny Bautista was pounded in the two innings that he pitched with three more walks!
Cant anyone throw strikes on this team????
Even the best control pitcher of the bunch,Paul Maholm was walking guys in his last start on Monday.

3) Bautista continued a roller coaster September that has seen him allow three or more runs in three of his last six appearances.....

4) Steve Pearce Lives!!!!!!!
Pearce was the starter in right field and went 1 for 4.

5) Jimmy Barthmaier faces the team that waived him last winter tonight.
Tonight's start will be the second of the year for the former Astro and I cannot imagine this start being worse than his first.
Barthmaier allowed 7 runs in less than three innings against Tampa Bay on June 27.

Pitching Matchup

Houston:Brian Moehler (11-7 4.33 ERA) at Pittsburgh:Jimmy Barthmaier (0-1 27.00 ERA) 7:05

Bullpen Notes
The Ohio State Buckeyes return home for a hopefully ego boosting win over the Troy Trojans.
Jim Tressel will keep the snaps at Quarterback 50/50 between Todd Boeckman and Terrelle Pryor after the USC disaster.
This is the Tressel way of slowly changing the guard and it is for the best.
Our prediction: Ohio State 31-10
This set of Trojans is not quite so intimidating.

The CFL Hall of Fame inducted perhaps its best class ever last night in Hamilton as Doug Flutie enters the Hall with two of the best runners to ever play the big field game in Mike Pringle and Michael "Pinball" Clemons.
All three tremendous players and deserving inductees!
Winnipeg defeated Hamilton 25-23 in the game that followed the ceremonies.

The Ashland Arrows fell to 1-4 with a 21-14 road loss to Wooster.

Photo Credits
Snell:AP Photo
Helmets:Helmet Project
Flutie:CP Photo

Friday, September 19, 2008

Pirates stay in Lynchburg,Hansen wild again.

The Pittsburgh Pirates agreed to a two year extension with the Lynchburg Hillcats yesterday and ensured their keeping their High A level franchise in the Carolina League.

The Pirates are now set in their affiliations through the 2010 season.

The South Atlantic League has one opening in Hickory,which will be filled by either Seattle or Texas,while the Carolina League has one opening in Winston-Salem,although the White Sox could still return there,there are other teams that still need a High A franchise.
The Reds,Mariners and Giants are the teams,but I cannot see the Giants leaving San Jose,so they are likely out.
The Reds would be preferred by me from a signing standpoint,but we will have to wait and see.

The Pirates lost to the Dodgers on a getaway day 4-3 in 12 innings.
Losing pitcher Craig Hansen (1-4) walked the bases loaded for T.J. Beam,who then allowed the game winning hit.

Shawn's Thoughts
1) We are rough on Nyjer Morgan here,mainly because he seems like the baseball version of an overpushed wrestler,but cannot blame him for his reckless out at the plate in the 10th inning.
Coach Tony Beasley told him to take off and even in Little League-if you do what you are told and get tossed out-it is the fault of the coach.

2) Craig Hansen has walked 20 batters in his 15+ innings as a Pirate.
Big time wildness problems.
Would hate to see that kind of arm be out of the game due to an inability to throw strikes.......

3) Paul Maholm usually is the Pirates best control pitcher,but he walked six yesterday in seven innings.
Onset of tired arm syndrome???

4) Back to Morgan,I had to watch the game on the Dodger network and they seemed to love him.
Charley Steiner brought out all the cliches' one uses to describe Morgan "Speedball,Sparkplug,hustler etc".
Interested Los Angeles??

5) I think I might start a logo for Steve Pearce Held Hostage,you know like the networks use a clever sentence for anything that goes on for more than a few days???

Pitching Matchup

Houston:Randy Wolf (10-12 4.58 ERA) at Pittsburgh:Ian Snell (6-11 5.69 ERA) 7:05

Bullpen Notes

CFL fans are in mourning as one of the all time great passers in the league passed away at the age of 69 yesterday.
Ron Lancaster spent all but one of his 17 seasons in the CFL with the Saskatchewan Roughriders,leading them to five Grey Cup and the championship in 1966.
Lancaster also coached Edmonton to a Grey Cup win in 1993 and led the Hamilton Tiger-Cats to the 1999 Cup.
The Cats have been nowhere near as good since then.
Ron Lancaster was the Cats boss when I was able to see almost every Ti-Cat game and was an excellent coach and competitor,but a good person when the game was over.
The kind of coach that I enjoyed having as part of my team.
Best wishes to the Lancaster family....

The Ashland Arrows travel to Wooster tonight to battle the 3-1 and suddenly resurgent Generals.
Wooster was the bully of the OCC during the first few years of the conferences existence..

On the signing front.
Jason Christensen sent me a card of former Dodger Jon Weber and two wins off Ebay that netted Basketball great Connie Hawkins and a USA card of Pirate farmhand Robbie Grossman.

Photo Credits
Hillcats:Lynchburg Hillcats
Morgan:AP
Lancaster:Unknown

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Goodbye Hickory,Hello West Virginia


The Pirates announced yesterday that they will be moving their Low A affiliate from Hickory to Charleston West Virginia for next season.
The moved makes sense for the Pirates to bring the team closer to Pittsburgh,but I cannot help but have some regrets for the loss of Hickory.
The Crawdad hats and unis are far better than the "UPS" togs of the Power,but this was pretty much a mutual decision as Hickory had grown tired of the less than talented teams that they were getting.
The people in Charleston seem pretty happy with the Pirates coming for the most part.
Lets see if the tune changes when the worst team in the minors moves their "talent" there for 2009.

Still no word on the Pirates High A team yet.
There are three choices for the Pirates and really none are totally in their power (no pun intended).
1: They will stay in Lynchburg (Lynchburg ,like Hickory has not seemed very thrilled with the teams that they have been getting.
2: Move to Winston-Salem.
That would keep the Pirates in the Carolina League (which they need badly to do) and in a brand new ballpark that opens next year,but moves the team farther from Pittsburgh and the new Low A affiliate in Charleston WV.
3: Move to the California or Florida State League,which would be only if they lose out on both Lynchburg and Winston-Salem and not by their choice either.

The Hagerstown Suns as expected re-upped with the Washington Nationals for another two year term.
Good move for both teams,now that this is finished-can we please dump the Orange and Black unis and go to something more fitting for a Washington farm club???

With the New York Mets renewing their SAL deal with Savannah,only Hickory is left standing right now without a parent club.
Doing some simple detective work off this chart from Baseball America,the Crawdads are going to be hooked up with either the Seattle Mariners or the Texas Rangers.

Winston-Salem will be changing their name from the Warthogs in the new ballpark.
Everything that I have read and (person talked to) has indicated that the new name will be Rhinos to keep things as close to the popular nickname and logo as possible,yet still being able to sell new things....
I liked the Warthog name and logo,but their uniforms led much to be desired.
Winston-Salem supposedly is not enchanted with their parent club in the White Sox,so they could be shopping for a new supplier of talent and Mandalay baseball will taking over the management of the team for 2009,although they will not own it.
Mandalay has a similar arrangement with the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Yankees....

The Pirates burst through with eight runs in the bottom of the seventh to break a 7-7 tie in a 15-8 win over the Dodgers.
Huge nights for Adam LaRoche (21st and 22nd HRS and 5 RBI) and Ryan Doumit (14th HR and 4 RBI) and John Grabow was the winner (6-3).

Shawn's Thoughts

1) Grabow blew the lead in the top of the inning,so he gained the benefit of those runs without pitching well.
I still think Grabow gets moved over the winter despite the crappy state of the Buc bullpen.
He will get a raise and for how he performs,he wont be worth what they have to pay him.

2) The Post-Gazette looks at Adam LaRoche's situation as far as arbitration goes for next year.
I have mixed feelings on that.
He certainly will get a sizable raise,but the constant horrific starts to the season always makes you wonder if he is worth it.
The raise will come because at the end of each season,the numbers are reasonably good and the Pirates will not likely find anyone better at the cost that they will want to pay.
I guess keep him around unless someone knocks you over with an offer.

3) Besides the only person in the system that could replace LaRoche is Steve Pearce,who apparently has pissed someone off because he plays so seldomly....

4) Anyone else find the humor in the Dodgers Clayton Kershaw starting today against the Buccos?
The 20 year old Kershaw was drafted after the Pirates picked Brad Lincoln in 2006 draft.
So much for the quicker path to the big leagues theory that Littlefield/Creech lived by,huh?

5) The Pirates open the 2009 campaign in St.Louis on April 6th and the home opener is April 13th against the Houston Astros.
The Pirates home debut is the same day as the home curtain raiser for the Hagerstown Suns.

Pitching Matchup
Los Angeles:Clayton Kershaw (4-5 4.41 ERA) at Pittsburgh:Paul Maholm (9-8 3.68 ERA) 12:35

The Seattle Seahawks continue to amaze me.
Veteran defensive end Jason Babin was released to make room for Keary Colbert on the roster.
Babin is an average lineman,but the Seahawks continue to carry kicker Brandon Coutu on the team.
That is two kickers for those of you scoring at home.
The bewildering part is this.
The Seahawks released Justin Forsett and Jordan Kent instead of Coutu because they "Needed help right away",but released Babin because "Coutu is part of the future and can't lose sight of that".
All in a 10 day span?
I expect this kind of dumbness from the Browns,but the Seahawks have always seemed to have a better handle on things.

Photo Credits
Power logo:West Virginia Power
Warthogs:Lauren Carroll-Winston-Salem Journal
LaRoche:AP Photo

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Football roster moves and a pitiful effort

The Pirates dropped two games to the Dodgers 8-2 and 6-2,but the effort was the bad part.
As in not much of any.

Guys not running out balls,bone headed plays,bad pitching and a manager who must mix NyQuil and valium before each game make the end of the season one miserable experience for this fan.

Shawn's Thoughts

1) Ross Ohlendorf's velocity was way down in Monday's loss (now 0-2) and hit the showers after three innings.
Ohlendorf needs to be watched carefully in his next start and if the same thing happens,end the season.
These games are meaningless,why continue to pitch a guy that looks to be out of gas?

2) I can give Brandon Moss a mulligan for his not running on a ball out that he thought was foul,since he seems to be the hustling type.
However,the resulting twin killing that resulted in ruining a bases loaded no outs situation certainly ended any chances of getting back into the loss....

3) It has been a speedy fall for Jeff Karstens since Arizona hasn't it?
11 hits and five runs over five innings and the loss (2-6) last night.
Karstens has not given up less than 3 runs in any start since the near perfecto in Phoenix and only once did he allow just three.
Karstens is acceptable as a 5th starter on this team,but long term,his best role could be middle relief.


4) The Pirates will add three prospects to the 40 man roster over the winter as Neil Walker,Jose Tabata and Evan Meek will have to be added or be eligible for the Rule 5 draft.
Meek pitched very well after being sent down and may eventually make his early Pirate numbers a blip on the radar.
Eric Krebs is eligible for the draft and look for the Pirates to closely follow Eric's numbers in Hawaii Winter Ball.

5) Andrew McCutchen is not eligible for the draft and that is why that he was not promoted as part of the September call ups.
Once you are called up,you must be protected from that point on.

Bonus Rounds) Charlie at Bucs Dugout takes on the sunshine boys at the Pirates official site with their all is well take on Nyjer Morgan and Neil Walker.
I could not agree more on Morgan,but I still have hopes for Walker,although I think he MUST spend more time at Indianapolis next season.
I may be back later on this Nyjer Morgan thing-head shaking.

John Russell must be on muscle relaxers or something.
I have never seen a guy seem to be so tranquil when things look so bad.
The guy rarely leaves the dugout,allows the type of play and hustle that we have seen the last two nights and looks almost non-plussed.

Bullpen Notes

Both the Browns and Seahawks made some roster moves to deal with the injury bug.

The Browns lost defensive end Robaire Smith for the season after tearing an Achilles Tendon in the loss to Pittsburgh.
Sean Smith will move into the starting lineup and the Browns signed former Patriot
Santonio Thomas to replace Robaire Smith on the roster.


From the pigs can really fly dept-The Seahawks brought back former Hawk number one pick Koren Robinson back to fill in the wide receiver spots that have been vacated by injuries.
This could work as Robinson knows the system and could turn his career around,if he truly has left his problems in the past.
This shows the desperation in Seattle when the Seahawks go looking for Koren Robinson!

Seattle also worked a trade with Denver for another pass catcher in Keary Colbert in exchange for a fifth round pick.
Colbert was playing rarely for the Broncos after signing there in the off-season after spending three seasons with the Panthers.

Over on Field Gulls,the campaign has started to bring Mike Doss to Seattle.
I am totally in favor of this,as I am a long time fan of the former Buckeye and anything that gets Brian Russell out of the starting lineup makes it even better!!!
Doss would be a free pickup and I hope they consider adding him to the roster!
This is the type of hitter that Seattle hasn't seen since losing Ken Hamlin as shown here.


Ten finalists were announced for consideration from the Veterans Committee for the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Two of the ten have already been in our Forgotten Superstars series and two others are on the list for part of the series.
Dick Allen and Al Oliver are in the final round after being in our series and Tony Oliva (Watch for him during hiatus) along with Luis Tiant are soon to part of it it.
I would think that the early favorite for entry of the group is former Cub and Ryan favorite
Ron Santo.
The announcement will be made on December 8th at the Winter Meetings.

From the voting and the people that I have talked to and written,it seems like everyone seems to like the new format,so we will try it this way for a while.

Time for a few thanks on the signing front.
Jason Christensen helped me out with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats,a few of the Bowie Baysox and a few Binghamton Mets.
Most notably Matt Wieters on his Carolina League prospect,Toronto prospects J.P.Arencibia and Brett Cecil (In college uniforms!),former big leaguer Dave LaRoche and former Pirate (for about three innings) Brian Rogers.
And thanks to new reader Pol Heiney for helping me with some Frederick Keys on the seasons last day.
Pol was able to get the elusive Rich Hebner to sign two Pirate cards along with Brandon Snyder,Pedro Beato,Brandon Tripp and Bill Rowell.
Thanks to both of you!!!

Photo Credits
Ramirez-AP Photo
Robinson and Oliver-Upper Deck
Allen-Unknown

Monday, September 15, 2008

J.T. O'Sullivan?


The Seattle Seahawks looked to be cruising to an easy win with a 14-0 early lead over the San Francisco 49ers and watched the strongest unit of their team struggle late in a stunning 33-30 overtime loss at Quest Field.

Shawn's Thoughts

1) The defense let the Seahawks down yesterday,but I cannot blame them too much for the deciding score.
They were simply exhausted after the Niners had the ball most of the end of the fourth quarter and then to return to the field for the first possession of overtime?
No Chance

2) Marcus Trufant does get beat at times,but when he does he still doesn't quit on the play.
Early in the game,Issac Bruce beat Trufant for a 63 yard gain on a crossing pattern,but instead of sulking or hoping the safety (Brian Russell) will make the play (yeah right),Trufant hustled down the field and tackled Bruce himself.
They scored a TD anyway,but that is the kind of play that you like to see..

3) Speaking of Brian Russell,Any chance that he could maybe LEAVE????
I have never been a Russell fan from his days in Cleveland and didn't like his signing in Seattle from the start.
I would go into more detail on Russell and his hideous play,but this describes it far better and with far more humor than I can/would!

4) Billy McMullen saw the field and caught a few passes,but his fumble deep in Niner territory ruined what could have been a chance to kill any San Francisco thoughts on a win.
Hard to be too rough on a guy that practiced for three days,but still facts are facts.

5) I know the Seahawks dumped J.T. (alone again,naturally) O'Sullivan eight times,but it sure seemed like he should have been sacked twice that many times.
Was it that Gilbert,I mean J.T. was that slippery or do the rushers need to spend some time wrapping up and less planning sack dances???

6) Wonder who the next contestant for American Idol-Pass Catcher will be with Logan Payne's season ending knee injury?
I have never seen an injury bug this bad at one position for a team in this short of a time period...

7) Julius Jones had a nice game (127 yards) in his first start as a Hawk,but some of the same things that plagued Shaun Alexander didn't change as Jones had trouble turning the corner as well.

8) I really think rookie John Carlson is going to be a Pro Bowl level player eventually.
Carlson was the main receiving threat,the Niners knew it and he still caught what was thrown to him...

9) If the Seahawks were in any other division,I would say playoff hopes are in trouble.
However in the NFC West,this is a mountain that is capable of being climbed.
Seattle HAS to beat the pathetic Rams this week though or back up the pooper scooper!

10) It almost seems like Mike Holmgren came back this year for the check.
His successor is on staff already in Jim Mora,Jr,so if this is so painful for you,Mike-lets get this over with!

Bonus Round
Is Patrick Willis of the Niners a beast or what?
What a phenomenal player that guy is!!

Photo Credit
Scott Eklund/Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Romeo Crennel leaves much to be desired.....


Look for two posts today.
This one on the Browns-Steelers game etc and the other on the Seahawks loss to the 49ers later after I arise from slumber.

If you would told that the Browns defense was going to step up and allow just ten points to the Steelers and Willie Parker would rush for 105 yards,but it would take 28 carries to do it-I would think that Cleveland would win and move to 1-1.
They didn't and they aren't as the Steelers won a 10-6 slugfest.
Plenty of thoughts on this,so not limiting myself to five.

Shawn's Thoughts

1) This loss goes directly on the ample back of Romeo A.Crennel.
His god awful clock management at the end of the half resulted in no points and his decision to kick a field goal with 3 minutes and change left in the game and rely on a defense that had performed above and beyond expectations instead of going for the first down was mind numbingly bad.
The first half issue was made worse by a bad decision by Derek Anderson and resulting in a interception,but consider this-since Crennel wasted so much time and then was forced to use a timeout (their last),Anderson had to make a quick decision with the following running through his head.
"Get the ball away,throw to the end zone,not much time".
Blame Anderson for the throw (and I do),but blame Crennel for putting him in a position to fail instead of succeed.

2) Shaun Rogers is a force and he is a stand up man as well.
Rogers had a superb game battling Steeler double teams,but as well as he played,I was more impressed after the game.
Rogers jumped offsides on a third down play that would have forced a Steeler punt and instead prolonged the only drive that produced a touchdown for either team.
Rogers took the blame for not only the play,but the loss of the game.
That is called taking accountability and being an adult.
Count me as a Shaun Rogers fan.

3) Accountability is a concept foreign to Braylon "Mr.Softee" Edwards,who continued his distaste for any route that does not involve him running fly patterns down the sidelines.
His third quarter drop of an almost certain TD in the game was one of several drops and his refusing comment after the game showed a characteristic lack of class.

4) Anyone want to tell me with seconds remaining in the game why Kellen Winslow was on the sidelines?
Your best offensive and toughest player isn't in the game with the game on the line?
If this was for anything other than an injury,someone needs to have their thought process questioned.

5) The Winslow-Troy Polamalu battle was fun to watch all night long.
Both guys won their share of the battles during the game..

6) From the nitpicky dept.
The NFL fines players for having socks too high or too low and for any detail that is different than the norm on the uniform,but yet they allow long haired players to obscure their name on the jersey.
Troy Polamalu is the worst offender of this,but the Browns have a few that do this as well,most notably Josh Cribbs...

7) Jamal Lewis is running hard,but another less than stellar game-19 carries for 38 yards.
A whopping two yards a carry!

8) Eric Wright and Brandon McDonald each were beat their share of times,but for the most part-give the defense a lot of credit,they played hard and well and showed heart by stopping Pittsburgh with seconds to go instead just tossing in the towel and allowing the clock to run out.

9) Anyone seen Kamerion Wimbley yet this season?
This was going to be the year that he busted out with the acquisitions of Corey Williams and Shaun Rogers,but I don't even remember seeing him close to Ben Rothlisberger in the game.

10) Same goes for Corey Williams.

Bonus Rounds:
Anyone want to try to count the calls for Brady Quinn this week?

The Steeler game was a must win,but the next two games are division games and on the road vs the Ravens and Bengals and they need to win both.
A split means 1-3 and that means trouble!

The Pirates beat the Cardinals 7-2 in a untelevised game,so I don't have comments for it.
3 RBI for Adam LaRoche,Nate McLouth hit his 25th homer and T.J Beam was the winner (2-1).
The Pirates start a four game set at home against the Dodgers tonight.

Pitching Matchup
Los Angeles:Hiroki Kuroda (8-10 3.93 ERA) at Pittsburgh:Ross Ohlendorf (0-1 8.10 ERA) 7:05

Bullpen Notes

Open to suggestions for names for the various "Shawn's thoughts".
Would like to have something unique for each team,but open to one regular name to be used for all things.

Tomorrow is the day that minor leagues teams can begin negotiating with big league clubs.
The Post-Gazette says the Pirates top choice is to remain in Lynchburg.
No kidding! Really????

Listening to Hockey Today on the way home from work,the guys were talking to a fellow trying to hype Kansas City for the "next expansion,in a year or two".
My god,the NHL needs LESS teams not more!!

Until later today

Photo Credit
Winslow-AP Photo

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Roadkill

That is about all that I can say about the Ohio State Buckeyes loss in Los Angeles to USC 35-3.
The Trojans were simply better and faster.
We aren't homers here,they are called like they are and USC was just dynamite.
We do have some thoughts though on the contest or lack thereof.

Five Thoughts

1) I thought the turning point of the game was with the score 14-3 and the Buckeyes driving downfield,when Todd Boeckman hit Brian Robiskie for seemed to be a touchdown that would cut the score 14-10 and swing the momentum back to OSU.
A holding penalty was called and eventually Ryan Pretiorius was wide from 49 yards.
That was the beginning of the end.

2) The actual end was when Boeckman threw a horrific pass that was returned for a TD and made it 21-3.
Horrid.And the two attempts at tackling by Boeckman and someone else (missed his number) were almost as bad as the pass!

3) No one is more of a Jim Tressel booster than I am,but he has to consider benching Boeckman.
Tressel is very loyal to his veterans,but this loyalty to Boeckman is getting ridiculous.
Boeckman is 3-3 in his last games with the wins over a weaker michigan squad,Youngstown State and Ohio U and did not play great in the wins.
The national title is likely gone,there is no way the voters will allow another OSU shot even if they run the table after this,but the Big Ten title is still there.
Boeckman hurts the Bucks chances with every game that he plays....

4) Don't blame the Chris Wells injury on the loss.
It would have been closer and maybe in the first half may have been a game changer,but overall-I still don't OSU wins the game even with Wells.

5) I still love the OSU defense,this game could have even been worse without their efforts and they never quit.
Had they done so,it could have been 56-3-I kid you not.....

Bonus Round

6) You want to know the difference between these two teams?
Look no further than quarterback and the matchup between the USC receiving corps and the OSU secondary.
The Trojan receivers were bigger and faster than the Buckeye corners and Mark Sanchez is so much better than Todd Boeckman it is unreal.

7) This had nothing to do with the loss either,but the Wisconsin-Fresno State game brought this to mind.
Will someone from a league wise up and figure out a way to have neutral refs for non-conference games?
There is not one good reason for Pac 10 officials to have done last nights game and not one for Big Ten arbiters to do the rematch next year in Columbus.....

8) Keep an eye on USC's Joe McKnight.
I love the way he runs,he is the next big running back star in the game.

The Pirates won in 12 innings over the Cardinals in Pittsburgh 7-6 on a Brandon Moss double.
Craig Hansen grabbed his first win as a Pirate (1-3) for pitching the scoreless 12th.
I missed the game as I watched the OSU disaster,so no thoughts for today!
The Cardinals series ends today and the Los Angeles Dodgers hit town for four games.

Pitching Matchup
St.Louis:Brad Thompson: (5-2 4.61 ERA) at Pittsburgh:Jason Davis (1-4 5.90 ERA) 1:35

Juan Manuel Marquez grabbed the Ring Magazine Lightweight title with an 11th round stoppage of Joel Casamayor.
Marquez was said to have dominated the bout and became the first fighter to stop Casamayor in his career.

The Cleveland Browns take on the rival Pittsburgh Steelers in a must win game at Cleveland Browns Stadium.
Why a must win in week 2?
Pretty tough to bounce back from 0-2 with both losses at the home field.
The Browns will need to do two things to win this game.
Run the ball effectively with Jamal Lewis and control the Steeler running game of Willie Parker and Rashad Mendenhall.
Can this happen?
Well,I think Lewis can do OK,I have big doubts on stopping the Steelers.
Could be a close one tonight....

The Seattle Seahawks are beat up and look as injury battered as any team that I have seen in a long time.
But the lowly San Francisco 49ers come to town and Seattle hopes to grab a win even at less than top shape.
Stop Frank Gore and things should round into shape nicely.....

Our picks
Steelers over Browns 31-21
Seahawks over 49ers 24-13

Until tomorrow with hopefully better news

Photo Credits
OSU-USC:Pat Kinding-The Ohio State University
Moss and Marquez:AP Photo
Helmets:Helmet Project

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Random Ramblings


I am not loaded with time today,so I will keep it shorter and to the point.

Paul Maholm looked great in the 10-2 Pittsburgh win over the Cardinals last night.
Maholm improved to 9-8 on the season.

Maholm has clearly been the best Pittsburgh pitcher this season and looks to be the ace of the 2009 Pirates,but remember how highly fans thought of Ian Snell and Tom Gorzelanny last year.

Nate McLouth homered(25) and finished with 5 RBI.
It would be great for McLouth and the Pirates for a strong finish for the centerfielder.

The Ohio State Buckeyes travel to Los Angeles for their game against USC.
When you consider the struggles against Ohio U,being on the road and no Chris Wells for the game,it makes it tough to pick the Buckeyes.
The Pick:USC 20-10.
I attempt to be fair minded,after all,the last name is Heimberger,not Siefken.(Inside Joke).

The Seattle Seahawks released Samie Parker after just three days and added rookie Michael Bumpus from the practice squad.
I liked Bumpus at Washington State and think that he could eventually be a productive player.

The Ashland Arrows allowed a TD with 2 minutes remaining and then lost in overtime to the Madison Rams 20-14.
The Arrows fell to 1-3 on the season.

But here is a radical idea for the Buckeyes and Jim Tressel to try.
Use Terrelle Pryor more in the offense.
Vince Young gave the Trojans fits with a similar style a few years back.
I am not saying that the inexperienced Pryor can make this work,but it may be a shot in the dark.

Nationals Farm Authority is reporting that the Nationals renewal with the Hagerstown Suns is unannounced,but agreed to.....

Two lightweight "title" fights tonight.

The Linear and Ring Magazine title holder Joel Casamayor defends against one of my favorites in Juan Manuel Marquez on Pay per view.
I will not be seeing the fight for two reasons.
I have to work and I am poor!

The WBA and IBF champion at 135 ,Nate Campbell defends his belts on Showtime against former 130 lb champ Joan Guzman.

Our predictions
Marquez and Campbell by decision....

Until tomorrow!

Photo Credits
Maholm:AP Photo
Helmets:Helmet Project