Sunday, September 30, 2007

Pavlik KO's Taylor,Gorzelanny stuck at 14 and Buckeyes win going away

In our top story-Ohio's Kelly Pavlik fulfilled our upset prediction and stopped Jermain Taylor in the seventh round to win the WBC Middleweight title and universal recognition as the top Middleweight in the world.
Pavilk was floored by Taylor in Round 2 and looked to be on his way to being stopped,but between his gutsy survival efforts and Taylor seeming to punch himself out looking for the stoppage-Pavlik was able to wade his way through the round.
A action fight that swung momentum back and forth ended suddenly with a crushing right hand in Round 7 that sent Taylor into a corner and Pavlik quickly finished the Champion off sending him to the floor and referee Steve Smoger stopped the bout without a count.
We had the fight dead even on our cards at the bout's end at 57-57.

Tom Gorzelanny failed again in an attempt win his 15th game of the year as the Cardinals rallied from a 3-0 deficit to defeat the Buccos 7-3.
Pittsburgh roared out to a 3 run first inning behind run scoring hits from Adam LaRoche,Jose Bautista and Steven Pearce,but was helpless the rest of the way as the Redbirds scored six runs off Gorzelanny in his six inning night.
Gorzelanny finishes the season at 14-10 with three losses in a row.
Jack Wilson was removed from the field via cart after a skull cracking collision with Matt Kata in the sixth inning.
Wilson suffered a concussion and spent the evening at a Pittsburgh hospital.
The season comes to a merciful end today at 1:35.

Pitching Matchup

St.Louis: Troy Percival (3-0) at Pittsburgh: Bryan Bullington (0-2) 1:35

The Ohio State Buckeyes scored a workmanlike victory over the Minnesota Golden Gophers with a 30-7 win.
Two touchdown runs by Chris Wells and two from the air and QB Todd Boeckman paced the Buckeyes.
One of Boeckman's was hauled by Brian Robiskie's great catch in the end zone.
It seems like we use a Robiskie picture every week,but he has become quite the big play performer and has more than filled the shoes of Ted Ginn as a playmaker.
The Buckeyes victory should move them up the polls at least four spots as 4 teams ranked ahead of them lost over the weekend.
The Buckeyes have a tough game next Saturday night with a game at Purdue in West Lafayette Indiana.
The Boilermakers run a wide open spread offense that is not a common sight in the Big Ten and could cause the Buckeyes problems.
We shall see.....

Bullpen Notes

Minnesota wore these garish all Yellow uniforms in the game vs the Buckeyes.
They looked like they got lost in a Mustard factory.
The jerseys might have been OK without the same color pants.

The Browns return home to battle the hated Baltimore Ravens.
The key to the game as I see is this-Can Jamal Lewis run the ball consistently against the Ravens tremendous run defense?
If he can,the Browns can win,but he cannot-a win is unlikely.
Our pick-Sadly-Ravens 21-13.

The Seahawks travel to San Francisco for a game vs the Forty Niners that means first place in the NFC West.
The teams are both 2-1 and the Niners did sweep the Hawks last year,but today's key for Seattle is this-Can the Hawks defense keep Frank Gore quiet?
The Niners are missing tight end Vernon Davis for this game and that robs them of a potent weapon.
I think they can.
Seahawks 28-20

Photo Credits
Pavilk-Taylor-Al Bello-Getty Images
Robiskie-Chris Russell-Columbus Dispatch
Helmets-Helmet Project

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Bullpen Notes galore and Pirates lose again

The anemic Pirate bats wasted a solid game from Zach Duke and lost to St.Louis 6-1.
Duke allowed just a single run over seven innings and was not involved in the decision.
Zach scattered 8 hits over the effort and did not walk a batter,while fanning 4 Redbirds in his last game of the season.
A very well pitched game and a good way to end a disappointing season for the Texan.
Hopefully,this can be a springboard for the return of the pitcher we saw in 2006.
John Grabow got the deserved loss as he allowed 4 runs in just a third of an inning and walked 4 Cardinals in that span.
Grabow drops to 0-4 on the season and hopefully this will be his last appearance as a Pirate.
The previous regime had a far higher opinion of Grabow than I do and hopefully Neal Huntington will see things my way and move this guy along.
The Pirates only RBI goes to Matt Kata (?) on a 6th inning single that tied the game at 1 and at least got Duke off the hook for the loss.
Cardinals and Pirates hook it up again at 7:05 tonight as Tom Gorzelanny gets one last chance at win 15.

Pitching Matchup

St.Louis: Adam Wainwright (13-12) at Pittsburgh: Tom Gorzelanny (14-9) 7:05

The Ohio State Buckeyes travel to the Metrodump for the final time to battle the Minnesota Golden Gophers tonight at 8:00.
The on-campus stadium that is being built currently at Minnesota will host the next Buckeye visit to Minneapolis in 2010.
On paper,this looks like a mismatch,but then again,this isn't Football Mogul,so you gotta play the game.
I will take the Buckeyes big though=Ohio State 42 Minnesota 13

Bullpen Notes

Hopefully last night will be the swan song for those horrid Pirate Red jerseys.
Toss them on the same scrap heap as the "we will' slogan.......

The Ashland Arrows invaded Millersburg and smacked the West Holmes Knights around in a 34-8 beating.
Taylor Housewright tossed three touchdown passes to Logan Kerr and only a West Holmes kickoff return for a touchdown allowed the Knights to avoid the shutout.
The Arrows remain tied for first in the Ohio Cardinal Conference with the surprising Lexington Minutemen and return home next week to Community Stadium for a game vs the Orrville Red Riders next Friday night.

Anyone else finding this New York Met collapse funny beyond belief?
I am an avowed Phillies hater,but a anointing of the Mets was done way too soon and it is always fun watching New York teams fall apart.

Tonight's WBC Middleweight title fight between Jermain Taylor and Kelly Pavlik ought to be quite a good one.
Champion Taylor has been criticized for some pedestrian efforts in his three title defenses and Pavlik looked very impressive in starching top contender Edison Miranda in his last outing.
Taylor's trainer Emanuel Steward sounds very confident in Taylor,but sometimes Steward's confidence has proven to be false talk.
This really is a toss up fight,but I will pick Pavlik with a 10th round stoppage in a good battle that may have Taylor ahead on the scorecards at the ending of the bout.

Spent some time this week with two new shows from NBC in "Life" and "Journeyman".
Life was actually quite interesting,Journeyman not as much so.

ESPN and its long time failure "First Take" is certainly more tolerable when Sage Steele is replacing the annoying Dana Jacobsen.
Steele recently came to ESPN from Comcast Sports Net in Baltimore.

And finally there will be a heavyweight fight on October 6th as Jameel McCline will be filling in for Oleg Maskaev against Samuel Peter.

Photo Credits
Duke-Don Wright-AP Photo
Arrows/Knights-Duane Martin-Ashland Times-Gazette
Helmets-The helmet project

Friday, September 28, 2007

Last game for JVB?

John Van Benschoten was already considered by many to be a possible candidate for release during the off-season and he had one last chance to impress the new brass.
But yesterday against the Diamondbacks,he pitched like someone that was looking for a fresh start as the Pirates were hammered by the visitors from the desert 8-0.
The game wasn't televised so I listened for a while on the XM.
Always fun to listen to baseball on the radio,but you cannot see for yourself how a player is playing,as you are relying on the announcers viewpoint.
JVB lasted just 2 innings,allowing 4 runs and finished the season with an ERA of over 10.
I would say that he will be either released over the winter or in spring training.
He is out of options,so he must stay on the big league roster next year or become eligible to go elsewhere.
Looks like the days of the once-promising hurler as a Pirate are soon to be over.
Not much else to say about the game and meaningful games are now over,as the Pirates finish the season with three games vs the non-contending Cardinals..

Pitching Matchup

St.Louis: Todd Wellemeyer (3-3) at Pittsburgh: Zach Duke (3-8) 7:05

Bullpen Notes

The Ashland Arrows travel to Millersburg this evening to battle the West Holmes Knights.
Both teams are 4-1 and 2-0 in the OCC.
The winner will continue to hold at least a shared possession of first place in the conference.

If any of you are interested in the political opinion shows,enjoy listening to varied points of view,have HBO and are a night owl-there is not a better three hour block than Bill O'Reilly at 11,
Keith Olbermann at 12 and Bill Maher at 1.
I am far from a BillO fan,but I enjoy his show far more than I should due to his looming mental breakdown!

C-Span's Presidential Libraries series continues tonight from the Dwight Eisenhower library.
The Truman edition last week was tremendously interesting and my kudos to C-Span for yet another well-done educational series.

Japanese researchers appear to have succeeded in satisfying all of those that hated dissection in Biology class as they have developed the see-through frog.
One can observe all the things that once needed the knife and tray without having to make one incision!
Takes some of the problems that some have with science departments if this frog was affordable and was able to eventually become mainstream.

And from the genetic fluke column-here is the two headed,four footed and one shelled turtle.

Back later or tomorrow with Pirates-Cardinals and a Ohio State-Minnesota preview.

Photo Credits

JVB-Gene Puskar-AP Photo
Turtle-Matt Rouke-AP Photo
Helmets-Ohio Helmet Project

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Big Bad Bucco Edition

On a rainy night in Pittsburgh,the Pirates were able to get an excellent outing from Matt Morris and Adam LaRoche brought in all the runs that the Pirates needed with 3 RBI in a 5-1 Pittsburgh win over Arizona.
Morris pitched his best game in a month as he allowed just 1 run in a seven inning effort and most surprisingly struck out seven.
That is a pretty high number for Morris and the win finished the season for Matt at 10-11 overall and 3-4 in Pittsburgh.
Xavier Nady reached the 20 homer mark with a 5th inning solo blast in the victory.
The game was halted for 59 minutes in the second inning by a brutal thunderstorm that made it difficult for the grounds crew to even get the tarp on and for a bit they were using temporary tarps on the plate and mound sponsored by McDonalds.
The other Bucco RBI went to Nyjer Morgan on a 4th inning single.
The series concludes later today at 12:35.

In more Pirate news,the Pirate clubhouse was "in a shudder"according to the Post-Gazette when new GM Neal Huntington uttered the words "Rebuilding" and "Reallocating".
The article refers to players wondering how the Pirates can devote more money to the minors and spend the same total budget without taking away from the Parent club.
And that makes sense to me,but this team is so messed up from top to bottom that I would live with a few more years of losing-if it meant that the rebuilding was done the proper way and gave the Pirates more of a long-term chance to win.
If that is what the Coonelly/Huntington team is thinking,I agree with them totally.
If the Pirates having a 84 win season in 08 or 09 means that the cost to do so means the status quo,count me out,but I don't think that is the way they are looking at things.
I still want to see more,but for now,I am cautiously optimistic on the new brain trust.

Freddy Sanchez will miss the remainder of the season to have shoulder surgery.
Sanchez had been dealing with the injury since spring training.
Sanchez still finished at .304 despite a slow start and he is expected to be at full speed for the Grapefruit League.

The guys at the P-G cannot decide if they like the idea of the Pirates doing things similar to the
Cleveland Indians or not.
Paul Meyer seems to like it,while Dejan Kovacevic is already growing weary of hearing about Cleveland.
I just like someone that is going to use a plan that does not involve guys like Matt Kata long term!

Pitching Matchup

Arizona: Brandon Webb (17-10) at Pittsburgh: John Van Benschoten (0-6) 12:35

Bullpen Notes

Almost finished reviewing the Seahawks win over the Bengals and I will do a review on my thoughts when I am finished.

Bad news for the Browns.
Kellen Winslow looks hampered by a bad shoulder and may not play against the hated Ravens Sunday.
Going to be very hard to defeat Baltimore without the star TE.

DCRTV is reporting that Chip Caray is the leading candidate to replace Bob Carpenter in the Nationals TV booth.
I liked Carpenter's work a lot,but Caray would be an excellent replacement for him.

Speaking of members of the Caray family,Is anyone else surprised that TBS is not using Skip Caray as one of the four play by play for their initial coverage of the baseball playoffs?
Seems like a slap in the face to one of the guys that helped TBS get on the national map to me.
But I will get by without Skip.
I will just mute the TV,invite Battlin Bob over and have him do the play by play.
The Battlin' one does Skip Caray almost as well as Skip Caray!

Just a quick welcome to the 3 new subscribers that signed up yesterday via FeedBurner.
Welcome and feel free to come over to the actual site and participate in polls and add comments as well.

And finally ESPN in their never ending battle to "prove" that people want to hear what Stephen A. Smith has to say has now given Smith an hour each day on ESPN radio.
How many failures does someone have to have before the switch goes on and realize that no one cares?
Some people never learn...............

Photo Credits
Morris-Gene Puskar-AP Photo
Sanchez-Upper Deck cards

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Huntington official.Pulaski gets slammed again and streak stops at 9.

Yesterday was a light day,but today sure isn't.
If you count the Pirate win,three stories that normally would be a lead item gets posted today.

Neal Huntington was officially named the Pirate GM yesterday and it seems like the Pittsburgh media is mixed.
Bob Smizik in particular.
I am mixed as well because Huntington does come from Cleveland and their organization has a plan for building that has proven successful,yet Huntington does not seem to be directly involved
in much of the process.
Frank Coonelly seems to have locked in on Huntington and did not really deviate from his first thoughts.
Was this really the best choice available?Or was this a "I will hire someone that is not a likely candidate to get a job soon,so I will take him and in his gratitude,he can be easily controlled"?
I am trying my best to stay positive on this,so I won't be too critical,but there certainly some questions to be answered on Huntington.
Huntington,in an unrelated note,looks very much like Virginia Senator Jim Webb (D).
Hell,it only took a week to find a picture of the guy and thanks to Battlin Bob for finding one.
I liked what I heard,but not a lot in real specifics.
Huntington's ability to evaluate talent is first and foremost and the reviews there too are mixed.
The rebuilding will start soon,lets give him a chance and just comment as they come..............

According to a undisclosed source-The Washington Nationals have said no to Pulaski,Virginia and will not be involved in the Appalachian League in 2008.
The ownership contacted Pulaski baseball to let them know that they had voted down a internal proposal to establish a foothold in Pulaski.
There are still are a few teams interested,so Pulaski baseball in 2008 is not over yet.
The Nationals have really dropped the ball here and I am somewhat surprised as the Nationals seem to be using the Braves as their model for building and Atlanta has always been a strong Appy League supporter.
I think the Nationals have done well in most of their program (with the exception of Jim Bowden) but they made a mistake on this one.
Meanwhile,a town that did nothing wrong other than put money into their park and support the team still goes without baseball.
Thanks Toronto-wouldn't want you to think that I had forgotten you in this,since the whole damn thing is your fault to begin with!
Then again-Pulaski Pirates sounds cool......Hmmm.........

Now to the on-field action as the Pirates stopped their losing streak at nine in a row with a 6-5 win over Arizona.
The Pirates wasted a huge lead,thanks to the arson squad,but was able to score in the bottom of the 8th and grab the victory.
Josh Phelps ripped a pinch-hit single to left to score Adam LaRoche and finally snap the losing for the Pirates.
Nyjer Morgan led the Pirates hitting with a solo homer in the bottom of the first.
The homer was Morgan's first of the year and his career.
Nate McLouth's seventh inning single scored two runs and added two RBI to his total.
Another miserable night for the Bucco bullpen,as the Pirates used three pitchers in the Arizona 8th and watched the Diamondbacks get back into the game.
Romulo Sanchez allowed 3 runs without retiring a batter,Damaso Marte gave up a run,John Grabow could not slam the door on the situation before finally Salomon Torres got Pittsburgh out of the inning.
For his efforts,Torres got the win (2-4),while Matt Capps pitched the ninth in earning his 18th save.
But this bullpen blowup cost Ian Snell his 10th win in what was his final start of the season.
Snell closed the year strong,as he allowed 1 run over 6 innings.
Series continues tonight at PNC Park.

Pitching Matchup

Arizona: Livan Hernandez (11-10) at Pittsburgh: Matt Morris (9-11) 7:05

Bullpen Notes

Ohio State 3rd string passer Antonio Henton was suspended from the team indefinitely by coach Jim Tressel for his arrest for solicitation Monday night.
Now this is the type of thing that I have no problems hammering on a young man for.
Putting any feelings on prostitution/solicitation aside,athletes cannot afford get caught in any illegal activity,even lightweight stuff like this.
It reflects badly on the program and the suspension is warranted.
Henton was pleaded not guilty,but the funny part is that he allegedly offered 20 bucks to an undercover officer.
Either Henton was short on dough or the city of Columbus really needs to find more attractive officers when they do sting operations.
20 bucks?????Geez...........

The Ashland Arrows need to keep winning if they have hopes of returning to the Ohio state tournament.
The Arrows,despite a 4-1 record, are ranked 11th in their region and only the top 8 in each region earn playoff bids.

In a sad,yet happy note (I know,I know they don't really go together) Chicago Black Hawks owner Bill Wirtz passed away yesterday at the age of 77.
Always sad when someone passes,but I cannot think of any Hawk fans that are crying too much for Wirtz,as he has presided over the demise of the once proud Hawks from a pillar franchise to one that was ranked as the worst in SPORTS in 2004.
That is a pretty good stunt considering the Pirates and Arizona Cardinals are part of the group that you are considering!
Here is a site that covers Bill Wirtz and his stewardship quite well.
Sorry that you passed on,but perhaps now the Hawks can begin to catch up with the other teams in the 21st century and they can start with televising home games so that I can hear the Hawk commentators more than three times a season!

Watch for next week to be a big week of cleaning some things up here with the Pirates season ending.
We will have Devils and Black Hawk previews,The 1st annual (to be named) awards for the SAL and Carolina Leagues and maybe our season review on the players that we cover here as far as their actual stats/season went.

Don't forget to vote in the poll on your favorite feature that we do on a regular basis here!

Photo Credits
Huntington-Dave Arrigo-Pirates
Calfee Park-Ryan Heimberger
Phelps-Gene Puskar-AP Photo

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Random Ramblings

Since we have no real news to chat about-let's do a little Random Ramblings

Watched the Mike Gundy press conference today on you tube and the column by Jenni Carlson that started this whole mess.
Here is my take.
Gundy did everything right except for two things.
His first error was mentioning that Carlson had no children.
That made him look like he was belittling her decision not to have children.
The other error was that he said the column was filled with errors,yet did not address what those errors could be.
I read the column and I did think it was a bit personal for an article on a college kid.
Sometimes we forget that these are young men that are grown up in age only.
I have no problem criticizing a college athlete for on the field performance or lack there of and if a young man gets into trouble away from the athletic arena,they deserve to hear brickbats and catcalls for it.
However,it appears that the player in question didn't really deserve the type of column that was written by Ms Carlson.
I am not really close to Oklahoma State football (Although I might be shopping for a new Big 12 team soon),so I cannot say if the on field part of the written words are true or not,but kudos to Gundy for backing his players and bringing some of this stuff to the attention of the public.
Too bad that takes a tirade to get our attention sometimes.
Here is a link to Gundy's thoughts and the same poster has Carlson's response on the side.

The Pirates go for their 10th loss in a row and still have an influence on the playoffs as the Arizona Diamondbacks come to Pittsburgh for three games starting tonight.

Pitching Matchup

Arizona:Doug Davis (13-12) at Pittsburgh: Ian Snell (9-12) 7:05

As of right now with 6 games to go,the Pirates would have the 2nd overall pick in next season's draft.
I hope they hold it,we would find out early whether or not the management is interested in taking the best player or not.

Bill Cover sends us a note on the Hagerstown Suns opener for 2008.
April 3 at Delmarva.
Of course that is from the Shorebirds site,not the Suns of course.
Some teams have their schedules up and Bill did some homework for us.
Greensboro is listed as making two trips to Hagerstown,where in the past they made just one.
Could the SAL be waking up and establishing a home and home schedule for each half next year??
Stay tuned.........

As we reported earlier on the cancellation of the WBC Heavyweight title fight between Oleg Maskaev and Sam Peter,the WBC handed the "Interim" title to Peter and he may still fight on October 6th.
I hate interim titles,but if you must have this rule,this was the proper time to activate it.

Another interesting note from our friends at Wooden's world of baseball.
Looks like Wooden is planning a Kinston trip next year!

And finally,Take notice of the new poll on the side and get me some recipes!!!LOL

Monday, September 24, 2007

Browns fall in Oakland,Seahawks rally to beat Bengals.

The Cleveland Browns played poorly and still had a chance to win,but Phil Dawson's 40 yard field goal to win the game was blocked by the Raiders and gave Oakland a 26-24 win.
The Browns defense is going to struggle all year.
Get used to it.
The Raiders were able to consistently run the football on the Browns with LaMont Jordan and Justin"huggy bear Jr."Fargas.
Last I checked those two weren't exactly Bo Jackson and Marcus Allen.
Wait until better runners come calling.
A personal favorite was Jordan running through the Browns for first down on a 3rd and 23 shovel pass.
Of course,it isn't like the pass defense covered itself in glory either.
Eric Wright was beat by Ronald Curry for a TD and he wasn't even on the television screen when Curry waltzed into the end zone.
Mary Kay Cabot in the Cleveland Plain Dealer is reporting that Wright could even be benched.
That I disagree with even though Wright deserves it,there is no one on the bench that can replace him,so let him play and continue to gather experience.
Let's see where Wright stands after a full season of play.
That said,he has been awful thus far.
And one of the important yet overlooked plays of the game was a completion for 20 yds to Jerry Porter on 3rd and 9 late in the game.
This play allowed Oakland to make Cleveland use timeouts and handcuff the offense on the last drive of the day.
The pass rush outside of Kamerion Wimbley is non-existent.
Wimbley had both of Cleveland's sacks in the game,so nice to see he showed up at least.
Derek Anderson was a bit erratic,but showed guts and poise on the last drive to set up the possible win.
Anderson ran for one touchdown and threw for another,but did get intercepted twice.
His last drive performance impressed me as he had not had a great game,yet was able to keep things calm when it was needed.
Jamal Lewis only rushed for 56 yards on 15 carries,maybe a further commitment to wearing teams down with Lewis will open things up for the passing game.
Josh Cribbs is rapidly becoming one of the leagues most feared kick returners as he took a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown.
This was a winnable game,despite less than stellar play and this could haunt the Browns and Romeo Crennel as the next two games look like probable losses to Baltimore and New England.

Meanwhile in Seattle,the Seahawks rallied to beat the Cincinnati Bengals in the Emerald City 24-21 on a Matt Hasselbeck to Nate Burleson pass from 22 yards with a minute to go.
Hasselbeck threw TD passes to Bobby Engram and Deion Branch as well as part of his 3 TD day/
Shaun Alexander rushed for 100 yards and seems to be turning the corner on the comeback trail.
I cannot give more specifics on the game as I haven't watched the tape yet.
When both teams play at the same time,the Browns win out.
I will try to give some thoughts later in the week.

Bullpen Notes

From the Sour Grapes times.....
Lane Kiffin whined all week about the tactics of Denver's Mike Shanahan in calling time-outs on a field goal attempt in the Raiders overtime loss and then did the EXACT same thing to Cleveland.
And no,I don't want to hear about how the Raiders "deserved " to win because they lost to the Broncos in the same fashion.
Using that logic,the Browns can do that down the road and then they deserve that win.
It is a never ending cycle using that logic.

More on this-watch for the NFL to make a rule change next year on this.
I would wager the rule will be this-If you want to ice the kicker,you must call the timeout before all players are set.

Congratulations are in order for the Cleveland Indians for clinching the AL Central title.
I have gotten several questions on why the Indians don't get covered here as much,yet their minor league system gets equal coverage to the Pirates.
Hang in there,Upcoming column on why is this and we will have a lot of coverage of the Tribe's playoff run.

On the topic of congrats-a tip of the hat to Brett Favre for tying Dan Marino's career TD record in yesterday's Packer win over the Chargers.
I have always been a Favre fan and I root for just about anyone to erase Dan Marino's name from record books....

Speaking of the Chargers,Did anyone else see the hiring of Norv Turner as a disaster in the making?
Oh,half the world?
Never mind.

Buffalo rookie and former Penn State linebacker Paul Posluszny broke his arm and could be out for the season.
He was playing quite well for the Bills and looked to be the early leader for defensive rookie of the year.
Have a great story on Podluszny for a slow day,as it was a rare Big Ten issue that Ryan and I were on the same side of and the linebacker was involved-live and in color!

The new POTUS channel debuted on XM radio this morning.
The channel will deal with nothing but the Presidential election for the next 14 months.
I like the premise and will likely listen here and there,but what a stupid name.........

Can anyone believe that the Canadian Loonie (dollar) is now equal to a US dollar.
Stunning,but for the first time since 1976,the two are worth the same value...........

And finally,looking forward to this weekends Middleweight title fight between Jermain Taylor and Kelly Pavlik.
The fight is televised by HBO and I will have a pick later in the week.

Photo Credits
Browns-Marcio Jose Sanchez-AP Photo
Seahawks-Ted Warren-AP Photo

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Gorzelanny ripped,Streak reaches Nine!

Just a quick post on the Pirates loss to the Cubs before I go to work.
Football stuff will go up tomorrow after I arrive from work.

The Pirate losing streak reached nine after a 8-0 whitewashing by the Cubs at Wrigley.
Tom Gorzelanny allowed 6 runs in 5+ innings and failed to win his 15th game for the 3rd start in a row.
It has become clear to me that Gorzelanny and Paul Maholm( and maybe Ian Snell) have hit the wall and need to just skip their last start.
It doesn't matter who pitches them,they are meaningless to the Pirates anyway.
I might give Gorzelanny another try,if 15 wins is important to him,but otherwise no.
This is why I feel that organizations continue to keep messing up young pitchers by limiting their minor league innings.
Please remember that I am not saying that caution should not be used,just maybe not as much as they often do.
Maybe the arms that come up tired after a drastic major league increase wouldn't do so,if their preparation for the workload was done differently.
In a 8-0 loss,there aren't any offensive stars and three singles aren't getting any mention today.
The Pirates now go home for the remainder of the schedule starting Tuesday vs the Diamondbacks.
To the Cubs-three words
You are welcome.

Bullpen Notes

The Penguin players appear to not like the new NHL jerseys.
Players say that the reported "water away" aspect of the jersey is true,but that the water accumulates everywhere else-gloves,pads,skates etc and pools there.
Wonderful,until Sidney Crosby gets an injury due to this stuff.
Leave it to the NHL-with all the things broken in the league,they fix one that isn't!

And finally-Ryan sends a short note on the passing of mime Marcel Marceau.
A moment of silence please..................

Back tomorrow with my thoughts on today's Browns and Seahawks games.

Photo Credit
Cubs fan-Stacie Freudenberg-AP Photo

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Streak reaches eight,Buckeyes roll over Wildcats

Ohio State leaped out to an early lead giving Northwestern no chance to offer resistance in a 58-7 Buckeye win.
Ohio State scored on its first four offensive possessions and scored on a 25 yard fumble recovery return by defensive end Vernon Gholston.
The Northwestern secondary had no answer for OSU deep threat Brian Robiskie,as Robiskie grabbed three passes to touchdowns of 42,28 and 19 yards from QB Todd Boeckman.
Boeckman would add another TD pass to his stats on a 48 yd strike to Ray Small in the third quarter.
Ohio State led 45-0 at the half and made one of their two major mistakes on the second half kickoff,as Stephen Simmons returned the kickoff for a score from 99 yards away.The score was the Wildcats only tally of the game.
The other mistake?
Ryan Pretorius missed the final extra point after a short Maurice Wells TD run in the 3rd.
Two special teams errors won't make a difference against the Northwesterns,but they will against the more competitive teams,so the special teams need to pick it up a bit.
Chris Wells scored two touchdowns and again rushed for over 100 yards,but limped off the field after a 3rd quarter carry.
Wells was hampered by a ankle injury in workouts and this would be a huge loss as Brandon Saine underwent arthroscopic knee surgery and missed today's game and will likely miss next weeks game at Minnesota.
If Chris Wells misses the Minnesota game,Maurice Wells looks to be the backfield water-carrier next Saturday night.
All and All,this is the textbook design on how to dispose of a less talented team and a solid performance from the offense.
Good job by the Bucks!

Meanwhile,Pittsburgh lost for the 8th straight game ,in the return of Zach Duke, to the Cubs 9-5.
Duke was knocked from the box after just 4 innings and allowing 5 runs (4 earned).
Duke also allowed 3 Cub homers in his outing and picked up the loss in falling to 3-8 on the year.
Gas Can Torres allowed a run in his inning and John Van Benschoten mopped up,allowing 3 runs in 3 innings.
I would wager that JVB wont be starting any in the last week of the year,judging by the fact that he was put into this situation.
Nate McLouth hit his 13th (solo) homer of the year in defeat,while the remaining Pirate RBI went to Duke (2),Freddy Sanchez and Matt (why is he even playing) Kata.
This disaster concludes in Chicago at 2:20

Pitching Matchup

Pittsburgh:Tom Gorzelanny (14-8) at Chicago: Carlos Zambrano (16-13) 2:20

Bullpen Notes

The Browns travel to Oakland today to take the 0-2 Raiders on.
I am not sure which Browns team is the "real" Cleveland Browns,but I am hoping for at least a happy medium between the first two games.
If the Browns can give that,they will win a few games.
Hesitantly,I will take the Browns 20-16.

The Seahawks return home after handing a victory to the Cardinals in Arizona to battle those high-scoring Cincinnati Bengals.
I look for another Bengal shootout although not as high as the game in Cleveland.
The Bengals will score on anyone,but the Seattle defense is miles better than the Browns.
The pick here is Seattle 38-31.

I will try to be back later with Pirates and football,but tonight is my Fantasy Hockey draft,so no promises!

Photo Credits
Robiskie-Jeff Hinckley-Columbus Dispatch
Duke-Nam Huh-AP Photo
Helmets-The Helmet Project

Buckeyes to kick off Big Ten play

The Ohio State Buckeyes start Big Ten play today vs Northwestern in Columbus.
The Buckeyes are heavy favorites to win vs the Wildcats and rightfully so.
After all,the Buckeyes are coming off an impressive win at Washington,while Northwestern fell at home to Duke.
Losses like that cant get much more humiliating than losing to a team that hadn't won in 23 games and at home no less.
In addition,Northwestern has not defeated the Bucks in Columbus since 1971.
To put that in perspective-I was three years old and an Ohio resident at that time.
So,for my pick-Ohio State 45 Northwestern 10.
Went way out on that limb,huh?

In High School action-the Ashland Arrows rallied to defeat the Wooster Generals in Ashland 31-20.
With 6:55 remaining in the contest,Wooster led 20-10 before 3 Arrow TD's overwhelmed the Generals.
Taylor Housewright tossed touchdowns on 20 and 44 yds and Logan Kerr (who caught the 44 yd TD) picked off a Wooster pass from 40 yards away and returned it for the clinching score.
Ashland improves to 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the Ohio Cardinal Conference.
The Arrows are one of three teams at 2-0 in the OCC and next week battles one of the others,as Ashland travels to Millersburg to take on the always tough West Holmes Knights.

Bullpen Notes

From what I have been able to gather-Ashland passer Taylor Housewright is being recruited by several MAC schools.
If I can find specific school information,I will post it here.

Watched the Friday fights off Telefutura last night and saw a cowardly move by Middleweight prospect Ricardo Cortes.
Cortes was battling tough journeyman Fernando Zuniga and was being dominated through 2 rounds and was even floored in the 2nd.
So Cortes began flopping to the floor with every borderline shot by Zuniga claiming low blows and his tactic worked.
Instead of losing the fight (in which he was well on his way to doing so),Cortes managed to get a DQ win over the more deserving Zuniga.

And yes,I know that Telefutura is an all-Spanish network and no,I do not speak Spanish.
But I have picked up all that I need to know-Spanish for Unanimous,Split,Majority and Draw!

Former NBA coach and Commentator Dick Versace will be running for US Congress as an Illinois Democrat in 2008.
That could be quite entertaining if you remember anything about the colorful Versace and his memorable hair style!

Finally, I know that the Northwestern helmet shown is not their current one.
When I use helmet graphics,I do not always use the current helmets,I use whatever I think looks nice at the time.

Back later with Pirates-Cubs and Ohio State-Northwestern.

Photo Credits
Helmets-The Helmet Project

Friday, September 21, 2007

Pirates decide on GM and lose 7th in a row

The Wind was blowing out at Wrigley and an old friend was the culprit in a 13-8 loss this afternoon to the Cubs.
Aramis Ramirez belted a pair of three run shots to pace the Cubbies and made Buc fans think about the days that he manned the hot corner for us.
Paul Maholm(10-16) was pounded in for the second time in his two starts since returning,lasting just 2 innings and allowing seven runs.
Perhaps Maholm still isn't at top health and if that is the case,why risk further injury for a few meaningless starts?
Xavier Nady hit his 19th homer of the year and knocked in 3 runs,while 5 Pirates each had 1 RBI.
Series continues tomorrow afternoon in Chicago.

The bigger news of the day though was back in Pittsburgh,where the Pirates are going with a surprise choice as GM .
Neal Huntington,advance scout and special assistant to GM Mark Shapiro with the Cleveland Indians appears to be the selection.
This is a surprising choice because his name was not being bandied about and to be honest-I haven't heard much about him.
But as I delve into his background,it appears to have a strong emphasis on scouting and player development and appears to be able to accept the knowledge of the stat guys as well.
Nice balance of both worlds and I think that really is the best way to go.
Being able to use and accept both styles helps accumulate as much information as possible to make proper decisions.
Also,it appears that Huntington has been involved with Cleveland's drafts and the Indians farm system is consistently among the best in the business.
Charlie ,over at Bucs Dugout, speculates on how the unheralded Huntington could have gotten into position for the job and his theory makes sense.
An outside the box hire for sure and with the jury still out for sure,I like the move.....

Pitching Matchup

Pittsburgh: Zach Duke (3-7) at Chicago: Rich Hill (9-8) 1:05

Bullpen Notes

I attempted to get a picture of Neal Huntington to post,but could not find one of him on Google.
Perhaps he is a background person,unlike the Captain,who loved get his picture taken all the time.

WBC Heavyweight titlist Oleg Maskaev has pulled out of his defense one week from Saturday vs top contender Samuel Peter due to a back injury.
Peter's camp is attempting to have the WBC bring in another contender to fight Peter on the same day for the "interim" title.
I am disappointed in the injury,but I hate "interim" titles and other nonsense.
Bring in a contender to fight Peter (The fight is on Showtime) to showcase your fighter and build interest in him.
The WBC should then re-schedule the title fight for an exact date and Maskaev cannot defend the title,he relinquishes it......

The Big Ten Network has a poll for the best mascot.
I think you know who we voted for,but the Big Ten is loaded with cool mascots.....

Watching the latest weekly episode of Presidential Libraries,This week's episode is the
Harry Truman library in Independence Missouri.
Good stuff.........

No recipes thus far,Come on guys,I need your help!!

Until tomorrow

Photo Credits
Ramirez-Jonathan Daniel-Getty Images
Truman Library-Truman Library

Why Cal Ripken was highly overrated........

I know that is next to blasphemy here in Maryland, but it is true.
Now before you read on, please note this-I am NOT saying that Cal Ripken doesn't deserve to be in the Hall of Fame.
Reaching the benchmarks that he did earn him that honor, but he is overrated and not among the elite that most rate him as a part of.
Ripken played 17 seasons and missed one game and parts of three more near the end of his career.
Ripken hit over .300 5 times of those 20 seasons and 1 of those was over a season in which he played 86 games.
His power numbers were steady and impressive until he reached 31.
Up until that point, Cal always was in the 20+ homer range, although he hit more than 28 only once in his career.
That was when he smacked 34 in his terrific 1991 season, which was clearly his career year in all offensive facets.
After his tremendous 1991 efforts though, his power dropped and over the rest of his career,(1992-2001)Ripken would exceed 20 homers just twice in that span.
Looking at his career numbers and considering that he played EVERY day during the vast majority of his career, they really aren't extraordinary.
Career batting average .276, 431 homers,1685 RBI aren't tremendous stats when you take the number of games that he played to achieve them.
Imagine the numbers that Tony Gwynn could have compiled for hits and average or look at the players right below Ripken on the all-time homer list.
Think those guys would have hit more than Ripken if they played the same amount of games?
His RBI numbers are solid, but again imagine if guys below him play the same game total.
I know the argument that those guys did miss games and Ripken didn't make all comparisons
"What if 's and I give Ripken credit for the streak.
So let's compare him to the guy that had his record broken-Lou,Gehrig.
Ripken still played 834 MORE games than Gehrig and yet fails to beat him in ANY offensive category!
As a defender, contrary to popular belief, Ripken was not a dominant gloveman.
I know locally this perception is taken as fact, but it is simply untrue.
Put aside that he only won two Gold Gloves in his career.
Ripken still was basically this as a defensive player-A sure-handed, range limited player.
I will give Ripken this-he caught what he got to and if it was hit to him-it became an out.
However, watching him plod after balls that went up the middle for hits that Ozzie Smith and Omar Vizquel were grabbing and throwing runners out showed Ripken's defensive skills for what they really were.
Solid, but limited.
In the end, Cal Ripken put up the numbers to be in the Hall and deservedly so.
But in many ways, he may be the most overrated player enshrined there.

Back later with Cubs-Pirates.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Friars give Pittsburgh the brush off................

First,A quick note to those of you reading off the various feeds.
Welcome aboard and if you want to participate further,come on over to the actual site.
That way you can add comments and vote on our various polls.
Speaking of which,I plan on changing the poll sometime over the weekend,so if you haven't voted in this one-time is running out.

The Pirates scored a run in the first and even tied the game in the third,but the continuing decline of Matt Morris led to another loss in San Diego and being swept in the series.
The loss was the 6th in a row for the Bucs and had to be expected when one looks at the lineup that keeps getting put out there.
Pretty tough to win when you are playing 4 players that are usually outs when they arrive at the plate.
Today we got Nyjer Morgan (while Steven Pearce continues to sit),Matt Kata,Cesar Izturis and Carlos Maldonado.
Maldonado did hit a homer (2) and Izturis had an RBI,but the basic point remains the same.
Jim Tracy pontificates on the "integrity of the pennant race",yet this is the lineup he runs out?
I see Izturis because Jack Wilson is out and every team plays the crappy 3rd string catcher on day/getaway games on occasion,but playing Kata and Morgan on the same day as the other two?
Tracy's apparent goal to to win as many as possible to save his job,but his lineup selection is not helping his efforts any.
Steven Pearce needs to play,not occasionally pinch hit,but he sits so Nyjer Morgan can play.
Morgan is a spectacular defender and adds speed to the basepaths(when he gets there),but you pretty much know what you will get from Morgan.
Morgan is a pinch runner,late inning defensive replacement,4th/5th outfielder type.
Can you get some use from Morgan?Yes.
Is it as an everyday outfielder?No.
We aren't sure what you get from Pearce at this level,yet he sits so Morgan can play?
Tracy's argument is where does Pearce play when Bay,Nady and LaRoche are all in the lineup.
But last night Jason Bay was out of the lineup and today Xavier Nady was on the bench,but Pearce sat both games,while Morgan played both.
Upon reflection-Jim Tracy is full of crap and hopefully soon-out of a job.
Meanwhile,Matt Morris appears to be the bad gift that keeps on giving ,courtesy of Captain Dave.
Morris dropped to 9-11 with today's loss (2-4 in Pittsburgh) and continued his poor pitching.
Morris has allowed 4 or more runs in each of his last 4 starts and saw the sixth inning in only one of those efforts.
Pittsburgh travels to the Vines of Wrigley for a 3 day game series against the Cubs.

Pitching Matchup

Pittsburgh: Paul Maholm (10-15) at Chicago: Jason Marquis (12-8) 2:20

Bullpen Notes

If you noticed the logo near the bottom of the sidebar-We have been nominated for Best sports blog (and no,we didn't nominate ourselves),click the link and it takes you there for the awards.
Thanks for nominating us!

Reader Mike Treadwell sends us this link from the Lancaster newspaper on Former Hagerstown Suns manager Tommy Herr.
That's right-I did say former as apparently Herr and the Nationals had a parting of the ways.
Most readers know of my dislike for the way Herr carried himself and basically seemed to be miserable being in Hagerstown,but reading this article and Herr's comments-I think I was right on cue.
What I was surprised about is what I did agree with Herr on.
Herr's comments on the disadvantages of pitch counts and on the experience gained by working your way through problems instead of being locked to the pitch counts are very accurate and I agree totally.
Now to me,after reading the article and watching Herr manage all season,the reason it appeared to most that Herr was mailing it in was out of unhappiness with restraints placed on him by the parent Nationals.
I thought he was bothered by managing Low A ball or having to be in Hagerstown generally,but it appears there was far more to the story.
But he referred to wanting to manage at AA Harrisburg next year,which meant a leap over Randy Knorr in the Nationals pecking order.
How would anyone that watched Herr manage this team justify that call?
It does seem that Indy ball suits Herr better and if that is more fun for him and makes him more fan friendly,we wish Herr well.
As long as Hagerstown doesn't get him back down the road! Ha Ha.

The Washington Times reports that Bob Carpenter will not return to the TV booth for the Nationals next season.
Too bad,I like the way Carpenter calls a game and his absence will be a loss for Nationals broadcasts next year.
Color analyst Don Sutton is returning in 2008.

Can anyone believe the Astros hired Ed Wade to be their GM?
What ,Captain Dave was in Peru and couldn't interview???
Ed Wade?
I guess his great tenure in Philadelphia was enough to get him the job.(Sarcasm here)
I had heard that Wade could be the asst to Ruben Amaro but to be the head man??
I guess dumbness is not just a Pirate thing after all!

In another funny note-Former outfielder and Greenville Drive manager Gabe Kapler announced plans for a comeback.
Looking at Kapler last month,he certainly appears in shape for it,but I thought he almost looked TOO in shape.................

Finally,realized today that I had missed two games of the Ashland Arrows.
The Arrows were blasted at Shelby two weeks ago in their final non-conference game and kicked off Ohio Cardinal Conference play last week with a 35-6 pummelling of the Madison Rams.
The Arrows are now 3-1 overall and 1-0 in the OCC and battle the Wooster Generals Friday night.
We will give a brief summary Saturday.

Photo Credit
Morris-Lenny Ignelei-AP Photo