Monday, March 12, 2007


As Cosmo Kramer once said, "Here's to feelin' good all the time." I can't really describe how I'm feeling right now. I'm still in the middle of that test I posted about earlier and I know I'm going to be up all night cause I can't focus whatsoever right now. In case you don't know what I'm talking about KDKA and the PG have both reported a deal is done and will be announced before OUR Pens meet the Sabres tomorrow night at the Igloo. This is more of a relief than anything else. I can't wait to move back to the city from South Carolina in May. I can't wait to start my new job downtown. And most of all I can't wait to get my Pens season tickets next fall and be in the seats for all 41 home games watching every move Sid, Geno, and Jordan make. Along with every breathe taking save the Flower makes in goal. This has been a dark cloud over me all semester up until this point and I'm just so happy this is all over. I'll do a post on the specifics of the deal when they come available, but who cares right now!


Quick Update

Quick arena news update for anyone living under a rock since last Thursday.... Things went well, about as well as things could've gone with out announcement saying, "The deal is done." A joint statement was issued saying that significant progress was made and they would meet again this Wednesday. I heard that they wanted to meet sooner but some schedules wouldn't allow it. The Lemieux group was also suppose to meet with AEG over the weekend who runs the Sprint Center in KC and that didn't happen. AEG was supposedly "upset" over the progress made on Thursday (fucking blood suckers). Honestly what city builds an arena then tries to steal other cities teams, it's beyond me. I can't wait till KC either gets an expansion team so they suck and no one will go or they get the Preds from Nashville and people will stop going once this odd sport on ice loses its novelty.

Hopefully, this will all be over Wednesday. It better be over by my spring break or I just won't be able to enjoy myself on the cruise I'm going on. Anyway I have a delightful strategic management test to work on. I'll update after the meeting on Wednesday where hopefully we'll all have some good news. I could use some.

PS -- Thanks to Joey Porter's Pit Bulls for the link to my barely sensible rambling from last Thursday.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Bradenton Report

"The biggest mistake any team can make is to base decisions on what they see in spring training."

"The most meaningless month of the year in baseball is March."

These quotes sum up what can be learned from watching some spring training games. I couldn't agree more, however I just returned from Bradenton and thought I'd write up a report on the boys of summer.

My main focus during the trip was to check out McCutcheon and some of the young pitchers. I attended three Pirates games and went to Pirate City to watch some workouts every morning.

Sunday I arrived at Pirate City and viewed McCutcheon taking batting practice on one of the fields while the Pirates played a B game against the Reds. The team had McCutcheon in a hitting group that included Jack Wilson, Freddy Sanchez, Jason Bay, Xavier Nady, and Ronny Paulino. I view this as the team trying to get McCutcheon as much experience with the big guys as possible. So he sees the example that Bay and Wilson and Sanchez can provide as to what it takes to succeed in the major league. He sprayed balls acorss the field displaying his ability to go with a pitch or drive one depending on the situation. In the games McCutcheon looked fairly comfortable at the plate, displaying his good eye and speed in the field as he stole a few bases. He does not seem to be ready for the big leagues yet, but he is only 20 and one more season in the minor leagues can't hurt.

I watched Sean Burnett throw a bullpen session at Pirate City and then was brought into the game to pitch. I was standing behind some scouts with radar guns and Burnett rarely topped 88-89 on his fastball, but was solid with his changeup, which registered at 79-80. Burnett also looked shakey in the game, but got out of his inning with minimal damage. I don't think Burnett will be up with the team this year unless he can prove that he can stay consistent in spotting his fastball and proves he won't be flustered on the mound. I think he still has work to do until he breaks spring with the team.Yoslan Herrera also pitched for the Pirates in one game, and I was very excited to watch him throw. It is obvious that he hasn't pitched in a while, as his delivery was inconsistent, his delivery point kept changing, and he bounced a few pitches in front of the mound. I definitely think Herrera can help the Pirates in the future, but he definitely needs some time in the minors to become more consistent with his velocity and his control. His breaking pitch looked nasty and got a couple people to swing right through it. It was good to see what he has to offer and I hope we see him towards the end of this season or at the begining of the 2008 season.

LaRoche didn't show me much, but like I said earlier, it's only March. Duke and Snell both looked solid in the starts they made, with Snell striking out 7 in three innings, and Duke pitching a perfect 2 innings before giving up a few runs in Toronto. His fastball was popping the mitt, and was getting people on his curveball they he did in 2005. I look for Duke to have a rebound year and post 12-15 wins, 7-9 losses, with an ERA in the low 4's. I think his main focus should be getting out of the first inning this year without giving up runs. If Duke can do this he has a shot to be the leading pitcher on this team.

A scary event occured when Sanchez was rolled into by Rod Barajas of the Phillies. We heard he tore his ACL, but later was corrected to be a sprained knee. This raised the question as to whether or not Sanchez's legs could withstand playing second base. A top Pirates official was sitting next to me and seemed visibly angry that Sanchez was playing second due to the nature of the position and the possiblity of injury. However, today the Post-Gazette reported that the Pirates will not use Sanchez's injury to sway their decision of who our starting infield will be.

Overall I had a great time in sunny Florida, and hope to return next year. The Buccos still have lots of work to do and there still some spots open for players to make the team. Michael Ryan and Don Kelly were a big surprise as both started and got at least 2-3 at bats in all the games I went to. If the team is taking an extended look at them it will be a surprise, as Eldred and others are vying for a final roster spot. Until next time!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Is This It?

Are these the only penguins we are going to be seeing in Pittsburgh from now on? At the fucking zoo? Granted they are pretty damn cute, but I'll take Sid and the kids any day. OK, I'll admit it, I'm kind of worried. When the Pens said they'd come to an impasse in the negotiations on Monday, I was pretty fucking shocked. In fact I was so shocked I spit coffee all over my keyboard, mouse and screen. But really do I think the Pens are leaving, no (although I haven't been able to sleep at all since I heard the news and have been popping Ambien like M & M's).

The NHL, a niche league, which I'm relatively sure everyone can agree on (when hockey has a lower rating than womens softball I would call it a niche sport). A league on the second year after a debilitating lockout. How could they allow this to go this far? Pittsburgh is the US city with the 2nd biggest hockey fan base (next to Buffalo according to recent TV ratings). How could this league allow our team, which is supported to the tune of 96% attendance, leave for a place like KC when hockey is already struggling in other such nontraditional hockey markets (Nashville and Florida).

Having it be OUR TEAM is the biggest deal to me. This group of players is destined to win Stanley's Cup in the very short future. Our team has possibly the greatest player in the sport's (or any other sport for that matter) history playing for it as we speak. And don't think the NHL can weasel it's way back in a couple year from now with some shitty expansion team. Thanks, but no fucking thanks. That would be like someone coming into your home ripping the xbox360 from the TV and coming back in two year with a Nintendo. Not fucking cool. I won't go to a game the NHL and the "new" Penguins can go straight to Hell.

It seems the sides negotiating this fiasco have let their egos get the best of them. This deal just needs to get done. I'm sick of thinking about this. I'm sorry, I was going to outline the entire situation and bitch and give my opinion, but I'm really at my wits end here. It makes me feel ill thinking about our Pens leaving the city I love so much. I can't study, I can't focus on anything else right now. I'm pretty sure they won't leave, but I'm worrying myself sick none the less.

Thursday all parties plus Gary Betman the NHL Commissioner are meeting in Philly (ironic) to decide our team's fate. D-Day so to speak. I haven't prayed in a long time but it might be around that time. If you have time please call these number to give local poloticos and the NHL a view of what this feels like and what the fans are going through. PLEASE BE POLITE. Blowing up on someone's secretary will get you no where. The NHL office is especially nice. Threaten the politicians with your votes and support.

Dan Onorato - 412 350 6500
Ed Rendell - 717-787-2500
Ravenstahl - 412 255 2626

IF IN THE CITY OF PITTSBURGH PLEASE CALL THE MAYORS HOTLINE: 311 -- this is only for people in the city.

NHL Offices: (212) 789-2000