Saturday, December 13, 2008

My Pittsburgh Sports Christmas Wish List

The world is in full-on Holiday spirit these days, so I figured I'd get myself in that same spirit and pump out a Christmas Wish List, Pittsburgh sports style with a baker's dozen wishes I'd love to see fulfilled. Enjoy.

-A real college offensive coordinator for Pitt Football. I know, I'm going to hear it from people about Cavanaugh being the OC for a team that is 9-3 and could be headed for a 10 win season in a few weeks. But he's just too weird in his play-calling for me. Cavanaugh doesn't make nearly enough use of his tight ends, especially considering their struggling QB who desperately needs the confidence of a security blanket option. He also calls for far too many downfield passes with a QB who can't throw downfield.

-A consistent goal-scoring winger for the Penguins to pair alongside Sidney Crosby. We saw the fruits of that last season when Marian Hossa and Sid unleashed hell on the Eastern Conference last spring.

-A completed new arena for the Penguins. I know this puppy is on the way and will be here in a few years, but I was at the arena three times in the last few weeks, my first 3 trips of the year, and the thought of a new arena eventually opening just makes me want to get rid of the Igloo right now. I know some Pens fans still have some nostalgic feelings towards the old building, but its a dump, and I'm ready for the luxuries of a new arena already.

-Space and money for Pitt to build an on-campus football stadium. Yes Heinz Field is a nice facility and it is kind of cool for the Pitt players to play and practice in the same venues as the Steelers, but that doesn't mean the fans like it. Heinz Field may be nicer than Pitt Stadium, but the atmosphere just flat out stinks there for a college game, especially when the stadium is only 2/3 full for the early games. Plus, as a student, its a real pain in the behind to have to leave campus several hours before the game to go tailgate. I would love nothing more than to be able to leave my apartment at 10 AM for a noon game, walk 10 minutes across campus to a tailgate and drink for a few hours. Instead, to do the same now I have to leave by 9 to get down to the lots by 10 or so.

-Aramis Ramirez, Jason Bay, Xavier Nady, Chris Young, Matt Wieters, Jair Jurrjens, and Oliver Perez for the Pirates. They should have had all these players in the organization this past season. Combining this fearsome bunch with Nate McLouth, Paul Maholm, Ryan Doumit (because Wieters would still be in the minors), Freddy Sanchez, Matt Capps, and Ian Snell would have given us quite the Pittsburgh Baseball Club.

-Teams willing to deal good prospects for good major league players like the old days. You know, like the old Jair Jurrjens for Jack Wilson offer that Dunce Littlefield turned down, or Steve Phillips' infamous Scott Kazmir for Vic Zambrano deal. Nowadays, teams are way too conservative with their prospects, which makes rebuilding efforts much more difficult and take much longer.

-Of course, an offensive line that can pass block a little better for Ben Roethlisberger. Although I think this line has done a serviceable job this season considering their respective talent levels.

-A consistent outside three point shot for the Pitt bsaketball team. As far as I can tell, this is really the one area that Pitt is really lacking in.

-2 or 3 extra inches of height for DeJuan Blair. Not that I take issue with the big man and his play with the Panthers, but if he was 6'9 or 6'10 instead of 6'7, the NBA scouts would be drooling all over themselves and wondering how high in the Lottery he'd be picked in next June's NBA Draft.

-Full health for the Penguins come spring time. A rash of injuries have hit the Pens this season, and every team in the NHL goes through injuries. Let's just hope the injuries cease and desist by the time the playoffs get going.

-A speedy recovery and a fulfillment of his potential for Rashard Mendenhall. I'm not asking him to come back this season, but if the play of Willie Parker, Mewelde Moore, and Gary Russell has been any indication this season, Mendenhall will have a definite opportunity to get some playing time next season.

-82 wins for the Pirates this season. And that's not for the Pirates organization, the front office, the players, or the coaches. Nope. It's for the fans and for the city. Pittsburgh very much wants to love baseball again, and an 82 win season, even if the Pirates are 18 games out of first place would be something for the fans to attach themselves to, and would keep the Buccos from being distinguished as having the worst run in sports history with a 17th straight sub .500 season.

-A trip past the Sweet 16 for Pitt basketball this season. They need to break that invisible barrier at long last, and this team looks like they are poised to have the most potential to get past that point of any squad since the Howland era began.

Is all this too much to ask? Yeah probably.

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