Monday, February 9, 2009

Weekend Recap

Seemed like lots of little, yet notable things happened this weekend around the world of Pittsburgh sports. So instead of writing a few smaller posts or something like that, I decided to put all this stuff together in one mega-post bullet-point style.

-How 'bout that Pro Bowl.... I mean I'm assuming everyone else had a big Pro Bowl party and had all their buddies over to watch it and wagered heavily on the game and was completely absorbed by the bland, conservative, blitz-less style of play used in the game. Oh wait, that's all complete B.S. Did anyone even watch that snooze fest? If you did, let me know why that would be. Are you related to one of the players? Were you unbelievably sick and couldn't get out of bed and your remote broke? Did you fall asleep from the Pens disaster and then woke up with the Pro Bowl on? Are you Roger Goodell? These are the only circumstances I can imagine where you watched it.
Mom dressed them alike

-Do they really think that moving that Pro Bowl up two weeks to before the Super Bowl and playing it on the mainland is going to change a damn thing?

-It's being reported that Big Ben played the Super Bowl with broken ribs. If you've followed Ben's career at all you probably aren't too surprised to know he was injured, as his crazy physical style of play leads to him always being injured in one way or another. But even still... has anyone out there in Blog Land ever had broken ribs before? I broke a rib in high school playing basketball and it felt like my chest had imploded. It h
urt to even get out of bed or walk around. I can't imagine playing football and getting smacked around with that. That's nuts.

-Turns out people really, really like NFL Draft stuff. My browser stats just about exploded thanks to that Mock Draft the other day and a few helpful links from some draft sites around the web. I may have to do those more often.

-DeJuan Blair absolutely went off against hapless DeP
aul. The game was a bit worrisome in the early going as the Blue Demons are winless in Big East play but came out gunning for the Panthers. Thankfully DeJuan took the game over shortly thereafter and continued to cement himself as the best and most important player on the Pitt roster. Blair had his umpteenth double-double of the season and poured in a career-high 32 points. His boards were padded by an insane 9 offensive rebounds. If there is a better offensive rebounder in the nation, I'm not aware of him.

-Also for the Panthers, Levance Fields was in peak form. Fields had a jaw-dropping 16 assists to go along with 13 points as he got a double/double as well. Fields a
lso had just 1 turnover in the game. Just astounding. This is one of the few seasons I can ever remember where multiple Pitt players are among the National Leaders in different stat categories. Fieldsy is currently second in the nation in assists and Blair is fourth in rebounds. That's tough to do playing in the Big East conference.

-While we are on the subject of college hoops, I almost never bring up that other school between Fifth and Forbes in the Downtown region, but I can't overlook the job by the Duquesne Dukes the other night. To upset number 9 Xavier is one hell of a win. Despite feeling some serious after-effects from the shooting of a couple years ago, Dukes coach Ron Everhart continues to do a bang-up job with his squad. The Dukes actually sit in 4th place right now in the reasonably competitive A-10. That's pretty impressive. Typically the A-10 gets 2 or 3 bids, so if the Dukes can keep up this play and swing a few more upsets, we could be looking at two Burgh squads to go dancing. If nothing else, it's pretty likely they will at least head to the NIT. In fact, now that I think about it, Pitt, Duquesne, Robert Morris (1st in the NEC), West Virginia and even Penn State (!) could make the tourney this season. Wouldn't that be nuts? Of course there's also the chance that Duquesne and Penn State could go back to doing what they do best: Lose; Bobby Mo could fall in the NEC tourney and WVU could get squeezed out in the tough middle of the Big East and Pitt could be the only team to Dance.
Did you know wore red uniforms? Cuz I didn't.

-Quick prediction for tonight's Backyard Basketbrawl: Pitt 70 WVU 64

-Disastrous Sunday for the Pens. Detroit outplayed them up and down the ice. The Pens shouldn't even be playing in the same league as the Wings right now. Like I said the other day, the Pens may have a few wins of late but I am by no means sold on this team. For some weird reason everyone seemed to ignore the fact that the Pens played l
ike absolute garbage for the majority of the Lightning game and then took care of business against an underwhelming Blue Jacket squad. How is that enough to convince people this team is on the right track? It sure as hell didn't do much for me.

-I know everyone was and still is worked up about the Hossa situation, but what about Conklin? How terrible of a decision does it look right now not to make a better effort at signing him? I've typically been a fan of most Ray Shero moves, but this was a disastrously bad decision on his part. Conks is only making 750K right now, and I'd say he'd be very, very useful to the Pens right now. Flower has been inconsistent at best this year and we saw the b
enefits of some goalie competition for him last spring. I don't know if Mathieu Garon even made a save in his first (and mercifully only) game as a Penguin, and Dany Sabourin was a mediocre (at best) fill-in for Flower when MAF went down. I'm not saying Conks would be able to right all (or even any) of the wrongs on this squad, but you are kidding yourself if you don't think he'd be good for an extra couple of W's over what Sabu and the struggling Flower have done. That could be huge down the stretch.

-I have to weigh in on the A-Rod thing: I can't understand how anyone is really that surprised. I mean yeah it was dumb of A-Rod, but he's a competitive athlete. If there is somewhere for him to gain an advantage and he knows that literally hundreds of his competitors are taking the same stuff if not more potent stuff, do you really think he's not going to
leap at that advantage? It's ludicrous to fault him and taint his legacy for that. And the people who now claim they aren't going to vote A-Rod into the Hall because of this...well there really is no reasoning with you I'm sure, but how can you vote for anyone from this era? It's pretty clear that any player in that era except David Eckstein might have taken the roids. Just because A-Rod's name got leaked does that really make him any less worthy? I say no.

-As for Curt Schilling's ridiculous idea to have all 104 players named to make it fair and get it all out there...uhmm...Curt I think some of your former mates and the union you were a part of might be slightly against that. Nothing like hanging your fellow players out to dry, though.

-Only 4 days until Pitchers and Catchers report to camp! And we are greeted with this spectacular 'Burgh weather to get us all in the mood for some spring baseball. Just perfect timing all around. I'll begin putting together some preview stuff for the Buccos, for MLB, and probably even for Fantasy Baseball (the best form of fantasy sports bar none) starting at some point over the coming weekend.

Other Stuff:

-Are the Grammys the most irrelevant of the major "weird nickname" awards? They have to be, right? Do you know anyone who watches them, or cares who wins them? Music is so insanely subjective based on the tastes of the listener I don't know how anyone could really dub themselves a music critic. I thought most of the songs that won Grammys were terrible. Coldplay hasn't been good since "Clocks" or maybe even "Yellow", Robert Plant needs to just get the Led Zeppelin reunion over with already and stop this weird collaboration stuff, Radiohead is one of the most critically overrated but commercially underrated bands in the history of the world (pretty tough to do), and Lil Wayne may be entertaining and funny, but I can't take the guy seriously.

-I saw two movies this weekend (god I miss football already): Gran Torino and Taken. I enjoyed them both thoroughly. I had pretty low expectations for Taken but was pleasantly surprised that Liam Neeson was believable as a spy/killing machine character. Gran Torino was infinitely better than the atrocious Benjamin Button, and I haven't heard that many great things about the Reader, either. Anyway, Clint Eastwood delivered the goods. I'd recommend either one if you're looking for an enjoyable flick.
Get off my lawn!

-As I said before, this weather really makes me want to go out and play baseball. It reminds me so much of the opening couple weekends in I think April when the rec baseball leagues would start up. Baseball was never the sport I was best at but I always really, really enjoyed it, especially after a long, cold winter.

-I had a 9 game winning streak in ESPN's Streak for the Cash going until last night. I thought for sure that Utah over Golden State was a sure thing. I don't know why I pick stupid NBA games. They are unbelievably unreliable. I was already dreaming of how I'd spend the millions. Damn it all.

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