Kevin’s Blog: The Pittsburgh Pirates Get To .500 (At Least)

Pirates Hats

’97, ’06 and ’11

My beloved Pittsburgh Pirates have not had a winning season since I got my driver’s license in 1992. I have suffered through the majority of the twenty consecutive seasons of a losing record. I will admit to being so ticked off at baseball for striking in 1994 that I stopped watching until 1999. During that time period though, I still sported a Pirates hat that I bought in the summer of 1997. It was an easy time period to keep the team out of my life since it was during my college years. I’d be home for the summer, mow lawns for twelve hours a day then go spend some of my money on some really cheap beer. Few of my friends liked sports and if they did, it was football. I had also convinced myself that it was a boring sport. Of all things that drug me back in, it was fantasy baseball. I hate losing, even if there isn’t money involved. But when my friend Jason invited me into that league in 1999, it changed the way I looked at the sport.

I have been a Pirates since I can remember. My mother was the big baseball supporter in the household while my dad was more of a Steelers guy. Both of them grew up in Pittsburgh. Three of my four grandparents were born in Pittsburgh. The fourth moved there from Penne, Italy when she was fourteen. All of them were invested in the sports products of the ‘Burgh so it was easy to become a fan. We went to Pirates games in the summer when we went to visit the grandparents. We never went to Steelers games as a family. I also went to a lot of games with a friend’s family because they were from Lancaster, PA and were huge Philadelphia Phillies fans. Our present for a good job in little league or for a job well done as an altar boy was of course a trip to a Pirates game.

But as already mentioned, my fandom was derailed by a bunch of idiots in 1994. When I got back into the swing of things in ’99 though, I went all in. I understand better why this sport wasn’t boring. I had acknowledged when I was a kid that pitching was important but I never thought about the cat and mouse game that pitchers and hitters play with each other. I remember arguing with fellow fans in grade school the day after I went to see the Atlanta Braves at the Pirates in the NLCS in 1991, Game 2. Zane Smith was out dueled by Steve Avery. Everyone thought I saw a boring game but I knew I saw two pitchers at their peak shutting down two great offenses. Now though, I understand more of the ideas behind scouting reports, good pitch location and mixing up pitch types. I didn’t realize how much space you needed to cover in the outfield, despite having been to Three Rivers Stadium more times than I can remember. The ability of the current Pirates outfield to cover that much space is incredible and requires more athleticism than I thought as a kid. The outfielders aren’t the only ones devouring tons of space to make plays. I thought it was easy to play infield since there was less space to cover. Even though it may be the case for first and third base, second base and shortstop have gobs of space to cover. Even though a third basemen might not have as much territory, they have the toughest throw to make in very little time to make an out and that’s just on a routine ground ball.

It was time to read the minor league scouting reports, check out the draft and international signings. I knew that the Buffalo Bisons were the Pirates AAA farm team when I was a kid but I couldn’t have told you anyone who was there. These days, I go to Indianapolis Indians to see the next set of prospects. I had a friend move to Indianapolis. Since I was strapped for cash at the time, I crashed at his place to go see the Indians play the Pawtucket Red Sox. I got to see Andrew McCutchen, now an MVP candidate, in his next to last minor league start. I was bummed earlier this year when I thought Gerrit Cole, their No. 1 pick in 2011, was going to pitch the day before they came to Columbus. An extra day of rest helped me out and I got to see Cole in his next to last start in the minors. I was bummed that the Pirates next big time prospect, pitcher Jameson Taillon, didn’t come here to Columbus after he got a bump up from the AA Altoona Curve. Which is another fun part of the process, my hometown now has the Pirates AA team. Much more exciting for me than some other small city in the state or another state. It was a blast last year going to a game with my family when we were all back in Altoona. As for the international signings, I had no idea where the Pirates looked for talent. Now I know that they have the third best facility in the Dominican Republic behind the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. The Pirates signed Luis Heredia in 2010 as a sixteen year old. I would never had worried about that in high school.

Continue reading

Stunt Granny Audio #228

The type of young athlete TNA needs to be pushing.

The type of young athlete TNA needs to be pushing.

There’s a whole heap of things to talk about this week, and Kevin and Dusty are the only people adequately prepared to do so! And boy do they ever, starting off with some Monday Night Raw discussion. Dusty is sick of having McMahon family reunions on his television screen. Kevin is confused by the whole thing and wonders if they really think they’re knocking it out of the park with these segments. Dusty is also sick of Michael Cole on commentary, and Jerry Lawler as well, but has no idea how to fix that problem. Is there anyone from another wrestling company worth bringing in? Should WWE look outside the wrestling business?

Then they turn their attention to the mess that is TNA. How long can a company be going out of business before actually going out of business? Do they realize how bad they look by getting rid of so many people and then teasing a surprise appearance for the next show? Did a throwaway reality show really beat their show in the ratings? Did Dixie Carter really call Taeler Hendrix fat? Does she prefer that Angelina Love 35 pounds look? Does she realize Mickie James isn’t exactly a size zero right now herself? Also, the Main Event Mafia is a stale idea that means nothing to anyone, it’s really hard to feel bad for Samoa Joe, James Storm should be in WWE, and a whole lot more! We don’t think you’re too heavy to listen to it, so go for it!

Stunt Granny Sports Show #9

Um, yes please.

Um, yes please.

OK look you know we are going to talk about Sergio Garcia and his suggestions for Tiger Woods. What’s the big deal? It is golf isn’t it racist anyway? How could things get ay worse right? Well you let the CEO of the European Tour open his stupid mouth right? This ay be the only golf break that ever occurs on Stunt Granny in any capacity so it may as well be on the latest edition of The Stunt Granny Sports Show. Yes, Eric2 and Jeremy are back and among mocking golf and its competitors they also cover some serious topics like sexual assault and how women give up on looking good once they are married. Yup that’s right . Pete Rose gets married and his wife immediately decides to change her appearance for the worse. How is that fair for old Charlie Hustle? Hasn’t he given and then suffered enough already? Shouldn’t he be treated like a king? How stupid is Jose Canseco? Is it stupidity or a greater problem of being aloof and arrogant? What person wouldn’t be terrified and hiding in the face of sexual assault allegations? Why would any rational person go against his attorneys orders and blather on o the media? What kind of dummy taunts the accuser on Twitter? What exactly is Ozzie Canseco up to right now anyway? Is this a Lifetime movie in the works? They also break down how the media victimize itself in the face of athletes hiding things and hurting them. It really is quite funny how this always happens. There is some NHL playoff talk that somehow melds in to NBA playoff talk and then back to NHL talk and a nice dose of Henry The Hockey Hound being fed up taking matters in to his own hands when it comes to bacon. Oh yeah and Miguel Cabrera. So get to downloading the show and enjoy the randomness. It is funny, at least it should be. Really not sure since no one has listened to it again. In the moment it came across as funny. We could be wrong so download it already. OK?

Kevin’s Blog: Almost Live, Definitely Half Assed Review of #WWE #Raw

The_Final_Countdown

I’m getting to start early because my boxer decided to fall asleep much earlier than expected. It looks like today starts the final count down to Wrestlemania. I hope this song sticks in your brain during the whole show. Let’s roll.

CM Punk & Paul Heyman get to start the show. If the Rock isn’t the last segment, I’ll be shocked. Punk is not getting much of a reaction. The crowd does get behind the Undertaker attack. The promo didn’t do a whole lot for me. Taker looks like he is mobile. I wonder what length of match he has in him though. Thirty seconds isn’t a test.

Fandango is supposed to make his in ring debut again. They talk about Chris Jericho who never should have been surprised by Fandango showing up when they put his entire entrance up on Smackdown. Jericho goes right after Fandango. Why did Jericho agree to work this angle? I’m confused that this is his thing headed into Wrestlemania. Dolph Ziggler was conveniently ready to go when Fandango ran off. Before the break, I was busy checking the news on Dustin Kilgore, who wrestles for Kent State. He won the the 197 pound division last year and lost this year in the championship 8-6. Impressive career. I wonder if he’ll follow in Dolph’s foot steps. Big E Langston interferes of course. A second attempt works for the Walls. Dolph taps. Langston ambushes him. Someone for their team needs some heat. Fandango comes back down. After dancing in front of him, he assaults Jericho. Why should I believe Fandango can beat Jericho if he just got the guy who has the MITB briefcase to tap? None.

They recap Smackdown again. It really must be Wrestlemania season. Two weeks in a row on this stuff. Sheamus gets to talk until the Shield attacks. These dummies aren’t traveling together? Randy Orton then Big Show make the save. Stay together or within closer ass kicking distance.

Mark Henry gets to continue his show of strength by beating the Usos. They got a splash in which is surprising. World’s Strongest Slam. Impressive but getting repetitive at this point. He’s had this character for a while. This Philly crowd seems luke warm.

They put the 9 PM switch to Antonio Cesaro taking on Alberto Del Rio. Good for them. Mitchell Cool informs us of frequent belt changes at Wrestlemania. I’ll remember that for the John Cena vs the  Rock match. Jack Swagger attacks Ricardo Rodriguez again. Del Rio makes the save. Cesaro celebrates the count out win. Kind of funny. Del Rio attacks Cesaro. Why are you making a baby face look like a petty dick?

The Prime Time Players get to play fodder to Team Hell No. You could convince me the crowd was half of 18,000+ Mitchell Cool just said. I feel bad for Cool when Lawler no sells his “Don’t work six days of the work” line. Kane choke slammed Young for the win.

HHH gives me plenty of catch up time. He delivered a HHH promo and didn’t waste time. I could handle that. HHH kicks Wade Barrett in the nuts.

Continue reading

The NHL Lockout

There are usually more people in line for a hockey game than this meager crowd for Raw a couple of years ago.

I couldn’t bring myself to write this article when the NHL lock out was dragging on. Now that it looks like there will indeed be a deal (I’m not counting on it until everyone signs on the dotted line), I find myself in a quandary. The question I keep asking myself is – Do I support a poorly run franchise and sport just so I can keep watching the sport that I love the most or do I yank my money just to prove a point?

Let’s take a closer look the situation.

I give most of my money to the Columbus Blue Jackets because of my love for hockey more than my love for the team itself. I don’t have much of an allegiance with the Jackets because when I started following hockey, I started rooting for the Pittsburgh Penguins and no amount of relocating will change that for me. I have told several of my ticket agents that my only care in acquiring tickets is to guarantee a ticket to the Pens game because it sells out every year they travel to Columbus.  I upgraded to a half a season ticket package with a personal seat license so that I could guarantee tickets to the All Star Skills Competition, which has been a favorite for a long time, and the All Star Game, which I planned on selling because it’s not a high quality game. Now, the All Star Weekend was taken away from the franchise with no promising it’ll come back the next year since the players may be in the Winter Olympics in Sochi or at least 2015. At least I got my money back for those tickets already. I will be without watching the Pens now because each team will only play in their conference. The Penguins are in the East and the Jackets are in the West. A two and a half hour drive southwest sure does make a difference. My biggest draw is gone.

The Jackets have been beaten up during the lock out. In most of the reports I’ve read, they’re one of the low revenue clubs and they don’t have a strong fan base. I think the later part is false. Despite wanting to regularly smack the people around me for yelling “Shoot” when there isn’t a clear line to the goal, I think they have an excellent fan base that has been trampled because of incompetent management that has done a poor job at drafting, trading and signing of free agents. As a long suffering fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates, I can tell you a thing or twenty (years) about bad management. The Blue Jackets fans have had to endure ten terrible seasons, one season with the playoffs (in which they got swept by the Detroit Red Wings) and one locked out season. That is no way to build up a fan base. All of this losing makes it look like there isn’t enough support here. No matter what hard core fans want to say, bandwagon fans will always be around for your franchise. The Blue Jackets would look a lot more like a strong fan base if the they could even accomplish an average season.

So my choice is pretty easy one in theory. Support a low revenue club who perpetually bungles management decisions or take my money back and teach them a lesson. After two lengthy lock outs and one full season down the tubes under Gary Bettman, I’m guessing taking money off the table won’t teach the owners or the players anything. I don’t get to see my favorite team so that takes away from a shortened season. Management did make one good decision during the lock out and hire John Davidson as president of hockey operations, who helped turn around the St. Louis Blues. Despite my anger at both the owners and the players, my love of hockey outweighs my present anger towards all involved in the lockout. I’ll go and enjoy some hockey when the puck drops even if it means giving money to imbeciles who’ll likely do the same charade in eight years when they both opt out of a ten year contract. -Kevin

Kevin’s Blog: Almost Live & Definitely Half Assed Review of @WWE #Raw

My boy Andrew McCutchen kept me from starting Raw on time. He didn’t do so well in the Home Run Derby. That’s OK as long as he keeps hitting the way he is right now when it counts. No peanut gallery today. Back to me and my lap top. Let’s roll.

AJ gets the opening rewind segment and gets to open the mic work. She doesn’t do much except intro CM Punk. Damn, is she doing a convincing crazy. And she’s carrying the mic load with Punk in the ring. AJ proposes. Punk has an outstanding reaction. Daniel Bryan comes running out to answer for Punk. Bryan tries to get Punk to accept her proposal to turn the tables. Goat Boy proposes to AJ. Punk points out the obvious that Bryan doesn’t have a ring. Can we please just make Mitchell Cool the Raw GM and get him out of the booth? The WWE could help everyone out by doing that. Eve Torres, the flavor of last month, gets to team with Bryan. Are we to believe it’s the same mystery GM? Since they didn’t have a reveal last time, are they expecting us to want a resolution to the whole fiasco? Because I could give a fuck less. AJ gets to close the segment by teasing a future husband.

Sheamus is taking on Jack Swagger. It’s a squash match. There is no reason to believe Alberto Del Rio can win on Sunday. Have him attack Sheamus from now until Sunday and I still won’t buy Del Rio winning the title. Del Rio cuts another average promo to keep us wondering why the WWE has faith in this guy. Santino Marella is talking to Zack Ryder. Great, the GM is in the building and Santino is going to find him or her. I can’t wait for the dumb skits to continue. (If you can’t read the sarcasm in the last two sentences, you’re a dunce.)

Since they have so many replays to play, none of the participants in this tag match get an introduction. So we know they’re all important. Dolph Ziggler & Tensai are taking on Christian & Tyson Kidd. Tensai gets a much needed win over Christian. What’s the purpose of the match? Tensai power bombs Kidd on the apron. I guess we’re in rebuild Tensai mode now? We’re to believe they’re going to choose a GM at the 1000th Raw. Cool refuses to read the email so Jerry Lawler does the honors. So instead of sinking time into the guys in the PPV, we get a Lawler vs Cool rematch.

I almost catch up by FF thru the Funkasaurus‘s entrance. Drew McIntyre gets squashed. What is the total match time so far? Under two minutes? Cool selling us on wanting to see the crap instead of wrestling. Santino gets to be unfunny with Chris Jericho. Big Show salvages the segment.

Continue reading

Kevin’s Blog: Almost Live, Definitely Half Assed Review of @WWE #Raw

26th round draft pick of the, ahem first place, Pittsburgh Pirates Jimmy Rider sent my beloved Kent State Golden Flashes into the College World Series by blooping a double onto the left field line which allowed Derek Toadvine to score in the bottom of the ninth. Needless to say, I’m giddy. Let’s roll.

Johnny Wooden GM comes out but before he can utter a peep, Vincent Kennedy McMahon comes down. Johnny tries to suck up to the crowd. It doesn’t work. Vince runs down Johnny’s bad decisions. Before Vince can do anything, Sheamus interrupts. Ugh, it’s going to be a loooong segment. Vince gets to tease us with a warm up “You’re Fired.” Moron adult in the crowd with a goatee and bald head had it spelled “Your”. Brutal.

Tensai is Sheamus’s opponent. The crowd is chanting “Albert”. Yep, stop trying to sell him as the second coming of the Great Muta. And have fun losing again. This will be his second high class job which the announcers pointed out. Cool says it a second time. Tensai may as well buy a mining hat for how deep he’s getting buried. Wow, they’re giving Tensai more offense in the second half of this match. Sheamus barely kicked out of his finisher. Good sell on his part. The Brogue Kick is becoming like the RKO, it can hit at any time.Vince asks Johnny who can replace Alberto Del Rio at No Way Out. Vickie offers up Dolph Ziggler & Jack Swagger. Teddy Long gets the big idea but fetches coffee. Johnny goes for the fist bump. Vince cracks his first dick joke. Did I miss some news on Del Rio? Yes I did. Del Rio got his bell rung. Tough. They made him look decent with the attack on Sheamus.

Sakamoto is getting assaulted by Tensai after the commercial. The crowd isn’t reacting. I’m tempted to hit FF. I don’t care about either of these guys. You haven’t given me a reason. I don’t care that Albert can speak Japanese. So blowing thru the memory lane shit. R Truth is interviewed by Matt Striker. Lil’ Jimmy was traumatized. He was much better as a crazy heel. Big Show attacks him again. Big meanies everywhere tonight.

And of course we follow up with a replay of what just happened. Santino Marella comes out for a mixed tag match. Starting off like a barn on fire. More replays. Layla comes out looking as hot as always. They’re battling Ricardo Rodriguez (in tux, stay classy) and Beth Phoenix. Ricardo hides so this match is a hidden women’s match. Beth with the Glam Slam for the win. Beth sells Ricardo who is sporting a Justin Beiber shirt. Isn’t that your audience? David Otunga sucks up to Vince. Before Vince can get off a good lawyer joke, Kofi demands a match with Big Show. Dummy. Johnny who was right beside them grants it. Why did Vince & Otunga act like he was somewhere else?

Daniel Bryan comes out to speak to us. In threes. He’s delivering. CM Punk comes out to a serious pop. He goes short and sweet but does a good job. I hate pimping his own segment. Punk did have an awesome moment. He brings the thunder after that. Kane brings pyro and hopefully not much of a promo. AJ makes an appearance. CM Punk & AJ take on Kane & Bryan. Why would you do this during your job evaluation? Then they replay Vince doing “You’re Fired.” Cue foreshadowing.

It’s FF thru the entrances time. That Kent game got me started at 10. It’s getting late, yo. It’s the four way match between the Great Khali, Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger & Christian. The other three eliminate the Great Khali. Smart move on their part. Except Christian who is in there against a tag team. So is it worse for Mr. KSU to lose tonight or at the PPV? We know the winner is not derailing Sheamus. Swagger is a terrible choice even for an obvious loss. Christian doesn’t make sense.

They’re doing just that after the break until Christian dumps Dolph outside. The new hairdo is not helping Swagger. Going shorter under the part makes you look like a cub scout. Killswitch on Swagger with Dolph getting the pin. Dolph drop kick #3 of the match only gets a two count. Dolph kicks out after a spear. They’re making him look good. Christian is my move them up the card guy. Good back and forth near the end. “Let’s Go Ziggler” chant breaks out. The crowd goes solid pop for Mr. KSU. Clean pin too. Sheamus comes out for a look. They do a stare down. Nice quick hype. Natalya is still crazy while talking to Vince. The Funkadactyls try to charm Mr. McMahon. Vince dances. So we’ve got young chicks, the Harts, lawyers & dick jokes covered for Vince. Zack Ryder gets an appearance. How’s that You Tube show doing?

Ryback squash. He dominates two more schmucks. He needs his Big Show beating him up moment. Or a real opponent. They replay almost the whole match right after it’s over. Dumb.

Hornswoggle is talking to Vince. For some reason, he can’t talk again. JR impersonation. John Cena arrives. Cena points out all of Vince’s losses at WM. Of course Regal had to make an appearance after an ass kissing segment. We have all of Vince’s bases covered now, I think.

Kofi Kingston is smart enough to attack Big Show as he climbs over the ropes. I’m sort of tuning out the bickering between Cool & Lawler. It’s a big commercial for No Way Out. Crowd popped for Trouble. Kofi doing the smart thing and act like a chicken shit heel. Kofi gets KOed anyway. Shouldn’t the ref call it? Armstrong finally calls it.

Curt Hawkins gets to lose to Sin Cara. The crowd is all over chants tonight. Not sure what this one was. Hawkins has more offense in the first minute than I expected for the whole match. I hate Sin Cara’s finisher.

Daniel Bryan is stretching when Vince says hi. Another dick joke. Yep, we’re rounding the bases a second time until the end of the show.

I didn’t stop the FF even for my boy Dolph Ziggler. I said no memory lane and I meant it. Heath Slater is taking on Vader. He has seen better days. The crowd is giving him a warm enough reception. No way the majority of people actually remember him. Another chant. A “You’ve still got it” chant to add to their total. He has no agility any more people. Vader Bomb for the win. Cool does a Vader Time chant. Ugh. Pick your role. CM Punk talks to AJ Lee. He tells her not to worry. Punk’s facials after the kiss tell it all.

The Punk & AJ match against Kane & Daniel Bryan is up next. I taped Common Law but a three hour show shouldn’t over run. I know this segment will. I feel it in my being. Vince hasn’t been on nearly enough. AJ gets tagged into the match. She ends up kissing Kane. Does someone kissing Kane fall under specialty happening for Vince? Bryan jobs to the top rope elbow. Weak. She’s doing a good crazy person.

Vince comes out for the main event. The security are going to march Johnny out. The Big Show comes out to defend Johnny. He’s stinking it up worse than Sheamus. And of course they over ran. Because three hours and five minutes isn’t nearly enough time. John Cena shows up. I forgot he needed to be included in this segment. Damn it. He loses me but then grabs my attention when he does the reverse Cody Rhodes. Big Show getting the same treatment within a couple of months. The match now has the Johnny firing stakes for the second PPV in a row. Big Show doesn’t come close but “KOs” Vince. -Kevin

%d bloggers like this: