Big Lead Sports Bar


I'm Back

It's been a tough couple of days around here. The power outage on Tuesday was one thing, but in the meantime, I've been dealing with a very difficult illness in the family for the past two weeks. Let's just say I've become very familiar with the UPMC campus.
If you've noticed, my postings have been rather here, one there, some real rhyme or reason. When I've had a rare moment to post something, it's been a great distraction for me from what I've been dealing with.

When I miss an entire day (like I did on Tuesday) and see that 2,634 people visited the site that day alone, I feel like I'm letting down a tremendous amount of people. I know this little speech has absolutely nothing to do with sports, and that many of you have no interest in this and want me to get with the funny, but I felt the need to share what's been happening. That's my style. And if you've read me with any regularity, you knew that already.

Now that that's behind us, let's try to return to some level of normalcy with that long post my brother promised on my behalf.

--The power outage on Tuesday forced me to take to the road, and it landed me at my parents' house in beautiful Fayette County. This meant the first Pirate game of 2007 that I took in with my father and brother.

My dad is the eternal Pirate optimist. He's sold himself on so many Pirates turning into serviceable players, I've lost track. I think he lost me forever with Adam Hzydu. He's always a treat to watch a game with, because we usually end up debating each other for most of the good fun, of course. My brother, on the other hand, has officially evolved into a fantasy baseball addict. In between commercials for the new FSN studios on the Pirate game (I believe I counted 2,000 tonight), we were treated to a few random at-bats from the big Braves-Nationals game on TBS. Hey, we gotta keep tabs on Jeff Francoeur (he had a homer and 5 RBI, for the two of you who care).
Tuesday's Pirate game was what I would call a blogger's dream/Pirate fan's nightmare. This is the kind of effort that just kills a team and their fans but gives plenty of fodder for second guessing.
THE story of the night (through seven innings, at least) was the pitching of Tom Gorzelanny. Despite the fact that he never seems to close his mouth (anyone else ever notice this?), Gorzo pitched seven innings, yielding just four hits and no runs, while striking out five, including Mr. Pooholes twice. As a reward for his effort, he was treated to watching his inept teammates fumble away the very 2-0 lead that he had worked so hard for.

Gorzo? fingers Salomon Torres as the goat of the game, but I have some issues with that. This was a team collapse, from their awful manager on down. We'll start, though, with Jason Bay. Bay, by many accounts, is the foundation of the team. You would think he would have some common-sense baseball knowledge, especially being in the position I just described.

So let's set the scene: top of the 9th, Torres on for the save, 2-0 Pirates lead. Eckstein singles, Duncan walks. First and second, no one out, with an appearance by one Albert Pujols pending (he of the 19 HR at PNC Park since 2001). Pujols flies out to Bay in left field, Eckstein tags, and Bay manages a meek throw to third base, neglecting to throw the ball to second base and holding Duncan at first. So instead of having first and third, Duncan moves up to second on Bay's poor decision, and we're now faced with second and third. Might I add a hat tip to Jack Wilson for not lining up Bay for a throw to second, instead directing him to third. That's some great fundamental baseball by another "team leader".

Next up is the red-goateed Scott Spiezio, who, of course, singled to right, scoring two.

Scott Spiezio: consider sexy brought back

Tie game, but the Pirates still have a chance in the bottom of the ninth...which they promptly burn through. What, you expect Klopek to win the game?

Also, it's worth noting that Bay's brain freeze came moments after he killed an eighth-inning rally by grounding into a double play. You'd think if anyone was prepared for a cold-weather game, it would be someone from Canada, but I guess that's not the case.

So we go to extra frames, and the Pirates somehow compose themselves for a rally in the bottom of the 10th. With Big Country Eldred and Chris Duffy reaching in consecutive at-bats, the Pirates have something cooking. Two on, none out, and the heart of the order around the corner. With the 3B and 1B playing for the bunt, up steps Jack Wilson...who promptly bunts right into a fielder's choice, as Eldred is forced out at third. Mr. Tracy, any explanation for the gift of an out for no apparent reason? Continuing their unclutch evening, Freddy Sanchez struck out, and Jason Bay topped Freddy's effort by striking out in especially awful fashion. Two on, none out, and you score no runs. Sorry Buccos, but you deserved this loss. Well, everyone except Tom Gorzelanny.

--I was watching the Fedko Fone Zone after the game (which opened, yet again, with a prominent endorsement of by host John Fedko), and a great point was made: why was Adam LaRoche starting this game instead of Eldred? LaRoche is hitting .097. He's 3-for-31. St. Louis is starting a lefty. I'm sure LaRoche will eventually get it turned around, but wouldn't tonight be a good opportunity to give Eldred some time at first? Wait, I forgot, Jim Tracy knows more than us. Scratch that idea. And remember, bunt with two on and the corner infielders in your face.

--OK, FSN, we get it: you have a new studio. I beg you, please, enough with the moving-in spot.

Seriously, I have FSN on the brain so much, I actually had the thought that Rob King's ample jawline makes him resemble Family Guy's Glenn Quagmire.

--I think the upcoming Pens-Senators series has all the makings of a classic. Bryan Murray can't seem to keep his trap shut, and apparently he hasn't learned that an angry Sidney Crosby usually means curtains for the opposition.
I like what I've seen/heard from Therrien so far, saying that "all the pressure is on the Senators". And I think the playoffs is a time when you'll really appreciate a guy like Gary Roberts, if you don't already.
Tonight, 7 PM, in Ottawa. I know you'll be watching.

--Well, it's probably time to get to your is a sampling of some of the best I've received in the past few days...
--Patrick from Denison U. was one of several who sent their thoughts on Don Kelly, the subject of last week's mailbag:
"Donny Kelly actually went to Mount Lebanon High School and is one of my best friend's older brother. He is one of the hardest workers and nicest kids I have ever been around. The entire family is sick athletically speaking. Their sister went to Quinnipiac and is the conference's all-time leading rebounder or something. Andy, my friend, can jump higher than any white kid I have ever met."

Hey, no need to sell me. I'm a fan...more for the off the field stuff, but a fan nonetheless (due to the reasons I outlined last week). The official "Don Kelly Hit Watch" has begun (so far, no, nothing yet).

But try selling his good points to some of the other Pirate-related blogs and message boards. Might be a tougher sell than ol' Mondesi.

--Becky from Parts Unknown chimed in on Large Benjamin Roethlisberger:

"Fun is great, but he already had his little tv tour this offseason and blew off half of last week's workouts playing golf in Cali. You would think that he wants to prove the naysayers wrong. His work ethic DOES suck. And if he's gonna blow off being a leader for his team, the least he could do is look happy. He looks more intersted in that freaking icecream bar than his girlfrend. Idiot. Here's to 8-8 again..."

I have many thoughts in my head about the state of the Steelers. I think that's going to be a seperate column for another day. But count Becky among the growing amount of Steelers fans questioning Big Ben's love of the game.

Personally, I don't think he's a Peyton Manning, all-day, all-night film study guy who eats, sleeps, and breathes football. Doesn't particularly look like the finest physical specimen on the planet, either. I think he's more in the category of "shows up when the lights come on", and that rubs some fans the wrong way. There's a perception that he's done more partying/travelling this offseason than after the Super Bowl, and I'm not the registrar of Roethlisberger's comings and goings (that would be this site), but I would probably agree with that.

Listen, a guy is entitled to some free time. As demanding as the NFL life is, I fully expect players to enjoy their leisure time in a non-Making-it-Rain-with-PacMan way. But coming off of a bad season by most accounts, Ben's very public offseason is going to agitate some Steeler fans. That's just reality.

*By the way, Becky included a pic of Big Ben eating an ice cream bar while in full Sean John gear, hence the reference to said "freaking icecream bar" in her email.

--Longtime reader TJ from Cleveland checked in with this:

"I went to the Cavs game last night with my sister for her b-day, and as we were walking to our seats, right in front of us was this couple. The guy was probably 6'4'', and his wife was one of the hottest women I've ever seen, ever. Anyway, the guy turns around, and its Kellen Winslow. He's lean; not as big as I thought he might be. He seemed pretty cordial; people were calling out his name and he was waving and smiling and stuff. What made me laugh though was that he was rocking a fedora; I don't know if he was going for the D-Wade look or the K-Fed look.

During the game they panned the crowd and put a picture of him at his seat on the scoreboard, which got a mixed reaction of cheers and jeers. I don't know how I'd feel about that if I was an athlete/celeb - I guess its a double-edged sword. On one hand, you just want to go to the game with as few distractions as possible, but on the other hand, when you're at that status, you just have to accept the fact that it will happen."

If I were a member of the Browns, any reaction involving cheers would have to be looked upon as a huge success, especially if I were Kellen Winslow II.

--TJ also sent along this virtual kick in the nuts to Cleveland fans: the website "God Hates Cleveland Sports". He describes it as "kind of like Mondesi's House, but for Cleveland". Hey, watch it. At least our teams win something from time to time other than the draft lottery (which we also win---cough---sidney crosby---cough---).

I know, Lebron's going to play for real now that the playoffs are ready to start. And then you can send me another recap of Kellen Winslow at the playoff game. But this time, remember, a picture of a fedora'd-KWII would be even better than a recap.

--Brad sent along the website

"Has almost every tv show or cartoon one can imagine available for online viewing."

Wow...Brad really doesn't want anyone reading this site to get any work done today. But thanks for the site.

--A popular submission was anything relating to the Colin situation. I think Cowherd was out of line for what he did, I think he deserved disciplinary action from ESPN, and I think The Big Lead should explore possible legal angles. Great write-up from the ESPN Ombudswoman on the topic.

--PacMan, PacMan, PacMan. I received this link numerous times today. So tell me, what exactly is PacMan Jones going to do with himself over the next year? May I suggest Head Recruiter for Coach Huggins? Why not help his Alma Mater?

--A few people sent over the link from Teapot Dome Scandal entitled "LaRoche Unable to Handle Pressure of Playing in Pittsburgh". LaRoche? Heck, I'm still wondering if Jason Bay can handle the pressure.

*After you read that piece, remember, I officially declared Shawn Chacon a "True Pirate" on August 10, 2006.

--Also a popular submission: the Bob Huggins-Kansas State "reaction" article.

Best line:

"As Huggins officially changed jobs again, purple-clad fans sipped Boulevard beers, watched college baseball and quietly moved on. Kris Smith, the general manager at Kite's Bar and Grill, said Thursday night was rowdy. Some angry fans at a bar down the street tried to get screwdrivers and yank a picture of Huggins off the wall. "

Yikes. And for those of you who missed it, you may want to check out my little list of Huggins' various indesrections from last week. West Virginia...wild and wonderful.

--Bill from Pittsburgh sent this story about a PA teacher suing over a fake Myspace page created by one of his students.

--Doug thinks you should know about Carmen Electra's new naked wrestling league. No, Kurt Angle is not in it...yet.

--Sam in Mt. Lebanon sends over this montage of the Pens' 2006-07 season. The only problem: it's incomplete without Jim Balsillie's opening-night s-bomb. But seriously, some great stuff here.

--I can always count on David M. from Mississippi to provide me with some great news of the weird. We'll take you out with some of his findings of late:

2nd-hand flatulence prompts new butts-out policy

Dating website for the mentally ill

Carmen Electra has girl crush

Can't Name Their Baby "Metallica"

Memphis Belle arrested (you have to click for the pic)

The mailbag is here to stay! As always, you can send your thoughts on anything to for the next installment. And please include your city and state if you can.


TheStarterWife said...

I must be the worst Goggler on the planet. I simply cannot find the pic of Ben eating ice cream. Damn.

(I know I don't post here really, but as a long time lurker I am sorry to hear these are tough times around MondesisHouse.)

CapitolMAN said...

The onus is on Jack Wilson to line up properly. Bay was too deep to make a reasonable throw to second. He even glanced at second, but couldn't find Wilson.

DCScrap said...

Nice to have you back.

Meadowbrookalum1 said...

That was possibly the coolest hockey video that I've ever seen.

save the steagles said...

Man, after watching that video I don't know how I'm gonna last these next 7 hours before the game starts. I'm so excited!

tecmo said...

welcome back! just in time for some PENGUINS HOCKEY!

Unknown said...

I am glod I can assist in time-wasting, it makes me feel better when I am unproductive as well. Pens in 6, NBC(not OLN/Vs./the Mountain West Conference Channel) has the game tonight, right?

Louis Lipps is my homeboy said...

In honor of the playoffs starting tonight, I've grown a beard AND I'm already drinking.

And I still have a class to go to.

I'm having a couple illnesses in my family right now too, plus my aunt's dog died (possibly the greatest dog in the history dogs), so I know what Mondesi's going through. Hang in there dude!

Dirty Sanchez said...

Well, our beloved Pens definitely poo'd the bed last night. I haven't seen such stellar defense since the days of Chris Tamer and Jamie Pushor.

I say they've gotten the nervousness out of their system and come out fighting mad on Saturday. Or they get smoked again en route to a 5 game defeat.

The Duke from Dukes Court said...

I was at the Tuesday April 10th Pirates debacle celebrating my 27th birthday.

Some thoughts:

When the Buccos had Eldred on 2nd and Duffy on first in extra innings, why not pinch run for Eldred? There had to be SOMEONE faster than him on the bench. But instead they leave him in, and he gets thrown out at third after a poor bunt by Jack Wilson.

I'd also like to mention that the fireworks show was screwed up. They did the count down and started the music but no fireworks went off. After 30 seconds of music with no fireworks they stopped the music. The funniest jeer i heard when this happened was: "Hurry up, IT'S A SCHOOL NIGHT!!" After a brief delay the fireworks show started again and worked fine. After watching the Bucs blow this game in the 9th and then leave runners stranded in each inning of extra innings and then having the fireworks show screwed up i was left with a sour, SOUR taste in my mouth.

Come on Buccos, at least get the fireworks right!

I went to the home opener last year on April 10th for my 26th birthday, I should have learned my lesson during that horrible horrible game.