Big Lead Sports Bar


Monday Mailbag

Well, that was pretty bad. As expected, the Pens came out flying...and then were promptly grounded for the rest of the game. Hours later, I still can't find the words to describe that black hole disguised as a second period.
Other than Crosby's incredible goal, the highlights of this game were few and far between from a Penguin perspective...although Malkin absolutely losing his mind in the third period makes my personal season highlight reel. Curious time for him to go nuts for the first time in his NHL career. It was nice to see him stick up for Crosby, though.
That Maxime Talbot-Dean McAmmond fight which happened while Ottawa's Patrick Eaves lay concussed on the ice was pretty surreal as well.

I can guarantee they're not selling many Colby Armstrong jerseys in Ottawa these days, as he's battling Crosby and Gary Roberts for Enemy #1 on the Senators Most Wanted List. By the way, great article from The Ottawa Citizen chastising the Senator faithful for booing El Sid.
Yes, even the presence of Jeff Jimerson himself could not will the Penguins to a victory. By the way, are you aware that Jimerson scored an IMDB page as a result of singing the national anthem in Sudden Death?

Best movie ever?

I must add, nice work by the Pens fans who booed the Canadian national anthem at Sunday's game. You know, Canada, birthplace of Crosby, Staal, Roberts, Fleury, etc. Thanks for representing our city well, morons.

The next meeting between the Pens and Sens happens Tuesday night at 7 PM at Mellon Arena. Until then, we can debate about adding Nils Ekman and/or Alain Nasreddine to the lineup, as they're doing on the #1 Cochran Sports Showdown, which I'm listening to in the background as I type this. I'm sure that's the answer to beating Ottawa. I'll tell ya, there's nothing like listening to a bunch of sportswriters yell at each other on a Sunday night to get you ready for bed.

--Anyone else catch the Mavs-Spurs game on Sunday? I know, you don't care about the NBA, but I had to watch something before the Pens game was on. Well, Deadspin was watching, and they chronicled what I thought was totally unreal: Tim Duncan got tossed from the game for laughing.

--Where Have You Gone, Andy Van Slyke points out the huge F-you the Pirates sent to Humberto Cota by retiring Paul Waner's number...that Cota is still wearing. I know Cota sucks, and by sucks I mean "really sucks", but that's pretty cold.

--And finally, thanks to Dan at the Post-Gazette for his well-wishes in the Blog N Gold column over the weekend. The continued support from everyone is much appreciated through this difficult time.

Now, onto the mailbag...

--A.J. from 105.9 the X gives us a moment of levity after a solemn Penguins defeat:

"This gave me a chuckle (post-Pens debacle)....The Real Story of PacMan Jones"
This is a cartoon parody, and is simply spectacular. Set to the '60s Batman theme, with all of the Batman accessories customized to's off the charts. A must-watch.
--Dave F. asks,
"Which trade acquisition has been more disappointing thus far, Laraque or Laroche? The brawler who won't brawl, or the slugger who won't slug?"
Laraque has been disappointing, but I think that was predictable. He's not the first tough guy to come to Pittsburgh and suddenly think he can play without enforcing (Andre Roy, anyone?). Plus, his presence has taken a little heat off of Crosby, which is a plus.
LaRoche, on the other hand, is a perplexing call. I hear a lot of talk about how he's a slow starter, and how he'll heat up after the All-Star break. Fantastic...if he played for the Yankees or Red Sox. The Pirates are a team that needs to win, and needs to win NOW. April games should be played with September intensity.

We've already seen them parlay a 3-0 start into a current record of 4-6. And it wasn't like the Pirates were facing Nolan Ryan, Randy Johnson, and Roger Clemens in their prime. They were struggling against pitchers like Braden Looper, Russ Ortiz, and Randy Keisler. The only break they caught over the weekend was that the last two games were postponed. Bonds might have broken the record in that time span, given the way he manhandled Pirate pitching on Friday night.
--David M. found this comment from my last mailbag interesting, when I said, "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."
David adds:

Try listening to a friend of mine who still hopes to convince me Sammy Kahlifa never really got a shot, Doug Froebel just had a hitch in his swing, Kris Benson's wife was an independent role model for women or this being the year Duffy becomes an All-Star.

I'm in his corner this year with our potential, although the lack of depth scares me. If we finish as 90 game losers again, I'll have a hard time convincing myself we're any different from Cubs fans with regards to blind expectations!
From a guy who wrote a 2007 season preview outlining 79 reasons why it's hard to root for this franchise, I may be looked at by some as a Pirate hater. Totally untrue. If anything, I'm very passionate and care about the team. If I hated the Pirates, I wouldn't talk about them at all. Don't get me wrong, there are many things I hate about what's happened with the Pirates, but they're my favorite baseball team by far.
That being said, I refuse to let myself get roped into any kind of hype until I see some consistent results on the field. In short, yes, I am the equivalent of a Cubs fan, waiting for something bad to happen. Such as losing 6 of 7 after a 3-0 start.
Also, for the record, I'm not in the "let's get to .500" camp. When we're .500 and throw our .500 Parade, we can then settle in and watch the Yankees, Red Sox, and Cardinals of the world playing in October.

--Yantanko asks,
"What's with Pirates management's boner for Jack Wilson? Doesn't he, all things considered, kind of suck?"

Good guy, keeps his nose clean, does just enough to keep most fans off his back...other than that, yeah, he kind of sucks. But he's not as bad as Humberto Cota, because they didn't retire his jersey number.
--Dirty Sanchez sends over video from the 1991 Bulls Championship, where Bob Costas refers to Michael Jordan's wife as his mother. Costas blames being covered in champagne. I'm not buying it.
--Dave from Canonsburg, PA (giving this mailbag a hat-trick of "Daves") informs me,
"Were you aware that C. Vivian Stringer was from Western PA? Do you care? Do you even know who C. Vivian Stringer is, or why she goes by the name "C. Vivian"?

1. No.
2. No.
3. No and no.
--For all you Slippery Rock women's lacrosse fans, Art C. is the bearer of bad news after their 24-1 loss to Bloomsburg:
From Slippery Rock's Online Rocket: "Only allowing 22 goals against the Falcons lowered the girl's goals against average from 23.43 down to 23.25."

That stat is like a line from the original Bad News Bears. The Bears still haven’t scored a run, but the good news is their foul balls are up. I really question if there is any value to putting a team on the field that is this over matched. Does either team benefit? It is barely a decent practice for the teams beating them. Not like they are playing teams that should out class them. These are schools in their own conference.
I'm sorry to hear that SRU's women's lacrosse team is struggling so much, but that's two women's college sports mentions in a row. Not to be cold towards women's college sports, but I can hear the readers clicking off of my site as we speak.
My favorite line:
"I like to be unpredictable," laughs Torres, who's blown a save and suffered a loss in his last two outings. "Next, I'm going to learn the gyroball."

--Tony from West Mifflin asks,

"Mondesi, what are your favorite television shows?"

What, you mean outside of the Fedko Fone Zone? Well, lately I've been watching a lot of Survivorman and Man vs. Wild on Discovery. They drop these guys in the middle of nowhere and they're forced to survive for a few days on their own. You know, killing their own food, making their own shelter, that kind of thing. In fact, as I'm writing this, the Man vs. Wild guy is walking through an active volcano with his boot on fire. I'm intrigued to see what he can find to eat in this episode (I later found out: an avocado). But nothing tops his diet in the "swamp" episode, where he ate a frog, turtle, and snake in consecutive days.

Other than that, it's purely highbrow stuff...South Park, Family Guy, Simpsons. I'll only watch the news if they can find a way to animate it.
--Chris from California asks,
"Any thoughts on the 2007 Steelers yet?"
Yes...and plenty. I've been waiting to tear into these guys for quite some time. I've had just about enough of Alan Faneca's opinions on who should be coaching, who should be playing, and pretty much anything else that he has an opinion on. As I've said before, if it were up to Faneca, Tommy Maddox would have been the QB in 2004. So his opinion stopped mattering a long time ago. Just block the big guy opposite you, collect your paycheck, and drive home safely.
Same for #86. I know, we're all sad Peezy is gone. Get over it. He certainly has. That's called life in the NFL, my friend. Jerome's gone, Bill's gone, Peezy's gone, Whis is gone, Russ is gone. But you're still there, and you're supposed to be a team leader. So please act like one and get behind your coach.
Last year, I watched a story about the Jets and Eric Mangini on some pregame show. Basically, no one gave a crap what Mangini said early in his tenure because he was a young guy and a first time coach. In one ear, out the other. He had to "win over" veterans like Jonathan Vilma. Exactly how many Super Bowl rings does Mr. Vilma own? That's right, as many as me. Zero. It never crossed Mr. Vilma's mind to do what he was supposed to do and just play for the guy because it was his job. Mangini had to prove he belonged. Once they started winning, more guys "bought in". I'm so glad they were able to finally give their attention to their boss.
The fat contracts of today dictate who's really in charge, because too many players simply turn it on and turn it off at will. A guy like Mike Tomlin really has an uphill battle, because he has a room full of know-it-alls who won a Super Bowl not too long ago. Mind you that these same know-it-alls couldn't put together enough of an effort to beat the Raiders last year, but trust me, they know more than Tomlin. They have to, they just won a Super Bowl. They think last year was a series of bad luck, bad breaks, bad calls, and bad officiating. I have news for the carryovers from last year's team: it was also full of bad attitudes, bad penalties, and bad efforts. Another team totally tuning out their coach...and he was the one that won the Super Bowl with them.
Let's put it this way: my expectations are not sky-high with this team for 2007. In some ways, it's like a rebuilding year. Good luck, Mike Tomlin. You'll need it.
I love Survivorman, but do you know what I love even more? Your email. As always, you can send your thoughts on anything to for the next installment. And please include your city and state if you can.


tecmo said...

not tryin to pimp my site here or anything, but awful announcing's sportsblog mock draft is happening, and im in charge of the steelers' 2nd round pick. mondesis house is one of my favorite blogs, and i would love to hear some opinions/feedback from the mh crowd on who the steelers should take.
oh and booing the canadian national anthem? weak. anything involving jeff jimerson should not be booed

Russell Lucas said...

Re: SUDDEN DEATH, Mike Lange and Paul Steigerwald also got imdb pages out of that fiasco. Even better-- Markus Naslund has one, and some dork actually started listing appearances on Hockey Night in Canada as film credits.

tecmo said...

imdb = a joke

tecmo said...

and the pic of eaves on a stretcher looks identical to the pic of the kid on a stretcher in the story about the bus crash. had me like, "wtf? didnt i just see this?"