Big Lead Sports Bar


Monday Mailbag...on Tuesday

Wow...that NFL draft really wore out my brain on Saturday. Shortly after coverage wrapped up for the day, I talked myself into a trip to Wal-Mart for a few essentials. It turned out to be the most random shopping trip I've ever experienced. Drain-O. Baby Back Rib-flavored potato chips. Scotch tape. Onion blossom-flavored pretzel bites. Computer paper. Strawberry Twizzlers. A package of frozen White Castle hamburgers. This is what happens after you watch a day full of draft coverage: a shopping list that would make a stoner's munchie run seem normal. I then got trapped in an aisle that was roped off for a rogue floor crew dressed in menacing blue vests. I could not escape. I was lucky to make it home in one piece. I needed to get a good night's sleep, as I had another day of blogging ahead of me on Sunday.
The story of the draft, other than my brain turning to mush as a result of watching scrolling names for an entire day, was Brady Quinn. I'm not shocked by his fall one bit. I said the entire season that he was tremendously overrated. But since bloggers from Pittsburgh don't make up the decision of who gets chosen for the NFL draft's green room, Quinn was invited. Hey, it made for great television.
Locally, I put quite a bit of time into covering each and every Steeler pick, and my investment in time paid off. The last few days were some of the most-visited in site history. Hate it or love it, people flock to draft coverage like frat boys to a unattended keg. I had Wikipedia, NFL Draft Countdown, and on speed dial. Then I had the task of sifting through various school websites for additional nuggets of information. Hey, it was the first draft I ever covered for the site...I had to put in a solid effort.
Many readers have asked for my opinion from a Steeler point of view. I realize it was an "unsexy" draft (I suppose trading for Randy Moss would have livened it up), but we can't draft skill position players every year. I literally heard people saying the Steelers should draft Adrian Peterson in the first round and Dwayne Jarrett in the second. They are people that I would call "out of touch with reality".
Earth to certain brain-dead Steeler fans: you don't draft a running back in the first round when your starter last year had 1,494 yards and 15 touchdowns. Especially when he's young and has even less wear than a usual back of his age because he played sparingly in college. I've said this before, but it just doesn't seem to sink in with some Steeler fans: there is no Bettis Tree that will bear another power back for our taking. It is not our birthright to have a bowling ball back that is fleet of foot.
I heard Gerry Dulac pining for Michael Bush on FSN's draft roundtable on Monday night. Yeah, that's exactly what we need: a guy with a steel rod in his leg who's still not 100%. But hey, he's 250 pounds, and he would look great in a black-and-gold uniform. I know that he wasn't a first-round possibility, but why risk it when you can get another useful player instead and sign some free agent RBs to develop, which they did on Monday (snagging three, including Gary Russell, who ran for 1,274 yards and 18 touchdowns in 2005 for the Minnesota Golden Gophers).
You see, the Steelers simply do not draft running backs in the first round; they develop them or acquire them from outside the organization. Prove me wrong with this list of leading rushers since 1989 first-rounder Tim Worley:
1990-91: Merrill Hoge (1987, 10th round)
1992, 94: Barry Foster (1990, 5th round)
1993: Leroy Thompson (1991, 6th round)
1995: Erric Pegram (free agent)
1996-2001: Bettis (trade)
2002: Zereoue (1999, 3rd round)
2003-04: Bettis
2005 and 06: Parker (free agent)
Heck, they didn't even give up a first-rounder for Bettis, and they got a third-rounder to boot. But my point is pretty clear: the Steelers have proven quite adept at developing their own running backs. I think the now-departed Dick Hoak had a lot to do with that, but I still believe the position is in good hands.
As for the receivers, exactly how many do we need on the team? As I noted on Monday, we already have Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes, Nate Washington, Cedrick Wilson, Willie Reid, and Walter Young. That's simply not a luxury that we could afford with an early pick.
No, it wasn't the most exciting draft, but I think we have some guys who can contribute in the near future. And I DO like the punter pick, because I grew so weary of watching The Unblockable the past few seasons. Field position does matter, despite Ed Bouchette telling us that punters aren't football players last night on that same FSN roundtable.
OK, that's enough on the draft...let's get to a few links before the real fun (translation: mailbag) begins.
--What if teams actually listened to Mel Kiper each year? Well, the Steelers would have Lendale White, Heath Miller, Dan Morgan, Phillip Rivers, Larry Johnson, and Toniu Fonoti. Sure, that looks good...until you consider that they wouldn't have Troy Polamalu, Ben Roethlisberger, Santonio Holmes, Casey Hampton, and Kendall Simmons.
--Here's SI's Top 10 Draft Surprises. Here's no surprise: Brady Quinn was #1 on their list. At least he was #1 in something from draft weekend.
--Sean Salisbury just got dumped from his afternoon radio gig in Chicago. Sadly, there was no angry protest.
--Michael Vick got a talking-to from Roger Goodell at the draft this weekend. And they weren't discussing Brady Quinn's fall.
--Pirates are #22 in SI's baseball power rankings. Ironic, given the use of the word "power", from the team that has none.
--Item 1-K in 10 Things Peter King Thought He Thought: And H.B. Blades going in the fifth? The Redskins stole him. Just stole him.
--American Idol raised $60 million for charity last week, but at the cost of Jumping the Shark on unprecedented levels?
--This is a verbatim copy-and-paste job. It has to be read in its entirety to be believed:
OK, TV fans -- here's your chance to ask '80s teen heartthrobs Corey Haim and Corey Feldman anything! They return to the tube this summer with a new reality series on A&E called "The Two Coreys," but they will also be guest columnists on MSN, and you can ask them anything. Seriously. Got a question about your relationship? Ask them. Need advice on breaking into the acting biz? Ask away. Want to know what it was like to work with Kiefer Sutherland? Ask them, already! The best questions will be featured in the column and answered personally by each Corey. So, go ahead, Corey-maniacs, ask away:
--Schools are banning iPods to cut down on the newest form of cheating. It's just like steroids or HGH...the cheaters will always stay a step ahead.
--Allegheny County has just banned smoking in bars and restaurants.
--Your newest celebrity feud: Nelly Furtado against Fergie. What power is stronger: the Promiscuous Girl or the Flossy Flossy?
--Here are 10 of the greatest Howard Stern TV moments (with video), including appearances by Hank the Angry Drunken Dwarf (who I once met at the old Area 51 club in the Strip, along with High Pitch Eric), Beetlejuice, and Jeff the Drunk.
--While we're on the topic of Howard, here's a really cool site that lets you create a personalized message from Artie Lange to be delivered via email or phone.
--TJ from Cleveland is a daily reader, longtime friend, former roommate, and devoted, anguished fan of all things Cleveland:
Well, the draft has come and gone...I absolutely could NOT believe how the Browns fared...I held my breath as they announced the #3 pick, as I was sure it was going to either Quinn or Thomas. When they announced JT, I about leapt in the air for joy. FINALLY, after 9 frigging seasons, the Browns DON'T go with a sexy pick, and take a lineman. Let's just hope he's more Jonathan Ogden and less Tony Boselli.

While I think that Quinn is overrated, I like the move by Savage to trade up to get him. While initially I thought that selecting Thomas was a vote of confidence in Charlie Frye, apparently they aren't sold on him as their QB of the future. Granted, it's a ballsy risk; if the Browns finish with another poor record, then it looks like the Cowboys hosed the Browns. But, if the Brownies turn it around and finish with a record in the top half of the league, then it might not be so bad. Of course, b/c this is the Browns, I do need to dilute my enthusiasm with a little reality, and realize that Savage did this a few years back to get Kyle Boller.

Anyway, what are your thoughts on yinz Stillers draft? I wonder if Tomlin & Colbert made sure to OK each pick w/ Asst. GMs Faneca and Ward.
A very well-thought email from an intelligent, level-headed Cleveland fan...a true scarcity. But honestly, I don't see Quinn changing the fortunes of the Browns' franchise anytime soon. With their luck, he'll probably have a safe drop on his head before the first practice. But it will certainly be enjoyable to watch the Steelers beat up on him twice a year. VERY enjoyable.
By the way, great jab at Asst. GMs Faneca and Ward. But I don't think they're as tenured as Asst. GM Favre in Green Bay, who did a well-publicized slow burn about his team not drafting a first-round running back or trading for Randy Moss.
--"The Drink" from Nashville chimes in on Quinn Mania:
I feel bad for Brady Quinn. Who really wants to be a Cleveland Brown? I mean...the shadow of Bernie Kosar or as i like to call him "Elway's Punching Bag", still looms on the city by the stinky lake.
It should be noted that "The Drink" is a lifelong Denver Bronco fan. To him, I say congratulations on having a coach ballsy enough to draft not one, but two players with character issues (Jarvis Moss, Marcus Thomas) in the face of Roger Goodell's new conduct policy. Of course, he was also willing to draft Maurice Clarett in 2005, so I really shouldn't be too surprised.
--Maria T. brings back an oldie but goodie:
Let me put this really simple.. GwenJen gives the female fans of Pittsburgh a bad name. She's actually quite disgusting and should probably be banned from all Pittsburgh Sporting Events due to the fact that she draws attention to herself because she WANTS attention. Seriously, if I go to a Pens game and I want to read up on them afterward I don't want to see her gross exposed body painted self splattered on the internet. It seriously is a typical female thing.. She wants attention.. Too bad it's for ALL the wrong reasons..
GwenJen is a real phenomenon. I still get Google searches all the time for her. It's simply unreal. In Canada, she must be an official D-list celebrity by now. And she still generating angry emails like this, about three months after she first hit the net.
--David F. talks Yankees-Red Sox:
So ESPN has finished shoving Yankees-Red Sox down our throats for the time being. Who do you hate more, the Yankees or Red Sox? I've decided I hate the Yankees team more since they have the highest payroll in the league, but I hate the Red Sox fans more because all they do is whine about"only" having the second highest payroll in the league. When football season rolls around, we can look forward to ESPN returning to shove the NFC East down our throats.
Funny I should get this email. I happened to catch Baseball Tonight on Friday night, and was blown away by what I saw. Yankees-Red Sox, Yankees-Red Sox, Yankees-Red Sox, and the full "stock montage" of Don Zimmer vs. Pedro, A-Rod against Varitek, Bucky Dent, Babe Ruth, Aaron Boone, etc.
Honestly, is this really necessary each and every time these teams play? And this wasn't even a good matchup...this was a 15-7 team against an 8-13 team. The 14-8 Braves played the 9-14 Rockies that night, but there were no montages of Todd Helton, Terry Pendleton, or Bob Horner. I know, they have no rivalry. I'll get to that later.
Friday night had four games decided by one run, as well as a few matchups actually featuring two winning teams, such as Angels-White Sox and Tigers-Twins. But they took a backseat to America's most overhyped rivalry.
Seriously, does ESPN ever wonder why people beat up on them? It's things like the Friday night montages that turn people off. It was totally unnecessary for an April game between a first-place team and a last-place team.
The reason there are no other rivalries perceived as rivalries by the rest of the country? It's because they don't get the same treatment as Yankees/ Red Sox. Ever see a montage of classic Dodger-Giant moments to lead a Baseball Tonight or SportsCenter? How about Cardinals-Cubs? Of course not. Those rivalries are just as intense. But as long as each and every Yanks/Sox series is overcovered, other rivalries will struggle to climb the ladder of exposure.
The Yanks and Sox get high ratings because that's all we ever see. Start covering other teams with the same intensity and there won't be a ratings disaster when one or both of these teams is bounced from the playoffs (or ...gasp...doesn't qualify).
By the way, I hate the Red Sox AND Yankees, as well as the entire NFL East. If only T.O. could play for the Yankees, I'm sure a lot of TV folks would be happy.
--Art from Slippery Rock tips us that Christopher Knight, aka Peter Brady, will appear at an Altoona Curve game as part of their "Retro Celebrity Series":

Date: Tuesday
July 17, 2007
Time: 7:05 PM
With the help of S & T Bank television's "Peter Brady", Christopher Knight, makes an appearance at Blair County Ballpark as the Curve's Retro Celebrity Series continues! It is also Karaoke Night at the ballpark.

Peter Brady AND karaoke? Plus Andrew McCutchen and Neil Walker? Count me in. gives us an update on our favorite goateed talk-show guest, golfer, and part-time signal caller:
Ben is scheduled to participate as a Guest-Instructor at the 2007 Colonial All Pro Football Camp at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. The Camp is June 24th through the 27th (but he is scheduled to play in the Mario Lemieux Celebrity Golf Tournament that starts on the 27th also). More info? On of course!!!
Here's a picture that Erin cannot find from this offseason: Ben lifting weights, running, studying the playbook, and throwing. I kid, I kid. I'm sure Ben will be fine.
--Jeremy from Virginia has a Pitt question:
Blog man,
Just wondering if you know why I just renewed my Pitt football season tickets? I’m looking at the schedule and just have no idea why I would money AGAIN to these 7 games.
Guess it’s blind faith.
OK, let's examine the Pitt home schedule:
Eastern Michigan. Grambling. Connecticut. Navy. Cincinnati. Syracuse. South Florida.
No, I have no idea why you renewed your tickets.
--Gavin from Pittsburgh tells us about the Pirates fight song:
I don't know if you guys have heard this yet, but I felt obligated to bring it to your attention. It is so awesomely bad that I think it is only fitting that it become the unofficial fight song of the most atrociously bad franchise in baseball and maybe all of professional sports. The fact that it reverts back to the disco era and the Pirate glory days (almost like Sister Sledge on ecstasy) only adds to its authenticism, especially since many Pirate fans are still stuck in 1979 anyway.
Unfortunately, the Commodore-64 computer I use was having a hard time loading this audio file. So I was unable to hear it. But if the word "Pirates" is involved in any way, shape, or form, I'll take your word that it's awesomely bad.
--John from Florida has some Super Mario-related email:
I stumbled on something the other day. Not sure if you've seen it, but it's two videos of some guy playing these impossible levels on Super Mario Brothers that I've never seen before. Both clips are about 12 minutes long, and the guy commentates the whole thing in a thick New Jersey accent.

It seems stupid, and overly long, but trust me I was surprised myself at how thoroughly entertaining this was for the whole 24 minutes (and yes, I quit smoking marijuana recreationally years ago so it can't be the weed!)
Super Mario, viral internet video, and thick Jersey accents. Life doesn't get any better than this.
--Jodie from Tyrone, PA has an issue with last week's link of a New York Times hockey article (registration required) about Russian player (such as Malkin) being blamed for early playoff exits:
The article made me angry because NOT ONCE does it mention that the Russians have a much shorter hockey season, and the writer seems to imply that the media, the coaches, and the hockey fans are biased against them. I mean, why even bother writing an article like this? I don’t know enough about the other Russian players to comment, but I do know that Evgeni Malkin tore it up during the regular season, but he seemed spooked after getting hit in Game 1 of the playoffs and subsequently failed to make any noise in the post season. I don’t think it’s because he’s Russian; rather, that he’s used to the much shorter Russian hockey season. Since you didn’t really say, I was curious – what are your thoughts?
Malkin being Russian had nothing to do with why he crumbled in the playoffs. Well, actually it had something to do with it---but it won't next year. The ordeal with Metallurg had to be trying for the young guy, as well as the adjustment to a new country, not knowing the language, and the grind of his first full season against NHL competition. And we haven't even touched the whole GwenJen controversy. You will see a different Evgeni Malkin in next year's playoffs. But I doubt he'll know English.
Dirty Sanchez has quite the interesting link:
I go to the beach on vacation, this fellow gets his manhood chopped off and new plumbing installed. Should make for some interesting talk around the water cooler.
Maybe Troy Polamalu is on to something with his Anti-Gatorade rhetoric
--Matt in Houston sends us Fox's Fictional football player mock draft. I noticed that Steamin' Willie Beamen fell to the 10th pick after being projected as #1. The fictitious commissioner did not rescue him from the green room.
--Matt also sends along this update on Dr. K. How the mighty have fallen.
--Black Young tells us about the best kicker name ever...Ding Long of China, hoping to make NFL Europe. I hope he doesn't take pictures of himself like another kicker we all know and love.
--Tim from the North Side:
This Steelers mascot idea MUST BE STOPPED. It's so cheesy, so desperate, so tone-deaf: the kind of thing the Pirates would do, for christ's sake.
I appreciate the sentiment, but the horse is already out of the barn on this one. But if the Pirates did it, I'm sure it would somehow be 100 times worse.
--From my man Blueline1925:
This draft, aside from the Brady Quinn slide, lacked any drama or excitement that seemed to follow drafts in years past. Granted, there weren't a whole lot of "star" names out there for the first round, and unlike 2006 when there were two Heisman winners taken in the Top 10, this year's Heisman winner would have to wait until the fifth round. Ho-hum. In the future, people may look back at this draft as a lot filled with productive-but-unspectacular players, as some experts have predicted, but as far as the weekend goes, I had more fun fixing my screen door.
Fixing a screen door sounds like a blast after my post-draft Wal-Mart experience. But you're right, it was a very top-heavy draft. We were spoiled with Vince Young, Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart last year---and none of them ended up as the first pick anyway.
I heard more than one outlet claim that the Steelers owned the last pick of true first-round value. Everyone after the Steelers would be paying first-round money for second-round talent. Or in Cleveland's case, paying first-round money in addition to a first-round pick next year and a second-round pick this year.
--Sean from Virginia:
This may sound ridiculous, but I think I figured out who the Steelers mascot resembles - well at least in the eyes chin and possibly eyebrows - the Green Goblin. Check the pictures on my site and let me know if you agree or not.
Sean must know that Spiderman is my soft spot, especially with the movie just days away. And they do resemble one another. But you have to visit his site for the pics.
--From Dennis O.:
You can already vote for the MLB All Stars? Hopefully the Buccos staff are ready to start stuffing ballot boxes ASAP.
--Mike from Washington & Jefferson (alma mater of your truly) sends over the phone call that Michael Jackson made to Sanjaya. Mike, don't visit this site, you need to be studying. Or selling baseball cards, like I did when I went to W&J.
--Craig sends the news that Pittsburgh is ranked #1 in the country for baby boomer romance. And why not? We're America's most livable city...again.
--Beej tips us on the budding love between Edmonton Oiler Jarrett Stoll, 24, and Rod Stewart-ex Rachel Hunter, 37.
As always, I encourage you to send your thoughts on anything to for the next installment.And please include your city and state if you can.


HotDog_Zanzabar said...

Great read! Mailbag is officially the best thing on Mondesi's House.

Unknown said...

Mitch Hedberg would label this an "all-encompassingly" mailbag

Jules said...

Yankees/Red Sox. We can hate on them all we want but the fact is that networks choose programming that they believe people will watch. Of course they are going to put the two teams with the largest fan bases to drive ratings.

mondesishouse said...

Obviously I didn't make my point clear enough. Of course the networks want the best ratings. But as long as Yankees/Red Sox continues to be overexposed, it will continue to get high ratings--it's the only matchup that casual fans recognize. It's perceived by many as the only baseball rivalry that matters.

Do the NFL TV affiliates merely hype Jets-Patriots? I think we all know the answer to that question. And they have infinitely more fan interest as a result.

Real McCoy said...

You had me at

"white castle hamburgers"

AJ said...

I love the Steelers taking Charles Jefferson from Ridgemont High in that mock draft. Talk about an impact player.

I guess the only question is what's he going to do? Is he gonna shit or is he gonna kill us?

Unknown said...

Don my dear, check your email! I gotcha on this one! I expect a retraction (of sorts) of course!


Louis Lipps is my homeboy said...

Agreed, Yankees v. Sox draws ratings because it's hyped the most.

It's almost like an ESPN self fullfilling prophecy.

It doesn't hurt that ESPN is located in Connecticut, or in laymens terms, right smack dab between NYC and Boston.

But hey, if ESPN were located in Youngstown Ohio, we'd get all Pittsburgh vs Cleveland, all the time!!!

And about the Doc Gooden picture, it's from the Hillsborough County (the county that Tampa, and myself, reside in) Sheriffs Department website. That thing is great if you know anyone that got arrested in Tampa and you want to make fun of their mug shot. They're all posted right there on the site!

Jules said...

I hear your point about the hype of the Yankees/Sox rivalry. Is it overhyped...absolutely! But I just can't buy into the fact that it gets ratings simply because everyone has been brainwashed by ESPN to believe that is the only baseball rivalry that matters.

Why are the Steelers who just came off a .500 season on FIVE prime time games next season? Because they draw ratings...because there are Steelers fans everywhere.

Louis Lipps is my homeboy said...

But, a Steelers v. Browns rivalry game won't be the lead story and 1/2 the stories in between on Sportcenter. It is not hyped any differently than any other football game.

Their are rivalries as bitter and old as Yankees v. Sox, but none that are covered (and recently outright crammed down our throats) as much as that one is. But that has to do with one thing: Location, location, location.

And it's not even so much the games between the two being frequently televised that I mind (although I don't exactly like it or anything). It's the constant coverage of every minute aspect of the Yankees and Red Sox... like why we all know who the hell Doug Mirabelli, the Sox mediocre backup catcher, is.

Tell me what other teams mediocre, backup catchers had ESPN cover them arriving at Fenway Park after a trade?

The Duke from Dukes Court said...

I remember back in the late 90s when EVERYONE watched Sportscenter. They had funny and unique hosts who made us laugh and also told us what was going on in the sports world.

Nowadays it seems that most hardcore sports fans now consider Sportscenter, and ESPN in general, a total joke. Deadspin rips ESPN at least 3 times daily, and I don't blame them.

ESPN is known for overdoing or overexposing teams and stories, gyro ball anyone?


Fantastic post.