Big Lead Sports Bar



First off, I must apologize for the infrequency of the mailbag. I know it's become a very popular segment and I really love answering your questions, but my workload outside of Mondesi's House has never been busier.
The mailbag is probably my favorite segment of all the things I do on the site. More than the crazy pictures or the bizarre links, this gives me a chance to actually write in some depth, which I enjoy the most. Fortunately, I get more emails than ever before, and each one seems to be better than the next. My policy has always been to try and answer as many as possible, because if you've taken the time to write to me, I'd certainly like to take the time to write you back. While this isn't always possible, I try my best. So keep the emails coming. In fact, if you've never sent in an email, I encourage you to send me one. I try to make this site as interactive as possible. Look at the great job you guys did on the Yankee Series recaps - that was amazing stuff!
As far as the mailbag, while it may not be on a fixed schedule and it's a lot of work, it's simply too much fun to give up. Like I said...keep 'em coming!
But enough about that. We're here to talk sports and not about my inbox. On to the mailbag...
David M. in Mississippi:
Our best years in the last 25 and what are they best known for? A weak-armed Barry Bonds being beaten to the plate by some walking filing cabinet named Bream and our national anthem being butchered by "The Polish Prince" Bobby Vinton. Wasn't that the same playoff year Marge Schott gave a pre-game salute to "our boys fighting in The Far East". Must've been drunk, huh? I digress ...

What else are we known for around the baseball world?

A.) Triple "A" development team for real MLB franchises
B.) Cocaine Distribution Hub of the Late 70's & Early 80's
C.) The Best NL Team of the early 90's (but still couldn't win a playoff series)
D.) Amos Otis & Derek Bell's Last Stand
E.) The team that even Raul Mondesi gave up on
F.) The stylish pimps of baseball threads

Either way, it's an ugly go at it! At least Mario has now given us a little more hair to comb over and cover the embarrassing Summer sports season in the 'burgh.
I must say, for a list with only six points, that's a pretty good, brief summary of the Buccos. And now we can add "team that promotes .217 hitters for the All-Star game" to the list.
Brad in Pittsburgh:
Probably not the first person to send this to you today, given all the reaction about the new Pitt secondary logo, but its a good site to point out nonetheless. All about the script, part of one of the immortal uniforms in college football history.
There are few topics hotter than the Pitt logo. It seems everyone and their uncle wants the old script. So why does Pitt keep fighting it? The demand just looks overwhelming to me. From a business standpoint, it's a no-brainer. Are we to believe that the powers at Pitt have no brains?
Chris in Seattle:
Hey Mondesi -

First, your work has been spectacular of late, especially finding the NFL Films Steeler Nation video. I got choked up about 10 times while watching it, and Paulsen's story of being in Paris and meeting a Yinzer was hilarious.

Now, on to this series. I live in Seattle and thought I might bring you up to speed on a couple of things. First, Richie Sexson is terrible, especially for what he's being paid (15.5 mil this year). With a .198 batting average, he's not even up to the Mendoza line. One of the local bars has a special named after him - "Cheap Sexson Mondays" which is probably the most brilliant play on words that I've heard in the last several years, with Bud and Bud Light bottles for whatever his average is as of Sunday night each week. Here's their
Citysearch link, in case you want to have some fun with it.

Next, I'll be doing my best Ronnie Florian imitation this week - I've got tickets to the game on Wednesday (right field corner), and Thursday (30 rows back, directly behind home plate). While I'm sure I won't be the only one wearing Black and Gold, I'm probably the only one planning to move down towards the end of the game and hold up a Terrible Towel directly behind home plate. (Note - if you decide to post this, wait until Friday so the Mariners don't get wind of my nefarious plan). Whatever happens, I'm looking forward to both games, and to tweaking the local sports fans and reminding of where they stand in the pecking order.
Great email. I got a lot of feedback on that Steeler video from yesterday. If you haven't seen it yet, go back and watch it (it's at the bottom of the linked page). They make a great point: the reason there are so many Steeler fans around the world is because so many people have left Pittsburgh. This site is a great example. While a large percentage of Mondesi's House readers hail from the Burgh, there's also a sizable number of transplanted Yinzers who read on a regular basis. Heck, the guy who wrote this email is from Seattle! But that video illustrated something perfectly: you can take the person out of Pittsburgh but you can't take Pittsburgh out of the person.
As for his second point, I didn't realize Richie Sexson was sucking it up on such a high level this year. Of course, as I was writing this at 12:30 EST, Sexson went deep against Jonah Bayliss. The Pirates are always the cure for what ails you. Just ask the Yankees.
Finally, that was a great reference to my favorite Pirate fan, Ronnie Florian. I was at a friend's wedding this weekend and met some of his co-workers and friends who read the site on a regular basis. One of the first things they would talk about was Ronnie Florian. I'm telling you, the guy's Q-rating is off the charts in Pittsburgh.
Josh P:

Here's a little interesting tidbit I spotted over at Apperently spending time with Kaye and racing stock cars isn't going so well for the Big Chin...
From :
A league source tells us that there is already talk in league circles that former Steelers coach Bill Cowher is planning his potential return to the NFL. Per the source, Cowher already has spoken with multiple teams about filling a potential vacancy in 2008.

The source also says that one of Cowher's demands will be full control over the football operations.

The teams, the source says, are believed to be the Browns, Redskins, and Panthers. Another league source confirms that Cowher has had at least one private discussion with Redskins owner Daniel Snyder about the possibility of replacing Hall of Famer Joe Gibbs, if Gibbs calls it quits after the 2007 season.

We're also told that Cowher has begun the process of discreetly lining up a personnel executive to run the front office, subject to Cowher's final say on all roster moves. Per the source, the list includes Steelers director of football operations Kevin Colbert, Steelers business operations coordinator Omar Khan, Chiefs executive vice president and COO Denny Thum, and Saints vice president of football administration Russ Ball.

Is any of this surprising? Yes, but no. With Cowher expected to be the hottest commodity on the coaching market come January 2008, teams that think they might have a coming opening would be stoopid not to commence the process of seeing what it would take to get him.

Money is a key component in this regard. We've yet to hear anything about Cowher's expected salary, but we suspect he's hoping to get at least as much as Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren (who is in the $7.5 million to $8.5 million range), given that Cowher beat the Big Show in the Big Show less than 18 months ago.
This should come as a surprise to no one. In fact, I'd be more shocked if Cowher wasn't working in 2008. He's going to break the freaking bank. I always thought Washington could be his ultimate destination. The part I didn't like was what sounded like a raid of the Steelers' front office. Don't kid yourselves - losing Colbert and Khan simultaneously would be a big blow. I'm sure they could be replaced, but I'd rather not have the Steelers be forced to go down that road.
Wayne J:
Raul - why is ping hitter Freddy Sanchez still batting third in this lineup???? Tracy needs to put Bay in that slot and bat Freddy second. Duffy does us no good from the second hole. Even if he does manage to get on (not often), he won't steal a base even when the situation screams for it! Could this team be any more passive in it's approach to the game??? Again, the onus is on Tracy. I don't know how much more I can take of watching this team!!
Your first problem is actually watching the team. I used to suffer each night too...until I found those Dukes of Hazzard reruns on CMT that I mentioned last week. But I eventually tire of the constant chase with Boss Hogg and find myself back at FSN Pittsburgh, watching the Pirates embarrass themselves in some way, shape, or form.
That being said, I don't understand Sanchez batting third either. The problem is that no matter where you move some of these guys, there's still going to be holes in this lineup. There's simply not enough quality bats. Look at the lineup against Seattle: their 2-hitter (McLouth) is batting .234. Their 3-hitter (Sanchez), a lineup spot that should have some power, has 1 HR and 23 RBI. Their cleanup hitter/Duck Hunter (LaRoche) is batting .224 with 8 HR. And this was a game they somehow won!
Bill D. in Philly:
Stumbled upon Adam Laroche on the Golf Channel last night. Check the 24-second mark, is that an Angels jersey hanging in his locker?? Trader! I don't know how to make a picture out of that, but if I do I'll send it to you.
[On LaRoche's recent golf outing with Tiger Woods]:
"What that does is show me how bad I really am, you know getting out with the best in the world is a good way to figure out how bad you are.."
I swear he's not talking about golf.
If that was an Angels jersey hanging in his locker, I hope he gets his wish. Maybe he should concoct a story about an extortion plot to find his way to the Angels. It certainly worked for Raul Mondesi.
As far as the golf, I've grown weary of hearing about Adam LaRoche's off-the-field interests. Duck hunting, deer hunting, golfing, whatever else he does in his leisure time...just save it. I mean, it's fantastic that he's so well rounded, but when he's hitting .224, it's just not as cute. I'm not talking to you, Bill, I'm just burned out on Adam LaRoche in general.
David M. in Maryland:
Now that the Pirates' plunge to 15 straight losing seasons is well underway, I decided to celebrate the milestone by making a Pirates team with the franchise's best players since 1993, the first year of the losing streak. It wasn't easy, and I had to fight the urge to add on Kevin Polcovich and his .189 batting average. Anyway, here is my 25 man roster for the All-Pirates team from 1993-2007.

1B Kevin Young
2B Freddy Sanchez
3B Aramis Ramírez
SS Jay Bell
C Jason Kendall
LF Jason Bay
RF Brian Giles
CF Andy Van Slyke

Tony Womack
Rob Mackowiak
Jack Wilson
Jose Guillen
Craig Wilson
Abraham Nunez
Ed Sprague
Al Martin

Starting Pitchers: Jason Schmidt, Francisco Córdova, Jon Lieber, Denny Neagle, Todd Ritchie
Bullpen: Scott Sauerbeck, Marc Wilkins, Ricardo Rincón, Mike Williams

The sad part is that I'm not even confident about that team's playoff chances. You know things are bad for your organization when you realize Kevin Young is starting on your all-decade-and-a-half team. Feel free to add your insight and make changes.
That's the best we can do after 15 years? If we're only looking at guys who actually played in a Pirate uniform, that would eliminate players like Chris Young, who would definitely crack the rotation. But I think you could find a place for Snell, Gorzo, Reggie Sanders, Kenny Lofton, Mike Gonzalez, Bronson Arroyo, Gary Matthews Jr., and some maybes such as Kris Benson and John Vander Wal among the top 25 of the past 15 years. I realize that Matthews and Arroyo didn't exactly light it up while in the Burgh, but I'm not sure what the exact criteria of this list is. And this is just off the top of my head, so don't verbally assault me like I did to Peter King.
Also, I'd have to include Raul Mondesi on this team, for sentimental reasons.
David F in Pittsburgh gives his usual line of quality questioning:
So the Pirates are a disgrace again, but I'm stuck with this team. It's not like I'm about to go jump on the Red Sox bandwagon or anything. "I'm from Pittsburgh, and the Pirates ARE Pittsburgh." Dr. Mondesi, how do you suggest that I and all those like me cope with this dilemma? I wish I knew how to quit you, Pirates!
I suggest to find a new hobby besides Pirate baseball; that only leads to more frustration. Get out and enjoy the summer. Go to Kennywood, go to Sandcastle, go to Dave and Buster's. Buy a baby alligator. Eat at Bettis' new restaurant. Track down Ronnie Florian and have a beer with him. Visit the new casino in Washington, PA. Take up beer pong. See some summer blockbusters. Check out the Strip District. There's plenty to do in Pittsburgh besides this motley crew.
Do you think the fans are more frustrated with the Pirates this year than in previous years, or did it plateau years ago?
As I recently wrote, I think that it undoubtedly hit a high point of frustration with the conclusion of the Yankees sweep on the heels of the extremely disappointing draft. Why? Because not only does this season seem lost, but so does the future. The backbone of a sports franchise is hope, and Pirates fans feel like they have none.
Attention opposing pitchers: if you want to strike out Duck Hunter LaRoche and Ryan Doumit, just throw them breaking balls low and away. They'll swing and miss every time. "Fastball, I hit very much. Curveball, bats are afraid." We need to find some cigars and rum for these guys. Bay-Rod is a bit easier to strike out, you just need to throw it right down the middle.
I think I'd rather have Pedro Cerrano in the lineup at this point. He'd certainly show more of a pulse than Bay or LaRoche. Just once, could Bay show some frustration at a called strike three, whether it's directed at himself or the ump? Must he always accept it willingly and walk back to the dugout with his head down? Or how about this novel suggestion: with two strikes, SWING THE BAT AT ANYTHING CLOSE!
So all the talking heads on ESPN were saying that the Pirates should bunt to test out Clemens' groin. Bautista attempted a bunt on the first pitch, the crowd booed, and the Bucs didn't try to bunt the rest of the game. Pathetic.
Yeah, the Pirates were clearly scared of the hurtful "boos" that Yankee fans would direct their way. Glad to see that game plan was abandoned after one pitch.
Chris Peters and the word "ain't" - I'm glad I wasn't the only one who noticed that! You never let me down.
Chris Peters, a new addition to FSN Pittsburgh, has popped up on the Pirate postgame shows and Washington Wild Things broadcasts. If you don't know who he is, click this link and look for his mentions in the articles. He is simply exquisite.
Why haven't the Cardinals signed Gardocki yet? I thought that he, Whis, and Kevin Spencer were supposed to be drinking buddies.
Great question. I mean, who wouldn't want all of those consecutively unblocked punts on their team (besides the Steelers)?
So which one is it - is Bob Nutting a liar for saying that money played no part in who the Bucs drafted, or is Dave Littlefield incompetent for thinking that Moskos was the best player on the board when they picked?
My money is on Nutting. While Littlefield may be incompetent, I believe that he was taking orders on this one. Sooner or later, his job's going to be on the line, and he can't possibly believe that Moskos was actually the player they truly wanted in that slot.
Those new Ronnie Florian photos were simply phenomenal. The guy is definitely a cult hero, he deserves his own website! What's amazing about Mr. Florian is that despite how disjointed and illogical his speech patterns are, I can actually figure out what he's trying to say most of the time.
He has his own website. You're reading it right now. By the way, I think I may institute a new rule in which every mailbag closes with a Ronnie Florian mention.
As I said, keep the emails coming...


Adam said...

Totally not related to anything....but I just want to congratulate Pitt on getting dropped by Clemson for 2010-11 home and home. Look at that. Its not just Penn State that doesnt think Pitt is worth a home and home. Ita a MID LEVEL ACC school!

The Duke from Dukes Court said...

How is Pitt proposing a 2nd logo and it isn the old script Pitt?


What no Bruce Aven or Brant Brown on the dream Pirates team since 1993?

Louis Lipps is my homeboy said...

Ummm... aren't we playing Miami and Notre Dame that year Adam? And every article I read said that it was mutual between the two schools anyways.

And why are you talking shit anyways? Until your school plays Pitt there apparently is no rivalry so to speak right? Pitt's meaningless to the great Penn State right? So then why are you wasting your time kid?

Anyways, I'm not saying I doubt that Cowher will coach again next season. But is fucking NOTORIOUS for being completely full of shit.

I wouldn't doubt that Cowher is considering coming back next season with another team, that's common knowledge. But I would seriously doubt a lot of the other details PFT throws in. I don't know why anyone even bothers reading that site, the stuff they say is never true.

Unknown said...

Has anyone created a Ronnie Florian Wikipedia page? That thing would get hit at least several dozen times a day. He could become Pittsburgh's version of Chuck Norris,with insane one-liners attesting to his greatness.

Sean said...

Raul - No need to apologize for the infrequency of the mailbag. They are well worth the wait.

And yes Adam, you're comment was not related to anything. You could always write about Pitt-Clemson on your own blog.

Adam said...

and no one would read it. And for the gajillionth time, i never said I dont want to play Pitt, but when they act like superpowers and demand 1 for 1s, we arent gonna listen. The "cupcakes" we played in 2005 in in Pitt's place both beat Pitt last year, and they agreed to 2 for 1s. Why wont pitt if they care so much about the rivalry?

Anonymous said...

Dan Snyder will offer Cowher $10 MM per year.

Can't guaranteee Cowher accepts it, but it will be offered.

$10 MM or no $10 MM, "total control" he'll never have.