Big Lead Sports Bar

1/16/2008

"Lee's Tunnel Vision" : A Weekly Trip Around the Pittsburgh Sports World

By nature, I’m a pretty optimistic person. Chuck Tanner once told me he admired my cheery look on life and noted that he wanted to be as optimistic as me. The Steelers are always going 16-0, this is the year for our third Cup, the Bucs are going to be playoff contenders and no matter whom I vote for, for president, it doesn’t matter and the country will be ok. Now obviously most of that isn’t true, but I truly feel that way.

But even I have to admit that after Cook and Fields went down and the Panthers were smoked by Dayton, I thought Pitt’s season was doomed. And while the road isn’t paved smooth for a Big East Championship, the eight scholarship players that have survived, cowboyed up Monday night and showed some real heart.

I thought Georgetown would get the ball into Hibbert every possession and that Blair would struggle because of the height disadvantage, but it didn’t happen. Big Roy didn’t seem to be a priority and Blair played great on both sides of the court. I was skeptical about Benjamin getting significant minutes, even though I was impressed with the energy he was bringing off the bench. But he has shined in the spotlight and has made the most of his opportunity.
I was VERY concerned about Ramon running the point in the Big East and to be honest, I still am in that regard. Against the elite guards of the Big East, similar to Scottie Reynolds at Villanova, I think Ramon could struggle (re: 3/5 assist to turnover at ‘Nova). But I took a look at the rosters of the other teams in the league, and there doesn’t seem to be the group of elite guards that has been around before. James and McNeal at Marquette and Sosa at Louisville, were the only names that jumped off the paper.

Dixon is in the middle of his best coaching performance by far and I’m not sure there can be much argument around it. To his credit, he was not going to let injuries be an excuse when they easily could have been. He has made the correct adjustments to the starting line-up and rotation. He has made correct in-game adjustments. Dixon seems to be maturing quite well as a coach.

So, I’m back to being optimistic. This team should be in the upper tier of the league, should receive a good seed for the dance and ready to see if they can win more than two games in the tourney.

It’s exciting to have Duquesne basketball back on the radar of the local conscious. While there are no “moral victories” in their loss to the Rhody Rams, the Dukes showed that they are a force to be reckoned with in the A-10, which to me is an amazing turn of events. Two years ago I believed that DUQ was NEVER going to compete in the A-10 and that they needed to seek a conference change to a smaller conference similar to the NEC or Patriot.

But since the arrival of Coach Everhart, this team has impressed in all facets of play and professionalism and hopefully so for the long haul.

If you can explain to me how Bobby Mo can beat BC in Chestnut Hill and lose to Sacred Heart in Moon, let me know, I’m all ears. I didn’t see the game, but from Coach Rice’s comments afterwards, he appeared to think that the boys were resting on their laurels a little bit. Bobby Mo can ill afford to be big-timing the NEC. They need to play with some urgency.

BC scored 51 against RMU and then dropped 112 on Wake Forest, btw.

Are the Robert Morris Colonial and the Duquesne Duke the same guy, just from a different perspective? You tell me, but I swear they’re the same dude.

Speaking of “dude”, that beer commercial is not getting any funnier.

Speaking of beer commercials, the Coors Light Fake Press Conferences – I can’t get enough of them. My only question is: When is Bill Cowher and his hideous sweaters showing up in one of them?

In girls B-ball, the Pitt gals have appeared back in the AP Top 25, SM-S has Duquesne above .500 and the Mountaineer gals are #14 in the AP. It’s a good year for local basketball.

Is WVU local? I think most would say yes, however there is another Division I basketball team a little closer to Pittsburgh than Morgantown that is never mentioned: the Youngstown State Penguins. They’ve been playing in the Horizon Conference for several years now, which is a great league, and they have an opportunity to host some really good teams. Valpo comes to Youngstown Thursday night and the #12 ranked Bulter Bulldogs visit Saturday night. If you’re a college basketball fan and haven’t taken the time to cross that invisible PA/OH border, I think you’ll find an enjoyable night in Y-town no matter which game you attend.

Must be time for the Pens middle of the season, undefeated streak, eh?

As much as the Steelers should have beaten the Jags, I just can’t see anyway they could have beaten the Pats. It sort of numbs the pain a bit. I just hope somebody beats those smug SOBs.

irate Caravan is out making the Southern rounds. Anybody gone? I’ve never gone before, but I plan to take my six-year old son when they come up North. My son likes Jack Wilson and Nyjer Morgan and both are scheduled to make the trip. My boy is really getting into baseball, but I can tell it’s going to be tough keeping him a Pirate fan. Living as far North of the ‘Burgh as I do, I get Sports Time Ohio on my cable package, which plays the Indian games. In fact, they’re replaying great games from throughout the season in the afternoons, so when my son gets home from school, he immediately turns on STO to watch the Indian game of the day. (I called FSN to see if they could do something similar for the Bucs, but apparently they already threw the tapes from last year into the Ohio River.) The Indians are a young, exciting playoff team from a year ago. The Pirates are about to set the all-time futility record.

I was 18 when Barry Bonds, and his much smaller head, failed to throw out a one-legged Sid Bream from deep short. Now, my six-year old is closer to 18 than I am. How can we not think that we’ve lost a generation of Pirate fans? This year’s freshman in college never saw the Bucs matter. Ever. What a shame.

Smokin’ Dave Parker got 15.1% of votes for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. It seems obvious that he’s never going to get in through the writers, but here’s to hoping that he gets in somehow. Look at his stats.


They always bang on Blyleven for never winning a Cy Young, never being dominant, yet the Cobra usually was. A run down of his accomplishments:

  • 9-times in the MVP
    voting, Top 5 five times with one win in 1978

  • 7-time All-Star,
    4-time starter, 1979 All-Star Game MVP

  • 3-time Silver Slugger

  • 3-time Gold Glover

  • 2-time Batting Champ with a .290 life-time average

  • 2-time slugging leader

  • 1-time OPS leader

  • 1-time hits leader and 55th all-time

  • 3-time total bases leader, 2nd twice, 3rd once, and 44th all-time

  • 2-time doubles leader and 32nd all-time

  • Top 3 in triples three times

  • Top 5 in homers four times

  • Top 4 in extra base hits six times and 45th all-time

  • 9-times in the Top 10 in RBIs and 48th all-time

  • 24th all-time in intentional walks

  • Twice won the Outstanding Designated Hitter Award

He fits the Hall of Fame profile. He practically mirrors Jim Rice, who is the national talking head’s most overlooked veteran it seems. Both were ’78 MVPs and I can make an argument the Parker had a better career. At worst, they were the same player in different leagues. Both should be in.

It’s time for someone in the national media to start being vocal about Parker’s inclusion. If that happens, maybe we can start building up some momentum for the Cobra. I think we need to just get enough people to start looking at the stats. They speak for themselves. And while you’re looking at Parker and Rice’s stats, look up Al Oliver’s. If you’re in your early 30’s like I am, he’s better than you think he was. I can absolutely make a case for Al Oliver being a Hall of Famer.

Check or Hold?

Lee Tunnel, out.

3 comments:

Sean said...

Lee - This is very thorough, but I think you missed the scores from the YMCA basketball league and the results from this week's Pittsburgh Chess Club.

fellasheowed@aol.com said...

you forgot the most impressive stat on parker's resume...he raised
his weight 100lbs while nursing a coke habit...that belongs in some kind of hall of fame

Louis Lipps is my homeboy said...

I think Parker snorting the equivalent of the gross national product of a 3rd world country up his nose during his career is what keeps him out.

But, even though I don't smoke, you gotta admit that it's pretty badass that homeboy used to smoke in the DUGOUT during games!!

Dave Parker was gangsta before gangsta was gangsta (he's also the only crappy Pirates 1979 team figurine that they gave out at the games a few years back that I don'e have!)

Sadly, the only part of Dave's career I was old enough to catch was him as a Cincy Red in the mid-late 80s.