Big Lead Sports Bar



Every once in a while, I trot out something called "The Mondesi Show". I throw out a few hot topics of the day, and you voice your opinions on any or all of the questions in the comments section. Think of it as a sports talk show in blog form.
Since I spent last night working on another "project" post and not something for this morning, this will have to suffice for now.
So here are today's topics:
1. Pitt finally landed a big-time recruit in Dante Taylor, a 6'9", 230-pound power forward from National Christian Academy in Ft. Washington, Maryland. He is ranked #23 by and chose Pitt over Kansas, Memphis, UConn, Syracuse, and Villanova. Not too shabby, Mr. Dixon.

Taylor, who will probably (but not definitely) be a "one-and-done", is in line to replace Sam Young, who is going into his senior season. One-and-dones have turned out good for some schools (Carmelo Anthony at Syracuse) and not as good (OJ Mayo at USC, who probably wasn't worth all the trouble).
Pitt fans (and non Pitt fans, for that matter): are you in favor of one-and-done players, or do you prefer slightly under-the-radar guys that Pitt has targeted in the past?
2. Josh Hamilton hit 28 home runs in the first round of the Home Run Derby last night, then lost to Minnesota's Justin Morneau in the finals. Hamilton's 28 dingers were the most home runs ever hit in one round; unfortunately, Hamilton appeared to be out of energy by the time the finals came around.

Do you think the Home Run Derby format needs tweaked?
3. The Buccos sit at 44-50, 12.5 games out of first place in the NL Central. They have a 5.24 ERA (worst in MLB), rank 16th in OBP (.325), 12th in HR (98), and 24th in fielding percentage (.982).
Have you seen any reason to believe that things are changing, or is it "Same Old Pirates"?

4. A lot has gone down since the NHL season ended. After the moves they've made so far, where do you see the Penguins finishing next season?

5. And finally, we come to the Steelers. What are your early impressions of the potential new owner, Stanley Druckenmiller?

Those are the questions, so now is your time to have at it. As they used to say on an old Saturday Night Live skit, "talk amongst yourselves."


HotDog_Zanzabar said...

1.If Blair stays for his junior year, that could be our legit shot at the NC. This will also help Dixon land other "one and done types". Face it, every Top 5-10 program gets players like that, if we want to join the fraternity of the Dukes, UNCs and UConns of the world, we need to do it too.

2.Format needs tweaked, it should only be two rounds and cumulative with four finalists.

3.The Pirates are tough but very short on pitching. I'd call them the same old Pirates, but I'll reserve judgement on that until the trade deadline passes and the rookie signing period passes. I have a feeling Huntington is smarter than Littlefield and won't make trades for the sake of making trades. He might hold on to some players which some fans might not enjoy, but I'd rather him do that than give them away to the Mets or Cubs.

4.Penguins will finish anywhere from 1st to 3rd in the East depending on how many injuries they endure during the course of the season. Of course, if they all play the majority of the games, they could potentially with the Presidents Trophy.

5.Drukenmiller is a loaded yinzer. He seems to be genuine in his wishes to keep the Steelers controlled by the Rooneys, but if there's one thing about billionaires, it's their egos. I wouldn't be surprised if all goes well for a few years, and then he becomes a problem.

HotDog_Zanzabar said...

To add to the HomeRun Derby format, the other change I would make is to not allow Rick Reilly anywhere near it. I think the word he used the most last night was "heroin".

Brando said...

To comment on Drukenmiller . . . well, he's a fan with a lot of money. If he gives money to people who know what they are doing (see: Robert Kraft), then he'll be a great owner. If he insists on spending it himself (see: Daniel Snyder), it could get bad. Snyder loves the 'Skins with a fiery passion. And it hasn't done them a lick of good, because he doesn't really know what he's doing talent wise. He just sees a player he likes and signs him, without doing those annoying things like checking to see if they are 28 and about to drop off in production, or if he might have issues that may crop up. Its not the worst approach to management (you generally get good players - stingy management is worse, because you never have a shot - i.e. our Pirates and the Baltimore Orioles), but it isn't the best, and it would be a step down for the Black and Gold. You get a shot at making the playoffs, but you don't get a team that is built well (the 'Skins have been the epitome of this some years - they have had great names, but the team stinks because the players all have one strength and not another).

Anonymous said...

1. Doesn't it seems that the trend of recruiting one-and-done is dying. Lute Olsen has stated he is longer recruiting them. North Carolina this year has a Championship quality roster of college vets. I think the trend of recruiting one-and-dones might be over. Does that make Pitt behind the trend or can they snag up players the bigger hoop schools pass on and be even more successful?

2. Change the format of the HR Derby. Since when did hitting more homeruns equal losing. Hamilton is the most talked about loser. 2nd place is 1st loser. Which is more overrated Slam Dunk Contest or HR Derby?

3. Short term: same old story Long term: hope??? This team is heading on the right path but this year and maybe the next two are down the drain. There is a smoldering ash of hope coming from PNC Park. Can management and staff turn it into a fire?

4. The Pens will be in the top 3 of the East. The core of the team will raise to be elite but the extra parts will be slower to contribute at the start of the season.

5. I feel Druckenmiller is an obvious and suitable part-owner for the team. Key words are "part owner" The Rooney will still be invloved with the team. He has loyalty to the area and it committed to make Pittsburgh a better place. He donated the money to pay for a walking bridge to bring the US Open to Oakmont and refused to make his generousity public. If you were a billionaire Pittsburgher you would jump at the opportunity that is in front of him.

RedHawks Hockey said...

1. Dante Taylor is a great player but he fits the same mold as Dujuan Blair. How many 6'8 6'9 players can Pitt really play with, especially in the Big East which is supposedly the toughest conference in college basketball that relies on size and strength. What Pitt needs is Chris Taft to come back (imagine him staying at Pitt with this team...) They need some size inside. Blair is very good but if he had 3 or 4 more inches he would be the premiere big man in the country, hands down. I feel like this verbal commitment is good, but I think Pitt will run into a log jam, especially if this kid can't shoot...

2. HRD is turning into the dunk contest for the NBA. The biggest hitters, best players that everyone want to see are skipping out. Something needs to be done.

3. Ugh... the Buccos... I hope they are shopping JBay to tampa and allowing McCutchen to come up and see what he is really made of. Nady Bay and McCutchen in the outfield doesn't seem too terrible to me especially since it will give the pirates a solid lead off hitter with the ability to steal some bags.

4. Pens will be 2nd or 3rd in the division. Habs will finish first again. I like Satan and Sid will be a good pairing. I think that Satan could get the same career revival that Sykora had this year, except on a higher level. I also hope that Luca Caputi continues his progression wo we could see him up some time this year. Matt Cooke will be very good, and I think he will fit in nicely in Ruutu's spot, bringing more offensive firepower to the third/fourth line than Jarkko offered. I hope they don't try to move Staal to wing because he has expressed numerous times he wants to play center and he is progressing well there and will be the best 3rd line center in the league this season. I think max talbot should play with sid and satan and not dupuis. Dupuis showed he has some trouble finishing in the playoffs, and Max would bring good energy to the first line. The defensive corps will be one of the best in the NHL with Gonch and Whit and Letang who will have an amazing year.

Unknown said...

1. One and Dones are necessary in the current landscape of college basketball if you are looking to compete for the National Championship. I think it's a step in the right direction for Pitt seeing as they have been stuck at the same level for about a decade now. As long as a program is not built around these kind of players and other players (the Fields, Knights, Pages of the basketball) are the foundation of your program you will be alright.

2. Does it really matter how the home run derby is structured? As long as it draws views and fans I see no real reason to mess with it. The winner gets a nice trophy to put in their mantle, but it decides nothing. I doubt past winners have gone into contract negotiations and said, "Well, I did hit .260 last year, but I am a former Home Run Derby winner".

3. I see a little glimmer of hope for the Pirates. Their offense seems to at least be serviceable, they seems to score at least 4 runs a game. It's their pitching that seems to worry me. With all their high draft picks on pitching their current staff and minor league pitching just seems terribly below par. They have two future studs to build around in the coming years with Alvarez and McCutchen, along with Major League hold overs in Doumit and McClouth to anchor the lineup. Now they just have to find a couple solid starters and maybe oberpay a little for a #1 starter.

4. The Pens have had an very good offseason, that is overshadowed by the "loss" of Hossa. In this offseason they solidified their starting goaltender at a reasonable price, they signed their defensive anchor to a long term deal, also at a reasonable price and filled in some holes with Satan and Fedotenko. I think one of the best moves they made that flew COMPLETELY under the radar has been the signing of Janne Pesonen. He's a great low risk, high reward player and looks like he might be able to thrive with Malkin and/or Sid. I see the Pens winning the Atlantic again and making another run at the Stanley Cup.

5. As for the new possible Steeler's owner... I've been hearing good things about him, but I honestly couldn't care less. As long as he commits to putting a competitive team on the field, I'm all for it.

Deaner said...

I think the Pirates are different this year. Although the results may be different there is a much different attitude with this team than in years past.

RedHawks Hockey said...

I will be surprised, impressed, and extremely happy is Pesonen is able to play on the first two lines. He's quite undersized but I agree, I think he could be a solid player. I just feel that if he was that good, he would have been signed already; but, like you said, its low risk/high reward and definitely worth the shot. I heard he also plays the PK pretty well too which should help as well.

Unknown said...

As long as the Steelers put out a competitive team, stay in Pittsburgh and keep Dan Rooney involved with the team, Druckenmiller can bring his millions to the table.

Unknown said...

Pesonen was drafted in, what, 2004, so was was on the NHL radar. Maybe at the time he didn't want to jump over to the North American game. With the international player transfer agreement in complete disarray right now I think teams are just a bit hesitant to go overseas for players.

As for Pesonen being undersized, I agree, he's a bit on the smaller side, but that's the way the NHL is going in terms or forwards. The big hulking Kevin Steven, Cam Neely power forward is almost nonexistent. With the clutching and grabbing down to a minimum I think Pesonen can use his unrivaled speed to blaze around defenders.

He also seems to have an Ovechkin like nose for putting the puck in the net and that's what is desperately needed on Crosby's wing.

HotDog_Zanzabar said...

I just noticed the Chris Mack Smells Like (From-unda) Cheese page has been shut down. If only they could get him off the air next.

Vince said...

It takes alot to get a player from the Elite European leagues to come over after they are not 18-21. You figure he is probably making a couple million a season over there, and to come over to the nhl at 25+ he gets a 2 way contract that is basically 52,000-900,000... So thats why he didn't come over for the last two years or so

Steve said...

"Do you think the Home Run Derby format needs tweaked?"

Loving your syntax here. Which I know was intentional.

MLB needs tweaked, is what I think.

Schide said...

They tweak the home run derby just about every year. But it doesn't matter, the whole thing is inconsequential, so it doesn't matter who wins, it's all for the fans' entertainment, and I'm sure they were plenty entertained last night.

The Pirates are the same old Pirates. Their offense might be pretty good this year, but their horrific pitching just balances out the suck just enough so that they can't possibly reach .500, let alone contend. If they somehow manage to get good pitchers, which is hilarious considering that's what they were supposed to be doing, stockpiling arms, then they might have a shot at .500 next year. But then how long are they going to be able to keep their good players? Sure, they'll have McLouth for a few years, and they have a few offensive prospects, but not that many. They'll never be able to afford any quality free agents with their "budget", and they'll always have major troubles retaining their own good players. Their only hope is that the new management is just really, really good, and can find gems in the sand and so on, and that the ownership decides to actually spend some money here and there. But I don't see it happening.

I see the Pens finishing in at least the top 4 in the conference, with a great shot at #1. Then for a playoff run to see what happens, and hope someone in the west knocks out Detroit before they get to the finals.

RedHawks Hockey said...

Konstantin Koltsov and Rico Fata were both speedy, undersized (far bigger than Pesonen) and skilled and they really haven't been too successful in the NHL post-lockout. I'm not saying this is a bad signing. I think it has the potential to be great, but I am also cautiously optimistic.

Unknown said...

True... but Fata and Koltsov never lead a professional hockey league in scoring. Pesonen lead the Finnish league last year with I think around 70+ points... 30+ of those were goals.

vikes22 said...

1. Well in Pitt's case, im largely in favor of one and done players because well Pitt has not been able to win the national championship or even make it to a final four with the under the radar type of player. Also, Taylor is only the 23rd ranked player in the country. Thats still very good for pitt but the type of player that puts you over the top
(or pretty damn close to it) are those like derrick rose,Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, etc... Everyone of those players that i just named were all top 5 recruits and far above taylor's talent level. And oh yeah, red hawks hockey should never post something on this blog again because him saying that Pitt would actually benefit from having Chris Taft is completely ridiculous. The only reason i still remember chris taft for is that he looks like Plaxico Burress. His last year at Pitt was almost a little more productive than Aaron Grays performance in the 2007 Big East Championship against G-town.

2.I rarely watch the all star festivities so i do not really have a comment on the format of the hr derby.

3. It's only the half way point of the season and im not fully convinced that the pirates have made a huge step towards a winning season in the near future. Remember, there is still a solid 2 and a half months for the pirates to make their annual 10 game losing streak and completely fall out of contention for even a 3rd place finish in the division.

4.No one in the eastern conference has made a move to overtake the pens as the legit contender for the eastern representative in the stanley cup finals. They will most definitely finish in the top 3 (probably 1st) in the east. I'm looking for a rematch between the pens and the wings next may/june.

5. If this guy is really as die-hard as he claims to be, i think this guy will be great. Obviously as a long time steeler fan i would like too se the Rooney family remain the majority owners of the franchise but it doesn't really matter as long as we have someone with half a brain making decisions. Regardless of who takes over, im looking for about 2 more Super Bowls in the Big Ben era.