Big Lead Sports Bar



Prior to this and a short post on Monday, the last article I wrote of any length was "The Legacy Of...Marian Hossa", written in advance of my absence and greeted by a lukewarm reception at best (too soon!)

So with that on my mind, I stared down a Tuesday chock-full of "real job" appointments around the city of Pittsburgh and realized that once again, I would be posting zip, zero, nada during the workday. Two days, no content. This week was off to a great start! I'm sure the readers were thrilled.
Confined to my car, which currently has a Sirius satellite unit that's on the PUP list, I had no choice but to tune in to approximately eight hours (on and off) of Pittsburgh sports talk radio throughout the day. While I usually listen to some of the afternoon talkers in some capacity, my normal PM media consumption is usually a hearty mix of Howard 100 and Howard 101 (to avoid a total sports overload). With the set of circumstances dealt to me on Tuesday, I figured it would be a good opportunity to really catch up on what I missed last week as well as a chance to listen to the ever-hyped new lineup at 1250 ESPN, with the thinking that I might get some semblance of a column out of the experience.
For the morning session, I tuned in to the all-new Stan and Guy (and Chris Mack) show on 1250. And while this show debuted just last week, I was immediately informed that Guy was on vacation. I'm certainly not one to tell people when to take their vacations, but that probably could have been planned a little bit better.
So I caught bits and pieces of the Stan and Guy minus Guy show, which had ample time devoted to Savran's very candid dislike of the Olympics and a lengthy discussion between Savran and Mack on the first-year performance of Pirates Manager John Russell, which was pretty positive. It was noted that Russell has worked very well in conjunction with Neal Huntington, who followed through on his threat of accountability in 2008 with the demotions of Tom Gorzelanny and Ronny Paulino and the release of Matt Morris.

Personally, I would agree with them on the Russell/Huntington dynamic. I like the moves they've made so far, and although it's waaaay too early to make any calls, I like the direction where they are going. They're at least giving me some tiny, faint glimmer of hope, which is more than I could say about any of their predecessors.
I'm not a huge Olympic fan per se, but I have caught myself tuning in to random events. I saw and enjoyed most of the Opening Ceremonies, I've been following the US hoops squad, and I was lucky enough to catch the miracle comeback from Michael Phelps and Co. on Sunday night. I might watch a few sports I would never watch otherwise, but that's probably due to the fact that I'm a fan of events. For example, I'm not a soccer fan at all and I know very few of the players, but I do watch some World Cup games when they come around. So in short, I would probably disagree with Stan's take on the Olympics.

I then caught some of the Tirico and Van Pelt national ESPN show between the hours of 1-3, and I nearly got in an accident due to falling asleep at the wheel. It was that bad. I once referred to Tirico this way: "describing his style as vanilla would be an insult to vanilla, for it actually has some flavor."
Tirico went on and on about how he wanted to give up on his "beloved" Detroit Tigers, 58-61 and 8.5 out of first in the NL Central, choosing instead to switch allegiances to the Chicago Cubs. Two years removed from a World Series appearance and already jumping ship. You're a real fan, Mike.

front·run·ner n.

One that is in a leading position in a race or other competition: A competitor who performs best when in the lead; Mike Tirico

Later in the show, I was treated to extreme overanalysis of the Chad Johnson comments from Monday night, where he came off as little more than an egomaniacal rambling idiot talking about his antics for the 2008 season. I don't know when TV executives got together and agreed that Chad Johnson could constantly have a camera and microphone at his disposal, but at this point in time, I couldn't be more bored. Maybe his words might carry some, just some weight if he's ever won anything, but that's just not the case. By the way, I just broke my italics icon.

HOF resume: 0 career playoff wins (just like future HOFer Tony Romo!)

So it was on to 3 PM, where I switched off from 1250's new Paulsen and Crow and 970's Joe Bendel. And what were they both talking about for extended periods? Anthony Smith's unnecessary body blow on Hines Ward last week, discussed at length in a recent Gene Collier column, then brought up once again by Coach Tomlin at today's press conference.
And while both shows probably discussed the incident a little too long for my liking, I thought it was pretty cut-and-dry: Smith was in the wrong, and it's just the latest in a career that's quickly becoming overshadowed by various incidents, such as a similar hit on Willie Reid in last year's camp, a 2006 showboating display against Carolina that enraged Dick LeBeau, and the infamous guarantee of victory against the then-undefeated New England Patriots in 2007.

Put it next to your can hear the ocean!

You just don't take shots at your own guys, especially at someone like Hines Ward, who you know will take it personally. Sure, Smith may be an intense guy, but there's a fine line between intense and alienating your own teammates. And it puts Tomlin in a delicate spot, as he clearly wants to defend his players in the media but not endorse Smith's actions.
So after a day of talk radio, I can summarize the current pulse of Pittsburgh sports: Anthony Smith, Anthony Smith, Anthony Smith, and John Russell. Did I miss anything?


HotDog_Zanzabar said...

Wow, sounds like your day sucked.

Unknown said...

Fellows like Stan Savran or Rob King...serious sports talkers who aren't out polishing their own private agenda but instead are concentrating on the subject matter...I can listen to all day. People like Tirico and any of the other national espn jerks I can do without. I do like Chris Mortenson and John Clayton, though. They're good because they actually have inside information, not just their own opinion.

fenderbass57 said...

It's GREAT that Stan and Guy are back together!!! It was a shame that the FSN stuffed shirts pulled Guy off the air in the first place! Sportsbeat was and still is the best sports talk show on the air! Hopefully now that the "dynamic duo" are back together again, their show will be right up there with Sportsbeat!