Big Lead Sports Bar



Today's headlines include news on the Pirates' struggles, Joe Starkey's Aki Iwamura Song,  Big Ben's psychological evaluation, Sidney Crosby's rich new Reebok deal, Ron Cook on the future of John Russell, and more...

The Pittsburgh Pirates  may have unofficially bottomed out after a three-game sweep in Atlanta this weekend, concluding with a 5-2 loss on Sunday. The Bucs have lost five straight and nine of their past 11, with the two wins both coming by mere one-run margins. In those 11 games, they've scored more than three runs a grand total of one time.

These recaps are becoming like the movie Groundhog Day at this point. The team just can't produce any offense. It's the same story over...and over....and over again.

On Sunday, the Pirates somehow clung to a 2-2 tie going into the eighth inning despite a grand total of four hits. And who was the pitcher shutting them down on this occasion? That would be one Kenshin Kawakami, who came into this game with marks of 0-7, 4.93 on the season. Sigh.

In the end, Atlanta would rally for three runs in the bottom of the eighth at the hands of Joel Hanrahan (all with two outs, of course), and the Pirates would fall to a season-worst 20-31 by day's end.

Remember all those games the Pirates were inexplicably winning earlier this year despite that lopsided run differential? Well, they're not happening anymore. The baseball universe is neatly balancing itself out. Sunday was one of those days.
Groundhog Day plays next on Monday against the Chicago Cubs at PNC, with a 1:35 start. Maybe if we're lucky, Bill Murray will show up and completely blow our minds. [ESPN]

The Aki Iwamura Song could become Joe Starkey's greatest contribution to Pittsburgh sports lore. Not only does it manage to make fun of the struggling second baseman, it shoehorns in references to John Fedko and Mark Madden. Who knew Joe was such a talented crooner in addition to his other talents? [93.7 The Fan]

Ben Roethlisberger's much-ballyhooed psychological evaluation has been scarce on details to this point, according to Scott Brown of the Trib.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello and union spokesman Carl Francis offered only a very brief statement without specifics, while Roethlisberger agent Ryan Tollner offered no comment.  Apparently the evaluation went well enough for Roger Goodell to allow Roethlisberger to return to football, but further details may never be known due to privacy laws. [Trib]

Sidney Crosby is on the verge of signing the richest endorsement deal in NHL history with Reebok, worth $10 million over seven years. My thoughts? I think Reebok is getting a deal and a half. [The Hockey News]

Evgeni Malkin talked about his celebrated teammate and a number of other topics recently on Russian TV, and Puck Daddy has the transcript. As is the case with most Malkin interviews, it's very enjoyable.

Ron Cook feels that Neal Huntington is to blame for the Pirates' woes, and not John Russell.

I'd agree that the continued appearances of Aki Iwamura, Jeff Clement, and Charlie Morton (thankfully sent to the DL) in the lineup, as presumably mandated by Huntington,  are beyond ridiculous and not the manager's fault. But Russell has made a number of questionable lineup moves (outlined nicely by Bob Smizik), and his near-comatose personality won't gather much support for an extension. [PG]

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Unknown said...

Japanese characters that link to adult sites? Is that a comment on Aki Iwamura?

Brian said...

Jesus Tapdancing Christ, that Starkey song was awful.

Unknown said...

Starkey is just plain awful in general on the Fan. He used to be a quality, respectable sports talk host on ESPN radio, but now he's making a buffoon of himself playing second banana and telling corny jokes. He should be embarrassed.