Friday, July 31, 2009

Pirates, Vick, and the Steelers

The new and improved Pittsburgh Pirates improved to 1-0 following the dismantling of the team. Please be sure to put an asterisk next to this new record as it was against the abyssmal Washington Nationals who are most likely the only team the Pirates could beat on a regular basis.

Hey Sean Burnett? How do you feel now about your laughingstock comments. Feels good to play for a winner I bet, oh wait...

Lastings Milledge went 2 for 4 with 2 RBI in his Pirates debut. Pretty impressive. Steve Pearce hit a homerun. Ross Ohlendorf had another solid outing for the Pirates and ran his record to 9-8.

Again please curb the enthusiasm as this was inferior competition.

Moving onto a lovely rumor I heard. Several sources I have been told are reliable spotted Michael Vick over near the Steeler's offices on the South Side. So unless he chose a new location for his dogfighting, this might mean the Steelers are looking into acquiring him.

I have to be honest, I really don't know that I want him playing for my team. He will be a distraction on this team and with the Roethlisberger sexual assault situation, do we REALLY need another distraction?

Not to mention where is he going to play? You already have Ben entrenched as the starter, Charlie Batch signed fairly cheap as a backup, and I like the upside of our third stringer Dennis Dixon. So unless Vick is coming here to play a "Slash" type role, then he doesn't belong in the Black and Gold.

Speaking of the Black and Gold, they reported for training camp today. It's official. We can start to forget about the Pirates completely now. After all, the trade deadline is over and god knows that's the only time the Pirates generate headlines other than signing kids from India that win a reality contest.

I am looking forward to Football season, as it is by far my favorite sport. I think the Steelers have a really good shot at defending their crown. The trick is to stay healthy like they did for the most part last year, and just let the defense do it's thing.

I probably won't be posting for a few days as my wife and I are moving into our new apartment. So until next time! Have a great day.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Adios Grabow and Gorzellany

The fire sale continues! Clearance Merchandise still available at PNC Park but supplies are running short!

We're down to the last minute on All-Star Zach Duke and Catcher Ryan Doumit. Want a closer? We have Matt Capps!

Can you believe it's entirely possible that our starting lineup on Saturday will not have a single starter from last year's Opening Day lineup? The only remaining guy that started last year's opener is Ryan Doumit. Everyone else has been traded.


Matt Capps, Zach Duke, Paul Maholm, Evan Meek, and Ryan Doumit are the only 5 players from the Opening roster last year still on the team. And you can't tell me this is what Neal Huntington envisions as his "Core players" so I wouldn't be shocked to see Duke and Maholm and even Capps go by tomorrow's deadline.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Arrivaderci Freddy Sanchez

Freddy Sanchez has been dealt to the Giants for Tim Alderson.

Alderson is ranked the 27th best prospect in all of minor league baseball, so in other words he is supposed to be a stud pitcher.

My ONLY hesitation about this deal as partnered with the Jack Wilson deal is that the Pirates have a glaring lack of options at middle infield currently in the system.

All of the Giants fans on their message board are pissed at what their GM gave up to get Freddy, which warms my heart. Maybe the Pirates finally get the good end of a deal? We shall see.

Dare I say I actually feel decent about the deals made today, and they may not even be done dealing!

Possible Pirates Lineup

Had the Pirates not made trades, this is a possible lineup for the buccos if they had ponied up money to keep players instead.

1B - Garrett Jones
2B - Fredddy Sanchez
SS - Jack Wilson
3B - Aramis Ramirez
LF - Jason Bay
CF - Andrew McCutchen
RF - Nate McLouth
C - Ryan Doumit

SP - Chris Young
SP - Zach Duke
SP - Ian Snell
SP - Paul Maholm
SP - Ross Ohlendorf
RP - Mike Gonzalez

A bit more power at the corner infield spots, but is this team drastically different from the one that took the field this year? Doumit and Chris Young are injury prone. Snell is a head case, and could be replaced on the "trade team" by Oliver Perez or Jason Schmidt LOL.

Let's not forget the irreplaceable Xavier Nady, Adam LaRoche or Eric Hinske, or Damaso Marte. All players people were up in arms about us trading but really what did we give up?

Sayonara Jack Wilson

So I get the text message from ESPN telling me that Jack Wilson and Ian Snell had been traded to Seattle and the rest of the message cuts off. My first instinct was to immediately say the Pirates got screwed.

The Bucs traded away one of the best defensive shortstops in the game, and "threw in" Ian Snell who has been a bit of a head case but has been lights out at Indianapolis since his demotion.

In return they acquire Jeff Clement who was a first round (3rd overall) draft pick for Seattle in 2005.

My biggest beef with Clement is that he was drafted as a catcher but has bad balky knees. In 203 at-bats last year he hit .227 with 5 HR. Maybe another year older he is ready for the big time. He certainly has a lot of upside, but there's still no guarantees he's worth it.

Plus what I also don't understand is why the Pirates traded for another corner infielder. The system is full of corner prospects, what it lacks is middle infield prospects which is a weakness further exposed because of the fact the Pirates will likely end the day having taded Wilson AND Freddy Sanchez.

Ronny Cedeno sucks...plain and simple. He's not as good defensively as Jack Wilson and as evidenced by his abyssmal career batting average of .238 (WOW!!!) he's not even as good of a hitter as Jack. He's 26 years old so he's a bit younger than Jack but I'm pretty sure we've seen the upper limits of his "potential"

The three minor league pitchers coming back are really tough to evaluate, and frankly I don't think at this point they are worth mentioning. I really hope these words come back to bite me in the ass.

I guess I have to take off the homer goggles and realize that the Pirates dealt a light hitting shortstop and a head case pitcher with a career ERA up near 5.00 for a former 3rd overall pick and a stopgap SS with major league experience. We also got 3 pitchers that hopefully can develop into something.

The trade could be worse, but I'm also not enamored with it.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Don't feel like talking about the Pirates...

I don't feel like talking yet again about who may or may not be traded as soon as tonight for the Pirates. So let's instead talk about the trade I made in my keeper fantasy baseball league.

Most years as the deadline approaches..I tend to trade away my best players for multiple players to try and position myself for a championship run.

This year however I decided to take a slightly different approach. So tonight I pitched an offer to my biggest rival which would send Aramis Ramirez, Orlando Hudson, Matt Cain and Ricky Nolasco to him for David Wright and Justin Verlander.

Given as I was trying to find ways to drop guys to get some of my pitchers off the DL when they come back. It frees up some roster spaces, as well as boost my overall keeper core.

If the trade does not get vetoed, and there's no logical reason to think it will, then these would likely be the players I consider keeping for next year.

Victor Martinez - C
Brian Roberts - 2B
Jimmy Rollins - SS
David Wright - 3B
Jacoby Ellsbury - CF
Justin Verlander - SP
Joe Nathan/Heath Bell/Jonathan Broxton - RP (Pick one...)

I also have Kendry Morales, Adam Lind, Andrew McCutchen, Michael Bourn, and Josh Willingham all worthy of considering long term.

Should be interesting to see what I can pull off as the deadline approaches. Maybe try to whittle down the keeper core to an elite 7.

Go Steel City Sidewinders!!!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Peter Edward Rose, Sr.

So there are rumors floating about that Bud Selig is considering lifting the "Lifetime" ban hanging over Pete Rose, which keeps him from being part of baseball and as a result, has kept one of the all time great hitters from taking his rightful place in the Hall of Fame.

First of all, people make mistakes and have to live up to them. Pete Rose committed what baseball people consider the greatest sin. He gambled on baseball while managing and playing for the Reds.

For those who question why this is such a big deal, Think back to the Black Sox scandal of 1919 when 8 members of the Chicago White Sox conspired to "throw" the World Series.

Baseball is all about integrity, well unless you bring up steroids, and they treat gambling seriously.

I guess what I would like to know is, why call it a lifetime ban if the ban may not in fact last the rest of Rose's life?

Pete Rose has never been contrite about the fact he did this. In fact he repeatedly denied it until he wrote a tell-all autobiography, "My Prison Without Bars" in 2004. Only when he could gain financially from the situation did he come clean.

People make mistakes in life, and in America, if you are contrite and ask for forgiveness, people are generally willing to give you a second chance. Perhaps if he had been honest and straightforward about all of this from the time it became public, then maybe he'd already be back in baseball by now.

Bud Selig has proven he has no spine when it comes to baseball, just take a look at the steroids era. It was only when Congress FORCED him to adopt a drug policy that he instituted one. If not for that, would they even CARE that most of their homerun sluggers were juicing?

Don't be surprised to see Selig reinstate Rose. Maybe Commissioner Giamatti really meant Lifetime ban to mean HIS lifetime...not Pete Rose's.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Back to back Bucco Shutouts.

Awesome offensive display by the Bucs over the past two games. Getting shutout twice in a row by another sub .500 team. Simply disgusting. It's even funnier because the Pirates were running a promotion that would give fans money off tickets for each run the Pirates scored between July 24th and 26th.

It's almost like management went to the team after they put up 10 runs in the first game and said "Hold it..HOLD IT!!! We can't be GIVING these tickets away. Stop scoring runs!"

I know that's not really the case. The simple truth is that the Pirates suck.

Can anyone tell me why Virgil Vasquez is still starting for the Pirates when we have Tom Gorzellany AND Ian Snell tearing up AAA.

I get that Snell is being a whining crybaby and doesn't want to pitch here anymore. That's when you remind him of the fact he is under contract and if he doesn't want to pitch for you, then suspend him without pay for violating that contract.

But instead other teams will lowball the Pirates into giving Snell away for nothing much like the Bucs did when they gave away Jason Schmidt AND John Vander Wal for Armando Rios and Ryan Vogelsong.

It's time this front office grew a pair and laid down the law. Tired of the inmates running the asylum so to speak.

Kind of a boring Saturday for Pittsburgh Sports

Talk about a yawner for Pittsburgh Sports.

Yeah Yeah..the Steelers signed their first round pick Evander "Ziggy" Hood, thus ensuring all of their draft picks will be at training camp, but there was never really any danger of this not occurring.

Buccos got blanked 7-0. Guess that means Garrett Jones didn't homer tonight....hehe.

Someone answer me this question. How can you score 10 runs one night and get shutout the next? Only the inconsistent Pirates could pull off that one.

In terms of the Pirates rumor mill, now it seems with Ted Lilly getting hurt for the Cubs, They might be very interested in Zach Duke. If the Pirates DO decide to make a move with Duke, they better get top value for a left hander who is amongst the top 25 pitchers in MLB this year.

Of course they'll end up with another outfield prospect, perhaps a middle relief pitcher with a 7 plus ERA, and maybe another low level middle infield prospect that has no prayer of making the majors.

I'm gonna climb down from the soapbox now.

No news on the Penguins front. No news is good news.

Oh well at least this total yawner of a day happened as the wife and I were busy buying more furniture for our new apartment for when we move in next Saturday.

I'm heading to bed. Night all!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Big Ben's Legal Woes

I'm really tired so this is gonna be short and sweet.

My gut instinct on this Big Ben situation is that his accuser, Andrea McNulty, is full of it.

My first clue on this matter is that she did not file a Criminal complaint, choosing instead to go straight to a civil case where the decision does not have to be unanimous to be awarded damages.

Second clue is that if this happened over a year ago, why aren't we hearing about it until now? Could it be that Ben would be under stronger media scrutiny due to the fact the season is about to start? Might be easier for her to get him to settle out of court just to make the issue go away.

If Ben is proven to have done this despicable act, then I will join in the expected chorus of haters to condemn it. But again, Ben cares too much about his image to ever think about doing this kind of thing, and he sounded very convincing in his prepared statement to the media.

When will these football players learn to not put themselves in a situation that could remotely come back to bite them in the ass? Whether it be guns, drugs, dogfighting, sexual assault, strip clubs. You name it.

Oh well. I'd write more but I'm falling asleep.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Top Fan Finals/Winner Announced

I listened to the Finals of the Top Fan Contest not just out of curiosity, but also as research for just what it takes to become a successful talk radio star.

Thomas Plungin came out flat and uninspired. He kept saying "Ummm, ahhhh, You know" a lot even though some of the judges felt the opposite which amused me. I felt as though he was a bit nervous and unsure how to handle the whole situation. The judges also said they didn't get a feel for his humor which had shown itself in previous rounds. This made me laugh as they gave me the exact same criticism at the semifinals but never mentioned my humor from the auditions.

Being as he went first I thought this was a huge disadvantage because at least the other competitiors would hear the judges critiques and be able to work a few of the kinks out.

Josh Taylor was up next. Josh made the semifinals last year coming up just short to the winner Chris Mueller. I think Josh has a lot of talent, but in my opinion, he sounds soft at times, and a bit hard to understand. He does have a good sense of humor and does have unique ways of making his points. I thought he was good this year but again, not great. I felt the same way last year. He nailed it in the semifinals but was a bit tentative in last year's finals and still got second place. The point I disagreed most with that he made was Michael Vick and how he only made one mistake. Vick should have spent the whole time he was incarcerated planning how to improve his image when he got out. And sorry but going to a strip club isn't the way to go.

Third up was "Steel Town" Tony Brown. Solid voice and he knew how to make some points, but a lot of his arguments lacked substance. I remember from the semifinals he wasn't nearly as good on the knowledge as every other contestant and his inclusion in these finals left a lot of people bewildered unless of course you were part of his Fan Club. He hesitated quite a bit when asked questions. As a broadcaster in training I notice spots of dead air. I do have to agree with his suggestion that College Athletes deserve to get more of a piece of the pie.

The final guy to go was Michael Grau. I know that his voice made me listen during the semifinals and I knew he would definitely make the finals and would have to be considered the front runner. Michael did not really disappoint. He started off a LITTLE shaky, but he quickly found his legs. I thought he sounded effortless on the air, and showed good chemistry with the other on-air personalities he was bantering back and forth with.

My wife and I were eating dinner and discussing all of this and the way we broke it down was:

1st - Michael Grau
2nd - Josh Taylor
3rd - Tony Brown
4th - Thomas Plungin

They did not announce the other placements but Michael did in fact earn the title of Top Fan 2.

Big congratulations to Michael as he pursues his career in broadcasting. I still think I am better though ;-)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Au Revoir Adam LaRoche

So it was announced today that Adam LaRoche was dealt to the Boston Red Sox for two low level prospects. Who we got in return doesn't matter nearly as much as the fact we dealt away a guy who just wasn't getting the job done and was collecting a fat bloated overpaid contract from the team.

LaRoche makes over 7 million dollars to stink half a season, hit unimportant homeruns and stare at the fans like a crazed deranged stalker. His departure finally clears the way for Ryan Doumit or Garrett Jones to play at 1st base. Rumor has it Steve Pearce might also start to get regular playing time there.

Right now if I was the Pirates manager, my lineup would look something like this.

1. Andrew McCutchen - CF
2. Freddy Sanchez - 2B
3. Garrett Jones - 1B
4. Ryan Doumit - C
5. Andy LaRoche - 3B
6. Delwyn Young - RF
7. Lastings Milledge - LF
8. Jack Wilson - SS
9. Pitcher

The emergence of Jones as a power threat made LaRoche expendable, and it's time to see what Milledge can do. However since Milledge did not get called up just yet, expect Pearce to get time at 1B, with Moss in LF, Jones in RF, and Delwyn Young floating around at an outfield slot or at 2B to spell Freddy.

If Sanchez gets dealt like many of us Pirate fans fear, Young will probably take over at 2B.

As a fellow fan said. Today's deal is addition by subtraction. We dumped salary, got a few prospects and really lost nothing.

Good trade Neal!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Pirates thoughts 7/21/09

The Pirates are better off with Freddy Sanchez and Jack Wilson in the middle if they can get them signed for a solid deal. The problem is that Freddy can get a better deal elsewhere, and that's likely going to happen. I expect Freddy to be dealt by the July 31st deadline, and sadly it will be for less than he is worth. A.K.A. Salary Dump.

Ian Snell will be dumped, so will Adam LaRoche for whatever we can get for them. Heck I could see the Pirates even throwing money onto the deal just to get rid of these guys.

One hidden benefit if LaRoche goes might be a chance for Garrett Jones or Ryan Doumit to be the full time 1st baseman. Garrett Jones has been quite a find for the Buccos, and a good sign that management might finally have an eye for talent.

Also if a move is made to get Jones to 1B, then expect Lastings Milledge to be called up to be an everyday outfielder for us. I'm anxious to see what this kid can do in a Pirate uniform. I just hope the Pirates don't get screwed over in trades to make it happen.

We shall see.

Also don't be shocked if Maholm gets dealt but at least we have Gorzellany ready to come back up so maybe the hit won't be as bad.

That's it for my rant right now. Have a good one!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Did I miss the memo where I had auditioned for Last Comic Standing?

So I go to Carnivores for the "Top Fan" Contest and we go through the rounds.

First round is 30 seconds to say why you are Pittsburgh's Top Fan. I had chosen to try and be different so I announce it public address announcer style...aka a character. And in there I joke about how I was voted the Sexiest Voice in Pittsburgh.....according to my wife. People in the bar laughed..but apparently the judges missed that.

The second round is to answer questions like "Name a Head Coach in the NFL", "Name an NHL Team", Name a player who hit over 30 Homeruns in Baseball last year", and "Name a running back drafted in the NFL in the first round since 2004."

Given that these are two word answers. Not much room for humor.

Second round was the dreaded "Random" question that tripped me up last year on time. This year, amazingly I got another question about music. "If you were forced to listen to a song over and over and over and over...what would it be?"

I chose "At Last by Etta James" because it was the song my wife and I danced to at our wedding but also I mentioned how I was at the point in my life chasing my dream that I felt like it was "At Last" Not much room for humor in this one.

The Third round was debates. I was picked to debate why the Pirates WOULD be competitive by 2014. Since it was a debate, I guess I stupidly did not see the need to crack jokes for a minute when I was trying to convince people why the Pirates WOULD win. My opponent spent the minute joking and since he was one of the 4 picked, I guess it worked.

Anyways We get up for the Final Critique and this is where the judges gave their criticism of me. This year the negative was...They didn't think I had shown much humor. They did feel I had shown a lot of knowledge and that I had done a great job on the debate about the Pirates being competitive. Then on the spot they asked me to tell a joke.

I have never been a jokester. My humor is more reactionary to what people say. I am pretty good at one liners. The only joke that popped in my head was completely and utterly gross and sorry but I had too much class to tell it in public.

I wouldn't have changed a thing I did this year. I have no regrets. They wanted "Characters" in the Finals instead of people taking this seriously. I can't fault them for it because this probably is a publicity contest for the station.

Can't say it isn't disappointing though.

Oh well time to see what's next.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Back for another run at Top Fan!

Got the call today that I am in this year's Top 10 Semifinals for 1250 ESPN's "Top Fan 2" Contest.

I am very excited to have a second chance at this wonderful opportunity, and will be working tirelessly over the next few days to make sure I am as prepared as I can be.

Come on out and cheer me on at Carnivores in Oakmont PA. at 6 PM Friday (July 17th, 2009)

For more info check out the Top Fan section at

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A great big WTF for Filfthadelphia Filthies Manager Charlie Manuel.

Can someone please explain to me how Charlie managed to ignore both Pirates in the all-star game. Neither Zach Duke nor Freddy Sanchez sniffed a chance at playing time. Chase Utley sure managed to stay in the game what..6 innings? Ryan Howard (rightfully so) came up in a crucial pinch hitting situation.

It's bad enough the Pirates have to suck so bad, but throw us fans a bone and let us see our players for an at bat or something.

You should be ashamed Charlie...

Monday, July 13, 2009

1250 ESPN's Top Fan 2

Hello all, for those who may not have heard, I have started my quest to be named the second annual "Top Fan" at 1250 ESPN in Pittsburgh. The winner gets to work on-air for the station and this would definitely serve as an excellent starting block to my budding career as a broadcaster.

I came up short, literally, in my attempts to win last year's contest, but a year older and a year wiser I feel I have made significant strides towards winning the title this year.

So far I have been to all three of the qualifiers which have been held at Smokey Bones in Cranberry, Duffy's Pop and Beer Outlet in Pleasant Hills, and Flynn's Tire in Carnegie.

I've covered the Pirates, Soccer, and the Penguins. Tomorrow is the last qualifier for the contest and it will be at the Rivertowne Pour House in Monroeville. I'm thinking I'll probably end up ranting about the Steelers, since I've covered all the other pro teams so far.

Been getting some good feedback from people who have heard my rants, plus Chris Mack from the station called me while he was covering GameDay for Joe Starkey this past Saturday and we had a chat on-air about what happened last year and he gave me a shot to redeem myself for coming up short and I am pleased to announce I did not fail this time around.

The semi-finalists are announced on Wednesday July 15th, and the Semi's will be at Carnivore's in Oakmont at 6 PM.

Stay posted to my Facebook for the absolute latest updates, or drop me a line at

-- Dom