Archive for September, 2009

Did Rashard Mendenhall Sleep With Ron Cook’s Wife Or Something?

September 29, 2009

I don’t share the unconditional ire for the Post-Gazette’s Columnists that many bloggers seem to automatically harbor in spades for their hometown publications’ veteran writers, but occasionally, the P-G’s Ron Cook will write something so misguidedly angry and so completely unfounded, I’m actually kind of impressed.

Today’s column is a picture-perfect example of this random venomous hatred:

Steelers’ 2008 draft class a bust so far

Ok, so it’s gonna be an article about the thoroughly disappointing starts of running back Rashard Mendenhall, receiver Limas Sweed, and the already-cut linebacker Bruce Davis. Seems like a logical choice, particularly after Sweed’s TD drop against Cincy and Mendenhall’s mysterious benching.

Only, Cook doesn’t simply point out the factual evidence of Mendenhall and Sweed’s struggles — he is personally, deeply offended by their absolutely outrageous behavior, and when you read these EXTREMELY over-the-line quotes from the players, you will be too. Take it away, Angry Angerson:

But it’s much worse that Mendenhall — the first-round choice — did such a poor job preparing for the game that he was benched by irritated coach Mike Tomlin. This guy is supposed to be a professional? He certainly doesn’t look like one.

Mendenhall’s actions really are reprehensible. “Rashard wasn’t on the details this week,” Tomlin said of his decision not to play him on offense. How can that be? How can Mendenhall let his teammates down like that? How can he let himself down?

“It was a bunch of little stuff,” Mendenhall said when asked what Tomlin meant.

I’m guessing it was more than that. Certainly, Tomlin didn’t consider it to be “little stuff.” Coaches rarely call out a player publicly and embarrass him. That’s a drastic step.

Shame on Mendenhall.

Is he not smart enough to realize the opportunity he has with the Steelers?

Mendenhall’s benching was definitely unusual and disappointing, but I just can’t tell what about either one of those extremely vague single sentences from Tomlin and Mendenhall sparked such an anger in Cook.

Tomlin says that Mendenhall wasn’t “on the details,” Mendenhall himself confirms this, then Cook assumes it’s “more than that” and gets angry at his own assumption. He then performs this:

But like most of Steeler Nation, Cook is even more personally offended by Limas Sweed, who not only dropped a touchdown pass this weekend, but he’s also a blockheaded, coddled, privileged diva about it:

Really, how can anyone have faith in Sweed?

What’s most troubling is that Sweed doesn’t seem to have a clue that his job could be in jeopardy. “It happened. I hit the ground and the ball bounced out,” he said of his latest drop.

That’s pretty lame.

Sweed’s game is lame.

Sweed has some god damned nerve literally saying what happened. If he were a professional, he would have admitted “When I dropped the ball I was like oh shit my job is in jeopardy and I realize that!!!!”

Again, I’m not disputing that Mendenhall and Sweed have been off to terrible career starts that certainly could amount to the 2008 Steeler draft being a waste — no Steeler fan denies this — I just don’t understand why Cook is so bent upon portraying the two underachievers as ignorant pathological failures whose naivety (based on three general quotes and conjecture) should offend each and every one of us.

Is Cook really that angry at these guys, or does he just have to sound this way because a simple “Mendenhall and Sweed have been crappy so far” column would’ve been too obvious?

Either way, the Steelers should bring in Doug Mientkiewicz. That dude knows how to play the game THE RIGHT WAY.

Bengals 23, Steelers 20: I Need A Vacation

September 28, 2009

There’s nothing quite so uniquely demoralizing as going to a bar with friends to watch a game, eating a bunch of food, drinking beers, and then losing that game to a mediocre team in the final seconds despite a dominant first half and an eleven-point lead in the fourth quarter (and roughly 57,829 missed chances). It’s like going to a three-hour movie and only realizing in the last fifteen seconds that the movie is terrible and you’ve wasted your afternoon.

You also begin to regret the beers and the fish n’ chips platter and the fried pickles, as they’ve retroactively transformed from celebratory group-engorging to just a bunch of fatty, heavy crap you piled into your stomach while your team lost stupidly. Then you get home, it’s 7:30, and you realize you’ve spent your Sunday devoted to something that merely pissed you off.

Why is this acceptable in sports and in no other walks of life? I’d never devote three hours to watching a CSI: Miami DVD then walk away going “Dammit, why did that have to happen? There goes my whole day. I’m gonna be angry through to Wednesday now.”

Fortunately, this Thursday, I’m going to Europe for two weeks. Not because of this game. Well, partly because of this game. But only like 30% because of this game. Needless to say, my initial reservation about the timing of my trip — “Damn, I’m gonna miss two Steeler games, two Penn State games, some MLB playoffs and the start of hockey season” — has transformed into “Yay, I don’t have to watch this crap for two weeks!”

I’m not sure the game requires much analysis, so here are some whiny complaints:

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Interesting ESPN “Accuscore” Projection For Today’s Pirates/Dodgers Game…

September 25, 2009

Dodgers at Pirates Accuscore

The team will be issuing all fans in attendance one of these coupons:

Pirates G20 Coupon

What’s A Term For “Train Wreck” But Without The Positive Connotations?

September 24, 2009

I watched the Pirates game again last night — why does typing this sentence feel so much like an AA introduction? — not as much for actual entertainment’s sake as for the bizarre, self-righteous mindset (shared by Pat of WHYGAVS) that watching the team allows my criticisms to at least carry a little more oomph than the person who just says “All they care about is money, they suck, I quit watching three years ago.” Basically, I never want to turn into the dude who says how bad SNL has gotten even though they haven’t watched it since ninth grade (in those Jim Breuer glory years!)

Anyway, my question: What term can we use to describe the Pirates’ play over the past month and a half? The phrase “train wreck” doesn’t totally apply, because that insinuates that even though it’s a terrible tragedy, there’s a base, perverse aspect to the tragedy that draws your attention. These Pirates have gone way past train wreck, being so consistently, confoundingly bad for a long enough period that it isn’t even sadistically humorous, it’s just flat-out joyless on every conceivable level.

What about, two boring things crashing? A “Jay Leno wreck”? Nah, a little too sadistic, plus I’d want to watch and see how that happened. Two Nickelback albums colliding? Nah, also too much fun to watch, plus they have a much larger fanbase than the Pirates.

Wait — I think I’ve got it. Something completely and utterly joyless that isn’t even ironically or perversely entertaining and no one gives a crap about? Yeah, I’ve definitely got it.

This Pirates season is like a “DVD of the movie Son Of The Mask wreck”:

Watching The Pirates

Other suggestions? Leave ’em in the comments. Though I believe my term is pretty comprehensive and accurate.

WEEK 2: Bears 17, Steelers 14

September 22, 2009

Didn’t have much motivation to write about this game yesterday, not because of crippling depression or anything, but more just out of general ambivalence towards the outcome. The Steelers didn’t play terribly, but they certainly didn’t play well, and when you miss two makeable field goals and produce no turnovers, you’re going to lose a lot of football games. I have just been awarded a Pulitzer in Groundbreaking Not-Obvious Journalism for my previous sentence. I’d like to thank you all for your support, I couldn’t have won that thing I just made up without you.

Random Thoughts:

Me after the game last week: “Wow, could you imagine a full season of Santonio Holmes playing like he did in the playoffs??”

Me after the game this week: “Never mind.”

— Is there anything more infuriating than watching the opposing coaches celebrate after your team missed a damn field goal? They’re literally just celebrating a random occurrence that reflects no accomplishment on the part of them or any of their players.

— Of course, I was celebrating Tennessee’s missed field goals last week, but when it happens the other way around, you suddenly realize how frickin’ stupid cheering for a missed field goal is. It’s like cheering another team’s delay of game penalty.

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Jesus Christ, Baseball Writers, Am I Really Gonna Have To Defend The Pirates Again?

September 17, 2009

The Pirates are terrible. They’re playing abysmal baseball, their offense is deplorable, their bullpen is a wreck, and watching them for any extended length of time — as I still bring myself to do quite often, just as I kept eagerly watching Season 14 Simpsons episodes — is nothing short of excruciating. The last thing I am going to begin to argue is that the Pirates are not currently terrible. Deal? Deal.

With that out of the way, brace yourself for some more ham-fisted, unintelligible, vague Pirate-bashing gibberish from one Murray Chass, writer of numerous nonsensical articles including most recently this jaw-dropping homage to whaaaa?? about the Red Sox.

In honor of yesterday’s Fire Joe Morgan reunion over at Deadspin, let’s take an FJM-style peek into Chass’ new column:

“PIRATES GET $40 MILLION, PLAYERS $20 MILLION”

A peripherally-Pgh-knowledgeable sportswriter is upset about the way the Pirates do things! Feel like we’ve been down this road before

As the season dwindles down to a precious few weeks, attention is focused on remaining races – not that there are any – and the playoffs ahead. But pause for a moment in your excited anticipation and think of how Pittsburgh Pirates fans approach the post-season.

They may actually look forward to it eagerly because once they get beyond Oct. 4, the Pirates can’t lose any more games this year.

True! Meanwhile, fans of the Astros and Orioles will be all like “Awwww man, the season’s over?? I wish this battle for 75 victories could last forever!”

They probably can’t make any more trades either because they have already traded everybody of value.

On second thought they have Andrew McCutchen on their roster, and if they traded Nyjer Morgan they can trade Andrew McCutchen.

Tires screeching .wav! Did you just compare trading Nyjer Morgan to trading Andrew McCutchen?

Nyjer Morgan: 29 years old, hitting .307 / .369 / .388, 3 HR in unexpectedly-sustained career year.

Andrew McCutchen: 22 years old, hitting .272 / .347 / .454, 11 HR in first major-league season.

Morgan has had a more amazing year offensively and defensively than even the most optimistic Pirate fan could’ve expected. He is also 29 years old and dependent upon his speed and batting average for his offensive value; considering most players tend to decline after their age 27-30 seasons, and that slap hitters who rely on batting averages tend to fluctuate wildly from year to year, it is sheer lunacy to expect Morgan to ever improve upon these numbers, and almost as unlikely for him to ever repeat them for a full season.

McCutchen, meanwhile, is a former first round pick who, at age 22, is outslugging career-year Morgan by 60 points, and appears poised to quickly ascend to the elite ranks of National League outfielders.

You’re talking about trading apples and oranges, if the oranges were 7 years younger than the apples and already a more dynamic offensive player but the apples smile a lot and hit for average so sportswriters love them cause they’re gutty throwback tablesetters. A lobotomized emu could see the difference between trading Nyjer Morgan and Andrew McCutchen.

Anywhoo…

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Rocket-Butt Timmons Re-Injured In Practice

September 17, 2009

Bad News: Linebacker Lawrence Timmons returned to practice for the first time in three weeks, then left the field after re-injuring his ankle.

Good News: I found this quote about Timmons while poking back through the Sports Illustrated NFL Season Preview issue:

“He has rockets in his butt,” says defensive end Brett Keisel.

Not “Rockets in his legs?” Would rockets in your butt even be a good thing? I’m just picturing some Steeler fan-child’s weird crayon drawing of Timmons with a rocket up his ass hanging on a fridge somewhere…

Here’s wishing Rocket-Butt Timmons a full and speedy recovery.

Tom Brady Pulls Off Clutch Fourth-Quarter Buffalo Dude Fumbling

September 15, 2009

ESPN’s headline for the Patriots’ 25-24 Win Over The Bills:

Brady Keys Pats Rally



Yahoo:

Brady Rallies Patriots Past Bills



Peter King:

Brady could play 20 years in the NFL, and this game will go down as one of the five most memorable, Super Bowls included. It’ll have to.



I’m pretty confused this morning, because in the Patriots/Bills game I watched, Buffalo’s kick returner fumbled a kickoff at his own 30 late in the fourth quarter, thus completely handing the Patriots a game they were essentially out of and allowing them to barely squeak by a terrible Bills team at home in a game in which they were favored by 10 points.

As a Steeler fan, I’ve gotten a lot of firsthand experience in the past year at spotting BS “clutch” quarterback praise the day after a game, but apparently every news publication already had their “Brady Magical Return From Injury” stories ready to roll and just clicked “Publish” as soon as the score went final.

Either way, I expect to see this game near the top of the list when the NFL Network runs their “10 Most Amazing 30-Yard Drives In Regular Season Week 1 At Home Against A Terrible Football Team After Being Handed A Gift-Wrapped Turnover With More Than Enough Time Left” special.

Chris Myers Compares Larry Foote Choosing The Lions To Dating Whoopi Goldberg Over Beyoncé

September 14, 2009

Fox’s Chris Myers compares Larry Foote leaving the Steelers for the Lions to “Going from dating Beyoncé to Whoopi Goldberg.”

Pretty insulting, and amazing he managed to slip it onto national tv. Also incredibly accurate:

NEWS IN BR…F: Monday, September 14

September 14, 2009

  • Dozens Injured Jumping Off Texans Bandwagon

  • ESPN Launches New Boston Sports Website, “ESPN.com”

  • Bears’ Cutler Injures Urlacher’s Wrist Probably

  • John Fox Still Thinks Passing TDs Are Worth Too Much In Roger Goodell’s Fantasy League

  • Serena: “My Toes Were Crossed So That Apology Doesn’t Count, F***ers!”

  • McNabb Injury Leaves Philly Media Wondering Who They Should Want Benched In Week 2