The Daily Bongo

Sports between June 2005 and December 2004

Sports between November 2005 and today
Sports between October 2005 and July 2005

Sports by Topic

Pittsburgh Penguins / Pittsburgh Steelers / Turin Winter Olympics 2006 / Hockey / Horse Racing / Soccer/World Cup / Beijing Summer Olympics 2008

Thursday, June 30, 2005 -- Afternoon

It seems that with the new NBA collective bargaining agreement, Chris Taft might wind up playing for a minor league team. I heard from some of the players on the Pitt basketball team that they thought it was funny that Taft got taken down a few pegs. It seems that he had an arrogant attitude along with the laziness that made him difficult to work with. Also as I heard from them, even though Jamie Dixon said that it made Pitt look good to have someone drafted anywhere in the NBA draft, their concensus is that it makes Pitt look bad. Why? Because Taft came into the program as a good prospect for a first round pick, and wound upn in the cellar.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005 -- Morning

So now folks are seeing the light of day, and realizing that Chris Taft was given bad advice. The kid's head was being filled all year with how well he would do in the draft, and how it didn't matter that he didn't have a good season because he was going to be in the NBA. Meanwhile, his season really sucked, and someone should have told him to stay in school and buckle down and work. No one did. Now Taft won't be getting the millions that he fantasized about, but will be getting a minimal salary if he makes the roster. So now he has no guarantees.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005 -- Late Evening

I found out before I went to sleep--Chris Taft was the 42nd pick in the second round. He was drafted by Golden State. The ESPN commentators were saying that his handlers did Taft a disservice by making him think he was a lottery pick, and that he should have stayed in school for another year. As one of the announcers said, Taft is an unskilled player. He can't shoot and he really doesn't have any skills to recommend him. The only thing that he has going for him is that with hard work he might become something. Maybe being picked this low in the draft will give Taft the kick in the pants that he needs. Will he be able to live up to the "potential"? We'll have to wait and see.

Well, the first round of the NBA draft is over, and Chris Taft was not picked. Now his only hope is for the second round. From hearing all the talk starting at the end of last year, folks were just raving about how Taft would be in the top five picks, and that he was definitely lottery pick on potential. A lottery pick means that you are one of the first fifteen people picked in the draft. But as Chad Ford of ESPN said Taft was a lottery pick on potential, but a second rounder on heart and desire. The ESPN guys were talking at the start of the second round about some players who may have been told that they were better than they were and Stephen A. Smith said "Chris Taft". Right now on the local sports talk show, Ron Cook was saying that he was shocked that Chris Taft didn't go in the 16-30 range of the first round. Paul Alexander was just commenting on the local sports show that he didn't think that Taft had the quality of hard work that would make him a worthy pick. It must be that I just don't know basketball as well as the Pittsburgh sports analysts, but I just didn't think much of Taft. Obviously, the NBA scouts agreed with me. In the first round, Taft would have had guaranteed money. In the second round, the money is not guaranteed. This is a big drop for Taft's expectations who obviously thought that since folks thought he should be a lottery pick that he didn't need to do anything other than sit and look pretty. Since I will probably be sleeping before the second round finishes, I'll probably have to wait until tomorrow to know if Taft does get picked at all.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005 -- Evening

The NBA draft is taking place now. So far, only the first four picks in the first round have happened. The first pick for Milwaukee was Andrew Bogut who is from Australia. It seems that this is the first time in a few years that a college student has been the number one pick. Usually they go for the brilliant high school student. It will be interesting to see where Chris Taft winds up.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005 -- Afternoon

The NBA draft is tonight, and folks still seem to think that Chris Taft will be drafted because of his potential. Originally he was thought to be a early first round draft pick, but now the highest folks think he will go is 15th, and he might not go until the second round. I still find it hard to understand this whole potential thing with the NBA. They must get bitten by it so many times. So they get Taft because he is tall, and showed some signs a year ago of being good. Will he overcome the lazy factor? I guess we will have to see.

Sunday, June 26, 2005 -- Evening

Jeremy Roenick was at the Mario Lemieux golf tournament this weekend, and he expressed his views on the lockout/strike situation. It was interesting to watch on television because they kept on bleeping him out. It seems that he gave a really good rant about how the players had a better deal offered to them in February and because of stupidity, they turned it down, and now are going to be signing an deal that isn't as good in July. As Roenick said they hurt the league's reputation and integrity by not doing the right thing in the first place. He also said that the hockey players had to stand up for themselves, and that wasn't being cocky. As Roenick said, if the fans think they are cocky, it's because the fans are jealous, and they don't need fans like that. You know, there's one that you can say for Roenick, and that is that he speaks his mind. I saw him on an episode of ESPN's Teammates and the guy was an exuberant, crazy guy--just my sort of man.

Sunday, June 26, 2005 -- Afternoon

I never understood the Chris Taft hype. For some reason, he has been rumored to be a top five pick in the NBA draft to be held this coming Tuesday. Taft has not show anything but laziness and inconsistency in the past year here at Pitt, and I have been wondering why any NBA team would want him. Potential, smential! If you don't live up to your potential, and work hard, knowing that you coulda, shoulda, woulda means nothing. Well, now it seems that Taft is not one of the 15 draft eligible players that have been invited to Madison Square Garden to be introduced when picked. Now this doesn't mean that he won't go in the first round, at least not if you listen to his agent's hype. As of June 11, Taft was out looking for suits for his appearance at Madison Square Garden. Taft doesn't know where the rumors of him being lazy have come from (maybe from those who have worked with him at Pitt--because that's where I have heard the rumors). Even looking back at his past season with Pitt, Taft was benched a few times for laziness, poor work ethic and lack of commitment. Of course, that's because he really had his mind on the NBA, and couldn't be bothered with playing for Pitt. As far as Taft is concerned, only one workout went poorly, and that was for the Toronto Raptors when the coach publicly stated that he wondered about whether Taft should return to Pitt. We'll have to see what happens on Tuesday.

Saturday, June 25, 2005 -- Evening

I really have alot of respect and admiration for Shaquille O'Neal. From watching the Shaquille reality series, and from hearing his comments about Kobe Bryant, I really have formed a postive opinion of Shaq. Well, my respect has increased for Shaq because he has been getting an MBA behind the scenes. He graduated from the University of Phoenix which is geared towards working adult students. They make classes available online, although Shaq did attend some classes while in LA.

Saturday, June 25 -- Morning

I was going to go to the Mario Lemieux Invitational Celebrity Golf Tournament, but the temperature today is supposed to be extremely high--in the 90s in Pittsburgh (that's Fahrenheit, of course) with high humidity. Since there isn't alot of shade in the area, I am going to pass, and consider my ticket purchase as a donation to a good cause. So far, the activity at the tournament seems to be interesting, and it looks like Charles Barkley is leading. Barkley also put his two cents in about fellow tournament participant Ben Roethlisberger's bike riding without a helmet. Here's what Barkley said: "A jock who's playing today, to ride a motorcycle is flat-out stupid. Period. Whether you're wearing a helmet or not."

Friday, June 24, 2005 -- Evening

Karl Malone's daughter, Cheryl Ford, plays basketball, and she recently signed a one year contract to play for Ramat Hasharon, a team in Israel. I saw Cheryl on an episode of ESPN's Teammates, and she was the spitting image of Karl Malone.

Friday, June 24, 2005 -- Afternoon

Mario Lemieux says that he is optimistic about the chances for the Penguins to get an arena. Mario figures that they should know their status for sure by the end of 2006 because that is when the licences for the slot machines should be handed out. I hope that he isn't suffering from false hopes.

Thursday, June 23, 2005 -- Afternoon

Bernie Eccleston, the person who is president of Formula One Management, created a controversy by saying that "Women should be all dressed in white like all other domestic appliances." Now he said this before the controversial Indy Formula One race this weekend that had most of the cars withdraw minutes before the start of the race because Michelin said that its tires weren't safe for the track at Indy. And then Bernie repeated it to Danica Patrick in a phone call later that day. You really have to wonder from which planet Ecclestone beamed himself. Not surprisingly, Danica is totally baffled on what Ecclestone means, and why he said it to her. I think the guy is a loser, and hope that he doesn't influence too many young men with his crazy talk.

Sad news for Tim Henman. He lost today at Wimbledon. Tim usually has alot of expectations on his shoulders at Wimbledon because he is British, and the top player in Britain. This time he lost to an unseeded player.

Thursday, June 23, 2005 -- Morning

The Pittsburgh Penguins have posted six job openings on the NHL website. Now folks are saying that the fact that the team is looking for people means that the owners must be feeling confident that a settlement must be near. I keep on saying that we will see.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005 -- Evening

Carl Krauser made it official that he will not be participating in the NBA. We won't know for sure if Krauser will be returning to Pitt until August. chances are that he will go to Europe and try to improve his skills there and return to the US for the draft next year.

Speaking of Pitt, the cost for the replacement roof for the Petersen Event Center will cost $5.6 million. The repair will start next week and should be completed by November. The roof repairs should not affect any of the events that are scheduled for the building. Leave it to the folks at Pitt to find a way to pore more money into a project than was originally planned. The cost for the Petersen tripled since it was proposed in 1992 with a total cost of $119 million dollars. Of this, $66 million came from tax dollars and that was five times the original proposal.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005 -- Late Evening

Late breaking news from the Nightly Sports Call. Paul Zeise will probably have an article in tomorrow's Pittsburgh Post Gazette about his talk with Carl Krauser. It appears that Krauser is withdrawing his name from the NBA draft, and is considering trying out for the EuroLeague. It will be bad for Pitt to lose Krauser, but he has to move on. After all, Krauser is 24 years old, and he ain't getting any younger. Hopefully, he can mature and learn in the Euroleague and come back to the NBA later on.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005 -- Evening

I was abit behind on my television viewing and just watched the

Sunday Sports Showdown that is on KDKA late night on Sunday. The show has a couple of different sports folks from television and print who give their opinions on a variety of topics. This past weekend, they were talking about Carl Krauser, and Paul Zeise of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette said that he was told by one of the coaches who was at the NBA draft camp that the league that would want Krauser would be the league of short people who don't shoot too well. The guys talked about it, and they believe that Krauser is so keen on being in the NBA draft because Chris Taft is being touted as a first round draft possibility, and yet Krauser did better than Taft last season. I can't believe that Taft is so highly regarded by the NBA. The rumor about the Pitt campus is that Taft is very lazy and hates to work. That was pretty obvious from his performance this past season.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005 -- Afternoon

Myron Cope is retiring as a Steelers broadcaster. Myron is 76 years old, and missed a game last year because he fell and banged his head pretty badly. I suppose there always comes a time when someone needs to realize that the strain of doing things can't continue because of age or health concerns, but it's still a sad moment. I wish Myron the best, and will miss his squeeky voice. Double yoi!

Carl Krauser is going against the advice that he received from a bevy of NBA coaches and will be remaining in the NBA draft. The announcement is supposed to be made today, and Krauser will not be coming back to Pitt next year. It seems that most think that Krauser will not be picked in the first round, and might not even be picked at all. This could be a bad move on Krauser's part.

Monday, June 20, 2005 -- Afternoon

Today is the first day of Wimbledon. So far, Roger Federer, Lleyton Hewitt and Lindsay Davenport have won. No big upsets, but it is only the first day.

This coming weekend is the Mario Lemieux Celebrity Invitational golf tournament. It is going to be held this weekend at Nevillewood. I am planning on going Saturday morning and taking some pictures for the blog, so keep your eyes open for it. It seems that Mario has been a big golf fan for years and his whole family joins in the enthusiasm. I know that he has been doing the golf tournament for several years, and has gotten alot of celebrities and sports guys to show up, like Michael Jordan. Next year, it's supposed to be more of a corporate outing, so I wonder if that means no regular people can attend.

Thursday, June 16, 2005 -- Evening

It's a sad day in Tel-Aviv. Sarunas Jasikevicius of Maccabi Tel-Aviv is rumored to have signed a two year deal with his old team in Barcelona. I say rumored because that is the word from the team. Jasikevicius' agent is saying that he will be signing with an NBA team. Maccabi is also denying the rumors. Either Barcelona or NBA will be sad news for the Maccabi fans.

The Mighty Ducks have been sold to Henry Samueli and his wife. Cost? $75 million dollars. The team's name will not be changed, and they should not be relocated, at least for now. I guess that the Samuelis are hopeful wishers. They seem to think that there will be a return to hockey sometime. I'm still not hopeful.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005 -- Evening

It seems that Israel might be one of the countries that the NBA might visit when the teams are sent to play the European teams. The reason, of course, is because a match might be made with the Euroleague champion, and that is Maccabi Tel-Aviv.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005 -- Evening

Phil Jackson said at the press conference today that he got a phone call from Kobe Bryant this morning congratulating Jackson on returning as the coach, and Jackson commented that he did not expect any of the tensions that the pair had when Jackson was coach a year ago. I'll wait to see if that happens.

Speaking of the Lakers, I have become a big fan of the ESPN documentary called Shaquille. It's a six part series that shows you the behind the scenes Shaq. I have to admit that since I have been watching repeats of the show, I have really grown to like and admire Shaquille O'Neal. He seems like a decent guy. I feel sorry for his poor wife though, because it looks like he really encourages the kids to do things like burping after a meal. At times, the kids and Shaq get carried away, and his wife has to lay down the law of the land.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005 -- Late Afternoon

It's still a few minutes from the LA Lakers press conference, but I will be on my way home then. It seems that Phil Jackson is going to sign a three year deal with the Lakers, and that the whole move meets with Kobe Bryant's approval. I guess that LA has to do something because the team really did suck last year--well, at least, they didn't make the playoffs which is every team's goal at the minimum.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005 -- Afternoon

Breaking news that will be announced at 5 pm ET news conference today is that Phil Jackson will be returning as coach of the LA Lakers. So far the only thing I see is a breaking news headline on ESPN. It's hard to believe that Phil would go back after the comments that he made about Kobe Bryant, but I guess that sometimes money talks.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005 -- Morning

It seems that the NBA is going to have four teams play some pre-season games in Europe this coming season. The NBA teams and the European teams have yet to be announced. It would be nice if the games could be played in this country, but it will b interesting to see. The European League isn't a bad one. Sometimes we just think that the NBA is head and shoulders about everyone else, but that isn't the case anymore.

Word also has it that the NHL will be participating in the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin. It also seems that the talks between the league and the players is continuing in a positive way. I'm not believing any of the news stories or rumors that an agreement is near or that certain things have already been agreed upon. It seems that the situation is still too shaky and uncertain for anyone to make claims of an agreement. I'll believe it when we get the official word from the NHL and the NHLPA.

Monday, June 13, 2005 -- Afternoon

Ed Rendell, Pennsylvania governor, is not too keen on an arena for the Penguins. He says that it's not high on his list because he doesn't see any chance for the arena, and doesn't see any support for it with public funding. The thing is that a slots license for the Penguins would do the trick and help them fund the arena. However, I think the controversy with that is that Rendell is only giving the licenses to his cronies, AND thinks the only city worth thinking of in Pennsylvania is Philadelphia. Give your support to the Slots for Mario movement and foil the attempts of our Governor to kill hockey in this city.

Monday, June 13, 2005 -- Morning

It seems that Dave Wannstedt is doing just what he promised when he came to Pitt. Wannstedt said that he would go out there and do a great job of recruiting and selling the Pitt program because he knew both the area and the program. Well, it seems that he was right. For the month of May, Wannstedt has been out there working his butt off going to six to seven schools a day when he was in Florida recently.

Folks are beginning to realize that Afleet Alex coulda, woulda, shoulda won the Triple Crown this year if only he had eight more feet in the Kentucky Derby. Afleet Alex was third in the Derby, but he was just a length off of the lead, and that translates into around eight feet. That's really not that much. The jockey, Jeremy Rose, is kicking himself because he feels that he should have done something to change the end. The problem was having such a large number of horses in the race, and a couple of hares (fast horses who set a blistering early pace). The track that day was also slow, and there were other favorites that wound up losing that day because they were inside by the rail (where Afleet Alex was), and that was the slowess part of the track. Well, there's not point in crying over coulda, woulda, shoulda.

Saturday, June 11, 2005 -- Late Evening

Danica Patrick finished 13th in the Bombardier Learjet 500 race this evening. Some think that the pressure is on for her to win. Those people really need to learn something though. The point is that she is a rookie, and rookies don't do alot of winning. In fact, considering that she is a rookie, her performance has been impressive. It is true though that the masses won't understand her not winning and will think that means she isn't good at what she does.

Saturday, June 11, 2005 -- Evening

Today was the Belmont Stakes. My god it was such an exciting race. When the race started my favorite, Afleet Alex, was really lagging behind. He was running in ninth place (of nine horses), and he was just sitting in the back. I was sure that it was a bad move and that something was wrong with Afleet Alex. Well, in the last 3/4th's of a mile, Afleet Alex just turned it on, and it was like all the other horses were standing still. He blew past everyone, and opened up a 7 length lead. Andromeda's Hero finished second by another 7 lengths and Nolan's Cat was third. Giacomo was in the lead as they were making the final turn, and was just blown by. It was amazing just watching the rerunning of the race because Afleet Alex pretty much went from almost last place on the inside as they went into the final turn to winning the race impressively from the outside. The final quarter time was 24 2/5ths seconds. That's the fastest final quarter time since Arts and Letters in 1969. The final time for the mile and a half was 2:28 3/5. If only Afleet Alex hadn't finished third in the Kentucky Derby, we might be looking at a Triple Crown winner. Afleet Alex's trainer, Tim Ritchey, knows what he is doing. He had a training schedule for Afleet Alex that had the horse going out for an hour or so four times a day.

Friday, June 10, 2005 -- Afternoon

The Pittsburgh Penguins are in the process of being bought by the West Coast group of investors that showed an interest in the team earlier in the week. It seems that the Penguins will be remaining in the city (if hockey every returns), and Mario will still hold a reduced interest in the team. The letter of intent to purchase the team has been negotiated, but this doesn't mean that the sell is final. All it means is that the process is in place for the purchase of the team. The guy, William Del Biaggo, heading the efforts to buy the Penguins also has an interest in the San Jose Sharks.

Thursday, June 9, 2005 -- Afternoon

It seems that the NHLPA is now denying that there has been an agreement on a salary cap. I don't know what this means, and neither does anyone else. I have to admit that I am getting tired of the soap opera that the hockey situation has become.

Thursday, June 9, 2005 -- Morning

Poor Carl Krauser! He has been at an NBA pre-draft camp, and it appears that the message he has been getting from scouts and coaches is to stay in school. That can't be something that a 25 year old player who has already graduated would like to hear. I suppose that the suggestion is that Krauser needs some more work to be ready for the NBA.

Wednesday, June 8, 2005 -- Evening

This Saturday is the Belmont Stakes. Afleet Alex and Giacomo are preparing for the race, and will be joined by nine other horses. Eleven is not a large field. The question is if Afleet Alex will have the stamina to win the Belmont because it is the longest of the three Triple Crown races at a mile and a half.

The NHL and the NHLPA came to an agreement on a salary cap. The cap will range from $32 to 34 million with a minimum of $22 to 24 million dollars. There are still other issues that are up for consideration, such as salary arbitration and free agency. So it could still be some time before we know if we have hockey next season.

Tuesday, June 7, 2005 -- Afternoon

My favorite player for Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball team, Sarunas Jasikevicius, is hoping to make a move to the NBA this coming season. Right now, his agent says that he is looking for a $10 million three year contract. Right now, ten teams are expressing interest. We'll have to see how it all works out.

Friday, June 3, 2005 -- Evening

A settlement for the class action lawsuit that some of the Pitt basketball season ticket holders brought against the University may have had a preliminary approval from the Court of Common Pleas. In the past, only folks who bought season tickets in particular areas of the arena had to pay an additional fee--called a donation by Pitt. I can understand paying a "donation" when you want VIP seats, but because of the Quest for Excellence to raise even more money for a University that knows more about wasting money than any other I know, even folks who want regular seats are expected to make a hefty "donation". What sucks is that there is no quarantee that you will get to keep you seat by making the donation. So the settlement will be that the folks who were part of the class action suit will get to keep their seats at the minimum donation level which for the coming year is $250. Next year, it's going to go up to $300. Personally, I think that Pitt should call it a fee and not a donation. A donation is something that isn't obligatory in my mind. If I am forced to make a donation of a certain price than let's call it a fee. After all, extortion would probably be a harsh word.

Friday, June 3, 2005 -- Morning

It seems there are some folks from the West Coast area that are interested in buying the Pittsburgh Penguins. Supposedly, they would not want to relocate the team. So far, there really hasn't been an offer made. It is just basically an interest that has been expressed by a group of individuals who see potential in the team.

Thursday, June 2, 2005 -- Evening

It seems that my man, Jaromir Jagr, broke his pinky finger during the World Championships. Being a hockey player, that didn't stop Jagr from playing though. He had the finger surgically fixed today, and is now on the mend.

Thursday, June 2, 2005 -- Afternoon

There was a flurry of talk on last night's sports talk shows that there might be a deal between the players and the owners in the NHL mess. To tell the truth, I have really given up following the non progress, and I wondered if I even cared. Well, when I heard that a deal might be imminent, my ears perked up. I shouldn't have bothered though, because it appears that a deal really isn't on the horizon. I think that some sports folks just had a bout of wishful thinking. What is worse news for the NHL though, is that ESPN has ceased negotiations with the NHL. So that means that there will be no hockey for the coming season--if there is one--on ESPN. NBC does have a deal with the NHL for broadcast rights for two seasons if the sport ever comes back.

Carl Krauser will not be deciding if he is going to return to Pitt next year until later in the month. Folks have been waiting with bated breath around here to find out if he will be returning to the basketball team. I think that the team next year will need all the help that it can get. Krauser, however, has a workout scheduled with an NBA team in the upcoming weeks, and wants to wait until after that to make his decision.

Wednesday, June 1, 2005 -- Evening

Jerome Bettis was named the YMCA Person of the Year. He was given the honor because of his willingness to take a paycut and to take a role as the second string running back. Also, Jerome has given alot of time, energy and money to charitable causes, especially asthma awareness. Not only that, but he always does everything with a huge smile and happiness. The guy really deserves the award!

The Steelers aren't planning on cutting or adding someone when the NFL free agency offerings start tomorrow. Unless someone really impressive comes along, there's no movement expected.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005 -- Evening

Robbie Gordon is taking back his comments that Danica Patrick. He is now trying to say that it wasn't a comment against Danica, but was just about the IRL rules in general. The thing is that Robby Gordon hasn't commented on men who are smaller than him, he has commented ONLY about Danica Patrick because she is a woman who could actualy challenge the men. For the first time, we have a female who is part of a higher level team that can actually provide her with a car that is capable of winning. Danica has the resources to actually compete on a level footing with the men so that the judgement can come down to racing ability. That's what Robby Gordon doesn't like. He wants to come up with some excuse to explain away why a woman can do as well as a man.

Sunday, May 29, 2005 -- Late Afternoon

It was a thrilling race and although Danica Patrick led for a few laps at the end, she didn't have enough fuel to hold off the others. She wound up fourth which is a really good showing for a 23 year old rookie who also just happens to be a woman. Dan Wheldon won the race, the first Englishman to do so since Graham Hill in 1966.

Sunday, May 29, 2005 -- Afternoon

There was a huge crash on the track and we are now under a caution flag. Bruno Junqueira was lapping AJ Foyt IV came down behind him and clipped him. It looks like a serious accident, and there is no word yet on how Bruno is doing. Danica Patrick also had some problems with her car restarting in a pit stop, and they will have to check it out in the next pit stop. It did cause Danica 10 seconds. The problem with that is that she is now in 16th place. They are now theorizing that the problem may have been due to an error on Danica's part. Bruno Junqueria is doing okay though. He is now in the emergency facility and is alert and only has lower back pain.

I am watching the Indy 500 right now, and Danica Patrick is in fourth place. They just had an announcement that due to pit stops, Danica held first place for one lap --lap 56--which is the first time in the history of the Indy 500 that a woman has held that position. It's only lap 68 of 200 right now (2 p.m.), so there is still alot of race to go. Danica Patrick has had a very good showing for herself so far, and whatever may come in the rest of the race, she still has plenty to be proud of. ESPN has been updating the results if you can't watch it on television.

The Penn Hills' girl 400 meter relay team that created controversy over making it to the PIAA championship won the silver medal in the statewide championship. Should the girls have been there? No, so the fact that they won to me demeans the whole championship.

Saturday, May 28, 2005 -- Evening

Tomorrow is the Indy 500, and there is a controversy brewing. A woman, Danica Patrick, is in the race this year as a rookie, and she has been getting times that are as fast or faster than the men. So far, she has been clocked at 229 mph, and she has the number four pole position in the race. So what's the controversy? Well, some men are complaining because Danica is 5 feet 1 inch and weights 100 pounds. They say that this gives her an unfair advantage and enables her car to get faster speeds. The rules say that the car must weight 1,525 pounds without the fuel or driver, so it's not that any rules are being broken. I think that the problem is that the masculinity of the men is being challenged and threatened because this little tiny wisp of a girl is competing and showing herself to be better than them. Racing has always been a male dominated sport, and I think that they just don't like the fact that someone with a non-butch frame is doing well. I think that in the scheme of things it's not going to make alot of difference. After all, not all the drivers weight the same amount. The difference between Danica at 100 pounds and a 160 pound driver is 3.6 percent. But then if you have a 200 pound driver and a 140 pound driver, you get the same differential. Since we don't know the weight of all the other drivers in the race--because it really isn't important in the scheme of things--then we don't know who has the advantage. I'm telling you, it's just because she is a tiny wisp of a girl. With racing, it's the driving skill that is really going to matter, and since everything for all racers is equal, that will be what will make the difference. That and the usual racing luck of not having a car that gets in an accident or has mechanical failure.

Plaxico Burress's agent is saying that Burress does not owe any back taxes in the Pittsburgh area. His claim is that Burress was a Florida resident since he has been Steelers drafted him in 2000. The tax claim goes back supposedly to 1998. I don't know how this all works because Burress owns the property in Moon Township, but he won't have to pay taxes because he was a resident in Florida which makes him a non-resident here, and he paid taxes in the city of Pittsburgh because that's where he worked. I have to admit that I am confused about it. I mean, I thought that if you owned property, you still had to pay the appropriate taxes regardless of where you resided because you still own the property. Moon Township authorities, however, say that if Burress proves that he was a resident of another area, they will waive the charges. So, as of now, it seems as if Burress is in the clear.

Friday, May 27, 2005 -- Afternoon

It seems that Plaxico Burress may owe some back taxes to the local municipality that he lived in while here in Pittsburgh. It seems that an arrest warrant has been issued for Burress after he failed to attend a deliquent tax hearing. It seems that Burress could be arrested when he next steps foot in Pennsylvania, and will even have to pay a $2500 fine. So far, there has been no comment from Burress about the issue.

It is now official. Kellen Winslow will miss the entire season due to his injury. I saw some video on one of the news shows this morning where they showed Winslow attempting wheelies in a parking lot. They didn't show the accident, just prior attempts. It looked scary. Why someone would do something that stupid is beyond my understanding. The Browns are seeking an adjustment to his salary as they should since Winslow won't be playing for them.

Thursday, May 26, 2005 -- Evening

Tonight is Championship night on one of my new favorite shows Stump the Schwab. I love the show. Howie Schwab really has a ton of sports trivia in his head. I really admire him. There's something about that show that just fascinates me. Whenever it is on, I just find myself fixating on it. I think it's because of the types of questions, and because of the Schwab. I am a Schwabantic!

Thursday, May 26, 2005 -- Afternoon

Hines Ward is still discussing his contract extension with the Steelers. So far, there are six other players who also need contract extensions, but the Steelers are only talking to Ward right now. The others will have to wait until a deal is made with Ward, and then their contracts will be discussed. The others on the block are Casey Hampton, Deshea Townsend, Antwaan Randle El, Kimo von Oelhoffen, Jerame Tuman, and Chris Hope.

Monday, May 23, 2005 -- Afternoon

Afleet Alex is doing well after his near fall and win in the Preakness Stakes on Saturday. It seems that the injury he has is a slightly scraped left ankle. It seems that the trainer, Tim Ritchey is a Steelers fan, and he wondered the following: “The Steelers had the Immaculate Reception,” Ritchey said. “What do you call this? The Immaculate Recovery?” It's good to know that Afleet Alex is doing a-okay. So far, he is my early favorite for the Belmont Stakes.

Saturday, May 21, 2005 -- Evening

There is a sports controversy in the Pittsburgh area. It seems that a high school girl's 400 relay team from Penn Hills dropped the baton during their competition, and didn't make it to the PIAA championship because they weren't in the top eight. In fact, the team wound up finishing 11th. Well, the three teams that finished ahead of the Penn Hills team decided to drop out, so the Penn Hills team would "finish" in 8th place, even though they didn't. Why did the three teams do this? Because they felt sorry for the Penn Hills team because they had a better record for the season, and the other teams felt that the Penn Hills team deserved to go to the PIAA championship. Well, geeze, isn't that special? I remember the last summer Olympics when the US 400 meter relay team had baton problems, and didn't wind up winning any medal, even though they were favored to the gold. Now shouldn't the teams that won the gold, silver and bronze have stepped aside because the US team really was the best and deserved to win? That's not how it works. You either win by not dropping the baton, or you lose. The Penn Hills team 400 meter team lost, and they shouldn't be going to the championship. It's sad that they had such a great record for the season and then screwed up, but that's how competition works. Why even have a competition? Let's just let all the teams go, and give everyone a medal. That's what they do in grade school--let's just live life like that.

I just finished watching the Preakness Stakes, and Afleet Alex won. It was a nail biting moment because the horse who wound up finishing second, Scrappy T, was leading into the final turn. His jockey decided to whip the horse on the left hand side, so the horse moved out to the right hand side, right into Afleet Alex. Afleet Alex stumbled badly, but he kept his footing somehow, and went on to just fly past Scrappy T to win the race by 4 1/2 lengths. Giacomo was third, back around 9 lengths. A length is one horse length.

There may be some movement in the NHL situation. Negotiators are saying that they are making some progress, but this doesn't mean that any agreement is in sight. I am not holding my breath anymore. I gave up on hockey in March.

Friday, May 20, 2005 -- Afternoon

Kellen Winslow may have torn his ACL in his motorcycle accident from a couple of weeks ago. The story is not being reported by Winslow or the team, but it is the strong rumor. What does that mean for Kellen? An extended recovery period. Not only will he be out for the next season with a 10 to 12 month recovery period, but he is also going to be charged with disregarding safety. The police are going to issue a citation which has a fine of $150. The Cleveland Browns may be looking into trying to recover some of the money that they put into Kellen, but are proceeding with caution until the official word is out on his injury.

If you are interested in working at Heinz Field during some of the events, such as Steelers or Pitt football games, there will be a job fair there next Tuesday. Of course, you won't be watching the games, but you might get a chance if you are a seat attendant. It is something to consider, isn't it?

Tomorrow is the Preakness Stakes, the second leg in the Triple Crown. Anyone who thinks that Giacomo is going to win must be dreaming. Of course, with horse racing anything can happen. The race looks like it is filled with a bunch of duds, and the only one that I think stands out is Afleet Alex so my money will be on him. I like Afleet Alex for the Derby, and he finished third. The Preakness is a shorter race, but I like his chances.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005 -- Evening

Ben Roethlisberger isn't the only Steeler quarterback who rides a motorcycle without a helmet. It appears that Tommy Maddox has been riding a motorcycle for the past four years without a helmet. It appears that it wasn't such a big deal until Kellen Winslow had his motorcycle accident.

Monday, May 16, 2005 -- Morning

The Czech hockey team won the World Ice Hockey Championship in Vienna yesterday. They beat the Canadian team which was trying for a third straight world championship. Russia won the bronze by beating Sweden 6-3. The final score in the Czech/Canada game was 3-0, and Jaromir Jagr was one of the stars.

Thursday, May 12, 2005 -- Evening

People are still talking about Ben Roethlisberger and the motorcycle. Today we heard from Drew Brees who cautioned players against doing things that are risky. Brees, for example, does some things like diving off the Great Barrier Reef, but he doesn't sky dive or do any downhill skiing. It seems those two items are on Drew Brees' wish list of things to do, but he thinks they are too liable to injure him. I know that walking for me can be risk inducing. Ever since I tripped over uneven pavement two months ago, I have had a sore foot. So, I can just imagine the type of recovery time if you hurt yourself sky diving! Brees and Roethlisberger were both in south Florida for the NFL annual Quarterback Challenge.

Sunday, May 8, 2005 -- Afternoon

Maccabi Tel Aviv won the Euroleague final just now. The final score was 90-78. Towards the end of the game, the NBATV signal was crappy, and we missed the Maccabi Tel Aviv final score from the half way mark on the court. It was a good game, and close at points. Tau Ceramica put up a fight, but it didn't get them anywhere. My guy, Sarunas Jasievicius did an excellent job in the game, and really was the spirit in the team that lead them to a win. The Maccabi co-owner is Ra'anan Katz who is also the original partner of the Miami Heat. Mazel Tov Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Saturday, May 7, 2005 -- Evening

The Kentucky Derby just finished, and the winner was the 50-1 Giacomo. Bellamy Road just fell apart and really wasn't in contention. Second was Closing Argument, and third was my favorite, Afleet Alex. As soon as the complete results are posted somewhere on the web, I'll link to them. It seems that Bellamy Road wound up finishing seventh, which is really shocking to alot of folks. The thing with Bellamy Road was that he only had two races under his belt, and running a mile and a quarter after that is alot to ask of a three year old.

The big controversy here in Pittsburgh is about Ben Roethlisberger driving a motorcycle. It seems that he was called into Bill Cowher's office yesterday to get a lecture about riding the bike without a helmet. Now, personally, I think that riding a motorcycle is not the best idea, especially without a helmet. That's just plain suicidal, and definitely not something that I would be doing. with that said, it is Ben's decision. I mean, he could seriously injury himself in any number of ways. Do we wrap him up in cotton except when he is on the playing field? And what if he gets injured during practice or on the field? Ben has to live his life the way he sees fit.

The results are posted for the Derby.

Friday, May 6, 2005 -- Evening

Today in the Euroleague basketball championship, Maccabi Tel Aviv won the semi-final game against the Greek Panaithinaikos to advance to the Euroleague finals in Moscow. Last year, Maccabi Tel Aviv won the Euroleague championship. My favorite player is on the Maccabi team. Sarunas Jasikevicius also played for the Lithuanian team in the last summer Olympics.

Tomorrow is the Kentucky Derby, and it seems that some think the field is open. The two that I think might do well in the race are Bellamy Road who is owned by George Steinbrenner, and Afleet Alex. Most favor Bellamy Road because he won the Wood Memorial while Afleet Alex won the Arkansas Derby. I think that I am leaning towards Afleet Alex.

Monday, May 2, 2005 -- Morning

I understand that Carl Krauser was at the graduation ceremony yesterday for the University of Pittsburgh. I heard from one of the folks who was working at the event that Krauser was there as part of the CGS (College of General Studies) contingent. I didn't see him, and I was right by the CGS group, but then I wasn't looking for him. I asked how Krauser could play for Pitt next year if he has already graduated. It seems that since he is eligible to play, all he has to do is register for a class, and he will be able to be part of the team. Strange, isn't it? Well, at least Krauser is part of the 15% of Pitt's athletes who actually get a degree!

Sunday, May 1, 2005 -- Evening

Next Saturday is the Kentucky Derby. When I was a kid, I was a huge fan of horse racing, and would try to watch as many races as possible (that were televised). This year, there isn't a really strong favorite for the race so that tends to lead to a large field. So far, this year, there are 20 horses entered. Bellamy Road is the favorite, but that doesn't mean much because there are a few other horses that are equally strong. The interesting thing about Bellamy Road is that he is owned by George Steinbrenner.

Saturday, April 30, 2005 -- Evening

For the first time since 1955, Chelsea won the England Premiership. The team has a 14 point lead over Arsenal that gives them the win. Last summer Chelsea came to Pittsburgh for a exhibition soccer match against AS Roma that was really enjoyable, and I started cheering them on at that point. Winning the England Premiership basically means that Chelsea has won the title of best soccer team in England this year, and will go on to compete for the overall and European championship.

It didn't take long for Chevy Troutman was told to give it up by the Washington Redskins. It seems that the try out did not go well. In the past, Chevy has said that he really wasn't interested in playing football, and he obviously doesn't really understand the game. As Chevy said, when he was having the ball thrown at him, it was "like looked like Spanish or something". I think that the only reason he went to try out for the Redskins was to have a job. I wonder why he doesn't try for the European league in basketball. Well, now that I say that, I have to admit that I have heard that the European leagues really want quality players. As we have seen with the showings in the Olympics last year, the European teams don't suck. I suppose that Chevy's options at this point are to learn football, try for the European league, or get a high school coaching job.

Thursday, April 28, 2005 -- Morning

Chevy Troutman, graduating senior from the Pitt Basketball team, is going to try out for the Washington Redskins football team. It seems that this is an option sometimes for basketball players who may not be able to make it to the NBA. Antonio Gates has made a success for himself this way, and Chevy is hoping to do the same.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005 -- Morning

What would you do in the following situation? You have committed a crime, and you have to pay a fine or go to jail. The judge gives you an option: give your season tickets to your favorite sports team to charity or go to jail for 90 days. Which would you choose? Well, a woman in Green Bay has that option. The woman worked for a labor union, and before she quit, she stole $3,000 from the membership to pay household bills she said. She was caught, and the judge sentenced her to pay back the money. Well, the woman said that it was a financial hardship, so the judge said 90 days in jail, or give up the next season's tickets to charity. The woman says that the tickets are her husband's. So it appears there is no decision yet. I know that I might take the jail time. It's only 90 days, and if you love your sports team, you might prefer the jail time to giving up the tickets. It's ironic that it's for the Green Bay Packers. Their fans are truly fanatic, and are the infamous Cheeseheads.

Saturday, April 23, 2005 -- Evening

The Steelers picked Heath Miller, a tight end from Virginia in the NFL Draft today.

Monday, April 18, 2005 -- Evening

Monday Night Football is going to move from ABC to ESPN starting with the 2006 season. The cost for broadcasting for eight years should total $1.1 billion.

Saturday, April 16, 2005 -- Late Evening

The Pitt football team's spring game was played today, and a slew of fans showed up for it. The game was not held at Heinz Field this year because they are in the process of growing new grass on the field. Instead Pitt played at Gateway High School. Around 8000 fans showed up which it appears is more than have shown up for the game in the past. The team had a good scrimmage.

Thursday, April 14, 2005 -- Afternoon

The Pittsburgh Panthers released their new logo late this morning. It's back to just having the name of the school as "Pitt". A few years ago, it was decided by the powers that be at the University that using Pitt on the logo wasn't appropriate. But everyone always referred to the school that way, and now it's back. So although the Athletic Department will still be referencing to itself as Pittburgh, it will use Pitt just as much. I think it is so funny because the administration had to go back to the word they hated so much. I think that "Pitt is It" is a much catcher phrase that "Pittsburgh is It".

Other news in the sports world is that the NFL is going to have tougher steroid tests in the future. The plan is to have testing at levels that will along the lines of the testing done by the Olympics. This is a good move, and is probably in reaction to the public reaction to baseball's meager response to steroids.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005 -- Evening

The Steelers have released their schedule for the coming season. There are four prime time games: one on a Sunday and three Monday night games. The Monday night games are: Oct 10 at San Diego, Oct 31 in Pittsburgh against Baltimore, and Nov 28 at Indianapolis. The Sunday game is Nov 13 in Pittsburgh against Cleveland.

Monday, April 11, 2005 -- Evening

One of my favorite hockey players, Jaromir Jagr, will be staying to play in Russia if the hockey season doesn't start in October. It seems that he is doing much better in Europe than he was doing here in the states for the past few years. It seems that playing in Europe was a good thing for Jagr.

Saturday, April 9, 2005 -- Late Evening

Jerome Bettis is expected to show up to the Steeler training camp this coming Monday.

Friday, April 8, 2005 -- Late Evening

Jerome Bettis may be returning to the Steelers next season. Jerome said that he was just feeling worn out and sore after last season and that made him just feel down. It seems that if Jerome shows up for training on Monday, he'll get a $100,000 practice bonus if he shows up to practice. So we will know by Monday we might have a better idea of what his plans might be for the next season.

Thursday, April 7, 2005 -- Afternoon

Three minor league Pirates players were caught violating the new baseball drug policy. Two of the players got 15 day suspensions while one got 30 days because it was his second offense.

Tuesday, April 5, 2005 -- Afternoon

North Carolina beat Illinois last night. It was one of those games that looked like North Carolina was going to win, and then Illinois would make a comeback. So it was thrilling. The final score was 75-70.

Monday, April 4, 2005 -- Evening

Tonight is the NCAA Championship. It is a matchup between Illinois and North Carolina, and so far, in the first few minutes of the game, North Carolina came out with a nine point streak to lead 9-2, to only have Illinois come back to tie it. This should be a very exciting game. It will probably end after my bed time, so I'll post an update on the game tomorrow morning.

Monday, April 4, 2005 -- Afternoon

Chris Taft has stated that he is going up for the NBA draft. Now we have to see if someone actually drafts him.

Sunday, April 3, 2005 -- Afternoon

Yesterday evening the Final Four games were played. For the first time, the top seeds won. Illinois won its game, and North Carolina won its game. So the two will meet in the final on Monday. I am imagining that Illinois will take the championship in the end. It seems that they have had a really great season, and probably deserve this win. When I was doing my bracket, I was thinking that I should pick them to win it all, but I decided not to because I thought for sure they would fall apart in the tournament, and I was wrong.

Friday, April 1, 2005 -- Afternoon

It seems that the attempt by the financing company in Boston to buy the NHL teams is still out there. One of the partners in the New Jersey Devils organization is urging his fellow owners to give some serious consideration to the proposal. The problem for this plan is that no everyone will agree. There are a slew of teams that would love to be bought out, but it's an all or none deal.

Friday, April 1, 2005 -- Morning

Plaxico Burress has responded to comments that Jerome Bettis made about Burress. It seems that Jerome commented that the NY Giants coach and Burress would probably be "butting heads" because of Burress' attitude off the field. Jerome even commented that Burress had a habit of showing up late to work, and just got away with it at the Steelers because Bill Cowher didn't like to fine folks. Burress, of course, refutes the claims. Hmmm, would I believe the guy who didn't show up for one of his interviews with the Giants and was late for another? Sure. Of course, Burress doesn't have issues off the field.

Thursday, March 31, 2005 -- Afternoon

The big question now is whether Chris Taft will be in the NBA draft this summer. It seems that he may be in the top ten or fifteen players considered to go in the draft, but he has some serious problems. Basically he may be getting drafted based on potential. The drafting process doesn't actually seem to take actual statistics into account. With Taft it is confusing because he has not had a very good season this year, and wasn't even considered to be in the top fifteen players in the Big East this year. There is another problem with Taft. It appears that he doesn't have a good work ethic, and may actually border on the lazy. It seems that past players in Taft's position who went with the NBA aren't doing so great, so Taft might be better served by remaining at Pitt instead of moving on.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005 -- Afternoon

Some Pitt fans are suing the University over the new fund raising plan that is based around season ticket sales. As the fans say in their class action lawsuit, the University made a promise to the season ticket holders a few years ago that as long as the ticket holders maintained the level of their contribution to the University, they could continue to purchase season tickets. Well, now the University wants a much larger donation. The new program is the Quest for Excellence campaign. Maybe they should quest by getting a winning team in basketball or football. Right now, the football part of it seems promising, but Pitt needs to work on the coach for basketball.

Monday, March 28, 2005 -- Afternoon

There has been alot of controversy about steriods in sports, especially baseball, lately. To me, it has been obvious for years that Barry Bonds was not achieving the growth that he had naturally. Not only did his body grow so much bigger than you would expect, and put on an abnormal amount of muscle for someone of Barry's years, but his head also became bigger in shape. I don't know about you, but I don't have alot of fat on the top of head. So even though my face might grow pudgy, the area where my hair grows on top of my head is just skull and skin. Barry's whole head changed in dimension as you can tell from the photos of him in his younger years and now. Well, now the controversy has moved to football with revelations that players with the Steelers in the 1970s took steroids. Looking at the history of steroids, you will note that steroids were developed in the 1930s. By the 1950s, scientists noted that it should improve athletic performances, and by the 1960s steroids were available on the market for athletes to use. It wasn't until 1991 that steroids were put of the list of items considered to be a controlled substance. Steroid use before 1991 might have been ill-advised or there might have been regulations on the use of steroids by sports, but they weren't illegal. The issue that I have with Barry Bonds is that he is using a substance that although not banned by baseball is an illegal substance to use in this country. Does this taint his record? I think it does because at this time in his life, his statistics should be dropping, not growing by leaps and bounds. Because of this, I can only assume that his records are not due to natural ability but to chemical enhancement. So how does this tie in with the Steelers? The question becomes do we shine as harsh a light on the 70s Steelers as we do on Barry Bonds? I think that I have to agree with Ron Cook that we can't be hypocrites and say that Bonds' record is tainted while the Steelers' is not. I think that the only comment I will make is that if everyone does it, then there is an equal opportunity to achieve. It does seem that in football in the 70s, steroids were rampant thoughout the league. When only one person does it, he/she has an unfair advantage. If you want to compare records across generations, you will just have to make a clear demarcation of the start of the steroid era, and have assume that records after that period are tainted with steroids.

Saturday, March 26, 2005 -- Evening

It was a very exciting game, and West Virginia lead for most of it, even by 20 points at one time. At the end it was tied and went into overtime, and finally West Virginia lost to Louisville 93 to 85. I was getting very excited too because I thought that West Virginia would make it into the Final Four, but it was not to be. Ah well, the team did have a great tournament, and have nothing to be ashamed of.

Saturday, March 26, 2005 -- Afternoon

In a very exciting game, North Carolina won the game against Villanova. It was a close game and both were leading at different points throughout. It looked for awhile that Villanova would win, but North Carolina mananged to pull it out. The score was extremely close though, 67-66. There are only two games to be played today. The West Virginia game will be starting at 4:40 pm.

Friday, March 25, 2005 -- Evening

This evening has not been a good day for my bracket. Duke lost its game this evening to Michigan State. The final score was 78-68. That really sucks for me because I had Duke winning the overall championship. What is also bad is that my third final four team is losing. Yep, I also have North Carolina. Well, this has been a learning experience for my future brackets. No more will I pick all number one and number two seeds. Here are the other games from today.

Not for the first time, the students and fans of West Virginia set fires around Morgantown to celebrate the team's win last night. It seems that at least 50 bonfires were set, and the police were forced to use mace to control the crowds. It doesn't say alot for the school or fans that this happened. It happened before when the West Virginia football team beat Virginia Tech. I would be ashamed of myself if I were one of these "fans".

Friday, March 25, 2005 -- Morning

West Virginia won its game last night. The score was somewhat close: 65-60. So now West Virginia moves into the Elite Eight. Next up for the Mountaineers will be Louisville.

Thursday, March 24, 2005 -- Evening

The NCAA tournament continued this evening. The surprising news here was that Louisville beat Washington, but that's how I had it in my bracket. The final score was 93 for Louisville to 79 for Washington. West Virigina is going to play Texas Tech next, and I'll report the final score tomorrow. Here are all four of today's games.

It seems that David Beckham is rethinking whether he wants to stay in Madrid. As he says, his children are being stalked by paparazzi, and it is frightening for both them and him. However, I think that there is more to it. I'm not sure that he was ever really happy playing with Real Madrid, and he has not been doing well since he joined the team. I think that he may return to England, where he speaks some semblance of the language, and perhaps retire from soccer. He has been plagued by injuries of late, and is probably considering all his options, including those outside of professional soccer.

The NHL has cancelled the draft that was to be held this coming June. I wonder if things will be resolved before we wind up losing another season of hockey. I am not feeling very hopeful, and to tell the truth, I think that I am starting to lose interest in wanting the NHL to come back. I think that they need to find some replacement league.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005 -- Evening

Ben Roethlisberger has been hard at work studying and working out for the next season. It seems that this is the earliest that a quarterback has ever shown up for off season training. This is very promising. It's giving me some high hopes for Roethlisberger having a good season.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005 -- Morning

Poor Barry Bonds! The poor guy had knee surgery and might not play for the rest of the season. So what does he do? He blasts the news media for bringing him down. He was saying that the media wanted to bring him down, and they got what they wanted. Another comment was that the media wanted him to jump off the bridge, and now they have their wish. I don't know what the heck this has to do with him not playing. Excuse me, but I thought he wasn't playing because of knee surgery. I didn't realize it was because of the media and the steroid controversy. Hmmm. Maybe there is something that I don't know. Maybe someone from the media whacked him in the knee.

Sunday, March 20, 2005 -- Late Evening

Jamie Dixon would have us believe that Pitt did not have a very bad season. In fact, he would have us believe that the team was improving by the time they lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament. As Dixon said in a press conference after Pitt lost on Thursday, Pitt had a great year and was improving steadily. Anyone who actually watched the season would know that's not the case. Pitt lost the last five of its seven games! In fact, Dixon has an interest in trying to pull some sleight of hand to influence our thinking because ultimately, he bears a lion's share of the responsibility for the team not performing up to snuff. The coach is the person who is responsible for coming up with plays for the team, for coming up with a working lineup, and for inspiring the players to give their best and when the players do not to do something about it. Well, poor Jamie can pout as much as he wants. Hopefully he will pout all the way to the unemployment line.

Sunday, March 20, 2005 -- Evening

What in the world is going on in the NCAA tournament this year? It has been one of the most exciting and surprising weekends. Right now, a very exciting game is going on with Duke and Mississippi State. The only thing that I noteiced in the last two minutes of the game was that there were some surprising moves made that looked like blatant fouls to me that weren't called. In my opinion, I have been seeing alot of rugby scrums in the middle of these basketball games. When I play like that with my friends, they keep on taking the ball from me claiming that I am not playing fair. Usually I have been cheering on the underdogs, but I with Duke I was cheering them on because I have them winning the championship in my bracket. In the end, Duke managed to pull it off with a fine score of 63-55.

I am scoring my bracket in the following way. I give two points for each 1st round win, four points for each Sweet Sixteen member, six points for each Elite Eight member, eight points for each final four member, ten points for each correct Championship Game member and fifteen points for the correct National Championship pick. So far, I had 25 correct picks in the 1st round for 50 points and nine of the Sweet Sixteen picks for another 36 points. That leaves me with 86 points for the tournament so far. Fortunately, I still have three of my teams in the final four, so there is still hope for more points in the future. My poor boyfriend only has Illinois left in the final four, and he has them losing to Wake Forest.

Sunday, March 20, 2005 -- Late Afternoon

UConn lost to NC State in a close game that almost went into overtime. The final score was 65-62. So far, the other games are going pretty well for my bracket. I picked Villanova, and they are leading in their game and just won it.

Sunday, March 20, 2005 -- Afternoon

Although it screwed up my bracket, it was a very exciting game that West Virginia won yesterday. The game went into double overtime, and was a big upset over Wake Forest. I knew deep in my heart that I probably should have had West Virginia beating Wake Forest in the bracket because they were hot at the end of the season, but I just didn't think they had it in them to take on such a big team. Obviously I was wrong. I have to admit that even though it was going to screw me up because I had Wake Forest as a final four team, I started to cheer on West Virginia because there is nothing as exciting as a giant killer--especially when it is a local team. Now the question is "will the upsets continue today?"

Right now, NC State (seeded 10) is giving UConn (seeded 2) a run for its money. Check out the games for today.

Saturday, March 19, 2005 -- Evening

So far, the NCAA games today have not been going well for the higher seeded teams. Both Gonzaga and Oklahoma lost, and Boston College is in trouble. This has not been a good year for my selections, and I wonder how others are doing. So far, I'm doing better than my boyfriend because I still have my final four teams in the games, but it's not looking good. It seems that all the lower seeds want to prove something.

Friday, March 18, 2005 -- Evening

Syracuse lost to Vermont this evening. It was quite an upset because Syracuse was the Big East champion and was seeded number 4. So it was surprising that Vermont won. They were seeded 13. The game was a close one throughout, and went into overtime. The final score was 60 tp 57. It isn't great for my bracket because I have Syracuse going up against Duke in the Sweet Sixteen. Fortunately, Duke won its match tonight, although that was close at times too. Here are all the scores for today.

Friday, March 18, 2005 -- Early Afternoon

The NHL has made two more proposals to the players. One of the deals had a tie between the revenues that the league makes and the cost of the players and the other didn't. The one that did allowed for the cap to be negotiated up depending on profits. So far, the players are showing much interest in the proposals because the offers aren't as good as the ones that were made previously. The cap with this offer is $37.5 million instead of the $42.5 million offered in February.

Friday, March 18, 2005 -- After Midnight

Plaxico Burress signed with the NY Giants. It seems he has a 6 year, $25 million deal with an $8 million signing bonus. It's supposedly not what he initially wanted, but I think he realized he had to settle for what he could get.

My bracket is doing okay so far after the first day of the tournament. So far, all of my teams made it except for three. West Virginia managed to ike one out over Creighton. Also, Texas Tech beat UCLA, and UAB slaughtered LSU. Now that final game was abit of an upset and lopsided with a final score of 82 for UAB to 68 for LSU.

Thursday, March 17, 2005 -- Afternoon

Pitt lost the opening game in the NCAA tournament. This is really bad for the team. It's what I expected from them given their level of play this year, but I know that tons of folks here in Pittsburgh are going to be quite shocked that the team is out this quickly. It's really going to look bad for Jamie Dixon too because this is only his second year with Pitt, and instead of keeping the team competitive or making them better, they just wound up getting worse. Next year does not bode well for the team either because the few stars will be gone.

So far, I have one of my teams out of the bracket. Alabama lost to Wisc. Milwaukee with a score of 83-73.

Thursday, March 17, 2005 -- Afternoon

Half time at the Pitt game, and Pacific is leading 45-30. Now there is still the second half, and goodness knows what will happen. The only comment I have to make at this point is that all the comments that the Pitt players have been making about not being respected are sounding uncalled for. Pitt is playing at its usual inconsistence, and is having problems with turning over balls. It is looking good for my bracket so far because I have Pitt out in the first round. Now as for the other games, goodness knows what will happen! I don't think I will have the best score, but it's fun to see how things turn out.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005 -- Late Afternoon

It seems that the BBC may have leaked the new episode of Dr. Who on the Internet on purpose. It seems that folks at the BBC may have been given the idea from folks who support viral advertising. So the BBC releases the episode while denying they have done so. The episode being on the Internet creates alot of buzz which stokes interest in watching the show when it comes out on March 26.

The University of Central Florida's Institute of Diversity and Ethics released statistics on the number of athletes who are graduated from the Universities that participated in the NCAA tournment for 2005. It is amazing that 42 of the 65 teams graduated less than 50 percent of the basketball athletes. So I looked for the stats because I wanted to know how Pitt fared, and I was absolutely shocked! Pitt only graduated a total of 15% of the students. That is absolutely disgraceful!

Wednesday, March 16, 2005 -- Afternoon

It seems that some NFL owners tend to get the raw end of the deal in treatment from agents of players, and supposedly, the Giants had enough with the recent Plaxico Burress dealings, and told Burress' agent to take a hike. It seemed that it really got the Giants' goat that Burress didn't show up for one meeting and showed up late for a second. To top it off, Burress wanted to not give serious consideration to negotiations until he heard more from the Vikings. The article gives a very nice illustration of how free agents and their representatives do business.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005 -- Early Afternoon

I finally have my NCAA bracket ready. If you look at my bracket, you should be aware that the selections on the bracket were in no way influenced by any sort of research. Basically, I did what I did last year, and just picked names of the teams that I liked or felt for some reason might win. Last year my boyfriend made fun of my bracket until I wound up with three of the final four. I am not expecting anything like that this year because I won't have any beginner's luck. However, I think that having a bracket just makes watching the games more fun because it gives you a vested interest in the games. Anyway, here is a link to a jpg of my scanned bracket. The only thing to really note I think is that I don't have Pitt winning any game. I debated the issue for some time because I think that Pitt is very inconsistent, but I know that if they can pull it together they should be able to beat Pacific. At the same time, they should have won at least one of the Big East tournament games too. What really decided me is the travel woes that the team experienced yesterday. They didn't get into Boise until very early this morning, and missed a practice yesterday. So I think they might not be as fresh for a 10:40 am Boise time start.

The Pitt team has not been happy with their seeding in the NCAA Tournament, but there have been comments from the players about the fact that the team doesn't get any respect. Bob Smizik has some comments to make about that, and about how the team should be happy for its opportunities and how some awards like the Big East All-Star team nominations were signs of respect. Pitt would have gotten a better seed if their play was more consistent and if the non-conference schedule was not as weak as it was.

Monday, March 14, 2005 -- Early Evening

Plaxico Burress is now supposed to be interested in the Miami Dolphins according to his new agent. I think that Burress is interested in any team that will be willing to pay him. It also seems that the Giants may be interested in Burress again because of his agent change. I guess the Giants are thinking that the new agent might be more agreeable to a reasonable salary. The one thing that local sportscasters have been saying is that Burress may have to accept a one year deal.

Monday, March 14, 2005 -- Afternoon

It seems that the Pitt players aren't too upset with their seeding in the NCAA tournament. As Carl Krauser says Pitt is used not getting respect from others in basketball. Boy, these guys really miss the boat, don't they? It's not that Pitt has such superb play, and that the officials just don't have respect for the team. It has everything to do with the fact that the quality of play by the team deserves a 9th seed. It's not lack of respect from sports writers and NCAA officials that lead to their loss last week in the Big East tournament. It must be nice to live in the fantasy world of the Pitt players, don't you think? Let's see how they actually do in the tournament this week.

West Virginia, on the other hand, received a seven seed placement, and will also have the advantage of playing close to home in Cleveland. Now that is a team that I have some hopes for. I don't think that they will win the championship, but I look forward to some good games from them.

Sunday, March 13, 2005 -- Early Evening

The selections are being announced for the NCAA Tournament. Illinois was listed as the number 1 overall and will be playing in the Chicago bracket. Second number 1 was North Carolina in the Syracuse bracket, Duke was the third number 1 in the Austin bracket, and the big surprise was Washington as the fourth number 1 in the Albuquerque bracket. Illinois was the over-all number one team. Here is a simple text version of the bracket:

1 Illinois
16 Fairleigh Dickinson
8 -- Texas
9 -- Nevada
5 --Alabama
12 -- UW- Milwaukee
4 -- Boston college
13 -- Pennsylvania
2 -- Oklahoma St.
15 -- SE Louisana
7 -- So. Illinois
10 -- Saint Mary's
3 -- Arizona
14 -- Utah St.
6 -- LSU
11 -- UAB

1 -- North Carolina
16 -- Oakland or Alabama
8 -- Minnesota
9 -- Iowa State
5 -- Villanova
12 -- New Mexico
4 -- Florida
13 -- Ohio
2 -- Connecticut
15 -- Central Florida
7 -- Charlotte
10 -- NC State
3 -- Kansas
14 -- Bucknell
6 -- Wisconsin
11 -- Northern Iowa

1 -- Duke
16 -- Delaware St.
8 -- Stanford
9 -- Mississippi St.
5 -- Michigan St.
12 -- Old Dominion
4 -- Syracuse
13 -- Vermont
2 -- Kentucky
15 -- E. Kentucky
7 -- Cincinnati
10 -- Iowa
3 -- Oklahoma
14 -- Niagra
6 -- Utah
11 -- UTEP

1 -- Washington
16 -- Montana
8 -- Pacific
9 -- Pittsburgh
5 -- Georgia Tech
12 -- George Washington
4 -- Louisville
13 -- LA-Lafayette
2 -- Wake Forest
15 -- Chattanooga
7 -- West Virginia
10 -- Creighton
3 -- Gonzaga
14 -- Winthrop
6 -- Texas Tech
11 -- UCLA

In the final four, the Chicago bracket will play the Albuquerque bracket and Syracuse bracket will play the Austin bracket. In the next couple of days, I should have my picks in the bracket up in a more readable fashion. I was not so surprised at Pitt winding up as the number 9 seed in the Albuquerque bracket. As you might notice from things that I have been saying about them over the past couple of months, I haven't seem much that impresses me about them, and I think that a good kick in the pants is what the players need to wake them up to the fact that they need to work on actually showing up to play for the games, being more consistent, and working on free throws and three point shots.

Sunday, March 13, 2005 -- Late Afternoon

The NCAA Tournament selection should be happening by 6 pm this evening. It will be interesting to see how things are finally settled. Lots of folks are starting to put out their analysis. We shall just have to wait and see what the finally outcome will be.

The most interesting story of the day, in my opinion is the one about Plaxico Burress. It seems that he has fired his agent. Well, geeze, what would you do if you were Burress? Obviously he is having trouble finding a team who is willing to pay his high price because of a problem with his agent. The problem couldn't possibly be anything with Burress. There are obviously no problems with Burress' consistency, quality of play, or his attitude toward working for his team. Doesn't everybody go through three agents in one year? The agent that Burress is going to sign with (he has to wait five days because of NFL rules) is Drew Rosenhaus. Rosenhaus is a high profile agent, and Burress is hoping that Rosenhaus can get him signed with a team at the price that Burress wants. We shall see.

Saturday, March 12, 2005 -- Late Evening

West Virginia lost the Big East final to Syracuse this evening. The score wasn't too close either. The final was 68-59. The analysts were saying that no team has won for games in a row to win the Big East, and I can see where playing four games in four days would be abit of a strain on a team. West Virginia did a nice job in this tournament, and they went up abit in my books. I am looking forward to the release of the NCAA bracket to see how West Virginia and Pitt fare. I plan on posting my choices. Even though I don't really know alot about basketball, it adds something to the enjoyment of the sport to have a vested interest in how the games go.

Saturday, March 12, 2005 -- Late Evening

West Virginia lost the Big East final to Syracuse this evening. The score wasn't too close either. The final was 68-59. The analysts were saying that no team has won for games in a row to win the Big East, and I can see where playing four games in four days would be abit of a strain on a team. West Virginia did a nice job in this tournament, and they went up abit in my books. I am looking forward to the release of the NCAA bracket to see how West Virginia and Pitt fare. I plan on posting my choices. Even though I don't really know alot about basketball, it adds something to the enjoyment of the sport to have a vested interest in how the games go.

Saturday, March 12, 2005 -- Evening

I have been checking out the possible bracket arrangement for the NCAA Tournament coming up. Tomorrow is selection Sunday, so we should have some definitive answers then. Right now Pitt is being given a possible seed of 6 in the Austin bracket. They are also listed as a falling seed based on their poor display on Thursday and their none too stellar season.

Plaxico Burress is still looking for a home. He toured the Viking facilities on Friday, but didn't have a contract offer by the time he left. It seems that the vikings are unwilling to give him the amount of money that he thinks he deserves. Rumor now has it that he maybe considering Philadelphia as a new home. Since Burress wasn't too happy with sharing receiver duties in Pittsburgh, I can't imagine that he will be happy playing second fiddle to Terrell Owens, and I can't imagine Philadelphia paying him an enormous sum to be that second fiddle.

Friday, March 11, 2005 -- Late Evening

West Virginia beat Villanova in one of the Big East semifinals this evening. I only saw the last 30 seconds of the game, and I have to admit that it was quite exciting. The Villanova player made a really stupid move by fouling the WVU player because that let WVU win with the two foul shots. The final score was 78-76. I think that WVU has been doing an excellent job this season, and I think that they stand a good chance at winning the finals tomorrow. Right now the Syracuse versus UConn semifinal is going on. There are under two minutes left, and Syracus is leading by 55-49.

There was a meeting today between the NHL and the NHLPA. It was the first meeting since Feb. 19. The NHL would like to get the talks underway so a deal can be reached to enable the draft to be held in June. The players, however, want a longer break from negotiations.

Thursday, March 10, 2005 -- Evening

The New York Giants have withdrawn their offer to Plaxico Burress. Rumor has it that the team wasn't offering Burress the monety that he wanted, and he turned down their latest offer. So the Giants are looking elsewhere. Burress is sill in talks with the Minnesota Vikings, and I guess he is hoping they will pay what he wants. In the meantime, Burress' agent said that Burress would accept a one year contract if Burress' price couldn't be matched, but then the agent backed away from that story.

Thursday, March 10, 2005 -- Late Afternoon

Pitt lost the game to Villanova this afternoon. It was not a good display on Pitt's part. I thought that Pitt was really out of hand in the fouls that they were making. Even the announcers of the game were commenting on the roughness of Pitt's play, and how the referees weren't calling some of the fouls. What is sad is that there are folks who thought Pitt would go far in the Big East tournament because they haven't shown that capability throughout the season.

Thursday, March 10, 2005 -- Afternoon

Wayne Gretzky has said that he thinks the hockey talks are back at square one, and everything will have to start from the beginning. This is bad news for the both players and owners. The issue becomes will the owners need to resort to replacement players in order to get the next season under way. The biggest sticking point is finding a cap that both sides can live with. However, that doesn't seem possible as long as the players think that the owners are making more money than the owners claim.

The big question on the minds of Steelers fans is whether the team is dooming itself to mediocrity in the future by relying too much on contract restructuring. It appears that other teams have done this sort of thing in the past, and have had to pay a heavy price because of the amounts that had to be paid out for past contracts. I think right now the organization is concentrating on making the Super Bowl, and really don't want to think beyond that period.

With only a few minutes left in the half, Pitt is behind Villanova 26-17. I have not had a very high opinion of Pitt's play this season, and I think that they may prove me right with a lose in their first game. We will have to see if Pitt picks up its act in the second half. Meanwhile West Virginia is on a winning streak, and won its second game today against Boston College.

Tuesday, March 8, 2005 -- Afternoon

More news on the Plaxico Burress front. He didn't show up for his meeting with the NY Giants yesterday because of the flu. No one seems to know when he actually will meet with the Giants, or if there is some interest now from another team. I think that Plaxico is trying all sorts of ploys to up the price that he will receive. We'll have to see if it works.

Meanwhile the Steelers have been signing their players. They signed Jeff Reed and willie Williams, and have just today signed Cedric Wilson for wide receiver. Wilson had a good year last year with San Francisco, and he might be an adequate replacement for Burress.

Chevy Troutman was nominated to the first string of the Big East All Star Team. Carl Krauser was nominated to the second team. Chris Taft had an honorable mention and Ronald Ramon was named to the rookie team.

Monday, March 7, 2005 -- Afternoon

Plaxico Burress is hoping for a good deal from the NY Giants. His hope is to get an offer better than Muhsin Muhammad got with the Chicago Bears. The difference here is that I saw some of the marvelous plays that Muhammad made, and the mediocre ones that Burress made. Believe me, Muhammad is worth $30 million, Burress isn't.

Sunday, March 6, 2005 -- Afternoon

It seems that poor Plaxico Burress is not getting the salary responses that he feels he is worth. Personally, my opinion of Burress is that he is not that great of a wide receiver. He made alot of bobbles of balls during the past season, and he made some nice catches too. The thing is that you couldn't count on him to make the play when it was needed. According to the local sports guys on the Nightly Sports Call, the Giants have expressed some interest, but not with the level of money that Burress wants. At the New York Post, they have some insight on why that is the case. It seems that others in the league have also picked up on Burress' lack of consistency, and his attitude problems. When you combine this with the fact that Burress ain't that bright, and according to a source, needs to have his playbook pared down so he can learn the plays, you have someone with a whammy on him.

Chris Taft upped the level of his play because of an article about him in the Post Gazette. The columnist, Ron Cook, had mentioned in an earlier article how Taft wasn't pulling his weight, and how that was a sorry state for someone who wants to be in the NBA draft this year. It seems the coaches showed Taft the article on the flight to Boston, and after he read it (or had it read to him), he was then told by the coaches that it was true. Do you know what I think is really sad about this? Couldn't the coaches have told him this earlier so it wouldn't have become an issue that a columnist had to comment about? This just illustrates the fact that the coaches are NOT doing their jobs, and that they have to use a newspaper columnists articles to communicate to their players. It's a pitiful display even if it did result in Taft playing better.

Saturday, March 5, 2005 -- Afternoon

Pitt won the game today. The final score was Pitt 84 and Notre Dame 75. Pitt pretty much upped the game in the second half, and pulled away. There was a short span in the middle of the second half where Notre Dame started to come on again, and pulled to within four points of Pitt, but then Pitt pulled away again.

Pitt is playing Notre Dame this afternoon, and the second half will be starting momentarily. Pitt was down by nine points in the first half but in the last few minutes Carl Krauser helped Pitt score 7 points, and the score at the half time had Notre Dame only leading by 35 to 32. With a minute played in the half, the score is tied at 38.

Friday, March 4, 2005 -- Afternoon

There has been alot of talk about salary caps with the NHL, but there may be some flaws in the system that are coming out in the NFL which already has a salary cap. For example, the Steelers may be heading for problems in the future because of juggling that they are doing now to be under the salary cap. Right now, the Steelers are restructuring existing agreements with players (such as with Jerome Bettis) so they will be under the salary cap for this year. The thing is that just defers the moment of payment. For example, the player might take an actual salary that is much lower than the amount he is actually given. In the article, they use the example of Jeff Hartings who is going to have a $650,000 salary this year, but will get $3.5 million in a signing bonus. This is paid over the next few years. So the $650,000 goes against the cap, but then the other money is going to be have to be paid at some point. So with all this bogus cutting and deferrement of payments, it might actually do more harm to the team in the future. Are you saving the present to kill the future?

Thursday, March 3, 2005 -- Evening

The Post Gazette has some details from Jerome Bettis' interview with Bob Pompeani yesterday. It seems that the interview with Pompeani was an exclusive.

The Pittsburgh Penguins have two prospects under 21 who were ranked in the top 6 prospects by The Hockey News. The two players were Evgeni Malkin and Marc-Andre Fleury (of course). Malkin is a center that the Pens drafted from Russia, and Fleury played as a goaltender for the Pens at the beginning of last season. It will really be a shame if these guys can't get some playing time against some good players.

Thursday, March 3, 2005 -- Morning

There are some Boston firms that are willing to offer $3.5 billion for the NHL teams. Now this doesn't mean that the individual owners would be willing to sell their teams. Some may and some may not. The two firms are Bain Capital Partners LLC and Game Plan International.

Wednesday, March 2, 2005 -- Evening

Today on KDKA news, Bob Pompeani talked to Jerome Bettis about his plans for the coming year in a special report on the news today at 5:45 pm. Jerome said that there is still a 50/50 chance that he might retire. He did make a deal with the Steelers to restructure his salary so the team would be under the salary cap. As Jerome said, he is happy with his salary and incentive plan, and he did not want any of his demands to be a "deal breaker". Because they came to this agreement, it gives Jerome until June to actually announce his plans for the future. Jerome's plan for the coming months is to start his exercise regiment as he usually does, and see how he feels. The main reason that he hasn't really decided yet is because Jerome likes the makeup of the team, and thinks that the Steelers could make it to the Super Bowl, which is going to be held this coming year in Jerome's hometown of Detroit. Jerome said that whatever his role is with the team, he will be happy. He doesn't need to be a starter, he just wants to be a contributing member. Now Jerome has also been talking to some network guys, and it seems he is getting an offer to be an announcer for either CBS or ESPN.

Tuesday, March 1, 2005 -- Evening

Larry Foote signed with the Steelers today. The deal is for five years, but no other details have been released.

Monday, February 28, 2005 -- Evening

Okay. You can knock me down with a feather right now. Pitt wound up beating Boston College. The final score was 72 to 50, and what was impressive is that Pitt managed to take the lead close to the beginning and they just ran with it. I guess that they may make it to the NCAA tournament.

It's now half time for the Pitt versus Boston College game. So far, Pitt has not done a bad job, and they are leading 28-25. They don't seem to be doing a great job of trying to get the ball, but at least they are making baskets that Boston College is not making. We shall have to see how the game ends.

Monday, February 28, 2005 -- Evening

It's now half time for the Pitt versus Boston College game. So far, Pitt has not done a bad job, and they are leading 28-25. They don't seem to be doing a great job of trying to get the ball, but at least they are making baskets that Boston College is not making. We shall have to see how the game ends.

Monday, February 28, 2005 -- Afternoon

Pitt is playing Boston College this evening. The players here are confident about making the NCAA tournament, but others aren't as confident. We only have two games left. The one tonight against BC, and then Notre Dame. The fans booed Jamie Dixon on Saturday after the game because they see alot of the problems stemming from him. The biggest issue that I see is that Pitt hired an assistant coach that the players personally liked. So the guy basically coaches like an assistant coach, which a head coach can not do. Also, because of personal friendships with the players, he has a hard time disciplining them and gaining their respect as a task master. Right now, Pitt is sixth in the Big East, but they could drop as low as eighth if they lose both of their final games and West Virginia beats Seton Hall.

So without hockey, what sports are left? I'm not a big basketball fan. I do follow the Pitt team just because there is nothing better to do, and you have to support local teams--even when you find fault with the coaching. In the past, I used to like auto racing, so maybe it is time to go back to that. I do like Formula One because of its road racing history. It's so boring to watch cars going around in an endless circle. At least with Formula One, you get left AND right turns. It appears that the cars have changed alot over the years. At least I thought of it before the start of the season. This year, the season starts on March 6 in Australia.

Sunday, February 27, 2005- Late Afternoon

It is getting to be like a broken record. Pitt lost yet again yesterday afternoon. This time it was to UConn. This is the third straight loss for the team, and there are only two more games left in the regular season. For a while now, some of the folks that I know have been talking about how Pitt won't make the NCAA tournament this year. I have to admit that I have serious doubts about their ability to really be competitive in the regular or post season, so I doubt that they should qualify. You want the tournament to be exciting and competitive, and I don't think at this point that Pitt will be able to provide that. what sucks about the game yesterday is that Pitt had a seven point lead that they just blew.

Jerome Bettis will be back with the Steelers next year. He will have abit of a pay raise, going from one million dollars to one and a half million dollars. This is alot less than he is owed. This coming year, he should be making almost four and a half million dollars. What Jerome has said is that he would like to go to the Super Bowl this coming year because it will be played in this hometown of Detroit. I really admire Jerome. He saw the benefit in getting an education, and completed his degree when he was having issues with the St. Louis Rams, and he encourages young people to put education first. When you add that in with his friendly and pleasant demeanor to fans and teammates, his skill, and his loyalty to the Steelers and Pittsburgh, you see a person who is worthy of admiration.

Rumor has it that Tommy Maddox is being shopped around by the Steelers. I can understand that because I think that he is a mediocre quarterback who is making a pretty penny. If you want to replace him, you can replace him with a quarterback with similar skills and pay less. We should be seeing a much changed Steeler team next year because Plaxico Burress will be gone--he wasn't franchised this year so that means byebye Plaxico--and chad Scott and Jay Riemersma will also not be back.

Mario has also been saying that the he was mislead by the players also in the whole hockey fiasco recently. Mario doesn't understand what was behind this ploy, but I am sure that it was just a way to try to make the owners look really bad. According to the players (or at least the players association), we should hate the owners because they are trying to make money. Why shouldn't they? No one goes into business to lose money! Anyone who did that would be stupid. Or they would become involved in the NHL which at this point is just a money pit for owners.

Friday, February 25, 2005 -- Afternoon

Disney sold off the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. This shouldn't really be news to anyone because Disney has been saying for some time now that they don't have the money to support the sports teams that they purchased.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005 -- Later Evening

Well, Pitt played to its level of incompetance. Pitt lost this evening to West Virginia. What was so bad about this loss is that Pitt was ahead, and just threw the game away at the end. How do you go from a 15 point lead in the second half to a 4 point loss? If your team is on the poor side, then that's what you get. Even the commentators remarked on the fact that the fans were booing the players in the final seconds of the game. If Pitt wins anything after the regular season, I will be shocked. I don't think that they will be able to pull it together.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005 -- Evening

Barry Bonds had a 'roid rage yesterday at a press conference. Well, he was very testy about the whole steroid issue. What I think is funny is that the guy wants us to believe in his late thirties, he beefed up as he wasn't able to do when he was younger. Come on, Bonds would have us believe that he achieve his state of fitness and bigness by munching on flaxseed and rubbing Ben-Gay on his body. Has steroids affected his performance. Sure it did. It is illegal in this country to have it? Sure it is. I think that he should have some sort of mark by his name, and any other player who performed while taking steroids should have a similar mark. This has nothing to do with Bonds being black as he would lead us to believe. It has everything to do with unfair advantage.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005 -- Evening

Well, well. It appears that Lemieux and Gretzky may have been pawns in the hands of the NHLPA. It seems that they were invited by the NHLPA to the meeting on Saturday, and the cap that they believed the NHLPA would be presenting wasn't even developed. It seems that Gary Bettman was quite open about what his views were about the situation and the fact that the hockey season might not be saved. If I were the players, I would be calling for Goodenow's head!

Sunday, February 20, 2005 -- Evening

It seems the Hockey Rumors guy is gathering information that proves the point I made a bit earlier. It seems that the whole bit about the players being willing to have further compromise was just a ploy on the NHLPA's part to make the owners looks bad when a deal wasn't struck. Boy, this really gives me a low opinion of Goodenow. I hope that the players wise up and dump him. Then they need to get their priorities straight and get some hockey going!

Sunday, February 20, 2005 -- Early Evening

Pitt lost today against Villanova. Right now, Pitt is fourth in the Big East conference, and it is not looking good for them to win the regular Big East season. Now they can hope to do better in the Big East tournament held in New York in early March. I'm not holding out much hope though. The team is far from consistent.

Sunday, February 20, 2005 -- Afternoon

The NHL owners appear to be getting alot of flack from the player friendly media, but I am really glad that they stood firm. They can't continue to go down the road to bankruptcy just to make the players happy. I say they need to find players who are more agreeable to reasonable salaries. The thing is that I don't think the players union was being sincere in wanting to make a deal. I think that what they wanted to do was get out into the media that they (the players union) had a plan which it appears they didn't so that when a deal wasn't struck, the owners look like the bad guys. The Hockey Rumors guy is saying that he is hearing that the players are planning an unofficial vote to get rid of the NHLPA leadership so they can take the owners' offer.

Saturday, February 19, 2005 -- Evening

Well, of course the Hockey Rumors guy was wrong. My boyfriend is devastated because for some reason, he seemed to think that the guy actually knew what was going on. What I noticed it that the guy seemed to get some information, but he seemed to consistantly put the wrong spin on it. Maybe it's just that his sources wore rose colored glasses, or maybe his sources were too low down on the food chain to really know how things were going. Who knows. The only I know is that the hockey season is off. What I am just shocked about is how the media is spinning this. An analyst on ESPN news was blaming the owners and making it sound like it was a money making scheme on their part. That's what I abhor about the media. They always put a spin on things, and present their opinions as news. when teams are going bankrupt then a few million dollars DO mean something. Also, I think that this whole bit about an end to the lockout/strike happening today was not realistic. Maybe it was a ploy on the players part. It made it look like they were willing to make some sacrfices so the owners could be the bad guys. The ESPN analyst on the news show (I didn't catch his name), really ticked me off because he said it was just so the owners could make a deal in May, and then make money selling season tickets and merchandise. Hello! Season tickets were being sold last summer here in Pittsburgh, and guess what? Those folks aren't watching hockey games, and are probably expecting refunds on their money. So yeah, let's pin the blame on the big bad owners. All I know is that I want to see hockey, and the problem I have is that players are making a shit load of money that the majority don't deserve, and the ticket prices are prohibitively high--preventing lots of people from going to the number of games that they would like to attend.

Saturday, February 19, 2005 -- Afternoon

So far there isn't any news about the hockey situation, even though the guy on Hockey Rumors is claiming that they are setting up for a press conference. I don't know. I have been following his rumors, and everyone in the news media locally keeps on saying that the guy has wonderful insight, and really seems to know what is going on. So far though, I don't think his record has been that great. Mostly it is just positive rumors that never really seem to come true. Yesterday there was such a buzz about a deal being made although it seems that all that is happening is that talks are resuming without any clear deals at all. The Hockey Rumors guy says that at 3:11 (I assume Eastern time) things are being setup for a news conference, but I see no confirmation anywhere, and that doesn't mean they aren't setting up for a news conference later today or tomorrow. AND now the Hockey Rumors guy says the news conference will be at 6 pm today. Let's see.

Tedy Bruschi of the New England Patriots suffered a stroke last week. It is assumed that the stroke was a mild one because he is now walking and talking normally, but it is not clear yet on what the cause was, and whether it will be the end of his career. It's sad to see something like that happen to someone who is young (Bruschi is 31).

Friday, February 18, 2005 -- Evening

Late breaking news on the hockey front. Supposedly a deal is in the works that might save the season. There is supposed to be a meeting in New York tomorrow where the deal will be made public. Supposedly, Mario Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky are the folks who have worked on the deal, and rumor has it that Mario headed to New York on Friday. I'll believe it when I see it. I have been hearing so many rumors like this that I'm not going to get my hopes of. Believe me, if the hockey season is on, I'll be at the games. I'll be at more if the ticket prices drop abit, but even so, I'll be there to support the Pens.

There are major problems at the University of Pittsburgh's Athletic department. There are already questions about the schedule that the Pitt football team has. We don't play all division 1A teams. For example this coming season, we'll be playing an 1-AA team (Youngstown state). Now this really sucks because it means that we are playing soft teams at the beginning of the season which doesn't do much to toughen the team for future opponents. The other thing is that it doesn't add to the credibility of the team if we manage to win the Big East division it will be tainted by playing a soft team. Now on top of all that, as if that weren't enough, ticket sales for football tend to be low, and now the University has this Quest for Excellence campaign. So how does this tie to football? Well, a quarter of the seats for season ticket holders for football and basketball will only be given out to folks who make a $1000 donation to the University. It's not a bad thing for basketball where the seats are sold out for most games. It is going to hurt football where they are having difficulty as it is getting folks into the stadium. Supposedly, they need money because of all the facilities that have been built, like Heinz Field and the Petersen Events Center. Funny, my tax dollars went to both facilities, and I think very little of actually Pitt money went to them. It's just another money grabbing technique from a University that is known for overspending without getting good bang for its buck.

Thursday, February 17, 2005 -- Evening

The rumors about hockey just won't stop. Now there is a rumor that Mario Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky are trying to do something to get the talks back into action. It seems that some of the players are behind the move. The question is if it is something that is actually realistic. I don't think that the NHLPA will be very excited about it because it undermines Bob Goodenow. The question is "where does hockey go from here?" Unfortunately I think that it is just going to get worse before it gets better. If they come back, will the fans be there? The serious ones will be, and I think it will be forgive and forget for them. But for others, I think they will have moved on to other things. Of course, part of the problem are ticket prices, and I would imagine that in order to woo the casual fan back, prices will have to go down.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005 -- Evening

I am watching my DVR recording of the NHL press conference from this afternoon. This is really a sad event. The players association really did a disservice to its members by not giving them the option to vote on the NHL's proposal. The Players Association didn't even take the owners up on the offers to check the book to see that the money wasn't there. You can't bleed a stone, and now we see what happens when they try to bleed a stone. Mario Lemieux gave a press conference about the issue today. He was very much on the owner's side which is understandable considering that he gave up the salary he was owed but couldn't get because the Penguins were bankrupt.

If you are interested in how your team will fare due to the cancelled season, you can go here. The Penguins are a team that won't lose out so much by the season cancellation. After all for the past couple of years, the management has done everything to lower the total salary costs, and scheduled the lease for the practice rink to run out prior to this season.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005 -- Afternoon

Breaking news on the hockey front! The season was cancelled. The news conference started a few minutes ago, and it was announced then. The issue was the salary cap. The owners wanted a $42.5 million dollar cap while the players wanted a $49 million dollar cap. The whole season gets thrown away because of this $6.5 million dollar difference. What gets me is that the players seem to believe there is money to be had that isn't there. This does not bode well for hockey returning in the state that it had in the past.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005 -- Evening

It seems that the NHL players and owners have agreed on a salary cap. They just can't agree on the amount. What is such a shame is that they seem so close, and yet so far. Now the guy at Hockey Rumors is saying that the end might be near, and that the season might be starting. The guy has been saying for a while now that the season would commence on March 1st. Let's see if he is right.

Monday, February 14, 2005 -- Evening

The University of Pittsburgh was number 10 in the March Muscle and Fitness magazine listing of America's Fittest Colleges. Because of the large number of colleges in the US, they limited their selections to colleges that had NCAA Division 1 sports teams. Pitt was the smallest of the colleges listed (Penn State was number 7). Pitt was picked because it has four exercise facilites that are open 24 hours in the dorms, a total of 14 exercise facilities and 8 weight rooms. Also, 10% of the majors at Pitt are in health or clinical sciences. I was quite surprised to see Pitt listed with the likes of Ohio State University (which was number 1).

Believe it or not, Pitt beat Syracuse this evening. The final score was 68-64. It was an exciting game. I just saw the last 13 minutes of the game, and I was surprised at how Syracuse seemed to be doing everything to throw the game away. Well, others may say that Pitt was doing everything to win the game, but from my viewpoint, it seemed that Syracuse was trying hard to lose because they were ahead a few times, and just made a slew of stupid mistakes and moves.

The NHL has a news conference scheduled for Wednesday at 1 pm. I'm not sure how to read this one because Tuesday was supposed to be the cut off day. There are supposed to be additional meetings on Tuesday, so it does make you wonder if it is at all possible that there might be a season this year. The news conference will be streaming on Wednesday from the NHL and NHLCBA News, so mark your calendars.

Sunday, February 13, 2005 -- Late Evening

The AFC won the Pro Bowl. The final score was 38-27. The last half actually seemed pretty boring. That may have been because the ESPN announcers weren't even discussing the game. They were busy talking about the past and future seasons and the players themselves.

Sunday, February 13, 2005 -- Evening

They are just into the second quarter of the Pro Bowl. Hines Ward just made a spectacular catch on an onside kick and took it in for his second touchdown of the game. Hines is one of those people who just always seems to be having a good time, and he always puts his all into every game that he plays--even if it is just an exhibition type game like the Pro Bowl. Right now the AFC is kicking the NFC's butt. The score is 21-7 and the AFC just intercepted the ball.

Sunday, February 13, 2005 -- Afternoon

This evening is the Pro Bowl. I'll be watching it because there is some question about whether this might be Jerome Bettis' last appearance in a football game.

The Pitt basketball team beat Notre Dame yesterday afternoon. The final score was 68-66. Jamie Dixon pulled Chris Taft from the game which was a controversy because Taft wasn't playing well, and there is some question about whether he is going to bounce back from the poor play and pull from the game.

Friday, February 11, 2005 -- Afternoon

It's not looking good for hockey this season. Talks have ended, and it is expected that Gary Bettman will be saying that the hopes for a season are ended.

It seems that Karl Malone is going to announce his retirement this weekend. I've always had a soft spot for the Mailman (I usually call him the Postman), and I think it's a shame that he was never able to be on a team that could win the NBA championship. It seems that he is the best player in the NBA to never have won one.

Wednesday, February 9, 2005 -- Evening

Gary Bettman says that because there really has been no movement towards a settlement in the hockey situation this weekend will be the cut-off point. With no pressure of trying to get a season going this year, I don't know what will happen with October. There's nothing to force the movement, and because of that I don't see a solution even for the next season.

Wednesday, February 9, 2005 -- Afternoon

So, do we all feel sorry for poor Donovan McNabb? The poor soul was just so exhausted that he was almost puking towards the end of the game, and was so exhausted that he needed assistance in calling plays. He just was giving his all for the team, and wore his body out. Okay, you can laugh now. I don't know about you, but I expect a high caliber athlete who makes millions of dollars to be in shape to handle game. The Eagles offense only had the ball for 28 minutes and 23 seconds. What the heck tired him out? Oh, did the wittle baby have a sniffle? Well, talk to Tom Brady who won the AFC Championship with a fever of 103 degrees the night before. All I have to say is this illustrates the difference between a winner and a loser, and McNabb has a big fat L on his forehead.

Tuesday, February 8, 2005 -- Later Evening

Pitt beat St. John's. The second half was not as bad as the first, and it fits in with typical play on the Panthers part of playing poorly in the first half (so they can see how little they have to play) and picking up the play in the second half. They really do need to address that type of performance because as long as they have it, they will never get far in the NCAA tournament.

Tuesday, February 8, 2005 -- Evening

I am a huge fan of David Beckham. The guy is cute, and he does (at least did) have a way with making really spectacular goals. Well, now he is on an anti-bullying campaign. The point is to encourage kids who are bullied to go to an adult they trust, and let that person know about the bullying. Hopefully that person can stop the bullying by alerting school management to the issue. When I think back to my childhood days, I was always told to stand up to bullies. Today that sort of thing doesn't happen so it is a bully breeding ground. As with so many things nowadays, you can tell if you support the anti-bullying program because you will wear a blue bracelet.

The Pitt Panthers are playing St. John's this evening, and the game is now at half time. Pitt is not playing their best, and they have had a slew of turn overs. So far, Pitt is ahead 17-15, but who knows what the second half will bring with the way Pitt plays. Jamie Dixon really needs to step up and stop the assistant coach mentality and become a head coach. The sports casters don't comment on it because they don't seem to know what is really going on in the program. I am always hearing from folks who know players that they get no discipline, and that has to end for the team to become as competitive as it used to be. The guys who are broadcasting the game this evening keep on referring to Pitt's play as sloppy.

Sunday, February 6, 2005 -- Evening (Post Super Bowl)

The New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles were tied into the fourth quarter, but then things changed. New England started to pull ahead. Surprisingly, Terrell Owens played even though he broke an ankle six weeks ago, and he did a good job. Owens is amazing--such an athlete and very talented. Philadelphia was acting all slow right before the two minute, and then managed a touchdown right after. So the score was 24-21 and Philadelphia tried an on side kick, and unfortunately, it went right into a Patriots guy's arms. Even though the Patriots didn't capitlize on that particular move, Donovan McNabb was picked off with only 11 seconds left. McNabb is a crappy quarterback in the sense that he wasn't a good time manager, and didn't seem to be managing the game very well, especially in the fourth quarter. The final score was 24-21.

The commercials in the second half were really awful. Most of them were either old commercials, or they were repeats from the first half. It was really a disapointing commercial day. I wonder what others' opinions were.

Sunday, February 6, 2005 -- Evening (Super Bowl halftime)

The commercials this year have been really sucky! In fact, I am very disappointed in them. The Bud Light commercials on the whole tend to be humorous. Not that any one of them has really stood out, but they were consistent in putting a smile on the face. My favorite of the Bud Light commercials were the ones with two guys talking about their fantasy on a desert island, and having two girls, and the one thinks, and the girls start bickering over things he should be doing, so he revises his fantasy to have a dog, tons of beer, and a big screen tv.

The two funniest commercials were the ones for with a stripper like girl who is testifying in front of Congress, and almost exposes a boob. The other was for Ameriquest where this guy is in a convenience store talking to someone on a handfree cell phone, and telling the guy on the other end that he was robbed with a finance deal. The convenience guy thinks HE is being robbed, and starts beating up on the guy.

The game is much better than the commercials which is really a first. The score is now 7-7 at halftime.
Paul McCartney is doing a great job at the half time show! He sang Baby, You can drive my car, Get Back, Live and Let Die, and Hey Jude. It was a very well done show, and a real audience pleaser. Now here is an example of an old man playing rock, but for some reason to me if feels different. I wonder if it is because i am a fan of the Beatles. All I know is that the show was a heck of a lot more entertaining than Janet Jackson's boob!

Saturday, February 5, 2005 -- Late Evening

Dan Marino was elected to the Football Hall of Fame today. He's a native Pittsburgher, and went to the University of Pittsburgh before being drafted by the Miami Dolphins.

Pitt's basketball team lost again today. We lost to West Virginia, and we really shouldn't have. This is not boding well for the post season tournaments.

Friday, February 4, 2005 -- Evening

No progress was made in the NHL talks today even though there were four hours of discussion. I think that they should just admit that there's no way that the season can be salvaged and give it up. Unfortunately, as I've been saying, I think that it might be the end of the NHL.

Thursday, February 3, 2005 -- Evening

What was the NFL Play of the Year? Jerome Bettis's touchdown pass against the New York Jets in Week 14.

The NHL may cancelling the rest of the season. I think that if they cancel the season, there won't be any incentive for the players to come to term with the owners before the start of the next season. That could mean a two year lockout, or the end of the NHL. I'm beginning to think that it is going to be the end of the NHL. There's no way the owners can do without a salary cap. Viewship for hockey has been dropping over the past few years, and the lockout is just going to lose more fans. I've also heard some say that they believe that the biggest problem has been the fact that the hockey expansion with teams in Tampa Bay and other areas that aren't traditional hockey towns lead to the financial woes of the league.

Sunday, January 30, 2005 -- Afternoon

Marat Safin won the Australian Open today. He started out slowly, and lost the first set 1-6 to Lleyton Hewitt. But he came back from that to take straight sets, 1-6 6-3 6-4 6-4. It was quite a disappoitment for Hewitt and his fellow Australians. It seems that the last Australian to win the Open was in 1976.

Surprisingly, Pitt won last night against Syracus. As usual, Pitt started out 17 points behind, but somehow managed to make up the difference. Even if they do manage to make it to the NCAA tournament this year (because there was some doubt that they would make it) there's no way that they will get far with that sort of game playing.

Friday, January 28, 2005 -- Late Evening

There is still no movement on the NHL situation. It doesn't seem as if there will be a season this year unless there is some decision soon. Now there are no more meetings scheduled. If you want to keep up to date on the hockey lockout, check out HockeyNation.

Thursday, January 27, 2005 -- Evening

Marat Safin defeated Roger Federer in an Australian Open semi-final match. The match took four hours and 28 minutes, and was quite a match. Safin was supposed to be the up and coming player a few years ago when he beat Pete Sampras in the US Open. It seems he might be living up to his potential.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005
Ben Roethlisberger commented to the media yesterday that he has been worn out by the season. The interesting thing is that he commented on having some broken toes. The problem is that in Bill cowher's press conference, Cowher said that Roethlisberger does not have broken toes. Probably what happened is that Roethlisberger just bruised his toes, and is exaggerating the extent of the injury. I know when I had bruised toes I always refered to them as broken.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005 -- Morning

There were clips all over local television yesterday of Hines Ward's emotional outburst over losing the game yesterday. It was very touching because the outporing of emotion was not for himself, but for the lost opportunities of those who might not be back (such as Jerome Bettis). Very sad, indeed.

Monday, January 24, 2005 -- Morning

The fans here in Pittsburgh are numbed over the Steelers' loss last night. I know that it is very hard to take because the team was doing so well during the regular season, but I think that the nerves of possibly losing did them in. This isn't an excuse for the loss of the game. The players should have overcome the nerves and moved on. They didn't though. It has to be very tough on Ben Roethlisberger. What he needs to realize is that he has a great future ahead of himself.

I also feel for Jerome Bettis. I think that he is ready for retirement, but would like to go out with a Super Bowl ring. If he is doing well physically, he can come back next year. Jerome is a nice person, and a good football player. Even if he doesn't win a Super Bowl, he deserves kudos for a job well done in how he handles himself professional and with the fans.

Plaxico Burress, however, is Mr. Sour Grapes. He is already commenting on not coming back to the Steelers next year because he will be a free agent. That's because the Steelers see more value in a real player who works hard to make plays like Hines Ward instead of whiners like Plaxico. The thing is that Plaxico was bobbling the ball and missing catches, but looks like he wants to lay the blame elsewhere for his bad performance.

Sunday, January 23, 2005 -- Later Evening

The Steelers lost the game today. The final score was 41-27. We scored the final touchdown in the last two minutes because New England just basically let us score. It was a very pitiful game to watch, and very distressing. The thing that really sucks is that the celebration for the AFC Championship is going to be on our field. What sports will my boyfriend and I watch now? We used to watch football, then hockey, and then because it would be summer time, we would just be outside. This winter is going to be hard with no sports to watch.

Sunday, January 23, 2005 -- Evening

We are just in the second quarter of the AFC Championship, and the Steelers are losing. I didn't have a good feeling after the first score, a field goal after an interception. Now the score is 10-3. Well, we did have a good season, and even though there is still half of the game to go, I am not seeing anything that is promising. Fortunately, we are still only one touchdown away, so it isn't hopeless yet.

Just right after I finished the comment above, the Patriots scored again, and the score is now 17-3. Well, at least as my boyfriend just commented, all the Steeler merchandise will be on sale.

It's now worse. Roethlisberger threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown, and the score is now 24-3. We are at the two minute warning before the half.

Saturday, January 22, 2005 -- Late Evening

Surprisingly, Pitt's basketball team won this evening against UConn. Pitt was behind by nine points at half time, but the team came back strongly in the second half. Again, this agrees with the comments that the players have made to friends that they don't try at first until they find they have to up the effort. we are not doing well in the Big East, and unless we start improving play, we won't be much of a force to contend with in March for the Big East Tournament and NCAA Championships.

Saturday, January 22, 2005 -- Evening

They won't be selling beer after the third quarter of the game at Heinz Field tomorrow. The food vendor, Aramark, is the same one who was sued because of an auto accident caused by a drunk fan who had just left Giants Stadium.

Saturday, January 22, 2005 -- Afternoon

Popular Mechanics magazine has a short article on the software that the NFL uses to assist with the coaching process. Twenty seven of the teams use software from Pinnacle Systems. The coaches use this software to create dvds with analysis of games for the players. The video of the games are shared amongst all the teams, and they then use the Pinnacle software to mark up the games to show various points such as what the team in question does on third downs and what the weather is. The one stipulation that the NFL makes is that the teams can not use Pinnacle during the game. Printouts from the software are acceptable on the sidelines, but that's it.

Friday, January 21, 2005 -- Evening

Even the national media is commenting on Pitt's basketball team. The team is not doing well, and no one seems to be able to understand it. As I mentioned earlier though, I have heard from people who know the players that there isn't discipline, and the coach isn't respected. I really do believe that is the problem here, and unless Jamie Dixon changes his methods, Pitt is going to lose more. When I read some of the comments that Dixon makes I don't see him as the type of ball buster that a college basketball coach, or any coach, for that matter should be. "It's all about believing in yourself and believing in each other" Dixon says. What a bunch of mealy mouth feel good garbage.

Who's the leak? There has been an annoucement from the Hockey News that there was an announcement on the NHL Player's Association internal web site that the players should prepare for a long lockout. That is not good news at all. Trevor Linden is playing hard ball, and doesn't want to believe that there isn't huge amounts of money to be had. My question still stands though. I wonder who the player is who is leaking information from the internal web site.

Thursday, January 20, 2005 -- Evening

One of the things that I hate are the stats that give you for sports. For example, people keep on talking now about how the Patriots are 13-0 when facing a quarterback for the second time in a season. All that means is that now they are 13-0. After this week, they may be 13-1. These stats only mean something to me when the person has finished competing. After all, we are only looking at these stats for this time period, and that doesn't mean that things won't change with the next game.

Ben Roethlisberger is not letting last week's game bother him. Hopefully, that is true, and he will not let the nerves get to him on Sunday evening.

There's a nice article about Troy Polamalu in the New York Times. It seems that his uncle used to be a dancer with Don Ho.

Thursday, January 20, 2005 -- Afternoon

Tomorrow is another Black & Gold day here in Allegheny County and Pittsburgh. If the Steelers win this week, this place will be crazy at Super Bowl time.

There are alot of folks out there who are just crazy because of the Steelers. Here is a sampling of Steeler songs. There is also a Steeler Baby who says all the Steeler chants.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005 -- Evening

Pitt's basketball team lost again last night. They are obviously going into a downward spiral, and hopefully the coach will wake up before it's too late, and give them some of the discipline that they have been lacking from him.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005 -- Afternoon

Ben Roethlisberger's teammates are supporting him as the starting quarterback for the game this coming Sunday. The folks on the sports call-in shows are suggesting that Tommy Maddox start the game, and that if Ben plays that he doesn't wear the infamous gloves. Obviously, Ben wasn't the only one who was having problems in the last game. The whole offense seemed to have problems--Jerome Bettis fumbled a ball, and the special teams allowed a touchdown on kick off.

Monday, January 17, 2005 -- Evening

Yuri Demetris was arrested yesterday and indefinitely suspended from the Pitt basketball team It seems he broke into a former girlfriend's house, and assaulterd her and stole some things from her house. The kid obviously has a problem, and I hope that he gets help. Let's see how much help he gets from the Pitt Athletic department.

Saturday, January 15, 2005 -- Evening

My gosh was the Steeler game today a nail biter! In the first half of the game, even though we were ahead 10-0, I noticed that the statistics were showing that the New York Jets had position of the ball alot more than we did. By the middle of the fourth quarter, I was resigning myself to the end of Steeler football this season. Well, I was wrong. The kicker for the Jet, Doug Brien, missed two field goal attempts. The game went into overtime, and somehow, we managed to win the game. The final score was 20-17. The next game is going to be pretty exciting, but I'm not holding out much hope to win next week. The team in general, just didn't seem to be playing well at all.

I had a nice time watching the game. My boyfriend and I went to a friend's house and watched the game in high definition. It actually seemed like we were there watching the game. It really does make me interested in getting a high definition television.

Doug Brien should check out this information on how to kicking a football. But wait! It seems that Doug Brien is the author. Maybe then he should practice visualization as he tells others. Visualize the field goal. :-)

Thursday, January 13, 2005 -- Morning

I did not know what was involved with the Super Bowl rings. For some reason, I thought that it was a generic ring that was just supposed to symbolize the bowl game itself. It seems, however, that the ring is customized for the team that wins it. The maximum standards that each ring has is that it must be 10K gold and weigh no more than 30 pennyweight (1 pennyweight = 1.55517384 grams). In the Post Gazette article, they show the pictures of the four Steeler rings.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005 -- Afternoon

There's alot of talk around town about the Steelers this week. There is even a main page article on ESPN about various myths that folks have about what it takes to win the Superbowl. One of the myths is about rookie quarterbacks not winning the Superbowl. I am hoping that Roethlisberger can prove them wrong.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005 -- Evening

Ben Roethlisberger did a very nice thing today. He is going to donate his first playoff check to tsunami victims.

Saturday, January 8, 2005 -- Evening

I really haven't commented alot on the basketball scene at the University of Pittsburgh because I'm basically really not interested in basketball. To me, it's one of those games were scoring is fairly easy. Give the ball to one side, they go to the basket, shoot, and either it makes it or it gets caught by the other side who then goes to their basket, and does the same thing. Boring, in my opinion. Now the University of Pittsburgh does have a decent basketball team. Now the thing is that I have been hearing rumors for some people that I know that know some of the basketball players on the team. What I have heard is that the players really don't get disciplined by the coach, Jamie Dixon, and the players have a lazy attitude that Dixon does not address. It seems that Dixon wants to be the players' friend instead of a coach. This sort of behvavior becomes obvious when the team loses to Bucknell, a team that they should easily beat. Basically the Pitt team doesn't seem to really put their all into the game. It's obvious at the beginning of games where the Pitt guys go out and seem to be seeing how badly they can play and still win. The sports writers in the area don't seem to be picking up on this behavior, and I'm not sure why. The last few games have been tighter than they should have with two loses and one win by three points over Rutgers in overtime.

Dave Wannstedt had a Q&A with the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. I do like Wannstedt's comment on calling the team Pittsburgh or Pitt. He says that he uses both. I think the University administration thinks Pitt sounds too common or makes people think of the "pitts". More administrative gobbledgook. I'm hoping the Wannstedt can do a good job with recruiting. He has the talk that sounds like he would be great at selling the University.

Thursday, January 6, 2005 -- Evening

Things are not looking good for the NHL lockout. The NHL cancelled the board of governors' meeting on January 14 because there is nothing new to report. It is not looking good for any hockey being played this season.

Not only did Jerome Bettis win the Toughman Award yesterday, but Ben Roethlisberger also received an award. He received a $125,000 bonus for the work that he did this past year. You can also buy "Big Ben Beef Jerky". It's going to be released in local stores in Pittsburgh and comes in original and teryaki flavors.

Wednesday, January 5, 2005 -- Evening

Jerome Bettis was given the Howie Long Toughman Award. The local station, KDKA has a weekly segment with Jerome called the Bus Stop. The award was mentioned during the segment. Howie gives the Toughman Award to the player he thinks played the hardest and showed up to play every game. That definitely describes Jerome. He always puts his all into his work. The award was a black truck of some sort. I really don't know trucks that well. One pretty much looks like another to me.

Ben Roethlisberger was named the Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year. It seems that a quarterback hasn't won this award since its inception. The reason why I think Ben deserves this award is because I've noticed that while he has been the quarterback everyone seems to be scrambling around trying to make plays. It seems that others seem to think that Ben will try to avoid the sack, and all the others have to do is get open to get the ball. The only thing that concerns me is that with all the hype, there's no where to go but down. I can just hear the Pittsburgh fans now getting on Ben's case when he loses his first game. It will either be "he choked in the playoffs" or "he didn't lose a game in his rookie season". You can't tell much from a person's first year in a sport like football. It's the record over time that really counts. It will be exciting to see how Ben's career progresses and how it helps the Steelers.

Monday, January 3, 2005 -- Evening

You might think from all that I have been writing about the Steelers that I am a big football fan. However, I am actually a big fan of hockey. Since the lockout is on, there really isn't any news to tell about them. It seems that Wayne Gretzky thinks that the lockout could be a long one. If something doesn't change with hockey payrolls, the Penguins won't have a long life here in Pittsburgh. Right now, the tickets are extremely expensive--$30 for a seat in peanut heaven or behind a pole. I hope this matter gets resolved soon, but I think that the players think there is more money out there than there actually is.

Back to football--it seems that the Buffalo Bills were really shocked that they lost. As Drew Bledsoe said that if they couldn't beat the Steeler backups, the Bills didn't deserve to be in the playoffs. Funny because without beating the Steelers, they couldn't get into the playoffs.

Matt Cavanaugh is out as the Baltimore Ravens' offensive coach. The team hasn't been doing well offensively since he has been coach of that area. Now, the Ravens have been saying that he wasn't fired, but it sure does sound like it from reading the Baltimore Sun article. I think that it's just a damn lucky thing that the University of Pittsburgh didn't hire cavanaugh because the guy would not be up to the job.

Sunday, January 2, 2005 -- Late Afternoon

The Steelers won today. They finish the season 15-1. It was really amazing because for a good percentage of the game the starters weren't playing. In the second half, Brian St. Pierre even got to play. The rumors all week were that the Steelers wouldn't be playing, and that Buffalo had so much to gain by winning that they would be going all out. There was so much talk of the Steelers losing momentum because they were going to lose the game, and that Buffalo would have our number in the playoffs. Then the Steelers came in and won by a score of 29 to 24. It was a great game, and the backups (both second and third stringers) did a fabulous job.

Sunday, January 2, 2005 -- Early Afternoon

Obviously, I wasn't the only one who thought the Pitt Panthers really sucked last night in the Fiesta Bowl. Bob Smizik, a sports reporter for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette thinks so too. The best quote in the article is Walt Harris saying he was "numb". Walt thought the Panthers should have played better. Well, the reason that they didn't is because they were outclassed, and poorly coached. As Bob smizik says in his piece, Stanford should have watched the game with care because that was class Walt offensive--and they hired him for his offensive abilities!

The Steelers just started the game against the Buffalo Bills. So far in the first quarter, we took advantage of a fumble to score a field goal, and Buffalo answered by taking advantage of a fumble of ours to score a touchdown. The score is 7-3 with six minutes left in the first quarter.

Sunday, January 2, 2005 -- Just after midnight
Utah won the Fiesta Bowl by a score of 35 to 7. It's shocking that Pitt even managed to score the one touchdown. Tyler Palko was on his back more than a cheap hooker. He was sacked nine times by my count, and was usually running around trying to avoid Utah's defense. By the half time, the Utah fans started chanting "overrated". It wasn't that Pitt was overrated--they managed to back into this bowl because of stupid BCS rules. Poor Utah suffered because they got no match at all from Pitt. The BCS should change how they determine the bowl matchups.

Also, Pitt's fans had a poor showing. The Sun Devil stadium was a sea of red. It's a shame that so few Pitt fans showed up. That's why no bowl sponsers are happy to see Pitt--the fans just don't travel to support the team.

Saturday, January 1, 2005 -- Evening

It is now half time at the Fiesta Bowl. Pitt has so far scored the big goose egg. Utah has scored two touchdowns and is doing a fantastic job of keeping us from scoring--even blocking a field goal attempt. I am not holding out much hope for Pitt. They really don't belong in the Fiesta Bowl. Utah was undefeated this year, and Pitt was in a four way tie in the crappy Big East division--just winning the tie breaker.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004 -- Evening

James Farrior was named Steeler MVP. He has been doing a great job defensively this year, and he really deserves this award.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004 -- Afternoon

The Pittsburgh Panthers are playing in the Fiesta Bowl on January 1 (Saturday). The stories that have been in the local news is the money that the University will be getting from the bowl appearance. It appears that Pitt will not get as much money as originally anticipated. Because there was a four way tie for the Big East championship, and Pitt just got the nod for the bowl because of a tie breaker, Pitt will have to split the money four ways with the other teams. That's a big disappointment for Pitt, but the main reason why Walt Harris isn't around anymore. Granted, he did accept a job at Stanford, but it was just a matter of days before he was fired from his position here at Pitt.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004 -- Late Afternoon

Bill Cowher had his press conference today, and it appears that Ben Roethlisberger's problem was indeed a minor one. It appears the injury was bruised rib cartilage. That's good news because it means that Roethlisberger will be ready for the playoffs.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004 -- Afternoon

So far no official word yet on Ben Roethlisberger, but it seems that it is not a serious problem. At most it appears to be bruised ribs, and Roethlisberger will rest this week and not play. However, it does seem that he will be ready for the playoffs.

Now the big question is who should play on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. Since the Buffalo game really won't affect us for the playoffs since we already have the home field advantage and the bye, should we send out players who might get hurt in the game and therefore not be available for the post-season? I understand that Paul Tagliabue doesn't want the teams to stop playing as soon as their spots are assured because they could be playing teams that are battling for a wildcard. I heard one of the Pittsburgh sportscasters yesterday give an opinion that maybe the schedule shouldn't be set in stone so wildcard teams could play against each other. This way, in the case of Buffalo against Pittsburgh, you won't have to worry about Buffalo getting a win because the Steelers might not have had all their starters playing.

Monday, December 27, 2004 -- Morning

So far there is no update on the condition of Ben Roethlisberger. The story still is that he has hurt his ribs. Hopefully there will be an update today so we will know his status for the playoff games.

Sunday, December 26, 2004 -- Afternoon

Well, that krytonite must have been wrapped in lead! The Steelers won the game 20 to 7. The Ravens may be out of the playoffs because of the loss. It doesn't seem from hearing the Bill cowher press conference after the game that it is too bad. It does hurt Roethlisberger to throw the bal, but with three weeks of rest, I'm sure that he will be up to par. The Steelers were just beaming in the last few minutes of the game. It's great that they have home field advantage throughout the playoffs and the bye because they are the number one seed in the AFC.

Ben Roethlisberger has an injured rib, and is now out of the game. It is just a few minutes into the fourth quarter. Roethlisberger was injured with a hard hit at the end of the third quarter by Terrell Suggs, the guy how made the kryptonite comment on Thursday. I don't understand why players try to purposefully hurt the opponent. That is such a low thing to do. Now, I'm sure that Suggs would say that he didn't do anything like that, but Suggs really drove Roethlisberger into the ground AFTER Roethlisberger threw the ball. Hopefully the injury isn't a bad one. Roethlisberger did make a few plays the next time the Steelers had the ball offensively. He just couldn't throw it properly. The score is now Steelers 20 - Ravens 7 and there are nine and a half minutes left in the game. I'm not a huge Tommy Maddox fan. I think that he looks too much like a deer in the headlights, and he just really isn't a play maker. So, here's hoping that Roethlisberger will be back for the playoffs.

It is now half-time for the game. The score so far is Steelers 10 - Ravens 7. ESPN has the box score, play by play, and the game update. Roethlisberger has made some really good plays with Plaxico Burress and Antwaan Randel El. Granted there have also been some bad moves like poor Randel El fumbling the ball in the last minute of the half after making a spectacular one handed catch for a first down.

The first quarter of the Steeler game is almost over. I have to admit that I really have a hard time watching some of the games because I get so nervous. This is such an important game to win, so more is at stake. Roethlisberger threw an interception just abit ago, and I almost chewed my fingers to nubs. Fortunately, Joey Porter picked the ball off from the Ravens. We have the ball now at the start of the second quarter, and Jerome Bettis is doing a great job picking up yards. The score so far is 7-7.

Friday, December 24, 2004 -- Afternoon

The Baltimore Ravens Terrell Suggs said yesterday that the Ravens are the Steelers kryptonite. Suggs went on to suggest that some teams just can't beat Balitmore, and Pittsburgh is one of those teams. Well, yesterday Hines Ward was on the local KDKA sport news. They have a segment called "Hines Sight" on Mondays and Thursdays. The sportscaster showed Ward the click of Suggs and asked what Ward thought. Ward said, "If they're our Kryptonite, we must be Superman." I thought that was hilarious! Just because we lost to the Ravens in the second game of the season doesn't mean that they have our number. That doesn't mean that the game won't be a hard fought one. Usually a matchup between the Ravens and Steelers is a good one. I'm hoping the Steelers come out winners because that would seal home field advantage and the bye.

Thursday, December 23, 2004 -- Late Afternoon

The press conference with Coach Wannstedt is now in progress. It was delayed from 3:00 pm until 3:30 pm because Wannstedt showed up with a red tie, and they had to go out and get a gold tie for him so he would have on Pitt colors (blue and gold). He talking of making the University the best that it can be, and that is good to hear. What else would he say though? That he wants to make it suck? His goal is to get us back to a national championship, as happened in 1980. He is talking now about beefing up the recruiting. That is something that lacked with Walt Harris. Harris wasn't very good at recruiting. He was always too busy being the head coach, offensive coach, recruiter, etc. Wannstedt supposedly asked for good salaries for his assistant coaches and coordinators. He wants a salary no lower than $100,000 (mentioned in the Post Gazette article this morning). Now Wannstedt said in the news conference that he initially turned down the offer because he didn't feel he could make the decision that quickly, and Pitt wanted an answer in a few days. We will have to see how things progress over the year. I am interested in hearing the comments of the Pitt players.
Wannstedt did answer a question by saying that he would be talking to all the players--not just the quarterbacks. That's sort of a jab on Walt Harris because he did focus on the quarterback position alot--at least I think so. The sports columnists seem to think it is all in reference to his problems with quarterbacks--having poor ones in the past.
I do think that I like Wannstedt. He's definitely a Pittsburgher, and it is evident in his speech. He commented how in Dallas he would say "yinz" instead of "you all". I do like what he had to say in the press conference.

Thursday, December 23, 2004 -- Afternoon

Dave Wannstedt is the new coach for the Pittsburgh Panthers. A press conference is planned for 3 pm.

Thursday, December 23, 2004 -- Morning

The Post Gazette has a rumor that Dave Wannstedt has been offered the job as head coach of the University of Pittsburgh Panthers. Wannstedt was the coach of the Miami Dolphins, and "resigned" on November 9 of this year. Now the Dolphins had 1 win and 8 losses at the time of his resignation, so it wasn't a very good year for Wannstedt. Over all, in his career, he's had 82 wins and 87 losses, which results in a .485 percentage. Not that great a record, in my opinion. In comparison, our own Bill Cowher has a .624 percentage of winning games. Since college football isn't the NFL, maybe Wannstedt will not be a bad choice. As the Post Gazette article states, there is the example of Pete Carroll who pretty much sucked in the NFL, but was great as a college coach. I'd like to see how he does next season--if he is the new coach.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004 -- Evening

Six Steelers were selected to be in the 2005 Pro Bowl. The six are Alan Faneca, James Farrior, Jeff Hastings, Troy Polamalu, Joey Porter, and Hines Ward. Troy Polamalu has been being doing very well this year. It's his second year with the Steelers, and he really wasn't doing very well in his rookie year. I remember hearing folks talking about it on the Pittsburgh sports call-in shows, like Nightly Sports Call. Since Troy was a first round pick, it's obvious that folks would expect more from him, but it just took him a bit of time to get into the swing of the NFL.

I do like the Nightly Sports Call. They get a variety of Post Gazette sports writers, like Ron Cook, Bob Smizik, and Dejan Kovacevic. I love the interactions and the opposing viewpoints. Dejan Kovacevic used to write about the Penguins, but since the strike has been on, he has moved over to be the Pirates writer.

As for hockey, I really miss the sport, but it isn't looking good for any hockey this season. You would think that the players would realize that the salaries they are bringing in are just too much. Sure, some players are worth the big bucks, but not all of them. Look up some hockey salaries. For example, Marty Straka for the 2003-2004 season made $4,350,000 from the LA Kings. It's not that Straka isn't good, or at least he used to be before he had some of his injuries. His stats have really dropped off from a high of 95 points in the season in 2000/2001 to 26 points in the 2003/2004 season. Is he really worth the money? I don't think so!

Tuesday, December 21, 2004 -- Afternoon

The Pittsburgh Panthers are going to the Fiesta Bowl this year. The big topic of debate here in Pittsburgh has been the situation with Walt Harris. For the past season, there have been rumors that the University of Pittsburgh administration has not been happy with Walt's performance. Pitt is part of the Big East, and although we won the conference this year, we really didn't win it decisively. Also, Walt's agent has been saying to the press that Pitt is not a top 20 school, and should learn to accept that fact. People are really split in their support or dislike of Walt. Personally I can understand the administration's point of view. If the school isn't a top 20 school then maybe we need to get someone who wants to make it that. I don't think Walt Harris is such a big cheese. Pitt didn't get the conference lead because they won it, but more because the other teams lost it. Besides, the Big East has not been what it once was when we had Virginia Tech and the University of Miami Hurricanes were part of the Big East. Yeah, so the conference sucks, and we should accept that and realize that Walt did something great for us. Baloney! I'd rather have a consistently good team--a top 20 team, and someone coaching who thinks we are capable of it.

Tuesday, Decmeber 21, 2004 -- Morning

What a glorious morning! I woke up to the news that the New England Patriots lost the game yesterday. Tom Brady threw some really bad interceptions. At one point in the last few minutes of the game, he was being sacked, but STILL threw the ball. Well, it landed into the waiting arms of a Miami Dolphin player and ultimately resulted in a touchdown. The Dolphins wound up winning with a score of 29-28. This is great news for the Steelers because now we are in a good position to get the home field advantage. Granted, there are still two games left in the season, but I am going to keep my fingers crossed. Here's ESPN's recap of the game.

I haven't been a football fan for a very long time--surprising since I come from Pittsburgh. So I wasn't aware that the Miami Dolphins had orange uniforms! Orange is one of my favorite colors, and it was especially pleasing to see the guys in orange whoop the Patriots' butts.

Monday, December 20, 2004 -- Evening

The New England Patriots are playing tonight on Monday Night Football. It's still the first quarter and the score is tied. Now New England is playing the Miami Dolphins, and Miami has not been doing well this year. However, I am cheering Miami on. In order for the Steelers to get home town advantage in the playoffs we either have to have the same number of wins and losses, or a better record. If it's the same then we will be okay because we have the tie breaker--we beat New England several weeks ago. It would be best if New England loses today though because the Steelers have a rough time ahead with the Baltimore Ravens next Sunday, and the Buffalo Bills the final week.

Sunday, December 19, 2004 -- Evening

I'm watching the Green Bay/Jacksonville game, and wondering how a team that is based in Florida is doing so well with subzero temperatures in Wisconsin. Right now in the fourth quarter Jacksonville is leading 28-17. Amazing! Poor Brett Favre is really not doing very well, and keeps on throwing interceptions. Here is ESPN's recap of the game.

The Steelers are doing very well. The game yesterday was quite a nail biter. Thanks to the offense for doing their jobs, and getting the points scored. The defense was abit weak, but it's probably due to the lateness of the season. Here's the ESPN recap of the game.