Friday Recommends, Pittsburgh Pirates, sports

Friday Recommends: ‘Fan Euthanasia Night’ at PNC Park

Hat tip to Matt Brenner for pointing out the PNC Park promotion that Pirates’ fans have literally been dying for:

PNC Park boasted a rare sellout crowd Tuesday when more than 38,000 eager Pirates fans showed up for “Fan Euthanasia Night,” during which each attendee was guaranteed “the sweet release of a quick and painless death” courtesy of sponsor PepsiCo.

(It’s from The Onion, so no, it’s not real.)

Pittsburgh Pirates, sports

Hope Springs Eternal

Baseball is underway once again, with its usual perfectly-timed entrance: each new season indelibly tied to gorgeous spring days, a sense of hope eternal paired to the sights and sounds of the ballpark — the crack of the bat, a dog and a drink in the bleachers, the smell of fresh-cut grass on perfectly mowed outfields. Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci chugs the whole sentimental Kool Aid down in one gulp:

Opening Day is such a part of Americana that it should be a national holiday … What is Opening Day, after all, but the day not just to dream, but also to believe, that anything is possible?

Well, Tom, I (Ben) want to believe that anything is possible. But I’m a Pirates fan. And crushing reality will soon sink in — by mid-May at the latest, sometimes by late April, occasionally sooner than that. (A quick glance at the preseason standings last week confirmed that, yes, Pittsburgh was 7-21 in exhibition games. SI picked the Pirates to have this season’s worst record. And why wouldn’t you for the team with the league’s lowest payroll at $35 million — about a sixth of the Yankees league-high $206 million, and only $2 million more than Alex Rodriguez alone will earn this year?)

I’m tired of Bud Selig pulling a Lucy and yanking away the football at the last second. Because he of small-market Milwaukee is as responsible as anyone for the enormous disparity in team payrolls caused by the lack of a salary cap. Frank Deford hits it on the head in his NPR commentary:

The reality in baseball — as long as there is no salary cap to equalize things as there is in our other popular team sports — the reality is that the Yankees and a few other rich teams are going to buy championships, while little old mid-major cities really can’t compete. … Sure, quirky things can happen in the playoffs. But at this Opening Day, we are only reminded again that for all baseball’s welter of statistics, it remains a sport without a salary cap — so, ultimately, the only numbers that matter are the ones that follow the dollar sign.

Hear, hear, Frank! And this follows on the heels of his commentary saying what a terrible idea expanding the NCAA field would be for men’s basketball. He speaks the truth, folks.

As for Opening Day, the Buccos beat the Dodgers, 11-5. Garrett Jones hit two home runs. It was Pittsburgh’s fourth straight Opening Day win.

Reason to hope this year might be different for the Pirates? Their payroll is the same as it was in 1992 … the last year Pittsburgh had a winning record.

Here I go hoping again.

Pittsburgh Pirates, sports

It’s Official.

Move over, Geena Davis.


The Pirates are in a league of their own.

UPDATE! And then there’s this dubious achievement, from game two of the series: “In the midst of a disappointing season, the Chicago Cubs started a game like no team has in almost two decades. Aramis Ramirez, Geovany Soto and Kosuke Fukudome had two-run hits in a record-tying first inning and the Cubs handed the hapless Pittsburgh Pirates their 11th loss in 12 games, 9-4 on Tuesday night.”

Pittsburgh Pirates, sports, television

Numb What?

In case you haven’t gathered, we’ve been spending a lot of time on YouTube lately.


This reminds us how much we liked Spellbound. (And how we wish we could mute everything Tom Bergeron says.)

Erin’s kickball team (Balls Deep) finished its regular season undefeated tonight. And no pulled quads this week!

And here’s to the Pittsburgh Pirates management. Why rebuild for seventeen years when you can do it for eighteen!


(Our endless hours on YouTube also made us appreciate just how many dumb people have appeared on “The Price Is Right” over the years. Proof: Here and here, and this guy bid $250,000 on a Showcase Showdown. We’re speechless.)

NBA, Pittsburgh Pirates, readers forum, sports

The NBA Playoffs Continue…

…and we actually still have a conversation going over at the Voreblog NBA Playoffs Readers Forum.

Tad Smith and Scott G—– both like the Nuggets this year. Given Scott’s (well-justified) hatred of George Karl, why would he pull for the Nuggets? Because he likes Chauncey Billups and Melo. And (this is a direct quote from Google Chat) “it’s one more player than I like on any other team.” Point taken.

(From the same Google Chat, Jenny McDevitt said she’s going with the “Celtics and Nuggets, because I like those locations better. My very informed opinion.” This was before Boston fizzled out to Orlando in game seven.)

Given L.A.’s less-than-impressive series against the Rockets, Denver is the sexy pick here. We (and by “we” we of course mean “Ben”) would love to be wrong, but we’re still taking the Lakers in seven.

Over in the East, Cleveland will finally lose a playoff game but not a series. Cavs in six. 

Note: Should we ever insult an NBA player’s mother, we will apologize to her in person and not in this space.

Another interesting sidenote from that link: You know those advertisements for IQ tests that challenge you to beat someone else’s IQ? One such ad on that page says “Avg. Nuggets IQ = 83.” Right below it is another that says, “Chauncy [sic] Billups’ IQ = 133.” We’re still trying to do the math, but we’re guessing that means that at least one Nugget has an IQ below 60. Any guesses as to who it might be? (And is Coach Karl included in that average?)

Those of you who despise the NBA are welcome to sound off on Major League Baseball, especially if you would like to comment on the Pirates’ three-game win streak. Last night’s 12-7 win over the Nationals put the Buccos at 17-21, which is awfully late in May for them to be flirting with .500. Two words: Nate McLouth. Three more words: Hall of Famer. One) Put it in your pipe and 2) smoke it.