With no Pirates game to occupy me, I did watch the final Steelers practice game of the year, and four things stand out:
- Charlie Batch threw about as pretty a touchdown pass to Emmanuel Sanders as you will see all season, and he will probably end up getting released today. Crazy.
- Two jaw dropping punt returns for touchdowns by rookie Chris Rainey in the first quarter, both nullified by Steelers penalties. Poor officiating by the scab refs, or poor special teams play by the Steelers?
- An absolutely brutal looking knee injury to rookie linebacker Sean Spence. Why do NFL teams play four of these meaningless games, other than to get two full gates for the owners?
- It seemed that on every play, huge chunks of turf went flying through the air. Good to see that the Heinz Field playing surface was in mid-season form.
On to other thoughts.....
- During the Steelers game I switched briefly to ESPN for the South Carolina-Vanderbilt SEC tussle. Steve Spurrier, the Ol' Ball Coach, always seemed to me to be a "young" guy. Not anymore. He looked ancient last night,and what's with the voice? If it gets any higher, he'll shatter glass.
- And speaking of voices, why is Lou Holtz still on the air?
- I see that Fraud Graham's Arizona State Sun Devils high octaned themselves a sixty-something to six win over Northern Arizona last night. Can't wait until ASU starts playing some of the big boys in the PAC 12. I'll even be rooting for a snake like Lane Kiffen to put the Whoop-Ass on Coach Fraud.
- College Football begins in earnest tomorrow: Youngstown State @ Pitt, Ohio U. @ Penn State, Marshall @ WVU, Robert Morris @ North Dakota State. All compelling games for various reasons.
- The big TV game of the week pits Michigan against Alabama in Jerry's Palace in Dallas. That should be a fun game, and kudos to each school for being willing to open against each other rather than the traditional opening game against Cupcake University.
- It was fun switching to MLB Network last night and seeing the Nats hand it to the Cardinals, 8-1, allowing the Pirates to pick up a half game in the wild card race. September baseball could be a whole lot of fun this year.
- First, however, three games in Miller Park beginning tonight. Got to take care of those annoying Brewers. I'm not greedy. I'll happily settle for two out of three.
- Am anxiously awaiting to see how the Pirates will set the post-season roster by midnight tonight and whether or not that make a Waiver Deadline Deal, also by midnight.
The PGA Tour is in the midst of their FedEx Cup playoffs, and the Ryder Cup is just around the corner, but some old news, if you don't mind.
Rory McIlroy won the PGA Championship earlier this month by eight shots, a most dominating and convincing win, not unlike his US Open win in 2011. Congratulations to the young Irishman, who is indeed one of the top half dozen or so players on tour today. Stop, however, with the "next Tiger" nonsense. I will probably be dead by the time this will finally be reckoned, but I am willing to bet that Rory, who now has two Majors on his resume, will not get within sniffing distance of Tiger Woods' total of fourteen (14) Majors wins. As I said, it will probably be another 20 or so years, give or take, (and that's if everything goes right for him) before McIlroy is not longer a factor, so I may not be around to collect my bet, but I say he gets nowhere near 14 Majors, and I'd be shocked if he gets that total to double figures.
On the subject of Woods, right now, he is 36 years old and very good golfer, just like about 50 or so other guys on Tour. He is no longer "Tiger Woods". He will continue to win golf tournaments, and may even win another Major or two, but the Jack Nicklaus standard of 18 Majors is safe, at least in my lifetime. I do think, however, that Woods has a very good chance of breaking Sam Snead's PGA Tour record of 82 career wins. Woods has 74.