The Pirates were much in the news this week with the trade with the Yankees that brought Francisco Cervelli
to the Bucs, and which I commented upon earlier in the week. Somewhat more surprising, was the signing, or should I say re-signing, of free agent pitcher A.J. Burnett.
It is surprising that Burnett, who spoke so longingly of retirement two years ago, would forgo a Player's Option with the Phillies that would pay him $12 million and re-sign with the Pirates for "only" $8.5 million. Maybe he is the rare athlete who means it when he says, "it's not about the money".
The real question is, can he help the Pirates in 2015? No question of the value that Burnett brought to the Pirates in his two year stint here in 2012-13, but he is now 38 years old and coming off a year in which he lost 18 games, albeit with a lousy team, and posted am ERA in excess of 4.50. I suppose that there is no great risk in signing him, especially if you feel that Francisco and Liriano and Edinson Volquez will not be back with the team.
I heard Neal Huntington in a radio interview earlier in the week, and found him to be quite forthright and not spilling the usual line of obfuscating b.s. that is his wont. Most interesting thing I heard was his flat out statement that among three first baseman, Pedro Alvarez, Ike Davis, and Gaby Sanchez (yes, he included Alvarez as a first baseman), only two would be with the team next year.
Been nice known' you, Ike.
So what else is knew? Pitt scores a ton of points against North Carolina yesterday, and loses. Pitt has now scored 111 points in their last three games, and have lost all three of them.
We keep hearing how Pitt is a young team, that they start lots and lots of freshman and sophomores. Okay, I'll give you that Paul Chryst had an uphill battle when he arrived here three years ago, and that he has to get the building blocks in place, but this is Year Three, and that line of reasoning (or is it excuse making?) is wearing thin, and it will not be the least bit tolerable in 2015.
As hard as it can sometimes be watching the Panthers play football, the play of James Conner
and Tyler Boyd
make it worth your while to tune in.
I watched the entire Florida State-Miami game last night. The inevitability of an FSU victory became apparent when Miami began the second half playing to protect their lead rather than trying to build it further. They completely stopped playing in the manner that gave them that big lead in the first place. Why do coaches do that?
Best line on Facebook yesterday came courtesy of friend Fred Egler. In commenting upon Wisconsin laying a 35 point beatdown on Nebraska in snowy Madison, WI yesterday, Fred said that "Bo Pellini looked like a German general at the Battle of Stalingrad."
Speaking of unwatchable performances, I went to the Sewall Center on Friday night to see Robert Morris tip off their Hoops Season, and suffer an 77-50 thrashing at the hands of Lafayette University, and trust me, the game was nowhere near as close as that 27 point spread indicates. Be that as it may, I trust that Andy Toole will work with his team and coach 'em up to the point where they will be a contender for the Northeast Conference title once again.
What I did find interesting at the game was that fact that a video board has been installed in front of the Media Table that sits court side at the Sewall Center, and that RMU has been able to sell advertising on said board that scrolls throughout the game. Sponsors ranging from a Moon Township ice cream parlor to PNC Bank to the Allegheny Heath Network are now are getting their messages across to patrons attending the basketball games.
RMU has indeed entered the Big Time!
The Steelers take on the awful 2-6 Tennessee Titans tomorrow night. Be afraid. Be very afraid.