Sunday, November 1, 2015

Sunday Morning Sporting Thoughts.....

The big news in Pittsburgh sports today will be the return of this guy to the playing field:

(Photo courtesy of the Pittsburgh Steelers)

The Steelers managed to go 2-2 in Ben Roethlisberger's absence, which is better than many of us had hoped, to be perfectly honest.  Here's hoping that Ben won't be too rusty today as the the Steelers take on the 6-0 Cincy Bengals today in a key AFC North match-up.  Let's face it, based on that defensive performance against the Chiefs last week, the team is going to need Roethlisberger at the top of his game from here on out.

The other thing the Steelers have going for them is that today's opponent is the Cincy Bengals.  Yeah, I know that they are undefeated, but there is always the possibility that they will revert being the, well, the Cincy Bengals.


That was a tough loss that Pitt suffered at the hands of North Carolina this past Thursday night.  North Carolina was clearly a better team than Pitt, so that 26-19 result was probably a just one.  Still, one can look at how Pitt made adjustments and played a better second half.  The coaches seem to know what to do to make in-game adjustments, and the players are clearly buying into it.  That's a good sign.  Also, one wonders what might have been had two UNC fumbles been recovered by Pitt when they occurred, but they weren't, so it's time to move on.

Pitt now faces two straight games where they figure to be underdogs, home with Notre Dame and at Duke, before finishing up with home games with Louisville and Miami.  would be nice to see the Panthers split those remaining games and end up at 8-4 (and what Pitt fan would not have signed on for that at the beginning of the year?), but it's not going to be easy.  Still, I wouldn't discount what this team might be able to do in these remaining four games.


Speaking of college football, let me highly recommend this book to you:

Check out the subtitle: "A Journey Through the Big Money Culture of College Football."  There's nothing in here that any serious fan didn't know or at least suspect, but Gilbert Gaul, a Pulitzer Prize winning reporter, has put together a well researched and well written book about this topic. Delving into this topic oft-times makes you want to take a shower, but as I have stated before, I buy the tickets, and I watch the games on TV, so I am a part of the problem, too.


So, Steven Matz did his job last night, as did Michael Conforto, and the New York Mets were five outs away from evening the World Series at two game apiece.  What followed is what makes baseball such a great game: two Tyler Clippard walks, a Daniel Murphy error, and a seeing-eye single by Salvador Perez, and BOOM!, the Royals are now firmly in control of this Series after a 5-3 win has given them a three games to one advantage over the Mets.  You can't take a knee in baseball.  You've got to get all twenty-seven outs.

Too bad for the Mets, but good for the Royals, who are clearly the better team insofar as the everyday eight man lineup is concerned.  Still, the Mets send Matt Harvey to the mound and momentum is the next game's stating pitcher blah blah blah, so we'll see.  Other teams have overcome being down 3-1, but the Mets are clearly rolling that rock uphill right now.

And by the way, while most of the country was probably watching the Notre Dame-Temple football game last night, they really missed a pretty darn good baseball game, even if you had to listen to Harold Reynolds in the broadcast booth.  Man, he's bad.  And on the subject of the announcers, I was pre-disposed to not like Alex Rodriguez as an analyst, but in the in-game spots that he has done, he has been pretty good.  He is well prepared and at times he seems to want to force every factoid that he has into his comments, but, all in all, I've enjoyed what he's had to say.

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