Sunday, December 20, 2015

Football, Baseball, and Movies

Cleaning out the Mental In-Box.....

  • The Steelers fell behind the Denver Broncos 27-10 in the first half today, and it looked like you could kiss all playoff hopes good-by.  They then proceeded to reel off 24 straight points, 21 of them in the second half, and defeated the Broncos 34-27.  It was an amazing victory, considering that a Steelers defense that resembled well-aged Swiss cheese in the first half, then came out like Vintage Steel Curtain Steelers and completely shut down the Bronco Yonkos.  Simply an amazing performance.
  • And despite an inexplicable brain cramp late in the fourth quarter after the Steelers finally took the lead, all credit goes to this guy:
  • Ben Roethlisberger put on yet another incredible performance teaming up with the triumvirate of Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, and Marcus Wheaton.  
  • Two years ago I called Hines Ward the greatest Steelers wide receiver ever, but Antonio Brown is really pushing him for that title.
  • It will soon be time for the Pittsbugh Post-Gazette to select the annual Dapper Dan Sportsman of the Year Award.  I see four viable candidates for the award this year: Gerrit Cole, Pat Narduzzi, Antonio Brown, and Ben Roethlisberger.  My vote, if I had one, goes to Big Ben.  
  • Quote from my friend Dan Bonk from earlier in the week: "To this point I don't think the Pirates could have designed an off season to produce less excitement if they tried. Talk about an anti buzz."
  • That about sums up an off season where the Pirates released their leading home run hitter, traded one of there most popular players, who also happens to be a good to very good player, brought in a couple of guys named Joe, still haven't found a lefty first baseman to platoon with Michael Morse, and, in a flourishing move to close out the pre-Christmas merriment, signed free agent pitcher Ryan Vogelsong.  Yep, you read that right. After a nine year sojourn, Ryan Vogelsong is back in a Pirates uniform.
  • Still seeking left-handed help in the bullpen, can the returns of Zach Duke and/or Oliver Perez far behind?
  • And while all this was going on, the division rival Cubs were signing John Lackey, David Price, and Jason Heyward.
  • I keep telling myself that the Pirates don't have to play any games that matter until April, but the more I say it, the more it sounds like whistling while walking past a graveyard.
  • Speaking of baseball, Commissioner Rob Manfred was in the news this week when he announced that he would not be lifting the lifetime ban that has been in effect since 1989 on, well, You Know Who.  I'm not going to type his name.  Good for Manfred, and if there is any doubt that the Hit King was completely clueless about his situation, it was dispelled quickly in his pathetic press conference the next day.
  • Went to the movies this afternoon.  No, not to see "The Force Awakens", but rather to see this terrific little movie:

  • The movie tells the wonderful story about a young Irish girl who emigrates to America, to Brooklyn, NY, in 1952.  How she adapts, finds a job, falls in love, and has to return to Ireland for family reasons is the story of this movie.  No spectacular visual effects, no violence, no Storm Troopers, no comic book heroes in this one.  Just a sweet and beautifully told story.  Mrs. Grandstander and I highly recommend it.
  • It was funny walking through the lobby of the multi-plex amid the frenzied mobs of Star Wars fans.
  • Christmas movies that we have watched over the last few days: "A Christmas Story", "The Family Stone", "The Gathering", and "Love Actually".  Traditions.
  • On the subject of old movies, yesterday afternoon I watched Stanley Kramer's 1963 comedy "It's  Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World".  A crazy, silly slapstick farce with a cast of thousands and several laugh out loud moments.  The scene where Jonathon Winters destroys a gas station run by Marvin Kaplan and Arnold Stang was totally ridiculous and totally hilarious.

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