Friday, August 08, 2008

Let the Games Begin!

No, not those games, over in Beijing. Who cares about them?

The Steelers begin competitive play tonight.

Well, people in Steelers' uniforms, anyway. Some of the regular starters will get limited action, but we will see mostly prospects and suspects taking the field against the Philthydelphia Iggles. Even with temperatures in the 80s, and even if many of the players don't make the regular-season roster, it will be good to see the Black 'n Gold in action again.

Meanwhile, watching the Pirates is often painful, but Joey Porter's Pit Bulls can't let it go. While Jeff Karstens has lifted our spirits with 15 scoreless innings, including the near-perfect gem on Wednesday, I am finding it tough, still, to justify the trade that brought him here from the Yankees.

Surprisingly, many of the Pirates-focused blogs like the deal. Lots of other people across the nation, however, feel the way I do -- which is that the Pirates should not have bundled Nady and Marte in the same deal; and that they simply didn't get enough high-end talent in return from the Yanks.

A post titled Pirate Treasure Stolen over at the excellent Dugout Central blog rants passionately about the deal, but what I found most interesting were the reader comments from fans across the nation, notably from some knowledgeable fans based in New York and Boston. Immediately following the trade, I wrote that the Yankees were the wrong team to do a deal with, and one of the reader comments backs up that sentiment with the following comment, which I believe is astute and right on the money:

"When will teams finally learn that if the Yankees are willing to part with “prospects”, then they aren't real prospects."

Perfect and Amen.

That's why I have higher hopes for the prospects we received in the Jason Bay deal than the ones we got back from the Yankees, Karstens' hot start notwithstanding.

Here are a couple of notable reader comments from the post at Dugout Central:

Dugout Central Reader Comment:

These trades continue to show why the Pirates will never field a team with a legit chance to make the playoffs again. This was the first time they had legit trading chips at impact and desired positions since Denny Neagle, and they traded them for the number of players instead of the quality. If I were a Pirates fan I would be livid at seeing what they got in return, especially from the Yankees when they packaged 2 of their 3 top trading pieces and got NOTHING in return! The Pirates had valuable trading pieces and completely blew it. Seattle blew their chance to rebuild as well. The Astros continue to amaze in their decisions. The Padres were handcuffed by the selfish Greg Maddux and also didn't part with their other tradeable pieces.
What is going on in the heads of these GM’s? I know they have a major disadvantage when competing with the big market clubs, but this is ridiculous.
And when will teams finally learn that if the Yankees are willing to part with “prospects”, then they aren't real prospects. Look at the garbage they traded for Abreu. The Twins were the only ones to take a stand and demand at least one of the “untouchables”. More teams should take that stance before giving in to the Yankees demands.

Another Reader Comment:

I can't really imagine what it must be like to be a Pirate fan these days. The team has been so bad for so long and every time it seems the franchise takes one step forward it inevitably winds up taking two back. The Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte trade is really hard to defend from a Pittsburgh stand point. Nady is a solid Major League player who is having a career year and Marte, for better or for worse is one of the top left handed relievers in the game. The Bucs really got very little value for giving up a pair of quality players. I give the Pirates faithful credit for sticking with their team. At least they have a beautiful ballpark to watch their team play. Besides that the cupboard is very bare and though I would like to assure Bucs fans things will get better the team's recent actions show little change should be expected.

We're Slipping

Come on, Pittsburghers! What is up with you!

Forbes magazine (and what do they know, anyway?) ranks Pittsburgh only No. 11 on its list of America's hardest-drinking cities.

This can't be right.

Even our AFC North Division rivals, Cleveland and Cincinnati, are rated above us. Of course, if you lived in those sinkholes, you'd drink heavily, too. The top five are Austin, Milwaukee, San Francisco, Providence (?) and Chicago.

This is embarrassing. You mean we don't measure up to frigging Providence?! Does Providence even count as a city? It's an outrage.

I blame the suburbanites. You drunks who stumble through Polish Hill, the South Side, Shadyside, Oakland, Carson Street, Bloomfield, etc., every night, well, you're doing your part, but we need more like you.

And, really, you too can pick it up.

I mean YOU.

Come on, starting tonight. There's a major music festival on the South Side … and more importantly, there's a STEELERS game, people!

So …step it up! Commence tailgating! NOW!