Pittsburgh Sports Stuff

AJ Burnett and the DH Debate
As most of you know, Burnett injured his eye socket during a bunting drill and will probably miss some time.   Last night, I heard one of the guys on 93.7 The Fan saying that if the NL had the DH, then this would not have happened.

He made a good point that it seems like MLB will probably push towards a DH in both leagues over time, especially now that there is expanded interleague play starting next season.  He kept saying that owners want the DH because they do not want their investments hurt doing something that is not necessary for them.  Although, what if Albert Pujols trips over first base after hitting his first home run with the Angels, destroying his knee and missing the entire season?  Wouldn’t we find it ridiculous if the Angels owner started saying that running the bases after a home run should be removed from the game?

This got me thinking about the DH and whether or not I would actually care if the NL started using it.  Then I had a brilliant idea:  at the beginning of the game, have a coin toss, the manager that calls it correctly gets to choose whether or not they will use the DH.  Before you laugh, think about the strategy for a second.

-If you are playing against a team with a dominant ace, say Justin Verlander, you may want to elect not to use the DH.  That way if it is close, the Tigers might have to pull him earlier than they would like in order to pinch hit.

-You can force a team to make a tough decision about their lineup.  Using the Tigers again, they may have to keep Fielder on the bench in order to have a stronger defense behind them.  Or if they do go with Cabrera at third base, a team could try and take advantage of a weakened infield.

-If a team has a pitcher with a little pop in their bat, they may want to elect to allow him to hit.  Zambrano (back in his good pitching days) comes to mind, or maybe Micah Owings.  I especially like the idea if a team has a monster hitter who really cannot field.

-There would also be major strategy changes in building a team.  Obviously there are not enough elite power hitters to go around for every team.  I think you would start to see teams employ more one-dimensional players who just crush balls or strikeout.

If Bud Selig decides to institute a league-wide designated-hitter, then I hope he stops by here to read this and use my coin-toss idea.

Hines Ward
The Steelers decided to part ways with everyone’s favorite wide receiver, Hines Ward.  I honestly wish he would just retire, but instead he will go to another team and most likely play about half the season before being cut.

One thing I will never understand though is the way some Steelers fans never see any fault in Ward.  The guy has been voted the most dirty player in the league by his peers a few years in a row, yet Steelers fans say that he is just hard-nosed.  If a Raven played like him, they would hate that guy.  I guess that is the way it is with all teams though.

The other big question is whether or not Ward deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.  I am going to say yes.  I think he gets in, but it takes a few tries.

Greatest Games
On Mike and Mike this morning they were discussing Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game.  They were asking the question if that was the greatest single game ever.  They mentioned Don Larsen’s perfect game in the World Series as probably the greatest performance in a game ever.  I actually cannot argue with this one.

Unfortunately, they started naming other great things and they immediately went outside of team sports.  They never once mentioned hockey.  I am sure there have been some amazing hockey game performances.  the one that came to mind immediately was Mario Lemieux’s five goals in different ways (shorthanded, full strength, power play, penalty shot, and empty net).  I just think that one is cool.

I can imagine Gretzky had some amazing games as well.  Or what about some goalie performances?  It just boggles my mind that ESPN does not even try to pretend to care about hockey.

One thought on “Pittsburgh Sports Stuff

  1. Great blog post. I couldn’t agree more with these points. Most sports fans are very one-sided in their view of players… Giger is right on that one.

    And ESPN’s focus on hockey makes me sick. that network is such a tool. i’m pretty much done watching it for good… especially with NBC’s new sports channel. ESPN is a pathetic excuse for a sports news network.

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