"More than half of modern culture depends on what one shouldn't read"

- Oscar Wilde

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Real Number 2

Despite the picture, and perfect match to my title, DD will be rocking #10 this year...not my best advice in spite of the number's last two notable number 10's. (Kordell "The Goiter" Stewart, and "Potty Mouth" Holmes).

Pittsburgh’s OTAs basically picked up where they left off at the end of mini-camp. QB Byron Leftwich worked with the first team. It looks like the order thus far is Leftwich, Dixon, and then Batch. Charlie will have a career in Pittsburgh until he’s ready to retire, which in my estimates will take place at the end of this season or next. And Leftwich is seizing every opportunity he gets to show the coaches why he should open the season as the starter while Ben Roethlisberger serves his six-game (possibly four-game, pending appeal) suspension.

It would be interesting to see what kind of QB Ben has been grooming in Dennis Dixon, but Leftwich is the sound pick. Watching Dixon last year in the loss against Baltimore, however, was impressive. A Dixon INT to dumpy-looking D-Lineman Paul Kruger sets up 24 yard field goal with just under 7 minutes to play in OT. It sucked, but it was a stepping stone in Dixon’s career.

WAYNES WORLD INTERLUDE FLASHBACK…dudaloot dudaloot dudaloot dudaloot (hands and fingers in waving gesture from chest to thigh, then repeated). Oregon at Arizona, November 15, 2007…with an 8-1 run thus far that includes wins over PAC-10 powerhouses Arizona State and USC, the Ducks sit at number 2 in the polls with a chance at a national title. In the win over Arizona State, Dennis Dixon tears his ACL, but is cleared to play two weeks later on a Thursday night ESPN showcase at the University of Arizona. The Wildcats, at 4-6, are fighting for bowl eligibility and Oregon is a 10 ½ point favorite (as I remember quite well…$50 in the toilet). Dixon reinjures the ligament, a Duck’s National Championship and probable Heisman Trophy honors are gone. The Steelers take him in the third round and Dennis wins a Super Bowl ring in his rookie season as the back-up’s back-up’s back up.

FLASHFORWARD phone booth style with George Carlin. Dennis Dixon needs to prove himself in training camp. He can run and he has great size. If he can fine tune his throws this year the job is his. Leftwich is what he is…a tough kid with a lot of heart, and a colossal canon of an arm, but we need a guy who can make plays like Ben. No QB in this league means more to his team than Roethlisberger and I see Dixon as the only other QB on the depth chart who has the relatively close ability to fill those cleats. Time will tell, but if we do start the season on a losing note a la Byron Leftwich, look for Dennis Dixon to be warming up to Coach Tomlin on the sidelines.

For now, he needs to learn the offense and work with our receiving corps to discuss and execute favorite plays and tendencies; then get on board with the O-Line to take a look at shot-gun, drop backs, and play action; and finally, he has to prove to the coaches that he can play quarterback. He has the opportunity to engage an entire city for what could possibly be six weeks this fall. The pressure is on…

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

...No Graven Image

“…No Graven Image”

Miniscule shards of marble flew as Ike Solomon delicately chiseled the pillar of grayish-white marble standing in his living room. He worked skillfully, and moved as if the hammer and chisel with which he worked were living extensions of his own flanges. These tools and his expertise had transformed what had been nothing more that a rudimentary obelisk a few weeks ago, into the jagged human shape which he now went about refining.

The crude statue rested on a low, dusty block of wood looking out the window over Central Park near 72nd street. The figure stood five feet ten inches, Ike’s height exactly. A featureless head rested atop a thick, shapeless body, with two arms at the shoulders. But for every hour Ike dedicated to the statue, the more human in looked.

Ike’s apartment was on the 35th and final floor of the Wallachian Arms, an antiquated high rise with a distinct smell and “hard” water. The place, his place I should say, was rather plain…one would most certainly conclude it was nearly a bore. The walls were a smoky grey color and the floors were made of unvarnished hardwood—the kind he remember playing on in abandoned gymnasiums while growing up in the desolate steel towns of western Pennsylvania. Ike’s furniture, which was minimal at best, was either unfinished pine or of lead-colored fabric; the pine unfinished because he simply had no guests who may fear the occasional ass splinter. In every corner stood a statue, expertly fashioned by my dear friend Isaac Solomon. Each was done is ashen marble and portrayed some figure from greater times. His was the kind of apartment where some “B” rated horror flick of the 60’s might stage a suicide. The only escape from the apartment’s drab d├ęcor were the shelves, floor to ceiling, of multi-hued volumes that more or less possessed one similar subject—the middle ages.

In his mid-twenties at this point, Ike had been fascinated by medieval times his entire life. Perhaps the only enjoyment he took more than sculpting kings was reading about them. A fortune mom and dad left him some 9 years prior obliged his obsession. He was worth roughly 47 million when I befriended him, and aside from his $1700 a month rent, subsequent utilities, and tons of marble that were easily hoisted to his penthouse by the industrial elevator that was ironically fashioned by the company his great grandfather had started in the early 20th century, he had no other financial responsibilities. Sure, he sent $2000 a month to his sister Millie who lived on a funny farm outside of Cincinnati, but that was just to keep up appearances with the board of administrators, men that had grown up taking his father’s visions and grinding them into millions of dollars and a spot near the top of the Fortune 500 List. Ike was cordial with all of them at best, but had a deep rooted relationship with one gentleman in particular. It was because of this kinship with the respected chairman that the rest unquestionably accepted Ike’s lifestyle for what it was.

Solomon’s folks were a quirky pair from what he told me, and he told me much. Linking the few pictures he had in and old Adidas shoebox with his tales of terror, I was easily able to distinguish what kind of a household in which young Isaac was raised. His father was a morbid looking man. Gangly and bald, Ike used to say his night time silhouette looked like that of Ichabod Crane in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving. He married twice before meeting Ike’s mother, but never bore children (as far as we know) before Isaac and his twin sister Millie. He’s probably a gentleman who I would have enjoyed dining with; Ike told me many stories of his family and their closest “friends” who would keep some of New York City’s finest restaurants open into the mauve hours of a Big Apple sunrise. All of his wives were beautiful, and his girlfriends young. I think he thought he was probably some kind of Renaissance Man, as most New York execs probably similarly do. With his net worth exceeding 100 million at its peak moments, one could understand why. Ike’s mother was definitely the more interesting of the two. She came from old money, but acted very nouve riche. Ike said that she constantly gossiped about women who were exactly like her, hence Ike’s hatred. He used to tell stories about her drunken stupors and late night naked sleep walks through the halls and rooms of their castle in the Hamptons. “She was 42 when she shat Millie and I from her womb,” Isaac once said to me after a Jack Daniels induced “death anniversary party” (he loosely quipped), at the 5 year mark of his parents’ death. That was also the same February night in north Manhattan when Ike divulged much of the black truth that encompassed his family. But I never judged him. I liked him too much. My parents were good people so I respected him for still being sane (if that’s what you’d call it). Aside from talking to me two or three times a week, his life consisted of studying and of sculpting this fixation while living confusingly meager from his inheritance. The only time he would spend money for something other than amenities were the few instances when he could hawk a piece to some young rich interested collector. The pieces would go for about 10 grand. He once said that some day, when he dies, someone will discover his work and he will be talked about in art history books with the likes of Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Monet, Manet, and some others I’d never heard of before, for thousands of years to come. I was sworn to secrecy about his work and I never had a problem not telling anyone.

Most nights we would smoke pot on his overlook, a huge marble structure that had been put together in Venice and shipped to NYC when he moved in. It was ten million for the whole project, but he claimed it was his gift to himself for enduring the 16 years with his mother and father. Anyway, most nights we would smoke dope and drink Jamaican beer on the three ton marble deck that jutted over the corner of 72nd and 12th. We would watch people in the park with binoculars and he would rant and rave about popular music, how communism works on paper, who he thought the second gunman on the grassy knoll was, and other curious subjects of American culture.

It was the beginning of August in ’98 when he came across a Jewish owned bookstore on a daytrip to SoHo. The “Jew lady” (as he referred to her) who worked behind the counter was blind in one eye and had a misshapen left ear; like someone had ripped a loop from it years ago. She had a Schnauzer at her side that was blinder than she. It growled at him as soon as he walked in then turned around, bumped into a wall, and fell into a heap in the middle of the “Action/Adventure” aisle. Ike was the kind of guy who would provoke an awkward mutt just to let it know whose boss. By accident, he found an interesting looking hard back with some southeastern European inscription on the inside jacket that he loosely interpreted, with “Jew lady’s” help, to be a message from a history professor to a graduating student. The book was old, but in fairly good shape. At first thought he wanted to sculpt the substantial looking figure that adorned the cover. It was a book about Vlad Tepe, otherwise known as “Vlad the Impaler.”
When we returned to his fortress in the sky that evening I went home earlier than usual because I could tell he wanted to finish the book in one sitting. It seems that Tepe had been the cruel ruler of a province in Transylvania. The “Impaler” had been coined such a nickname because of his infatuation with having those who displeased him impaled on a wooden pike and left for nature. Isaac had been intrigued by individuals from medieval times before, but never like this. Vlad inspired a new and mysterious, though perverse awe in Ike, the likes of which were previously foreign to him.

In three days time the book was read and the bust for his sculpture began the following weekend after the new “mother rock” was delivered. His lawyer, who came to talk about the estate, showed up one Saturday morning with donuts and watched in awe as Ike drank espresso and chiseled the blackened marble chunk with the passion of a zealot. In two weeks time the rock was morphed from a seven foot half ton piece of stone into the rough-edged human figure that would eventually be the pride of his collection.

In August, in New York, the afternoon sunshine wanes and is gradually replaced by twilight, and then becomes reborn by the night lights of its inhabitants. Ike felt that summer gave him extra energy, but that it was also the only time of the year that he was able to sleep through the night. When he finished the basics of the sculpture one particular Friday evening, the last of August, he reviewed his workmanship, swept up the marble fragments from the floor, and leaned the shop broom on the coat rack. He spoke to himself, as Jack Daniels poured from his breath, that he would begin carving the face of Vlad Tepe the next day.

After a deep alcohol induced slumber Ike awoke at noon the next day to find that he had pissed himself in his sleep. It somehow became apparent that he must gather his thoughts and delve himself into his masterpiece. The fervor with which he had worked since beginning the effigy had cut him off from anything else that was going on 35 floors below him (even more than usual). Over the days that followed he strained feverishly to perfect his work. The 72 inch television that always blared out CNN was never on. The incessant voice of Howard Stern could no longer be heard, and there wasn’t even a sign that he had perhaps read the newspaper in an attempt to strike up a conversation with me while we shared a joint on his balcony. He, in fact, left only to buy food. It was this singleness of purpose that allowed him to get so far along in his project in such a short period of time. This drive motivated him to complete the countenance of the “Impaler” by just a few weeks into October.

The tyrant’s face was finished; Ike stepped back to admire his work. But as he gazed at the eyes, they beckoned to him, drawing him nearer. He approached the effigy slowly, thoughtlessly, allowing himself to be controlled by the marble stare he received back. As he moved, the scene in our vision grew steadily darker, until at last, there was complete blackness. The world faded away before us that night and then disappeared completely. And that’s when there was nothing for him anymore. Nothing. He talks about it now like I remember, but I don’t. I only remember the cool breeze that stroked our skin. And the sounds of traffic that began drawing nearer. There was a hazy light that materialized into a lamp post. And then the world returned to us, but we surveyed the surroundings in confusion. We were at a path on the edge of Central Park, looking past a towering oak tree, back at his apartment building. We convinced ourselves that someone had laced the weed with opium or mixed it with ‘shroom crumbs, but on the outset it was an entirely sobering experience for me and I would never spend another day with Ike again. I suppose to take his mind off the mystery he decided to clean up the mess on the floor around the statue. The broom was no longer leaning against the coat rack anymore. It was, in fact, no where to be found. He gave up on the disappearing broom, making a joke that his mother’s spirit had visited us, thus our mindboggling evening, and had flown off on it over the busy streets of Manhattan. He made us sandwiches, but complained he couldn’t find a knife to cut them in half. Again, he searched to no avail. We ate; I left; he slept.

Over the next few weeks, Ike continued his vehement sculpting of Vlad the ”Impaler.” Each day, the statue progressed further toward completion, becoming more and more life-like. But as Ike’s work persisted, so did his black outs. The mysterious lapses occurred every few days from there on. Each time, it was the same thing. The world would fade out while he sculpted, only to find himself hours later somewhere in the park. His shoes and clothes never showed any sign of a struggle and he would usually awaken mid stride; sometimes even amidst a light jog.

He began buying brooms and then claimed to lose them in his huge studio penthouse. They would disappear after black outs and he would tell himself that they were more than likely at the bottom of the elevator shaft. He stopped buying brooms, but window fixture poles began disappearing and he would come to find the curtains neatly folded on his work bench. He stopped caring. When we spoke, one brief time some two weeks later, he was only interested in telling me new things that he had learned about Vlad from the internet or some other book that Amazon delivered. During his waking hours he sculpted endlessly. And when he slept he had dreams of being Vlad, or fighting Vlad, or living with him. He would wake up in cold sweats after his subconscious took him to medieval Romania, where corpses of peasants and soldiers lay scattered across the countryside, impaled in the ground with crude wooden pikes. Each dream seemed more real than the last for Ike, but the nightmares also grew less chilling with each passing night, and more familiar.

On a cool October evening the statue was finished. Vlad Tepe stood there, looking out over Central Park in splendor. He was clothed in stately robes of milky grey shaved black marble; his hands resting before him on the hilt of a sword, its tip stretching to the floor. It adorned the face of a mad man—wide, bulging eyes staring over a long pointed nose on a thin, sullen face. Ike stood and stared into the face of the effigy; observing it and reminiscing about the bond he had formed with it over the past month and half. He eventually got up and walked about his apartment. The place was in shambles, having been ignored for so long. He took his industrial elevator to the mail room in the old building a sifted through newspaper bags to find a date on one that wasn’t anymore than a week prior. The October 6th edition caught his eye. People were dying—being murdered—being impaled on wooden broom sticks throughout Central Park. The killings occurred every few days, and each involved a derelict, or group of derelicts, that had been impaled on the ground with the sharpened end of broken broom sticks. A light went off…he began to remember.

He had hidden the knives at various locations in the park and sharpened brooms and mops and other wooden staves at random. He would search the most remote reaches of the park for his victims, usually some poor unsuspecting bum, or a young lady out for an after-dark run. After his memory had been jogged, and Ike relived the atrocities he had committed, he took the elevator back up to consult his old friend Vladdy. His demented sociopathic laugh echoed through the barren room and when the laughter passed, Ike went out once more; this time though he would be conscious.

Ike awoke the following morning with the events of the night before fresh in his head. He had killed again and it felt so natural, so simple, so right. He opened his eyes to find that he wasn’t in bed though. Before him was a pane of glass and beyond that were the trees of Central Park, painted bronze in the early morning sunshine. His body was numb and when he tried to move he found that he could not. He would spend the next few hundred years confined to that statue with only his view of the park to keep him company. The murders would never be solved and his wishes to be immortalized in the books of history would never fulfill themselves. He would become a forgotten legacy. Some would say he disappeared—ran off to some island, but I still managed to let myself up to that penthouse for a few short years after. Dust settled like dark clouds before a Midwestern twister on everything in that place…except for the statue of Vlad Tepe.


Friday, May 14, 2010

Worilds of Fun (worst title ever)

Pittsburgh Steelers Draft Analysis…Round 2

Jason Worilds, VA Tech, DE projection to (what I think will be weak side) OLB

Intangibles: 6’1” 254 lbs. Talk about perfect size—he is exactly what you want coming off the end as a defensive coordinator. His official 4.72 in the 40 yd. dash, which is less amazing (as always seems to be the case) than his 4.49 and 4.53 unofficial time, unfortunately means he will never be the next LT (I love you Lawrence—fuck the haters—keep it real on the inside), but his position on the field will rarely have him running 40 yards in a straight line very often. Or will it? Of course it will, when he’s on kick coverage, which is where he is going to have to essentially prove himself. Definitely look for him to be busting heads on kick-offs in August during the pre-season.

So why only 2nd Team All-ACC honors? Derrick Morgan, arguably the best end in the draft shared the 1st Team honors with Robert Quinn, a senior from UNC, who overcame a brain tumor in his senior year of high school (sorry, don’t do brain cancer jokes), and has spent his collegiate career in opponent’s backfields. Quinn, who has decided to graduate, is a projected top 10 pick in the 2011 draft a la 6’5” 270 lb. sack-machine stature; he will be “pray-fully playing” FOR FREE, instead of getting his ass kicked everyday in practice for the Browns or Raiders. Good choice my friend, just stay away from raggedy ass hoes because we all know what happens then (BEN?!).

Worilds will mean “worlds” to our piss-poor special teams, which was record-breakingly decimated last season. I look at that simply as a sign of laziness. To perform in such a way during our run to win SB 43, and then to play so putridly in the following campaign with nearly the same core of guys is not acceptable, but understood. Win the Super Bowl, and teams tend to take an off year. Less the Patriots and even the Colt's “Atlanta Brave-like” run each year, Super Bowl winners struggle the following season. Training camp should be long, hard, and hot this year for the Pittsburgh Steelers, bring them back down to earth, coach T.

I hear comments about us going 0-6 to start the season. I GUARANTEE THAT WILL NOT HAPPEN. I’m looking at 4-2, getting Ben back, and having a solid year with a trip to the play-offs. Baltimore will be tough, but the D is getting up there (Uncle Ray Ray). And I still never take the Bengals seriously.

But there is Cleveland! Hahahahahahahahaha. I’ve been told of recent hate mail from a Cleveland reader. You know how the Raiders are the “Assholes of the League” in almost every facet? Well you guys are like the sucky “Raiders of the League,” except you and your 11 year old franchise have never won any Super Bowls; you prevent promising young men from being gifted NFL athletes, who come out of college with the hopes that they’ll go anywhere but Cleveland. Buffalo—not Cleveland! Detroit—not Cleveland! THE RAIDERS—not Cleveland! And then you take them in the first and second rounds and ruin their lives forever.

Even Shaq’s been staying with Ben on the weekends...yeeeaaahhh, you know what that means!

Back to Worilds…he’s got a 38” vertical, run’s a 4.29 shuttle drill, and a 6.95 three-cone drill. Those last two stats should catch your eye—the shuttle time most; however, Jason was considered a top-performer in all four of the “let’s see what you got first” tests at the combine. The twenty-yard shuttle drill provides us with a better idea of how Jason will perform on defense though, and his quickness, agility, and thigh girth should mean trouble for opposing tackles some day if a nagging shoulder injury doesn’t hold him back. His upper-legs look like tree trunks, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he got caught trying to out duel “Big Snack” Hampton on the leg-press machine during workouts this summer.

The Steelers defense functions around its linebackers and they can never have enough good ones. They obviously have great ones now with Pro Bowlers James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley, but depth is vital; and with Harrison at 32 we need an heir apparent—Worilds could be the guy. He is an undersized end, like many others who took that path with the Steelers, including Woodley, Haggans, Porter and Jason Gildon (still got love for you JG).

“Position-wise, I don't have any personal preference,” says Worilds. “I just want to get on the field and do what I love to do. I have heard different things, and it really depends schematically on what the team runs. Certain teams that run 4-3 will have me as a down lineman in a three-point stance, and teams that run a 3-4 would have me standing up as an outside linebacker,” he concluded.

Now, we ultimately wait for that transition. Remember this draft Pittsburgh…this could be the one that leads us to a pinnacle seventh Lombardi Trophy.

back to beat lab with John C. Reilly for round 3 mix tape,


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Round One: PAHN-cey

A look at the draft…

First Round Selection: Maurkice Pouncey (a name Pittsburghers will over-pronounce for years to come), Center/Guard, Florida.

PAHN-cey, as we will dawn him, was an overachiever at Florida. His attitude on and off the field played a role in that. Considering our woes of late, a good kid in the first round who is also a versatile lineman, was a solid choice. There was better talent out there, but the front office decided to turn back to the early days of the Old Man, when our last first round center was drafted in 1937.
Mike Basrak was Duquesne University’s first All-American, MVP of the ’37 Orange Bowl (in which the Dukes beat Miss. St. 13-12), and the 5th overall pick that year in the draft. He eventually became an officer in the US Navy, and then coached high school football in Skokie, IL for 19 years, throughout the 50s, 60s, and early part of the 70s. Pouncey was never the MVP of any game for the Gators, linemen don’t receive such high acclaim as they once did perhaps, but let’s take a look at the run down.
First of all we know that he got more action from Tim Tebow than any girl on campus—Tim’s girlie hands sliding down his big prison back side…lucky guy. And now he gets to be violated by—Ben Roethlisberger! Really can’t wait for that relationship to blossom though. Jokes aside, Maurkice is the man…
He started 39 games at Florida, despite leaving after his junior season. He won the Rimington Award, which is given to the nation’s top center; the only Gator to ever win the prestigious trophy. Last year Pouncey led all SEC linemen with a 91.57% blocking grade, at which time he threw 119 “key blocks” that led to 20 TD’s. But his two most outstanding feats, as I believe, were his penalty free football (ZERO penalties in 919 snaps!), and what I love most about him= he did not allow a single QB sack or pressure in any of the team’s 14 games.
As a freshman he played in 13 games, and started 11 of those games at guard. He subsequently became only the seventh true freshman to ever start a season opener for the Florida Gators. And at Lakeland H.S. (high school football dominatrix in Florida), he and his twin brother (who will leave UF next year for the draft…nudge nudge), led the school to it’s 45th consecutive victory, 3rd consecutive Florida 5A state championship, and back-to-back USA Today National Champion honors. All they did was anchor a line that allowed for over 4,000 rushing yards…and they both graduated with honors.
“He’s a guy that we viewed as an interior capable offensive lineman with position flexibility,” (ok Johnny Cochran) said Tomlin at a draft press-conference. “Right guard first, then we’ll see what else he can do…it made it a fun and easy evaluation to watch him play against guys like Shaun Cody and [Dan] Williams from Tennessee…he communicated to other lineman, and his QB, about certain things like safety rotation; things you almost can’t coach.” Kevin Colbert added, “Florida talked very highly about his intelligence and ability to communicate...he was able to relay info to (Steelers’ first year) OL coach [Sean] Kugler…and we were all very impressed at the way he was able to sit down and nail out what all 22 guys on the field should be and would be doing.”
Mansfield, Webby, big Double-D, Hartings…PAHN-cey. He’s a proven leader on the field, and exactly what the Pittsburgh Steelers needed with their first round pick. Stay tuned for 2nd round analysis on Va. Tech’s OLB Jason Worilds…the next Greg Lloyd (sans the “gun in his 14 year-old son’s throat for a bad report card” type of incidents we hope)??? Quite possibly.
Remember this draft Pittsburgh…this could be the one that leads us, once again, back to greatness…

Baseball in the Burgh

Watching Dallas Braden’s no-no on Mother’s Day was something for the ages. It got me to thinking about the history of baseball and how much the Pittsburgh Pirates are a part of that history. The Bucco’s participated in the first World Series in 1903, losing to the Boston American League club 5-3 in a best of nine match-up (fucking hate Boston…with their tea parties, and their cream doughnuts, and their Catholics). Professional Pittsburgh baseball has been going on since 1876, believe it or not. All teams then were considered “independents,” and no one was actually officiated with any sort of professtional league; nonetheless, they were paying players and running day-to-day operations.

There was actually a small band of teams in the Pittsburgh area; the best players in that cluster of teams would eventually become the Pittsburgh Alleghenys. Allegheny City, which was annexed by Pittsburgh in 1907, is what we now know as the North Side. It seems that most of the area’s best ball players were from Allegheny City. And yes, we were called the “Alleghenys” just like the ball clubs from New York, Boston, and Chicago were call the “New Yorks,” the “Bostons,” and the “Chicagos.”

In 1890, the Pittsburgh Burghers came to light with a dramatic season that crippled the Alleghenys. Many of the Alleghenys’s stars left and joined the Burghers. That led to what is still considered the worst season in franchise history, going 23-113, and at times unable to field nine players in the bottom halves of away games. The owner through all of this: Dennis McKnight (yes, McKnight Rd.). He gave up and gave the team back to the league due to monetary differentials (a.k.a. he lost money like me at a card table in A.C.). Amazingly (and I can’t stress the sarcasm enough), McKnight was able to back the Burghers as a minority owner; however, even as a bastardized owner, he was able to repurchase the Pittsburgh National League franchise and re-charter it under a different corporate name, thus rendering the services of previous “jump-ship” players once again legal (smart lawyer jazz as I’m told).

McKnight had a knack for finding talent though it seems, and he signed a man named Lou Bierbauer (awesome fucking name). Bierbauer played for the American Association’s Philadelphia Athletics, and Philly (in their usual incompetence) forgot to add ole Lou to their reserve list. You know those game cards you fill out for beer league softball—they used to actually be important….read The Beer and Whiskey League, by David Nemec, to get a better grasp of pro ball in that era. In 1891, the Athletics, now in Oakland, CA, filed an official grievance with the league, claiming that our move was “piratical”—thus the name stuck. We didn’t officially dawn the nickname on our jerseys though until 1912.

After the 1899 season, the Pirates made what is arguably the best player transaction in franchise history when they picked up nearly all of the star players from the Louisville Colonels. Louisville owner Barney Dreyfuss (sound familiar?) had been told that the Colonels were slated for elimination when the National League contracted from 12 to 8 teams. He secretly purchased a half-interest in the Pirates, then after the season sent nearly all of the Colonels' stars up the Ohio (or Ohia, depending on whether or not you grew up in said region) River to Pittsburgh. Since the transaction occurred before the Colonels officially folded, it was structured as a trade; the Pirates sent four relatively unknown players to Louisville. Despite their nickname, the Pirates at least waited until after the season to pull off this blockbuster trade. This is unlike what happened in 1899 to the Cleveland Spiders, and, to a lesser extent, the Baltimore Orioles, who were also part of two-team ownerships. Dreyfuss later bought full control of the team and kept it until his death in 1932 (thank you Wikipedia).

The next century is history…great history.

Five titles and a lot of grief later, here we are. It’s hard to be a fan when the great players you remember are famous for being on other teams. I hate haggling with people who consistently root for them (sorry Grandma), but it is what Nixon (you love him Gram) would call “a damned shame!” We tell our fans that we are producing young talent (and we do!), but then we ship them off early June. You make money…give some back! Many like to dismiss owners—I understand their financial deviance, but operating as such is a crime.

Why does there need to be a salary cap in baseball?...because America owes it to cities like Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and Cleveland. People like George Steinbrenner are a cancer to professional sports. If Bill Gates bought the Dolphins, what do you think would happen? Jerry Jones is another mogul. Build a bubble that holds 100,000 people and then demand the world show you favor…fuck off Jerry, you deserted simpleton. Professional American sports are for people from Pittsburgh. WE are the essence of what drives this country’s moral value. SO GIVE US GOOD BASEBALL!!! If you’re going to groom these Double A’ers then fine, but keep them! It is imperative that baseball stops making cities like Milwaukee, Kansas City, and Pittsburgh pay for the ongoing corruption. Give me a contender every year…something to talk about at least…something to tell others about. Give back the dream that McKnight first dreamt.

$8 for a beer=fuck you...


Big Ben's Big Boo Boo

Well, Benjamin, it’s all out. The run-a-mucking, the tomfoolery, the nipple twisting, the bill-bailing, the pubic poaching, and the gerrymandering of “just of age” Jane’s and Judy’s skinny jean button flies. It’s all out big guy…but here’s a thought—he’s obviously been acting like a jack ass for longer than any of us probably know. In high school, Ben didn’t claim the starting role at QB until he was a senior, so for this blog’s purpose we’ll travel back in time to an era I remember well.

Late 90’s to early 00’s Buttfuck, Ohio—Ben Roethlisberger—baggy jeaned and rocking Wu-Wear—has just been named starting QB at Findlay high school’s spring weight room work-outs. His prom is in two weeks, thus the pimple faced ironing board who gave good handie’s and has had her prom dress since X-mas break is again dateless, but the kind of hot still awkward girl’s basketball captain vows to lose her virginity—she’s not sure where he’s going, but she knows that in a year and a half he’s getting the fuck out of Findlay.

A senior year that’s full of fame, both on the diamond and the grid-iron, solidifies a spot on a D-1 roster somewhere for Ben. His blowjob tally just rose 100%, yet Ben refuses to distinguish himself from the other two black guys in town, but no one cares—because that shit is cool. And what’s this?! Ben, you no longer have to draw a pencil thin goat-tee with your sister’s “Pretty Paula Perfume and Make-up” set—you have your own face pubes!! You go down on pre-med coed at your first college trip to Miami…a freshman fifteen poster child—she’s definitely looking YOU up next fall.

For the next three and a half years you are literally the BMOC (big man on campus). And as a junior, you lose your opener to Iowa, then barrel through 13 straight opponents on your way to the school’s first GMAC bowl victory, where you trounce Louisville 49-28, throw for 376 yards, and 4 TD’s—what a way to go my friend. That night, you have an orgy with the women’s lacrosse team. They’re a little rough and seem to be into each other more than you, but that’s ok—some foreign exchange student from Peru is giving you a reach around while another from Austria tweeks your nipples. They all ask you to tuck your sack between your legs and do the “Charlie Brown”—you decline and they hold you down while Greta the goalie sits on your face—nothing could be better.

You’re chosen as the first pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2004 draft. We actually trade up to get you. You’re legendary before you even put on your first backward Steeler hat. Maddox tears thumb ligaments in a game against Baltimore 5 months later and, from September 27, 2004, the rest is history. In an interview after the game that day (a game in which we lost, but Ben didn’t start, thus his record 13 straight regular season wins as a rookie will never be broken) Alan Faneca told reporters when asked if he was excited to play with Ben, “Exciting? No, it's not exciting. Do you want to go work with some little young kid who's just out of college?” He would eat those words—it was the beginning of a new dynasty in Pittsburgh.

So was Ben getting jerked off under tables by high-waged hookers at the LeMont then? No, that’s not what I’m saying. He let the country know that baggy slacks and Sean John button downs were cool on Letterman, but the young man is not the new fashion guru of Pittsburgh, he’s the goddamned quarterback. He’s done a ton of charity work and been endorsed by the Pennsylvania State Police (which isn’t saying much, but looks good nonetheless). He always gives the right answer on camera—his interviews sound more like they’re coming from a professional hockey player; not a high profile NFL QB. And he plays with the passion that all of you adore. It’s true he can be an ass in public sometimes I suppose. I used to pour beer at an establishment he would frequent after home games, and I’ll admit he wasn’t always the most cordial guy, but he shook my hand and looked me in the eye, and that’s enough for me.

I’m pretty sure he was nailing one of the bartenders there too, but who cares?! She was all about it. And what dumb slut from Po’Dunk, Anystate wouldn’t hop on the chance at that? These “poor girls” should have to undergo treatment as well. To make Ben look like the monster here is bullshit in my mind. Young lady, you had the chance—neigh, the opportunity—to get the screaming dolphin from Ben Roethlisberger. Not some mullet-wearing redneck from Milledgeville, GA who works at the Waffle House, but two-time Super Bowl winning QB Ben Roethlisberger—and then you have gull to essentially tell on him?—I call bullshit.

I bet you sucked a lot of cock in your young life, Ms. Garglespit, and I’m positive none of them were as prestigious as Big Ben…so don’t ruin an entire town’s hopes and dreams because your Bratz look-a-like friends are telling you about dollar signs. At the very most, I think a text requesting ten grand not to talk would have been sufficient. You’re not a hero to women with low self-esteem everywhere, you’re just a drunk girl with too much make-up and an addiction to glam and Glenfiddich.

In the same breath, Ben—no more of this. Get married and cheat on your wife like everyone else. If the money grubbing whore decides to tie the knot with you then just let it be known that when she gets fat or cranky (a.k.a on her period) you will cheat on her, and that it will be in her best financial interest to just go along with what you say. At least then, Ben my friend, you have an alibi …