Category: Sports Written by Aubrey Bruce
Well here we are at another opening day for the Pittsburgh Pirates. The press box is packed and I mean really filled to the rim with folks that in a few weeks from now will probably not venture anywhere near PNC Park or its press box.
The 2013 opening day was the first ever opening day start for Pirates right hander Sean Burnett. I was moved by the violin virtuoso performance of “God Bless America” and “The Star Spangled Banner.” But you know what? That was the extent of excellence for the Pirates in regards to ringing the opening bell for the 2013 season. At one point aside from giving up a walk and a double Burnett had recorded eight straight strikeouts. But in between those “K’s” the Cubs were hitting the ball hard. The 10 strikeouts by A.J. Burnett were the most by a Pirates pitcher on opening day since 1983 when John Candelaria struck out 10 at St. Louis. The Cubs starter RHP Jeff Samardzija had the Pirates number because he allowed only two hits through eight innings also only throwing 110 pitches including 71 strikes. He also struck out nine batters.
The win was preserved by the Cubs right handed relievers Carlos Marmol and Kyuji Fujikawa to seal the deal by the score 3-1.
What is it about the Pittsburgh Power Football Club that causes most professional football aficionados to perceive that the team doesn’t seem serious? Well looking at the way the team has performed so far in the season the team, at least the offense anyway seems to be searching near and far for its “collective” groove.” The Power dropped their first game of the season 64-33 to the Utah Blaze. Now the loss to the Blaze was not really unexpected and not so unusual because Utah is a tough and talented squad. What was so unusual was that against the Blaze, the Power only gained 183 total yards offensively a dismal outing in Pittsburgh’s first home game of the season. In the AFL that may be as close to being shut down if not shut out that the Power should want to be. From the outset, Friday’s game against the Jacksonville Sharks did not bode well for Pittsburgh in light of the fact that they had lost both of the previous meetings against the Sharks. Both of the losses occurred at the Consol where the Power had been outscored, 129-79. At halftime the Power were losing to the Jacksonville Sharks by the score of 34-21 even though Pittsburgh had a time of possession advantage of 15:29 to 14:31 and Jacksonville only had a 15 yard advantage in total offensive yards. The second half only became worse because at the end of the third quarter the Power were down by the score of 42-28. The game ended with the Sharks prevailing by the score of 61-35. The “suspect” offensive line of the Power also allowed Jacksonville to record seven sacks. The offensive line for Pittsburgh had better improve in a hurry or it is going to be a long, long, season.
Forty acres and a donkey
Just a few weeks ago I penned a column titled “50 Million Dollar Chattel.” I recalled that as I was viewing the latest smash hit, “The Bible,” that a myriad of sports and social issues were dancing around in my head, one of those being slavery. Hollywood depicts the inhumanity of forced servitude as almost being “noble.” As far as Black athletes are concerned they will probably never understand their true value because it will never be revealed to them. As far as I am concerned the NFL compensation process is biased, corrupt and flawed as it relates to Black athletes. There is nothing noble about it. Well as I have been preaching for over three decades the NCAA is far worse.
On Easter Sunday as I viewed the Louisville, Duke NCAA Elite Eight faceoff late in the first half Louisville guard Kevin Ware suffered a broken leg at Lucas Oil Stadium that quieted me and all of my family members watching the game with me at home. Even coach Rick Pitino was caught on camera wiping away tears.
A report by Associated Press writer Michael Marot stated that; “Ware’s right leg bent in such an awkward and frightening angle that CBS stopped showing replays shortly after the fall in the NCAA tournament
Match up against Duke. “The bone’s six inches out of his leg and all he’s yelling is, “Win the game, win the game,’” Pitino said. “I've not seen that in my life…Pretty special young man. The bone was literally out. I saw white, it was literally out,” said Behanan, who collapsed to his hands and feet at the sight. The two spoke at halftime. “He said ‘Don’t worry about me, I’m good, I’ll have my surgery tonight,’” Behanan said. “Go win it for me.”
I have been standing on my “soapbox for pay” in regards to paying athletes for performing in college. In a recent article penned Dr. Boyce Watkins, comedian Chris Rock had this to say. “I know a lot of Black intellectuals will say we can do so much more than play ball and we can. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t reap the benefits from sports White kids that go to Syracuse and Georgetown do. These kids should be paid and allowed to get an education for themselves and their families for the rest of their lives. Black people not making money from college sports is like Arabs not making money from oil, insane. We have our reparations lottery ticket right in our pocket and were not smart enough to cash it in.”
Maybe we had better forget about reparations and focus on compensation for performance in the year 2013.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 April 2013 09:45
Category: Sports Written by Associated Press
SERIOUS INJURY--Trainers check on Louisville guard Kevin Ware (5) after an injury during the first half of the Midwest Regional final against Duke in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
by Michael Marot
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A gruesome injury that left Louisville guard Kevin Ware with a broken leg plunged Lucas Oil Stadium into horrified silence, with coach Rick Pitino wiping away tears and shocked teammates openly weeping during Sunday's Midwest Regional final.
Last Updated on Sunday, 31 March 2013 22:49
Category: Sports Written by Bill Neal
:10 Alright, so I get the ball a few feet inside the foul line and I get set to throw the hook shot…You know the shot! No matter who’s on me, that shot is good. Nobody blocks that shot. I’m talking about “ballin” with the best of them over 30 years and nobody. I mean nobody ever…ever…ever—ever…Neal! Neal!…Nnneeeaaalll! What!!! Just stop it man and tell the people the truth. What—do—ya— mean? I’m telling the story just the way it happened. No you’re not. What happened was Kenny Roebuck, aka “Buck” b-slapped your so called hook shot back to 1970 when you first started throwing it. Matter of fact, he didn’t even jump. He just reached up and slapped it. It was nasty. Just nasty. If you needed a reason to stop showing up at the gym . . . now you got it!!
:9 The second best upset in Western Pa. history has to be Robert Morris beating the great and powerful “Oz” aka the Kentucky basketball team. Coach Cal, welcome home mmmaaannn! Oh, the No. 1 greatest upset …you know it, Maz sends one over the wall at Forbes Field to send the Yankees home and win the World Series.
:8 You wanna talk streaks? Here’s some streaks. The Top 10 of all time (you know I do Top 10s):
1. Joe DiMaggio’s 56 game hitting streak in baseball; 2. The Boston Celtics win 8 straight NBA titles; 3.Cal Ripken’s 2756, baseball games without a miss; 4.UCLA’s 88 game college basketball domination; 5.Brett Favre’s 297 NFL games under center (including the day his dad died); 6.Richard “King Richard” Petty’s 10 straight racing titles; 7. Wayne Gretzky’s 51 straight hockey games with at least one point; 8. The 1971-72 Lakers win 33 in a row on the hardwood; 9. Okay, here’s your Miami Heat, 27 in a row and counting. You happy now?! 10. And one of the most impressive streaks of all time…me going three straight years writing this column and never being wrong!! (Say what??)
:7 Hey ya’ll, guess who the No. 1 golfer in the world is again? I told ya he’s back—Tiger Woods, that’s who—so all you players—play on!
:6 Movie review time. You know you love it. Yes you do! I finally caught up with “Gangster Squad.” If you like seeing lots of people get killed, especially bad guys, then this is your movie…not quite as good as DeNiro’s Al Capone in “The Untouchables,” but close. I give it 3 basketballs.
:5 Indiana to win the NCAA crown. Take it to the bank!
:4 I can’t tell you her name or who she was. All I can tell you is that I saw the finest woman in the world…that’s right, in the whole wide world, at The Savoy, Saturday night. I mean FINER THAN FROG’S HAIR. Yes sir, that’s fine alright! So fine, in fact if she promised me one night of heavenly bliss with her if I hunted you down and did away with you, all I can tell you is you better run and hide cause I’m coming!!!
:3 Quote the Ravens Never More. The Baltimore Ravens and Joe Flacco and all his millions are done. Ray Ray is gone. Bolden is gone. Reed is gone and a half dozen others are gone. Thanks for the memories you xxxx – xxxx – xxxx!!!
:2 If you’re reading this, it means you still have time to go to your closet and pull out your best dress. Look for “Harlem Nights” R&B classic par-tay being held every last Friday at 3 Lakes Golf Club in Penn Hills (6700 Saltzburg Rd).
With a Feb. opening night of 100 plus old and new school sharp dressers, the party rocked till 1 a.m. with a sophisticated atmosphere, including food, drinks, and the legendary Pittsburgh United Rays Corvette Club. Coming at ya again Friday, March 29 with good weather predicted, 8 p.m.-1a.m., $10 advance and $15 at the door (call 404-721-2174 for advance ticket sales. You still have time.) Cash bar—cash kitchen open till 11p.m.—50/50 raffle—and this month’s special Harlem Night Give Away, you can win the Corvette Club bringing the baddest wheels in town to show off at your cook-out this summer. (Weather permitting and in a 20 mile radius)—And yes ladies and gentlemen a cash prize to the best dressed man and woman—call Five Starr Corporation at 412- 628-4856 for more information. Let’s Par-Tay!!
:1 If you love the game, then you love the game. So you don’t and won’t want to miss the 38th annual W.Pa. High School All-Star Basketball Classic (the oldest H.S. All-Star game in W.Pa.—the grandfather of them all, Sunday, April 7 at Penn Hills High School, co-sponsored by The New Pittsburgh Courier, 100 Black Men of Pittsburgh, Judge Dwayne Woodruff, Jerry Cippinelli, Joe Luvara, Penn Avenue McDonald’s and Chuck Sanders Charities, Middle School Girls Tournament—9 a.m. –noon, Middle School Boys Tournament—12 p.m. – 3 p.m. H.S. Senior Girls City vs. WPIAL— 3 p.m. H.S. Senior Boys City vs. WPIAL—5 p.m. Adults-$5, youth-$2 all day ticket-and you can win $500 cash in the 5 for $500 at 5 p.m., half court shot brought to you by the Penn Hills Democratic Committee and State Representative Tony DeLuca. This is basketball at its finest. For more information, call the Champions at 412-628-4856.
:00 DOUBLE OVERTIME. I’ll put Michael “M.J.” “Your Airness,” Jordan the 2nd greatest of all time one-on-one against your LeBron “King James” any day of the week all day, and “M.J.” destroys him. #1 LeBron doesn’t have the killer in him Michael has and No. 2 Boy you’re forgetting how bad Michael was. He changed the world! And LeBron against the greatest player ever, yep, Wilt Chamberlain…Please! No chance. None. Zero. Forget about it. Now…Run tell that mmmaaannn!!
GAME REALLY OVER…HUH ?!?
Last Updated on Thursday, 28 March 2013 09:13
Category: Sports Written by Dr. Boyce Watkins
by Dr. Boyce Watkins
(YourBlackWorld.com)--I’ve always loved Chris Rock. I don’t respect him because he’s funny, rich or famous, everyone notices that. I respect him because he is also intelligent, progressive and courageous. He doesn’t just give Black people something to laugh about. He also gives them something to THINK about.
This week, while watching March Madness, that multi-billion dollar professional sports extravaganza that pretends to be an amateur sports league, Rock made some interesting and powerful remarks about what he was witnessing on television. Rock, a man who clearly understands the entertainment business, likely found himself confused about how a show can attract tens of millions of viewers without paying its star performers.
Speaking from his Facebook page, Rock had this to say:
“So I’m watching the Kansas North Carolina game on tv .And I notice there are 9 Black players and 1 White player btw the White player is amazing. Anyway I look in the stands and everybody is White. Since its known that college sports is big money, one could come to the conclusion that the nine Black and one White player are playing to put 100 thousand White kids though college. I know no one is getting whipped or beaten but economically college sports are no different than slavery. I know a lot of Black intellectuals will say we can do so much more than play ball and we can .But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t reap the benefits from sports, White kids that go to Syracuse and Georgetown do. These kids should be paid and allowed to get an education for themselves and their families for the rest of there lives. Black people not making money from college sports is like Arabs not making money from oil insane. We have our reparations lottery ticket right in our pocket and were not smart enough to cash it in.”
Everything that Rock says is right on point. The truth about college sports is that the exploitation runs deep, along with serious labor rights violations, in conjunction with operating practices that would be illegal in nearly any other industry in America. Whenever this many fans watch something on television, SOMEONE is getting rich. It’s amazing that those individuals are not the ones actually doing the work.
What I also love about Rock’s remark is that he wasn’t afraid to address the racial elephant in the middle of the room. Many conversations about the unethical nature of collegiate athletics are watered down, focusing solely on graduation rates in a race-neutral sort of way. But the fact is that anyone who follows college sports knows, without a doubt, that black men are typically running the show.
The wealth extraction from the Black community by the NCAA easily exceeds one billion dollars per year. This money could help address failing schools, Black unemployment, urban violence and many of the other issues that plague our community as a result of unchecked poverty and very few economic/educational opportunities. At the very least, it would get a few families out of the projects.
Sonny Vaccaro, the former Nike executive who conceptualized the Air Jordan sneaker, called to tell me about a multi-billion dollar class action lawsuit being filed against the NCAA. The attorneys were licking their chops over the numerous anti-trust violations being committed by the league, which has greedily taken athletes’ images and sold them to video game companies without compensating the players.
The lawsuit, should Vaccaro emerge victorious, could strike a tremendous blow to the toxic cash cow known as the NCAA. But an even faster route to liberation lies right in the hands of players and their families. Should blue chip athletes simply refuse to play without being compensated, then the show (and the money) will all come to a halt. As Chris Rock said, the power is in our hands.
Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition and author of the book, “Black American Money”.
Last Updated on Monday, 01 April 2013 11:31
Category: Sports Written by Aubrey Bruce
“And now, the end is here and so I face the final curtain. My friend, I’ll say it clear, I’ll state my case of which I’m certain. I've lived a life that's full I traveled each and ev’ry highway. And more, much more than this, I did it my way. Regrets, I’ve had a few, But then again, too few to mention. I did what I had to do and saw it through without exemption. I planned each charted course, each careful step along the byway. And more, much more than this, I did it my way.” (Recorded by Frank Sinatra.) As I sit here again continuing to contemplate how the Pittsburgh Pirates 2013 season will progress, my mind continues to wander back and forth from the players who take the field daily to the “power brokers” that determine who will suit up every day. The Pirates GM Neil Huntington and Field Skipper Clint Hurdle are still in the lab trying to come up with an antidote to the past poisonous bait and trade policies of ex-GM or VP Dave Littlefield. His official title does not matter because in the end he will be remembered by most baseball fans and scribes who chronicle the game simply as a “loser.” When the 2010 baseball season began in Pittsburgh I said then and I repeat it now that if the Pirates weren’t careful, their heads would wind up in the trophy cases hanging on the walls of a few MLB franchises. They began that season by honouring then Pirate outfielder Andrew McCutchen as the 2009 Baseball America Rookie of the Year.
In those days McCutchen still had an innocence about him. I caught him around the batting cage on opening day and he told me that, “Just to be able to wake up and say I’m in Pittsburgh and I’m opening up at home is great. It’s a dream come true for me just because it’s something new. I really can’t map out my No. 1 moment because it’s all been great—from opening day to just being in a Pittsburgh Pirate uniform. It’s all been an honor. It’s all been a dream.” At the time I stated that, “[I hoped] that [his] dream didn’t turn into a nightmare for the Pirates or their fans.” One of the big chunks of the puzzle that was snatched from McCutchen’s possible supporting cast was infielder/hitter extraordinaire Freddy Sanchez.
The San Francisco Giants upgraded their offense in the middle of a hot pennant race by acquiring three-time All-Star Freddy Sanchez from Pittsburgh for “pitching prospect Tim Alderson in 2009.” Sanchez had won the National League batting title in 2006. Sanchez had to change clubhouses to join his new team, which is in the thick of the NL wild-card race. In a few hours he went from loser to winner. The Pirates traded outfielder Jason Bay. He went from loser to winner. In July of 2009 The Pittsburgh Pirates, swapped outfielders successive seasons, sending starting left fielder Nyjer Morgan to the Washington Nationals. The Pirates, spurred to trade because their farm system has been unproductive, acquired Milledge and reliever Joel Hanrahan from the Nationals for the fleet Morgan and left-handed reliever Sean Burnett, a former first-round draft pick. H’mm where in the hell, sorry, I meant where in the world is Carmen San Diego. Well, he is helping Joel Hanrahan get use to his new digs in “Beantown.” Speaking of Carmen San Diego what is “pitching prospect” Tim Alderson doing now days? Ya know the guy that they gave away Freddie Sanchez for. Let’s hope the “philanthropic era” of the Pirates is over and that Pittsburgh “cooks what it keeps.”
Another man who does it “his way” is the head coach for the University of Pittsburgh men’s basketball team Jamie Dixon.
According to a press release by the university [Dixon stated that he intends to]; “finish his career at the University of Pittsburgh,” Jamie Dixon reinforced his commitment to Pitt last week when he signed a 10-year contractual agreement that runs through the 2022-23 season. Dixon owns the highest winning percentage in school history (.753) with a 262-86 record from 2003-13. He has led the Panthers to nine NCAA Tournaments in 10 seasons, the most NCAA appearances by a Pitt coach. “Pitt and Pittsburgh are home,” Dixon said. “My family and I feel blessed to be part of such a great institution and wonderful city. It is the people who truly make a place special. I could not be surrounded by better players, staff and administration. These aren’t just people I work for and with every day. First joining Pitt as associate head coach in 1999, Dixon has constructed one of the countries most successful and durable men’s basketball programs. Pitt is one of only seven teams nationally to advance to the NCAA Tournament in 11 of the past 12 seasons (2002-13). That elite group includes Duke, Gonzaga, Kansas, Michigan State, Pitt, Texas and Wisconsin. I must be the first to congratulate Coach Dixon for his new deal but I must also reprimand the Panthers AD and the schools administration for signing such a tenuous long term agreement.
In 1999 “little” Gonzaga advanced to the “Elite Eight” in the NCAA tournament by beating No. 7 seeded Minnesota in the1st round, No. 2 seeded Stanford in the 2nd round and defeated No. 6 seeded Florida in the “sweet 16” round to advance to the final eight. The nickname of the Gonzaga b-ball team is the Bulldogs. From Dave Wannstedt to Todd Graham to whomever.
The Pitt athletic department always seems to get bulldozed when it comes to these overpaid, underperforming coaches. Don’t get me wrong, Dixon is one of the best coaches in Pitt and NCAA history in regards to the “regular” season.” But we all understand that it is the post season that brings in the real dough…later
Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 March 2013 10:12
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