Category: Sports Written by Aubrey Bruce
Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’ into the future. Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’ into the future. I want to fly like an eagle, to the sea. Fly like an eagle let my spirit carry me. I want to fly like an eagle till I’m free, oh, Lord, through the revolution. (Steve Miller Band) Oh Lord the 2013 Pirates are at 1-5 with a winning percentage of .167. Now let’s see. Can we blame pitching? H’mm Pittsburgh has played 6 games, with a 1-5 record with a 5th best E.R.A of 2.82. So it is not the boys’ on the hill that we should be yelling and screaming at. Hey but wait the “slumber company” is dead last in the NL in hitting with a .119 batting average with 8 RBIs and 1 homerun in 6 games. Lord, Lord, Lord if this atrocious offense does not pick up in the next 6 games, someone somewhere had better bring out their microscope and begin seriously evaluating talent in the minors. Although in some circles that might be cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face because the present day Pirates are considered by many baseball aficionados as just another minor league team. A few of my associates have adopted what they consider to be a “revolutionary spirit.” They say things like; “I will not go to the ballpark just to sit and watch the Pirates lose.” My response is always; “Well if you stay at home and watch them lose on “ROOT” Sports they may still lose but if they win you have blown the opportunity to take the family on an outing to witness the beginning of a possible Bucco’s winning streak. See boys’ and girls’ if your squad is fifth in pitching and dead last in hitting the chances of the team being at or near the top of the leader board in any baseball league whether it is little league, pony league, rum league or the big leagues is slim to none. Pirates starting pitcher James McDonald lost a 3-2 heartbraker to the Chicago Cubs last week and was very benevolent about the Pirates hitting or lack thereof.
He said, “It’s not frustrating, those guys play hard behind me every day. It’s only a matter of time until we start scoring four or five runs a game ... 12 runs. You’ll see us put up runs soon.” McDonald being the team player that he is spoke highly of a Pirates offense that has been up to this point in the season, should I say less than stellar. Cleanup man Pedro Alvarez, who went 1 for 6 with runners in scoring position, struck out on three pitches with no outs in the ninth inning with the tying run at third base and the winning run at first. Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’ into the future. All this talk about we are gonna win soon, well the formula does not seem like it will be discovered or rediscovered in 2013 or any year, anytime soon. Well I must admit the last sentence might have been a bit too cynical. Plus I really, truly believe that in spite of their atrocious start the Pirates still have a chance even though you might not be able to tell by some of the comments of the current crop of players or their manager. As of the writing of this column, the Pirates were preparing to face the Arizona Diamondbacks who were sporting a 5-1 record, exactly opposite the 1-5 albatross that the Pirates were dragging around. The Diamondbacks will be facing Wandy Rodriguez (1-0, 0.00 ERA), who helped the Pirates (1-5) to their only win, 3-0 over the Chicago Cubs last Wednesday. Rodriguez surrendered two hits, one walk and struck out six over 6 2/3 innings. After the masterful shutout Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said; “He’s a pro.” Well what is that saying? Are the rest of his pitchers, not pro’s. Rodriguez who sported a 12-12 record in April before his start against the D-Backs must have been a pro 50 percent of the time and not a pro the other 50 percent of the time. The Pirates have to find and get on a high horse and ride it until it collapses. They may not make it to the finish line but they have to “ride their pony, get on their pony and ride” either to victory or oblivion. Let’s forget all of the talk about big markets, small markets, free agency, salary caps, rich owners or not so rich owners (show me a rich or not so rich owner). Baseball like any other sport has to be about desire and heart; and taking responsibility. Although there has been season after season of the Pirates standing in the “losers circle” now is the time to put up or shut up. The infielders have to dive and do a few cartwheels attempting to stop a ball from leaving the infield. Outfielders have to run over, around and through hail, sleet and rain and scorching sun to track down balls within and oftentimes balls on their way to the stratosphere. The time for woe is me is past. These guys get paid like everybody else and should be expected like everyone else to perform above and beyond their ability. Don’t boycott the team, go to the games buy a hotdog and a soda. Boo them into the next galaxy when their play is less than expected and cheer them to Valhalla when they play well…..nuff said
Last Updated on Wednesday, 10 April 2013 10:01
Category: Sports Written by Associated Press
TRAILBLAZER--Boxer Jack Johnson is shown signing contracts in this undated photo. (AP Photo/file)
by Ramit Plusnick-Masti
HOUSTON (AP) — Relatives and hometown supporters of the nation's first Black heavyweight boxing champion are turning to YouTube to convince President Barack Obama to posthumously pardon him of a 1913 conviction for accompanying a White woman across state lines.
Last Updated on Monday, 08 April 2013 12:40
Category: Sports Written by Associated Press
LOUISVILLE head coach Rick Pitino celebrates with Chane Behanan, left, and guard Russ Smith (2) after their 85-63 win over Duke in the Midwest Regional final in the NCAA college basketball tournament, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
(AP)—After a season of uncertainty, there's a clear favorite heading to the Final Four.
The Louisville Cardinals.
While the other No. 1s have fallen by the wayside, the top overall seed romped to the Georgia Dome with four dominant wins in the NCAA tournament. And, if the Cardinals need any extra motivation, they’ve got it.
Sophomore guard Kevin Ware, who played his high school ball in the Atlanta suburbs, sustained a gruesome injury in Sunday’s regional final against Duke. Before he headed off to surgery, he courageously urged his teammates to finish the job.
Now, they would like nothing more than to win it all for Ware.
“We talked about it every timeout, ‘Get Kevin home,’” coach Rick Pitino said.
Next stop, the A-T-L, where three rather unlikely teams will be looking to knock off the mighty Cardinals.
First up, the surprising Shockers from Wichita State in the semifinals Saturday. The No. 9 seed has already pulled off two major upsets, but this would be the biggest stunner yet.
If Louisville makes it through to next Monday night's title game, the opponent would be either Michigan, sporting a new group of Fab Wolverines, or Syracuse, which comes at you with the stingiest zone defense in college basketball. The two No. 4 seeds will meet in the other semifinal game.
All are underdogs to the Cardinals, who are winning by an average of nearly 22 points a game in the tournament.
“I thought we had a chance there, and then boom,” said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, who watched Louisville pull away for an 85-63 victory in the Midwest Regional final. “That’s what they do to teams. They can boom you."
In the other game Sunday, Michigan captured the South Regional with a 79-59 rout of Florida, leading from the opening tip. A day earlier, Syracuse shut down Marquette 55-39 to win the East Regional, while Wichita State punched its Final Four ticket with a 70-66 upset of Ohio State out West.
In the final year of the Big East before it splits into two new conferences, Louisville and Syracuse provided a fitting send-off to a league that quickly became a basketball powerhouse after it was founded in 1979.
Before it goes, this version of the Big East has a shot at one more national title.
With two teams, no less.
The Cardinals—who, like Syracuse, are moving to the Atlantic Coast Conference—shook off the incredible shock of Ware's injury with about 6 1/2 minutes to go before halftime and blew out the second-seeded Blue Devils. The sophomore snapped his lower right leg after coming down awkwardly while defending a 3-point shot. The injury occurred right in front of the Louisville bench, where the players gasped and turned away quickly at the sight of Ware’s dangling leg, which was broken in two places.
Russ Smith collapsed onto the floor, along with several players, and was crying as doctors attended to Ware. While Ware was loaded onto a stretcher, the Cardinals gathered at midcourt until Pitino called them over, saying the injured player wanted to talk to them before he left.
“All he kept saying—and remember, the bone is six inches out of his leg—all he’s yelling is, ‘Win the game! Win the game!’” Pitino said. “I’ve never seen that in my life. We’re all distraught and all he’s saying is, ‘Win the game.’ Kevin is a special young man.”
This is a special team. Smith scored 23 points. Gorgui Dieng had 14 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks.
The Cardinals (33-5) simply refused to lose, breaking open a game that was tied at 42. They dove on the floor for loose balls. They pounded the boards ferociously. They contested every shot and swarmed around the Blue Devils like they had an extra player on the court.
In a sense, they did, as Pitino reminded them during every timeout.
“This is a gritty bunch,” the coach said. “From the beginning of the year to now, they've not had a bad game. I’m really proud of these guys.”
Wichita State was the most improbable team to advance. The Shockers lived up to their nickname in the West, knocking off top-seeded Gonzaga in the second round and No. 2 seed Ohio State in the regional final Saturday night.
Wichita State (30-8) built a 20-point lead on the Buckeyes, then managed to hang on through a nerve-racking final five minutes to pull off the latest upset in a tournament filled with them.
That other team from Kansas isn't content yet.
“It feels very good,” said Cleanthony Early, a junior forward who, like most of his teammates, was passed over by higher-profile programs, “but we understand the fact that we've got to stay hungry and humble, because we've got two more games left to really be excited about.”
Old-timers might remember Louisville and Wichita State as former conference rivals. The Cardinals were a member of the Missouri Valley Conference in the 1960s and ’70s, which meant annual games against the Shockers.
Louisville holds a 19-5 edge in the series, but the teams haven’t played since 1976.
Michigan (30-7) is headed back to the Final Four for the first time since the Fab Five era of the early 1990s, when the Wolverines lost in back-to-back national title games.
Last Updated on Thursday, 04 April 2013 09:55
Category: Sports Written by Courier Newsroom
by Thomas Leturgey
Each and every year, the Joe Abby Memorial tournament becomes more and more important to the Megastars of the Keystone State Wrestling Alliance. This year it was never more important for Jay Flash and the “Ice Man” Tony Johnson.
When the tournament—named for the late Lawrenceville wrestler “Killer” Joe Abby—first started it was a launching pad for wrestlers who wanted their shot at the KSWA’s Heavyweight Championship. However, with the growing popularity of January’s "Battle Bowl” battle royal, KSWA owner Bobby O and the Championship Committee decided to change the Joe Abby Tournament into one that showcased tag team competition.
The wrestlers made their way to the packed semi-finals at the KSWA Arena in Lawrenceville on March 23. The “Mercenaries,” made up of “Nasty” Nick Crane and “Sniper” stomped their way to the ring before their competition, Jonny Axx and Bobby Badfingers of the “Legion of the Apocalypse.” Both teams were matched up well, with similar size, strength and experience. Neither team was known for exceptional sportsmanship and it was Crane who used his own Canadian national flag and its pole to jab Badfingers in the ribs. Teammate Sniper went for the pin on Badfingers but was met instead with Axx’s elbow from the corner. Axx and Badfingers moved onto the finals.
In the other semi-final match, Mitch Napier and Ric Rumsky took on Flash and Johnson. Unlike the previous contest, all four wrestlers shook hands in showings of good gamesmanship. The match itself was one of superior athletic ability, quickness and technical prowess, especially when Johnson and Napier matched up. That was before destiny got into the way. Another tag team, Edric Everhart and Tyler Cross—who had recently been recruited by the villainous VIP’s—attacked Rumsky from behind. Normally, their interference would have immediately cost Flash and Johnson the match. But in the case of the Joe Abby tournament, the match was allowed to continue with Napier going alone against Flash and Johnson. The odds were too much for Napier and he lost the match.
Flash, billed from South Beach, Florida, said it was “too bad” that Rumsky couldn’t continue; the scale of this opportunity was too great. Johnson, from St. Louis, Missouri, said that the teams will “meet again” somewhere down the road.
In the tournament finals, Axx and Badfingers took a more controlling attitude into the match. There was no handshake of respect to start this contest. Axx and Badfingers used their superior size and strength to their advantage. Flash and Johnson answered with fast-moving quickness and doggedness. Toward the end of the showdown, Johnson perched Badfingers on his knee and Flash jumped onto his opponent from the ropes. That set Badfingers up for Flash’s Cannonball splash from the top rope and the one, two, three victory, making Flash and Johnson the winners of the Joe Abby Memorial Tournament and new #1 Contenders for Pittsburgh’s premier tag team titles.
Flash and Johnson have already made impressions on wrestling fans in and out of Pittsburgh. In addition to performing in Pittsburgh’s only professional wrestling organization, the duo have worked at smaller, regional promotions in McKeesport, Elizabeth and Wheeling, West Virginia.
On December 4, 2010 Johnson became the KSWA’s first-ever Jr. Heavyweight Champion by winning a five-competitor Gauntlet Match. Flash was even one of the competitors he faced at FanFest/Toy Drive, the KSWA’s principal event. Johnson defended the belt often and held onto it for 286 days. Incredibly, he won the belt back the very next day and held it for another 77 days. He finally lost the championship for the second time 364 days after winning it.
The next match will be more serious for the growing and improving twosome. They know they have a legitimate shot at the KSWA’s tag team belts, currently held by Millvale’s own pompous “King” Del Douglas and zany, dancing “The Jester.” That team is still riding high after beating Party Gras, a team anchored by local Pittsburgh wrestling legend Lord Zoltan. Party Gras held the tag team belts for a record 75 weeks.
The Joe Abby Memorial Tournament was named for the wrestler who repossessed cars when he wasn’t selling food products for Kraft foods. He made his name working with other local wrestlers like Frank Durso and Bobby “Hurricane” Hunt. All three were inducted into the KSWA Hall of Fame in past years. Within the past few months, the organization has tapped more international stars like “The Living Legend” Bruno Sammartino and George “The Animal” Steele for Hall of Fame induction. Upon his enshrinement, Steele called Pittsburgh the “home” of “The Animal” character, as it was created here.
Last Updated on Friday, 05 April 2013 07:39
Category: Sports Written by Bill Neal
:10 “The Moon Will Surely Rise Again” and no words will ever be more true. By now, you know that the legendary Tyrone “Moon” Howard has joined “Heavens Hoopers,” the greatest collection of basketball talent playing way above the rim known to mankind. The legend of “Moon” grew early as did he. Everybody was talking about this 9th grade kid over at Mellon Park tearing it up. Then one day, I get this call from former great Westinghouse player Terrence Taylor telling me I’ve got to go see this kid. Of course “T” was right except for one thing, it was a kid alright . . . it just so happened he was in a man’s body.
Now, there’s all the things you already know. He could play, flat out play. Not just normal play, but exceptional play. Shoot it, run the floor like a guard, even though he was 6’8” and every bit of 250 lbs. Block shots of course and needless to say “D” you up like you stole something. And look, I know I say this about different guys, but this part is really, really true—“Moonie” would dunk on you in a heartbeat . . . but not like Sonny Lewis or Myron Brown or Morrie Cox. Those guys needed a step or two to go airborne. Not Moonie. He would go up on ya and slam wherever and whenever…Just…Bam …and that was it all you could hope is that he didn’t tear your arm off in the process.
But not on purpose. That’s for sure. Moon was that guy. You know the guy that wouldn’t hurt a fly. Always a smile on his face. Always the peace maker, the Pied Piper of kids and always, always, always respectful to everybody. To this moment, I can tell you without question, I never heard him raise his voice or use foul language…not even in a game when he was getting pounded on. A great young man with extraordinary talent who went on to have a great college career, pro career and special time that he spent with the legendary Harlem Globe Trotters. One of the all time great Connie Hawkins League ballers and slam dunk champions whose blacktop games will remain legend that we talk about forever. “Moon” now joins “Heavens Hoopers” the all Pittsburgh team playing daily with no worries, no pain and no personal fouls. Kenny Durrett, Jeep Kelly, Jim McCoy, Sonny Lewis, Armon Gilliam, Larry Richardson, Darryll Gissendanner, Kenny West, Tuna-Fish, Maurice Lucas. Good By Pryor, SiHugo Grazen, Chuck Cooper, Sr., Maurice Stokes…all gone but never forgotten, playing at a different level. Going to the hole without fear and on that squad everyone averages a triple-double. (and don’t ask me who’s starting. I am not the coach…at least not today!!)
God Bless you Tyrone “Moon” Howard and may God Bless your family.
:9 Happy belated Easter to each and every one of you and continued blessings to you and yours. By the way, for those of you that are not quite sure…let me know when you get a better plan than the one he has for you! And that, you can surely take to the bank.
:8 By now, you know the streak is over. Miami came up short to Chicago as I said they would. Yes I did…just go back and check your Couriers. Now maybe…just maybe, Mike Booker and “Zik” will shut up about “King James” and his band of gypsies (“Band of Gypsies”…c’mon man. Jimmy Hendrix 1969). Of course it’s going to be hard to shut Zik up cause he cheers for three different teams. One week it’s The Heat, the next week it’s The Knicks and when the Cav’s win, he lays claim to them too. I’m just saying!
:7 The broken leg suffered by Louisville’s Leon Ware is second worse only to Joe Theisman’s break delivered by Lawrence Taylor.
:6 What about O. J.?
:5 Speaking of being right, and getting back to sports, thank you very much. The Heat will not repeat!!! Happy now! ? ! ?
:4 Late entry on the streak list. “The Wizard of Oz” the great short stop Ozzie Smith. 13 straight gold gloves. Nuff said!
:3 Charles Smith, the former great Pitt basketball star was in town last week. #1. You forgot he’s Pitt’s all-time leading scorer and shot blocker. No. 2. You forget he was an NBA super star for The Knicks, not just another guy. No. 3. I know you forgot he used to tear up the Connie Hawkins League down at Champions Park behind the police station in East Liberty…oh, now you remember!
:2 Speaking of great names from the asphalt jungle, here’s a few Pittsburgh cats you forgot about, but you would remember real quick if you were playing them.
“The Twins” from bump yes, Milton Miles, Nate Duck, Ronnie McRae, Jimmy Nichols, Jimmie Cox, Kenny Lewis, Ricky Richburg, Donny Johnson, Melvin Paul, Stan “The Man” Mahan, Eric Jefferson, D.J. Johnson, Gerald Lovelace, “Dr. Hook”, John Moore, Reggie Cox, Davie Burris, Lloyd Moore, Mel Keys, “Big John” Tate…ooohhh now you remember!!!
:1 At the Buzzer. Hhheeerrreee We Go
•The 38th Annual Champions Western Pa. High School All-Star Basketball Classic is set for Sunday, April 7th at the new and magnificent Penn Hills Senior High School.
Middle School Girls—9 a.m.-12 noon, Middle School Boys—12 noon-3 p.m., Senior Girls City vs. WPIAL—3 p.m. Senior Boys City vs. WPIAL—5 p.m. Free parking in lower level. Refreshments. Vendors. Celebrities. Slam Dunk. 3 Point and foul shooting contest and an amazing half-time show by Karate Master Jacquet Bazemore. For more information, call the Champions at 412-628-4056.
~ GAME OVER ~
Last Updated on Thursday, 04 April 2013 09:54
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