Thursday, May 31, 2007

Josh Bard Just Went All George Brett/Pine Tar

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With the score tied at 2, the Bucs and the Padres are in extra innings. Josh Bard thought he hit a back to back homer which would have put San Diego up 4-2. After it was initially ruled a homer, the umps got together to rule that it hit the railing in right field, before bouncing back in play. Bard came storming out all Kirk Gibson-style and bumped the ump. He was already ejected for arguing the call, so Bard can expect a suspension. The Padres are still up 3-2 in the top of the 11th.

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Mini Pony of the Day 5-31-07

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No, today is no family member's birthday. This card is for Joe Namath and Don Ameche. And Brooke Shields. And Colin Farrell. And Lea Thompson. And Johnny Paycheck.

Take this job and shove it.

The little girl looks like Howdy Doody.

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BREAKING NEWS: Bomb Threat to Pittsburgh Tunnels

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Not sports related, but there is a reported bomb threat to the Pittsburgh tunnels. The Squirrel Hill Tunnels and Fort Pitt Tunnels are reopened, but the Liberty Tubes remain closed.

A package has been found at the Liberty Tubes, but County bomb squads are not yet on the scene.

If a terrorist tries to strike Pittsburgh, I will rip their entire skeleton out of their body Mortal Kombat-style.

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The Post-Gazette Uses Tricky Headlines

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The Post-Gazette caught my eye with a headline about Steelers running back Najeh Davenport. The headline reads:

Steelers' Davenport Feeling More Comfortable.

First thing that went through my mind was, "Oh no, Najeh took a shit in someone's closet again." I know dropping the kids off in a closet definitely makes me more comfortable. (Side note: Yes, I have taken a crap in a closet, much like Najeh. Unlike Najeh, however, it was the 1980s, I was about 3 years old, had just got done taking a bath, and my 2 older sisters felt the need to play hide and seek at that exact moment. What else was a naked 3-year old who had to take a dump to do? Side note over. Back to Najeh.)

Instead, the article, written by Chuck Finder, describes the differences between Davenport's current ability to learn the offense and last year's "on the fly" techniques by the RB who joined the team after the start of the season. This yeay, Davenport has the chance to participate in minicamps, OTAs and training camp before actually taking the field with the Steelers. After being cut by the Packers, Najeh was not afforded these privileges last season. He was thrust into a backup role, and was counted on to catch screens, run the ball when Bill Parker was getting a breather and also run back kicks. While he hardly excelled in any of these facets, he did a good job of providing capable hands/legs to a team that desperately needed aplayer to fill the Bettis void. Davenport is no Bettis, and doesn't appear to be a future HOFer, but he can play a vital role in a running game that has a Pro-Bowler and a bunch of question marks.

Davenport knows his position as Pro-Bowler Willie Parker's backup is far from set in stone, especially with the arrival of Kevan Barlow. Davenport, though, is used to competition. Here is a list of running backs who were teammates of Davenport at the University of Miami:

Edgerrin James (10,385 career NFL rushings yards).
James Jackson (1,082 career NFL rushing yards).
Willis McGahee (3,365 career NFL rushing yards).
Clinton Portis (6,453 career NFL rushing yards).
Frank Gore. (2,303 career NFL rushing yards).

Combined total: 23,588 career NFL rushing yards.

Najeh played some fullback at Miami, just with hopes of getting playing time with other future stars in his midst. In essence, Davenport knows how to compete, and how to go above and beyond typical RB duties (I smile every time I get to use the word "duties." Haven't used it since Sepulveda was given the punting duties). Now that he has more time to grasp the Steelers' playbook and learn more of the offense, I expect bigger things from the Dump Truck (I love that nickname) this season.

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Penguins Name New Captain

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What does Sidney Crosby have in common with Ab McDonald, Ron Schock, Jean Pronovost, Orest Kindrachuk, Randy Carlyle, Mike Bullard, Terry Ruskowski, Dan Frawley, Lemieux, Ron Francis and Jaromir Jagr? The Penguins captaincy.

Crosby is officially the youngest NHLer to ever inherit the C, besting Vincent Lecavalier by a month. He's the first Pens captain since Mario Lemieux retired during the '05-'06 season.

This card is from 1993, after the Pens won back to back Cups. I remember what I was doing in 1993. Feels a little weird.

Congats, Sid. Now get that Hart!

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Mini Pony of the Day 5-30-07

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Tron pony says hi.

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Two Words. Slapping. Machine.

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I don't know if you've already seen this or not, but dude in the cardigan got worked.

Why are they in a library, and why is there just one black guy? There is so much of this I don't understand, but Pittsburgh definitely needs its own team.

The muffled laughter is ridiculous.

Old Man Bites Tenderly? What the hell?

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Trade Me

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PSaMP wants the Pittsburgh Pirates to trade PSaMP's undying fan loyalty to another team for failing to put forth a winning team for the past 14 seasons. I'll blog for any team at this point, because all I want to do is blog. There is nothing the Pirates organization can do to change my mind.








-
You know I'm kidding, Buccos.

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What Does Ugliness Get You? A 2.39 ERA

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He may be ugly. He may not close his mouth. But Tom Gorzelanny leads the team with a 6-3 record, which puts him only one victory behind the National League lead of 7 wins. Plus, his 2.39 ERA, which he lowered in last night's 4-1 win, is good for 3rd in the NL, behind freak of nature Jake Peavy (who the Pirates miss on this homestand) and hottie-dater Brad Penny.

Read that again if you can't grasp the idea. A Pirates pitcher is 6-3. With a 2.39 ERA. And his name isn't Snell or Duke. That was kinda unthinkable before the season.

Last night's win was due mainly to Gorzo's ability to get outs when he needed. He got major help from Jason Bay, who was just named National League Offensive Player of the Week. It was the 4th time that Bay has been recognized for the award. He homered and doubled, which was really all the Buccos needed to beat David Wells and the Padres.

The aforementioned Jake Peavy will not pitch against the Pirates, which might be the greatest thing I've ever heard. The Pirates have been (sorry for the cliche) a Jekyll and Hyde team offensively this year. Peavy's road ERA is 0.33. The Buccos would have no chance with Peavy on the mound in Pittsburgh.

The Buccos have won 4 of their last 5 after their 5 game losing streak. Paul Maholm (2-6 5.43 ERA) pitchers against Chris Young (5-3 2.70 ERA) at 7:05 tonight. Pittsburgh is now 2nd in the NL Central, only 5.5 behind April/May flare Milwaukee.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Penguins Sign Winger Wallace

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The Penguins signed a deal with a winger, but not a high profile, 40 goal guy. Instead, the team agreed to terms on an entry-level contract with Tim Wallace, who played collegiate hockey at Notre Dame.

Wallace might be recognized by the hardcore Pens fan, having participated in rookie camp before being cut by Pittsburgh during regular training camp last season. He spent 32 games in Wilkes-Barre, scoring 14 points, as well as 19 games with the Wheeling team of the East Coast Hockey League, scoring 17 points.

After acquiring defenseman Jonathan D'Aversa earlier in the week, the Pens seem intent on continuing the youth movement that was ushered in by Crosby/Malkin/Stall/Fleury. Ray Shero is adamant about not signing a big-name winger for a one-year fix. If the Pens are going to win, they're going to win with the young guys on the team.

The Pens still could use a veteran winger, and PSaMP is hoping a deal will happen with Gary Roberts. Re-signing Mark Recchi would also be a bonus. However, Wallace may be a good fit as a backup to Roberts or Recchs, seeing as how both will enter next season (if they re-sign) as the silvertops of the group. Gary turned 41 a few days ago, while Recchs will hit the big 4-0 in February. Having a young guy like Wallace in Wilkes-Barre again will only provide an insurance plan for the old, decrepit vets (I'm kidding).

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Mini Pony of the Day 5-29-07

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This is Smooch. Smooch is the MPotD. Smooch rules. Wanna see more of Smooch? All you had to do was ask...

I would totally let Smooch attack my dog and my pantleg, for the sole fact that it would be the cutest attack ever. I probably wouldn't even be mad. I'd just be happy that the mini pony was hanging out with me.

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Lyndsi Hughes and the Passion (5-0) Beat Cleveland

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Your Pittsburgh Passion kept up their undefeated ways this weekend, beating the Cleveland Fusion for the second time this season. I am always a fan a Pittsburgh team sweeping a season series from a Cleveland team. The Fusion got within 14-12, but were unable to put anymore pressure on the outstanding Passion, who rolled to a 40-18 victory in Cleveland.

The 3H trio, Torina Henley, Lisa Horton and Lyndsi Hughes (above), combined for 252 yards on the ground. Henley carried the ball 21 times for 88 yards, ending her streak of 4 straight games in which her yards per carry mark exceeded the previous game's total. However she did score on a 2 yard run as well as a 6 yard run. Hughes racked up the most rushing yards, gaining 123 yards on only 16 carries.

Pittsburgh started the game by pulling out the bag of tricks. QB Lisa Horton lined up as a wide receiver. She took a toss from backup QB Kara Prentice, before unloading a 59 yard touchdown to Lori Johnson. Somewhere, Mike Mularkey smiles.

Horton finished 10 for 19, with 180 yards, 3 touchdowns and no interceptions. Peyton Manning and his fivehead have nothing on Lisa Horton. She also provided a stellar 4th and 8 conversion with a well-timed scramble.

Olivia Griswold had 12 tackles, which is a standard number for such a great defensive player. Tia Montgomery added 8 tackles. Kim Zubovic had 6 and a fumble recovery. Ava Nickens brought a sack to go with her 6 tackles.

June 2nd, the Passion return to Cupples Stadium to put their undefeated record on the line against the Cincinnati Sizzle. PSaMP is hoping for another win over the Sizzle, which would bring a 2nd consecutive season series sweep. The Passion are really bringing the heat to the 2 Ohio franchises. The Fusion should think about trading up to the 22nd pick to take Brady Quinn. She should help them out a bit.

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Monday, May 28, 2007

I'm Still Laughing...

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Real quick, because PSaMP is about to go to bed. Read this post, brought to you by nunesmagician.blogspot.com. Us Pittsburgh t.v.-watchers are treated to Berger and Green, injury/accident lawyers.

The best line is:

What the hell is going on in the background? Is that a racetrack at one point? Can race car drivers sue for crashes now? Did I just see a guy get hit by a car and go flying? Can you show that?


Those who've seen the Berger and Green commercials understand what this means.

Go to bed. I'm talking to myself, not you. You stay up and read.

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Rest in Peace, Marquise Hill

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The Patriots lost DE Marquise Hill in a jet ski accident. Hill had been missing for a day on Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana. After being reported missing, the Coast Guard, Wildlife and Fisheries, the New Orleans Police Department and Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Department all became involved in trying to find Marquise. His body was found today, and positive identification by family members is still being awaited.

An unidentified woman was found and flown to Tulane Medical Center. She stated that Hill repeatedly calmed her as the two clung to a pylon. The strong currents caused Hill to drift away from the woman, who was found yesterday. Neither the woman nor Hill were wearing life preservers.

This is the 2nd time in a month that PSaMP is forsaking the homer mentality to show support for a highly despised rival. My support is still with the Cardinals, who recently lost pitcher Josh Hancock. Now the Patriots, a team that always had Pittsburgh's number when it came to the AFC Championship, are facing an uncertain time. All thoughts and prayers go to the Patriots, as well as the family of Marquise Hill.

Marquise played for LSU's national championship team before being drafted in the 2nd round in 2004. Hill had spent much of his time helping Katrina victims in the area rebuild their homes. He will be missed by the entire sports community.

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Mini Pony of the Day 5-28-07

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Pretend Santa is a veteran, because this picture would fit the day. Although I didn't find any patriotic horse, or even one in camouflage, this one cracked me up and I needed to post it. Plus, I couldn't wait 7 months until December, so Memorial Day is now known as Christmas in May for PSaMP.

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Long-Weekend Links

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Overdo it on the cookouts, today? Did you have to eat those last (packs of) hotdogs, and wash it (them) down with a few too many Yuenglings? Then sit down and relax, because PSaMP has your local sports news covered.



- John Harris, who has been providing some quality articles in the past few weeks, says that Anthony Smith is looking to jump into Ryan Clark's Free Safety position. I'm hoping that Smith does get the job, because I think he fits well with Polamalu. He showed some promise in his rookie campaign, and can fill the void left by Chris Hope.

- Delaware lost to Johns Hopkins. PSaMP was sad to see the Blue Hens leave the tourney, but they receive a standing o (from me at least) for making their first -ever national semis.

- The Passion are now 5-0, after a huge 40-18 win over Cleveland. Its the NWFA, however, so I'll get you the stats as soon as I get them first.

- The Pittsburgh Riverrats, the local AIFL (American Indoor Football League), lost this weekend to the Huntington Heroes. The Riverrats are 7-7, with their final game of the season taking place on June 9th at the home of the Reading Express. Their last win, against the Erie Freeze on May 19th, set AIFL scoring records! Way to go, Pittsburgh!



Have a great Memorial Day!

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Happy Memorial Day

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Today is a day of remembrance. Many thanks and undying support go to the countless men and women who sacrifice everything for the love of their country. We are all eternally indebted to your selfless acts. Stay safe, and return home soon.

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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Mini Pony of the Day 5-27-07

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I defer comment...

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Happy Birthday To My Sister!

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Happy birthday to my sister, who turns a year older today! She lives in New York City, and since I can't see her on her b-day, the best I can do is post a horrifying birthday song. My apologies for the night terrors.

Here's the actual song. It's pretty cool.

Happy Birthday!

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Reasons to Keep Watching the Bucs This Season. UPDATES = More Bucco Wins

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OFF-ence! See, the Buccos can put up some numbers. The uncertainty of when those runs will show up is mainly to blame for the annual sluggish start. Pittsburgh is coming off an 0-fer against the Cardinals, which capped an awesome 5-game skid. In fact, the wins over the Bucs helped the Redbirds snap a 5-game skid of their own.

Today, the Pirates turned up the On-ence (sorry), to keep up the current 3-game win streak with a 14-10 win. Reds' starter Kirk Saarloos failed to record an out, and the Pirates tagged him for 5 runs before he was pulled for ex-Pirate Victor Santos. Lanny Frattare mentioned that The Great American Smallpark is a place where hits sail over the fence constantly. There were 7 homers hit today, 5 of which came from the Reds. No lead is safe in Cincinnati, so I'll look past the 10 runs the Reds put on the board today.

The record stands at 22-27, which means you're getting 5 more reasons to keep fans like Ronnie Florian interested.

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Reasons to Keep Watching the Bucs This Season. Reasons 1-17.


18. Tony Armas Jr. is in the Bullpen. Your starter needs to eat up innings. Jim Tracy constantly preaches this point. Including his one relief appearance and 7 starts, Tony Armas Jr. has averaged 3.6 (I rounded up) innings per appearance. I called for his head, as did the entire Pirate fan community, it seems. The safest place for Armas is the 'Pen, or if he can't fix his "stuff," (I can't stand when analysts refer to a pitcher's "stuff," as in, "His stuff is nasty") maybe he should be demoted further.

19. Ronnie Florian. Honestly. This guy makes me proud to be a Pirates fan. He is the entire embodiment of Pittsburgh. How can you not tune in to Fox Sports Net Pittsburgh, just for the hope of glimpsing the ultimate Pirates superfan? And if anyone wants to hear the perfect 'Burgh accent, you need only click here. The wins may be uncertain, but at least Ronnie will be there to reassure you.

20. The Brewers are an April/May Flare. Shocking! This is my take on the young Brew-Crew. Its nice to see a young team excel early, but I don't know if the Brewers acn sustain success for a full season. This year, they are 28-21. Last year on May 27th, the Brewers were 26-24. They finished 75-87. I liken them to the '06-'07 Penguins. Their combination of youth and talent will produce a good number of wins this year, but how long will the youth serve Milwaukee? And baseball players goes through a season that's twice as long as hockey. I'm hesitant to call the Brewers a playoff team, yet. The Buccos aren't completely out of the race for the NL Central, and need to string together a few wins to chip away at .500, and then Milwaukee.

21. ADD Laroche is Above the Mendoza Line. He's finally cracked .200. He needs to raise his batting average by about .100+ in the next 2-or-so games for me to be happy, though. That's all he gets, for now.

22. Freddy Sanchez. The Defending NL Batting Champ's first appearance as an actual reason to keep with the Buccos. Sure, he had a brief mention or so, but that was under reasons dedicated to other players/scenarios, and only because Adam Hyzdu isn't in a Pirate uniform anymore. Up until now, Fred-Ex (because he always delivers) didn't look suitable to defend a major title. Going 2 for 3 with 2 runs and 4 RBIs today, Freddy sits at a more-respectable .288. Its about time he gets his own mention.





One more thing. Can FSN Pittsburgh's "new studio on the North Shore" still be considered new? They opened it at the start of the season, which is almost 1/3 of the way through. And if they coin that phrase for the rest of the season, then those Buccos commercial breaks are gonna seem a lot longer this summer. And congrats to Zach Duke for getting his 2nd win today. I would like that number to be a little more than just 2 though, Zach.

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Saturday, May 26, 2007

Mini Pony of the Day 5-26-07

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Today's MPotD is one of the family. This family loves their cool family member a.k.a. the mini pony.

And his hair kinda reminds me of classic C.C. Deville from Poison. Not that crappy version that sold out to that silly VH1 reality show.

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Joey Porter Does Not Hate Pittsburgh

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According to John Harris, Joey Porter has no ill feelings to the city he spent 8 years in. A lot of local coverage had Joey mad at the organization, and wanting to extract some sort of revenge. Joey, though, nixes any ideas of bad feelings between the himself and the Steelers.


I initially had trouble with the decision to let Porter go to the Dolphins, but a common theme arose over the Steelers within the past several months. Embrace change. This isn't the Bill Cowher-era anymore. Many Steeler fans are walking into unchartered land, because its hard to picture the Steelers sideline without the Chin. But its Mike Tomlin's turn. Joey Porter was a Cowher-era player. Porter and Cowher even shared a kiss. The kiss was weird, if I might add. If he was still on the team, there would be a "Cowher-is-still-kinda-here" vibe. And that is not fair to Tomlin.

I'm glad that Joey is being a class act about the whole departure from Pittsburgh. He understands the business side of the game, and looks like a sane man compared to Alan Fancea recently.

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Friday, May 25, 2007

Mini Pony of the Day 5-25-07

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Real quick clip here. But it's enough to become the MPotD. Sorry this is so short. Got some stuff to do...

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The Local Scoop

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What could be going on with the local sports scene on a Friday at the end of May? Although it is Pittsburgh, and the Buccos are still stinking it up, the local guys are faithfully plugging away. Here's some notes around the 'Burgh:

- Big Ben is about to get a raise. Tommy Gun got an extension with more than 1 year left on his contract, should Ben get the same treatment. Alan Faneca and Joey Porter say no. Here's Yahoo Sports' take.

- Jim Tracy used the word "deplorable" to describe the Pirates' clutch hitting. I would have used "ass-clownish," but that's just me.

- Not Pittsburgh-related, but congrats to John Smoltz for winning his 200th game. He's the only guy in history with 200 wins and 150 saves, as well as the only pitcher who opened as season as a starter the year after a 50-save season. The guy is a nut. He was a baseball-card-collector's favorite back in the day. That day was Bowman '89.

- Here's a Penguins' Q&A with the PG's Dave Molinari. If he waited a little bit, he could have discussed the Pens signing free-agent defenseman Jonathan D'Aversa. Last year, he was the defense partner of Jordan Staal's younger brother, Marc. And Staal references are a plus.

- Losing to the Redbirds apparently wasn't enough for the Buccos. Tom Gorzelanny, a lone bright spot, left the game after taking a liner off the thumb.

- The Pensblog gives some predictions for the Cup finals. Best part, "Brett Hull says Red Wings in 3."

- Pirates' fan Ron Florian. In the flesh. Thanks to Mondesi's House.

- The Passion (4-0) play (are going to dominate) the Cleveland Fusion tomorrow. Jeff Ogden, former wide receiver for the Ravens and Cowboys, has joined the Passion as Special Teams Coach. As always, stay with PSaMP for stellar Passion breakdown/analysis after the team remains undefeated this weekend.



Read on, Pittsburgh lover...

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Mini Pony of the Day 5-24-07

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This tiny horse is officially the MPotD. His owner would never be a nominee for MPOotD (Mini Pony Owner of the Day). He's getting too friendly with the cool horse, and looks like he subscribes to John Kruk's hair club.



That's better...



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Can ESPN's Hashmarks Actually Be Called A Blog?

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Perusing the Blogosphere, I came across some cool posts by the good guys at TheBigLead and Deadspin, regarding new ESPN Super Awesome Football Blog, Hashmarks. Matt Mosley, a former writer for the Dallas Morning News, joined the .com in January, and unleashed Hashmarks yesterday. The more I think about Hashmarks, the easier its becoming to label it a flog, or "fake blog."

I don't claim to be an expert in sports blogging. Its not something I've done for a very long period of time, but its something I love to do. Most bloggers aren't fortunate to blog for a living, and many of my own posts are written in extreme haste, in a sort of "stream of consciousness sports blogging." Truth is, local sports blogging is a heavier burden than unbiased, full-circle sports blogging. Our visitor counters look paltry compared to the unbiased guys. I've only topped triple digits in a day on a handful of occasions, and only because the unbiased guys were kind enough to provide a cool link. My writing is done out of love for the topics (Pittsburgh sports, miniature equine), and the appreciation of every read/comment/email/link/mention.

Sports blogs are the anti-ESPN. Compiled by (mostly) amateurs, blogs provide sports attention minus the Disney puff pieces/forced pop culture references passed off as humor that has plagued the big E in recent years (Note: Trey Wingo just asked Sean Salisbury on NFL Live, "Who is the Ryan Seacrest of the NFL?" Sean's response, "Daniel Snyder"). But the question remains, can ESPN just "start" a blog? ESPN has been buying up sports blogs (i.e. Curtis Granderson), and even allowing (making) their writers and "personalities" have official ESPN blogs of their own.

But back to Hashmarks. Mosley won awards as a writer in Dallas. ESPN is still trying to regain the trust of the audience that was completely miffed by the whole Colin Cowherd/TheBigLead story. ESPN seems to be using Hashmarks as a vehicle to bridge the gap between the World Wide Leader and the blogosphere. This is the remark that turned me off:

In other news, several prominent blogs across the nation waved the white flag yesterday and have promised to join forces with Hashmarks. For the 375 folks who asked me to link to your blog yesterday, just give me time. Don't read anything into who's on the Blog Roll right now - unless you're actually on the Blog Roll.


Waved the white flag? So ESPN wins, now? If ESPN compiles the biggest blogroll,
do they now assert dominance over the blogosphere? And great mention of the hordes of people wanting to surrender to ESPN. Its not about getting the biggest "numbers," Mosley. Its about putting out a quality product that reflects the passion of the writer.

TBL also added a stunning point:

Although we like what True Hoop (NBA blog) has done at ESPN, the one beef we have is that it’s incredibly incestuous to ESPN. It feels like a commercial for the .com. It seems like every other post is about the latest from Mark Stein, Chad Ford, John Hollinger, or Bill Simmons. We get it – ESPN plucked a blogger from obscurity, and since his blog was one of many with cult/underground status, True Hoop is now trying to pry open the eyes of non-mainstream readers to ESPN. If Hashmarks starts to reference Len P and Merrill Hoge and Clayton and Salisbury, it will get old, quick …


Mosley is reaching out to the blogosphere, and is linking to some smaller blogspot-type addresses. However, a lot of his posts are directly referencing ESPN's newest stories and "hottest reads." He has started a majority of his posts for today with references to ESPN stories by David Fleming, Len Pasquarelli and Gene Wojciechowski.

Also, here's his take on a Pittsburgh story:

I've heard from several Steelers fans who were concerned about drafting a punter in the fourth round. Listen, you have nothing to worry about.


End of analysis. Thanks, Matt, I will definitely not worry, now. It feels good to be assured by your stellar breakdown.

I understand that Mosley needs to reference ESPN on a regular basis because they're cutting his check. But the shameless links and position at the tops of posts really doesn't help matters. ESPN is hoping that the blogging community will accept Hashmarks, and in turn, reaccept the .com. I read the .com, but only to get different perspectives on stories. I don't need Hashmarks to tell me about a story about McCovey Cove on espn.com, and inform me that its a story:

that you may not stumble across during the normal course of your day.


Its on espn.com. If someone is that into the site, they are gonna find it. ESPN goes overboard with promoting its product, so its articles on the website are hardly un-stumble-able.

And the posts. Here are the timestamps of recent posts.

4:45 P.M.
4:34 P.M.
4:13 P.M.
3:52 P.M.
3:15 P.M.

Holy shit! And the posts are about 2-3 sentences apiece! And I can't thank Mosley enough for providing the vital story that Pittsburgh would have a new mascot. I can't believe I've never heard that before...

If it looks like a blog and smells like a blog, it doesn't necessarily mean its a blog. In Hashmarks' case, Mosley started a flog.

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The Tribune-Review Is All Over the Steelers This Morning

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Don't read too much into it. Just because I occasionally read the Trib, that doesn't mean that I'm some right-wing sports aficionado. I just like to get the full spectrum of sporting news, so I read the Trib just like I would read the Post-Gazette. And the Trib just happened to have more Steelers stories this morning. Here's a few updates on the black and gold.


Mike Prisuta sat down for a one-on-one with Steelers safety Troy Polamalu. The interview centered mainly around the coaching change, and how bright Pittsburgh's immediate future looks. I wanted Prisuta to ask Troy about the contract situation, and if Troy was confident that the Rooneys wouldn't pull a Faneca/Porter on him. But alas, no "business" questions, and Troy stuck to "football-only" answers.


Marvel Smith loves "playing" next to Alan Faneca, according to John Harris. Smith said the two leftside linemen have their own communication system on the field, and having Faneca close by makes it easier on him. He's one of the first Steelers to openly support Faneca, who will must assuredly miss all 14 workouts before reporting for training camp. Harris calls Smith one of the elite left tackles in the game. If by elite, Harris means "easily gives away when a play is going to be a pass by starting in a pass-protection stance," then yes, Smith is elite.


Deisel Keisel is about to be put to work, says Scott Brown. Brett's versatility and quickness will help Dick LeBeau and Mike Tomlin develop 4-3 plans in which Keisel (above, with the cool gold helmet) can play DE or Linebacker. His teammates call him one of the best basketball players on the team, and admit that the 28 year old still has a lot of football left in him. Brown even likens Keisel's '07-'08 position to that of Adalius Thomas' position last year with the Ravens. The versatility part is right on, but Keisel is not the first person that I would compare to Thomas, who is a freak. I supported the decision to go with Keisel over Kimo last season, and I think Keisel can have a big impact on Tomlin's new defense. The Thomas reference was a little bit of a stretch, though.


Oh, and this isn't Steeler news, but the Pens have made offers to both Mark Recchi and Gary Roberts, writes Rob Rossi. Terms haven't been discussed, but Ray Shero obviously liked the positive influence that Roberts had in such a short time with the Pens. Popular consensus around Pittsburgh states that the Pens need a goal-scoring winger next year. Shero has been adamant, however, that the Penguins aren't going for a one-year "rent-a-player," and Pittsburgh already has the core to compete for the Cup next season. We have goal-scoring wingers in Colby Armstrong and Ryan Malone, but those two need to produce after having down years in '06-'07. The Pens can keep two proven vets for a reasonable price, while only expecting a moderate rise in points from Armstrong and Malone, in order to continue last season's success.


The Post-Gazette so far today? The Nuttings are finally seeing the importance of Dominican players. Little late, there. And Dave Littlefield is confident in Zach Duke (1-5) and Paul Maholm (2-6). That last story made my head hurt, seeing as how the two pitchers combine for a record of 3-11. And we're at the 1/3 point in the season. Anyone want to guess why we're going to push the losing streak to 15 years? Anyone?

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Mini Pony of the Day 5-23-07

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Every mini pony deserves a blue ribbon, if you ask me. This one just happens to be really good at something. I'm guessing science. He probably just got back from kicking a lot of ass in some 4th grade science fair. Or a coolness contest, hence the assortment of ribbons.

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BREAKING NEWS: Sepulveda Officially Steelers Punter

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Who cares about punter with no career punts blocked? Apparently, not the Steelers!

The Gardocki-era is over, and Scott Brown of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that the 16-year veteran was released by Pittsburgh today. Punting duties are now handed to the Steelers' 4th round pick, Daniel Sepulveda. And I got to use "punting duties" in a post, which is under a BREAKING NEWS headline... about a punter.

Sepulveda was the recipient of the Rudy Guy award, which is handed out to the top punter in Division 1-A, twice in his career at Baylor. He will compete with Mike Barr for the starting position. I don't think Barr will pose any threat to the punter that the Steelers traded up to select.

Bill Cowher was never a fan of dressing two punters for a game, but I don't know Mike Tomlin's perspective. I'm guessing that Sepulveda is "the guy."

After selecting Sepulveda, it was apparent that Chris Gardocki would not be continuing his unblocked-punts streak in a Pittsburgh uniform.

The stat is impressive (1,177), but I like the decision to go with the highly-touted Sepulveda.

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Wednesday Catch-Up

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Real quickly, I wanted to update on some 'Burgh stories that warrant some kind of attention. However, I'm not trying to spend all that much time, seeing as how I'm a little late with them. My flight from New York City to Pittsburgh was delayed, but only after I was on the plane. As quick as a NYC-PIT flight is (about 55 minutes), we sat in the plane on the runway for much longer. I missed episode 1 of Rob and Big, which I was very heated about. MTv will replay it about 400 times in the coming days, so I'm over it, though. Anyway, here is the scoop on what is happening in our sports community.

- Porn. Sent by Steelers' assistant coaches. In e-mail format. To every front office in the league. And their secretaries. And Roger Goodell. That is all I'm saying about the situation.

- LaMarr Woodley made it onto the field during the Steelers' OTAs. Guess he figured out the roadways and wasn't 20 miles away at the start of practice.

- The Sporting News names Sid as NHL Player of the Year. Its not the Hart (yet), but it will do for now.

- The Buccos (haven't talked about them in awhile) couldn't beat a Cardinals team that entered the game on a 5-game skid. Score, 9-4 Redbirds.

- JoePa came up with a great disciplinary measure for a team that has several players in trouble for startin' shit at a party. I love it. Too many college athletes are way too full of themselves, and JoePa is making sure they know who is boss.


Oh, and flying out of Laguardia, I was able to get a great view of the inside of Shea Stadium from about 5,000 feet. Metschick, from Ladies..., kicked off the How to Make Love to a ____ Fan series with How to Make Love to a Mets Fan post. I don't care how many people hate Shea, I would definitely make love in it.

Ok. Caught up.

'Burgh sweet 'Burgh...

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Mini Pony of the Day 5-22-07

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Imagine the most fun you've ever had. From the looks of it, you didn't have nearly as much fun as this cool little trouble-maker. He actually looks like he's having the time of his life, which is awesome. This mini pony is so small, and it looks like I could fit him in my pocket, which I would totally do.

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View From Seat 14A.

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Heading back to the 'Burgh. Thanks for everything, New York City, but there really is no place like home (and only if that home is Pittsburgh).

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Marshall Trying to Make Hometown Team

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Does this guy look familiar? Pitt fans probably know him. WVU fans definitely know him. Rasheed Marshall is hoping that all Steelers fans will get to know him in the upcoming season.

Scott Brown of the Tribune-Review reminds readers of the former Big East Player of the Year, as he tries to make a Steelers team that presumably can't use another wideout.

Pittsburgh has proven vets in Hines Ward and Cedrick Wilson, and used their first round selection last year on speedy Santonio Holmes. Dallas Baker the Touchdown Maker was drafted in the final round of this year's draft out of national champion Florida. Plus, Willie Reid is hoping to make an impact after a season-ending foot injury in his rookie campaign. PSaMP is also hoping that this is the year Walter Young, a talented wideout with great size, comes into his own. He has a T.O. build, and displayed some good hands during last year's preseason.

Where does Marshall fit in? He spent his rookie season in San Fransisco, where he racked up 575 yards primarily as a return specialist. Reid seems destined for that role this season, but Marshall could be an insurance plan if Reid's foot decides to fail him again. I sure as hell don't want to see Holmes waiting for kicks anymore. Sure, the guy started to show some progress at WR towards the end of the season, and even had that longass touchdown to beat the Bungles in overtime, but as a kick returner, Holmes might make me pull out all of my hair. He excelled at tOSU at the position, but doesn't have the quickness or the moves to run back kicks in the NFL. And I'm not even going to mention the fumbles.

Unfortunately for Marshall, he spent 12 games as a 49er, which is too many to be considered for any professional practice squad. He needs to display his skills quickly, or fear getting axed into free agency.

Will Marshall make the club? Only time will tell. Reid has yet to fully prove himself, so maybe Marshall can create a niche for himself in the Steelers' '07-'08 roster.

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Monday, May 21, 2007

Mini Pony of the Day 5-21-07

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If this is actually how the Oregon Trail went down, then pioneers kicked ass. Cute Westward expansion! I might trade in my car for a similar version of this.

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Alan Faneca Wishes He Was Troy Polamalu

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Yesterday's LaMarr Woodley post really got me in a Steelers' mind frame. Plus, with the Pirates being, well, the Pirates, I've decided to turn my attention to a team with more recent runs of success. Also, this picture of Troy Polamalu is awesome. I was right next to the giant Steelers' flag that is waving in the back-left of this picture. Troy crowd-surfing was the coolest thing that happened at that kickass parade.

Anyway, as I was checking in on the local sports news updates, I found a cool article by Ron Cook of the Post-Gazette. With a new coach, Cook states, great players need to step up and perform. Troy Polamalu is clearly one of our best players. And by "one of our," I mean "our." Polamalu understands the importance of a coaching change. He adjusted to a change in his USC days.

Polamalu said, "I think it's good that things are shaken up a little. Everybody's got to work to establish themselves again. ... There's always apprehension when there's change. I went through it at USC when coach [Pete] Carroll came in. All of us were unsure about what was going to happen. That turned out pretty well."

Understatement of the century. The guy is 65-12 at USC. He's 4-2 in bowl games, and only one of those games was not a BCS bowl game. His record in BCS bowl games is 4-1. He's won 2 National Championships, one which was shared with LSU. Vince Young played a huge part in Carroll missing out on his 3rd Championship. He's also won 5 consecutive PAC-10 Conference Championships. Its safe to say that the guy knows how to perform on a large scale.

The change from Paul Hackett to Pete Carroll worked out well. Hackett held a 19-18 record at USC (Hmm...the Steelers were forced into a coaching change after a .500 record, too). I'm not saying that the NFL and NCAA are one in the same. Just look at Carroll's NFL record of 33-31. All this means is that change needs to happen occasionally, and Polamalu is a player who epitomizes success during coaching changes. Tomlin will not enjoy success as he gradually installs a 4-3 defense if Polamalu is in another uniform. After all, Polamalu has helped redefine the role of the safety in the NFL.

Polamalu is the anti-Faneca when it comes to contract negotiations. As a quiet man who puts his trust in God first and foremost, Polamalu would not be the one to come out and blatently say, "This will be my last year as a Pittsburgh Steeler." In order for Tomlin to enjoy success like Pete Carroll did at USC, he needs playmakers. Troy Polamalu is a playmaker. Its arguable that Polamalu is needed just as much as a healthy Ben Roethlisberger is needed for the Steelers to return to pre-2006 form.

The Rooneys are going to have to open their wallets big time to keep Troy. Like Faneca, he's in the last year of his contract. Unlike Faneca, however, there is no other option.

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Sunday, May 20, 2007

Mini Pony of the Day 5-20-07

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I think I shed a tear when I first found this picture. Mini ponies should never be hurt, or in pain. They should always be cool, and ready to make people happy. I would hang out with this little guy at all times, because he seems like he needs a cool friend. Don't worry, little buddy. You will always be cool with me. I don't hate on anybody/thing just because they are in a wheelchair. If you were with me right now, I would feed you as much hay/salt lick/sugar cubes as you wanted. You are officially my favorite mini pony of all time.

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LaMarr Woodley Is Confused By Pittsburgh

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Interesting read here. LaMarr Woodley, the Steelers' 2nd round draft pick, is updating Yahoo Sports with a recurring rookie journal. His first entry is a great glimpse into the life of one of the newest Steelers.

Apparently, Woodley is confused with the geography/roadways of his new city. Don't feel bad, Wood, it happens to a lot of first-time 'Burghers. Some key points in Wood's account:

- He keeps tons of change in his car.
- His brother is a backup singer for Keith Sweat (Awesome).
- His financial advisor's name is Marty Blaze (Also awesome).
- He is real comfortable around Mike Tomlin (That's good, for a young player and all).
- He wants to play at 260 lbs.
- He's passionate about being the best player he can be. Here's the best quote:

What I know for sure is I'm staying in Pittsburgh right up through training camp. That's the only way I'm going to get better. There is no time for a rookie to take a vacation. I have the rest of my career to think about things like that. Right now, it's time to focus and work my way to the top of the position. I know I have the heart. Now I just have to work to catch up with everything else.


That's a great attitude for a rookie. With all the Cincinnati Bengal-types out there, Wood's demeanor seems to fit in with the blue-collar, hard-working Stiller mold. Another great quote:

You can never change where you're from. When you come from a place like Saginaw (Michigan), you play with heart. And you can never teach heart.


I said before that Woodley was a steal at pick 46. Let us review the accolades that have been bestowed upon our newest linebacker:

-2005 Co-MVP of Rose Bowl (split with Vince Young).
-2006 Ted Hendricks Award winner (Top Defensive End).
-2006 Lombardi Award winner (Top College Lineman or Linebacker).
-2006 Chuck Bednarik Award finalist (Best Defensive Player. Won by Paul Posluszny).
-2006 Lott Trophy finalist (Best Defensive I.M.P.A.C.T. Player. Won by Daymeion Hughes).
-2006 Bronko Nagurski Trophy watchlist (Best Defensive Player. Won by James Laurinaitis).
-2006 Outland Trophy watchlist (Best Interior Lineman. Won by Joe Thomas).
-2006 First Team All-American.

Oh yeah, these, too:

-2004 All-Big Ten Conference Second Team (coaches) and Honorable Mention (media).
-2005 All-Big Ten Conference Honorable Mention (coaches and media).
-2006 All-Big Ten Conference First Team (coaches and media, both unanimous).
-2006 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year.
-2006 Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year.

LaMarr, contact PSaMP if you're still having trouble with the Pittsburgh geography. Hell, I just graduated from St. Vincent College, where you will be spending a lot of time in a few weeks. I can give you some tips about surviving in and around the Latrobe area.

I look forward to more Woodley journal entries.



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PSaMP's Favorite College Lax Team Moves On!

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Last week, I pledged my allegiance to the University of Delaware men's lacrosse team. Pittsburgh has no current professional lacrosse team, and I figured I'd give my full support to the team that I was closest to at that particular point. PSaMP was on its mini vacation, and I found myself in Newark, Delaware, just minutes away from the Blue Hens' campus. With PSaMP being a true homer and all, UD was my best choice for the lax NCAAs.

After stunning UVA in their first game of the Division 1 men's lacrosse championship, UD played UMBC today at noon. The Blue Hens came through for PSaMP, beating the University of Maryland Baltimore County 10-6. UD will play Johns Hopkins, another lacrosse powerhouse, in the national semifinals. Hopkins (11-4) beat Georgetown yesterday.

That is all the current info about the game, seeing as how it just recently ended. ESPN only gives the score, and I'll post a breakdown/analysis as soon as I get some information. Way to go, Bob Shillinglaw and your Fightin' Blue Hens!

UPDATE: Dan Deckelbaum had 3 goals, and Jordan Hall added 3 goals and an assist. The win over UMBC was the 7th in a row for the Blue Hens. The semifinal game against Johns Hopkins, which is the first semifinal game in UD history, will take place next Saturday. More info here.

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Franco. In Your Face While You Travel.

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It is way too early on a Sunday, and I've already been awake for way too long. I'm flying to New York City for an interview, but also to see my sisters. Walking through Pittsburgh International Airport, I was happy to see a life-size depiction of Franco Harris and the Immaculate Reception, but I also half expected something like that. I hope every Raiders fan that has ever been through PIA has seen fake Franco and hated it.

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Saturday, May 19, 2007

Will Not Be Thrown Away. Part 5

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These are my two Roberto Clemente cards (yeah, him again). My buddy Ronnie gave me the one on the left back in the 2nd grade (2nd graders rule). The one on the right is the reason that these cards made the list. It came in a pack of City Pride bread from Giant Eagle back in the day. If you don't remember City Pride bread, then you're not a 'Burgher. Its pretty much worthless, but not to a young Pittsburgh kid.


That pretty much completes the list for today. If I find more, then this might become an annual type of thing.

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Will Not Be Thrown Away. Part 4

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Alright, this isn't a can, but it is one of my favorite pieces of memorabilia. This is my hat from when I played minor league baseball (one step above t-ball, not one step below the majors, ya nerd). I got to meet Willie Stargell, and Pops autographed my hat. Needless to say, I never wore the hat again, and it still graces my bedroom wall. I figured it was appropriate to include it in this list.

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Will Not Be Thrown Away. Part 3

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Yet another Clemente commemorative can. That was a theme in Pittsburgh at a certain point. This one is at least 15 years old, and Bob's image graces a Hires Root Beer can. I barely remember Hires Root Beer, but a picture of Clemente ensures that this can will never be thrown away.

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Will Not Be Thrown Away. Part 2

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Big Clemente theme in my family. If you don't like/respect Clemente, then you can piss off. These oldass Iron City cans will never be thrown away, and they inform me that Bob hit .311 in 1956, his 2nd season. Bob Walk informed me during one of the recent Bucco games that Clemente only walked 13 times that year. Iron City beer and Bob Walk, your ultimate source for Pirate statistics.

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Will Not Be Thrown Away. Part 1

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Or Part 2 if you count the Hagen ice cream bucket.

Did I mention a back-to-back commemorative Coca-Cola can? Oh hell yes I did! Here it is. And it doesn't have that horrible triangular logo with the decapitated penguin head on top. Its the always cool human-like penguin that is wielding a hockey stick.

More memorabilia as the day wears on.

Feel free to email PSaMP any cool commemorative pieces of your own.

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Mini Pony of the Day 5-19-07

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Wow. I missed the boat on this one. This would have been perfect for St. Patty's Day. Pretend its March, and I'm right on time with this picture.

If/when I get a mini pon(ies), I will dye their hooves black and gold.

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You Know You Live In Pittsburgh When...

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...You can walk into any room of your parents' house and expect to find some indication of a past local sports accomplishment.

As soon as I mentioned my distaste for that ugly triangular Penguins logo yesterday, I knew it would pop up in an unlikely place. Of course, I walked into a spare bedroom in my folks' house, and there it was, staring back at me. It was on an old Hagen ice cream gallon bucket that commemorated the back-to-back cups won by the Pens in '91-'92. 'Burghers are weird in that sort of way. Any mention of a local sports feat is huge. I have old Coca-Cola cans that commemorate the cup wins, or Clemente (He's my dad's favorite Pittsburgh icon) or any other Pittsburgh accomplishment/hero.

This bucket is easily 14-15 years old, and shows that Pittsburgh sports fans put no boundaries on their love of the Buccos/Pens/ Stillers. Any true Pittsburgh sports fan can name dozens of commemorative pieces just like this one that they have, and will never be thrown away. Why else would someone keep an old gallon bucket of Hagen ice cream? If its got a Pittsburgh logo on it, then its a sin to throw it away.

When I find more of these memories, I'll post 'em here. You'll just have to deal with the shoddy cell phone graphics.

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Friday, May 18, 2007

Mini Pony of the Day 5-18-07

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I don't know what is going on in this picture. The only thing I could think of was that this little guy is looking up (ba-zing) at his large friend. Weak. I know.

Or he's crashing face first into this fence, which is sad and funny at the same time.

Its a superb picture of a mini pony, and that warrants it a place as the MPotD. If it was hurt when it crashed into the fence, then it totally deserves the prestige (I guess) of being the MPotD.

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Penguins Choose Arena Design Firm

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What? Penguins news!

Its been awhile, but PSaMP felt it was time to finally move past the disheartening playoff loss to the Senators, and give an update on your Pittsburgh Penguins. Plus, I wanted an excuse to post this badass Pens' logo from the '68 season. Its simplicity makes it a PSaMP favorite. Much better than that triangular deal that they tried to pass off as a logo in the '90s. I couldn't stand that thing.

The Pens have decided on a design firm for the new multi-purpose arena that was at the center of our collective attention just 2 months ago. HOK Sport has been given the green light, and has the awesome task of building another beautiful Pittsburgh sports arena.

HOK designed PNC Park and Heinz Field, which both opened in 2001. If the new Penguins arena is half as nice as the other 2 HOK-designed Pittsburgh sports complexes, then Penguins fans have nothing to worry about. The arena has a tentative price tag of $290 million. It should be open for the start of the '09-'10 season.

The best part of the deal is that HOK is based in Kansas City, the area that desperately wanted the Pens prior to the new 30-year agreement with the city of Pittsburgh. HOK not only is centered in KC, but also designed the Sprint Center, the arena that was offering the Pens a rent-free deal. Yet another kick in the teeth to all those hopeful fans at My KC Penguins. Great job getting all worked up for nothing, ya weirdos.

I can't wait to see what the good people at HOK have in store for all us Pens fans. After seeing their works for the Buccos and Stillers, PSaMP is eager to witness an arena that is good enough for Darren McCord in Sudden Death 2.



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Please Demote Tony Armas Jr.

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How can a 7-2 win spell the end for a game’s starting pitcher? Well, if your name is Tony Armas Jr., you only pitch 3 innings (again) and the guy who relieves you pitches well above your stats, then demotion might just be in the works.

Ronny Paulino came through with 3 RBIs against the Marlins, and Shawn Chacon pitched 5 scoreless innings in relief of Armas to record the win. Armas allowed 2 earned runs on 3 hits and 2 walks in 3 innings. Jim Tracy, who has been dodging questions about Armas’ possible demotion, can elude the hounding no further. He’s come out and said that it isn’t good when you have to ask your starter for the ball in the 2nd or 3rd inning. Tracy had to do just that yesterday. Luckily, the move paid off, and Chacon pitched well enough to allow the Pirates’ offense to kick into gear.

Chacon only allowed 1 free pass, induced 6 groundouts, 6 flyouts and 3 strikeouts. Could Chacon take Armas’ place in the rotation? Very possible. Or, Bryan Bullington (6-1 2.40 ERA) or John Van Benschoten (3-3 2.47 ERA) could fill that spot. Even if one of those two who are currently in Triple-A Indianapolis don’t make the starting rotation, they could move to the bullpen, giving Chacon a chance to start again. I would be pleased with either decision. Chacon is clearly a better talent than Armas, and a demotion for Armas would mean that Bullington or Van Benschoten would be able to face some major league hitting in some capacity.

One reason for the past 14 losing seasons, is that the Buccos constantly stick with bad pitchers, mainly because there is no other option. Over the past 3-4 seasons, our current starters were all too young and inexperienced to be called up to the bigs. With a tiny payroll, Pittsburgh couldn’t afford to spend lavishly on free agents either. This year, the Pirates tried to get into a bidding war for former Buccos starter Jeff Suppan, but couldn’t match Milwaukee’s offer. Instead, Pittsburgh settled for Washington castoff Tony Armas Jr. This decision is obviously not working out. Luckily, the Pirates finally have some young pitching in the minors who are just waiting for their chance to start in a Pittsburgh uni. Bullington has been putting up some ridiculous numbers, and Van Benschoten, at the very least, is a better fit than Armas.

Chacon, Bullington or Van Benschoten? I’d be pleased with either as our 5th starter. I’d also like to see Maholm demoted, so maybe a couple of these guys are about to get their first chance of 2007.

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Mini Pony of the Day 5-17-07

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One small photo. That is all you get today. I was outside all day, helping my dad paint the house.

Despite the size, this photo is awesome. The MPotD is ridiculously in flight. Jumping mini ponies will always be cool in my book, and I hope they give as much joy to you as they do to me. I would love to see this mini pony jump over another mini pony. That would double the coolness of this picture. Plus, this dude has enough hang time to easily make it over one of his buddies.

I promise that I'll get you some more sweet content tomorrow. I wasn't expecting to be outside as much as I was today. I deserve your punishments...

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Mini Pony of the Day 5-16-07

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For today's MPotD, we're going way back. Looks like people in the olde tymes were fans of mini ponies as well. Four kids on one mini pony...impressive. Even the person in the background is amazed by the feat. These kids know how to party.

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Lava Hot Reads

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The Bucs and Fins are tied at 1. ADD Laroche hit his 4th homer of the year. Most likely because he made my Reasons to Keep Watching the Bucs This Season updated list. Or not. I'm just glad he hit one. No matter what, here are some sick reads from all around the blogosphere that you should definitely check out:

Nice! ADD Laroche just hit a single to score Jack Wilson! The Marlins scored in the 3rd to take the lead, but Laroche came through to tie it up for the 2nd time this game. I will take all the credit for this one.

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Reasons to Keep Watching the Bucs This Season. Yet Another UPDATE

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Paul Maholm, who has little chance of making this list, decided to suck again, giving up 3 homers to the Florida "Just Recently Got Swept By The Nats" Marlins. The Marlins won, 9-3, and I'd rather focus on positives rather than negatives. With a season record of 17-21, I figured it was time to update my season-long list of reasons to stick with our Buccos.

14. ADD Laroche. I refuse to mention his first name, primarily because he's been absolutely terrible to this point. There is little difference between Laroche and former Pirate Craig Wilson, and Laroche is doing a great job of filling the underachieving 1st baseman role that Wilson left vacant. However, it is no longer April. Laroche's career numbers have consistently been in the cellar in April, and exploded as the season wears on. He's starting to swing the bat a little better, and recently had his first 3-hit game as a Bucco. He laced a double of Sergio Mitre last night, sending Ryan Doumit to 3rd, where he scored on a wild pitch. Laroche then scored on a Nady sac fly. ADD's average still sits well below .200 (.179 actually), but he is starting to show some positives.

15. Jose Castillo. Castillo isn't a regular starter, after spending most of his first 3 years in Pittsburgh as the everyday 2nd baseman. He filled in nicely for Freddy Sanchez for the first week of the season, and has been getting some reps at 3rd with Jose Bautista nursing an ankle problem. He helped break open a close game in the series opener against the Marlins with a 2-run double, and made some stellar defensive stops in both games of the series thus far. With a relatively young infield, Castillo is a guy who can step in and perform well at 2nd or 3rd.

16. Ryan Doumit. When Ronny Paulino is hurt or slumping, Doumit can step in and perform. When ADD is slumping or hurt, Doumit can perform. The guy is hitting .397 with a .457 OBP. Sure, he hasn't been in a Pirate uni all season, but he is showing why the Pirates called him up. Doumit needs to be a guy who can consistently hit for power, while also batting over .300, for the Pirates to have season-long success.

17. With Doumit, Pirates Can Win More "Laughers." Credit goes to the Post-Gazette for the story, but it is the truth. Good teams win laughers, aka large-margin wins. The team is 12-7 in one-run games this year, and the 13-2 win over the Braves on Mother's Day was only the 2nd 5-or-more-run-margin win this season. The 7-0 win over Florida in the series opener pushes that total to 3. Doumit's numbers have been good, and his addition to the lineup gives the Bucco bats a significant amount of pop. With Doumit, the Pirates can increase their number of large-margin victories.

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Reasons to Keep Watching the Bucs This Season (Comprehensive)

1. Tom Gorzelanny. Wow! I never thought he would be reason number 1. The kid is on pace for 25-30 wins! How could you not get behind a young pitcher with a perfect early-season record? His ERA is a more than respectable 2.05 (Take that, Tony Armas Jr. and your 18.90 ERA), and is second on the team in strikeouts. He might (will) flare out. No pitcher in today's game will win 3 of every 4 starts, but it is nice to have that kind of success early on.

2. Ian Snell. He is reason number 2, because he leads the team with 24 strikeouts through 27 innings pitched. His strikeout per innings ratio is a little lower than Gorzo, but he can flat-out make hitters miss. In a sport where games can turn on one bad pitch, I'm relying on Ian to trust his stuff (I never like when people use that expression. Sounds kinda weird and dirty) and keep making batters whiff.

3. Brad Eldred. Yeah, the Pirates are having trouble making room for Big Country. The management seemed to forget Country when they decided to trade for ADD (.105 avg, .281 slg) Laroche this past offseason. The same thing happened last season when the Bucs brought in "hometown hero" Sean (Left fielders can throw me out at 1st) Casey. Neither 1st base pickup brought any life to the Pirates bats (I'm still hoping Laroche will heat up), and Big Country is still forced to look from the dugout. Even though Eldred is sporting a .117 average, he has only been to the plate 17 times. As the season progresses further, expect the Paul Bunyan-esque Brad to get more playing time while stepping in for guys that are tired/slumping

4. We Play in the National League Central. This argument always frustrated me, but it is the truth. While the NL Central isn't the worst division in the bigs, it isn't necessarily a powerhouse. A 7-10 record is only 4 games behind the Brewers (who have played 2 more games), the only team in the Central with a record over .500. If the Buccos can warm up against Woody Williams and the rest of the Astros staff this week, the team has a legitimate shot at reaching .500 and contending for the division lead.

5. Andrew McCutchen. He's not in the bigs yet, but a mid-to-late season call-up is not entirely out of the picture. Citing 14 years of regular season debacles, there is a high possibility that Andrew could be in a Pirates uniform before the active roster expands from 25 to 40 on September 1st. For a team that once employed Adam Hyzdu, having McCutchen on the roster would definitely be a bonus. The Buccos will still be entertaining to watch as the season rolls down even if this year turns out like the past 14, simply because we might get a chance to see Andy face some major-league pitching.

6. Adam Hyzdu is Not on the Roster. While the offense is still finding its groove and the team sits 3 games below .500, there is no reason to believe that this team can't make a meaningful run. Jason Bay is a 2-time All Star and former Rookie of the Year. Freddy Sanchez is the defending NL Batting Champ and an All Star last season. ADD Laroche put up career-bests last year with a .285 average, 30 home runs, and 90 RBIs. Jose Bautista and Ronny Paulino have the ability to be big-time performers in the future, and Chris Duffy is actually looking like a legit leadoff man who can swipe a ton of bases. The roster is good enough to get this team over .500. Let's just hope the motivation and execution are there as well.

7. Its Only April 23! The season is still young. The Pirates have played only 17 out of 162 games. There's no reason to believe (Other than the past 14 years) that the Buccos will play 7-10 ball from here on out. Alex Rodriguez hit his 14th homer in New York's 18th game overall. He tied the April Home Runs record set by Albert Pujols last year. Did Pujols keep up that pace and hit 125 homers last year? Not a chance. What I'm saying is that the season is long, and this is only April. The Bucs have a long way to go, but I'm expecting a vast improvement over the course of the season (Although I've said this for the past 14 years).

8. Humberto Cota is on the DL. Honestly, why is this guy still on our team? With Ryan Doumit being called up and contributing early, Cota is, at best, our 3rd catcher. He strikes out too much, that is, when he actually gets into a game. I thought he was gone last year, when Jim Tracy struggled to find places for him to play. The Bucs tried to off him by retiring Paul Waner's number 11, the number that Cota was still wearing. That didn't work, so I guess the DL is the next best place for Humberto.

9. We Play Houston 9 More Times. But not again until July 20th. Still, that's 9 more wins towards the goal of 82. If the Pirates continue to mirror the early success of the Pens against the Flyers, then Houston has no chance for the remainder of the season. Who knew that Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte had that much of an impact on the club? However, Houston has been a notoriously slow starter for the past several seasons and before you know it, they're advancing in the playoffs. I haven't completely written them off, but I like the Pirates' chances from here on out.

10. The 'Pen is Looking Good. Larry Brown Sports hit the nail on the head when he commented on the outstanding relief arms on the Pittsburgh roster. Jonah Bayliss and Matt Capps recorded the first 2 wins of the season for the Bucs, and John Grabow, who is just back from injury, was credited with the save yesterday. John Wasdin pitched 2 scoreless innings for the marathon win in the 16th, and former Yankees starter Shawn Chacon lurks in the 'Pen as well. The only big question mark is Torres (That's actually a huge question mark right now), so if he can return to form, the Buccos can rely on durable relievers to back up our relatively young starting pitchers.

11. Injuries Haven't Played A Huge Role, Yet. Defending NL Batting Champ Freddy Sanchez started the season on the DL, and John Wasdin currently sits on the DL. Xavier Nady battled what seems to be Crohn's disease, and even teweaked a hammy. However, injuries have been kind to the Bucs so far. At least no one has showed us their ankle bone anytime recently.

12. Bautista and Paulino Cemented My Claim Last Night. Reason 6 was on my original list, and I named both Jose Bautista and Ronny Paulino as future stars. The next game, Paulino hit his first homer of the year. Last night, Bautista and Paulino hit back to back homers on successive Dave Bush pitches. It was the first back to back instance for the team this year. Pretty good when it comes from 2 young guys who occupy the 7 and 8 batting slots.

13. Bryan Bullington. Yeah, he's in Triple-A Indianapolis, but his numbers are crazy right now. 4-0 with a 1.17 ERA. He's only allowed 5 runs in 5 starts (4 earned runs) and has given up just one homer. He's not really blowing by batters, having only 14 K's in a little over 30 innings, but 4-0 is 4-0. If he keeps putting up numbers like this, how long will he stay an Indian?

14. ADD Laroche. I refuse to mention his first name, primarily because he's been absolutely terrible to this point. There is little difference between Laroche and former Pirate Craig Wilson, and Laroche is doing a great job of filling the underachieving 1st baseman role that Wilson left vacant. However, it is no longer April. Laroche's career numbers have consistently been in the cellar in April, and exploded as the season wears on. He's starting to swing the bat a little better, and recently had his first 3-hit game as a Bucco. He laced a double of Sergio Mitre last night, sending Ryan Doumit to 3rd, where he scored on a wild pitch. Laroche then scored on a Nady sac fly. ADD's average still sits well below .200 (.179 actually), but he is starting to show some positives.

15. Jose Castillo. Castillo isn't a regular starter, after spending most of his first 3 years in Pittsburgh as the everyday 2nd baseman. He filled in nicely for Freddy Sanchez for the first week of the season, and has been getting some reps at 3rd with Jose Bautista nursing an ankle problem. He helped break open a close game in the series opener against the Marlins with a 2-run double, and made some stellar defensive stops in both games of the series thus far. With a relatively young infield, Castillo is a guy who can step in and perform well at 2nd or 3rd.

16. Ryan Doumit. When Ronny Paulino is hurt or slumping, Doumit can step in and perform. When ADD is slumping or hurt, Doumit can perform. The guy is hitting .397 with a .457 OBP. Sure, he hasn't been in a Pirate uni all season, but he is showing why the Pirates called him up. Doumit needs to be a guy who can consistently hit for power, while also batting over .300, for the Pirates to have season-long success.

17. With Doumit, Pirates Can Win More "Laughers." Credit goes to the Post-Gazette for the story, but it is the truth. Good teams win laughers, aka large-margin wins. The team is 12-7 in one-run games this year, and the 13-2 win over the Braves on Mother's Day was only the 2nd 5-or-more-run-margin win this season. The 7-0 win over Florida in the series opener pushes that total to 3. Doumit's numbers have been good, and his addition to the lineup gives the Bucco bats a significant amount of pop. With Doumit, the Pirates can increase their number of large-margin victories.



Reasons to Keep Watching the Bucs Archive:
7 Reasons to Keep Watching the Bucs This Season
Pirates Complete 2nd Series Sweep Against Houston This Season
Reasons to Keep Watching the Bucs This Season. UPDATE.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Mini Pony of the Day 5-15-07

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So its been awhile since PSaMP has given you a cool miniature horse of the day. However, PSaMP is back from its mini vacation. In essence, today's MPotD has got to be huge, in order to make up for lost time.

PSaMP was a fan of the 1st season of Rob and Big, even though MTv pretty much sucks. However, the 2nd season is about to start, and word is that the duo has a mini pony to go along with Meaty, the skateboarding bulldog. This video will fill you in on the rest. I hope RaB doesn't get overplayed and watered down, a la "Osbournes" and "Jackass." Rob and Big without a mini pony. Awesome. Rob and Big with a mini pony. Even cooler.

Do work.

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Can Anyone Stop the Passion? Rhetorical Question. The Answer Is No.

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The Northern Division is beginning to get competitive, but your Pittsburgh Passion are clearly the team to beat. With an overpowering 53-7 win over the Philadelphia Phoenix on Saturday, the Passion now sit at an undefeated 4-0. Erie and Cleveland are both 3-1, but both teams’ quest for perfection were marred by the unstoppable Passion.

Torina Henley never ceases to amaze PSaMP. She has surpassed her previous week’s yards per carry mark in every game, and it seemed impossible for her to continue the streak, after averaging an astounding 17.3 yards per carry last week. However, Henley quieted any critics, and continued her dominance by averaging 17.4 yards against Philly. Her 9 rushes went for 157 yards. She also added 4 touchdowns. Henley is 5th in the league, with 501 yards on the ground.

Lisa Horton completed 7 of her 13 pass attempts for 116 yards and 2 touchdowns. Her passer rating of 123.7 was absurd again. She has passed for 535 yards on the season, good for 4th in the league. Her passer rating for the season stands at 137.8, a full 21.8 points above Phoenix’s Angela D’Rossi. Wilma Walton, an obvious deep threat, caught one pass for 53 yards and a score. With only 7 receptions on the season, Walton is 5th in the league with 261 receiving yards. Her yards per catch average is an unheard-of 37.3 yards per.

Defensively, the Passion are emitting shades of the Steel Curtain (Yeah, I said it). Olivia Griswold recorded 4 solo tackles among her 18 total tackles. The Steelers should have drafted her in the first round. She’s 5th in the league (I sense a trend here) with 48 tackles on the season. Almost more impressive this week was Kim Zubovic. This is PSaMP’s first mention of Zubovic, but she deserves it. All 12 of her tackles were of the solo variety. Incredible!

The Passion didn’t need to punt at all. Compare that to Philly’s 9 punts.

Pittsburgh is 2-0 at home and on the road. The team’s 2nd bye is this weekend, depriving Pittsburgh’s NWFA fans of their favorite team, but play in Cleveland against the Fusion on the 26th. The Passion defeated Cleveland 28-14 in their season opener, and will look to duplicate that feat when the teams meet again.

The Passion also have their own Dance Team! Rockin’!

Haven't met the team? Then check out this video.

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Monday, May 14, 2007

PSaMP Is A Homer? You're Kidding!

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Real quick, I wanted to give a shout out to the University of Delaware men's lacrosse team, who beat UVA 14-8 in the Division 1 men's tourney. I'm currently in the state of Delaware, and in true homer fashion, I've decided to give credit where credit is due. Pittsburgh isn't really known for lax (unless you count the Crossefire, the Steel City's former indoor team that was home to lacrosse legend Gary Gait), so PSaMP has adopted the Blue Hens as my team to root for. Fitting that UD won while I'm briefly in the state. The Blue Hens better win their next game, which is against the University of Maryland Baltimore County, an unseeded team much like UD, on May 20th.

Great job, Delaware men's lacrosse! Way to make PSaMP proud!

That is all.

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