Saturday, June 30, 2007

Mini Pony of the Day 6-30-07

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Dude, the grunge phase has been over for some time. Go back to Seattle.

Or just cut your hair and stick around. That works, too.

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Friday, June 29, 2007

Mini Pony of the Day 6-29-07

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Yes! A mini pony playing ball with a great dane.

Pretty much the greatest thing that could happen. And by greatest, I mean randomest.

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Visitor of the Week: Last Week of June

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Its back!

Here's the next chapter of the newest addition to PSaMP, Visitor of the Week.

Its funny how, as a blogger, you can type one word, and so many people will find your site by googling some version of it. The word of the day is shirtless.

I used it when Jeff Reed gave us a bevy of new pictures, and I felt inclined to report on them. Thanks, Jeff Reed, and your shirtless manscaping.

Plus, I haven't updated on Geno for awhile, save for when he dominated the Calder field for his first piece of hardware.

However, someone in the Steel City wanted to find some tell-tale sign of Geno's chest, when they googled "Evgeni Malkin shirtless." I'll tell you now, there are no pictures of a shirtless Geno on PSaMP. Anywhere.

This crazy googling does earn this reader a spot as Visitor of the Week, though.

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Inside the Athletes Studio: An Interview with Andy Chomos of Fans for Change

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Don't get it twisted, PSaMP isn't going to bring you awesome interviews every few days. The past week just happened to be really good if you're a Pittsburgh sports fan. First, Torina Henley stopped by, then Don from Mondesi's House gave some of his time. Now, Inside the Athletes Studio brings you the 3rd installment in the series.

Who would've thought that the hottest topic in Pittsburgh sports at the end of June would be the Pirates? Its not because of their play, despite winning 2 of their last 3. The Buccos have been making news because of a proposed walk-out, which has finally caught the eye of the organization. Fans for Change is a grassroots campaign that is hoping to use a protest to voice displeasure with decisions made by the Pirates organization.

Leading the way is Andy Chomos, CEO of Caracal, Inc., which works with Silicon Carbide. Silicon Carbide (SiC) is a wide bandgap semiconductor with the potential to dramatically improve energy efficiency in a wide range of industries, including lighting, power electronics, and telecommunications. He has spent much of his recent time spreading the word about Fans for Change, and the walk-out of the June 30th home game against the Nationals.

PSaMP is happy to bring you, the reader, an exclusive interview with Andy Chomos, who has been all over the local sports scene in the last few weeks. Andy has way more important fish to fry, between his work at Caracal and Fans for Change, so PSaMP is proud to give you access into the mind of the the one and only Andy Chomos.
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Are you a lifelong Pirate fan? If so, what’s your fondest Pirate memory?

I am 43 years old and have been a Pirate FAN since age 6. Many great memories! Steve Blass leaping into the air after the '71 series win. Clemente throwing out a runner going to third from DEEP right field. Dave Parker gunning out a runner trying to tag up from 3rd in an All Star Game. Rennie Stennant going 7 for 7 batting. Or even more simple memories, as a young child listening to Bob Price and Nellie King on my small transistor radio, listening intently on each pitch while pulling out the baseball card of the particular Pirate that was involved in the play.

How did Fans for Change come about? Was it planned for some time, or was it spur of the moment?

FANS FOR CHANGE came about via the “perfect storm." The Pirates had just had a disappointing series with the Yankees, and then drafted the 5th best pitcher in the draft with the 4th pick overall. The failure to draft the highest caliber player available gave me the realization that this Ownership and Management team does not place a priority on fielding a championship caliber team.

Why now? Is this something that can’t wait any longer?

The State of PA is in a budget crisis. Programs like Big Brothers/Big Sisters (of which I volunteer for), work force development programs are all facing budget cuts. Additionally, the State was debating raising our Sales Taxes. Then I came across the Forbes article that listed the Pirates as the 3rd most profitable team in baseball and the sweetheart stadium lease deal, and I thought these guys committed to fielding a winning team when they got over $240 million in a taxpayer-financed stadium.

Last year, Orioles fans had a walk-out of their own. This season, they’re still below .500, and their manager has been canned. Can Fans for Change get real results?

The Pirates are just starting to get a sense of the level of FAN frustration. This movement has awakened the passion of the Baseball Purists. A smart business person pays attention to his customers. Our goal is to have the Pirates take TANGIBLE measures to improve the quality of the team and DISCLOSE those measures before Ticket sales start for the 2008 season. Next year, we demand a better product before we are willing to cut a check.

How do you feel about the Pirates blacking out all mentions of the walk-out during the game? Will that minimize the effect of the protest?

Personally, I feel the blacking out is a tactical error by the Pirates. An on-line Post-Gazette Survey with over 12,000 respondents indicates 75% of the FANS will walk off for the 4th inning. The customers are speaking. You don’t ignore or BLACK OUT your customers. I am also confident that the other local media outlets are savy enough and have the resources to get the footage they need.

Since the Pirates organization is blacking out the protest, it means they know about it. Is that the first step towards change?

Raising FAN awareness about some of these economics has been a BIG first step. So many fans that I’ve spoken to simply gave the Pirates a pass for losing because they assumed the team was still losing money.

What’s something fans don’t already know about the walk-out?

Our surprise guest speaker from the 1971 team.

What’s the support been like? Any negative reactions?

Very strong support as evidenced by the Post-Gazette poll.

Best case scenario for Saturday’s game is…?

35,000 empty seats and having a foul ball clank around with no one chasing it.

Anything else you want to tell fans? Or any other information for those wishing to attend?

Wear GREEN shirts as a sign of solidarity. This is THEIR TIME TO STAND UP FOR YOURSELF. Don’t be passive, take a stand for change. The legacy of this once-proud franchise deserves better!


- Andy Chomos, CEO Caracal, Inc.



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Mini Pony of the Day 6-28-07

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This MPotD comes from reader Bryan.

This pony is wearing the coolest kicks I've ever seen. To quote Memphis Bleek, "Have you ever seen a pair of kicks this crispy?"

Guide horses are always awesome in my book. They are useful and cute at the same time.

And I would defy the Do Not Touch sign just like this lady. It says Do Not Touch, but it says nothing about hugging/petting/feeding.

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Congrats to Ron Francis

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PSaMP sends congratulations to Ron Francis, the former Penguin center, upon hearing of his induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

The Hockey Hall doesn't let just anyone in. I'm talking 4 players max each year. Francis will be inducted along with Mark Messier, Al MacInnis and Scott Stevens. That's a pretty solid class. Jim Gregory, an NHL Executive, was also voted in as an NHL builder.

Ron Francis will forever be linked to the Penguins, despite also playing for the Whalers, Hurricanes and Maple Leafs. Francis helped bring back to back championships to the 'Burgh in '91 and '92.

Dude played for 23 years. People can talk all they want about Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson or any other 40+ MLB pitcher and how they've played for so long. Ron Francis took hits for 23 years. Ron Francis handed out hits for 23 years. And despite the physicality of his sport, he finished his career 4th on the all-time points list with 1,798.

With Francis and Messier, 2nd overall in career points, this year's class is pretty incredible. Penguins fans have been blessed to see so many great players take the ice in a Pittsburgh uniform. Ron Francis was one of those guys, and he deserves his place among Hockey's immortals.

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Pirates Brass Downplaying Walk-Out

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Apparently, Pirates management knows about the proposed walk-out on June 30th. And they are going to pretend like its not happening.

Unless you're one of the 38,000 people (who am I kidding, probably more like 19-20,000) at the game on Saturday, or you plan on hanging out on the North Shore, you're probably not going to see any coverage of the walk-out. The big boys are making sure that there is no media coverage of the protest in the 3rd inning.

One thing I didn't know/think of... The walk-out is being held on Bob Walk bobblehead night. That. Is. Awesome. Perfect timing by Andy Chomos and Fans for Change.

Here are some of the steps that the organization is taking to prevent mass viewings of the walk-out.

- FSN Pittsburgh game crew is not to discuss the walk-out at all.

- All comments referring to the walk-out have been removed from the Pirates message board.

- FSN has agreed to not show any coverage of the walk-out.

- MASN, the media outlet covering the Nationals (Pittsburgh's opponent) will be on commercial break. FSN will cut to commercial as well.

The only logical way to see any media coverage of the protest would be to tune into KDKA, WTAE or WPXI, the three local news agencies. KDKA has a Tower Cam on the roof of Gateway No. 1, which would provide good but not great images of the protest. PXI and TAE also have news helicopters that might be in service in the vicinity of PNC Park that night.

Although FSN has agreed to not cover the story during the game, they will discuss it on the bevy of shows after the game. Stan Savran and Pittsburgh Sports Tonight have already discussed the protest, and will continue to do so after Saturday's game.

So, remember when I said that it was a long shot to have this protest reach the ears of the Buccos management? Well, it seems like it worked, on a very small level. The decision to not show any coverage of the walk-out?...Weak. I mean, if we're pretending that the past 14 (going on 15) losing seasons haven't happened, we might as well pretend like this protest isn't happening as well. There's nothing like ignorant bliss.

The team knows about the walk-out. Great. Time will only tell if the protest causes any changes.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Mini Pony of the Day 6-27-07

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Mini ponies are always cool. Pug dogs are always cool as well. Pictures that include mini ponies and pug dogs blow my mind.

Brace yourself, because this mini poniy's name is Lilliput Acres ShowMe Itty Bitty. I can't make this stuff up. Here's the proof. Its the same site that PSaMP found June 22nd's MPotD on. That was Napoleon Dynamite. This one's name is so much better.

My sister asked me about the odd hair patterns on this horse. I had no answer.

I can promise that future Mini Ponies of the Day will come from this same site. There are tons of great ones to choose from. Some have this crazy hair pattern. Others don't. They are all cool, though.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Inside the Athletes Studio: An Interview with Don from Mondesi's House

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PSaMP is excited.

June has been a pretty good month. You, the visitor, have made June the most visited month in PSaMP history. Yes, PSaMP's history is pretty short, but June is really bringing it.

Between the reads, your suggestions, cool links from bigger sites and my writing, PSaMP is reaching a wider audience every day. Last week, I brought you the initial installment of Inside the Athletes Studio, a segment in which PSaMP interviews prominent people with ties to Pittsburgh sports. Torina Henley, Running Back of the still-undefeated Pittsburgh Passion, was a great first guest.

Today, I have a treat. PSaMP was able to throw some questions at a guy named Don. "Who is Don?", you might ask. Don owns/operates/writes for a little sportsblog that you may or may not have heard about. Its called Mondesi's House, and its well worth your time. Go there. They can use the visits.

In all seriousness, Mondesi's House, Pittsburgh's most-read sportsblog, was a huge inspiration to PSaMP. I started this site primarily because of the great content over at Mondesi's House. With his unique style and countless radio interviews, Don proves that Pittsburgh fans can have a voice, and that voice can be heard by countless readers worldwide.

Within the Pittsburgh sportsblog community, there is a sense of camaraderie. I mean, there is only a certain amount of stories that the growing list of Pittsburgh sportsbloggers can write about. However, each brings their own style, which provides fresh views on popular local stories. Visit any of the Pittsburgh sportsblogs out there and I'm sure Mondesi's House was an inspiration to a good many of them.

Oh, and this week is the one-year anniversary for Mondesi's House. PSaMP didn't even think about this when asking for an interview. But I guess all things work out if you try hard enough.

So I'll stop gushing, and let you hear what Don had to say about several topics that PSaMP was eager to hear about. Don's take is peerless, and is a major reason that Mondesi's House is so successful. I'll shut up now, and let Don take it away.
-




I count Mondesi's House as a major inspiration for starting PSaMP. Were there other sites that inspired you to start MH? Was it more of, "Hey, I could do that" or was the site well-planned?

I'd like to think it was well-planned. I surveyed the Pittsburgh sports blog scene at the time and felt like no one was doing what I wanted to do. There were some great sites, but they usually focused on one team, and most didn't really make much use of the kind of photos I wanted to use. I aspired to create a site that I would want to visit as a reader.

Like most sports bloggers, you have to start at Deadspin as an inspiration. They're the gold standard. My definition of an interesting site is one where you don't know what will come next. Kind of like the way Howard Stern's show was described in his Private Parts movie. That's what Deadspin is. You have no idea what's around the corner.

I liked the unexpected quality of their site, but I tried to add on. I mix in some opinion, some analysis, some Q&A...and now I'd like to think that I've found my own niche. I think being called "a Pittsburgh version of Deadspin" isn't accurate, because I feel like I do a number of things that they don't.

But being the man in charge of this site is exciting in its own right. Why? Because I don't know what rumor, photo, or tip I'll find in my inbox next.

As it stands now, there are a number of Pittsburgh-based sites that use Mondesi's House as a model. Many of them were, or are, readers of mine. I take great pride in inspiring someone to write.

Are there any writers or journalists that you model your writing style around?

From the sports world:

DJ Gallo of Sports Pickle and ESPN.com - has a very similar sense of humor to mine. We both seem to dislike the same teams and athletes. He's also been a personal mentor to me, which increases his "good guy" standing in my book.

Bill Simmons of ESPN.com - He loses me sometimes with all the 80s stuff, the 4-team NBA trades, and the constant barrage of all things Boston. But still a must-read in my book. I love his interaction with readers.

Mark Madden of ESPN Radio 1250 - May rub some the wrong way, but never hesitates to speak his mind. I like honesty as a sports journalist.

Will Leitch of Deadspin - The best national blogger going. Period.

Michael Wilbon of ESPN and PTI - Very well prepared, professional, and gets his point across without being a jerk. No schtick. That goes a long way with me.

From the comedy world:

Conan O'Brien: Despite his success, doesn't take himself too seriously. If you'll notice, I have been known to take more than a few shots at myself on the site.

Jim Krenn and Randy Baumann of WDVE: They have Pittsburgh comedy down to a science.

Jerry Seinfeld: The king of observational humor. I try to catch things in Pittsburgh sports that might fly under the radar.

What's the best thing to happen to you since you started the House?

Realizing that I have a voice and the ability to shape opinions. And getting to know so many of my readers on a personal level. I feel like I've made thousands of new friends in the last year.

You've done plenty of radio interviews. How do those stack up against actual blogging?

Tougher than you would think. Don't get me wrong, it's not rocket science, but it certainly takes some getting used to if you want to do a good job with it. You have to have quick answers, you have to be prepared, and it certainly helps to get a laugh from the host. I think I've gotten better, because my comfort level is much greater now than when I did my first interview last year. When you're in front of the biggest radio audience in the city [WDVE] and it's your first radio interview ever, it can be a little intimidating.

I count the '04-'05 playoff game against the Jets, where Doug Brien missed two field goals and the Steelers won in OT, as one of the best games I've ever gone to. Also, Bettis' last home game and the game where Polamalu intercepted Carson Palmer and weaved through the entire Bengal offense for the touchdown are also on that list. Do you have any unique games, Steelers, Pirates or Penguins, that you went to, that stick out in your mind as exceptional?

I've been lucky enough to attend a ton of great Pittsburgh games in my relatively short life. Some had the result I hoped for, others did not. Off the top of my head, a few favorites:

---The Penguins-Flyers overtime game in 2000 that went 5 OTs. Yeah, we lost, but I can say I was there. I'll never forget how slow the pace was by the end. I'll also never forget the fact that I got home at about 4 AM.

---Last game at Pitt Stadium, Pitt beat Notre Dame. I was only at the game because a Pitt law student friend of mine had some studying to do. I will never forget that act of kindness. The game was an absolute classic, a back-and-forth shootout the entire game. We rushed the field after the game, I bumped into a few jubilant Panthers...it was an all-night party.

---Canadiens at Pens, 2005. I'm sitting five rows behind the net and here comes Sidney Crosby on a shootout. He buries it for his first shootout goal, the goalie's Gatorade bottle goes flying in the air...I will never forget it.

---Last game at Three Rivers, for the Pirates and the Steelers. Our city had a run of "last games" for a while there, and I seemed to catch all of them. The Pirates' last game would have been great if Wehner could have come through in the last inning, but that kinda sums up the Pirate experience. I went to the Steeler game (vs. the Redskins) with my dad and brother. We arrived about 10 minutes before kickoff, somehow scored 3 tickets together from a scalper, and soaked up every last minute of the experience. Lots of good memories for me in that stadium.

---1994 MLB All Star Game and HR Derby. At the derby, it was amazing to watch the Big Hurt and Griffey park shots into the Three Rivers upper deck. That's not something you see everyday. As for the game itself, it was an exciting extra-innings affair, and although I was sitting in one of the highest seats in the stadium, I was truly thrilled to be there.

---1997, Broncos at Steelers (the regular season game, NOT the AFC Championship). Kordell at his finest, Elway at his peak, and the Steelers end up winning a thriller. Plus, the added bonus of an overzealous and oversized Bronco fan getting kicked out for taunting Steeler fans the entire game.

---It wasn't a Pittsburgh game, but Super Bowl 31 in New Orleans, 1997, Packers-Pats. My dad actually got a pair of tickets from a business associate, and even though the Steelers were eliminated, it was still a sight to behold. I'll never forget Bourbon Street littered with drunk Packers fans. I could have only imagined the scene if the Steelers would have represented the AFC instead of the Patriots.

As a Pittsburgh blogger, I read Mondesi's House as often as I would the Post-Gazette, Trib, or other news service. How do you approach a day of blogging? Also, what blogs out there in the blogosphere do you frequent?

I actually do the bulk of my work the night before, so I can have things ready for the early risers who enjoy frittering time away at work. First I go through my email and see what the readers have sent. That's usually where most of "The News" comes from. I'm on a pretty tight schedule, so I can't visit as many sites as I would like. But I'll hit a few sports destinations for some of the bigger stories: ESPN, Deadspin, the PG and Trib, and The Big Lead. And a stop on WWTDD.com to let the readers know the latest in the world of Paris Hiltons and Lindsay Lohans.

Gwenjen. Ronnie Florian. Now Cheap Sexson Mondays. You have a gift for creating internet celebrities. How does it feel when something like that takes off?

It's fun, but I can't take full credit. In a way, I'm like the messenger, delivering what the people are telling me. The Gwenjen pics were sent in from a reader. Cheap Sexson Mondays was a story from a reader of mine in Seattle that somehow made it to SI.com. And although I've been talking about him for a while, it was readers who sent in Ronnie Florian photos from various games. I'm telling you, it's the readers that make this site go.

I remember being young and rather disappointed after the '92 NLCS. A lot changed after that game. My team lost, and I felt odd about it. Obviously, the Buccos were a lot better back in those days. What stands out most to you when you think back to that game?

I remember being so confident when Cabrera came to the plate, thinking he was an automatic out because he was a nobody. And then came the hit. And then came me shutting off the TV in disgust at age 15. And then came my 11-year-old brother throwing his mangled Green Weenie at the same TV set. It's 15 years later, and the pain is still there. The Green Weenie, however, is not.

You reach a large audience. Did you ever think Mondesi's House would grow to the level it has in one year?

I'm very proud of how the site has caught on in the first year. I put in hours and hours of hard work: writing, research, radio appearances, and the hardest part, actually watching the Pirates. That being said, there's no other experience like getting fan mail. Having people say they start their day reading your site, telling all of their Pittsburgh-loving friends about it, all of the positive feedback...as a creative person, it's incredibly rewarding to know that people enjoy your work.

Where do you see Mondesi's House in another year?

I want to grow it as much as possible, but remain true to the roots. This site will always be dedicated to Pittsburgh. I have so many ideas for new and fresh angles, it's just a matter of having adequate time. I have enough content for years, and that's if the sports world shuts down tomorrow. I just love to write.

What are your feelings regarding ESPN. A lot of bloggers despise the big E. Others love it. I'm kinda in the middle, whereas I enjoy it for the news/highlights, but still take it with a grain of salt. Plus, that Hashmarks link has got to be a bonus.

If you're a big sports fan, your options are rather limited. That's why people don't just turn it off...they really don't have much of a choice. Their coverage is thorough, but they latch on to certain stories and go over the edge, in my opinion and the opinion of many others. Michelle Wie, Danica Patrick, Yankees/Red Sox, Terrell Owens/Cowboys, steroids, Bonds...these topics have all been thoroughly beaten into the ground. I think they need to mix things up a little.

The WWL really wears me down with the schtick, though. The Skip Baylesses, the Stephen A. Smiths, the Mike & Mikes... why do so many feel the need to put on a fake persona? Is it necessary? I respect their true reporters the most. Guys like Peter Gammons, John Clayton, Buster Olney...I could listen to them all day.

And yes, it's very cool of ESPN to link to my site.

Should the Buccos ditch Dave Littlefield for Ray Shero? And what's your take on the Buccos and their recent first-rounders.

Littlefield has not carved out much of a legacy, but I think his hands are tied for the most part. That being said, he's been an atrocious judge of talent, their system has proven time and time again that they are incapable of developing players, and nearly every decision he makes turns out to be the wrong one. But I'm positive that things will not change under this ownership group. You can change GMs, you can change managers, you can change players, but as long as McNutting is in charge, look forward to another losing season.

Shero has been nothing short of amazing. Just look at the Chris Thorburn trade. Here's a guy he plucked from the waiver wire, and he turns him into a 3rd-round draft pick. I've been very impressed at the way Shero has built the team so far.

Last Friday was big. First the Pens re-sign Roberts and Recchi, then draft a former top prospect in Angelo Esposito. Does Esposito make the club this season, and can the Pens win it all?

I think Esposito makes the team, because he doesn't have the pressure that he would've had if he went top-5. And this is a guy that looks to thrive as a non-"top banana". It looks like a great situation. I like the pick.

I think they can contend, but they might still be a piece or two short at this moment in time. But they are close. Very close.

Finish this sentence. Honestly. "By September, the Pirates..."

"...will be out of my mind because it will be football season."

Favorite Pittsburgh sports moment/memory?

Wow...so many to choose from. As far as memories, I'd say watching Mario Lemieux play or watching a Steeler game at Three Rivers while the stands shook up and down.

And moments? Even though I wasn't alive, the Maz home run was sweet because it took down the Yankees. I always think it gets historically short-changed behind The Shot Heard Round the World, which was merely a playoff game. The Immaculate Reception is great because it usually does get the recognition that it deserves. As far as things that I actually saw in my lifetime, there's Mark Smith's Walk-Off "Freak Show/No Hitter" Home Run in 1997, James Harrison's bodyslam of a Browns fan, Roethlisberger's tackle against the Colts and Vanderjagt's subsequent miss, Larry Fitzgerald's 2003 season, the Steelers' trick plays in the 2006 playoffs, Mario's five goals five ways, Sidney's regular season debut, the playoff comeback against the Browns a few years back...I could go on and on.


- Don (Mondesi)

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So Many Links...

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You may have noticed that my blogroll has grown extensively.

I decided to add all the Pittsburgh sportsblogs that I know of/have read. I meant to do this a long time ago, but I procrastinated. Call it what you want (apathy/laziness), but I finally found time to put up those links. Check 'em all out. At the same time.

If you run a Pittsburgh sportsblog that I don't know of/forgot to link to (most likely the latter) and want to be put on the list, drop me an email at psampmail@gmail.com.

Oh, and the 2nd installment of Inside the Athletes Studio will run tomorrow. I figured I'd tease you a little bit. Now you can spend the night wondering who PSaMP interviewed. All I'll say is...they're important. And its a worthwhile interview. Check it out tomorrow.

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Mini Pony of the Day 6-26-07

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Cool. 2 ponies at once. And yes, this is how I found this picture.

The one on the left is weird. Kinda surreal and creepy, actually. The one on the right is the reason this picture made it as MPotD. That horse is so tiny, and its leaping outta that car with authority.

When I get a mini pony, it will be allowed in my car. I might let it drive...

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10,000 Visits. Hooray!

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Earlier today, PSaMP welcomed its 10,000th visitor! This isn't huge, by other blogs' standards, but it means a lot here.

Plus, I needed an excuse to manipulate this Mr. 10,000 picture that I found. 10,000 visitors is the perfect reason.

All of the reads/comments/emails mean a lot. Keep 'em coming.

That's enough celebration... Back to the goods...

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Monday, June 25, 2007

Mini Pony of the Day 6-25-07

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Lucky girl.

I would use this mini horse as my primary means of transportation. Especially after what happened in Philly earlier today.

Who needs cars when you have trotting miniature ponies? Not me. And not you either.

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Pirates Fans Planning a Walk Out

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Jeez. It only took 14 years.

Disgruntled Pirate fans are planning a walk-out of the June 30th home game to show disgust over poor management and front-office decisions. More info/thoughts here. Many thanks to reader Julie_Gong, who PSaMP knows and loves, for tipping me off about the story.

Andy Chomos and Sean Lucas are the two organizers of the Fans for Change campaign, which they hope will show Pirates management the level of disappointment in today's Buccos fans. They plan on having fans leave after the 3rd inning.

Chomos also wants the fans to wear green shirts, to symbolize money leaving the building. So if the fans throw themselves out of the upper decks and onto the field, would they figuratively be "making it rain?"

PSaMP is sorta on the fence about this one. Has the organization made some terrible decisions over the past 14 years? Yes. Do the fans, who paid for the stadium, have the right to walk out? Yes again. It sounds like a kickass plan, but when in the past 14 years has the organization actually listened to the fans? That answer is never. Sure, a walk-out might gain media attention, but I don't see it as the means to an end. Is Dave Littlefield, sitting in his Lexus Club seat behind home plate, really going to redo the last (10 or so) draft(s) just because fans leave? Its not like PNC is full to capacity anyway. Unless, of course, its the All-Star game, or its fireworks night.

So PSaMP applauds the fans for sticking up for their team. I for one can't stand the direction the team has gone since Sid Bream beat a Barry Bonds throw home some 15 years ago. The fans have the right idea. PSaMP just hopes that Pirates management listens for once.

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6 Words: Don't Ever Fly Out Of Philly

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You know what really makes a blogger mad?

Mean comments/emails? Well, yeah to a certain degree.

Slow sports days? That, too.

Low visitor turnout? Somewhat.

Delayed flights? Bingo.

If anyone tells you to fly out of Philadelphia, don't do it. That airport takes way too many planes each day. Way more than they can handle.

I had to catch a connection flight in Philly on my way from Pittsburgh to NYC. Everything in Pittsburgh was smooth sailing. My troubles began when I got on the plane in Philly.

First, the ramp driver crashed into the plane or something. He needed to be taken to the hospital while the airport supervisor checked to see if there was any damage to the plane. That took about 30 minutes.

Then, after waiting for clearance, the pilot got into line on the runway. We lost valuable time, which put us in 30th position to take off. The pilot said it would be a 40-45 minute wait. It was nearly an hour and a half.

Laguardia? Piece of cake. Philly was horrible. And the weather was terrible. It was nice in Pittsburgh (at like 4 in the morning, may I remind you) and its beautiful in NYC. Philly? Overcast...rainy...disgusting...ramp drivers wrecking into planes. All in all, a horrible experience. That's what I get for trying to save a couple bucks by not taking a direct flight.

If you ever have the opportunity to save some money by transferring flights in Philly, don't do it. I'll personally send you the extra cash just to relieve the traffic in that hellhole.

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Sunday, June 24, 2007

Mini Pony of the Day 6-24-07

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Sweet. A mini pony herd.

And 99% of them are way too into the grass. The only one not eating cool grass is the one getting petted/scratched.

I need to find this place...

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PSaMP is a Witness

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No, this isn't about LeBron James, but it does involve a team making it to the playoffs, and showing everyone that they belong.


Behind a creative offense, the Passion rolled to a victory over the Erie Illusion. The final score was 63-7.

Lisa Horton hit Wilma Walton for a 73 yard touchdown on the opening play of the game. It was all downhill from there for the Illusion.

Score at the end of the first quarter: 28-0.

Halftime score: 49-0.

It was actually 49-0 with about 7 minutes to play in the first. And this was against an Erie team that only allowed 33 points all season. I looked at my buddy and said, "Every time the ball is snapped, Erie doesn't have a chance. When they're on offense, the Passion have 3 defensive line (wo)men in the backfield before the ball is handed off. On defense, the Passion are just having their way with the ball." He wanted the Passion to score 63 before the half was over.

And before the half, Torina Henley got her Reggie Bush on. At their own 49, Lisa Horton handed off to One-Two. Henley ran to the right sideline, coming face to face with several Erie defenders. Stopping on a dime, Torina cut back around the left side, picked up a key block from Horton, and turned a sure-fire loss into an 11 yard gain.

She finished the game with 133 yards on only 6 carries. She also scored twice.

Horton was a major bright spot, completing 7 of 22 passes for 210 yards and 5 touchdowns. She also scored a touchdown with her feet. Horton started the game with 3 touchdowns on her first 3 pass attempts.

In the 3rd, Kate Sullivan trotted out onto the field and lined up on the right side. My buddy looked at me and said, "Touchdown." Sure enough, Horton took the snap, waited, and fired a perfect pass over Sullivan's right shoulder. It was pretty much the icing on the cake.

Erie finally managed a touchdown in the fourth quarter, but only after all the Passion first-stringers were out of the game.

Being a 2 seed, the Passion will play at least one more playoff game at Cupples Stadium.

2 more wins, and the team will play in the championship game in Nashville, Tennessee. Next week's game will be against the Western Michigan Mayhem, who went 6-2 in the regular season. They defeated the Baltimore Burn 33-14 yesterday.

CORRECTION. Lisa Horton went 7 for 11. Damn 1s and 2s are so close to each other on the keyboard.

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New Addition to the Site: Visitor of the Week

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So PSaMP is adding a new feature to the lineup. Last week (or whenever it was) I showed you how ESPN visited the site. I find it humorous how certain people find PSaMP, or more imprtantly, why they find PSaMP.

To honor these visitors, I'm going to start posting my own Visitor if the Week, or VotW. Firdst it was PSaMP, then MPotD, and now VotW. I like letters. Big deal.

I wanted the initial VotW to be a visitor who found PSaMP by googling "Jeff Reed naked." There was also a "Jeff Reed porn" search that somehow linked to my site. However, awesome links from The Big Lead, Awful Announcing and Mondesi's House totally killed any chance of me getting back to that singular visitor.

Instead, this week's VotW (retroactive to the previous week) is someone who obviously wanted to see if Kevin Pittsnogle was going to be drafted in next week's NBA draft. The Pittsburgh Xplosion cannot afford this, seeing as how he's their lone superstar.

So that's the first installment of VotW! Next week's will be posted when I find a cool/random enough visitor. So keep an eye out, because who knows when some crazy visitor will stumble upon PSaMP through odd means, thus rendering them a spot of notoriety as Visitor of the Week

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Passion Win!

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63-7. That's all I'm gonna say now. Erie had no chance.

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

Mini Pony of the Day 6-23-07

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A picture similar to this made it as MPotD, so its only right that you get a video version as well.

PSaMP is making its way to Cupples Stadium for the big Passion playoff game tonight. I'm hoping you all are there. And by "you all," I mean the entire city of Pittsburgh.

Go Passion!

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Penguins Draft Center Esposito

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Before yesterday's draft the possibility of me writing this headline was slim to none. At least in my mind.

Angelo Esposito, the consensus top prospect heading into the past season, slipped to the 20th overall selection, and the Pens were there to snatch him up.

Shero even admitted that the team had no name tag for Angelo, because they thought he would be long gone before the 20th pick. PSaMP thought the same thing.

Whether by luck or design, Ray Shero is out to prove that he's the anti-Dave Littlefield. As the Pirates continue to pick pitchers, thus alienating fans, the Pens have been able to consistently snag top players, creating a corps of young talent that is unrivaled in the current NHL. If Littlefield was the GM of the Pens, he probably would've drafted defensive-minded defensmen in 8 of the last 10 drafts, with 7 or so of them blowing out a knee before making an impact on the team. Shero, on the other hand, is trying to help the struggling NHL by giving fans a unique opportunity to watch what could be the best group of young players ever assembled on one team. Yes, its a little early to make that claim, but try to look at the team and not say something along those lines.

Some scouts claim Esposito plays with creativity, but not enthusiasm. Shero hopes Esposito can find enthusiasm by playing with the likes of Crosby, Malkin, Staal and Fleury.

Yesterday, I wrote a headline that read Its a Good Day to be a Pens Fan. This was only to express my happiness that Shero brought back wingers Mark Recchi and Gary Roberts. I never imagined that those signings would be overshadowed by a middle-first round draft pick. So I was right. Yesterday was awesome for Penguins fans. A little bit of youth added into some veteran wisdom, and PSaMP is already thinking about the start of the NHL season. And some people claim that Pittsburgh's just a football town...

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Friday, June 22, 2007

Its a Good Day to be a Pens Fan!

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Finally!

It seems like its been forever since talks began with the two veterans, but Ray Shero and the Pens signed Gary Roberts and Mark Recchi. Both are signed to 1 year deals.

Roberts' deal is said to be for $2.5 mil, while Recchs can earn up to $2 mil through bonuses.

The Pens should be a clear Stanley Cup favorite going into the season. Seeing what Gary Roberts did for the team down the stretch to the playoffs last season, PSaMP is giddy with excitement over what he can bring for an entire year!

Well played, Ray Shero. Now somebody go buy his tie!

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Mini Pony of the Day 6-22-07

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You are not going to believe me, but this MPotD's name is Napoleon Dynamite.

I kid you not.

Check it out here. I'm not lying.

Napoleon looks like he's smiling.

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Who Wouldn't Want Bill Cowher's Tie?

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Here's a cool fundraiser that you should definitely check out.

Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato announced the auction of 30 celebrity ties that are available for your online bid. The ties, which have been "touring" Pittsburgh for the past month, will be auctioned online at the County's website.

All proceeds will benefit the Kane Foundation, which raises private funds to help enhance the quality of life of the residents of Allegheny County’s four Kane Regional Centers and their families. The Foundation helps to fund adult education classes, cultural and sporting events, and pet therapy, among other activities.

Want to know more about the Kane Centers and who they serve? Glad you asked.

The Kane Regional Centers offer residential skilled nursing care and rehabilitation for short-term and long-term needs in Glen Hazel, McKeesport, Ross Township and Scott Township. The Glen Hazel and Ross Centers also offer comprehensive living centers with a spectrum of short- and long-term residential and non-residential services.

In short, the assisted living centers help improve the quality of life to the residents of all the centers.

Bids will be taken online at this link. Those with the highest bid will receive the autographed tie, along with a caricature of the former tie-owner. PSaMP would go for the Dan Rooney one. It looks rather snazzy.

Here's a list of the big-timers who graciously donated ties to help this cool cause!

The Honorable Joe Biden, U.S. Senator, Delaware
The Honorable Robert P. Casey, Jr., U.S. Senator, Pennsylvania
Bill Cowher, Former Pittsburgh Steelers Coach
The Honorable Mike Doyle, U.S. Congressman, Pennsylvania
Dr. Freddie Fu, Orthopedic Surgeon & Sports Medicine Expert
The Honorable Ted Kennedy, U.S. Senator, Massachusetts
Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Kimmel Live Host
Bobby Knight, Texas Tech Basketball Coach
The Honorable Catherine Baker Knoll, Pennsylvania Lt. Governor
Jimmy Krenn, WDVE Morning Show Host
Jay Leno, Tonight Show Host
Kevin McClatchy, Pittsburgh Pirates Chief Executive Officer
Robert Nutting, Pittsburgh Pirates Chairman
The Honorable Dan Onorato, Allegheny County Chief Executive
The Honorable Mark Pryor, U.S. Senator, Arkansas
The Honorable Luke Ravenstahl, Pittsburgh Mayor
The Honorable Jay Rockefeller, U.S. Senator, West Virginia
Jim Roddey, Former Allegheny County Chief Executive
Dan Rooney, Pittsburgh Steelers Chairman
Tim Russert, Meet the Press Host
Ray Shero, Pittsburgh Penguins General Manager
Max Starks, Pittsburgh Steelers Offensive Lineman
George Steinbrenner, New York Yankees Owner
The Honorable Ted Stevens, U.S. Senator, Alaska
Rod Stewart, Singer
Andrew Stockey, WTAE-TV Anchor
Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers Coach
Dave Wannstedt, Pitt Football Coach
The Honorable Jack Wagner, Pennsylvania Auditor General
George Will, National Columnist

Tons of Pittsburgh sports icons on this list. This unique auction will help you get that much closer to the celebrities you know and love.

Not a Pittsburgh sports fan? Why not go for Rod Stewart's tie? Or how about Bobby Knight or Jay Leno?

Online bidding runs through June 30th, so act fast.

Many thanks to Sean for supplying the link to this worthy cause. PSaMP is all for raising money/helping the community, and the Kane Foundation totally fits the bill.

Now you do your part. Bid on some cool ties and help support the Kane Centers!

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Inside the Athletes Studio: An Interview with Torina Henley

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PSaMP is proud to stay on the cutting edge of Pittsburgh sports. As your official unofficial Pittsburgh Passion blogger (My own title. I made it up myself), I've been happy to bring you, the reader, Passion updates from each Pittsburgh victory this season. The team finished a stunning 8-0, and the ground attack was headed by the 3-H group of QB Lisa Horton and RBs Torina Henley and Lyndsi Hughes.

Torina (pictured above) needed a good showing in the season finale against the Central PA Vipers to break the 1,000 rush yard mark for the season. Henley dug deep, and amassed 176 yards, as the team blanked the Vipers, 77-zip. Her 1,012 yards on the ground led the team this year, and she added 20 TDs on the ground. Word is the Steelers are looking to sign Henley to compete with Najeh Davenport, Kevan Barlow and Fast Willie Parker. I jest...

However, Torina was nice enough to let PSaMP pick her brain, and now you, the reader, get to find out what really goes on in the mind of a humble team leader in the NWFA. Without further ado, here is PSaMP's interview with the remarkable Torina Henley.
-



Thanks for agreeing to answer some questions! Are you originally from Pittsburgh?

Yes, I am originally from the North Side of Pittsburgh.

How did you first find out about the NWFA and the Passion?

One of my teammates heard about it while at work when they first announced there would be a team forming here in Pittsburgh.

Did you play any other sports growing up?

Yes. I ran track, and played basketball, softball, baseball. You name it, I played it!

Pittsburgh fans love their hard-working, blue-collar sports teams. Do you think the Passion fit in with this mold?

Absolutely!

Do you have any superstitions or pre-game rituals?

No superstitions, but I do tend to sleep late the night before games! (smile)

If you could play another sport professionally, what would it be?

I would be a professional sleeper....I don't get enough of it...I will get back to you on that one.

Can you name an untold story about the team that people might not know?

The first time we scrimmaged Cleveland, we didn't have a clue as to what we were up against! They woke us up! They punished us and beat us bad. (PSaMP side note: Pittsburgh swept Cleveland this season! Take that, Fusion!)

Do you consider yourself an "in between the tackles" runner, or would you rather break one to the outside? And what's more fulfilling, breaking a long run or scoring a touchdown?

I am a little bit of both. If the hole is there, I take it. If not, I will hit the outside...FAST! And breaking the long run is more fulfilling. It lasts longer! (smile)

Do you model your game around another football star, or would you rather stand out as a unique player?

No, I don't model my style around any other football stars. We are all unique in our own way.

8-0 is pretty impressive, was that a goal coming into the season? And is there anything you wish you did differently this year?

The undefeated record was a goal, thanks to our coaching staff. (smile) And I wish I gained a little more weight. At least another 10 pounds or so. I play at 163 lbs right now, so its a little light.

June 23rd is officially Pittsburgh Passion Day in the City of Pittsburgh. Did you ever think the Passion would get this kind of recognition?

No, I never thought this would happen while we were still playing. I thought maybe once we were all old and wrinkled!

The regular season is over. How are you and the team putting the regular season success behind you? Do you build on those successes or wipe the slate clean and start from scratch? And what do you know about your upcoming opponent, the Erie Illusion? Will the Passion beat them?

The slate is wiped clean and we're starting new. This is Erie's first time making the playoffs, just like us. We know that they are gonna try their hardest to beat us, so we know they will be gunning for us. And yes, the Passion will win!

The fans love you. Is there anything else you want to say to all the Passion fans out there?

Thanks for all of the support, and please don't stop coming to the games because we can't do it alone. Not without the best fans in the world!

Before I let you go, what else do you want everyone to know about you and the team?

There are no stars on our team, only hard workers, mothers, role models and professional athletes who want this sport to be taken serious. We are one team, one unit, and when we stand, we do it as a team. Together. If there comes a time when we fall, we will do that together as well. I am not our superstar. I am just one part of the Pittsburgh Passion, and I am damn proud of it!


- Torina One-Two Henley

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Mini Pony of the Day 6-21-07

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Meet Peanut, today's MPotD. I'm giving this to you early, because I have a treat for you a little later. PSaMP was able to sit down (sit down = exchange emails) with a Pittsburgh athlete, and the interview will be posted in a little bit. Stay tuned...

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Mini Pony of the Day 6-20-07

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This little dude isn't doing much, but he's still a mini pony. That's good enough to be counted as MPotD.

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Click-Worthy Reads

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Here's what PSaMP is reading now. Join in and you can read words at the same time PSaMP does!

- Personalized NFL Jerseys. DAI is quickly becoming a PSaMP fave and has put out some quality posts in its short existence. These personalized NFL jerseys are a perfect give for the person you love. And by love, I mean don't love.

- Who are the Pens Gonna Draft? PPSR is another upstart Pittsburgh blog, and it is well worth your time. The Pens aren't banking on another top-5 prospect, and the middle of the pack is remarkably less sexy than the top. But middle picks = good previous season, so I'll take it.

- How do the Bengals' Arrests Stack Up Against Each Other? This list will need to be edited in a few days. Guaranteed.

- MNF is Trying to Get Every Mike Associated with Sports to Help with Football Coverage. And Bonnie Bernstein.

- More Fun with Gary Roberts. Seriously, the Pens need to re-sign Gary just so Pensblog can keep this up. For real.

- The Buccos are Embarrassing. So if I delete the cookies from my computer, I can send ADD Laroche to the All-Star Game? Sweet!

- Giambi is a Perfect Target for The Dugout. Honestly, this has been one of my all-time favorite sites for a long time. The humor is spot on. I've cried at more Dugout posts than most people cry at The Notebook or some other crappy movie. I'll give you a brief taste:

/ponders eating own vomit.

Now read that post and see why that line is so funny.

That's enough. Simultaneous reading with PSaMP. What more do you need?

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Albert Belle Would Kick a Mini Pony

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So I put a poll up on PSaMP (top left corner) to find out what people think of the newest PSaMP logo. Overwhelmingly, the most repetitious response is Funniest Thing I've Ever Seen. That was my personal opinion, so I'm glad consensus is with me.

However, I added a Create Your Own Answer option. To this point, 3 people have decided that the choices PSaMP wrote were unfit. You can't see what they wrote, but by logging in to my Poll Daddy account, PSaMP is able to see what these 3 renegade voters wanted to really say. I'd like to share their opinions with you.

1. nice.

2. I like the guy in the middle, he looks as disgruntled as Albert Belle.

3. Pretty much LOL@mini ponis.

I'm guessing ponis = ponies. The simplicity of the answers made me laugh. I guess I might have to add these as options in the next poll.

Thanks for the 3 awesome responses!

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Penguins Sign Winger James

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The Penguins signed another young winger today, Connor James.

The Kings selected James with the 9th pick in 2002. He's been playing in the AHL since. James appeared in 2 games for the Kings in 2005-2006, but played the remainder of the year for the Manchester Monarchs.

James first signed last year with the Pens. He had 12 goals and 32 points for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton last season.

Connor also played on the University of Denver's national championship team. Awesome.

That pretty much sums up the article.

I smell Lord Stanley in the immediate future.

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Mini Pony of the Day 6-19-07

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Some days, I might think I'll never find a cool enough little horse for the MPotD. Then, I fire up that information superhighway, and it rarely fails me.

This awesome pony is named Daisy. The dog is named Freddie. I'd like to think that they both know how much they rule. I mean, look at Freddie's face. Its like he knows how efficient he is. And Daisy knows how useful he/she is (I'm guessing she).

A cool small horse and another little critter. A well-rounded example of a quality MPotD.

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Stephen Colbert = Ok in My Book

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Stephen Colbert is hilarious. Openly mocking Republicans by flawlessly portraying one is comic gold. On his most recent show, McConaughey was featured as The Word, one of the best bits on the show. Matthew McConaughey was just named some dumb title in People Magazine or some other worthless celebrity read. Colbert kills it. Wait for the copyrighted Mantasy.

Well played, Stephen Colbert.

The vid expires on July 19. Some dumb embedding trick played by Comedy Central. Watch it on PSaMP while you can.

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Fun With The Pirates' We Will Ad Campaign

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Funny stuff. Doubt About It is a new Pittsburgh blog, and PSaMP likes what it sees. I had thought about manipulating the We Will ads, which are just ripe for the picking. DAI did a hilarious job at poking fun at the Pirates' meager attempts to live up to this advertising campaign.

I mean, the Pens had no problem living up to the Experience the Evolution campaign. Its only right that DAI gives the Buccos a better chance at living up to their newest slogan.

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Pittsburgh Might Get Arena Football Team

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Yes, I know. The Steel City already has the RiverRats. However, the team is the equivalent of the Riverhounds. Yeah, they're a team, but they don't get the recognition they deserve/need. ESPN bought in to the AFL, and continues shoving in our collective faces, so it must be good. I occasionally like to watch AFL games, but not to the point that I need to know the players and teams. ESPN would just rather show something that they own a share in, rather than say, hockey highlights on Sportscenter. But enough about tWWL.

PSaMP is a bit excited about this news. With all the support for the new Penguins arena, it was only a matter of time before the city talked about expansion possibilities. And why not the AFL. Pittsburgh played host to the first AFL game, with the Pittsburgh Gladiators, an inaugural AFL team beating the Washington Commandos 48-46 on June 19, 1987. That's 20 years to the day of this announcement, in case you were counting.

When the Gladiators left, they changed names to become the Tampa Bay Storm. That team was the epitome of success in the 1990s. 15 straight years in the playoffs with 5 Arena Bowl titles.

Pittsburgh has been longing for a team to step up and grow with the 3 current big boys, the Steelers, Penguins and Pirates. PSaMP counts the Passion as the 4th team, and the NBA and MLS would never be a possibility. Maybe the AFL is the way to go.

Possible owners are said to be very recognizable. I'm guessing Mark Cuban. That would be sweet.

And who knows? Maybe the next Tommy Maddox will come from the Pittsburgh Gladiators Part II.

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Mini Pony of the Day 6-18-07

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Coolest. Site. Ever.

Today's MPotD is lifted from the Personal Ponies Ltd. blog. What is PPL? Glad you asked.

PPL is dedicated to providing children with special needs a tiny Shetland Pony to love and care for -- completely without charge. Our ponies make magic in children's lives!

Awesome! Although the site hasn't been updated in some time, the mission is great!

Mini ponies. Being cool and helping special needs kids at the same time. PPL is very deserving of a spot as MPotD.

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Passion End Season, Look to Playoffs

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The Passion defeated the Central PA Vipers on Saturday. I've already told you that. However, you finally have a chance to check out the stats for the 77-0 beat-down.

Torina Henley, the best running back in the history of the world, gained the 166 yards necessary to eclipse the 1,000 yard rushing mark for the season. Her line against the Vipes: 11 rushes for 176 yards. She also scored 5 touchdowns on the ground, according to the stats website. Henley finished the season with a 10.4 yards per carry mark. She scored 20 rushing touchdowns for the team.

Lori Burkholder added a rushing touchdown and Lyndsi Hughes scored 2 of her own. Hughes scored 11 rushing TDs this season, while Burkholder added 2 of her own.

Deep threat Wilma Walton grabbed 2 passes for 76 yards. Both catches went for touchdowns. She led the team across the board in receiving stats this season. On only 15 catches, Walton racked up 448 yards and 6 TDs. Her yards per catch average stands at an incredible 29.9 yards per. Her longest catch of the year went for 53 yards.

Lisa Horton went 3 for 7 with 93 yards and a score. Her QB rating for the game was 129.5. Burkholder also completed her only pass attempt for a touchdown. For the season, Horton passed for 13 touchdowns, and her season-long QB average was 122.7. Ridiculous.

The defensive stats are not currently available online, so PSaMP guesses that Olivia Griswold had 7,000 tackles against the Vipers. Ava Nickens probably added 4,500 of her own with 17 or 18 sacks. Seems likely.

The team is seeded #2 in the Northern Conference. Their first round playoff game will be against the 7-1 Erie Illusion at Cupples Stadium. A win would bring another home game for the Passion.

One more thing. June 23rd is officially Pittsburgh Passion Day in the city of Pittsburgh. Honestly! That rules.

Congratulations on a successful season, Pittsburgh! Keep up the determination/dedication and there is nowhere to go but up!

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Memphis Grizzlies Hire Notorious B.I.G.

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NBA-what? I probably just lost a whole buncha readers.

Pittsburgh and NBA aren't readily associated entities. Unless, of course, we're talking about Kevin Pittsnogle and the Xplosion, or the defunct Pittsburgh Ironmen.

PSaMP just found it interesting that the Memphis Grizzlies hired The Notorious B.I.G. as their new General Manager. In fact, Biggie held the same position in the Celtics organization prior to taking the job in Memphis. Its amazing! I'm learning new stuff every day!






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Bay's Awesome Catch Helps Buccos Win 2nd Straight Interleague Series

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This. Is. No. Typo.

The Buccos beat the ChiSox 8-7 yesterday, behind an unbelievable catch by left fielder Jason Bay.

It all seemed like a classic Pirates failure. Slugger Jim Thome walks to the plate in the top of the 9th. 2 batters were on, and Thome represented the go-ahead run. Thome smacked a ball to deep left, and Bay gave chase. Feeling for the wall with his right hand, Bay lept and pulled a go-ahead homer back into play. The runner at 3rd tagged and scored, but Bay minimized the damage. Matt Capps finished the inning to close the series-clinching game.

My reaction. "Holy Sh...!"

With the win, the Buccos have now taken 2 of 3 from the Rangers and the ChiSox. Sure, both teams aren't in the upper echelon of the American League, but the Bucs will take any interleague win they can get.

Hopefully, these 2 series wins will provide some momentum, as the team now plays their final 2 interleague series against the hot Mariners and the Angels. Clearly, these 2 teams are much better than the last 2 opponents.

Although the team was swept by the Yankees last weekend, the Buccos have rallied to turn an early 0-3 interleague hole into a more-respectable 4-5 push. As I've said in the past, I'm just hoping the team can manage 1 win in both series against Seattle and Los Angeles (or Anaheim, or Anaheim of Los Angeles or whatever they're calling the Angels this year.) Milwaukee lost yesterday, thanks to a walk-off dinger by the Twins (take that, Prince Fielder and your inside-the-park-homer). The Buccos are only 8 games back of the Brew-Crew, so whatever momentum gained from yesterday could really boost the team's fortunes as they close out the '07 interleague schedule. Hopefully. This poll (above) on the Pirates' homepage shows, despite the annual awful play of the Buccos, that fans still aren't ready to throw in the towel just yet.



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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Mini Pony of the Day 6-17-07

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Happy Father's Day! That goes out especially to my Dad, but also to all dads.

I'm giving you another video, mainly because it rules and I haven't updated a whole bunch this weekend.

I imagine this conversation to be something along the lines of this:

"What's up, bro?"
"Nothin' much. Hangin' out. Bein' cute. You?"
"Yeah, I got the whole cute thing goin' on, too."
"Being small rules."
"Yes. Yes it does."

Fin.

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Say It With Me. 8 And 0

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The Passion finished their regular season undefeated, with a 77-0 drubbing of the Central PA Vipers. There aren't any stats up at the link, which is par for the course with the NWFA.

The Passion finally got some love from the local media, with a nice article by the Post-Gazette. It really exemplifies Pittsburgh football, whether of the male or female variety. The team had no party or celebration as they concluded a perfect season in which they won the Central Division. Instead, the team remains focused on the impending playoffs, and the NWFA Championship, which if the team makes it, will be played on July 21st in Nashville, Tennessee.

Torina Henley gained the 166 yards necessary to finish with 1,000+. Her 11 carries went for 176 yards and 4 scores. And all her damage was done in 3 quarters. She finished the season with 1,010 yards rushing. Awesome!

Lisa Horton completed 3 of 7 passes for 93 yards and 2 scores. She finished the season with 1,012 yards passing. Horton is an original member of the Passion, who began play 5 years ago with a winless season. The times, they are a changing.

PSaMP will get a full breakdown of the game, including stats for the team as soon as they are posted.



UPDATE: Many thanks to reader Smarchit, who caught PSaMP in a downright lie. The Passion went 2-6 in their first season, not 0-8 as I foolishly reported. I wrote this in a bit of a hurry. I confused the Vipers' current winless season with Pittsburgh's 1st for some reason. Gotta slow down. (Still, 8-0 is a huge improvement from 2-6).

If it happens again, I'll cut off my hands, which would render PSaMP unable to update on your Pittsburgh Passion. But it would also keep me from typing blasphemous lies.

A better recap will be up tomorrow! I apologize for my stupidity.

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Saturday, June 16, 2007

Mini Pony of the Day 6-16-07

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Since this is all you're getting today, I figured I'd better give you a video. I can't remember if this was MPotD before, but even if it was, it still deserves a replay. This video is hilarious. And it involves tons of small horses. That makes it A-Okay in my book.

I'll get you more news tomorrow. Hopefully, the Passion win today and finish the regular season undefeated.

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Friday, June 15, 2007

Mini Pony of the Day 6-15-07

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Awesome. A cool book about cool little horses. You can buy it here. I know you want to.

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Badass Mike Tomlin Uses Pencils, Not Pens

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Spring practices are over, which means Mike Tomlin's first offseason camp has wrapped up. Since the drills are over, Tomlin needed to create a preliminary depth chart for his first team. Tomlin did just that, but stressed that the selections are written in pencil, to show that no starter's job is safe.

"No job is secure," Tomlin insisted. "This is not a security business and if they are looking for security, they need to find a new line of work."

Bad. Ass.

If any Steeler wants to see their name written in pen, they need to put forth the effort required, and prove to the new coach that they have what it takes. Tomlin isn't Coach Cowher. He's made that abundantly clear. He's a rookie coach who is trying to turn around a .500 team. But what about the Super Bowl? That's in the past, too. Pittsburgh is no longer the reigning champ, and needs to understand that they can be just as bad as the next team. Or just as good.

Those of us who have been around the Steelers long enough know that several players are sure-fire starters. Hines Ward, Ben Roethlisberger, Troy Polamalu, Jeff Reed and Willie Parker would really have to mess up to be replaced in the starting lineup. For the rest of the team, though, they only need to look at their names written in pencil to see that it can easily be erased.

Here's some of the starters that Tomlin has "penciled" in.

Chukky Okobi at Center. Although the team brought in free agent Sean Mahan, Okobi will open training camp as the first stringer.

Ryan Clark over Anthony Smith at Free Safety. Consensus says that Smith has a good shot at taking Clark's starting spot. PSaMP is a huge Anthony Smith fan. He's a big hitter who can make fans forget that Chris Hope was ever on the team.

Max Starks over Willie Colon at Right Tackle. Starks was the starter last year, but Colon has looked good. Starks is a beast, but needs to work to prove that he deserves to stay in the starting spot.

Deshea Townsend over Bryant McFadden at Right Cornerback. Townsend is getting older, but can still provide veteran leadership to our young CB corps. PSaMP is a McFadden supporter, but still admires the longevity of the undersized Townsend. Plus if the Steelers get rid of Deshea, Hines Ward is gonna have to look for a new roomie at training camp.

Ike Taylor over every other corner at Left Cornerback. Taylor is on Tomlin's good side, after Bill Cowher benched the former starter last year. Taylor needs to show that last year's struggles were a fluke, and he needs to live up to the big contract he signed.

Training camp starts next month, and these "starters" still need to work to have the pencil changed to pen. PSaMP likes Tomlin's message, and it appears that he has the team focused on coming into the season strong after last year's debacles.

He's young. He's a rookie. But Tomlin's showing that he isn't about to take any shit.

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How it Feels to Lose in the Hot Blogger Bracket

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Little late, here, but I figured it was appropriate to post this video. PSaMP lost its 2nd round matchup, as evident by the poll that was posted a few days ago. Joe Speaker moves on. I called him a stretched out Baba Booey. My buddy called him a generic David Hasselhoff. Speaker's 1st round opponent called him a chimp-monk. You know, that rare breed of chimpmunk/monkey that has been roaming around. Anyway, Peter's line at the end of this short clip expresses my thoughts exactly.

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Sid Wins the Hart!

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Sidney Crosby, the captain of your Pittsburgh Penguins, was named the winner of the Hart Memorial Trophy, as the league MVP! He joins Wayne Gretzky as the youngest recipient of the prestigious award.

After winning the Pearson earlier in the night, the road to the Hart looked much easier for The Kid. Crosby prevailed over New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur and Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo.

Crosby then asked Mario Lemieux if there was any trophy space left in his house. Lemieux said, “Barely.” (I made that last part up).

PSaMP congratulates Sid on an impressive night. He was able to displace Jaromir Jagr in Pittsburgh fans’ minds. Jagr was the last Penguins recipient of the Hart and Pearson.

Sid is the youngest winner of the Hart (League MVP), Pearson (NHLPA MVP) and Ross Trophy (Scoring Title).

Congrats, Sid!

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Therrien Denied Coach of Year Honors

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Michel Therrien did not get the Jack Adams Award, which is presented to the NHL Coach of the Year. That honor was bestowed on a man with a difficult name to pronounce, Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault.

While the Canucks did have a great year, Therrien deserved the Adams. Did you see the team before Therrien arrived last year?

Therrien was able to accept an award, as he spoke on behalf of Calder winner, Evgeni Malkin. Malkin did not attend the awards, because he was confused (I know I already used that joke, but its the truth. Malkin always looks confused).

PSaMP is happy that Lindy Ruff didn't get the Adams again. The dude's name is Lindy. And he looks like the cousin of bitter beer face. Simply put.

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Malkin Wins Calder!

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Evgeni Malkin, superstud rookie from your Pittsburgh Penguins, won the Calder Trophy as the NHL's ultra-cool, sweet-ass, gnarly, spectacular rookie of the year!

Malkin beat fellow teammate Jordan Staal, as well as Colorado forward Paul Stastny. Malkin celebrated by continually looking dumbfounded and confused. Malkin received 120 of 143 votes. Stastny came in 2nd and Staal was 3rd.

Pittsburgh and Sidney Crosby were denied the Calder last year, with the award going to phenom Alexander Ovechkin. Malkin made sure to finally bring the award back to Pittsburgh. And by Pittsburgh, I mean Russia.

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Sid Wins Pearson!

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The NHL named your Penguins captain, Sidney Crosby, as the youngest recipient of the Lester B. Pearson Award. The award is given to the most valuable player as judged by the NHL's players association.

The last Penguin to receive the Pearson was Jaromir Jagr's mullet, which won in 2000. Jagr's mullet is also the last Penguin player to win the Hart, which Sid is up for as well.

Sid staved off Vinny Lecavalier and Roberto Luongo, the other Pearson finalists. Sid still needs to beat Luongo, as well as goalie Marty Brodeur, if he wants to win the Hart.

PSaMP will be here to let you know how the Hart shakes out.

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Mini Pony of the Day 6-14-07

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Yes! What's the next best thing to videos of mini ponies? Uh...how about chronological action stills of mini ponies.

Today's MPotD is named Panda. Panda was being taught how to climb stairs. Even though the crappy plastic stairs tipped over, Panda was not startled, and eventually prevailed over the cheap obstacle.

Congratulations, Panda. I have nothing to give you but a place of notoriety as MPotD!

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