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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sports in Bizarro Burgh

Maybe the Mayans were right.

Let’s see… We had the Pirates cock tease for another season… this time, making it past the All Star Break with an above .500 record. We actually thought… “Screw winning season, I smell division leader… nay… PLAYOFFS!” Then, another 19 inning game crushed our souls like a can in a compactor. The team fell down the chute of our board game minds. They picked the lollipop card in Candyland and had to go all the way back to the beginning. But… we still had Penguins Hockey and Steelers Football, right? RIGHT?!?!?

Training camp rolled around and our new offensive line was set. Finally, we had better protection for Ben and more holes to create for RBs. But… Mike Wallace was nowhere in sight. He wasn’t in Latrobe. He wasn’t in Pittsburgh. He was home, sitting on his couch, wearing his helmet, and reading his playbook… hoping for more money. He waited. Training started. He waited. The pre season started. He waited. Three pre season games passed. He finally showed up. We played Denver. Oh, yeah, we lost some of our shiny new toys in the early games. We also broke some of our others… *cough*Troy *cough*

But not to fear, Mike Wallace came in and made touch downs and amazing plays… and who needs training camp… and pre season? Soon those sentiments were replaced with, “Who needs to learn how to catch the ball, first?”

We lost to bad teams like Oakland and Tennessee… we squeaked by in Kansas City… We lost our starting quarterback…. He went out with a shoulder sprain that could puncture his aorta? Was that what I heard? I’m kidding, of course. So, in comes the cannon that is Byron Leftwich. The guy who was supposed to start in Ben’s absence during his four game suspension… only to break his arm in pre season, that year.

On his first play during the KC game, he throws to NOBODY and ends up ass over tin cup on the ground. Who’s his backup? Not Charlie Batch, mister reliable. Mister “I can manage a game while never making you believe I can either win it or lose it on one play rather I will do my best and that’s pretty damn good”. Mister, “I’ve been in this league a long time and bailed your asses out, and yet you still put me down in the depth chart only to come and ask for my help, but I will never be resentful because I am a true gentleman”. That guy. He was inactive. So… who was our emergency QB? I knew who he would have been last year… Hines Ward. The guy we got rid of and then waited for Mike Wallace to finally show up.

For Sunday’s game against Baltimore… the emergency guy is Heath Miller. I would rather have Heath play QB than Leftwich at this point. At least he can move. He may not have a cannon that can throw the ball into the parking lot on the off chance a receiver happens to be there waiting… but he isn’t the Tin Woodsman in the pocket that takes 20 minutes to throw the ball. Now, Ben does take a long time, but that’s play development, not the act of throwing the ball.

When I saw the schedule this year and noted that we had three divisional games in a row: Baltimore, Cleveland, and Baltimore, I knew we were in trouble. I predicted something like 7-9 or 9-7 due to what I perceived to be a rough schedule. Denver was getting Manning… we lost to them in the playoffs but still, the Ninety-Six Million Dollar Manning is always a problem at QB. Beyond that, look at our back half of the schedule: Baltimore, Cleveland, Baltimore, San Diego, Dallas, Cincinnati, Cleveland.

Oh, I know what you’re thinking. Dallas and San Diego suck, and Cleveland… pffft alleasy games.

We were supposed to have killed Oakland and Kansas City… and Tennessee was supposed to be manageable. San Diego scares me…because they are a bad team… and possibly… so are we. My prediction stands…. 9-7…or 7-9… hopefully, I’m wrong… except in the case of 8-8.

At least there’s hockey….


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