Some sporting thoughts before sunrise …
>> I’ll be out of commission here most of the day, traveling to St. Paul, Minn., for the NHL Entry Draft that starts tonight. Should be a pretty eventful stage, and I’m not even talking about the draft. There are few events in sports like it, with every team’s GM, head coach and full staff on the same floor, agents buzzing all over the place and, hey, the Flyers pretty much punting on the next decade or so.
There might even be a whisper or two about Jaromir Jagr.
>> In my column this morning, you can read that I busted LaMarr Woodley skipping rope outside in the middle of the night earlier this week. From there, I did my best to turn that into a topical discussion about the Steelers and NFL lockout.
To his credit, he was a great sport about it, as you can read. And that doesn’t surprise me. The man is always smiling, something that provides a really sharp contrast from what you see on the field and, of course, what you’ve been reading and hearing him direct toward the Ravens during this lockout. Terrific, engaging personality.
>> When the Pirates sell out all three games of the Red Sox series that starts tonight, they will have seven sellouts for the season, matching their 2010 total.
I don’t care much why that’s happening as far as Philadelphia or Boston fans storming the city. It only matters that this team could easily have 10 sellouts now for the year, which is one of every eight home games. For a team that lost 105 games last year, that’s impressive.
>> Tim Wakefield will pitch Saturday at PNC Park, with Josh Beckett ailing for Boston. That will bring the rarest of rare events in Pittsburgh: Someone taking the field who was part of a winning Pirates team. Wakefield will be the first since Barry Bonds, and it remains to be seen if he will be the last.
>> Were there really eight players available in the NBA draft better than Kemba Walker?
I’m no Dick Vitale, but I find that hard to fathom.
>> Disappointing to see, a little after midnight, that no team took a flyer on Pitt’s Brad Wanamaker. Here’s hoping someone with that level of basketball sense and versatility finds a way to hook up as a free agent.
>> This was the transcript of our very busy, very diverse chat yesterday. Thanks to all who participated, and to our tech wizard Doug Gulasy for putting it together on such short notice. I’d like to go at noon every Thursday from now on.
I’ll have some stuff on the blog once I’m set up on the draft floor much later today.