Some sporting thoughts before sunrise …
>> My column this morning urges the Steelers to sign Troy Polamalu to a long-term extension. And I realize that’s akin to calling for smoother roads, safer cars, and extra fries in your sandwich, but there’s a bit more to the topic, as you’ll see.
My thanks to Polamalu’s agent, Marvin Demoff, who doesn’t do many interviews despite being among the NFL’s most influential figures. He was kind enough to give a few minutes on fairly short notice yesterday.
>> Let me stress anew that Neal Huntington and the Pirates are doing the right thing by leaving Pedro Alvarez in Indianapolis until they’re sure he’s ready.
Those reasons were laid out in our all-over-the-place weekly chat yesterday.
>> Seems like every day we have some new biggest this, best that going on at PNC Park, but let’s add another: The Pirates’ series with the Cardinals should draw the biggest weekend crowd in ballpark history, and it should provide the best baseball. The most meaningful, anyway.
But I’ll give a shot at being the wet blanket before it even starts …
The great Albert Pujols, best player on the planet, has a .372 career average against the Pirates, with 45 home runs and 136 RBIs in 159 games, the rough equivalent of a full season. In 80 games at PNC Park, he is batting .387 with 26 home runs, or one every 12.2 at-bats. And the kicker: In 39 plate appearances against tonight’s starter, Paul Maholm, he is batting .576 — I didn’t mistype that — with six walks.
No. 5 is a bad, bad man.