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Wakeup Call: Don’t call this a rivalry

Some sporting thoughts before sunrise …

>> Can we please dispense with even the minimal amount of hype given to the “City Game?”

Until Duquesne takes its commitment to athletics more seriously than it has for, oh, four decades now, there’s just another Pitt exhibition in which a couple extra thousand Dukes fans help make a non-sellout crowd at a venue that’s a block removed from the Bluff.

I went to Duquesne, and I’ve seen generations of lousy teams come and go. There have been spurts, and there have been good, dedicated coaches such as Greg Gattuso in football, Suzie McConnell-Serio in women’s basketball and now Ron Everhart on the men’s side. But there never has been much of an appetite for athletics from Old Main, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

All you need to know about last night is that the Dukes’ one outstanding player, T.J. McConnell, was outstanding, but Pitt committed 26 turnovers, and the Dukes still lost by 11. That’s an old, old story. Almost as old as all those Norm Nixon photos the school still digs up to discuss glory days.

>> Penn State is strongly hinting it will name a new football coach before it plays in a bowl game.

>> ESPN and a Syracuse newspaper sat on the now-famous Bernie Fine scandal type for the better part of a decade, we now know. There are all kinds of ethical and journalistic debates in there. For example, a newspaper is expected to be a watchdog of police, not an entity that passes along charges its own reporters couldn’t substantiate.

But I can say definitively that it stinks on a lot of levels that ESPN dedicated about three minutes to the Penn State scandal on “SportsCenter” last night, compared to about 11 seconds for Syracuse. On some days, that might be appropriate, but there actually was more news on the Syracuse front yesterday.

>> I like how the Steelers handled Troy Polamalu on the field Sunday night. When the athletic trainers saw him looking woozy, even though he rose to his feet after that head-to-knee collision, they were out there immediately and pulled him off and kept him off.

I’m not comparably wild about Mike Tomlin announcing to the world that Polamalu likely will play in the same breath that he said Polamalu still has to have “a battery of tests” for concussion symptoms.

How about waiting until the test results come in before a prognosis?

>> We will chat today at noon, as always.


  1. I have a feeling Bradley will be named the head coach, but I don’t know if that’s the absolute best hire for Penn State moving forward.
    And for the Syracuse scandal, maybe they keep it quiet because so many sports broadcasters and journalists graduated from Syracuse. Some of those work for ESPN as well. Just a thought.


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  3. DK: Wouldn’t anybody that knowingly had evidence that could be useful to an open police investigation be obligated (if not by law, then at least morally) to present that evidence to the police? It should be the police’s decision if that evidence is enough to move forward with any charges, not the newspaper’s, right? Especially because the newspaper didn’t know what else the police knew at the time – maybe that tape would have been a missing piece of the puzzle.

    I heard the Syracuse Post’s explanation for why they shouldn’t have turned that tape over to police, but I just don’t understand how it’s their decision to make. Again, this was an open investigation, so they would not have been steering the ship, or creating news based on uncorroborated stories – just providing info so that the police could make a complete and thorough investigation.

    Am I missing something?

  4. I see the Colts have turned to Dan Orlovsky to “save” their season. The same Dan Orlovsky with 7 career starts, all losses, with the 2008 Lions. That’s right, the 0-16 Lions.

    Can you say Vincent Tremblay boys & girls ?

  5. I just saw that the Angels traded for Ianetti (spelling, I know) and Hernandez signed with Colorado, do folks still think that Barajas was a good pick up?

    Comparable prices, and those two appear to be better quality

  6. @Biz

    You would think Iannetta would fit because of the Hurdle angle. In a good way this time. Let’s face it. This guy can’t make a trade unless he’s dumping salary for minor leaguers (I refuse to call them prospects).

  7. Good point Milo, all they gave up for Iannetta was a young starter that was pulled from the rotation last season, what with our “flood of talent” in the minor league system, you’d a thunk we could have come up with a better offer, plus both of these guys are either signing for or already signed for two years. And younger? Not sure about Hernandez on that one.

  8. Anyone catch Baseball Wives last night ? A quick recap. Anna Benson – not looking good. Chantel Kendall – a neurotic mess. There was also some fat chick pining over her breakup with Nyjer Morgan. In summation – an hour of my life I’ll never get back. Can’t wait til next week !

  9. Milo just single handedly produced the best promo that network could ever write.

  10. If this indeed is the case with the Syracuse situation…as Mike Lange would say…
    “Shame on ESPN for 6 weeks” Not good at all.

  11. @Biz

    Ramon Hernandez signed 2 years for $6.4 million. Rod Barajas got 1 year for $4 million. Iannetta gets &3.5 million in 2012 & has a $5 million club option for 2013.

    Hernandez (age 35) hit .282 12 HR 36 RBI in 91 games – 5.0 WOHS
    Barajas (age 36) hit .230 16 HR 47 RBI in 98 games – 3.5 WOHS
    Iannetta (age 28) hit .238 14 HR 55 RBI in 112 games – 6.0 WOHS

    Iannetta looks to be the best choice of the three. WOHS (Wins Over Ham Sammich) even agrees.

  12. You clearly put too much value in fresh over aged meats. I call bologna.

  13. @NMR

    Valid point, but it’s my stat. I put seconds of statistical analysis into each players value. I encourage everyone to come up with their own saberstat. It would be just as valuable as the actual saberstats. And it’s fun for the whole family.

  14. Chat not working or held hostage by DST?

  15. @Dan they couldn’t get in touch with DK.

    Maybe he’s defecting back to that other paper ? Or ESPN? :-)

  16. No chat!!! Boo Hooo!!! Oh well, just have to wait until next time.

  17. Hope he’s ok. Maybe the Starbucks clerk messed up his drink for the last time and he’s just had it and we’ll see him on the 5:00 news!

  18. Chat starts at 1:00 PM.

  19. DK,

    Love your work, but sorry, Franco’s play is the greatest in Steeler History. Saying anything else is blasphemy

  20. James Harrison’s interception return barely had an effect on momentum in that game. It was pretty!! It was 7 opportune points.

    Franco’s catch changed a franchise!

    Which do you value more: beauty or life-changing?

  21. Franco’s catch coupled with Clemente’s death 8 days later forever changed the landscape of Pittsburgh sports. The Immaculate Reception was the birth of a nation.

  22. There was a column in the morning links a week or so back from Behind the Steel Curtain on December 1972. For those who may have missed it

    December 1972: The Most Momentous Month in Pittsburgh’s Sports History

  23. Are you people forgetting THIS play?

  24. @JAL

    That about sums it up right there. Two franchises went in completely different directions. I remember by mom telling me Clemente had died. “There’s something I need to tell you before you see it on TV or hear it on the radio.” I’ll never forget those words.

  25. Wow, my parents said something similar. That just gave me chills. I remember those days clearly. So sad when they lost the Miami and Clemente died. wow

  26. I turned on the MLB Network a couple days ago — they were playing the 20 greatest games in baseball history — and they came back from commercial to the 9th inning in Atlanta in 1992.

    I quickly teared up before I could reach the remote and turn the channel.

    Now you bring up Clemente and New Year’s Eve again. Man, there’s dust in my eyes all over again!

    Some activities/actions/games define sports . . . some define life for a generation!!

  27. All: Greatest in terms of athleticism, scope and everything put together. Obviously, Franco’s catch was phenomenally dramatic, transcendently so. I’m including everything Harrison did on his play, plus the fact that it won a Super Bowl.

    I think it’s a fair argument.

  28. Lukie votes for Harrison.

    DK: Who?

  29. “Greatest” still relative.
    Certainly it was unique and dramatic: end of 1st Half, 100 yards, longest play in Super Bowl history. But it was in the 1st Half and only led to 7 points.

    Lynn Swann’s diving catch was in 2nd Half, also led to 7 points, and winning the game. It was also more athletic. I see Lynn Swann’s play greater.

    A home run to give a 2-1 lead in the 2nd is not the same as a home run to give a 2-1 lead in the 8th.

    Harrison’s return allowed the Steelers to secure a lead into the Half. It didn’t win the game.

    Swann’s catch and Franco’s determination directly led to Steeler wins.

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