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Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: The laughable Pittsburgh Power

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Brief and to the Point …

>> I’ll be spending the morning on US Airways planes on the way to Bradenton. Not remotely looking forward to the trip itself or the locale, but very, very much looking forward to being around the ball club for 10 days. Been too long.

>> I wouldn’t necessarily expect to hear today about Sidney Crosby’s status. There’s no question he’s targeting Thursday in New York, but I’d think he’d want to be involved in a couple of full-scale contact practices before saying anything definitive. The team is here Tuesday and Wednesday before flying out. That should do it.

>> Small-time outfits like the Pittsburgh Power wonder why they don’t get much mainstream coverage. Then, they go out and have a farcical weekend, firing their entire roster shortly before kickoff, then rapidly re-signing those who wouldn’t go along with an Arena League strike.

It’s just laughable, all the more because the game that followed got airtime on NFL Network.

But you know the part of the story that got me?

The Power had the seven players they didn’t re-sign drive 17 hours from Orlando to Pittsburgh on Saturday. A union rep rented a van and arranged their return home. That’s pathetic. The plane tickets aren’t that expensive, if you go commercial. Even low-level colleges pay for flights over that length. And it’s not like the Arena League can’t afford it, with players earning $400 a week. But the ugliest part is that the Power flew these guys down there, then just dumped them out by the curb like trash. And while doing so, they stripped out the Pittsburgh apartment of at least one player of its team-provided furnishings.

Here are the details.

That’s not minor league. That’s bush league.

And you have to love this quote from Power owner Matt Shaner regarding the scramble to have players for that night: “As the game went on, deals were being cut to keep the game fair.”

That’s not something you’ll ever hear from anyone affiliated with a serious league.

Look, I like to keep an open mind about minor sports. I was a Spirit season-ticket holder in the day. I’ve taken an interest in the Riverhounds, Bulls, Phantoms and others, as well. But this Power operation doesn’t deserve to be mentioned with any of those outfits. Nor, for that matter, does Lynn Swann deserve to have his name mentioned with nonsense like this. Unless, of course, he had something to do with it.

Here, in the interest of fairness, is a press release issued by the Power last night attempting to explain.

I’ll wait for the one where they don’t make their players drive 17 hours.

>> I’d write a whole column about this, but no one would read it.

>> Didn’t think it was possible for Pitt to look or sound worse than Ashton Gibbs’ complaining about the NIT two nights ago, but then you listen to Steve Pederson talking about this CBI nonsense yesterday, and it might have been topped.

I don’t make a habit of telling people how to spend their money, but if you pay the average $20 ticket price to watch any of this non-tournament, you’re investing not only in seriously mediocre basketball — Quinnipiac! Wofford! Evansville! — but also in the concept that the Panthers should be fine with stooping so low.

Pederson said this is what Jamie Dixon and his players want, and I believe that. But I don’t want to.

What a self-inflicted embarrassment for a proud program.

>> I’ll be in touch this afternoon, probably from Pirate City.

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