Okay, so my plans to blog a bit more regularly during the Summer of Me kind of took a hit last week as I was otherwise occupied with cleaning my house and grumbling about some of the craptacular weather we had most of last week. But fear not! I'm back today for the first of hopefully at least 2 whole blogs this week. I know... I know... how can I spare the time from my busy schedule of doing, well, more than I had been as of late. But find the time I will. Goodness knows I still have lots of stuff I want to talk about. For today, though, consider this an old fashioned notes blog as I look back at the week that was in my life and in the rest of the world.
- Election Day happened last Tuesday here in Pennsylvania, and Democrat voters decided to oust long-time Senator Arlen Specter in favor of newbie Joe Sestak. This is good news for my fair state because old school Arlen and his out of touch ways needed to go. Now, don't expect me to vote for Sestak in the fall (I am a Republican, after all), but I'm glad that there will be someone fresh in the 2nd senator's seat for PA next year.
If you want to know what really doomed Arlen, it was him switching to the Democratic Party after being a lifelong Republican just so he would have an easier time of being re-elected. Gee, that didn't work out so well, did it? And the country's anti-incumbent sentiment also probably had something to do with it. Frankly, I'd been sick of Arlen for years and years. Now he can fade into obscurity where he belongs.
- The two candidates to be the next Governor of PA were also chosen last Tuesday - Democrat Dan Onorato and Republican Tom Corbett. Trust me when I tell you that this is a win-win for the western half of the state. Why? Well, the current governor, Ed Rendell, is a Philly boy through and through (he even appears on Eagles pregame shows during the season), and for the past 8 years, he has almost always paid more attention to the eastern half of the state, ignoring Pittsburgh. Well, both Onorato and Corbett are Burghers, meaning that sunny days are ahead for the Burgh. Of course, I wouldn't vote for Onorato on a dare. He is the man who championed the now infamous alcoholic beverage tax in Allegheny County, after all. He's as slimy as the day is long, but at least I know he'll take care of his hometown when the chips are down.
- The Pirates had another fair to middling week that ended in walk-off fashion this afternoon at PNC Park with Ryan Doumit lining a solo homer to right field with two outs in the tenth inning. Yours truly was at the game, and I have to admit to getting a kick out of seeing a walk-off home run for the first time since (I think) Brian Giles hit a walk-off grand slam to cap an epic comeback against the Astros several years ago. The Buccos still can't hit for crap and can't seem to get any sort of consistent pitching. I could go on and on about the stupid decisions the front office has made and about some of the boneheaded things manager John Russell does during the course of a game, but that'll keep until later on this week.
- Speaking of the Pirates, the author of the Pirates Report blog create a huge ferfluffle this week when he wrote a rather scathing column that basically said the Penguins were no different than the Pirates. I'd direct you to the column, but it has since been removed by the author (or the ballclub... no one is really sure which). Bob Smizik of the PG wrote a column about it. You can check it out here. Oh, did I mention that the Pirates Report is an official online publication of the team itself? Now, whether or not the author (some jabronie named Paul Ladewski) removed it on his own because of the 99.9% negative feedback or Bob Nutting himself pulled the plug is up for debate, but saying that just because the Pens had won only one measly Stanley Cup during the Pirates 17 years of ineptitude they are no better than the Bucs makes you seriously question this dude's sanity.
At least the Pens have, y'know, made the playoffs a few times in the last 17 years, and I can think of a few franchises that would have been overjoyed to have won just one Stanley Cup in the past 17 years (one of them, the Chicago Blackhawks, haven't won a Cup since 1961 - good luck to them in the Finals, by the way). I mean, sure the Pens haven't exactly made all of the right moves over the past 17 years and had their own period of ineptitude. I realize that, but I also realize that back-to-back appearances in the Stanley Cup Finals trumps anything the Pirates have done since 1992 by a factor of about 1,000. The Pirates can't even finish at .500, let alone go the World Series.
Of course, Ladewski is the same guy who won't vote anyone who played in the so-called Steroid Era into the Baseball Hall of Fame and turned in a blank ballot the year Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken, Jr. were elected to the HOF because he doesn't believe any player deserves to go into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot. What an asshat. I hate these sanctimonious sportswriters who think that just because they have a Hall of Fame vote that it makes them important or something. Dude, you're a jabronie sportswriter who is best known for being a malcontent. Good luck with your next job, because whether you wrote the post comparing the Pens to the Pirates on your own, hoping to impress Bob Nutting (good luck with that, by the way) or Nutting himself asked you to write it, I just can't see you making it past this year as Editor in Chief of the Pirates Report. Good riddance, I say.
- Memorial Day is just about a week away, and I can't wait. I so need the three day weekend. Ever since I started my new job, I've had a grand total of one day during the week off in nearly three months. Yeah, I know I was unemployed for nearly two months and had all of that time off, but I still need the occasional day off during the week to just not be at work.
So, next weekend will be filled with golfing, grilling, a trip to the South Side on Saturday (hopefully to include a trip to Hines Ward's bar to watch the upcoming UFC PPV), and generally just relaxing. The weather has been really hit and miss so far this month, so I'm really hoping for good weather next weekend.
- The Steelers are in the midst of OTAs, sans Ben Roethisberger and with Byron Leftwich taking snaps with the first team. Personally, despite all of the railing I've done about Ben over the past few months, I would like to see him allowed to practice with the team, but even though he's completed his NFL ordered evaluation, the Commish still hasn't given him the okay to resume team activities. Sounds to me like the Commish is going to do everything he can to teach Ben a lesson between now and whenever Ben's suspension is up. That's all well and fine, but you do reach a point when you go from trying to teach someone a lesson to just trying to show how powerful you are, and Roger Goodell is toeing that line right now.
- Well, that's it for tonight. I'll be back later on this week with an all-Pirates edition of Blog The Walls Down in which I reveal steps the Pirates can take right now to go from being laughingstocks to merely just another team barely treading water. Hey, it's not rocket science, though Neal Huntington sure would like us to believe it is.