Well here we are at another opening day for the Pittsburgh Pirates. The press box is packed and I mean really filled to the rim with folks that in a few weeks from now will probably not venture anywhere near PNC Park or its press box.
The 2013 opening day was the first ever opening day start for Pirates right hander Sean Burnett. I was moved by the violin virtuoso performance of “God Bless America” and “The Star Spangled Banner.” But you know what? That was the extent of excellence for the Pirates in regards to ringing the opening bell for the 2013 season. At one point aside from giving up a walk and a double Burnett had recorded eight straight strikeouts. But in between those “K’s” the Cubs were hitting the ball hard. The 10 strikeouts by A.J. Burnett were the most by a Pirates pitcher on opening day since 1983 when John Candelaria struck out 10 at St. Louis. The Cubs starter RHP Jeff Samardzija had the Pirates number because he allowed only two hits through eight innings also only throwing 110 pitches including 71 strikes. He also struck out nine batters.
The win was preserved by the Cubs right handed relievers Carlos Marmol and Kyuji Fujikawa to seal the deal by the score 3-1.
What is it about the Pittsburgh Power Football Club that causes most professional football aficionados to perceive that the team doesn’t seem serious? Well looking at the way the team has performed so far in the season the team, at least the offense anyway seems to be searching near and far for its “collective” groove.” The Power dropped their first game of the season 64-33 to the Utah Blaze. Now the loss to the Blaze was not really unexpected and not so unusual because Utah is a tough and talented squad. What was so unusual was that against the Blaze, the Power only gained 183 total yards offensively a dismal outing in Pittsburgh’s first home game of the season. In the AFL that may be as close to being shut down if not shut out that the Power should want to be. From the outset, Friday’s game against the Jacksonville Sharks did not bode well for Pittsburgh in light of the fact that they had lost both of the previous meetings against the Sharks. Both of the losses occurred at the Consol where the Power had been outscored, 129-79. At halftime the Power were losing to the Jacksonville Sharks by the score of 34-21 even though Pittsburgh had a time of possession advantage of 15:29 to 14:31 and Jacksonville only had a 15 yard advantage in total offensive yards. The second half only became worse because at the end of the third quarter the Power were down by the score of 42-28. The game ended with the Sharks prevailing by the score of 61-35. The “suspect” offensive line of the Power also allowed Jacksonville to record seven sacks. The offensive line for Pittsburgh had better improve in a hurry or it is going to be a long, long, season.
Forty acres and a donkey
Just a few weeks ago I penned a column titled “50 Million Dollar Chattel.” I recalled that as I was viewing the latest smash hit, “The Bible,” that a myriad of sports and social issues were dancing around in my head, one of those being slavery. Hollywood depicts the inhumanity of forced servitude as almost being “noble.” As far as Black athletes are concerned they will probably never understand their true value because it will never be revealed to them. As far as I am concerned the NFL compensation process is biased, corrupt and flawed as it relates to Black athletes. There is nothing noble about it. Well as I have been preaching for over three decades the NCAA is far worse.
On Easter Sunday as I viewed the Louisville, Duke NCAA Elite Eight faceoff late in the first half Louisville guard Kevin Ware suffered a broken leg at Lucas Oil Stadium that quieted me and all of my family members watching the game with me at home. Even coach Rick Pitino was caught on camera wiping away tears.
A report by Associated Press writer Michael Marot stated that; “Ware’s right leg bent in such an awkward and frightening angle that CBS stopped showing replays shortly after the fall in the NCAA tournament
Match up against Duke. “The bone’s six inches out of his leg and all he’s yelling is, “Win the game, win the game,’” Pitino said. “I’ve not seen that in my life…Pretty special young man. The bone was literally out. I saw white, it was literally out,” said Behanan, who collapsed to his hands and feet at the sight. The two spoke at halftime. “He said ‘Don’t worry about me, I’m good, I’ll have my surgery tonight,’” Behanan said. “Go win it for me.”
I have been standing on my “soapbox for pay” in regards to paying athletes for performing in college. In a recent article penned Dr. Boyce Watkins, comedian Chris Rock had this to say. “I know a lot of Black intellectuals will say we can do so much more than play ball and we can. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t reap the benefits from sports White kids that go to Syracuse and Georgetown do. These kids should be paid and allowed to get an education for themselves and their families for the rest of their lives. Black people not making money from college sports is like Arabs not making money from oil, insane. We have our reparations lottery ticket right in our pocket and were not smart enough to cash it in.”
Maybe we had better forget about reparations and focus on compensation for performance in the year 2013.
(Aubrey Bruce can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-583-6741.)