I know what you're thinking, but Mike Tomlin was not the first Tomlin to grace the Pittsburgh sports scene. That would be Randy "Whispers" Tomlin, former Bucco southpaw who won 14 games for our last winner, the '92 Pirates. Whispers is most famous for his performance in game 4 on the '91 NLCS, throwing a quality start that allowed the Pirates to take the game into extra innings and eventually win in the 10th when Andy Van Slyke scored on a Mike LaVallierre single (wow, what a beautiful sentence).
Unfortunately, I can't find much more information on Tomlin like why his nickname is Whispers or why he flamed out after '92 (my guess is a combination of too many innings at a young age and his inability to strike guys out). Tomlin is currently the pitching coach of the Harrisburg Senators (Washington Nationals) in the Eastern League (AA). Also, if anyone can make out what is scribbled under Tomlin's signature on that baseball card, please let us know.
A few Bucco links to get you pumped. Matt Bandi has some interesting posts over at Pittsburgh Lumber Co. on the bench and the bullpen. I'm with him on the bench, it doesn't make sense to keep Ramon Vasquez around while I still have hopes for Brandon Moss, which would mean Delwyn Young is the odd man out. As for the bullpen, his post does curb my enthusiasm a bit, but going from 27th in the league to 16th is no small feat. I think Evan Meek will be better than his projection, and doubt that Chris Jakubauskas will pitch 50 innings (at least let's hope not), but this bullpen will be much better thanks to jettisoning two guys who most Pirates fans have complained about losing- Matt Capps and Jesse Chavez.
Pat over at WHYGAVS has a nice little post on his top 21 pitching prospects. But if you really want the lowdown on Pirate prospects, check out Tim's list over at BUCCOFans. Two years ago, I wouldn't even be able to come up with 15 worthwhile prospects in the Pirates organization, and even though there still isn't much star power in the system, it's depth makes it one of the stronger in baseball.
Over at John Sparrow's blog, he takes a look at the importance of being lucky, particularly when it comes to the draft. And then Dale Berra's Stash takes a good look at the importance of WAR, if you were unconvinced by my earlier explanation, Dale does a much better job.
And now for a few US Soccer links. Stuart Holden is finally making it official by signing with Bolton until the end of the year. As long as he plays, I like the signing. But that's a big if. US players have not had the best of luck going from the MLS to the EPL. Although Holden was brought in by the new coach at Bolton, and he is versatile. Only time will tell, but Stuart has the talent to make a major impact for the US in the upcoming World Cup.
Holden's former teammate in Houston, Ricardo Clark, has also found a new team in Germany with Eintracht Frankfurt. I like this move for Rico, who is physical enough to hang in the Bundesliga. Again, the almighty question is will he play? One can hope.
And then there is this great update from Ives Garcelep on Charlie Davies recovery from his terrible car crash this past Fall. I think you can now bet on Chuck D. making the trip to South Africa, which would be a big boost for the Yanks. Ives also has some extra material on his blog.
More tomorrow morning/afternoon, which will probably include Ron Cook's next attempt at quality journalism.
The Pens won last night. The original six can suck it. Recap from me here, but better recaps are here, and here. Oh yeah, this is pretty cold, Chris Conner, we hardly knew ye.
Ron Cook published a column basically saying that Max Talbot's lack of output is due to his shoulder injury, that the Pens should not trade him at the deadline (because so many people think the Pens really need to get rid of Talbot and his albatross of a contract... 2 years at $1.05 million a season), and that come April, May, and June, Talbot could be a "superstar" much like those awesome A&L commercials (nice angle, Ron). Whatever. I love Max Talbot and hope all those things do happen, but I'm a fan, that's my job. Ron Cook's job is to actually support his thoughts with facts. Which is why I get nauseous when he says things like this:
I'm going to do something right here that Talbot never will do. I'm going to blame his frustrating season on his bad left shoulder. He missed the first 21 games after surgery in July to repair multiple tears in his labrum. Talbot isn't into making excuses, but, clearly, he hasn't been right since he came back. Who knows? Maybe his injury will turn out to be like an elbow problem for a pitcher or a knee problem for a running back. Maybe he won't be really right until next season."Maybe" Ron, you should do some work and find out what the typical recovery time for that surgery is, maybe you should find a comparable situation (didn't Gonchar have a similar surgery to begin the 08-09 season?), maybe you should stop making up medical diagnoses, maybe you should stop hypothesizing all together, or maybe... just maybe you should do your job correctly.
And if you think I'm being tough on old Ron, just wait until he starts writing about the Pirates...
Here's an argument from BTSC towards the Steelers not drafting a cornerback in the first round of this year's draft. I wholeheartedly agree. As always, we should be taking the best available talent, but a focus should be on the offensive line, defensive line, linebacker, and possibly a safety to compliment Troy.