Thursday, February 25, 2010

Thursday Dale Berra's

Since Thursday is such a tough day of the week to couple with a name, I'm going to start using Thursdays to bring up a great Pittsburgh sports figure of the past who may not fit into another day of the week.

Dale Berra is the son of former Yankee great and Geico spokesman, Yogi Berra. He played for our beloved Buccos from '77-'84 but never really amounted to much even though he was a high draft pick and had a solid pedigree.

What Dale was most known for was his father, his fantastic mustache (which led to the great PS blog Dale Berra's Stash), and of course, the Pittsburgh Drug Trials of 1985 (good year). I wish someone would write about the effect of cocaine on baseball in the 1980's with one of the longest chapters being about the PDT, maybe I'll do it... Either way, because Berra admitted to doing cocaine whilst playing, he was fined 10% of his salary for the '85 season (he was only making $447k, so it's not that much considering).

Somewhat related story; when I went to last year's game six of the Stanley Cup Finals at Mellon Arena, I had a kick-ass mustache (born from an ugly playoff beard I was growing) and would rock my '79 Buccos cap in honor of the last sports team to win a game seven going away. The usher at Mellon very appropriately said I looked exactly like Dale Berra. I'll take that as a compliment?

So last night was supposed to be this awesome sports night and turned out to be a total stinker. The US game was awesome, although to be honest, that was kind of during the day. The Canada/Russia game ended up just like game seven of last year's Caps/Pens series, a blowout with AO on the losing end and Sid skating onwards. What a ridiculous game though, it was like an all-star game in that every few minutes someone was lighting the lamp. What's even more absurd is the fact that Russia seemed like it had no idea how to play team defense. It also didn't help that the NHL's best player decided to shit the bed. Canada is looking pretty nice right now, and I would love to see a Canada/US rematch in the finals, although the Tall Guy has become a huge Slovakia fan in the past few days. We'll see.

Speaking of shitting the bed, Pitt got dominated last night in a fashion that was downright scary. I might as well just stop talking about Pitt basketball; every time I say something one way or the other, Pitt turns around and proves me wrong. Just as I said on Monday that "they seem to have it in them this year," they go and play a game like last night. I couldn't even watch the last 10 minutes, it was too frustrating; it's one thing to have a bad game and the other team to have a career night, but by that time, ND was beating them to every loose ball and clearly cared more. The main reasons for the outcome are right in the shooting categories; ND shot better from distance and got to the line more often. What's amazing is that Pitt had only 4 turnovers... and they lost by 15!

The Steelers have signed Casey Hampton to a three-year deal and slapped the franchise tag on Skippy Reed. Good deals on both accounts. The Hampton contract buys him out of what should be his only good years left (3 years is really not that long). I'm a little concerned with the amount of contracts the Steelers are handing out to veteran players like Harrison, Farrior, and now Hampton, but as long as it's not hamstringing them into letting good young talented players walk, then it really isn't that big of an issue (although I still think that Harrison contract was a big mistake). Good to have Skippy around, despite all the bad press, he's a better guy than most people realize. Plus he makes for a hell of a cheerleader at Pitt basketball games.

And then the one game I really wanted to watch last night but was unable to, ended up as the best of the night. The US came back from a goal down to beat El Salvador 2-1. Here's Soccernet's recap with player ratings. In particular, Ives Garcelep looks at Heath Pearce's performance at LB.

More later, but probably not. Gotta drive the Tall Guy to the airport

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