Enough with the so-called Jason Bay All-Star voting controversy. Bay has been in a bit of slump lately, but he’s a deserving All-Star without a doubt. The Pirates did a great job of encouraging fans to get on line and vote and that’s exactly what they did. Some are saying the team rigged the voting process, but I’m not buying it. Pirate fans wanted to see one of their own start for the National League in the Bucs home ballpark. Plus, let’s not forget, Jason Bay is from Canada and you have to believe the Pirates marketing staff reached out to our neighbors to the north to encourage them to vote as well. Many wonder how can an above-average player who plays for a losing team in a small baseball market get the most votes at his position for the All Star game. Easy. Have a visionary and aggressive PR and marketing staff like the Pirates do. End of story.

Sinking To A New Low

June 23, 2006

I’m running out of things to say about the Pirates. I don’t care what kind of season you are having, you can’t get swept by the Kansas City Royals! It’s the same old thing, the Pirates start off lousy, then around Memorial Day into the first week of June, they go on a little tear (see the 7-3 homestand that should have been 8-2 and could have been 9-1) then they realize: “Oh yeah: we’re the Pirates!” and they go back to stinking again. It’s not so much that they’re losing, it’s the way they are losing. Bad pitching, mistakes in the field, poor execution at the plate. Jack Wilson says something has to be done, I couldn’t agree more! At this point, the team needs to re-evaluate where they are going, get rid of the dead weight and start over! It’s already been 14 years of losing baseball, what’s a few more?

Santonio’s Arrest

June 20, 2006

You have to wonder what’s going through Santonio Holmes’ mind these days. His second arrest in less than a month certainlyl raises questions for the Steelers who pride themselves in bringing in players with good character. The first arrest for disorderly conduct on a busy Miami Street during a holiday weekend is excusable, seems to be a case of “He said, She said.” But domestic violence? Come on! Santonio’s gotta know better than that! You have to wonder if the Rooney’s are considering not giving Holmes a signing bonus, at this point he’ll be lucky to get a contract. I hope this young man can get his act together. He seemed very cordial and friendly when I spoke to him at mini-camp last month, his football future depends on staying out of trouble in the future. Good luck, Santonio!

Switching Seats

June 7, 2006

You may have heard or may have read that I am relinquishing my role as sports director at WTAE and moving to the news department. Starting next week, I will be joining Kelly Frey as co-anchor of Channel 4 Action News this morning. The news has been received positively. Thanks to all of you for the congratulatory phone calls and e-mails.

Some of you have asked why I would do this and whether I would miss sports. Yes, I will miss covering the teams on a regular basis. I won’t be there daily as the Steelers defend their super bowl championship and I will miss the All-Star game. Most of all, I’ll miss the “Operation Football” Fridays and going to the local high schools to present student-athlete of the week.

At the same time, I have seen much during my decade at the sports desk. I have seen 5 AFC Championship games, 2 Super Bowls, countless NHL Playoff games and more than a few bowl games. I have met Lavar Arrington, Swin Cash and Tyler Palko — as high school stars. I have covered local sports in every town and community, been to every high school and honored high school athletes in every sport.

I have seen it all — in sports. Now it’s time to see what else is out there and to expand my horizons. Plus, I have always tried to be a team player and the best way I can help this team ( WTAE ) is to move into a new role. Will I miss sports? Yes! Will I worry about the future of our sports department? No! Channel 4 Action Sports will continue to be successful in the future under the leadership of Jon Burton and our sports producer Michael Bennett.

It’s been a wonderful run on this side of the business and I hope you will join me for a new adventure in the mornings. In the meantime, this will be my last Action Sports blog. Thanks for reading these little thoughts over the past few months. It’s been a pleasure to share these thoughts in this new forum.

Take care and see you bright and early in the morning.

It was nice that Pirates GM Dave Littlefield finally revealed that Freddy Sanchez will remain as the team’s everyday third baseman even though Joe Randa is close to returning, but it wasn’t really necessary. Sanchez leads the National League in hitting and he’s been playing solid if not spectacular defense on the hot corner. No matter how much money the Bucs are paying Randa, it would be a huge mistake to sit Sanchez down at this point. Randa’s a pro, he’ll take his demotion in stride. Jim Tracy now has a quality veteran available off the bench, and I don’t antcipate Randa will make any waves. The key for Randa is to play well whenever he’s called upon, display a good attitude, and make himself attractive to other teams to better the chances he’ll be traded at or before the end of July. Meanwhile, Sanchez remains one of the coolest stories in all of baseball, who knows how long his hot hitting will continue, but Pirate fans, enjoy the ride!