Almost Perfect

Rich Hill pitched the game of his career tonight as the Los Angeles Dodgers took on the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park.   For nine innings Hill allowed no hits in a pitching duel against the Pirates Trevor Williams.    Then in the 9th inning, an error by Dodgers 3rd baseman Logan Forsythe ended the bid for a the perfect game.   However, the no-hitter continued in the 10th inning with the game still scoreless.    Josh Harrison hit a home run to win the game for the Pirates 1-0.  That home run was the only hit that Hill gave up in of most outstanding pitching performance in 2017 baseball season.   According to some baseball experts the Dodgers are World Series contenders.   If they get pitching like that from Hill and the other starters it could be a Dodger Blue October.

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The James Connor Story

James Connor rushed for 98 yards against the Atlanta Falcons.   His success helped the Steelers defeat Atlanta 17 to 13 yesterday afternoon.    Connor has impressed his new teammates and coaches.   Le’veon Bell has not signed his one-year tender and that has given Connor his chance to get some playing time.   Connor’s story was one of the most inspiring story in a long time.    While he was at Pitt in 2014, he was named the ACC offensive player and player of the year.    Then after tear in the MCL in 2015, he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease.  He returned in 2016 rushing for over a 1,000 yards.    When Bell signs his tender before the regular season opens that means Connor will get limited opportunities.   He will get his chances on special teams and maybe some spot duties on some goal line packages.

Protest

Last year, Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem.   Some NFL teams locked arms in a show of unity.  Eagles defensive back Malcolm Jenkins shown a fist during the anthem.  Last night, Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch sat during the anthem.    Tonight, Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett sat during the anthem as well.    The reason for all of these actions is the protest of racial injustice.     The tragedy in Charlottesville, Virginia is a reminder how far we have to go as a country dealing with racism.   All of the players are willing to pay the price as far dealing with criticism from the fans.   NFL fans were turned off by the protest during last season.

My Day at Steelers Training Camp

Unlike Friday night, I saw the Steelers practice at St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.  It was the last public practice before the preseason opener Friday night against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium.  I saw some good plays starting with special teams that was emphasized with punt return/coverage drills.  During the 11 on 11 drills, Joshua Dobbs made some outstanding throws.  Dobbs who will start at quarterback against the Giants because Ben Roethlisberger will not play and Landry Jones is injured.  Another quarterback will get an opportunity to play on Friday night.  Bart Houston, a free agent from the University of Wisconsin could get some snaps.   I don’t expect Houston to make the team, but if he has some strong games and practices.  Houston could get a chance to play on a another NFL team.   After today’s practice, the Steelers received excellent news when the NFL fully reinstated wide receiver Martavis Bryant.  That means he can practice with the team and be eligible for next week preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons.  However, Bryant still has to continue with his treatment and being tested during the week.

Participating Trophies

Playing in youth sports, I learned how to deal with winning and losing plus being on a team.   These days young athletes are getting participating trophies so they don’t get their feelings hurt.    It bothers me that they are not dealing with success or failure in the right way.   I mean they are not learning to deal with losing and disappointment.   I don’t have a problem with young kids who are learning to play sports a trophy.   However, when the kids getting older they have to learn about how to be a good winner and loser.    Learn to play together, following the rules, and how to handle failure is a part of playing youth sports.  These days we are living in a culture that doesn’t want to hurt anyone feelings or telling they were great.    I guess we have to change the current state of youth sports.

The Cheat

It has been ten years since Barry Bonds hit his 756th home run to break Hank Aaron’s home run record.     There has been a lot of mixed emotions in the past ten years about the allegations of Bonds use of PEDs.     Bonds later admitted that he used the clear and the cream, but didn’t know it at the time.   I hate that people justified the use of PEDs during the late 1990s into mid-2000s.     The reason was that Major League Baseball didn’t have a drug testing policy for PEDs until the MLBPA fought for extensive testing.   The reason was there a lot of good players who never used PEDs were lumped in with cheaters.    Some fans recognized Bonds achievement, but other do not because of his PEDs use as well as his attitude.    It hard for me to root for someone who for years acted like a jerk.    In my book, Hank Aaron is still the real home run king.

The Kicker

The NCAA has rules that are out of date and doesn’t help athletes.  Another example of that is involving a kicker from the University of Central Florida.   Donald De La Haye made YouTube videos and is a marketing major.   He has made money on his videos via his sponsors, but the NCAA believes it violates the amateurism rule.   They gave De La Haye an option give up your videos or be ruled ineligible for the upcoming football season.   De La Haye didn’t stop making videos and now is no longer part of the football team.   He should have a right to make money on his videos and it is so hypocritical of the NCAA to say he can’t make any money.   The same organization that makes billions of dollars on college athletes but will not allow them to make a single cent.

The NCAA have to modernize their policies for what is an acceptable benefit for a student-athlete.   Someday the NCAA will have to change with the times to do what is right for student-athletes.

Tonight’s Practice

I was looking forward to the Steelers Friday night practice at Latrobe High School Stadium.  Instead, I left early because of lightning strikes near the stadium.  The practice started at 7:00 P.M. and they were doing warm-ups.    Then before 8:00 P.M, the P.A. announced that the fans were to leave the stadium.  Dan and I left the stadium, plus it didn’t rain much when we got to the car.  Then we found out later that the practice resumed and they got some work done.    The Steelers did not communicated about the practice being delayed, but most fans including us thought the practice was cancelled.  I feel bad for the fans who came from long distance to see the night practice.   I even brought my business cards to meet some people but didn’t have the chance.    This evening was a waste of time and wished that the team did a better job of communicating what was going on to the fans.

From the Pitch Quality Opponents

The United States Women’s Soccer team are playing inconsistent this calendar year.  In a non-Olympic year, and two years after winning the World Cup; it is hard to play good opponents.  Winning friendly matches against Russia, Romania, Norway, and Sweden are nice, but they need to play against quality teams.  The She Believes Cup and the Tournament of Nations are good barometers playing the likes of England, Germany,  France, Australia, Brazil, and Japan.  What is the ultimate success for the U.S team in the next two years?   It is trying to get the right lineup playing well going into the 2019 World Cup.

Hall Of Honor

The Pittsburgh Steelers are announcing on August 29th, the first inductees into the Hall of Honor.   There are so many great players from the past and it would be hard elect 2 to 4 to this honor.  This honor would not only celebrate players but other members of the organization such as coaches, scouts, owners, and even broadcasters.   Who would I  put in the first class?   I would put in Chuck Noll,  Art Rooney,  Joe Greene, and Myron Cope.    The Hall of Honor will also put in those who are not in the Pro Football Hall Of Fame such as L.C Greenwood.   Whoever they put in the first class are going to be worth recipients.  In the years to come, the names that are going in are those who played in the years they were not winning.