Monday, June 29, 2015

Penguins Got Back (Pittsburgh Penguins Draft Recap)

It seems like less than three weeks ago when I did a recap of the Pittsburgh Pirates draft, but I'm back with thoughts about this weekend's Pittsburgh Penguins draft...inspired by Sir Mix-A-Lot's classic song, Baby Got Back. Enjoy!

Name: Daniel Sprong
Selection: 2nd round (46th overall)
Position: RW
Height: 6-0
Weight: 180
Amateur Team: Charlottetown (QMJHL)

The Penguins went right with the opening few lines with this selection:

I like big butts and I can not lie
You other brothers can't deny
That when a girl walks in with an itty bitty waist
And a round thing in your face
You get "Sprong"

Name: Dominik Simon
Selection: 5th round (137th overall)
Position: C
Height: 5-11
Weight: 176
Amateur Team: Plzen (Czech Republic League)

Yes, you guessed it. Simon is white so...

Then turn around, stick it out
Even white boys got to shout

Name: Frederik Tiffels
Selection: 6th round (167th overall)
Position: LW
Height: 6-0
Weight: 192
Amateur Team: Western Michigan (NCHC)

Tiffels was born in Cologne, Germany. You know what else is German? Mercedes-Benz

Ooh, Rump-o'-smooth-skin
You say you want to get in my Benz?

Name: Nikita Pavlychev
Selection: 7th round (197th overall)
Position: C
Height: 6-7
Weight: 200
Amateur Team: Des Moines (USHL)

From Yaroslavl, Russia, did you know that Nikita has a rigorous workout routine?

So your girlfriend rolls a Honda, playin' workout tapes by Fonda
But Fonda ain't got a motor in the back of her Honda

Let's hope that these future Penguins players have hockey careers as successful as Baby Got Back!

This is either brilliant, or more likely, one of my worst blog posts.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Sean's Mailbag

Bill Simmons, formerly of ESPN and Grantland, used to run entertaining mailbag columns. Since Simmons is no longer at ESPN, I thought I would try to fill the void based on questions I received on Twitter and in my email inbox.

Brad (laclips) - Are you going to answer questions on here?

By here, Brad meant Twitter. No, my replies cannot be limited to just 140 characters! (/Checks and sees that I still would have had 55 characters left if I did answer on Twitter)

Restore Lost Hair - Try This to Restore Your Hair Loss

Not a question, but it's like Restore Lost Hair really knows me! With that written, I'm fine with my current balding state. I think I would shave my head except that would take a lot of work to maintain no hair compared to limited hair. I already dislike shaving my face nearly everyday, so why would I want to shave my head too?

Jason the Sports 'Ace' - Hi there,

Bookies laugh when bettors win big time.. because they know that more and more people will play and eventually lose...


When they meet a guy who has a proven formula to win 9 out of 10 times...with close to zero risks...THEY PANIC...because 1000 people like this "expert" could take them out of business.

Again, I don't see a question here, but based on your email, it seems like bookies have a wide range of emotions. Who knew?

Trainers Quotes - How would YOU like to direct line through to the UK’s TOP Trainers – EVERY time they have a horse running…?

Every time might be a bit much. Maybe just occasionally.

How would YOU like to be a fly-on-the-wall at the UK’s TOP yards…?

There are about 7,000 other places where I would rather be a fly-on-the-wall than at the UK's top yards. The Oval Office would probably be at the top of this list. The office of Neal Huntington, the Pirates GM, would be up there too.

Alex - When my two year old points to his you-know-what and asks "what's that?", what should I say?

As a father of two young boys, I just go with penis. That sounds much better than saying pee-pee. Please note that I would have no idea how to answer this question if I had a daughter.

PGA Digital Golf Academy - Want even more golf instruction?

By more, you're assuming that I am currently receiving golf instruction. That would be false. But sure, golf instruction would be nice. My 25 year-old John Daly golf clubs would probably like to get out of the house.

PremierCareinBathing Promotion - Is a Walk-in Bathtub Right for You?

I'll go with no. I don't understand how the water will stay in the bathtub if you can walk right into it. Is there a door for the bathtub?

scclko2000 - Your wife will love your Big Unit

To Alex's question, I would not call your son's you-know-what a unit.

And yes, these are my readers.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Seeing A No-Hitter With My Son

One of my dreams/bucket list items is to attend a no-hitter in person. In July 2001, I saw Todd Ritchie (yes, Todd Ritchie) go 8 1/3 innings before giving up a single. After seeing probably over 100 baseball games in my lifetime, that was the closest I've come to seeing a no-hitter. Meanwhile, I took my son (The Moose, age 4) to his first baseball game on Saturday night. He has now attended one single baseball game and has witnessed a no-hitter (and almost the 22nd perfect major league game since 1900). He has no idea that this is a big deal. On to my notes and thoughts on the game and taking The Moose to his first game.

- Breaking news: Max Scherzer is really, really good. Maybe that's why the Nationals paid him over $200 million. I'm a Pirates fan and definitely wanted the Bucs to win, but I can appreciate an amazing pitching performance and found myself rooting for a perfect game in the top of the 9th.

- After the first inning, The Moose told me that he wanted to go home. That's when I went into food mode. I offered him a fruit bar that I had in my bag and then we quickly went to the concession stand to get french fries and a Sprite. He loved the Sprite and made it through the rest of the game (sitting on my lap for nearly all of it) without any complaints.

- In either the 7th inning or top of the 8th inning, I looked at the scoreboard and mentioned to my friend that we were watching a perfect game. We knew it was a no-hitter but had no idea we were watching a potential perfect game until then.

- I did a terrible job of taking pictures during the game. Really, I just wanted to make sure my kid was happy and that I didn't lose him in the crowd of over 40,000. I did take this picture of several members of the Pirates walking to the bullpen before the game. Plus, both Bryce Harper and Andrew McCutchen sat in my section!

- I also should have taken a picture of someone wearing a Pirates' Garrett Jones jersey.

- Unwritten rules in baseball are stupid. In the 8th inning, the Nats shifted against Pedro Alvarez. Pedro could have bunted towards the deserted third base line to reach on a single, but that's not permitted in baseball. Well, if it was a 1-0 game, maybe that would have been a little acceptable, but baseball folks would have gone insane if Pedro did this on Saturday. If you think the reaction to Jose Tabata reaching on a hit-by-pitch was crazy, Pedro would have been vilified even more.

- The Nationals had a promotion on Saturday where after the game, Seniors could stroll the bases. During the game, I talked with my friend about the fact I tweaked my knee (for the second time in a month) earlier in the day working as a soccer referee), probably will need bifocals soon and that I recently went to the dentist and learned that I have receding gums. Basically, I could have been eligible to run the bases!

- When we got home, all The Moose talked about to my wife was chocolate syrup. Naturally, she had not idea what he was talking about. I mean why would there be chocolate syrup at a baseball game? Here's the answer:

MASN's Dan Kolko did not look happy about Jayson Werth dumping chocolate syrup on him. I'd bet $10 that Werth doesn't pay the dry-cleaning bill.

- The Moose wasn't very impressed by the Presidents/Pierogi race. I think he found the characters a little scary.

- I'd like to give the Nationals credit for posting the artist and song title for each hitter's walk-up music on the scoreboard. That was a nice touch particularly since I didn't know many songs.

- Quick rant: I love keeping ticket stubs of sporting events/concerts I attend. However, there are less and less ticket stubs these days and you generally print off your tickets now. Even Nats season ticket holders get a card that they swipe or scan at the gate instead of receiving individual tickets. Here is part of my ticket from Saturday's game that is now folded up on a regular 8.5 x 11 piece of paper.

- I don't ever want to drive through a hurricane, but I feel like I got a taste of what it's like to do so going home after the game. There were massive thunderstorms on Saturday evening with extremely heavy rain and lightning everywhere. I'm glad that the game was at 4:05 since a 7:05 game would have been postponed.

Here's more about the game:

The Washington Post (here and here

People were mad at Tabata (also The Washington Post)

Dejan Kovacevich wrote a really good piece in support of Tabata. [DK on Pittsburgh Sports]

Clinton Yates agreed with DK. [Washington Post again]

Josh Yohe of DK on Pittsburgh Sports
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Video of the top of the 9th [MLB]

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Peyton Manning's New Job

Peyton Manning, quarterback for the Denver Broncos, turned 39 in March and is likely close to retirement. It's quite possible that this will be his final season in the NFL. While Manning can certainly fall back on appearing in television commercials (even if he dresses terribly in them), I found the perfect job for him if he's willing to start now.

Yes, Manning would need to move to Northern Virginia for this job, but I think he can do it.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Pirates Fan Doesn't Score

On Friday evening, the United States faced Sweden in the Women's World Cup in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. During the second half, Fox Sports showed this guy wearing a Pirates hat drinking a beer. (I guess Captain America, since he is wearing a Captain's hat, was in the picture too.)

The Sweden-US game finished in a 0-0 tie. I figure that after the World Cup match, the Pirates fan got some food and went back to his hotel room to see the result of the Pittsburgh-Philadelphia Phillies game. Due to a rain delay, Pirates fan was amazed that the game was still on. In extra innings. And scoreless. The Pirates finally scored a run in the bottom of the 13th at approximately 1:05 AM Eastern time to win 1-0.

Basically, the guy in the Pirates hat could have watched about 2 hours of soccer and 6 hours of baseball without seeing one goal or one run. Um, Woooo for a guy wearing a Pirates hat at an international event!

Friday, June 12, 2015

2015 Pittsburgh Pirates Draft Wrap-Up

Welcome to my 4th annual (if you ignore the fact that I didn't do one of these last year) recap of the Pittsburgh Pirates draft. Please note that if you're looking for detailed analysis of the players' baseball skills, you've come to the wrong place. (I suggest going to Bucs Dugout or Pirates Prospects for that.) This is insight of the Pirates' draft that you won't see anywhere else.

Kevin Newman (1st round draft pick), SS, Arizona
Kevin Kramer (2nd), SS, UCLA

A lot of people made Seinfeld references based on these picks, but that's taking the easy road. Instead, I think the Pirates wanted to go back to the 90s and start a new Kevin club in the tradition of former players Kevin Young, Kevin Polcovich and Kevin Elster (yes, he was briefly a member of the Pirates). Naturally, the President of the Kevin club should be Kevin Arnold.

Logan Sendelbach, RHP, Tiffin University (10th)
Logan Ratledge, SS, NC State (13th)
Logan Hill, RF, Troy (25th)

Forget the Kevin club, there's now a Logan club!

Tanner Anderson, RHP, Harvard (20th) - This is the requisite mention that Anderson must be smart since he attended Harvard.

Nicholas Economos, RHP, Mercer County CC (21st) - Economos is the person to talk to about supply and demand. I'd be interested in hearing a conversation between Economos and Harvard's Tanner Anderson about the pros and cons of Adam Smith. (Does or Baseball America have any Adam Smith references? I don't think so!)

Brandon Waddell, LHP, Virginia (5th) - Waddell wobbles but he doesn't fall down.

Bret Helton, RHP, Utah (9th) - Please be related to Colorado Rockies great Todd Helton. Please be related to Todd Helton. (Checks..."Father Barry Helton was an All-American football player at Colorado and spent four years in the NFL, winning two Super Bowls with the San Francisco 49ers." Well, that's something.)

Scooter Hightower, RHP, Columbia State CC (15th) - Finally, we see what happens when we combine a Muppet and a Police Academy character.

Stephan Meyer, RHP, Bellevue (18th) - After writing the Twilight series of books, Meyer looks to make the jump to major league baseball.

Jonathan Brubaker, RHP, Akron (6th) - May I introduce you to J.T. Tall!

Apparently, Bucs Dugout meant for "Tall" to be the start of a new sentence, but I read this (as did others) as J.T. Tall. Let the nickname stick!

Mitchell Tolman, 3B, Oregon (7th) - I guess he can go by M.T. Tol?

Ike Schlabach, LHP, Timber Creek HS, Keller, Texas (19th) - Schlabach could be the greatest Ike in Pirates history since Ike Davis.

Mike Wallace, RHP, Fairfield (30th) - I always thought Wallace could be a two-sport star. He's no Antonio Brown though.

Sean Keselica, LHP, Virginia Tech (33rd) - Sean is welcome to provide a guest post on Sean's Ramblings anytime. Current Pirate Sean Rodriguez is too.

Conor Costello, RHP, Oklahoma St. (38th round)

His "Who's On First" routine with former pitcher Jim Abbott is a classic.

To see my previous draft recaps, please click here.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

2015 Celebrate Fairfax Notes

After working or volunteering at Celebrate Fairfax for nearly the entire festival for more than a decade, it seems odd only being there for a small part of the event. I helped with setup on Friday and things seemed to go more smoothly this year than during any other set-up I remember. Here are some other thoughts of this year's festival.

I took my four year old (The Moose) to see the fireworks on Saturday night. I believe that this was the first time he has ever seen them live. There's nothing like seeing the amazement in my son's eyes as he watched the fireworks. Very cool moment as a parent.

I heard an unconfirmed rumor that this was the last year there will be fireworks at Celebrate Fairfax. Groundbreaking has already started on the new Residences at Government Center and by next year, there will likely be people living there. According to what I heard, the Fire Marshall won't allow fireworks to be set off so close to residential property.

Probably The Moose's favorite activity was the DockDogs Championship. Here's the description of DockDogs: The world’s premier canine aquatics competition, DockDogs, is a national dog jumping competition that will feature four-legged athletes from around the region. It was really cool. Here's a picture that I actually took myself. Maybe I could be a photographer!

Glory Days/Fanfare always has a booth at Celebrate Fairfax, and the staff from the restaurant group are incredibly nice and friendly. I really need to go there to eat more often.

Brad Matchett is a comedy hypnotist who performs regularly at Celebrate Fairfax. While I didn't see any of his hypnotist acts, I caught some of his comedy show at the Children's Avenue stage. He is really, really good and captures everyone's full attention which is incredible given the attention span of some kids (and adults) I know. This is his Facebook page.

The only significant story worth sharing from set-up involved a frog. Apparently, a frog got injured, possibly partially run over by a vehicle. Personally, I had no idea there were any frogs on the Government Center grounds. Anyway, someone setting up a booth noticed the frog (which I will not call Kermit) and moved him/her away from the cement and on to a grassy area. There was actually a veterinary practice there, but they completed set up and were not there when I tried to find them to help. I checked on the frog a few times, and he wasn't there the last time I looked. I guess (hope) that he/she was good enough to head out and eat some flies. Maybe this really wasn't worth sharing.

My one year old (Pedro Tulo) loves to move around, so while I think he enjoyed seeing Celebrate Fairfax from the stroller, his favorite part of the fair was the festival office. We let him out, and he loved being able to crawl everywhere. On his behalf, I apologize to the person who called asking about festival hours. Pedro Tulo said the event ended at 6:00 on Sunday when it really was 7:00. (He really didn't say this. Or answer the phone.)

That's a wrap on Celebrate Fairfax 2015. Save the date, June 10-12, 2016, for next year's festival.

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Found In My Basement: Rusted Root T-Shirt

I did a little spring cleaning recently and managed to compile a complete bag full of clothes to donate. I also found dozens of clothes, particularly T-shirts, that I'm not willing to give up. Occasionally throughout the summer, I plan on sharing pictures of some of these clothes. (I'm sure that you can't wait for this!)

First up is this Rusted Root T-shirt from a concert I saw on some mountain or ski slope around State College, PA in the fall of 1995. I don't remember much (if anything) about the concert except that everyone sat on the grass/blankets on a fairly steep hill.

For those of you not familiar with Rusted Root, well, shame on you. They were by far the biggest band in Western Pennsylvania in the mid-1990s. They were huge among the high school and college scene, and at least to me, were right there with the Dave Matthews Band. Although the band sold over 3 million records (albums? cassettes?), they never seemed to hit the mainstream unless you count Send Me On My Way being played in Enterprise car rental commercials.

Rusted Root still tours and were actually at Washington DC's 9:30 Club on Wednesday night. My guess is that they're not selling this T-shirt at the show.

Bonus Fun Fact #1: Despite growing up in Pittsburgh during the height of Rusted Root, I never actually saw them perform in Pittsburgh. I saw them at State College, Ithaca & at the Celebrate Fairfax festival in 2010.

Bonus Fun fact #2: The father of one of the band members officiated my wedding.

Click here to see more in the Found in My Basement Series.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Trivia Tuesday

There hasn't been a Trivia Tuesday here in a while, and this one is unique. Your challenge is to answer these very random questions.

1. There's a singer-songwriter named George Ezra who has a hit song out now titled Budapest. This leads to an important question: Is Better Than Ezra better than George Ezra?

2. Not counting Taylor Swift and Kendrick Lamar (since it's their song), how many people can you identify in the Bad Blood video? I got two.

3. For (fantasy) baseball fans, who got the better of this deal? Owner A traded Mike Trout, Colin McHugh & Phil Hughes to Owner B for Clayton Kershaw, Starling Marte, Joakim Soria & James Shields.

4. Sporcle quiz time - Part I: Can you pick the 10 most populous US states in order from most populous to least? (I got an 8 out of 10.)

5. Sporcle quiz time - Part II: Can you name the Pittsburgh Pirates innings pitched leaders from 1985-2014? (I got a 17 out of 30).

6. Finally, what would be the perfect caption to this Getty picture of Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli? (via DK on Pittsburgh Sports)

As always please do not use the internet for assistance and leave any answers in the comments section below. Good luck!