Monday, April 16, 2007

Monday 04/16 A.M. Quickie:
Pittsburgh Is a GREAT Sports Town

UPDATE 4: Virginia Tech shootings. Cripes. What a horrible tragedy. Thoughts and prayers with the students, staff, alums and everyone else with a connection to VT.


UPDATE 3: Keith Olbermann to co-host NBC's "Football Night in America." There is hope yet for that show, which has so much potential (but didn't fulfill it in its debut season).


UPDATE 2
: Nerve.com has their special "Sports Issue" up. The highlight: Their ranking of the 30 Sluttiest Athletes of All Time. (OK: So where's the bracket?)

UPDATE: The Sports Blogger NFL Mock Draft on Awful Announcing is underway. I/we had the first pick, so check out (contribute to) the reactions and watch how other participants selected. "On the clock" is one of the all-time great phrases in sports.

Anyone else's weekends disrupted by the East Coast storm?
My flight from Pittsburgh back to NYC was cancelled, so I put my wife and kid into a rental car for a "Little Miss Sunshine"-style road trip through the rain, fog and wind. Fun!

Anyway, I had an experience this weekend that reminded me of the universality of being sports fan.

Start with this: I'm no particular fan of sports teams in Pittsburgh -- Steelers, Pirates, Penguins, Pitt.

But I was in town for a wedding during a great sports weekend: Bonds 2HR at PNC (which is an absolutely gorgeous park, even in the rain), Penguins in the playoffs, Pitt holds their spring football game at Heinz Field (another gorgeous stadium). With everyone else talking about the Steelers and the upcoming NFL Draft.

And the wedding and reception were held AT Heinz Field. It was a gorgeous location – on the club level, with access to walk out into the stadium. I'm not sure if the non-sports fans appreciated it, but I was giddy about the location, as were the other sports fans in attendance.

(And more than a little jealous of the guys in the bridal party who walked into the reception with Terrible Towels. Damn: I want one! I never thought I would say that. They are pretty cool.)

But that's the universality of sports fandom: The idea of being excited about being in a city when there are a couple of great sports events in town, even if you don't go to any of them. (And if you can't get excited about going to a wedding at a sports arena, you have no sports soul.)

Anyway, I figured that if I could get so excited about being in a city that had so many sports events going on at once – and I didn't even particularly care about any of the teams – my sports fandom hasn't been totally corrupted over time.

MLB: "42" Day. Yes, the league-wide (and sometimes team-wide) "42" thing WAS pretty damn cool-looking. (Team stud: Dodgers)

Stud: Albert Pujols. (Ah: Finally!)
Dud(s): Pavano/Mussina to DL.

NBA: Here's the best-case scenario for the playoffs: The Lakers get the 7th seed so it's Kobe (50 Sunday) vs. the Suns in the first round. Meanwhile, the sizzling Warriors get the 8th seed and give the Mavs all they can handle. (Would it be crazy if I predicted that as a first-round upset?)

Meanwhile, in the East, I' quite sure the Raptors and Bulls are salivating over the chance to play the Wizards, who might enter these playoffs fielding the worst lineup in NBA playoff history. (More East: Congrats to the on-the-up-and-up Magic, who clinched a playoff spot.)

Someone explain to me the difference between tanking a game and holding otherwise healthy players out to avoid injury.

NFL: Is the end of the short-lived Culpepper Era in Miami? Seems that the Dolphins are interested in Trent Green to be their next QB.

Boston Marathon: Given the weather, an event that was already not particularly easy gets much, much less fun.

Weekend Rewind: Greg Oden going pro. I appreciate Durant's skills and all, but a team would be crazy not to pick Oden first overall. And Li'l Romeo is going to play hoops for USC. Wonder if he, like OJ Mayo, simply called Tim Floyd and said, "I'm coming, so make room."

Today's MUST-Read: In the very first edition of the promising new business magazine, Portfolio, the great Michael Lewis has a fantastic piece. Link here. (The piece is basically about the genius of ProTrade, which has long been one of my favorite online-sports media companies and has been on my blogroll since the relaunch.)

Jason Whitlock is going on Oprah to talk about our post-Imus world: No shrinking violet, Whitlock has done more than anyone in the media to raise his national profile during the Imus story. While Oprah is asking him about his provocative takes on the race side of the Imus issue, I hope that Big O asks Big Sexy about his own dabbling with misogyny.

Don't forget: If you're a Florida fan, click on this link (or the one below the T-shirt image at the top-right) to buy the hot T-shirt of the season. (There's one for Duke fans, too.)

-- D.S.

61 comments:

rafael said...

You seem to like the word 'gorgeous' today, Dan. Be sure to use it on Mrs. Quickie once, or she may not let you blog anymore. ;)

The '42' tribute did look cool. Hopefully it held deeper meaning for most though than just the look. Certainly, Cincy winning 1-0 pitching duels must make JR proud. :)

Oden going pro? Good for him. Conley should as well.

ryan from boston,ma said...

Good read from an opinion I found on CelticsBlog.com(thanks,TrueHoop)

Someone explain to me the difference between tanking a game and holding otherwise healthy players out to avoid injury.

Why aren't people more upset over Memphis'(or even Minnesota) season this year? They should be the poster-children for tanking. Look at their roster and tell me they are only a 20-win team. Any team with Chucky Atkins, Pao Gasol, Hakim Warrick, Damon Stoudamire, Mike Miller, Stromile Swift, and Dahntay Jones should NOT have that poor a record.

In contrast, look at how the Cs' season went down: they weren't really doing too poorly until Pierce and Al Jefferson got injured, and when both came back, both actually played them OUT of the worst record. I'm guessing the Grizzlies wouldn't have brought Pierce or Jefferson back at all. PLUS, there was talk of Memphis' trading their BEST PLAYER, Gasol and KG(T'Wolves), to the Celitcs, who was the front-runner for the worst record until Pierce came back. Doing so would have given Memphis two excellent picks in this year's draft. I'm glad it didn't happen.

So, why don't we focus on the tank-tacular job Memphis,Minnesota did, instead.

http://celticsblog.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=473&Itemid=33

My Studs*and duds later

Patriots64 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Troy said...

(Would it be crazy if I predicted that as a first-round upset?)

Yes. Batshit crazy.

Patriots64 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Navigator said...

Anyone else's weekends disrupted by the East Coast storm? My flight from Pittsburgh back to NYC was cancelled.

Thanks for the update PK.

CMFost said...

Patriots64 the Red Sox games had not been rained out yet. They pushed the start back to 12:05 instead of starting at 10:05

Ken Dynamo said...

Shanoff - calm down with Whitlock - he is the man.

re: Pittsburgh - they're fans are insane, nearly as crazy and annoying as boston fans. what makes them egregious is there is pittsburgh diaspora all over the country because pittsburgh the city is so terrible that everyone moves out and now the infest the bars near me.

also dan, you are not picking up on the biggest story to come out of the duke lax rap scandal, that i broke right here in the comments sections, and that is that i got 2 (TWO) smooth HJ's in capt. Dave Evans' bed. why aren't you running with this story?

Brian in Oxford said...

Interesting that the only person actually still wearing 42 gave it up yesterday. Not sure of the karmic connection, though. (The pitch wasn't even that bad....but Scutaro is second to Big Papi in walkoff hits since back to '04.)

Nothing like watching playoff hockey while bottling some homemade beer yesterday. Detroit's looking good so far. Buffalo must be in a panic already, no?

Say what you want about Whitlock's societal views, but his NFL truths were always spot-on (unless they revolved around Jeff George, I suppose).

How about this -- the Celtics land Durant, Oden goes back to school, the NBA changes the lottery rules, the Celtics get 15 games better next year but still land in an easier-to-win lottery, and get Oden NEXT year.

jhawkjjm said...

Does Oden and Connoly HAVE to go pro now that Connoly Sr has come out and publicly said that he's going to be their agent? Does that statement make them illegible for having contact with an agent? I'm interested to see how that might play out.

DanShanoff.com said...

TheNavigator: I so totally earned that. +1 for you.

Geo B said...

Dan - as another Pittsburgh refugee (living in Houston), thanks for the props to a great sports town. Now if you had a Primanti Bros. sandwich while there the experience would be complete!

Ken Dynamo nails it on the head - a lot of people have moved out of the Pittsburgh area - that is why all the Steeler road games have so many Terrible Towels at them - not that people fly down from Pittsburgh but that they already live at the game site - watching thousands of fans leave Reliant Stadium with me after crushing the Texans, what a sight!

Patriots64 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Geoff said...

The difference is team that tank for a draft pick generally are doing it with quite a bit of time left in the season. Several teams have been tanking for over a month and that is unfortunate and a side effect of the horrible lottery system (I really think Jeff Van Gundy was on to something). Teams that sit healthy players in preparation for the playoffs generally only do it for a few games and after they have their playoff position locked up.

Matt T said...

In one of the other threads I gave what I thought the difference was between sitting players to make sure they are healthy and tanking. Here we go:

Sitting players before the playoffs is something almost all fans can understand, it is for the greater immediate good, they know that their stars who they need to win a championship won't be hurt in a meaningless game. They also are not trying to lose by doing this, the bench players are likely trying to win as this is their only time to play.

Tanking is for the greater good in the future, hopefully, but its not a guarantee, and the teams are TRYING TO LOSE. that is the big difference IMO.

CycleDan said...

Tanking is intentionally throwing a game for some benefit such as a higher draft choice or more favorable matchup.

Sitting your starters is independent of whether you want to win. Assuming the subs play hard, you still might win. However resting starters for a team whose playoff position is already determined is for the purpose of winning games. Any fan can accept losing meaningless end of season games in order to win playoff games.

Now sitting starters may be one way of throwing a game but if a team like the Celtics or Memphis is sitting starters then it is tanking. If Dallas rests Nowitzki, that seems prudent - different situations.

Brian in Oxford said...

Another tanking problem. Let's say they un-weight the lottery so all the non-playoff teams have an equal shot. Well then if you're 40-41, do you play to win your last game, get that 8th seed to go up against a 64-18 juggernaut? Or do you tank your last game to miss the playoffs, and take your chances with the lottery?

Brian in Oxford said...

...because then all we've done is change which teams are tanking.

rafael said...

Well, I'm here at VT where there's another gunman on the loose. Ridiculous. Marcus Vick may have been the rule, not the exception around here.
As I am supposed to stay away from windows, I am left only with blogs to keep me entertained.
So...how's your work environment?

CycleDan said...

Why is tanking such a bigger issue in the NBA than other sports? I think the lottery system is fine and actually works against a team intentionally throwing games as opposed to just having the worst record get the first pick.

The real issue is endemic to basketball. One or two players can make all the difference in how good a team is. How often does that one star player get a team over the top, Jordan obviously, Tim Duncan, LeBron, Carmelo in college and the list can go on for a long time.

Five very good basketball players is not usually enough. You need one or two superstars to win it seems. Maybe that is because of the selfish style of play the NBA promotes. Detroit seemed to play good team ball and they won a championship but that is the exception it seems.

Most teams want to build on the Shaq/Wade and a few other guys model.

kway34 said...

Actually if you follow the entire story, Oden may not be gone yet. Mike Conley, Sr. says no decision has been made for Oden, Conley, Jr., or Cook.

http://chicagosports.chicagotribune.com/sports/college/mensbasketball/cs-0704150210apr15,1,1195777.story?coll=cs-college-print

rafael said...

The 3 are waiting until after they meet with Matta to make any kind of decision. They meet with him today.

CycleDan said...

Brian in Oxford,
My answer to your question is you always try to win to get in the playoffs. You only try to lose if you are already out of the running. In a short series, anything can happen. The Knicks as an 8 seed made the finals one year so it is always worth it to try to win if you are in contention.

Natsfan74 said...

If Leigh Steinberg was talking about being Oden's agent and him coming out, that would be improper contact. But players are allowed to maintain long-standing relationships such as that between Oden and Mike Connoly, Sr.

Actually, the quotes by Mike Sr. are pretty telling, in that he reveals his son is also thinking about coming out now, which he said was 100% no before the Final 4.

Again, I wouldn't actually be surprised either way. MC Jr. would be a first rounder this year, but a lottery pick next year. So, is one year of deferred money worth the huge increase he could see with being a top 5 pick? Would Oden stick around for a 2nd chance to win it all with his best friend?

I think they will both go pro, but I would not be surprised either way...

Big D said...

This post made me smile for many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that I'm moving to Pittsburgh in three weeks...


Can't wait to sit in PNC and Heinz for the first time. Naturally, sporting Red Sox & Patriots gear (and trying not to get killed)

Brian in Oxford said...

Yeah, but the Knicks did it in '99, the lockout season -- shouldn't really count. 8 seeds normally have NO chance at winning even 1 series, let alone 4. There is playoff revenue, yes....but other than that, you're condemning yourself to the middle of the pack.

ryan from boston,ma said...

Brian in Oxford,
Read Bill Simmons latest blog, about how Doc Rivers biggest mistake.He takes so long to start good rookies.(See Rajon Rondo,Gerald Green.)


heres the quote from Ryan Gomes.

"I probably (would have played), but since we were in the hunt for a high draft pick, of course things are different," Gomes said. "I understand that. Hopefully things get better. Now that we clinched at least having the second-most balls in the lottery, the last three games we'll see what happens. We'll see if we can go out and finish some games."

I doubt anything comes of this. I'd like the NBA to try to take some steps in the future to deter tanking, although I'm not sure what they could be. However, this season, with so many teams tanking -- Memphis, Milwaukee, Boston, Atlanta, Minnesota -- I'm not sure that it's fair to single out one team over some throwaway comments made out of frustration.

DrDoom said...

re ryan:

wtf. so he admits that they blew the game this is why the nba needs the 1 ball per team method again. Every team out of teh playofffs gets an even chance, so what if a team that is good gets anouther good player, like you would mind if durant ended up with paul.

ryan from boston,ma said...

You also can't dignify injuries that happen also(Paul Pierce.)

ryan from boston,ma said...

No DrDoom,Boston has the enough young talent to win now.Doc Rivers isn't a good coach to groom them into a winner.

DrDoom said...

true rivers should be gone. i also think though thta there is a problem with tanking especially because in the nba superstars win. jordan hakeem isiah, duncan, magic, bird. so on and so forth. So teams that are bad have a huge incentive to tank as such that incentive should be taken away by making it 1 ball per team. I know that injured players will still sit out but this is the best method as I see it.

WuzUpG said...

The Lakers aren't locked into the 7th seed, yet. My Warriors have 2 more games left at 40-40, whereas the Lakers are 41-40 with 1 game left. If the Lakers lose and the Warriors win out, which is very possible with Dallas already sitting out key players, moreover losing 4 straight to the Warriors, and playing Portland. The Warriors can slip and move into #7. However, since Nellie has owned his former team, would the Warriors want to move to #7? The Warriors have to keep winning because the Clippers can overtake the Warriors, if GSW loses, because they have the tiebreaker. Hence, GO LAKERS! (When has a Bay Area team ever cheered for an LA team? There's no better chant than BEAT L-A!)

DrDoom said...

isn't phoenix sort of a good matchup for gs because gs plays the same way and as such does not have to adjust styles to play phoenix? and i think the wiz should be allowed to trade there spot in the playoffs for a pick.

Vincent said...

is anyone curious as to what really transpired between crawford and Tim Duncan before the ejection?

kway34 said...

I know it's not directly sports related, but they're reporting at least 22 dead in the VT shootings. Thoughts and prayers to all those involved and their familes.

Sean (Pittsburgh) said...

Props to Pittsburgh? Where is the REAL Dan Shanoof? Wow was I surprised at the title of today's quickie!

Thanks for the compliment (me being a native and fan or all aforementioned teams)!

Contact me and I'll personally send you a Terrible Towel.

big d - The Red Sox jersey is fine but you might want to leave the Pats jersey on the shelf. We're still bitter about a couple of AFC championship games (even though it's been (3+ years and a Super Bowl later). If you need any help/info on your move (sports bars, suburbs, etc), feel free to contact me directly.

Let's go Pens!

Big D said...

Thanks sean - I might look you up.

And raf... you might wanna stay inside today. Yikes. World's going crazy bro.

nati said...

First of all, while it may not be huge right this second, my guess is that the VT shootings become a very big deal. There will be some investigation much like columbine to see what caused the tragic events of today.

As far as the Duncan/Crawford story goes, here's what I observed to have happend.

Duncan was on the bench during a loose ball foul callled on Oberto. As much as I hate the whining baby that Duncan is I doubt that he did more than say something like "You've got to be kidding". It was very much a bad call, and then Duncan got T'ed up. This caused Robert Horry, who was sitting next to Duncan, to make fun of Duncan for getting T'ed up. Duncan was laughing pretty hard. About a minute later, Josh Howard drove and kind of ran into Oberto and Crawford called a foul on Oberto. This led to Horry making another joke and Crawford saw Duncan laughing and threw him out while yelling at him on the bench. Duncan claims that Crawford was yelling "Do you want to fight" which I believe because Crawford looked pretty mad.

CMFost said...

early dud of the day Ervin Santana, gave up 6 runs on 6 hits to the Red Sox in the first inning.

CycleDan said...

First report was one killed. Now they are saying 20+ at Va Tech. That is just horrible.

Jason said...

I've got friends at Tech (all of whom are alright) but this is some serious shit. Can't comment on anything else. Sports = backseat.

RevScottDeMangeMD said...

The world is an extremely fucked up place...I am at a loss for words on this tragedy.

CycleDan said...

It seems there was one shooting where a student was murdered in a dorm. Then two hours later, about 20 more were shot in an engineering building. It seems like there were two different shooters. Just nuts.

rafael said...

to whom it may concern: staff at VT are being allowed to return to their homes. including me. I type from the apt. now.

hell of a way for me to celebrate a birthday.

But it seems things are calming down.

Mikepcfl said...

rafael, glad you are safe. I cant think of anything to post with a tragedy like this.

Big D said...

29 and counting... Jesus. Heard the "1 dead, multiple wounded" early this morning and thought little of it.

This is ridiculous. Gotta agree with jason right now: Sports = backseat.

Kurt said...

22+ dead, don't think you're crackin jokes anymore eh rafael?

rafael said...

jokes stopped a long time ago.

nati said...

In an attempt to lighten the mood...

Don't make jokes. Esspecially not in front of Joey Crawford.

Andy said...

Wow, I just don't understand why people do these things. I will definitely be praying for all those involved. Raf, VERY glad to hear you're ok!

jhawkjjm said...

Hope those injured come out ok. Prayers and condolences for those affected by this. Not much else to say right now.

Ferocious Bluebird said...

First of all, Olberman is a partisan liberal hack douchebag.

Second of all, here in Virginia, we are all thoroughly depressed. My sister went to Tech and my girl's sister is going there next semester. We know so many people there and it just sucks that anyone can kill others in such a cowardly fashion. I think I am just going to sit and think for the rest of the day.

Ferocious Bluebird said...

Oh and I am glad Duncan got T-d. Its retroactive for all the bitching he has done over the years.

IkeKrizzule said...

Dan, ProTrade is not actually the original sports/stock market game. Wallstreetsports originated sometime in the 90's, ran for quite some time and then evolved or changed into Jockstocks. I haven't really looked into ProTrade, but when I still sort of used to check in on Jockstocks I remember it being referred to as a less well run, but better funded take on their game (by Jockstocks members).

It doesn't really affect me, I no longer play Jockstocks (and WallStreetSports is long gone), but I would like to see the originators of the concept get their proper respect.

mirthywvu said...

first, my hearts goes out the everyone related to the VT tragedy, terrible

second, hey Pittsburghers...yea, our town isn't so bad...we are losing people here and there, but I think it's gotten better over the last few years. big D, welcome, same sentiments...contact me if you need anything!!!
Dan, that's a great location for the wedding. My wife's office has had their Holiday party every year at the Heinz Field club level. It's great isn't it? Food...eh...drinks, yea!! The view of the stadium all to yourself awesome.
And Big D, you will LOVE PNC Park, unbelievable!! (too bad our team stinks, I know, i froze my butt off during opening day!)

DanShanoff.com said...

Rafael -- Very glad to hear you are OK. T&P for you and the VT community.

Matt said...

I've been trying to contact friends at VT all morning... I graduated in 2004, but most of my friends were the mid-20s crowd who worked downtown at the bars, and took a couple of classes a semester trying to slowly work on degrees. None of them live in the dorms, obviously, but a few are engineering students (i.e. took classes at Norris).

I'm hoping the reason I can't get a hold of them is that they worked late last night and are still asleep at their apartments...

Whoever said sports are taking a back seat is 100% correct.

TBender said...

VT: Wow. Just wow. Nothing else matters right now.

ryan from boston,ma said...

Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young will be on the cover of the EA Sports Madden 2008 video game.

http://www.nashvillecitypaper.com/index.cf...s&news_id=55690

Uh oh..

Troy said...

This is insane. I showed up to study in the library this morning and saw "one dead, several wounded at VT campus shooting" on the TV news scroll. My thoughts then were: "wow, that's just downright awful."

Then 2 hours later when the news was "20 dead," and then "25," then "30"...

Oh great, and now CNN is talking about the possibility of "copycat killers." I certainly hope not...

The heroin sheik said...

A good friend here is a 2006 VT grad and he is freaking out. It sucks.

In that Simmons blog you have to check out that story on the nuggets and covering the spread.

Never been to Pburg, but I know the fans are crazy. Still I have to say my fav is still the Trop for baseball. Yeah it is a dome and baseball shouldn't be played indoors, but if you know anything about the history of the bay area you can appreciate the Columbia restaurant stands there. 3$ crab rolls with a ton of onions and hot sauce is the best way to start a game. Then you hit the Batter's Eye restaurant for their Sunday brunch where you feast on prime rib and lobster. You can bring in some stuff to the Trop now. When I go next week I think I may bring in some brats since the choice of sausages there is pretty weak. I'm a chef so the food is the most important thing when I go to stadium. Dodger dogs overrated. Fulton county was great when you could bring in sacks from the varsity.