Friday, May 27, 2011

Stone Panels by PNC Park

Anybody know anything about the history of these stone sculptures just across from PNC Park? I'm a big fan of public art and I've admired these for 15 years. Any info would be welcome.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Pittsburgh Was Once a Baseball Town -- Can It Be One Again?

On Saturday night, I went to the Pirates game, a 6-2 win over the Detroit Tigers. Also, notably, it was a sell out, with the last 7,000 or so seats sold in walk-up traffic. Heck, I can't remember the last time I was at a sold out Pirates game. [Oh, wait, I can. It was opening day a couple of years ago, but before that, honestly, it had to be 1992 -- a late September game against the Mucking Fets at Three Rivers. I can actually picture my seats in the old concrete toilet on the third base side.]

The extraordinary drought since that 1992 season makes it easy to forget Pittsburgh's storied baseball history, perhaps the richest history you might find in a market this size, particularly when you factor in the amazing Negro League teams fielded by the Homestead Grays and the Pittsburgh Crawfords. Home to Honus Wagner. Site of the first World Series ever. Pie Traynor. Josh Gibson. And, of course, the great one, Roberto Clemente. It's a veritable murder's row of baseball luminaries.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sunday Recipe: Tuscan Chick Pea Soup

The only idiot I know who ever got food poisoning in Florence, Italy is ... well ... me. To the people of Florence, a modest suggestion -- cook your sausage. C'mon man.

What the raw sausage incident meant in foodie terms is that, when I was finally feeling better and could safely leave the immediate proximity of my hotel room's toilet, I wasn't up for any big time food adventures or in the mood for another gigantic, tuscan seared Flintstones-type steak. I did luck out and find a great little local joint, with no menu, but a selection that varied daily. When I had lunch there, the soup of the day was supa de ceci -- just the essence of chick peas in a bowl and, I would point out, the best meal I had in Florence. Amazing stuff.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Top 10 Sporting Events to Take Us Beyond the Rapture

Well it appears the Rapture is indeed upon us. Maybe you call it the end of the world? Semantics, my friends. Semantics. But it seems to me, that if God is calling all the chickens home to roost, she might be in the mood to grant some wishes? I don't know, but I think God understands balance -- hellfire and damnation should be balanced out with some thoughtful presents. Dig?

So what I'm saying is, if the supreme being wants to give me a gift, he can permit me to witness, first hand, some of the great sporting moments in history. I'm almost ashamed to say that I've actually thought about this over the years, but if there were ten sports events I could attend in person, if money and the shackles of a little thing I like to call time and space were not objects, which is to say, if I could travel through time, what sports events would I want to see, live and in person? This list turns out to be kinda baseball heavy. Who knew?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

One Game Over .500

Here's what 18-17 looks like kids:

Head Injuries, Progress and Pessimism

I have had this terrible thought for about a month now -- we may not see Sidney Crosby even at the start of the 2011-2012 season.

That Crosby suffered setback from his January concussion(s) mid-way through the playoff series versus the Lightning cannot be a good thing. Head injuries are funny. Not funny ha ha or funny witty, but funny sad ... really, really sad. And also tricky. There's not a straight line of recovery, the way there often is with a knee injury or shoulder injury. Brains are complicated. Months had passed and yet, Sid still had a nasty bout of symptoms. And I wonder ... if three months were not enough for his head to get better, why do we think six months will make it better? Or eight months? There are no guarantees here.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The All-Fro Team

This season, Oakland Athletic's player, Coco Crisp, has grown out a magnificent, Oscar-Gamble-Worthy Fro. I love the 'fro. Particularly in baseball. There are lots of trends that I hated in the 1970's, but the fro? I totally stand behind the big old afro. This is a good start to my All-'Fro Team:

The original, the one and only, the undisputed greatest baseball afro of all time, Oscar Gamble.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

What in the World Is Wrong with Pedro?

More thoughts from Bucco central.

Since the days of Honus Wagner, a third baseman is supposed to be, by design, a serious bopper. It's truism because it generally works -- good baseball teams have a a big stick, or a reliable stick (or both) at third base.

All of which made suffering through the Andy Laroche era an especially painful indignity. Understandably, much rejoicing ensued in places as far flung as Carrick and Millvale, Bloomfield and East Liberty when the big club called Pedro Alvarez up from AAA ball. Word was that Alvarez was the draft pick that the Pirates finally got right -- a can't miss prospect, a prospect so coveted, in fact, that the Pirates drafted him second overall, even knowing they would have to deal with his agent, the noxious Scott Boras, in contract negotiations. Alvarez was so good as to be worth that. They, and we, expected to get some bang for our trouble.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Pittsburgh Passion Win 2011 Home Opener

The turning point, according to Michelle Brevard, was the offense getting something going midway through the 3rd quarter. As a six year veteran, team captain and starting safety for the Pittsburgh Passion, I suppose her opinion should count for something.