First the Pirates.
I guess the end is near. Last week, I thought the Pirates would do much damage and make up some ground this week with the Cubs and Padres coming to PNC Park for a seven-game homestand. Well, I was half-right. The Pirates did do a lot of damage, but not in a good way. Instead of gaining ground in the NL Central race, the Buccos have fallen 8-games behind the Milwaukee Brewers and three-games below .500. At a time when the city was really starting to get behind the young Pirates, they have answered the bell by losing 8-games in a row. The once-promising pitching staff is now getting smacked around--the latest being a 15-run debacle Friday night to the San Diego Padres.
Now, with a tough road-trip coming up next week in San Fransisco and Milwaukee, not only are the Pirates' chances at a division title all but done, but their shot at ending their record losing-streak may also be in serious, serious danger.
It's a real shame the Pirates have picked this time to really hit their low-point of the year. The only consolation now is the fact that they're still within striking-distance of .500. As excited as I was for a possible pennant-run, deep-down, I knew Pittsburgh wasn't as talented as the Brewers or Cardinals, but I held out strong hope for a winning season. I still hold out that hope only because I don't think things could get any worse. In my heart of hearts, I do not think that this is the beginning of an irreversable collapse.
I don't know how long this losing-streak will last, but if they can nip it in the bud sometime this weekend, the Pirates still have a chance to salvage the season.
In year's past, an 8 or 9-game losing streak would have buried the team and put them 15 or 20 games below .500. But given that they were seven-games over .500 just a couple of weeks ago, if the Pirates can right the ship and regain their fragile confidence, I believe they can still make a serious run at .500 or slightly better.
One last thing about the Pirates. The other morning, I was listening to 93.7 The Fan, and a regular caller to their station, Lilly from North Versailles, called in crying her heart out. She was distraught over the team's six-game (now eight game) losing-streak and said that she put her whole heart and soul into the Pirates this season. I felt bad for her. Lilly is an older lady, and it kind of broke my heart to hear her so upset over what had become of the team. But at the same time, it was also endearing. I always thought it was just idiots like me who worried about sports and maybe got a little too emotional over the outcome of a game. Some people say that sports aren't really important, and maybe they aren't life or death, but being a diehard sports fan means a little more than some people would like to think.
I hope the Pirates pull through this funk and regain their footing. I think it would mean a great deal to a lot of people.
Some thoughts on the Steelers.
-My man, Keith Thomas from Steel Curtain Rising wrote an excellent piece for Behind The Steel Curtain about the Pittsburgh Steelers coaching-legacy and how awesome it would be for their three Super Bowl-winning coaches--Chuck Noll, Bill Cowher, and Mike Tomlin--to pose for a photograph in-front of the team's record six Lombardi Trophies. It would certainly be a powerful image, that's for sure. Keith is urging Steeler Nation to contact the team and request this event. You can find all the Steelers contact information in Keith's BTSC article. I think it's a great idea.
-I had a great time at training camp on Wednesday with my girlfriend and brother. I had never made the trip to Latrobe before dating my girlfriend, but it has become somewhat of a tradition of ours the past three summers. You might be wondering why an intense sports fan such as myself needed his girlfriend to drag him to the Holy Land of his favorite team, but I never said I was perfect.
-I was happy to see the Steelers ink deals with cornerback Ike Taylor and outside linebacker Lamarr Woodley. With the Steelers having to cut some veteran players last week in-order to get under the salary cap, I didn't think there was any way the team would be able to sign both key players, but surprisingly, they did.
-I can't believe the Steelers are less than a week away from their first preseason game. Where does the time go? Here's to another great season of Steeler football!