We get a lot of fan email. If you search "Go" and "Daddy" in our inbox, there are literally thousands of results. It's like that.
|We have our emails printed and then delivered to us by this mailman.|
Question: Can either of you explain what is happening with Rob Rossi? In his game story this morning, he writes:
Orpik, the longest-tenured Penguin, was joined only by fellow veteran defenseman Rob Scuderi and captain Sidney Crosby inside a somber dressing room as reporters entered.
Actually, winger Brian Gibbons was there, too, but unlike the other veterans at their locker stalls, he was not a member of the Penguins squads that lost in the 2008 Stanley Cup Final and returned to win it the next season.It seems to me that Rob Rossi wrote the first paragraph, realized that Brian Gibbons was also there, but then didn't feel like going back and fixing the first paragraph. It's like writing: "I was alone in my house with my wife. Actually, my two children were there, too, but unlike my wife, they are not my wife."
This comes only a few weeks after the following sentence appeared in his there's-definitely-no-one-editing-this Chipped Ice Blog: "Until that happens, him playing again this season is only a what-if scenario – and while those are the easiest to discuss, with regards to Letang let the silence that comes with waiting and seeing prove the sound of sanity."
You already have Ron Cook Poetry. Is it time for Rob Rossi Poetry? Should we rank all Pittsburgh sports writers on a scale of Decipherability? I need help.
-Dave M., Downtown
(Artistry) Don't know, Dave. Maybe you're asking the wrong questions. Maybe the question is, what does Rob Rossi intend for us to take from his work today? You don't know. I don't know. A wise man once tweeted:
"Anybody who presumes intention is probably somebody to whom you should not pay much attention." - Rob RossiSo what if some of Rob Rossi's sentences are denser than Dante's Inferno? Others are quite clear. Take these lines from Rob Rossi's recent blog about the friendship between Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby:
Crosby was the best player, Malkin said.Crosby was the top center, Malkin said.Crosby was the captain, Malkin said.And then, later:
However, these athletes are human.Indeed. You may not always understand it, but Rob Rossi taps into universal truths about the human condition, i.e. that we are human.
Question: "Players have failed playing alongside Crosby, so the excuse that Kunitz is only thriving because of Crosby is erroneous in my opinion."
- Actual sentence written on a blog that has 22.6 times as many Facebook followers as GTOG.
Many Pens fans would appreciate GTOG, so you not telling 22.6 of your friends to start reading GTOG is erroneous in our opinion.
Read on for more...
Question: My question is about the Scuderi-Engelland defensive pairing, and it comes in two parts: 1) Is it too early to consider buying out Rob Scuderi's contract this summer? 2) Did someone give Deryk Engelland a pot cookie during warm-ups last night? Thanks.
- Charlene, Charleroi
(Finesse) Thanks for the email, Charlene.
It's not too early to consider buying out Rob Scuderi's contract this summer. Did you know that 67% of second marriages end in divorce? The Pens' second marriage to Scuderi is likely to fail because the Pens didn't follow the advice on About.com from Sheri and Bob Stritof about remarrying your former spouse.
- Getting back together just for the sake of the kids isn't a good idea. Get back together because you love one another and want to be together again.
|Sometimes you need to tell your child that Daddy's not coming home.|
- If you have children, don't let them know the two of you are dating one another again for awhile. They could get their hopes up that the two of you will reconcile and this could put more pressure on you to reconcile even if things are not going as well between the two of you as you would like.
- See a marriage counselor. Learn from your own marital history or the two of you are doomed to repeat it.
- Unresolved unfinished business will resurface the second time around.
- Honestly look at what caused your divorce. If it was finances, be clear on how you will spend money. If it was about parenting issues, work this conflict out first. If it was due to infidelity, forgive, but both of you should be tested for STDs.
- It is important to recognize that the first marriage is dead. Don't let that ghost hurt your new marriage.
As for Deryk Engelland, he's not a very good player, but he's a very good soldier. Dress him at wing over Pyatt or Glass and use him as an insurance policy on D.
Question: Sidney Crosby has 100 points and is running away with the scoring title. How impressed are you?
- Eileen, Moon
(Artistry) Great question, Eileen. I would say I am suitably impressed. Crosby is on pace right now to finish with 108 points. His closest challenger, Ryan Getzlaf, is on pace to finish with 91 points. In other words, it looks like Crosby will finish with 16% more points than his closest challenger. You have to go back to 1998-1999 -- when Jaromir Jagr finished with 127 points and Teemu Selanne tallied 107 -- to find that big of a gap between the Art Ross winner and his runner-up. Outstanding season for Sid.
On the other hand, Eileen, and I hope you're still with me, because this is important, Sidney Crosby is averaging 1.316 points per game this season. Getzlaf averages a solid 1.169. Sid has been significantly better, but not "I am a man among boys" better. If you know us at all, you know exactly where this is going. In 1992-93, when he wasn't undergoing chemotherapy, Mario Lemieux averaged 2.67 point per game. Scoring race runner-up Patty LaFontaine averaged 1.76 points per game. Yes, Eileen, Mario Lemieux averaged nearly a point a game better than anybody else. That's stunning.
Question: The Steelers made a lot of noise on the free agent market this off-season. How do you see Lance Moore, LeGarette Blount, and Darius Heyward-Bey fitting in? Will they mesh with Ben's huddle?
- Sylvia, Maxon Towers, Forbes Ave.
(Finesse) Great email, Syl. The Steelers were in desperate need of depth in the backfield and behind Young Money so these moves make a lot of sense. But there's a potentially huge issue on the horizon that isn't getting enough attention. What happens to fantasy football when the Steelers have a bye week? Moore, LGB, and DHB are the F-150, Tundra, and Silverado of bye week pickups! Sylvia, imagine the following: you drafted Demaryius Thomas. When his bye week comes around, your first instinct, and everyone's first instinct in fantasy football, is to pick up Lance Moore from waivers. BUT WHAT IF LANCE MOORE IS ALSO ON A BYE WEEK?!?! Naturally, you go to the second obvious bye week pickup, DHB. BUT WHAT IF HE HAS A BYE WEEK, TOO?!?! Shit. Maybe you can adjust your roster so you can pick up LGB and use him at your flex spot. What?!?! LGB is on a bye week, also?!?! Sorry, Syl. You're f'd.
In one offseason the Steelers may have destroyed the NFL by destroying the only thing that makes it remotely interesting on a week-to-week basis: fantasy football.
As for the impact of The Bye Weekers on Ben's huddle, we see the impact as being nothing short of enormous. As Ben told us via email earlier this week:
God is Great. 'Kice is coming back from the knee, so you got him and Beach up front. I turn around, hand the ball off to Le' or maybe fake it to him and toss it to Le and he can run behind De. Throw the quick slant to Bey. Doc said I could have surgery on my ankle. Pain is there, but no excuses. And of course Tonio. Can also go up top to Moye or Moore. Ash says she turns her head away from the TV when I get hit. Taking my offensive line out for steaks tonight. Got them new Rolexes. I don't like my charitable works to be out in the pubic eye. God bless.
Question: No Pirates preview this year? What gives? The lingering Rod Barajas effect clearly got the team into the playoffs last season, but as we're another year away from him leaving the team, who steps up to fill that leadership void?
- Connie, Cecil-Bishop, PA
(Artistry) Apologies, Connie. We forgot that the Pirates are a thing. I think the problem is I was reading this article about the payrolls of all 30 major league baseball teams the other day, and I didn't quite make it to the bottom of the last page.
Let's get one thing out of the way: you don't replace a Rod Barajas. The fact that you seem to still believe he's on the team shows just how much presence the man has. (He's a manager now, appropriately enough). But that doesn't mean there is an absence of veteran leadership on the Buccos. Look no further than the dynamic first base platoon of Travis Ishikawa and Gaby Sanchez, or Grabis Ishichez. They've both played first base before, they had a combined 71 hits in 2013, and if no one is selling Ishichez merchandise yet, what are you waiting for. Rest easy, Rod Barajas. Your legacy of leadership is in good hands.
Question: "Yes, it is true that Canadians are obsessed with every aspect of the game of hockey."
- Another actual sentence on a blog that has 22.6 times more Facebook followers than GTOG.
Yes, it is true that we have no idea how to promote every aspect of the content of our blog.
Question: "You hit the nail on the head."
- An actual comment in response to the post on the blog that has 22.6 times more Facebook followers than GTOG
WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?!?!!?
Question: I'm confused about whether the Penguins are a great organization, a terribly flawed and relatively unsuccessful organization, or a successful but deeply disappointing organization. Am I supposed to be happy that they've locked up the #2 seed in the east and just earned yet another 100 point regular season? Or should I be pained by the fact that they're not the favorite in the East and Dan Bylsma keeps scratching Simon Despres? What am I supposed to expect this post-season? Tell me how to feel.
-Mario, Boyce Park, PA
(Finesse) You can't judge the success of the organization solely by whether it's #1 at the end of the year. Think of the Pens as Exxon Mobil. They don't win Most Valuable Company in the World every year, but they're always in the top 5 and they aren't slipping any time soon. And if you think of Exxon Mobil gas stations like yinzer girls who work in tanning salons and wear Jordan Staal sherseys, you see one within 30 minutes of arriving in any city in America. Things could be a lot worse, Mario.
Don't let today's angst make you too nervous about the future. There is a way to put a positive spin on the Pens' underwhelming record since the break (7-9, not counting shootouts). Consider: Would you feel better about the Pens' Cup chances if they were 16-0 since the Olympics?
No way, because you understand the journey and because it would bring up memories of last season when the Pens were toying with the league throughout March and then quickly saw old problems resurface as soon as the playoffs began. You'll also recall that the Bruins struggled late last season -- and were a miraculous 10 minute stretch away from being eliminated in the first round -- before clicking on all cylinders against the Rangers and Pens. We'd obviously love for the Pens to be playing better, but it's too soon to peak.
What the Pens need to do over the next two weeks is get healthy and then survive the first round of the playoffs. After that, it's time to peak. The concern from the Pens' play over the last month is whether this team can ever peak.
Question: I secretly hate this team and root against it so that I don't get stuck in traffic after playoff games. Thanks.
- Long Time Season Ticket Holder, Fox Chapel
Question: Long time reader, here. I've noticed an increase in the number of "roundtables" being hosted by Pittsburgh sports blogs, but I haven't seen any representation from GTOG. Why aren't you guys ever invited to a roundtable?
- Stefanie D'Scozio, Wilmerding, PA
(Artistry) Great questions, we're glad you asked. We at GTOG have never been ones to sit around navel-gazing or asking why we've been stuck on 354 Twitter followers for the past three years. That's just not in our make-up. That said, if we had to guess, we probably haven't been invited to a roundtable because we've been stuck on 354 Twitter followers for the past three years. The good news is we do square-table podcasts on a fairly regular basis, welcoming popular guests like Artistry and Finesse. If you'd like to see a GTOG presence on any roundtable, write your congressman or invite us to a roundtable.
Question: The Big Kibitz only has 35 followers on Twitter.
- Stefanie D'Scozio, Wilmerding, PA
What's your point?
Question: Isn't it time you guys revealed your true identities? What are you so afraid of?
- Stefanie D'Scozio, Wilmerding, PA
The fan mail.
Question: The Steelers signed Cam Thomas, a nose tackle whose nickname is "Baby Zilla." How do you think he will adjust to Dick Lebeau's defense? Does he have the foot speed to plug the A-gap? Can he play the three technique or is he more of a five technique guy?
- Barb Dunlap, Treasurer/Secretary of Port Vue Con-Crete Solutions, Co. Inc., Port Vue, PA
Thanks for the email, Barb. Who gives a shit?
But we did forward your question to Ben, and here's what he had to say:
How do I feel about the Baby Zilla signing? I'm not a personnel guy but I was surprised that we signed a baby to play on the defensive line. Guys like Ngata, he's not a baby. Came down on my ankle once. We won that game. But I trust Mr. Rooney. And I like babies as much as the next guy. Ash and I have a baby. Ben Jr. He's a huge baby, too. Big giant head. People say he looks like me but I don't see it. Most of my baby's friends aren't that big. If Zill is as big as my baby, I think he will be OK. God is great. Judge me on my wins.
Question: There have been some really exciting games in the NCAA tournament this year. Shouldn't you give college basketball its proper due? All you ever say about college basketball is that Jamie Dixon has good basketball coach hair and calls too many timeouts.
- Nancy Runzo, Mingo Creek, PA
(Finesse) Glad you asked, Nancy. There have been some fantastic basketball games in this year's tournament, as there are every year. But you can't judge a sport by its best game played on the biggest stage. The real test of a sport is the game after its biggest game.
Take women's hockey, for example. The Canada-USA gold medal game was very exciting, but if you want to know whether it was a breakthrough for women's hockey, look at the ratings for the next women's hockey game after that. Was there one? Same goes for college basketball. Michigan vs. Kentucky in a regional final was a spectacular game, but what will Pitt vs. Savannah State look like in November? Same goes for soccer. I'll wake up at 6:00am to watch a USA World Cup game, but I'm not getting season tickets to the Riverhounds.
These exceptions merely prove the rule, and in the case of college basketball, the rule is that it is not fun to watch. Here are my immediate rule changes:
- You can go to the NBA straight from high school, but if you choose to go to college then you have to stay for 2 years.
- Cut the shot clock to 24 seconds.
- You get 3 total timeouts per game. Regardless of whether you use one of the three in the first half, you only get 2 total timeouts in the second half. There are so many timeouts in the last 2 minutes that the players aren't even tired at the end of the games. Fatigue should be a factor.
Question: Do you think college athletes should be paid?
- Sue Rappopo, Indianola, PA
Another female fan. Thanks for the email, Sue.
(Finesse) Before getting to the merits of your question, I want to point out one thing that often gets lost in all the talk about how college athletes are exploited. Being a college athlete is awesome. It's fun. You get to be on a team, make a bunch of friends, try to convince girls that you're first string, and have assistant coaches bail you out of jail after you assault someone at a frat party. Perhaps they're being exploited in the sense that schools are making money off them, but let's not make Texas football out to be a North Korean prison camp.
Yes, certain college athletes absolutely deserve to be paid above the value of their scholarship (Johnny Manziel, Reggie Bush, God Shammgod, etc.). It's ridiculous that the NCAA sells jerseys with the player's number on it and the player doesn't get paid. There's a solution to this problem somewhere, and the fact that it's hard to design shouldn't prevent something from being done.
I'm not thrilled with the idea of colleges paying players directly because that cost will -- regardless of what a college says -- be passed on to the ultimate consumer (non-athlete student) and college is expensive enough. I'm also of the mind that if you open up athletes to be paid what they're worth, we all need to be comfortable with the idea that the vast majority of college athletes -- basically anyone who isn't a star men's football or basketball player -- aren't worth more than their scholarship. I am comfortable with this; I suspect that many won't be.
Here's one idea. Instead of colleges paying players, how about just not making players ineligible if they take money from someone other than the college? Let them sell their autographs; let them get free tattoos; let car dealerships loan them SUVs. If Meineke wants to hire Tyler Palko to yell "I'm not going to pay a lot for my muffler!" what do I care? The players who are worth money will make it, and the players who aren't, won't. Of course, this is an incredibly unseemly idea that unleashes the creepiest of all creepy people -- college sports boosters -- but it also teaches student-athletes the important life lesson that all adults who are overly passionate about college sports are creepy.
Question: All you guys talk about is Chris Kunitz's hands. Who are your other favorite athletes? Other favorite things to watch or listen to?
- Tracee Stefano-Delppi, East Liverpool, OH
(Finesse) Appreciate the question, Tracee.
NBA: Tim Duncan.
|Posting this for the SMU/Clemson score from their NIT game.|
Baseball: Greg Maddux. Don't care if he's retired. If we limit it to active players, I'd say anyone not on the Red Sox.
Football: Peyton Manning
Podcasts: Tony Kornheiser, Artie Lange, Adam Carolla
Recent TV binges: Spent about 6 months plodding away at West Wing. Loved it. Thought Dexter was good, but should have ended after season 7. True Detective was captivating, though it got a little too light on story and heavy on bizarre dialogue. Breaking Bad was an all-timer. House of Cards is one of the more overrated shows on TV. Disturbingly unlikable characters and Spacey breaking the 4th wall and talking to the viewer is an unnecessary crutch. Excited for Game of Thrones to come back, but could do without the dragons and the zombies.
Favorite G-Chat game: Give someone 4 headlines -- 1 of them fake -- from one of the Huffington Post "Voices" pages and have them guess which is the fake one. Here, let's play using the Impact page. Remember, only one of these is fake.
1. A New Pair of Glasses
2. 4 Ways To Help The World While Cleaning Your Home
3. LOOK: Canadians are Eating THIS to Fight Hunger
4. Poor Women Need More than Just a Pink Mobile Phone
Nightly News: If there's not a weather event, don't go Brian Williams because that's all he talks about. CBS and ABC aren't bad. Diane Sawyer still gets it done.
Cable News: Too predictable to watch, though when I want to know who can answer my questions about my eligibility for Social Security benefits, I watch the Fox News commercials.
Worst show to have on in the background: It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
Worst show to talk about: I wish there was a sticker I could wear that says, "No, I don't watch How I Met Your Mother."
Newspaper: I get daily delivery of the Washington Post. Great A-section. And great iPad app.
Twitter Account: @TVMWW
Question: Admit it. Ray Shero and Dan Bylsma are idiots. They traded for Jarome Iginla and he sucked, and now he signed with the Pens' biggest rival and is tearing up the league. This is the Marian Hossa situation all over again, except Iginla was crap here and Jordan Staal and Tyler Kennedy aren't around to bail the Pens out of embarrassing humiliation this time around. Fire Bylsma, fire Shero, trade Crosby for picks, and let Malkin and Letang lead the rebuild.
- Bree-Anna Dinghy, Lenape Heights, PA
(Finesse) Love the passion, Bree-Anna.
The Iginla trade is weird because a lot of people view it as a bad trade, or at least a potentially unnecessary one after the Pens got Brendan Morrow. In hindsight, Shero probably does that trade again, but would not have done the Morrow trade first. Getting one of those guys was smart. Getting both of them was unnecessary.
Iginla has been really good for Boston this season -- 30 goals, 31 assists in 75 games -- and this has, predictably, led to endless stories about how he still has a lot left. Don't believe this lazy narrative because it rests on the premise that he didn't have a lot left last year.
In 13 regular season games with the Pens last year (only one of which was played with Crosby, for a total of like 30 seconds), Iginla put up 5 goals and 6 assists. Over 82 games, this is a 31g/37a pace, which is actually slightly better than the numbers he's putting up in Boston. And again, this was without Crosby. If Iginla had skated with Crosby this season, he would EASILY have 35 goals and 35 assists at this point in the season. It's not really even debatable.
Lingering criticism from the Iginla trade, to the extent any criticism is even justified, should be aimed at 2 things: making major changes to a team when there were only 13 regular season games left for the guy to get acclimated and using the guy oddly at times in the playoffs. It should not be aimed at Shero's identification of Iginla as a guy who could help or at Iginla's performance with the Pens.
And big credit should be given to Boston for signing Iginla to a 1 year, non-cap crippling incentive-laden contract that makes them beasts this year and doesn't handcuff them to an expensive but aging star. Would one year of Iginla have been a better move than 4 years of Dupuis and Scuderi?
As to your other point, yes, the Pens should shop Crosby this offseason and hopefully restock Wilkes-Barre. Pens in 2021!
Question: Is Brett Keisel still on the Steelers?
- Kathy Rucszinski, Connoquenessing, PA
Thanks for the email, Kathy. Whether Brett Keisel is on the Steelers' roster is irrelevant to the ultimate question of when he will show up at training camp in a tractor with a hard hat and lunch pail ready to get to work.
|You can take the contract away from the '08er ...|
|... but you can't stop the '08er from showing up ready to get to work and help these young guys understand what being a Pittsburgh Steeler is all about.|
- Joyce Gianni, Chewton, PA
(Finesse) Thanks, Joyce. The Maple Leafs to make the playoffs to shut up all the cool kids on Twitter; Carmelo Anthony to never win a title; the Yankees to beat the Red Sox; Andrew Luck to be better than RG3; LeBron James to win as many rings as Kobe; Roger Federer to win another major; the Marlins to do that thing where they win the World Series once every ten years then trade everybody; Gary Bettman to get at least some credit for not blowing up a salary cap system that has made the league infinitely more interesting; UCONN women's basketball to go undefeated every year; anyone playing against Paul Pierce; Crosby to score against Team USA; the Big Ten against the SEC; the Microsoft Surface.
Question: "As a result, with the playoffs barreling down on the club like a freight train, dark clouds of doubt and uncertainty seemingly hang over Western Pennsylvania as ghosts of postseasons past dance in the minds of the Pittsburgh faithful."
- Another sentence on a blog that has 22.6 times as many Facebook followers as GTOG.
Question: "It does not take a rocket scientist to know that the Pens have missed Martin badly."
- Another sentence from that blog with 22.6 times as many Facebook followers as GTOG.
WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO US??!?!?!?!