Good morning-ish and welcome back to baseball season. The Stillers won the Super Bowl last night (there was a game?) giving the franchise six championships, a number that eclipses the five World Series won by the Pirates.
The Steelers? Overshadowing the Pirates? In Pittsburgh? Does Chuck Tanner know?
Yeah, it's true. Despite having a significant historical head start on their football and hockey brothers, the Pirates only can claim the bronze medal among the pro sports teams in the Steel City. Here's how it goes:
3. Pirates. Supposedly.
To keep things civil, let's just keep Pitt football and basketball out of the conversation.
And high school football.
Not to mention the Pisces, the town's pro basketball franchise. Dr. J played for 'em!
Pictured above and to the right is Frank Coonelly (UPDATE: he now has a helmet), chief executive in charge of the Bucs. He admitted here this past week that the Pirates are no better than third place in Pittsburgh. Hey, third place ain't bad. They haven't finished that high in the NL Central since '99.
Coonelly knows what time it is, and does so precisely that he did a chat with MLB.com in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl last night. Derrick Hall, an exec. with the Diamondbacks, represented the Desert.
So what can the Bucs do to recapture Pittsburgh's attention, like in the Bill Mazeroski-Honus Wagner times? How can the Pirates reclaim the top spot in town from the Steelers? Why, by stealing from them, of course.
Here are 10 possible Steeleresque changes the Pirates can make:
10. PNC fans' constant twirling of Terrible Towels for nine innings will distract themselves from fifth straight 90-plus loss season.
9. New lineup just like the one in the Bugs Bunny cartoon: catching, Santonio Holmes; left field, Santonio Holmes; right field, Santonio Holmes; pitching, Santonio Holmes; third base, Santonio Holmes; center field, Santonio Holmes; first base, Santonio Holmes; shortstop, Santonio Holmes; second base, Santonio Holmes.
8. Pirates fresh jerseys this season will be tear-away, have giant numbers on the front 'n' back and have much more room in the shoulders for pads, or whatever.
7. Coonelly, who has been pushing MLB commissioner Bud Selig to hold a combine in Indianapolis before the June draft, says having one will help his scouts a ton.
6. Making pitching coach Joe Kerrigan tackle Ian Snell during in-game mound visits would aid in getting his message across.
5. He'll just get tossed anyway, but manager John Russell will throw an orange bean bag at umpires to protest the inconsistent strike zones that have kept the Pirates down all these years.
4. Installation of actual Steel Curtain in front of visitor dugout will give Bucs decided advantage over blinded opposing managers.
3. With new defensive coach Dick LeBeau stealing signs and calling for pitchouts at just the right moment, Ryan Doumit will not only lead all NL catchers in slugging percentage, but also opponents stolen-base percentage.
2. If Ben Roethlisberger gets his slider over the plate, and hangs on to the handle bars, he should be a fine right-handed complement to ace Paul Maholm.
1. Opposing infielders, including the stoutest of catchers, will be terrified at the sight of James Harrison running the bases.