TIME FOR THREE HEADED MONSTER

7.04/05.15

How about a three-headed monster?

There will be plenty of analysis and discussion between now and October about which Penguins superstar will get new teammate Phil Kessel on his line. Both Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby need a finisher and Kessel should score 40 with either one.

He’s that good.

So, maybe it really doesn’t make much difference where Penguins’ coach Mike Johnston decides to put him. After watching Kessel’s highlights on Youtube, I tried to imagine what it would be like trying to stop a line made up of all three.

I know. That’s not going to happen, at least not on a regular basis. NHL teams just don’t make a habit of putting all their offense in one basket, but, if I were Johnston, I would spend a lot of time in training camp working the three of them together.

I’d like to see them get more than a little time together in exhibition games.

How would you like to be a defenseman trying to pick which of the three to focus on if they came into your zone with speed?

There are all kinds of suggestions out there for increasing scoring in the NHL. Enlarge the nets. Shrink the equipment, outlaw blocking shots, enforce the rules, none of which will happen any time soon.

So, how about thinking outside the box and making a habit out of playing the Big 3 on the same line?
It doesn’t have to be permanent, but it doesn’t have to be rare, either.

Forget all the legitimate, time-tested reasons for not doing it.

Find out how the opponent reacts to starting the game with the prospect of containing Crosby, Malkin and Kessel.

Everybody complains about the NHL becoming a defense first, system oriented game. When a team wins 6-5, you can count on the players spending more time apologizing for the five they gave up than celebrating the six they scored.

“Scoring six tonight was great, but we can’t count on doing that every game.”

There haven’t been five teams in NHL history who have had three offensive talents as explosive as the three the Penguins have now.

You know what Crosby and Malkin can do one-on-one. Kessel is quick with great hands and a shot that may be better than both.

The Penguins have tried the two-headed monster of Malkin and Crosby with limited success, but that has usually been when the Penguins were behind and looking for a spark.

And two world class offensive weapons are much easier to deal with than three.

How about a spark on the opening face-off?

Make opponents prove early on that they can keep the Big 3 from scoring. Especially at home when the last line change creates major mismatches.

Instead of focusing on the problems that playing them together on the same line might create for their other line combinations, the Penguins should focus on the problems it would create for their opponents.

The Penguins have the ability to present a combination of speed, skill and scoring ability that no other team has.

They should make their opponents prove that they can stop it.

I’ll bet they can’t.

A STEAL AT $25 MILLION

Is it possible to be making $1.9 million a year and still be underpaid?

It is if you are an NFL player.

The money being thrown at NBA free agents this week got the attention of Washington Redskins safety Duke Ihenacho and he tweeted, “All this guaranteed money the NBA throwing. Meanwhile the NFL, which generates the most money won’t even make the league minimum $1M.”

Right now the NFL minimum for a rookie is $435,000. NBA rookies will make at least $526,000.

NFL players have themselves to blame. They allowed their union to negotiate a labor agreement that only gets them 48% of league revenues. They also were dumb enough to allow the league to set maximum salaries for incoming rookies.

They should have known that a rookie signing for an obscene amount of money only increases a veteran star’s value and bargaining power.

The NFL is the most popular and the richest professional sports league on Earth. So, how is it that the average salary in the NHL is $2.4 million a year and the NFL’s is $1.9 million?

And the NFL is the only one of the four major sports without guaranteed contracts.

NFL apologists will tell you that their rosters are twice as large as an NHL and Major League Baseball teams’ and three times larger than an NBA’s.

What they usually forget to mention is that MLB and NHL teams have to maintain several minor league teams, while NFL teams have a free farm system provided by college football.

The NFL Players Association may be the worst union in history.

It signed a 10 year labor agreement four years ago that gave the players better working conditions, but not nearly enough of the ridiculously large NFL money pie.

A few months after the labor deal was signed, the league re-upped its network TV deals for nine more years with a 60% increase in payments, from $1.9 billion to $3 billion.

That doesn‘t count the additional billions that come from DirectTV, the NFL Network and Westwood One radio.

That‘s about $7 billion for the 32 teams to share before they sell a ticket, a hat or a seven dollar beer.

Which brings us to Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, who may be the most underpaid man in America.

He’s expected to sign a new contract some time this Summer. He threw out the number $25 million and there are some who say that he’s being greedy since that would make him the highest paid player in the league.

He deserves it.

Wilson’s a quarterback and the NFL is all about quarterbacks

Grantland.com surveyed bookmakers in Las Vegas a couple of years ago and the professional handicappers told them that an elite quarterback is worth a touchdown a game.

In August of 2013, the Patriots were 10-1 favorites to win the Super Bowl. The bookies told Grantland that, if Tom Brady were to go out for the season, the odds would change to 100-1.

Two years ago, the bookies put Wilson’s value at 3 points per game. He’s been to two Super Bowls since then and he has the highest winning percentage in history for a quarterback in his first three seasons.

Over a 16 game season, $25 million is about $1.6 million per game. The Seahawks will make $6 million per game in media money. They have the highest average ticket price at $452.34 per game.

So, it takes about 3,500 people per home game to cover Wilson’s $1.6 million. A couple thousand more on the road.

Pay the man.

He’s a steal at $25 million a year.

STEIGERWORLD PODCAST | EP. 20

Welcome to the world of John Steigerwald
 
John Steigerwald brings his 40 years of sports and worldly knowledge to the online podcast world with “SteigerWorld” The show is a weekly no-holds barred format full of hot takes on sports, pop culture, entertainment, trending topics, politics and interviews with forty years of friends.
 
GLUTEN FREE PODCAST TALKING POINTS:
 
SEGMENT 1: “SPORTS” Starts at 00:00
- Pirates 1 of 3 teams over 40 wins
- Polanco needs to hit better
- Bucs still 6 games behind Cardinals
- Jose Tabata & elbow pads
- Penguins first NHL Draft pick is 42nd overall
- Pens might trade Sutter, but for who?
- Toronto’s Phil Kessel – could take Malkin to get him
 
SEGMENT 2: “NEWS THAT MATTERS” Starts at 12:45
- South Carolina Shooting 
- Trump #2 in NH poll
 
SEGMENT 3: “WHY WE MAY BE DOOMED” Starts at 20:40
- Portland, OR Schools: – “All White People Racist”
- Pope Francis, Climate Change & Catholic Schools
 
SEGMENT 4: “STAG AT THE MOVIES” Starts at 28:56
- Jurassic World – 2D vs. 3D

FOLLOW THE TEAM:
@Steigerworld
@PghPodcast
 
** ALWAYS FREE TO LISTEN:
The show is free to listen on the Pittsburgh Podcast Network for Apple, Android and Windows users on desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone on the iTunes and SoundCloud platforms.
** SEARCH: Pittsburgh Podcast Network
 
* Produced at talent network, inc. in Pittsburgh, Pa. by Frank Murgia & Wayne Weil

FOR PETE’S SAKE GET OVER IT

Let Pete Rose up.

In case you missed the shocking news earlier this week, ESPN found out that Pete bet on baseball when he was a player back in 1986. There are the scribbling of a bookie to prove it.

That’s not all. Pete lied. Talk about shocking.

And now each and every American has to ask him/herself, “Should Pete Rose be in the Hall of Fame?”

Prior to the latest revelations, Pete seemed to be getting closer to induction. He had served his 25-year sentence for admitting to gambling as a manager and was hoping new MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred would reinstate him.

The consensus now is that he’ll never see his plaque in Cooperstown.

Why not?

What would be so difficult about maintaining the lifetime ban for gambling, putting Rose in the Hall and including the information about his lifetime ban on his plaque?

Wouldn’t reminding future players that a Hall of Famer, who had more hits than every player in history, was banned for life act as an eternal deterrent?

And, by the way, the lifetime ban from working in Major League Baseball shouldn’t be lifted. That doesn’t mean that Rose should be banned from appearing at the All Star Game in Cincinnati next month. The All Star Game is for the fans and they want Rose there.
As long as MLB threatens current players with a lifetime ban it can’t show Rose any leniency because of the message it would send.

But, does the gambling penalty fit the crime?

In 1963, Paul Hornung of the Green Bay Packers, who was NFL Most Valuable Player in 1961, and Alex Karras, an all-pro defensive tackle with the Detroit Lions, were caught betting on NFL games.

They were suspended for the 1964 season. Hornung was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Both players were predictably contrite after they were caught and that played a major role in their quick reinstatement, but, a couple of years ago, Hornung said this: “ You know what, looking back it just pisses you off. I knew 10 other guys who bet. They didn’t get them all in my day.”

Hornung and Karras were caught betting on NFL games that didn’t involve their teams.

Rose admitted to betting on the Reds when he was their manager. Really, why is that a big deal?

There’s a big leap from betting on your team to win and betting on your team to lose and doing your best to make it happen.

If a player, who’s making $25,000 to $50,000 a game, is feeling good about his team, why shouldn’t he be allowed to call his buddy in Las Vegas and tell him to bet a game check for him?

Why shouldn’t an NFL player making millions of dollars be allowed to go to Vegas before the season and bet on his team to win the Super Bowl?

I’ll bet it happens a lot.

The Supreme Court has been pretty busy lately, but maybe one of these days it can get around to making sports betting legal in every state.

With all the money being paid to the top professional athletes these days, would you be shocked to find out that they make side bets with each other every now and then?

Would you be shocked to find out that big money makers on the PGA tour, who find themselves out of contention on Sunday morning, are betting thousands of dollars among themselves to keep it interesting?

Why would anybody care?

Let players, coaches and owners bet as long as they’re not betting against their teams. How would you be sure that they aren’t?

You wouldn’t.

Just as you aren’t now.

STEIGERWORLD PODCAST | EP. 19

Welcome to the world of John Steigerwald

John Steigerwald brings his 40 years of sports and worldly knowledge to the online podcast world with “SteigerWorld” The show is a weekly no-holds barred format full of hot takes on sports, pop culture, entertainment, trending topics, politics and interviews with forty years of friends.

GLUTEN FREE PODCAST TALKING POINTS:

SEGMENT 1: “SPORTS” Starts at 00:00
– Cardinals hack the Astros
– Pirates have 5 shut-outs in last 6 games
– Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup
– Man Games Lost
– LeBron James 2-4 in Finals – It’s a TEAM sport
– Michael Sam leaves CFL Montreal Alouettes

SEGMENT 2: “NEWS THAT MATTERS” Starts at 15:27
– Rachel Dolezal & Zelig’s Disease
– Donald Trump vs. Mrs. Clinton

SEGMENT 3: “WHY WE MAY BE DOOMED” Starts at 30:28
– “You Guys” is considered “creeping sexism”
– Utah Valley University’s texting lanes on stairs
– Parents arrested after 11-year-old plays outside alone

SEGMENT 4: “STAG AT THE MOVIES” Starts at 40:47
– Love and Mercy

FOLLOW THE TEAM:
@Steigerworld
@PghPodcast
http://facebook.com/john.steigerwald.5
http://PittsburghPodcastNetwork.com
http://facebook.com/pittsburghpodcastnetwork

** ALWAYS FREE TO LISTEN:
The show is free to listen on the Pittsburgh Podcast Network for Apple, Android and Windows users on desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone on the iTunes and SoundCloud platforms.
** SEARCH: Pittsburgh Podcast Network

* Produced at talent network, inc. in Pittsburgh, Pa. by Frank Murgia & Wayne Weil

STEIGERWORLD PODCAST | EP. 18

Welcome to the world of John Steigerwald

John Steigerwald brings his 40 years of sports and worldly knowledge to the online podcast world with “SteigerWorld” The show is a weekly no-holds barred format full of hot takes on sports, pop culture, entertainment, trending topics, politics and interviews with forty years of friends.

GLUTEN FREE PODCAST

TALKING POINTS:

SEGMENT 1: “SPORTS” Starts at 00:00
– Lemieux/Burkle Selling
– Pirates Struggles
– HR Hitters eating their Wheaties
– NHL, the Hawks and Crosby

SEGMENT 2: “NEWS THAT MATTERS” Starts at 12:27
– NY Times / Marco Rubio’s Speeding Tickets & Finances
– TSA FAIL!

SEGMENT 3: “WHY WE MAY BE DOOMED” Starts at 24:27
– Foul Ball Hysteria

SEGMENT 4: “STAG AT THE MOVIES” Starts at 34:01
– Entourage
– Spy

FOLLOW THE TEAM:
John Steigerwald
@Steigerworld
justwatchthegame.com/
facebook.com/john.steigerwald.5

Pittsburgh Podcast Network
@PghPodcast
PittsburghPodcastNetwork.com
facebook.com/pittsburghpodcastnetwork

** ALWAYS FREE TO LISTEN:
The show is free to listen on the Pittsburgh Podcast Network for Apple, Android and Windows users on desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone on the iTunes and SoundCloud platforms.
** SEARCH: Pittsburgh Podcast Network

* Produced at talent network, inc. in Pittsburgh, Pa. by Frank Murgia & Wayne Weil

HYSTERIA RIGHT OFF THE BAT

Tonya Carpenter is going to be okay.

But, that won’t stop the hysteria.

Carpenter is the 44 year-old woman who was rushed to the hospital after being seriously injured when Oakland A’s third baseman Brett Lawrie’s bat broke and flew into the stands at Fenway Park in Boston.

Initially, the injury was described as life threatening, but her condition was upgraded to fair within a day or two.

It took less time for the media to start calling for Major League Baseball to install nets at all its ballparks.

We’ve had several days of discussion about how dangerous it is for fans at MLB games.

But is it, really?

I admit to being amazed that more people sitting in the field level seats along both lines aren’t seriously injured more often.

The fact that fans have been willing to sit in those seats for the last 100 years or so is proof that it just doesn’t happen that often.

Since big crowds started showing up at baseball games, fans have weighed the risk billions of times and chosen to sit there.

Not only have they chosen to sit there, they have chosen to pay the highest prices to do so.

Bloomberg.com did a study last year and a story with the headline, “Baseball Caught Looking as Fouls Injure 1,750 Fans a Year.”

You had to go nine paragraphs in before reading, “While the typical injury is minor, like a bruised hand or a bloodied lip, a small number are more serious, and the those victims tend to be children.”

The piece goes on to describe serous injuries to a six year-old girl at a Braves game, a seven year-old at a White Sox game and an 18-month-old in Seattle.

So, the injuries are usually minor and the serious injuries are usually to children.

How can any parent, who has ever been to a baseball game, choose to sit in those seats with an 18-month-old baby?

For that matter, why would a parent bring an 18-month-old baby to a baseball game?

Of course, little kids with short attention spans, slow reflexes and poor hand-eye coordination don’t choose to sit in those seats.

Idiotic parents make the choice for them.

So, based on the fans’ willingness to pay top dollar to sit in the more dangerous seats since the world’s first baseball game, it would appear that the need for smarter parents is greater than the need for nets.

Let adults weigh the risk and make the choice.

And advise the clueless adults to sit anywhere else when they choose to bring a toddler to the game.

After the horrific injury to Tonya Carpenter and after seeing her leave on a stretcher, how many empty seats were there in her section?

Where was the panic, with fans trampling each other trying to get to safer ground?

There was none, of course, because the fans know that the odds of being seriously hurt by a ball or a bat have to be somewhere south of struck-by-lightning territory.

But there were plenty of calls from the media for MLB to provide nets for people who prove millions of times a year that they don’t need or want them.

Bob Nightengale of USA Today wrote, “Now is the time to make it mandatory that safety netting extends past every dugout at every Major League park.”

My favorite came from Maury Brown of Forbes.com.

He said the most important comments at this week’s MLB Amateur draft wouldn’t be about prospects or about growing the game’s interest with youth:

“No, the most important comments at the Draft were about whether you, your family and your friends come home from a game in one piece.”

I have a prediction.
A million human beings will make the death defying decision to go to a Major League Baseball game this weekend.

Every single one of them will come home in one piece.