It’s the hottest week of the year, but the sun can never replicate the blistering heat found within the Pittsburgh Sports Power Rankings. Put on some sunscreen to protect yourselves from this week’s takes.
10. Kato Kaelin
O.J. Simpson is likely to be set free on parole today, but is not currently considered to be an option for the Steelers if Le’Veon Bell doesn’t report to camp. The Pittsburgh link to the famed legally-not-double-murderer is his ’90s houseguest, Kato Kaelin. It turns out that the Milwaukee-born Kaelin is a Brewers fan and has been very mad online about his team losing to the Pirates this week.
Hmm. Seems like this guy has some anger issues. Maybe the LAPD looked into the wrong guy? (Ed note: Don’t go there, DJ.)
9. Running backs
Le’Veon Bell reportedly turned down a 5-year, $60 million offer from the Steelers. That’s a lot of money for the Steelers to commit to a running back, one of the more replaceable positions in football. However, Bell’s camp is – wisely – making the case that he is essentially a positionless player because of how much he does as a receiver. But the Steelers might argue that Bell has often had four positions: running back, receiver, injured and suspended.
It’s really hard to know what dollar amount is a smart offer from the Steelers AND a fair one for one of the sport’s best players (when he’s on the field, of course). So here’s an idea: have the two sides negotiate again next offseason after Bell stays healthy and unsuspended all season, puts up nearly 2,500 all-purpose yards and the Steelers win the Super Bowl. This is a good idea and I like it.
Starling Marte got a warm-ish response from the home fans upon his return from an 80-game suspension for testing positive for PEDs. This, of course, led to cries of HYPOCRISY from Brewers fans.
First, all fans are hypocrites. Our bad guys are good, while your bad guys are bad. That’s how sports fandom works. Second, let’s all throw our heads back and laugh about any comparisons between Marte and Ryan Braun. Marte cheated, got suspended and accepted his punishment. Braun cheated and tried to ruin an innocent person’s life to save himself. Boo that man. Boo him forever.
Pittsburgh is coming for Chicago. But not just in baseball. Pittsburgh is beating Chicago in the far more important field of condiments. By calling its standard ketchup “Chicago Dog Sauce,” Heinz is getting Chicagoans to put ketchup on their hot dogs. What rubes!
Chicago, can Pittsburgh interest you in a trade of Kris Bryant for Wade LeBlanc? Okay, what if he is renamed Wade “Cy Young” LeBlanc? Awesome. The deal is done.
6. Forgetting to check Twitter
Twitter is a constantly updating stream of everything horrible about humanity, broken up by a few good jokes. So it makes good sense to stay off Twitter. But then you hear about this Predators fan who just this week found out he had won two free tickets to Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
So check Twitter. Also, Sidney Crosby posted his first-ever tweet this week. Hashtag: history. Hashtag: itwasakindofboringtweet.
5. Sidney Crosby off of Twitter
Better. Much better.
4. Max Moroff
The Pirates rookie hit his first major league home run on Sunday in a 4-3 win over the Cardinals, creating a memory he’ll never forget or never remember.
3. Heart and hustle
Adam Frazier is the Pirates Heart and Hustle Award winner, an honor given to one player on each team who “represents a passion for the game of baseball, and best embodies the values, spirit and tradition of the game.” Also, Frazier will now sit the bench because Starling Marte is back. Never hustle.
2. James Conner
The Pitt product is already No. 1 in NFL jerseys sales among rookies and second in the entire league behind only Tom Brady.
And if you think about it, Conner is actually No. 1 because the only reason people buy Brady’s jerseys is to burn them. Right?
Heading into Thursday’s game, the Pirates have the second-best record in baseball since June 10th, winning 10 of 12 and, in Starling Marte, just added to the lineup as good a player as any team will get at the trade deadline. The Bucs have Milwaukee and Chicago clearly in their sights. Also, they have Chicago the band in their sights. On Friday, August 4th, Chicago will play post-game. Tickets still available!