The whole city is talking about Josh Harrison hitting a walk-off homer in the 10th inning of an almost no hitter. But he’s not No. 1 in our list. It’s time for another edition of the Pittsburgh Sports Power Rankings.
10. Mike Tomlin
Despite James Conner being a Pittsburgh hero and single-handedly saving America’s retail industry, Steelers coaches still have him listened on the depth chart behind Fitzgerald Toussaint — which means he’d be third after Le’Veon Bell returns. If Conner never plays, it could turn Pittsburgh on Mike Tomlin more than trying to half-heartedly trip a kick returner or loss in the AFC title game ever could. Get James Conner some touches, Steelers.
9. Fake Yinzers
8. Pittsburgh tuxedos
If you would like to be the most stylish person in every room, here is the site selling these great works of couture.
And did I just use one of my own tweets in a column, you ask? That’s right I did. And it will happen again.
7. New random guy at cornerback
The Steelers acquired cornerback Dashaun Phillips from Washington on Wednesday night in exchange for backup center Lucas Crowley. Phillips has played in 11 NFL games in two years, including two starts, and has 14 career tackles. Your days are numbered, Tom Brady.
6. Starling Marte
Starling Marte had just five extra base hits — including zero home runs — in his first 28 games after returning from a PED extension last month. But in his last six games, he has three extra base hits, two of them home runs. Assuming that Marte has not started using another banned product, we now know that his power was not drug-fueled. So I think we can all agree that it’s only fair for baseball to restart the season and play it in its entirety with Marte missing zero games. Sorry, Cubs, but you’re now tied with the Pirates at 0-0. Fair is fair.
The question surrounding Steelers camp all summer has been if, or when, Le’Veon Bell will report to the team. Countless questions have been asked to Steelers coaches and players, and undoubtedly many reporters have reached out to Bell and his agent, as well. No definite timeline was ever given. Until @Vadarmendariz asked.
She may not be on the same plane as the Adam Schefters of the world when it comes to breaking big NFL news — perhaps because she’s some person on Twitter with 246 followers who simply had a question about fantasy football — yet she did break big news on her first try. For her next feat of journalism, I request that she tweet at Ben Roethlisberger to ask him when he’s retiring.
4. Quadree Henderson
Pitt’s do-everthing offensive weapon was honored for his do-everything-ness this week by being named to the AP preseason All-America team as an all-purpose player.
Now let’s hope Henderson (and 21 other Pitt players) make the AP postseason All-America team.
3. Josh Harrison
Dodgers pitcher Rich Hill no-hit the Pirates through 9 innings and 95 pitches on Wednesday night and took the mound in the tenth with the score tied 0-0. Then Josh Harrison ruined Hill’s night by poking the first offering of extra innings over the left field wall for a walk-off winner. It was exciting. And it was hilarious.
Why get a pointless hit in the early innings when you can get the only one that matters at the end? As a huge fan of procrastination, Josh Harrison is now my personal hero.
2. Harvey Haddix
All due respect to Rich Hill, but Harvey Haddix did it first. And better. (Or maybe worse?)
On May 26, 1959, Pirates pitcher Harvey Haddix threw 12 perfect innings against the Milwaukee Braves. That is still, 58 years later, the MLB record for perfect innings. Unfortunately, the Pirates couldn’t score that night either — Josh Harrison was 28 years from being born at the time and not on the roster — and Haddix lost the game in the thirteenth inning. Now THAT is how you suffer a gut-punch loss as a pitcher. In your face, Rich Hill!
1. Winning weird
The Pirates don’t win a lot. In fact, they’ve won just three times since last week’s Power Rankings while supposedly in the hunt for a division title. But of those two wins, one came at the Little League facility in Williamsport, Pa., and another came on a walkoff home run after being no-hit through nine innings. I personally don’t mind baseball mediocrity if all of the wins are that memorable. This week it’s okay if the Pirates go 2-5, as long as the first win includes nine triple plays and the second one has a cheetah as a pinch runner. This is a strategy that can work for the Pirates long-term.