John Steigerwald

Column John Steigerwald

John Steigerwald has been a fixture of TV, radio, and newspaper sports in Pittsburgh, and has a Sunday column in the Observer-Reporter.

Joy to the world, it’s Piratefest time

Joy to the world, it’s Piratefest time

December 15, 2012

Merry Piratefest.

Yep. ’Tis the season to be jolly. This is the weekend that is set aside every year to celebrate the fact we have a major professional baseball team in our region.

It’s funny, but it’s also the time of year when we are reminded that we have a major professional baseball team that has virtually no chance to succeed.

Happy New Free Agent Year.

The Pirates guaranteed $17 million to a catcher who hit .211 last season. The Los Angeles Angels guaranteed outfielder Josh Hamilton $125 million over five years. And they did it one year after guaranteeing last year’s top free agent, Albert Pujols, a quarter of a billion dollars for 10 years.

The Pirates can only hope to get $20 million for their local TV rights sometime in the near future. The Dodgers will make that in about six games under their 25-year, $7 billion deal with Fox Sports West. Don’t let that put a damper on your Piratefest weekend, and, by all means, don’t let the weekend go by without doing your best to donate more money to the Nutting Family Future Christmas Fund.

• ESPN commentator Rob Parker was suspended for saying this about Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III: “Is he a brother or a cornball brother? We all know he has a white fiancee. There was all this talk that he was a Republican.”

Parker, who is black, went on to trash Tiger Woods for having denied his blackness.


And amazingly stupid, but Parker should not have been suspended. Despite what I’m sure a lot of people are suggesting, he shouldn’t be fired. He should be told by his bosses to go on the air and apologize to RGIII and admit he said something really stupid. And that should be the end of it.

TV and radio are saturated with shows that are made up of live debates. Talk show hosts spend several hours a day speaking unscripted. Wildly stupid and sometimes offensive things are bound to be said. Ending careers shouldn’t be offered so quickly as the appropriate response.

Admit the mistake, apologize, and move on.

• In all my years of listening to coaches try to spin their impressions of a recently lost game, I can’t remember an excuse more lame than the one coach Mike Tomlin made after the Steelers’ loss last Sunday to the San Diego Chargers. He said he passed on the chance to go for a two-point conversion and make it a two-score game because he didn’t want to put his secret two-point conversion plays on tape for future opponents. Tomlin should have owned up to his mistake and said everybody had a bad day and not insulted the intelligence of every person who can add and has watched a football game.

• It didn’t take long for a college football coach to outslime former Pitt coach Todd Graham. Graham sneaked out of town last December after telling his players in a text message how much he loved them. Less than a year later, Tommy Tuberville, during dinner with some Texas Tech recruits – and just after he had blown off a question about his chances of staying there as head coach for at least four years by pointing out how long he stayed at his previous jobs – left the table to take accept a job offer – over the phone – from the University of Cincinnati.

And he never came back to the table.

One of the recruits, Devonte Danzey from Hutchison Community College, said, “The waitress brought our food out, and we thought he went to the bathroom. But he never came back to dinner. The next thing I know, the next day, he made an announcement that he’s going to the University of Cincinnati.”

I wonder what the Cincinnati players will be thinking when Tuberville gives them his “commitment” speech.

John Steigerwald writes a Sunday column for the Observer-Reporter. He hosts an Internet talk show.



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