F. Dale Lolley's Sports Column
Positionless Harrison a surprise all-star pick
With their sweep of the Phillies over the weekend, the Pirates moved to a season-high six games over .500.
On the same day, the all-star teams were announced, with Pittsburgh getting three players – Andrew McCutchen, Tony Watson and Josh Harrison – named to the National League roster.
McCutchen was not a surprise, of course. He is the reigning National League MVP and led all NL outfielders in votes.
Watson, when you take a look at his numbers, wasn’t a surprise, either. The lefty is 5-0 with a 0.89 ERA in 40 2/3 innings.
As for Harrison, well, that was shocking. It’s not that he hasn’t played well and isn’t deserving. But you don’t often see players without an every day position make the all-star team.
Entering the Pirates’ game Monday night at St. Louis, Harrison appeared in 25 games in right field, 18 as a pinch-hitter, 17 at third base, 13 at second base, 10 in left field, three as a pinch-runner and two at shortstop.
In other words, he’s a utility player.
And when everybody in the Pirates’ regular lineup is healthy, he’s a man without a position.
With the way Harrison has played this season, that could change. But who are the Pirates going to bench?
The eventual move could be to shift Pedro Alvarez to first base or trade him and put Harrison at third. But that’s not a move you make in the middle of a season when you’re in a pennant race.
• The Pirates have scored 362 runs. Only four teams in the National League have scored more.
• The Minnesota Twins installed self-serve beer stations at Target Field just in time for next week’s all-star game.
Fans with proper ID can purchase a pre-loaded card that they can scan at stations, allowing them to pour their own beer. Customers will be charged per ounce of beer.
The machines will allow the customer – there will still be workers at the stations checking IDs – to pour up to 48 ounces of beer every 15 minutes.
No word yet if keg stands will be permitted.
• Washington native and former West Virginia University center Dan Mozes will make his reality television debut Wednesday night on the new Discovery Channel show “American Muscle.”
Mozes, who had a major knee injury derail a potential NFL career with the Minnesota Vikings, is currently working at Barwis Methods Training Center just outside Detroit with former West Virginia and Michigan strength and conditioning coach Mike Barwis.
The show, which begins at 9 p.m., will focus on the training methods and antics of Barwis, Mozes and others as they work with everyone from average people looking to get in shape to professional athletes.
• When the Cleveland Browns selected wide receiver Josh Gordon with a second-round pick in the Supplemental Draft a couple of years ago, they did so knowing he had issues. Guys who make themselves available in the Supplemental Draft usually have worn out their welcome with their college team.
Now, the Browns are seeing just what kind of problems Gordon has.
A ridiculously talented player, Gordon led the NFL with 1,646 receiving yards last year despite missing the first two games because of a supension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, and having the likes of Jason Campbell, Brandon Weedon and Brian Hoyer throwing him the ball.
He reportedly failed another drug test this offseason and is facing a year-long supension. With that hanging over his head, Morgan was arrested over the weekend for driving while impaired.
Gordon’s situation reminds me of the famous quote from the movie “Forrest Gump,” – which just marked its 20th anniverasary Sunday – “Stupid is as stupid does.”
F. Dale Lolley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.