The phrase, "They don't make them like that anymore," fits Vinny Paz perhaps better than any fighter or athlete out there. Vinny Paz (formerly Pazienza) is a five-time world boxing champion, having battled a who's who of champions during his career.
Paz was one of the few boxers who could main event and pack the house with out having a belt.
As I was writing this month's article, the Pirates lost their fourth game in row, 8-3 to Baltimore. A friend of mine called and asked in a very frustrated tone, "Why can't they get over the hump and stay there?" Just a few days ago the Pirates were 35-33. After this loss they dropped to 35-37. So what is it that keeps them from getting over the hump?
This year, it's simple. The hitting, or lack thereof.
Its not a quarterback controversy, nor is it a "Who is better" debate. Yet some fans and media want to know who should be the Pirates starting catcher, Ryan Doumit or Chris Snyder, once Doumit returns this month from a stint on the disabled list?
Every manager or coach gives all he can to his team. John Russell—I can promise—gave his all to the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, as I am sure Joe Kerrigan did. But some people/coaches are not meant for certain teams at certain times.
The 2011 Pirates entered May 13-15 and three games out of first place.
Now that the Pirates have three weeks under their new coaching staff, how are they adjusting? Is it be confusing for the players as they adapt to another new system and staff? Will they have to learn to hit a certain way? Pitch a certain way?
Baseball, at least if its coached properly is different than a sport like football. Take a quarterback, for example.
The first thing I thought when I first saw Andrew McCutchen play was, "This guy has superstar written all over him." Usually it's not hard to find something players need to do to improve their game. With McCutchen, though, you really have to nit-pick.
He hits for average... but he can hit higher.
He's got some power... but he can hit more homeruns.
He can flat-out fly—and he hustles—but he can be a better base stealer.
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I spent three days late last month visiting 18 high schools across the WPIAL. I drove 533 miles, took hundreds of photographs, shook hands with dozens of coaches, athletic directors and principals and climbed way too many stadium steps. I loved every minute of it, of course.
Several of the most coveted recruits throughout the WPIAL have already made their college decisions, most notably Sterling Jenkins of Baldwin. Others, like Central Valley's Jordan Whitehead, are still being recruited.
Bill Cherpak misses the way it used to be. Back in the 80’s, when the current Thomas Jefferson High School coach was a player at Steel Valley, the recruiting process wasn’t publicized. It was low-key compared to the present.