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Sports Comments

2013-14

By Gary F. Zeolla

Periodically I post a comments about TV sports I watched on my Facebook page. Sports are not Christian per se, but they are not unchristian either. So I watch quite a bit of them. These comments show why I think sports are usually worth watching. Simply put, sports can lift you up and be an adrenaline rush, as long as you do not let "your team" losing get you down. For those who are not friends with me on Facebook, I figured I might as well also post them here. I am posting comments retroactively from the past several months and will post new comments when I make them.
5/18/14


The Pirates did it! They are in the playoffs for the first time in 21 years!
9/24/2013


For the first time ever, there will be a playoff game at PNC Park! The Pirates just crushed the Reds 8-3, hitting 6 home runs! That gives the Pirates home-field advantage for Tuesday’s wild card game.
9/28/2013


So wish I could have been at the Pirates’ wild card game last night. The crowd was “un-Bucn-lievable!” 40,487, the largest crowd in PNC Park history. And they rocked the stadium. Chants of “Cu-e-to, Cu-e-to” clearly rattled the Reds’ starter, as he gave up two home runs in the 2nd inning, and was knocked out of the game in the 4th. The crowd never let up, cheering with ear splitting decibels the whole game. The Pirates’ didn’t disappoint, trashing the Reds 6-2. Now it’s on to St. Louis and the Cardinals on Thursday for the NLDS.

This YouTube video was my favorite moment the game. The Reds’ manager, Dusty Baker, claimed the Pirates’ crowd didn’t rattle Cueto. But you be the judge: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Je311FUZ-8
10/1/2013


The Pirates and Cards split two blowouts in the first two games of the NLDS; then they split two nail-biters in the next two games. We have two very evenly matched teams in a dogfight. So it’s on to St. Louis for the exciting winner take all finale.

But what I found most interesting was the attendance at PNC Park for the first three post-season games ever at it:

Tu: 40,487
Sa: 40,489
Su: 40,493

Pretty consistent, especially when you consider that the stadium actually only has 38,362 seats. That means over 2,000 fans have been squeezing in and standing for the three games. That shows the fortitude of Pirates’ fans!
10/8/2013


I would like to thank the Pirates for 6-1/2 months of exciting baseball! At the start of the season, I would have been happy with just a winning season, but to make it all the way to game 5 of the NLDS is truly amazing. The Pirates have reinvigorated baseball in the city of Pittsburgh, with record setting attendance at PNC Park and record ratings on Root Sports TV.

I grew up in the ‘60s-70s knowing only winning Pirates’ baseball, and that was a big part of my childhood and teen years. Unfortunately, my niece (April Barnes) and nephews (Daniel and Jon Zeolla) grew up knowing only losing Pirates' baseball. But here’s hoping my great-nephews and great-niece grow up as their Uncle Gary did, rooting for winning Pirates’ baseball!
10/10/2013


Thinking of going to the Super Bowl? Out of curiosity, I checked StubHub. Below are some of the prices for just one ticket:

Parking passes: $315 - $570.

Seats:
$2,524 – upper end zone
$4,017 – upper sideline
$5,456 – lower end zone
$5,982 – lower sideline – row TBD
$18,770 – lower sideline – row 2
$20,920 – lower club
$375,323 – level 5 suite
$614,741 – level 2 suite
$962,569 – Commissioner’s Club suite

Truly incredible!
1/9/14


The Super Bowl. What a wasted evening. A boring, blowout game, and halftime show with music that I did not like at all, and even the commercials were only so-so. Reminded me of Super Bowl XXIV, when I was attending Denver Seminary. The Broncos were in that Super Bowl also and were also being led by a big name QB, John Elway. But they also got blown out, that time by Joe Montana and the SF 49ers 55-10.

I watched that game with my church’s singles’ group. As a Steelers’ fan, I really didn't care about the Broncos getting blown-out, but the rest of the group were all Broncos fans, and they took it hard. The party atmosphere turned into that of a funeral.

But best part of the day was half-time. The hostess smartly had planned for each of us to make our own personal pizzas, providing not just the crusts, sauce, and cheese but also a wide variety of toppings to put on them. I was wearing a Steelers’ belt buckle that my dad had given me before leaving for Denver. So I put that on the table, and used it as a template to arrange the toppings on my pizza to look like the Steelers’ logo. That really irked the Broncos’ fans, but it is my only good memory of that party.
2/3/14

I just heard on the news that Terry Bradshaw wasn’t on the broadcast team for the Super Bowl as he was attending his father’s funeral. Condolences to the Steelers’ 4-time Super Bowl winning QB.
2/3/14


I’ve been trying to watch the Winter Olympics, but I just cannot get into it. I enjoyed the Opening Ceremony, but the competition simply does not hold my interest, I think for several reasons.

1. I’ve never gone ice skating, skiing, or snowboarding in my life. I know that sounds weird for someone who lives in Pittsburgh, with Seven Springs not too far away, and who lived in Denver for two years, but for various reasons, I just never have. As a result, I cannot associate with what the athletes are doing.

2. For most of the sports, the winner is determined solely by the judges. And never having, say, snowboarded, I just cannot judge if a particular turn or flip or whatever is “good” or not. If someone wipes out, obviously they’ve screwed up, but otherwise, I cannot tell the difference between one performance and another. Now, maybe once they get into sports like speed skating, where the winner is determined by time, I’ll find it more interesting as at least I’ll know when someone is doing well or not.

3. Since I can no longer compete anymore myself, watching others compete in individual sports is hard. It stirs up my desire to compete again myself, but health would never allow that. That is probably why I didn’t watch much sports during most of the ‘80s and ‘90s when I wasn’t competing. It wasn’t until the ‘00s, when I started competing again that I started getting interested in sports again. But now that my powerlifting career is long over, I’m losing interest in sports.

4. With most of the events not being shown live, it’s hard to avoid hearing who won an event before I get to watch it. And watching a sporting event when I already know the outcome simply is not exciting.

I know I’m probably in the minority here, but I watched a whole lot of the last few Olympics and really enjoyed them, so it is simply strange to me that I cannot get into it this time.
2/9/14


During the Winter Olympics, Mary Carillo reported about when she spent two weeks in Siberia. As Bob Costa said, “Americans envision Siberia as a place that people are sent to but never come back from.” But Mary said, “I was there, and I’m here. It was a two-way trip.” But people actually live in Siberia, as do animals, despite the conditions being truly unbelievable.

When Mary reported from outside, it was minus 43 degrees in the daytime, and she said it often dips into the minus 50s at night.  But even worse than the cold is that daylight in Siberia lasts only from 10 am to 4 pm. She asked an elderly resident why she lives there, and she replied, “This is where I was born; it is my home; it’s just where I live.”

And to think we’ve been complaining about the single digit temperatures and the lack of sunlight we’ve been experiencing here in the Pittsburgh area this winter.
2/10/14


After saying I couldn’t get into the Winter Olympics, I still kept watching, and I am beginning to enjoy them. I guess the more I watch the better I am understanding the events. I also found that my cables’ OnDemand service has each event available in separate recordings. So I can easily watch just the events that interest me the most or are not shown on Primetime. And the USA is doing very well in the medals count. Go USA!

One event in the Winter Olympics I didn’t think I’d find interesting is the Biathlon, as I’ve never gone cross-country skiing and have never shot a rifle. But I’ve been watching it OnDemand, and I’m finding it intriguing how the athletes can be pushing as hard as possible in the skiing, then come to the shooting stations, and calm down and shoot five targets the size of golf balls, with their heart rates at 160-180 bpm. I can admire the skill and concentration that must take.
2/10/14


I heard an interesting tidbit on K-LOVE this morning. A study was done on the amount of calories burned in the various Winter Olympics sports. The sport that burned the least calories was curling (no surprise there!), followed by bobsledding.

 The sport that burned the most calories was cross-country skiing (again, no surprise there). The second most was a little surprising, figure skating. I would have thought it would be speed skating or hockey. So take up cross-country skiing if you want to lose weight. But bobsledding looks a lot more fun!
2/14/14


I did a lot of “spring cleaning” yesterday. I wasn’t planning on doing so much, but once I got on a roll, I just kept going. I’m really sore today, so I think it best if I take the day off of lifting. Hopefully I’ll feel good enough to work out tomorrow. But I picked a good day to do my cleaning. The Pirates were playing their first “Grapefruit League” game, so I listened to that on the radio as I was working. The Bucs came from behind to win 6-5, so a good start to the pre-season.

Afterwards, I was so tired I spent the rest of the day laying around and watching the Olympics, yes the Olympics! After saying initially I couldn’t get into to, I really started to and wanted to watch so much of it that I just got to the Closing Ceremony last night. There were a lot of boring parts, but a lot of exciting moments as well. The highlight was Noelle Pikus-Pace winning the Silver Medal in the Skeleton. If you heard her backstory and saw her celebration after winning the medal, you’ll know what I mean.

But now what to watch on TV for the next month? I guess I’m really looking forward to the Pirates’ Opening Day on March 31.
2/27/14


Opening Day! It’s finally here! And just in time, spring has sprung here in the Pittsburgh area. There’s wall-to-wall sunshine, and it should be near 60 degrees by game-time. I’m not going to make any predictions about how the Pirates will do this year, but I’m sure it will be exciting. So I’m looking forward to another wild ride. Let’s go Bucs!!!
3/31/14


Wow! What an Opening Day. The weather was beautiful (wall-to-wall sunshine and in the 60s), the largest crowd ever at PNC Park for a regular season game (just under 40K), a touching Opening Ceremony, with the Pirates honoring the passing of Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner (one of the Pirates’ all-time greats), along with the passing of a couple of other former Pirates; McCutchen, Liriano, and Hurdle receiving awards for last year’s great performances, and capped off by a fantastic rendition of our National Anthem by Andrew McCutchen’s mom.

Then the game: 9-1/2 innings of scoreless baseball, with incredible pitching and defense by both the Pirates and Cubs to hold the other team in check, with each team’s offensive playing “small ball” the whole game to try to squeeze just one run across the plate. The game even saw the first two ever MLB “manager’s challenges,” with both going the Pirates’ way.

Then after over 3 hours of sit on the edge of your seat tension, in the bottom of the 10th inning, Neil Walker, the Pittsburgh Kid, leads off. On a 3-2 count, as soon as I heard the crack of the bat, I jumped up cheering, as I knew the game was over. As the ball sailed over the Clemente Wall, it gave the Pirates just the second Opening Day, 1-0, walk off victory in MLB history.

What a way to start the season! If this is any indication of what the season is going to be like, I was correct in my post yesterday in saying it’s going to be an exciting, wild ride.
4/1/14


What a wild and crazy Pirates game last night, and it’s not over! It was raining the whole game, just a drizzle to start but then it really started coming down in the 5th. But they kept playing, and ball kept flying out of the park. The Pirates and Reds combined for 10 home runs, a record for Great American Ball Park.

The Pirates got three sets of back to back home runs, the first time that has happened in the Pirates’ 128 year history. And two sets of the back to back homer were by the same pair of players (Neil Walker and Gaby Sanchez). But the Reds got four home runs, and the game was tied 7-7 going into the 7th. And that is when the game was called.

With it being tied, the game will resume today at 5:30 pm ET, before the regularly scheduled game at 7:10. Unfortunately, the weather conditions won’t be the same, so the ball probably won’t be flying out of the field like last night. Who knows how many more homers would have been hit if they could have played all nine innings last night.

For a video of all of the Pirates’ home runs, see the following page: http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/pit/rain-suspends-pirates-power-display-in-cincinnati?ymd=20140414&content_id=72056722&vkey=news_pit

4/15/14


“Knock the cover off of the ball.” You’ve heard that saying, but it actually happened in the Pirates’ game last night. In all my years of watching baseball, I’ve never seen that before. The video below has the call of four different pairs of announcers of the play, and each says the same thing as me. http://m.mlb.com/video/topic/8877442/v32182671/must-c-cover-maldonado-knocks-the-cover-off-the-ball/?c_id=pit
4/19/14


Benches clearing brawl in yesterday’s Pirates’ game. I missed this live as I was on my way to my brother’s house for Easter. But while some of us guys were watching the game after this happened, my nephew saw it on his smart phone, so I watched it on that then. Smart phones are nice, but watching it today on my desktop PC is much nicer, 24" vs. 4" screen. That said, fighting really shouldn't be allowed in sports. So it was good to hear later that several players got suspensions for this. http://m.mlb.com/video/topic/0/v32232541/milpit-benches-clear-after-gomez-triples-in-the-3rd/?c_id=pit
4/21/14


I’ve watched almost every Pirates’ game so far this year. But I think I am getting tired of it. And I am very disgruntled over the instant replay. It has taken away the instantaneous excitement of baseball.

I can no longer start cheering as soon as the Pirates make a great play, as I have to wait to see if the opposing manager comes out of the dugout. And if he does, I have to wait and see if he is going to challenge the call, while he stands there making chit-chat with the umpire. If he does, then I have to wait to see what the decision is, while the umpires are just standing there with headphones on waiting for a call from NYC.

After all of that boring waiting, even if the call goes the Pirates’ way, the excitement has worn off. And if it goes against the Pirates, then I am really disgruntled. Overall, it breaks my heart that instant replay has ruined my beloved game.

But no matter, between all that I’ve been recording on my DVR Expander, and all the free shows I can watch with my Roku, I have plenty to watch. So think I’ll start watching more of that and cut way back on baseball.
5/28/14


I posted a couple of weeks ago about being frustrated with baseball due to instant replay and that I was going to cut down on the amount of baseball I watched. I have, but I did watch the Pirates vs. Marlins games over the weekend. And now I have a new frustration: the strange idea managers now have that a pitcher’s arm will fall off if he throws more than 100 pitches.

This weekend, the Pirates’ starters gave up just six runs in 22 innings, while the Pirate’s bats scored 15 runs, so it should have been an easy three-game sweep. However, the bullpen gave up 10 runs in five regulation innings, leading to two extra-inning games, with the Pirate’s losing one of them. If Hurdle had just let the starters pitch complete games, the Bucs would have swept the series and would now be one game over .500. Instead, they are now one game under .500.

I just do not understand the mentality of taking out a pitcher that is doing great for one that you have no idea if he will have his stuff or not. It makes watching baseball so frustrating and gives me another reason not to do so as much as I used to.
6/16/14


It took over 3 months and 9 attempts, but the Pirates finally swept a series! But more importantly, with yesterday’s win, the Pirates are now 6 games over .500 and in 2nd place in the NL Central. But the two teams now nipping at their heels are up next, for the final week before the All-Star break. I’m getting excited about baseball again!
7/7/14


The NL Central is the most competitive division in baseball. With the Pirates right in the thick of it, the next 64 games are going to be exciting!

 

 Team

W

L

PCT

GB

Milwaukee

54

45

.545

-

St. Louis

54

45

.545

-

Pittsburgh

52

46

.531

1.5

Cincinnati

51

47

.520

2.5

Chi Cubs

40

57

.412

13.0

7/21/14


The Pirates and Steelers both play at the same time tonight! What’s a die-hard Pittsburgh sports fan supposed to do? I’ll probably wear out the “previous channel” button on my remote going back and forth between the two games.
8/9/14


A good sports Saturday. First Penn State wins its opener in a nail-biter across the pond. Then the Pirates win a nail-biter to win their third straight series, all against NL Central foes. I don’t know if my heart can handle all of the tension!
8/30/14


“We are ... Penn State!” – “Let’s go Bucs!” – “Here we go Steelers!” How am I going to keep it all straight this weekend? Today (Saturday), Penn State plays at 1pm, then the Pirates concluded their suspended game from yesterday at 3pm (with the score tied 3-3 in the 7th), then the Pirates play their regularly scheduled game after that. Then on Sunday, the Steelers play their opener at 1pm, while the Pirates play at 1:30 pm. No idea what I’m going to do there, but it’s going to be a wild sports weekend!
9/6/14


The Pirates turned a triple play yesterday, the first in Pittsburgh since 1993, and I missed it! I was at my great-niece’s birthday party. Oh well, I guess it was worth it. The triple play is near the beginning of this video: http://m.mlb.com/pit/video/topic/8878822/v36272141/91414-triple-play-sparks-pirates-in-win-vs-cubs/?c_id=pit
9/15/14


Another crazy play in last night’s Pirates’ game. The set-up: top of the ninth, Pirates leading 3-2, the Bo Sox have runners on first and third and no outs. A very tight spot for the Pirates; but this play enables them to win. http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2014_09_18_bosmlb_pitmlb_1&mode=recap_home&c_id=pit
9/19/14


Last nights’ exciting come from behind win gave the Pirates their first five game winning streak of the season, and it couldn’t have come at a better time! Their “magic number” to clinch a playoff spot is now only five. Let’s go Bucs!
8/20/14


The Pirates closed out their regular home season this past weekend in grand style. They set a PNC Park record of 51 home wins and set an all-time franchise attendance record of over 2.44 million. That is a lot of happy fans for a city the size of Pittsburgh. I just wish I could have been one of them!

The Pirates delighted the sold-out crowds by taking 2 of 3 from the Brewers, with all three games being decided by one-run. That lowers the Pirates’ magic number to 3 and ties them with the Giants for the first Wild Card slot. With the Pirates holding the tie-breaker by beating the Giants 4/6 this year, we could be looking at another exciting Wild Card game in PNC Park.

Meanwhile, Penn State blows put UMass 48-7, and the Steelers rout the Panthers 37-19. So yet another great sports weekend for the ‘Burgh!
9/22/14


The Pirates won 1-0 last night, their third straight 1-0 game. The last time that happened was in 1917. Such exciting baseball!
9/23/14


Clinch Day! September 23. Two years in a row the Pirates clinch a playoff spot on that date. Here’s hoping it becomes a yearly tradition. Buctober here we come again!
9/24/14


The Prates played in Atlanta last night. Someone was holding up a sign reading, “We live here, but our roots are in the ‘Burg.”

I’m not sure who they were, but they are not from my city. If you are, you should be able to figure out why I am saying this. Think about it.

My city is spelled Pittsburgh, hence it should be “the ‘Burgh.” Pittsburgh, PA is the only “burg” in the country with an “h” and we are proud of it!
9/26/14


If the Pirates are smart, they will throw today’s game. Play backups and rest all of the starters, especially Cole, but maybe play J Ha to give him a chance at the batting title. If they get ahead, do what they basically did last night, walk three batters, then throw a gopher ball.

I do not want to end up tied for the division with the Cards. That gives the Pirate nothing they don’t already have: a play-in game for the NLDS. But what it will do is have them playing that game in St. Louis on Monday, rather than in Pittsburgh on Wednesday. And if they lose on Monday, they’ll play on Wednesday anyway.

But whatever happens today, I’m ready for another Buctober. Let’s go Bucs!
9/28/14


Buctober, it’s finally here! Game time forecast: 66 degrees, with zero chance of rain. Perfect.
10/1/14


One and done; what a Bummer! But it was a good ride. Thank you Pirates for another exciting season. Now to get caught up with the myriad of TV shows I have recorded on my DVR Expander, but haven’t been watching due to watching so much baseball.
10/2/14


What a Steelers’ game yesterday! And what a day for Steelers' QB Ben Roethlisberger! The Steelers beat the Colts 51-34. Big Ben throws for 6 TDs and 522 yards, both franchise records, making him the first NFL QB to throw for 500+ yards twice and only the fourth NFL QB to win 100 games in his first 150 starts, with Steelers’ great Terry Bradshaw being one of the other three.
10/27/14


These comments are continued at Sports Comments: 2015.


 

The above messages were first posted on my Facebook page on the indicated dates
and then were posted on this Web site.

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