Starks' Contract No Longer Quite As Embarrassing

The Steelers signed the $7 million man Max Starks to a four-year extension today. So, cause for minor celebration? Sure, I guess. The team has locked down their occasionally adequate left tackle at a rate not as ludicruous as it had been previously.

The team needed to sign Starks to a long-term deal, so as to avoid the messy year-by-year drama of having to stick him with the franchise tag and now they save $3 million for '09 in the process. Now, you could argue there are more pressing players that need long-term deals, i.e. Heath Miller, Casey Hampton, Ryan Clark, but this move was a necessity to free up the franchise tag if they have difficulty coming to terms with one or more of those guys before the season begins.

Also, Rosenhaus' Twitter announced that Fernando Bryant has officially retired. I think I speak for all Steelers fans when I say we will never forget that one pass defense he had in the game against the Cowboys. Big shoes to fill, Keiwan Ratliff.


2009: Going Okay So Far

As much as I understand the sentiment, I'm not a huge fan of the "City of Champions" moniker. It always strikes my ear as a little extravagant, as though having multiple pro sports titles bestows upon the populace some sort of great achievement. It's kind of a Masshole kind of thing - asserting that your teams do well because your fans are somehow better and smarter than other fans.

That said, between a record sixth Steelers Super Bowl victory, an otherworldly late regular season/postseason run by the Penguins to collect a third Stanley Cup and Pitt reaching the Elite 8 (Maryland is my primary team in college hoops as I went there, but I'm certainly sympathetic to Pitt), fans of Pittsburgh sports have been lavished with good fortune. Hell, the Bucs are even playing respectably (for the Bucs), further buoyed by the fact that the farm system looks very encouraging (so people tell me, at least) where it had been dormant only a few years ago.

Given the depth, talent and age of the rosters, there's little reason to think the Steelers and Pens won't be at least lingering near the pinnacle of their respective sports for some time to come. We could be in the midst of another golden age. Or we could even be just embarking on it.

Note: Game 7 was the first time I caught at a game at Foley's in New York City, as I was in town to take part in Blogs With Balls on Saturday. It was a slight shame to miss the reaction of the regulars at the Pour House, but a great thrill to get to meet the wonderful talent behind PSAMP, One for the Other Thumb and Jim Shearer of Yinz Luv Da Guins/Stillers.



I do not have too much to say, here.

It's Hockey Armageddon. It's The Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. It's the Libyans. The '80 Russians.

You know what's at stake. Revenge. Immortality.

Tonight is only the 15th time the Stanley Cup Finals have gone to a deciding 7th game. Ever.

The Pens won their two previous Cups on the road. The last time Detroit played in a 7th game for theirs was like 809 years ago. And they lost.

I don't know about any of you, but I love this team. I am so grateful to be a fan of a squad who refuses to say quit. I'll miss the stale Mellon nachos, Kenny the Cotton Candy Guy, Listening to Bob Grove game recaps, checking ThePensblog.com for Gameday posts and the unbelievable ride that is playoff hockey.

I hope that I'm on E. Carson Street tonight, hammered drunk, hugging strangers and losing my voice. I hope that Sid and Geno's legacy begins now. I hope that Hossa cries himself to sleep tonight. But most of all, I hope that Mario Lemieux gets what he has most definitely earned: A 3rd Cup.

God Help Us All.


To The Brink

We're all sports fans here. We know what it means to follow our team. To check their off-season moves. To poke around the web searching for scraps of info on 6th round draft picks. To obsessively hit F5 refresh on blogs and AP Wire feeds. To record Sportscenters just to catch game highlights.

A lot of us have had the pleasure of seeing our team bring home the Lombardi. Some of us recall winning a few of Lord Stanley's Cups. Hell, you might even remember Pops Stargell or Roberto winning it all.

We know how rare these chances are. We recognize how golden are the opportunities to bring home a championship. And how fleeting.

I won't belabor the point or belittle your intellect by listing the reasons why tonight's game is huge for Pittsburgh. Fresh off the heals a Super Bowl 43 win, it represents an opportunity for the Pens to skate for The Cup. An opportunity for The Steel City to be The City of Champions again.

I, for one, have thought of this video every night for the last month or so. I truly believe in Crosby and the boys. That they learned from last year. That having the two best players in the world (eat me, Ovechkin) and a young, fast, hungry team means we can take the next two. That Detroit's time is done and that it's our young teams' time. That Karma can't let a shithead like Marian Hossa win a ring.

Some people say a win tonight doesn't mean shit. That the Wings, 11-1 at Joe Lewis Arena in the playoffs, will just take us down Friday. Well, I say FUCK THAT NOISE.

I'm going into Mellon tonight, with my heart on my sleeve, God help me. Put on your black n'gold and ride along with me at http://twitter.com/DixieNormess if you feel like it.



Steelers to Receive Rings on Tuesday

On Tuesday, the Steelers (even Mitch Berger) will receive their championship rings for winning that game back in February. Y'know, Immaculate Interception, Ben to 10, record sixth title. That one. The NFL is fronting the $5,000 cost for each of the 150 rings. Sounds like they have a few more than the 53-man roster. How's about floating one my way?

And, hey, what else is Tuesday? Game 6? Omen? Better believe it.

UPDATE: Perhaps not on Tuesday, but the faith is strong for Friday.


William Gay Gone Drank. CHUH CHUH

William Gay will assume one of the starting corner jobs on the defense this coming season, so it's important that we know he can make it rain in the club. That was always a weak point of Bryant McFadden's game. Here's the proof, via his brother's blog.

I hope he sprinkled in a few Lil' Jonisms like at the Super Bowl parade, just to amplify the fratty obnoxiousness of it.


Detroit Stun City

Hey, it helped for the Caps series.