May 24, 2019
Remember when Andrew McCutchen was tearing it up for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2013 and would win the National League Most Valuable Player Award? Chants of M.V.P. were rampant in PNC Park and last night we heard it again, but this time for Josh Bell who is on fire in 2019.
In the 14-6 victory over the Colorado Rockies, the Bucs moved their season record to 25-22 and Josh Bell has been a massive reason the Buccos are winning. Playing at home yesterday afternoon, Bell went to the plate four times and all he did was bang out three hits that included yet another home run, a double, and a single to go with two RBIs, and three runs scored. Bell also walked once and his season average is now .339 which trails only the Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger (.394) who just so happens to be in Pittsburgh tonight for a weekend series with the Pirates.
The Bucs’ Melky Cabrera is also in the top five for average coming in today at .333. But look around the National League leaders lists and Bell’s name is everywhere. Hits? Bell has 60 which is good for fifth trailing the leader, again Bellinger who has 67. Home runs? Bell now has 16 which is just three behind Milwaukee’s Christian Yelich. Bell is leading the N.L. in RBIs with 47 and with 35 runs scored, he is just one run from sixth place in that category.
Bell is slugging the ball well too and with a slugging percentage of .718, that is good for third place in the National League with Bellinger at the top sporting a .765 mark. A second round draft pick by Pittsburgh in 2011 after Bell played ball at Dallas Jesuit College Prep, the young man (now age 26) made his pro debut in 2016 and played in 45 games for the Bucs while hitting .273 in his first season with three round trippers.
He became the regular first baseman a season later and the rest is history with now 57 career home runs having passed his 2018 total of 12 already and is well headed for over 30 this year. He has M.V.P. numbers already and is simply red hot right now. The showdown with Bellinger this weekend should be a lot of fun to watch. The Dodgers are in first place and have an outstanding team, so the Pirates have their work cut out for them.
Around the Major Leagues yesterday, the Minnesota Twins are in first place and hitting home runs has a lot to do with it. Yesterday they smashed eight in a single game, making it twice they’ve done so in 2019. In the 16-7 victory over the Angels, it ties a club record but also makes Minnesota only the second team to have two eight dinger games in one season as the Texas Rangers also accomplished the feat in 2005.
This isn’t the first season in which the Twins had done this, as back in 1963 they also hit eight home runs in a game twice on April 20 and again on August 29 while playing the Orioles and Senators respectively.
In the NFL, ex-Steelers linebacker Jon Bostic did not stay on the unemployment line long. He has been signed to a contract by the Washington Redskins. In league rule changes, the NFL had endorsed a proposal for pass interference penalties that would permit head coaches to challenge questionable interference plays that don’t get flagged with the exception that any such plays that happened in the final two minutes would be automatically reviewed by a replay assistant.
Stop the presses…that rule change has now been modified. This week the league revised it by a 31-1 vote to allow coaches to make the challenge on a suspect interference call or non-call at ANY point of the game including the final two minutes of the first half or at the end of regulation or overtime.
Still on football, with Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell no longer part of the family, the social media posts have not gone away completely. When A.B. made his infamous “two face” Tweet, Terrell Edmunds gave it a “like.” Ooops says Edmunds.
“I didn’t see what was going on. I didn’t see the whole picture of everything until people started tagging me in it. I didn’t mean anything by it. I would never put down anyone on my team or anyone I previously played with. People just took it out of proportion.”
He had a conversation with Ben Roethlisberger who Brown’s Tweet was aimed at and according to Ramon Foster, Big Ben gave this reaction:
“Ben was cool. It was hitting the like button, that was all.”
I don’t buy or believe it. I think Edmunds read that post and liked it for one reason or another. Hopefully, we won’t be hearing about social media posts from players on the Steelers anymore. It’s all very stupid and immature.
Are the Penguins pulling a stunt that the Pirates and Steelers often do? That is letting a talented player go via a trade or free agency. I’m talking about Phil Kessel who apparently is on the trading block and its possible he is heading to Minnesota to become Wild. The Minnesota Wild that is are conducting talks with the Pens about a trade proposal for Kessel. Pittsburgh’s former goalie and current G.M. Jim Rutherford says other teams are also in the loop but I question why would you even entertain such a trade?
Phil Kessel is vital to the Penguins success and a four game sweep by the Islanders this past season is that devastating enough to shake up the team and deal away a talent like Phil Kessel? It makes no sense to me.
Closing out today, I give you some really idiotic admittance from one Lance Armstrong. He has done an interview with NBCSN which will air on May 29 after the Stanley Cup Final game being broadcast next week an in it, he said the following:
“I wouldn't change a thing. I wouldn't change the way I acted. I mean I would, but this is a longer answer. Primarily, I wouldn't change the lessons that I've learned. I don't learn all the lessons if I don't act that way. I don't get investigated and sanctioned if I don't act the way I acted. If I just doped and didn't say a thing, none of that would have happened. None of it. I was begging for, I was asking for them to come after me. It was an easy target.
We did what we had to do to win. It wasn't legal, but I wouldn't change a thing - whether it's losing a bunch of money, going from hero to zero.”
One word for that commentary and Armstrong…LOSER. PEDs and steroids are obviously a major problem in professional and amateur sports. I’ve argued before that I don’t believe they help performances so much in the manner of skill. What I’m saying is you still have to know who to hit or pitch a baseball, you still have to know how to block, run, or tackle in football, you still have to know martial arts to be very good in that sport. BUT, in cycling, there endurance is KEY. Especially in the Tour De France. So PEDs and steroids ABSOLUTELY give an athlete an advantage.
For Lance Armstrong to say it was OK to do what he did? That’s disgraceful and a slap in the face to the sport of cycling. He should be ashamed of himself and instead admitting what he did was not just illegal as he mentioned but that it is also unsportsmanlike and unfair.