July 5, 2019
It was a very good 4th of July holiday for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Despite losing on the national holiday to the Chicago Cubs 11-3, the Bucs took three out of the four games played in the series that began on Monday. With those three out of four victories, the Pirates who have been hot lately winning six of their last 10 remain in fourth place in the National League Central division but find themselves just three games out of first place trailing the now tied Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers with the St. Louis Cardinals hot on their heals just 1 ½ games back.
The division is tight because the Reds are just ½ game behind Pittsburgh in last place. Now the Brewers bring their first place position to PNC Park tonight for a weekend series. The annual All-Star game is just days away so this will be the last series played before the all-stars take the field in Cleveland Tuesday night and on Monday, our own Josh Bell will be vying for a home run derby title and the top prize of $1 million.
It was a tragic last few days for the National Football League family of teams as Kendrick Norton who plays for the Miami Dolphins on their defensive line was in a automobile accident that cost him his left arm. This happened early yesterday morning and the injury was so severe that he had to have his arm amputated at the scene of the crash by paramedics. Norton has yet to play in an NFL game but he was drafted by the Carolina Panthers in the seventh round of last year’s draft then after being released by that team was signed by the Dolphins. Norton played his college ball at the University of Miami.
On Wednesday, former NFL quarterback Jared Lorenzen suddenly passed away and the cause of death has not yet been released but Lorenzen was only 38.
There are some very outstanding football players in the NFL and many are very young. The Pittsburgh Steelers have two great young players in T.J. Watt and JuJu Smith-Schuster and because of their tender age, they have gotten recognition for it.
Top 25 NFL players under 25: Rankings 21-11
theScore Staff, theScore.com
#14. JuJu Smith-Schuster, Steelers
Age on Week 1: 22 years, 9 months
2018 stats: 111 receptions, 1,426 receiving yards, 7 touchdowns
With the Antonio Brown saga finally over, Smith-Schuster is more than capable of taking over as Ben Roethlisberger's No. 1 target in Pittsburgh. The young wideout is equally lethal in the slot and out wide, as he combines shifty route running and deceptive speed to give opposing cornerbacks fits on a weekly basis. JuJu led the league with 660 yards after the catch in 2018, illustrating his ability to get open and his elusiveness in the open field. He also ranked fifth league-wide in both catches and receiving yards - an impressive feat for a second-year player. The former second-round pick was targeted a whopping 161 times as a sophomore. He possesses an advanced game for his age and could easily surpass that number as the focal point of Pittsburgh's offense. JuJu will certainly be mentioned among the NFL's elite wide receivers in short order.
#21. T.J. Watt, Steelers
Age on Week 1: 24 years, 11 months
2018 stats: 13 sacks, 68 total tackles, 6 forced fumbles
The Steelers have long sought to find a top-level pass-rusher, someone to fill the role in which James Harrison previously starred. Though it took three first-round selections of edge players dating back to 2013, Pittsburgh finally has its guy in Watt. No longer just the younger brother of the Houston Texans' future Hall of Famer, Watt has the most sacks (20) and the second-most tackles for a loss (22) of any Steelers player through their first two seasons. The outside linebacker is still growing as a run defender and needs significant refinement in coverage, too - a scary proposition considering how impactful he's already been. If Pittsburgh's defense returns to the elite standing it held at the start of the decade, Watt will be one of the major reasons why.
If you are curious who theScore ranked at the very top, it’s Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs.
Some bizarre activity in sports from Independence Day. First down in Florida at the St. Lucie Mets facility, that minor league affiliate of the big league Mets had a fireworks display scheduled but it went awry when the show set off a fire behind the stadium. Not just a little blaze but a full blown FIRE. Yikes.
If you want to see the actual fire you can view it at:
To make matters worse, the St. Lucie Mets stadium officials did the same exact thing two years ago.
Finally for today, a HUGE UFC card tomorrow night as UFC 239 goes down in Las Vegas with two title fights and a card that is stacked with a handful of outstanding fighters. My MMA/Boxing page as the card lineup as well as my predictions for the major fights scheduled.
With that said, take a look at today’s videos to watch the most bizarre interview you will ever see in MMA. Diego Sanchez was being interviewed by Ariel Helwani, and immediately Sanchez began answering and providing commentary that in a word was STRANGE. His behavior was crazy even but it began to give the feeling he was acting or auditioning and my first thought was this was so WWE like. So whether Sanchez is planning a second career in Pro Wrestling once he is done in the Octagon, or he really is NUTS. But I also was thinking if I’m Sanchez’s opponent tomorrow night (Michael Chiesa), I’d be a bit nervous about the sanity of this guy.
The last thing anyone wants is to fight a person who is literally looney. The crazy fighters are the most dangerous. Just ask Evander Holyfield what is was like to have Mike Tyson bite his ear off. Saturday may result in the most entertaining card in UFC history. It has the kind of potential.