July 29, 2019
In 2018 the Pittsburgh Pirates finished in fourth place in the National League’s Central Division but had a winning record of 82-79.
To reach that number of victories this season, it would mean the Bucs would have to win 36 of their final 57 games. That does not seem possible given the Pirates are driving themselves further down in the basement of their division. Having lost eight games in a row and nine of their last 10, the 2018 season has turned quite ugly for the Buccos.
On this date last season, Pittsburgh had a record of 55-52 and was in third place seven games back. They had also taken two out of three from the New York Mets in a weekend series at PNC Park. This past weekend the Mets swept the Pirates and pushed them 10 games back in the division, a full three behind the fourth place Cincinnati Reds. At the top of the division it’s a three way race with the Cubs and Cardinals both at 56-49 and Milwaukee one back at 56-61.
In one year’s time on the same date, the Pittsburgh Pirates have had a change in their record by winning nine fewer games and losing an additional nine games. During the first half of this season it appeared the team had potential to compete for a wild card and possibly division title. Now, their season is all but over and fans are not happy. Especially with management. The trade deadline is in two days but the Pirates have yet to make a major move. The clock is ticking…
If you don’t think Albert Pujols is going to be a first ballot inductee into the Baseball Hall of Fame, think again. He’s a shoo-in. This weekend he blasted home run number 650 and is now sixth all time just 10 behind the legendary Willie Mays and 46 behind Alex Rodriguez.
Only five other players have hit more, Mays, Rodriguez, Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, and Barry Bonds, the all-time king who hit 762. To further cement his candidacy, Pujols also became the first player in history to not only hit 650 or more home runs but he also have 650 or more doubles. Now with 653 two-baggers for his career, Pujols is just four behind Nap Lajoi for seventh place, and 12 behind George Brett who is in sixth.
Reachable for Pujols on the doubles list is also the fifth most in history set by Craig Biggio who had 668. The all-time leader is Tris Speaker who hit 792 doubles in his 22 year career. Of the honor Pujols told the press:
“I think there are 20,000-plus players that have come through this game, and to be able to be the only one to do that, it's just pretty special.”
On the stupidity side of baseball this weekend, Cleveland Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer got shelled by the Kansas City Royals yesterday and when manager Terry Francona came out of the dugout to yank Bauer from the mound, the pitcher turned around and heaved the ball into the center field stands. Francona and everyone watching were taken back a bit by the stunt which led the manager to say to his pitcher:
“What the fuck is wrong with you?”
Naturally, Bauer issued a public apology:
“First and foremost, I owe a sincere apology to all of my teammates, my coaching staff, the organization and all of our fans for how I conducted myself today. It's unbecoming. It was childish, unprofessional. There's no place for it in the game. I'm happy it didn't result in any physical injury for anybody else. I realize I put people in danger. I want to be clear that my frustrations were with myself and my inability to stop the situation and keep my team in the game.”
To the Extreme
Steelers Nation has some of the best fans in the National Football League let alone other professional sports leagues. But some are crazier than others. One such fan showed up at training camp practice last Friday sporting a tattoo of the Steelers logo but on his HEAD. He asked JuJu Smith-Schuster to autograph his noggin and the star receiver gladly obliged. By getting the ink, this fan had a bet with JuJu that if he got the tat, Smith-Schuster would reward him with some game tickets. No surprise that JuJu held up his end of the bargain.
Around the NFL, as if the Cincinnati Bengals were already considered to finish last in the AFC North this season, now they have lost wide receiver A.J. Green to an injury for anywhere from the next six to eight weeks. In training camp, Green tore ligaments in his left ankle.
The New York Giants number one receiver this season is supposed to be Golden Tate. However, Tate is looking at a four game suspension after testing positive for a substance that is reportedly on the NFL’s banned substance list. It turns out that it is a fertility drug Tate had taken to help he and his wife in planning for a baby. It sounds a little sketchy to me but Tate tried to explain it way and will appeal.
Dana White Dislike
Anyone that follows the UFC knows full well what kind of character UFC President Dana White is. I like to call him “scumbag.” That’s because he is. He runs the sport as he sees fit, plays favorites, talks negatively about his own fighters consistently throwing them under the bus, AND all he cares about is making money for his organization.
He could give a rat’s ass about the welfare of his fighters made obvious by his desire to never see a fighter’s union put in place in the UFC much like what the other four major sports has for its athletes. There is a player’s union in each of the NBA, MLB, NFL, and NHL.
In MMA fighters have no health insurance and it is dependent on each of them to carefully plan their earnings. Fighters are GROSSLY underpaid and only those who White endears himself to make the most money. There is no fair pay scale and rightfully champions should make more than the others but with the billions of dollars the sport is making, White has not given it one moment’s thought to paying his fighters fairly.
That fact has caused many fighters to jump to Bellator and only because some of the bigger names haven’t done it is the fact that it has not damaged the UFC that much. With that said, UFC 240 went down this past weekend headlined by Max Holloway vs. Frankie Edgar and Cris Cyborg vs. Felicia Spencer.
Following Cyborg’s decision victory, she refused to hold back her sentiments about Dana White first with comments before Saturday’s fight and then in the post-fight press conference.
“I’m just laughing at everything Dana is saying. It’s all a lie. Everything is a lie. I just wait for Saturday and after this fight for sure we’re going to see. My team will talk to the UFC and will figure it out. And for sure it’s going to be the best opportunity for myself and do my best for me.
I always just speak the truth. I never lie about anything. And just he’s always lying. I just keep to myself doing what I’m doing and doing what is right and then just keep it right and know the truth is going to come out. He’s doing this all my career. I just laugh when I see it. Just laughing. Everybody knows that I don't have the best and the greatest relationship with UFC. I don't have the best relationship with Dana White. He's bully me around, bully me on the internet.
Saying I'm scared to fight Amanda Nunes. Saying I don't want to fight her, this is liar because I text him after the fight saying I want the rematch. This is don't help me growing my brand. This is damage my brand. And for keeping me working for promotion, I don't want somebody damage my brand. I want to grow together. We're going to have to take a little time and see what is going to be better for me. It's not just about money, it's about respect. You don't have to love the boss, you just have to have respect between both. This is to make everything work together.”
It’s just a shame more fighters don’t come forward and be honest like Cyborg did. You know there a many more fighters that feel this way but as she said, White is a bully and for that reason, many are afraid to speak out against him in fear they will not get good matchups in their fights or worse be booted from the UFC.
As I’ve said many times before, Dana White is ABSOLUTELY the worst professional sports organization president. The stuff he pulls you would NEVER see in any other organization no matter the sport. It’s unfortunate that no one other the UFC owners have the power to remove Dana White. That would be the best thing that could happen to the UFC. The current owners who just purchased the organization a few years back are completely hands off owners and you never even hear about them.
I had mentioned how Dana White plays favorites so here is a prime example. 40 year old B.J. Penn who began his MMA career in 2001, is WAY past his prime but continues to get bouts. White who apparently is good friends with the veteran fighter must be playing favorites because with losses in each of his last seven fights, White is giving him yet another fight this with Nik Lentz.
Penn has not just lost his last seven straight, he has lost 10 of his last 15 that includes a draw with Jon Fitch. Penn’s record of 16-14-2 is absolutely horrible and pathetic. He’s been knocked out four times and submitted once. He’s a shadow of himself and does anyone think he is going to defeat Lentz?
Lentz is 30-10 and is coming off a knockout loss to Charles Oliveira but he is a very good fighter and should dispose of Penn handing him yet another defeat. Still, White is granting him the bout but says this is ABSOLUTELY B.J. Penn’s finale. Said White:
“We have a deal now: Win, lose, or draw, this is BJ Penn's last fight. We're doing this, he's promised me that win, lose, or draw, he will retire after this fight. We'll see if he keeps his promise. He won't fight here though. That I guarantee you.”
For the record, B.J. Penn has not won a fight since he knocked out Matt Hughes on November 20, 2010. That’s nearly NINE years ago. Yikes.
As for UFC 240, I had predicted Cris Cyborg would put away the Invicta champion Felicia Spencer in less than a minute. That’s because I thought we would see the old Cyborg. In combat sports, sometimes a bad loss can break a fighter mentally. I believe Amanda Nunes did that to Cyborg. Buster Douglass did it to Mike Tyson in boxing.
Fighters sometimes are just not the same following a devastating loss. While Cyborg won by unanimous decision, absent was her usual style of being a Tasmanian Devil coming in like a tornado and overwhelming an opponent. Not on Saturday night. Instead, Spencer leaned into Cyborg and tried to make it a grappling affair.
Spencer did land a damaging elbow in the first round that opened a nasty cut on Cyborg’s forehead but credit to Spencer for taking some big punches and still moved forward. Still, Cyborg did not appear to be strong and if she thinks she is going to beat Amanda Nunes in a rematch she can forget about that if she performs as she did on Saturday.
In the main event, this may have been Frankie Edgar’s last shot at a title and while he fought gamely, he simply was no match for the champion of the featherweights, Max Holloway. The champ retained his belt winning 50-45, 49-46, and 48-47. But both men exemplified the utmost sportsmanship and respect for each other following the fight and hearing those comments was refreshing and just a sad fact that there aren’t enough fighters in the UFC that conduct themselves that way.