Monday, March 31, 2008

Round of Reubens

First BSR is still house hunting and they always say that a man's home is his castle. So do it up right for $2.8 million.

A stone castle with turrets and parapets, a wrought iron staircase, marble fireplace and more than 25,000 square feet of space overlooking Cheat Lake is for sale for $2.8 million.
Remember if you are going to buy a castle you will need lots of scratch. Anyone can steal to get the money. Only smart people get away with it. Sherrin Daniel was not one of the smarter ones. She was a found guilty of embezzling nearly $16,000 from WVU while working as an accounting assistant at WVU's International Center for Performance Excellence.
A criminal complaint alleges that Daniel opened a PayPal account and then used university-issued purchasing cards to transfer money into that account. From there, it was then transferred to Daniel's personal bank account. The complaint also alleges Daniel used a university purchasing card to pay a utility bill and used a supervisor's name and Social Security number to obtain satellite television service.
She was sentenced to 1-10 years suspended and ordered to pay back the money. She will be on probation, have community service (150 hours) and be forced to accept an MBA from the Mylan Puskar Business School.

Stories like that take away from the genius that goes on everyday at WVU. Such as this:

The beer pong table cost over $1000. If they added the term "baby" to it the table costs would have doubled. I spent the weekend working on securing baby items for the upcoming baby tummysticks. The wife even got a baby bargain book. Every item in the "bargain" book was the same. You can get the cheaper one but it will more than likely kill you and/or the baby so you should get the most expensive one. Thanks bargain book. Also you will need at least two of everything because infant stuff doesn't work for newborns. So newborns get roughly $5,000 worth of stuff that is no good anymore in 6 months as they become "infants" and you have to replace it all. And people wonder why parents go insane.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Random hate

This has absolutely nothing to do with WVU, but it is too funny not to link. I saw this first on AOL, but when I went to see the actual article and comments I damn near fell out of my chair. It appears. Furman Bisher doesn't like the Japs (as I'm sure he'd call them). On opening day in Japan:

Eight springs ago the Mets and Cubs opened the season, not in Cincinnati. Guess where? Tokyo. That Tokyo, the guys who gave us Pearl Harbor. Some people don’t like you to bring that up, trade with Japan is so hot. But I’ve got a long memory. I saw what a few bombs can do to our property.
But that isn't even the best part. If you get a chance read through some of the comments. Of course there are those that point out that Bisher may in fact need to retire or move on.
By Jason

March 26, 2008 9:38 AM | Link to this

You know it’s time to hang ‘em up when your articles read like very well done satire.
or this
By beedlebaum

March 26, 2008 11:49 AM | Link to this

It’s amazing that, while there are real complaints about having an opening day in Japan, you come up with this half-baked garbage.

Ignoring that the Japanese know (probably much better than you) what a few bombs can do, and have managed to invite the national pasttime of the country that dropped those bombs into their country and have celebrated that pasttime is borderline is about as stupid as it gets. Maybe you should really considering retiring. Seriously, even Andy Rooney laughs at your column.
But the best are the guys that defend the comments and talk about the "nuclear" bombs dropped by the U.S.
By Bob in Buford

March 26, 2008 12:42 PM | Link to this

It was the nuclear bombs or American lives lost invading, that was the issue and it was reolved correctly. Regarless of the liberal wimpering, Nagasaki came days later, they had their chance. And Marc, Blacks do hold slavery against whites whose families were in Europe at the time. Just see Bigot Wright’s comments.
Or this beaut:
By hop

March 26, 2008 1:06 PM | Link to this

since some of you want to attack america once again, let me state it was the japanese who started the war with the bombs landing on pearl harbor. we just finish it and I am damn glad we did.
But my favorite comment is by far this one:
By Mr. Davis

March 26, 2008 8:58 PM | Link to this

Mr. Bisher, I applaud you for your xenophobia, your mindless conservatism, and most of all your disguised racism. If only we could get rid of all of the greasebacks in this game. I’m fine with the darkies and all, but I do believe them latinos are ruining tradition.

Heather Bresch Update

Chutta is away and may be checking in from time to time for non-WVU sports related news so here is the biggest story. Craig Walker was apparently in constant contact with Ms. Bresch the week leading up to WVU deciding that she had the degree according to Pittsburgh Post-Gazette FOIA records. The damning paragraph:

The decision to grant the degree retroactively -- done following Post-Gazette inquiries to Ms. Bresch and the university about the M.B.A. she claimed to have received -- apparently was made with little involvement from business school Dean R. Stephen Sears, who only attended one meeting on the subject, held just hours before a statement drafted by Mr. Walker and others was released to the newspaper explaining that officials determined Ms. Bresch earned the degree.

Mr. Sears was given a copy of that statement by WVU's communications office, but did not provide any input until after it was released to the Post-Gazette.
Of course this is also after the administration has claimed at various times that Bresch (1) merely forgot to pay her graduation fee and had completed all her courses; (2) had all her academic records lost during an electronic transfer that effected two other students (who it turns out it didn't actually); and (3) should receive her degree after a complete investigation by the Business school including a statement by Gerald Lang which amount to "move along, nothing to see here." The bad news. None of it matters as she will still get her degree retroactively due to "lifetime activities" which is bullshit because all MBA students are working. And no one in the administration will get in any trouble as Sears and Paul Speaker probably take the fall for this.
When the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette made a routine call in October to check her credentials, WVU’s Registrar told the paper she did not have an Executive MBA.

Eleven days later, R. Steven Sears, dean of the College of Business and Economics, decided after a “thorough review” of records that Bresch had met all of the requirements for the degree in December 1998. He now says he never saw the actual records and relied on the advice of associate dean Cy Logar and Paul Speaker, a professor in B&E who was director of graduate programs in 1998.
So to recap Dean Sears released a "statement" he had no input into and had barely seen saying that she should get the degree retroactively and will now be fired for it. But Bresch and the administration will be clean on this:
The phone calls between Mr. Walker and Ms. Bresch include a nine-minute conversation Thursday, Oct. 11, after WVU's registrar told the newspaper she did not complete her degree. Mr. Walker and Ms. Bresch also talked for seven minutes shortly after 8 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 15, when Mr. Walker summoned Mr. Sears, Provost Gerald Lang and other officials to his office to discuss the matter. About three hours later, a draft of a statement explaining a records discrepancy was circulating among the group. It was approved by Ms. Bresch.
Or this:

The newspaper found that WVU officials added six classes, including grades, to Ms. Bresch's transcript and changed two classes that had been marked "incomplete" to show letter grades. The newspaper's research indicated the classes were added without records showing that Ms. Bresch registered, paid or did the work for them.
Or this:

WVU redacted details of more than 20 calls made between Thursday, Oct. 11, and Monday, Oct. 15. The school also failed to produce itemized land-line or cell phone records for Mr. Garrison, a high school classmate and former business associate of Ms. Bresch, and longtime Manchin family friend.
This shit wouldn't fly at Hamline.

Same as it ever was

A valiant comeback from 18 down and a chance to make it a laugher. And Ruoff dunked, I did not think he could do that. However, this team of a Huggins/Beilein blend lost the game in a way both systems failed. WVU shot 1 for 11 from three (.091), lost the battle on the boards, and had early turnovers. These would all have doomed WVU under Beilein. However, defense kept the Mountaineers in the game. Unfortunately the new menaces under Huggins, foul shots and foul trouble, reared their ugly heads. WVU actually shot better from the line than Xavier (66.7% to 57.1%) but key misses at the end of regulation by Alexander and in overtime by Mazulla doomed the Mountaineers. The other key to the game was the inability of WVU to get Duncan out of the game. He played the final 12+ minutes with 4 fouls and finished with 26 points and 5 rebounds.

Nichols finished his career with 6 points on 1 for 6 shooting, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists in 41 minutes of play while Jamie Smalligan scored 2 points on his only shot of the game in 9 minutes. Talkington played 6 minutes in his final game of his career. Way to prematurely looking forward to next year WVU needs Smith to continue to develop on offense, figure out where Flowers has been the last two weeks, and have Ruoff carry his confidence from the NCAAs into next season (including taking the ball to the basket more often). WVU will need someone that can create their own shot besides Alexander next year. When he fouled out last night the only options where the Butler spin-o-rama or Mazulla. Everyone else either stood waiting for a jumper or hot potatoed the ball back out as soon as they caught it.

In more cheerful news Michigan is still losing players. This time an All-Big 10 Guard (and one of only 3 returning offensive starters) has quit the team due to a loss of family values. Apparently Justin Boren does not like the PacMan Jones school of discipline preached by RR. Rodriguez declined to speak to the matter saying He was "forging ahead with guys that play for Michigan" and then saying "not that pussy who just quit" under his breath while coughing.

Oh and WVU is back to third tier in law school rankings. Others in Tier 3 include Wayne State, Hamline Univesity, Pace University, Chapman University, Suffolk University, and Willamette University so we are in good company.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

This Makes Me Feel Good

Hey all,

I've been off in Africa hunting wild game for the past few months, and sharpening my ninja skills in my spare time. So, sorry I haven't been posting too much lately. But that's how it goes. Anyway, because it's never a bad time to rejoice in beating Duke here's a vid of Cam Thoroughman giving Gerald Henderson a taste of his own medicine. Via FanHouse.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Grey Lady Likes Joe Alexander

Big write-up in the NY Times on Joe this morning. The article explains how one becomes a Division I player despite not playing organized basketball for most of your life; practice. And how a Division I player goes from an freak of nature athletically to a force of nature on the court; practice.

Last season, he started sleeping three nights a week on a blue leather couch in the Mountaineers’ locker room. No sheets or blankets, just team-issued sweats. He figured out a way to unscrew the safety lights that hang over the pool table in order to make it dark.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Round of Reubens

I really thought this was the year for Bradley and Drake. But at least it wasn't the year for Duke. Lots of love for the Mountaineers (and Huggins) for being the team to send Dick Vitale running for Zoloft.

For a team built only a season ago around a motion offense and a gimmick zone defense, it seemed almost unfathomable for West Virginia to win an NCAA Tournament game with rebounding and suffocating man-to-man defense.

But that's the kind of impact first-year coach Bob Huggins has made on his Mountaineers.
As we've said here before, this team isn't an NCAA tourney team, much less a Sweet 16 team with Beilein as coach. They don't shoot well enough from three to make up for the pounding they'd take on the boards. This team doesn't outrebound Duke by 20 without Huggins' system and weight room discipline. Others give WVU some respect but are taking shots at the Dukies. The following is for BSR due to Yankee smack.
The better team won. Not the team with more McDonald’s All-Americans — Duke has eight to West Virginia’s none — but the one with better players. Duke is like the Yankees in that it polarizes the electorate into either hating or loving, but it’s also like the Bronx Bombers in its penchant for signing guys who aren’t half as good as advertised.
As of today here are the conference standings for the NCAA tourney.
Big Ten (2) 5-2 .714
Big East (3) 10-5 .667
Pac-10 (3) 6-3 .667
Big 12 (2) 7-4 .636
ACC (1) 4-3 .571
SEC (1) 4-5 .444
The Big East has been led by Louisville, WVU, and Villanova. Not many would have picked that threesome at the halfway point of this season. Parenthsis are number of teams remaining.

For WVU it is on to Arizona to face Xavier in the Sweet 16 battle of the Eers. Huggins is very familiar with Xavier, a cross-town rival to Cinci, and is 8-9 overall against the Musketteers.
Xavier has more size than probably any team it has faced this season, with five players taller than 6-6, including two at 6-9. It has five scorers averaging double-digits and is outscoring its opponents 75.5-62.7.

The Musketeers are shooting 47.8 from the field to 40.6 and managing a 35.8-30.2 margin in rebounding.

WVU is averaging 74.8 points to 63.1, goaling on 45.5 percent of its shots, and outrebounding opponents 35.9-33.6.
The main story for the broadcast may not be the Xavier size, but the lack thereof. At least for Drew Lavender. Lavender is listed at 7 inches shorter than Joe Mazzulla which will ruin every "smallest man on the court" argument for CBS and Mazzulla for at least one game.

In the Women's Tournament WVU has won their opening game over New Mexico State. They face Vanderbilt in a second-round game tonight.

Finally, to top off the good weekend for WVU the baseball team completed a three game sweep of Pitt on Saturday. The bats have come to life as 20 games in the Mountianeers have hit 18 homeruns and are batting .241 as a team. Jedd Gyorko is batting .488 to start the season. The pitching staff has an ERA of 3.21 thus far and has 147 strikeouts in 168 innings. Teddy Brabender has yet to see any action.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

2008 Recruiting?

Signing day may have been on February 6th, but recruiting can still go on afterwards. Last year Noel Devine and Pat Lazaar both signed with WVU after national signing day. Of course Terrell Pryor still hasn't signed so he is the big name out in the national news. But WVU continues to add pieces to the latest recruiting class. Since signing day WVU received the paperwork to make Maryland running back Terence Kerns official, received a commitment from JC running back Zach Hulce, and last month received a verbal commitment from Madison, WV running back Jordan Roberts an invited walk-on that set the single-season rushing record formerly held by Josh Culbertson (who plans to transfer to WVU from the University of Charleston this season). An unexpected surprise came yesterday as Hargrave DB/RB D.J. Thomas pledged a commitment to WVU as well. Thomas is a three star DB who may end up on offense at WVU while Roberts was a two star running back. Additionally four star offensive guard/center Benji Kemoeatu is still a possibility. Benji signed his letter of intent on signing day, but his parents were on a church mission. They had to sign as well for the letter to be binding. Since they returned Benji slowed down a bit and has re-opened his commitment between WVU, Utah (where his brothers attended school), and Oregon State. The late signings must be in by next Tuesday.

Until all the recruits get here WVU is a little thin a running back. After Devine there is Jock Sanders who is splitting time at slot and Mike Poitier. Don't know Mike? Here you go:

Poitier is 5 feet 8 and weighs 165 pounds. He figures he runs the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds. His dad's name is -- seriously -- Sidney. He's a converted receiver who played running back at Class 5A St. Thomas Aquinas in high school. And he knows he's on the spot this spring.
Poitier earned the scout team player of the year three times (two on offense/one on special teams). Another player that earned scout team player of the year and later became a difference maker was Owen Schmitt.

Finally, good one Patrick. McAfee decided that his future as an NFL kicker would not be enhanced by playing soccer this season. Also blowing out a knee in said soccer could be viewed as detrimental to the same career. So Pat has given up soccer again.
Pro day was a real slap in the face,'' McAfee said. "If I get hurt right now, if a kid takes a whack at me in a game, my senior year of football is not the year to be missing because some idiot who plays for a soccer team wants to take me out.
Plus all the Aussies would then yell at you while you laid on the ground. Drinkin' cans.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Round of Reubens

First, WVU faces Arizona at around 9:45 on Thursday which means that most won't have to skip worky to watch the game and with Good Friday following the late start shouldn't cause too much havoc with work schedules should you wish to indulge in a few beverages during the game. We'll try to get a review of Arizona up tomorrow or Wednesday. Off the top of my head I can say that the Wildcats were under .500 in conference, were swept by Arizona State, and lost a "must-win" to start the Pac-10 conference tourney versus Stanford. In fact:

The Wildcats' only wins in the last six games were a pair of victories over woeful Oregon State, which was 0-18 in the Pac-10.
Oh and Lute Olsen has been in and out as coach this season, but is looking to get back in for the tournament so he can make his patented early exit for the summer.

Spring practice started with the new coaching staff. First the bad news which everyone already knew; the defense lost a lot of players from last year.
Here are the cold, hard facts: Of the 11 players who started on defense during the Mountaineers' 48-28 Fiesta Bowl win over Oklahoma, seven are gone. That includes four of the five secondary positions (safeties Wicks and Ryan Mundy and cornerbacks Larry Williams and Antonio Lewis) and two of the three linemen (nose tackle Dykes and end Dingle). Also gone is one of the three linebackers, Magro.

While West Virginia's top two tacklers - seniors Reed Williams and Mortty Ivy - are back, seven of the top 10 on that list are gone. That includes safety/linebacker John Holmes, who was one of three players dismissed from the team last month after being arrested on drug charges.
That is why WVU signed 150 defensive linemen a month ago. Speaking of signing here is some good news. Chris Beatty may have already opened up Virginia more than any other coach in recent WVU history as WVU received committments from a top quarterback and possibly the top receiver in the nation (both from VA) this weekend as WR Logan Heastie and QB Tajh Boyd both verballed this weekend after unofficial visits to Morgantown.
Chris Beatty, a former high school coach in the Virginia Beach area was a big factor for Heastie in the end.

“That was probably the biggest thing for me since he’s from my area, he’s like family,” he said. “I trust him with everything and don’t think he’ll lie to me. You know when you go to college it comes down to trust because everything else is basically the same. I trust him with everything. I know some people say bad things about him since he put up 80-points on teams in high school, but he doesn’t down anybody and stays positive.”

One last conversation with Beatty sealed the deal for Heastie.

“I talked to him and said I know you’ve been at Hampton and Northern Illinois the past few years,” he said. “I asked, ‘Coach, you’re not going to leave anytime soon.’ He told me he’s going to stick around and he just bought a house here.”
Heastie is currently the number 1 receiver and 22nd rated recruit according to rivals. More on Boyd here:
Boyd said he had scholarship offers from 10 other schools: Virginia, Virginia Tech, Tennessee, Boston College, Michigan, Wake Forest, Kentucky, Maryland, East Carolina and Minnesota. Though he cannot sign his letter-of-intent for another 11 months, Boyd said he will not change his mind.

"I'm solid," he said Saturday night while returning from an unofficial visit to Morgantown. "I'll take my official (visit) to West Virginia, but I won't take any other officials.

Mountaineers Big Dance

The Mounties received a No. 7 seed in the West, matched up against No. 10 seed Arizona. This doesn't worry me as much as the expected second round game against the No. 2 seed Dukies. Everyone knows of the favoritism the Blue Devils receive in Tourney games.

Without looking ahead too much, I don't want to overlook the Wildcats, but BSR says, "The Mountaineers can beat Duke." Clemson did. The Dukies lack a truly a dominant big man, that helps. Georgetown is a much tougher opponent, especially when Roy "Haircut" Hibbert opens the first half as strong as he did on Friday night. I named him that myself.

This post obviously lacks statistical analysis- I am at work and sounding off quickly. I welcome tummystix to contribute come content to our site pertaining to the dance. I invite both of our loyal readers, and any new ones to voice their take on the '08 Mountaineer Road to the Final Four by leaving a comment.

Friday, March 14, 2008

WVU rolls their way into the semis

Much to the dismay of Doug Gottleib the West Virginia Mountaineers have soundly played their way into the tournament. Gottleib had consistently ranted about teams such as Arizona and Arizona State being more deserving of a bid than WVU over the previous week. He now gets to eat a big slice of shut the hell up. Of course many WVU fans took Gottleib's comments as more proof that ESPN hates WVU. More proof in previous comments by Digger the last few years stating that WVU was "on the bubble" when clearly in the tournament and feelings of ESPN siding with RR over WVU the last few months. I am no fan of ESPN, but as a station they don't hate WVU. The don't hate anything. They just love money. And having jerk-offs yell at the tv such as Sean Salisbury (thank god gone), Steven A. Smith, Doug Gottleib, etc. must bring in viewers becuase they do it for every sport. And these guys are all the same in that they form a half baked opinion and then straw man support it to the end. ESPN is only a camera removed from talk radio. So don't get worked up over it. But don't think the team didn't hear it.

"Mr. Doug Gottlieb, you said we don't have a signature win? There it is for you," Ruoff said. "But we're going to keep it going. We're happy winning this one and we're happy we're in the NCAA Tournament, but we're trying to win the Big East Tournament."
That slurping sound you heard last night? That was the sound of Bobby Knight verbally fellating Joe Alexander. Alexander has become one of the most entertaining players in the country in the span of two weeks and the General has taken notice. I've never seen anyone go from good player to dominant in the middle of a season like this before. It's like Huggins turned the switch on by getting him lifting and developing an inside game and once a few shots started falling watch out. Alexander has lead WVU into the semi-finals for a rematch with Georgetown. In the previous two games the Mountaineers have had some help from both Providence and UConn not being able to dunk in uncontested situations. Joe, on the otherhand, will stop and wait for a defender to catch up so that he can dunk on heads. At the 40 second mark below you will see the rare Jamie Smalligan dunk and Joe goes off at the 55 second mark.

In football news Noel Devine finally was caught from behind for the first time in his life, but not on the field. Devine, Jock Sanders, Brantwon Bowser, and Eain Smith were arrested yesterday for the fight a month back. The players plead no contest which should end the matter unless they get in trouble again, but it does get WVU back in the Fulmer Cup race.

Spring practice opens today and will go about every other day up until the Spring game which is slated for April 19th. Also the Mountaineers had their Pro-day this week. Slaton ran a 4.47 40 which is fast, but still slower than the 4.3s he wanted to run. Slaton was actually beat by Reynaud who ran a 4.46 40. Owen Schmitt ran a 4.74 and also had the quote of the day.
He said yesterday he didn't miss the five consecutive hours of psychological testing in a camera-watched Combine room. The one question asking players if they were a dog or a cat? He wrote in lion.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Round of Reubens

More Awards.

The Big East Conference announced the rest of the men's basketball awards on the eve of the BET. Luke Harangody was named Player of the Year; Mike Brey Coach of the Year (second year in a row); Pitt's DeJuan Blair and Syracuse guard Jonny Flynn were named Rookies of the Year; Patrick Ewing Jr. of Georgetown was named Sixth Man of the Year; Hasheem Thabeet of UConn was named Defensive Player of the Year; and Pitt's Ronald Ramon and Darris Nichols will split the Sportsmanship Award. Actually the committee was going to split the award, but Darris felt the Award shouldn't be ruined so he started pleading that they give it to Ramon which proved that Darris was the rightful owner and he was given the award. Additionally, Ted Talkington was named the Scholar Athlete of the Year for Men's Basketball. And Jamie Smalligan received a beautiful "Participation" ribbon for this year.

The baseball team swept Valparaiso to run their record to 8-3 on the year, then lost to St. Bonaventure at home yesterday. So far the Mountaineers have only managed 4 homeruns on the season and over half of the team is batting under .300. However, half the pitchers have ERAs under 4.00 so maybe no one is using aluminum bats this year.

In football news Judge Robert Stone has set a trial date of April 3rd with depositions of Roriguez on March 26th and Ed Pastilong on March 19th. Also new Strength and Conditioning Coach Mike Joseph has had some write-ups about his style going up this week. Of course Barwis was a genius here until he left then everyone blamed Slaton's speed this year on Barwis. As if he knew that was coming Joseph has already started to attempt to alleviate the fears of those that believe weightlifting is bad (and some do still exist).

“All of these guys coming in are fast but we want to increase that and make them even more efficient and not decrease their speed over time as we add more weight and more strength,” Joseph said.
He did not address the need to Pensify your shirts when lifting. Finally, for those that hate basketball and baseball and need something to get you through the spring until Spring Practice for football we suggest this. Your welcome.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Big East Tournament

With 5 seconds separating WVU from the wrong side of the bubble and Darris Nichols injured the Mountaineers put their season in the hands of Joe Mazzulla. Mazzulla was able to beat the entire Johnnie defense up the court including splitting the last two defenders to send the game to overtime. In overtime the Mountaineers cruised and coupled with a Syracuse win over Marquette secured the 5th seed in the Big East Tournament. A remarkable ending to the regular season which would only have been more surprising had Jamie Smalligan ended the game by dunking on someone then stealing an inbounds and hitting a winning three.

As the fifth seed WVU draws Providence in the first round of the BET at 2:30 on Wednesday so get your excuses in early. I'm going with rickets. The women advanced to the semi-finals after taking South Florida apart yesterday. The women will face Louisville tonight at 8:00.

The Big East has announced the regular season awards winners (sans POY, COY, and ROY). The only Mountaineer to make any of the three All-Big East Teams was Joe Alexander on the First Team. None of the other Mountaineers were mentioned among the 27 on the first, second, or honorable mention. Congratulations to Joe who went from athlete to basketball player with a trip to the dog house in between this year. In fact this team will go as far as Joe can take them in the BET and NCAA tournament since the offense has started running clearouts for him in all crucial possessions. For the women three players made All-Big East honors. Olayinka Sanni was named to the First team while Meg Bulger and LaQuita Owens were named to the Second team. Meg also received the Sportsmanship Award. She plans to use to award for spare parts for her knee.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Pirate Giveaways

Since spring training is upon us it is time to check out the upcoming season for the Pirates. OK the big signings were...Byung-Hyun Kim and non-roster invitee Doug Mientkiewicz. For a team that lost an NL high 94 games last year and is off to a 1 and 6 start this spring. Hooray for the Bucs.

This means that there are only a couple of things worth watching for this year. One is the potential fire sale that would ship out Jason Bay and possibly Laroche. Hopefully the Pirates could unload Jack Wilson at some point, but it is unlikely since no one took the bait last year. The pitching staff is still young enough with the top four under 30, but also has veteran Matt Morris who showed he still has something left in the tank by compiling a 6.10 ERA since joining the Pirates. And he hasn't been good since 2002 so he fits right in.

That really only leaves one thing for Bucco fans that want to attend a game. Giveaways. After some research on the Pirates homepage we've compiled the best of the sad lot of giveaways this year. Bobbleheads are always popular for some reason. The best of them this year are Manny Sanguillen (April 11th), Pops Stargell (May 9th), and Dave Parker (June 27th). The Chris Duffy bobblehead will be lifesize this year. So it still fits in your pocket. Most Mondays feature McDonald's "Scratch and Win." All fans will be asked to start scratching. First to draw blood gets a Big Mac. Bring the whole family. Tuesdays will feature T-shirts. To keep with the Pirate tradition the shirts will be cheap, functional 4 years ago, but now falling apart at the seams. Wednesdays are for the ladies. Apparently women can pay an extra $20 and join the "Lady Bucs." Last year 6 signed up. All were given hepatitis from a lap dance with Shaun Chacon. This year if the ladies can hit Zach Duke's fastball they get their money back. The Pirates are betting at least half will be able. Thursdays are for Alumni Autographs. Meet all your favorite middle relievers from the late 80's and early 90's. Fridays are the big day at PNC. Once a month there are fireworks. The others involve kicking your least favorite Pirate in the nuts. Watch out John Van Benschoten.

Special nights are few and far between. The "best" might be the Collector's Plate nights. As a member of the Bradford Exchange you can bet that the June 21st Roberto Clemente plate and August 39th Willie Stargell plates will increase in value (value starts at $0). Finally the biggest nights of the year. The three day fireworks/concert promotion in August. On the 14th stay for fireworks after the game and a concert from REO Speedwagon. On the 15th it's Collective Soul. On the 16th everybody's favorite band TBD will take the stage. Early money is on Great White. Pittsburgh Pirate baseball. Making every fan die a little inside every night for 15 straight years.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Big Ass Kroger

A new Kroger has opened in Morgantown and if the DA is correct, it might be the biggest grocery store known to man.

Covering 86,000 square miles, the largest Kroger in the state promises more specialties and “greener” business.
For those that don't measure in square mileage often the stated size of the Kroger would be roughly 3.6 times the size of the state of West Virginia or a little smaller than Minnesota. The Kroger would be 2.4% of the entire United States. How would the bastards let Kendal Montgomery know that a mistake had probably (I don't know for sure it could really be that big) been made? As follows:

First from chutta:
Dear Kendal,

Wow! I had no idea such a place existed! How on
earth did you manage to even cover the store for your
review? The shear physics of cramming a store the
size of the state of Montana into the Suncrest Towne
Center must have been a secret long-term DARPA
project. I must confess, I definitely don't have the
wherewithall to understand how such things can be
done, but thanks for your article. I just hope I can
find the cracker section. I love crackers. There
must be millions of them there! 86,000 square miles
of Kroger! Wow!
And then from myself:
I was surprised to learn just how big the new Kroger was. I visited it last week, but must have missed the portal to the area that is 3x as large as the entire state of West Virginia (24,000 square miles vs. 86,000 for the Kroger). It doesn't look that big from the road, is the rest underground or maybe above the clouds like in futuristic movies? I don't know how they can keep enough produce on hand to justify that kind of area. And don't get me started on the amount of poultry they must need. I do find it hard to believe that it only takes 150 people to work in that large of an area. Hopefully it doesn't become a "Mad-Max" type store with warlords and gangs controlling most of the main areas such as the Condiment aisle or the Organic foods sections. Children will wander aimlessly for decades should they get away from their parents. One day a chosen one will bring peace to the Kroger and become it's first elected official. There will be a parade. Inside the Kroger. Clean up in aisle 45,689,654.
This is what happens when there aren't sports to distract us. And chutta really does love crackers.

Spring notes

First, WVU plays at St. John's on Saturday and a loss there could drop the Mountaineers to 8th in the conference and on the wrong side of the bubble. A victory could vault WVU up to 5th depending on the outcome of Marquette and Syracuse.

Spring practice is only a week away and the Pittsburgh Tribune's Joe Starkey interviewed Bill Stewart this week. One unsurprising answer:

Q: Have you spoken to Coach Rodriguez since he left?

A: No.
These types of questions will continue to follow the team and Stewart around for the next year. So far Stewart has taken the high road in always complimenting Rodriguez and trying to move the conversation on. Unfortunately for Stewart the conversation usually turns to how Stewart's name has popped up in many spring reviews as a coach either under pressure or a coach that needs to win right away. So far Stewart has been able to, at least publicly, brush off the any concerns relayed to him regarding the subject. So while this may be a "dream job" for Stewart it hasn't come without some P.R. nightmares.

Speaking of spring notes now is the time of year when the columnists break out the lists. Best games for next year, best positions battles, or best white shoes (OS). Foxsports' Pete Fiutak has been working overtime this week. First he lists the best non-conference games in the upcoming year. WVU checks in at numbers 21 (Colorado) and 3 (Auburn).
3. Auburn at West Virginia, Oct. 13
One team has mastered the spread attack, and the other is just starting to figure it out. If Auburn had Pat White, where would it be ranked? As is, West Virginia head coach Bill Stewart gets a shot to come up with a big, big win that would prove his program is among the elite of the elite. This is Auburn's toughest road test by far until ending the year at Alabama.
Just missing the cut; Villanova.

FoxSports also has a list of 25 potential impact players that didn't see the field last year. Julian Miller makes the grade at number 24 for WVU.
24. DE Julian Miller, West Virginia: Johnny Dingle's early departure to the NFL creates some room on the depth chart for young players like Miller, a rangy pass rusher with a great burst off the edge. He stood out throughout practices last fall, now needing to add a little more bulk and improve at disengaging from blockers.
And finally a list of the top quarterback battles entering spring practice. This is not on the list because of a battle between Pat White and Jarrett Brown, but of the battle at the University of Miami.
Redshirt freshman Robert Marve and first-year freshmen Jacory Harris and Cannon Smith are already locking horns, although it's unlikely a starter will be named anytime soon.
Since Cannon isn't in quotations I think it's fair to assume that is the given first name. If Miami could start him, a running back named Colt or jet, a receiver named Catch, and a kicker named Kicky then they could get back to a bowl game.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Mountaineer avenge Pitt loss

I just have a second to throw this out there- work and all- but the Coliseum was hot, crowded, raucous and horny. Well, maybe not all that horny.

Alexander was so money baby, and he knew it. Look at the box score if you haven't. Nichols was dialed in too.

"You eat a bag of shit." - W. Ferrell.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Another Round of Reubens

The men's basketball team has a must win for the NCAA tournament tonight at 7:00 on ESPN. After the loss to UConn there are two ways to keep from defending the NIT title. The first is to beat Pitt and St. John's and probably win at least one game in the Big East Tourney. The second is a loss to Pitt and then beating St. John's and running to at least the finals in the Big East Tournament. After watching the UConn game and then Kansas State later that day you realize how much Huggins gave up to come back to WVU. UConn could bomb away from the outside because WVU was forced to triple team in the post in order to even slow down the inside game or "attempt" to rebound. Meanwhile Michael Beasley is the best player in the country. And Huggins never recruited him to WVU after he left K-State.

In football news Sports Illustrated has an article about Pat White being the "last man standing" from the Sugar Bowl team. On the new coaching staff:

"There's a wonderful connection from coach to players and it's happening in a very short time frame," he said. "The new coaches that have come in have definitely gelled with the players and vice versa."
In semi-good news the football ticket prices are staying the same. There was some (faint) hope that the prices may go down, but not with demand still being so high and Auburn coming to Morgantown. 7 home games means the price overall is higher, but the price per game has stayed the same. Of course the bad news is that the warning from Matt Wells:
"We did have a per-game increase last year, but when we announced that we said that provision would be in place the next two seasons," said Matt Wells, WVU's director of sports marketing. "We don't like to come back and raise it every year. We'd like the increase to take hold for a couple of years before we make another change."
Which means the prices go up again in 2009.

The baseball team took in Myrtle Beach this weekend and went 3-1 in the Baseball at the Beach Tournament. The weekend started with wins over Western Carolina (my favorite state in the Carolina's) and Marshall before losing to a ranked Coastal Carolina team. WVU quickly rebounded to beat George Mason to finish the round robin.