Saturday, July 31, 2004

Training camp, Plax & the newspapers

Well, today marks the first official practice of 2004 training camp and everyone but first round pick Ben Roethlisberger is present and accounted for -- even Hines and Plax. So maybe all's well that begins well. But the reason for this post really has nothing to do with the football on the field -- instead it has to do with the football players mode of transportation(s).

Here are two examples of guys with too much money and time on their hands:

The plax-mobile

J.Peezy's in the heezy

Moving on to other news, I also noticed today as I was perusing the Pittsburgh papers that the Tribune-Review has taken a page from what the Post-Gazette did last season -- namely, they're charging their internet readers a fee for "inside coverage" offered by the likes of Jerry DiPaola, Joe Starkey, Mike Prisuta and Chris Kucharski.

Let me go on record one more time about most of the Pittsburgh sports writing community. They're dopes (see here, here, here and here). That said, I do appreciate what the Ed Bouchettes, Jerry DiPaolas, Stan Savrans, Chris Kucharskis and Guy Junkers often write. It just seems like all the nonsense penned by the Smiziks, Cooks, Starkeys and Maddens (R.I.P.) outweighs any sensible observations the others might make.

Anyway, back to the point. Last season I laid down my $15 to get the scoop on the Steelers from the Post-Gazette. Almost all the articles were courtesy of Bouchette and I must say that I liked the coverage -- and I would readily do it again this season. And don't get me wrong, it's not that I don't like it when writers offer negative opinions of the home town team -- if the Steelers stink, they (and we) should hear about it -- instead, I despise it when writers make contentious, unsubstantiated claims for no other reason than to raise the ire of the fans in the hopes that they become more visible (see any of Mark Madden's archived PG articles).

That said, there is no way I'm giving one red cent to the Tribune-Review if Joe Starkey or Mike Prisuta are writing articles. I can barely stand to read their blather for free -- why would I pay for it? Unfortunately that means I also won't be able to read what DiPaola and Kucharski have to say (whom I both like and who actually seem to enjoy injecting some objectivity into their work).

One other thing that caught my attention when looking at some of the articles all ready for consumption (for the low, low price of $19.95) is that they've been written a dozen times since the end of the 2003 season. See if this one sounds familiar:
  • Analysis: Quarterback:
    The bonus money that was given to Tommy Maddox might have made him happy, but it means nothing when it comes to the quarterback's future with the Steelers.

Riveting. A story about Tommy getting a new contract, but possibly not being the long-term answer in Pittsburgh. Egads! Could it actually be true? Even though the Steelers drafted perhaps one of the best quarterbacks in the draft, you're telling me Tommy won't be the starter for the next four seasons? Blasphemous! (Even I had a post or two on this subject when it happened).

Hopefully the Post-Gazette will be rolling out their service again this year, because if I'm forced to choose between the two, you can bet an F-650 I'll go with Bouchette & Co. every time.