🏴‍☠️Gerrit Cole threw his 115 pitch on Saturday night 100 mph. He struck out 15 batters in 7 2/3 innings. Cole will most likely win the American League Cy Young.

Gerrit Cole is a stud.

Gerrit Cole used to be a Pittsburgh Pirate.

Cole is Pirates GM Neal Huntington’s best draft choice. He was good in Pittsburgh, but not great. Another example of the lack of development of players in Pittsburgh.

🏴‍☠️Tyler Glasnow started game one of the ALDS for Tampa Bay. He lost, but turned in a respectable outing. Glasnow was 6-1 with a 1.78 ERA and 76 strikeouts in 60 innings during an injury shortened season. Glasnow regularly hits 100 mph.

Tyler Glasnow is a stud.

Tyler Glasnow used to be a Pittsburgh Pirate.

Glasnow was a solid draft choice in Pittsburgh. His development was slowed in Pittsburgh to the point he was moved to the bullpen. Another example of the Pirates’ lack of player development.

🏴‍☠️Charlie Morton was the winning pitcher in game seven of the 2017 World Series. He just won the wildcard game last week for Tampa Bay. He has developed a wicked mix of pitches and has gone 46-17 the last four seasons.

Charlie Morton is a stud.

Morton used to be a Pittsburgh Pirate.

Morton was a solid acquisition for Neal Huntington in Pittsburgh. He was a “pitch to contact” sinker ball guy as a Pirate. He never blossomed until leaving Pittsburgh. Another example of lack of development in the Pirates organization.

🏴‍☠️Austin Meadows hit 33 home runs with a .291 batting average and a .922 OPS. He was an all star at 24 years of age.

Austin Meadows is a stud.

Austin Meadows used to be a Pittsburgh Pirate.

Meadows came to Pittsburgh a year ago, won player of the month in May, then slumped and was demoted back to AAA, and finally traded. Another developmental debacle for Pittsburgh.

🏴‍☠️Shane Baz will be the youngest player ever invited to the Arizona Fall League. He regularly hits triple digits with his fastball. He is only 20 years old.

Shane Baz may become a stud.

Shane Baz used to be a Pittsburgh Pirate.

Baz was valued so much by the Pirates than he was used as a throw in by the Pirates when acquiring non-stud Chris Archer.

These guys are all playing for teams still playing baseball this year. I haven’t even mentioned Russell Martin, David Freese, or (gulp) Robbie Grossman, who all played October baseball. The Pirates, on the other hand, lost 93 games and were a public embarrassment.

Who did Pittsburgh get in return for all of these studs?

1. Chris Archer, who has been beyond awful.

2. Joe Musgrove, a marginal number 4 starter.

3. Colin Moran, a slow footed third baseman with marginal pop in his bat.

4. Michael Feliz, a marginal middle reliever.

5. Jason Martin, a fifth outfielder on a bad team.

6. David Whitehead, who has moved on with his life’s work, which was not baseball.

Sure, Huntington got a gem in Bryan Reynolds in the Andrew McCutchen trade.

Other than that, does it appear this organization has a clue? Watching the playoffs this year is a painful reminder of how poorly this team is managed.

This GM, after 12 years of mostly failure, is being kept. The owner has stated that he is equipped to bring back the winning ways.

This is one of many reasons Pittsburgh is the laughingstock of baseball. Players are thrilled to go elsewhere. Current players are subject to losing methods put forth by a losing management team. The owner doesn’t care, and will never authorize real spending.

Cole was the poster child for all that is wrong with this organization. He was spurned a marginal performance raise, causing bitter feelings. Petty, especially when you consider Cole would run through a brick wall to win a game. He was never appreciated while in Pittsburgh, and finally he was moved out of town for a sack full of spare parts.

So, Pirates fans, enjoy the playoffs and think about what could’ve been, you know, if the Pirates had a good owner and competent management team. Especially enjoy Gerrit Cole’s dominating performance, which should have happened in Pittsburgh.

Bob Nutting thinks drafting and player development is vastly overrated. What else would compel him to continue employing Neal Huntington after the display of evidence stated above?

Oh, wait, that’s right…he just doesn’t care. Nutting is Pittsburgh’s biggest slumlord.

Two Cent Takes

College Hoops

~Kansas is under investigation for potentially major violations, some involving legendary coach Bill Self. So I’m sure they will lay low, not wanting to draw any negative attention to themselves. Just a quiet midnight madness to start the season no doubt.

Yep. That’s none other than the legend, Snoop Doggy Dogg performing with “acrobatic dancers” at Kansas’ Midnight Madness. Bill Self and AD Jeff Long pleaded ignorance, while being apologetic. Self said he thought it would be a radio edit, and that he didn’t know what acrobatic dancers were. First, Snoop doesn’t do radio edits. Second, the stripper poles should have been a dead giveaway.

College Football 

~Nothing to see here. College football had few decent games las week. The real season starts next week. Going forward every week will have multiple great games.

This is the week the first polls should come out. It’s absurd to have preseason polls when no games have been played. It actually creates an unfair advantage for teams that start near the top. Those teams can suffer a loss early, and still have time to work their way back to the top.

With that said, here is my Two Cent Top 10:

  1. Ohio State
  2. LSU
  3. Alabama
  4. Oklahoma
  5. Georgia
  6. Florida
  7. Clemson
  8. Wisconsin
  9. Penn State
  10. Texas

Honorable mentions go to Oregon, Notre Dame, and Auburn.

Special mentions to Baylor, SMU, and Minnesota.

Baylor and SMU are surprise undefeated teams. Both former Southwest Conference members are reliving glory days.

It isn’t exactly a stretch of the imagination to see Minnesota at 8-0 when the Penn State Nittany Lions roll into town on November 9. I guess the Gophers have learned to row the boat.

~The fun begins this week with games from noon to midnight.

Texas-Oklahoma gets things started, with Alabama-Texas A&M, Michigan St-Wisconsin, and Florida State-Clemson in the middle, then Penn State-Iowa, USC-Notre Dame, and Florida-LSU capping things off.

Pay For Play

~Pay for Play legislation was signed into law by Gavin Newsom, California Governor. It goes in to effect in 2023. Other states, such as Florida, are proposing it as soon as 2020. Word out of Indianapolis, at NCAA headquarters, is that Mark Emmert’s head literally exploded. And it took all the tyrants university presidents and AD’s to put Mark Emmert back together again.

The NCAA and its universities make millions, and perhaps billions, of dollars on the backs of these players. However, a free education is nothing to be scoffed at. I think, if they can have a set of rules for this that makes sense, the idea will be a good one. That will require the NCAA to stop pouting and play ball. It is fun to watch those weasels scramble.

NFL

~My oh my, are there some horrific teams this year.

Miami had a bye to get things oiled up and ready to go. With the Dolphins resting, the Bengals, Redskins, and Jets continued their misery. The Cardinals only avoided misery because they were playing the Bengals.

Denver got in the win column by beating my Super Bowl pick San Diego Chargers. This means two things. One, the Two Cent Cracked Crystal Ball(#TCCCB) is working perfectly and two, nobody in LA cares because nobody in LA cares about the Chargers.

~The NFL really is a week to week proposition for most teams. Oakland gets hammered by Kansas City and Minnesota then wins on the road at Indianapolis and in England versus Chicago. Indianapolis bounces back with a huge upset at Kansas City.

Nobody in the AFC North or South seems to be able to string together consecutive wins. 9-7 may win both divisions.

Hockey

~Hockey season has started, which means Flyers highlights start and end with this guy.

This is a tough year to predict with both Pennsylvania teams.

Will the Flyers play musical goalies? Can they skate better and produce more goals?

Will key Penguins bounce back, meaning specifically Evgeni Malkin? Will the defense play, you know, defense? Is the window to win closing on Pittsburgh?

I think the Pens will make the playoffs for sure. I’m not as sure with the Flyers, but for now will predict that they do make the playoffs.

I like the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Vegas Knights in the Stanley Cup Finals. At least that’s what this thing spit out.

 

A Penny For my Final Thought…

Bless his heart. Mike Tomlin can always be counted on for a Tomlinism during the postgame press conference.

Unfortunately, Tomlin isn’t going to be able to fix this season with quips.

The answer above was in reference to a medical cart not working at Heinz Field and, causing concussed Mason Rudolph to stumble off the field with help from teammates. A disgraceful scene by any medical standards.

This forced the Steelers to use quarterback number three, Devlin Hodges. For the record, the two backups have acquitted themselves well.

What has gone wrong?

Despite showing that they can actually throw the ball, the coaching staff has tried to limit them by throwing tons of short passes and running the 5 years dead Wildcat offense. Even Tomlin used the term “gimmick” when referring to the Wildcat. It actually cost them seven points Sunday when running back Jaylen Samuels was asked to throw a pass from the formation while backed up deep in their own end of the field. The pass was intercepted, leading to an easy Baltimore touchdown.

It is increasingly clear that offensive coordinator, Randy Fichtner, is in over his head. On the other side of the ball, defensive coordinator Keith Butler still can’t devise a scheme to cover the middle of the field. Ultimately, though, the buck stops at Tomlin’s door. He hired these two inept coordinators.

Additionally, Tomlin’s team continues to be sloppy and lack discipline. On Sunday, for the second time this year, a key player committed a key turnover. This time it was JuJu Smith-Schuster fumbling the game away. Earlier in the season, James Conner did likewise. Penalties are happening at an alarming rate.

Much to fans’ dismay, this has become a staple of Mike Tomlin coached teams.

The Steelers are 1-4, but could easily be 4-1. Even with the changing quarterbacks, the Steelers have been in position to win all but one game. When allowed to throw the ball down field, Mason Rudolph showed he was capable. Devlin Hodges came in Sunday and they didn’t miss a beat.

Hodges reminds me of somebody else who wore number six for the Steelers. Hmm…

Hodges has a little of that Bubby Brister confidence in him.

At 1-4, the Steelers’ season is running off the rails. The AFC North stinks, so if they could right the ship they could still win the division. Is Tomlin and his coaching staff capable of giving them that chance?

It will be easy to use Ben Roethlisberger’s  injury as an excuse to forget about this season. Tomlin will get a pass, and move on to next year when Roethlisberger will be under center once again. Here’s the thing, Tomlin’s had Roethlisberger his entire coaching career, not to mention many other quality players.

Since losing the Super Bowl in 2010, Tomlin’s Steeler teams have only won 3 division titles, only won 3 playoff games, and missed the playoffs 3 times. All of this with a Hall of Fame quarterback in his prime.

Put the AB garbage aside. Forget the Le’Veon Bell nonsense. Ignore the quarterback injuries. Focus on the lack of preparation, the terrible hires at coordinator positions, and the sloppy, undisciplined play. That’s on the head coach.

I said last year was Super Bowl or bust for Mike Tomlin. It was a giant bust. Now he will get a free pass because of Roethlisberger’s injury. He shouldn’t. The team needs a new direction and new message.

I won’t lie. I will miss the Tomlinisms. However, it is time for Art Rooney to absorb the situation and understand that Tomlin’s performance isn’t above the line. With the standard being the standard, and things of that nature, it’s time for the Steelers to find the next man up.

I have fears that Mike Tomlin is no longer in the business of winning championships.

Just my two cents…