Sports

Best Stadium in Baseball

It was a bone chilling January afternoon when Kevin McClatchy climbed to the top of Three Rivers Stadium in 1996. McClatchy, the new owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates, posed for some magazine photographs with the cavernous soup-bowl-shaped stadium that within two years would become rubble. He smiled frequently, shivering in the cold wind as he …

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Is It Okay for My Growing Son to Lift Weights?

Question: “My son will be entering his freshman year of high school in September. He plays sports and is interested in getting stronger. What are your thoughts on lifting weights for a teenage child who is still growing? I’ve heard it is dangerous. Should he simply wait until he is older?” A controversial issue among …

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The Flying Dutchman Once More

It all began when my car caught fire. I smelled something burning as I approached the intersection of Penn and North Negley Avenue. I scanned my surroundings to see which building was ablaze. Nothing. Just then, it dawned on me the smoke was inside my car while all the windows were closed. A few days …

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Painting Pittsburgh’s Ice

This is how it all begins: a man, a stencil, a crayon, and of course a bed of ice. Total time for the crew to paint the ice: about 8 hours. Follow the mesmerizing process of decorating the ice of the Pittsburgh Penguins in this photo collection by David Aschkenas. View more of David Aschkenas’s …

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Ageless Wisdom: Dick Groat, 87

Dick Groat, 87, shares his path to becoming a professional athlete, golf course operator and broadcaster. My family made me whatever I might be. I had great parents and two sisters that were school teachers and two brothers who were athletes at Pitt. I was a very fortunate person to have grown up, as the …

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Know when to hold ’em: Le’Veon Bell stares down the Steelers

In poker, a player holding cards that he or she knows cannot be beaten is deemed to have “the nuts.” It’s the best possible position—without question, you cannot lose. You can, however, not win—an opponent may be holding equivalent cards to yours. Both the Steelers’ front office and their star running back Le’Veon Bell find …

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Hits and Hugs: The Evolution of Roller Derby

Cheswick, May 12, 2018: It happens about 10 minutes into the first half of the game between the Steel Hurtin’—the A-team of the Steel City Roller Derby—and the Chattanooga Roller Girls. Three big Chattanooga blockers, arms locked firmly together, are just about to smack Zorra, the tall jammer for the Steel Hurtin’, when she makes …

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Steelers Start Your Engines

As summer moves along, the big NFL machine quietly starts its engine. Training camps kick off across the league this week, with the Steelers setting up shop for their 53rd season at St. Vincent College in Latrobe. Most starting positions on the offense are set, but there are a few intriguing competitions worth monitoring. Planning …

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Play Ball! Faster Please

Major League Baseball’s department of Faster Play, fearing that people will think the game has become sluggish and dull and will quit watching, has devised yet another new rule to perk things up, as Pirates fans might note this season. This one’s about mound visits. Like when the catcher goes out to the pitcher and …

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Steelers Add Key Players Who Should See Playing Time

The 2018 NFL draft is in the books. The league again elected to feature a number of former NFL players to make team selections, perhaps to quell the booing of Commissioner Roger Goodell. It didn’t make a difference. It did, however, produce a very emotional draft moment. To a roaring crowd, linebacker Ryan Shazier walked …

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Our Changing Pastime

On a snowy night, I’m tossing winter batting practice in a gym to nine-year-old boys who play for Steel City Select, an elite Pittsburgh travel baseball club. We’re getting ready for the 2018 season, another chapter in the history of a game invented by Americans almost two centuries ago, and which has deep roots in …

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Things Seem Great with the Steelers, But…

Something’s missing. That seems to be the general feeling among pundits of late, even as the Steelers sit comfortably atop the AFC North with a 3-game lead over the Ravens. Some things, retrospectively, look slightly more forgivable now. The earlier defeat to the Jaguars stings less, as Jacksonville now shares a 1st place tie within …

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Steelers Ready to Go: Breaking Down the 53

The Steelers trimmed their roster to 53 by the Saturday deadline, and the acquisitions of cornerback Joe Haden and tight end Vance McDonald signal that this team is built to win now. Ben Roethlisberger has already mulled retirement once, James Harrison can only hold off retirement for so long, and Le’Veon Bell is, for all …

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Steelers Rundown: Progress Report After Two Preseason Games

The Steelers are halfway through the preseason, and all signs are pointing to another electric season on both sides of the ball. Here are a few notes from Pittsburgh’s victories over the Atlanta Falcons and New York Giants, as well as some training camp observations from Latrobe. Watt Strong through two games It didn’t take …

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Sailing into the Fray

In May, my older sister emailed, wondering if I’d be sailing in the nationals, which this year would be where we spend summers in Michigan. I’d been considering it, but there were two impediments—pulling together a four-man crew and the spinnaker. No problem with the crew, but flying a spinnaker loomed in my mind like …

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A Modest Proposal

Mother Nature has a sense of humor and the soul of Monet. The change in the yard was startling. In just a week it went from being a crabgrass plantation to a breathtaking carpet of fluffy, soft-white clover, a pastel hand-delivered from the French master himself. But lawns are supposed to be neat and clean …

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The Lure of Fishing

One of my earliest memories was Christmas Eve at my grandmother’s big home with its very high ceilings in Cincinnati. I was 4, and my aunt gave me a tackle box. As I examined the various fishing lures, my father said, “Be careful that the first fish you catch isn’t yourself.” I didn’t understand him …

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Steelers Draft: Matt Milligan Gives the Scoop

The theatrics of the NFL draft reached new heights this year. Between a touching tribute to the late Dan Rooney and a pandemonium-inducing tirade by former Cowboys Wide receiver Drew Pearson, there were plenty of made-for-TV moments. A total of 6 trades were processed during the 1st round, 3 of which involved the eventual drafting …

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Hard Hitter

They’re not really going to miss Ralph Cindrich, those suits with the NFL’s 32 teams. If they think of him at all, it’s in vulgar adjectives attached to the devilish contracts he extracted from them for his clients, such as Bill Fralic’s Rabbi Trust, Will Wolford’s Blind Side contract and Dermontti Dawson’s first-ever option-year double …

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Troutward Bound

Since 1926, when Zane Grey published “Tales of the Angler’s Eldorado,” fishermen have trekked to New Zealand—the other side of the world— to stalk the monstrously huge and famously wary rainbow and brown trout. If only they’d known about Spruce Creek, Pa. If only I’d known… I knew Spruce Creek was famous for fly fishing—that …

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Golf’s Gold Standard

The U.S. Open, the toughest golf championship to win and generally considered the most coveted, will be played for a record ninth time across 89 years at Oakmont Country Club June 13-16, 2016. And the Open perhaps owes its existence to a big man with a big mustache who, more than 100 years ago, kept …

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The Holmes Precedent

Time was when yogi Berra had to work off- season as a restaurant greeter. Richie Hebner dug graves. Nolan Ryan pumped gas. When Pirate slugger Ralph Kiner asked for a raise, scripture-quoting general manager Branch Rickey told him: “We finished last with you and we can finish last without you.” During this winter’s off-season, perhaps …

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