Thursday, October 08, 2015

64 miles

i've been running again.

i started on august 31st.  so it's been over a month now, and i finally feel like i can take a moment to reflect on how i've been doing.  here's what its looked like so far....

8/31: 3.1 miles
9/2:   3.3 miles
9/4:  3.5 miles
9/7:  4.16 miles
9/9:  3.18 miles
9/11: 2.82 miles
9/14: 3.24 miles
9/16: 3.10 miles
9/18: 5.00 miles
9/22: 3.10 miles
9/24: 3.14 miles
9/25: 7.00 miles
9/28: 3.10 miles
9/30: 3.20 miles
10/2: 7.24 miles
10/5: 3.14 miles
10/7: 3.10 miles

that's over 64 miles in just over a month.  i know it's not really that much, but for me, it's become a consistent thing, and i am proud of that.  i don't know how much weight i've lost, if any, but i know that my clothes are fitting better, and i am feeling much better about myself.  and i know that when i'm sweating, and i'm just not sure if i want to keep running up the next hill; or when it is 6:15 in the morning and i just think i'd rather sleep in until i absolutely have to get up, i have this as motivation:

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

wild card, part 2

well, that was underwhelming.  three.  stinking.  hits.  yikes.  oh well.

tonight the wild wild card journey continues, with the pirates hosting the chicago cubs.  now, if i didn't have very high expectations of the yankees this year, i did have very high expectations of the pirates.  and they didn't disappoint.  the buccos are a really good team, and had the second best record in all of major league baseball.  unfortunately for them, they play in the same division as the st. louis cardinals, who were 2 games better than them over a 162-game schedule.  pretty close.

still, the pirates had a great season, and ought to be among the best teams in baseball playing for a pennant and a world series championship.  but it will all swing on this one game.  arrieta vs. cole.  since it's in pittsburgh, i'm going to give the pirates the edge, but this thing could easily go either way, and one of the top 3 teams in baseball is going to go home very disappointed, no matter what happens.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

wild card (part 1)

sadly, the baseball regular season is over.  the bad news is that there are only a limited number of baseball games left in 2015 (i would be happy if baseball was played year round).

the good news is that playoff baseball is here, and there's nothing like playoff baseball, when stadiums full of people hang on every pitch, less distracted by hot dogs and beers and t-shirts being shot out of cannons.  it's october.  which means these games really matter.

and none matter quite the same way as a wild card game.  it's a one-game playoff system.  two teams from each league make it to the wild card game, and the winner moves on to the division series.  the loser goes home to watch on tv.  yikes.

and it just so happens that my two favorite baseball teams both are in a wild card game, one in each league.  and both are the home team.  i will write about the bucs tomorrow, but the yankees play tonight.

it's been a crazy season for the yankees.  to be honest, i never expected them to make the playoffs this year.  in a division with the red sox and the orioles, and the rising blue jays, i just didn't think the yankees had enough youth, health, or pitching, to make it work.  boy was i wrong.  in fact, they led their division for the majority of the year, until the blue jays broke the bank at the trade deadline and stocked up on stars like a crazed monopoly player spending every last dime to get park place and boardwalk, along with a slew of houses and hotels.  it worked out for the jays, who won the division, but the orioles and the red sox struggled mightily, and the yankees were able to play well enough for that wild card spot.

and now what?  we shall see.  my expectations are fairly low, although i feel like the yankees should be able to beat the astros about 60-70% of the time, which bodes well for them tonight.  and maybe, just maybe, despite the constant pressure in new york to win everything, they are playing with a bit of a chip on their shoulder.  does anyone really expect the yankees to do much this postseason?  maybe that helps them play angry and to press less.  and with the unexpected news of starting pitcher c.c. sabathia checking himself into alcohol rehab (here's wishing you the best, c.c.), maybe they have an emotional edge to them, as well.

all i know - and all they know - is that they get one more guaranteed game.  tonight.  win it, and keep going.  lose it, and they can try again next year.  here's hoping for a some more games this year.  let's go yanks!

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

steelers escape st. louis with costly win, move to 2-1

ouch.  you go into st. louis for the third game of the season, thinking that you are just getting used to this new kind of pittsburgh steelers team: one that dominates on offense and just hopes not to give up too many points on defense.  and then....

well, before we get to that, how good was it to get mr. bell back?  he looked so awesome and so much better than the players around him.  i worry about his health, too, with the beating he takes, but when he is healthy, there aren't too many athletes in the nfl quite like him.  he was leaping over people, making one handed catches, and pounding out tough yards through the middle.  amazing.

and then, of course, there is the uncoverable antonio brown.  i only bring it up because everyone on defense knows that ab is the best receiver on the field, and yet they still can't seem to stop him.  it is remarkable to watch.  he is a great one.

but with the breath-taking injury to our franchise quarterback, who i just wrote about last week as being one of the best in the game, everything came to a crashing halt.  antonio brown can't be great if no one can pass him the ball.  bell can't be the entire offense if everyone knows the steelers are going to hand him the ball on every play.  the offense sputtered and stalled, and it was up to the other side of the ball.

and the defense rose to the occasion.  they were the classic bend-but-don't-break defense on sunday, allowing some movement between the twenties, but buckling down in the red zone, and really making life just a bit too difficult for foles and rams offense.  it was great to see the defense rally in the face of some pretty serious adversity.  not just them, but the whole team is going to have to come together.

after the game, you could see everyone was down, realizing that ben is gone for at least a month, and possibly a whole heck of a lot more.  but they came together as a team, united in their goal to win one game at a time, and reminded that they believe that the next man in line has to step up, because, as tomlin is very fond of saying, "the standard is the standard."  of course that doesn't mean that vick can be roethlisberger.  because he never was nor ever will be.  but the standard is winning.  and that standard doesn't change this week against the 0-3 baltimore ravens at heinz field on thursday night.

Friday, September 25, 2015

buctober, 2015

in  my hiatus from doing much of anything resembling blogging the last couple of months, i have totally missed being able to gush about baseball, particularly the success of both of my favorite teams, the pirates and the yankees.  the yankees, in my opinion, have exceeded expectations, and are on pace to win a wild card spot, if they can finish strong.  the pirates, on the other hand, have been very, very good.  they have the second best record in the big leagues, and have for some time.  the only problem is that the team with the best record, the st. louis cardinals (cue excessive booing here) are in the same division.  so the pirates have been chasing for months.  in any other division they'd be division winners.  and they still have a chance to do that, but, if nothing else, they have already clinched a playoff berth.  even if they lose all of the rest of their games, they will be in buctober with a chance to play for the world series.  and if any team besides the cardinals is equipped to represent the national league in the fall classic, it is these buccos.  it'll be fun to see what happens in both leagues with both of my teams.  no matter what happens, it's been a fun baseball season for me, rooting for two darn good teams.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

steelers beat 49ers, move to 1-1

i know it seems a bit late to write about it now, but i am still basking in the glory that was the steelers' complete dominance of the san francisco 49ers on sunday.  after the frustrating reality of losing to the cheatriots in new deflate-land on opening night, it was so fun to see the team come out of the tunnel at heinz field, wearing the black jerseys and ready to find the win column.

well, when i say "see" i really mean "hear."  the game wasn't on tv in my area, so i had to listen to the radio instead.  i would have preferred to see the action in living color, but when ben started flinging the ball all over the field to antonio brown for 195 yards, it didn't really matter.  i just enjoyed listening to every single second.

ben was the best player on the field on sunday, in my opinion.  don't get me wrong, i love antonio brown.  he is amazing, and may end up the greatest receiver in pittsburgh steelers history.  and if that ends up being the case, we should appreciate these seasons, because ben is one of the best quarterbacks to ever play.  he truly is.  i'm not saying he's the best ever, but he's right there at the top of the list.  go ahead, argue with me.  call me a homer.  say i'm blind.  whatever.  i don't care what you say.  the guy makes everyone around him better.  remember the great receivers we've had?  santonio holmes.  what happened to him when he went to the jets?  not very good.  how about mike wallace?  he was great with the steelers.  went to the dolphins and what happened?  not very good.  only emmanuel sanders, who went to play with the great peyton manning, has been close to as good as he was with the steelers.  fact is, ben makes good receivers even better.

not only that, but he is a leader and a winner.  he takes all the blame when the team loses.  and he takes none of the credit when they win.  he throws passes that most other quarterbacks never think about throwing.  he has a deep ball that is incredibly impressive.  he scrambles around like a man among boys, shedding linebackers and looking down the field to find long gains.  he has even learned to throw the ball away if necessary, rather than force it and have it intercepted.  yes, the years of experience have wizened him, his off-the-field experiences have matured him, and he is one of the best quarterbacks to ever wear an nfl logo on his shirt.  he was so good this week, that he was named the AFC offensive player of the week.  and with more weapons due to join the team this week and in a few more weeks, watch out.

 it was great to see darrius heyward-bey make a big play.  good for him.  love to see guys achieve some level of redemption.

another guy filling in for a suspended steeler was d'angelo williams.  and far from just being a serviceable backup, williams was really, really good for the two games he was filling in for le'veon bell.  he had 3 touchdowns sunday.  three!  and he has said all the right things, including a seemingly authentic mantra about being happy to have bell back this week.  couldn't ask for a better teammate.

and finally, it was great to see heath catch another touchdown pass.  seems like heath has always been here, and always will be.  i know he won't, and it will be a sad day when there is no heath miller blocking on a screen, or getting open just past the line-to-gain on a third down.  so for now, let us fully appreciate him.

and finally, the much maligned defense was pretty darn good against the 49ers.  they weren't perfect, and there is tons of room for improvement, but they looked far less like the swiss cheese they resembled against the cheatriots the week before.  here's hoping that had more to do with mr. tom brady than the steelers porous defense.  if shazier, dupree, heyward, tuitt and their friends can continue to stop the run and pressure the qb the way they did sunday, we are going to have a very good year.

no matter what, it looks like it's going to be fun.  here we go steelers, here we go!