Tag Archive: Pittsburgh Penguins


For a dwindling number of aging Baby Boomers, the announcement of pitchers and catchers reporting to training camps next week is a harbinger of spring.

Everyone else knows better, particularly those with advanced interests: Football replaced baseball as the nation’s pastime decades ago.

Almost DailyBrett used to be a baseball fan, now he doesn’t care about the World Series, much less spring training and the interminable season that follows.

Many complain about income inequality. There is no part of US society that is more inequitable than … baseball.

Some celebrated Michael Lewis’ “Moneyball” about General Manager Billy Beane and his Oakland Athletics trying to compete in an unfair game.

Now the game is just unfair, and still boring and desultory. Where are the socialist justice warriors when you need them?

Everyone in Washington D.C. has been on pins and needles. Impeachment? No Stephen Strasburg’s salary.

The Nationals’ pitcher turned down the remainder of his $100 million over four years contract. The club ponied up $245 million for the next seven years.

Instead of $25 million per year to throw a baseball, Strasburg will receive $35 million per year to throw a baseball.

Best of all, he will stay in DC. Whew … that was close!

MLB Payrolls Bigger Than Entire Country Budgets?

Almost DailyBrett has never been a fan of socialism. Having said that, a reasonably controlled market (e.g., salary caps) has worked extremely well for NFL and NHL competition. In stunning contrast, the unfettered baseball free agent market has resulted in usually the same low-payroll teams being completely out of the running by June, virtually each-and-every year.

Let’s compare the budgets of sovereign countries in comparison to the baseball team payrolls for … 25 players.

Samoa in the South Pacific provides essential services for its 196,000 citizens with an annual budget of $233 billion. The New York Yankees put food on the table for its 25 studs with $217 million ($8.68 million per player).

Caribbean islands St. Kitts and Nevis serves its 55,345 residents with $233 billion. The sign-stealing cheating Houston Astros allocate $206 million for its 25 heroes ($8.24 million each).

Gambia in West Africa maintains a $230 million budget for its 2.10 million citizens. Conversely, the Boston Red Sox make do with $200 million for its family of 25 ($8.00 million per player).

The average salary for MLB’s 988 players, who mostly stand around for hours in the infield and outfield, is down two consecutive years. In 2019, the average was $4.051 million (1.1 percent less), 2018, $4.095 million, and 2017, $4.097 million.

Should we hold bake sales for these starving players?

Black and Gold Futility Beside the Monongahela

Considering that your author was born in Western Pennsylvania, he has a soft spot in his heart for the black and gold of the Pittsburgh Pirates (MLB, five World Series titles), the Pittsburgh Steelers (NFL, six Super Bowls) and the Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL, five Stanley Cups).

Pittsburgh with its 301,000 residents and 2.36 million in the metropolitan area is considered a small-market sports city. The differentiator for the three teams is the Steelers and Penquins compete under the terms of respective NFL and NHL salary caps. The Pirates ($41 million, $1.64 per player average) fend for themselves in an unfair sport dominated by the most militant of unions (e.g., MLBPA) and greedy sports agents (e.g., Scott Boras for Stephen Strasburg).

Consider that the Penguins won their second consecutive Stanley Cup in 2017. The Steelers hoisted their sixth Vince Lombardi Trophy in 2009.

The We Are Family Pirates last won the World Series 40 years ago in 1979 (Carter was president). Since that time. the Pirates have been a non-factor because they simply cannot compete against the big market teams. Will 2020 be any different? Don’t think so.

For a Pirates fan, the obvious question comes immediately to mind: ‘Why bother with baseball?’ Why bother, indeed.

Some have suggested that hitting a baseball is the hardest thing to do in all of sports. What? Literally hundreds of humans past and present, alive and deceased have hit major league pitching.

How many can carry the ball from the five-yard line (red zone) in an NFL game? How many can hold LeBron to 40 points in an NBA game? How many can stop a Alexander Olevchkin slap shot in an NHL contest?

Let’s face it, baseball is an increasingly unfair and fraudulent (i.e., steroid kings, stolen signs) game, which at best represents America’s sporting past (i.e., Barry Bonds, “Shoeless Joe” Jackson). Traditionalists may still get their collective knickers in a twist in February, but the younger ask the more salient question:

When do college football training camps open?

https://www.spotrac.com/mlb/payroll/

https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/28320193/stephen-strasburg-returns-nationals-hopes-never-leaves

https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/28341983/average-mlb-salary-drops-second-straight-year

2020 Spring Training Reporting Dates

“This was not a hockey play. Instead, it’s a player retaliating against his opponent, using his stick as a weapon for forceful and direct head contact.” — NHL Department of Player Safety

One is a penalty. The other is a felony.

As is often said about hockey: They play with knives on their feet and clubs in their hands.

And Saturday night on national television that club was delivered with a vengeance to the head of an opponent.

The cross-check blow with a hockey stick by Toronto’s notorious Nazem Kadri to the skull of Boston’s tough Jake DeBrusk was evil and premeditated with the undisputed intent to seriously, if not permanently injure DeBrusk.

The play was not reflective of a tough collision sport. Instead it’s a felony in any other segment in our society … but not in the NHL.

As former New York Rangers forward Sean Avery said: “The only problem with Kadri’s hit was that he didn’t take the top f****** row of DeBrusk’s teeth.”

That quote, which cannot be quickly dismissed as merely anecdotal, reflects the vicious mind set of the NHL and its teams. And you wonder why hockey is the number four of America’s big four sports: Football, Basketball, Baseball … and Hockey.

The NHL’s oxymoronic Department of Player Safety held a hearing with Kadri Monday and suspended him for the remainder of Toronto’s first-round Stanley Cup series with Boston. NBC commentators Keith Jones and Eddie Olczyk went further in their post-game analysis, strongly recommending that Kadri be banned for at least 10 games.

BOSTON, MA – APRIL 13: Nazem Kadri #43 of the Toronto Maple Leafs reacts after a fight with Jake DeBrusk #74 of the Boston Bruins in Game Two of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Garden on April 13, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Almost DailyBrett is asking the obvious question: If one deliberately and systemically commits assault and battery in order injure and maim an enemy, wouldn’t that action constitute a felony worthy of significant prison time?

Why shouldn’t the same standard apply to the NHL? Kadri’s hit on DeBrusk was not hockey, it was criminal.

When Will Someone Be Murdered On The Ice?

What will it take to put an end to the ugliness?

Whether hockey is reflective of the increasing violent nature of our society, your author will leave that question to those with higher pay grades.

Some will conclude that Almost DailyBrett is being overly dramatic … or maybe a little soft.

Your author has been a hockey fan since 1967 when the NHL expanded beyond the original six (Boston, New York, Montreal, Toronto, Chicago, Detroit) to the second six, including two favorites the Los Angeles Kings and Pittsburgh Penguins.

Hockey is a simply fantabulous game as vividly illustrated by Al Michaels’ famous, “Do you believe in miracles? …Yes!” The Disney movie “Miracle” beautifully brings back that magic 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympics game between the young USA and the machine from the USSR.

And let’s not forget the US women prevailing in a gripping overtime shootout against Canada in last year’s Olympics in Korea … South Korea.

The NFL after congressional hearings and lawsuits has finally started taking helmet-to-helmet concussions seriously. College football has gone further with the institution of replay-reviewable targeting fouls with offenders being thrown out of the game.

The Kadri blow against DeBrusk last night deserves more than remainder of the first playoff series suspension (three-to-five games), it warrants the attention of one or all of the above: The Suffolk County District Attorney, The Massachusetts Department of Justice; The U.S. Department of Justice: The U.S. Congress (subpoena power).

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman listens as he meets with reporters after a meeting with team owners, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012 in New York. The current collective bargaining agreement between the league and the players expires Saturday at midnight. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman needs to move away from the assumed liability mentality of the league. Yes, the players are playing an exciting fast-paced violent sport. There will be inevitable injuries as a result.

Having said that, no one should put his or her life on the line to play what should be a great sport. It’s been long past time for the NHL to clean up its gratuitous violence  on behalf of the players, fans and the image of the game.

If the NHL cannot or will not take serious enough action against the Nazem Kadris on the ice, maybe it will be time for county, state and/or federal authorities to put these thugs on ice … maybe even for years to come.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agDjIXQCBrc

https://www.boston.com/sports/boston-bruins/2019/04/14/sean-avery-shares-expletive-filled-rant-about-bruins-winger-jake-debrusk

http://www.sportingnews.com/us/nhl/news/nhl-playoffs-2019-maple-leafs-nazem-kadri-could-get-suspended-in-postseason-again-for-high-hit/1ug8vla0m5n0e1gywn4t1d8tl3

https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nhl/2019/04/13/playoffs-nazem-kadri-hit-jake-debrusk-bruins-leafs/3463040002/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/06/03/this-is-your-time/

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