Not sports related, but I have to say this. I don't understand America's fascination with the royal family, William and Kate, and their new son.
There are a lot of things happening in the United States that are more important than a future king being born that won't be crowned king until I'm about 80 years old. Apparently, CNN didn't have any other stories to fill their coverage over the past 48 hours.
The Royal baby watch in this country was a joke. It was already enough people were waking up at 4am to watch William and Kate's wedding in 2011. The only thing British that Americans should get a pass for waking up at that time to watch is the Open Championship.
Now, we found ourselves waiting for the birth of a baby that had no impact on my life, or yours. I can picture most of the Americans devoted to this coverage are women who always wanted to live the life of a princess like Kate Middleton is doing right now. Ladies, I love you, but the only way you'll get close to royalty in America is a Kennedy. Us other guys, we're good enough, right?
I guess you can say I'm more shocked at how some cable news outlets covered it, like it was a world changing event. The last time that a baby was born that impacted the world was born in a manger outside an Inn. I expect the entertainment channels like E! to cover the story to the point where you will throw your flat screen TV out the window. CNN, which I thought was a "news" channel, has a royal correspondent? What kind of job is that?
"Let's talk to our royal corespondent, Susie Smiles. Susie, what happened inside the palace today?"
"Well, the queen had tea at 3pm, when she normally has tea at 3:30pm. We don't know what this means for the United Kingdom and the Windsor family, but we'll keep you updated."
We don't care about William changing the diaper. Really? A prince changed a diaper? Isn't there someone in that palace who could do that? Of course not. It's like the tabloid pictures where everyone gets to see how celebrities (and Royals) are "just like us."
The United Kingdom is America's strongest ally. So I guess we feel like we have to give a damn when something that happens all over the world every day, every minute, happens to someone who is royal.
The U.K. has our back, and we have theirs. I get it. It would be hard to sell that idea to the founding fathers, but times have changed since the early 19th century.
The founders broke away from the British Empire, so that we didn't have the oppression of a king or queen, taxation without representation and having to wait on a Prince and Duchess to have a baby that will be king long after most of us who are 30 or older are dead.
The royal baby watch is just another example of the media procrastinating and avoiding news and current events that are far more important. Hold on, I just heard the baby just spit up. I hope CNN's royal correspondent is there with the details.
In our lives, we go through a phase where we think everything we like and admire is superior to everything else. Cheering for a professional sports team is no different.
While living and growing up in the Pittsburgh area my whole life, I would constantly hear the boasting of the "Steeler Way" from grown men in jerseys drinking Iron City on Sunday afternoons and callers into radio shows during the football season. As a kid, I bought into it for a while.
Why wouldn't I feel like my team was special? Everyone around me told me stories of the four Super Bowls of the 70s, the Rooney family owning the team since their inception into the NFL in 1933, and how everyone on the team seemed to fly straight and were choir boys while everyone else was an evil enemy threatening the good guys that I cheered for. You were all probably the same at one time with your teams.
But as you get older, you start to look around, observe your surroundings deeper and realize it's not what it seems. From Roethlisberger to Pouncey, that didn't seem like the "Steeler Way."
I still like the professional sports teams in Pittsburgh, but I've learned that the "Steeler way," "Patriot way" or any team "way" is nothing more than a myth and has evolved into a joke as of late in pro sports, especially the National Football League.
As a kid, you're told by a lot of people (parents, family members, Barney the dinosaur) that you were special. A great confidence builder for you as venture through early childhood into the unforgiving adolescent era of your life, but it doesn't apply to everything.
The word "way" seems to point to a teams culture which fans are convinced could take a bad, troubled athlete and make him into a good one. Aaron Hernandez claimed, the "Patriot Way" had changed him. After some time, we realized that wasn't the case at all.
Deadspin does a yearly series in the NFL called "Why Your Team Sucks." For my Pittsburgh Steelers, the arrogance of fans in Pittsburgh and the so called "Steeler Way" came under fire. Every team in the NFL took hits from the writers at Deadspin, and the arrogance of the "way" was exposed in their own way.
From Hernandez to the Pouncey Brothers dumb photo op and the over 30 arrests made during the NFL offseason, the "way" has become a joke. The lesson to learn is that there is no perfect way of handling players and a system of doing it doesn't exist.
Barney may have told you that you were special when you were a little kid, but your favorite professional sports team is not. Putting them on a superior level because you feel there is a "way" they make themselves better than the other teams in their league shows you are living in a reality where your team is always great, everyone else is doing it the wrong way, and their "way" is the right "way."
There is no "way" for any professional sports team. It doesn't mean you can't still have pride in your team. Continue to cheer for your team, hate the opponents, especially your rivals, but don't be convinced that you and your team sit above everyone else when it comes to a set of morals.
At times, especially over the past month, some have expressed their concern that the National Football League has a "thug" problem. With former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez being charged with the murder of his friend, Odin Loyd, it doesn't help those who oppose that subject. One of the key trials of the year, and a trip out to a nightclub hurt it even more in one weekend.
We were guaranteed a wide variety of responses to the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial. Whether the neighborhood watch captain was guilty or not guilty in the killing of Trayvon Martin, the reaction would be large and some would be angry or jubilant about the verdict.
Zimmerman was found not guilty by the jury, and the twiterverse blew up. Professional athletes, most of whom are African American, displayed their anger via tweets. While everyone has the right to express their opinion and while you may not fully agree, many did it in a respectable way. Some others took it a step too far. Thus creating the bad "thug" image that a league like the NFL wants to avoid.
Two pro football players who caught the attention of their followers and others were Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz and Atlanta Falcons receiver Roddy White.
Cruz's tweet, much like the other tweets that expressed disgust with the verdict, were directed at Zimmerman. Cruz deleted the tweet, but this is the internet, Victor. You can't salsa dance your way out of this one.
White decided to target not Zimmerman, but the jury that acquitted him.
Nobody likes jury duty. We all cringe when we get the summons and come up with excuses to get out of it. So you know it was not easy for these six women to reach a unanimous verdict with the world watching. So, the dumbest, most idiotic tweet goes to Roddy White.
Unlike Cruz, White stood by his tweet Saturday night. Of course, early Sunday, he tweeted an apology. Probably due to the backlash from social media and a possible call from the Falcons or his agent. Here's the generic apology tweet/statement we see too much of. The damage was already done, and sleeping on it didn't help.
So, just two of the many athletes who tweeted about the verdict and there were many more dumb "thug" tweets. Check out Marcus Vick, Michael's brother, and his tweets. You know, the one who has pulled a gun out in public and had one game in the NFL with the Dolphins? If I'm Michael, I'm not too happy with my little brother. Especially since Marcus has decided to use his brothers dog fighting history when tweeting about the trial.
Stepping away from the Zimmerman tweets, the Pouncey brothers, Maurkice and Mike, were out wearing "Free Hernandez" hats out at a club this weekend.
The Pouncey's are former teammates of Hernandez's back at Florida. From what we have learned, Aaron might have been involved in a shooting down there, at a club and Maurkice was with him.
Supporting your old teammate who probably killed a guy "executioner style?" Thug life. For older brother Maurkice, Steelers Nation may see him as the piece that rejuvenates a depleted offensive line in Pittsburgh, but backing a man who is possibly behind multiple murders creates more concerns for Pittsburgh.
By the way, the "Steeler Way," much like Hernandez and the "Patriot Way" are myths, if not big jokes. That goes for the other 30 teams in the league. Don't worry. The Steelers will talk to Maurkice, because that always works.
We don't want to believe that the "thug mentality" is a real problem in pro sports like football. But a lack of judgement and hot heads have lead many more to believe that the league has a problem. When players are telling six women to go kill themselves and that "the hood" will track Zimmerman down and kill him doesn't help. The Pouncey brothers topped it off with an asinine photo op wearing those stupid hats supporting Hernandez, a thug with a record to back up the argument.
The rookie symposiums will continue to encourage these young men, a good number of them who don't come from fortunate backgrounds, who have worked hard to make it to the NFL, to not blow their money on ten luxury cars and three mansions. It's become obvious that the Hernandez murder investigation and how some athletes conducted themselves on Twitter might be up for discussion next summer.
We always hear that the NFL is a business. People who are employed by companies have lost their jobs over tweets like the ones Cruz and White sent out. Since players are considered "employees," perhaps we add social media practices to the syllabus at next years symposium along with staying away from the wrong crowds. It beats spending the rest of your life behind bars or constantly apologizing over something you tweeted out of anger.
Hey you. Yeah, the guy with the "Cole 45" t-shirt you bought two weeks ago and just tweeted that the Pirates are collapsing, let's have a chat.
I get it. It hasn't been the best 20 years to follow baseball in this town and to make it more recent, the past two seasons of your Pirates.
The last half of June had fans and newcomers on cloud nine. A nine game winning streak got the baseball mojo going for a third straight season. The Pirates are in first place and even had the best record in Major League Baseball. Is this real life?
Well, yes. It is real life. Because as some random person said once, "all good things must come to an end," the Pirates lost on July 2 and since then have dropped five of their last seven, which now has Pittsburgh on a three game losing streak.
In most baseball cities, this is a minor bump in the road with almost three months of baseball left to play. In Pittsburgh, it is a special exception that brings out the pessimistic, Xanex popping mentality of a fanbase that has high expectations for the football and hockey teams in town, but always expect the worst out of its baseball club and the word "collapse" spills out more than the F word in a Martin Scorsese film. I'm no Sigmund Freud or Frasier Crane, but that sounds crazy.
This is how crazy some of you are. A team that has been 21 games over .500 this season, and despite a recent drawback over the past week, are still 18 games over, and .5 games back of the Cardinals. Raise your hand if you saw this happening in July. I can't see you, but there are many of you, myself included, with your hands down.
The Pirates have to beat cellar dwellers like the Cubs and Mets, and win games against Oakland this week and St. Louis later this month to be taken seriously as a contender. That's baseball logic 101.
It seems that some fans are hanging on for dear life, waiting for that monumental collapse and not enjoying positives of this Pirates team.
Pitching has been phenomenal. While the offense can be on and off, Pedro Alvarez is finally hitting the ball after a slow start and four, count it, four Pirates are going to the All Star Game this year.
As Eric Idle said, "Always look on the bright side of life." Life is too short to sit around counting the days to when the Steelers hit camp in Latrobe and anxiously awaiting the Pirates to dissipate into the irrelevancy of the late summer, early autumn.
You never know where this team will be in a month. Maybe you're right about a third straight year of heart breaking results. The Pirates have disappointed in the past and seem to be the kings of collapsing, but screaming the word "collapse" is a little premature with 74 games left.
So, calm down. Yell all you want about having Brandon Inge and Michael McKenry in the lineup still while Tony Sanchez sits in Indianapolis, but hold off on the apocalyptic-like phrases for now and enjoy a little Monty Python.
A week after the Penguins were swept in the most embarrassing way possible by the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference Final, speculation about the the future of the franchise began to emerge.