There is only one week left until summer is officially over, but know that significant heat will still be generated via weekly hot takes on who is good and who is bad.
It’s time for another edition of the Pittsburgh Sports Power Rankings.
10. The Penguins third line center
There is a case to be made that the Penguins have surpassed the Steelers in recent years as Pittsburgh’s most popular team. But it’s not just because of winning. It’s because the Penguins are so relatable.
For example, I love procrastination, and it’s clear the Penguins do, too. Training camp for the 2017-18 season opens Friday. (Yes, seriously. Yes, I’m aware that last hockey season just ended, like, four days ago.) Anyway … training camp opens Friday already and the Penguins have yet to get around to acquiring a third-line center.
Nick Bonino signed with Nashville in the offseason, Oskar Sundqvist was traded during the draft to acquire Ryan Reaves and Matt Cullen divorced us to live with a new family in Minnesota. That leaves no clear third-line center (or fourth line center, but let’s take it one roster hole at a time). If no better options are acquired, Carter Rowney and Scott Wilson are fine replacements. But the best option is obviously signing Jaromir Jagr and and then asking him to change positions 27 years after entering the NHL. Obviously.
9. Tyler Glasnow
After being demoted to Triple-A in early June after posting a 7.45 ERA with the Pirates, the organization’s top pitching prospect absolutely dominated with Indianapolis. A 1.93 ERA in 15 starts, 140 strikeouts in 93.1 innings, and a walk rate well below his career averages. He was back and better than ever! And just three weeks after turning 24, he recently got the call to come back to Pittsburgh. While this has been another lost Pirates season, at least we’d be able to see Glasnow give us a taste of what’s to come in 2018! The Pirates will finally have a real ace!
Well, Glasnow pitched against the Brewers on Wednesday night an gave up five runs in 2.2 innings, walking six. We’re doomed. The Pirates are always going to be terrible and life is an ongoing disappointment that only ends with the sweet embrace of death.
8. Andrew McCutchen
McCutchen doesn’t deserve to be ranked 8th. He’s had a very good bounce back year and hit his 200th career home run Wednesday night. I just feel bad for the guy that he gave the prime of his career — at a below-market contract — to play for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Pirates released their 2018 schedule this week. The bad news is that the promotional schedule is not out yet. The worse news is that the schedule has 162 Pirates games on it.
This column is getting depressing fast. Let’s move on from baseball. Let’s talk about an exciting sport! Let’s talk tetherball and ice cream.
6. Rashard Mendenhall
Many Pittsburgh fans probably lost track with Rashard Mendenhall after he left the Steelers following the 2012 season, two years after his infamous, late-game fumble in the Super Bowl against the Packers. He played one season for the Cardinals and then left football, announcing: “Football was pretty cool, but I don’t want to play anymore. I want to travel the world and write!”
And Mendenhall has done that, serving as a writer on the HBO show “Ballers” since 2015. He is definitely an interesting guy. But not really because of the writing or traveling stuff. No, because Mendenhall regularly posts videos of himself on Twitter doing some sort of quasi-martial arts routine with a tether ball.
It’s odd. It’s graceful. It’s Rashard Mendenhall.
5. Dairy Queen
Le’Veon Bell jokingly applied to Dairy Queen during his holdout.
This Tuesday he actually worked there.
This was either a great acquisition by Dairy Queen or one of their worst hirings ever, depending on where you land on the Le’Veon Bell is OVERRATED or UNDERRATED argument.
4. Exhibition hockey
The Penguins play a preseason game against the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night at the Pegula Ice Arena — AKA The House That Fracking Built — on the campus of Penn State University. You can get in and watch the game by grabbing a ticket on StubHub for as low as $95.
Or you can try out to be the Penguins third-line center and play in the game for free.
3. The backup quarterback
As the saying goes, the backup quarterback is always the most popular guy in town. But in a mix of good fortune and bad, that isn’t really the case with the Steelers because Ben Roethlisberger is too good and Landry Jones far too bad for anyone to want a switch at the position. However, Pitt is helping us out quite nicely in regards to a quarterback controversy!
Pitt starting QB Max Browne was a heralded acquisition when he transferred from USC in the offseason, but he has been ineffective in his first two games, throwing for just 278 yards, one touchdown and two picks. The Panthers offense isn’t close to the high-flying unit it was a season ago. Meanwhile, backup Ben Dinucci gave the team a spark last week late against Penn State when Browne was banged up, hitting on 5-of-9 passes and running for a touchdown. As of now, head coach Pat Narduzzi says the job is still Browne’s. But it’s probably time we ask the question: Is Ben Dinucci better than Landry Jones?
Losers golf in the spring. Champions golf in September.
1. T.J. Watt
The Steelers rookie became the first player in NFL history in 30 years to record two sacks and an interception in his debut on Sunday. But he became the first player ever to record two sacks and an interception in a debut AND do the Backpack Kid dance.
Impressive history. Let’s hope more is made Sunday against the Vikings.