Asides: Father's Day, Pittsburgh Pirates and golf

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HAPPY FATHER'S DAY

to all our dad readers. We hope you have a wonderful day, and we are glad that the supposed mother of all storm fronts early Thursday morning did not widely disrupt the weekend. To be sure, the storms dumped 1 to 2 inches of rain on Western Pennsylvania, nature put on quite a lightning show and a Beaver County man died in a house fire believed to be caused by a lighting bolt. Trees also fell, and more than 1,100 Duquesne Light customers and a few others with West Penn Power suffered outages, Still, the storms were far from living up to their ferocious billing. Perhaps the pre-storm warnings sounded especially dire because some local television stations are so primed for violent weather, or because the Three Rivers Arts and Thunderstorm Festival (not its official name) was going on Downtown. Even the farmers market in Market Square was canceled in advance of the storm (don't farmers like it to rain?). A commenter on the Post-Gazette website may have said it best: They don't make stormageddons like they used to.

DESPITE WARNINGS of impending weather doom, almost 20,000 people made it to PNC Park on Wednesday night to see the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the World Series champion San Francisco Giants 12-8. The previous night, more than 30,000 fans came to see the Bucs beat the Giants 8-2. The main attraction and hero of the night was Gerrit Cole, the former No. 1 draft pick for the Bucs who was making his Major League debut. The 22-year-old pitcher threw 59 of his 81 pitches for strikes, did not walk anyone and at one point retired 13 consecutive batters. While the disbelievers are still out there, the Pirates have given Pittsburgh reason to hope this year.

WHEN THE RAIN falls, the grass grows green -- although at major golf courses, it's often with the help of Penn State University graduates. At Merion Golf Club in suburban Philadelphia, scene of the 113th U.S. Open this weekend, the director of golf course operations is Matt Shaffer, a 1974 Penn State graduate. As the Post-Gazette's Mark Dent reported last week, Merion has a historic association with Penn State. In 1928, the club's course superintendent went to Penn State in the hope of getting the school to help his work by starting a turfgrass program -- which it did. Today three Penn State graduates are superintendents at the courses for the three U.S. golf majors -- a rare distinction.

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