Sanders' senseless showboating

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Nobody asked me, but ...

• The nature of 21st century athletes, particularly those in the National Football League, is such that look-at-me showboating cannot fully be curbed. But when a player can incur a possible season-ending injury in pre-game warmups, isn't it about time to call for an end to this stupidity that often accompanies touchdowns? It's time for some coach somewhere to tell his players that performing somersaults upon crossing the goal line, as the Steelers Emmanuel Sanders did Sunday, is forbidden.

• Players like Sanders should be shown a video of Kendrys Morales leaping upon home plate to celebrate a grand-slam home run in 2010 and in the process breaking his leg. Morales missed about 250 games in recovery and cost himself millions, if not tens of millions in future earnings.

• The Pirates are going to take a beating in arbitration with Neil Walker, if they go there. Among National League second basemen with more than 250 at bats, Walker was fourth in OPS and fifth in home runs. He's also coming off a career year in home runs. That spells victory, which would propel Walker's $3.3 million salary, earned in his first year of arbitration, into the $5 million range.

• As Ben Roethlisberger shook off what appeared to be a dead-certain safety in the first quarter Sunday against the Jets, I thought about Ryan Clark. Would Clark have preferred Roethlisberger "tone down" his act and take the safety rather than risking a touchdown by losing the ball while fighting off tacklers?

• It's hard, almost impossible, to envision the scenario in which Andrew McCutchen will not win the National League Most Valuable Player award.

• There's only one reason NCAA basketball practice begins in September and the season in early November: ESPN's need for programming.

• If Mike Tomlin can take away the Steelers harmless pursuit of ping-pong in the locker room before, between and after practices, why can't he tell his players to cross the goal line standing up? Some coach somewhere is going to look like a complete fool if one of his players is seriously injured in a touchdown-scoring stunt.

• The most overlooked -- and worst -- off-the-field decision of the final weeks of the MLB season was made by the Cincinnati Reds, when they failed to make a waiver claim on outfielder Marlon Byrd and thus enabled the Pirates to make a deal for him. The Reds had no great need for Byrd, but any team could have used a player of his ability. By not stopping the Pirates from getting Byrd and acquiring him for themselves, the Reds almost certainly cost themselves home field in the wild-card game and perhaps much more.

• Talk of an NFL team relocating to London is just that -- an attempt to sell tickets to the games played there. No owner would willingly move his team to London in almost any circumstance and certainly not when the Los Angeles market is available. Attempting to lure free agents to a European-based team would be next to impossible.

• That the winner of the All-Star Game, an exhibition, gets home field in the World Series is a joke that's lasted long enough. Outgoing commissioner Bud Selig can partially reduce this black mark on his tenure by changing the rules. World Series home field should go to the league that has the best record in interleague play.

• Annual most ridiculous postseason baseball story: Free-agent X would love to stay with his current team. Of course, he would -- until he gets a better offer.

• Bad news for the Pirates: The free-spending Texas Rangers also are looking at the free-agent market for a first baseman. James Loney already has been mentioned in connection with the Rangers.

• Looks like Tampa Bay Bucs coach Greg Schiano, formerly of Rutgers, is going to be another example of a college coach who could not make it in the pros. It's a difficult transition in any sport -- just ask Steve Spurrier, Rick Pitino or John Calipari, to name a few.

• Could the Pirates have used a right-handed hitting replica of Pedro Alvarez in their lineup? Los Angeles Angels first baseman Mark Trumbo is said to be available. Trumbo, a right-handed batter, hits with power similar to Alvarez -- 34 homers this season, 95 over the past three -- but also has a similar strikeout rate and batting average.

• Who are the four players on your Pirates' Mt. Rushmore? My take, in chronological order: Honus Wagner, Paul Waner, Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell.


First Published October 14, 2013 8:00 PM


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