Bill Neal: ‘A Bloop and a Blast…We had ‘em all the way!’



Young Pirates team showing promise


by Bill Neal, For New Pittsburgh Courier

:10—OK, OK. I am in! I know how this is going to end and I know because I’ve seen the end of this story time and time again. But, it just seems to me the fair thing to do is give the Pittsburgh Pirates a chance…at least until mid-season; and judging by the start, my partner in sports talk radio, Kevin Cameron, might finally be wrong about your Buccos. This just might be the year things get turned around (you see what I did there…I actually made you think that it’s possible the Pirate ownership cares about winning and some people think I’m not a good writer?).  Listen, as of now, it’s not really wishful thinking. The Pirates are holding their own in the NL Central Division. They were 5-4 before losing to Milwaukee on Monday night, April 18 (now you see I did it again…had you believing.  Fool you once, shame on me; fool you twice, shame on you!) You all know Kev, the former Aliquippa baseball player and self-proclaimed baseball purist, who believes your Pittsburgh Pirates are nothing but “Fools Gold!”…Not this time, Kev, we’re going to the World Series.

:09—Speaking of wishful thinking, and I just was, it would be just that if the USFL was “kicking” things off the way they did on their last “run.”  But it’s a way different “Game Plan” this time around. Fox Sports, the owner of the league, has invested $150 million into the effort and are committed for the next three years.

:08—I gave you plenty of Penguins news last week and even though I made it look good, I didn’t know what I was talking about then and I don’t know now so don’t press your luck. But I can tell you this, they are definitely in the playoffs and will open on Wednesday, April 20 at 7 pm. in Ottawa against the Senators.

:07—It’s spring and I know many of you are working on your swing…golf, that is. With that being said, I am sure you’ll be surprised to know that Tiger Woods’ next tournament will be the JP McManus Pro-Aam, July 4-5, at Adare Manor Hotel Golf Club in Limerick, Ireland. Gotcha!

:06—Just a quick update on the upcoming Pitt men’s basketball recruiting class. All is not lost. They are the commitment of Marlon Barnes out of Brush High School outside Cleveland. A 6-foot-6, 180-pound shooting guard; a 3-star baller with great upside. I’ll keep you posted.

:05—A tip of the cap to the stellar group that attended the 6th Annual Cyril Wecht Western Pa. Humanitarian Awards this past Saturday, April 16, at the Comfort Inn Hotel in Penn Hills. Of course, a grand time was had by all with the likes of Dr. Wecht, Senator Jay Costa and basketball legend Baron “BB” Flenory…it’s expected.  But that was not the highlight of the event…that would be the monumental and emotional effort put forth by those in attendance who raised $1,476 on the spot for a recent burnout victim and her family. Now that’s achieving greatness personified!!!!

:04—For you old school cats and kittens who missed it last week, the Temptations and Four Tops lit it up at Heinz Hall and left no old stone unturned. And can you believe the legendary Otis Williams, the founder of the group and last living member, just turned 80…and didn’t miss a step.  It-Was-Worth-Every-Penny! Now do yourself a favor, pull out any one of the classic vinyls you have in the man-cave and sit and listen to the greatest R&B group of all time…the Tempting Temptations.             

:03—Here are your NBA playoff teams: Eastern Conference: #1 Miami vs. #8 Atlanta.  #4 Philadelphia vs. #5 Toronto.  #2 Boston vs. #7 Brooklyn and #3 Milwaukee vs. #6 Chicago. Western Conference:  #1 Phoenix vs. #8 New Orleans.  #4 Dallas vs. #5 Utah.  #2 Memphis vs. #7 Minnesota and #3 Golden Sate vs. #6 Denver.           

:02—Bet you didn’t know this…the No. 1 sport in the world is soccer – 3.5 billion followers; No. 2 is cricket – 2.5 billion and basketball comes in third with 2.4 billion. Gotcha again!

:01—While we’re at it, here’s the selected top 10 greatest athletes of all-time as voted on by a special select sports and scientific committee. (Honorable mention, Pele) #10 Willie Mays, #9 Simone Biles, #8 Jim Brown (I have to question him not in the top 3 at least), #7 Tiger Woods, #6 Usain Bolt, #5 Jackie Joyner-Kersee, #4 Serena Williams, #3 Michael Phelps, #2 Wayne Gretzky, #1 Michael Jordan…OK, OK, OK, everybody has a list, but you can’t have a top 10 list that doesn’t include Muhammad Ali and Wilt Chamberlin. C’mon Man…What say you?  Text me at 412-628-4856. 



From the Web