Pittsburgh fans are in a great spot right now. We have general managers, owners, and presidents that know exactly what they are doing.
Every year, in every sport, you see players who fall short of being extended, just to see them go elsewhere for NO return to that particular team. As Pittsburgh fans, we are in a fantastic spot to see not just one player, but three fall victim to such scenario. But hey, who are we to judge.
We are not the ones making millions of dollars, wearing suits and attending meetings all day. Because of this, fans opinions mean nothing because we do not know what’s best for the team itself. We need a suit and to be a part of that teams payroll to feel as if our opinions matter.
I will try to be less sarcastic as I continue…. For now, let me elaborate.
The aroma of Buctober is gone a month now, believe it or not. This city’s Pirates are well in relaxation of the offseason protocol. Coming off the season, if you weren’t discussing a busted hip by our skipper, it was the consistent talks of a Russell Martin resign. Martin had a career year, and a fan base to boot. If anyone watched or was a part of the last few games of the season, the overwhelming support to “Resign Russ” was there, stronger than ever. Yes, with free agency not starting yet, jumping the gun might be an expression towards me, but many who chanted such sayings, are nervous. This IS the Pirates we are talking about. This IS the same ownership that has seen dozens leave for nothing, or be traded for nothing. Fool us once, shame on you, fool us 67 times…fans may riot.
Let us jump to the city’s hockey team, the Penguins. Coming into the year, there was a plethora of changes. From a new general manager, new coach, and new team. Players have left, but more players have joined. The Penguins have shown their depth in the minors is present and the team looks as collective as the Therien era. Contributions around, including between the pipes. An issue that was basically ignored this off season is the fact that Marc-Andre Fleury’s contract (a steal of one by the way) is expiring. This was not addressed. Just about 2 weeks ago, said new general manager stated, that as long as he was the GM, Fleury is his guy. Ok, great. How long IS Good Ol’ JR going to be the GM? I do not see him stepping down in February. I don’t see him leaving in May. Regardless of his departure date, Fleury shouldn’t be his guy…Fleury is this teams guy. Coming off two consecutive shutouts, Fleury is showing signs of last year’s numbers not being a fluke. Ok let’s address the elephant in the room right now, because this city is polluted with “Fleury Haters”. His postseason numbers 2 years ago were a wreck, but last season’s post season collapse was not Fleury’s doing. All season including late spring, Fleury was top notch. This season, thus far, he has shown no signs of change. Fleury has been lights out, and as this stellar repeat of a season continues, his price tag is going to be rather expensive. But hey, let’s wait until we cannot afford him. Remember, the Penguins have about the equivalent of couch change of cap space left.
Pittsburgh has a football team right?! Come aboard Steelers, join the free agent party! No quarterback has thrown 2 career games of 500+ yards…ever. No quarterback has thrown 12 touchdowns in two consecutive games…ever. The Steelers quarterback, in Ben Roethlisberger has done just that, in 13 days. Keep in mind people, it was two weeks ago in which it was Monday night Football, and the Texans had a choke hold on the Steelers the entire first half. Ben is now at a staggering 22 touchdowns to 3 interceptions thus far at the half way point of his potential final year as a Steeler. Dang would it sting to see him put those numbers up in a different jersey. The average football fan can see there are more than a few teams that would dump serious Joe Flacco, Collin Kapernick, or Andy Dalton cash towards Ben. The price tag is high enough for Ben at this point, because of previous contracts of said quarterbacks, previous season numbers, a two time Super Bowl champ, and THE MOST underrated quarterback in the league today. How much more will Ben be for instance he becomes this seasons MVP? Or perhaps a 3 time Super Bowl champion? Getting too far ahead perhaps, but the facts are the facts. Ben is an expensive target, why wait until it’s astronomical?!
I have seen several stars of all 3 franchises be lost for nothing. Being a huge hockey fan, I see it across the league on a yearly basis. I cannot recall a time that all 3 of this city’s beloved franchises are in a quandary to resign 3 top players. Keeping all 3 would be the best case scenario, but it appears as that might not be a top priority. Maybe I am looking too much into it, but the delay in signing 3 stars is there, present, obvious. Why though? Why make the fan base worry? Why make the players become more expensive? If these individuals are stars to help our franchises’, why delay?
Boy would it be nice to capture all 3 of these players in their prime. Having the pieces can only help Pittsburgh be a contender in all 3 major sports. However, within all three franchises, we have been dooped before, who is to say it won’t happen again. In this case though, regardless of which team you cheer for, you are subject for potential disappointment that could affect your team for years to come.