Friday, June 13, 2008

A few things...

First and foremost, PNA would like to thank our favorite local comedian, Billy Gardell, for taking time out to write us a little thank ya. BG is a first class dude who is funny as hell, so we wanted to thank him for showin' us a little love.

Yinz need to get your asses down to the Improv next time he comes round, which I'm hoping will be round the new year (give or take a few months)...It's a great time and is sure to sell out, so we'll be sure to post his next shows in PGH on here, so yinz hear it first.

With that in mind, we got a very select group of links today, and we'll have a new top 10 sometime this weekend (Not to spoil it, but get your thinking caps on, your gonna have to do some rememberin' to get some of these)

Our buddies over at eTrue sports made a Top 11 Reasons the Lakers Blew a 24 point lead's very entertaining, and seeing as I hate the Lakers, that by itself makes it a 10 in my book (go Mavs - at least their owner is from da Burgh)


The late, great Myron Cope now has an asteroid named after him. Diego sent me this link, which is sweet, but I don't necessarily like the fact that KSK is rippin'on us in the piece. Anyway, it's kinda funny, so check it out and post angry comments...

And finally, trade rumors are heating up in da Burgh, with Nady and Bay apparently on the block...could Matt Kemp be in our future? You better take a look and find out for yourself.

Until lata...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Links and such...

Here’s some links from Diego and Big Snack, we realize we’ve been slacking on the top 10’s and we’re currently working on a new one, look out for it soon…

Well Penguins fans, we didn’t win the Cup but at least we are the NHL’s official Pennsyvania State Champions.

Take that Philly!

If you haven’t heard by now, Jerome Bettis is the proud owner of one of the top 10 best public restrooms in USA. I guess that makes it the classiest place I’ve ever pee’d at.

Ole #36 likes to go #2 in style

Steeler Nation said goodbye to Dwight White yesterday in Shady Side.

Santonio Holmes would like his role increased this season. I agree, why shouldn’t they give him a shot at returning punts seeing as how our punt/kick return game has been terrible since the departure of Randle El.

A nice story about the progress of the Pirates so far this season.

If you wanna check out the Buccos against the Yankees in two weeks now you've got a chance. Tickets were all sold out, but today the Pirates put on sale a few thousand $8 standing room only seats.

I guess the cool thing to do is to put the city of Pittsburgh on a list. Here’s a list of all of the lists our fair city has benn included on recently.

Home sweet home...

Until lata...

Monday, June 9, 2008

Nice little Sunday...

So it’s a random Sunday evening, the Pens are done, the Bucs, while flirting with .500, are still not the team of the future, and the Steelers are working through OTA’s; what is there for the average Pittsburgher to do? I’ll tell you what – you should go and see Bill Gardell (ooops you missed him) and his merry band of misfits.

Gardell was the headliner at the Pittsburgh Improv on Sunday night, on a bill featuring Mike Wysocki ( I guess you spell his name that way), Gene “I’ve been a writer since you were born” Collier and the MC, Buzz “I look like Bill Engval” Nutley.

It’s a little known fact that Snack thinks he’s a standup – he’s funny, but in a “I’ve drank a few too many jagerbombs” kinda way, whereas Collier, Gardell and their cronies are funny in a “I’m from Pittsburgh therefore you better laugh” kinda way.

The evening started off with Nutley opening things up on time (a rarity at the Improv), and Snack and his crew (Diego, Bobinkle, and some lovely ladies)guzzling down the local brew. He was a wonderful MC, being funny and short-winded at the same time.

The first comic to hit the stage was Wysocki, a local comic who has been on DVE more times then Barry Bonds has been accused of taking steroids. He was a more then capable opening act, although if it were up to me he would have had more then 20 minutes of stage time – but who knows, he looked like he was about the same age as Snack and Diego, so he may only have 20 minutes of material. He also looked like a mix of Carrot-Top and Eddie Vedder, except paler then both if you can imagine that. Either way he was funny as hell and obviously has a bright future in this business.

After another Nutley set, next up was Gene Collier, of Pittsburgh Post-Gazette fame. I heard him on the Jim Krenn and Friends Roast (check your On-Demand for it), and to be honest, I thought he kinda sucked. His jokes were a little slow, and the white hair didn’t help his cause. But seeing him in person changed my mind completely.

His jokes were exactly what you expected; long, drawn-out and a little dry, but surprisingly enough, they were funny as can be. His quips about Detroit (suck it Motown) and how he is 54, looks 74 and acts 14 were definitely some highlights. The only thing that disappointed me was how he didn’t really bring his (I would hope) vast knowledge of Pittsburgh sports into his set as often as he could. Let’s get honest, there’s plenty of fodder out there in the local sports community, and I expected it to be a pretty harsh (and hilarious) criticism of our Buccos’, instead of an actual stand up comedy set.

Either way, he was a lot better then people of my generation would think, and his after the show beer chugging (yea, I saw you at Rock Bottom) was very impressive. Well played old man, well played.

After one more Nutley set, it was time for the headliner, Mr. Yes Dear himself, Billy Gardell. Before I talk about his set, however, I’d like to mention how jealous I am (and we all actually are) of Big Bill, for his lucky, LUCKY break as a handyman (I’m guessing) on Desperate Housewives, where he gets to kiss Mrs. Tony Parker, Eva Longoria-Parker. My Lord, it gives fat men like me inspiration knowing that a fellow local large man can one day fake make out with one of the best looking women on the planet. Sorry, just had to throw that in; I’ll get back to the set…

Gardell is Pittsburgh – he’s loud, brash, and big and he swears like a sailor. And his show did not disappoint. His jokes included his take on fat guys seeing an open middle seat on an airplane and how he reacted to someone trying to move his luggage in the overhead (let’s just say there was lots of cursing and threatening in that one).

A lot of what he talked about had to do with the Burgh’, so I’m sure his national act would be much different, however after seeing him, I wouldn’t want to see anything other then his Pittsburgh set. My personal favorite was what he referred to as “The Pittsburgh Closer”, which is when someone says, in a thick Pittsburgh accent, “Alls I know is this.” Whenever someone drops that, conversation over.

He was also very good at getting the crowd into it, as he showed about halfway through the gig. He was asking a younger looking (18-21 yrs old or so) kid what he was going to college for and what he wanted to be, and, as you could’ve guessed, the punk said he wanted to be a stand up. Gardell let him get on stage to tell three or four jokes (at one point Gardell tried to get the mic back and the kid asked him if he could do one more joke) and surprisingly enough, the kid was good. It was a good crowd down there; more people in their 30’s and 40’s then there would’ve been on a Friday or Saturday night, but loud (and drunk) nonetheless.

After Gardell ended his almost hour long set, they mentioned Rock Bottom Brewery in the Waterfront as a sponsor, so not wanting to incur the rage of the Improv, we went over there for post comedy drinks. Low and behold, who walks in 15 minutes after us but the whole comedy team (except Nutley, we think – no one saw him so we’re guessin’ he was a no show) to down their after work brews. Oh yea, except for the fact that Gardell can’t drink do to a medical condition (another funny part of his set), and now just guzzles iced tea like it’s his job.

I got a chance to chat for a little bit with Gardell, Wysocki and Collier, and I have to tell you, they were some of the more gracious and kind local celebs I’ve ever met. Even the lone national act, Gardell, took time out to ask about the website and to BS about everything under the sun.

And it’s that approachability and local flare that made this one of, if not the best comedy show I’ve ever seen.

If any of yinz know any other Pittsburgh comics who can get your funny bone hurtin’, feel free to post it in the comment section here or email me at

State of the Buccos

Ok, we know it's been a while since we posted - the Pens loss proved to be a hard hit for Diego and I, and we've been trying to keep our thoughts clear of those jagoffs and their f-ing octopi...

So with that being said, we figured we'd bring you a little summary of where the Pirates are at, who they drafted in the first couple rounds this season (players that will make a difference I might add) and where we go from here. So sit back, crack open an Iron and raise the Jolly Roger, it's PNA's State of the Buccos Address...

So at the beginning of the season, if I told you the Pirates would be 30-33 at this point in the season, you'd be pretty happy, wouldn't you? The only problem is the 30-33 we find ourselves at A) has us at or near the bottom of the NL Central and B) could very easily be 36-27 or some like number.

Our pitching staff, namely our starting pitchers, which were supposed to be a strength, have been a disappointment. Matt Morris and his $10 million contract are gone after a horrendous start, and youngsters Ian Snell and Tom Gorzo aren't showing the promise they did a year ago. It looks like Gorzo might be injured, and Snell has lost his confidence. Not too good for your number 1 and 2 pitchers.

Luckily, Zach Duke, Paul Maholm and Phil Dumatrait have picked up the slack recently, and have been our rocks in the rotation (recently - they all stunk at the beginning of the year). If Snell and Gorzo get healthy and sane, this could be a ddangerous bunch in the future.

The Ambiguously Gay Duo of Zach Duke and John Grabow

The bullpen has been holding there own, especially the backend. Fat Matt Capps is perfect in save opportunities, and John Grabow, Damaso Marte and Tyler Yates all sport sub-4.00 ERA's, and have combined for ten wins and fourteen saves. Our long relievers leave a little to be desired, but they're young and don't get to pitch nearly as often as the regular relievers, so it's kind of inappropriate to say they can't pitch; we'll just say long relief doesn't seem to be their strongest point.

Now onto the hitters...

The biggest disappointment of the year has got to be Ronnie Paulino. Slated as the starter when camp began, he's done so poorly and shown such a lack of hustle and heart that he's been demoted to AAA Indianapolis. Luckily, when healthy, Ryan Doumit has played well beyond expectations, as has other backstop Raul Chavez.

Our outfield has been tearing the cover off the ball, with Nate McLouth leading the way with a .303 average and 14 homeruns, to go along with Jason Bay's .289 and 14 and Xavier Nady's .320 and 9. They've also combined to knock in 124 runs so far this season.

Finally, our infield has been OK at best. Jose Bautista has been his usual crappy self, Jack Wilson's been hurt, and LaRoche is doing his usual .221 in June. Fast Freddy Sanchez has been playing OK, but is only hitting .240 and needs to take more walks at the top of the order.

So where do we go from here?

Well first off, our draft this year was great, with us getting the equivalent of two top-10 picks in 3B Pedro Alvarez and hard throwing (though injured) starter Tanner Scheppers. Both of these players were college phenoms, with Avarez being ranked as the best college players in many national surveys, and Scheppers being ranked as high as 10th and the 3rd best pitcher.

We may have trouble signing both of these players, as Scheppers is much more talented then his second round selection would indicate, and Alvarez is being "advised" by super agent Scott Boras. I'm glad we took them though - it seems to say we're not scared to draft the best player because of monetary concerns any longer.

So where does that leave us?

Well for the year, unfortunately, I think we're SOL. The Cubs are playing well ,and even though we may break through that .500 barrier this season (if we go through our usual post All-Star game run), I just don't think we have enough to make it to the post season.

But with the older (and almost unrestricted) talents like Nady, Bay, Wilson and LaRoche, it may be time for them to hit the dusty road and head on to greener pastures. What really matters is what we get in return for them. Next year will probably be another rebuilding season, but 2010 seems to be the year we may be poised to make a run.

Take a look at this lineup, mostly compiled by rotoworld and rearranged by Big Snack - CF Andrew McCutcheon

2B Freddy Sanchez

LF Nate McLouth

3B Pedro Alvarez

1B Steve Pearce

C Ryan Doumit

RF Neil Walker (if they change his position again)

SS Brian Bixler (if we don't upgrade in a trade)

It seems to me that the Buccos are finally on the upswing, and actually look like a real baseball team.

So the State of the Buccos is strong, and only going to get stronger.

Until lata...