Friday, January 31, 2014


All the votes are in. We are now up to #1 of the 10 Greatest to Wear the Black-N-Gold. First, let's review the previous 9 before revealing who sits atop the list. 10)Steelers WR Hines Ward 9)Steelers RB Franco Harris 8)Pirates 2B Bill Mazeroski 7)Steelers S Troy Polamalu 6)Steelers DT Joe Greene 5)Pirates OF/1B Willie Stargell 4)Penguins C Sidney Crosby 3)Steelers QB Terry Bradshaw 2)Penguins C Mario Lemieux And now, drum roll, please.....Mrs. Black-N-Gold brings you #1 of the 10 Greatest to Wear the Black-N-Gold, Pirates Hall of Fame RF Roberto Clemente. The Pirates selected Roberto in the Rule 5 Draft from the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1954. He began his career with the Pirates on April 17, 1955. During Roberto's career he made significant contributions both on and off the field. His MVP award in 1966 made him the first Latino player to win the award. The same is true when the 2 time World Series champion (1960 & 1971) won the World Series MVP in 1971. Roberto was also a 15 time All-Star as well as a 12 time Gold Glove winner. He won 4 NL batting titles, finishing his career with a .317 batting average. He also had 3000 career hits, 240 home runs and 1305 RBIs. Unfortunately, Roberto's milestone 3000th career hit would also be his last on October 3, 1972. On New Year's Eve, 1972, Roberto was taken from us all too soon as the plane that he chartered to take supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua crashed into the ocean. Roberto's remains were never recovered. The MLB Hall of Fame waived the waiting period for induction and Roberto was inducted posthumously in 1973, becoming the first Latino voted to the Hall. The Pirates also honored Roberto in 1973, retiring his #21 on April 6. Major League Baseball also created the Roberto Clemente Award, honoring the player that best exemplifies Roberto's community service. In 2005, Roberto was named to MLB's Latino Legends team. Rawlings included him on their 50th anniversary All Time Gold Glove team in 2007. The Pirates also honored Roberto by naming the wall in right field at PNC Park, "the Clemente Wall" and erected it at 21 feet high to match the Great One's number. There is also a statue of Roberto that first graced the outer gates of Three Rivers Stadium and then was moved to PNC Park. The city of Pittsburgh also remembers Roberto with the Clemente Bridge that leads to the park. There is even a movement among baseball fans to have Roberto's #21 retired league-wide, ala Jackie Robinson's #42. Roberto is the Greatest to Wear the Black-N-Gold not only because he was a great player but also a great person, working to help others right up to the very end. In our hearts, #21 will always be #1. RIP Great One. Let's Go Bucs!!!!!

Thursday, January 30, 2014


Buy Sam a drink and get his dog one, too. It's a great day for hockey! Your Pittsburgh Penguins take their show on the road as they faceoff tonight against the Los Angeles Kings. These are your keys to tonight's game. 1)The Kings have the NHL's #1 defense, giving up only 2.02 goals per game. Meanwhile, the Pens have the 4th best offense in the league, scoring 3.2 goals per game. Pack up the Crue and the Goals, Goals, Goals! 2)LA is not so good on the power play, converting just 13.8%, 28th in the league. The Pens are #1 overall at a 24.3% clip. Show them that our power play packs a punch! 3)In their last 10 games, LA is 3-6-1. The Pens have stumbled a bit lately but are still 7-2-1 in their last 10. Let them know who the real kings of the NHL are! Let's Go Pens!!!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


Well, so far this offseason, it looks like your Pittsburgh Pirates have whiffed with the moves they've made. Leading off, the Pirates did not make a 1 year qualifying offer to RH A. J. Burnett at a cost of $14.1 million. Had the Pirates done so and A.J. signed with another team, the Pirates would have received a draft pick in return. Next up, the Pirates did not tender C Michael McKenry, instead trading for light-hitting backup Chris Stewart, in the process sending Tony Sanchez to another year of AAA. They followed up that questionable move by signing RH Edinson Volquez to a 1 year, $5 million deal. Volquez was awarded this contract after posting the highest ERA in the National League last season. The list of maddening moves (or non-moves) continued to grow as they brought back SS Clint Barmes, who was next-to-last in OPS in all of MLB last season. On top of that, the Pirates failed to upgrade at either the RF or 1B positions, something that sorely needed to be done. They're going to make a go of it with "internal" options. To add insult to injury, now comes word that AJ is coming back for another season but not necessarily with the Pirates. Philly and Baltimore have been tossed around as possible destinations for the RH. The Pirates organization has an opportunity here to save face with their fan base and upgrade the team at the same time. Pass around a hat and pony up the cash, if you have to. Although you would think that after team president Frank Coonelly declared the Pirates television deal among the upper half of MLB in terms of revenue, that the Pirates could afford it. The Pirates blew it when they didn't offer AJ the $14.1 mil. That would have been a steal compared to the contracts that have flown around this winter. Or they could have gotten an ever-important draft pick (even though several players that were tendered are still on the market: Cruz, Morales, Drew, etc.). Sure, AJ got to be a pain with some diva-like antics towards the end of the season. And he took exception to Gerrit Cole starting game 5 of the NLCS over him. Love him or hate him you have to love that the guy is a competitor. He wants the ball every 5th day and he's going to go out and give it his all and eat up innings for you. If the Pirates don't want that, surely there are other teams that do. It's time to step up to the plate, Pirates. Do you want to continue to field a winning team or not? Let's Go Bucs!!!!!


We are up to #2 of the 10 Greatest to Wear the Black-N-Gold. Today it is Penguins Hall of Fame C/owner Mario Lemieux. Mario was drafted #1 overall by the Pens in 1984. He has garnered many accolades throughout his magnificent career. He was voted by his fellow NHL players the Lester B. Pearson Award for outstanding player 4 times, won the Hart Trophy for league MVP 3 times, and the Art Ross Trophy for league points leader 6 times. As a player he won the Stanley Cup in both 1991 and 1992, also winning the Conn Smythe Trophy for playoff MVP each time. He also has won a Stanley Cup as owner of the Pens in 2009. In fact, Mario is the only person to have his name on the cup as both a player and an owner. Mario played for the Pens from 1984-1997, retired and returned to play again fro 2000-2006. He sat out the 1994-95 season battling Hodgkin's lymphoma only to come back in 1995-96 and win the scoring title and the Hart Trophy. Mario fought through back injuries and cancer but was still able to amass 690 career goals and 1033 assists. When he first retired in 1997, the NHL waived the 3 year waiting period and immediately inducted him into the Hockey Hall of Fame. But Mario didn't work all of his magic on the ice. He also took over ownership of the Penguins when the previous regime was in bankruptcy and he ultimately helped keep hockey in Pittsburgh. The Pens retired his #66 sweater and there is a statue of Mario splitting 2 Islanders defensemen to score a goal that stands in front of the House that Mario built, Consol Energy Center. Let us not forget Mario's constant charitable contributions that are made through, not only Penguins charities, but the Mario Lemieux Foundation, as well. All this serves as a good reminder as to why Mario Lemieux is #2 of the 10 Greatest to Wear the Black-N-Gold. Let's Go Pens!!!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


Today Mrs. Black-N-Gold cracks the top 3 of the 10 Greatest to Wear the Black-N-Gold, looking at Steelers Hall of Fame QB Terry Bradshaw. Terry was drafted #1 overall in the 1970 NFL draft. He had a somewhat tumultuous relationship with head coach Chuck Noll, as well as Steelers fans. Throughout various points of his 13 year career, 1970-1983, Terry would lose his starting job to Terry Hanratty and then Joe Gilliam. But "Brad" always bounced back, in a big way. The 4-time Super Bowl champion became the first quarterback to win 3 and then 4 Super Bowls. And he did it within a 6-year span ('75, '76, '79, & '80). Terry was a 2 time Super Bowl MVP. He also led the Steelers to 8 AFC Central titles. He was voted to the Pro Bowl 3 times and was named a first-team All-Pro by the AP in 1978. Also in '78, the AP named him NFL MVP. Terry is a member of the NFL 1970's All-Decade team as well as the Steelers All-Time 75th Anniversary Team. He and Pirates Hall of Famer Willie Stargell shared the cover of Sports Illustrated when they were named Sportsmen of the Year for 1979. Terry's career numbers are 2025 completions on 3901 attempts for 27,989 yards and 212 touchdowns for a record of 132-68-1. The Steelers unofficially retired his #12, meaning no one will ever wear that number again. To round this out, Terry was voted to the NFL Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility, 1989. Since retiring Terry has enjoyed a career in both acting and broadcasting. However, he will forever remain in the hearts of black-n-gold fans as the quarterback of the Super '70s Steelers. That is why Terry Bradshaw is #3 on the list of the 10 Greatest to Wear the Black-N-Gold. Let's Go Steelers!!!!!!

Monday, January 27, 2014


Michael, Michael, motorcycle, it's a hockey night in Pittsburgh! Your Pittsburgh Penguins look to get back in the win column tonight as they faceoff against the Buffalo Sabres at Consol Energy Center. These are your keys to tonight's game. 1)In Saturday's 3-0 loss at Dallas, the Pens allowed 2 power play goals out of 3 chances. They also were 0 for 4 on the power play. Make those special teams extra-special again! 2)The Pens have won 14 of their last 15 home games. There's no place like home! 3)Buffalo are 5-14-3 on the road this season. This is another sub-par team that you don't want to take too lightly. Crank up the Crue and the Goals, Goals, Goals! Let's Go Pens!!! 

Sunday, January 26, 2014


Mrs. Black-N-Gold continues to look at the 10 Greatest to Wear the Black-N-Gold, looking at #4 today, Penguins C Sidney Crosby. Sid was drafted #1 overall in 2005 and promptly made the NHL All-Rookie Team. In his second season in the league, Sid led the NHL with 120 points to win the Art Ross Trophy. That same year, he also won the Hart Trophy for league MVP and the Lester B. Pearson Award for the NHLPA's most outstanding player. Upon doing so, Sid became just the seventh player in NHL history to win all three awards in the same year. Sid became team captain in 2007. When the Pens won the Stanley Cup in 2009, he was the youngest captain to lead his team to a Cup. Sid was also the winner of the Rocket Richard Trophy in 2010 which goes to the league leader in goals. Locally, Sid has been honored as the Dapper Dan Sportsmen of the Year in both 2006 and 2007. Sid has had some tough breaks in his career, due to injuries. However, he continues to bounce back and prove why his is the best player in the NHL. He currently leads the league with 72 points, is tied for third with 27 goals and is second in assists with 45. Meanwhile, he has the Pens high atop the Eastern Conference and the Metropolitan Division with 74 points. Sid and the Penguins are expected to play deep into the spring and make another run at a Stanley Cup for the Steel City. It will be another in a long list of accomplishments for one of the greatest players in Penguins history. This is why Sidney Crosby is #4 of the 10 Greatest to Wear the Black-N-Gold. Let's Go Pens!!!

Saturday, January 25, 2014


Eddie Spaghetti, it's a great day for hockey! Your Pittsburgh Penguins take their show on the road to Dallas as they faceoff tonight against the Stars. These are your keys to tonight's game. 1)The Pens have scored at least 4 goals in 10 of their last 15 games. Break out the Goals, Goals, Goals! 2)The Pens penalty kill leads the NHL at an 88.4% clip. Meanwhile, the Stars have scored at least 1 power play goal in 6 straight. Show 'em who's boss! 3)Dallas is 3-6-1 in their last 10 games but are 12-8-5 at home. Time for a black-n-gold home invasion! Let's Go Pens!!!

Friday, January 24, 2014


Mrs. Black-N-Gold returns with the 10 Greatest to Wear the Black-N-Gold with #5. First, a quick recap of the first half. 10)Steelers WR Hines Ward 9)Steelers RB Franco Harris 8)Pirates 2B Bill Mazeroski 7)Steelers S Troy Polamalu 6)Steelers DT "Mean" Joe Greene. Ladies and gentlemen, without further adieu I present to you, Pirates LF/1B Willie Stargell at #5 of the 10 Greatest to Wear the Black-N-Gold. Willie (Wilver as her preferred to be called) came up as a leftfielder for the Pirates in 1962. Eventually, the man who would be known as "Captain Will" and later, "Pops" would change positions and become a mainstay for the Pirates at first base until 1982. One thing that remained a constant for the 2-time NL home run champ were his tape-measure taters. Of the 16 balls that were hit out of Forbes Field, Willie hit 7 of them. He finished his stellar career with 475 home runs to go along with a .282 batting average, 2,232 hits, 423 doubles and 1,540 RBIs. Willie helped the Pirates to 6 NL East titles as well as 2 NL pennants. He is a 2 time World Series champion, 1971 and 1979. He was co-NL MVP in 1979, the same year he won World Series MVP. Also, Sports Illustrated named Willie and Steelers QB Terry Bradshaw as Sportsmen of the Year. Willie was voted to the Hall of Fame his first year on the ballot, 1988. The Pirates retired his #8 in 1982 and there is a statue erected in his honor in front of PNC Park. Willie threw out the first pitch at the All-Star Game at Three Rivers Stadium in 1994 and also had the distinction of throwing out the first pitch at the last game in Three Rivers. It's a shame that Will was taken from us too soon, at 61 in 2001. Oh what we wouldn't give to hear the great Bob Prince say once more, "Chicken on the hill with Will" to signify another mammoth home run launched from the bat of the great Wilver Stargell. That is why, Willie Stargell is #5 of the 10 Greatest to Wear the Black-N-Gold. Let's Go Bucs!!!!!

Thursday, January 23, 2014


Make me a milkshake, Malkin, it's a great day for hockey! Your Pittsburgh Penguins look to take a bite out of the Big Apple as they're in New York to faceoff against the Islanders. These are your keys to tonight's game. 1)Pens C Sidney Crosby continues to lead the league with 69 points. Sid also has recorded at least 1 goal in each of the 3 games against the Isles this season. In Sid we trust! 2)In their last 33 regular-season games against the Isles, the Pens are 25-6-2. Beat 'em like a rented mule! 3)The Pens are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games. The Isles are 7-3-0. Something has got to give. Don't take this team lightly. Pack up the Crue and score some Goals, Goals, Goals! Let's Go Pens!!!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


Scratch my back with a hacksaw, it's a hockey night in Pittsburgh! Your Pittsburgh Penguins look to get back in the win column tonight as they faceoff against the Montreal Canadiens at Consol Energy Center. These are your keys to tonight's game. 1)The Pens go for 5 in a row versus Montreal on home ice. Break out the Motley Crue and the Goals, Goals, Goals! 2)The Pens are 7-2-1 in their last 10 and are 20-4-0 at home. Love that home cooking! 3)The Pens have surrendered 4 or more goals in 4 of their last 7 games. Gotta tighten up that D! Let's Go Pens!!!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


Today Mrs. Black-N-Gold jumps back into the 10 Greatest to Wear the Black-N-Gold with #6, Pittsburgh Steelers DT, "Mean" Joe Greene. When the Steelers drafted "Mean" Joe in the first round of the 1969 draft, number 4 overall, little did they know that he would be the first building block for their legendary Steel Curtain defense as well as the Super Steelers of the 1970's. "Mean" Joe did not disappoint. He went on to anchor the defense from 1969-1981. He came into the league with a bang, as he was named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 1969. "Mean" Joe parlayed that into 2 AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards in 1972 and 1974. He is also, of course, a 4 time Super Bowl Champion as well as a 10 time Pro Bowler, 5 time first team All-Pro, and a member of both of the NFL's 75th Anniversary Team and the 1970s All-Decade Team. Many people also remember Joe's softer side from his legendary 1979 Coca-Cola commercial. After "Mean" Joe retired from chasing down opposing quarterbacks, he was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987. He coached the Steelers defensive line from 1987-1991 before moving on to Miami and Arizona to coach. He returned to the Steelers in a front office capacity in 2004 before retiring from that position in 2013. Unfortunately, Joe Greene is the only surviving member of the Steel Curtain front four. But the image of "Mean" Joe lined up with his Steel Curtain compatriots will forever be etched in Steelers fans minds, ready to wreak havoc on their opponents, forever and a day. This is why "Mean" Joe Greene is #6 of the 10 Greatest to Wear the Black-N-Gold. Let's Go Steelers!!!!!!

Monday, January 20, 2014


Hallelujah  Hollywood, it's a hockey night in Pittsburgh! Your Pittsburgh Penguins faceoff tonight at Consol Energy Center against the Florida Kitties. These are your keys to tonight's game. 1)The Pens have won a franchise-best 13 straight at home. There's no place like home! 2)FLA is 30th in the NHL at 9.3% on the power play. The Pens are ranked 1st in the league at 24.7%. Take advantage of the man-advantage with plenty of Goals, Goals, Goals! 3)FLA is ranked 28th in the league on the penalty kill at 77.2%. The Pens are again #1 at 87.7%. The Pens special teams are extra special. Tame these Kitties! Let's Go Pens!!!

Sunday, January 19, 2014


Today, Mrs. Black-N-Gold looks at Steelers S Troy Polamalu. Troy was drafted in the first round of the 2003 NFL draft. He has the distinction of being the only safety ever drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first round. Troy has many other honors that set him apart from mere mortal safeties in the NFL. He is a two-time Super Bowl champion. He has been named to eight Pro Bowls. Troy has also made five All-Pro teams. In 2010 he was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year. He is also a member of the NFL's 2000s All-Decade-Team. Troy has snagged 32 career interceptions against 99 passes defensed. Troy and his wife Theodora have also been active in Steelers charities as well as their own charitable endeavors, everything from helping our nation's veterans to supporting our young leaders of tomorrow by encouraging students through their foundation's Student of the Month program. Many consider Troy to be a sure-thing for the Pro Football Hall of Fame when he retires, as well as the fact that he is the best safety to ever play the game. Recently, there has been speculation that he may not finish his career in the black-n-gold due to salary cap restrictions. Troy has expressed an interest in finishing his career in the Steel City and Steelers President Art Rooney II has said that he would like Troy to "retire as a Steeler". For the good of the Steelers, the fans and the community, let's make it happen. This is why #43, Troy Polamalu, is #7 on Mrs. Black-N-Gold's list of the 10 Greatest to Wear the Black-N-Gold. Let's Go Steelers!!!!!!

Saturday, January 18, 2014


Pirates Hall of Fame second baseman Bill Mazersoki has many awards and accolades on his resume. Born not far from Pittsburgh in Wheeling, WV, the man known to Pittsburghers the world over, as "Maz", began his distinguished major league career on July 7, 1956. From there, Maz was ensconced at second base for the Pirates for the remainder of his career, 1956-1972. Known primarily for his fielding, Maz amassed 8 Gold Glove awards throughout his time with the Pirates. He also led the majors 9 times in assists and finished his illustrious career with a .983 fielding percentage. Maz was also a World Series winner with both the 1960 and 1971 Pirates. During the 1960 World Series, Maz had a shining moment at the plate, as well. Perhaps you're familiar with his game-winning, home run to defeat the New York Yankees in game 7, thus giving the Pirates and the city of Pittsburgh a world championship? It was in all the papers. It's even commemorated by some loyal fans every year on the exact date, October 13. There is also a statue of Maz marking the historic occasion in front of PNC Park. Maz was enshrined in Cooperstown in the Hall of Fame in 2001. He continues to work for the Pirates as a special infield instructor during spring training. But in most Pirates fans minds, Maz will still "kiss it goodbye" in that one glorious moment of a fantastic career. This is why Pirates second basemen Bill Mazeroski is #8 of the 10 Greatest to Wear the Black-N-Gold. Let's Go Bucs!!!!!

Friday, January 17, 2014


Mrs. Black-N-Gold continues her countdown of the 10 Greatest to Wear the Black-N-Gold with #9, Steelers Hall of Fame RB Franco Harris.

RB Franco Harris was drafted in the first round of the 1972 NFL draft, #13 overall. At the time, there was a rumor that Franco didn't want the Steelers to draft him as they weren't in the upper echelon of NFL teams. Franco's arrival in Pittsburgh helped change that. Franco was instrumental in one of the most famous plays in NFL history, the Immaculate Reception. That play was also the springboard for continued postseason success by the Steelers in the 1970s. With Pittsburgh, Franco was a 4 time Super Bowl champion, winning the MVP award in Super Bowl IX. Franco was also named AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 1972 as well as being a 9 time Pro Bowler and named to the NFL's 1970s All-Decade Team. Franco finished his career with 12,120 rushing yards on 2,949 carriers for a 4.1 yard average. He is 12th in NFL history in rushing yards and is tied with the Steelers Jerome Bettis for 10th most rushing touchdowns, 91, in NFL history. True, in Franco's final season in the league, he didn't wear black-n-gold. Franco finished his career as a Seattle Seahawk (was there ever an uglier sight?). However, I believe that Franco's accomplishments while wearing the black-n-gold more than makes up for the one-year infraction. That is why Steelers RB Franco Harris is #9 of the 10 Greatest to Wear the Black-N-Gold. Let's Go Steelers!!!!!!

Thursday, January 16, 2014


Today Mrs. Black-N-Gold begins counting down the 10 greatest to wear the black-n-gold. She's going to give you her picks for the greatest athletes to ever don the black-n-gold, be it for the Pens, Pirates or Steelers. Today she looks at #10, Hines Ward.

Former Steelers WR Hines Ward was drafted in the third round out of Georgia in 1998. Considering Hines was only 6 ft tall and not thought of as a speedster, he always played with a chip on his shoulder to prove that he belonged and should be the Steelers #1 wide receiver. The odds were against him as he did not have an anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. Through the years the Steelers would try to bring in other receivers to usurp Hines' position. And every time, Hines answered the challenge by working hard, working with a smile on his face, and taking down all comers. During his career, Hines was named MVP of Super Bowl XL. He also finished his career where he started, wearing the black-n-gold. When he retired, Hines finished as the Steelers all-time leader in receptions, receiving yards, and touchdown receptions. He also became only the 8th player in NFL history to catch 1,000 passes. Hines was and always will be looked upon with pride by the blue-collar, hard-working Pittsburgh community because he exhibited those same qualities every time he stepped onto a football field. That's why Hines Ward is #10 of the Greatest to Wear the Black-N-Gold. Let's Go Steelers!!!!!!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


How much fried chicken can you eat? It's a hockey night in Pittsburgh! Your Pittsburgh Penguins faceoff against the Washington Craps at Consol Energy Center for Rivalry Wednesday. These are your keys to tonight's game. 1)The Craps are coming off a 2-1 shootout loss to San Jose last night. Kick 'em while they're down! 2)The Pens have won 5 in a row versus the Craps. Make it 6 with plenty of Goals, Goals, Goals! 3)Pens G Marc-Andre Fleury has won his last 4 starts against the Craps. #5 would not be jive! Let's Go Pens!!!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


"Remembering Little Walter" is a tribute to the man who took the harp to another level, as one of the first musicians to take the harp and amplify it with a microphone. The artists that perform on this CD were both inspired by and, in the case of Charlie Musselwhite and Billy Boy Arnold, had the distinction of playing alongside the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer. This CD is a fitting homage to Little Walter, so much so that it is nominated for a 2014 Grammy for Best Blues Album. From the first notes that kick off of "I Got to Go" by Mark Hummel, it seems as if these amazing musicians are possessed by the soul of Little Walter. Charlie Musselwhite steps up to the mic next with "Just a Feeling" a slow-burning, bluesy number. Next, it's Billy Boy Arnold's turn with "You're So Fine" a fine hip-shaker. James Harman's "It's Too Late Brother" keeps things moving right along. Sugar Ray Norcia does a mean version of  "Mean Old World" next. Charlie Musselwhite is back for "One of These Mornings", proving why he is one of the best at the harp these days and plays on not one but two CD's nominated for Best Blues Grammy this year. Mark Hummel keeps the blues burning brightly with "Blue Light", evoking a jazzy feel. Then James Harman does a fabulous rendition of "Crazy Mixed Up World". Sugar Ray Norcia is back to give us more with a rocking bit of "Up the Line". The CD closes with Billy Boy Arnold doing "Can't Hold Out Much Longer". There's no reason for your to "hold out much longer", either. What better way to remember the great Little Walter than by getting yourself a copy of this harp-tastic CD. Trust me, it will blow you away. Until next time boys and girls, keep it bluesy.

Monday, January 13, 2014


Musicians will travel from both near and far as they converge on the Mecca of Blues Music, Beale Street in Memphis, TN to compete in the International Blues Challenge from January 21-25. Some will have a distinctive homefield advantage, Memphis Blues Society's Ghost Town Blues Band. Others, such as France Blues' Blues Power Band and Croatian Blues Forces' Zamba, will travel across oceans and continents for the chance to compete. They will bring horns and harps, guitars and drums. One thing is for sure, they will all bring the blues. It could be funky, earth-shaking rhythms or laid-back low country blues or pulsating piedmont blues. They will compete in the band and solo/duo categories, representing the best their respective blues societies have to offer. There will be a youth showcase category that helps the next generation of blues artists get their foot in the door to help keep the blues alive. Some familiar musicians who were able to parlay their success at the IBC into international superstardom include, Trampled Under Foot, Teeny Tucker, Selwyn Birchwood, Little G Weevil, MonkeyJunk, Homemade Jamz Blues Band and Sean Carney, to name a few. This year the competition will be tight with an estimated 125 bands and 80 solo/duo acts expected to participate. This weekend, many blue societies had send-off parties to wish their participants a fond farewell and good luck. The Blues Society of Western Pennsylvania has acts competing in every category. Billy the Kid and the Regulators will represent in the band category, Gary Prisby and Matt Baranti will be the solo/duo act and Zoe Zielinski will perform in the youth showcase. Another band with ties to Western PA, Ron and the Rumpshakers will participants for the West Virginia Blues Society. And who knows what blues legends may drop in during the proceedings? It's an opportunity for the blues community to get together, network, share ideas, jam and have one good old, leg-shaking time. If you get the chance, get to Memphis and hear some of the fantastic blues that will be wafting out of the clubs around this time. Until next time boys and girls, keep it bluesy.

Sunday, January 12, 2014


It's another Football Sunday for some lucky teams and their fans around the NFL. Unfortunately, that is not the case for your Pittsburgh Steelers and their Terrible-Towel-waving tribe. Mrs. Black-N-Gold suffered from the flu last weekend more so than Steelers withdrawal. This week, it's different. For the second straight season, the Steelers are watching, tweeting, Instagraming about the playoffs, instead of participating. I don't know about the Steelers, but this is getting old to me. What have the Steelers done since the heartbreaking last week of the season? Perhaps, in response to their putrid 2-6 start and the 43 sacks that were allowed, the Steelers parted ways with offensive line coach Jack Bicknell, Jr. after only 1 season. Some feel Bicknell may have been made a scapegoat. After all, the Steelers went through 3 centers this season, losing starter Maukice Pouncey in the opening game. The Steelers had to use several different offensive lines this season to combat all of the injuries. Members of the media have said that while protection and the rushing game did improve over the second half of the season, it was more due to the players and the offensive line assistants, not the actual coach himself. Another move, or non-move, that the Steelers have made this offseason is the announcement that much-maligned offensive coordinator Todd Haley will return next season. Just how much coaching was Haley doing in the second half of the season, when the Steelers decided to go more no-huddle? There continue to be many questions about the defense as well. Will defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau return and return the defense to it's former glory? Will linebackers coach Keith Butler tire of the "coordinator-in-waiting" title and go elsewhere? Just who will be playing defense for the Steelers in 2014? Many changes need to be made. However, Coach Mike Tomlin has, so far, played his cards close to the vest. Just what are the Steelers organization doing with their free Sunday afternoons? Sure, it's only January and the draft isn't until May. But the coach and staff may want to take advantage of the free time that they have so they don't spend their time doing the same thing next year, for the third year in a row. I hope they're taking notes at home and getting ready for the upcoming season now. Let's Go Steelers!!!!!!

Saturday, January 11, 2014


Great balls of fire, it's a great day for hockey! Your Pittsburgh Penguins close our their road trip tonight in Calgary as they look to extinguish the Flames. These are your keys to tonight's game. 1)The Pens try to bounce back after suffering a 4-3 OT loss last night in Edmonton. Calgary is another team that you don't want to take too lightly. Fire up the Goals, Goals, Goals! 2)The Flames have lost 5 straight at home, getting outscored 15-1. They have also lost 6 of their last 7, and were outscored 24-5 on that run. Watch 'em go down in flames! 3)After having last night off, Marc-Andre Fleury is expected in goal tonight for the Pens. The Flower has a 1.75 GAA in winning his last 4 starts versus Calgary. Let's see the Flower bloom! Let's Go Pens!!!

Friday, January 10, 2014


I'll be cow-kicked, it's a great day for hockey! Your Pittsburgh Penguins continue their west coast swing in Edmonton tonight as they faceoff against the Oilers. These are your keys to tonight's game.  1)It's a tale of two teams. Edmonton are last in the Western Conference at 14-27-5 with 33 points. The Pens sit atop the Eastern Conference with a 32-12-1 record and 65 points. Show 'em who's boss! 2)The Oilers have surrendered a league-worst 159 goals. It'll be like drilling for oil! 3)The Pens have scored 15 goals during a 3-game winning streak. Meanwhile, the Oilers have given up 25 goals during an 1-3-2 run. Break out the Motley Crue and the Goals, Goals, Goals, baby! Let's Go Pens!!!

Thursday, January 9, 2014


Your Pittsburgh Penguins have given fans plenty to cheer in the early going this season. However, most true yinzers always cheer with bated breath, waiting for the other shoe to drop. Mrs. Black-N-Gold and her fellow puckheads have traveled this road with the Boys of Winter many times. While she loves what the Pens are doing she can't help but wonder, will the Pens ride this wave of success all the way to Lord Stanley's Cup or will the Pens be their own worst enemy? Considering the injuries this team has had to overcome they seem to be a team of destiny. Look out how one player after another goes down. And the Pens just keep bringing them up from Wilkes-Barre to plug the holes. But the Baby Pens are not just filling roster spots, they're gaining valuable NHL-playing time and contributing to the winning in the process. Of course, the big team's players have a say so in the matter, as well. C Sidney Crosby is playing out of his mind, leading the league with 65 points, 2nd in the NHL with 41 assists and 3rd overall with 24 goals. Then there is the Captain's linemate, W Chris Kunitz. Kuni is 5th in the league with 48 points and leads the NHL with a +23 differential. You also have C Evegeni Malkin, fresh off of IR, still 6th in the league with 33 assists. And don't forget G Marc-Andre Fleury and his league-leading 25 wins. All this has come as Coach Dan Bylsma recently became the winningest coach in franchise history. Needless to say, the Pens are amongst the best in the NHL in team statistics, too. They lead the Eastern Conference with 65 points. The dreaded Boston Rruins are #2 in the conference with 58 points. Meanwhile, the Pens are running away with the Metropolitan Division, leading the Philadelphia Cryers who are in 2nd place with 48 points. The stats keep piling up. the Pens are first overall on the power play at 25.7%, second on the penalty kill with an 88.8% clip, they are 4th in goals per game with 3.2 and 6th in goals against at 2.4. Their home record is a dominating 19-3-0. On the road, they're merely mortal at 13-9-1. These numbers are not out of the ordinary for the Pens this time of year. It's typically when the playoffs roll around that everything goes topsy turvy for the Pens. The question on every Pittsburgh puckhead's mind is, "Can the Pens keep up this pace?" You also have to consider the upcoming Olympics. Flower didn't make team Canada so he will get a nice, 2 week break. But will the layoff help or hinder his play? Sid and Kuni are expected to take Team Canada far. C Jussi Jokinen and D Olli Maata will represent Finland. Geno will get to play for his homeland, Russia. And D Brooks Orpik and Paul Martin are joining Coach Disco on Team USA. Heaven forbid anyone should be injured. And what of the players that will be sitting out the Olympics? Will they get rusty? Also, will the Pens still have their mojo working when they return from the break? So many questions to be answered. We just have to hold our breath and hope that the Pens, finally, have things figured out this year, that they know how to ride this train all the way to June. And I'm sure GM Ray Shero will look at possible trading partners at the deadline. Only this year, he won't tamper with team chemistry to force anything. Buckle your seat belts, Pens fans. It will be a wild ride. Let's Go Pens!!!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


Mrs. Black-N-Gold was fortunate enough to be able to pick up "Get Up", the collaboration of indie fave Ben Harper and harpist extraordinaire Charlie Musselwhite. Harper and Musselwhite didn't do too bad for a first time team-up. This CD is nominated for a 2014 Grammy for Best Blues Album. It certainly is deserving of such consideration. I never realized that Ben Harper had blues chops but he definitely brings the blues as he wrote or co-wrote all 10 tracks as well as produced the CD and shows off his slide guitar virtuosity. But it's not all strictly blues. Some of these tunes are really rocking. There's also flavors of gospel and some country, too. And then there's soul. Man, is there soul. It's Charlie Musslewhite that is the soul of this CD. Charlie and his magical mouth harp gives the CD the vibe that gets it going from the first note. Some of the tunes that standout for Mrs. Black-N-Gold are "I'm In I'm Out and I'm Gone", "You Found Another Lover (I Lost Another Friend)" "I Ride at Dawn" and "She Got Kick". What's really great about this CD is each song is like a snowflake, no two are the same. And Charlie's MVP performance enhances each song in it's own special way. Whether it's a little rock and roll or a whole lotta soul, Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite play like they've been together for years, that each knows instinctively the next step that the other will take. And they're both ready to take that leap together. Again, I can see why this is nominated for a Grammy for Best Blues Album. Do yourself a favor, get up outta your chair, and get yourself a copy of "Get Up". Until next time boys and girls, keep it bluesy.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


Shave my face with a rusty razor, it's a great day for hockey! Your Pittsburgh Penguins take their show on the road to Vancouver as they faceoff tonight against the Canuckleheads. These are your keys to tonight's game. 1)The Pens have the #1 power play and #2 penalty kill in the NHL. Those special teams are extra-special! 2)A win tonight would make Pens Coach Dan Bylsma the winningest in team history with 233 victories. Win it for Disco! 3)The Canuckleheads are on a 0-2-2 skid while the Pens are on an 8-2-0 run. Pack up the Crue and the Goals, Goals, Goals for a road trip! Let's Go Pens!!!

Monday, January 6, 2014


Recently, Mrs. Black-N-Gold had the pleasure of acquiring all of the CDs by the Tedeschi Trucks Band. After continuously listening to their tremendous works, Tedeschi Trucks has now taken the #1 spot as Mrs. Black-N-Gold's favorite band (sorry Allman Bros. and Dave Matthews). Susan graduated from the prestigious Berklee College of Music while cutting her teeth in a gospel choir. From there she hit the road opening for such luminaries as The Rolling Stones, Buddy Guy, B.B. King and the Allman Brothers Band. It was while opening for ABB that she became acquainted with their guitarist, former child prodigy, Derek Trucks. Derek's resume also includes fronting his own band as well as sharing the stage with Eric Clapton. The couple married in 2001 but continued their own separate musical paths. That all changed when they decided to marry their talents as well, forming Soul Stew Revival. From there they spun off into the Tedeschi Trucks Band and, as they say, the rest is history. The 11-piece band won a Grammy Award for Best Blues Album in 2012 for their 2011 debut, "Revelator". In 2012 they released "Everbody's Talkin'" which did indeed got everyone talking. The 2-disc set captures TTB at their best, live and in person. In 2013 they followed that up with their latest effort, "Made Up Mind" another tour de force for the ears. TTB continue to raise the bar by combining blues, gospel, soul, funk and new world sound into one big ball of righteous music. And their live shows are definitely must see. This band isn't just about Susan's fantastic vocal abilities or Derek's one-of-a-kind guitar style. Susan proves she can hold her own, guitar-wise with the big boys. And it's always fun to mix in some horns and organ to keep the beats flowing. They also take a page from the Allman's book with not one but two percussionists. Throw in the background vocals and you've got the makings of the Greatest Show on Earth. If you haven't listened to or seen Tedeschi Trucks Band, what are you waiting for? Run, don't walk, to get their CDs or see their latest show. It will be well worth it. Until next time boys and girls, keep it bluesy.

Sunday, January 5, 2014


Hop in the Codorva, baby, we're going bowling! It's a great day for hockey in the 'Burgh! Your Pittsburgh Penguins faceoff against the Winnipeg Jets this afternoon at Consol Energy Center. These are your keys to today's game. 1)In their last 5 home games, the Pens have outscored their opponents 9-0 in the first period. Score early, score often, score BIG! 2)The Jets have lost 5 of their last 6 games on the road. Ground the Jets! 3)Pens C Sidney Crosby has at least one point in every home game this season, except one. Follow Sid's lead. Get the Crue pumping and score some Goals, Goals, Goals! Let's Go Pens!!!

Saturday, January 4, 2014


Now that your Pittsburgh Steelers 2013 season has come to a close, it's time for Mrs. Black-N-Gold to take a look at the team's unrestricted free agents and see if the Steelers should consider re-signing any of them.

Defensive Backs (2)-Will Allen, Ryan Clark
Color Clark gone. It would be nice if they could bring Allen back for depth. He was a nice pickup when they brought him back off the scrap heap.

Defensive Lineman (3)-Ziggy Hood, Brett Keisel, Al Woods
Ziggy, don't let the door hit you on the way out. He was a first-round bust. It will be sad to see the Beard leave but he's not getting any younger on a unit that does need to get younger. Woods looked good filling in for Steve McLendon at NT this season. Maybe they can slide Big Mac over to DE and let Big Al move into the starting lineup at NT?

Linebackers (3)-Stevenson Sylvester, Jamaal Westerman, Jason Worilds
Sylvester was in the trainer's room more than he was on the field. Westerman was a late-season roster-filler. The jury is still out on Worilds. He still doesn't stay healthy, but neither does LaMarr Woodley. The Steelers can't keep both Worilds and Woodley. And what if they do sign Worilds and he pulls a LaMarr, getting a fat contract and getting fat in return?

Offensive Lineman (3)-Fernando Velasco, Cody Wallace, Guy Whimper
All three O-Lineman had their bumps in the road but filled in admirably on a decimated O-Line. They may be able to parlay their performances into big contracts/starting gigs elsewhere. Otherwise, try and retain at least one of the three for much needed depth.

Running Backs (3)-Jonathan Dwyer, Felix Jones, LaRod Stephens-Howling
If Dwyer can stay motivated, book 'em, Dano. Jones ended up being a nice pick up, too. Pitt fans may have a soft spot in their heart for the local product but if they keep Dwyer and Jones and with the emergence of Le'Veon Bell, the numbers are against Stephens-Howling.

Special Teams (2)-Mat McBriar, Greg Warren
The Steelers recently signed P Brad Wing and LS Bryce Davis to futures contracts. That may be telling of the futures of McBriar and Warren.

Tight Ends (2)-David Johnson, Michael Palmer
Do the Steelers really need Johnson and Palmer? They have Heath Miller, Matt Spaeth and David Paulson tied up for next year.

Wide Receivers (3)-Plaxico Burress, Jerricho Cotchery, Emmanuel Sanders
Burress' career could be over. If not, it should be over in Pittsburgh. Would love to see the Steelers keep Cotchery. He led the team with 10 TDs. Also, they need to get Markus Wheaton into the lineup. The Steelers should have let Sanders sign with the Pats last offseason. They could really use that draft pick.

The Steelers have the 15th pick in the draft come May and have more holes than draft picks. They also have their backs against the wall of the salary cap. It all comes down to a numbers game with many of these free agents. What players' price tags will be more cap friendly? As free agency gets into gear, we'll see if the Steelers are going to play if safe in the slow lane, or get in the fast lane for a return to the postseason. Let's Go Steelers!!!!!!

Friday, January 3, 2014


Call Arnold Slick from Turtle Creek, it's a hockey night in Pittsburgh! Your Pittsburgh Penguins are back in action at Consol Energy Center tonight as they faceoff against the New York Strangers. These are your keys to tonight's game. 1)The Pens are 17-3-0 on their home ice this season. There's no place like home! 2)The Pens are going for their 11th straight victory at home and their 5th in a row over the Strangers. Start off the New Year with a bang and a "W"! 3)Strangers G Henrik Lundqvist has lost 3 straight in the 'Burgh! Crank up the Crue & the Goals, Goal, Goals! Let's Go Pens!!!

Thursday, January 2, 2014


What better way to ring in the Blues Year than with 100 or so of your closest, blues-loving friends? That's exactly what Mrs. Black-N-Gold and the Big Bossman did for their anniversary on New Year's Eve. What a night it was! The evening kicked off with a set from BSWPA Blues Challenge winner Billy the Kid and the Regulators. Billy also had 2/3 of the horn section that will accompany him and the Regulators to Memphis later this month. It was non-stop dancing and revelry with Billy featuring songs off of his CD "She Got a Hold on Me". He also introduced new songs that will be on his next CD as well as some classic covers that got the earth shaking. Billy and his band warmed the crowd up on this cold winter's night for the legendary Nighthawks. The Nighthawks were joined by frequent collaborator, Billy Price. The blue-eyed soul master and the "Bad Boys of Bethesda" combined to give the crowd a rousing welcome to the New Year. They were joined by Stevee Wellons who contributed her fine vocal talents to the evening's festivities. And just when you thought the evening was over and you couldn't dance any more, Billy the Kid brought down the house by bringing the Regulators back for some more rockin' good times. Believe me when I tell you, a good time was had by all. If you left this Blues Bash unsatisfied then you don't know good blues music or how to have a good time. Congrats to the BSWPA on a job well done and a big "Thank You" to all who helped make this a very Merry Blues Year. If you missed out, make plans to attend next year. Till next time boys and girls, keep it bluesy