Tuesday, February 28, 2017


     Eddie spaghetti, it's a great day for hockey! Our Pittsburgh Penguins take their show on the road to Dallas tonight to faceoff against the Stars. These are your keys for tonight's game. 1)Thanks to Saturday night's 4-2 victory over Philly, the Pens have won 2 straight. If it's 3, it's for me! 2)The Stars are 28th in the league in goals against, giving up an average of 3.2 per game. That suits the Pens just fine. They're #1 in the NHL in goals per game with a 3.5 average. Rock the Goals, Goals, Goals! 3)Dallas has the worst penalty kill in hockey at a 73.5% clip. The Pens power play is ranked 6th at 21.7%. Take advantage of the man-advantage. Man-up! Let's Go Pens!!!!

Monday, February 27, 2017


     Our Pittsburgh Pirates are in the swing of things in Bradenton as spring training and Grapefruit League action is under way in FLA. Today, Mrs. Black-N-Gold takes a look at 3 players who made their MLB debuts in Pittsburgh last season and are counted on as major contributors to the Pittsburgh Baseball Club this season and beyond.

1)1B Josh Bell-The switch-hitter hasn't made it onto the field for a game yet but it shouldn't be long. Bell is working his way back from off season knee surgery. He has been taking BP and working in the field but is still rehabbing the knee. Reports are that he's looked very good in the cage from both sides of the plate. It will be good to see what the former 2nd round pick can do at first during a live game. Bell said that he lost weight and has been using yoga to improve his flexibility in hopes of upgrading his defense at first. If he's serviceable at first base it will be a lot better than the great Pedro Alvarez experiment of a few seasons ago. And some pop from his bat would be a welcome addition to the lineup, too.

2)RH Tyler Glasnow-Mrs. Black-N-Gold doesn't expect to Glasnow to start the season in Pittsburgh, especially considering how his MLB career began in Black-N-Gold last season. The highly-touted prospect had an unimpressive 0-2 mark with a 4.24 ERA for Pittsburgh last year. That record included a 4.24 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP in 23.1 innings. He gave up 22 hits, 11 earned runs, 2 home runs and 13 walks for the big-league club. Word is that Glasnow has been working on a changeup to add to his arsenal. Hopefully, it works for him. It's hard to rely on a starting pitcher with just a fastball (no matter how intimidating it is) and not much else. As stated early, the right-hander will probably start the season again in Indy to continue to work out the kinks. If all goes well, he should be back before the end of spring.

3)UTL Adam Frazier-The versatile Frazier is taking over the role vacated by the departure of Sean Rodriguez. Following a career year by SRod that some him except a free agent contract in Atlanta, will be a tall order to fill for Frazier. He doesn't have the power stroke that Rodriguez found in his final season in Pittsburgh, nor his defensive acumen. The Pirates are counting on Frazier's speed to help ignite the offense and he's working on improving the glove work at the various positions throughout the field. Frazier's ability to get on base could help him see almost regular playing time in the Pirates lineup.

So there you have it. If these 3 players can live up to the promise of the young careers, they can except to enjoy the fruits of the labor on the field at PNC Park for many years to come. Hopefully, a World Series will eventually come along with that. Let's Go Bucs!!!!!

Saturday, February 25, 2017


     Hallelujah Hollywood; it's a hockey night in Pittsburgh! Our Pittsburgh Penguins return to home ice (sort of) to phaceoff against the Philly Flyers tonight for a Stadium Series matchup at Heinz Field in the Battle of Pennsylvania. These are your keys for tonight's game. 1)We don't like them and they don't like us. They'll try to play their Broad Street Bully brand of BS hockey by trying to rough us up. Don't fall into this trap. Play your game of high-tempo, high-scoring hockey and stay out of the penalty box, to boot. Smack 'em in the mouth with some Goals, Goals, Goals! 2)Following Tuesday's 3-1 win over Carolina, the Pens are now 25-0-0 when leading after 2 periods. Score early, score often, score BIG! 3)The Pens are 1-2 in outdoor games. Even that record, ok? F Philly. Give 'em L! Let's Go Pens!!!!

Thursday, February 23, 2017


    What's the news across Black-N-Gold Nation? Mrs. Black-N-Gold has the information. She's got The Black-N-Gold News for you, everything from our Pittsburgh Penguins, Pirates and Steelers.

                                           THE BLACK-N-GOLD NEWS


It's been another injury-filled week for our Penguins. It seems our Favorite Black-N-Gold Hockey Team is turning black & blue. The Pens managed a 4-3 victory in OT versus Winnipeg but lost both D Olli Maatta & D Justin Schultz to injuries. Maatta underwent surgery to repair a broken hand and is expected to miss 6 weeks. Schultz is in concussion protocol with no timetable for his return. Get well soon, Olli & Schultzie! The Pens called up D Steve Oleksy and Cameron Gaunce from Wilkes/Barre-Scranton to help on the blue line.

The Pens fell to Columbus on the road on Friday, losing 2-1 in OT. They sent F Josh Archibald back to WB/S the follow day. They looked totally flat and out-of-sync on Sunday when they lost to Detroit 5-2. However, they did get back in the win column Tuesday night with a 3-1 win in Carolina. They saw D Trevor Daley leave that game with a lower-body injury. No word yet on the severity of that injury. Maybe GM Jim Rutherford will pull the trigger on a trade to get some healthy bodies in here before the March 1 deadline

The Pens will play next on Saturday night. The Philly Flyers come to town to faceoff with the Pens at Heinz Field for the NHL's Stadium Series. Keep on PUCKN'. Let's Go Pens!!!!


As the early stages of spring training began for our Pirates, they still had the business of arbitration with LH Tony Watson to settle. Our Favorite Black-N-Gold Baseball Team won that battle with their closer. This was the final year of arbitration for the lefty as he is set to enter free agency following this season. Will Watson finish the season with the Bucs or will he be another deadline deal like Mark Melancon of last year? We'll have to wait and see.

C Francisco Cervelli has been battling a foot injury in the early going. If he continues to have issues, it may effect his status with Team Italy for the WBC. Currently, Frankie C is day-to-day. Pirates players that are participating in the WBC will leave camp to report to their respective teams on March 5.

1B Josh Bell has been working his way back from offseason knee surgery. He's starting hitting live BP pitching but has not been cleared to participate in Grapefruit League action. The 1st games for the Buccos are this Saturday when they have split squads take the fields.

3B Jung Ho Kang has pleaded guilty to his 3rd DUI offseason in his native South Korea. He has been fined and will be sentenced on March 3. Once that process is complete, we'll have  a better idea of where Kang is. Remember, he may face disciplinary action from both MLB and the Pirates and has stated that he will into rehab, as well.

Mrs. Black-N-Gold doesn't know how the rest of Black-N-Gold Nation feels but she's ready for the Buccos to play ball. Let's Go Bucs!!!!!


The NFL combine starts this weekend. That means our Steelers will get a look at their potential draft picks and asses the situation. They have 8 picks in this year's draft.

Meanwhile, our Favorite Black-N-Gold Football Team took care of 1 of their own this week. LB Steven Johnson was re-signed to a 1 year contract.

Speaking of taking care of business, OLB Coach Joey Porter had some business to resolve regarding his altercation and arrest on the South Side back in January. Peezy please guilty to disorderly conduct and paid a $300 fine. Hopefully the coach will keep his name out of the police report, in the future.

The Steelers will be getting busy soon. They have the aforementioned Combine plus there will be the matter of free agency right around the corner. We'll also find out soon if they plan to apply the franchise tag to free agent RB Le'Veon Bell.

Mrs. Black-N-Gold will keep you updated on everything that transpires for the Steelers this offseason as we countdown to kickoff. Let's Go Steelers!!!!!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017


     Hop in the Cordoba baby, we're going bowling; it's a great day for hockey! Our Pittsburgh Penguins take their show on the road to Carolina tonight to faceoff against the Hurricanes. These are your keys for tonight's game. 1)The Pens look to get back in the win column tonight following Sunday's 5-2 loss to Detroit. Nothing would be fina than a win in Carolina! 2)In Sunday's loss, the Pens were shutout on the power play, going 0 for 4. Take advantage of the man-advantage! 3)Scoring just 2 goals in a game isn't going to cut it. The Pens have to find a way to find their legs and clean up their game. And, as always, rock the Goals, Goals, Goals! Let's Go Pens!!!!

Sunday, February 19, 2017


     Get that dog off my lawn; it's a great day for hockey! Our Pittsburgh Penguins faceoff against the Detroit Red Wings this afternoon at PPG Paints Arena. These are your keys for today's game. 1)The Pens look to get back in the win column following Friday night's 2-1 loss to Columbus in OT. Gimme a W! 2)Detroit is 25th in the league in goals against, giving up an average of 3 goals per game. That's good news for the Pens, they're ranked #1 in the NHL in goals per game at 3.5. Gimme some Goals, Goals, Goals! 3)The Red Wings power play is 30th at a 12.2% rate. Hopefully, the Pens 22nd ranked penalty kill can take advantage of Detroit's porous power play. Kill 'em all! Let's Go Pens!!!!

Friday, February 17, 2017


     Buy Sam a drink and get his dog one, too; it's a great day for hockey! Our Pittsburgh Penguins take their show on the road to Columbus tonight to faceoff with their Metro division rivals the Blue Jackets. These are your keys for tonight's game. And congratulations to the Captain. Sidney Crosby recorded his 1000th career point in last night's game (before delivering the game-winning goal himself). Congrats, Sid! 1)After last night's dramatic come-from-behind, 4-3 win in OT, the Pens look to keep it in the win column on the road. We're 35-13-7 with 77 points. They're 36-15-5 with 77 points. We don't like them and they don't like us. It will be a playoff atmosphere in Columbus, especially considering the fact that they've never won a playoff series. They'll try to bully us and dictate the pace of play. They can't hit what they can't catch. Speed kills. Bring your A game! 2)Columbus is 5th in the league in goals per game at 3.2. Guess what? We're #1 at 3.5. Crank up the Goals, Goals, Goals! 3)Columbus has the #3 power play at 22.8%. The Pens power play is no slouch, either, coming in 5th at 21.5%. Man-up! Let's Go Pens!!!!

Thursday, February 16, 2017


     Mrs. Black-N-Gold is smiling like a butcher's dog 'cause it's a hockey night in Pittsburgh! Our Pittsburgh Penguins faceoff against the Winnipeg Jets tonight at PPG Paints Arena. These are your keys for tonight's game. 1)In Tuesday night's 4-0 win over Vancouver, C Sidney Crosby recorded the 999th point of his career. Wouldn't it be cool for the Captain to (finally) get #1000 tonight in front of the home crowd? Slap me silly, Sidney! 2)Tuesday saw the return of C Evgeni Malkin to the lineup. Geno didn't disappoint as he scored the 1st goal of the evening and assisted on another. Welcome back, Geno. Make me a milkshake, Malkin! 3)Winnipeg is 28th in the league in goals against, giving up an average of 3.2 per game. The Pens continue to sit atop the league in goals per game with 3.5. Rock the Goals, Goals, Goals! Let's Go Pens!!!!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017


     Start spreading the news! That's right, Black-N-Gold Nation! Mrs. Black-N-Gold is bringing you all the information with the newest edition of The Black-N-Gold News. She's got Penguins, Pirates and Steelers for you.

                                               THE BLACK-N-GOLD NEWS


Our Penguins continued to battle the injury bug during an up-and down week. The Pens defeated the Avalanche 4-1 last week but lost F Bryan Rust to an upper-body injury when he left the game in the 3rd period. He's expected to miss significant time while he recovers. Get well soon, Rusty!

Our Favorite Black-N-Gold Hockey Team called up F Josh Archibald from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Friday. In just his 2nd NHL game, Archie scored 2 goals, the 1st 2 of his NHL career, Saturday night in Arizona. Unfortunately, the Pens lost but they did get a point, falling 4-3 in OT.

The Pens saw the return of C Evgeni Malkin to last night's lineup. Geno's return helped the Pens return to the win column, too. He scored the 1st goal and assisted on another to lead the Pens to a 4-0 shutout of Vancouver. C Sidney Crosby also had an assist to put him at 999 career points, 1 away from the coveted 1000. Sid will have a chance to reach that plateau in front of the home crowd tomorrow night at PPG Paints Arena when they face the Winnipeg Jets. The Pens are currently 35-13-7 with 77 points, good for 2nd place in the tough-as-nails Metro division. Let's Go Pens!!!!


Several of our Pirates were named to WBC rosters as spring training was ready to get under way. OF Andrew McCutchen was named to Team USA, C Francisco Cervelli will play for Team Italy, OFs Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco and RH Ivan Nova will represent The Dominican Republic.

3B Jung Ho Kang's trial date has been set for February 22 in his native South Korea. This is stemming from the DUI charge that he faces for fleeing the scene of an accident in December. Due to the circumstances, there is no ETA for Kang's arrival at spring training.

Our Favorite Black-N-Gold Baseball Team acquired RH Pat Light from Minnesota. To make room, the designated RH Lisalverto Bonilla for assignment. Bonilla was claimed off waivers by Cincy. The Bucs traded for INF Phil Gosselin. They sent minor league RH Frank Duncan to Arizona to complete the deal. They also DFA'd RH Nefi Ogando. And the Reds claimed Ogando off waivers, too.

Pitchers & catchers reported on Monday to the newly-christened LECOM Park, formerly known as McKechnie Field. Position players report on February 17. Spring is just around the corner and so is Opening Day. Let's Go Bucs!!!!!


It may be the offseason, but our Steelers were busy this week. They signed TE Xavier Grimble and LB Anthony Chickillo to 1 year contracts.

And some members of our Favorite Black-N-Gold Football are recovering from offseason surgery. WRs Demarcus Ayers and Sammie Coates both recently underwent core muscle (sports hernia) surgery. They are expected to be ready for OTAs in the spring.

The combine and the draft will be here soon. Let's Go Steelers!!!!!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017


    Be my Valentine, it's a hockey night in Pittsburgh! Our Pittsburgh Penguins return to home ice to faceoff against the Vancouver Canuckleheads at PPG Paints Arena. These are your keys for tonight's game. 1)The Pens were able to get 3 out of 4 points on the road trip out west, even though they didn't play their best. Their road woes continued on Saturday, they fell to AZ 4-3 in OT. They're 22-3-3 at home. There's no place like home! 2)The Pens are missing Malkin, Sheary, Hagelin and Rust. All the injuries sure are tough. They can't let that be an excuse. Next man up! 3)The Canuckleheads are ranked 27th in the league in goals per game at 2.3. The Pens are still #1 with 3.5 per game. Crank up the Goals, Goals, Goals! Let's Go Pens!!!!

Monday, February 13, 2017


     Valentine's Day is right around the corner. Tomorrow people will be exchanging cards and candy and flowers with their loved ones. Today, Mrs. Black-N-Gold celebrates the occasion Black-N-Gold-style. She'll tell you what player currently loves on our Favorite Black-N-Gold Teams and why. Roses are red, violets are blue. I bleed Black-N-Gold and so do you!


Actually, Mrs. Black-N-Gold is a little brokenhearted right now regarding her current Penguin heartthrob. C Evgeni Malkin is out with an lower-body injury. Mrs. Black-N-Gold has always been pro-Geno and this year is no different. #71 was among the league leaders in points when he went down with the injury. He is expected back shortly (fingers crossed). It's just not the same watching the Penguins game without Geno out there making milkshakes. He may not be on the NHL 100 list but Geno will always be #1 in Mrs. Black-N-Gold's heart. 


Who does Mrs. Black-N-Gold love on the Pirates? That was a tough one considering the Bucs traded away Homeboy Neil Walker a few seasons ago. She's going to go with a nice, hot cup of El Coffee, newly minted LF Gregory Polanco. If #25 can master the complexities of PNC Park's expansive left field as well as the dread Left Field Notch, he could be breaking the hearts of batters across the NL. He stepped up to the plate last season and got off to a torrid start, although he did cool down amidst nagging injuries in the 2nd half. This will be his 3rd full season in the bigs and he's poised to take a big step forward. He can have an MVP-caliber year while also contending for a Gold Glove. That's why Mrs Black-N-Gold is giving Polanco all the love. 


This Steeler won Mrs Black-N-Gold's heart by making his first (of many) Pro Bowl this year. Yes, Mrs. Black-N-Gold's heart belongs to ILB Ryan Shazier. #50 proved why he the Steelers made him a #1 pick in 2014. Unfortunately, he was still bitten by the injury bug this season but when he was on the field, he was on. With 3.5 sacks, 55 tackles, 3 forced fumbles and 3 INTS, if Shazier can stay healthy, the sky is the limit and the NFL will need to fear Shazier. 

It's like that great American songstress Joan Jett once said: I love Black-N-Gold!

Saturday, February 11, 2017


     Michael, Michael, motorcycle; it's a great day for hockey! Our Pittsburgh Penguins continue their road show tonight when they faceoff against the Arizona Coyotes. These are your keys for tonight's game. 1)The Pens got back in the win column with Thursday night's 4-1 victory in Colorado. It was a messy win, though. The Pens couldn't keep control of the puck as they kept turning it over. Clean it up and clean house! 2)C Sidney Crosby was kept off the scoresheet to start this road trip. The Captain still sits a 998 career points. Slap me silly twice! 3)The Coyotes are quite the bottom-feeders. They rank 29th in goals per game at 2.2, #29 in goals against with a 3.2 average. They have the 25th ranked power play at 15.9% and they're PK is 26th at 76.7%. Drop an anvil on the Coyotes. Crank up the Goals, Goals, Goals! Let's Go Pens!!!!

Thursday, February 9, 2017


     Spent the last year, Rocky mountain way; it's a great day for hock-ey! Our Pittsburgh Penguins take their show on the road to Colorado to faceoff against the Avalanche. These are your keys for tonight's game. 1)The Pens look to get back in the win column following Tuesday night's 4-3 shootout loss to Calgary. Gimme a W! 2)The Avalanche are 30th in the league in goals against, giving up an average of 3.3 per game. That's good news for the Pens, who are #1 in the NHL in goals per game at 3.5. Rock the Goals, Goals, Goals! 3)Colorado's penalty kill is ranked 25th at 78.5%. The Pens have the 4th best power play at 22.%. Take advantage of the man-advantage. Man-up! Let's Go Pens!!!!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017


     Stop the presses! Stop the presses! It's been a little over a week and Mrs. Black-N-Gold is back to bring you the newest edition of The Black-N-Gold News. She's got all the information that's sweeping Black-N-Gold Nation with updates on our Pittsburgh Penguins, Pirates and Steelers.

                                          THE BLACK-N-GOLD NEWS


It's been an up-and-down week for our Pens, just like it was for F Carter Rowney. First, he was sent back to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton while the NHL took a break for All-Star weekend. Once the break was over, Rowney was recalled from the Baby Pens.

Speaking of All-Star weekend, congrats to all the former Pens that were honored on the NHL's 100 list of greatest players, to help celebrate the NHL's 100th anniversary. And congrats to C Sidney Crosby for also making the list. However, Mrs. Black-N-Gold has to say shame on the NHL for 6 weeks for omitting C Evgeni Malkin from the list. Like Mrs. Black-N-Gold said when the announcement was made "This is not my NHL 100".

Our Favorite Black-N-Gold Hockey Team returned from the break and returned to the win column when they knocked off Nashville 4-2. Unfortunately, the Pens did suffer a loss in the victory. F Conor Sheary is expected to miss 4-6 weeks with an upper-body injury. Get well soon, Sheary!

The Pens blew a 2-goal lead, twice, on Friday night but hung on to clip Columbus 4-3 in OT. The next night, the Pens stopped St Louie with a 4-1 win. F Carl Hagelin left the game with an upper body injury. It was announced that he is in concussion protocol with no time table for his return. Get well soon, Hags!

Last night, the Pens went to a shootout with the Flames and fell by a score of 3-2. Thursday night their on the road in Colorado to faceoff with the Avalanche. Sid has 998 career points and should surely hit 1000 on this road trip. Slap me silly!  Let's Go Pens!!!!


First of all, well wishes to former Pirates UTL Sean Rodriguez and his family as they recover from a car accident that was suffered in Miami last week. Prayers for SRod and his family!

As spring training (finally) fast approaches, it was announced that 1B Josh Bell has undergone surgery on his left knee. Bell is expected to miss 2-4 weeks. Get well, Bell!

Our Favorite Black-N-Gold Baseball Team got some news regarding 3B Jung Ho Kang's legal status (sort of). Kang has been officially charged and fined in South Korea following his December DUI. Kang could face a trail as well as jail time for the charges. Also, Kang is expected to enter a rehab program following a review with MLB's Treatment Board.

Now for some, actual, baseball news. Pirates OF Starling Marte recently dropped the ball by prematurely announcing his move to CF this season. Coming on the heals of that announcement was Manager Clint Hurdle's official declaration that Marte is indeed on the move. The Pirates outfield alignment is now expected to be Gregory Polanco in LF, Marte in CF and Andrew McCutchen in RF. Still The Outfield of Dreams!

Meanwhile, the Pirates celebrated Truck Day on Monday. This is the day that everything was loaded onto the 18-wheeler and pulled out of PNC Park to get rolling to Bradenton. Don't forget, pitchers & catchers report on 2/14 with position players set to arrive on 2/17. Let's Go Bucs!!!!!


Our Steelers season may be over but that hasn't stopped them from making headlines. Our Favorite Black-N-Gold signed FB Rosevelt Nix and WR Cobi Hamilton to 1 year deals. 

The NFL announced that it's investigating the Steelers handling (or mishandling) of RB Le'Veon Bell's groin injury. This situation may cost the Steelers a fine and/or draft pick when the investigation is complete. 

Some former Steelers were recently hired into the coaching ranks. Hall of Fame LB Kevin Green was hired by the Jets to coach outside linebackers. Former QB Byron Lefwich has been hired by Arizona as QB coach. 

WR Martavis Bryant has applied for reinstatement following his 1 year suspension for violating the league's drug policy.

It was revealed that WR Sammie Coates had surgery to repair not 1, but 2 broken fingers. Or his hand. It depends on who is telling this story. LBell is considering core surgery for his injured (or non-injured) groin. 

The Steelers inked some more players to 1 year contracts. LS Greg Warren and K Chris Boswell will return next year. 

Former Steelers G Alan Faneca did make the final cut for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Better luck next year!

And the Steelers released CB Justin Gilbert. They acquired the former Browns 1st round pick early on for a 2018 draft pick. Didn't we see the same thing last year with CB Brandon Boykin? Hope the Steelers have some extra picks lying around considering they may lose one this year and next. Let's Go Steelers!!!!!!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017


     Great balls of fire,  it's a hockey night in Pittsburgh! Our Pittsburgh Penguins return to home ice tonight to faceoff against the Calgary Flames at PPG Paints Arena. These are your keys for tonight's game. 1)Thanks to Saturday night's 4-1 win in St Louie, the Pens have won 3 straight. We want more with win #4! 2)Mrs. Black-N-Gold recalls a game in Pittsburgh last March which was she attended with Brother Black-N-Gold. The Pens played the Flames and it was a listless and lethargic loss for the home team. Even though Calgary is 27-25-3 with 57 points that is no reason to take this team lightly. Put out the Flames! 3)The Pens continue to be tops in the league in goals per game at 3.6 per game.  Fire up the Goals, Goals, Goals! Let's Go Pens!!!!

Monday, February 6, 2017


     Truckin', got my chips cashed in! Happy Truck Day! Our Pittsburgh Pirates take their show on the road, sort of, as the truck is packed and pulls out of Pittsburgh today to head to the sunny skies of FLA. To get you ready for spring training and the season ahead, Mrs. Black-N-Gold looks at 5 questions that need to be answered as the Pittsburgh Baseball Club makes a pitch for its 6th World Series Championship.

1)Can OF Andrew McCutchen & RH Gerrit Cole comeback?

Both players had down years last season, for different reasons. As Mrs. Black-N-Gold types these words, the Pirates just announced that Cutch will be moved from CF to RF this season to make up for his defensive liabilities. Cutch had the worst defensive season of any centerfielder in 2016. He also had his worst offensive season ever. Some think that may have been injury-related but Cutch was never on the disabled list and had no known ailments in-season. Others wonder if the soon-to-be 30 McCutchen may be just slowing down. Whatever the problems, Cutch was moved into the #2 slot in the batting order at the beginning of last season but clearly wasn't comfortable away from his customary #3 spot. Even when Manager Clint Hurdle acquiesced and bumped Cutch back to #3, #22 still couldn't get in the swing of things. On the plus side, it looked like Cutch started to come around towards the end of the season. Now, let's hope he embraces the move the right better than he did the move up in the batting order.

Meanwhile, Cole had another injury-filled season to add to his resume. A stint on the DL and a shutdown at the end of the year for a sore arm don't typically help your starting staff, especially when it's from the pitcher that was drafted to eventually wear the mantel of "Ace". But face it, aside from Cole's All-Star, 19-win season of a few years back, Cole hasn't really exhibited many "ace"like qualities. As a former #1 overall pick, it's time for Cole to put the pitching staff on his back and become "The Man".

2)What's up with 3B Jung Ho Kang?

It was announced over the weekend that 3B Jung Ho Kang was officially charged with is 3rd DUI in his native South Korea following his December arrest when he hit a guard rail, fled the scene and tried to claim that his friend was driving. Kang is now expected to go to trial over the charges. In a corresponding move, Kang has decided to enter a rehab program based on the findings of MLB's Treatment Board. Kang may still face legal and disciplinary action from the authorities as well as MLB and the Pirates for the alleged sexual assault that stems from an incident in Chicago last June. Definitely, Kang needs to get his life and his affairs in order. In the meantime, the Pirates need to figure out what they'll do on the field if he's not available.

The Bucs have David Freese, who filled in for Kang for injury-related reasons, last season. Freese proved he still has the glove for the hot corner. And he's also shown defensive acumen across the diamond at 1B. However, as the season wore on, it appeared that Freese was getting more and more exposed as an offensive liability. The 30-something Freese is best when he's not an everyday player. Leaving him in the lineup could leave a hole in the batting order that the Buccos can ill-afford to have. How will the Bucs replace Kang's power? In limited action last year, Kang still cracked 21 homers.

3)Who will be the #4 & #5 starters in the rotation?

Remember how Pirates GM Neal Huntington placed the blame on himself for not giving the Bucs a competitive starting rotation last year? Well, guess what? It looks like maybe NH has done it again. Give him credit for bringing back RH Ivan Nova under a team-friendly deal in the offseason, but Huntington has done little else to help the staff. So far, the rotation looks like this: 1)Cole 2)RH Jameson Taillon 3)Nova 4)TBA 5)TBA. The Pirates have options but most of them are, again, Triple A pitchers who may not be ready for the show. RH Tyler Glasnow is still high on prospect lists for 2017 but needs to get his control (or lack thereof) under control. RH Chad Kuhl had some good moments in his audition last year, but it's a small sample size. LH Steven Brault and RH Trevor Williams may need some more seasoning at Indy. RH Drew Hutchison is all but forgotten considering the Bucs insisted he was so integral in the Liriano deadline deal. /It looks like NH needs to do some more dumpster diving, to at least provide some depth, and, again this year, keep his fingers crossed.

4)Got bench?

The Pirates won't have UTL Sean Rodriguez to rely on this year. Nor will they have OF Matt Joyce's lefty bat off the bench. The Bucs are hoping UTL Adam Frazier can turn into the next SRod. The problem is, Frazier doesn't provide as much defense as the recently departed Rodriguez. INF Alen Hanson is also expected to supply some flexibility off the bench. But with Joyce now in Oakland, who can provide a blast off the bench? And who is the 4th outfielder? Would it be Josh Bell, who is also expected to see significant playing time at 1B? The Bucs may be trying to find similar deals to the ones they made with Freese and Joyce during spring training last year, to jump start spring training this year. 

5)Can LH Tony Watson close?

Watson did not always impress when called upon to close following Mark Melancon's trade at last year's deadline. It was always assumed that Watson would be the de-facto closer when Melancon's days in Pittsburgh were done. Whether Watson can get the job done in a full season remains to be seen. And as he enters into his final arbitration year, he may find his way out of town come the deadline.

There you have it. Some questions to get all of Black-N-Gold Nation talking as we look forward to another baseball season. As the Buccos get to Bradenton and spring training is in full swing, we may see some answers but we may have more questions, too. Keep on truckin' and keep on BUCN! Let's Go Bucs!!!!!

Sunday, February 5, 2017


     Here we go, Steel....oops! It seems like our Pittsburgh Steelers should be doing something important tonight but Mrs. Black-N-Gold can't remember what it is. Even though our Favorite Black-N-Gold Football Team didn't make it to The Big Game, can you believe Roger Godell still has them play it? You do play to win the game, after all. Mrs. Black-N-Gold hears it will be the New England Patriots versus the Atlanta Falcons. Through very scientific and analytic methods, she will attempt to give you her pick to win the Super Bowl.


New England-The Pats have a pretty impressive celebrity fan base. The have Oscar-winners Ben Afleck and Matt Damon, pants-dropping actor Mark Wahlberg (if you're too young to know this, Google it) and Brazilian super-model Gisele. Not sure why a model from Brazil would be a Patriots fan. It must have something to do with the fact that she sleeps with New England's QB. 

Atlanta-The Falcons boast a former POTUS as one of their fans, President Jimmy Carter. They also have a former heavyweight champion in Evander Holyfield. Don't forget World Series-winning Atlanta Brave Chipper Jones. And famed redneck comedian Jeff Foxworthy is also a fan.

Advantage-Because both fan bases have some pretty famous peeps, Mrs. Black-N-Gold will have to declare this one a tie.


New England-Some Patriots fans may have the following items on their menu for the game: New England clam chowder, Boston baked beans, Boston cream pie. They could wash it all down with some cold Sam Adams beer. 

Atlanta-At first, Mrs. Black-N-Gold struggled to come up with some Atl-based cuisine. Things took off once she went on Google (thanks to Sister Black-N-Gold that lives down south, too, for helping with this one!). A Falcons tailgate would consist of fried chicken, gravy & biscuits, grits and peach cobbler for dessert, followed by an ice cold Coca-Cola. 

Advantage-Yum! Both menus make Mrs. Black-N-Gold's mouth water but since shell fish doesn't always agree with her....advantage goes to Atlanta. 


New England-Whether your a fan of the Brady & Belichick Bunch, or not, some fine tv shows have been based in the Boston area. You've got award-winning fare such as '80s classics Cheers and St. Elsewhere. 

Atlanta-If you think back to the Carter administration, there was a (rightfully so) long-forgotten sitcom based in Hot 'Lanta called Carter Country. Mrs. Black-N-Gold also hears there is a show that's appropriately enough called Atlanta on FX. 

Advantage-Diane-Cheers has them all beat. Advantage goes to the Pats. 


New England-It seems like we always break out the old stand-bys when the Pats make the Super Bowl. You know the usual suspects, classics like Aerosmith, J. Geils Band, The Cars and a recent favorite, The Dropkick Murphys. 

Atlanta-The Atl seems more rap-based with stars such as Outkast, Ludacris, and Jermaine Dupri. If you count Athens, GA, which is about an hour and a hafl away, alternative rock pioneers REM and the B-52s got there starts there. 

Advantage-New England with the slight edge because Mrs. Black-N-Gold prefers her classic rock. 

So there you have it. Now Mrs. Black-N-Gold will make her pick for Super Bowl LI based on the above scientifically-culled information. And the winner is........Who cares, our Steelers aren't playing. Just wait till next year and go watch Puppy Bowl. Let's Go Steelers!!!!!!

Saturday, February 4, 2017


     Buy Sam a drink and get his dog one, too; it's a great day for hockey! Our Pittsburgh Penguins take their show on the road to St Louie tonight to battle the Blues. These are the keys for tonight's game. 1)Thanks to last night's nail-biting 4-3 victory in OT over Columbus, the Pens have won 2 straight. If it's 3, it's for me! 2)The Pens are 20-0-0 this season when leading after 2 periods. Close the kitchen! 3)G Marc-Andre Fleury is expected to start between the pipes tonight for the Pens. This will be a big game for the Pens as it's the 1st of 6 straight against Western Conference opponents. The West tends to play with more of a slow, plogging, kind-of-style as opposed to the Pens speed and finesse game. We need Flower Power and lots of lighting of the lamp. Break out the Goals, Goals, Goals! Let's Go Pens!!!!

Friday, February 3, 2017


     Slap me silly, it's a hockey night in Pittsburgh! Our Pittsburgh Penguins faceoff in a Metro division showdown tonight with the Columbus Blue Jackets at PPG Paints Arena. These are your keys for tonight's game. 1)The Pens got back in the win column following their first game back since the All-Star break, punishing the Predators on Tuesday 4-2. Now, against a Metro rival, is the time to stay in the win column. Columbus likes to crush the Pens with their plodding, slow, bullying style. As we all know, the Pens live in a house built on speed and skill. These 2 types of games are like oil and water, they do not mix. Set the tone early. They can't hit what they can't touch. Speed kills! 2)The best way to set the pace? Score early, score often, score BIG Goals, Goals, Goals! 3)Columbus carries with them the #1 power play in the league at 24.6%. The Pens are stinking up the joint on the penalty kill at 78.6% Tighten up that D. Kill 'em all!