Some recent news items in sports worthy of comment while suggesting the Curve prod part-owner Mario Lemieux into sending a couple of Penguins over to throw out a first pitch:
ITEM: JoePa pushing for in-house successor.
Cory Giger's report Sunday that Joe Paterno has been telling recruits he expects his successor to come from the current staff exploded nationally, splashing the Mirror on ESPN and driving bulk traffic to altoonamirror.com.
The information was timely in that it was gathered at the Big 33 game and comes as Paterno approaches the final season of his contract.
Paterno, though, has been outlining this part of his exit plan for some time, saying that's how Penn State handled the last two football transitions - Rip Engle's in 1950 and Paterno's in 1966.
In each case, all the assistants were retained, and one coach could be hired. That was Paterno in '50 and Bob Phillips in '66.
This situation is a bit different. When Paterno goes, it's likely Galen Hall and Dick Anderson, both at or near retirement age, will go with him.
Plus the job is much bigger now, and a new coach - from inside or outside the staff - should have the option of keeping and hiring whomever he chooses.
Basketball coaches Ed DeChellis and Coquese Washington were afforded that opportunity, and we all know Penn State basketball is a mere blip on the blue-and-white radar screen compared with football.
Plus there's this small matter: Will it even be JoePa's call?
ITEM: B-A basketball in limbo.
What a mess this has become.
First, Bellwood-Antis votes to open the basketball job with plans to oust Tim Keech, who had been successful.
Then it encourages Tom Otto to apply but, with board president David Worthing on vacation, it doesn't get enough votes to decide as the board is deadlocked at 4-4.
Now Bellwood is taking applications again.
Otto says he's no longer interested, unless, he says, the board has no other candidates.
I don't know much Keech yelled behind the scenes, but he coached in the Altoona Mirror Classic, and we found him to be very professional.
Stay tuned: Before this is over, the process will have embarrassed almost everyone involved.
ITEM: Jim Ellis dies.
The Ellis family has made significant a contribution to many fronts - Bishop Guilfoyle and Altoona Area High School, Penn State Altoona, the political arena and the Altoona Teener League.
For 42-year-old Jim Ellis to die from cancer after being stricken just four months ago is one of the real tragedies in this sports community's history.
I didn't have many conversations with Jim, but every one left me with a profound feeling of respect and admiration for someone who was a great asset to every program he ever graced.
Rudel can be reached at 946-7527 or firstname.lastname@example.org.