As a Pitt fan, I have no use for JoePa or Penn State. That said, it hurts to see the old Lion looking so frail, so mortal, so octogenarian.
My parents are about the same age as Coach Paterno. Neither one has quite the same "steam on the fastball" that they had even 10 years ago.
My dad in particular has battled health issues that have slowed him down and forced him to take it easy.
No more scaling a ladder to hang Christmas lights, no changing brake pads on his car. You know, the stuff a hands-on kind of guy would do without thinking, once upon a time.
On the flip side, my Godfather is in his 80s and remains a practicing and teaching physician at UPMC. He'll likely never retire. So I can understand the motivations of a guy like Coach Paterno. Why quit something that you love to do?
While I'd love to see the Nitters get shellacked every fall weekend, I would hate to see Joe Paterno leave his sport in the manner of Willie Mays or Steve Carlton - a feeble shell of his former self.
It wouldn't be right.
I want to remember Coach as the arch fiend Pitt fans like me made him out to be. The sanctimonious face of the Evil Empire. The Great Hypocrite. The bane of Pitt coaches from Dave Hart to Walt Harris. The man we love to hate.
Coach should exit with the dignity and respect he deserves. I don't want to see him make a fool of himself by hanging on too long. Coach has earned the right to set his own timetable.
Question is: Can he hear the ticking of the clock?
Can it really be Bolden?
Is Penn State freshman quarterback Robert Bolden really opening as many eyes as the web seems to indicate?
Some of the comments I've seen are from well respected sports types from a variety of cities. One Big Ten type went so far as to say he would not be surprised to see him as the starter when the season begins.
That's quite a statement considering the history of Coach Paterno and just how much he values past experience (including time in the system) and leadership ability/potential.
Dodger, Buc fan blue
No one ever mentions the Los Angeles Dodgers, better known as the Flatbush Bums, and the Pittsburgh Pirates in the same breath, or do they?
Let me get right to the issue.
The Dodgers and Pirates no longer garner any respect.
I was once a loyal fan of those who bled Dodger Blue but sold my "interest" in them sometime in the early 1990s.
The last time they won the World Series was in 1988. And they haven't even had a sniff at it since then. So I don't follow any one team any longer.
The old Brooklyn Dodgers were my favorites. I used to sit at the black and white TV and watch Happy Felton and the Knotthole Gang sponsored by Baby Ruth Candy.
The Dodgers were affectionately known as the Bums, and we loved them. The players were developed out of the farm system and were taught to be loyal, diehard Dodger Blue players. I started following the Dodgers back in 1945 and remember the players on those teams.
The team was owned by Branch Rickey and then by Walter O'Malley. And then Peter O'Malley became the last owner, and the organization started going down from there.
It is here I bring up the similarities between the Pirates and Dodgers.
Both have rotating leaderless ownerships, lousy GMs, underachieving managers and terrible scouting organizations.
The Dodgers used to be known for developing outstanding pitchers and hitters. Look at their pitching today. It isn't a strength.
The Pirates have a good bullpen, but the starters are lame. Hitting is average, and player development is in question.
But there is one non-similarity - the Dodgers have one of the top five payrolls in baseball and certainly in the top 10 in all of professional sports. They have the money and should be top contenders for the National League championship just about every year.
That is what is frustrating!
As for the Pirates, don't hold your breath as to when they will break out from those losing seasons. The key is solid pitching will always win over solid hitting.