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Pens’ loss may help teach lesson

May 5, 2013
By John Mehno (johnmehnocolumn@gmail.com) , The Altoona Mirror

PITTSBURGH - We'll find out today if the Pittsburgh Penguins' Game 2 loss was a bump in the road or the beginning of another first-round heartbreak.

The vote here is for teaching moment. The Penguins clearly have superior talent, but if talent isn't backed with effort and attention to detail, things can get off the tracks. Remember that the Penguins lost two home games to Buffalo down the stretch when they were beating everyone else.

The downcast mood in the locker room Friday suggested the Penguins knew exactly what went wrong and were committed to fixing it.

If it was merely an interruption, it wasn't all bad. It guarantees a home-ice Game Five on Thursday, which will pump a few million dollars into the team treasury.

Cyber clutter

Twitter is a phenomenon that can be useful for dispensing information instantly. It can also be an incredibly vapid waste of time.

Unfortunately, the ratio seems to be tilting about 98-2 in favor of the latter.

For a prime example, check the freshly-launched "Twitter Tuesday" on Root Sports' Pirates broadcasts. Root regularly shifts back to the studio and its Twitter team of Katie O'Malley and Kent Tekulve. O'Malley is a promising young talent probably best known for her high-decibel work during fan participation segments at Penguins games.

Tekulve is a 66-year-old former pitcher with no apparent connection to social media. When they sit together, the impression is, "Oh, that nice young lady brought her grandfather to work."

The odd coupling aside, it's the lack of substance that's painful. When the Pirates' new catcher threw out a would-be base stealer, we had to hear from a Tweeter who said, "Russell Martin you are the man." That could have been a time to make the point that the Pirates have improved their woeful defense against the running game and why that's happened.

Are the pitchers more conscious of holding runners? Does Martin have an exceptionally quick release? Are opponents putting themselves at a disadvantage by running on fastball counts? We don't know. All we know is that some anonymous guy with quick thumbs thinks Martin is the man.

Later when the Pirates hit back-to-back home runs, a Tweet said, "Whoo." Because who knew that a Pirates fan would be pleased with consecutive home runs by the Pirates?

The Tweets are unnecessary, and the interruptions ultimately do the viewer a disservice. Instead of information, Root delivers mindless clutter.

A good question for the post-game "Ask Teke" segment would be, "Why does Root insult our intelligence with Twitter Tuesday?"

Mehno can be reached at johnmehnocolumn@gmail.com

 
 

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