Mehno: The Madness heats up

PITTSBURGH – Two things you can count on seeing on TV this weekend: college basketball games and Katie McGinty for Governor commercials.

They’re both inescapable.

If you like basketball, this week has been a feast with conference tournaments. By actual count, 21 different games were available from noon to 2 a.m. on various channels on Saturday, including three different permutations of ESPN.

Obviously there’s overlap, so it wouldn’t be possible to watch them all, but there’s enough whistle tooting, sneaker squeaking and fan chanting to put a viewer in a fog that should last until the NCAA Tournament tips off.

That’s when things really get serious.

Now back to the political aspirations of Ms. McGinty: Does she have all the money in the world, or are TV stations offering a deal where you can buy a million commercials for $100?

She’s on even more often than Flo the insurance lady.

Quiet camp

Just two weeks of spring training left, and it’s been a quiet camp so far for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Maybe that’s to be expected. Only two of the eight starting positions has really been up for much competition – right field and first base.

Right field looks like a time share between Travis Snider and Jose Tabata until Gregory Polanco arrives to claim the spot.

Half of first base is settled – Gaby Sanchez will start against left-handers. The other part of the platoon hasn’t been established, the result of Andrew Lambo’s mediocre results so far.

It’s always a mistake to put too much emphasis on spring training stats, whether they’re good or bad. But Lambo needs to do more than he has to this point.

If he doesn’t, it won’t be a surprise to see the Pirates swing a deal for someone who might be squeezed off another team’s roster as the season approaches.

The other interesting decision is the fifth starting position. Edinson Volquez was signed for $5 million, but he hasn’t shown much to this point. The Pirates actually have some flexibility with that spot. The way the early part of the season shakes out, they don’t need a fifth starter until the middle of April.

That could give them time to put Volquez on the disabled list and maybe get in some minor league work.

Sad scene

Say it isn’t so: Yogi Berra was in a wheelchair at his wife’s funeral last week.

He’s almost 89 now, and his health has been fragile for the past few years. Still, you had the feeling there would always be a photo of Yogi from spring training, smiling and wearing his Yankees uniform at the batting cage.

Mehno can be reached at