Sports Columns

Mehno: Meadows a big hit so far for Pirates

PITTSBURGH — Austin Meadows has become an instantly popular Pirates player, and that makes sense. What’s not to like? He went 5-for-11 (.455) in his first three major league games. He hit a home run, stole a base, and it wasn’t his fault that the Pirates lost three of four at home to ...

Giger: Curve’s Tucker learns from recent slump

Cole Tucker knew it was up there, that ugly thing on the scoreboard when he went to the plate for his first at-bat Sunday afternoon. “Yeah, I knew,” the Curve shortstop said with a sly laugh. “It sucks when you’re not hitting your weight. But I did know.”?Tucker weighs 200 pounds. ...

Goodman Shaffer: Baseball looks to the future

Your favorite professional baseball player steps to the plate. The first pitch whizzes by, but the home plate umpire says nothing. From a speaker comes a voice or a sound indicating whether the pitch was a ball or strike, determined not by the ump, but by a computer. MLB has been floating ...

Hard to tell if Pirates are for real

PITTSBURGH — So how good are the Pirates? Just past the quarter pole of the season, they’re good enough to hang with the four-team cluster at or near the top of the standings in the National League Central. Yes, they’ve fattened up on bad teams. They’re a combined 14-3 against ...

Rudel: Knox ‘brought great glory’ to Juniata

When he became president of Juniata College in 2013, one of Jim Troha’s first acts was to hop on a plane to California to visit with Juniata’s favorite son. Troha sat on the back porch of Chuck Knox’s home in Anaheim, and the two smoked a cigar. “That,” Troha said the other day in ...

Mehno: Bet on it: Sports betting will be huge

PITTSBURGH — This is going to be huge. No, let’s revise that. Legalized sports betting is going to be bigger than huge. People love sports. They love to gamble. Put the two together, and there are going to be billions of dollars wagered on sports. It’s up to individual states to set ...

Goodman Shaffer: Springtime views and diamond dreams

Some general observations while celebrating that spring has finally sprung: High school sports head down the home stretch in furious fashion. It’s a crazy time of year, heading toward their playoffs and the end of school; but also the most fun — good weather and contests that matter. And ...

Mehno: McCutchen’s return goes smoothly

PITTSBURGH — Thanks, Cutch. That was the theme of Andrew McCutchen’s return to PNC Park Friday night, and the unofficial Cutch Night went off without a hitch. There were the requisite video tributes, extended standing ovations and a lopsided Pirates’ victory. McCutchen hit a double ...

After Agnes, water quality fishing got better in the Little Juniata River

Until the early 1970s, the Little Juniata River was little more than an industrial sewer, its flows an ugly brown color with an equally unappealing smell. In just over a decade, however, this long-suffering waterway transformed into one of the most popular trout streams in the Mid-Atlantic ...

Veteran Langer keeps priorities in line

Sixty-year old Bernard Langer shot a final round 2-under par 70 to win last week’s Insperity International held at Woodlands Country Club in Woodlands, Texas. It was the 37th Champions Tour victory for the German-born Langer, who has always been known as one of golf’s good guys. A ...

Lack of depth, urgency among Penguins’ woes

PITTSBURGH — It’s over. No Stanley Cup, no parade, no special T-shirts. The Penguins were bounced from the playoffs in the second round after two consecutive championship seasons. And, no, this is not similar to what happened in 1993, when the Penguins were eliminated by the New York ...

Listless Curve ripped into by manager

Michael Ryan ripped into his Curve club Monday night as much as any manager I can ever recall during the franchise’s 20 seasons. The Curve managed just one hit in a 2-0 loss to Bowie, in a game that lasted only 1 hour, 51 minutes, tying the record for the fastest nine-inning game in ...

Reflecting on special memories and milestones from my youth

My niece finished her college softball career this week, marking the milestone with a post on Facebook that said how much she’d miss the sport she had played for sixteen years. I thought I’d read that wrong ... she’s 21, but started playing organized athletics at the age of five. ...

Hayes leaves a giant legacy at Bellwood

BELLWOOD — When you’re 71 and have been a head football coach for 38 straight years, with a resume of more than 300 victories, and as you’ve recovered from the emotions of another season and some down time over the holidays and the calendar flips to spring, you inevitably look for a sign ...

Capitals’ Wilson earned his suspension

PITTSBURGH — Tom Wilson of the Washington Capitals still has one game remaining on his well-deserved suspension from the NHL. He earned it with a vicious hit that broke Zach Aston-Reese’s jaw. The video doesn’t lie. When Wilson aimed his shoulder at Aston-Reese’s head and collided ...

Pirates pay attention to pitch counts

PITTSBURGH — That hit down the third base line on Sunday probably saved Clint Hurdle from hundreds of hateful e-mails. The single by Paul DeJong came with two outs in the seventh inning and provided the St. Louis Cardinals with their first base runner of the game against the Pirates’ Nick ...

It’s time to ride bicycles

May is National Bike Month! It’s finally starting to feel like spring, and that means shedding some layers, breaking out the sunglasses and dusting off the bicycle. As cyclists trade their indoor trainers for outdoor trails and roads, we’re already seeing packs of cyclists enjoying the ...

Wait and see if you like Steelers’ draft

PITTSBURGH — The Steelers got rid of a problem, and the Pirates may have reacquired one. Here’s some commentary to go with the headlines: n The NFL holds its draft, and the Steelers make a trade. You want a letter grade on the Steelers’ draft? It’s W, which stands for wait and ...

Are Capitals due for one this time?

PITTSBURGH — They meet again. The Penguins open the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs in Washington on Thursday evening, starting what has become an almost annual series between the rivals. The only thing more predictable than Penguins-Capitals is the outcome. There ...

A Masters trip to remember

There are certain bucket-list sporting events that transcend mere athletics. They are spectacles, cultural sensations, feasts for the senses: events like the Super Bowl, the Kentucky Derby and the Masters. Carl Michael Jr., golf course superintendent at Down River Golf Club in Everett, made ...