Sports Columns

Getting harder to defend Cutch

Commentary PITTSBURGH — Batting third for the Pirates ... Andrew McCutchen. But for how much longer? How long can manager Clint Hurdle continue to use a prime lineup spot on a player who is struggling to keep his batting average above .200? The Pirates are undoubtedly hoping for a ...

Brothers square off halfway around the world

Two brothers who come from 7,884 miles away in Taiwan will find themselves separated by one foot tonight playing minor league baseball on opposing teams in central Pennsylvania. Talk about a small world. Jin-De Jhang will be behind the plate at catcher tonight for the Curve, and probably in ...

PIAA meet celebrates best of state’s track and field

The best-of-the-best among Pennsylvania’s track and field stars will converge onto the campus of Shippensburg University this weekend to compete for the state’s ultimate prize: PIAA gold medals. The meet is a spectacle unto itself, with athletes, coaches, officials and fans bustling ...

Bickel’s Richards project comes to fruition with basketball courts

Commentary A celebration of basketball and a legacy came together Saturday morning. Galen Bickel realized his longstanding dream of establishing a pair of circular courts at the Eldorado Kiwanis complex, at the same time naming them for late local broadcaster Dick Richards. “I’m ...

Murray has always been Sullivan’s guy

PITTSBURGH — Penguins coach Mike Sullivan called his goaltender choice for Game 4 an incredibly difficult decision. Was it really? Sullivan believes in Matt Murray. He stuck with him in the playoffs last season long after Marc-Andre Fleury was available. He installed him as the No. 1 ...

NHL playoffs, unpredictability keep people interested

If you’re not a hockey fan — and we know there are a LOT of you out there — it might be a good time to reconsider. The NHL playoffs are the greatest show in sports at the moment. You certainly won’t miss anything by flipping away from the NBA. While the hoops postseason is ...

Steigerwald out as Pens’ broadcaster

PITTSBURGH — If Paul Steigerwald had any bitterness about losing his television play-by-play job for Penguins games, he worked it out in private. Root Sports announced on Tuesday that Steigerwald was out and Steve Mears will be the new TV voice of the team. At the same time, the Penguins ...

Sports celebrates Mom the right way

Commentary It was hard to miss if you’re a baseball fan this past Mother’s Day weekend: baseball’s best sporting plenty of pink in celebration of Mom. T-shirts peeked out under special uniforms with the Mom-inspired color scheme. Home teams in white, visitors in grey, all trimmed in ...

Hurdle challenged just putting lineup together

PITTSBURGH — There’s a TV cooking show that gives chefs an assortment of ingredients and challenges them to make a meal of the random mix. They might get chicken thighs, artichokes, peanut butter, bananas and bamboo shoots. The impossible task is to take those items and create a meal that ...

Potentially-lengthy tenure for Franklin just getting started

While we wait for the inevitable contract extension for James Franklin following a terrific 2016 season, one thing that’s interesting to start thinking about is how long he will remain Penn State’s coach. Ten more years? Fifteen? Longer? It may seem a bit presumptuous to throw out such ...

Daunting task awaits Penguins

Commentary PITTSBURGH — This has become a best-of-one series, the deciding game to be played tonight. Make sure your pizza order arrives by 7:30 because this will require your full attention. Despite having leads of 2-0 and 3-1 in the series against the Washington Capitals, the Penguins ...

Teamwork motivates generation

I spent some time recently with a group of high school students working on a community service project. They planned and executed a Glow Run/Walk to benefit their local Special Olympics. And something occurred to me while watching them collaborate, many members of the group involved in school ...

Fenway trouble could be alcohol related

Commentary PITTSBURGH — There was a problem last week in Fenway Park with someone yelling racial slurs at Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones. But maybe it’s part of a bigger problem, which is the over-consumption of alcohol at sports venues. Even though tickets are already ...

Barkley’s challenge: keep stock

Some random thoughts while wondering if we’ll hit 70 degrees again before June ... n The ink wasn’t dry from this year’s NFL draft before speculation immediately turned to the class of 2018 and, with it, where Penn State running back Saquon Barkley fits in. Based on all the projections, ...

Spring leagues participants rise

Spring soccer is in full swing on the club, classic and instructional levels. Most of the area soccer clubs have more teams and players registered this season than they have had at any time. Their have also been some changes in leadership in local soccer clubs. The Altoona Soccer Club, ...

NHL shows inconsistency with its calls

PITTSBURGH — Matt Niskanen will play for the Washington Capitals tonight, and he should probably be grateful for that. The NHL could have suspended him for the cross check that dealt Sidney Crosby a concussion in Game Three of their Stanley Cup series against the Penguins on ...

Teenager’s passion started as youngster

At first glance, Jared Turner of Bedford seems to be your typical teenager. The only child of Kevin and Jamie Turner, he celebrated his 15th birthday on Easter Sunday, and enjoys multiple sports in his spare time, including baseball and golf; but his greatest passion is bowling. “When he ...

Sports fans lose with ESPN moves

ESPN dropped the hammer on a bunch of its best sports journalists last week, and whether you realize it yet or not, fans are going to lose out in a big way because of it. We are going to lose out on some great reporting and insightful storytelling from experts who are on the ground, actually ...

Connor drafted because he can contribute

PITTSBURGH — Many decades ago the Steelers would have drafted a player from Pitt with the idea of appeasing the fans, getting some publicity and ultimately selling some tickets. Those days are long gone. Theirs is not an organization that leans on sentiment or panders heavily to ticket ...

‘Palming’ claim is Hoiberg grasping for straws

We pause in a postseason packed with great press-conference performances to award a gold star to Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg for his “get-off-my-lawn” rant against Celtics’ guard Isaiah Thomas. For starters, it’s so-o-o-o last century. Granted, there’s still a rule on the books ...