Sports Columns

Bucs, Curve to extend their protective netting

It takes baseball a long time to make changes, as we all know, but there finally will be a big and very welcome change coming to some local ballparks. The Pirates announced earlier this week that they will be extending the protective netting to the end of each dugout at PNC Park. The Curve ...

Message to new Pitt athletic director: Sell, sell, sell

Commentary PITTSBURGH — New Pitt athletic director Heather Lyke has a complex job, but a simple mission: Sell tickets. She will take on the challenge that has baffled so many of her predecessors. She needs to get people to fill Heinz Field for Pitt games the way they do for Steelers ...

PSU wrestling program exudes excellence

It’s been another wonderful week for Pennsylvania wrestling, as the Penn State Nittany Lions dominated the NCAA tournament, winning a sixth team title in seven years and an amazing five individual championships. The wrestling world knew Cael Sanderson would be a game-changer for the Penn ...

Candy Man not always a sweet guy

Commentary PITTSBURGH — Every year the Pirates invite players from their past to serve as guest instructors at spring training. It’s a great PR move. Fans enjoy seeing past pros like Bill Mazeroski and Bill Virdon in uniform again. The instructional aspect is sometimes dubious since a ...

Lawsuit against NFL should be interesting

PITTSBURGH — The phrase keeps recurring: “They handed them out like candy.” That’s what a lot of former NFL players have said about the way teams would distribute pain-killing medication. Prescription-strength pills were abundant and given out freely. Injections were available, ...

Giger: Can PSU pull off its master plan?

Ambition is a wonderful thing. To be the best, it takes courage to try new things, to take risks, to think big and never settle for the status quo. Thinking outside the box and trying something different are how you become great. If you can pull it off. Penn State is attempting to do ...

DeSanto-Lee match was roof-rattling bout for the ages

There were two championship finals bouts in the Class 2A and Class 3A state tournaments that had the crowd buzzing well after they ended, and one rattled the roof because of the crowd reaction. I thought nothing could beat the intensity, drama and crowd noise of the Class 2A 138-pound finals ...

Communities share in mat championships

It was a busy Saturday afternoon. Knowing that our satellite television provider does not offer the Pennsylvania Cable Network, we went to a local club to watch the PIAA wrestling finals. The lounge was buzzing with members competing in an annual shuffleboard tournament and there was hardly ...

Mehno: Pens wrong for handling of fight game

PITTSBURGH — It wasn’t a proud day for the Penguins when they brought Tom Sestito up from the minor leagues to serve as hired muscle in a potentially contentious game in Winnipeg last week. Sestito got into a fight with Chris Thorburn, then earned a four-game suspension from the NHL for ...

Chambers’ seat will be hot next season

Welcome to the glorious national holiday known as Selection Sunday, which unfortunately and sadly once again means nothing to any of our local Division I college basketball teams. As someone who loves the college game and watches hundreds of hours from around the country each season, here are ...

PSU Altoona poised to be playoff venue

Some random thoughts with the (March) madness about to begin: n This region is blessed with two outstanding facilities at Saint Francis and Mount Aloysius that are used for high school playoff games. Another could be added to the mix next year. Penn State Altoona’s Adler Athletic Complex ...

Flash can remain strong for the upcoming future

Commentary EMMITSBURG, Md. — Let’s get the easy stuff out of the way first: Rob Krimmel has done a fantastic job bringing Saint Francis basketball back to a level of prominence, and the program is in very good shape with a ton of young talent. Saint Francis was picked to finish ninth in ...

The world, a Penguin and a smaller ESPN crew

Commentary PITTSBURGH — Maybe something good will come from the World Baseball Classic after all. The Pirates’ entire starting outfield is participating in the international tournament, so that opens some playing time for prospects like Austin Meadows. They’re only exhibition games, ...

Giger: Red Flash, one win away from NCAAs, have made huge strides on road

Young people often are oblivious to the past, which can create some problems in the real world, especially when the youngsters repeat the same mistakes others made before them. In sports, though, being young and oblivious can have major benefits. Young athletes don’t worry about whatever ...

Goodman Shaffer: Technology opens sports world

I remember as a kid lying in bed late at night carefully tuning in the radio, hoping to catch a live baseball game somewhere on the AM dial. The later the hour in my family’s rural northeastern Pa. mountaintop home, the better the chance of getting a clear signal. Sometimes I’d listen to ...

Pfahler will be remembered for great state tourney

I was shocked and in disbelief on Thursday night when I saw a Facebook status that former Chestnut Ridge wrestler Gary Pfahler had died. It couldn’t be true, I thought. He was so young. In 2008, I had covered him as he shocked so many by beating Burrell’s returning state champion, ...

Cole needs to pitch like a No. 1 guy

Commentary PITTSBURGH — You can slice and dice the Pirates’ 2017 outlook countless ways, but it all comes down to this: they need a rebound season from Gerrit Cole. More than anything else, that will determine whether they recover from the 20-game decline they experienced last ...

Brown, Bell are secure, so fix the ‘D’

Commentary PITTSBURGH — Before they made Antonio Brown the highest paid player in the NFL, you have to believe the Steelers made some demands of their own. To sum it up simply, they probably made it clear they don’t want any more knuckleheaded behavior. No webcasts from the locker ...

Verdict still out NASCAR changes

Some racing observations from the Super Bowl of stock-car racing as the new NASCAR season roared into high gear at the Daytona 500. n It’s going to take a while for announcers and the racing world to feel like the “Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series” rolls off the tongue. It was the ...

Giger: Krimmel has Red Flash on rise by finding, luring more quality players

LORETTO — The Saint Francis men’s basketball program has almost always, even during its leanest years, had one or two really good players. The problem, though, is that there usually was a significant dropoff in the team’s talent after those one or two guys. The Red Flash lost a lot of ...