Time will only tell with Art II

Commentary

PITTSBURGH — Art Rooney II has been running the Steelers for a while now, so there’s no official change in leadership with the team.

The difference is he can no longer walk down the hall and tap into the knowledge his father accumulated over a lifetime in the game.

Dan Rooney’s passing makes the transition to the next generation official at the Steelers, and it could make a difference.

Just as Dan Rooney did some things differently than his father did, Art Rooney II will have his own ways as well.

Will the same patience with head coaches prevail? The Steelers last fired a head coach after the 1968 season. How hands on will Art II be with football operations? Every indication suggests that he mandated Bruce Arians’ ouster as offensive coordinator following the 2011 season.

Sure, Dan Rooney ordered Chuck Noll to make some changes in the coaching staff, but that came after the team had gone 5-11 in 1988, its worst record since Noll’s first team was 1-13 in 1969.

Arians was fired after a 12-4 season, and had a solid working relationship with Ben Roethlisberger, who opposed the move. What complicated matters further was the Steelers’ spinning Arians’ departure as a retirement, a ruse that was quickly exposed when he signed on with the Indianapolis Colts.

Was Art Rooney II, a lawyer by trade, behind that deception?

Art Rooney II is not a kid. He turns 65 this year. By contrast, his dad was just 36 when he made his first big decision and hired Noll as head coach in 1969.

Will the Steelers change with the change in leadership? Undoubtedly they will. The question is how much and in what ways?

Slow progress

The Pirates are taking it s-l-o-w with rookie pitcher Tyler Glasnow, which raises the question of whether he’d be better off in the minor leagues.

The answer to that is no. General manager Neal Huntington has said that Glasnow has nothing left to prove at the Class AAA level. That may sound odd given Glasnow’s struggles so far in the major leagues, but it’s fundamentally true.

Blowing away minor league hitters wouldn’t do Glasnow much good. He still has to get major league hitters out. Better that he does some on-the-job training here and now rather than repeating the success he’s already had in the minor leagues.

The Pirates had a choice between Glasnow and Trevor Williams for the fifth spot in the rotation. Here’s the issue: Two years from now, Trevor Williams will still be Trevor Williams, perhaps a competent major league pitcher. Glasnow has a chance to be a top of the rotation pitcher who leads a staff for years.

So you take that chance now. The Pirates’ patience can’t be unlimited. Maybe they give him until the All-Star break to show some major progress.

The potential reward in this case is worth the risk.

Signing off

Must stink to be Paul Steigerwald and Bob Errey these days.

They just spent nearly eight months with the Penguins, broadcasting the games on Root Sports. They’re done, now, though because NBC takes over the coverage through the rest of the playoffs.

Doing some work on the team’s radio network isn’t a possibility because those are separate entities.

If there’s anything good about it, viewers won’t be subjected to the silly intermission and post-game interviews that litter Root’s broadcasts.

Glove story

Say this about Starling Marte’s suspension and the subsequent open auditions in the outfield:

It’s eliminated the idea of a routine fly ball to right field.

His absence has further defensively weakened a team that’s already had too many problems making plays in the field.

Between the sputtering offense and the cringe-worthy defense, the pitchers may be ready sue for non-support by mid-season.

Mehno can be reached at johnmehnocolumn@gmail.com

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