Steelers fans should aim for 10-6

PITTSBURGH — The Steelers begin their 2018 adventure today in Cleveland, playing the Browns at 1 o’clock.

The regular season will wind up in 17 weeks with a home game against the Bengals and probably a 10-6 record.

There’s a lot of travel, and too many playoff-caliber opponents. The Steelers are the only team in the AFC North that has to play New England.

Run all the data through the always-reliable Commodore 64, and it spits out a projected record of 10-6. Not as good as last season, but perhaps good enough to take a division where the other quarterbacks are Joe Flacco and Andy Dalton.

There’s no telling when (or if) the Le’Veon Bell drama ends, so that throws a wrench into any prognostication. Contrary to what every fan in the street interview subject said last week, the Steelers do need him. They know it, too. They don’t proffer contracts worth $14.5 million for one season out of benevolence.

The defense still looks leaky, and it says here the Steelers will regret not making a more dedicated effort to fix some of the flaws in the offseason.

Add it all up, and it comes out 10-6.

Family feud

The Detroit Tigers will finish this season without their TV announcers, Mario Impemba and Rod Allen. They’ve been benched after they had a physical confrontation last week.

Impemba is 55, and Allen is 58. They’re both old enough to know you don’t blow a six-figure income on a petty argument that needlessly turns into a fight. But reports suggest this has been brewing for a long time.

It happened on the road, and the Tigers sent them home on different flights. When they were called on the carpet, the meetings were handled separately.

No announcement has been made about what happens beyond this season, but it won’t be a surprise if they’re both fired. Ballclubs present enough problems without worrying about whether an announcer has his partner in a chokehold, as was alleged in this case. Allen, a former major league player, was alleged to be the one doing the choking.

Given the length of the season and the proximity, it’s a wonder there aren’t homicides among announcers.

Two old-time Cleveland Indians announcers, Jimmy Dudley and Bob Neal, never spoke to each other off the air. More recently, Harry Caray and Milo Hamilton had a clash of massive egos in the Chicago Cubs’ booth that was only resolved when Hamilton fled to a job in Houston.

When Caray died, Hamilton couldn’t bring himself to say anything kind about him. Off the air, the acerbic Hamilton always referred to his partner as, “Canary.”

Oddly enough given his healthy self-esteem, Pirates legend Bob Prince got along famously with most of his partners. He and Jim “Possum” Woods enjoyed each other’s company on and off the air. Prince and Nellie King worked together smoothly after an initial off-air blow-up.

Vin Scully insisted on working solo on Dodgers TV, which headed off potential trouble. The legendary Jack Buck once spotted partner Mike Shannon in the Three Rivers Stadium press room and mumbled, “Mr. Wonderful. Knows everything, says nothing.”

Once a visitor to the Veterans Stadium press dining room spotted the four Phillies announcers, all sitting alone at different tables.

Sometimes it’s the smallest things that can cause problems. The fight in Detroit supposedly started over a chair.

It’s an awfully long season, and familiarity really does breed contempt.

Sweet deal

Boyer Candy rescues the iconic Clark bar? That’s a save worthy of Felipe Vazquez.

Mehno can be reached at: johnmehnocolumn@gmail.com

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