John Mehno

Bucs’ Hurdle walking a fine line

PITTSBURGH — Clint Hurdle has gray hair, two artificial hips and a fondness for 1970s rock anthems like Grand Funk’s “We’re An American Band.” But he never seemed older than he did the other day when he invoked the unwritten “respect for the game” statute against the Chicago ...

Mehno: Path to Cup not easy for Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH — The 82-game, 185-day play-in round is finally over. The Stanley Cup playoffs begin tonight with the Pittsburgh Penguins facing the Philadelphia Flyers at PPG Paints Arena. Some thoughts on the match-up: n The Penguins swept the four games in the season series, but that ...

Tomlin knows what battles to fight

PITTSBURGH — You know how angry you get when the Pittsburgh Steelers have those silly pre-planned touchdown celebrations? Turns out Mike Tomlin shares your feelings. That must have come as a shock to those who figured that Tomlin was on board with the high-stepping, preening and booty ...

Trust Hurdle on no-hitter debates

PITTSBURGH — “But he had a no-hitter.” There was a lot of social media consternation Sunday afternoon when Pirates starter Trevor Williams was removed from his start in Detroit after six innings. Williams hadn’t allowed a hit. Clint Hurdle thought the pitch count (85) was more ...

Mehno: MLB teams at mercy of nature

PITTSBURGH — It’s a cruel April Fool joke that’s being played on the Pirates. They get extra time in Detroit. Two of their first three scheduled games had to be postponed because of weather, including the Thursday opener and Saturday’s matinee. So at 6:10 p.m. this evening — about ...

Capel hiring checks off many of Panthers’ boxes

PITTSBURGH — It took a while for Pitt to find a new basketball coach, but it looks like a solid hire for a program that needs a lot of help. Duke assistant Jeff Capel is expected to be introduced at a news conference today. Then he has to get busy —hire a staff, establish a recruiting ...

Pirates good? Just watch the pitchers

PITTSBURGH — You can slice and dice baseball statistics many ways, but this holds up as a basic truth: a team’s success will be determined in large part by the quality of its starting pitching. The Pirates enter the 2018 season with a lot of promise in their rotation, but not a lot of ...

Mehno: Another new league has promise

PITTSBURGH — We are one week and one day from the start of a new baseball season. That’s practically a holiday for hardcore baseball fans. People wax poetic about how the first pitch brings an official end to winter, never mind the snow you cleared from the sidewalk this morning. The ...

Mehno: Walker deserves share of blame

PITTSBURGH — Baseball players are funny. That’s not just by the “give him a hot foot” or “whap the star of the game with a shaving cream pie while he’s being interviewed on TV” definition of funny, either. Major league players get to the major leagues in part with a ...

Mehno: Walker victim of new MLB economics

PITTSBURGH — Some non-Tournament thoughts as you wrestle with your brackets: After an agonizing four and a half months on the free agent market, Neil Walker has a job. The former Pirate signed with the New York Yankees for one season and a deal that’s reported at a maximum of $4.5 ...

Tough part begins now for Pitt

PITTSBURGH — Heather Lyke’s first major decision as Pitt’s athletic director turned out to be easy. Kevin Stallings had to go. He was fired as basketball coach not long after his team concluded an unprecedented 0-19 season in the ACC. The ineptitude spoke for itself, but was there a ...

Report: Steelers, star are millions apart on deal

PITTSBURGH — Le’Veon Bell has an unconventional running style. He’s equally quirky when it comes to contract negotiations. The Steelers made it official on Tuesday when they again designated Bell as their franchise player. They retain the rights to keep him for $14.5 million, should ...

Pens’ trade might not be enough

PITTSBURGH — The NHL trading deadline has passed, so now we know what the Penguins will look like in the playoffs. What we don’t know is whether they can win the playoffs for a third straight season. General manager Jim Rutherford made his big deal well in advance of the deadline, ...

Pens, Bucs GMs help their teams

PITTSBURGH — The Pirates and Penguins both made trades to plug significant holes in their lineups. Jim Rutherford mercifully ended six months of talk show blather by landing a third center, while Neal Huntington called an end to open auditions for the Pirates’ left field vacancy. The ...

Freese appears to be on his way out

PITTSBURGH — Buster Olney, who reports for ESPN and knows his stuff, says the New York Yankees have an interest in David Freese. The Pirates might well have an interest in having Freese in pinstripes. Freese opened spring training with a calculated rant against the organization and ...

Frees extremely critical of Pirates manager

PITTSBURGH — It should have been easy to find manager Clint Hurdle at Pirates spring training camp on Friday. He was under the bus, right where David Freese threw him in an unexpected camp-opening rant. Freese unloaded on the Pirates over a number of topics. Some were valid, and some made ...

Mehno: Pitt hoops has some serious problems

PITTSBURGH — Pitt’s basketball program has fallen on hard times. That much is indisputable. The Panthers don’t win very much, and their home court is three-quarters empty for some games. The issue here is how can the university fix the program and make Pitt basketball a hot ticket ...

Mehno: Steelers shouldn’t pay Bell big bucks

PITTSBURGH — The Steelers seem to be heading toward a long-term contract agreement with Le’Veon Bell. It could cost them about $15 million per season for the services of one of the best running backs in the NFL. Here’s a better idea: Put the franchise player label on Bell for the 2018 ...

Mehno: Super Bowl provides lots of stories

PITTSBURGH — The football wasn’t always letter perfect, but the entertainment value of Super Bowl 52 was off the charts. Some small observations from the big game: n Who could have predicted a huge play would be a pass Tom Brady didn’t catch rather than one he threw? n Option pass ...

Mehno: It’s time for Chief Wahoo to go away

PITTSBURGH — Chief Wahoo is retiring. More accurately, Chief Wahoo is being retired. The Cleveland Indians announced they will eliminate the cartoon Chief from their uniform at the end of the upcoming season. The Chief has been a focal point for protests for years now. Native American ...