Sports Columns

Jr., NASCAR prepare for next chapter

NASCAR’s Monster Energy Series barrels toward the playoffs with just 10 races to go until the Championship Chase. But as each week flies by, we draw closer to the end of the era with Dale Earnhardt Jr as a full-time competitor. Earnhardt announced the decision in April, saying he was ...

It was time for Fleury, Pens to part ways

PITTSBURGH — That’s it. Marc-Andre Fleury plays for another team now. He was a wonderful guy, a very good goalie and a universally-liked teammate. He served the Penguins well through 13 seasons and leaves town as the busiest and winningest goalie in franchise history. He departs as a ...

Mickelson, caddie parting ways is surprising

In a blockbuster statement issued earlier this week, it was revealed that tour-favorite Phil Mickelson and longtime caddie Jim “Bones” Mackay were parting ways after a run that spanned more than 25 years. To many golf fans, the familiar, bag-toting Mackay had become more recognizable than ...

Home runs are back!

Aaron Judge revealed that he received an invitation to the All-Star Home Run Derby, then promptly went out and hit another home run. Cody Bellinger surely will get an invite, too, after becoming the first rookie to hit 10 home runs in 10 games. Two rookie sluggers on opposite coasts doing ...

Consider wisely before trading McCutchen

PITTSBURGH — The debate rages on about whether the Pirates should trade Andrew McCutchen. It’s all too early. McCutchen has finally been hitting at a hot clip. Maybe it’s a coincidence that he finally started hitting when he moved to the No. 6 spot in the batting order. Maybe not. The ...

McCutchen’s hot hand could leave Bucs in quandry

News, notes and observations from the Major League Baseball season as the month of June winds into its home stretch: The Pirates are facing an interesting dilemma concerning the face of their franchise, outfielder Andrew McCutchen. Since being moved from the third spot in the batting order ...

Community deserves to celebrate

Summertime in Martinsburg looks a lot like the movie “The Sand Lot,” set in 1962, when boys played baseball every night until the street lights came on. With tree-lined avenues, meticulously manicured lawns, and beautiful community pool, you could almost see Smalls, Squints, Bennie the ...

NHL nearby to help Pens enjoy the Cup

Commentary PITTSBURGH — Over the next several months, you’ll read a lot of stories about the Stanley Cup. The Penguins have possession of it, and it will be touring more than Metallica this summer. Every player gets a day with the Cup, and so do many staff members. A lot of the visits ...

Penguins riding high

PITTSBURGH—The Penguins are five-time Stanley Cup champions. If you’re of a certain age, that’s like hearing that Gomer Pyle is running the Marines. Five championships in 25 seasons is better than just about everybody else, and the Penguins are firmly established as one of the NHL’s ...

‘American Ninja Warrior’ creates community feel

With summer unofficially underway, I find myself looking forward to one of my guilty pleasures: “American Ninja Warrior.” The popular NBC show features a series of crazy obstacles, laid out in a sort of a modern-day medieval gauntlet, testing participants’ balance, strength, grip and ...

Some type of history awaits Pens

PITTSBURGH — The Penguins have three options tonight: make history, defer history for three more days or avoid history. They’re this close to wrapping up their second straight Stanley Cup championship, becoming the first team in almost 20 years to repeat. This playoff journey shows why ...

Goalie turns series tide for Nashville

PITTSBURGH — Now it’s a series. Some hockey thoughts as the Penguins and Nashville Predators have made the NHL season a best-of-3: n As bad as Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne was in the first two games, he was that good in the next two games. Yes, the Penguins are running on fumes and ...

Special Olympics creates a unique community

Every year, I have the distinct honor and privilege of emceeing the opening ceremonies of the Special Olympics Pennsylvania Summer Games at Penn State. Each year, I am touched by the commitment of a huge coalition of volunteers who plan every detail of the three days of activities, including ...

Star treatment not happening in hockey

PITTSBURGH — One of the constants of the Penguins’ run through the playoffs has been non-stop complaining about NHL officiating. This continues a tradition that first started when Stanley was just a sippy cup. There have been some egregious miscalls, as there always are. How did Ottawa ...

Burgi’s returns to fill par 3 void it left

It’s great to see an “old friend” come back to life. Burgi’s Back Nine (formally Greenwood Golf) reopened last month after being closed for business — and becoming somewhat overgrown — during the course of last year. It’s nice to see that Burgmeier ownership has committed to ...

Pittsburgh should feel fortunate

Commentary PITTSBURGH — If you’re going to learn a lesson, it’s always good to turn a profit while doing it. That’s exactly what happened to the Pittsburgh Penguins in Monday’s Stanley Cup Final opener against Nashville. They played poorly for long stretches, and didn’t have an ...

Pirates banking on Newman to hit

The Pirates have an interesting decision to make with shortstop Jordy Mercer, and it’s not making matters easy for them that the Curve’s Kevin Newman is having a down year so far at the plate. Newman is the Bucs’ shortstop of the future. A first-round draft pick in 2015, he can hit for ...

Mug shot will be lasting image in latest Woods setback

The arrest itself may be little more than an historical footnote as years go by, even if it was the event that finally buried any remaining mythology surrounding Tiger Woods. The picture will live on a lot longer. There was Woods as we’ve never seen him, his sad eyes drooping as he stares ...

Changing seasons and bringing new chapters

Some general observations while witnessing many end-of-the-school-year-summer’s-here festivities: Graduation season is upon us: a time for turning pages on new chapters, with traditions and tears, ceremonies and celebrations. For high school seniors, it means looking forward to the next ...

Penguins nearing end of long grind

PITTSBURGH — June arrives this week, and an NHL season that started with September training camps is still at least four games away from ending. To say it’s a grind would be inadequate. This has become an endurance contest, as it often does. If Pittsburgh wins, this won’t be the best ...