So Mick and The Boys are going to invade the North Shore this weekend, blowing into town on their Zip Code Tour and — even at their advanced age — ready to rock Heinz Field.
That said, when The Rolling Stones come to town, there’s always that feeling that this could be the final opportunity you get to see them. It also provides the perfect opportunity to tie the band into some current sports storylines happening in our city.
Miss You — Isn’t that the song we all thought we’d be singing here in Pittsburgh about Russell Martin? Hasn’t happened that way though, huh? As Martin fetched that huge pay day in Toronto (and who could blame him) the catching tandem of Francisco Cervelli and Chris Stewart haven’t just performed admirably, but well above any expectations this season. Headed into the final game against the White Sox on Thursday night, in which the Pirates were looking for their eighth consecutive victory, Cervelli had a .316 batting average and Stewart was at .290. More important, however, is the way those two have been handling the pitching staff that has been astonishing as of late. Miss You, Russell Martin? Not exactly.
Waiting On A Friend — What’s happening with Ron Burkle and Mario Lemieux and their exploration of the sale — in whole or part — of their shares of the Pittsburgh Penguins? Seems that things have gotten awful quiet as the franchise, it was reported a few weeks ago, is on the market and getting some pointers from Morgan Stanley as to what to do. To me, this one is simple; Burkle and Lemieux are, quite honestly, waiting on a friend with a bushel load of money to come in and take what has become a burden off their hands. Lemieux, especially, has recouped all the money he was owed by the franchise — and then a lot more — and it is high time to get out or at least diminish his role as a primary owner. I have no inside information on any of this, but something tells me there will be major movement on this front very, very soon.
Time Is On My Side — Doesn’t it feel like James Harrison has had time on his side for quite some time now with the Pittsburgh Steelers? Here is a guy who, at 37, puts his body through the rigors and clashes of season after season and has had seemingly innumerable players supposed to take his place. All that has happened is that Harrison rises to the top, again and again, past younger and what should be swifter and stronger linebackers. When we look back on his career — that’s if it ever ends — Harrison will end up being one of the greatest models of consistency, toughness and fortitude this great sports city has ever known. As training camp is fast approaching, it feels like any talk about Harrison taking a diminished role is nonsense. And once the games begin, he will do what he always does: Play better than guys who were supposed to take his spot.
Can’t You hear Me Knocking — Actually, we can hear Pat Narduzzi knocking. Now, I know that Pitt football is what it is right now. And it has been what it has been over the recent past, but I will say this: Narduzzi has added a sense of excitement that, frankly, I don’t know Paul Chryst was ever going to bring to it. It’s easy to say right now because every coach is undefeated before they so much as play a single game, but the general feel that I get from around town, and just from talking to football fans, is that Narduzzi has created a buzz not felt in the program in at least a few years. Will it amount to a better win/loss total? Who knows? But it definitely feels like Narduzzi is the type of guy not afraid to shake every tree in town to try to create buzz. Don’t think we could ever say the same for Chryst.
Street Fightin’ Man — What’s up with Paul Spadafora? I thought he was our Great White Hope? Does he even fight anymore? Is this guy done? It feels like every time I hear about him on the news it has nothing to do with boxing. Man, what could have been…
Colin Dunlap is a featured columnist at CBSPittsburgh.com. He can also be heard weekdays from 5:40 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Sports Radio 93-7 “The Fan.” You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out his bio here.