I hope everyone is enjoying the first days of the new year because I surely am not.
New Years Day was very anticpated alot on my part and by many of my close family and friends. At 1 o’clock was the Gator Bowl featuring West Virginia vs Florida State.
And the dissapointment count begins:
My beloved Mountaineers fell to the Bobby Bowden and FSU. It was a highly emotional event as it was the legendary Bowden’s final game. However, WVU was outplayed and outcoached up and down as the ‘Noles won 33-21. It was embarrasing and disheartening as the game gave me little hope for next year.
Next up was another game of blue and gold pride. The undefeated and number 6 basketball team, the Mountaineers had a tough test. WVU traveled to Purdue where the Boilermakers are also undefeated and ranked 4th. West Virginia is slowly transforming into a basketball school. With the coaching fire Bob Huggins possesses fans are believing the sky is the limit for the Mountaineers. However Purdue cut those dreams a bit short with a 77-62 beatdown of West Virginia. If any team can bounce back from that big of a loss I do think it will be Huggins’ squad.
I do live in Youngstown, Ohio, the heart of Buckeye country. However I have never even remotely been close to cheering for Ohio State. It pains me to see everyone around me loving Ohio State like they do. It matches my love of WVU but I’m still the black sheep. Their Rose Bowl win over Oregon really hurt as it set off a state wide Scarlet and Gray celebration
The next dissapointments came on Sunday. I was excited for the Steelers-Dolphins came. My buddy Chris is a big ‘fins fan and this friendly rivalry would be fun to watch. The Steelers did come away with the win 30-24. But the game proved meaningless as the Steelers did not get the help they needed to make it to the playoffs. The worst part of the game was seeing WVU legend Pat White leave the field on a stretcher. It was great seeing White in the game but he never could get the ball rolling and was hit hard by Steeler Ike Taylor. It was reported he just suffered a concussion but White layed on the field motionless for at least 15 minutes.
It surely has been a rought three days in my sports world, but this weekend gave me hope for a much better month ahead. Because my friends it is baseball season!
As I hung my Cooperstown calendar, which has been a Christmas gift tradition my father has bestowed on me for years, I slowly crept out of the baseball doldrums an got into the baseball spirit. I love looking through these calendars which feature hall of fame players and honor different events. This year has months for Hanks Aaron, Red Shoendienst, George Clyde and my favorite moment the 1960’s World Series between the Pirates and Yankees.
Browsing through the upcomin dates I marked down a handful of important dates that are occuring in January.
The first being Jan. 26th. This Tuesday looks to be filled with fun in Morgantown. I will be back at school then and probably already swamped with work in the new semester. However, the Pirates are coming to down and couldn’t have got me more excited.
I’m pumped beyond belief because last year the Pirates bypassed Morgantown, but still managed to hit alot of areas in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virgnia in their annual caravan tour. My dad and little brother have gone every year when they stop back home in Youngstown. In Morgantown they are holding a luncheon in the afternoon sometime. Manager John Russell, Andrew McCutchen, Evan Meek and two of the broadcasters will be there. I’m hoping for a nice Q and A session along with autographs and some nice one on one casual time with the team.
The upcoming weekend following the 26th is one of my favorite times of the year and a seasonal tradition. Pirate fest is held in downtown Pittsburgh at the very large and beautiful David L. Lawrence convention center. It is a baseball celebration for a city whose mind is on hockey and football. It features many members of the team for autographs and fun games. It is a great opportunity to get promotional items that I missed during the year and get a look at the new clothing items for sale for the season. While it is held over the 3 day weekend and I would love to be there everyday, I want to try to be there early on Friday to get a jumpstart before the big weekend crowd comes in.
Following January comes February when pitchers and catchers report. And March is getting into the thick of Spring Training. And April, ah April comes Opening Day. April 5th will mark the return of baseball to Pittsburgh when the Pirates host the Dodgers. My oh my-I can’t wait!
wvgazette.com, msnsportsnet.com, si.com, dailydolphin.com, pirates.com