Hines Ward Roasted, Pens Win, McCutchen Steals a Victory. Damn, It Was a Great Day
By Tom Smith
4:00am: My alarm blares into my brain. It’s time to get moving. It’s a big day. I try to think of how I am going to make all of this happen today.
4:10am: Alarm sounds again. I guess I thought too long about it. Wife drops an elbow, well as much elbow as a 102 pound woman can drop.
4:35am: Out the garage door, and headed to our nations capital.
5:55am: I read on Deadspin that the Milledgeville sorority girl was wearing a DTF nametag? Why didn’t the DA mention this?
7:00am: A bunch of work related items occur all morning long. I am having a fantastic day. Making some money, getting some deals closed. Life is fantastic.
11:48am: Then as I am walking to a lunch appointment, I was stopped in my tracks. I clicked this picture. At the Newseum in DC, they have the front pages of newspapers from cities all over our country.
Ahhh, the Big Poppa of all baseball cards. The grand poohba if you will. As I snapped the picture, a Mom next to me scolds her child for wasting a picture on the same cover I just took a picture of five seconds ago. Should I tell her that it is a digital cameraa? No, I am nearly late for lunch as it is.
2:oopm: More work stuff. More fantastic news, but that would bore you.
3:25pm: A buddy sends me the link to the Media Lynching of Ben Roethlisberger. Very well written. Off to Pittsburgh.
6:25pm: Receive a frantic call from a friend who is at the Mellon Arena will call window. He paid for four tickets, two were in his envelope. He feels pissed. I feel awful. Is it an omen? I begin driving with my knee as I am now converted to full problem resolution mode.
6:27pm: Heh…by the way, none of the traffic lights are working on Route 51 in Brentwood. Maybe someone should check that out.
6:45pm: Penguins crisis is averted. Four happy people head into the Arena. I rip some rubber and over to the Hilton. It is the 12th Annual Mel Blount All-Star Celebrity Roast of Hines Ward.
6:47pm: As I listen to the Pirates pregame, I hear that the Reds are overcome with the flu. Such a shame, such a shame.
6:58pm: Absolutely no traffic, pull right into the valet at The Hilton.
7:03pm: Place some bids on the silent auction items. Hmmmmm…..there are absolutely zero items of the two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback?
8ish: James Farrior ripped Hines for his radio show antics such as revealing that there isn’t a Santa Claus (sorry to my younger readers.) “Hines is always apologizing.” Farrior recalled the time Hines said High School football coaches are just a bunch of gym teachers. “And of course the next day, Hines was apologizing to all the coaches in Western Pennsylvania.” The crowd erupted with laughter. Farrior gained momentum and piled it when he tried to analyze why Hines cries so much. It was great stuff. I won’t give all the good ones away as I value my life and don’t think Mel Blount would want me to ruin the upcoming DVD for you.
Jerome Bettis did his best to steal the show.
Bus reflected on when Hines was a rookie third round pick. “I didn’t want to teach this kid too much, I thought he would be one and done.” Bettis built momentum throughout his twenty plus minutes. I won’t put the best stuff in here, but here are some tidbits.
“I used to love when Hines would trip at the one yard line–I was the beneficiary of many one yard touchdown runs thanks to Hines. ”
“Hines always gets himself in trouble with that pretty smile. He called me after he made comments all the time…(Hines voice) ‘Heh, JB do you think I want to far talking about Ben?’ By the way, it was the first time all night the ‘B’ word was said.
Bettis closed with reflection on his Super Bowl victory: “Maybe if Hines would cry for me one more time, I would come back to the Steelers.”
Jeff Reed doesn’t do a great job, but does stick to the three minute time limit. He is trying hard to stick to the rules these days.
Mike Tomlin has one good joke–”Hines, you should have all the receiving records, you played with all of the Steelers’ great receivers! Where was Louis Lipps locker Hines?” Tomlin then loses focus and turns it into a Hines tribute. (Nobody minded.)
930ish: When my phone refreshes to show the Pens with a 2-1 lead, I scream “Yes!” Confused looks are thrown my way by the tuxedoed crowd. I do my best to whisper Pens scored. Not many people in my section seemed to care.
10ish: Lynn Swann flashes a power point that says–‘ESPN Smile Report.’ It has Swann with 75% of the vote to just 20% for Hines, and 5% for Franco Harris. People laugh. Swann then announces the Penguins score, but doesn’t know who is winning. He finds out quickly, then announces the Pens won. People cheer. Ohhhhhhh, now it’s cool to cheer. I see. I stare at the people with a confused look.
10ish: I secure my auction items. Jump back in the truck, turn on the ball game, 3-0 Buccos. I scream. “Yes!” Nobody stares at me. I scream it about five more times. But then the dreaded 8th inning curse returns. Walk, walk, walk, walk,……I scream bad words.
11ish: The 9th inning curse returns and before I get out of the Liberty Tubes it is 3-3 headed to the bottom of the ninth. The Pirates quickly get two outs and then Andrew McCutchen singles. He steals second. HUGE play. My truck windows are down and I ask myself, why didn’t you just go to the Pirate game? Dumbass. Who cares if you have a tux on, people were screaming at PNC. Especially when about a minute later, Lastings Milledge delivers a 3-2 pitch into center field to walk the Bucs off.
It was a great day to be alive.