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April 15, 2014

Greg Huston: Pirates pitching is porous and LeBron’s a phony

NEW CASTLE — •The Buccos got swept this past weekend in their own personal house of horrors, otherwise known as Miller Park in Milwaukee. The Pirates will hover around .500 this year mainly because they do have some stars in Marte, McCutchen and Alvarez, and they play the right way with grit. But the pitching is weaker than it was last year, and it needed to be the team’s strength for them to continue winning this year. When it fails, which it did this weekend, there’s just not enough offense to carry this team. Here’s hoping I’m wrong, but I doubt it.

•During the Pirates game the other night, a thought suddenly hit me as Clint Hurdle walked out to the mound — managers look ridiculous wearing the team uniform. The only reason it’s accepted is because we are used to it. Imagine if coaches in the NFL came out on the sidelines dressed in pads and a helmet, or if an NBA coach wore the team uniform on the bench — they’d look insane. Truthfully, at this point, if MLB managers changed what they wore, it wouldn’t look right since it’s so ingrained in our heads. And that’s even after I tried for a long time to think of a better option, but reached no conclusion. If you have an idea, email me and I’ll print the best solutions to this weird tradition. If you’re a purist, email me to tell let me know how big of an idiot I am for wanting to change it.

•Ironically, the one sport that I absolutely hate to watch on TV is hockey, but I do think that the coaches would look great in the team sweater behind the bench. A pair of nice slacks, team sweater and a ball cap would actually be a nice touch for the NHL, which is usually the definition of boredom. You can also email me to tell me I’m an idiot for thinking that, too.

•I’m not much of a NBA fan, but I do enjoy the playoffs and never miss the finals. Here’s hoping that Kevin Durant and the Thunder, or anybody else for that matter, can knock the Heat out this year. LeBron is a great player, admittedly, but I just find his entire persona to be phony. Is he a villain, a hero, a nice guy, a bad guy? No one can ever tell because he changes his personality every five minutes. Pick one and go with it so we can at least all hate or love the same guy.

•Nothing was more frustrating than watching Ray Allen hit that dagger three last year from the corner to sink the Spurs and eventually elevate the Heat to their second straight championship. I’ve always been a big fan of the Spurs and the way that Gregg Popovich runs the show out there in San Antonio. As a coach, there is no one better to look up to because “Pop” is smart, honest, classy and realistic, on top of being a four-time NBA champion. His quote from earlier this year about sometimes having nothing to say in the huddle during a timeout drew some surprise from the media and fans. But to anyone who’s ever coached, it rang true because sometimes the only answer is for the players to step up. Popovich understands that and is never afraid to just tell it like it is.

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