sports

Essential Pittsburgh
7:14 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Changing Hearts and Minds with an Amazing Season of High School Basketball

In 1988, a team of juvenile delinquents in Western Pennsylvania achieved the unexpected title of regional basketball champions. The story is told in the book All the Way Down: Changing Hearts and Minds by Robert Burnett.

Burnett was both coach and principal of at the Frew Mill School he talked about the team’s story and the impact it had on everyone around them.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:43 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

The Pros and Cons of Unionizing College Athletics

Arian Foster is one of many people that believe student-athletes should be compensated.
Credit AJ Guel / Flickr

The National Collegiate Athletic Association, commonly referred to as the NCAA, has argued for decades that giving student-athletes anything more than an education would be wrong.

But many former athletes and the National Labor Relations Board say that scholarship football players are employees with the right to unionize.

United Steel Workers Union President Leo Gerard says he understands why the players want to form a union.

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Essential Pittsburgh
1:57 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Bracketology and the Rise of March Madness

Credit Matthew D. Britt / flickr

Workforce production will fall this month as employees around the U.S.become distracted by NCAA basketball. From filling out brackets to entering office pools, March Madness draws an audience more than any other sports tournament.

Pittsburgh Post Gazette Sports Writer Emeritus Bob Dvorchak says the event appeals to people that would not normally pay attention to basketball, or even sports in general.

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New to the 'Burgh
12:40 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Why Doesn't Pittsburgh Have an NBA Team?

Pittsburgh has had major league basketball teams before, such as the Pittsburgh Pipers, but they didn't work out in the long run.
Photo courtesy of the Heinz History Center Library and Archives

Sports teams enjoy an intense amount of popularity in Pittsburgh.

The Steelers hold more Super Bowl victories than any other franchise, the Penguins enjoy the highest TV ratings for any NHL team since 2000 and the Pirates are experiencing a surge in popularity following their first winning season in 21 years.

Even college teams like the Pitt Panthers or the Duquesne Dukes hold strong followings.

So why doesn’t Pittsburgh, with its avid sports fans, have a major league basketball team? And will we ever get one?

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Sports
4:38 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Carlow University Introduces Its First Men’s Basketball Team

The new Carlow University Celtics team will begin playing in fall 2014. Head coach is Tim Keefer (at lecturn).
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Getting into the excitement of March Madness, Carlow University has announced that starting in the fall of 2014, the once-all-girl’s school’s first men’s basketball team will take the court. The Carlow University Celtics will compete in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).

“This has been a few years in the making,” said Carlow University President Suzanne Mellon. “The original recommendation for a men’s basketball team originated from an athletics task force, a group comprised of students, faculty and staff that began meeting four years ago.”

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:13 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

5 Reasons Why People Should Go to MLB Spring Training

McKechnie Field is the spring training home of the Pittsburgh Pirates and is named for Bradenton, FL resident and baseball great, Bill McKechnie, who led the Pirates to a World Series title in 1925.
Credit Jamesb01 / Wikipedia Commons

This month the call of “play ball” will be heard in ballparks around the country.

Fans of the game who want an early look at the boys of summer may want to venture to Florida to participate in the annual spring training games for Major League Baseball.

Correspondent Elaine Labalme discussed the five benefits of traveling to these games.

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:50 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Former Atlanta Falcon Tim Green Weighs in on New NFL Penalty

Credit Laura Lilly

Former star linebacker for the Atlanta Falcons Tim Green discussed his latest baseball novel New Kid.

He also weighed in on the NFL's proposal to institute a 15-yard penalty for using racial slurs on the field, and how Missouri defensive end Michael Sam will be accepted after announcing he is gay.  

Essential Pittsburgh
9:16 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Watch As Pittsburghers, Including Our Own Paul Guggenheimer, Get a Handle on Curling

Essential Pittsburgh host, Paul Guggenheimer, gets a handle on how to get these stones to curl across the ice.
Credit Ryan Loew / 90.5WESA

Curling is growing to be one of the most watched sports at the Winter Olympics. Although it may be a little while before Team USA wins a medal, Pittsburgh has a growing curling culture.

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:08 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

How Michael Sam Became Bigger than the Olympics

Defensive end, Michael Sam, carries his souvenir (a rock from the rock 'M' at Memorial Stadium) after his final home game at the University of Missouri.
Credit Marcus Qwertyus / Wikipedia Commons

This weekend was a very exciting weekend in the sports world, with the opening of the Olympics. But, something off the field and closer to home was the story that stole all the headlines.

Michael Sam, a graduating defensive end from the University of Missouri publicly announced Sunday that he is gay.

Sam was the Co-SEC Defensive Player of the Year this past season and played a key part to a surprisingly successful Missouri football team. With this announcement two weeks before the 2014 NFL Draft, Sam is on the fringe of making history by becoming the first openly gay NFL player.

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:27 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Weather Likely to Impact the Spectacle of Super Bowl XLVIII, But Not the Game

Credit Broken Sphere / Wikipedia

This Sunday, Super Bowl XLVIII pairs the AFC champion, the Denver Broncos with the NFC champion, the Seattle Seahawks.

For the first time, the big game is being played in the cold weather of a northern city, outdoors. This means there may be some snow, and temperatures are likely hover around freezing. How is the weather likely to change the game?

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:57 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

In 2013, Words Matter in Sports, But Profanity is Unavoidable

After a long tenure at the Associated Press John Affleck is now Knight Chair in Sports Journalism and Society at Penn State.
Credit Penn State University / College of Communications

In a recent op-ed for the Associated Press, sports journalist  John Affleck, examines modern sports culture and language. As evident from the title of the article, in 2013 Words Matter, Even in Sports.

“Really, I think it was the Incognito/Martin mess down in Miami that really drove it home for me that what we were really seeing this year was a set of stories where the behavior of sports figures was just completely beyond the bounds of anything you would think of as acceptable in a professional environment.”

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:55 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

When Clubhouse Culture Goes Too Far

While “boys will be boys” may seem a likely excuse for some, in the wake of hazing allegations against Miami Dolphins guard Richie Incognito, many fans believe the teasing of Jonathan Martin crossed the line into inappropriate bullying.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Sports Writer Emeritus Bob Dvorchak says the NFL does exist in a “culture of hazing,” but usually the tasks forced on rookie players are not so cruel.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:32 pm
Wed October 9, 2013

Buccos and Game 5 - The Legacy of Buctober

Carmen Gentile is a war reporter who's worked for USA Today, the New York Times, TIME and other news outlets. He recently traded his combat helmet for a Buccos cap to report on the Pirates.
Credit Carmen Gentile / Facebook

Carmen Gentile, a seasoned war reporter for USA Today, usually finds himself spending summers in Afghanistan and reporting from embattled parts of the Middle East. But the Pittsburgh native now finds himself on the front lines of another national sensation: The Pirates Post-Season.

“I have gotten more reaction to this story, positive and negative, than any other piece I have written on Afghanistan,” says Gentile.

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:30 pm
Mon September 23, 2013

Former NFL Players Not Receiving Their Due for Appearances in NFL Films

Bob Dvorchak, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Sports Writer Emeritus
Credit Bob Dvorchak / Sports n'at

When a blockbuster films appears on television, the actors receive royalties for their appearances, the same goes for TV show reruns.

One would think the same goes for former football players who appear in NFL films. Video clips of the “Immaculate Reception,” have run countless times on television, yet Franco Harris and John Fuqua have never seen payment for the replays.

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:02 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

Night Football Returns To Its Place of Origin

The 1892 Mansfield football team hosted the first night game.
Credit Mansfield University Blog

One hundred and twenty-one years ago the first night football game was played in Mansfield, Pennsylvania. The game was between Mansfield University formerly known as Mansfield State and Wyoming Seminary.

The teams played with the help of a new promotional lighting device from General Electric, the light bulb. The setup involved a string of lights wrapped around a wooden pole placed in the middle of the field.

Steve McCloskey, Director of Athletic Operations and Sports Information, says the lighting post “proved to be a detriment” to the game, as multiple “players ran face first into the pole because they had trouble seeing it, or it just kind of snuck up on them.”

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:45 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

Reducing the Impact of Concussions

Should young kids play full contact sports?
Credit Jim Danvers / Flickr

Americans have become increasingly concerned about contact sports and whether they should be played by children.

Dr. Anthony Kontos, UPMC Concussion Program Assistant Director of Research, says this may be a knee jerk reaction to increased awareness of injuries and recent NFL lawsuits.

His latest research focuses on concussions in youth football for players under the age of 12. The studies confirm that concussions primarily occur during games. One finding that Kontos says may surprise people is the fact that 8, 9 and 10-year-olds who’ve played tackle football incur fewer concussions than previously thought.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:08 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

Military Level Technology Protects Athletes At All Levels

Unequal technologies puts their special padding in more than just football helmets. Baseball players, soccer players and even golfers can be protected from potential concussions.
Credit Unequal Technologies

According to Rob Vito CEO of Unequal Technologies, his company mission is to protect soldiers and athletes from severe blunt force trauma. The idea began ten years ago when, as a professor at Penn State, a student asked Vito, “What if you could make a kevlar vest lighter, thinner and more flexible?”

Since then, Vito and his company have designed Unequal gear for high profile celebrities such as Sidney Crosby, Troy Polamalu, Michael Vick, Tony Romo and even Tom Cruise. When their material is placed inside a helmet or layered into protective apparel, Vito says it may reduce the severity index of impact by 50 percent.

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Essential Pittsburgh
3:48 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

Sports N'at with Bob Dvorchack

Credit Ben Beard / Flickr

Sports contributor, Bob Dvorchak jokes that Pittsburgh Pirate fans seem to have no idea how to live in a world where the Bucs are a winning ball club.  For the first time in 20 years the Pirates do not have a losing record.  

Dvorchak also comments on the NFL's $756 million settlement with former players who suffered head trauma on the field.  

While the money an immediate help to the former players, Dvorchak says, “It [the settlement] doesn’t make everyone whole. It's a payment to get it off the books.” 

Sports
7:50 am
Wed August 28, 2013

After 20 Years of Waiting, a Winning Season is Within Reach for Pirates Fans

The Pittsburgh Pirates hold the record for most consecutive losing seasons in all professional sports in U.S. history. Now, after 20 years, the team is on the verge of a winning season.
Credit Flickr user jwalter522

The year 1992 was an exceptional time to be a sports fan in Pittsburgh.

The Steelers finished first in their division, the Penguins won the Stanley Cup and the Pirates made it to the playoffs. Little did baseball fans know then that it would be two decades before the Pirates would have another winning season.

Now the Pirates are a handful of games away from ending the skid.

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:47 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

What Makes a Good Sports Song Stick?

Bucs euphoria can be felt and heard all over town. University of Pittsburgh music professor Deane Root, explains why some sports songs are more enduring than others.
Credit Jwalter522 / Flickr

The Pittsburgh Pirates are in a record winning season, and the Bucs euphoria can be felt and heard all over town. 

Songs like "Beat 'em Bucs" are gaining new popularity on drive-time radio and YouTube.

Batter walk up songs such as  "Apache" from the Sugarhill Gang, can be purchased on iTunes for Garrett Jones fans.

When a Pittsburgh team starts doing well, we can’t help but sing.

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:45 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

College Sports with Bob Dvorchak

Bob Dvorchak blogs at Sports 'n 'at
Credit Bob Dvorchak

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette sportswriter emeritus Bob Dvorchak talks about the University of Pittsburgh opening a new chapter in Panthers athletic history, inaugurating the school's entry into the Atlantic Coast Conference by taking on Florida State on Labor Day night at Heinz Field.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:51 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

Say Nice Things About Detroit

There's still plenty of things happening in Detroit, including both great art and plenty of sports teams.
Credit Flickr

It might be troubled, but the Motor City still has a sort of beauty all its own, reports travel contributor Elaine Labalme. Citing the amazing parks, sports teams and art galleries, Labalme tells us that the Big D has some serious offerings for Pittsburghers interested in taking a short trip.

While the Detroit Tigers’ Comerica Park is “an absolutely fantastic facility” to see a game, one of the most impressive locations in the city, says Labalme, is “The Joe,” or the Joe Louis Arena, where the Red Wings currently play. It’s a historic arena with stories in every wall and seat. And if you’re looking to grab a bite after the game, try Cliff Bells, where, according to Labalme, “You’re always made to feel welcome.”

Essential Pittsburgh
5:09 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Sports Talk with Bob Dvorchak

Bob Dvorchak is sports writer emeritus for the Pittsburgh Post Gazette and blogs for Sports N'at'
Credit Bob Dvorchak / Sports n'at

Sports Illustrated's inaugural Male College Athlete of the Year award has gone to a wrestler at Cornell University, just as the International Olympic Committee announced that the sport of wrestling is still in the running for inclusion in the 2020 games.

Guest: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Sportswriter Emeritus, Bob Dvorchak discusses a possible reinstatement of wrestling in the Olympics and the ongoing story of performance enhancing drugs in baseball.

Essential Pittsburgh
8:56 pm
Sun May 19, 2013

Sports Talk With Bob Dvorchak

Bob Dvorchak is an author and blogger for the website Sports 'n'at
Credit Bob Dvorchak / Sports n'at

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Sportswriter Emeritus Bob Dvorchak discusses the death of Uniontown native and NFL great Chuck Muncie of heart failure at age 60, concussions in the NFL and the strange case of hockey player Derek Boogaard

Essential Pittsburgh
4:40 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

The New Girl in Town on Planning a Boys Night Out

Local white water rafting with the guys, in the Laurel Highlands
Credit Nick Knouse / Flickr

Travel writer and contributor Elaine Labalme has many bits of advice for traveling alone, and for the ladies, "traveling with the girls." Now she's got some advice for the gents. 

For even the most laid back guys, planning the perfect weekend bachelor party or reunion of college buddies can be both fun and daunting. Consider some different angles when plotting out your next trip with the guys.

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