Pittsburgh is a strange place. It’s in Pennsylvania, but it feels like the rust belt of Ohio. It’s considered part of the Northeast, but it feels more like Gary, Indiana, during it’s (albeit brief) boom period than it does like Philadelphia, which is right on the other side of the state.
(The man on the left could be Pittsburgh’s next mayor.)
Perhaps most importantly, the entire life of the city revolves around the fortunes of a single sports team: The Steelers. If the black-and-gold wins, then everyone’s happy. If the Steelers lose, well, then you might want to grab the next flight to Cincinnati. After all, no one gives a crap about football there.
Why are we bringing up the rather obvious massive popularity of Steelers football? Because the son of one of the franchise’s most famous players is about to run for mayor. Franco “Dok” Harris officially announced his candidacy on Monday. That’s not the Franco Harris you remember from Steelers Super Bowls, it’s the Franco Harris who the Super Bowl Franco Harris gave birth to.
According to a press release posted on the Pittsburgh sports blog MONDESI’S HOUSE, Harris the younger lists accomplishments like his graduation from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business, not a boatload of touchdowns. But that may not matter to Pittsburgh voters, half of whom probably won’t be able to tell the difference between the two Harrises.
All of this begs the question of just how far one man can get on a famous name, particularly if it isn’t his. Yes, Dok Harris has some professional accomplishments in the legal and business community, but the only reason he’s even notable is because he’s Franco Harris’s son. If that lands him the Pittsburgh mayoral office, that might be an all-time record for long-distance coattail riding.
Here’s Dok Harris’s best political speak, in an excerpt from his press release:
As your mayor, the Pittsburgh of tomorrow will be an economic powerhouse; a green city that is a friend to businesses both small and large. Our city will work for our workers by ensuring fair wages and fair treatment. The Pittsburgh of tomorrow will be the intersection of labor and technology, where both startups and large corporations will benefit from the hard working blue collar spirit of our community and the intellectual trust of our universities. As your mayor I commit to building Pittsburgh into that city upon a hill - or in this case, three rivers – as an example of the role that good government has in our common successful future. I ask you to join me on this journey. Together, we will Forge Ahead.
We’ll see how Harris does, but he definitely bears watching, if only for historical significance, both for his father and the future of celebrity in America.
We’re still getting into the full swing of March Madness, but one of Monday night’s games emphasized the second word in the phrase, thanks to some bizarre referring that gave one team a 1-0 lead before the opening tip off.
(Josh Heytvelt dunked, too, just not in warm-ups.)
The official pregame indiscretion was committed by St. Mary’s, which fell to Gonzaga in Monday night’s West Coast Conference championship. According to this report in the SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, the Gaels were handed a technical foul because they dunked in warm-up drills. You can catch video of the incident below, too.
The last time we checked, every team dunked in warm up drills. The only difference is that other teams tend to deliver psuedo-lay up dunks, hybrid basket drop-ins that vary in force and how clearly they’re acknowledged. On Monday, St. Mary’s was dunking and getting noticed, and that was too much for game officials to accept.
A few hours later, St. Mary’s was left to sit and wait to learn whether it will be able to dunk again this year. In only the second game since the return of the team’s star point guard, Australian Patty Mills, the Gaels were thoroughly undone by a dominant Gonzaga team. The result was a title game walloping that could have hurt the at-large chances of St. Mary’s, not helped them as they’d hoped.
Of course, St. Mary’s didn’t help itself, either, so in a sense it has no one else to blame.
There’s a scary tendency to overlook the pros during March because all eyes are on the impending NCAA Tournament. That’s almost surely going to be the case this month, too, but Dwyane Wade made sure that his resurgence wouldn’t be overlooked, if only for a single day.
In what is easily the NBA shot of the month (yes, we realize we’re less than a third of the way through March), Wade sank the Bulls with a desperation three-pointer in double overtime. It was the latest proof both that Wade loves playing in Miami, and that he may single-handedly put the Heat back in serious contention in the Eastern Conference. No, they’re not competitive with the likes of Boston and Cleveland yet, but anyone who saw Wade dismantle Chicago in the clutch would have to think very seriously about picking the Heat over the likes of Orlando and Atlanta.
After all, Wade didn’t just hit a three to win the game in double-overtime, he also nailed one at the end of the first half and at the end of regulation. That’s incredible. He may not be the next Michael Jordan, but he’s not a bad for a third of a new triumvirate that also includes LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, is he?
That friends, is some clutch shooting. In fact, what’s “clutch” in Spanish? Those “El Heat” jerseys need an appropriate celebratory radio call if you ask us.
- The Alex Rodriguez steroids scandal hasn’t been all bad. First, we get one of the first known cases of “instant karma”, with A-Rod hitting the shelf for 6-9 weeks (originally it was 16-20) because of hip surgery. Now, a minor league team in Ft. Worth is giving fans in the DFW metroplex a shot at free tickets if they trade in “tainted” A-Rod memorabilia. Sounds like a fair deal. After all, both probably sell for less than $10 on eBay.
- Is A-Rod getting the Michael Jordan suspension treatment, with this whole hip surgery thing used as a cover-up? At least one guy thinks so.
- You have to admit, this World Baseball Classic has been fun. Of all the good stories, the best two so far, for our money, are the rise of the Netherlands and Italy to relative prominence. The Dutch almost earned a shocking spot in the second round last night, leading 1-0 before eventually succumbing to Puerto Rico, while Italy may have done one better, eliminating Canada in a blowout … in Canada. Maybe it was hitting coach Mike Piazza?
- You know how sometimes a network will plan coverage based on expected results, then they get hung out to try when really unexpected results follow? Meet Amy Nelson’s ESPN.com column on Canada’s Phillippe Aumont, which launched last night, just as Italy was bouncing the mounties from the WBC.
- Speaking of baseball, fringe baseball industries are sure to be affected even more directly by the economic recession than the game itself. How are baseball cards going to react? Check out their future yourself, courtesy 3D glasses and this post on BIG LEAGUE STEW.
- Now Jaguars wide receiver Matt Jones is really in trouble. By failing a drug test on Feb. 27, Jones violated his probation for cocaine possession, landing him in jail. In fact that’s where he’s sitting right now.
- We know he’s pretty broke right now, but TASTY BOOZE makes a compelling case for Pacman Jones’s next custom car if he ever makes more cash. Why not an Ecto-1?
- The upstart UFL is not about to go quietly into the night before it even gets off the ground. According to this report from PROFOOTBALLTALK, it’s now trying to land Michael Vick to be a face of the franchise in one of its premier cities.
- Just when you thought the acrimony over David Beckham’s continued spot in the AC Milan lineup couldn’t get pushed to a higher level, another prima donna ego enters the fray: Bruce Arena wants him to blow off an England international match — albeit a friendly against the Netherlands — for an L.A. Galaxy match.
- Remember the original, fat Ronaldo? He’s back playing soccer, which means he’s back scoring goals on cue.