Take Five: Pirates, Pacquette and Rick Pitino



The Houston Rockets’ James Harden looks on during the fourth quarter against the Miami Heat at the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami on February 7, 2018. The Rockets are in Los Angeles to take on the Clippers on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018. (David Santiago/El Nuevo Herald/TNS)

By The Pitt News Staff

Spring break is upon us but the non-stop news cycle of the sports world takes no breaks. The Pitt News staff is back to round up this week’s best stories.

Click here to see last week’s takes.


The Major League Baseball Players Union filed grievances against the Oakland Athletics, Miami Marlins, Tampa Bay Rays and the Pittsburgh Pirates this past week for not spending enough during free agency.

The MLB works on a revenue sharing system, in which the teams split their earnings to improve free agency competition and encourage parity throughout the league. This winter has been exceptionally slow in terms of signings, with big names like pitcher Jake Arrieta still without a team.

The grievance states that the four teams have failed to spend their revenue sharing money, and looking at the Pirates offseason, it’s pretty obvious to see why they’re on the list. They shipped out their two biggest stars, Andrew McCutchen and Gerrit Cole, for pennies on the dollar. The biggest contract they took on was All-Star Corey Dickerson’s $5.65 million deal, who they acquired in a trade from the Rays last week.

The MLB responded, claiming that the grievances have “no merit.” Looking at the Pirates’ activity this offseason, it’s clear why the Players Union isn’t exactly happy with them.

— Jon Shaiken, Staff Writer


Slip Sliding Away

James Harden set the Internet on fire Wednesday night. With the first quarter winding down, and his Houston Rockets up 28-7 against the Los Angeles Clippers, Harden completed the most disrespectful move the NBA has seen in a long time. The front runner for MVP dribbled between his legs and stepped back for a 3-pointer, making defender Wesley Johnson slip and fall down so violently that it made Harden stop and stare. He looked directly at Johnson on the ground for a good second or two before burying the 3-point shot.

The internet blew up immediately, as everyone was tweeting and posting the video. People made the video into a meme, inserting Jeopardy music during the time Harden stared at Johnson to when he shot the ball. The internet didn’t stop there; as someone soon took to Wikipedia to write: “Johnson died on February 28, 2018 after James Harden cooked him and put him in a body bag.”

Harden and the Rockets went on to beat the Clippers 105-92 for their 15th straight win. But more importantly, the internet proved it is still undefeated.

—- Colin Martin, Staff Writer


Cardinal Sin

Rick Pitino said something that actually made me laugh last week. The University of Louisville had its 2013 title vacated along with 123 wins over four seasons. What was his response to the punishment? “I’ve always run a clean program,” Pitino said. This is not even close to the truth. I understand the tactic to deny everything, but he has already been found guilty for recruiting violations in the past and he was recently fired by Louisville due to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s probe. The FBI named Louisville in the investigation pertaining to federal bribery in the NCAA.

How can a man who has been named in an FBI investigation, accused of bribing a recruit with $100,000 and had a postseason ban already implemented claim to be innocent? It is actually laughable that he’s trying put up the facade that he has always run a clean program.

— Stephen Cuddy, Staff Writer


Keep Your Cool

Players are usually the ones to lash out in a hockey game, either at fellow players or the referees. But, in Tampa Bay on Monday night, referee Gord Dwyer was the one to lose his cool as he slammed a glove on the Lightning bench. This came after Tampa Bay center Cedric Paquette threw his glove at Dwyer in a fit of rage.

It is understandable why Dwyer would be upset at Paquette, but this does not excuse his ever-so-polite return of the glove.

Referees are supposed to be the moderators. When the players begin to scuffle, they are the ones who break things up and give out penalties to keep the things from getting out of hand. Players are allowed to show their emotions because they are on a specific side, but referees need to be impartial and keep theirs out of the game.

When Dwyer slammed the glove on the bench, Tampa Bay forward Ryan Callahan became outraged and started screaming expletives. He was being a little over the top, but this kind of outrage is what puts players and referees in danger. It would be better for everyone if the referees kept their cool and just remained the enforcers of the rules.

— Max Sirianni, Staff Writer


One Step at a Time

Pittsburgh Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert announced on Wednesday that Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier will not play football next season. Shazier suffered a massive injury to his spine last December against the Cincinnati Bengals and is still in the process of recovering.

It is difficult to see Shazier suffer through this possible career-ending injury. Shazier was one of the best players on the Steelers defense last season, making 89 tackles and picking off three interceptions. He was a clear leader on the team and the Steelers clearly missed his presence in their home playoff game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in which they gave up 45 points.

If you’re a Steelers fan, all you can hope for now is that Shazier continues to improve every day. Right now, he is able to stand on his own and hopefully he can get back to walking properly within the near future. It would be amazing to see Shazier play football soon, but as of right now, all you really want him to do is to get healthy.

— Dominic Campbell, Staff Writer