Friday, August 29, 2008

Top Ten Pittsburgh Jag-Offs

In honor of the ongoing Pedro Alvarez/Scott Boras and Pittsburgh Pirates fiasco, we here at On Irish Road decided to rank the Top Ten Pittsburgh Jag-Offs. A special thanks to Runhigh for contributing to this list. Here Goes!

10 Sienna Miller
So you may be saying either 1) Who? 2)Huh? or 3) Why? But the answer is a pretty obvious one. Back in 2006 she tells Rolling Stone just what she thinks of the Steel City and she held no punches:
"Shitsburgh, Can you believe this is my life? Will you pity me when you're back in your funky New York apartment and I'm still in Pittsburgh? I need to get more glamorous films and stop with my indie year."

Well Sienna, we're no fans of yours either. In another Pittsburgh incident she decided to go out for a night on the town with her parents. Unfortunately Miss Miller decided it was a brilliant idea to leave her ID in the hotel. After the bouncer told her no at Young's Tavern she snuck in anyways. The bouncer removed her and the actress threw a hissy fit for 30 minutes.
I know you can drink your merry ass off in England, Sienna, but if you want to do it here bring your ID. Now I know why Jude Law screwed the nanny. As Runhigh says, "You insult Pittsburgh and you'll incur the wrath of Irish Road and Runhigh." I think Pittsburghers will agree.

9 Pedro Alvarez and sidekick Scott Boras
So I know this is still fresh and we all may end up loving Pedro but after holding out until midnight of the signing deadline, and then refusing to show up to Pittsburgh for a physical, and finally backing out of the deal that you verbally agreed to, you and you're 'Super-Duper' agent have made our list at number 9. Pedro and Scott pretty much think that this is the second coming of A-Rod, even pushing for that $10 million dollar signing bonus. And while the Pirates were generous and offered their first round draft pick a team high $6 million signing bonus it apparently isn't good enough for him. After agreeing to the bonus Boras most has convinced Pedro that they can backhand the Buccos to increase the offer to shrug off this incident. The Pirates and their ace Frank Coonelly aren't budging. But Boras' motto 'Why settle for $6 million when a loophole could award your client free agency and even bigger bucks?' They are now claiming that the deal was not agreed to before the midnight deadline. Whether or not this is true they are now inked into Jag-Off history.

8 Bob Smizik
Bob Smizik a few weeks ago caused quite a stir by calling the fans "knuckleheads" for booing such returning stars like Jagr and Bonds. He also says that these same "knuckleheads" will boo Hossa when he returns too. What is it Bob? We don't have the right to boo anymore? You'd probably frown if we booed Osama Bin Laden. Our right as fans is to boo our disapproval and any player that slights our teams or our city will in fact face hostility when they return. Hell, I'd boo my own mother for doing what Hossa did. An extra $400,000 for one year? Big freakin' deal! We offered you 5 years! 'Knuckleheads' may boo but it's idiots like you who write negatively about a common fan practice.

7 Marian Hossa
I think what I wrote before is worth repeating. Marian Hossa turned down a 7 year $50 million dollar offer from the Pens for a 1-year $7.4 million dollar offer from the Red Wings. According to the Pittsburgh Tribune Review back in June Hossa claimed that he would take less money to stay on a cup contender. "If I wanted to make a couple more dollars, I would probably just re-sign with Atlanta," said Hossa. Apparently the Pens aren't a Cup contender if you want to turn down an offer that gives you a high paying 7-years worth of security. RunHigh puts it this way, "He's a mercenary. Was offered a chance to play with the two best centers in the game and turned it down. Can't wait to see Brooks Orpik bury him in the corner boards along with the rest of his teammates next year. I just got inspired to watch this for 10 minutes straight."
You've got to admit that's a great point. He turned down playing for the Cup with Malkin and Crosby for the next seven years for what? An extra $300,000-$400,000? Hey Hossa ... enjoy buddy. If you get injured next year and Detroit decides not to resign you where will you be? Not on our pond! You are Jag-Off #7. Wear it proudly!
6 Derek Bell
I gotta tell you, I was having a hell of a time finding a good baseball shot of Derek Bell that really captured the essence of all that was Operation Shutdown. This was the next best thing. I guess Operation Shutdown affected press photos too.
Following the 2000 season Bell was signed by the Pirates to a two year contract. After hitting only .173 in 2001 he was told he would be competing for the starting position. That's when his infamous Operation Shutdown was born.
"Nobody told me I was in competition. If there is competition, somebody better let me know. If there is competition, they better eliminate me out of the race and go ahead and do what they're going to do with me. I ain't never hit in spring training and I never will. If it ain't settled with me out there, then they can trade me. I ain't going out there to hurt myself in spring training battling for a job. If it is [a competition], then I'm going into 'Operation Shutdown.' Tell them exactly what I said. I haven't competed for a job since 1991."
I actually applaud the Bucs for not playing him. Operation Shutdown finally ended May 18th, 2007 when Bell began playing for Oil Can's All-Stars, a team that travels around and plays minor league squads. I'm glad to see your hold out was successful, Jag-Off! It was his incident in 2006 though, where he was pulled over for a traffic stop and charged with felony cocaine possession and possession of drug paraphernalia that earned him number 6 on our list.
5 Mark Madden
Mark Madden is one of those broadcasters that could be known as 'The Mouth That Keeps on Spewing'. That could be because of his frequent on air foul language or the fact that he repeatedly loves to play up his own intelligence while telling his callers and listeners alike how dumb they are. Madden is a master at stirring up controversy and knocking all things that are Pittsburgh Sports related. He has been known to attack popular sports stars like Hines Ward, Jerome Bettis, Arnold Palmer and others. Cristina Rouvalis has one of the best takes on Madden and his Mouth here,
Runhigh says, "George Washington had better teeth than him." So for the man with a bad mouth and bad teeth we award Jag-Off #5.
4 Jim Balsillie
When the city first heard this guy's name and that he was going to purchase the then bankrupt Pens we rejoiced. And then we found out what a slimy snake he was.
"Tried to hi-jack a Pittsburgh team and move it out of the country. Since it wasn't the Pirates or the Passion, he belongs on the list of Jag-Offs" Runhigh said.
After his purchase he stated that only the Isle of Capri casino deal would ensure that the Pens would stay in Pittsburgh. The media wanted to know if his intentions were to move the team to Canada and he repeatedly dodged the question. Gary Bettman, of all people, came in with a save for Pittsburgh by notifying Jim Balsillie that his control over the team would be restricted by the league. Afterwards Balsillie immediately withdrew his bid to purchase the Penguins. Trying to make our boys into a Canadian team earns him the #4 spot on our list.
3 Bob Nutting
What the hell do you say about this guy? If you've been living under a rock these past years, Bob Nutting is the majority owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Nutting family and McClatchy entered into ownership in 1996. He became the majority owner in 2007 after gaining control from Kevin McClatchy. During his ownership he has allowed such failures like Cam Bonifay to remain in the General Managers position for 9 years (1993-2001) and then brought in Dave Littlefield for 6 years (2001-2007). He has done nothing with the extra revenue baseball has given the organization from revenue sharing and television deals, repeatedly remaining at one of the lowest payrolls in baseball. The Pirates look to be well on their way to a record tying 16th straight losing season. Bob Nutting is a loser and because of that our franchise has not won a damn thing in his ownership. Our other Jag-Off, Smizik wrote this, "There appears to be great truth to the fact ownership is taking excessive profit from the team at the expense of the product on the field. The money the Pirates receive from MLB in revenue sharing and the Central Fund is almost enough to cover the payroll before a ticket is sold.
The team won't be sold. The Nuttings are bottom-line oriented. A smart businessman does not walk away from profit that is virtually guaranteed."
Bob Nutting you are Pittsburgh's #3 Jag-Off.
2 Barry Bonds
There will be some who will love me for having him on here, some will hate me for having him on here and some will wonder why he isn't number 1, but Barry Bonds is our #2 Pittsburgh Jag-Off. Barry's free agency departure in 1993 kick started the abomination that has been the Pittsburgh Pirates over the last 16 years. 15 soon to be 16 straight losers since he left and the fans have no clear end in sight. It's like the Brooklyn Dodger fans after they'd lose the World Series "Wait till next year". Only our next year is a winning season and there is less hope of that than the Brooklyn fans had of winning that next Championship. You can't blame Barry for wanting to live in San Fran where his dad and godfather played. You can't really blame him for wanting more money. You can blame him for the jerk he was, the way he treated the media, and the way he bad mouthed the city. You don't talk trash on Steeltown without a backlash. We don't care if you are the Homerun King*. He trash talked the organization repeatedly when they wouldn't pay him more during the 1991 season, telling the media that he would resign with the Pirates when he became a free agent even if they offered him $100 million. Bonds at times didn't seem to have the same focus or heart on the field. Other times he played like the MVP that he was. His last year in Pittsburgh was summed up on the final play of the season when he failed to throw out a bum-knee Sid Bream who was running from second base on a single hit into left field. Barry Bonds, to Pittsburghers, is that throw to home.

1 Jaromir Jagr

To earn the number 1 spot on our list Jagr had to have an applicable name as well as being a first rate jackass. Dubbed as Mario Jr. (due to his first name being an anagram for it) Jagr exploded onto the scene with the skill it took to take over when Super Mario called it quits. Sadly Jagr didn't have the same publicity skills that his mentor did. In his last struggling years with the team he did everything he could to hold a control over the organization. He disputed with coach Ivan Hlinka on and off the ice. He got into spats with GM Craig Patrick. He requested a trade and even told the media that he felt like he was "Dying Alive" in Pittsburgh. The man sucked the life out of the organization and angered the fan base with his sub-standard play (he won the Art Ross 3 previous seasons). Not even the return of Mario Lemieux could bring Jagr back to form. He was bitter that while he was the captain, many viewed Lemieux that way upon his return. Finally July 11, 2001 they traded him (along with Frantisek Kucera) to the Washington Capitols for Kris Beech, Michael Sivek, and Ross Lupaschuck. The clubhouse cancer who was suppose to be our leader was gone and the Pens had some breathing room in the Salary Cap.

Honorable Mentions:

-Of Course you have to give the two inept Pirate GM's their due. So here's to you Cam Bonifay and Dave Littlefield. But since ownership kept you in your jobs you didn't make our top ten.

-To this day I believe that Neil O'Donnell threw Super Bowl XXX. But thanks to Big Ben and Co. winning Superbowl XL Neil is off the hook.

-Raul Mondesi was a good candidate but we decided whatever he's done to the city we've received back ten fold through our friend at Mondesi's House.

-Finally, after filming Striking distance, Bruce Willis had a few choice words about the cleanliness of our city and rivers. But come on! How could we put John McLane on a Jag-Off list?!? Yippee Kiyay Mother Fuckers!

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