Set your DVRs or stay up late kids, I will be on FOX News Red Eye on Friday night/Saturday morning at 3 AM!  Apparently, I will be on at the same time as the beautiful and brilliant Jedediah Bila!  Yay for me!

Now to decide what to wear…  maybe a Steelers jersey?

Thanks to the Gary Snyder Show and 1400 WBAT I was credentialed to cover the Colts-Steelers game at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh last night.  Here is the first of my post-game reports:

Everyone knew coming into Sunday night’s game against the Steelers that Andrew Luck would get a much steeper challenge than he got against the St Louis Rams last week.  Early on it looked like a challenge he might not be up to – Luck threw two early interceptions (thought admittedly the second one was of no fault of his own).  In addition to the two early picks, Luck also struggled with his decision-making, was sacked and had trouble getting the Colts offense moving early on.

As you would expect from a future franchise QB, however, Luck overcame his early struggles to put together a solid night.  Luck led the Colts on two 10 play, 80 yard touchdown drives – one against the Steelers first team defense and one against the Steelers second team defense.

In those long drives Luck looked sharp, connecting with WR Reggie Wayne and rookie TE Coby Fleener with regularity.  As a result of Luck’s improved play, the Steelers were forced to make some adjustments that in turn allowed the Colts to run the ball more effectively.  I wouldn’t make room for either of the Colts featured RBs (Donald Brown and Vick Ballard) in Canton, but in a pass-first, pass-often offense, Brown and Ballard were serviceable in establishing the ground game.

Luck’s final line was respectable:  16 of 25, 175 yards passing, 2 INTs, and 1 rushing TD.

In the locker room after the game, Ben Roethlisberger said Luck was, “a good player.”  Ben went on to say, “I wish him all the best, he is going to have a great career.”

Roethlisberger certainly knows a thing or two about the offense Luck will be running under Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians.  Arians spent the last six seasons as the play caller in Pittsburgh and forged an incredibly close – sometimes people said too close – relationship with his QB.

It remains to be seen whether or not Arians will develop the same relationship with Andrew Luck, but it is clear that Luck is already developing a relationship with the Colts leading returning receiver – Reggie Wayne.  Wayne caught 6 balls for 74 yards in 2 quarters on the field.  Luck already has a close relationship with rookie TE Coby Fleener – who played his college ball with Luck at Stanford – who caught 3 passes in the first half.

Luck may not have another important weapon at his disposal going forward.  WR Austin Collie, who has a history of concussions, left the game with concussion-like symptoms in the 1st quarter and did not return.

If Collie is out the Colts and Luck will need speedy rookie WR T.Y. Hilton to step up.  Hilton struggled on Sunday night – bobbling a pass from Luck that ended up in the arms of a Steelers defenseman – and pulling in only 1 catch all night.

All in all, there was a lot to like out of Luck’s performance.  It is clear that the young QB has a lot of room for improvement – in game and from game to game.  But so far, he seems up to the task.

So this is how I am spending my night…  Love it… 

Tune into the Gary Snyder Show on 1400 WBAT at 4:35 PM today to hear me preview the Colts-Steelers game!  Click here to listen!

Can the Return of a Franchise to Quebec Help Save the NHL?

So the reality is starting to set in for many hockey fans that the dreaded “work-stoppage” may be more than just a possibility, it may be a reality.  There is no question that the NHL faces serious financial challenges and there isn’t a magic bullet to fairly fix them for everyone involved – owners, players and yes – FANS.

So if there isn’t a magic bullet to fix the NHL, what about 5 magic bullets?  Michael Grange, a writer for SportsNet.ca, has penned a fascinating piece on his 5 Point Plan to save the NHL.  I have to admit, there is a lot to like in this.

The most important piece of this 5 Point Plan in my opinion is a little tough love for the NHL – contracting 2 teams and moving 2 north of the border.  Grange writes,

“you have the New York Islanders, who could hold a rat rodeo in the bowels of the decrepit Nassau Coliseum and have taken John Tavares hostage. Phoenix is Phoenix. Columbus is a joke, and Florida can barely draw Canadians during March Break. But what if we chopped two teams and moved two more? More revenue for the league and the players to share, and less bad news for the rest of us. No-brainer.”

Go read the entire piece, it’s well worth it.

The new episode of the podcast is up!  Joining me this week to preview the Steelers-Colts is my brother Jason Barron!  Listen to it here!

There was a great deal of excitement among conservatives and libertarians about the pick of Rep. Paul Ryan, particularly among those who were rightfully leery about Governor Romney’s credibility when it comes to cutting spending and reforming our entitlement programs.

They say no one votes based on the Vice President, and now we are seeing why.  The GOP establishment is already urging Paul Ryan to drop his support for his own Pathway to Prosperity budget plan – and it appears Ryan himself is already backing away from certain components.

It feels like Sarah Palin all over again.  In 2008, McCain chose the maverick, buck the system Alaska Governor and then promptly tried to shove the square peg in the circle hole.  The results were predictably disastrous.  What is the point in picking Sarah Palin if you don’t let Sarah be Sarah.

One has to wonder whether the Romney campaign is about to make the same mistake.  The reason conservatives and libertarians love Paul Ryan is BECAUSE of his budget plan not IN SPITE of it.  Take away Paul Ryan’s ideas and you have a very nice, telegenic, young Congressman from a swing-state, but you don’t have a game-changing VP pick.  What is the point in picking Paul Ryan if you don’t let Paul Ryan be Paul Ryan?

Mitt Romney should adopt the Ryan Plan, not the other way around.  It would certainly be easier for Romney, a man who has been on almost every side of every issue, to move to the Ryan position than it would be for the principled Congressman to abandon his signature proposals.

If Mitt wanted a yes man, there were plenty of them.  He didn’t pick a Rob Portman or Tim Pawlenty, he picked Paul Ryan.  He should let Paul Ryan be Paul Ryan.

Baseball is a long season – 162 games spanning from April to October.  Few games, especially one played in August, can be called a must win.  Whether they win or lose tonight, there is still plenty of baseball left to be played.

For Pirates fans, however, tonight is a must win.  The Pirates have lost 6 of their last 7 and are on the verge of being swept at home by the Dodgers.  This late summer swoon by the Pirates have left them 7 games behind the Reds and now tied with the Cardinals for the second wild card spot.  The Pirates bandwagon is on the verge of falling apart.

To be fair, this team has exceeded even the wildest optimist’s dreams.  Most of the spring was spent debating whether this team even had a shot at 82 wins.  However, expectations are a funny thing, they can change quickly.  For the Pirates, the expectations have certainly changed.  No one is talking about just getting to 82 wins (though breaking the 19 season losing streak will be an amazing feat).

The unquestioned king of Pittsburgh sports – the Steelers – are back in the news, with preseason underway.  If the NHL can avoid a work stoppage, the Penguins will soon be back on the ice too.  For the Pirates to continue to captivate fans, and if they are going to be able to compete for attention with the Steelers and Penguins in September and October, they need to stop the bleeding.  They need to win tonight.

The Pirates have been dominant at home this year – the current home stand notwithstanding.  Part of that home field advantage has been a loud and energized Pirates fan base.  This isn’t the Steelers and it isn’t the Penguins, those crowds are guaranteed.  If the Pirates don’t change the narrative and don’t change it soon, those crowds will shrink and shrink dramatically.

The good news for the Pirates, and for us fans, is that tonight A.J. Burnett takes the mound.  If there is anyone on this team who can stop the bleeding and restore the hope of Bucco Nation, its A.J. Burnett.

Since I will be in the press box covering the Steelers-Colts game this Sunday night, it only makes sense to have this week’s podcast be about the Steelers and a preview of the game.  Joining me to talk about the Steelers and their matchup with the Colts will be my brother Jason Barron.  Jason, a rabid Steelers fan and big time land use lawyer in NC, will be my guest this week.  Should be fun!  Look for the podcast on here on Friday!

Jason Barron (L) and The Real Red Barron (R)

Thanks to my friend Gary Snyder, I will be in the press box (and the locker room post-game) to cover the Steelers – Colts game this Sunday night for the Gary Snyder Show and 1400 WBAT in Indiana.

Very excited for this opportunity… Hopefully it won’t be my last time!

Will post pictures and link to some sound after the game on Sunday night!