A few weeks ago, yinzers were celebrating the drama taking place in Oakland involving Antonio Brown. Antonio Brown became a vitriolic player on and off the field for the Steelers, so getting him out of town was viewed as a success. On top of that, the Steelers managed to draft a dynamic linebacker, finally a guy that could make game-changing plays on defense.
Despite that, the Browns were getting a lot of media attention for being the division favorites. Any true yinzer would know, the Browns should never be division favorites. The Browns will always be the Browns. As of this writing, the Browns are in the last place in the division, tied with the Steelers.
When you flip the calendar to September, you can practically feel a few million yinzers all thinking the same thing: ‘the Pirates season is nearing an end, but thank goodness we still have the Steelers to look forward to.’
Now, on September 16th, all of the relief yinzers might have felt has turned into sorrow. The Steelers are practically the worst thing to ever happen, and the Pirates are continuing to be the Pirates. Ben Roethlisberger is hurt and out for the year, the defense looks really bad, and Mike Tomlin has still got to go!
If it isn’t obvious, I’m being mostly sarcastic about all of this. Two weeks in the NFL is equivalent to not even a month of MLB action. A lot can happen from now to week 17. But it is true nonetheless, the Steelers have really sucked so far. Maybe not lose 47-15 to your division rival bad, but they are in the same spot in the standings as the Pirates. So why not try and compare the Steelers roster to the Pirates roster?
Ben Roethlisberger – Starling Marte
The foundation of any NFL team is undoubtedly the quarterback. Out of any professional sport, the quarterback has got to be the most valuable position. The Pirates don’t really have any one singular game-changing player, but Starling Marte has been this team’s best player (that’s still on the roster, anyway) for quite a while. The comparison can go much further, though. I suppose they haven’t really needed one, but the Steelers haven’t had a heir to the quarterback position for as long as I can remember. Mason Rudolph is interesting, so maybe it’s different this time. But for the Pirates and Starling Marte, there is nobody else. I love Bryan Reynolds but he is not a centerfielder. Next in line is Travis Swaggerty, who really might be something, but is still a few years away from making an impact in the major leagues.
James Conner – Jameson Taillon
Well, this was an easy comparison to make. You already know why this comparison makes sense. Their courage and determination through their struggles has been inspiring to me, and I’m sure it has been to you. In 2016, James Conner was given the ACC Brian Piccolo Award which is given to a player who shows the most courage in a season. In 2018, Jameson Taillon was nominated for the Roberto Clemente Award which is given to someone who represents Major League Baseball with ‘extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy, and positive contributions, both on and off the field.’ Both of these guys are excellent athletes, but more importantly, outstanding individuals.
JuJu Smith-Schuster – Joe Musgrove
This one was difficult. JuJu is an outstanding player, but he’s also known for being a fun and quirky dude. People like to say he’s immature, but he makes the game fun and he is undoubtedly a fan favorite. The Pirates don’t really have a player like that. Musgrove is a cool guy, but he’s not JuJu. The Pirates obviously lack talent, but they also lack character. Ya, Kyle Crick smirking at Puig was kind of fun. But him throwing punches at the team’s most valuable player negated a lot of his cool factor. I get that football and baseball are distinctly different, but the Pirates really lack any sort of character, fun, and excitement.
Dante Moncrief – Every Pirate Ever (says Twitter)
Donte Moncrief is to the Steelers as _______ is to the Pirates
— Cannonball Corner (@CannonballCrner) September 16, 2019
I asked Twitter about this one, and you can just read what they said. Moncrief is an excellent metaphor for the Pirates. He was an offseason pickup to solidify the WR corps. But he dislocated his middle finger and has been a disappointment. The finger seems to be holding him back from being productive. Nutting is the middle finger holding the Pirates back.
Think about it.
Ryan Switzer – Erik Gonzalez
I know these guys mean well. I’m sure they’re nice guys and all of that. But how much more can we take? How much more can I take? No more. No more, I say. These guys are the guys that are here, for some reason that nobody knows, and will continue to be here for the foreseeable future for whatever reason.
TJ Watt – Bryan Reynolds
You know with that kind of last name, TJ Watt has what it takes to be good. But my God, he’s been great. The hype was very real and I think you could say he’s surpassed the expectations. Bryan Reynolds doesn’t have the special last name or anything, but he was involved in a trade for the Pirates’ franchise player of the decade. That carries its own set of gaudy expectations, but we all know Reynolds has far exceeded those expectations.
Devin Bush – Mitch Keller
Devin Bush is this defense’s savior. I’m not sure I can handle another first-round bust.
Mitch Keller is the savior of the rotation. I’m not sure I can handle another prospect being a bust.
Please, don’t fail us.
Mike Tomlin/Kevin Colbert – Clint Hurdle/Neal Huntington
When it’s time, it’s time. I think it’s about that time.
Troy Polamalu – Andrew McCutchen
The hair, the personality, the game-changing talent. Loved by everyone. We all miss you.
Antonio Brown – Jung Ho Kang
Just uh, get out of here. We don’t need ya.
Anthony Chickillo – Sean Rodriguez
What do they know? Who do they have information on?
The Terrible Towel – Kenny Geidel (Lemonade Guy)
A legendary cloth. A legendary vendor. Never forget. Lemonade heeeeeere.