Bob Smizik: I limit my Fantasy baseball to a three-man league. All members have the same last name and at one time all lived in the same house. It makes for great teams, full of all-stars, and a lot of fun. I invariably lose.
Smoltz: Bob - i assume you have charted a perfect NCAA bracket. Who do you like in tonight's championship?
Bob Smizik: I did not do a blog this year. Had I done so, I would have had Kentucky in the finals. Not Kansas.
genelamont: What do you do with Hague if he makes the team?
Bob Smizik: There are a lot of options available for the Pirates. I think they will go as planned -- with McGehee and Jones platooning at first and Alvarez at 3B. The could alter that by platooning Alvarez and McGehee at 3B and Hague and Jones at first. I doubt that will happen. For one, I don't think it's wise to base much on ST numbers. Hague has never hit more than 15 HRs in the minors so seven in spring training looks to be an aberration. Finally, Hague has always done as well or better vs. right-handed pitching, which is unusual for a right-handed batter,. That makes him less of a candidate to platoon with Jones at 1B.
steiny: What good can be taken out of Pitt's CBS title?
Bob Smizik: Winning a tournament can't be a negative it terms of basketball. However, Pitt beat a weak team -- tied for eighth in the Pac-12 -- and did it with home-court advantage. I see no positives.
sid: Will the Penguins be better off opening on the road if their first round opponent is Philadelphia?
Bob Smizik: Based on the stats, you might guess on the road, especially with the Flyers as the opponent. The Flyers are 5-0 in the short history of the Consol Energy Center. That said, I think it would be best for the Penguins to finish fourth and get home ice in the first round.
Smoltz: Bob - The new baseball stadium in Miami has a DJ that provides all of the music and sound effects that are absolutely necessary for any professional sporting event. Really takes you back to the good ol' days, doesn't it?
Bob Smizik: The ''in-game experience'' at sporting events is something I don't get. I don't need noise between innings. I'd prefer to use the time to talk to the person I'm with. Sometimes the noise level is so high that can't be done. I'm told it's worse at Penguins games.
Kdro: Lost in the debate of whether he should start in majors or minors is how did Alvarez regress this badly from his 2nd half of the season 2 years ago? He did have 16 HRs I believe and at least looked the part.
Bob Smizik: Yes, Alvarez had a promising rookie season with a particularly strong September. Based on that and based on his pedigree -- by everyone's estimation he was a high first-round pick in the draft -- the Pirates need to stick with him in the early part of the season. Their other options -- and that includes 'Babe' Hague -- are not very enticing.
Kenman: Recently you expressed optimism that Pedro Alvarez won't be a first-round bust. Do you still have optimism about Brad Lincoln and Daniel Moskos?
Bob Smizik: I never had that optimism about those two. It looks like Lincoln, who will be 27 in May, is just about finished with the Pirates. Maybe a fresh start with another team will help him. Moskos has trouble getting lefties out, which is the main job of a left-handed reliever. Both have the look of poor first-round choices.
Griner: How exciting were the women's Final Four games last night?
Bob Smizik: I did not watch them. However, that's not a knock on the women's game. I find it enjoyable in small doses and probably will tune in the final. Some of those women can really play. I am amazed at how much that game has improved.
TimSalmon: If you were a NFL GM and you needed a QB, would you draft Robert Griffin III in the first round? I sense Akili Smith, Jr.
Bob Smizik: That's always a risk, but, yes, I'd definitely take him in the first round and high. The reports are very encouraging.
BliueSinSav: Despite the Penguins 0-5 Consol record vs. the Flyers and their poor home game 7 record, don't you want home ice advantage as much as possible?
Bob Smizik: Oh, yes, home ice is always desired -- even if it hasn't worked out in the past.
James_Pittsburgh: Any news on the Steelers adding to their offensive line?
Bob Smizik: A high draft choice.
Charade: Why does the media, many in Pittsburgh included, fawn over Calipari? The guy has vacated his previous 2 Final 4 appearances. That just doesn't happen every day. Many coaches follow the rules.
Bob Smizik: The last time I talked with John, several years ago, was not a pleasant conversation. He was most unhappy about something I had said on a radio program about him. That said, he is a very likable guy. He does a lot of things for old friends and coaches that people never hear about. I don't know if anyone is going to fawn over him but it would not bother me a bit if he won.
lackofbuns: Your take on the number of empty seats in New Orleans At Final Four? If they sold beer, would that be different? Are people afraid of bounties being place upon them?
Bob Smizik: I believe the empty seats are too far from the floor. I think that often happens when these games are played in football stadiums.
springisindaair: When did the NHL season start? It seems like it is a 365-day schedule.
Bob Smizik: It is a long, long haul, but not much more so than the NBA and about the same as MLB. All the seasons, save the NFL, are too long.
Smoltz: Bob - what was the greatest college basketball moment you witnessed in person?
Bob Smizik: My all-time favorite sporting event was Villanova over Georgetown for the national championship. All-time favorite moment might be Jordan's jumper vs. Georgetown in his freshman season. I was almost directly behind him in the press row and could follow the trajectory of the ball all the way through the hoop.
garageopen: Why does hockey always have to stoop to thuggery for things to "get interesting"? If that episode had not occurred, it would not have received near the coverage (locally and nationally) that it did.
Bob Smizik: It is unfortunate that this happens, but the league leaves the door open with its rules. Football is far more physical but it never evolves into brawling because the penalties for such behavior are too harsh. Hockey could change if it wanted. It does not want to.
yummy: Bob, what did you think of the hit movie "The Hunger Games"?
Bob Smizik: It's on my to-do list.
BliueSinSav: If the Pirates come through the first month/6 weeks of the season at or near (within 5 games) .500, would you give them a shot at .500 for the year?
Bob Smizik: No. They are just not that good of a team.
deansmith: If you could pick one coach to coach your team in tonight's championship game (you can't pick Ron Everhart), who would you choose?
Bob Smizik: Larry Brown.
Michael: Do you sense the Steelers are starting to consider the Wallace contract situation becoming a headache? He wants a lot more than they want to pay - if he does sign the one yr tender, his contract will be brought up every week throughout the season - and he is almost certainly not coming back, right?
Bob Smizik: Negotiations are never fun. Professional teams accept it as part of doing business. Wallace may want more than the Steelers are willing to pay but that doesn't mean he'll get it. Negotiations are a two-way street. The Steelers' policy of not doing contracts during the season will limit, if not eliminate, the distraction of his salary/impending free-agent status for next season.
James_Pittsburgh: Bob, don't complain about MLB games. In Korea they have cheerleaders at professional games and it is quite noisy and annoying. Of course they let you bring your own $3 2 Liter bottle of beer into the stadium. So it is not all bad!
Bob Smizik: Sounds like a fair exchange to me.
Bob Smizik: I will be out of town the next two Mondays. The chats next week and the week after will be at 1 p.m. on Tuesday. Those dates are April 10 and 17. The Monday at noon format will return on April 23. Thanks to all who participated today.
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