Pittsburgh Pirates' Are Hosting A Hello Neighbor Night
Real Talk |  Source: L. Smith, Bleacher Report, Shutterstock

Pittsburgh Pirates' Are Hosting A Hello Neighbor Night

Strengthening their community.

The people of the world are in crisis. It seems like there is an ever-increasing number of refugees in the world. There are people leaving their home countries just so they can stay alive. To me, people seem to be scared of refugees because they have the same colored skin as some terrorist groups. Interestingly enough though, I am white, and no one associates me with mass shootings, although mass shootings are predominately committed by white people. However, fear does interesting things to people. To counteract the fear that is flooding through every part of the country, the Pittsburgh Pirates have decided to start making a difference right at home.

Pittsburgh has numerous events throughout the year to support all kinds of minorities, and really anyone facing any kind of adversity. As a student at a university right outside of the Pittsburgh city limits, I was not surprised to learn about the organization called Hello Neighbors. The organization's slogan is "Improving the lives of refugees and immigrants by matching them with dedicated neighbors to guide and support them in their new lives". This mission is extremely admirable and, in my opinion, should become standard practice across the United States of America, which is supposedly a great melting pot of cultures.

Now, you might be wondering what this organization and refugees have to do with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Well, the Pittsburgh Pirates have teamed up with Hello Neighbor to host a night that welcomes refugees and immigrants to their beloved city and country. The Hello Neighbor Night includes discounted game tickets for the August 1st game and a free picnic that the team is encouraging people to attend in order to meet their international neighbors.

This is particularly interesting for the Pirates to do, because Pittsburgh's percentage of foreign-born residents is the smallest out of all large metro areas in the country. That fact, along with the fact that Pittsburgh is the first city in America to have a professional sports team provide any kind of aid or support to refugees and immigrants, is truly outstanding. This special night also sets an example for other sports teams to follow.

People are normally scared of something they do not understand it, especially when it comes to different cultures. Educating people about refugees and immigrants might help to reduce the unwarranted fear that is sweeping America. Professional sports teams have a lot of influence in their communities. For a Major League Baseball team to be stepping up to the plate to support refugees and help educate the community is an important occurrence to take note of.

The Pittsburgh Pirates are using their influence to strengthen the bonds in their community. By hosting this event, Pittsburgh has the opportunity to grow and get stronger. It is my hope that many people attend the picnic and not just the game. I also hope that other major sports teams in the country follow the Pittsburgh Pirates' example, and help their community grow stronger through providing opportunities for the members of the dominant culture to bond with refugees and immigrants in order to understand their ways of life.

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Real Talk |  Source: desmoinesregister.com

Nationals and Cubs Provide Another Thrilling Night of Baseball

The best player taking on the best team? Yes, please.

Bryce Harper. Kris Bryant. Albert Almora Jr. Ryan Zimmerman. Joe Maddon. Dusty Baker.

If this isn't what you would call an entertaining night of baseball, I'm not sure what you would.

Out of all the games the Cubs and Nationals play this season, the seven games between the teams have the most hype. Why?

Well for starters, the manager of the Nationals, Dusty Baker, is a former Cubs manager.

There is also an incredible amount of offense on the team. The Nationals have Bryce Harper, Daniel Murphy, and Ryan Zimmerman, who bat third, fourth and fifth in their lineup that create a crazy amount offense. On the Cubs side, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Ben Zobrist hit in those same spots who also can create also get hot and stay that way.

The last time the Nationals and Cubs met, the Cubs swept the Nationals in a four game series. Bryce Harper was walked a record number of times.

Last night, the Nationals took game one, but tonight, the Cubs came back to win all thanks to Albert Almora Jr.

Lets rundown the game:

First, before the game, Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant put on a show.

Then John Lackey put down his mitt and put his bat to work in the 3rd.

This inning also included an intentional Kris Bryant 2-out walk, which would eventually end the inning on Anthony Rizzo strikeout.

Then Jayson Werth and his hair got the Nationals on the board in the bottom of the 3rd.

But David Ross decided to hit a few minutes later and stretched the Cubs lead to two runs.

The Nationals came back and tied it in the 8th on a Bryce Harper walk that eventually scored.

But then in the top of the 9th, some magic happened on the field. Albert Almora Jr., the outfielder who came up from Triple A Iowa Cubs to replace Jorge Soler, scored Addison Russell on a base hit.

It was pretty exciting:

To some, this was just another night of baseball. To the Cubs, it was a win. And to Albert Almora, it was his first Major League game-winning hit. What a way to wrap up his first week in the Major Leagues.

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Real Talk |  Source: fantasy.usatoday.com

Teenagers Are Taking Sports By Storm

I had Dominos last night, so there's that.

I remember having a conversation with my father when we were on the road to my grandmother's house for Christmas about growing up being a sports fan. He talked about how Dusty Baker and Willie Randolph went from one of his favorite players in the 1970's and 80's to rooting for them as managers in the 2000's.

In a similar fashion, I remember during my high school days as a Dallas Maverick fan, rooting for Jason Kidd with the Mavericks as a freshman and then seeing him as a head coach by my senior year. That being said, growing up as a sports fan has a different element to it aside from watching players retire and getting new jobs. It's watching players your age or younger becoming stars in the pros.

Julio Urias, one of the top pitching prospects in baseball, made his career debut last Friday against the New York Mets. The Mexican pitcher has been in the Dodgers' farm system since he was 16 and is already making his debut with a lot of hype. He doesn't turn 20 until August! He pitched in front of 60,000 people, along with a couple million watching on television and he hasn't been alive for two decades on the planet.

The same thing can be said about this year's NBA Draft (and probably every draft after). With players being allowed to declare for the NBA after only one year out of high school and with international players being so prevalent in the league, seeing players in their teens isn't abnormal.

There have being 25 different players who have played in the NBA before turning 19. This list includes Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady, and LeBron James. In this year's draft the top two players, Brandon Ingram and Ben Simmons, both are going to play in their first game in league (barring injury) before their 20th birthdays.

Each time I see another teenager superstar in a sport I love, I can't help but think about my own life. Players 18 and 19 are becoming the new stars in their games and I'm up all night studying for a final. Ben Simmons is about to become a multimillionaire and I'm buying two pizzas that has to last me the weekend. But when I think I'm getting old, my dad's words reminds me of how much I have to learn.

"You're not getting old until your favorite player's son is in the league. I was a huge Ken Griffey and Bobby Bonds fan, than I became a Ken Griffey Jr and Barry Bonds fan. "

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Real Talk |  Source: gammonsdaily.com

Clayton Kershaw Had a Tough Night on Sunday

He's still the best pitcher in the league, though.

Sunday Night Baseball. Pirates vs. Dodgers. There's one reason to watch. Clayton Kershaw against a typically bad Pirates team.

I'm a relatively average (above average Yankee fan) baseball fan, but I do know that the Pirates are just not a good franchise. Outside of some recent success (nothing to get too excited about), the Pirates have been abysmal. They were actually making money off of losing. With an opportunity to watch Kershaw, I took a flier on this Sunday Night Baseball matchup.

Immediately, the Pirates started off exactly how I would've expected. Their rookie pitcher, Chad Kuhl, was probably the most uncool (I'm sorry just ignore that) man in Pittsburgh after loading the bases, throwing 10 of his first 15 pitches for balls. And by rookie pitcher, I mean he threw his first pitch tonight, doesn't get more rookie than that. BUT he got out of the jam getting Yasiel Puig to ground into a fielder's choice to end the inning.

Kershaw, the so called man of the hour, absolutely shit the bed. It could be that I'm the biggest jinx, or he just didn't have it tonight, but he got in a familiar bases loaded jam. After getting his revenge and narrowly striking out Kuhl in an eight-pitch first career at-bat (Kuhl struck him out his first at-bat), Kershaw slipped up in back to back batters as Frazier and Freese singled and doubled to charge Kershaw with FOUR runs.

Fun fact: Kershaw hasn't given up four runs since April 26, his first and only loss of the season. He had also given up only five runs the entire month of June up until tonight. Awesome.

With a couple of controversial plays, which included a close home run call that put the Dodgers on the board and a great call by the umpires in the 4th inning when Sean Rodriguez (probably the most irrelevant Rodriguez ever) was sniped at home, halting the Pirates bid for an insurance run.

Fast forward some uneventful innings until Andrew McCutchen, the Pirates' "star" player is immediately ejected following an awful strikeout call. The second missed call of the at bat which brings up two things for me.

First, building off my instant replay article, it's pretty ridiculous how balls and strikes aren't called electronically. For god sakes there was a video I saw on Facebook a while back that explained how it's nearly impossible to hit a baseball and I have to rely on some dude that takes bats to the face to make the right call. Thanks but no thanks. ESPN's strike zone seems pretty accurate so if Major League Baseball wants to appeal to a younger generation, maybe get with the times @Rob Manfred and get rid of the 1800's bullshit.

Secondly, how do baseball players go from MVP caliber to shit in less than a year. Actually though, I don't have the exact stats off the top of my head, but how is it that guys like Andrew McCutchen fall off so ungraceful-y (ignore my lack of vocab). In basketball at least guys can age well and adapt, but literally the entire Yankees roster is filled with guys that used to dominate the league. Tell me in 2008 a team with Brian McCann, Mark Teixeira, Carlos Beltran (he's still good but I'm keeping him in this group), and A-Rod (the most relevant Rodriguez in this article) doesn't scare the shit out of you.

I don't know. I couldn't play baseball competitively past 7th grade so it makes sense that I wouldn't understand it. Bottom line, leave it to SportsCenter to show you the stars (Kershaw cough cough) and the Pirates won!

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Real Talk |  Source: post-gazette.com

Dock Ellis: Higher than a Georgia Pine

This man has to be superhuman.

Here's something hard to imagine: in 1970, 46 years ago from today, a pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates pitched a no hitter while tripping on acid. Meanwhile, you can't even get out of bed to get to class hungover.

The man's name was Dock Ellis. You may think, it was 1970, everyone did drugs! Dock was different.

Dock did every drug that would get you high with the exception of meth and heroin and some more serious drugs. There is a documentary about Dock called "No No: A Dockumentary." It explains Dock's story and also a little bit about June 12, 1970, the day he tossed a no no on acid.

Now, it was not the prettiest of no hitters. He walked eight batters and hit one. This isn't a surprise as Dock was quoted saying that he couldn't even see the batters, just which side they were standing on. The story goes that Dock mistakenly thought he had a day off, so he was in Los Angeles enjoying the day and he took some LSD. He got a call that he was to pitch in San Diego that day so he got a cab. "Get to the fucking stadium. I got to pitch," Dock said to the cab driver, as reported by ESPN.

A few hours later, Dock is on the mound in San Diego pitching against the Padres. As Dock put it, "[he was] higher than a Georgia pine." He had a little help from "greenies," which were supposedly the drug of choice for baseball players back in the day.

Someone in the documentary describes them as having the same effect as drinking 20 cups of coffee. They explained that if you didn't take greenies, you were at a disadvantage from practically every other player.

Dock was one of the more interesting players in the league. Not only did he do a lot of drugs both on and off the field (he claimed he pitched every game of his career high on some drug), but he had a big mouth and a bullish attitude. This helped the black integration cause in Major League Baseball.

Dock cared a lot about his image on the mound. He viewed the relationship between the pitcher and batter as a battle and he knew he would only win if he intimidated and scared the batter. He chewed his gum loud and with a purpose and he would occasionally hit a batter to show he meant business. One day in 1974, this got out of hand.

The Pirates were playing the Reds and Dock knew he had to intimidate the Big Red Machine in order to have a chance at beating them. He hit the first three batters that came to the plate. That was Dock's way of proving he meant business. That is just who he was. The tactic worked until Pete Rose came to the plate. Rose took the hit and just smiled back at Dock before he underhanded the ball back to the mound.

This was just the nature of Dock. Times were different in 1970. However, through all the drugs, alcohol, and wild behavior, Dock Ellis had a happy ending to his life before his death in 2008 due to liver disease (go figure!). You will have to watch the dockumentary to find out. Once again, it is called "No No: A Dockumentary."

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Real Talk |  Source: Rachel Wolsky

Tales of a Professional Third Wheel

Why have a bicycle when you could have a tricycle?

Anyone who is the only single person in their immediate group of friends knows the simultaneously rewarding and isolating experience that is referred to as "third-wheeling." As someone who has never had a legitimate boyfriend, let's just say I'm practically a professional third-wheel at this point.
Maybe I should write that on my resume.
Regardless of what self-deprecating remarks other third-wheelers make about their "unfortunate" role, there are definitely some pros to being the last wheel on the tricycle.
Take my experiences, for example. My college roommate (we're going on three years as roomies) has been dating her high school sweetheart for almost five years now. As someone who went to an all-girls, Catholic high school, the thought of having a boyfriend since 10th grade seemed like science fiction to me.
So when he visited for the first time, I didn't know how to act. Luckily, he and I clicked immediately.
Although I didn't quite know where to look when they occasionally kissed across from me in the booth of the sushi restaurant we were dining at, the general vibe of our time together felt more like three best friends hanging out rather than a couple and their super-duper single friend.
Two years later, I consider my roommate's boyfriend to be one of my own friends. In fact, he's been a great friend: he bought me a birthday present, and also treated both my roommate and me to Pirates game tickets (which are fairly expensive, mind you).
Granted, there are times when being a third wheel makes me feel like a stage-five clingy friend. Balance is key: hang out with your friends and their significant others sometimes, but also know when to give them their space and leave them alone. No one wants to feel like they're a burden, and sometimes you have to remember that the couple in question is not dating you, too.
You may be wondering: does being a third wheel make me transform into a bitter college relationship hater?
Absolutely not.
While there are occasions when I'll see my friends holding hands with their significant others and become morbidly aware that the only thing my hand will be holding is my Solo cup or cell phone, I'm proud to say that I have never fallen into that dark void of desperation.
I admire my roommate's love and loyalty towards her high school sweetheart. I am also incredibly thankful for all of the things he has done for me despite only having met me a few select times.
However, I know that my time will come and that I, too, will meet someone that will possibly give my friends their own taste of what it's like to be a third wheel.
I just hope they can enjoy it as much as I do.