--This is the new format with shorter more succinct observations, but the same low-brow humor. But don't think of it as smaller. instead like a bite-size Snickers or what I tell my girlfriend in the bedroom...let's call it Fun-Sized.

--May have a slightly better offer to teach 3rd grade next year which creates a conundrum. On the one hand I'd be forced to cut my vocabulary in half not to mention be nice...which frankly rubs me the wrong way. However I'd also have the advantage of being one of the few male teachers meaning by simply raising my voice I could have it running like a Cambodian sneaker factory in there; as opposed to High School where the kids shrug and tell me to "settle down Ugly Matt Damon". I'll have to drink on it...

Thank God the pictures are back...and it's nice to see a young person celebrating the Queen's Jubilee...particularly this young person...

--Has anyone else noticed that the Mets lineup leans to the left more than a Wobblie (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Industrial_Workers_of_the_World)? To date the Metropolitans are 7-15 vs. LHP a figure that's only bettered by the super cellar dwelling Padres and Cubs in all of baseball. Good thing I noticed this just in time for David Price and the Rays to sink my Antigua based "investment" account a few more bucks on Wednesday night.

--And in more Met meanderings...With expectations at an all-time low heading into 2012 to date the Mets have played under less pressure than you'd find in the whipped cream cans after one of my High School shifts at Baskin-Robbins (a thought that has me pondering: 1. Do I have any Redi-Whip in the fridge?...and 2. Can urine tests detect high concentrations of nitrous oxide?). Then came the intensity of the Subway Series rivalry and the early Ass-Kickin' Amazins shriveled up like a drunk undressing RuPaul and suddenly we're back to reality.

    So as a Met fan I say thank you to the "200 Million Dollar Men" of Yankee Universe as even a skeptic like myself, who falls somewhere between Holden Caulfield and George Carlin on the Cynical Scale, was starting to believe a Wild Card was in reach. Of course as I write this the Mets are in the process of sweeping the Rays so the whole gut wrenching process could be starting up all over again. But if I have to watch Jon Rauch in high-leverage relief situations with the playoffs within reach I can gaurantee Proctor & Gamble won't make enough Pepto to make that run worthwhile.

I'm no Mr. Blackwell, Lord knows, but the hat, the suspenders, the tiny t-shirt with "Mets Girl" written on it? Is she supposed to be a new villain in the porno version of the Batman TV series...and I've already copyrighted that so make it and you'll owe me...

--Are the talking heads of ESPN letting slide a humorous happenstance every time new Anaheim catcher John Hester appears in a highlight wearing the Angels' big, scarlet "A"? Then again I guess Nathaniel Hawthorne jokes are why I'm in the bowels of the Internet and they're live in your livingroom every night...water really does seek its level...

--Funny how so many dating site profiles indicate that women love "hiking and long walks on the beach" yet ask the same women to go to the kitchen and get you a beer and suddenly you're worse than Hitler. It's the difference between early impressions and long-term reality. A reality that is to the Pittsburgh Pirates as gravity is to High School girls with enormous racks...in that it's comin' to get 'em!

And congrats to the L.A. Kings...mostly for finding a way to bring this into the sport, but what the heck for their first Stanley Cup also.

    On Sunday the Pirates woke up tied for first with the Reds, by Tuesday they were in second and if last season is any predictor by the end of August they'll be deep into another season even Marilu Henner would try to forget (http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/entertainment/2012/04/actress-marilu-henners-rare-super-memory-recalls-every-day-of-her-life/). You see last year we went through the same Dog-and-Pony act as the Buccos were playing .500 ball over their first 62 games only to go 41-59 from there on on their way to an ignominious 19th straight losing season.

    This year the Jack Sparrows are an even better 32-29 as they approach their 62nd game, but while 2011's club was performing to levels approximating that of a .500 squad the indicators in 2012 look worse than the prospects of a Chris Brown/Drake duet album (yeah, I don't know who they are either, but it's all the kids could talk about). According to Baseball-Reference.com's expanded standings they are the luckiest team in baseball right now outplaying their record based on Run Differential (PYTHAG W/L) by 5 games. In fact the only teams that have a run differential worse than the P'burghers are all clubs 10 or more games under .500 and Miami. Additionally, they are a league leading +7 in 1-run games, 3-0 in extra innings and have feasted on sub-.500 clubs at 17-7.

    On the individual side their pitching has been much improved which might bode well for the future if that improvement wasn't boosted by Erik Bedard and A.J. Burnett. The former so brittle he could hurt himself trying to jump on top of the Saturday paper and the latter sure to collapse like a futon in a fat guy's house if the games ever get meaningful. Even 27 year old James McDonald, who seems in the throes of a breakout year, is benefitting from a depressed .259 BABIP (career is .298) and could have regression in his future. And that's not good considering the offense has not held up it's end of the deal and currently sports only 1 player, righty CF Andrew McCutcheon, with an OPS over .700. Which in turn may be why the Pirates are much better vs. lefty starters than righties. Another not good thing considering right-handers outnumber their Devil-armed brethren by a 2:1 ratio.

    Of course, outside L.A. and Washington the rest of the NL is re-defining mediocrity for folks who don't remember Foreigner after they recorded "I Want To Know What Love Is" so the Yinzers may hang around for a bit. But once age, injuries and regression catches up to the staff and bullpen and clubs start pitching around McCutcheon like he was Kelly Leak (he already leads the team in IBBs, but with only 4) it'll be wait til Steeler time again on the confluence of the Ohio, Allegheny and Monongahela.

Thanks for coming and we hope to be up again by Sunday with some stuff featuring Johan Santana, Phillip Humber and Aroldis Chapman plus why I always hated Marlboro Bucks (do they still have those...I mean at $9 a pack you'd think they'd still throw you a bone). I'm always here for you...