First Call: Bracing for Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown hype; Dickerson’s done; mascot battle royal? | TribLIVE.com
Breakfast With Benz

First Call: Bracing for Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown hype; Dickerson’s done; mascot battle royal?

Tim Benz
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AP
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown comes off the field with running back Le’Veon Bell after scoting a touchdown in an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers, Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017, in Pittsburgh.

Wednesday’s “First Call” features a Steelers fan nightmare, a magical Major League Baseball moment, two stunning NFL gambling lines, and bad news for a former Pirate.


I’m not ready for this

The slow burn on this topic will start to simmer over the next 48 hours or so.

Former Steelers players Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown are about to face off for the first time with their new teams.

Bell’s New York Jets (0-2) visit Brown’s New England Patriots (2-0) Sunday at 1 p.m.

I can only imagine the Steelers-bashing, Roethlisberger-hating, deep-think pieces that ESPN and CBS will roll out for this matchup. Maybe the two of them will sit down with one of the networks Saturday?

Dueling on-field pregame interviews? Social media back-and-forth?

What do you think?

By the way, this contest would have occurred even if Brown had stayed in Oakland. The Jets host the Raiders on Nov. 24.

Now we are “blessed” to see it twice per season since the Jets and Pats are AFC East rivals.

Maybe I’ll take A.B.’s advice and “Call God.” I’m going to ask him for a lightning strike to hit Gillette Stadium so the game has to be canceled.

New England is a 22.5-point favorite.

Yes. That’s a National Football League line, folks. I’m serious. Here’s proof.

The Jets are such big underdogs, Vegas seems to have more faith in the awful Miami Dolphins. They are “only” 21.5-point underdogs to the Dallas Cowboys.


Dickerson is down

Corey Dickerson has been quite a find for the Philadelphia Phillies ever since the Pirates gave him awa… uh… traded him to the City of Brotherly Love.

But that’s come to an end .

Too bad for Dickerson. Escaping the blackhole at PNC Park was a lucky bounce for him. And he made the most of it, gathering 34 RBIs in 34 games in Philadelphia.

The outfielder also hit .293 with eight homers since heading down the turnpike.

The Phillies beat the National League East-leading Atlanta Braves Tuesday night, 5-4. They are now four games back of the Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers for the final wild-card spot in the NL.


Leach logic

Mike Leach is renowned for his off-the-cuff, humorous press conferences.

This week’s edition was the crème de la crème.

The Washington State football head coach was asked which Pac-12 mascot would win a battle royal-style brawl.

His answer was… in depth.

I will gladly give next month’s paycheck to any one of my peers who asks Mike Tomlin the same question about the AFC North next Tuesday.

And manages to get 87 seconds of analysis that strong.

As far as the ACC goes, I think Roc could hold his own for Pitt. He seems pretty tough.

However, my alma mater’s mascot wouldn’t stand much of a chance in the Thunderdome.

Then again, the Wake Forest Demon Deacon looks kinda old and feeble. And one oversized fly swatter could probably take care of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket.

After that, I don’t like Otto’s chances.


Fenway family fun

Carl Yastrzemski hit 452 home runs during his 23 years with the Boston Red Sox.

His grandson, Mike, has 20 in his rookie season with the San Francisco Giants.

And this was his first in Boston.

The accomplishment wasn’t lost on the Fenway Park fans, as they gave “young Yaz” a standing ovation.

Mike Yastrzemski went 2-for-7. The Giants won 7-6 in 15 innings Tuesday night.

And Yastrzemski wasn’t the only descendant of a former MLB great to shine Tuesday night.

Blue Jays up-and-comer Cavan Biggio, son of Hall of Famer Craig Biggio, hit for the cycle at Baltimore.

Biggio homered in the third, singled in the sixth and doubled in the eighth.

He was fortunate enough to get another at-bat in the top of the ninth after the Blue Jays had come back to take a 5-4 lead.

On a 3-2 count, he tripled to complete the cycle.

Cavan’s cycle comes 17 years after Craig hit for the cycle with the Astros.


Lovin’ Lamar

Some people have said Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson reminds them of Mike Vick.

And I think they meant that as a compliment.

Ok, I’m being harsh because I’m remembering Vick in his bad Steelers season of 2015. And maybe it’s because I hate Vick for the loathsome crimes he committed.

But he was a great player during his Atlanta Falcon days. The similarities between Jackson and Vick are obvious.

Just ask Vick. TMZ did.

“I think they’re good comparisons, man,” Vick said. “If anybody looking like me, it’s Lamar.”

Jackson is ahead of Vick in one regard. He got to the playoffs in his rookie season. Vick had two playoff victories in his career — one in 2002 and another in 2004.

It took a lot for me to admit that.

Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at [email protected] or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless specified otherwise.

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