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U mad, bro? Readers attack Mike Tomlin, replay, race, baseball contracts | TribLIVE.com
Breakfast With Benz

U mad, bro? Readers attack Mike Tomlin, replay, race, baseball contracts

Tim Benz
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Steelers coach Mike Tomlin reacts after the offense failed to convert on third down in the first quarter of a game at Broncos Stadium at Mile High on November 25, 2018 in Denver.

In “U mad, bro?” this week, we have race, rage and replay. Hence, things get a bit tense.


My column about lagging baseball interest got a lot of response. None more interesting than this email from someone simply calling themselves “k l.”

“The media believes fewer whites means more diversity, which is why the media supports the NBA and NFL.”

You ever get a birthday present that you think might be something really cool? Then it ends up being socks or underwear?

That’s what it was like for me to open this email.

“Hey, look! It’s an email from someone who wants to exchange thoughts and ideas about the betterment of baseball!

Nope, wait. Just another internet missive from a racist in a bunker somewhere. Oh well, on with my day.”

What’s more typical here? A detached, paranoid, anonymous internet troll lashing out at people of other races? Or a detached, paranoid baseball fan blaming the success of other leagues for the failure of his chosen sport?

By the way, if “the media” is really propagating a diversity agenda, wouldn’t it focus more of its time covering a sport, such as baseball, that features stars of so many races and nationalities? White, black, Korean, Dominican, Japanese, Mexican, Venezuelan, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Curaçaoan … well, you get the picture.


Bryan had a simpler opinion as to why baseball fans are staying away from the parks.

“$300 Million contracts is why.”

Yes. In Pittsburgh. Sure. There are none here and none in many other cities. But big-dollar players actually draw the few people who are going in other towns.

Ask folks in Philadelphia and San Diego this year.

But I think your greater point — in a few extra words than your original email — is to say that payroll discrepancy leads to an erosion of faith from some fans in mid to small markets.

Thus, there is a failure to invest interest and time in them because of a lack of perceptible competitive balance.

If that’s what you are saying, then, yeah. I’m with you.


John chimes in via Facebook on my piece Tuesday about the Steelers defense and a lack of turnovers.

This is what happens when (Steelers head coach Mike) Tomlin calls his soft and easy-to-read defenses. Play scared football, make no mistakes and everyone in front of you, play safeties 30-40 yards deep off snap, make zero in-game adjustments after opposing coaches see what works and just keeps doing it. The D is just so predictable and soft.

John, I’m not one who shies away from criticizing Tomlin. But the lack of defensive playmaking is more on the players themselves than the coach.

Consider this: If the defense is as stale and predictable as you suggest, keep in mind it had 16 interceptions two years ago as opposed to only eight last year.

The defense had 22 takeaways in 2017 vs. 15 in 2018. In less than a full season in 2017, Ryan Shazier accounted for three interceptions, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

The organization’s failure to adequately replace him — until, hopefully, the drafting of Devin Bush — and their inability to find playmakers in the secondary are the reasons for their low turnover total.

Not scheme.


Here’s a late Facebook comment from Tom on my Kentucky Derby post from last week.

But replay is going to be argued about forever. So, why not throw it in this week, too?

Instant replay = ruining sport. Struggle to make the pursuit of perfection … perfect, using technology. See the call. Make the call. Pick your poison. I prefer the agony of humanity, the beauty of the pursuit. Otherwise let robots play. And officiate.”

Well, Tom, the robots are doing some officiating in tennis. And that’s helped. Don’t be surprised if it comes to baseball based on some of the strike-zone work I’ve seen this year.

I wonder if you were in favor of the “agony of humanity” when Danny Briere was 5 feet offsides at PPG Paints Arena in the 2012 playoffs.

Or when Randy Marsh squeezed Stan Belinda in that NLCS at bat against Damon Berryhill in 1992.

Or when Joe Haden got that penalty flag in New Orleans last December.

Plus, in the context of horse racing specifically, they did see the call. Then they made the call, as you demand.

But when else were they supposed to do it? Before the race ended?

Is one of the jockeys supposed to pull a red flag out of his sock and throw it at the horse in the lead?


This is my favorite kind of entry.

Jack commented via Facebook on “U mad, bro?” last week. And it appears “U mad, bro?” is making Jack mad.

Benz, all this column seems to do is give a Trump-style forum to bash anyone disagreeing with you.

Congratulations, Jack. You figured it out. Welcome to the party, pal!

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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