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If nothing else, the Pirates won their opening series and the Penguins won their final game at the Igloo.

Pirates Finally Lost? There’s Always The Penguins

Just when you think you're out, they drag you back down again.

Joe Torre sits out five of his starters for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Paul Maholm, slated to make four and a half million dollars next year, is on the mound and while he gives up a run in the first inning, and from the radio play by play, it sounds as if he's throwing strikes and pitching well. Garrett Jones is due up in the bottom of the first and we all know what he does in his first at bat. The team has got to have momentum.

As the game does on, Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley doesn't pitch particularly well. He walks four batters in 5 1/3 innings, has bases loaded in the fourth, and had already gone over 100 pitches in the fifth. You'd think a third win in a row to match the opening of the Pirates' 2007 season was in the bag.

So, what happens? Let's not discuss it. Still, as Meatloaf once opined, "two out of three ain't bad," and as Andrew McCutchen told reporters: "We won the series."

True enough, and now they're on their way to Arizona to play the Diamondbacks who also won their opening series against the Padres. Charlie Morton, 5-9 last year, will take the mound. In his last spring training start he gave up one run on five hits in six innings against the Twins. Rodrigo Lopez goes for the home team. He was 3-1 last year with a 5.70 ERA. So despite the fact that the Buccos were 1-6 against the Diamondbacks last year, there is hope.

The trouble is that losing 10-2 is a downer. The bullpen has worked hard in the last two games. The Pirates left a lot of men on base. The defense hasn't always been what it should. Even the weather has turned crummy, in Pittsburgh at any rate. One can only hope and as that great philosopher Monty Python used to say, "always look on the bright side of life."

Or, one can change the subject. So "buy Sam a drink and get his dog one too." Last night was the final game played at the Igloo before the Penguins' new state-of-the-art arena opens next season. So, last night was set aside as a celebration of hockey history in Pittsburgh, and the Penguins invited a gaggle of ex-players, coaches, and front office men to join in a team photo with the current crop of players. "Call Arnold Slick from Turtle Crick."

All were introduced with great fanfare; they walked out on the ice, greeted the crowd and players and gathered at center ice for the photo. A crowd of Penguin memories — Andy Bathgate, Syl Apps, Jean Pronovost, Gary Roberts, Craig Patrick — passed by waving to cheering fans. And last, with a wide smile of happiness, came number 66, the man credited with saving the Penguins franchise in Pittsburgh, Mario Lemieux. No question, there were tears in many an eye.

Then when the Pens went on to beat the Islanders (they beat them "like a rented mule") 7-3, not to mention Billy Guerin getting his 500th point in the NHL and Sidney Crosby's four points, it just about made for a perfect evening, despite the loss in a different sport earlier that afternoon.

About Jack Goodstein

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