Friday, July 30, 2010

The Steel Signal

Last night, I was awakened at Stately Batista Manor as a hypocycloid lit up the sky.

It can only mean one thing: The Steelers report to training camp today.

To the keyboard!

I know I've been very quiet this offseason here in the hills of Yonkers, a few Hail Marys from the town that's nicknamed Gotham City.

You're probably all wondering what I've been doing.

One thing I haven't been doing is working on a book on the 2009 Steelers season. If I were, I'd have called it "We've Had Our Hands on Balls," an actual Mike Tomlin quote that typified how just a few dropped passes meant the difference between playoffs and mediocrity.

Here's what I have been doing: Making money in my underwear.

No, it's not the kind of work where the money is stuffed into my underwear. Get your mind out of the gutter. The money is going to my PayPal account after I edit, and then approve or reject, articles of various subjects for the Internet.

This is a side job for me. My real job is at a newspaper (but not as a writer). Somehow I have avoided being thrown from the Titanic that is the newspaper business, but I need outside employment because A) The ship will sink eventually, and I need to know how to do something else, and B) The extra money doesn't hurt.

So I basically have two jobs, or at least a job and a half. This is why I haven't had the time to post an update on every blip of the Steelers' offseason.

However, one recent event I will say something about involves the untimely passing of Kaye Cowher, wife of former Steeler coach Bill Cowher. She died last week of skin cancer at age 54.

My take on this is that in retrospect Cowher made the right move stepping down as coach in 2007. At least it gave him a chance to spend more time with his wife while he could.

The lesson here is don't put work ahead of family.

Going forward, I am hoping against all hope that I can carve out the time to at least check in a few times during training camp and do a column on every regular-season (and hopefully) playoff game. No more power rankings. No more mid-week columns, unless Ben Roethlisberger rapes a motorcycle and doesn't wear a helmet.

This could change, of course, if someone sees fit to pay me as a Steelers blogger. That hasn't happened -- yet. I did apply for such a position this summer, but did not get it.

I actually have made a little bit of scratch here and there selling links on my old Steelers website, Generally, however, starting your own blog and trying to make money on it is like looking for change under the couch cushions.

This is one of the reasons I moved to the Blogger platform. It's free. The money I did make on wasn't enough to cover the annual fee for the server and for the domain name. I'm still going to keep up for at least a few more months. After all, those who bought links on my site paid $35 for an entire year. I can't just give them nine months of exposure if they paid for 12. I'm an honest businessman.

Even if I don't always wear pants.

Speaking of people who have a hard time keeping their pants on, the way I see it, the Steelers have two seasons coming up, one without Ben Roethlisberger and one with Ben Roethlisberger. Through the first four to six games, when Roethlisberger serves his suspension (I doubt it will be eight games), I'm going to be rooting my heart out for Byron Leftwich or Dennis Dixon to lead the Steelers to a 4-0 or 6-0 record so Roethlisberger loses his job and never takes another snap for the Steelers.

Of course, that probably won't happen. Even if Roethlisberger sits out just four games, those four games will be home to Atlanta, at Tennessee, at Tampa Bay and then home to Baltimore. Without Roethlisberger, the Steelers start the season 2-2 at best.

But hey, it's a new season. The infamous five-game losing streak has been wiped clean. And unlike my old Steelers site I'm not going whore this site out to lame links from halfway around the world. So without a profit motive, I can post this inspirational YouTube link from "scifiradioguy" without reproach.

Toe hits pigskin in 44 days.

Mike Batista