Rick Pitino is coaching basketball in Greece now, in charge of Panathinaikos. And he’s not happy with his team’s fans, because fans in Greece can smoke in their seats during games, and many do.
“It’s extremely self-centered and selfish of people,’' Pitino told the Associated Press late Wednesday after Panathinaikos won in the Greek league semifinals. “I smoke cigars on a golf course, but there’s nobody else around. But you’re in an arena and 10,000 are smoking and the players are choking.
“So, sooner or later, you’ve got to say: ‘Hey, man, we’re at an athletic event and I’m going to discipline myself and we’ll wait until halftime. … But not when there are athletes and there are little kids who want to come to the game. ... But they don’t care about young people and the athletes who are breathing it in.’'
Greece and Bulgaria have the highest rates of smoking in the European Union, with the proportion of daily smokers at 27% in both countries, according to the EU statistics agency Eurostat.
Just a bit outside
You may have seen the viral video this week of a woman throwing out the first pitch at a Chicago White Sox home game. The woman, Mary Ruich, didn’t come close to home plate and instead hit a man taking pictures well off to the side.
Ruich is a server at one of the White Sox’s in-stadium restaurants and got to throw out the first pitch after being named employee of the month.
“I knew it wasn’t going to be good, but I thought I’d be close,” she told the Associated Press. “It was scary.”
Ruich threw the ball right into the lens of Darren Georgia, who was standing about 15 feet away between the mound and the first-base line.
“I was like, ‘Oh, my God! Maybe nobody saw that. I’ll just run away,’ ” Ruich said
Her daughter, Nikki, clued her in later that she had become an internet sensation.
“Fortunately, she’s not on social media, so I’ve kind of been the filter,” Nikki Ruich said. “Most people commenting on it were nice. There were some mean ones, but most people were nice.”
And Georgia is fine with being a part of it all.
“I’ve enjoyed the whole thing,” Georgia said. “I have no hard feelings towards Mary at all. The whole thing was hilarious; her reaction and other reactions were fantastic.”
So, if you are ever asked to throw out the first pitch at a baseball game, what should you do?
“Don’t stand on the mound. Maybe stand 10 feet away from the catcher,” she said. “It might be a little more pleasant.”
Don’t watch it
Derek Dietrich of the Cincinnati Reds likes to stand and watch all of his home runs. He’s spent a lot of time standing and watching this season, as the second baseman has hit 17 homers (through Wednesday). Seven of those homers have come against the Pittsburgh Pirates, and Pirates broadcaster John Wehner is tired of his act.
“I can’t stand him,” Wehner said on radio station 93.7 The Fan. “I just don’t see why — I don’t understand why you have to do that. It’s different if you’re a Hall of Fame player, you’re a 60-homer guy, you’re an established guy. Nobody ever heard of him before this year.
“I heard of him because of his grandfather who used to be a minor league coach for the Pirates. He was the nicest, sweetest guy in the world. He’s rolling in his grave every time this guy hits a home run. He’s embarrassed of his grandson.”
Wehner is referring to Steve Demeter, who played for a brief time in the majors and was a longtime coach. He died at the age of 78 in 2013. Luckily, Wehner is apparently able to communicate with the deceased and knows what they are thinking. I’ve got to talk to him about contacting my dad.