Tough week in sports with losses of Noll, Gwynn and by IronBirds [Commentary]

For those who simply love sports, this has been a tough week with the passing of two of sports greatest figures over the past 40 years.

It really doesn't matter whether you're that diehard Ravens fan or just the fan of the game of football itself. The news of the passing of legendary Pittsburgh Steelers coach Chuck Noll has left a void in the hearts of football fans everywhere.

In his time along that Steelers sideline, Noll orchestrated those ridiculously good Pittsburgh teams of the 1970s. That was a time when Baltimore's team was the Colts so the love for a Steelers team probably wasn't good then either. That said, can't believe it was the way it is today.

Anyway, whenever a legend of a sport passes, it deserves our thoughts and condolences, whether we really knew that person at all. That is if you simply love sports and appreciate life too, I guess.

Then, there came the word on Monday that baseball great and Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn had died at the youthful age of 54. I knew he had struggled with cancer for a few years, but the news still hit me like a brick.

Again, Gwynn was a regular great of the game of baseball, during his 20-year career with the San Diego Padres. Sadly, even Gwynn himself believes that his cancer stemmed from use of chewing tobacco game-in and game-out during that stellar playing career.

Because he played his entire career on the West Coast in San Diego, many of us here in the East didn't get the chance to fully enjoy Gwynn's ability to play baseball. Especially what he could do with the bat.

Speaking of baseball, have you tried to keep up with the Aberdeen IronBirds and the start of the 2014 season? It hasn't been good.

Entering Tuesday's play the IronBirds had a really tough time in Hudson Valley. Aberdeen played four games and lost all four. In reality, kind of cruelly.

The season opened with a 2-1 loss in which Aberdeen had a 1-0 lead in the ninth. The next night the 'Birds fall 4-3 in 11 innings before losing 4-2 the next day in Dylan Bundy's first minor league rehab start.

And then, Monday's series finale lasts 15 innings and ends the same way the season and series began: a 2-1 loss.

Wow, what a tough way for defending New York-Penn League McNamara Division Champions to begin a title defense.

Hopefully, a three-game set in Staten Island will provide better results, before the IronBirds get back to the place they call home, Ripken Stadium. Division nemesis Brooklyn will open Aberdeen's home season Friday at 7:35 p.m.

At the end of the month, Hudson Valley will visit Aberdeen for a weekend series. Paybacks would sure be nice.

Can I just say that it sounds like graduation and senior week were relatively quiet and safe. If that's not the case, I'd rather not hear about it. Enjoy summer, it will be fall before you know it.

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