Wednesday, May 13, 2009


ABOVE: I always knew that heaven would be great, but I never expected to experience it so soon... and it was great, believe me!

I had an opportunity to get as close to heaven on earth as I've ever been when I attended the "Lunch With The Legend" program that ESPN Pittsburgh hosts at Morton's Steak House each month at the downtown restaurant.

The event, co-sponsored by Crown Royal, and Morton's Steakhouse got off to a great start as soon as we walked through the front door as we were immediately treated to a sample of Crown Royal Reserve Blend by one the most lovely of hostess sampling-type persons. It only continued to get better and better from there. This month's special guests were ESPN's Steve Levy and hockey analyst, Barry Melrose. The program hosts were the always-affable Stan Savran, his sidekick, Guy Junker and Producer, Chris Mack.

ABOVE: This month's Legendary Panel consisted of (left to right) Guy Junker (pronounced GEE JONKAIR), Steve Levy, Barry Melrose and the lovable Stan Savran...and yes, "Stan and Guy we loved the show!"

Along with interesting hockey talk, the attendees enjoyed a tremendous meal the way that only Mortons can prepare it. In my case, I started off with a Caesar salad accompanied by a huge roll of fresh-baked onion bread. My main course consisted of the most tender filet mignon with bearnaise sauce, along with garlic mashed potatoes followed by some of the most delicious cheesecake ever made. My good buddy, Ken, who accompanied me, had one of the most succulent-looking pieces of salmon that I've ever seen. I had been shocked by his seafood selection after the waitress had left by saying something intelligent like, "I always told my sons, you don't go to Red Lobster to order a steak or Morton's to order salmon." In this case, I was totally wrong, as the salmon looked phenomenal. Ken loved it and is going to bring his wife Kathy back this weekend (total guilt complex on his part I guess).

All the while that we were enjoying this sumptuous meal, we got to listen to two of the best sportscasters this city has ever known, Stan and Guy, along with the knowledgeable Steve Levy and the always-controversial and now mullet-less Barry Melrose. Is there a closer spot to heaven than this? For a sports fan who loves his Pittsburgh sports? No way, Giuseppe.

ABOVE: Barry Melrose (sans mullet in center) announces that he'd draft Alexander Ovechkin over Sid and Gino. Stan (right) is incredulous at this revelation. Then again, Barry lasted about two weeks on his last coaching gig so don't get too whipped-up about it. This is also not a good way to win friends in Pittsburgh where no one gives you points for your honesty in selecting hated rivals over your favorite hockey sons.

Melrose had two memorable comments, inciting the otherwise genteel Pittsburgh crowd into a chorus of boos and a near riot when he responded to a Junker query that he would take Alexander Ovechkin over Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin if the draft were held tomorrow. Even more curious was the fact that after saying that he thought Washington would win the series, he later selected Sergei Gonchar as his choice for scoring the game-winning goal....???

ABOVE: If you're really looking to enjoy an outstanding meal, you can rest assured you'll find it here at Morton's where even the salmon steaks are great.

The inexcusable Melrose gaffes not withstanding, ESPN's Bryan Engel is to be congratulated for putting on a first class event at a first class venue. Next month's Lunch with a Legend will feature among others the Pittsburgh Steelers DeShea Townsend on June 17th. Cost for the event including tax and gratuity is $40. Events such as this one are another reason why Pittsburgh has become renowned as such a great sports town and why ESPN has become known as the leader in near-heaven experiences.

ABOVE: Some alleged blogger slips through security so that he can get his picture taken with Stan and Guy and say something dumb like, "STAN AND GUY! LOVE THE SHOW!" ESPN has already promised to erect a soccer-style fence in order to keep these unsavory types at bay next month. It's always the same story. A select few people always have to ruin things for everyone else!