West Virginia basketball fans were quite concerned this past week over the possibility that North Carolina State might have taken John Beilein to coach the Wolfpack next year. Everything worked out in WVU’s favor, thank goodness, but this is the type of thing that Mountaineer fans will have to grow accustomed to — especially as long as the high-profile WVU coaches are so successful. Such is the price for having such successful coaches. ...

Think, for a moment, how much in demand Rich Rodriguez will be if West Virginia’s football team produces this fall as many of the experts think it will. That may be the one drawback (for Mountaineer supporters, at least) of having a great season and being ranked with the elite in the nation. And some observers already have him going to Florida State when Bobby Bowden decides to hang them up, Penn State when Joe Paterno does the same, or even Tennessee, depending on how that team fares this fall. ...

The floundering Pirates are 6-7 at home but 1-12 on the road through Sunday. Wasn’t it last year that they couldn’t win at home during the first six weeks of the season but had one of the best road records? ... Pittsburgh’s recent six-game losing streak was its longest since it dropped nine in a row from June 5-15, 2004. The Pirates were outscored 34-12 over that period. ...

Remember the Pirates trade that sent Kris Benson to the Mets for Ty Wigginton, who never got started with the Pirates and was released after the 2005 season. Wigginton signed with Tampa Bay and has been quite an early-season star there. He had 24 RBIs in April to tie the Devil Rays’ franchise record. No Pirates is within eight of Wigginton in RBI’s and his total of eight homers is more than any Pirate has. ...

You probably haven’t heard of Jonathan Papelbon and we hadn’t either until he established a new major league record with his 10th save in April Saturday night after entering the season with none in his career. He had 10 saves when the Pirates only had eight wins. ...

Despite playing on 17 consecutive days to start the season, the Pirates did not have an April rainout for the first time since 1992. The Pirates had 16 April games postponed from 1993-2005, 11 at home. ... All old-timers should be following Julio Franco of the New York Mets who last week became the oldest player ever to homer in the major leagues. Franco is 47. ...

Congratulations go out to Reid Amos, coach of the Fairmont State golf squad that captured the West Virginia Conference Tournament recently. Fairmont’s Jonathon Burnside was medalist for the event. ... Charleston Catholic has a unique baseball pitcher who has pitched ever inning of every game for the past three seasons. Therefore the team’s record is also the personal record of senior Courtney Pack and the Irish have posted mark of 6-16, 4-22 and 2-15 over the past three seasons. She doesn’t receive much hitting support. ...

There seems to be a major absence of pitching in major league baseball. Last week the Orioles pounded the Indians by an 18-9 score a day after Cleveland had soundly whipped Baltimore, 15-1. Jake Westbrook (2-2) failed to protect a 7-3 lead, allowing nine runs — eight earned — and 12 hits in 4 2-3 innings.

Steve Howe, the 1980 NL Rookie of the Year with Los Angeles, was killed last weekend in a traffic accident. That’s probably the first time his name has been introduced in a story without mention of his drug addiction. He was suspended seven times before being tossed out for life because of drugs. Baseball experts say he could have been one of the best pitchers ever — a Hall of Fame candidate. Sad. ...

Chris Shelton hit his 10th homer in April to match the franchise record last week to match Cecil Fielder’s team mark set in 1996. After hitting nine homers in his first 13 games, Shelton had gone nine games without one. Shelton is the former Pirate farmhand that the team let get away and received nothing for him. But we look for his home run barrage to slow down. Maybe 25 at the most for him this year. ... But the Pirates could have used those 25 dingers.

E-mail John Veasey at jcveasey@timeswv.com.

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