The Birdie has no plans to retire from picking games in the A-K Valley

November 12, 2018

Last week: 11-2 (.846)

Season: 83-19 (.814)

The news last week of Big Bird’s retirement took The Birdie by surprise, as he always looked up to the “Sesame Street” legend, both literally and metaphorically.

But what really shocked the Alle-Kiski Valley’s picks expert was the revelation that Big Bird himself wasn’t retiring, but ...

“An actor?” The Birdie said, stunned to learn of the existence of Carol Spinney, the man behind the statuesque yellow-feathered creature. “Big Bird is an actor?”

The new information did more than ruffle The Birdie’s feathers -- it shook him to his core.

“It felt like a betrayal,” he said, “because I’ve heard him talk more than once about the value of honesty. And all this time, he wasn’t being truthful to who he was.”

All of a sudden The Birdie felt more kinship with Oscar the Grouch, until he found out ...

“He’s an actor, too?” The Birdie said after being told that Spinney also portrayed the green-furred, trash-dwelling character. “Geez, oh, man ... what is the world coming to? Maybe Snuffleupagus will straighten everything out.”

The Birdie uses a ghost writer himself -- “but I’ve been honest about it,” he argued -- because it keeps his mind fresh to keep picking games. And he has no plans to retire anytime soon, not when he’s at the top of his game.

“Eleven and two last week,” he said. “That’s good enough to make the playoffs, which only Freeport can say here in the A-K Valley. Maybe we’ll get some more this week, but I don’t see many sunny days.”

Burrell (2-7, 2-5) at Derry (8-1, 6-1)

Derry is motivated for a conference title, and Burrell won’t stand in the way. Derry, 42-14

Charleroi (7-1) at Apollo-Ridge (2-7)

Charleroi is averaging more than 50 points per game, which spells trouble for the struggling Vikings. Charleroi, 45-20

Fox Chapel (2-7, 1-5) at Shaler (3-6, 2-4)

The Titans can clinch a playoff spot with a win and some help. They’ll get the first part. As for the second ... Shaler, 21-14

Freeport (5-3) at Knoch (4-5)

Expect points to be at a premium in the first meeting between the Butler County neighbors since 2005. Freeport, 17-14

Hempfield (2-7) at Plum (2-7)

Not a good season for either team, but the winner will at least take something positive into the offseason. Hempfield, 20-13

Kiski Area (3-6, 2-4) at Armstrong (4-5, 2-4)

Both teams are banged-up, which is bad enough, but the Cavaliers also are mistake-prone, a lethal combination for their playoff chances. Armstrong, 34-21

Latrobe (3-6) at Highlands (2-7)

Latrobe will warm up for the playoffs with a win over the eliminated Golden Rams. Latrobe, 35-21

Leechburg (4-5, 1-4) at Springdale (1-7, 0-5)

The Blue Devils will be able to party like it’s 1992, the last time they went .500. Leechburg, 34-7

North Catholic (8-1, 6-1) at Deer Lakes (3-5, 3-4)

It’s a tough end to what was a promising year for the Lancers. North Catholic, 42-10

Riverview (2-6) at Sto-Rox (5-4)

Sto-Rox’s high-scoring offense should put up plenty of points against Riverview’s defense. Sto-Rox, 43-13

Valley (3-6, 2-3) at East Allegheny (5-4, 2-3)

The winner clinches a WPIAL playoff spot, and East Allegheny has a better pedigree of winning big games lately. East Allegheny, 28-20

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