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Maple Street Press 2009 Pittsburgh Steelers Annual Now Available

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If you're not entirely new to Behind The Steel Curtain you're probably aware that I've been around these parts much less this past two or three months. I was consumed with a project that is also related to the Pittsburgh Steelers - editing an annual publication about the team we all love so much for a small but rapidly growing outfit in Massachusetts called Maple Street Press. The publishing house produces sports annuals, but not ones that are similar to the big national preview magazines that come out each summer. To me, those publications are fairly useless in today's information age. It's just disappointing to pick up a national preview publication and get only a few pages devoted to the team one loves. And, of course, the never ending ads get tiresome.

When I learned just a little bit more about Maple Street Press after being approached to put together a publication about the Steelers for them, I was confident that it would be worth my while and a fun endeavor. It was, for sure, and now it is available for those Steelers fans that may be interested to enjoy. I am pleased that it also is reasonably priced at $12.99 - a nice number considering there's no advertisements, only 128 high-quality pages and photos of Steelers content. It will also be available via Amazon on July 16th, as well as be in the PGH airport and other local stores later this month as well (more on that in the future) Here's a brief rundown of some of the publication's contents, followed by a few notes from me.

SEE PUBLICATION DETAILS INCLUDING HOW TO ORDER A COPY HERE

More details after the break.

Before getting to the contents of the book, a special shout out to mary rose who was essentially the co-editor of this publication. I myself tracked down the authors, thought of some interesting subjects and managed the many little 'administrative' details that the book required, but mary rose (who's real name is Tim) lent his unique perspective on many of the book's chapters. HIs amazing eye for clean writing and extraordinary knowledge and passion for the Steelers were both invaluable assets for me and the publication. I'm truly grateful and blessed that he was so involved in the process and patient with me throughout. Tim is not one to hog the spotlight, but in all actuality, there's not nearly enough 'credit' given to him in the publication for how integral he was to putting this all together. Let this little note at least stand as one small shout out to him for those of you who do read the publication to acknowledge. Cheers Tim.

Finally, thanks to drinkyourmilkshake in particular (you 'da man, man) and to all of you for keeping the site humming along in my absence. I almost feel expendable after seeing how lively things remained without me :) Thanks guys and gals.

To the book's contents, but first, a reminder that you can always email me (Michael Bean) at behindthesteelcurtain@gmail.com or at michaelbean06@gmail.com with any questions, complaints, suggestions, etc that you may have about the publication, the blog, anything else, or to just say what's up and introduce yourself. I hope to get to know more of you this coming year.

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

A New 53: Pittsburgh Steelers 2009 Roster Analysis

- by Neal Coolong - A look at the various positional battles that will delineate this year's training camp. A very long and information rich tour of the Steelers depth chart that he and I worked on dilligently together. Neal occassionally writes here on BTSC and can be found doing the same over at Steel City Insider.

Know Your Enemy: A Preview Of The 2009 Steelers Schedule

-by Michael Bean - Just like it sounds. A game-by-game breakdown of the Steelers opponents in 2009

Setting The Table: 2009 Pittsburgh Steelers Draft Review

-by David Banks - There proved to be a number of extremely well informed draft niks here on BTSC this past year, but none is quite as level-headed and wise as steeler.lifer The man can flat out write and make well reasoned analyses of both the small and big picture and it was really a no-brainer to get him to write this rather than some self-proclaimed expert that doesn't necessarily even follow the Steelers religiously. A tremendous article that will really familiarize you with the newest members of the franchise.

Ready To Rise: The Return of Rashard Mendenhall

by Jim Wexell - Probably the cleanest article I got in the entire process. No surprise, as Jim just writes so succintly and insightfully. Don't bother looking to the NFL Network for 'updates' about Rashard Mendenhall. There won't be much there. There is quite a bit though in this article about what the Steelers 2008 1st Round Draft pick has been up to since injuring his shoulder early on in his rookie campaign. I've pimped his book, Steeler Nation, a gazillion times before here, but I'll do so again. It's that enjoyable and a must read for every Steelers fan. Jim also runs the Scout site Steel City Insider.

The LeBeau Effect: 50 Years into a Hall of Fame Career

by Doug Farrar - Doug Farrar is a Staff Writer for Football Outsiders and a Panelist for the Washington Post. He also contributes to ESPN.com and the Seattle Times, and runs two Scout.com NFL sites -- FalconInsider.com (Atlanta) and NorthwestFootball.net (Seattle). This was a truly great read by Doug about one of Steelers fans favorite icons.

He's Not Done Just Yet: Hines Ward's Quietly Remarkable 2008 Season

by Michael Bean - A late addition to the book, I wish this article was as good as the player it is about. Hopefully I will do a better job reflecting on Ward's entire career whenever my favorite player hangs it up for good.

Six In The City: A Look Back at the 2008 Season

by Tim Gleason - One of the longer articles in the publication, but not surprisingly, it reads amazingly well and leaves you wishing there were more from mary rose.

Now That's Steelers Football!: How a Small Market Team Created a Nation

by Freddy J. Nager - (TURFGeek on BTSC). One of the countless great people I've been blessed to get to know via the blog, Freddy is formerly of Saatchi & Saatchi and founder/director of Atomic Tango, a Los Angeles based creative marketing agency specializing in brand development. He is also the author of 'Claw Your Way To The Top: Ten Things I Learned About Business Fromy My Cat'  and a regular blogger about media, technology and whatever else is on his brilliant mind at Cool Rules Pronto. A just splendid article about the unique branding of Steelers football. Both informative and intelligent from a business/marketing/branding perspective, but also lighthearted and entertainingly funny. You will enjoy, trust me.

The Tomlinator: Mike Tomlin and the Steelers, a Perfect Fit

- by Tim Gleason - Many of you may remember mary rose writing this last December. One of his best ever and that's saying something. The good news for the publication is that the article has been lengthened and somehow even improved upon.

From Whiz To Arians: The Evolution of an Offense

-by Adrian Atkinson - This publication is not overly stat-heavy, but I was pleased that Adrian was able to contribute an informative and interesting piece comparing the current and previous offensive coordinators of the Steelers. Adrian was introduced to me by the publishing house - he has put together a similar book about the North Carolina Tar Heels basketball program for MSP.

The Dawn Of A New Era In Pittsburgh And The NFL? An Early Preview of Free Agency in 2010

-by Charles Golden and Michael Bean - As many of you know, Charles wrote frequently on BTSC before assuming the full time duties of running SBNs Arizona Cards blog, Revenge of the Birds. Charles and I had fun writing this article, and I previewed a snippet of it in a post here on the site not too long ago.

Pittsburgh Goes Greene: History, Culture, and a Man Named Greene

-by Ivan Cole (RickVa here on BTSC) -  This post from Ivan, written in the summer of 2008 about his experience walking on to the Temple Football team and playing alongside former Steelers tight end Randy Grossman, was what immediately made me think of him as a good fit to tell a historical story of some sort. He did a fantastic job doing just that in a tribute to one of the Steelers' all-time legendary figures, on and off the field.

The Best To Ever Take The Field: The 1976 Pittsburgh Steelers Defense

NOTE: This article was in fact written by Andrew Friedman, affectionately known as 5020 around these parts. This was an oversight on the publisher's part and something that I feel absolutely awful about. Hell, I wasn't even alive in 1976 so I wouldn't dare write about the subject. Andrew has done a very nice job though doing just that and I hope that at least part of the book's readership is aware of the fine work he's done.

Ben And Terry: Championships Bond Two All-time Steeler Greats

-by Tim Gleason  - as always, a tightly written, informative piece from a voice we all have grown to respect and anticipate.

Franco, Mr. Rooney, And Me

-by Mike Silverstein (a somewhat frequent commentor and contributor here on BTSC though I'll not include his name due to not being sure of his wishes in regards to 'anonymity'). Anyway, getting Mr. Silverstein involved was quite an honor for me. He has been a long time ABC News editor, a cousin of Shel Silverstein, a Pittsburgh native, veteran of the print and broadcast journalism industries, and all around great, great man. One of the true gems of the book that I was honored to even read, let alone 'edit'.  You can read here a May 5th tribute he wrote to his recently passed brother in the Post Gazette. Touching and inspiring stuff.

The Last Word

-by Howard Fineman - I was quite excited and humbled to have gotten an email from Howard this past year that said he really enjoyed the blog. Coming from a man of his journalistic credentials and reputation, I was very honored. I also immediately thought of ways to try to get him to share some his award winning writing with us, be it on the site or in the publication. Though his demanding schedule only allowed him to write about 1,000 words, I couldn't be more ecstatic that he was kind of enough to do me a huge favor and participate. As he said to me in an email while accepting my offer, 'I'm from Pittsburgh. Nothing's below me." You can catch Fineman on television at MSNBC frequently, as well as read his writing at Newsweek and MSNBC.com