First Call: Are Steelers getting new naming rights for Heinz Field?; unique All-Star gift for Pirates’ David Bednar

Monday’s “First Call” features a potential name change for Heinz Field. The Pittsburgh Pirates are catching a break as they head to Miami. Pirates closer David Bednar got a special gift for making the All-Star team.

And ex-Penguin Matt Murray may be getting a new home.


Hold the ketchup

Is the Steelers home field getting a new name? According to one report, it is.

On Sunday night, Andrew Fillipponi of 93.7 The Fan reported that Heinz Field is getting a name change because an agreement could not be reached to renew the naming rights.

Monday morning, Fillipponi tweeted that the stadium will be renamed Acrisure Stadium after a Michigan-based insurance brokerage firm. He says an official announcement could come as soon as Tuesday.

Steelers owner Art Rooney II seemed optimistic that Heinz would renew the naming rights agreement back in February.

Heinz paid $57 million for the original 20-year agreement. The Steelers should be able to yield a significantly better return than that in 2022.

When they auction off the Ketchup bottles, how much do they go for? How about $5.7 million each?


Maple Leaf Murray?

If Matt Murray gets traded, he may not have to go far.

Elliotte Friedman of TSN reports that the Ottawa Senators are in talks to trade Murray to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The former Penguins goalie will have a $6.25 million cap hit this year and next, with a 10-team no-trade clause according to CapFriendly.com. During his two years in Ottawa, Murray is 15-25-3. He has a save percentage of .899 and a goals against average of 3.22.

The Leafs traded netminder Petr Mrazek to Chicago during the draft last week, and Jack Campbell is about to become a free agent.


Related:

• Madden Monday: Kris Letang’s contract is a good one for the Penguins, but there are flaws in the team’s big-picture plan
• Tim Benz: Penguins 1st-round draft pick Owen Pickering’s amazing growth spurt — and how it could shape his progress


Keeping it local

David Bednar is this year’s Pirates representative for the Major League Baseball All-Star Game. The game is July 19 at Dodger Stadium. The relief pitcher got word after Sunday’s 8-6 win over the Milwaukee Brewers.

Since Bednar is a Mars native, Bucs manager Derek Shelton expanded on the usual tradition of giving an All-Star a bottle of champagne for the accomplishment. He threw in a 30-pack of IC Light beer.

Bednar has 15 saves in 18 opportunities, along with four holds. His ERA is 2.63. He also has 55 strikeouts versus just 12 walks.

But things have been a struggle for Bednar lately. Back issues have been a problem. Plus, since June 15, he has blown two saves and has seen his ERA jump up to 2.63 from 1.14.

When Bednar worked the ninth inning Sunday with the Pirates up 8-4, he didn’t come in for a save. However, the right-hander yielded a two-run homer to former Pirate Andrew McCutchen. The Pirates held on to win 8-6.

That was McCutchen’s eighth homer of the season.


Bucs get a break

After getting a rare series win in Milwaukee, the Pirates now head south to play the Miami Marlins for a four-game series Monday through Thursday.

They won’t have to face Sandy Alcantara. And that’s a good thing.

The Miami right-hander started Sunday and isn’t slated to pitch again until Friday against the Philadelphia Phillies.

During Sunday’s 2-0, 10-inning victory over the New York Mets, Alcantara pitched seven innings of shutout ball. He’s 9-3 with an ERA of 1.73 (third best in MLB) and a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 111:31.

Houston’s Framber Valdez (15) is the only pitcher with more quality starts in MLB than Alcantara (14). Alcantara has pitched at least seven innings in each of his last 12 starts dating back to May 11. He leads MLB in innings pitched with 130.1.

Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at tbenz@triblive.com or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless specified otherwise.

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