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Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: Only one mistake by this lake

CLEVELAND – Some sporting thoughts before sunrise …

This city’s sports teams took quite the beating in 2010 and, in the case of the Browns, it was merely a continuation of a mostly abysmal decade. But, as I was planning to write something to that effect for a while now, something funny happened: The fortunes of all three suddenly went way up.

You can read all about that in my column today.

Thanks to the Cavaliers for their help. They lost LeBron James, but I encountered some dedicated people this week, and it will be fun to see if they can bounce back from a humiliation unlike any sports franchise has known, save perhaps the Edmonton Oilers when Wayne Gretzky was traded.

>> This particular column is mostly a fun thing, part of a package Rob Rossi and I have today, including his Tale of the Tape between Pittsburgh and Cleveland. I’m not the type who feels the need to fist-pound with every piece. Sports are fun, and I’m going to share some of that fun with you.

>> The only mistake by this lake anymore is that Kiss still isn’t in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It completely invalidates the place, even after they did right by the Clash. No band in history had a greater impact on the art of the live rock performance.

>> It’s as absurd as Herb Brooks not being in the Hockey Hall of Fame, another rant for another day.

>> The Pirates are two games over .500, and it’s mid-June.

There’s no adequate commentary for that, other than to ask you to re-read that sentence until it sinks in.

>> Two lousy scoring decisions came into play yesterday, one with Andrew McCutchen losing a double and a 15-game hitting streak, the other with Garrett Jones losing an RBI single on an outrageous error charged to a diving Michael Bourn in center field. Where McCutchen is concerned, I always have a hard time thinking error when a third baseman has to go to his backhand, unless it’s not struck all that well. McCutchen hit his quite solidly. Where Jones is concerned … man, did I mention that Bourn was diving?

>> You’ll want to read the Stetson Allie piece today by Karen Price in State College. Allie is an interesting kid, to say the least.

>> I will be here covering the entire Pirates-Indians series, along with beat writer Rob Biertempfel, and there will be plenty of activity right here on the blog. Hope to have you along.

>> We will have our first Trib Total Media chat today at noon, live from some Starbucks or other here in downtown Cleveland. You can begin posting questions as early as 6 a.m.


  1. DavedigsDKsBlog says:

    Appropriately, Michael Stanley and Donnie Iris will be playing after Saturday’s game.

    Should be a fun weekend with I’m sure a lot of Pirates fans in attendance.

  2. Better Days Coming says:


    My speculation is that the Bucs will wait to see where bthey stanbd after this seemingly difficult spate of games against some good AL clubs. Assuming after that string of games they’re still within five game or less do they start seriously looking at ways to enhance the offense? Also, do you think, as I do, that rather than mortgage the future they’ll view Alvarez and possibly Pressley as the best possible sources of that enhancement?

    If not and if they look outside the organization for help, would you agree that they’ll most likely follow the same formula as we’ve seen previously and seek a low-cost (in terms of what it would take to acquire them), high upside option?

    And finally, if that is the case, who would be an example of such a player?

  3. Better Days Coming says:

    Dave! Awfully late in the Burgh, brother. Where is home?

  4. Hoov36 says:

    OK. I’m starting to get into the flow here with the new home. Love your work DK. Good luck in Cleveland. Stop by and grab a bite at the Winking Lizard right downtown. Stay away from Paninis. It is a terrible imitation of our hometown Sandwich hub that likes the fries and slaw slapped between fresh Mancinis.

    2 out of 3 or a sweep this series will have this town buzzing next week. The Bucs are relevant again! Keep up the great work DK!

  5. dwh0401 says:

    Tough stretch with interleague play on the horizon. Could be a defining moment for the season. Another stepping stone to overcome. They have been terrible @ inter league. Need to come out of it at or near 500 or the season could be lost.

  6. Drew71 says:

    All respect to Andrew’s hit/error, and sorry to Garrett, but the guy most jobbed last night was “diving Michael Bourn”. One of the best defensive CFers. One of the worst scoring decisions.

    Often scorers will change a decision a few innings later. Good. Get it right. How this wasn’t changed is beyond me.

    Also another indicator how hard it is to judge players D by number of errors. Especially fast and aggressive players who get to more balls – just barely and by diving – than most other players.

  7. Drew71 says:

    One more on a different topic…

    Wouldn’t it be something if the Cavs get to their objective and somehow trade up to also get the second pick and get the only two projected impact players of this draft? Kyrie Irving, Point Guard, and Derrick Williams, Power Forward (sort of), 19 and 20 years old. Two linchpins who could help each other in Cleveland for YEARS. And while neither will be confused on the court for LeBron, neither would, of course, have to single-handedly carry the team in the way that LeBron had to.

    To be honest, I haven’t made up my mind on Williams. Versatile, Euro-like, Basket-facing, Create-Your-Own-Shot forward…or…a Tweener who will be too small for Power Forward and not athletic enough for Small Forward. (I’d drop that into the pre-chat list as a Q but the chat won’t get outta standby mode.)

    But what a perceptional turnaround that would be for that franchise since LeBron created THE new cultural-iconic expression for selfishness and took his talents you know where.

  8. JAL says:

    Cavs have the top pick this year so maybe they will get another super player for a few years.

  9. Karen22 says:

    Welcome to my home town, Dejan! Although I haven’t lived there for 32 years, it is still home. Will be in the vicinity tomorrow, but not at the game—hubby opted to do some wine-tasting for Dad’s Day weekend out east (Grand River Wine Trail). Speaking of wine, I don’t know if you partake of the grape (know all about the coffee!), but there is a very cool wine bar in downtown Cleveland (D’Vine) to check out.

    This will be the only weekend this summer I will be rooting against my Tribe, save miracles too miraculous to envision. GO BUCS!

    And I agree—both Cutch (in particular) and Jones got hosed!

    Other Cleveland sports’ humiliations: 1) Trader Lane’s Rocky Colavito (my childhood IDOL!) for Harvey Kuenn—may the Curse of Colavito continue this weekend for the Tribe! 2) Can you say, “Art Modell?!” And last but certainly not least and ongoing, Dennis Kucinich. Hey, politics is sport, yes?

    Have a great time in the NOT-Mistake-on-the-Lake, and bring home (that would be Pittsburgh) some wins!

  10. JMB says:


    Your homeslice Ken Rosenthal is smokin’ crack if he has Collins above Hurdle at this point in the season! Collins still has a $150+m payroll worth of players; Hurdle is working magic with basically the same team that lost 105 last yr!

    My NL Mgr of Yr as of now: 1. Gibson. 2. Collins. 3. Hurdle. Honestly, I’d be cool with any of 3. #Marlins’ E-Rod on list 3 wks ago. #MLG

  11. Dejan Kovacevic says:

    @JMB: I’ve never liked using turnarounds as the sole criteria for manager/coach of the year. Best manager is best manager.

    But yeah, that still might be Hurdle.

  12. densum2 says:

    Dejan, I’m confused. Didn’t McCutchen have a single that started to 2 run 6th keeping his hitting streak alive? Maybe I missed something.

  13. Better Days Coming says:


    If I follow you, you’re referring to yesterday’s game. MLB actually reversed a call from the Mets series thus ending the streak as of last weekend. Hope that helps.

  14. JMB says:

    We were talking about the bump in attendance yesterday during the game thread that will come from moving to the NL East.

    This link does a nice breakdown or how Tampa benefits from being in the AL East attendance-wise.

    “he 2009 Orioles drew 70% more fans when playing the Yankees and Red Sox than against the rest of the American League. ”

    We could get that same bump from the Phillies & Mets.

  15. Bizrow says:

    Doesn’t MLB have better things to do than make a scoring change to try to improve someone’s ERA. That being said, it did look like the thirdbaseman should have had it.

  16. Bizrow says:

    BTW, with Cos Cob CT signing in last night, we have 50 lunatics signed in.

  17. Drew71 says:

    Lotza talk about Andrew’s hit-error, but if he didn’t have a streak going, i don’t think that would be a big deal. And the streak should have no bearing on the scorer.

    i think the Michael Bourn – Garrett Jones play was the bigger mistake of the two. A tough backhand play vs a diving stab that many other CFers couldn’t even be able get close to.

  18. Bizrow says:

    The Rock went beserk on the radio with that call, and the butcher job on Harrison’s double was more of an error. But Pence didn’t touch the ball, so I guess that was the difference.

  19. SeanAY says:

    A few points well after sunrise…

    – If you’re in Cleveland, enjoy craft beer, and are feeling particularly froggy, head out east to Cleveland Heights and check out the Cave du Vin (or “The Wine Cave,” as we called it in undergrad) in Coventry. Great selection, never too crowded, and just dark enough that no one will recognize you! I agree with staying away from Panini’s, which features the “Overstuffed” sandwich that I saw in a previous life somewhere…

    – My schadenfreude levels took a real hit this past week, as the Mavericks won the NBA championship (satisfaction from Cleveland whine about LeBron winning > satisfaction from watching LeBron fail), and then Boston, of all places, wins the Cup. I’ve had a rough week, let me tell you.

    – KISS may have been the masters of decadent showmanship in live rock and roll music, but I’ll always be particularly partial to the good ol’ Grateful Dead and their impact on live performance. Each the masters of their particular domains.

    – Oh yeah, and let’s take two of three from the Indians.

  20. Fat Jimmy says:

    So now that you’re on the other team, DK, are you going to lock Bill Brink in a coat closet or something so that you and Biertempfel can get to the locker room first?

  21. PGH_Fan_in_NH says:

    I know I am in the minority, but I really do not care the Bucs are over .500. Maybe at the end of the season when they either break the streak or make it 19 does it get mildly interesting to me.

    What I do care about:
    The Bucs are 3 games out of first place in the middle of June.
    They are on pace for 83 wins, a 26 game improvement over last year!
    They are doing this without much in the way of offense. Imagine if the offense was a bit better, maybe Pedro getting hot, or a trade to add a bat.
    Just about every game is exciting and fun to watch. Hopefully, this puts more fans in the seats and more money in the budget for payroll.

    That is what I am excited about.

  22. Drew71 says:

    if the KISS pop impersonation of Metal counts as Rock N Roll, yeah, well, they were best at that kinda impersonation. So go ahead and put them in. Tons of other groups that are not really Rock got in. What’s one more? And since costumes and antics as impact now count as music, sure, go for it. Whatever.

    Was it impactful? YES. No sarcasm there. It was. Maybe i just WISH it wasn’t.

    (Such a poorly named Hall of Fame. It IS interesting an enjoyable visit. Done it several times and never regretted it. But so poorly named.)

  23. Drew71 says:

    Now the Clash HAD to go in. And I say that based on appreciation more than love. Not my thing, but wow, not only impactful on other groups but truly helped to change the course of music at the time. Totally MUSICALLY unique. Not just show.

    i CAN and DO appreciate things i don’t love. I respect the “content” of the Clash. Leaders and trendsetters from a MUSIC standpoint.

    Just not a big fan of empty content and big show. (see above).

  24. Tony D. says:

    I’m a Burgh Man, but actually a fan of the city of Cleveland. Fantastic Little Italy neighborhood.

    DK, hope you have time to swing by Presti’s Bakery for a coffee and a canoli.

  25. MrB says:

    Dejan, nice piece on Cleveland. I emailed it to a friend of mine, who is a central FL transplant from Youngstown.

    Yes, KISS deserves to be in the Rock & Roll HOF…but so does Chicago.

  26. Karen22 says:

    So nice that Cleveland is getting some love here! Tony D.—you made me SMILE! My parents (and extended family) both grew up in Little Italy (I was born there!), and Jean Presti is my cousin’s Godmother. SeanAY—Cleveland Heights High graduate here, class of ’68 (oops…just gave my antiquity away)…Coventry still rocks, as does Cleveland!

  27. Tony D. says:


    My wife and I try to make it up there every other year or so. Love walking up and down Mayfield, popping in the galleries, grabbing some Mama Santa’s for lunch. Even visited for the Feast of the Assumption once. Great place.

    In our view, Presti’s is way better than Corbo’s.

    Hopefully you’ll be smiling thanks to some Bucco victories. (The Tribe, they’re my AL team :-)

  28. mike z says:

    Dejan, several times you’ve made reference to writing columns Monday and Friday in the summer.What happens in fall/winter-more or less columns?

  29. Dejan Kovacevic says:

    Mondays and Fridays are the regular assigned days, though there will be occasions like this on the road where I do a couple extra. There haven’t been plans beyond the summer. Much like the blog, there is still a lot of planning/adjusting for everyone to do. This happened very suddenly, remember.

    I’m really excited about what’s coming soon for the blog.

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