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Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: Intangibles increasingly visible

CLEVELAND – Some sporting thoughts before sunrise …

>> My column this morning examines not so much the Andrew McCutchen scoring fiasco, but much more the snarly reaction to it within the Pirates’ clubhouse. Very neat to see, as I explain in the piece.

>> I offer here a bonus example of these guys being together.

Neil Walker was charged with a throwing error that led to Cleveland’s first run in the third. But Walker never would have had the ball if Ronny Cedeno had fielded the initial hard bouncer cleanly. It ricocheted off his glove to Walker, whose throw in the dirt zipped past Lyle Overbay for his first error in 452 innings.

Cedeno approached me after the game in the clubhouse to tell me he wanted to take blame for the play, not his middle-infield partner.

Duly noted and done.

Josh Harrison tags out the Indians' Matt LaPorta, who hurt his leg twisting on the basepaths. -- AP

>> Maybe there will be more Pittsburghers here over the weekend, but I heard and saw very few here Friday night. Long way to go, I guess, before the Pirates develop that type of following.

>> Video of Kevin Correia after the game is at this click. He calls his balk “dumb.”

Really, it’s nuts to analyze pitching gaffes with this team. As Clint Hurdle put it, “It’s no secret: We need to hit.” Bingo.

>> Xavier Paul and Shin-Soo Choo represent “two of the best outfield arms in the game,” Hurdle said, and it was easy to see why Paul meets that criteria with that bullet he threw home in the sixth inning. I swear, from this vantage point in the press box off the third base side, I saw almost no arc to that ball.

>> For those who missed it, this was our chat transcript from yesterday.

>> One point of order this morning, too: I apologize for the blog being down at the start of the game last night. It happened to all the blogs, and the issue was fixed as quickly as possible.

The reason I bring this up is to ask for some patience. There are plans for a significant upgrade to this blog and other related features in the very near future, and I mean a matter of days. Remember, that I made this move only a few days ago, and the good people working on the tech stuff have had only that long to try to address a whole lot of requests that have come from many different directions, including from you.

They’re very excited about this, and they want this to succeed as much as you and I do.


  1. Frank in Ohio says:

    In looking at the offensive line, thanks again about your comments on Ramon Foster. I was not not happy at all with the play of Cris K. at the left Gurad spot. Therefore my question is, based on what you saw with the play of Doug Legursky, do you feel it is a viable opportunity for Doug to displace Chris K. His play is: (too inconsitstent, mindless penalty ridden, and assignment blown) Your opion please?

  2. hooco01 says:

    Looking forward to the updates. The people have followed you DK. The best thing about Jacob’s field is that mustard they serve with the hot dogs. That stuff is fantastic.

  3. JAL says:

    Xavier Paul is hitting well and fielding well, not bad for a waiver wire pickup

  4. Drew71 says:

    Several thoughts…

    1. The Andrew McCutchen – Daniel Murphy – Joe DiMaggio error did not flummox me in the same fashion as the Garrett Jones – Michael Bourn error. A fleet Center Fielder DIVES for a ball, it glances off the glove…and THAT’S an error? The McCutchen play was closer to being an error than that, in that it didn’t take a huge leap to see it as one. Just five drunken sailors in the league office.

    2. Any sizzle and burn that I’m feeling about the Cutch hit-error has to do with the PROCESS OF THE OVERTURN decision, more than the play itself. Had it been called an error from the beginning, I wouldn’t see it as the level of being jobbed as the Bourn-Jones thing. And to be clear, I feel more for Bourn than Jones on the deal. A very-good-and-getting-better defensive center fielder almost makes an ASTONISHING play and gets jobbed. I am astonished.

    3. Oh that’s right. Bourn plays for ANOTHER team with seven letters across the chest that The Powers That Be…nevermind. Not going there.

    4. About the blog potential and mishap:
    – I remember January 12, 1966 (I was five) when the first Batman TV episode was scheduled to run, at 8:00 I believe. I also remember pestering my dad every 3 minutes from 7:30 on: Is It Time Yet? I remember one of the longest half hours of my life.
    – I guess I coulda just said I’m excited and anxiously but willingly waiting.
    – But why say in one line what I can say in four? Good thing I don’t pay by the line. Well, also, good thing I don’t pay.
    – ALL THAT (and more) SAID, it was frustrating on several levels when the system went down. NOT so much for the effect on me. But with the inconsistent service at the other place, I saw last night as a real opportunity to draw more posters because of said inconsistency at the other place. But no conspiracy theory here, just bad luck.
    – And with THAT said, everyone note that Dejan A) Apologized and B) Explained. Twice. (Last night too, I believe.) That rarely happens at the Other Place, where we often feel taken advantage. Where, by the way, we DO have to pay.

    5. ESPN’s ranking of professional sports franchises lists Steelers 7th best out of 122 franchises. There were 8 ranking criteria, all listed. Scores from the 8 were merged for a total score. Green Bay was #1. Fine. Bengals #122. Fine. Can live with both. But this made me discount the whole thing. Under OWNERSHIP criteria, Steelers were not listed 1st. Not 2nd. They were third. That rank to me is like Dejan’s: Rock-n-Roll-Hall-of-fame-is-not-valid-cause-the-fake-Metal-pop-band-Kiss-isn’t-in rant.

    6. For just the Ownership criteria, Detroit Red Wings were ranked #1, San Antonio Spurs #2. Spurs. Really. And just for kicks, Penguins were #4.

    7. Isn’t it neat that we can use #’s in this site?

    8. Many of us have been screaming for Presley to be promoted. Then what happens to XPaul? Better to have them BOTH play nearly everyday somewhere. And sit Diaz.

    9. Talent matters most but Intangibles matter too. I was always a fan of this FRANCHISE. And from what I am seeing, I am also a FANATIC about this TEAM, this particular edition of the franchise. Makes it cool to be a Buc fan again.

    And I am so rarely cool.

  5. pittmd says:

    The players reaction to the scoring change as well as Cedeno’s pointing the figure at himself are just more pieces of evidence that Clint Hurdle has change the culture of the Pittsburgh Pirates. This is truly amazing.
    Also I would like to see a column from you when John Russell hits town on Monday to see what his reaction is to what is going on. I am sure his thoughts will be very bland but beauty of being a columnist is that you can give your opinion on what he might be actually thinking. Thanks

  6. Eric Bowser says:

    I’ve officially lost ‘it’.

    I looked at the NL Central standings and game results from last night and thought to myself, “oh man, Pirates lost out on a good opportunity with Brewers, Cards, and Reds losing.”

    Pirates need better hitters, the idea that Jones, Diaz and Overbay are going to turn it around is wishful thinking. Last year, Jones hit .247, Diaz .250, and Overbay .243 so it isn’t like they are having an off cycle.

    /beating a dead horse. :)

  7. JMB says:

    When it comes to the Pirates, I am a glass half-empty dude.

    I keep waiting for the bottom to drop out. I think @CDB said that it is like being Wile E. Coyote in the ‘meep-meep’ cartoons, and the analogy is perfect.

    If the Pirates FO wastes this pitching staff’s awesome 2011 performance, I will be more frustrated than I was by last years 105 losses. We have the pitching (70 games is a good sample size), we are three games out (in June!!!), and we need to do something to give this team a chance (score some runs!!). I remember when Josh Hamilton & Ian Kinsler said, “We got Cliff Lee, dude!!!” We need to make a move to invigorate our team’s offense and give them a chance to compete.

  8. leefoo says:

    So………….how do you find this blog from the main sports page? I haven’t seen a link yet. If I hadn’t clicked on the ‘chat’ article, I’d have never known this existed.

    Lost Foo

  9. leefoo says:

    I sent this email to DK “At the time, I thought it should’ve been ruled an error, but to reverse it later on was just wrong.” because I didn’t know this was up.

    I’d ‘heard’ about it being up, but thought it was some ‘old wives’ tale’ :-}

    Foo Tale

  10. leefoo says:

    When I click on “Buccos Blog”, I get Biertempel’s blog.

    Where is the link to DK’s blog?

    Lost still Foo

  11. Dejan Kovacevic says:

    @Frank: It’s viable, but you need the really big bodies at guard, and you’d be losing size in that equation. Let’s not overblow what Legursky did, either, just because the whole football world paid attention to him for two weeks.

  12. JAL says:

    No question they use some good hitters. Doumit will help some if comes back hitting like he was when he went out. Good players are hard to find and you don’t want to decimate the farm for a short term player. Pressley looks ready but you never know and he fits into their best area so where would play–Paul is hitting .282 and Pressley is not going displace Tabata and McCutchen.

  13. Dejan Kovacevic says:

    @JAL: We’ll be working on links sometime soon, as well. I am in the serious withdrawal stages from not having your links on a daily basis, but the spam thing has to get sorted out, as you might recall.

  14. Dejan Kovacevic says:


    If you click on the blog masthead atop this page, you get the temporary version of this page. Once there, scroll down for a list of recent posts.

    It will get better very soon.

  15. JAL says:


    Well, I can always post them and you will see them, just no one else :)

  16. Dejan,
    Sorry I was away and missed discussions on Bucs in NL East.
    I disagree.

    I LOVE the traditional matchups between the Bucs and Cubs, the Bucs and Reds, the Bucs and LaRussa’s Cards. Those are traditional opponents since I was a little boy, and I can remember flicking my radio back and forth between KDKA & 720 WGN (Cubs), KDKA & KMOX (Cards), KDKA & 700 WLW (Reds) to hear what each announcer was saying about my Buccos during the game.
    In addition, the Pirates probably have no more bitter rival right now than the Brewers!
    The only outsider in our division is Houston, still a long time rival.

    I have driven to watch Pirate games to Chicago, to Cincinnati, to St. Louis, and to Milwaukee. The only place I cannot/will not drive to is Houston.
    Conversely, the Mets and the Phillies would be nice division opponents——but then we would also have to take Washington, Florida, and Atlanta! Who cares about them!?! The Expos were never a big appeal, road or home, and maybe the Nationals can grow into that, but why give up THE FOUR GREAT RIVALS WE ALREADY HAVE for the overspending Mets and the Vancouver-like fans of the Phils.

    While I have driven in the last 5 years to Milwaukee, St. Louis, Chicago, and Cincinnati to see the Bucs (as well as to Philly), I have never driven to Atlanta, Miami, or even Washington for a game.
    TRADING FOUR FOR TWO is not a good deal! (excluding “high upside” and “downward plane, of course!) Not for our Bucs yearly schedule!

    My suggestion would be to have the Phils “declared” the Pirates “Natural Rival”——to play an extra home & home series while Cubs/Sox, Dodgers/Angels, Mets/Yanks, Cards/Royals, Nats/Orioles, Reds/Indians, Astros/Rangers, Marlins/Rays, Giants/A’s, Brewers/Twins are playing. The Phils have no designated “Natural Rival” either. Then we would have the best of both worlds.

  17. Drew71 says:

    Foo – Here’s a quick way in when you first sign onto

    1. Click on Sports
    2. Type “Blog” into search bar, hit search button
    3. Up will come Tribune Review Bloggers link. Click on it.

    They are ALL there, including Dejan.

  18. CDBrewer says:

    I want to chime in on Presley…once we picked up Paul, we had to give him time in the OF to see what he is. If he blows up, or is only a pr/d guy, then fine, bring up Presley. As of right now, Paul, Tabata, Cutch all need time…then Jones and Diaz have to be rotated in or moved somehow – or we have decreased the value of our own assets. If you bring up Presley, how often is he going to start? If it isn’t 4/5 times in a week, why did we start his clock?

    I don’t know, I wouldn’t say he is blocked…but right now, he is blocked – and it isn’t like we are winning a pennant and he is the piece to put us over the edge. I am in no rush to start his clock.

    Now, if somebody wants to argue we shouldn’t have picked up Paul…(I disaagree, but)
    Or that we should DFA/ship out Diaz…

  19. Bizrow says:

    DFA Diaz, I like the ring to that

  20. Drew71 says:

    Brewski – I agree. Paul needs to play. So does Presley. Only way BOTH play is if one stays in AAA.

    And with Jones sharing time, it’s not like Paul is getting full time work as it is, without Presley even on the team.

    PS…could one of them, Paul or Presley, be trade bait to a desperate contending team soon? Fine with me if they receive useful value. Both are playing well, but neither are what I would call linchpin players. More on that below.

    PPS…NO team will take Diaz, so no one needs to post Trade Him. Not gonna happen. And if he is DFA’d? i WOULDN’T put up a snarky comment about his signing. I would instead respect owning up to a mistake and doing something about it in order to allow better (and thinner) players to play.

    PPPS…And Jones SHOULD continue to get a share of the regular playing time. He is hitting better now than he was:
    – Last 7 days: .412 BA
    – Last 14 days: .407 BA
    – Last 28 days: .260 BA
    – Last 365 days: .235 BA

    Sure, the lower 365 day average may be more indicative long term. And what those #s tell me, it’s really just been two weeks of better offense. He may regress to that mean soon. And while hitting more consistently over the past half month, his power has dropped off.

    But Jones is hot. Let him play it out. Then if (when, i’m betting) he starts to regress, play him less and give even more time to Paul. If i’m wrong and he continues to hit well for the next six weeks, he may just play himself into trade bait material as well.

    JUST TO BE CLEAR: i am NOT suggesting that PBC needs to do its annual fire sale. Just saying, they have a minor glut of RFers. Trade for another NEED that will help them win more now. Another reliever? Maybe another 1B. Or trade for other position players where they are organizationally thinner, such as middle infield.

  21. Drew71 says:

    Biz, you like alliteration?

    Diaz Didn’t Diet. DFA da doughboy

  22. Bizrow says:

    I think Perrotto or someone on the FAN today was talking about Pressley being a throw in on a deal, I’d like to see what the guy can do

    PBC Nation – at the Trib
    California – Bakersfield, San Francisco, UNION CITY
    Colorado – Ft Collins
    Connecticut – Cos Cob
    Florida – Palm Harbor, Orlando
    Germany – Leverkusen/Cologne
    Idaho – Mountain Home, Coer d’Aline
    Indiana – Indianapolis
    Illinois – La Salle, Peru
    Kentucky – Louisville
    Japan – Tokyo
    Louisiana – Slidell
    Maryland – Arnold, Odenton
    Massachusetts – Boston
    Michigan – Kalamazooooooo ( al la, Pittsburgh goal scored by Mario Lemoooooooooooooo)
    Mississippi – Biloxi
    New Jersey – Chesterfield, Princeton, Roxbury
    New York – New York, Smithtown
    North Carolina – Asheville, Hickory
    Ohio – Cincinnati, Columbiana, Westerville, Green, Hilliard
    Pennsylvania – Downtown, Hopewell, Indiana, North Wales, Franklin Park, Forest Hills, Lansdale, Philadelphia, DuBois, Reading
    South Carolina – Duncan
    Tennessee – Smithville
    Texas – Tyler
    Virginia – JAL, Hampton, Rescue, Richmond
    Washington – Seattle, Nine Mile Falls
    Wisconsin – Madison

    53, carry on mates, will check back in Thursday

    As Nage suggested the other day, I’ll make a bet on this being the season of all seasons for the PBC, Go Buccos
    6/18/2011 1:43 PM

  23. Bizrow says:

    Again, on the FAN someone noted that munching on Diaz’s 4.25 million contract so early would be an embarrasment/not easy to admit an error so early in the season.

    Drew, guess he’s a dough boy in more than one way ; }

  24. DillyDan says:

    Biz- front royal, va

  25. safetydave says:

    Valrico, FL
    I am enjoying the Bucco ride above .500
    Hurdle is charting a course so much different than JR
    I don’t miss Kerrigan, but do miss Perry Hill

  26. safetydave says:

    Would be willing to pay for exclusive DK content and a better functioning website
    How viable can this business model be in the long term if its stays free?

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