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Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: Off to Minnesota

Some sporting thoughts before sunrise …

>> I’ll be out of commission here most of the day, traveling to St. Paul, Minn., for the NHL Entry Draft that starts tonight. Should be a pretty eventful stage, and I’m not even talking about the draft. There are few events in sports like it, with every team’s GM, head coach and full staff on the same floor, agents buzzing all over the place and, hey, the Flyers pretty much punting on the next decade or so.

There might even be a whisper or two about Jaromir Jagr.

. LaMarr Woodley greets a fan in Michigan. -- Saginaw News

>> In my column this morning, you can read that I busted LaMarr Woodley skipping rope outside in the middle of the night earlier this week. From there, I did my best to turn that into a topical discussion about the Steelers and NFL lockout.

To his credit, he was a great sport about it, as you can read. And that doesn’t surprise me. The man is always smiling, something that provides a really sharp contrast from what you see on the field and, of course, what you’ve been reading and hearing him direct toward the Ravens during this lockout. Terrific, engaging personality.

>> When the Pirates sell out all three games of the Red Sox series that starts tonight, they will have seven sellouts for the season, matching their 2010 total.

I don’t care much why that’s happening as far as Philadelphia or Boston fans storming the city. It only matters that this team could easily have 10 sellouts now for the year, which is one of every eight home games. For a team that lost 105 games last year, that’s impressive.

>> Tim Wakefield will pitch Saturday at PNC Park, with Josh Beckett ailing for Boston. That will bring the rarest of rare events in Pittsburgh: Someone taking the field who was part of a winning Pirates team. Wakefield will be the first since Barry Bonds, and it remains to be seen if he will be the last.

>> Were there really eight players available in the NBA draft better than Kemba Walker?

I’m no Dick Vitale, but I find that hard to fathom.

>> Disappointing to see, a little after midnight, that no team took a flyer on Pitt’s Brad Wanamaker. Here’s hoping someone with that level of basketball sense and versatility finds a way to hook up as a free agent.

>> This was the transcript of our very busy, very diverse chat yesterday. Thanks to all who participated, and to our tech wizard Doug Gulasy for putting it together on such short notice. I’d like to go at noon every Thursday from now on.

I’ll have some stuff on the blog once I’m set up on the draft floor much later today.


  1. DavedigsDKsBlog says:

    Interesting about Wakefield, he made his debut with the Pirates in 1992 when he was almost 26 years old. He also did not pitch in the major leagues in 1994, the strike year. Still, he’s gone on to win 197 games.

  2. Baywatch says:

    That’s INCREDIBLE! Wakefield is 45 years old? I still say we should resurrect the career of some old knuckleballer who could still do it – Phil Niekro is only like 69 now!

  3. Curt says:

    I married into Red Sox Nation, a bunch of die hard fans near Boston, so I am hoping my Pirates win the series purely for bragging rights! They still pressure me on raising my two young boys to join the Nation, but no deal. They are Pirates fans with Dad.
    Let’s Go Bucs!

  4. Drew71 says:

    No way Wanamaker or the other guys hook up with a lockout. No summer leagues. Gotta go overseas, which in the LONG view could be better. Good money AND the chance to get more minutes than if they had signed as FAs and sat at the bottom of the bench. If they play well, the NBA will notice.

    I’m with Dejan on Walker. I think the guy is going to have an impact. Maybe as a 6th man but SO FREAKING WHAT. He will often take over a game for the time he’s in there.

    In fact i had this CRAZY idea. If Cleveland WASN’T gonna take Jonas V, the Lithuanian monster center and wait a year for him, how about THEM taking Walker with the 4th pick? Seriously. Yes, two point guards. Sorta like Detroit had in the 90s with you know who. If you don’t take V, why drop off the face of the Earth in talent, in a VERY weak draft, and just pick a guy who would be about 15-20 in a normal year’s draft? Take TALENT.

    That said, I woulda taken the CENTER. The are WEAK at Center. It would lock up the two most important positions for YEARS. AND…when JV spends another year in Europe…that means they STINK again next year (maybe two years in his rookie season) and the Cavs “earn” one or two more years of lottery picks. Even if they are not the 1 and 4, the next draft will be MUCH DEEPER. They would get next year a better pick at 7-9 than their 4 this year.

    Option Two: Draft someone who would be a tradeable asset, and then trade him for what you NEED rather than take something you are relative heavy with already (power forward). Brandon Knight might have fit this. Some teams wanted a point guard, and more saw him than Walker as a permanent, starting point guard solution (they are wrong). They could have turned that around through a trade for a shooting guard who they NEED. Not yet another OK power forward. They have several of those.

  5. DFlash02 says:

    Re: Flyers Trades – Wow. Carter AND Richards in one day for Bryzgalov? I thought the Flyers proved last year that goaltending can be a commodity found for the cheap. Wasn’t Michael Leighton a waiver wire pickup last year?

    Re: Buccos-Sox – Most anticipation surrounding baseball in this town for YEARS. For someone who’s cognizant memory barely began when the Pirates won (I remember a game or two – that’s it. Thankfully, I have no memory of Mr. Bream), all I’ve know is the Freak Show and a bunch of losing. I love my Buccos and it is great to see them generating this much energy in late-June.

    Re: NBA Draft – I’m not a basketball guy, but Walker going that low is insane. Did people watch him carry UConn through the Big East Tourney and then the NCAA Tourney? Insane.

  6. Baywatch says:

    DFlash, Drew, I’m thinkin’ Walker could turn out to be an Iverson type player.

  7. BFD says:

    A little winning ball will bring some fans to the park. The players are playing hard and above their heads. The fans are doing their part too.
    Will Nutting? Will he add to the team rather than subtract next month?

  8. BenderHeel says:

    DK: Nothing about Jim Riggleman taking his ball and going home, abandoning his team in the midst of a great streak (the Nats have won 11 of the past 12)?

  9. DFlash02 says:

    @Baywatch – Iverson-type because of skill or attitude?

  10. JAL says:


    Plenty on Riggleman here is DC, no one seems to be figure it out.

  11. JAL says:

    A few morning links coming up

    9-Ohio Valley Athletics

    Hanrahan’s Dominance Resembles a Former Great

  12. JAL says:

    Sports Haze

    Pittsburgh Pirates need to optimize lineup to stay in contention

  13. JAL says:

    USA Today

    First Pitch: Pittsburgh Pirates trying to get noticed as contender

  14. Bizrow says:

    Should be an interesting night

    Has there been any discussion on why Harrison was moved to AAA? Seems like a lot of moves that could have been made much simpler. I think I read on the Trib that it might have been to reward Chase, but, I dunno, this FO usually doesn’t do things like that.

    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, change is a rough thing at times but what doesn’t kill you, well you get a bit stronger
    6/24/2011 11:17 AM

  15. SeanAY says:

    I’m just honored that anything I do gets mentioned in the same breath as Mario Lemieux..

  16. JoeBucco says:

    Re: Flyers – All I have to say is, Go Jackets! First true center in franchise history.

    But enough about hockey. Lets Go Bucs.

  17. Dejan Kovacevic says:

    @Joe: What about R.J. Umberger?

    I know R.J. wasn’t exactly a playmaker, but …

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