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Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: There’s Nutting like winning

Some sporting thoughts before sunrise …

>> My column this morning challenges Bob Nutting to step up for the Pirates right now. And, as with much of the work I plan to do in this new role, I took it directly to him. I’m never going to feel comfortable doing this without direct knowledge, without hearing from the parties I’m writing about.

I feel like I’ve gotten to know Nutting pretty well these past few years, and longtime readers know I’ve described both his pluses and minuses. It’s been an unusual relationship. I don’t get the sense that he’s terribly comfortable with criticism, but I’ve also gotten the indication that he’s felt that my criticisms have been fair and based on a real attempt to get things right.

And what I’ve learned in those attempts, digging both on the inside and the outside of the organization, is this: While Nutting has his faults as an owner — chief among them being undercapitalized and not nearly as aggressive as he can be at times (see the column for more) — he is nothing at all like the B-movie villain that’s become commonly accepted in Pittsburgh. And I mean absolutely nothing at all like that.

If my voice sounds like a lonely one on this topic — and I’m sure it is — so be it. I’ll match the amount of interaction I’ve had with Nutting, with people close to him, with people who don’t like him, you name it … I’ll match it against that of anyone. I’ve put a lot of energy into it.

I might well be wrong about Nutting, but I don’t think so.

Maybe others will see him differently, too, if the Pirates keep winning and if, as I stress in the column, Nutting does his part.

>> If you check out the column, by all means, click on that video up there. I interviewed Nutting out by third base on Wednesday with the help of our video guy Justin Labar, and I’m glad Justin caught that laugh from Nutting when he said he feels “great” about the winning. Pretty telling moment, I thought.

>> Who would you rather see the Pirates get, Derrek Lee or Carlos Pena?

Before you get into small-sample 2011 comparisons, as I’ve heard some already doing, I’d advise that you factor in history, one being right-handed and the other left-handed, defense, what you’d have to give up … the whole deal.

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