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Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: The neverending collapse

Some sporting thoughts before sunrise …

>> When does a collapse stop being a collapse and become something more?

When the post-Meals Pirates lost 10 in a row, that was the collapse. But since they were 51-44 on July 21, a season-high seven games over .500, they’ve gone 11-30, barely winning one of every four games over the past month and a half. That’s a collapse, a free fall, and every other derogatory term one can concoct for a failure over that long a period.

I wrote this in my Wednesday column, but I’ll repeat: This should reflect on Neal Huntington and Clint Hurdle. Just as all the accolades were deserved for those two contributing to the Pirates’ stunning ascent into first place, so, too, is criticism for the team’s poor play now.

Swept in Houston?

Not getting a man to second base last night?

Come on.

>> Jack Wilson was traded last night to the Braves. So, in addition to Wilson getting his wish to play in the National League again, he’ll also get to play in the playoffs for the first time. Per ESPN, his 1,313 games with no postseason is third-most among all active players, trailing only Adam Dunn and Vernon Wells.

It’s been a weird year all around.

>> We have a tendency as a society to try to link events that really shouldn’t be linked. When a shark bites someone on Myrtle Beach, then another bites someone else on Miami Beach, we produce actual news stories that suggest “shark attacks are on the rise.” As if the sharks just decided after a million years that they’re OK with eating other living creatures.

My instinct is to want to view the NHL’s three individual tragedies this summer as just that, individual tragedies. Wade Belak of the Predators just took his own life, and two other players died with similar storylines. But I just can’t look at this from an individual viewpoint anymore. One case is isolated, two is coincidence, and three’s a crowd.

As ESPN’s Erin Andrews aptly tweeted last night, the league and the union need to “get to the bottom of this.” Not to assume or assign blame, for none is to be had. But to do everything within their power to find if the NHL’s players have all the counseling, all the help that needs to be available to them.

Three players in one summer. It’s just crushing to think about.

>> We will have our weekly chat today at noon, after which I will be at PNC Park for the Dodgers game.

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