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Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: Game or no game?

CINCINNATI – Some sporting thoughts before sunrise …

>> My Monday column is off the Steelers’ finally-shut-one-down victory here, with an emphasis on the shutting down. Seems like a while since we’ve seen one.

I live for your feedback!

>> I think I now know why I felt ambivalent about whether or not the Penn State-Nebraska game should have been played. A powerful statement could have been made if it were canceled, but it would have come across mostly as punitive. The statement that was made with the pregame ceremony and generally good behavior was much more positive. Nothing wrong with that.

I’ll say it again: Based on the facts at hand, no one inside Beaver Stadium on Saturday was culpable.

>> Pitt got a fine showing from Tino Sunseri in Louisville, and the offense looked very much like it’s supposed to. So what was Todd Graham doing inserting Mark Myers on second down of a crucial drive to throw a pass that nearly was intercepted?

It’s about winning, not making the coach look clever.

>> Small world: Spotted John Van Benschoten here outside the stadium yesterday. He’s a Cincy native, and he wasn’t exactly hiding it, wearing a No. 47 Bengals jersey with the initials “JVB” for the nameplate. Dude’s a diehard.

John V, for those who don’t know, pitched for the Pirates and now is in the Padres’ system.

>> Heard yesterday that Ryan Doumit’s got quite his choice of teams, and he still hasn’t really narrowed down the list.

>> How about the curious case of the Baltimore Ravens?

>> Have you ever seen a quality NFL team get so sky-high to face one particular opponent and pretty much just sleep through the rest?

I mean, seriously, Seattle?

>> Sidney Crosby tomorrow, anyone?


  1. Tyler says:

    Dejan, love your work. On the subject of Doumit, do you believe that the Pirates did not make any push at all toward resigning him is because he is thought to be a full-time DH now instead of a catcher? I was curious as to why they went out and immediately signed Barajas, without even considering Doumit. They must have had Barajas quite higher on their board if the price tag becomes similar.

    DK: Re-signing Doumit really wasn’t going to be an option. As I’d mentioned here a couple times previously, he was eager to move on.

  2. Curt says:

    I personally thought the way Penn State handled things was very classy. The pregame midfield meeting was a powerful sight to see.
    Can’t believe the Ravens and some of their losses: Jax Jaguars and now Seattle!
    Wow, talk about some awful opponents.
    Got to see a Steelers victory and a John Van Batting Practice sighting, now that is a great Sunday in Cincy!

  3. JAL says:


    8 LA Times

    Ryan Doumit turns down Dodgers’ one-year, $3-million offer

    9 Delaware County Daily Times

    In the Community: Plaque honoring Murtaugh set for unveiling

    10 Milwaukee Journal

    Baseball movers and shakers set to talk shop in Milwaukee

  4. JAL says:

    11 New York Times

    Charlie Lea, Who Threw No-Hitter for Expos, Dies at 54

    12 Wall Street Journal

    The Next Phenom or Matsuzaka 2.0?

    13 Huntsville Times

    Strat-O-Matic: After 50 years, baseball board game still rolling on

    14 Seattle Times

    Which Division is the Strongest in Baseball?


    15 Bleacher Report

    10 Nerdiest Figures in Baseball History

  5. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    -Behind the Steel Curtain

    Unlikely Role Playing Takes Center Stage in Steelers 24-17 Win Over Bengals

    Steelers Take Care of Business on Road, Defeat Bengals 24-17 to Improve to 7-3

    -Steelers Depot

    As the AFC North Turns

    -Steelers Gab

    Steelers Rebound For Huge 24-17 Win Over Bengals

    Steelers Regain First Place Thanks to Ravens Choke Job in Seattle

  6. JAL says:

    Pitt Blogs

    Cardiac Hill

    Pitt Basketball: Panthers Survive Hot-Shooting Broncs to Win 86-78

    Getting Ready for Brawl Week

    WVU Blogs

    Metro News

    Mountaineers Speak Out

    WV Illustrated

    ‘Eer to Ear: Cincinnati Game



    A Comeback, but Not a Comeback Win: Canes Beat Pens 5-3

  7. Jandy says:

    DK, I’m up for Sid tomorrow!

  8. leefoo says:

    I needed yesterday badly. After our loss last week and the PSU scandal and loss, I was depressed.

    Thank you Steelers and Seahawks.

    Now, if we could just get an offensive line that can consistently block!

  9. Stuart says:

    DK, I’m glad they played the game at PSU. I’d like to see this story, which is bound to have more revelations, off of the sports page. I felt kinda bad about Joe’s dismissal and I can understand his “it’s not about football” take on McQuery’s report. In the end though I thought he had to go. I think the Penna. Child Line was in effect when Joe heard about it from McQuery. By the way, as a Required Reporter myself I always understood that if I witnessed or heard from a reliable source of an instance of child abuse or neglect I would call the 1-800 child line. The local Children and Youth agency would then be responsible for investigating the incident, and THEY would decide if the case should be forwarded to police. Glad to see the person the kids called “helmet head” (Spanier) go, I think he’d sell his soul for money, and many here are questioning the mega bucks coming from the oil and gas industry for so called “research” on drilling safety. My youngest kid goes to Pitt, but neither he nor I are taking any great comfort in Penn State’s loss.

  10. JAL says:

    Not playing the game would have punitive to the wrong people. The current players, as far as we know, had nothing to do with this situation. Those who did, coaches and administration have been punished to some extant and there are likely to be long-term negative effects on the the school and the athletic programs. Let the current team play.

  11. SeanE says:

    @JAL-could not agree more. Let me also add that the financial ramifications of not playing this game would have been substantial. Not saying this should have had anything to do with the decision but…..I’m just sayin.

  12. Steve says:

    This was a good win for the Steelers but it’s still disturbing that Cinci was able to climb back into the game after going down 14 – 0. The offensive line didn’t perform very well. Can’t believe the Ravens lost to the Seahawks. That’s what you get for giving the coach a Gatorade shower after winning the 8th game of a 16 game season.

    No one should think Penn State’s handling of things on Saturday somehow brought “closure” to the scandal. It didn’t. Too many people are trying to make Joepa out to be a victim. I thought the scene ESPN showed of two guys kneeling in homage on Joepa’s front lawn and another showing people filing by his house like a viewing showed many people went too far in worshipping this guy.

  13. Arriba Wilver says:

    I saw Starkey on the Sports Showdown last night, who still maintains the game should not have been played. He kept mentioning that the Nebraska coach agreed with him. Wonder what the Nebraska coach’s rationale was for that?

    Not only was it the right decision to play it, the sight of the players on the field with the moment of silence for the victims, as well as the fans in the stands, is a lot better picture for Penn State than the pictures of the riot because Joe was fired earlier in the week. In other words, the way it was handled and played out reaffirmed that it was the right decision.

  14. Milo Hamilton says:

    Cheer up Foo.

    Neal Huntngton is currently constructing another 95+ loss team for your viewing pleasure in 2012.

  15. Milo Hamilton says:

    A very good read on Penn State’s search for a new coach. One that apparently started last week.

  16. JohnS says:

    I don’t understand the value of Doumit. As a catcher he hits well enough, but to have him as a DH makes no sense to me. If I am looking for a professional hitter his bat jsut doesn’t play that well.

    Is MLB that short of decent hitters?

  17. JAL says:

    John S

    Actually, his bat not bad for a DH–Hit .303 with 8 HR and .447 SLG in half a season

    Oakland DH was Hideki Matsui who hit .251 with 12 HR and .375 SLG, Angels had Bobby Abreu who hit .253 with 8 HR and .365 SLG, Tampa had Johnny Damon who hit .261 with 16 HR and .418 slg

  18. leefoo says:

    Milo……….you’re prob right.


    Had a PSU fan come back from being over in Europe. Amazingly it is front page news over there, too. WOW!


  19. JohninOshkosh says:

    I wonder if anything noteworthy will occur at the GM meetings. Yet another King Bud “accomplishment”-getting the GM’s to come to Milwaukee in mid November. Maybe they can frigidly huddle around the statue of the Fonz for the official photo. I would like to see the Pirates test the water with Edwin Jackson. He will be only 28 next year and has some degree of talent and winning organization pedigree. He is certainly not the sexiest name out there (that honor goes to Zooey Deschanel, of course) but he seems like the type of at risk moves the Pirates are fond of making.

  20. JAL says:

    Sometimes trades are set up during the GM meetings. Last year the Dan Uggla-Omar Infante tradewas agreed o at the GM meeting.

  21. Milo Hamilton says:


    You’re right, real teams do those sorts of things.

  22. jackdeloplane says:


    I love to see an update of an article i remember from years past. I seem to recall much ado being made about the collective records of teams the week AFTER playing the Steelers. This might have been back in the Cowher era, but i recall the rationale was that tems had to get so UP to play the steelers they naturally let down the next week. Add that to the fact they were so beat up from the Steelers physical play they couldn’t recover in time to play well the next outing.

    Not sure this years team is as physical (especially on the o-line) but I was wondering if you remember anything like that.

  23. diehard says:

    On the Trib editorial page they called for cancelling the rest of the season – even questioning whether or not football should be a part of PSU’s future. Because punishing the young men on the field, many of whom rely on their scholarship to provide them with this educational experience as well, would get the point across. Seems way over the top of a reaction.
    Yes, it’s a situation that would be unimaginable if it weren’t unfolding before us, but if these guys on the field aren’t responsible for what happened, they shouldn’t be punished for it.

    In more postive lines, Sid tomorrow? YES PLEASE!

  24. Naje says:

    Jackie D….
    I think that stat recorded the collective records of teams the week after beating the steelers…

    this year, baltimore is 0-2 after beating the steelers… the texans lost to the raiders the week after beating pittsburgh…

    Yes, the stat you recall painted a picture that teams are under .500 in games after they’ve beaten pittsburgh… i believe well under .500

  25. Milo Hamilton says:


    I can tell you that this season teams are 2-6 the week after playing Pittsburgh (Tennessee had a bye).

    I loved the hydroplane !

  26. Dan1283 says:

    Any update on Crosby’s status for tonight/this week?

  27. Milo Hamilton says:

    The Blog held hostage by daylight savings time – Day 8.

    If this goes on any longer, we’re going to have to bring in Ted Koppel.

  28. Arriba Wilver says:

    Milo–as one who started watching the America Held Hostage pre-Nightline Ted Koppel nightly news in 1979, that is a very funny post. It even has a sports connection since Roone Arledge created it. Well done!

  29. JohninOshkosh says:

    Milo-Maybe the Blog is like AZ and doesn’t recognize DST.

  30. Officer Mancuso says:

    What day is it? Where am I? Who took all my money? And now I’m warned that Pirates pitchers and catchers report in less than 100 days.

  31. Milo Hamilton says:

    I see that Gerrit Cole pitched his final fall ball game allowing 1 run in 3 innings. Hopefully next year they can stretch him out to 4 innings.

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