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Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: Elephant in the room

Some sporting thoughts before sunrise …

>> My Wednesday column is about Major League Baseball sticking it to the Pirates with the new collective bargaining agreement, with reaction from Frank Coonelly.

>> Most of the reaction I heard from readers about the pact, if I might say, really missed the point. People fussed over the draft/international aspect, I’m guessing because they’ve been convinced for so long that this is the only way for a Pittsburgh team to be successful in baseball.

Hello? Salary cap?

Just because it’s unrealistic, just because the owners lack the will/gumption to do what’s been done in every other North American sports league, doesn’t make it a non-issue. It remains issue No. 1 in baseball inequity.

>> This won’t get nearly as much attention, but that the Pirates hired five new professional scouts. For those who don’t know, those are the scouts who see and study other major-league players, for the most part. That means they’re the first line in making trades. Their recommendations carry much weight.

I have written for years now that the Pirates have been terrible in this area, even though that has put me in the crosshairs of the all-trades-were-good crowd who somehow equate every criticism of general manager Neal Huntington as some broader assault on “Moneyball.” It never was intended to be anything other than what it was. The Pirates were terrible in this area.

This would appear to be large — very large, actually — step toward addressing that.

Maybe one of these guys can identify a shortstop.

>> Here are the National League MVP ballots for myself and our Rob Biertempfel.

>> Never lose sight of where the Steelers rank in our city. The Penguins turned in a superb 15.36 TV rating for the Sidney Crosby return, second-best for any regular-season game in team history. The Steelers’ ratings often are triple that.

The Penguins have great demographics, but the Steelers remain king.

>> Because of Thanksgiving, we’ll conduct our weekly chat today at noon, a day earlier than usual.

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