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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: Wannstedt’s unwelcome noise

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — Some sporting thoughts before sunrise …

>> My Tuesday news coverage is of the NHL’s realignment. I’ll offer much more on this tomorrow, but let me just add today that I sat in the same press row as the Winnipeg Free Press, Montreal Gazette and Ottawa Citizen. Small room, too. Very cool. You could tell all of them were wondering what the Pittsburgh guy was doing there.

>> Couldn’t the NHL have realigned the Bruins to some other planet?

>> Dave Wannstedt needs to show a little dignity after being fired. There’s a reason you very, very rarely hear fired coaches taking shots at their successors, and his comments to TribLIVE Radio yesterday about Tino Sunseri illustrate why. Even if you’re right (and he isn’t), you look classless.

This is what I heard when I read those:

“I’m still sore the university dumped me.”

“I recruited Tino, so he can’t be all bad.”

“Tino is a really good quarterback who, after his parents do the right thing and transfer him to Duquesne, will prove that I was right.”

>> The Pirates are making Pedro Alvarez their default third baseman going into 2012, Neal Huntington said yesterday right as he fully confirmed that Alvarez will not play winter ball.


>> Nate McLouth? Sure, why not? He’d be better than Xavier Paul’s 4 for 44 off the bench, he can play center, and the only good ball he’s played in the majors came in Pittsburgh. He’d probably be eminently affordable, too.

And I can attest directly that he’d love to return.

>> Too good to be true: The Cleveland Plain Dealer has made a video montage of the Browns’  various successes against the Steelers over the years. Lots of grainy Jim Brown footage, as one might expect.


  1. Drew71 says:

    Didn’t the Steelers once have a rivalry with Cleveland? I forget.

    I don’t have a problem signing McLouth. But with all the payroll room on this team, why does everyone HAVE to be eminently affordable?

    Was the whole point of FOUR conferences, rather than just moving the Jets west and one team east, that they could not stick it to more-eastern Columbus by moving Detroit east and not Columbus; and simultaneously, they could not move Columbus east and not Detroit because, well, they’re the Red Wings? I mean, did every team in the NHL just take on an extra $1MM or so in travel costs because of some form of two-team political correctness? Look, I like the Pens new “conference”, if that’s what you want to call a division with seven teams. But really. The NFL, needs to get some, umm, pucks.

    You can send the Bruins to any planet you want. The Russians and Chinese now sell seats on their rocket ships. Just put the Devils in their own conference.

  2. Naje says:

    Wanny should be forced to sit in a room with a competent offensive coordinator and watch those final 25 plays against WVU…. and THEN he should come up with an opinion about who was at fault for those sacks.

    Too many hits to the head… his brain is stuck in a limited bit of knowledge about the game. The only other offer Sunseri had was to Louisville. And I love how Jerry DiPaola let everyone know that Sunseri is 23 years old and not some “20, 18 or 19 year old kid.” Not that it matters much… Wanny will always see Sunseri as his boy.

  3. Dave G in Mason, OH says:

    Hockey’s most annoying and seriously over-used phrase of this current season:

    “At the end of the day,….”

  4. Dave G in Mason, OH says:

    Regarding NHL realignment:

    “At the end of the day, my best answer is I think we did the right thing.” — Nashville general manager David Poile

  5. Thundercrack says:

    The headline to the article about Pedro is “Pirates are banking on Alvarez at third base”

    Then in the 4th paragraph there is this:
    ‘But Huntington is investigating third basemen who are available through either trade or free agency, such as Ian Stewart of the Rockies and free-agent utilityman Mark DeRosa.’

    Followed by this quote from the GM:
    “We’re committed to Pedro as long as he’s doing what he needs to do,” Huntington said. “But we need to have a contingency plan in place. We’ve got to give ourselves protection in case he doesn’t do what he needs to do, both on and off the field.

    So how exactly is that “banking on” him? What kind of bank is that?
    Who writes these headlines?

  6. JAL says:

    JAL’s Working on a Groovy Thing Morning Links


    1- MLB Transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    3- 2011-12 Pirates Prospects Off-Season Calendar

    4 Pirate Offseason Stats

    5 Yahoo Free Agent Tracker;_ylt=AvN8KLXkNW0TcRjzSCagLIMBbgM6?slug=jp-passan_ultimate_free_agent_tracker_baseball_110211

    6 Pirates Prospects Offseason Tracker

  7. JAL says:


    12 Naples News

    MLB Locals: Barron grad Chris Resop hoping to hear positive news from Pirates

    13 Conway Daily Sun

    Major Leaguer Jeff Locke to hold first ever meet and greet Dec. 18

    14 Kansas City Star

    Baseball Average Salaries

    15 Fort Worth Star Telegram

    Rangers should explore other options at first base

  8. Officer Mancuso says:

    How about a contest to invent a Pulitzer prize category that “At the end of the day, my best answer is I think we did the right thing” would win?

  9. leefoo says:

    To Crybaby Wannstadt: YOU mistreated the Pitt Program. YOU should be ashamed of yourself. I’m sure YOU would’ve had the program at 10-2 or better this year. YOU should just go away.

    Foo U

  10. Milo Hamilton says:

    At the end of the day, it will be dark.

  11. Dave G in Mason, OH says:

    Thundercrack has a goo point.

    As for Pedro:

    “We’ve been in contact with him and his trainer,” Huntington said Monday. “We’re fairly confident that he’s doing what he needs to do. Our initial reports are he’s in good shape and is ready to show everyone what he’s capable of next year.”

    We know what he is capable of. We’d much rather see him do WELL.

  12. Jandy says:

    At the end of the day, Wanny should go sit in a dark corner with jerry Sandusky. ;)

  13. Dave G in Mason, OH says:

    The NHL is the only major North American professional sports league to feature a formal handshake.

    “I think it’s a good thing because ***at the end of the day*** hockey is just a sport. You compete in the stadium, but once it’s over, it’s let bygones be bygones,” Bruins goalie Tim Thomas said…

  14. Dave G in Mason, OH says:

    ***At the end of the day,*** it’s all about winning games. If I end the year with however many points, in the top 20 of the league, and we’re not in the playoffs, what have you really accomplished? – Joffrey Lupul

  15. Dave G in Mason, OH says:

    ***”At the end of the day,*** yeah, he’s a really good hockey player. But you’re not going to take it easy on a guy just because he’s a really good hockey player.”

    — Travis Hamonic, Islanders, on Sidney Crosby

  16. Dave G in Mason, OH says:

    Adam Proteau, of The Hockey News, regarding the cliche “At the end of the day…”:

    “If I’m sure of one thing, it’s this: at the end of the day, it’s the beginning of another day. Don’t get me wrong – I liked the movie The Remains Of The Day and usually inquire about the soup of the day, but at the end of the day, this nonsense is superfluous in the extreme.”

  17. Dave G in Mason, OH says:

    It seems awkward to me that the NHL’s realignment is referred to as 4 ‘conferences.’

    Throughout sports, ‘conferences’ traditionally consist of groups of ‘divisions.’

    In this case, ‘divisions’ seems to be the more appropriate designation…

  18. diehard says:

    I don’t have a big problem with the NHL’s realignment – or the travel either, as long as you’re doing a swing of 3-4 games then being home, and not swinging out for a game or two at a time (see Pirates, MLB). It will be good to have a chance to see each team here once a year. Not that you can actually improve the Penguins attendance. Speaking of which, Bettman seems to imply that they’re not trying to show favoritism and that not every team is going to be completely happy. (“But listen, this is not a subject that everybody is going to get their first choice on. If you ask 30 clubs, you’ll probably get 30 different solutions.″) Do you have to be so politically correct that you can’t say, “Look, Pittsburgh and Detroit are currently dominant hockey markets that we need to keep happy and floating rumors of messing with their rivalries was just flat out stupid. There’s not a great need to make Columbus and Phoenix happy.”
    Serious question – So what happens to this layout if/when Phoenix is moved? Is it going to limit where they can be moved to (staying out west)? Does that eliminate, say, Kansas City from the relocation discussion of possibilities?

  19. 1buccofan says:

    As far as somebody being confused about the headline concerning the Alvarez and 3rd base it is what it is! It’s shame that you can’t figure out which needs upgraded more the Baseball organization or those that write about. My choice would definitely be that later as bad as any in MLB. CERTAINLY WORTHY OF A CLUB PUSHING FOR 20 STRAIGHT LOSING SEASONS.

  20. Milo Hamilton says:

    I’ve often said I wished the NHL would return to the 1980’s – with its on ice product. Not with its playoff system that needed to be scrapped because it routinely left some of its better teams out. The squeaky wheel gets the grease – or is it the squeaky winged wheel in this case ? I’d like to congratulate Mike Illitch & Ken Holland for dragging the NHL “back to the future”.

    I see they haven’t named the new “conferences” yet. I suggest The Patrick Conference, The Adams Conference, The Norris Conference, & The Smythe Conference. Maybe that will make the Wings happy too, at the end of the day, of course.

  21. Dan1283 says:

    It is eminently weird that, say, Pittsburgh can meet Montreal for a Stanley Cup Final.

  22. Milo Hamilton says:

    Kudos to Pirates PR man Jim Trdinich who won the Robert O. Fishel Award for public relations excellence yesterday. A well deserved honor considering doing public relations for that outfit is akin to P.R. man for the Kremlin in the 60’s. I believe this makes him an automatic finalist for The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.

  23. Arriba Wilver says:

    Milo–when I first heard PR award and Pirates in the same sentence, I almost went off on ridiculing it. I’m glad I didn’t because from everything that’s been reported about this guy, it sounds well deserved, and your post makes that point perfectly (and humorously).

  24. Milo Hamilton says:

    DK or anyone with the answer,

    Am I correct that Pedro Alvarez has 2 options left ? I saw some information to the contrary on the pay per blog.

  25. Bizrow says:

    Pedro has no options left

  26. Milo Hamilton says:


    The hazards of giving a major league contract to draft picks, I guess. I did read somewhere that since he has less than 5 years experience, the Pirates can petition for a 4th option. Let’s hope the point is moot.

  27. leefoo says:

    Does anyone know if Pedro has options left?

  28. jackdeloplane says:

    yes, he does have an option. He can either do the same he has done over the last year or so, or do better. That’s his option. The Pirates, however only have 1 option….pray

  29. Thundercrack says:

    The headline says they are banking on Alvaraez. So why does the story go on to tell how they are looking at other third basemen just in case Pedro stinks again? That doesn’t sound like “banking” on that player.

  30. JAL says:

    When a player has less than 5 years in the system the team can petition for a 4th option and they usually get it

  31. TJA says:

    If Nate does come back does that mean the Pirates “win” that part of the deal? I mean, look at all the guys the Pirates traded when they blew up the team a couple years back. Some guys (like Nyjer in particular) have done ok…lots have not. Yea, it would be great to have Nate back. Go for it!

  32. TS says:

    Nate McLouth and Wilson Betemit. The excitement is palpable.

  33. Milo Hamilton says:


    Don’t forget the exciting Rule 5 selection sure to come.

  34. JAL says:

    Nate McLouth and Wilson Betemit a step up from the usual 35-36 year olds they sign for the bench.

  35. Ryan(Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    I agree JAL….bring on Nate as the 4th OFer. Nice late game sub for Jones also.

    I do like the idea of DeRosa, except that he’s been hurt for the last 2+ years he’s been out here in SF. He can play multiple positions and brings that “veteran leadership” NH is always talking about. The Giant’s brass always raved about his locker room presents and he does have that ring to show off.

    I think Betemit is the better player though.

  36. Ryan(Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Maybe Wanny can explain why he chose Tyler Palko over Joe Flacco…….that would’ve been better entertainment…..btw, what happened to those guys?

  37. Ryan(Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Anyone else’s first thought of the big offer Miami threw at Pujols was to snatch up Gaby Sanchez in trade??

  38. Ryan(Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    On a side note, Boise State and San Diego state makes great sense to be added to the big EAST…….

  39. Ryan(Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    The realignment could be tweeked, but overall I think it looks ok….or am I missing something?

  40. Milo Hamilton says:


    Would love Gaby Sanchez, but will Neal part with any of his prized “prospects”.

    As for Wanny on Palko/Flacco. Remember that Walt Harris chose Palko over Flacco 1st & he was right. Harris had a pretty good track record with QB’s & Palko was a better player then. Some guys just develop slower. Flacco has become an average NFL QB and Palko is a 3rd stringer at best.

  41. Eric Bowser says:

    1) Dave Wannestedt is a sore loser, much like Tino Sunseri. I think Sunseri needs to see writing on the wall with the offensive changes, critical coach, incoming top QB recruit, and little fan support by opting to graduate at PITT and move to lower division football team like Duquesne, Robert Morris.

    2) NHL realignment – stupid. I don’t like the 6 games with division/conference rivals and only 2 games each with the other teams. $1 million increase in travel expense isn’t very good with 10 or more teams in the red financially. All this does is setup the NHL to expand the 7-team divisions/conferences to 8-teams each. I am not a fan of expansion, in fact, I think the NHL needs to buyout the teams who move like Phoenix and Islanders. If you take the 23-man roster and 50-man rosters, you would add two potential quality players to another organization. I know contraction will never happen.

    3) Pirates are reportedly set to bring back outfielder Nate McLouth after two years in Atlanta and bring in utility infielder Wilson Betemit as first base and third base competition. I like McLouth as an option, if he’s healthy and productive, not like he can be any worse than Xavier Paul as pinch hitter. The big deal if it happens is Betemit as I think he’s a quality hitter who if he keeps himself in shape, should hit and that’s a good backup for any potential failures of Pedro Alvarez.

    4) Speaking of Pedro, if he’s working hard to get into an athletic condition then I’m fine with him not playing in Winter Ball, otherwise, this will be another wasted offseason for him and team.

  42. Milo Hamilton says:


    I like your idea about Tino going to Robert Morris. He’d make a fine backup to Jeff Sinclair.

  43. Ryan(Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    @Milo-Neal may not have to give up too many “prized prospect” to get Sanchez with Pujols on the team…IDK.

  44. Milo Hamilton says:

    Paul Maholm & Zach Duke are waiting on Albert Pujols’ decision so they can stay out of his division.

  45. Eric Bowser says:

    The Marlins are stacked with talent as it is, if they go get Albert Pujols, lookout.

    Lineup: Reyes/Bonifacio/Pujols/Ramirez/Stanton/Morrison/Coghlan/Buck
    Bench: Dominguez, Sanchez, Infante, Cousins, Petersen, Hayes

  46. TS says:

    Nothing personal to anyone on here who thinks McLouth and Betemit are 1) an upgrade, 2) good backup, or 3) a nice late game sub, but words I believe better suited to them are scrub and scrap respectively. The PBC further cements its place an ignominious franchise. And I use that last word loosely.

    In other news, high five to Milo H.

  47. Drew71 says:

    The only positives about McLouth and Betemit are that during the last three-four seasons, they would have been signed to START.

    Heaven help us.

    So congrats. PBC now signs crap for backups. I can’t get too upset about who they sign for backups. I can, however get very upset if they do not address their holes.

  48. JAL says:

    Guess some have not looked at Betemit–last 2 seasons .297 and .285 with 13 and 8 HR. OBP was.378 and .343. By any standard that is better production than what they had off the bench the last few seasons.

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