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Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: Nate vs. naysayers

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

>> My Wednesday column offers almost unmitigated love for the NHL realignment, the new playoff structure, pretty much everything. Though I must admit, it’s oddly uncomfortable to feel this positive about anything this league does.

>> Quebec Nordiques? Mais oui!

>> New rule: No complaining about Nate McLouth’s impending return if you were among those many, many fans who were furious about his trade. In all seriousness, I know McLouth was devastated to leave. Not upset. Devastated. Even weeks later, he seemed more focused on having been traded than on the challenge he’d face in Atlanta.

It would be crazy stupid to suggest that’s why he fared so badly with the Braves, but it sure made for a lousy start. I also know he loves proving people wrong. We’ll see if he can do it twice.

>> Also, for crying out loud, he’s not coming to bump Alex Presley. He’s Presley insurance. Look at him as taking Xavier Paul’s place.

>> The Steelers have every right to be looking to get Hines Ward to 1,000 catches. It’s an eminently attainable goal — just 10 more, with four games left — and it’s doing nothing to hurt the team.

Really, this is the best fuss we can kick up over a 9-3 team?

>> If I write that Robert Morris has the area’s second-best college basketball program, you can’t laugh.


  1. Dave says:


    Any reaction to the following NH quote? “We’ve got some holes we’re looking to fill. We don’t feel like we desperately have to do anything. We’re in a great spot to be in. If we can upgrade, outstanding. Upgrade at an appropriate acquisition cost, even better.”

    DK: They never look at what’s on the field in front of them, Dave. They look at charts and diagrams that show what’s coming. Take that for what you will.

  2. Drew71 says:

    I almost couldn’t care less about the signing of a 4th outfielder. In the past few seasons, the Pirates would have signed a .210 hitter as a STARTER. THAT woulda stunk. But this is what it is: injury insurance. Whatever. So I am not ANGRY about it, though I am certainly not very complimentary about McLouth’s skills.

    On the slightly more positive side, I’ll give PBC this credit. Three years ago, they Sold High on McLouth. And now they are Buying Low.

    I’ll applaud for the guy when he steps to the plate…i LIKE the guy…but I Just Don’t Care That Much about this as a baseball move.

  3. Drew71 says:


    In your Monday Wakeup Call (I think), you suggested that Tom Bradley should immediately call Pitt and ask for a job, even though that means a job as a position coach rather than a coordinator.

    (I was traveling most of Monday and if this was covered, sorry for the repetition.)

    I get the logic, but using similar logic, why not call Urban Meyer, who probably NEEDS a coordinator? Western PA recruiting connections…well, Columbus is about the same distance from Pittsburgh as State College.

    DK: I wrote no such thing.

  4. rvfcprez says:

    I am happy to see Nate come back in a backup role. I also like the outfield of Presley, Tabata and Cutch, but with the problems of keeping Presley and Tabata healthy last year, I welcome Nate to fill in if necessary. Nate was always one of my favorite Pirates.

    There are still many holes in this team and I hope this isn’t the big signing of the winter!

  5. JAL says:


    12 Washington Post

    No muscle shirts, please: MLB issues dress code guidelines for media members

    13 Boston Globe

    Case far from closed in Red Sox bullpen

    14 New York Daily News

    Baseball’s top postseason awards to be announced live on MLB Network starting in 2012

    15 Seattle Times

    Ron Santo finally makes Baseball Hall of Fame posthumously

  6. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    -Behind the Steel Curtain

    Mike Wallace (and Antonio Brown) Watch: Excellence of Steelers’ Dyanmic Wide Receiving Duo Continues in Week 13

    BTSC Steelers Six Pack: Pittsburgh Can Clinch Playoff Berth In Week 14 Edition

    Steelers Chris Hoke to Have Season Ending Neck Surgery

    -Steelers Depot

    Adjusted Net Yards Per Passing Attempts

    -Steelers Gab

    Browns at Steelers Tuesday Injury Report

  7. JAL says:

    WVU Blogs

    Metro News

    Gold And Blue Now: Wednesday

    WV Illustrated

    Survey Shows WVU Fans’ Views of Coaches, Conference Change

    REPORT: Big East Set to Add Five Schools



    Consol Energy Center: Why So Quiet?

  8. Dave G in Mason, OH says:

    With the implementation of NHL realignment for the 2012-2013 season also comes an opportunity to right another wrong:

    Return to playing the home games in the ”home white jerseys.”

    Fans would then get to see the visitors in their team colors, and not a boring white jersey on every single road team that visits.

    Create new 3rd sweaters in the traditional ‘home white’ vein.

    DK: Seconded!

  9. Chuck Snow says:

    Maybe…Just maybe with all the options out there as 4th outfielders that bringing Nate back is in some small way Neil righting a wrong. I wish him well..Hope he has a great year.

  10. Arriba Wilver says:

    I suspect bringing Nate back has more to do with dollars and cents than anything else, but it’s hard not to imagine Frank and Neal having a good laugh over it in a hotel room in Dallas.

  11. leefoo says:

    “ESPN is reporting the Big East is prepared to announce the additions of Boise State and San Diego State as football-only members. It will also add Houston, SMU and UCF as full members.”

    San Diego St and Boise St in the Big EAST?

  12. leefoo says:

    I liked the trade when McLouth went to Atlanta. I always thought we traded him at his peak.

    Not sure about his coming back, but if he can hit .250 with his OF versatility and occasional power, he’ll be a good 4th/5th OFer. Esp, if he can PH. X Paul was awful at PHing.



  13. Milo Hamilton says:

    Count me among those that was “furious” when Nate McLouth was traded. I have a soft spot for the guy. But this was one of those few times that Neal was absolutely right. He traded him at the right time and we’ve gotten more out of Chuck than the Braves got from Nate. And who knows about Gorkys ? As we know with Neal, the key to any trade he makes is always the guy furthest away from the major leagues.

    All that said, I’m glad Nate’s back.

  14. Timber says:

    Sorry Chuck, have to disagree with your thought. Righting a wrong by bringing Nate back??? Like Milo said, we’ve gotten more out Morton than Braves got out of Nate. Gorkys has yet to play in the majors and Locke has a chance to be a starter with Pittsburgh either this year or next. That trade was actually a good one for Neal.

    If he wants to right a wrong, how about taking back the Bay deal and finding a way to get Neimann and Brignac here from Tampa? Or how about giving Capps a contract and not letting him walk away for nothing as he continues to put up solid numbers? There are numerous wrongs to right, but bringing back Nate McLouth isn’t one of them.

    DK: Sorry for delay in your first post going up. All others go up instantly. And welcome!

  15. Dan1283 says:

    Seriously, i you complained about McLouth leaving, when the return was pretty good, you can’t complain about him coming back. If you really wanted him to be part of “the core”, and that’s what infuriated you about the trade, then you have to accept that he’d still be here anyways.

  16. Absolute59 says:

    In the last 4 years beginning in 2008 Nate has only had 11AB as a pinch hitter. Over his entire career his is 21 for 114 for BA of .184 as PH. So it remains to be seen if Nate will be a good pinch hitter.

    That said and despite his struggles in ATL, I think he is a good addition for depth in the OF.

  17. ChrisH says:

    Next up, the Big East will be in talks to add Hawaii. Would it surprise you at this point?

  18. Milo Hamilton says:


    When the Big 10 was expanded & eventually added Nebraska I heard Steve Jones on a Penn St. basketball game suggest they add Hawaii. His reasoning was purely selfish. One trip to Hawaii every year for basketball & one trip every other year for football. He even got the crusty Dick Jerardi to agree.

  19. Ryan(Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Nate as a 4th OFer is unheard of………oh wait, isn’t that what he was projected as early in his career. Good move, not great by any means, good insurance. I see him as a late inning replacement/baserunner. Especially when Jones gets a start in the OF.

    The trade made sense at the time, I was not furious, upset at first, yes, but saw the bright side of it. CM has the stuff to be a good starter, as shown last year.

  20. Ryan(Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Its time for college sports to sit down and do what the NHL just did….time for NCAA to get this thing right.

  21. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Agree with all the McLouth comments and am glad to see him come back, but wasn’t he on the DL several times last season and even the season before? What insurance is that? Everyone squawks about Doumit not staying on the field and rightfully so, but with Tabata being somewhat delicate and maybe Presley, too, we need more iron men like Andrew and Walker, not guys like Doumit who live on the DL.

  22. Milo Hamilton says:


    Your thoughts on the new MLB media dress code ?

    DK: Sounds to me like this was aimed much more at the female group, though MLB wasn’t in a position to single out either gender. Several teams have had issues not quite along the lines of the Azteca/Jets incident, but with rather provocative clothing. I remember the Reds once asking a TV assistant to wait outside the clubhouse at PNC Park. She was dressed like she was headed to the South Side right afterward.

  23. pghboyinca says:

    McClouth is not even an issue, wish him well and hope he can contribute. How pathetic ae N.H.’s comment about this team being in “great shape” and how clueless are those still supporting this train wreck to not be outraged by that statement? The Pirates are inthe same “great shape” Custer was in at little big horn. Their great shape is similar to the great shape the Hindenberg was in afterr a little flame was introduced into the equation. Or perhaps the most direct analogy would they are in the great shape Hroshima or Nagasaki was after the U.S. decied to try a new weapon they had developed. Just when you thought the B.M.T.I.B. could not be anymore asinine or out of touch……..

  24. johninoshkosh says:

    Welcome back, Nate. Perhaps returning to the Pirates will give him a renewed resolve to be the kind of player he is capable of being.

    BTW-Kudos to the great Beastie Boys for making the Rock and Roll HOF. I have some very fond memories of nights in the 80’s involving their music! But, come on, still no KISS.

    DK: There is no Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Doesn’t even exist.

  25. Milo Hamilton says:


    Thanks for The King.

  26. Milo Hamilton says:



  27. CWalton_67 says:

    Neal Huntingdon had now fully cemented his status as a punch line. Completely asinine comment.

  28. Milo Hamilton says:

    The McLouth deal is being reported as a 1 year major league contract for $1.75 million.

  29. JAL says:


    My pleasure

  30. Drew71 says:

    Dejan – You are, of course, correct when it comes to what you wrote. I had to go back and check, but it is not there. Must have confused with something else from somewhere else.

    So next question.

    Do you think McLouth was likely to find $1.75MM guaranteed from another team? That hit me as high. Another overpayment?

    (Note for the anti-anti posters: I am not opposed to the CONCEPT of signing him for a backup spot. But the amount seems high to me for a fading .210 hitter)

  31. Arriba Wilver says:

    Drew–no offense, but for a major league player beyond team control, and at 1.75 mil for one year, isn’t any “overpay” meaningless? Even for the Pirates? Who cares, really.

  32. JohninOshkosh says:

    What a dateline to DK’s blog. December7-Pebble Beach, CA. It must have been pretty intense in West Coast communities like Pebble Beach seventy years ago today. It was many years before I took breath on this planet, but it does us well to remember the significance of this date to all generations since, and to come.

  33. Arriba Wilver says:

    Now, i do think there is some validity to the argument that the Pirates would rather pay, say, 3 players at $5 mil per rather than paying one player $14 mil per, even though the other two other players in the hypothetical would be at the major league minimum. That’s my fear that that is where the “internal value” leads them.

  34. Milo Hamilton says:

    Erik Bedard apparently in the fold. Dr. Andrews includes him in his yearly budget.

  35. Drew71 says:

    where’s that freaking LIKE button?

    DK: A lot of things will change really soon. I like the “like” feature, too.

  36. Dannymoe says:

    The question of whether Bedard can stay relatively healthy will determine whether him at 4.5 mill is better than Maholm would have been at 10 mill. That said, seems like a good business decision at this point.

  37. Milo Hamilton says:

    Joseph Paul Lonnett. RIP.

  38. Ryan(Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Shoot Drew, its well below average contract really…other than the younger guys.

  39. Jandy says:

    Jerry Sandusky “rearrested” today. UGH!

  40. Ryan(Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    If Bedard stays healthy, obvious BIG IF, he can be rather effective. Not a bad signing.

  41. Ryan(Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    So, it seems as if they are just waiting on tonights decline of DLee’s arbitration. When he does decline it, leaves very little chance of NH signing anyone of any significance to play 1B.

  42. JoeBucco says:

    I like the McLouth deal for $1.75m, if only to allow PIrates fans that bought Nate jerseys a chance to dust them off and wear them to games again. (*guilty*)

    Would also like to see the Betemit deal get finished, and I like the Bedard move for $4.5m.

    Also, you know there will be a game this year against the Braves when we start CharlieMo on the bump and Nate in the OF, with Jeff Locke coming in as a reliever and Gorkys pinch hits. And NH will stand up and point to the scoreboard and smirk.

    Then someone will remind him of the Jason Bay trade and he’ll sit back down.

  43. Milo Hamilton says:

    It looks as if the Pirates have backed away from Wilson Betemit & the Marlins are intent on trading Gaby Sanchez whether they sign Albert or not.

  44. diehard says:

    DK – I brought this up yesterday, but how will the realignment be affected if Phoenix moves? Does it limit where they can move to? Could moving to KC, Hamilton, or Quebec be out of the question? Or would someone else need re-religned?

    DK: One of the eight-team conferences will be a seven-team conference and vice versa. Just look at what’s there, for example, and add Quebec to the Northeast.

  45. Dave G in Mason, OH says:

    Dilemma tomorrow night: Two national broadcasts – simultaneously!

    Steelers vrs Browns on NFL Network


    Penguins vrs. Flyers on NHL Network

    Program your DVR’s now!

  46. Jandy says:

    Pens come first, naturally. Switch to Steelers on commercials ;)

  47. Dave G in Mason, OH says:

    I agree with Jandy. Pens vrs Jagr is too juicy to miss.

    I’ll catch the Steelers after the hockey game is over…

  48. Milo Hamilton says:

    Pirates DFA Pedro Ciriaco & Jason Jaramillo to make room on 40 man for McLouth & Bedard.

  49. Milo Hamilton says:

    My how time flies. Elian Gonzalez turned 18 years old today. The Marlins have offered him $100 million to return to Miami.

  50. diehard says:

    That makes sense (probably should have seen that one!) – Thanks.

  51. Drew71 says:


    I “Like-Button” the Bedard signing.

    I get everyone’s point about $1.75MM. But really. A stumbling, two-year .210 hitter. Minimum and maybe 100K more as a face-saving gesture.

    I think that this would be the kind of guy who otherwise would have been signed by somebody at the minimum just before spring training when he had no leverage.

  52. Dave G in Mason, OH says:

    Shanahan fines Kunitz $2500 for hit on Crosby…

  53. Eric Bowser says:

    $4.5 million vs $10 million, I think that option is pretty good for the Pirates and last year, Bedard was the better pitcher. Pirates get Bedard because of his injury history. Now rotation looks like Morton, Karstens, Bedard, McDonald, and Correia as the top five with Lincoln as taking a few turns until Morton is ready after hip surgery in October.

    Crosby is out again due to taking a hard hit from Chris Kunitz and some of those big bad Bruins. Not good.

  54. TS says:

    According to John Perrotto, Derek Lee said thanks but no thanks to the Pirates. Surprise surprise.

  55. Eric Bowser says:

    If true, not surprised.

    Lee’s experience in Pittsburgh was a success from his own personal performance but I think at this stage of his career, I’ve got to imagine winning a title is pretty important to him.

    Pirates need to win in 2012, so if they go with Jones at 1B, they’ve got to find a RH bat like Casey Blake, Xavier Nady, or Mark DeRosa to platoon with him. I’d prefer Blake or DeRosa, since both of them can play 1B, 3B, and RF.

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