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Wakeup Call: A little help, please

Some sporting thoughts before sunrise …

>> Keeping this one a little brief today. Head cold’s getting the best of me.

Could use a little help. I’m supposed to whittle down what I think are the better columns I’ve done from 2011, and I got the list down to six. For those of you who can call reading these, I’d ask that you rank them 1 through 3. That’s all. Those of you who haven’t, by all means, don’t feel compelled.

And don’t be nice here. I’m not looking for nice. It’s just that what a writer likes in his or her own work often isn’t the same as what a reader likes.

Here they are …

Oct. 26, 2011: Put away Sharpie and shake hands

Nov. 22, 2011: Crosby ‘magnifique’ right away

Nov. 9, 2011: At Penn State, they all must go

Dec. 9, 2011: Big Ben makes big stand

Nov. 23, 2011: Baseball sticks it to Pirates

July 18, 2011: Pirates’ fans merit salute

I appreciate this.

>> The Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang news didn’t sound great yesterday. I’ll repeat what I heard about Crosby over the Christmas weekend, and that’s that he’s not that bad. This isn’t comparable to where he was last winter. Unfortunately, I know far less about Letang.

>> I find myself a whole lot less worked up about Jaromir Jagr now than I was over the summer. All he did with his decision to take more money was reaffirm what a lot of people already knew. The news would have been if he’d changed. He hasn’t.

>> I really wonder, though, how people will react to Max Talbot.

Are fans really that shallow and short-sighted to not remember what he did for this franchise?

And even if they are, are they really that poorly informed to not realize the Penguins weren’t going to make Talbot any kind of respectable offer?

>> It’s official: A Pro Bowl selection is close to meaningless this year. No, not because Ike Taylor and Brett Keisel were snubbed, but because Chris Kemoeatu was selected as a third alternate.

Same guy the Steelers demoted to backup duty more than a month ago.

I could go on about Maurkice Pouncey making it — then crowing about it all night long on Twitter — even though he was out of the lineup a ton, but I’ll stop now.

>> We will have our weekly chat today at 1 p.m., an hour later than usual. I need the extra time to interview the Flyers after their morning skate.

58 Comments

  1. “Put away Sharpie and shake hands” was my favorite column, hands down, by any sports writer that I read this year. If that helps.

    And I am now an even more devoted fangirl of yours after reading your defense of Max. I’m so sick of the ignorant, ungrateful crap I keep reading about him. I’m happy that he seems to be happy and is having success and I’d far rather spend my energy cheering our guys than booing Max (or even Jagr, who is *far* more of a piece of work). Besides, if I were so inclined as to express verbal disapproval towards an opposing player, I would do so in the form of swearing like a sailor. None of this pansy-ass booing BS.

  2. As a Penn State alum, I didn’t read your 11/9 column when it came out because I was so disgusted by the situation that I couldn’t handle anymore coverage. However, when reading it now, I’m sure there are more than 22,000 Penn State alumni in this fine county.

    DK: I got that from the Penn State Alumni Association. It’s living alumni, obviously.

  3. Favorite is Put Away the Sharpie.
    2- Penn State
    3- Crosby

  4. I humbly submit that the Penn St. column was the best. Forceful, well articulated piece concerning one of the darkest, soul crushing stories ever to emerge in the realm of sports. Not an easy thing to write about, or even contemplate about for that matter.

    I have no affiliation with PSU and live hundreds of miles from Pennsylvania, but I appreciated the perspective of a citizen of the Commonwealth over the innumerable opinions proffered from the national media.

    Also, if I may. I hope you feel better but, for God’s sakes man, I hope you can find a few days soon to relax. Apparently, you never sleep as I see posts from you at all times of the day. Saturday, alone, you posted or tweeted from Winnipeg, Chicago and Pittsburgh, The next day, Christmas no less, you appeared on a television show and today you are covering the hockey game and chatting with us yahoos. Get some rest, dude! But please feel free to cough freely in the Philly locker room!

    DK: I appreciate that on both counts, John. I’ll have free time at some point early in the next year. This just isn’t the time to take it, especially with the football team heading into playoffs.

    As for all the travel, you know that doesn’t bother me.

  5. Hey DK -

    Here’s my top three:

    1. 11/23: Baseball sticks it to Pirates

    2. 7/18: Pirates’ fans merit salute

    3. 11/9: At Penn State, they all must go

    As always, great stuff. Hope you are feeling better.

  6. Dejan,
    1. My top 3 would be 11/23, 7/18 and 11/9 – same as BFFL

    2. One of the least discussed topics surrounding the concussion and long-term health of Sidney Crosby is how the Penguins have had careers end short or unfortunately not end in Pittsburgh. We’ve seen the untimely death of Michele Briere, to career-ending/altering injuries to Rick Kehoe, Mario Lemieux, and Kevin Stevens, free agency departures like Ron Francis, or trades with Tom Barrasso, Paul Coffey, Mark Recchi, Jaromir Jagr and Larry Murphy.

    And now, we’re potentially seeing the premature end of another great athlete with Crosby. Fans in Pittsburgh have been lucky to see such great players at the pinacle of their sport but I can’t help but wonder if this team could have had another Stanley Cup title or two, if it wasn’t for the early end of so many greats.

    Let’s just hope, health is on the side of Marc-Andre Fleury and Evgeni Malkin for the remainder of their careers.

    3. NFL’s Prowl Bowl game is already a joke but Chris Kemoeatu’s selection as a third alternate further signifies the game is a popularity contest and the men/women selecting deserving representatives put about as much time and effort into their analysis as the every day fan.

    4. I hope the Penguins honor Max Talbot with a quick video tribute during the first tv timeout and the home patrons give a deserving round of applause but after that, he’s a Flyer and all bets are off.

    5. Unlike many situations where an athlete could truthfully say they’re just misunderstood because of their being uncomfortable in public or speaking English because they’re not from an English-speaking country, the same cannot be said of Jaromir Jagr.

    When I look back at the career of Jagr, I can’t help but think a beautiful mind on the ice is just as dark and twisted off it. Think of the movie – Being John Malkovich, as the perfect illustration for how the mind of Jagr ticks.

  7. “I’ll repeat what I heard about Crosby over the Christmas weekend, and that’s that he’s not that bad.”

    I kept reading and hearing you say that we shouldn’t worry and that Crosby would be fine. What I didn’t realize – and would have liked to have known at the time – was that Sidney Crosby was your source.

    I like the Sharpie column

  8. My apologies. I just rubbed the sleep out of my eyes.
    You didn’t say Crosby was your source.

    (not one of my better posts of the year :-)

  9. #1 would be the Sharpie column…priceless!
    #2 Baseball sticks it to the Pirates
    #3 At Penn State they all must go

    Tough choices to make, they’re all deserving.

    I second what JohninOshKosh said, you are very dedicated and it shows in your writing.

    Thanks for everything you do, DK, and feel better.

    DK: I appreciate it. Already feeling better now that 68 has left town and is someone else’s daily drama to cover!

  10. RE: Crosby, I am not usually pessimistic, but I’m getting the feeling we as Pens fans won’t be seeing much of him. I hope he can prove us all wrong. Just a gut feeling.

  11. JAL’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress Morning Links

    GENERAL DAILY UPDATED BASEBALL SITES

    1- MLB Transactions

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/pittsburgh_pirates/

    3- 2011-12 Pirates Prospects Off-Season Calendar

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2011/10/2011-12-pirates-prospects-off-season-calendar.html

    4 Pirate Offseason Stats

    http://www.mlb.com/milb/stats/org.jsp?id=pit

    5 Yahoo Free Agent Tracker

    http://ca.sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news;_ylt=AvN8KLXkNW0TcRjzSCagLIMBbgM6?slug=jp-passan_ultimate_free_agent_tracker_baseball_110211

    6 Pirates Prospects Offseason Tracker

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/offseason

  12. 7 Pittsburgh Pirates 2012 Spring Training Tracker

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/st2012

    PIRATE BLOGS

    8—Pirates Prospects

    Winter Leagues 12/28 — Ledezma Earns First Win; Dominican Playoffs

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2011/12/winter-leagues-1228-ledezma-earns-first-win-dominican-playoffs.html

    The 2012 Prospect Guide eBook is Available With a Special Discount

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2011/12/the-2012-prospect-guide-ebook-is-available-with-a-special-discount.html

    9 Rumbunter

    Interesting Projections for Pittsburgh Pirates Offense from Bill James

    http://rumbunter.com/2011/12/28/interesting-projections-for-pittsburgh-pirates-offense-from-bill-james/

    The 2012 Pittsburgh Pirates Bullpen As Projected By Bill James

    http://rumbunter.com/2011/12/28/the-2012-pittsburgh-pirates-bullpen-as-projected-by-bill-james/

    Bill James Isn’t Crazy About Pittsburgh Pirates Starting Pitching

    http://rumbunter.com/2011/12/28/bill-james-isnt-crazy-about-pittsburgh-pirates-starting-pitching/

  13. 10 Raise the Jolly Rodger

    Early look at 2012: Starting rotation

    http://raisethejollyroger.com/2011/12/early-look-at-2012-starting-rotation/

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES

    11 Conway Daily Sun

    2011 in Sports: Rocket launches big league career; ice arena launches hot new sport

    http://www.conwaydailysun.com/node/481495/18661

    12 Sports Illustrated

    New Year’s resolutions for every National League team

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/cliff_corcoran/12/28/nl-resolutions/

    13 Sacremento Bee

    Oakland’s fire sale belies baseball’s talk about integrity

    http://www.sacbee.com/2011/12/28/4150141/oaklands-fire-sale-belies-baseballs.html

    14 USA Today

    Baseball’s lowest moments of 2011

    http://www.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/story/2011-12-28/Baseballs-lowlights/52253340/1

  14. 15 Baltimore Sun

    Baseball fans meet for diamond dialogue

    http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/howard/bs-ho-talkin-baseball-20111228,0,4310530.story

    SPORTS WEBSITES

    16 Bleacher Report

    10 Baseball GMs Best at Producing Homegrown Talent

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1000890-10-baseball-gms-best-at-producing-homegrown-talent

    17 The Platoon Advantage

    Everyone Played With PEDs Users

    http://www.platoonadvantage.com/2011/12/everyone-played-with-peds-users.html

    18 Bleeding Yankee Blue

    PAUL MAHOLM: A LEFTY TO THINK ABOUT

    http://bleedingyankeeblue.blogspot.com/2011/12/paul-maholm-lefty-to-think-about.html

  15. Steelers Blogs

    -Behind the Steel Curtain

    How Important is it for the Steelers to Win Division and First Round Bye?

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2011/12/28/2664470/afc-playoff-picture-nfl-playoffs-schedule-2011-pittsburgh-steelers

    5 Burning Questions in the Wake of the Steelers Shut Out of St. Louis

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2011/12/28/2665027/5-burning-questions-in-the-wake-of-the-steelers-shut-out-of-st-louis

    Statistics Reveal Browns To Be A Dangerous But Confusing Team

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2011/12/28/2665516/nfl-week-17-browns-steelers-analysis

    -Steelers Depot

    The Terrible Podcast: Browns Beat Writer Nate Ulrich

    http://www.steelersdepot.com/2011/12/the-terrible-podcast-nate-ulrich-browns-beat-writer-episode/

    -Steelers Gab

    Steelers at Browns Week 17 Capsule

    http://www.steelersgab.com/2011/12/28/steelers-at-browns-week-17-capsule/

  16. #1: Put Away the Sharpie

    As for Jagr, the guy says some goofy things now and then but I simply do not understand the hatred that fans have for this guy. I’ll always love Big 68. I’d like to see him pump in about four tonight…with the final being Pens 5, Flyers 4, of course.

  17. Dejan: the Articles

    1-Put away Sharpie and shake hands–This one shows the tension between fans and athletes. It brought back my own experiences of talking with athletes.

    2-Big Ben makes big stand–Timeless. The athlete battered and broken but not beaten.

    3-Crosby ‘magnifique’ right away-The joy of playing and the sadness of not being able to play.

    DK: A special thanks to you, Joe, for all that you do here every single day!

  18. Unfortunately I won’t have time to re-read all of them this AM so probably won’t be able to vote but I wanted to make just a brief comment to the “evaluators” regarding selection criteria…

    I suggest ranking them on the quality of the WRITING not personal agreement with the OPINION. In other words, it is perfectly ok to pick as your top entry one with an opinion you do not hold if you find it to be well written, with an argument that makes you look at something in a new or unique way. In fact, sometimes the columns that tick me off (and Dejan’s columns do that to me sometimes) are the best ones if they make me think about something more deeply, even if I disagree.

    So…I suggest as criteria using “that is a well made point, well written” rather than “that is a point I would make.”

    DK: The dominant majority of people overlook that when judging columns, Drew. About 90 percent of email I get is either “I agreed with you” or “You are a crazy man.” (Well, the latter tend to be more colorful than that.) I’ve always judged others’ columns by whether or not they a) told me something I didn’t know and b) made me think a little.

  19. Dejan–the Sharpie column was definitely the best. “They all must go” was a close 2nd for me, as I know a lot of people were still saying the opposite when you wrote it. And though I don’t get to as many games as I’d like, I hope I’d be included in the die-hard Pirate fans, so that column would be my 3rd favorite.

    Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading your stuff, whether it’s “top 6″ material or not.

    DK: Thanks, Jeff. The simple math would tell you that most of it’s in the “not” category!

  20. Can we take Cliff Stoudt off the mountain and insert Bobby Bo? That guy only talked about how much he loved the city and money didn’t matter and then in a flash took the Mets offer and was gone. Was I the only happy that he couldn’t handle the NY media after all that?

    I view Mt Cussmore as what would fans do if this person came back to Pittsburgh to play or be honored as part of some team. I doubt Stoudt would be booed. Those were some bad years and he was obviously terrible but it wasn’t his fault he kept playing. The coach or GM needed to do something better there.

    Jagr not being able to share the spot light with Lemiuex’s return or Bonds just being a jerk in general deserve their place on the mount. O’Donnell could have erased his place on the hill if he didn’t run to NY as well after that horrible game. Funny thing is that was a blessing he left. He had reached his peak that Super Bowl year.

    Next week can we do a Hill of villains of out-of-towners?? That list is probably 20 deep

  21. The Sharpie column. That was the one I was telling my kids about when they were home for Christmas.

  22. Here’s some thoughts I hope don’t suck:

    >> It sucks Hines Ward has suddenly become a guy people don’t like. Why? Why are people upset the Steelers may try to give him 5 receptions in a possibly meaningless game against a terrible team to get him to 1000? Everyone, probably Hines himself, knows he is not a top receiver anymore, but does that mean that we should suddenly look down on him and forget what he has meant to the franchise?

    >> You suck if you don’t think getting 1000 receptions is a big deal. Sports are all about numbers…3000 yard passer, 1000 yard rusher, batting .300. Do you not think it’s cool Clemente ended his career at 3000 hits? Would it have been as historic if Wilt scored 98 points in one game?

    >> Pouncey sucks for putting far too much meaning into his Pro Bowls. Don’t think so? His Twitter name is @Probowler53

    >> Dejan, here is the order: 7/18, 11/9, 11/23. These are good because you can feel the emotion in your writing.

    DK: Your last line there doesn’t suck.

  23. DK -

    1. July 18
    2. Nov. 9
    3. Oct. 26

    But please, please do not short-change your first column here… June 10, I believe… the list of 21…

    That column is worthy of publishing ANYtime…and several times a year.

    Seriously.

    DK: Oh, there’s no way I’d dream of involving something that personal on a list like this. But I do appreciate it. Can’t believe you remember that one.

  24. All great columns, but here’s my vote:
    1. Pirates Fans Merit salute
    2. Put away the sharpie
    3. Penn State, all must go

    Happy New Year!

    DK: Same to you and yours, Bob!

  25. DK,
    1. Big Ben; 2. Sharpie; 3. PSU, All Must Go. Keep up the great work!

  26. 1. July 18–Pirate fans merit salute
    2. October 26–Put away Sharpie and shake hands
    3. Dec 9–Big Ben makes big stand

  27. 08.17.2011 “Are the Pirates Still Cheap” column…I respect any writing that is done knowing that it surely won’t be well received, especially with facts to back it up.

    I still think the Pirates are cheap, but the article was a refreshing change of pace from the usual tar-and-feather crowd.

    I’ll say that the PSU column you listed should be combined with the following one you wrote specifically on Joe Paterno. So much of the defensive mentality from PSU supporters came as a result of every columnist around the country penning presumptuous drivel proclaiming their moral authority. It’s only human nature to circle the wagons.

    Your writing, while certainly not apologetic, held a far different tone.

    DK: I appreciate the note up there about the “cheap” column. It wasn’t going to be popular, but I’d felt like I had plenty enough working knowledge of the Pirates’ front office to support it. One disclaimer: It ran when the team was still going well, so it wasn’t going to get nearly the nasty reaction it might have, say, in September. That’s not how I planned it, though.

  28. Dejan,
    Thanks for all your hard work!

    1. Put away Sharpie and shake hands
    2. Pirates’ fans merit salute
    3. Big Ben makes big stand

  29. 1. Sharpie
    2. All must go
    3. Pirate fans merit a salute, and a toaster, and a quart of tequila for all the misery

    Actually, although I don’t always agree with the columns, I look forward to reading each of them every night while the pups chew their dingo bones. Hmm, guess your columns are my dingo bones??

    DK: Dingo? Have you added an Australia reader to our list?

    And hey, where’s that list been lately. We’ve picked up an awful lot of new readers lately, so now might be a good time to put out a fresh call.

  30. 1- Put Away the Sharpie
    2- Penn State
    3- Crosby

  31. Hi DK

    1. Penn State – you had multiple sources, traveled to Happy Valley for material, and provided your own opinion. The latter is something that is missing from todays journalists, saying what they think it means! That is especially needed in political reporting in this jaded, polarized world.

    2. Crosby – Great Story, capturing the aspirations and feelings of all Penguin fans.

    3. Sharpie – Just well written.

    Keep up the good work. I do get the impression that you are spreading yourself less thin. I consider you a sports journalist, and there aren’t many of those anymore.

    Stuart

    DK: Thanks, Stu, but you have me really curious as to what you mean by the “spreading less thin” line. Didn’t quite get that one in my Nyquil-induced state.

  32. 1. Pirate Fans Merit Salute
    2. Penn State
    3. Big Ben

    Rarely post but continue to enjoy your work!

  33. DK,

    Followed you from the PG and have enjoyed your work ever since you did the Pens Q&A (remember that?) all the way through the 18-game losing streak in 2004. The Great Dick Tarnstrom!

    My votes are as follows:
    1) Sharpie, in part because of the personal touch you were able to bring to it.
    2) Crosby Magnifique, as you captured the excitement of a moment and broke it down over half an article – I think you do that kind of thing VERY well, and believe it to be one of your best traits. When there is some epic, defining play in a game (regardless of sport), you generally don’t just give it a one-sentence mention; you dive into it, get fellow players’ viewpoints on it, and discuss it. Love that.
    3) Baseball Sticks It To The Pirates, as you gave the Pittsburgh viewpoint with the kind of incredulity that so many of us felt but couldn’t quite voice.

    I note that your work has become more opinionated, which I believe to be purposeful, but it’s still very enjoyable and I look forward to more in 2012.

    DK: Thanks very much, Mat. The work has become more opinionated by simple mandate. That’s what a columnist does. What I’d done previously — before joining the Trib in early June — was straight reporting. I’m glad you’ve liked it.

  34. Dejan,

    First and foremost-get well, soon.

    The columns:
    1. Most important: Penn State
    2. Best concept: Put away the Sharpie
    3. My favorite: Magnifique Crosby

    Ranking them 1-3 is really an exercise in futility as the are all fine work, but I greatly admired your courage in taking a stand on the Penn State issue.

    I’ll never forget Game 7, SCF: Max Talbot 2, Red Wings 1. Never. But he chose to join put on a black and orange sweater of the Pens mortal enemy. And I don’t care how many million reasons he had for doing so. I hate the Flyers more than I hate radical Islamic fundamentalist terrorists. Which in my case, is saying something. Max and Jagr should be booed mercilessly–at the beginning of the game. And then Pens fans should get on with cheering the Pens.

    Not sure I’m ready to I’m ready to call Crosby’s career in danger yet, but I find myself in agreement with Eric and Jandy’s comments above. The length of time for the recovery, and the ongoing symptoms do not bode well for the future. I am beginning to wonder how many undiagnosed concussions Sid had previously, and now his body has simply rejected further trauma?

    Why was it so difficult for the Pens to give that update on his status yesterday? What makes it so difficult to do so on a weekly or at least semi-regular basis?

    DK: Who knows, Chris?

  35. December 29

    51 days until Pirate Spring Training
    73 days until clock is correct on Dejan’s Blog
    54 days consecutive the time has been incorrect

  36. A lot of great columns to choose from, but here are my top 3.

    1. Baseball Sticks it to the Pirates
    2. Put Away the Sharpie
    3. At Penn State, they all must go

  37. Love all of them, so it’s a bit difficult (and I must say my Pirates bias will show strongly), but here’s mine:

    1.) Pirates’ resiliant fans… (Loved it at the time and still love it now)
    2.) Crosby “magnifique”… (hoping he can continue being so soon…)
    3.) Baseball sticks it to Pirates… (Stomach sank when I first heard the news…)

    Love the reporting DK. I know I’ve been less active on the blog than I have been in the past, but I have appreciated the coverage (Blog, Columns, or Twitter) in 2011. Thankful for another year of DK’s take on sports. Looking forward to another great year in 2012.

    Thanks DK!

    DK: Thank you, Ryan, and you have been missed here.

  38. 1. Baseball sticks it to Pirates (shared this one on FB)
    2. Put away the sharpie
    3. Big Ben makes big stand

    Loved the Crosby article, but now that he’s out again it’s somewhat spoiled…no fault of DK.

    DK: Hey! It’s a daily paper! No fair!

  39. #1 is definetly the “sharpie”
    #2 Baseball sticks it to Pirates
    #3 At Penn State, they all must go

    Which aparently, isn’t much different than anyone else’s reponse…….The sharpie one, brought back so many memories……

  40. Dejan –

    #1 – Pirates Fans…
    #2 – Sharpie…
    #3 – Penn State…

    As a side note…I am hoping that we see more articles about Pirates fans next season..due to the Pirates putting together a second half, like this years first half. A fun, complete season is my sports wish for the new year!

    It’s been an enjoyable year reading and posting to this blog. Appreciate your great work Dejan. To one and all…Happy 2012!

    DK: Will you still want to read about fan reaction if the Pirates are lousy again?

    Thanks for all of that.

  41. Really, really appreciate the responses, as well as the kind words. Really busy today. Just got back from Flyers practice and about to start the chat at 1 p.m., then back to the arena. Promise I’ll get back to any Qs you have eventually on this post!

  42. Here is today’s chat transcript:

    http://trib.me/tsGDKU

    No toasters!

  43. Dejan-

    Really appreciate your work, past and present. Given your connections with the Pens, I am curious about something relative to Sid.

    I have read that he has passed his “concussion test” but is still experiencing headaches….have they ruled out a neck (spinal) injury? Particularly after his first hit, which appeared to be square on the chin and his last one, which was kinda similar is why I am asking. In my own experience, I had a neck/spinal injury in HS football 30 years ago (no concussion) and I still occasionally have headache symptoms that are relieved with chiropractic adjustments. I know that he has a Chiro on his “team” but a lot of MD’s give little cred to chiros – especially REALLY smart ones, if you know what I mean. But it certainly works in my case.

    From the distance we fans have to the actual day to day info, I haven’t read or heard anything along this line of thinking, other than one comment where they thought, at one point they may have misinterpreted concussion symptoms from a sinus infection.

    DK: I’d love to know that, but the Penguins aren’t exactly being forthcoming. When they are, they aren’t being remotely detailed. It’s all we have.

    Any thoughts?

  44. DK-

    All of the columns are great, but here are my top 3:

    1. July 18, 2011: Pirates’ fans merit salute
    2. Nov. 22, 2011: Crosby ‘magnifique’ right away
    3. Nov. 9, 2011: At Penn State, they all must go

  45. I love the comment section to this blog. Clearly, it’s where the smart kids hang out.

  46. 1. Oct. 26 Sharpie – struck an emotional nerve for me
    2. Nov. 23 Baseball sticks it to the Pirates – illustrating baseball’s disinterest in the small market teams
    3. Nov. 9 Penn State – I could feel the emotion in that story

    DK – I don’t often reply/respond but I wanted to tell you that ANY of your stories/articles are top rate. Followed you over from “the other guys” and wouldn’t miss your work for anything; you are a true professional.

    DK: I’m very glad you crossed the bridge, Kevin.

  47. 1. Oct. 26, 2011: Put away Sharpie and shake hands
    2. Dec 9, 2011: Big Ben makes big stand
    3. Nov. 22, 2011: Crosby ‘magnifique’ right away

    Keep up the good work and get well soon!

    DK: Thanks!

  48. 1. Pirates’ resilient fans merit salute
    2. Put away Sharpie and shake hands
    3. At Penn State, they all must go

    DK, I agree all 6 articles were very good, but I would’ve added the articles you wrote about the Steelers winning for Aaron Smith, and your 10 keys to sustaining the Buc’s success to the list. For whatever reason, both of those articles stand out to me.

  49. Penn State-Really said it all, and I appreciated it as an alum.

    DK: Heard from a few faculty after that one, too. The line about the kidney research, in particular, seemed to catch their attention.

  50. DK

    To echo many others, I can’t remember any clunker columns you have written. Of these six I would go:

    1 Pirates resilient fans
    2 Put away Sharpie
    3 Baseball sticks it to the PBC

    Thanks for the voice that you bring. Pittsburgh is a lucky town to have you.

    DK: Take that last line and flip the subjects, and it will make much more sense. Thank you.

  51. DK- Hope it’s not too late to throw my two cents into your columns. As you know, I have occasionally been a tough critic of some of your efforts. I believe three of these columns stand out today and were outstanding AT THEIR TIME OF ORIGIN. I could blather as to why these three columns, but I don’t think you’re really looking for that. In general, I give major points for originality, strength of viewpoint and passion. So without further ado…

    Bronze Medal – Baseball Sticks it to Pirates

    Silver Medal – Put away Sharpie and shake hands

    Gold Medal – Pirate fans merit salute

    DK: Thanks very much, Mr. B. And I want you to know that I value all opinions. The ones that are critical –without getting personal — often are the biggest help.

  52. For those of you checking in late, I’ve added responses to the entries above that sought one. Thanks again so, so much for doing this. It helps quite a bit.

  53. Dejan,

    From your provided list, I would choose the following order:

    1. Crosby
    2. Penn State
    3. Baseball sticks it to Pirates

    It was very close between 1 and 2, so I went feel-good over…whatever is the best way to phrase the alternative. I thought the Sid piece captured the night perfectly.

    Although my favorite didn’t make the list (I choose, “If Mario were writing to Jagr” http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/columnists/kovacevic/s_744778.html) the others are certainly all valid contenders.

  54. And apologies for the belated entry…missed yesterday’s blog entry entirely!

  55. Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year, Dejan. Sorry I’m late to the party:

    1. Sharpie
    2. Pirate Fans Merit Salute
    3. Baseball Sticks it to Pirates

    You’re the BEST…love your astute perspectives and your writing style. And this blog is awesome!

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