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Wakeup Call: Big snub of Big Ben?

Some sporting thoughts before sunrise …

>> My Friday column pretty much covers all of my Jaromir Jagr ground. It was a strange day, followed by a strange evening. One thing’s for sure: Drama follows that man wherever he’s been in his life.

>> Hats off to the fans whose cheers for Max Talbot drowned out the early boos when the Penguins’ video presentation started. It’s one thing to say you’re a hockey city, it’s another to act like it.

>> I’m usually pretty dismissive of conspiracy theories, so my initial reaction to Antonio Brown being named the Steelers’ MVP — in a vote of players — was really just the team’s way of sending a message to a player who stepped up. In particular, I thought, Brown was going to get the vote of some special-teams guys because he’s also one of them. And tThat awesome tackle the other day couldn’t have hurt.

But then, you look back at Ben Roethlisberger only winning this thing once since he’s been here, and the thoughts spring up anew that he might be rubbing some people the wrong way.

It’s hard to believe, and I’ve neither seen nor heard evidence to that effect. But let’s not kid anyone here: The MVP of the 2011 Steelers is Roethlisberger by such a wide margin that the runner-up should have been a distant afterthought.

>> We pause now for this artwork from Pat Reddick of Butler …

That’s funky.

>> There is a terrific docket of college hockey on tap at Consol today, culminating with Robert Morris facing off against No. 4 Ohio State. It’s real, live NCAA Division I hockey, and it’s better than you think if you haven’t seen it.

>> Here is the chat transcript from yesterday.

>> One more time, please accept my gratitude for going through those columns last night. So many of you responded here, on Twitter and by email, and I can assure you any additional comments that get made on that thread in the coming days will be read and counted. I’m also going to go back and make personal responses to the comments that seek it, not having had time on this all-Jagr Thursday.

A good weekend to all. We’ll chat again from the Mistake.


  1. aglebagel says:

    In regards to the Steelers’ MVP:

    Part of me wonders if other players on any given NFL team simply don’t want to acknowledge how much more important the QB position is than their’s. Anyone feel like researching to see how often other elite QB’s have been elected MVP by their respected teams recently?

  2. Leah Backus says:

    It has been my experience that people who make ignorant comments like calling a Stanley Cup-winning forward a “traitor” simply for making a smart business decision are usually ignorant about the rest of the sport as well. And lord, have they been out in droves all over the Internet. Like last time the Pens played Philly, I had to walk away from my computer for most of the day today and yesterday. It was either that or seethe in frothing-at-the-mouth frustration at people’s lack of focus on the big picture. Like the fact that we have yet to beat the Flyers, the Rangers or the Bruins this year. **headdesk**

    Anyway, I’m glad that the majority of Pittsburgh Penguins fans have as much class as their team does. One of these days, I’ll make a pilgrimage to Pittsburgh and see a game at Consol. Until then, I’ll have to be content with the Scottrade Center in St. Louis (January 26…wheeee!!)

  3. MBS says:

    I really enjoyed the Jagr column today. I don’t fault the guy for going for 1.3 mil more at the end of his career and signing with Philly. I think his reference to being guaranteed a top line spot is also legitimate. As for his moody personality, the guy has nothing to hide and seems as honest as they come. I would also understand a sports journalist being annoyed by the guy simply because of the lost opportunity for a load of writing material that signed with Philly. I don’t buy into him owing this city or Mario anything. Look back at some of the flak he took here in the post Mario years when he shouldered much of the blame for the teams failures. Did he have the supporting cast that Mario had?

  4. JAL says:

    JAL’s The Man Who Shot LIBERTY VALANCE 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

  5. JAL says:

    7 Pittsburgh Pirates 2012 Spring Training Tracker


    8—Pirates Prospects

    Winter Leagues 12/29 – One Tough Inning Sinks Claggett; Figueroa Wins

    New Discount Code for the Prospect Guide eBook

    9 Rumbunter

    2011 Pittsburgh Pirates Review: A Rough Start for the Bucs

    10 Bucs Dugout

    Pirates Reportedly Could Send Cash To Padres To Finish Ryan Ludwick Deal

  6. JAL says:


    11 The Seahawk

    Former MLB player finds his way back to the Hawk’s nest

    12 Time

    Will Chinese Baseball Make it to the Big Leagues?,8599,2101609,00.html?xid=gonewsedit

    13 Wall Street Journal

    Baseball’s Hall of Fame Holding Cell

    14 USA Today

    Baseball’s most magical moments

    15 Bellingham Herald

    Baseball bidding game about to begin for Cuban defectors Soler and Cespedes


    16 Bleacher Report

    Pittsburgh Pirates: Should the Bucs Have Given Up on Steve Pearce?

    17 Baseball Prospectus

    The BP Wayback Machine–Pitching to the Score

  7. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    -Behind the Steel Curtain

    BTSC Steelers Six Pack: Down the Stretch they Come Edition

    The Uncertain Playoff Fate the Pittsburgh Steelers Face Heading into Week 17 is Nothing Compared to the 2009 Situation

    Steelers Appear To Be Taking Cautious Route By Putting Roethlisberger on a Snap Count

    -Steelers Depot

    Steelers Six from Around the Web

    -Steelers Gab

    James Harrison Not Worried About the Browns

  8. JAL says:

    WVU Blogs

    Metro News

    Kilicli Impressive Despite Injury

    WV Illustrated

    VIDEO: WVU Interviews Upon Arrival in Miami

    Men’s Basketball: Bob Huggins Postgame Press Conference



    Happy Homecomings: Jagr and Talbot score in return to Pittsburgh. Flyers win 4-2

  9. Jandy says:

    While I will always cherish the years Jagr played in Pittsburgh, I can’t let go of HOW Jagr led us on, then signed with Philly. I’m not saying it’s right to Boo him, but then again, I can understand how some of these fans feel. Here’s an article that describes it well:

  10. bdubb says:

    My only other thought on Brown winning the MVP was a testament to how far he has come (and that means the streets of Miami all the way to here today). Not saying that is the way to vote but maybe it has something to do with it.

    Or maybe the players feel as I did…Ben has won this thing more than a few times before. I read your blog DK and was shocked to see that wasn’t the case. Do the players know who won before?

    And maybe it isn’t so much that they don’t like Ben but maybe they like Antonio that much more.

    All I can say is Antonio wasn’t the MVP of my fantasy team — and I picked him up in or around week 7 — but he filled a big hole on my team to carry me to the title. Kind of like in the real world. He filled a big hole on the Steelers O

  11. bdubb says:

    I started my post with “my only thought on Brown…” and I had 4 thoughts, not one. It is early. Happy New Year!

  12. Mikec says:

    Leah- the game in st louis is the 24th as I will also be going to the game wishing i could go back to pittsburgh

  13. Drew71 says:

    Anybody watch that basketball game between Baylor and Washington in yesterday’s Alamo Bowl?

  14. NMR says:

    @Drew71 – I laughed…

    Seriously, though. That was impossible to watch. There has to be more contact at a seminary than that game last night.

    Can you imagine what Ray Graham would do to either of those teams? Who voted Baylor #12?

  15. Curt says:

    Both teams last night in Alamo Bowl reminded me of how our Pitt Panthers view playing defense, just not that interested.

    Antonio Brown received the award for how far he has come. He has worked extremely hard to become that second weapon for Ben. I don’t think its a diss towards Ben, just a way of showing Brown that hard work and perseverance pays off!

  16. JAL says:

    Combined score in the Alamo bowl was higher than the combined score of the Baylor-Mississippi State basketball game two days ago–that game ended 54-52

  17. Dan1283 says:

    As soon as I accepted that Jaromir Jagr was a Peter Pan-like guy who never grew up, changed his mind by the day, and chased money, I was able to stop hoping for him to be something he’s not and simply enjoy watching him play.

    I have accepted all these things as fact about Jagr:

    1. He’ll chase money to the ends of the Earth – literally.

    2. He is a STAR, and is just the latest example of proving why you don’t pass up the chance to sign a star just to overpay a guy like Tyler Kennedy, who for whatever reason I’ve never been all that impressed with.

    3. He believes everything he says even as one thing contradicts another.

    4. He DOES think of Mario Lemieux as his idol. That doesn’t mean they have to be exactly the same person.

    5. He DOES like Pittsburgh and us, the fans, and when the media served up saucer passes this week and gave him wide open windows to trash the city, he refused every time. He has never deviated from saying how he’ll always focus on the positives of Pittsburgh over the negatives when he thinks back on his career.

    6. He made the right decision to go to Philly as evidenced by his production, his clear happiness in his new setting, and the team’s success.

    7. He made the wrong decision to go to Philly because he could’ve become one of the great full-circle athletes ever and had a number retired (which I still think should happen.)

    The last two contradict, just like Jaromir, but I believe them both to be true, just like Jaromir believes everything he says, too.

    DK: Great stuff, Dan.

  18. Dan1283 says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised at all to know that some of Ben’s teammates intentionally snubbed him. They’re probably just as tired of him playing up his injuries for the cameras as I am.

    Ben insisted he didn’t take a shot before the 49ers game. Tough, stupid, or an outright lie? I can accept all three.

  19. Kevin_W says:

    It’s flat out ridiculous that Ben did not win team MVP. He was deserving by such a wide margin. DK has it right, they must just not like him.

  20. PirateParrot says:


    Hopefully the players realize what Ben does for the team. Whether he is a drama queen, jerk, whatever…he makes this offense go…period. I would hope that his teammates understand that fact. Having said that, I can see where this whole MVP thing becomes a popularity contest to a certain extent, thus dropping Ben a few pegs…

  21. December 30

    50 days until Pirate Spring Training
    72 days until clock is correct on Dejan’s Blog
    55 days consecutive the time has been incorrect

  22. Naje says:

    Folks, the team MVP award means what? There’s no trophy. There’s no money. There’s no outside adjudication of the award.

    It is a team matter. Who knows the actual vote count? It really means nothing. It’s almost as valuable as high school team awards that are voted on by the players and manipulated by the coaches… I’ve done that many times myself.

    The Ward 1,000 catches (a story fabricated totally by a beat writer) and this MVP drama I could do without…

    And Jagr, too… dismissed him years ago as a selfish talent. Peter Pan, petulant, child-like… none are words I want to associate with a player with skills such as his.

  23. Naje says:


    Certainly the team realizes Roethlisberger’s value… it is a team vote, a team matter. The vote also may get manipulated by the coaching staff. It means nothing.

    Certainly the team also realizes that Roethlisberger’s 11 turnovers in their 4 losses does a lot for them as well.

    While he’s an All-Pro and Hall of Fame bound (in my eyes), it’s just an honorary award.

  24. CWalton_67 says:

    Love the artwork by Mr Reddick. Great stuff.

    Very disappointing loss by the Pens last night. Cannot remember a worse one since 1993. Worse is the fact that no one pounded Jagr. That is all it would have taken–one good hit from anyone wearing black and vegas gold, and this game would have been completely different. A very disturbing overall performance, and again, the inability to score on the power play continues to haunt this team.

  25. Stillers——the team’s best player doesn’t have to be the team’s best-liked player.

    The vote might have been taken Monday after Charlie Batch led the team to victory AND Antonio Brown saved the team’s bacon by coming from 55 yards away to tackle the punter on the fake punt!
    To quote Billy Shakespeare, Dejan’s predecessor: “Much Ado About Nothing”

    Jandy——thanks for sharing the article above. It shared my sentiments very well. Thanks!

  26. I’m feeling bad after Jagr took it to us last night and seemed to be the best player on the ice. So . . . if I’m feeling bad, where should my thoughts turn but to the Pirates.

    I’m feeling pretty strongly that Nate McLouth will be the starter in right field by May 20——whether by injury or non-performance. That leaves Left for Pressley and/or Tabata. Nate’s bat has played so well at PNC in the past and we certainly need some power inserted in that anemic looking line-up. And, if McLouth is healthy, he’s a better baserunner than McCutch: not faster, but better base stealer and better judgment on bases.

    What’d yinz think?

  27. Naje says:


    McLouth’s 80-zillion part swing is a problem. Has been for the better part of two years. It’s so mechanical and so reliant on everything being perfect that it is difficult to maintain. Don’t have much faith in a swing that has so many moving parts reliant on getting the bat to the ball. He is a good baserunner/stealer, but his speed isn’t what it was in 2008. I like him as a 4th outfielder and support player, not in a leading role.

    Hope he proves me wrong… that’d be a great problem for the PBC to endure.

  28. Ironically, McLouth’s short, compact swing was what allowed him to do well against lefthanders and become a starter when here.

    Remember when Chris Duffy——wasn’t he DMac’s favorite?——was the starter but Nate would start against tough lefthanders to protect Duffy’s confidence?

  29. Naje says:

    Well, that short, compact swing had a lot of moving parts… just ask DK as I believe he broke down McLouth’s swing several years back at the other paper, or at least discussed how many steps he takes to get it “just right”.

    Those memories are of a long time passed… and while they’re certainly good ones, he hasn’t had many successes since that wonderful ’08 season.

  30. Jandy says:

    Groat2M2S ~ you’re very welcome, friend. DK’s blog is the one I visit first…that other blog is the one I visit second. Hey have very good writers there as well.
    I was so disappointed in the game last night, I wanted to hit something. lol
    Who scored for the Pens? Staal and TK…what happened to our first line guys????
    But then, Bob seems to do that to us everytime.

    Also want to say, Happy New Year! to everyone. I enjoy DK’s writing, but I look forward to coming here and reading all the posts you all add here. You make me laugh a lot, and that’s a good thing. Hope everyone has a healthy, happy 2012.

    DK, if you’re not feeling better, try some hard stuff over the holiday, maybe that will chase it all out of you!

  31. Josh says:

    Really happy that DK asked the question about retiring 68 and a statue…no idea what kind of response that was, but obviously Jagr just doesn’t care about being memorialized in Pittsburgh that way. Thanks for asking though…

    DK: Found it interesting that he knew what I’d ask pretty much as I started. He was nodding halfway through the question.

  32. Scott says:

    I don’t believe for one minute that the players really voted for Antonio Brown. This was all orchestrated by Mike Tomlin. It’s all secret ballot, so who’s gonna know, right? Cowher used to mess with the votes (like the year he took it upon himself to declare a tie), so Tomlin changing things up isn’t far fetched at all. It just destroys the credibility of the award, in my eyes.

  33. CWalton_67 says:

    Happy New Year, Jandy. Always appreciate your comments on here.

  34. TS says:

    The Steeler vote was probably due, in part, to each guy’s character (outside of football). If that’s the case, then the players where correct in picking Antonio Brown. The other guy, well, you know his track record.

  35. TS says:

    …Most sports MVP votes, even though they’re supposed to be based purely on talent/stats, ends up being decided with some emotional/personal sentiment by judges. Case in point: MLB HOF.

  36. MrB says:

    I sincerely believe that Brown getting the team MVP is more a recognition of just how far he has come as a football player this year. I don’t think that Ben is being snubbed at all.

    DK – Enjoyed the Jagr column as well as your response concerning him in the chat. I agree, he is and will always be a child.

  37. Ryan says:

    DK- I applaud and thank you for your hockey writing. I don’t know a lot about hockey, hard to get into in Northern California, even with the Sharks. But reading your columns on it, grabs my attention.

    You are a true SME on hockey, that’s for sure.

  38. Ryan says:

    To add to the Jagr thing regarding a statue or jersey retirement, he knows what he has accomplished and understands the impact that he’s had on the city for the hockey world, he’s just a douche about it.

  39. MBS says:

    I’m amazed by all the Jagr name calling and sore feelings. Is he a child more than whining fans and disgruntled media types? Remember how easy it is for the media to rip on a player who is no longer a member of the Pens and especially the Steelers. Few would dare to do the same to current players because they would risk the rath of the all powerful Steelers and Pens front offices, not to mention current players deciding not to cooperate with interviews, etc. Big Ben is a perfect example of a player who is touted as MVP caliber while his past discretions have been swept under the rug. In addition to the accusations we are aware of, I think DK hit the nail on the head by suggesting he might rub some people the wrong way. At least earlier in his career I know for a fact that was the case.

  40. MBS says:

    For any of those interested in the RMU – Ohio State game, it was well worth the time tonight. They got robbed with a bad call to put them down 2 men in the second period which resulted in a goal for OSU to go up 3-2. It’s a shame that was the difference in the game. They play great hockey.

  41. December 31

    49 days until Pirate Spring Training
    71 days until clock is correct on Dejan’s Blog
    56 days consecutive the time has been incorrect

  42. I have great hopes for Brad Lincoln this year. When I was down at Spring Training and would watch the pitchers throw their sessions, standing literally 4 feet behind the catchers (separated by wire fence) his stuff moved more than any other pitcher I saw for the 7 days I watched.

    This is his Jeff Karstens/Ross Ohlendorf year. He’s now 27, he’s now four years removed from Tommy John, and should be entering his peak years. Either he steps up like Karstens did last year when given the chance (Karstens started as #6 starter in a 5-man rotation) and becomes a legitimate, strong major league starter . . . . or he does NOT take the bull by the horns, like Ohlendorf [note the longhorn analogy] and moves on to other pastures.

    Lincoln’s value to the Pirates is as a #3 starter, a position for which the Pirates are in NEED. He is of little value to present Pirates as a reliever. It’s all you, Brad Lincoln: is your heart as big as Jeff Karstens or do we “steer” you like Ross Ohlendorf?

  43. Jandy says:

    CWalton, why thank you :)

    MBS ~ The Jagr name calling is well deserved. I cherish all he did here in a Pens sweater. He was phenominal. But the Diva BS and leading everyone on when he was deciding who to sign with was immature…and he upset a lot of people who WEREN’T upset with him.

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