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Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: Some serious humbling


Brief and to the Point …

>> Today’s chat is at noon. Hope you’ll be there.

>> I won’t get too much into this thing I learned yesterday, because it won’t look good no matter how I do it. So let’s just say I was floored, if only by looking at that list of names there.

And thankful.

I appreciate the faith the Trib had in me, I appreciate the amazing support I’ve gotten from everyone here and, above all, I appreciate you the readers for being here with me. The feedback I’ve gotten, good and bad, has been as welcome as it has been overwhelming.

That’s it. I’ll shut up now.

>> Mike Wallace talked to satellite radio about his immediate future with the Steelers. Much of this comes across as silly, especially when Wallace starts actually considering how he might fit with other teams. I just don’t see that happening, and I’d have to think he really doesn’t, either.

>> This stinks …

The photo, taken yesterday after another leaf crashed down, is courtesy of Dave DiCello of HDR Exposed Photography.

>> Here’s good stuff from colleague Joe Starkey on the Penguins’ Paul Martin and Zbynek Michalek.

>> Marc-Andre Fleury might be overworked, per Josh Yohe’s research.


  1. Deb says:


    Can you explain a little about the APSE. Is a particular column submitted? a body of work? How are selections made?

    I think the award is well deserved by the way. You are an excellent writer and always seem to offer creative, balanced, fair, and INFORMED opinions and reporting. Have really enjoyed following your work. Would love for you to write a book.


    DK: Thanks, Deb. Associated Press Sports Editors is what it sounds like, a collection of the nation’s sports editors. They meet once a year and judge a zillion contest entries. Those are broken into three categories — think of baseball’s minor-league tiers — based on newspaper/online circulation. The Trib is now in the largest group (175,000-up), right there with the New York Times.

    In this category, I believe they need five samples. Some readers might recall that in December I asked in a post here for you to whittle down a smallish group to about four or five. This was why.

    I’ve been doing columns for about half a year and, to be totally honest, I haven’t been all that happy with what I’ve done to date. I can learn so much more, develop a more consistent writing voice for columns, planning, etc. Long, long way to go.

    Oh, and I’ll NEVER write a book. Way too much time on one project. Not my thing.

  2. Leah Backus says:

    Congrats again! You deserved this because you’re damned good at it. Bask a little, why don’t you?

    Sometimes one wishes for a crystal ball or a time machine. I wish I’d been paying better attention to Michalek’s performance all these months instead of collecting evidence for the defense of #7. Because now I have a suspicion…what if Martin’s performance has had more to do with trying to compensate for the fact that his partner is having an off season? Trying to do too much? I base this on how well he played with a confident, strong two-way partner who complimented his skills. I’ll have to pay more attention going forward.

    DK: Thanks, Leah. But see, I’ll never do things like collect evidence for someone’s defense. If Martin stinks, I’m going to write that he stinks, no matter the blowback. When he plays well like he did Wednesday, I’m going to write that he played well, no matter the blowback. That’s not being wishy-washy or flip-flopping. It’s reflecting reality.

  3. Leah Backus says:

    That’s why you’re the journalist and I’m the fan. :-)

  4. Cari says:

    You might want to be just slightly less humble because when I first read this blog post, I thought you had done something wrong and the Trib was bravely standing by you despite calls for your head. I didn’t work it out until I clicked the link. But now that I have worked it out — congratulations!

    DK: Well, that’s quite the opposite extreme. Thanks, Cari, for this and for the illegal TV feeds!

  5. Clint says:

    Price seems to be very high for D-Men at the Deadline, and the amount of forwards who would fit the Pens and Caps seem very low. Do you sense Shero could make a bigger move ala the Neal trade last year, or will he go small like the Adams deal in 09.

    DK: Hi, Clint. Wrote about this Sunday from Buffalo

  6. PgherinLev says:

    Congratulations, Dejan! It is always nice to get well-deserved recognition.

    DK: Thanks to the German contingent!

  7. aglebagel says:

    Congrats, Dejan. Very happy for you. And I thought of you when I went to a Chicago Bulls game the other day.

    DK: Thanks, Agle.

  8. radio wave says:

    I had the same reaction as Cari.
    I read many of the other winners on a daily basis.
    Pretty fast company, well deserved.

    DK: Thanks, David, as always, my friend.

  9. Jonathan says:

    Congrats, Dejan! Well deserved.
    As sad as it is to see the igloo demolished, that picture is amazing. Thank you.

    DK: Thanks, Jon.

  10. Dave G in Liberty Township, OH says:


    It speaks volumes that you believe you can do better, despite your honorable achievement.

    You’re destined for many more accolades in your future… and all of them are already well-deserved!

    Thank you for taking us along on the ride!


    DK: Thanks, Dave. Trust me, that’s not false anything. There are times in the past six months I’ve been really unhappy with a column. Each one is a learning experience.

  11. JClare says:


    Gandhi once said, “Happiness comes from hardwork.” You deserve such an honor! Congrats!


    DK: Thanks.

  12. Hooco01 says:


    Well deserved recognition. I have stated many times to my buddies that you are the best in the business. Most agree. But those who debate me will now have to deal with these facts.

    DK: Thanks, Hooco. Wear the brass knuckles. Those people are tough.

  13. dcpinpgh says:

    DK, Have you ever thought about running for political office? The reasons that you have a huge following, is what the area needs in politics. You take in all the information and make a decision based on your findings. You make your decisions based on that information and not personal feelings (of yours and whomever you are writing about). People might not always agree with you, but your logic is always visible.

    DK: Thanks, David. No politics!

  14. Jandy says:

    Wow! We have one of the best in our midst…right in DaBurgh! Congrats Dejan, and that comes from the heart. I know I look forward to this column every morning, and look for that to continue for a long time.

    The fact that Martin acknowledges he is struggling is a good thing…he is working on it. Hope he works a bit faster!

    Oh, that pic of the Civic Arena is awesome and sad at the same time. I hope someone is documenting the entire tear-down process. It’s a part of Pittsburgh’s history.

    I worry about Flower too. it will definitely be interesting to see how the season and post-season pan out. I hope he’s up to the task.

    DK: Thanks, Jandy.

  15. JAL says:

    JAL’s Thursday That Old Feeling Morning Links


    1- MLB Transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

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

    4 Pittsburgh Pirates 2012 Spring Training Tracker

  16. JAL says:

    5—Pirates Prospects

    Pirates starting pitchers – K% and BB%

    McKenry Focused on Getting Better Today

    Lefty Prospect Locke Looking to Impress

    The Pirates and Acquiring Veteran Pitchers

    6 Raise the Jolly Roger

    News and notes

    7 Bucs Dugout

    Frank Coonelly Confirms Pirates’ 2012 Draft Pool Will Be Smaller Than Anticipated

  17. JAL says:

    8 McEffect

    Can the Pittsburgh Pirates Make a Run in 2012?


    9 Albany Times Union

    Pirates’ Barajas getting acquainted with new team

    10 Boston Herald

    Erik Bedard prepares for comeback

    11 Bradenton Herald

    Spring Training 2012 | Nate McLouth happy to be back with Pirates

    12 Chicago Sun Times

    Cubs prepare for bunting madness

    13 Charleston Daily Mail

    The future of Power Park looks very busy

  18. JAL says:

    14 Pittsburgh Tribune Review

    Pirates catcher McKenry is looking to learn from veteran Barajas


    15 Fangraphs

    Scouting Comparison: Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon

    Greg Smith: Scouting the Pirates Draft

    16 PBC Site

    McCutchen eager to build on last season

    Notebook- Position players arrive early at Pirate City

    17 KDKA

    Pirates President Frank Coonelly Previews 2012 Season

    18 Minor League Ball

    Prospect Smackdown: Anthony Gose vs. Starling Marte

  19. JAL says:

    Title song That Old Feeling, Anita O’Day, 1963. Although O’Day sang with some Big bands she was more of jazz singer than a traditional big band singer whose career went from 1938 to 2005, a year before her death.

  20. IC Heavy says:

    Congrats DK, I knew you were a good writer way back when, that’s why I followed you from your old paper and have to read your stuff first thing in the morning ever since. I understand what you mean when you say you are not happy with the columns you have written to date. I have the same problem, I write for a living and I am always second guessing my content. Also back in August I finished my masters, but I was writing 30-40 page papers for my classes and every time I finished one I hated it, and the ones I liked didn’t seem to go over as well. It is a tough thing critiquing your own work. But bask in the glory of your achievement, at least for an hour or two.

    DK: Thanks, IC. A constant struggle, indeed.

  21. Frank V. says:

    Dejan…. many congrats on your APSE award!! What an honor! Humbling but a great honor none the less. Well deserved my friend. One doesn’t get on that list with that company by chance (or luck). It takes a lot (in countless areas that most people would never think of you putting your time and/or efforts). Very happy for you. Kudos!

    DK: Thanks, Frank, and best of luck in your new endeavors. Frank Velasquez was the Pirates’ strength coach until this season. He has a new fitness business at

  22. NMR says:

    I won’t claim to have any clue as to what goes into that award, but simply having your name along side the rest in that list speaks for itself.

    Us “yinzers” are always proud to see one of our own succeed.

    And, ok, I’ll stop whining about the book. But you should still do it. Just sayin’.

    DK: No book!

  23. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    19 Behind the Steel Curtain

    As Long as the Steelers Have a Franchise Quarterback, They Should be Able to Endure the Inevitable Roster Changes

    Questions About Steelers Salary Cap Situation Need Answers

    Alleged Outside Interest for Steelers WR Mike Wallace Most Likely a Smoke Screen

    20 Steelers Depot

    - Mike Wallace Radio Interview Classic Contract Posturing

    21 Steelers Gab

    Willie Colon the Latest to Restructure His Contract

  24. JD says:

    Congrats DK. I enjoy your work. (NO soccer)

    DK: Thanks. YES soccer. One of these days.

  25. JAL says:

    Pitt Blogs

    21 Pitt Blather

    Chryst Spoke!

    22 Cardiac Hill

    Let’s Get to Know…The Clemson Tigers

  26. Bucs2012 says:

    I guess the Pirates aren’t the only organization in town that lets top talent walk away right when its coming into its prime.

  27. TJA says:

    Congrats, Dejan! Well deserved recognition…take a pat on the back.

    DK: Thanks, TJ.

  28. Stuart says:

    Congratulations Dejan. Good to see excellence rewarded.


    DK: Thanks, Stuart.

  29. Captain of D11 says:

    The way that the Igloo is being torn down is painful to watch. As someone who had many of the best memories of my life in Section D11, it feels like I’m watching a friend slowly die. You column on that subject really struck a chord with me for that reason.

    Congrats on the award. Really well deserved, in my opinion.

    Trade deadline prediction — Shero makes 0 moves.

    DK: Thanks, Cap. I’m with you on the last one.

  30. scapper says:

    Like I’ve said several times, DK, if you write about soccer I’ll read the d*** column because YOU wrote it. Bigtime congrats on a well deserved honor.

    For years I read anything Michael Wilbon wrote in the Post. Then he got ESPN-itis and started hobnobbing with big-name athletes, and before long his columns read like a Larry King name-drop-fest…dinner with this guy, cigars with this one and golf with that one. It was sad. And unreadable. Dude lost all credibility in print.

    So, here’s to many more years of great columns and morning links for us lucky readers….but the first time you slip in a mention of coffee with Crosby or a milkshake with Malkin, we’re bailing, ha ha!

    DK: Thanks, Stan. I once shared a cab in St. Louis with Salomon Torres. That count?

  31. cfuller says:

    Dejan – Followed you over from the PG…I now read the trib way more than the PG…thanks for your great coverage and insite, keep up the good work.

    DK: Thanks. Appreciate your coming over more than I can say, especially that you’re checking out everything that’s on our site. We have good people here.

  32. Gregg says:

    Congrats Dejan, well deserved. I look forward to reading you each morning, so don’t plan on going anywhere!

    DK: Thanks, Gregg.

  33. Skip says:

    Congratulations DK! – What comes across to me in your columns is your passion for the subject and for sports in general. You seem very genuine and you connect with the reader (even when we disagree), which sets you apart, in my opinion.

    Also, the other day in the blog, you mentioned that 90% of a blog’s success is due to reader participation (I’m paraphrasing). Actually, I think your consistent and sincere engagement with us readers is really what makes it work.

    DK: Thanks, Skip.

  34. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Congrats echoed. Very well-deserved indeed. I don’t know if it means anything, but you were the 7th one down on the list. Seven is God’s perfect number! You’re the only person in this universe that could get me to read one syllable about soccer. Keep up the good work!

    DK: Thanks, John.

  35. Sarcastic Sword says:

    Kudos my friend…

    DK: Thanks, SS.

  36. John Lease says:

    Why are you surprised? You’re damn good, we all know it! :)

    DK: Thanks, John.

  37. LuckyNKentucky says:

    I have a unimportant question. I haven’t been to the’ Burgh in over 14 years, but why does the arena roof look pink? I’ve been there many times and I don’t remember it ever being that color. Is it from natural elements or did someone try to maintain it in some way? Just looks different than my aged memory allows. Thanks.

  38. Jon says:

    I am very pleased to see you get recognized. I have followed you for many years now, being a displaced Pittsburgher, and you are one of the few reporters I can actually say I read regularly. Congratulations.

    As for the picture. I still sigh. What a place.

    DK: Thanks, Jon.

  39. NMR says:


    It was cheaper to scrap the Igloo’s shell peice by agonizing peice than to implode the structure like most stadiums or buildings.

    What you see is the material underneath the dome’s iconic outer layer, which has already been dismantled.

    That is why you hear so many of us in the ‘Burgh talking about what a shame it is to see the old girl put out this way.

    Painfully slow process.

  40. JohninOshkosh says:

    I don’t know if you get to go or not to Orlando to accept the award, but perhaps at the award ceremony you could have Drew accept the award in your stead a la Brando and Sacheen Littlefeather.

    To be in the same company as the likes of William Rhoden-that would flip my wig.

    Congratulations-well done.

    DK: Thanks, John. No, if I recall, the awards come by mail.

  41. Arriba Wilver says:

    Congrats, DK. Well deserved. Master of your Domain.

    DK: Thanks, AW, but I’m not even master of the living-room remote.

  42. JAL says:

    Not sure why so much dislike of soccer, which the rest of the world calls football. Watch Lionel Messi and tell me you don’t see some Sidney Crosby.

  43. wally says:

    Congrats. Well deserved recognition. Much more to come in the future I am sure.

    DK: Thanks, Wally.

  44. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Thanks, NMR. It makes sense. Sad to see, especially with that pink. Real arenas wear pink, I guess.

    Just can’t warm up to a sport that 2-1 is a high-scoring game. No offense. I know there’s talent there, men and women.

  45. Jandy says:

    @ JAL ~ I don’t dislike Soccer, nor do I bash it. I just haven’t paid any attention to it. I watched your video of Messi. What I see is a well-conditioned athlete who plays with a lot of vision. He is very cerebral, and sees the entire playing field well. So yes, that could describe Crosby as well. How long is a soccer field? I can’t imagine running up and down that field (skating up and down the ice) for very long shifts. YIKES!

  46. Jandy says:

    “DK: Thanks, AW, but I’m not even master of the living-room remote.”


  47. PhillyJake says:


    DK: Thanks, Rob.

  48. JohninOshkosh says:

    So did Salomon pick up the tip or did he suggest to cut the fare in half?

  49. stewart says:

    Congrats. Enjoy reading your articles and blogs.(especially since they are free!)

    DK: Thanks, Stewart, but I do hope you consider picking up a paper!

  50. Dave DiCello says:

    Congrats man! That’s great to hear.

    Would you be able to update the credit on the photo? It is actually one of mine…here’s the link.

    Thanks a lot!

    DK: It’s done, Dave. And thanks!

  51. Fillet_Mimnaw says:

    In honor of post 27 – one would think with FA move like that, the PG was a McClatchy owned paper. #oldmemoriesdiehard

    Without an ounce of intended disrespect – in light of the well deserved recognition, perhaps we should now be calling you Mr. Kovacevic?

    Not sure how I feel about AJ running alone this morning at camp. Hopefully it is the first of many positive influences on plenty of the young guys in the rotation and a few more join him tomorrow morning for a trot. It would certainly be nice to have a capable veteran leader amongst all those young arms.

    I am surprised there isn’t more chatter about the Wallace comments on Sirius yesterday. He has made very good strides to become a better almost complete receiver but until Ben can consistently complete those long passes the cap hit seems a bit much for his 4.5 catches and 0.5 TDs per game. Oh, and I understand the mindset that he opens up the field for the running game and passing game by stretching the field but having that cap hit available to spend on a competent offensive line should also prove quite beneficial and even keep 7 upright more often.

    DK: No Mister!

  52. Fillet_Mimnaw says:

    As you wish, back to plane ole DK.

  53. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Some great shots. I like the B&W photo of the arena much better. It alleviates the pink. Do you do weddings?

  54. JAL says:


    A soccer field is 100–130 yd long and &0 to 80 yards wide. Bigger than a football field

  55. RightSaidTed says:

    Dejan: Congrats and well-deserved. I suppose its only a matter of time unti we see you on The Sports Reporters or Around the Horn?

  56. Milo Hamilton says:


    I proudly bash soccer every chance I get.

  57. Maddamma says:

    Hi Dejan,

    I couldn’t be happier for you and your success.

    I appreciate your humility, so allow me to do the bragging for you: You’ve been a columnist for about six months and in that time you produced enough quality work to place you in the top 10 of all columnists of large circulation papers. Period.

    For those of us who have been reading your work for numerous years, this comes as no surprise. Your dedication and commitment to your craft is always evident in your work. Your humility is not surprising either, but I hope you can set it aside long enough to enjoy the honor.


  58. JAL says:


    There were three big soccer games yesterday–one ended 3-1, one 4-0, the other 1-0.

  59. JohninOshkosh says:


    I appreciate your prosthelytizing for soccer, but as someone once said: Three things Americans hate: taxes, gun control and soccer.

  60. Milo Hamilton says:

    Anderson Hernandez is the only Pirate yet to report to camp. Could it be the dreaded “visa problems” ?

  61. JohninOshkosh says:


    He is from the DR. I hope we don’t find out that Anderson is not his real name.

  62. pattonbb says:

    Congrats Dejan, the recognition is well deserved, and the commitment to your craft is appreciated.

  63. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Thanks, Jandy, but that’s still an average of 3 goals per game. I don’t mean any offense really, but I’m a baseball, football (American brand) and college basketball person. Only hockey games I’ve seen were in Wheeling and the igloo and, although enjoyable, you’ve forgotten more hockey than I know. We’re less than 2 hours from Nashville and the Preds, but I’d rather see the Nashville Sounds AAA team play. My absorption limit from a mental standpoint won’t take soccer. One of my sons played in HS and we saw all his games and enjoyed them, but they were 6-4, 7-5, 11-0, etc.
    (I won’t watch golf, either).

  64. Drew71 says:

    Mister Dejan – Well done. Is it a columnIST award, meaning tied to the writer for all work over a specific time period, or an award for a specific column? If the latter, can you provide a link to the column, or did I miss it up there somewhere?

    Wouldn’t it be funny if it is the “Nuts” column that I took such umbrage to? But fine if it is. These things aren’t written to get universal opinion, or you’d write about the weather. (And we’d still disagree.)


    DK: Thanks, Drew. Check very first comment up top, where I responded with a bit of an explanation.

  65. Drew71 says:

    “Pirates president Coonelly charged with DUI”


  66. pattonbb says:

    I wonder if the arresting officer is a season ticket holder?

    Terrible lapse in judgement Frank. At least nobody was hurt.

  67. Jandy says:

    @ JAL ~ an athlete would have to be in prime condition to play soccer well. Much like Crosby is, and he plays ice hockey well =)

    @ Milo ~ “@Jandy – I proudly bash soccer every chance I get.
    LOL Milo!

    @Dave DiCello, since you’re a Cowboys’ fan I don’t suppose we’ll be seeing any Steelers pics on your site anytime soon? ;)

  68. JohninOshkosh says:

    Never ceases to amaze me that people drive intoxicated.

  69. Jandy says:

    @LuckyNKentucky ~ “(I won’t watch golf, either).”
    I don’t either! I don’t consider it a sport ;)

  70. Jandy says:

    Coonelly and DUI?? OK, so is there a fine or a suspension for this? Who fires the president of the club?

  71. Jandy says:

    Drew ~ What DK is saying, is that the columns we voted on helped win this award for him ;)

  72. LuckyNKentucky says:

    I’d be drinking, too if I was Coonelly and I’m a minister.

  73. Drew71 says:

    Oh. Ok. I get it now.

    I like that. it’s us. It’s all about us. It’s always all about us. (Well. At least me.)

    Dejan, those toasters better be good ones. Cause it looks like we earned some good bread.

    Ok enough. Congrats again. (See? I can self-edit. Sort of.)

  74. MBS says:

    Congrats on being recognized by your peers. We are lucky to have you in Pgh. Hoping not to hear you on satellite radio asking to show you the money like Wallace was yesterday.
    You asked for column ideas off the beaten path yesterday. I would suggest the RMU men’s lacrosse team or something about the growth of that sport in the area. It might be too far off the path however.
    Loved the Moose column yesterday because of the memories, but also the message behind his success in believing in himself. Can we make that mandatory reading for the Buccos?

  75. JohninOshkosh says:

    This morning shows why Dejan is the best. Breaking stories. Commenting on his blog. Preparing for online chat about a variety of subjects. Are you Batman?

  76. Sean says:

    Congrats DK! I’m sure that you earned the award from all your pieces on potential package trades! :)

  77. Kevin says:

    Congratulation DK on a well deserved award. As much as it pains a former delivery boy of the “other paper”, following you here has shown me which is the superior paper in Pittsburgh. Keep up the great work!

    @RightSaidTed – nooooooo!!! No ESPN for DK! Love Around the Horn, but see comment above by scrapper re: Wilbon.

  78. Jandy says:

    @ Drew ~ LOL stop, you’re killing me!

  79. Drew71 says:

    Jandy – Dejan just tossed the plugged-in toaster into my bathtub.

    (Though what he’s doing in my bathroom is something I’d rather not discuss.)

  80. CWalton_67 says:

    Dejan, congratulations on a well deserved recognition of your work. I would submit that it is exceptional precisely because you are never satisfied with it and will never be so. Seems to me that the key, like an artist who paints, is simply knowing when to put down the brush. I enjoy visiting here each day, because of the quality of your work and the quality of the others who also visit here. Thanks for what you do, and congrats again.

  81. Jandy says:

    OMG! Drew, you gotta stop. I’m at work, and they think I’m nuts lol (Good assumption).

  82. JAL says:


    Just looked something–in 14 games last season the Steelers scored less that what would be 4 goals in soccer. Looks bigger because they get 7 points per most TDs.

  83. LuckyNKentucky says:

    You’re right and a lot of their games were boring this year. Nothing worse to a football fan than a 6-3 game unless you really love defense. I’m being hateful, as they say here in KY when I talk about 2-1 games in soccer. Not a sound argument for not liking a sport. Just like liver. Some people love it and some can’t stand it. Still, no offense to those of you who appreciate it. Liver or soccer. They actually started playing it here in KY in the last several years and it’s catching on. And that from a state where they think a football is a basketball that was manufactured incorrectly.

  84. JAL says:


    Well put. Great line about them thinking football is a basketball that was manufactured incorrectly. :)

  85. Nancy52 says:

    Congratulations. Well deserved. Your columns always make for fascinating
    reading. I think I’d even read one about soccer!

  86. Absolute59 says:

    DK: That is some pretty heady company listed with you. It is especially impressive that you garnered this honor after such a short time as columnist. Going from one of the top beat writer in baseball to an award winning columnist in one year. Congratulations.

  87. ChrisH says:

    Congrats on the award! Not a bad accomplishment for someone who apparently still drinks the kool-aid!

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