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Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: The laughable Pittsburgh Power


Brief and to the Point …

>> I’ll be spending the morning on US Airways planes on the way to Bradenton. Not remotely looking forward to the trip itself or the locale, but very, very much looking forward to being around the ball club for 10 days. Been too long.

>> I wouldn’t necessarily expect to hear today about Sidney Crosby’s status. There’s no question he’s targeting Thursday in New York, but I’d think he’d want to be involved in a couple of full-scale contact practices before saying anything definitive. The team is here Tuesday and Wednesday before flying out. That should do it.

>> Small-time outfits like the Pittsburgh Power wonder why they don’t get much mainstream coverage. Then, they go out and have a farcical weekend, firing their entire roster shortly before kickoff, then rapidly re-signing those who wouldn’t go along with an Arena League strike.

It’s just laughable, all the more because the game that followed got airtime on NFL Network.

But you know the part of the story that got me?

The Power had the seven players they didn’t re-sign drive 17 hours from Orlando to Pittsburgh on Saturday. A union rep rented a van and arranged their return home. That’s pathetic. The plane tickets aren’t that expensive, if you go commercial. Even low-level colleges pay for flights over that length. And it’s not like the Arena League can’t afford it, with players earning $400 a week. But the ugliest part is that the Power flew these guys down there, then just dumped them out by the curb like trash. And while doing so, they stripped out the Pittsburgh apartment of at least one player of its team-provided furnishings.

Here are the details.

That’s not minor league. That’s bush league.

And you have to love this quote from Power owner Matt Shaner regarding the scramble to have players for that night: “As the game went on, deals were being cut to keep the game fair.”

That’s not something you’ll ever hear from anyone affiliated with a serious league.

Look, I like to keep an open mind about minor sports. I was a Spirit season-ticket holder in the day. I’ve taken an interest in the Riverhounds, Bulls, Phantoms and others, as well. But this Power operation doesn’t deserve to be mentioned with any of those outfits. Nor, for that matter, does Lynn Swann deserve to have his name mentioned with nonsense like this. Unless, of course, he had something to do with it.

Here, in the interest of fairness, is a press release issued by the Power last night attempting to explain.

I’ll wait for the one where they don’t make their players drive 17 hours.

>> I’d write a whole column about this, but no one would read it.

>> Didn’t think it was possible for Pitt to look or sound worse than Ashton Gibbs’ complaining about the NIT two nights ago, but then you listen to Steve Pederson talking about this CBI nonsense yesterday, and it might have been topped.

I don’t make a habit of telling people how to spend their money, but if you pay the average $20 ticket price to watch any of this non-tournament, you’re investing not only in seriously mediocre basketball — Quinnipiac! Wofford! Evansville! — but also in the concept that the Panthers should be fine with stooping so low.

Pederson said this is what Jamie Dixon and his players want, and I believe that. But I don’t want to.

What a self-inflicted embarrassment for a proud program.

>> I’ll be in touch this afternoon, probably from Pirate City.


  1. Michael says:

    Who watches Arena Football anyway.

  2. StanMcClure says:

    It’s a fitting way for the pitt season to end. The entire season was an embarrassment why not have it end the most humiliating way it can, in the CBI.

  3. JAL says:

    JAL’s I’m Your Puppet 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

    5 2012 Pittsburgh Pirates Spring Training Broadcast Schedule

  4. JAL says:

    9 McEffect

    3/12 Recap | Phillies 4 Pirates 1

    Pittsburgh Pirates Pitchers: Of Balls In Play

    10 WHYGAVS

    Charlie Morton takes the mound

    11 Pirates Dugout

    Presley and Bucs outfield back to the future


    12 Bradenton Herald

    Outfielder Alex Presley now a part of Pittsburgh Pirates’ future

    13 The Mercury

    Worley strikes out 8 in Phils’ win over Pirates (video)

  5. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    20 Behind the Steel Curtain

    NFL Salary Cap Set at $120.6 Million, Steelers $12-14 Million Under Before Free Agency, Draft

    Momma’s 2012 Steelers Mock Draft, Rounds 1-3

    Peyton Manning Won’t be the First Future Hall of Fame Quarterback to Finish His Career With a Different Team. A Look Back at How Others Have Done

    21 Steelers Depot

    - Steelers To Receive Extra $1.6 Million In 2012 Salary Cap Space Thanks To Cowboys & Redskins

    22 Nice Pick Cower

    Steelers MMQB: NFL Offseason News

  6. JAL says:

    26 WV Illustrated

    Country Roads, Take Me Home To… Pittsburgh?

    WVU Great Sam Huff to Be Honored in Hometown


    26 Pensburgh

    No suspension or supplmental discipline for Evgeni Malkin


    27 Sky Sports

    Wenger’s men on the march,,11065_3484831,00.html

    28 World Soccer Daily

    World Soccer Daily: 10 stories you need to read, 12th March, 2012

  7. JAL says:

    Title song I’m Your Puppet , James and Bobby Purify, 1966. Duo was actually James Purify and his cousin Robert Lee Dickey. They had a couple of lesser hits. Dickey retired from the group in 1971. James worked solo until 1974 when Ben Moore became the 2nd James Purify. Ben went blind from glaucoma and dropped out of music until Ray Charles talked him into continuing. He is a current member of the gospel group Blind Boys of Alabama. Theme this week is the top 7 songs on the KDKA Aces of the Air sound survey, October 31 1966. This song was number 5, up from number 8 the week before.

  8. IC Heavy says:

    I read the story about the Power on Saturday and was amused by how all of this played out. I also found it humorous (according to the Fox Sports story) that the owner of the team told the team that they were released at the team dinner at the Olive Garden. They really did embarrass themselves, both the league and the union, especially if the teams had refused to play when there was an arena full of people. Either way it is an embarrassment to this league and a slap at the fans that they do have. But hey, it’s better than reading about soccer! Have fun in the Sunshine State! Don’t forget to send a postcard!

  9. John Lease says:

    Bradenton is destination Florida. The Tropicana plant has tours, you know.

  10. Jandy says:

    Well, that explains why I don’t follow Arena Football!

    DK, have a blast with the boys. You’ve earned it.

  11. Thundercrack says:

    I saw Lynn Swann interviewed on the news the other day. He knew plenty – and was giving details of what was going on.

    Now Swann has been on both sides of the negotiating table: player in the NFL – owner in the AFL. I wonder what he would have thought of the Rooneys if they had abandoned the team on a road trip.

    What a joke.

  12. mayhay22 says:

    Heads up Mixon’s, here comes DK.

  13. JAL says:

    Not only is it $20 to see the CBI game but Pitt payed money to host the game.

  14. SeanE says:

    “What a self-inflicted embarrassment for a proud program.”

    Wow that is harsh DK. We are talking about kids who want to play basketball! Why is that so wrong? These kids like to compete. Heck if you have ever been to the summer games at Greentree (and I am not saying you haven’t) you would see this. I see nothing wrong with getting a team some extra game and practice time.

    Seems to me that turning down the tournament would have looked even worse. We would have heard the complaints that “Pitt thinks it is too good for the CBI”. I give Pitt, the players and Jamie credit. They had a bad year and they are taking their medicine and not simply taking their ball and going home.

    Also, I don’t want to hear about the money. Pitt basketball makes money for the Athletic Deparatment….and has made millions over the last ten years. Playing in a Tournament that you might break even or even lose a few bucks on should not be such a huge issue.

  15. Chico says:

    Pittsburgh has a team in the Arena Football League?

  16. radio wave says:

    DK, some of us would read an article about the minor sports teams. I’m not familliar with most of the teams you mentioned. And the situation with the Power last weekend was the most I have ever heard or read about them in the mainstream media.

  17. Jandy says:

    @ Chico ~ LOL!

    radio ~ I’m one of the fairly newbie posters here, and I would read ANYTHING DK writes. Arena football and soccer included.
    The one thing I wonder about is…how does he find the time???????? Just something to ponder.

  18. LuckyNKentucky says:


    DK has plenty of time. More than you and I. He works part of the night, sleeps all morning (that’s why his chat is at Noon), sees Mrs. DK and the kids in the afternoon, covers all kinds of sports in the evening and loafs the rest of the time, other than doing those talk shows, etc. The perfect schedule, right? (If we don’t get a response from this one, then we know he’s unconscious or still fighting the flu).

    DK: Wow, you’re good. Busted.

  19. Jandy says:

    @ Lucky ~ No toaster for you! :p

  20. Dejan Kovacevic says:

    Leaving Charlotte now, hoping to get to Pirate City in time for some prospects playing ball. Excited like a little kid right now. Been too long.

  21. Jandy says:

    Christmas in March!

  22. Jandy says:

    LOL Lucky, that didn’t take long

  23. JAL says:


    have a good trip onward

  24. LuckyNKentucky says:

    He’s awake and excited and it’s still morning. Nothing like Spring and the smell of grass and little boys’ gloves with needsfoot oil all over them! Have a great time! My brother-in-law lives in Bradenton, but he hates the Pirates. (He grew up in Cleveland).

  25. SeanE says:

    @Lucky. Very good. Good to see DK got a chuckle out of it as well.

  26. 3 = Days Dejan’s Clock has been Wrong

    I watched the Power (parts——I don’t think I ever watched a whole game) last year.
    Washington from Alliquippa was an exciting receiver.

    Since many of the players had local ties, I would read 5 columns of Power before I would invest time in 2 paragraphs about “the sport that must not be named.”

    That’s not being parochial: that’s being tasteful!

  27. Milo Hamilton says:


    Clancy’s for St. Patrick’s Day ?

  28. Drew71 says:

    THIS IS NOT A JOKE. (Sometimes I have to give that warning because I’m an, umm, well, idiot)

    Until today, I do not recall ever hearing of the Pittsburgh Power.

    I’m sure I did. It just did not register. I just did not care.

    And this, today, is the first thing that registers???

    Thanks for that, Dejan. Your fault.

    And enjoy the beaches, Dejan.

    (Yes. I know. We ALL know. Beaches are dead to you)

  29. The blog went “away” for almost 5 minutes . . . . . . and when it came back the clock was magically RIGHT.

    Divination by Dejan from 1049 miles away!!

    That’s the power of going to Bradenton and being in Pirate City. Thar’s magic on dos green fields of diamonds!!!

  30. Jandy says:

    Drew, you are NOT and idiot. That’s like that “s” word…don’t say it :p
    What you are is, well, you know, a smart a**. And that’s a good thing ;)

  31. Jandy says:

    @ G2M2S, Erin go Braugh!

  32. wally says:

    Pitt and the CBI. Nothing to gain, everything to lose.

    The ignominy of being felled by Wossamotto U, with their unstoppable inside out game powered by Bullwinkle J. Moose at PF and 3 popping SG Rocket J. Squirrel.

    Good God, why?

  33. Comet Littlefield says:

    I was against Pitt playing in the CBI…but now I’m starting to agree with SeanE on the matter. The thought that put me over the top was if they win out they win 20 games. And if nothing else, keeping that streak in tact should hold some value. In 10 years, you would look back at the team’s records during that time and if they bounce back next year, still seeing 20 wins in 2011-2012 will not be the eyesore that 17 is… you can tell recruits, hey we’ve won 20 games X amount of years in a row…that is a consistent program.

  34. LuckyNKentucky says:

    I have to agree with Comet and Sean. Pitt is certainly better than half the teams in the NIT (Savannah State, Ilinois State, Cleveland State and more) and they deserve a tourney game, not because Gibbs says so. It sure does look better with 20 wins X’s whatever than 17-16. They had some good wins this season over NCAA tourney teams. Let ‘em play!

  35. A 6 – 6 Pitt football team did not deserve to go to a bowl game.
    They went———I watched.

    This Pitt basketball team did not deserve the NCAA . . . surely, nor even the NIT.

    However, if these CBI games are televised——I will watch. It’s Pitt; they’re the home team. I did not go to Pitt.

    “Root, root, root for my home team; another Pirate generation, everybody cry, ‘LET’S GO BUCS!'”

    I’ve rooted for lousy Pirate teams for the last 19 years . . . why can’t I root for Robert Morris and Pitt for 1—2—3 more games in lousy year-end 2nd rate tournaments. To paraphrase Shakespeare, “It is better to have played and failed, than never to have played at all.”

    Let’s go, Pittsburgh POWER football! Olive Garden on me!

  36. Kenerdivanis says:

    Very jealous that DK is in Bradenton. It’s one of my happy places.

  37. BenderHeel says:

    DK: If you’re going to complain about Bradenton, then maybe you should stay on Anna Maria Island. It’s only 12 miles away, yet a world away in terms of the environment.

    But either way, in all honesty, the complaining about Bradenton is tiresome.

    DK: I like beaches even less. Is that more or less tiresome?

  38. Milo Hamilton says:

    Sidney Crosby will play Thursday. The big question is, will he play Saturday ?

  39. Drew71 says:

    “The Penguins’ captain announced following today’s practice at Southpointe that, as expected, he will return to the lineup on Thursday night when his team takes on the Rangers in New York.”
    – Josh Yohe, TribR.

    Dejan, I checked Mapquest. McKechnie Field to Madison Square Garden…

    19 hrs 10 mins / 1181.64 miles

    You can leave Wednesday.

  40. Jandy says:

    @Milo ~ *THAT* is the question.

    @Drew ~ seeing how DK has so much time on his hands, I’m sure he can make it ;)

  41. Drew71 says:

    And no. It is not feasible to stop in Winnipeg on the way.

  42. Milo Hamilton says:


    I second that emotion on Anna Maria Island. And it’s really convenient if your flying into & out of Sarasota.

  43. Jandy says:

    Wow, Sid will be playing third line with Cookie and TK…we’ll see how long that lasts.

  44. Milo Hamilton says:

    The Orlando Magic have told Dwight Howard that if he signs with the Magic – he can decide the fate of their coach & general manager after the season. I’m sure the Steelers are offering Mike Wallace the very same deal even as we speak.

  45. Drew71 says:

    Milo – not only great satire but, in a serious vein, well said. This is not on Howard, though many will knee-jerk about that if he is offered that option, or even if he exercises his CBA-given right and leaves.

    Your satire sheds an unflattering light on the Magic, as it should, rather than on Howard who, if nothing else, has been open and honest about his desires for something that is within his contractual rights.

    Tho to be honest, this is not as extreme as it sounds, at least not in the NBA where one singular player, on much smaller rosters than other sports, carry much more weight than in other sports. NO WAY am I justifying it. Just saying that in the NBA, this is a bit more common than we might expect.

    One more thing about Howard. Fans often complain that athletes are All About The Money. If Howard leaves by free agency, as he has said that he is willing to do, I believe he is leaving close to $30M guaranteed on the table by passing on the (revised) Larry Bird rule. Just saying. From his perspective, it is complicated. But evidently it is not just about the money.

  46. CWalton_67 says:

    @Jandy–in answer to your question: likely, not long. But I like the theory. Leave two highly successful lines intact, keep Sid’s minutes down, and ease him back in. I’d like to see the Firing Line left alone, Sid with Dupuis and Sully, and reunite Staal with TK and Cooke.

  47. Jandy says:

    @CWalton~I know it won’t last forever, but I like the idea too. However, I’d like to see Sid with Staal and Dupuis. Vitale is more than capable of centering the third line. Asham, Vitale, and Cooke make an unbelievably gritty third line. They can dish out the punishment and score too. As you say, the firing line stays intact.
    I was wondering where you were, good to see you post again =)

  48. Kevin says:

    Asham – Vitale – Cook…very nice!

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