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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: Fine young cannibals


BRADENTON, Fla. – Brief and to the Point …

>> My Wednesday column is about the Pirates’ pitch-perfect prioritizing of elite pitching.

All I’ll add here is a little extra oomph to my paragraph in there about how big all these guys are. Can’t stress this enough: Used to be you’d walk through minor-league camp, and all the pitchers looked like a young Brian Burres, small and thin. Now, it’s like watching the linebackers walk around in Latrobe. They don’t look like they’re there to face hitters. They look like they’re there to eat hitters.

Neal Huntington and his staff long have sought bigger bodies, believing it’s a path to better velocity and durability. It might or might not work, but it’s certainly in full effect.

>> Raise your hand if you had Sidney Crosby returning on a line with Matt Cooke and Tyler Kennedy.

Yeah, me neither.

I see what Dan Bylsma’s doing — forcibly limiting Crosby’s minutes as he returns with three road games in four days — and appreciate it. But I liked even better that Bylsma allowed that Crosby and Jordan Staal could skate together before long.

>> The opening of NFL free agency brought an expected nothing for the Steelers — no money means no money — but there was at least one powerful message: When the Bucs signed free-agent wide receiver Vincent Jackson to a five-year, $55.5 million contract, it essentially set the bar for what Mike Wallace might expect if/when he hits the open market.

In other words, that’s the price. The Steelers don’t have to come up with it now, but they will next year.

Would you pay that?

I’ll let you go first, then chime in tomorrow.

In the meantime, Willie Gay wants to stay.

>> Down goes Wofford! Tonight! Print it, bay-beeeeee!


  1. mayhay22 says:

    No, I can’t see, and wouldn’t want, the Steelers dedicating that significant a percentage of their payroll to Wallace. He runs fast, and he’d be missed, but at that amount he’s just not the all-around football player to deserve it.

    William Gay…this guy terrorizes me. Just when I think that he’s a debacle he steps up and puts up 4 or 5 really solid games. I’d take him back, at the right price, with the hope that Brown and/or Cortez begin to take snaps from him.

    Glad to have you on-site in Bradenton. Can’t wait for that Matt Hague article. In the meantime, spend a little while watching Pedro swing and try to convince me that he’s more than a .230 hitter that runs into one every once in a while that goes a long way.

    DK: Hague? Biertempfel just wrote him for yesterday. Check our Pirates page.

    Love the Willie Gay analysis. At least you see the good. Most don’t.

  2. Naje says:

    @DK…. “I confess….”

    …that you write about pitching like John Madden talks about quarterbacks… top shelf, DK.

  3. Dan1283 says:


    These young pitchers are so good, They Might Be Giants.

  4. aglebagel says:

    Wow, what a crazy night. First I watch my BYU boys come back and win from 25 points down, and then I see highlights of Pedro Ciriaco hitting a monster walk-off homer and in-the-park home run for the Red Sox.

    And very, very enjoyable column today, DK. It’s truly amazing that we can get excited about anything Pirates anymore, but it’s tough to avoid it with these guys.

  5. David W. Hannen says:

    No! Jackson got such a deal because the Bucs are so far under the cap. 11m per year is too much unless your Fitzgerald, Calvin Johnson, et al. Somewhere in the range of 40-44m for 6 or 7 years should be the limit for Wallace. Especially if they sign him before he becomes unrestricted.

  6. JAL says:

    System will not take morning links, get message saying “Your comment has been marked as spam or unwanted by Mollom. It could not be accepted.”

  7. PetroSteel says:

    Great Article today DK! We are finally getting close. Very exciting! Go Bucs!

  8. Jandy says:

    Uh-oh…trouble in the blog…first Groat yesterday with half his comments missing. Now JAL can’t post links. See what happens when DK goes away???!!

    I never dreamed Bylsma would put Sid on a line with Cookie and TK, but yes, I do love it. Let Sid EASE his way in this time back. Especially with some really tough games coming up against the Rangers and Philly. I like it.
    I am so excited for tomorrow’s game I could just dance around the office! ;)
    I’m also hoping we hear today that Letang is coming back tomorrow as well.

  9. JAL says:

    I tried to post smaller sections and got same message

  10. JAL says:

    JAL’s Poor Side of Town Morning Links


    1- MLB Transactions

  11. JAL says:

    Wow can post 2 at time–that would take forever–to do even that had to go through another page tying in a code. Might post a few of what I consider the best

  12. JAL says:

    Amend that, now won’t even take 1, I surrender.

  13. Lee says:

    JAL….just tried posting your links from the Plus page. I got the same error.

    Good to see that Echo isn’t the only blog software that ‘acts up’.


  14. Lee says:

    DK……I agree….so tired of those tough, pitch to contact guys.

    Gimme guys who can overpower batters. And we might have THREE of them?

    ooooooohhhhhhhhhhh baby!!!


    Btw, did everyone enjoy those play in games last night? Talk about come backs….BOTH games!!!


  15. PetroSteel says:

    Thanks for the effort JAL!

  16. Thundercrack says:

    “Neal Huntington and his staff long have sought bigger bodies,”

    I don’t know about the people on his staff, but this seems obvious for Neal Huntington. I mean the guy is about 5’5″. At that size, who wouldn’t want a bigger body.

  17. bdubb says:

    Would I want to pay Wallace $11m a year for 5 years? NO. And I wouldn’t pay Vincent Jackson that much either. But I am not some desperate GM either (talking about the Bucs)

  18. Jandy says:

    JAL, go on strike! File a grievance with the union ;)
    I miss the links already :/

  19. Thundercrack says:

    Sorry, I forget the :-) with my earlier post.

  20. Jandy says:

    TC, are you giving Drew competition again? ;)

  21. JAL,
    That’s the same message I got 4 times yesterday when I tried to post.
    It would only post my first line and cut off in mid-sentence all the rest of my post.

    I took your advice yesterday afternoon and quit trying! To quote you, “There is no reason on the web.”

  22. Dave G in Liberty Township, OH says:

    Interesting that the web problems here at the Trib are coinciding with the launch of the new-look website of the ‘other major newspaper’ in Pittsburgh.

    Which, incidentally, I liken to dressing a ninety-five year old man in a Hawaiian shirt. Complete with the ‘rainbow.’

  23. Stuart says:

    Are we in some future defining moment with the web? Certainly miss the reliable JAL links. Doesn’t the PG “New look” web site suck? I, of course, see conspiracy s involved here. Hope I’m wrong, as I have occasionally been known to be.


  24. Dan1283 says:

    If JAL can’t post his links, we inmates will riot.

    We can do this the easy way, or we can do this the hard way, Trib.

  25. JohninOshkosh says:

    What am I supposed to do? Just wander out into the dark scary forest of sports websites without the guiding hand of JAL? With no morning music link to accompany me?

    Get it together Trib Techies.

  26. Naterosboro says:

    Does anyone know the guaranteed money on Vincent Jackson’s contract?

  27. Jandy says:

    Stuart, yes the other papers’ new look does suck…badly!

    Someone please shine a light over OshKosh’s way before he falls flat on his face! ;)

  28. JMB says:


    $26mm is guaranteed, if I’m not mistaken.

  29. JAL says:


    The music link did post , number 10, Title song Poor Side of Town , Johnny Rivers, 1966. Rivers first hit the charts in 1963 with the TV theme song Secret Agent Man. Poor Side of Town, his only number 1, was in the middle of string of songs that charted from 1966 through 1977. Rivers still performs, mostly at resorts and casinos. Theme this week is the top 7 songs on the KDKA Aces of the Air sound survey, October 31 1966. This song was number 4, down from number 2 the week before.

  30. JMB says:

    I would sign Wallace. He is an essential part of the offense.

    I wish #56 (Wood) had earned his big $ contract from last season, but it still doesnt make me gun shy to pay an elite player.

    I would rather have Wallace than a Justin Blackmon type, so it just makes sense to pay #17.

  31. JAL says:

    7 Rumbunter

    Pittsburgh Pirates: What Coach Hurdle Said / The Rumbunter Podcast

    Opening Day Reminiscing – 2011

    8 Bucs Dugout

    The Pirates’ 25-Man Roster: Another Take For Spring Training

    9 McEffect

    Bold Predictions for 2012 MLB Season

    10 The Green Weenie


    11 Hyzdu Headquarters

    The Little Engine That Could

  32. JAL says:


    12 KDKA

    Bucs: Hurdle Wants Alvarez Agressive From First Pitch

    13 CBC

    Canadian hurler Leroux learns to channel aggression

    14 Examiner

    Treanor expects big things from Tribe

    15 Broadcast Newsroom

    Pittsburgh Pirates Expand Broadcast Partnership with Skyview Networks to include Satellite Distribution to its Radio Network

  33. JohninOshkosh says:

    I see it now, JAL. Guess I was disoriented with not seeing the group of links together. Thanks for your efforts.

  34. JAL says:

    16 Tribune Review

    Pirates prospect Justin Wilson searching for role


    17 PBC Site

    Notebook: With ‘pen in flux, Meek could be key for Bucs

    18 Bleacher Report

    2012 MLB Predictions: Six Teams That Could Be 2012’s Pittsburgh Pirates

    19 Call to the Pen

    2012 Player Projection: Erik Bedard

  35. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    20 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Assessing the Steelers’ Drafting Success During the Kevin Colbert Era, Part I

    San Francisco’s Addition of Randy Moss Kicks Off Free Agency

    Steelers Give Wallace a First Round Tender, Original Round Tenders to Rest

    21 Steelers Depot

    - No New Contract For Mike Wallace As 2012 Free Agency Period Begins

    22 Nice Pick Cower

    The Steelers Appetite for Reconstruction

  36. JAL says:


    26 Pensburgh

    Sidney Crosby to return Thursday vs New York Rangers

    Odds are strong for Penguins/Flyers first round matchup


    27 Sky Sports

    Gerrard remains Captain Marvel,,11065_3496776,00.html

    28 World Soccer Daily

    World Soccer Daily: 10 stories you need to read, 13th March, 2012

  37. Milo Hamilton says:

    I predict Jeff Karstens pitches opening day.

  38. Jandy says:

    Regarding Wallace, I’m not a football pro, by any means, but I’m thinking if you have a #7 with healthy feet (to plant them for long bombs), and he can hit #17 for long receptions, you have a winning combination. I’d sign him, but the price seems a bit steep. (Hope I didn’t sound too irrational here)

  39. JAL says:

    Just got a nice e-mail from the Tribs web designer explaining the problem what they are doing to fix it. Has to do with trying to keep spam off the blogs.

  40. JohninOshkosh says:

    Trying to keep spam off? Well, I guess my posts won’t be making it onto the site anymore.

  41. Jandy says:

    LOL John!

  42. Milo Hamilton says:

    Speaking of Fine Young Cannibals – did you ever notice how much Roland Gift, the lead singer, resembles former Reds slugger George Foster ?

  43. PetroSteel says:

    Milo. I was thinking the same thing regarding Karstens pitching the opener. I think he has earned it!

  44. PetroSteel says:

    BTW. How come we don’t here Allie’s name in the up and coming young guns conversation anymore? I know that he might end up being in the pen but you would think he would still be in the conversation??? What happened?

  45. Milo Hamilton says:


    Maybe because he pitched a grand total of 26 innings last year ? What a great way to develop a pitcher.

  46. LuckyNKentucky says:


    Allie had massive control problems. He’s still a work in progress.

  47. Milo Hamilton says:

    From now on I will refer to Syracuse as “The Fab-less Five”.

  48. JAL says:

    I am still wondering how a player becomes academically ineligible in the middle of a semester.

  49. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Haven’t you ever seen Animal House? He’s probably on double secret probation.

  50. Milo Hamilton says:


    You’re not suggesting they might bend the rules at Bernie Fine U. are you ?

  51. Kevin says:

    Just want to echo others’ sentiments about the “other paper’s” new look. It sucks.

    @JAL – Apparently that is how long it takes the NCAA to read through transcripts…

    Re: Mike Wallace – Love the guy, but there is no way I would shell out that kind of money for a receiver.

  52. LuckyNKentucky says:

    My vote on the suck meter is a 10.

  53. If they are trying to keep spam off blogs, why would it let the first 10-12 words of my posts through and delete the rest?

    If “they” hadn’t fixed Dejan’s clock, I would be a dissatisfied customer! I have to give ‘em that though.

  54. Opening Day lineup and batting order, except for catcher, going today for Pirates.

  55. Matty G says:


    Mollom is a unique attempt to stop spam – it utilizes a third party system and does some pretty neat stuff to identify spam. The issue is that I think it requires somewhat of a learning process, so they may be experiencing that now. Otherwise, good stuff.

  56. Kenerdivanis says:

    If for no other reason, I post this because it’s been running through my head all day (truly, a scary place):

  57. JohninOshkosh says:

    That is an odd thing to be running through your head, Kenerdivanis. I used to work about 1/2 block away from the Milwaukee City Hall. It has not featured the “Welcome Milwaukee Visitors” on its tower for years. That Yiddish hopscotch song at the theme’s beginning is very catchy, though. Thanks for putting it in my head now!

  58. Kenerdivanis says:


    Odd things run through my head at the oddest times. It’s just part of my charm. :)

  59. Jandy says:

    K-nerd, that is very scary indeed!

    Darn ear worms anyway…

  60. Kenerdivanis says:


    Ear worms can be a real pain, especially when you wake up in the middle of the night with the Laverne and Shirley theme running through your head and hours later, you still can’t get rid of it. Not that I’m speaking from personal experience or anything…

  61. Milo Hamilton says:

    Whatever you do, don’t ask Ed Marinaro about Laverne & Shirley. Just trust me on that one.

  62. Jandy says:

    Well, K-nerd (I hope you don’t mind the nickname you picked up here, I like it!) now I have the Sounds of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel going thru my head for the last two days, I guess I heard it on the radio and it won’t leave me alone!

  63. Jandy says:

    “People writing songs that voices never shared…and no one dared…disturb the sounds of silence.” UGH!

  64. Jandy says:

    Milo, ok we won’t ask Ed, we’ll ask you!

  65. Kenerdivanis says:


    Waitaminute! Ed Marinaro from Hill Street Blues was on Laverne & Shirley? When did this happen?

  66. Milo Hamilton says:


    Let’s just say he didn’t want to talk about it. Or his football career, for that matter.

  67. JohninOshkosh says:


    I remember Marinaro was on the show; What was his beef with it?

    BTW-the best 70’s TV theme song is a tie between the gospel infused Jeffersons theme and the theme from the Mary Tyler Moore show (covered in a very rocking fashion from Joan Jett and the great Husker Du).

    Who can forget Mary washing her Mustang in that Fran Tarkington jersey? (see I tied this post into sports).

  68. Kevin says:

    Blister in the Sun runs through my head all day at work….and, “Let’s be careful out there”

  69. Jandy says:

    Dang, OshKoshB’Gosh, you’re GOOD!

  70. Kenerdivanis says:


    If Ed didn’t want to talk about those things, then what else could he possibly talk about?

  71. Milo Hamilton says:


    I never did ask about Hill Street because I didn’t watch it. You know, “…I have this new project…”. That was 10 years ago, still waiting. Let’s sum it up with – I met him once, he wasn’t very nice.

  72. Kenerdivanis says:


    As they used to say during the Wall Street Post era of the Mr. Tony show, that’s information for life.

  73. Milo Hamilton says:

    Mike D’Antoni has “resigned”. That Lin-sanity sure has fizzled.

  74. Milo Hamilton says:

    Can “The Zen Master” be far behind ?

  75. Kenerdivanis says:


    Phil Jackson to the Knicks? Even if it doesn’t happen, you can bet the New York media will be clammoring for it.

  76. JohninOshkosh says:


    i went to the Knicks/Bucks game in Milwaukee last Friday night. Every time Lin was shooting free throws, a large group of fans would chant “overrated!” I felt bad for the kid. ESPN, the NBA, and others did a great disservice to him by feverishly hyping him in the name of marketing. He clearly needs a lot of work. Also, in the player driven world of the NBA, it didn’t help that Melo was dissatisfied with both Lin’s and D’Antoni’s presence on the team.

  77. Dan1283 says:

    Sanity has been restored to the TribVerse, and disaster has been avoided.

    Together, we nerds are STRONG!

  78. aglebagel says:


    If I were Phil, I don’t think I would take that job. They just don’t seem to have the grit (and depth, for that matter) of a championship squad. Now, maybe the prospect of playing for Jackson could lure some nice players in the offseason, but with the roster as currently constituted? Nope.

  79. aglebagel says:


    Speaking of Lin free throws, I couldn’t believe when I saw the other day that he’s only hitting them at 68%. For an NBA point guard? Ouch.

  80. JohninOshkosh says:


    Yeah, the Knicks are not a very good team. I agree with you that Jackson, despite his history with the team, would/should not want to take that job. Plus, Phil has never been into rebuilding projects. If he were inclined to take a rebuilding job, it might be cool if he took over the Nets next year. With their highly anticipated move to Brooklyn and their ties with Jay-Z, it would be good for the league, the city, I think.

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