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Wakeup Call: Meet Bill from Blawnox

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Brief and to the Point …

>> My Wednesday column discusses the Pirates’ coming season with a literary entity I’m calling Bill from Blawnox. If you can think of a better level at which to have this particular conversation, I’m all ears.

>> If I offended any readers with my Mike Milbury screed in this space yesterday, don’t worry. I’ll make everything right. I’ll call your boss and tell your boss that I’m sorry.

Seriously, it was good that Ray Shero piped up, better that Sidney Crosby did (a little), and now it’s certainly best for all concerned to move on.

If the NHL and NBC want someone like Milbury representing them on national TV, the loss is much more theirs than it is the Penguins’ or ours.

>> Lots to like and some to dislike from the Penguins’ effort last night in Boston. Power play looked sharper. Kris Letang was part of it, this after Dan Bylsma answered Dan Potash’s question about Letang and the power play 180 degrees differently than he did Saturday. Sidney Crosby moved around, as did others, on the power play, but Sid also had regular linemates. And best of all by far, Brent Johnson looked at his very best for the first time since the first trip to Winnipeg this season.

But man, somehow this team has to stop giving up all these chances. A lot of it’s Paul Martin. That’s not scapegoating. It’s the truth. But he’s not alone. And it isn’t just the defensemen. It would really behoove this team to prioritize rock-solid defense these final two games.

>> The Pirates still have one more call to make today to close out the roster, now that Daniel Moskos was sent out. I just can’t imagine, with Charlie Morton on the DL, that Matt Hague won’t make the team. It’s not just the seven home runs and .400 spring average. There have been greater flukes with better numbers. It’s that he’s 25, he’s been a consistent on-base guy through his career and, yeah, he’s earned it. You ignore him, you can’t look players in the eye next spring and tell them they can win a roster spot.

Send out Jared Hughes and/or Chris Leroux, and get on with it.

>> If Bruce Arians and the Colts are successful in poaching Byron Leftwich, as our Mark Kaboly wrote yesterday they are attempting, that will leave the Steelers having Charlie Batch as primary backup. Dennis Dixon isn’t coming back. And actually, Batch isn’t signed yet, either.

No one likes to think about quarterback as a position of need, but it could get that way.

>> I’ll be over at the Pirates’ practice this afternoon for a TribLIVE video we’re doing from PNC Park. I’ll let you know when it’s up. We’re planning on doing a lot of these.

Comments

  1. CWalton_67 says:

    Much to dislike in this Penguins win–team still looks unfocused, and uncommitted to playing defense right now. They are not going to to score 5 goals in playoff games, and giving up three every night is bad policy. Starting to strike me as a team that is mentally, and physically tired right now. Still think they can refocus, but it needs to happen soon.

    I honestly have tried not to scapegoat Martin, but he is hurting the team, and frankly, Michalek is not great either. I’d rather see Niskanen and Engel out there getting more minutes than these two.

    On the positive side, James Neal is signed to a long term contract. Terrific player, and Chris Kunitz continues to do the dirty work that is allowing the guys with the skills to score the goals.

  2. Deb says:

    The best thing about the response from Sid, Shero and the Pens in general were that they were all on the same page. This was a shift from previous PR incidents where the Pens and their Captain haven’t seemed to be on the same page or rather the Pens have ignored the issues until forced to address the matter (usually by someone in Sid’s ‘Camp) when it begans to implode. Also thought Sid had the best line of the group, when Yohe reported he said something to the effect of “I may not be a gentleman on the ice, but it IS a CONTACT sport.” Ha..[my emphasis}

    Also, I would like to concur with the thought that this game was better in the second half, but still way too many turnovers.

  3. Reading says:

    Given that the Pirates have never gone more than 33 years between World Series appearances, it is time to get ready for some November baseball.

  4. Woomer says:

    Although I know it will probably never happen…I’d like to hear Milbury explain what the feelings were inside himself that led him to say those horrendously-nasty things. That’s the kind of probing question that would REALLY she light on the situation.

  5. Jandy says:

    Agreed on Pens playing sloppy defense….still….doesn’t bode well for the playoffs. Niskanen and Vitale both down, hopefully not for long. Niskanen is quietly steady and this team cannot afford to have him out. Vitale is an energy guy with lots of heart and he contributes more than is easily realized. Pray for them!

    DK, can I hit Bill from Blawnox with my shoe??? ;)

    DK: I don’t know. Part of me kind of likes the guy.

  6. mayhay22 says:

    Good stuff, DK.

  7. CV says:

    DK – I thought the Steelers signed Troy Smith.

    DK: Not sure I’d view him as primary backup material, would you?

  8. egscoach says:

    Hague has earned his spot but didn’t Moskos as well? He posted a good showing in 2011 and followed that up with a good spring.

  9. Jandy says:

    hey friends, I will be away from the computer most of the day. I’ll try to catch up with you later. Have a great day!

  10. JAL says:

    JAL’s Yes We Have No Bananas 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 Yahoo Free Agent Tracker

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

    4 Pittsburgh Pirates 2012 Spring Training Tracker

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/st2012

    5 Go Buccos- Pirate News (from external sources)

    http://gobuccos.com/pittsburgh-pirate-news/

  11. JAL says:

    7 Bucs Dugout

    Bucs Dugout Podcast: Andrew McCutchen, Won-Loss Projections, And Much More

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2012/4/3/2923997/bucs-dugout-podcast-andrew-mccutchen-won-loss-projections-and-much

    8 Rumbunter

    The Inglourious Bedards Might Need One of These.

    http://rumbunter.com/2012/04/03/the-inglourious-bedards-might-need-one-of-these/

    Pirates Season is Almost Here – How to Manage Your Addiction

    http://rumbunter.com/2012/04/03/pirates-season-is-almost-here-how-to-manage-your-addiction/

    9 McEffect

    National League Central Preview

    http://www.mceffect.com/2012/04/national-league-central-preview.html

    2012 Pittsburgh Pirates Spring Training: What We Learned

    http://www.mceffect.com/2012/04/2012-pittsburgh-pirates-spring-training.html

    10 WHYGAVS

    James McDonald and Charlie Morton are the Pirates’ most important pitchers this year

    http://whygavs.com/pittsburgh-pirates/march-2012/james-mcdonald-and-charlie-morton-are-the-pirates-most-important-pitchers-this-year.html

  12. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES

    11 Pittsburgh Business Times

    Pirates ready for season with new food, space

    http://www.bizjournals.com/pittsburgh/news/2012/04/03/pirates-ready-for-season-with-new.html

    12 Bradenton Herald

    Bradenton Marauders’ 2012 roster is loaded with top prospects

    http://www.bradenton.com/2012/04/04/3980012/bradenton-marauders-2012-roster.html

    13 Baseball Nation

    Pedro Alvarez: Starting Third Baseman, Organizational Bellwether

    http://mlb.sbnation.com/2012/4/3/2920247/pedro-alvarez-pittsburgh-pirates-starting-opening-day

    14 Charleston Daily Mail

    New Power Manager hopes mentality rubs off on team

    http://www.dailymail.com/Sports/201204030284

    15 Philadelphia Inquirer

    Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels’ stock continues to rise

    http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/phillies/20120403_Phillies_top_Pirates_in_last_exhibition_game.html

  13. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    20 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Week 2 Film Review: First Roethlisberger Injury Occurs During Wallace’s Day of Dominance

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2012/4/3/2922028/seahawks-at-steelers-nfl-week-2-2011-mike-wallace-ben-roethlisberger-raheem-brock-fine

    The Steelers’ “Young Money Crew” Is Money Indeed…

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2012/4/2/2918792/the-steelers-young-money-crew-is-money-indeed-antonio-brown-mike-wallace-victor-cruz

    21 Steelers Depot

    - Steelers Bring in Cincinnati RB Isaiah Pead for Pre-draft Visit

    http://www.steelersdepot.com/2012/04/steelers-bring-in-cincinnati-rb-isaiah-pead-for-pre-draft-visit/

    22 Steelers Gab

    Roethlisberger On New Unis, Ward, Leadership Within the Steelers

    http://www.steelersgab.com/2012/04/03/roethlisberger-on-new-unis-ward-leadership-within-the-steelers/

  14. JAL says:

    Pitt Blogs

    23 Pitt Blather

    Reviewing Limited Football Details

    http://www.pittblather.com/2012/04/03/reviewing-limited-football-details/

    24 Cardiac Hill

    Pitt Football Spring Practice: Trey Anderson Falling Behind

    http://www.cardiachill.com/2012/4/3/2919112/pitt-football-spring-practice-trey-anderson-pittsburgh-panthers-recruiting-paul-chryst-blog

    WVU Blogs

    25 Metro News

    Adrian Earns First Team All-State

    http://www.wvmetronews.com/wvu.cfm?func=displayfullstory&storyid=51929

    26 WV Illustrated

    Quick Hits: Mountaineers Return from Spring Break

    http://www.wvillustrated.com/story/17325057/quick-hits-mountaineers-return-from-spring-break

  15. JAL says:

    PENGUIN BLOGS

    26 Pensburgh

    Pens Beat Bruins But Are Playing For The 4th Seed Due To Dumb Seeding Rules

    http://www.pensburgh.com/2012/4/3/2924200/pens-beat-bruins-but-are-playing-for-the-4th-seed-due-to-dumb-seeding

    Soccer(football)

    27 Sky Sports

    Messi on the spot for Barca

    http://www.skysports.com/football/match_report/0,,11065_3500346,00.html

    28 World Soccer Daily

    World Soccer Daily: 10 stories you need to read, 3rd April, 2012

    http://www.worldsoccer.com/247/world-soccer-daily-10-stories-you-need-to-read-3rd-april-2012

  16. Leefoo says:

    Dejan…loved the line “Wasn’t Pedro Alvarez whipping up enough wind in Bradenton to set off hurricane alerts?”

    Big Winded Foo

    .

  17. JAL says:

    Title Song, Yes We Have No Bananas. From the 1922 broadway revue Make It Snappy. Sung by Eddie Cantor. This version from the 1950s by Spike jones and His City Slickers.

  18. Leefoo says:

    Dejan…..that being said, how DARE you pick on my boy Matt Hague by comparing him to those two bums. You know that I’ve lovvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvved THC since AA.

    He’s my boy.

    Hagueling Foo

    ……

  19. Leefoo says:

    #13 is a hoot! Sadly….

  20. tk says:

    DK – I believe Paul Martin plays bad against physical teams. Which isn’t good news with a 7 game series against Philthy coming.

    DK: That’s not a pattern I’ve seen, but you might be right.

  21. JT says:

    Dejan,
    I just can’t figure out Paul Martin. He’s a talented player whether most pens fans believe it of not. However, I am starting to think his “hockey IQ” matches his jersey number. My issue with Martin is that after 2 seasons in the Pens system, he is still completely clueless on when to pinch in the offensive zone. A lot of times he is pinching in, when he really doesn’t have a chance to make a play on the puck. If your Kris Letang and you have the speed to catch a guy between blue lines, it’s not a huge problem, when your Paul Martin, its a big problem. Also pinching when the “F3″ forward is too low in the offensive zone, that results in an odd man break as well.

    I think the Pens can get things tightened up. I don’t think Dzone coverage has been a big problem, I think its mostly been turnovers just inside the offensive zone blue line, that results in an odd man break against. Sometimes its the F3 forward turning it over, sometimes its a result of not having the F3 guy high enough in the Ozone. Both are turning into a lot of odd man breaks against. I have all the faith in the world in Fleury, but constant 2 and 3 on 1′s is a recipe for disaster.

    I think Dupuis was spot on the other day when he said something like the Pens have the confidence that they can win a 5-4 game, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try to win 2-1.

    DK: The Penguins fare best when attacking and maintaining possession in the other zone. I really that sounds kind of duh, but it’s the foundation of their system.

  22. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Good column. Sets the tone. Should be Foo from Midland, not Joe from Blawnox.

  23. 1 = Days until Opening Day
    1+? = Days until this Web site is new and improved

    DK: “Bob Nutting authorized $52 million in draft spending in 2007-11, most in the majors.”

    Dejan, you and I both know that this is a totally inaccurate statement. The Nationals spent more on those drafts, some just listed as “major league contract” money. Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper do not sign as draft picks without the humongous money contracts they signed.

    In the new collective bargaining agreement, Bud Selig outlawed these “major league contract” expenditures that circumvent the slotting system, so THEY know it is the same cash just going in different envelopes. Now, at least, we won’t have this to argue about anymore. {unless, of course, you keep listing this inaccurate statement!}

    Pirates and Mr. Nutting only spent “most in the majors” on the cheesy listing of “Bonus Money in draft!”

  24. NMR says:

    OK, since we’re not getting a book, how bout a collection of short stories loosely based around a general theme? No, it’s not a book.

    As for Bill from Blawnox…

    I love the theme, but to be fair, I’ll separate that character into two. Bill from Blawnox has some good information to back up his skepticism, as do many fans who don’t buy into the current teams optomism. That type of fan usually doesn’t rail over and over about the evil Nutting empire. There are quite a few of those guys on this blog and if I were one, I’d probably take offense to being given the other implied traits.

    Bill from Blawnox is just like most sports fan in that they want to be right. Lets face it, saying the Pirates will be bad has been a fairly safe bet over the last few decades. It’s much easier to just say the Pirates suck, Fleury is a horible goaltender, and count down the days til training camp.

    Whatever anyone does, DO NOT use the “Y” word to describe Bill from Blawnox. DK may banish you for eternity.

  25. Sammich says:

    How can we donate money for the Bill from Blawnox statue?

    But seriously, I really hope that the Pirates have a good season. And that they free Matt Hague.

  26. NMR,
    I respect your educated opinions and almost always agree with what you say.

    However, I read your statement at another place that 25 teams would be happy to have Jeff Karstens as a “middle of the rotation, not just backend” starter.

    I think you are making that statement with your heart.

    I like Karstens and if he is pitching that night, he is incentive for me to attend the game. However, if Burnett had not been hurt and Morton’s rehab was just a little more advanced, there was NO GUARANTEE that Karstens would have made Pirates’ crusty rotation.

    And remember: the Bucs all but shut him down in September because he was “worn out.” Not the highest recommendation for a middle of the order starter.

  27. CWalton_67 says:

    A rare day when most seem to agree on the Pens problems. Keep hearing the phrase “puck management” from the coaching staff, and bad puck management is hurting the Pens right now. Far, far too many drop passes, and attempts at perfect plays leading to turnovers in the neutral zone rather than banging the puck in and ‘grinding b#$^!@ down’.

    I’m interested in knowing opinions on whether or not Matt Hague ends up with a true shot in the line-up, how long it will take for the Bucs to give it to him, and whether or not he will be successful? And I guess that may be directly tied to the performance of Pedro Alvarez, so how long do the Bucs tolerate him whipping up the wind on the Ohio?

  28. JohninOshkosh says:

    I’m in the process of planning a family vacation to Pittsburgh this summer. Yesterday, the Pittsburgh Official Visitors Guide came in the mail. It has on its cover an absolutely striking yellow self portrait by Andy Warhol against a stark black background, thus simultaneously honoring the city’s cultural history and colors. It is extremely cool.

    I can’t wait to go and teach my kids about the great Warhol, the great Clemente and the rich baseball history of the Pirates. It will my wife and kids first trip to Pittsburgh, and I hope the Pirates are doing well when I get there in July. Hopefully, we will meet Bill there too.

    My glass is definitely half full.

  29. MikeInMoon says:

    Still to many giveaways (Martin a disaster) Malkin still giving to many away in the neutral zone, but the highlight for me is how do teams match up with the pens. They put Chara on Malkin, and Sid carved them up all night, and Staal was a monster last night… Just killed them.

  30. BenderHeel says:

    @Groat: It’s really not an indictment of Karstens, who was mostly a middle-reliever in his career and who had not prepared to be a starter last offseason, that he became fatigued late in the year. The first 3/4 of the year for him were pretty dang good. Outside of maybe a couple teams like the Phillies who have a few outstanding starters, Karstens is, in my opinion, a middle-of-the-rotation starter.

  31. Milo Hamilton says:

    Bragging about spending the most money in the draft is completely backwards. You’ll have something to brag about when you’re consistently spending the least on the draft.

  32. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Karstens stated himself that he worked out differently over the winter and is prepared for the long season ahead. He’s been true to his word so far. No reason to doubt the young man this time.

  33. Bizrow says:

    Gotta pull for Kartsy, class act, full of heart

  34. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Ditto Biz.

  35. Lee says:

    LNK..”Should be Foo from Midland, not Joe from Blawnox”

    Thx for the plug. :)

  36. Lee says:

    I am a big Karstens fan. Agree with all.

  37. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Foo,

    You aren’t as pessimistic as Joe. I’m with you on The Hit Collector and with DK on Hughes or Leroux. Personally, I’d like to see Leroux and his 10.45 ERA try to get through waivers after another stellar performance last night, but Hughes has options (I think) so he will likely go. Seems they are enamored with Leroux.

  38. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Matt Hague deserves it. Even if its a short while until CM comes back. I agree. I’ve said I’d rather see him get everyday playing time in AAA, but he did everything he was asked (I’m assuming) and then some. If anyone stepped up this ST, it was him. He deserves a shot.

    How about dropping the Maghee 1B experiement and use Hague as the platoon at 1B for lefties?

  39. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    on a side note, Ross Ohlendorf was reassigned to minor league camp by the Red Sox, shocked he didn’t make that rotation…ha ha

  40. NMR says:

    Hey Groat,

    DK swayed me on Karstens. But seriously, all the guy did was go out and post a 3.3 ERA last year. I didn’t do the research, but I’m guessing there’s more than a handful of teams who would have him pitching before their 4th and 5th starter. No offense, but I think theres a little Bill from Blawnox coming out in you if you can’t see the quality that Karstens adds to this rotation.

    Trust me, I say all that while knowing in the back of my mind that the guy doesn’t exactly have a stellar pedigree and could very well regress this year, but I’m gonna give the guy his do while he deserves it.

    If the Pirates can’t find a way to fit a 3.3 ERA in their rotation, we’re all doing far too much worrying.

  41. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Leroux is a big guy, hard thrower. NH loves those guys and rightfully so. Send Hughes down, keep Hague.

    As Garth Brooks says…”God Bless Chris Leroux!!!” Oh wait……

  42. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Am I the only one that likes Charlie Batch as the back up?

  43. NMR says:

    As far as Hague goes, Jones or Mcgehee are going to have to faulter before he gets a serious shot.

    That shouldn’t come as a surprise. Hague is the minor leaguer trying to break into the show. Jones/Mcgehee aren’t going to be confused for Pujols, but they’ve already earned their spot at the Major League level. Thats just how it works.

    You can’t even factor Pedro into the conversation because it’s fairly clear he’s getting at least a month or two pass(whether right or wrong). Maybe Hague gets a spot start against a lefty if the Pirates double platoon, but then why keep Harrison AND Navaro?

  44. NMR says:

    @Ryan

    Yes.

  45. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Eh, of the two, I’ll take Charlie. If there’s somebody out there better, than I’m all for a signing.

    I dont think anybody was calling for Hague to start. Another reason I like him being sent down, but he deserves a chance, he represented this spring what is good about baseball, hard work and dedication can payoff.

  46. NMR says:

    Just busting balls, Ryan. Loved the Ledoux reference!

  47. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Foo,

    Correction: You aren’t as pessimistic as BILL, not Joe. Didn’t want to confuse Bill from Blawnox with the mild-mannered JAL from D.C.

    Ryan,

    Love Charlie as a player-coach, as #3 QB. Troy Smith may be OK as a backup. He’s a winner (unless it’s a National Championship game) and we have to remember that Leftwich wasn’t overly successful with any of his other teams, except as a Steelers’ backup and fill-in for Ben when he was suspended.

  48. JAL,
    Welcome back! You were missed!!

    With all the invective yesterday, including folks inaccurately screaming, “Misogynist”——if you call out “the sky is falling, the sky is falling” at something like that, what do you call out when it actually is true——this place was not a happy place and I did not stick around long.

    I intended to tell you first thing that you and your jewels were missed. Sorry I was distracted. My bad.

  49. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    @Lucky- I’m not sure how Troy Smith was a “winner.” Watched him play out here a little bit for the Niners, not winning!! BTW, I’m a Gators fan, so I’m glad he didn’t win a NC.

    @NMR- I was wondering if anybody would catch that reference.

  50. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Ryan,

    Good point on the Niners, but I think the Steelers could possibly bring out the best in Smith, like they did with Leftwich, and my hopes are biased being an OSU fan. But you’re right, he didn’t win out there and failed miserably against your Gators.

  51. JohninOshkosh says:

    Groat, my friend, I am calling you out. You fired a shot and ran away from the debate when your viewpoint could have been fully considered.

  52. chris says:

    Ryan,
    I don’t think you can drop the mcgehee 1B experiment before it actually starts.

  53. Oshkosh b’gosh,

    Sorry! Which shot of mine posed the debate:

    1/ Jeff Karstens is not a middle-of-the-rotation pitcher for 25 Major League teams
    2/ Chicken Little doesn’t understand the word misogynist
    3/ Yesterday’s thread seemed icky, gooey
    4/ My continuing disagreement every time DK says the Pirates and Mr. Nutting spent the most in the draft
    5/ I missed JAL on Monday

    If it is the last one you disagree with, I’m going to take off my skirt and come after you!!!

  54. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Lucky,

    I wouldn’t say the Steelers brought out the best in Leftwich, unless that means holding the clipboard. He did have some pretty good years at Jacksonville.

  55. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Groat,

    You didn’t ask for my opinion, but I have no problem with anything you said or did other than the Chicken Little reference. I don’t know if you meant it for anyone particular, but only a couple ladies used the misogyny word yesterday and only because it seemed that way to them. Why DO we look at women and compare cowardice and weekness in men to them? The Bible says we honor them AS the weaker vessel,but also treat them as heirs together of the grace of life. I really don’t think there are any weak, cowardly, sky-is-falling ladies on this blog. JMHO.

  56. JayH says:

    MLB did the Pirates no favors to start the season. They will face top-5 pitching talents in 5 of their first 9 games (Halladay, Lee, Kershaw, Lincecum, Cain). They will play almost 60% of their April games on the road – including a 9 game west coast trip. I peg their April record around 9-13 (if they’re lucky).

    The key months for any success will be July and September. In July, they play 50% of their games against the Cubs and Astros. In September, they play 60% against the Cubs, Astros and Mets. Any hope for a .500 season will mean they need to go 8 or 9 games over .500 in those two months.

  57. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Ryan,

    I concur, but, when Leftwich played and was healthy for the Steelers, he helped them and was fairly effective. In JAX he did OK, but they didn’t win anything under him. Smith might be cut before they leave Latrobe for all I know. Just hoping he has some success as a fan.

  58. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Chris,

    I sure can if Hague makes the team. Mcgehehehehe can take over for Pedro against lefties and eventually, righties. Good guy to pinch hit late in the game too or use as a defensive sub at 3b.

  59. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Lucky,

    I feel you as a fan.

  60. JohninOshkosh says:

    @Groat

    1. Disagree. He is the ultimate company man. He will get the job done.
    2. Disagree. I will not rehash yesterday’s debate-we both agree to move on.
    4. Disagree. Loved the diverse views yesterday, always like the word “gooey.”
    5. Not sure. Economic arguments are like using Biblical passages-can be used by completely different perspectives to argue completely different things.
    6. Emphatically agree: JAL is the backbone of this blog (subject only to DK who graciously allows us to play in his sandbox).

    BTW-I plan on crashing at your pad when I come to Pittsburgh in July. Don’t worry, I’ll mow your lawn and feed the cat when you are at work.

  61. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    In case nobody has left this thread, which aparently most have.

    Joe Flacco thinks he’s the best QB in the league and T Bell signed with the Eagles.

    http://espn.go.com/nfl/

  62. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    JayH,

    Good eval, I’ll take 9-13 against those teams.

  63. JohninOshkosh says:

    @Lucky:

    I was typing while your posted. My Biblical remark was in no way a shot at your post! Just an observation about argument in general.

  64. JohninOshkosh says:

    @Groat:

    Messed up my numbering. Hopefully new blog will allow cosmetic modifications after the submission. When one is on this blog, one lives in constant fear of the “submit comment” button.

  65. LuckyNKentucky says:

    John,

    Don’t worry about that. I have no right to be preaching on a sports blog anyway. I’ve never been offended by anyone or anything on this blog, even the gentleman yesterday that questioned all our education levels. That’s what makes this blog stand out–people seem real and not self-exhaulting hypocrites.

  66. JohninOshkosh says:

    @Lucky

    Ditto. Plus it is my privilege know a lot of great folks “at a GED” level so he didn’t bother me either.

  67. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    I didn’t even respond to that clown from yesterday fellas…this is a different blog and I enjoy reading and discussing the responses.

    To be honest, I believe the blog is a credit to the amount of respect we have for DK. he doesn’t put up with any of that crap that some bring on.

  68. LuckyNKentucky says:

    John,

    I’m with you on that. There are some folks down here (and I’m sure many other places I haven’t been) that, believe it or not in this day and age, never made it past Grade 9 and they are exceptional, fine, knowledgable human beings. Couldn’t agree with you more.

  69. JohninOshkosh says:

    @Ryan:

    Are you going to attend any of the games next weekend at AT& T Park? If so, we expect a report.

  70. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Ryan,

    Agree with you, too. DK is the kind of person everybody wants to have as a personal friend and knowing that he can’t be that to everyone, he treats us like that here on the blog and Twitter, so you’re right, we have the repect for him he’s earned as an “award-winning journalist”. Plus he has our backs like yesterday with the GED guy.

  71. NMR says:

    Good stuff, JayH.

    First time I’ve read anyone analize the late season schedule.

  72. JohninOshkosh says:

    I liked JayH analysis, too. Maybe it is just my proximity and hearing about the Cubs, but does anyone else think they won’t be such a pushover either. Like the Pirates they have offense problems. But, again like the Pirates, if the pitching staff pitches to potential, they won’t be such a door mat. Maholm isn’t the worst #5 I have ever seen. I guess that is what makes this time of the year great: “IF”

  73. I love Karstens! (actually not as much as the man-love DK shows him, but right up there!)

    I will also admit that I look at the Pirates first with my heart and 2nd with my head too often. My initial comment to NMR was not meant to be critical of him but to let him know I had seen his comment elsewhere————and while my heart wanted to agree with his comment that Karstens would be a middle-of-the-order starter (not 4-5 starter) on 25 teams in Majors, my head told me that is not true.
    2008 2 – 6 4.03
    2009 4 – 6 5.42
    2010 3 -10 4.92
    2011 9 – 9 3.38
    which one is out of place? . . . . . . plus 4.52 lifetime ERA

    I love it when Karstens pitches, so much so that I like to attend when he pitches . . . . . . . but this is the year when he proves——or not——that he belongs at all in a Major League rotation. {remember last season he took most of September off because of ‘fatigue’} THEN we can consider his position in that rotation.

  74. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    John- I am sure trying too…the wife is a Giants fan and my kids are split on the teams. I have 2 in baseball myself on 3 different teams, so the timing is off, we went last year to the one game that they lost.

  75. NMR says:

    Well said, Groat. A little well-reasoned skepticism is never a bad thing.

    I’m more of a “stuff” guy myself. I’m looking forward to seeing Bedards curveball in person for the first time.

  76. JohninOshkosh says:

    Remember when Karstens debuted with the Pirates and had that start? Almost throwing the perfect game. I thought the city was going to have a parade for him. You are right, Groat, this is the year to let us know who he is.-once and for all.

  77. Oshkosh b’gosh,

    For yesterday’s icky, gooey stuff——when many resorted to name-calling and preaching about Millbury’s foolish comments——to mean anything, those same folks should be just as violent today about Mark Madden saying yesterday (and I heard him repeat the same this morning on the X) that some yokel should shoot the Flyers plane down as it flew back to Philly.

    He said it, and he’s local. I take it from the silence that it is OK to be a lout if the lout is local.

    I don’t like the icky, gooey stuff: if you wrestle with a pig in his pen, even if you win you just get muddy and smelly.

  78. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Groat- I 100% agree with your analysis of Karstens. If he can piggy-back last years performance, he’s a good #3 or #4.

  79. JohninOshkosh says:

    @Ryan:

    I totally understand. Last year we went to Miller Park. I was in my Bucco gear and the wife and kids were wearing their Brewers stuff. The usher said to me “I see Mom is raising the kids right.” Very fun.

  80. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Mark Madden’s a Dbag. But if he did say that, and I believe you, then yes, he should be ridiculed. The difference is, he’s local and not national, unlike Milbury.

  81. JohninOshkosh says:

    Groat:

    Agreed. It’s like that old Seinfeld bit that loyalty to teams means that people don’t really cheer for players, they cheer for clothes.

  82. Milo Hamilton says:

    Good news. Ole 24/7 is reporting that Matt Hague has made the team.

    The Hague.

  83. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    John-that’s exactly what I heard…we sat out in the bleachers too while I was sporting my AVS Pirates jersey and waving my terrible flag.

    It was actually quit funny, the bleacher bums were calling Jones a bum. Even they knew that…strange.

  84. JohninOshkosh says:

    THE HAGUE!!!

  85. Milo Hamilton says:

    Chris Leroux has been placed on the 60 day DL with a strained right pec. Must have happened during breakfast. Jared Hughes is last in.

  86. Milo Hamilton says:

    Burnett eligible on April 11th, Morton – April 14th.

  87. To add to Jay Hay’s list, game #10 or 11 will be against Ian Kennedy, who only went 21 – 4 for Arizona last year. 6 of first 10 games against the best pitchers in the National League . . . . we’re extremely lucky the Phils are holding back Hamels in game #3!

    I am afraid that the first 29-30 games, against the very best of the National League, especially on the road, will see a repeat of the Spring Training record: 9 – 20. The rest of the season could be bailing water from that start.

    I never like to be wrong, but I would prefer to be wrong in this case.

  88. Milo Hamilton says:

    @Groat

    Extremely lucky ? Worley was their best pitcher the last 2 months.

  89. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Congrats to Hague!!

  90. JohninOshkosh says:

    @Milo:

    If given the choice, I would rather face Worley than Hamels. Hamels is in a contract, possible walk off year, and just saw what Cain got. He might put up Steve Carlton numbers.

  91. Milo (not the terribly stiff baseball announcer),

    Loved the Ole 24/7 line. I immediately went to his blog to read about this, but of course nothing is there. I guess you read it on twitter. Why must the 92 % depend on the 8 %?!?!?!

    I also enjoyed your “breakfast” comment, and I do not necessarily disagree with it!

    Now we all begin to guess when Matt Hague makes his first start . . . . . I say it’s in game #4 against the Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw; but if McGeheeheeheehee does well against Cliff Lee, maybe not.

    And . . . . I’d still rather take my chances with Worley over Cole Hamels. Remember: we have JMac going for us!!

  92. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Groat

    was that a dig on JMac?

    I’m hoping Worley was a flash in the pan last year, but of course, he’s not a Pirate so that won’t hold up.

  93. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Milo,

    Leroux pitched last night like he had strained something. 10.45 ERA for ST gets him on the 60-day. Is that long enough for a pec to heal?

  94. Milo Hamilton says:

    @Groat

    I think The Hague starts Saturday vs. Lee. McGehee is platooning with Petey & you know what they think of Jones vs. lefties.

  95. LuckyNKentucky says:

    The Hague is Freed! By a mystical, breakfast-caused pec muscle. Only in American baseball.

  96. Milo Hamilton says:

    @Lucky

    Sure, when he’s not really hurt.

  97. JohninOshkosh says:

    Sammy Sosa once landed on the DL for sneezing when coming out into the sunlight from a dark building. So injuring a pec while woofing down Apple Jacks is surely not out of the realm of possibility,

  98. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Your right, John and some pitcher for the Rockies just yesterday injured his oblique when vomitting and is on the 15-day. Guess that’s not as bad as a pec. Apple Jacks can be a rough meal.

  99. Daniel Sepulveda, punter, no longer a Steeler. I just learned that at Grandmother’s House. I’m sorry; I liked him. Yet he could not be depended upon to stay on the field.

    North Cali Ryan,

    Great comment (“I’m hoping Worley was a flash in the pan last year, but of course, he’s not a Pirate so that won’t hold up.”)

    Milo, you probably have a good call on McGeheeheeheehee and Matt Hague both in the line-up against Cliff Lee on Saturday. What a way to start your Major League career!

  100. Kentuck Know, if I ever injure myself vomiting, I’m telling everyone instead that I was eating Apple Jacks.

    Bucs are listed #20 (of 30, of course) at Hardball Times in preseason rankings. I guess that would project Pirates to be below .500. Darn!

    American League teams listed at top 6. Who won the World Series?!?

  101. Milo Hamilton says:

    What are you talking about ? Worley was a flash in the pan. Tim Worley, that is.

  102. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Groat,

    This guy had food poisoning. Probably Green Apple Jacks.

  103. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Worley will pull his best Zach Duke inpersonation……wait, that guys available too.

  104. Pirates are having free open-to-all practice right now at PNC.

    Wish I could be there.

    Kentuck Knob made me hungry for green apples. One of my favorites growing up on a farm. Carried a salt shaker around everywhere during green apple season.

  105. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Groat,

    You sound like my mom. She did the same thing. She even put salt on watermelon. Never had a strained pec that I know of.

  106. Salt and watermelons. My favorite! Ah-h, your Mom was a woman after my own heart (note cute OT play on words).

    Salt must give us strong pecs——I’ll bet Leroux doesn’t eat salt on his green apples OR his watermelon! No wonder he’s a goner to the DL.

    Matt Hague DOES!

  107. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    So it seems that the Baltimore Orioles lost to Manatee Community College today in a scrimmage. Aparently, Manatee doesn’t only beat up on the Pirates. (they’ve changed their name but, that’s what I will call them since I went there myself)

  108. Arriba Wilver says:

    I know this isn’t going to make me real popular, but I think this place is a place to give honest opinions, and my personal opinion is the Joe in Blawnox piece was a “miss.” It just didn’t work, and it has nothing to do with what you think of the Pirates. Nobody’s perfect, so it isn’t a criticism of DK, but everything doesn’t work, and that just didn’t, for me. No offense.

  109. Leah Backus says:

    I wish I’d checked in earlier today. Or maybe I wish I hadn’t checked in today at all.

    I…don’t even know how to respond to the comments Groat is making about misusing the term “misogyny” but I’ll try. Misuse? It means “hatred, dislike or mistrust of women.” To equate being weak or cowardly with being female is misogynistic. Period. I will never back down from that opinion. As far as calling out Mark Madden for his stupid comment, I’m not from Pittsburgh and even if I was I wouldn’t listen to that equally misogynistic idiot. Whether you like it or not, Groat, there is still a culture of discrimination against women in sports communities. I have the right to not have my gender used to mock and disparage people. And if not, then I have the right to speak up about it when it happens. You don’t like it? Move on to the next comment.

    As far as Paul Martin goes, I will once again fall back on my previous argument that he makes no more/no less mistakes than the rest of the D. No one has looked good lately. Not even St. Letang (he looked absolutely **awful** against Philly). I just checked the stats for the last five games and the suck is pretty equally distributed among all of the defensemen. At any rate, the “does Paul Martin suck” debate only seems to arise when the Pens aren’t playing well and it’s getting boring. No one person is responsible for the way this team has been playing lately.

  110. cosmo says:

    well said Leah, defense has been pretty “sucky” for about the last 2 weeks. How do you explain a 2 on 0 break last night.

  111. Leah Backus says:

    Cosmo, I don’t have an explanation. If I did, I’d have a better job than I have now!! All I know is that this is not new. It’s been going on all season. It will haunt them in the playoffs.

  112. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Glad to see the AHL is still alive!

  113. Leah Backus says:

    Lucky, This AHL is a little miffed tonight. But yes. I am sufficiently obsessed that I’m still around. :-) Besides, this is still the best place to talk about Penguins hockey that I know.

  114. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Leah,I’ve learned quite a bit from the AHL, so make sure you hang around. I don’t believe in misogyny, even if I didn’t know the word until yesterday. I’ve been agin’ it all along! Groat is too. He knows the Old Testament! Got church myself in a few. Talk to ya’all (KY misusage of yunz) tomorrow!

  115. Leah,
    This may or may not be the forum to discuss this intelligently, but I too will not run away.

    Men and woman are different——not better one over the other, but different. Certainly they share obvious similar traits, like intelligence, spirit, sense of humor, etc. Men are not smarter than women; nor are women smarter than men.

    Yet there are obvious differences, such as normally height, strength, quickness. You could list for me a dozen others, including body shape.

    Any time a person accentuates one of those differences, it is not necessarily misogyny——hatred of women. It might just be stating the obvious . . . . . . and pretending the difference does not exist is foolish.

    I have raised 3 daughters and I have taught them to be comfortable with who they are, to be tough—real tough, and to stand up for themselves. They don’t take crap! No boy is better than them!

    But it’s a fact that Mike Milbury or Dan Bylsma or a large majority of men could kick their rearends in a fight——they are just not big enough or strong enough or experienced (thankfully) in fisticuffs or the like. I am not speaking in derisive fashion of my daughter or women in general when I say they fight like a girl——they are girls!!

    When Milbury, turd that he is, told Bylsma to take off his skirt, he wasn’t talking about women. He was more questioning Bylsma’s manhood, his macho side, his supposed DIFFERENCE from women. For you to make that about “hating women” misses the point entirely.

    Misogyny IS rampant in many places. It is epidemic for too many men! However, if we call it out just when the speaker is focusing on the “differences” rather than actually doing harm to a woman, either physically or emotionally, we do more harm than good to the process of education and respect. If we cry “Wolf!” just to get attention to our cause when no wolf is present, when the wolf finally does come——when there actually IS physical harm or emotional/psychological abuse because of hatred of all women——folks will already be inured to the term and no one will hear the true, needed message.

    Focusing on differences is not misogyny!

    Muffett McGraw, the coach at Notre Dame said in her postgame interview just last night that Brittanny Griner “plays like a guy!” Was McGraw being critical of women? Was she belittling the Player of the Year who had just won the National Championship? Griner, when asked, thought that was an extreme compliment.

    Even if I think I Groat2Maz2Strangeglove am better than you Leah Backus at one particular thing, that does not make me a “Hater of Women” any more than if you think you are better than me in something (like this discussion) makes you a “Hater of Men.”

    I would suggest you use misogyny in situations where it is needed to protect women/girls from abuse or 2nd class status . . . . . . . not when some neanderthal like Milbury is calling out Bylsma’s manhood. He was not limiting or dispensing with the value of womanhood.

    If we play the “misogyny card” when that was not even a consideration in the discussion, it belittles the times when necessity demands that it be brought center stage.

    My girls fight like girls! As much as I have pushed and wrestled and toughened them, they fight like girls . . . . because they ARE girls! There is nothing wrong with that difference. There are lots of thing at which they are better than me and other boys.

    Misogyny is hatred of women. Pointing out differences, where one sex may be better than the other sex at something, is not hatred of women (or men). When one belittles a sex for that difference, then we have another ball game!

  116. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Nice explanation and very astute, Groat. Much appreciated.

  117. Lucky, you’re still around>>>>I feared at this hour I was speaking to hear my own voice.

    The echos were deafening!

    I wish Leah or Deb or Jandy were around to discuss.

  118. Jandy says:

    Groat, what you said makes sense, but Leah still has a point also. Milbury used a poor choice of words (something he does all too often). I doubt he hates women, but he is being rather … dare i say it?….STUPID using that analogy. He should be able to come up with something better.
    Sorry I missed out on all the fun. I should be around tomorrow

    JAL. loved the song….Yes we have no bananas…my Dad sang that song all the time…I can hear him still. :)

  119. Leah Backus says:

    Groat, I read your explanation. I disagree with it. However, I don’t feel like this is the appropriate forum to continue to discuss it. I think I made myself clear on this and other entries.

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