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Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: Cubs for sale! Cubs for sale!

Brief and to the Point …

>> The Friday column is all about the NBA. Yeah, that’s right. The NBA.

My sincere thanks to Bob Miller of Sidelines Bar and Grill in Millvale for serving as our guinea pigs in this basketball vs. hockey project. Neat place.

>> So the Cubs hint that Starlin Castro can be had, and antennae go flying up that the Pirates finally can get their shortstop. And, in all seriousness, it’s tantalizing to even think about. Castro’s a wonderfully dynamic player, he’s 22, and the Pirates haven’t had a star shortstop since Nixon. (Richard, not Otis.)

But Theo Epstein or whoever it was in his front office didn’t float that out there for nothing. He’ll want the best lot of prospects he can find and as many bidders as possible. That’s probably going to net him someone’s 1-2. Not 1 or 2, but 1 and 2. In the Pirates’ system, that’s Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon.

Still listening?

Not me. It’s so, so hard for low-spending teams to acquire elite starting pitching. I could see parting with one, but no way both.

Besides, Epstein later tried to shoot it all down.

>> Thought some of you might like this image I snapped at the Steelers’ OTAs …

Those are Pitt football players, coming outside from their facility — half the building on the South Side — to watch the Steelers’ final half-hour of OTAs on Tuesday. It’s one of the benefits of sharing as the parties do. These players watch each other, know each other, even eat together.

Todd Graham had next to nothing to do with the Steelers, but the same isn’t the case with Paul Chryst. The new man is encouraging the interaction.

>> Today is the 20th anniversary of the Penguins’ second Cup championship. Our Mike Palm has a complete rundown today of what every single player is doing. He also has a Web-only feature on the unforgettable Muskegon Line.

>> Gary Bettman said in his state-of-the-NHL news conference Wednesday in Newark that the league plans to invest a special session of general managers this summer to figure out the best way to enforce hooking, holding and other obstruction-type penalties. This tells me two things:

1. Terry Gregson, chief dinosaur in charge of officiating, had absolutely no idea what he was talking about when he told our newspaper and others that obstruction wasn’t an issue.

2. Bettman’s really making this more complicated than it needs to be. All the man has to do is type up the following email to all GMs, coaches and refs:

Gentlemen,

There’s a rule book. Pretty sure you all have a copy. Enforce it.

Hugs and kisses,

Gary

>> This was our chat transcript from yesterday.

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