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Wakeup Call: First … um, place?


Brief and to the Point …

>> The Monday column is a deviously intercepted email from the Pirates to a certain ex-player.

>> First place?

>> A team that’s still dead last in the majors in on-base percentage?

You bet.

One wonders if Pittsburgh — the city and the baseball team — haven’t derailed Aroldis’ Chapman season, even if just temporarily.

>> The question that I put to Clint Barmes about free agents eventually coming to Pittsburgh — you’ll find his answer in the column — also was put to Neal Huntington before the game.

This was the GM’s response: “We’re never going to get every target we want. But I do think we continue to become a more attractive destination because we’re playing better baseball, taking that step forward. The city’s great. That hasn’t changed. The ballpark’s as good as it gets. The fans … you can just feel the fans’ energy right now. The clubhouse, the facilities, the staff, we’ve put a lot of things in place to bring winning baseball back to Pittsburgh. And one of the benefits will be bringing more free agents, no question.”

>> The Pirates are pushing hard for a trade, I’m told, but they will not give up prospects for a rental. Doesn’t mean they won’t give up prospects. Just that they won’t do it for a rental.

>> The Devils already are the first team since 1945 to turn a 3-0 deficit into 3-2 in a Stanley Cup final, but tonight they can make a much, much larger step in L.A.

Don’t rule out that they can.

Remember when the Penguins overcame turned their 3-0 deficit into 3-2 against the Flyers back … what seems like a century ago?

It was Scott Hartnell who said after Game 5 at Consol that the next game would truly be the Flyers’ Game 7, that if the Flyers didn’t win they were toast. Seemed like a bold thing to say, but it comes with a lot of merit. Game 7 would have been back in Pittsburgh, and the Penguins would have had all the momentum. The 3-0 lead, the history, all of it would been tossed out the window.

The Kings had better win tonight.

And if they’re going to win, they’re going to need a ton more from Dustin Brown, from Drew Doughty and, yeah, from my guy Anze Kopitar. They need to get it done on the power play. If not, Darryl Sutter needs to get Simon Gagne out there. Not sure why he hasn’t already.

>> My weekly appearance on TribLIVE Radio is today at noon. It’s online-only. Check it out.


  1. Dejan, didn’t you hear? Derrek Lee has a new job advising Mark Appel.

  2. Brilliant, DK.

  3. I normally don’t like getting involved in perspective trade talks but here goes……..

    Morneau – Pretty sure he has 5 and 10 rights now, so it would be up to him if he wanted to come here. I think his swing would do real well at PNC and he would easily be the #4 hitter in the lineup. But he’s one tap to the forehead away from retirement, and I just don’t see him coming here.

    Quentin – Here is another big time injury risk player. If he stays healthy he can be a real good RBI machine, but again that’s if he can stay healthy. Wouldn’t mind seeing him, but only if the price is right.

    Youkilis – Always liked him. He’s the type of guy a winning team needs to have. Gritty, gets on base, hates to lose. He could play 1st and 3rd, as well as draw a ton of walks. But again, he’s gotta stay healthy. He’s another player I wouldn’t mind, if he was had for the right price.

    Soriano – Negative, ghostrider, the pattern is full. We strikeout enough as it is already. Plus I think he’s still got 2 more years on that brutal contract.

    Derrek Lee – Not coming back ever. Too bad, I liked what he brought to the team, but he ain’t not never (triple negative word score there) coming back.

    Josh Willingham – Guy puts up some good numbers. Never really been a fan of his, but can’t really complain about his production. However, I believe he’s got 2 more years left on his contract with the Twins, and it’s at 7 million per year. Don’t know how motivated they are gonna be to move him or what it would cost to get him.

    Chase Headley – This name really intrigues me a lot. The guy has good numbers, not great but good. He’s under team control for 2 more years I believe, and he can hit from both sides of the plate. San Diego is gonna want a bunch for him, and rightly so. Would he in fact be an upgrade compared to Alvarez? If the Padres want Alvarez in return, would you make that trade?

    Kendrys Morales – The Angels still seem to have a log jam at 1B/3B/RF, and you’d have to imagine that Morales is going to be the odd man out in the long term. He is older than Mark Trumbo, and is arbitration eligible again after this season. I really see him as the odd man out in Anaheim, and I think he would be a great addition in Pittsburgh. He has shown he can hit for average and power, and would fill a need at 1B. But again, he has injury concerns, and he would definitely cost more to get than some others on this list. I wouldn’t mind at all seeing him in the black and gold though.

    Torii Hunter – Definitely on the decline as far as skills are concerned, but could possibly be had on the cheap. Adding Hunter would make a real nice defensive outfield in Pittsburgh, but don’t know how much sense acquiring him would be for this team.

    Mark Trumbo – I can’t see anyway possible that the Angels offload this guy unless they get a ton in return for him.

    Brian LaHair – I really see him as “The Legend Part Deux.” Plus, I think he has problems hitting lefties (I may be wrong on that), but do we really need another left handed hitter who can’t hit lefties? Again if he can be had at the right price, I don’t think it would be a bad move. But I don’t think he’s really that big an upgrade over what is currently here.

    Again, these are just my opinions on a few names that “might” be out there. I am by no means an expert. I am only a window. It will be interesting to see what happens in the next 7-8 weeks as far as transactions are concerned.

  4. Great Monday article, Dejan.

  5. Absolutely love this column!! Happy 1st place Monday Bucco fans!!!

  6. Fun column today, Dejan!

    And special thanks to the Detroit Tigers…

  7. Derrick who?

  8. JAL’s Oh What a Beautiful Morning Morning Links


    1- MLB Transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    3 Go Buccos- Pirate News (from external sources)


    4—Pirates Prospects

    Pirates Notebook: Burnett Continues to Dominate; Offense Is All McCutchen

    Prospect Watch: Hanson Hits 9th Homer, Owens Goes Six Strong Innings

    Prospect Notebook: Battles in the Top 20 Prospect Rankings

    Pirates Have Inquired on Corner Infield Bats

    First Pitch: Signing Day?

    The 1910 Pittsburgh Pirates Season: Part One

  9. 5 Bucs Dugout

    Pirates Sweep Royals, Move Within Half-Game Of First

    Favorite Highlights Of The Pirates’ Four-Game Winning Streak?

    Minor League Roundup: Rudy Owens Has a Good Start, Uses Up All the Good Pitches in the System

    6 Rumbunter

    The Neal Huntington Show: Draft Picks Signings, Stetson Allie, and Jeff Karstens

    7 McEffect

    6/10 Recap | Pirates 3 Royals 2

    Should the Pirates Give Jeff Clement a Chance?

    8 The Green Weenie

    Burnett, Bullpen, Cutch Broom Royals 3-2

    9 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Royal Flush

    10 WhyGavs

    Pirates sweep their way to first place

  10. NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 CBS Sports

    Pirates-Royals Game Review

    12 Kansas City Star

    Royals complete lost weekend with 3-2 loss to Pirates

    13 The Virginian-Pilot

    Yes, it’s true: Pirates, O’s, Nats all contending

    14 Chicago Tribune

    Pirates Player/Team Watch,0,4678356.story

    15 Altoona Mirror

    Pirates win, Reds lose, both tied for first–Reds-lose–both-tied-for-first.html?nav=751

  11. 16 Greenfield Daily Reporter

    Royals slump again in clutch, Pirates complete sweep with 3-2 win–Royals-Pirates


    17 PBC Site

    McCutchen powers Bucs to sweep of Royals

    Notebook: Leroux continues rehab process at Triple-A

    18 Fangraphs

    Daily Notes, With a List of First-Round Signees So Far

    19 Baseball Prospectus

    Going Backward to Move Forward

  12. Steelers Blogs

    20 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Confessions of a Die-hard Steelers Fan: I Missed Troy Polamalu’s Heroics in the 2008 AFC Championship Game Because I Wussed Out

    Pittsburgh Steelers 2012 Schedule Preview Week 10: vs. Kansas City Chiefs

    Pittsburgh Steelers Player Profiles: CB Keenan Lewis

    21 Steelers Depot

    - Steelers Shape Shifters: What’s The Story With These New Looks?

    22 Nice Pick Cowher

    Steelers Not Lowering Mike Wallace Tender: Smart Move?

  13. Soccer(football)

    27 Sky Sports

    Croatia punish Ireland,30634,11065_3472051,00.html

    28 Daily Telegraph

    Spain held to 1-1 draw by Italy at European Championships while Croatia beat Ireland 3-1 in other Group C clash

    29 World Soccer Daily

    World Soccer Daily: 10 Euro 2012 stories you need to read, 10th June, 2012


    30 Pensburgh

    Report: Sidney Crosby and Penguins Targeting a 10 year, $90 million extension soon after July 1?

  14. Oh What a Beautiful Morning from Oklahoma, 1943. First hit play by Rodgers and Hammerstein. Oklahoma took the musical a step further with themes that would reoccur. Recording the 1955 movie cast album with Gordon McRae singing

  15. Dejan –

    I absolute loved the letter to Derek. Hit so many points. An established bat like his in the middle of the lineup, would have helped with the offense at the beginning of the season. But now that we are closing in on the 1/3 mark of the season, bats are starting to heat up, starting pitching is doing what its needs to do, and NO ONE seems to be able to get much through the bullpen when its been called on to pitch.

    I was floored when the deal for AJ was completed this off season. No one I work with was excited, they all thought he was over the hill and washed up. I didn’t feel that way. I thought it was a great deal. Coming from the AL East, with Boston, Tampa, and Toronto, he would only be better because the NL Central lineups where a lot less imposing.

    This team has something special with them this year. I just want this ride to go on as long as possible. Going back to work today, after a week of vacation, and I can’t wait to mark on my white board – 32 Wins 27 Loses T-1st place. Magic number to get to .500 for the season 60 games.

  16. Dejan, awesome column, it really makes me even more proud to be a Pirate fan!!!!

  17. “Sincerely,


    Beautiful!!! :-)

  18. Thanks for the great “letter” to D-Lee, Dejan. A great read. The Baseball Gods are GOING to bless this team! I like what I am seeing. Go Bucs!

  19. Awesome work, DK. Well-timed display of the flexibility your new job provides. Love the fresh take.

    Let me be the first to say that I’m glad Derek Lee isn’t, and won’t, be playing for the Pirates. I said from the beginning that the man does not want to play baseball anymore. He no longer has the drive, the instinct that you want from a player down the stretch. Not to mention that it would’ve been a pipe dream to see him come anywhere close to the production he showed for the Pirates last year over a full season when he was clearly in decline, injury prone, and only getting older. Players so often needlessly prolong their careers into oblivion even though their body tells them to stop. Lee is the opposite.

    And good for him. He was known to be a family man, and thats what he’s turning out to be. Congrats, Derrek, and thanks for a couple good months. Now go ahead and enjoy playing catch in the backyard instead of PNC Park.

  20. Wow DK, what column would you have written had Cincy managed to defeat Detroit last night?

    It’s a cute piece with good points interjected and I guess everyone is going to enjoy this while they can. While I’m very happy that the Pirates are currently TIED for first place in the division (with a team that they have recently taken four of six games from), IMO it’s way too soon to be boasting (even facetciously).

    Hopefully, this column will look better to me one week from now. Lets Go Bucs!

  21. Honestly, I didn’t think I’d sing it two years in a row: ♫♪ FIRST PLACE, BABY!! ♫♪

    Too bad Derrek Lee is tone-deaf. Ah, well. March on, Buccos!

    GREAT read today, Dejan!

  22. I see there is aNOTHer drew in Florida.


    Easy to tell the difference.

    The other drew is nicer.

    He uses emoticons.

    So he’s also a communist.


    And THAT was probably the first time “drew” and “nice” were used in the same sentence.

  23. Karen, I like your song!

    Drew, you’re way to hard on yourself, friend ;)

  24. I only hope I’m still singing in LATE summer!!

  25. Derrek Lee looked great in a Bucco uniform and, wow, it was fun to watch him play baseball.

  26. Ugh. Another freaking emoticon.

    That Jandy. She’s so…she’s so…she’s so…


    There. I said it.

  27. Derrek Lee signed his first professional contract 19 years ago. During those 19 years he was skilled and fortunate enough to secure a fortune (about 91.5 million dollars). That is what economists like to call “generational wealth.” He placed himself in a financial position where no one in his family ever has to work again.

    Family is very important to Derrek Lee. His daughter, at age 3, began to cruelly lose her eyesight in one eyew and went through years of misdiagnosis by medical experts. Initially diagnosed with Lebers Congenital Amaurosis, that was later rejected. Throughout it all though, Lee set up a foundation for LCA and became a highly visible advocate for funding for research on the disease. Even after his daughter’s diagnosis, he continued to work for and financially support research for the rare disease.

    Derrek Lee is one of the good guys of the game. If h wants to sit at home and enjoy his wealth, and spend every last minute he can with his family and daughter with special needs, then I do not begrudge him one bit. If he values time with his daughter more than continuing to play a game that has already enriched him, then I say good for him. He has been consistent with his wishes by rejecting other potential suitors.

    And not to add too much to gender politics but if Derrek Lee was a woman who had amassed a fortune in some line of business, and then decided that staying at home with the family was in the family’s best interest, no one would comment on or second guess that decision for one second.

    Derrek Lee has my fullest support.

    DK: I’ve written about this side of Lee, as well, John. As of yesterday, Lee had an active list of three teams for which he’d play. This isn’t about not wanting to play or simply seeking time off.

  28. Agree with NMR in #20. Best thing about this Pirates team is that they are all in. Lee may not have been. And I like that the man was principled enough to call it a career and stick with his decision.

    It is June, fellow lunatics. June. Not sayin’–just sayin’.

  29. It’s also worth pointing out in the context of Derrek Lee graciously turning down $7.25m that AJ Burnett is now the one receiving most of that paycheck.

    Count me as one who is a bit more than skeptical that Nutting would’ve authorized BOTH moves under this payroll.

  30. Dejan

    Any chance you’ll be doing something about Jared Hughes any time soon? Kid was a middling prospect, and now all of a sudden he’s getting out of 1st & 3rd, nobody out jams. He also has some wild facial expressions. Looks like he’s pitching against the world every time he takes the ball.

    Anyways, enjoyed the column this morning. I don’t mind that Derrek Lee didn’t want to play here. Otherwise, the “Hit Collector” might’ve been blocked ;)

    Next step is 2 of 3 in Baltimore. It will be a tough challenge. The boys are playing well right now though, so I say it can be done.

    “I am excited about the future of baseball in Pittsburgh”

  31. @Milo

    If they cant sign him, the Bucco’s get the 8th pick in next years draft in what is said to be a very deep draft. So two first round draft picks next year will be nice to help continue building this team. No sleep lost here either!

  32. Speaking of free agents that may or may not think they’re too good to play for the Pirates, don’t look now, but Rod Barajas is the best free agent catcher from last offseason not named Ryan Doumit.

    I’m so glad Ryan got his wish to leave the baseball h*ll of Pittsburgh and landed in the hotbed of winning tradition that is Minneapolis. Wait, the Twins are the worst team in baseball and in full-on rebuilding mode? Oops.

    Enjoy, Ryan.

  33. Now that’s just MEAN, Milo.

    So in a backwards sort of way, I’m impressed.

  34. Drew LOL! I do try to stay upbeat, but hey, let me put this out there:
    I come here every weekday morning and you guys make my day. Day in and day out. I’m learning more here about baseball than I ever knew. You all support me here and have the utmost patience with me. Why should I not be happy???? :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

    Milo, there you go again! lol

  35. Karen, I hope we’re ALL smiling at the end of the summer :)

  36. I don’t blame any ballplayer for effectively saying, “I’m going to play for a winning club, or I’m not playing. I’m not going to put myself and my family through another year of baseball if I can’t play for a championship.” And while I’m certainly enjoying this ride while it lasts, and I hope it ends with meaningful September baseball, let’s just say that there are many, many reasons why it’s surprising that they’re here and not terribly likely that they’ll stay here.

    That being said, if Mr. Lee changed his mind, I would still welcome him to the team. Last I checked, a power hitting right handed first baseman is still exactly what this team needs, and he’s the one option that wouldn’t cost anything beyond some cash.

  37. DK,

    Any chance Jeff Clement gets the call for the trip to Baltimore/Cleveland? Hague hasn’t exactly torn it up this time around. Any thoughts?

  38. In 2010, Lee hit .233 w/ an OPS of .706 in April and May.

    In 2011, Lee hit .231 w/ an OPS of .671 in April and May.

    Why would anyone think they could call him up off the couch halfway through the season, give him a two week stint in AA, and expect him to provide anything close to average production at the position?

  39. Dejan:

    Admittedly, I am very much the amateurish writer. Did not mean to insinuate that the column was unfair to Derek. I have read (I think) everything you have written about Lee and I know you have discussed other aspects to him before. It just that I have read rather vitriolic blog posts (not in this civil arena) about him in the last few months and just wanted to express my admiration for the man.

    Did not know about his list. Nice information and thanks.

  40. @NMR: Because those are still better numbers Matt Hague or Casey McGehee is putting up?

    Also looks like a lot of “That girl won’t go out with me? Well, that’s ok, she’s not really that hot anyways” going on here.

  41. I’ll have to admit that when I saw the released schedule last winter, I did not think it was going to be a terribly exciting series playing freakin’ Baltimore in early June.

    I can honestly say I have Pirates fever!

  42. Oh no, two Drews in Florida, the state is doomed :)

  43. Dk,

    I thought your article on Hurdle was your best I’ve read, but this one is really up there as well. Right up there with your reporting and then analysis of the Penn State Sandusky story. Question, do columnists get on hot streaks like players? If so, you my friend are on one right now. Keep drinking the same coffee and don’t change your socks!!

  44. @Demon

    Derek Lee, Matt Hague, and Case McGehee are not the only options.

    Why settle on Lee when you can trade for better?

    Not to mention sticking Garret freaking Jones at 1st base gets you better numbers than all three.

  45. Really, my point is moot though. Any discussion about signing Mr. Lee would require convincing him that the Pirates are legitimate contenders, and frankly I don’t see anything doing that before September. Heck, I WANT to believe, and there’s nothing that will convince ME that they’re legitimate contenders before then.

  46. We can both agree on post #48, DevilDog.

  47. DD,

    Any team that gets the kind of clutch pitching the Pirates are getting is a legitimate contender. After a period of time it ceases to be luck and begins to be the norm.

  48. Ok, if say we did bring up Clement, and IMO, it might be worth a gamble before we go a trading, who gets dropped off the 40 man, Gorkys?

  49. Drew71…… Jandy says, you’re being too hard on yourself. You’re a pretty decent guy, even if you DON’T use emoticons……So hang in there buddy.

    (oh wait….I think I got my Drews mixed up….is ’71 the ‘nice’ one or………..???)

    I’m sooooooooooo ConFoozed!!!!


    Nothing against D Lee personally, because, by all accounts, he IS a great man, but ppphhhllltttt!!! Column of the year DK!!!


    JClare….why would they bring up Clement? We’re facing back to back lefties Tues and Wed? Jake Fox (ugh) maybe, but not Jeff.



  50. It just feels good to see the results of a plan that was put in place a few years ago.

    What’s irritating is all the negative talk until this recent stretch. All of a sudden Huntington may not be that bad. Nutting might not be so bad…

    They went after Appel when 7 teams passed on him becouse they were afraid. We did not. No fear. How about spending like crazy the last few years in the draft so they had to change the damn rules.

    Proud of this team and this leadership.

    I’m sure the negative talk will return when they lose 5 of 7 in the next several weeks.

    Hurdle is amazing!!! No Manager anywhere gives the Bucs what they need from a leader then he does right now.

    DK. Your the best!!!
    JohninOshkosh: Loved what you said above! Who can blame the guy for staying home.

  51. Dejan,

    Perhaps a little off the D. Lee topic, but now that we are in first place…..I want to believe the Pirates are legit, but my rational brain says this is a mirage. Run differential indicates team is mediocre at best and record in one run games (17-10) also suggests a correction is imminent.

    Unless of course the pitching is real, the bats are under-performing, AND we get another bat. Perhaps too many “ifs”.

  52. I also thought Clement deserved a look, until I looked at the probable pitchers. The O’s are throwing 2 lefties & Thursday is listed as TBA. I think the Thursday starter is going to be Jamie Moyer, another lefty.

  53. Just read this:

    “But general manager Neal Huntington said he isn’t looking at the $2.9 million slot amount for the Pirates’ first-round choice, right-hander Mark Appel, as an unbreakable limit.

    “It’s a jumping-off point,” Huntington said Sunday.

    “It is not a set, steadfast number.”

    NH….you have obviously never played poker.

  54. PetroSteel, if the Buccos lose 5 of the next 7, it’s gonna be all YOUR fault, just sayin :p

  55. PetroSteel………don’t fooget the work of Mr Ray Searage.



  56. @NMR – Garrett F Jones cannot hit left handed pitching. He can also play right field against right handed pitchers. Platoon him with Tabata until you can do better.

    And fine, if they trade for better I’ll stop asking for Lee. But who? The Bucs aren’t paying for Morneau in terms of cash or prospects, and he’s a lefty anyways. LaHair is a lefty. Youkilis might work, but again, that’s a lot of money. Headley would be fantastic, but again, will they spend the prospects on him and commit to pay him in arbitration?

  57. I’d like to see Clement get another shot, too, but he’s 0 for his last 11 and has dropped 20 points off his BA in the last couple games he’s played. Similiar to when they brought Pedro up the first time and he had been 1 for his last 23. Enough right-handed bats on our bench right now if we’re facing 2 straight lefties.

  58. @LuckyNKentucky – To me, this year looks exactly like last year in terms of great early season pitching and a lot of “how the heck did they just win that one?” games.

    I can pull up lots of stats to support my doubts, but hey, they’re in first place, and I’m not going to be a buzzkill today.

  59. I think they should give Clement a chance, he’s healthy and deserve a shot!

  60. DD, too late! ;X

    @Eric Bowser, enjoyed your review post and your pics from yesterday’s blog. Perry looks like a future Bucco!

  61. Would Groat call the DemonDachschund the Regal Beagle ?

  62. @Playoffs

    I’ve been thinking about Hunter for a few days now. Then I looked up and he started hitting the ball out of the park. I think he could be had, because they could clear room for both Bourjos and Trout by doing so, and I’m not sure I care how much it would cost. You see what Burnett has done with the pitchers? Imagine Hunter coming in and doing that for the outfielders. He can still play, he’s a pro, and he’s good in the clubhouse and a fan favorite. Plus he’s done the small market thing before.

    AL teams are always looking for pitching, and the Pirates have some. I would really like to see them get a deal done. Is he the best bat out there? No. Buit he could come here and hit .260 with power and play good defense. And he wouldn’t collapse if you wrote his name at #4 in the lineup.

  63. Everyone should google Torri Hunter’s son before you consider a possible trade. Lots of baggage.

  64. Devil Pup,

    I hear ‘ya, but it’s a somewhat different group this season and reason to be more optimistic. Seems like Jerry Meals and the All-Star break were turning points last year. Hopefully, it’s different after the ASB this season.

  65. Milo:

    Yeah, I don’t think he has baseball on the mind. Son could be going away for many years,

    Thanks for the 70′s flashback, btw. Maybe, Mr. Furley can play first base.

  66. @DD

    No disrespect, but you can’t be following this team closely at all if this season looks the same as last years.

    While both are due to pitching, last seasons was a poster child smoke and mirrors performance. Many predicted the collapse based on peripheral numbers, amount of innings, immaturity, and lack of depth.

    This year, every single one of those factors has been addressed and improved.

    I’m not saying that the team will finish 3rd in ERA, but there isn’t any indication whatsoever that the same collapse is eminent.

  67. JAL — First Cincinnati, now Baltimore in games that matter — tomorrow’s song ought to be:

  68. @NMR

    No disrespect, but if this season hasn’t looked like smoke and mirrors to you, those are some fine black n’ gold colored glasses you’re wearing. Or do you expect 5 run innings with one hit out of the infield?

    If it weren’t for my No Buzzkill guarantee, I’d elaborate. For now, I will say that regardless of how things look, this IS NOT last year, and for that reason alone, something different might happen.

  69. JHadar

    used that one a couple of weeks ago plus the theme this week is Broadway musicals

  70. What 19 years of losing does: you get to first place and the discussion turns to imminent collapse. I’m just going to enjoy the ride thanks. Juggernaut or not this is a scrappy little team that an old time fan can learn to like. Upgrades are welcome, of course, but these are the guys that got us to here. You have to respect that.

  71. A lot of the following will (may) be obvious, but I believe this;

    1. I love Pedro – most of the time – in the field, especially his gun, but he hasn’t progressed offensively one bit in the time he’s been here. He is replacable. Don’t talk about his potential power, it is way too sporadic. Headley would be worth a reasonable trade and would be a good clean-up man.

    2. Our pitching both starters and the entire pen cannot have the least kind of a falloff. They are sensational and must continue being so.

    3.We have enough options at first base and right field to manage to mix and match against any kind of pitching – I mean lefty/righty kind – not Cy Young kind.

    4 Catching and shortstop are improving and no one has eight fantastic starters, so with continued improvement, we can match up OK. My doubt about Barmes weak arm remains.

    5. Presley, Walker and Cutch MUST be as good in August/September as they are right now

    6. Last but not least, we need a 3rd base coach who ALWAYS make the right decision. We still lose way too many runners at 3rd and home.

    PS. Cutch is a fantastic baserunner, but very ordinary at stealing – second.

    My optimism is soaring. The old adage of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” applies here in a modest way. Don’t re-tool, just tweak a bit where/when required.

    Now I’m sure that all of you my brother and sister bloggers in this space agree with every word -right? Don’t be thinking of laying on me a “not so fast” ala Lee Corso!!

  72. JAL — you have themes now. You are way more organized than I am.

  73. JH,

    You’re so right. Any team that can be tied for first in ANY division at this point in the season while still being last in the league in OBP, hat’s off to them.

  74. PNC was rockin’ over the weekend. Tiny lil wifelett–while she didn’t get into the games–actually enjoyed the ambiance. I, on the other hand, not only enjoyed the win against KC Saturday and Sunday, but also received a nice little fry job on the top of my naked pate.

    Guess the turtle-wax had a negative effect. I was trying to use the polished, highly reflective surface to blind KC hitters.

    Wifelett: “Dude, why are you tilting your head like that?” Me: “Dude?”

    I am still so laughing at those ridiculous all-you-can-eat seats. Unbelievable how many people actually scarf those seats up. (Just for you Drew71, not a single emoticon here, though one is certainly warranted due to the poor-taste-pun. Yeesh! I did it again.)

    Can we stop with the dumpy baggy retro uniforms already? Not very aerodynamic attire. Kinda like running with a parachute on.

    Kudos DK, nice column today; solid fresh approach. Thanks to JAL for those bodacious links, and all the rest of you psychos. First place. Sounds good doesn’t it?
    Happy Monday. I hope Derrick Lee catches a 100-lb tuna today.

  75. “Can we stop with the dumpy baggy retro uniforms already? Not very aerodynamic attire. Kinda like running with a parachute on.”

    Well, those throwback uni’s they wore against KC were from the Negro Leagues. That’s how they wore the uni’s back then.

    Personally, I love it.

    But get ready for more throwbacks in the series against Baltimore, altho, they didn’t wear the uniforms quite so baggy in the 70s ;)

  76. When the Grays play the Monarchs, do they wear throwback Pirates & Royals uniforms ?

  77. JHadar, love the song and Doris Day!

    What about this one for our fighting Bucs?

    Getting Strong Now!!!

  78. @DD

    We’re talkin’ about pitching and you bring up the Pirates offense? Huh?

    DD: The Pens won’t win because Fleury is overworked and inconsistent.
    Me: Yes, but Shero did just sign Vokoun to address both of those issues.

  79. Tabata seems to get his everyday uniform tailored to throwback specifications.

    Hides his tummy.

  80. @NMR

    That talk about Joggin’ Joe wearing #21 seems to have died down.

  81. I attribute all the Oriole success on their decision to wear the cartoon bird on the hat over the rejected ornithological correct version of recent years. That cartoon bird is the Orioles’ Abin Sur ring.

  82. Aiight Euro 2012 time!

    France v. England!

    Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain starting for England tonight. Kid is only 18 years old (turns 19 in just a few months I believe).

    France has the stronger team and should win, but England I think can pull off an upset in this 1st game of their group.

    Should be good. Grab a seat and watch, as Europe descends into sporting competition!

    Side Note – The atmosphere inside those stadiums looks incredible. I hope before I die I can see Americans that passionate about our Mens National Team. Sadly, I don’t think it ever will :(

  83. Dejan, not to be mean…

    Really. For once in my life. Not to be mean…

    But the column didn’t work for me.

    No issue with the content.

    From my perspective, this is a personal-choice-stylistic thingee. Columns written, essentially, in the voice of another person, or a building, that sort of style, are not my favorite FORMAT.

    Yes. This is a Form PRECEEDS Function kinda thing. I simply am not enamored of that format. From any writer.

    Not trying to do anything with this post but state honest opinion, even if it is an opinion about a style choice rather than content. I’ve written here before that within reason, a writer’s particular opinion is less important to me than HOW WELL IT IS PRESENTED (does the writer make the point well even if I disagree…which is NOT the point of this post), and HOW MUCH I LIKE THE STYLE.

    I’ve also written here, often, when i LIKE columns. Again, usually because of the point-making skill or style rather than the content of those columns. So if I am going to be consistent…and honest, because it is what I’m thinking…then I should share when a column doesn’t work for me.

    Do with this what you want, Dejan, but my only intent is to be “transparent”, to use one of those current, ANNOYING business jingoisms.

    Because I’m nothing if not annoying.

  84. Woo Hoo !

  85. bob hasis #72 nice post.

  86. @Milo

    I don’t seem to remember Roberto ever having a manager call him out for faking an injury, which is what I took from Hurdles comments this weekend.

  87. @NMR –

    Me in #60 “To me, this year looks exactly like last year in terms of great early season pitching and a lot of “how the heck did they just win that one?” games.”

    In rereading your comment, you referred to the pitching as smoke and mirrors. I intended to refer to the team’s performance as a whole as smoke and mirrors. I did not notice that you decided to make this a discussion solely about pitching, which I cannot debate at the current time due to my No Buzzkill promise. Suffice it to say that I believe a significant drop off as the season progresses is somewhere around probable.

  88. @DD

    Significant drop off in what? Pitching? Care to share why? We’re all big boys and girls here. Nobody except Roberto is going to cry foul if you back up your thoughts with reasoning. We can take it.

    You’re drop off certainly cannot be hitting. You can’t fall off the cliff when you’re already at the bottom of the canyon.

    Listen, if you’re thoughts boil down to “well, it happened last year, and its been happening for 18 before that”, then fine. We’d all be lying if there isn’t a little birdie in the back of our minds saying the same thing. Just say it.

  89. @ DK – The column this morning, hysterical.

    Looking ahead to the Baltimore series was looking at how big Game One of a series has been to Pittsburgh so on that note today’s – STAT OF THE DAY

    The Pirates have lost game one of a series 11 times this year and they have gone on to win three of those series, lose six of those series and split two. 3-6-2.

    The Pirates have won game one of a series 9 times this year and they have won seven of those series only lost one series (NY Mets) and split one series. 7-1-1.

    The Pirates only one the first game of one series in April, five out of ten in May and have won game one of all three series in June.

    With that here’s hoping to see a Jeff Clement call-up and Brad Lincoln being in top form tomorrow night.

    Let’s Go Bucs!

  90. Early in his career, there was much grumbling from teammates, fans, and in the press about Roberto’s “imagined” aches and pains. I don’t know if Murtaugh or Virdon ever publicly called him out about such things. Walker defintely didn’t, they had a much closer relationship.

    And Milo, in #79 above, Hilarious :-)

  91. @NMR91, that’s one of the things I like about you…you call a spade a spade.

  92. Thunder just called.

    He said I have to stop calling myself annoying.

    He said that’s HIS thing.

    He DID offer a few other choice words in it’s place.

  93. I would just hang up when he calls but it’s inside my head so it probably won’t work.

  94. Thanks, Jandy. We all do that here, which is a big part of what makes this place tick.

    I think Demond was trying to play nice with everyone, which is admirable. Hopefully he takes the gloves off and joins the party, haha.

  95. I thought Drew only understood hand signals?

  96. The Pirates won’t win because Fleury is overworked and inconsistant

  97. Or because he’s not challenged by a good backup.

  98. NMR,

    Agree with Jandy. Especially on the crack about our beloved Roberto F.

  99. @NMR -

    Fine. If anyone complains, it’s your fault. :P

    Burnett is a 35 year old power pitcher who is pitching (with the exception of one game in StL) as well or better than he ever has. I think he will remain solid, but expecting him to continue at this pace is optimistic.
    Bedard is a 33 year old pitcher with a rebuilt shoulder. IF he remains healthy, and IF he doesn’t tail off as the season continues, he COULD continue that pace, as he has the history. However, a fall off is likely.
    JMac has an ERA of 2.39. Is he good? Yes. Is he THAT good? And can he keep it up for a full season? Again, you have to be optimistic to believe that he will.
    Morton and KC are who they are. They’ll keep doing what they do, no reason I see to expect otherwise. That being said, given the anemic offense, you can’t expect to win many games when they start.
    The bullpen has been fantastic so far this year, from what I’ve seen. Every guy in there looks to be sub-3.50. I doubt that’s sustainable.

    The positives, as I see them, are Karstens coming back, which will hopefully improve the 4th starter slot dramatically, and the offense as a whole. April and May were historically bad. While this isn’t a great lineup, I don’t think it’s historically bad, either.

    I think there’s a shot at .500 this year, but keeping up a pace to end up with 88 wins?

  100. And with that, the wife and I are now fully recovered from the visit by Aunt Margarita last night and will be taking the family out to play minigolf.

  101. Dejan, what’s the word on Ground Chuck?

    In an earlier conversation with the tiny lil wifelett…
    me: “Know what Fleury brings that most other goalies in the league do not?”
    wifelett: “horseteeth?”

    Neva saw that one coming. Dayum that chicka is funneh!

  102. All seriousness aside, the REAL reason the Pirates won’t win?

    They don’t have a good marketing thingee.

    The Steelers have the Terrible Towel. The Penguins have Mario, who (say it with me) Saved The Franchise. Twice. (But he’s harder to twirl.)

    We Need A Marketing Thingee. And it should be about us. Because, well, it’s ALWAYS about us.

    - Winkie The Emoticon? Can’t wave it either.
    - Aki The Whale? Sounds kinda cute but can’t wave it, can’t even lift it, but we CAN waive it. But no. Happy times.

    I’m tapped out. Let’s Do This. SOMEone come up with something GOOD.

    (and PS…remember the old tag line from his playing days…
    In The Best Shape Of His Career)

  103. Those throw back uniforms, back in the day were made of WOOL. Sweltering, hot and heavy wool. These look very little like the old ones, but I like them, and these have way more coloration

  104. NMR ~ Drew understands hand signals AND emoticons ;)

    Drew, you tell that pesky Thunder to STOP annoying you, or I’ll, I’ll, … I’ll….
    FLASH EMOTICONS ALL DAY! :p :) ;) :( :)

  105. buggee, horseteeth?? I’m dyin here!

  106. Drew, I think the think to wave would be the jolly roger, no?

  107. To my recollection, the only ones who ever called out (questioned) Clemente about injuries, aches or pains, were Myron Cope, Phil Musick and Roy McHugh, all writers for the P-G, and most of that was in retrospect.
    Murtaugh would have been foolish to question our greatest player of that era – possibly all eras.

  108. @Jandy#88

    As always, your words are kind and well received.

  109. DK

    Once again, great column! And by the way, Derrek who? Give us more people like A.J. any day of the week.

  110. Drew, the PBC still has rights to the Green Weenie and Babushka Power

  111. There ya go, DD! I’ll take the heat while you’re out playing put-put.

    Seriously, though, I can’t call ya crazy on any of those points. All have a chance of happening, and I certainly don’t think this is an 88 win team, regardless.

    @Lucky – Roberto is the pesky little brother of the blog. Ok, if that AND a Pirates winning streak doesn’t pull him out then he must be actualy getting some work done, unlike me.

  112. Let’s wave horseteeth

  113. Bob,

    Bob Prince made a couple cracks about Roberto C. and his “mythical” ailments, but nothing vindictive. Seemed to be his humor style. He loved the guy.

  114. @Drew

    How ’bout instead of Rally Monkey, we start showing up with these:

    Bats? We don’t need no stinkin’ bats.

  115. NMR ~ priceless! lol

  116. @Lucky#116

    Yes of course. I wasn’t even thinking of the unabashed Mr. Prince. Even with a supposed muzzle on the broadcasters from KDKA, the team or whomever employed them, criticism was taboo, though Prince got away with some extra wide latitude.

    I can honestly I never saw a player I enjoyed watching more than Roberto.

  117. LOVE it. But can we do it Detroit-Redwings-Live-Octopus style?

    (Dead actually.)

  118. Somewhere (probably Winnipeg), Dejan is shaking his head, saying, “Just LOOK what You People have done to this blog. And drew too.”

  119. Drew, dont kid yourself, DK is eating this up.

  120. Bob,

    A big ditto to that one. What a joy to go to the park and see Roberto in right doing isometrics, neck rolls, etc. and Matty Alou in center taking practive swings with his glove. Great memories.

  121. Bob & Lucky, my earliest memories were of Richie Hebner smacking his bubble gum!

  122. Here is a follow-up to my reverence of Roberto; he had this affinity of running to the right-center gap to cut of a potential double, then throwing behind the runner at first hoping to catch him making a wide turn.
    One day this happened at Forbes Field and the batter was Frank Robinson and Clemente did his thing, and Robinson knew what was coming. He never stopped running and glided into second base standing, without a throw.
    Suddenly, Robinson turned directly toward Clemente with both hands extended and palms raised skyward and a slight shrug of the shoulders, as if to say ” Roberto it’s me – not some rookie”

    A classic moment between two classic Hall of Fame right-fielders

  123. Jandy,

    You young kids don’t remember the old days. The sideshow to the show. But, like the song says, These are the good old days!

  124. Bob,

    I don’t remember that particular one, but it sure was fun to watch him throw behind the runners with that cannon. My boys don’t believe me when I tell them he did that. Not many could get away with it nowadays. They’d probably get fined if they tried.

  125. Lucky, well I DID watch some games on TV, but the only game I got to attend was when I was about 12 or 13, and we at on the 3rd base side, cheering loudly for Richie Hebner. he looked right up at us and got this big grin on his face and waved at us. I think we all died, giggling and all. Something I’ll never forget :)

  126. Point of clarity; Robinson was on second before a throw from the first baseman could be made to second. I witnessed this subtle but very memorable (obviously) moment with my own eyes

  127. I’m certain that Pittsburgh media including beat writers, columnists, TV & radio, bloggers etc. are working diligently today to find out what’s going on with Robbie Grossman. Not that I expect anyone to work 24/7.

  128. Green weenies. Think of it. The opposing players will die laughing and be unable to bat properly.

  129. And Milo drops another bomb LOL

  130. Wow, thanks JH, so the Babushka, according to that article was the prelude to the Terrible Towel?

    And the Green Weenie was the prelude to Ryan Braun…….

  131. I hope he cleans it up.

  132. @ Milo

    Did I miss something regarding Grossman?

  133. @bob

    Grossman has been benched for the last week & Huntington basically refused to address it. Says it’s an in house matter. Sorry, but I want to know.

  134. @Biz

    And if Braun keeps taking those steroids …

  135. Drew:

    I would have to go with throwing dead parrots. 1. It would be expensive to buy a parrot. 2. It would take some nerve to whack the parrot. 3. Hard to conceal the dead parrot when entering the ballpark.

    It would show that you are a true fan. Willing to buy an expensive bird and “off it.” Just think of the wonderful thud it would make hitting the infield. They could play the Python skit while people heaved the birds.

    Wouldn’t be controversial at all. Would not upset anyone.

  136. Milo,

    Probably because he’s hitting .202.

  137. OshKosh, Lord, throwing dead birds! I’m dying here, my co workers think I’m nuts…

  138. Final England 1 France 1 one of their many stalemated battles

  139. @Lucky

    That would be a good answer. But I get the feeling that somebody knows something.

  140. @JAL

    What I loved best was the post-game analysis, where Michael Ballack, the former Germany co-captain, bemoaned the lack of attack.

    A German complaining that there was not enough attack from France or England. Humorous on so many levels.

  141. You guys are bringing back some memories. Babuska Power, the green weenie, even
    Richie Hebner. I always remember him in the batters box and stepping out and pulling at his crotch before each swing. Strange habit.

  142. Our PBC is getting no love from the 4 letter network in their power rankings. Only moving them up 2 spots from 19 to 17 this week. And they note that the Pirates have a record of 12 and 3 from May 25th on. Hogwash I tell you, hogwash!

  143. @cosmo, Hebner would also always grab the back of his shirt near his neck and yank the shirt up a bit.

    If he played today, the pine tar would make his glove stick back there…..

  144. @tdb1977

    They also got no love on the overnight promocenter. They even buried the Reds loss halfway thru the show, and at no time mentioned the surging Pirates blowing up Chapman (although they casually mentioned that he had his first earned run scored on him recently, but not by who).

    Pirate highlights finally about 70 minutes into the show.

    But what do you expect from the national outlets, when the local media continually point out all the faults in the team, rather than the strengths and the winning. I guarantee if someone sorted out the tweets and retweets from 24/7 and Dejan, that its at least two-thirds pointing out a Pirates flaw or an opponent’s good play (or an ex-Pirate’s great play) vs commenting on the Pirates strengths or making fun of an opponents bad play or ex-Pirate players failures (Drew Sutton anyone??)

  145. @Milo

    It’s becoming more and more obvious that there isn’t anyone close to being an expert on the Pirates minor league system in the media, regardless of website or blog.

    How could any “expert” not notice Allie taking batting practice for a month? How could any “expert” have no insight on a top prospects benching?

    I know you know who I’m talking about, but for everyone else, it’s not DK.

  146. Biz,

    I remember that shirt yank of Hebner’s. He was definitely a colorful guy. If he was around now, he’d probably get traded, like a Zambrano or someone like that.

  147. @LNK And Richie was a grave digger in the offseason, forgot about that. I think he helped his dad up in Boston?

  148. Roberto–that was funny if you know know the history of the 3 countries

  149. NMR, you’d think an expert would be on it, round the clock, right? ;)

    Lucky, even my mother (God rest her soul) loved Richie Hebner. Especiallly his Town Talk Bread commercials lol

  150. @NMR and Milo

    The FAN was alluding to the fact that Allie told the PBC he was no longer interested in pitching?? That is interesting, especially after the interview his Dad gave them.

    Well, better now than later.

    Wonder how long Grossman gets to sit in the doghouse?

  151. @Roberto:

    That whine against ESPN can be heard from everywhere. Minneapolis. Milwaukee. Kansas City. etc. etc. Even Chicago talk show hosts deride it as the Eastern Seaboard Programming Network. Chicago. The nation’s third largest city.

    Here’s an idea. Don’t watch it. Other than live sporting events, I can’t honestly remember the last time I watched one minute of ESPN programming. Truthfully.

  152. Biz,

    That’s right. Funny they didn’t call him “Digger” or “Grave Robber” or some other sordid nickname. That would have messed up those Town Talk commercials if they had.

  153. John,

    A double Amen on that!

  154. John, make that triple Amen…I NEVER watch ESPN. Wouldn’t give them my time.

  155. @Roberto

    So the Pirates will never get their proper due nationally because the local media is so negative ? That may be the most ridiculous thing you’ve said here. And that’s saying something.

  156. MLB Network, NHL Network, NBA network, Big Ten Network, Fox Soccer Channel (all of them, individually and as a whole)>ESPN

  157. Milo,

    LMbacksideO! (Ministers don’t use the word “arse” unless it refers to a donkey).

  158. @Jandy, Hebs smiled cuz there was a gaggle of young chickas giggling at him. What red-blooded male wouldn’t be a’smilin’ (like a burtcher’s dog)?

    Good one about the dead parrots (is that how the Pirate Parrot should be regarded?). Would greatly irk PETA. I’m thinking that’s what it would take for the PBC to make the 4-letter network. If the PBC isn’t making the 4-letter network, it’s gotta be Fleury’s fault!

    Could always throw bras. Just a thought.

    Pictures of horseteeth might be construed as calling for DEE-FENCE. blech.

    You betcha DK is eating all this up on his blog. And he’s doin’ all the eating in the all-you-can-eat seats. Sorry, it’s like beating a dead horse(teeth). Those seats really bugg me. The PBC needs to abolish that nonsense and stop promoting gluttony of vile foodstuffs that would be better used to fill spaces in mortar.

    Remember when Wilbur Stargell rode pine against leftys?

  159. buggee, you’re right, you know. I was with a bunch of girl scouts. Go figure. My parents couldn’t afford Pirates’ tickets. I went with the girl scouts. Richie made all us girls soooo happy!

    Milo, you and NMR, gotta love you both, you tell it like it is. OshKoshB’Gosh is trying to tell it the way it is too…but some folks just aren’t bright enough to see the forest for the trees.

    Lucky, you be careful, hear? I don’t want you losin your a$$, dude!

  160. @buggee, the worst part, IMO is that the concession stand left for the non-all-you-can-eat patrons is tiny, and very little on the menu. And the lines…. Nuttin like going down for a pop and missing an inning and a half….

  161. The Cubs have won the bidding for Jorge Soler. 9 years – $30 million. If the Pirates bid high, I’m sure they will leak that information to the media before the end of the day. You know, so we know they tried.

  162. MLB Network has been giving the Pirates some attention lately. They do a decent job of trying not to give into having the national teams dominate coverage but even they over the last few years have started to show more NY,Boston,LA, etc…highlights then they did the first year they where aroung.

    ESPN is horrible but I guarentee if the Pirates are still in the running come September fans of baseball in general will be interested in this team and ESPN will start talking about them.

    For some reason the none catch called a catch by the Royals is what was talked about more on Baseball tonight then the fact that the win gave the Pirates a share of the NL Central lead.

  163. Milo

    If the Pirates bid in that area I would be disappointed, Solar is not close to being MLB ready and no way i put that kind of money into him. I have seen him compared to Josh bell and he cost a lot less.

  164. @ Roberto – Local coverage, positive or negative, has zero impact on what the “Mothership” decides to run. According to Dan Patrick who spent many a year there, they have become lazy and just pick items they feel can move the needle which to them is New York, Boston in baseball, Miami, Lin-Sanity, Lakers in basketball etc. They no longer have a pulse on sports.

    The MLB Network does an incredible impartial, unbiased job of reporting all things baseball and there flagship show quick pitch does a fine job of representing the whole league.

  165. Did you want him for $30 million over 9 years? I would rather have them put that money towards long term Walker, JMac, Hanrahan contracts. Those are known commodities. The Pirates and 21 other major league clubs can’t afford to spend $30 million on a player that may never make it to the majors.

  166. Roberto For Now,

    You go ahead and count up all the negative vs. positive in 24/7 and DK’s tweets for the last 4/5/6 weeks.

    We’ll wait for your report.

  167. Dejan: When the Pirates went to Camden Yards in 2008, there was apparently some screwup where the Orioles were wearing 1979 throwback uniforms and they invited back some World Series players, but the Pirates seemed unaware that a party had been planned. Did we ever get the real story behind that?

  168. I see Keith Law said Soler could have merited a top 5 pick this year – albeit a weak draft class.

    It’s sounds like the Cubs had him all the way, but I would have liked to have seen the Pirates make a legitimate run at him.

    I’ve seen Appel called a “hittable” pitcher and a number 3 starter, so if we are going to have our “dynasty” then Soler would have made a so-so draft – talent wise – much stronger.

  169. GROAT! Where ya been? :)

  170. @Milo

    Thanks for incorrectly interpreting what I said and then condemning the incorrect interpretation.

    Its funny because THAT may be the most ridiculous thing seen here. And that IS saying something, what with all the snide attacks on the team we “support”.

  171. Roberto for whenever, you came across just like Milo thought you did…I’m betting to most of us here.

  172. Anyway, it’s getting stuffy in here. I’m going to go finish up some work. Catch you all later :)

  173. @JohninOshkosh.

    I hear ya. Unfortunately, living out of the area affords little sports coverage. I wish NBC Sports or FSN would have a 30-min show. I would definitely support it.

    I generally DVR the promocenter, and skip directly to the 30 seconds or so that I care about. Thank God for tecnology improvements.

    My local cable company doesn’t offer Extra Innings or the MLB Network, can you believe that. One of these days, I may just have to move back close to the Burgh.

  174. @Groat

    You expect what he comes back to be an honest analysis…oh wait, he won’t bother to even look. nevermind.

  175. @Roberto

    I stand by what I said 100%. Don’t hurt yourself backpedaling.

  176. @Jandy

    Just because a few of you in your circle praise each other and attack others that don’t support the group, doesn’t even remotely make you close to a majority. There have been countless lurkers who pop in on occasion and talk about the negativity and snideness. But, if that’s the kind of blog you want, have at it.

    Its funny, y’all always talk about an ignore button, but you can’t find your own ‘mute’ button when you have a snide comment or attacking comment when you need to ‘circle the wagons’

    No don’t run off and email daddy with some nonsense. It doesn’t get you anywhere.

  177. I live in harrisburg and I was down right po’d at Fox on saturday night. They actually pick up the Pirates game this week(unlike last week in Brew town) and decide that Harrisburg, which is you know, in PA and its capital where a lot of western PA people have transplanted to, should be shown the de facto national game of Mets vs Yanks. Yawn.

  178. it is not about being snide. It is about being realistic. You can be a fan of a team and enjoy the ride while still pointing out that this team has some major shortcomings both in its current line up and in the FOs ability to find a legitimate offensive threat to plug into the system.

    Until this team finishes an entire year without fizzling out, many skeptics will remain.

  179. JMB

    I’m sure they did make a run at him and gave a fair offer. I am a lot more confident of that then I was 5 years ago. He ended up signing for over 6 time the amount of the first pick of the draft and more then likely 9 times more then Appel.

    But major league baseball would rather cap the amount allowed to be spent on the draft. What a joke of a league. The only saving grace is baseball is almost impossible to project what prospect will make it and there is a lot more misses then hits by the teams that can overspend.

  180. @nate

    These international signings will be capped as of July 2nd. That’s why Soler wanted to get this done now.

  181. @JMB

    Keith Law also predicted Appel would go Top 5.

    Besides, nobody is saying they don’t want Soler. They’re saying they don’t want him for $30m.

    If you want to use the draft as comparison, I’m sure the Pirates offered what would be considered “above slot”.

  182. Milo,

    Thanks for the info. I didn’t realize that? Maybe things are moving in the right direction. It would have been hypocritical to cap something that helped teams drafting higher get better but not a free market system that just went to the highest bidder.

    That being said if 30 teams all offer Soler the max it still benefits the teams that are more consistantly good and can eventually offer more money later in the players career not to mention marketing oppertunities in bigger cities.

  183. AJS

    There are certainly things to be concerned with, and fret about with this team. But when it outweighs the positive like 10 to 1, and everything is turned into a snide attack on the team, its not realistic.

    Take the Soler talk here today. There are 8 or 9 other teams that did NOT bid on Soler to the tune of $30 million for any period of time. But somehow, snide remarks are made about the Pirates “failing”

    The fact is that DK wrote columns that were overblown on the lack of trades made in May. He was wrong, but most of the sycophants here have been using it as the latest snide jokes.

    Guess what, DK was wrong. Not one single trade of significance was made in May. And there were plenty of teams that need bats.

    Also, much ado was made about Drew Sutton. The dude is worse than Steve Pearce and Andy LaRoche combined. But for 5 days, he was Babe Ruth and the Pirates traded him for peanuts. OOOPS. Wrong again. But it was the snide thing to say for 10 days.

    Sorry, that is not legitimate criticism.

    Wonder why there is no talk about Barajas being an awesome pickup, much better than Doumit at half the cost??? Maybe some folks here do have guilty consciences that prevent them from flip-flopping so they say nothing. Laughable.

    #GoBucs #KeepProvinEmWrong

    DK: If you can show me where I predicted there would be a “trade of significance” made in May, I’ll pay off your mortgage.

    If the best you can do to make a case is to lie about someone’s stance, you don’t have much of a case.

  184. Anybody else disappointed that there isn’t a game today? It’s nice to have that anxiuos feeling to see if the Pirates are winning when I get back from my son’s baseball practice and it is already in the 5th inning.

    Even better is that both my boys ask me every night over the last week if the Pirates are winning because we don’t actually get to watch the games in Toledo Ohio. They never cared before until recently because with all the series against the Tiger and Reds the Pirates have been on TV a few times and winning.

  185. Maybe they’re converting Grossman to be a pitcher.

    (Sorry, too soon?)

  186. @JAL

    Thanks again for the links. Loved the article by McEffect on Jeff Clement in #7. Pretty good job of laying out both sides of that quandry. I would love to see him get some run over the 6 IL games in AL parks as DH. But would 6 games really be fair? And what if he did hit .270 with some pop? Does Hague get demoted? A lot of interesting aspects to this one decision.

    With a team that’s 12-3 in the last 15, and hitting better, I don’t think I mess with the mojo. Tough break for Jeff, but baseball is like that. Sometimes you never get back.

  187. snide/snīd/Adjective:

    1. Derogatory or mocking in an indirect way: “snide remarks”.
    (of a person) 2. Devious and underhanded.

    I have to wonder, most of the opinions on both sides of the arguments here that I’ve seen have been straightforward and direct. Not some snide remark that leaves you wondering if the person meant what was said.

    As for cheap humor, well that should never be taken seriously. Remember a couple years ago when there were pirates holding up ships on the high seas, and the joke was Q: “What’s a safe place from priates?” A: “The World Series”

    I’m a Pirate fan and I laughed.

    A diet of constant praise is a dangerous thing. Don’t take other people too seriously, and don’t take yourself too seriously. You’ll live longer.

  188. Milo,

    I was wrong on that BA for Grossman. It’s .217, not .202. His walks are down a little, as he only has 28, along with 47 K’s. His OBP is .315. Maybe they’re sorting out some things for him. He had over 100 walks last season. He’s still young.


    Never too soon.

  189. Wyatt Mathisen , number 3 pick, tweeted he is officially a Pirate

  190. Roberto

    You are very positive about the Pirates and I love that. I try to be as well. Yes I agree there are some posters that tend to lean to the more negative side of things but that is what makes a blog terrific. Different opinions is what creates great conversation. Don’t allow an opposite opinion to get you to the point that you are obsessed with proving it wrong. It is OK to agree to disagree but just like nobody will be able to force you to be more negative towards the pirates you can’t force them to be more postive.

    Just keep posting positive stuff because you usually back it up with good fact and hope that it gets someone to look at something a differant way. You don’t need to say I told you so with that much passion. Nobody is keeping score. Except Playoffs or as he now likes to be called the window.

  191. @Bizrow#164

    I’ve got it. Suppose we protest then mandate that FC, NH and all of their assistants, be forced to stand in line at a booth for their refreshments, rather than have some caterer or other underling serve them in their posh boxes.

    Do you think in that circumstance they might come to realize how silly their contrived plan of gluttony for the common folk is. What til Michelle of White House infamy gets wind of this.

    DK: No politics. Ever. No exceptions.

    Hope you understand, Bob. There are plenty of other places for that.

  192. N-83,

    Well said.

  193. Thanks for editing my many misspelled words DK. I am assuming you changed them since I don’t think anybody else can. I really wish there was an edit button because I am usually commenting from work and don’t have time to proofread. Plus I am a horrible speller.

  194. DK I will respect that. The mention of names is inappropriate.

    In my attempt to respond to Buggee’s #162 about gluttony and Bizrow’s#164 about the lines that cause missed innings or parts of innings, the premise of the Pirates to sell tickets with a fringe benefit of stuffing ones self, seems to be anti something or other. Certainly anti-healthy.

    We are all aware of the new eating rules (requirements). Maybe the Pirates aren’t, and maybe they don’t care, they just want to sell tickets.

    I’ve been in that section – once – and that was enough.

    DK: It’s not the names. It’s anything remotely political.

    Thanks, Bob, and I mean it when I see I appreciate your understanding.

  195. April 14 Matt Hague 1B Sent To Minors
    May 16 Alex Presley LF Sent To Minors
    May 18 Gorkys Hernandez LF Called Up From Minors

    May 21 Drew Sutton SS Traded To Tampa Bay

    May 25 Nate McLouth CF Designated For Assignment
    May 25 Matt Hague 1B Called Up From Minors
    May 29 Yamaico Navarro 2B Sent To Minors
    May 29 Jordy Mercer SS Called up from minors
    June 5 Alex Presley LF Called up from minors
    June 5 Gorkys Hernandez LF Sent To Minors

    I thnk Drew Sutton’s early success made the Pirates less hesitant to shuffle the deck. Just using fresh blood sometimes is a boost. And it’s working. Hague hit safely in most of the games he started and he provided a spark. Presley provided a spark and the Pirates have a good record in this stretch. Keep moving guys in and out of the lineup. Don’t let things get stale. If guys get hot leave them in there. If they get cold sit them on the bench. It seems similar to a platoon strategy, but i think it is a way to get more from the whole than the sum of the parts.

    I’m hoping the hitters hit better, that there is an addition to the offense, and that they keep doing what they are doing and I think it will add up to enough offense to win the division.

  196. Good research, 2222222222222222222222!

    Hopeful comment.

  197. Now Hear This Now Hear This

    On Around The Horn just minutes ago, Jackie McMullen on the face time segment (she won today’s show) gave a 30-second tribute to NH, and further said watch out for the Pirates they are for real. This may differ from the opinion some of us have for NH

    She applauded and lauded NH for being behind our success.

    So ESPN does in fact know about us – at least she does

  198. DK,

    Calling someone a liar, that’s a serious charge. What was the lie?

    I don’t believe I said “DK predicted a significant trade would be made in May”.

    What I said –

    “The fact is that DK wrote columns that were overblown on the lack of trades made in May. He was wrong, but most of the sycophants here have been using it as the latest snide jokes.

    Guess what, DK was wrong. Not one single trade of significance was made in May. And there were plenty of teams that need bats. ”

    Would like to know where I said there that you PREDICTED a trade of significance. I think you misread it.

  199. I was just posting that its annoying to see a concession stand pretty much empty but have to stand in line for a pop or a bottle of water.

    If I was (much) younger I’m sure me and my (younger back then) good buddies would have taken that option for food and seats now and then

    I will stand in line for a Primanti’s. I understand crowds. I eat Primanti’s and do not tell them to take the fries off. What you eat is your choice. I smoke, I know whats bad about that

    My comment was simply economics and being fan friendly, they are wasting space and its not being productive.

    I know, put the all you can eat booth in the PBC Charities Sign?? Or put a friggin little bucket under it for donations.

    Still sitting at 200 folks. I hope I can count on you lunatics to yell BIZ!!! if and when I miss a new location.


    You got a splinter in your buttocks, foot or something? Lighten up

    We’re eyeballing em. Time to go read the Trib and Dejan’s article

  200. IMO every blog has a JJ, Roberto is ours

    Just sayin

  201. DK,

    I said you wrote columns that were overblown on the lack of trades in May.

    An example of your work to illustrate

    Quote from that blog post “To the flip side of this type of discussion, to those who relentlessly defend the Pirates’ management, answer this: Why is it wholly acceptable that they’ve TRIED to get hitters after failing overwhelmingly to do so over the offseason?

    And after failing to put together a minor-league system capable of offering more than two reasonable options to play in Pittsburgh?

    When did TRYING become good enough?

    I don’t doubt the trade market is tough right now. But this is Neal Huntington’s hole, and he needs to dig out of it. Not just try.”

    –My thought – you were wrong, DK. Neal Huntington had to do …..nothing. That blog post was May 16th. The Pirates were 17-19 when you posted it. Since then, the Pirates have gone 15-8, gone from 2 under .500 to 5 over, and now tied for first place. And all without a single trade being made to help the major league team. I guess he “didn’t need to dig out of it”. Just wait for the talent he assembled to hit like they can.

    I hope the Pirates have adopted “We Tried” as their motto, because it seems to be working.

  202. @bob hasis

    Interesting observation, and one that touches on something I’m surprised nobody has mentioned today.

    The Pirates just swept the Royals. Yes, those same Royals lead by Best-GM-in-World Dayton Moore. Yes, those Royals who consist of the BEST FARM SYSTEM EVER.

    Which brings me to a few thoughts…

    -National media types often take a 10,000′ view of these types of things. Moore is no better or worse than most other GM’s and Huntingdon is far from Pittsburghs savior.

    -Fans, and especially Pirates fans, still like hitting more than pitching. Huntingdon correctly built his team on pitching, yet had some on here calling him the worst GM in the league as of two weeks ago. Moore built his franchise primarily on position players, yet got rave reviews by just about everybody, including Pirates fans. The Pirates are immensely better right now than the Royals and their best prospects are still in the low minors. KC has already seen the arrival of most of its studs.

    -A given teams fans are far more critical of coaches and GMs than “outsiders” because they see every move. Its only human nature to remember the mistakes over the successes. There’s a reason the 6 oclock news always leads with tradgedies and the good stories are left as filler.

  203. Not to pile on, but I mentioned plural examples.

    From later that day in the chat transcript, several examples. I’ll quote just one:

    “Mike H: The Pirates hitting is obviously terrible but why the panic? We are only 3 games under the #questfor500

    Dejan Kovacevic: The Pirates’ pitching has been excellent. Really has. And that’s every bit to the CREDIT of Neal Huntington and his staff, as much as blame should go for the awful hitting.

    But … I wouldn’t call in panic, but the idea that the Pirates aren’t going to cross any threshold, much less the Holy Grail, comes from the hard fact that the offense isn’t getting better. It’s been awful from the first pitch out of Roy Halladay’s hand, and it’s awful now. Barely a blip in between.

    If that isn’t addressed, .500 will get further and further away.”

    DK, you were wrong. You thought that without any “addressing” of the offense, the Holy Grail would not be reached. I don’t think you meant demoting AP, bringing up and down Gorkys, and bringing back Hague to hit the occassional meaningful single. But I could be wrong. Maybe that’s what you were calling for.

    DK: Now I don’t have any idea what you’re talking about. All over the place. But if you mean to suggest that the Pirates have achieved the Holy Grail because they’re five over in early June, that they’re going to sustain that without adding bats … there’s not really much response for that. That’s just crazy talk. The team hasn’t ACHIEVED anything yet.

    I will say that you can come across as infinitely more insufferable when the team does well than when it doesn’t, and that’s no small feat.

    Why not just enjoy it, man?

    Life’s too short and all that. If you’re a fan of the team — or even an employee — let out the occasional smile. High-five someone around you. Live a little.

  204. This can’t end well.

  205. @Bob hasis

    Thanks for the heads up! I did not have the TV on all day, but it was last on the channel ATH is on. I was able to rewind it and listen. Great to hear some positive press, esp on the mothership. Too bad it wasn’t a full topic like it should have been.

    Thanks again for the good info. I really appreciated it.

  206. Nine minutes into Sportscenter & not a word about the Buccos. I blame Bob Pompeani.

  207. Milo,

    I’m pressing my mute button as hard as I can . . . .

    . . . . and I hope Dejan is as well.

    When one wrestles with a pig, the only for sure outcome is that you both get muddy and covered with crap.

  208. @ Roberto – The simple matter of fact is the Pirates FO better do more than try, they need to get this team a bat or two if it wants to contend in September when it truly matters.

    I offer this posted from another site just today on whether this year’s Pirates team is any different than last seasons -

    “Yes, they are different. Last year, they were one of the worst offenses in baseball. This year, they are the worst offense in baseball. These little runs by the Pirates over the past two seasons are nice stories, but just like in 2011, this won’t last. Their run differential is currently at minus-17, which doesn’t bode well for their chances of sustaining this recent success.” – Logan Burdine, Blake Street Bulletin

    Than this on where the Pirates will finish this year-

    “Fourth place. Did I already use the word putrid to describe this offense? I guess I did. It’s hard to envision the rotation and bullpen pitching much better so you have to expect a little regression there. But the offense? Is Pedro Alvarez going to figure it out? Is Barmes suddenly going to start hitting? I don’t see it.” – Dave Schoenfield

    “They’ll finish third. Pittsburgh has just three players with an OBP higher than .300, and St. Louis has outscored them by 116 runs already this year. Eventually, the Cards and Reds will go on runs and pull away from the Pirates. They are just better.”

    Listen I am enjoying the feel good story of the season as much or more than the next Pirates fan, but this team other than going on a nice winning streak has done NOTHING to improve its offense and the simple facts are if it continues to do NOTHING, history suggests this will all catch up to us. The team is playing above its head it is the job of the front office to provide it some necessary help and to this point recalling Jody Mercer who does not play, recalling Alex Presley, and seeing if Matt Hague can get hot does not qualify.

    The fact remains we have a light hitting SS, unreliable power from the corner infield and corner OF position and have far too many K’s in the lineup and not a lot of BB’s. Throw in the fact we are still a .224 hitting ball club and that all spells this team needs some help from the outside.

  209. @Groat

    Truer words were never spoken. Enjoy the view from the top for as long as we have it.

  210. Johnnie Ray III.

    Dejan has mentioned for, I think, 3 days in a row that he can’t understand why teams are pitching to McCutch.

    I was at the game yesterday and the only balls hit fair with any authority by the Pirates were the double and homer by McCutch. And, of course, he drove in every run.

    The Pirates are last in runs produced WITH McCutch hitting as he is———when teams start pitching around him or just plain walking him straight out, Bucs will get even worse.

    Neil Walker has started hitting and that’s helpful. However, the Pirates are going to sink like the Titanic if they do not get some hitting.

    I prefer DevilDog’s approach today not to engage in negative discussion . . . . and to just enjoy 12 outta 15 and 1st Place. There will plenty of time to throw around stats later———today the Pirates are in 1st Place!

  211. For those that may care what the talkiing heads on mlb think….

    Mitch Williams was very high on our beloved Pirates. He, along with everyone else, is very high on the pitching. He likes their chances to land a bat via trade (no mention as to whether it should’ve happened in May, whether it should happen in June, etc.).

    Smoltz was just as complimentary, but has doubts about keeping it up for an entire season.

    Brian Kenny brought up that the Pirates are the only team in baseball to not have scored 200 runs yet.

    DK: Maybe one of these days, one of those three guys will set foot in PNC Park.

  212. @JRay

    Agree – we have a light hitting SS and our leadoff guys (corner outfielders) have underperformed. And I think that to finally break .500 for this season, that the FO will need to add a bat.

    But the truth is, as horrible as the first 6 weeks were (funny, I think we faced some of the best pitching in MLB during that span), the Pirates are hitting at least average in most categories in June.

    So let’s forget what has happened before now. If the Pirates hit for average and some pop going forward, and the pitching stays within smelling distance of their outstanding pitching, isn’t that a pretty good contender in the NL Central?

    The FO went and got two bats last year. I have a high belief that they will add a bat, at a price that makes sense and will help the team. And the improved the pitching depth by putting two top end pitchers in the rotation. That’s a big difference from last year.

    So if you are judging the future based on the last 19 years, then you will continually undervalue the current success. But if you look at the progress of the last 3 years, then the trend looks pretty good for the remainder of the season.

  213. I just ate a hoagie and read Dejan’s column today

    I’m clueless how anyone could critize Dejan for being anything but fair on his coverage of the PBC.

    Today means nuttin except we have a chance

    Lets see what happens on the morrow.

    IMO, they will still try to use the “flood of talent” in the system, ie Clement, before we do any deals, Opie alluded to that a bit ago

  214. I wouldn’t go so far as to say we haven’t achieved anything. The crack stat geeks and historians among us will be able to discover we are further ahead – TODAY – than at a similar time in 75% of the previous 19 years.
    We are not much behind last year – possibly ahead – in record and standing.

    We have done it with pitching essentially, but as I stated in #74 we need continuation, just as any team would need consistency over an extended period of time to be labeled a success. (BTW, I don’t look at .500 as success any differently than not winning the World Series as failure – JUST YET).

    There may come a time, very soon, that the incorporation of more offense from within or outside, will be needed.

    And I agree with many today who have said, play them while they are producing, replace them when not.

    As I said earlier in agreeing with Playoffs and one other today, Headley for Pedro et al would be a good idea.

    We have achieved – we are now able to be selective and call the shots – not those we have unsuccessfully negotiated with in the past. We are in control, but must perform due diligence with our new found position of superiority before acting.

  215. Bob H

    So far they have done two things that the team had not done sine 1992

    First time they have won 5 straight series since 1992 and when won their 30th game it was earliest they won number 30 since 1992.

  216. I agree the frumpy, baggy throw-back uniforms are bad. One exception was Clint Hurdle, who looked like he belongs in those. Brought back memories of Danny Murtaugh.

    I would, however, like to see them wear the all-black tops & bottoms from the late 70′s.
    And well-fitted ones, not those 1979 turn back the clock ones they wore that looked like some uniform company held an all-nighter and quickly threw them together. Those looked awful because the quality was awful, they were nothing like the actual uniforms.
    Anyway, I always thought they looked very sharp in those, even though they rarely wore both black halves.

    Changing the subject, I would not trade Pedro for Heady (That’s Headley!) I would love to aquire Headley, but not at that price.

  217. So you’re saying that while you’d like to have him, we shouldn’t chase Headley ?

  218. Holy Toledo Milo, that’s a bad pun!

  219. @Jal if you were assessing my item for accuracy, all criticism will be noted. If you are in agreement, OK.
    My entry was to infer we have progressed well beyond those days when we acted out of desperation – without a pit to poss in. That is an achievement, and a modest surplus of pitching talent other teams may desire – FOR OUR PRICE.

    WE have become the ones with whom people will deal – not steal from, if NH handles any possible deal from a position of strength – and not wishful thinking, as prior GM’s may have.

    The “firsts” you cite are trivial, and I believe you can see a difference we enjoy today that did not exist in the past. I call that achievement also. Now what we do with that is yet to be seen.

    @Milo a clever play on words which I grasp and appreciate

  220. @Dejan – Agreed. Just wanted to add it here for entertainment purposes. Gameless nights are rough.

  221. Two Drews?! I feel an emoticon coming on.

    RE #21: The validity of Pittsburghers’ co
    ntempt for pro athletes unwilling to play in our town at any price does not depend on the Pirates’ place in the standings, it’s just that being in the hunt adds an exclamation point.

  222. @PigLegs

    those throw backs were from the 40′s and into the 50′s not the 70′s, and believe me as I stated in an earlier entry, they were heavy, swelteringly hot, baggy and ALL WOOL.

    and just what is it that compels your devotion to Pedro? Headley is batting third now at SD and would be fourth here while batting a modest .273.

    We can’t get him anyway, unless NH gets very creative, but I’m thinking aloud.

  223. What the heck, I clicked on “DK’s Blog” and got kicked to Vogue!

  224. Bob H

    Was agreeing with you

  225. Wyatt Mathisen‎ signing is official–2nd round pick

  226. Indy Indians (36-27, 1st place in IL West) at home and pounding the Twins minor league affiliate, the Rochester (NY) Red Wings, 7 to 0 in the bottom of the 5th.

    Tony Sanchez, recently promoted to Triple-A, is batting .278 in 18 AB’s. Short sample size, but a pretty good start after his promotion.

    Justin Wilson with 5 IP and only allowing 1 hit, while striking out 4.

    Starling Marte with 2 RBI’s and 2 for 3, including his 8th triple of the campaign. Marte batting .267 on the season, but .311 in June with his 1 HR and a .931 OPS. Navarro hitting .318 since his demotion.

    Gameday link for anyone Jonesing for anything related to our winning Buccos.

  227. @JAL

    Thanks, I thought so.

  228. Dustin Brown may be wrestling the Conn Smythe away from Jonathan Quick.

  229. Wow, I wish the NHL officials had been penalizing the Flyers hits on the Pens like they just penalized that hit from NJ. 5 minute major AND tossed from the game only 10 minutes into the first.

    Wonder if the NHL is hoping for a Stanley Cup party clinched in LA?

  230. So ESPN is reporting the Cubs “won” the bid for a 20 year old Cuban. After July 1st they could have only bid up to $2.9 mil as per the new collective bargain. But after that they can sign him for whatever they want? In other words.. a 20 year old Cuban can sign for $30 million with out hurting the team… while a 20 year old American college student can sign for $30 million, cost the team ANOTHER $30 million, draft picks, and revenue sharing? Looks like another win for the big markets.

  231. If not the Conn Smythe for Brown, maybe a miniature replica of Harold Ballard’s apartment at Maple Leaf Gardens.

  232. Sports Illustrated put the Pirates at 27/30 in their new Power Poll this week. Now, I’m not naive enough to believe that the Bucs should be in the top 10 or anything, but come on, 27th? They had the Cards at like 11th or something. They even had the Astros one spot above the Pirates!

    But, I will accept it, because with a 19 year losing streak, this is what you get.

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