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Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: Welcome, Alan Robinson


Brief and to the Point …

>> I’m off to Vegas today for the NHL Awards Show, which airs tomorrow night. So you’ll have to mind the store yourselves, which you do anyway, so never mind.

It’s not everyday a Pittsburgh athlete is MVP, so this could be — no, should be — a truly special occasion for Evgeni Malkin.

My question for you this morning: Who would be your choice for runner-up?

It doesn’t have to be Steven Stamkos or Henrik Lundqvist, the other finalists.

>> Please join me in welcoming Alan Robinson, one of Pittsburgh’s most respected sports reporters, to the Trib as our lead Steelers beat writer.

I could go on and on about all of Alan’s many accomplishments in 28 years with the Associated Press, the two AP writer of the year honors, all the Olympics and huge sporting events he’s covered. His resume is as impressive as that of anyone in our region in recent years. He’s done it all, and he’s done it all well.

But I’ll bypass all that and boil it down to this: Alan is pure Pittsburgh.

His whole life has been dedicated to covering sports in this city. That’s not everything, but it still matters. As the old play used to go, “Gotta know the territory.” He’ll share a lot more in the days to come, but his experience is rivaled only by his energy.

Alan will get started July 2, in plenty of time for Latrobe.

>> The Central Division is seen as weak, kind of like it was last year when it produced both of the National League finalists and the eventual World Series champ. But even if that assessment holds up this time, it still isn’t the be-all and end-all to win the division to make the playoffs.

Remember, it’s not just one wild card this year. It’s two.

As we awake this morning, the Pirates are four games behind the Reds for first in the Central. But in something I never hear anyone discussing, they’re only a half-game out of that second wild-card spot. The Pirates are 34-31, the Braves 35-31.

I’d venture to say that number is more significant, right?

>> Sports Illustrated’s recent feature on Andrew McCutchen, which I just read, says he could “become part of an exclusive club” of “active players who have helped the Pirates finish .500.” It adds that “there are no such players.”

This is, of course, FALSE. The Mets’ Miguel Batista, still pitching right in the shadow of SI’s New York offices, was a member of the Pirates’ 1992 team.

I make mistakes, too. You guys know that well because you point them out. (And I appreciate it because it’s usually in time to get them fixed!)

But mags, unlike newspapers, have full-time fact-checkers. How does this get missed?

>> It’s only one game in rookie ball, but good for Stetson Allie. This could be a nice story.


  1. Boise Bucco says:

    Yeah, but it sounds soooooooo much more impressive when it’s an absolute, such as how they printed it. “No such players” is more dramatic than “only one other player.” Then you just sound like you know too much about the Pirates, which I think in New York is like knowing too much about Justin Bieber or something…

  2. Playoffs by 2012 says:


    Were gonna need an official OVER / UNDER straight from the Sports Book for Tuesday’s game :)

  3. diehard says:

    Wonder if Allie’s error was fielding or throwing. If it’s throwing, they better pass out helmets and catchers masks behind 1st base! But 2-3, a triple, a walk, 2R, 1BI – not a bad debut for a guy who hasn’t hit in a couple of years.

  4. Dan1283 says:

    Met Alan – though he wouldn’t remember – when he was a guest speaker at a class at Point Park years ago. Really struck me as a great guy but unbelievably knowledgable, professional, and undeservedly under-the-radar as AP writers as largely anonymous under the enormous drape of the AP byline. The coolest thing was that it didn’t seem to bother him at all – it was all about the work and the subject at hand. Always enjoyed his stories and looking forward to following his Steelers coverage!

  5. BB in da Burgh says:

    SI is not false if you take their statement technically. Batista had a negative war as a pirate meaning he technically did not help the 1992 team.

  6. John Lease says:

    Miguel Batista’s one game as a Pirate wasn’t really instrumental in winning in 1992.

    Plus the Pirates lost that game, so really, did he help at all?

  7. Jandy says:

    Runner up for MVP? How about Anze Kopitar?
    Seriously tho, Steven Stamkos had a fine season. I’d say he’s number 2.

  8. JAL says:

    JAL’s Diamonds Morning Links


    1- MLB Transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    3 Go Buccos- Pirate News (from external sources)

    4 Pirates Prospects Draft Pick Signing Tracker


    5—Pirates Prospects

    How Much Trade Value Does Your Prospect Have?

    Can McGehee Bounce Back to His 2010 Form?

    2012 GCL Pirates Season Preview

    2012 State College Spikes Season Preview

    Prospect Trends — First Half Review, Part One

    Pirates Notebook: Is Lincoln at Risk of Being Replaced in the Rotation?

    Great Play By Navarro Allows Indians to Win

    Prospect Watch: Stetson Allie Leads Big Day on Offense in the GCL

    First Pitch: How Much Does Half a Season Matter?

  9. JAL says:

    6 Bucs Dugout

    GCL Pirates To Begin Season

    7 Rumbunter

    Pittsburgh Pirates Stetson Allie Comes Out Swinging

    Pirates Agree to Terms with Fifth Round Pick Adrian Sampson

    8 McEffect

    Jon Sandfort Sheds Light on Mark Appel’s Decision

    Pedro Alvarez’s Five Extra Base Hits Examined

    9 The Green Weenie

    Mercer & Pitching Questions, Notes, News

    10 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Where in the world is Jordy Mercer?

    11 WhyGavs

    Pedro’s big weekend

  10. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    12 CBS Sports

    Pirates-Twins Game Peview

    13 State College News

    State College Spikes Open Season Monday Night in Williamsport

    14 Chicago Tribune

    Pirates Report,0,5155470.story

    15 Minneapolis Star Tribune

    Twins-Pittsburgh series preview

    Justin Morneau is making healthier decisions at the plate

    16 KDKA

    Jason Grilli Having Spectacular Season, Enjoying Support of Fans


    17 PBC Site

    McCutchen richly deserves the limelight

    Notebook: Bucs will keep little-used Mercer for now

    18 Baseball Prospectus

    See the Ball, Hit the Ball?

    19 Fangraphs

    Odds of Regaining Velocity, by Age

  11. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    20 Behind the Steel Curtain

    To Steeler Nation, Gary Anderson Will Always Be “Mr. Automatic”

    Steelers Records: QB Ben Roethlisberger Poised to Break Franchise Mark for Passing Yards in 2012

    Steelers Records: OLB LaMarr Woodley Eyes Steelers Career Sack Leader Jason Gildon

    21 Steelers Depot

    - Trib Adds Alan Robinson to Steelers Beat

    22 Nice Pick Cowher

    Steelers MMQB: NFL Offseason News

    Pitt Blogs

    23 Pitt Blather

    U18 Rolling Early and Greentree

    24 Cardiac Hill

    Savon Goodman Passes On Pitt, Heads To UNLV

  12. JAL says:

    WVU Blogs

    25 Metro News

    Bedenbaugh: Spain ‘Unbelievably Talented’

    26 WV Illustrated

    Previewing 2012 WVU Football Opponents: Kansas


    27 Sky Sports

    Opening day fixtures

    28 Daily Telegraph

    UEFA fines Denmark striker Niclas Bendtner $126,000 and issues one-game ban for flashing sponsored undies

    29 World Soccer Daily

    World Soccer Daily: 10 Euro 2012 stories you need to read, 18th June, 2012


    30 Pensburgh

    Season in Review: Tyler Kennedy

  13. JAL says:

    Diamonds, Jet Harris & Tony Meehan One popular genre of music in the first half of the 1960s was the guitar driven instrumental tune. Hits of the period include Telstar, Walk Don’t Run, and Apache, recorded in 1960 by British group The Shadows. Jet Harris and Tony Meehan were members of The Shadows who went solo in 1963. Diamonds was hit in 1963, Jimmy Page plays acoustic rhythm guitar on the recording. Harris lead guitar and Meehan drums

  14. Turner Ward says:

    That 2nd wild card actually makes winning the division MORE important. Perhaps I’m getting way ahead of myself, but the reason you want to be in the playoffs is to win the World Series. Since the 2 wild cards have that 1-game play-in, the division winners have an easier path to the World Series.

    For this Pirates team, perhaps the wild card – and just getting into the playoffs – is more important. But if you’re looking at winning the whole thing, that division is now more important than it was.

  15. CraigWilson'sRevenge says:

    Sort of related to the SI article…

    Matthew Berry recently wrote an article called “Leaps of Faith” in which he mentions McCutchen (in the section about Jed Lowrie, if anybody wants to see…) and spells it “McCutcheon.”

    I can understand a person misspelling it, but I can’t understand why that wasn’t found and fixed yet on a national site like ESPN.

  16. Jandy says:

    TurnerWard, yeah it’s like “going for the gusto!”

  17. NMR says:

    I don’t get excited about the wild card standings right now because it’s not just the Pirates .5 game out. Five teams are within two games of that last spot.

    I can’t honestly say that the Pirates are a better team than even two of them, let alone all.

    Moreso, what potential trade target that has already been thrown around actually makes this team THAT much better? Neither Headley nor LaHair hasn’t posted an OPS over .800 since April. Youk is hitting worse than the Pirates current 1st basemen.

    The extra wild card spot might be making the trade market more difficult by keeping more teams from selling, but I think it also is saving teams like the Pirates from possibly making dumb moves when they don’t realistically have much of a shot.

    Not hatin’, just saying that the Pirates have to walk before they can run. It just isn’t gonna happen this year.

  18. NMR says:

    JAL, et al

    Anything of the this Trevor Plouffe kid? I’m out of country and won’t be able to watch.

    Six years in the minors without an OPS over .750 and now all the sudden hitting a HR every 10 AB’s in the bigs?!

  19. JAL says:


    Plouffe is 26 and showed developing power in the minors. Hit 15 HR in 102 games in AAA in 2010 and 15 in just 51 games in 2011 in AAA. Doesn’t hit for average.

  20. Dave G says:

    Why CAN’T the Pirates win a wild card spot?

    If Moose (Pedro) is finding his home run stroke, or at least shortening his dry spells, the offense is a bit more to be reckoned with, especially with Presley and Tabata gaining some footing.

    Adding Rudy and a fresher Karstens to the rotation at this point of the season will certainly buoy the staff. Perhaps skip a start every now and then with the other pitchers to stretch them might also help prevent some burnout. Bullpen is solid.

    I’m beginning to see a wild card as achievable.

  21. Dave G says:

    By the way… the ‘moose is loose’ thing the other day: I was kind of spontaneous…

    But thinking about it, wouldn’t Pedro seem a little more personable with an affectionate nickname to kind of soften things as far as fan perspective about him?

  22. CWalton_67 says:

    Agree with Jandy–Stamkos is easily the runner up, and Cup winner Jonathan Quick should get more consideration that he will.

    Have to admit that I hadn’t even thought of the 2nd wild card this year, which could make the Bucs season a bit exciting if they can hang in there. Still not buying this team though. Maybe in August if they find a way to add a bat.

    Going to miss Alan’s hockey coverage. Trib seems to be going all out in building the Sports section team.

  23. CWalton_67 says:

    @ Dave G–agree on Pedro, and I like the moose thing, but don’t they call him El Toro? No matter what name they call him, he has little credibility until he fixes his hat…

  24. Jandy says:

    Dave G, can we call Pedro the Mad Hatter? Just kiddin…

  25. NMR says:

    Why can’t the Pirates win the wild card? Because their offense is still really, really bad.

    Presley is hitting .230 over the last two weeks and has an OBP under .250. Thats your leadoff hitter.

    7-8-9 is back to being automatic outs after a good month of May from Barajas.

    Pedro might hit 30 HR’s, but he’s going to be cold more than he’s hot.

    The teams best hitter and offense workhorse, Andrew McCutchen, has yet to put together a full MLB season. Remember the second half of last year?

    More than the Pirates issues, I think it’ll be a matter of other teams getting hot. It just happened last week. The Pirates were riding the wave of their own hot streak into first place and just when they cooled off, Cinci ripped off 6 in a row of their own.

    St. Louis will do that at least once before the year is over.

    Just too many better teams to overcome.

  26. NMR says:

    Thanks, JAL.

    I’ll have to look him up later today.

  27. JRay3 says:

    Actually as we awake this morning thanks to the Indians win over the Reds last night the Bucs currently are 3.5 GB of Cincinnati.

    In the Wild Card race it looks like this after the Mets win and Braves loss last night:

    Giants 38-30
    Mets 36-32
    Pirates 34-31 0.5 GB
    Braves 35-32 0.5 GB

    I think the new setup gives division winners a greater advantage certainly than year’s past but have stated all along I am not sure many of us complain if it is one of the WC spots that Pirates were able to secure as that would be considered a huge step forward.

  28. buggee says:

    Upon reading the headline for today’s “Wakeup Call”, I thought Alan Robinson was some obscure Quad-A first baseman the Pirates picked up from Australia or New Zealand or Great Britian (a total hotbed of MLB-ready talent).

    I stand corrected and I look forward to Mr. Robinson’s coverage. (Can Alan Robinson hit? Stetson Allie can, let’s move him to first!)

    Hmmmm, what to bet on today…? Did Jordy Mercer make adjustments to his swing plane? Did Clint Barmes shorten his stroke and move his hands back about 14-16 centimeters? Did Rod Barajas add a back-foot toe-tap as he steps into the box? Does Ritchie still have a job?

  29. NMR says:

    If the Blue Jays weren’t in the AL East, they would be absolutely perfect trade partners with the Pirates right now.

    Good offense, stacked farm system, absolutely decimated pitching staff.

    Owens, Locke, Lincoln, Correia, Kartsens could all probably fill at least one, if not two spots in the rotation right now. Not to mention Hanny as the closer.

    JP Arencibia plus one of their A-ball arms could probably be had for Owens or Locke right now with D’Arnaud ready to be called up behind the plate.

  30. Jandy says:

    Ha ha, buggee is laying it on thick today…and no, no offense taken ;) (none taken yesterday either)

  31. buggee says:

    Over/Under on the number of prunes Lincoln consumed yesterday?

  32. radio wave says:

    I have read Mr. Robinson in the past, I believeon Yahoo sports. I enjoy his work.
    If someone could unscramble some confusion I have this morning concerning Minor League and Independent baseball leagues.
    I see the GCL pirates started yesterday. What level of Minor League is this? Also the short season State College team is starting, are they considered a Minor League or Independent team?
    When I lived in Iowa, we had a Independent league short season wooden bat league for college kids called the Northwoods League, similar to the more famous Cape Cod league.
    And then you have the Washington Wild Things in the Pioneer League, is that considered a Minor League or Independent league?
    If someone could sort this out, I’d appreciate it.

  33. LuckyNKentucky says:


    GCL is rookie ball. State College is considered low-A. I don’t know what actual independent league the Wild Things are in, but it’s not the Pioneer League. I know someone on here knows. They didn’t exist when I left the area and they aren’t listed anywhere in MilLB.

  34. buggee says:

    @radio wave: Awww man, you lived in Iowa?
    @Jandy: Enjoyed a good run this morning (no prunes involved), stong kicking drills, and intense punching drills on the heavy bag. That kind of physicality usually sets off a fine day for moi (but not for my heavy bag–it’s still squealing). Not like Friday evening where, while swimming laps, my goggles filled with chlorinated water, termporarily blinding me, and thus I slammed head first into a wall. Urk. Time for a Mai-Tie-Me-Up!

    What’s this inane fussing over how Pedro wears his hat? How could that possibly be affecting his performance? At least it’s not hanging out of his butt or something. Seriously, who cares. See it, hit it, catch it, throw it. None of that is done with a player’s hat, and the ball don’t give a crap how a player’s hat looks. Yeesh.

    Just another thought: I don’t think Evgeni Malkin would be up for the MVP if Sid played all year. Geno has a history of playing like a turtle when Sid’s on a tear.

    Runner-up? Stamkos. Stamp it!

    (I like the idea of changng the boards behind the goalie over to rubber. There would be some bodacious bounces and we’d see some outrageous plays and seriously high-scoring contests. The game would become like pinball and would be an absolute blast. Just a thought)

  35. JRay3 says:

    @ radio wave – Both the GCL and the short season State College team would be considered minor league baseball, and I believe both to be primarily rookie ball level. (the independent leagues are for players that have not signed with a MLB team and are taking a different route to get selected be it money, flexibility to sign etc.), I think one of the bigger differences is most college kids drafted are placed at State College as they are more advanced and most of the high school kids that are drafted start in the GCL like Wyatt Mathiesen is as they need a little more development. The next level after State College would be low A West Virginia.

    Hope this helps and if I missed anything maybe @ JAL can help fill in the blanks.

  36. 21sthebest says:

    Additionally, the independent leagues are professional. The Cape Cod league is not as it’s a summer collegiate league, and it’s probably the best one in the country.

  37. Jandy says:

    buggee, iff’n you gotta big lump when you hit your head against the wall Friday, maybe you’d wear your hat funny. Who knows what lurks ‘neath El Toro’s hat???

    As for Sid and Geno, I hope we get to find out how that plays out THIS season.

  38. JHadar says:

    A guy hits four home-runs in two games, cures the depression of a four-game losing streak and the fear that another collapse was bearing down on us, and someone finds it amusing,to put the best spin on it, to complain about the way he wears his hat.

    What are you thinking?

  39. Jandy says:

    Seems Jaromir Jagr has not been signed by Philly, and is going to test free agency. It’s been said he shouldn’t be expecting any communications from the Pens. Suits me just fine. =)

  40. Leefoo says:

    Diehard….not sure if anyone answered this, but I read that Allie’s error was throwing.

    E Foo


  41. Jandy says:

    it’s a Foo-sighting!

  42. Jandy says:

    JHadar, if you’re referring to me, I don’t complain about the way anyone wears their hat. But I do know that life is too short, so I try not to take things too seriously. =)

  43. matmoksik says:

    Not sure if this was mentioned in another post, but I just saw that the one and only Brandon Moss was just named the AL player of the week. Is it possible he’s figured it out? After all this time?

  44. JAL says:


    Possible that he has figured it out or that he just had a good week and will fall back. time will tell.

  45. LuckyNKentucky says:


    Hopefully. Either that or he’ll be back in AAA by August. For his sake, the former.

  46. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    “His whole life has been dedicated to covering sports in this city. That’s not everything, but it still matters.”

    I think it is everything, at least for this crowd. Call it “street cred” if you wish, but as most Pittsburgher’s feel, we don’t like outsiders telling us about our teams…

  47. JAL says:


    A Foo sighting–get the harpoons ready as we hunt him down :)

  48. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:


    I hope he has. Good for him.

  49. Leefoo says:

    Jandy,,,,,,still waiting for the new software….really don’t care for this type of posting. Too hard to keep track of who is saying what. I am a PLUS guy.

    But I miss you guys and gals. :)


  50. aglebagel says:

    I’m sure the cause of Stetson Allie’s error was that darned first baseman who felt the need to wear a catcher’s mitt for protection…

  51. LuckyNKentucky says:


    Where’ve you been, man?

  52. Leefoo says:

    June 19th, 2012 – 11:09 am


    A Foo sighting–get the harpoons ready as we hunt him down :)”

    Since you’re on a British kick, this link is for you:

    I loved this album.

    Procul Foo


  53. aglebagel says:


    But we get ticked if they don’t talk about them at all!

  54. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    I wish I had a answer for DK’s question, but its about hawkey, so I have no idea…….

    Go Geno!

  55. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:


    Only the national guys. Instead of West Coast bias, it should be Burgh Bias…but really, not like this PBC has given them much to talk about until the beginning of last year, other than how terrible they are.

  56. buggee says:

    Brandon Moss?!?!?!? Fire Ray Shero

  57. Leefoo says:

    Sad news for those of us who remember his “alley Oop”


  58. JAL says:

    That is sad, RC Owens was one of the greats.

  59. DemonDachshund says:

    I, for one, will take any chance I can to follow a pennant race involving the Buccos, even if probably doesn’t truly qualify since we’re only in June. If last year taught me anything, it’s that you might as well enjoy it while it lasts.

    I fully agree this team is just not good enough right now, and in all honestly not all that close. But I still plan to root for a miracle.

  60. Milo Hamilton says:

    Brandon Moss needs to pee in a cup immediately.

  61. radio wave says:

    atbuggee #33 Lived in Waterloo 93-99, Des Moines 99-02.
    at JRay 3 #34 thanks for the feedback.

  62. Milo Hamilton says:

    On one of those NFL Network countdown shows over the weekend, YA Tittle was throwing alley oops to RC Owens. The 49ers have a great history.

  63. Bizrow says:

    # post No 59

    I can’t believe you said that ;-)

    See you Thursday

  64. NMR says:

    Check out this gem from MLBTradeRumors:

    “The Orioles’ Triple-A team, which includes Miguel Tejada, Jamie Moyer and Dontrelle Willis, tops the Orioles’ MLB team in career earnings, Rosenthal notes.”

    Not exactly sure thats direction you want from your AAA club.

  65. Jandy says:

    @ Foo, I read that other site a bit…but no way am I paying for the (dubious) privilege of reading certain columns…not when we have a gold mine right here. Patience (I know, it’s wearing thin), this site WILL get it up to speed. Right, DK? Dk….Dk..DK???????

    milo ~ lol but yeah, how true (pee in the cup thing)

    buggee, you’re firing the wrong guy, dude! :p

  66. Jandy says:

    JAL, got your harpoons? I got mine lol


    I do not support the 2nd Wild Card.
    I want to see the Bucs in a playoff battle in PNC.

    Selig’s Folly of adding a 2nd team would just put Pirates on the road, where they are well below .500, in a 1-game playoff. I want to experience Playoff baseball IN Pittsburgh, at PNC, surrounded by fans that care!

    If the Pirates qualify for the home game in the 1-game playoff, they are all the more CURSED——because last year that position would have qualified them for a 5-game series! (see St. Louis Cardinals raising their World Series banner)

    I do not acknowledge—and I will not support—the 1-game Playoff. I am only paying attention to the division lead, where we are 3 1/2 games back.

    Baseball was not meant to be a 1-gamer, like NCAA basketball.

  68. NMR says:


    re: #60

    I want to see where this Trevor Plouffe kid works out. How many guys bust out with those numbers after repeating AAA three times and AA twice?

  69. JAL says:


    Yep, have some harpoons :)

  70. Alan Robinson is a GREAT get for the Trib, and therefore for us readers!!

    Like Dave Molinari in hockey and Dejan Kovacevic in baseball, Alan has great eyes to see and an excellent pen to report what is going on in front of and behind the scenes in our favorite sports. And, like Dejan, he knows a lot about a lot of sports in Pittsburgh. I’m sure he know more about the Pittsburgh Power than Dejan.

    Our Steeler reporting will be so much richer. Good job, Trib!

  71. RobertoForever says:


    RE: Orioles farm club

    But those three names helped them draw 7.900 fans on a Monday night in Norfolk. Probably more fans than Miami draws on a Monday.

  72. NMR says:

    “Probably more fans than Miami draws on a Monday.”

    Or Baltimore on a Friday…

  73. nate83 says:


    Regarding their chances of a wild card spot did you see my post on their remaining schedule yesterday.

    51 games (more then half) are against Chicago,Houston,Colorado,San Diego, Milwakee and Minnasota. These are the worse 5 teams winning percentage wise in the NL and the worse team in AL.

    Only 28 games against teams with current winning records remaining.

    66 games against teams with current losing records and 3 against the Marlins which are at .500.

    The schedule alone makes them possible wild card.

    Also you are assuming they are fielding the team they are right now the rest of the year but I think they will add a bat. I also beleive the offense they showed over the last 20 games may just be enough with another bat. Not to mention the current group they have is capable of better then they have showed so far. Tabata, McGahee, Barmes and Presley are all capable of much better.

  74. JohninOshkosh says:

    You know what having the Twinkies in town means? It means Cryleven is in the house. He certainly belongs in the HOF…..the HOF of crying quitters.

  75. Jandy says:

    LOL OshKosh!

  76. Playoffs by 2012 says:

    Why the hate for Bert??

  77. Oshkosh b’gosh!

    You just brought that up to get me going on Cryleven——I’m not taking the bait!





    Bucs are only 3 1/2 games out of 1st Place!

    The Drive for FIVE!!!!!!!!!!! (hundred)

  78. JRay3 says:

    @ DemonDachshund – Could not agree with your post above any more. It is much more fun when the Pirates are still in it in June, July, August and I too hold out hope for the miracle and believe until no longer possible.

    Too many years where the team was out of it before or by NFL Training Camp, so I too will enjoy the ride as long as it goes.

  79. JHadar says:

    Jandy —

    From earlier this morning before I had to leave — no, my thoughts on the irrelevance of Pedro’s hat were not aimed at you.

    This was the line I thought was silly: “No matter what name they call him, he has little credibility until he fixes his hat…”

    I hope it was said tongue in cheek.

    Seriously, the guy is coming off an injury season and breaks a slump with 4 homers and a double. He’s still getting his feet wet in terms of a big league career; it’s not like Barmes who is looking more and more washed up. I expect a *relatively* inexperienced guy like Alvarez to be up and down.

    On the other hand we’ve seen enough time go by for the early season slumps of Barajas, McGehee, and Barmes to disappear. McGehee and Barajas are up to mediocre now, at least in my poor estimation, and look to be satisfactory placeholders if you assume Neal’s *real plan* is for next year — but it will take a spectacular rebound by Barmes to impress me at this point.

    Still, despite the huge holes in the offense, we’re in it. If Neal’s *real plan* does happen to be for next year, it’s time to start thinking about changing it to right now. He’s smart enough to know that. I keep hoping, but I’m not holding my breath, that he’s effective to git ‘er done.

    That said, what you really want to see right away is last year’s Presley, the Tabata DK wrote about yesterday, McCutcheon for the whole season, Pedro getting it, and Cole and Taillon climbing the ladder. And the rest of them to pardon me for saying it “playing up to their potential.”

  80. tmk says:

    Can anyone think of a reason why Jordy Mercer is still on the team? It baffles me that the bucs keep him on the roster and do not play him.

  81. Naje says:

    Because, playoffs, Blyeleven basically walked out on the Bucs in 1980… (or whenever it was)… just quit… apparently there was some talk about him tanking a game or two… Smizik has written about it extensively.

    And for God only knows what reasons, Ed Bouchette–who is a baseball HOF voter (yes, Ed Bouchette), also refused to vote him in.

    His numbers say otherwise… but Pittsburgher’s are very proud of their long-standing feuds… and this is one of them.

  82. Blyleven’s numbers don’t even say otherwise:

    ——in 22 seasons he only made 2 All Star Teams, playing in 1
    ——in 22 seasons he only received votes for Cy Young (even a 10th place vote) in 3 seasons. No Cy Youngs won.

    He was NEVER considered among the best in any season!!
    All he did was strike out people and whine!!!


  83. Jandy says:

    Jhadar, I believe CWalton was being “tongue-in-cheek” with this play on Pedro’s hat. But yes, I too am looking for MORE. More consistency from PA, Presley, Tabata, etc keeping it up, and of course, Cutch keeping us all together.

    tmk, I feel it’s a crime to call Mercer up and then have him collect splinters for so long. Play him or send him back down so he CAN play, darnit! What is Hurdle thinking????

    Psssst..Groat, it’s Hall of SHAME, remember?? ;)

  84. Playoffs by 2012 says:

    @Naje and Groat,

    Gotcha. I still love watching that final pitch of the 1979 NLCS. The monster curve that just freezes the batter and makes his knees buckle. Pure beauty.

  85. NMR says:


    Definitely saw, and appreciated, the schedule analysis.

    With a good, veteran team, I’d say thats a slam dunk.

    I just personally don’t think Pittsburgh has that. Yet. The 2012 squad is better, but not significantly better than the 2011 squad that got demolished by the ‘stros and Cubs of the world.

    I’m going to keep your research in mind, though. I think it would be a fair predictor of the rest of the season if the team is beating the clubs they are supposed to after, say, 100 games.

  86. JohninOshkosh says:


    I was really just trying to bait Groat…and it worked!

    But he was a chronic whiner. He pulled the same “I’m taking my glove and going home” routine in Cleveland to force a trade back to the Twins. He was always complaining as a Ranger. Once he even flipped the bird to a camera in Texas. Since he went to the booth, he’s gotten in trouble for telling off color jokes and dropping the f bomb.

    I don’t know how I side on his induction. I tend to think reasonable minds can differ on it. He was just kind of a “meh” player although his contribution to the 79 World Champs was significant.

  87. Jandy says:

    Groat lights up this entire blog when OshKosh jerks his chain ;)

  88. Playoffs by 2012 says:


    I’m too young to remember the majority of his career. I do remember the 1987 Twins with him and Jack Morris. I understand the resentment that many have towards him, but damn if that curve-ball wasn’t a thing of beauty to watch.

  89. JohninOshkosh says:

    No doubt, Playoffs, One of the greatest there ever was.

  90. NMR says:


    I’m defninitely with you on Mercer.

    I wouldn’t be so critical if he was getting PH opportunities. Just being in the bigs, getting a few swings, will help his maturation. I don’t think the difference between AAA and MLB should be underestimated.

    But it would seem that this move is almost exclusively to free up shortstop for Chase in Indy. Which, by the way, ain’t goin’ so well.

  91. buggee says:

    Bylevin needs an award for pitching excellence named after him. Or a pitch, like the “Bylevin Curve” or the “Blurve”. Old-timers neva had a true appreciation for his mastery of that pitch.

  92. Playoffs by infinity,

    A $2 curve and a 10 cent brain.

  93. buggee says:

    Single-game wild-card playoff in 2012! The entire rotation begins using the “Blurve”. The minor-league system goes on a huge curriculum change, focusing on command of the “Blurve”. Stetson Allie learns how to throw a knuckler from third to first. Jameison Tallie becomes the latest Bucco to master the “Blurve”, earning the title, “The BlurveMaster”…

    I must stop now because the orderlies want me back in my special room

  94. JohninOshkosh says:

    In honor of the Twins in town: I give you a Sven and Ole joke (say it to yourself in your best “Fargo” accent):

    Sven is driving down da road and passes Ole’s house, Sven sees a sign in Ole’s yard that reads boat for sale. Sven forgets it and keeps driving home, but he can’t stand it. Sven goes back to Ole’s and knocks on the door. Ole greets Sven, and Sven asks, ” Ole you got sign in yard dat say boat for sale, you got no boat, only snow machine and trailer!”. Ole responds, “Ya, and de boat for sale!”

  95. Glad Bucs are on TV tonight.

    My first game in five I would have been home last night to see, and they were off.

    I was forced to sit and read a book (a Kinky Friedman novel). My 4th grade English teacher would have been proud.

    Go get ‘em, Correa!!

  96. JHadar says:


    You should never have started this:

    Sven invited Ole to go ice fishing one winter and told him to be there bright and early. So Ole gets in his pick-up truck and drives down to the lake at 5:30 in the morning and Ole gets there about five minutes later and knocks on his window and says “Ole you wait here and the truck and I’ll go make the hole in the ice.

    So Ole he waits a while and pretty soon he goes to sleep and the next he thing he knows Sven’s knocking on the window and he looks at his clock and it’s noon.

    “Sven,” he says “it’s almost noon! It took you six hours to make a hole in the ice!?”

    And Sven, he says “Ya Ole, I got a BIG boat!”

  97. buggee says:

    @OshGosh & Hadar… GROAN

  98. Jandy says:

    Oh Lord! lol

  99. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Not liking Correia starting tonight.

    he goes 5 and gives up 4…is my prediction.

    @Playoffs, there’s an over/under for you…since I’ve been away for awhile now.

  100. tmk says:


    Great point that maybe Mercer was brought up to give Chase playing time at Indy. But I thought I’ve read before that the bucs were higher on Mercer than Chase, don’t know if you’ve heard that too? And if they do like Mercer more, this is one heck of a way to affect someone’s development…

  101. Jandy says:

    OO0< OO0< OO0< OO0< OO0< OO0< OO0< OO0<

  102. JAL says:

    Scratch Ryan Dempster off your wanted list for a while–put on the 15 day DL by the Cubs

  103. Barmes 0 for 4 with 3 K’s and 3 LOB. Hey Clint it is OK to play Jordy Mercer, I promise.

  104. […] in July, Robinson’s byline began showing up in the Trib, but this time as a member of the […]

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