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Wakeup Call: One of those 54

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Brief and to the Point …

>> Chuck Tanner used to repeat it often: In every baseball season, you’re going to win 54, and you’re going to lose 54. It’s what you do with the other 54 that makes the difference.

Well, the ugliness in Philly last night was one of those middle 54.

Big deal.

>> Brandon Sutter made a fine first impression yesterday, even if delayed.

Anyone concerned about whether or not this player is put off by being traded to the Penguins is missing the larger point: You want that player to be upset.

You want someone who was a lifelong member of a team, who was an alternate captain at age 23, to be upset, stunned, shocked and any other term Sutter might have used to describe his immediate feeling at getting that phone call from Ron Francis. (Which probably didn’t make the emotions of it any easier, given Francis’ personality.)

By all accounts, this is an exceptional young man the Penguins have acquired. Sooner rather than later, he’d have the same reaction if he were to be traded out of Pittsburgh. To anywhere.

>> Darius Kasparaitis and Gary Roberts are first-time eligible for the Hockey Hall of Fame class announced today in Toronto.

Yeah, I know. Just thought I’d throw that out.

The Hockey Hall always has been the most generous in allowing inductees, which has only served to water it down. That’s a shame. The sport deserves better.

Of the class you find in that link, the only ones I’d take are Joe Sakic and Brendan Shanahan, and even then I’d be hesitant to leap at Shanahan on the first ballot. I wouldn’t take Mats Sundin yet, nor Jeremy Roenick, but you can bet they’ll get just to fill out the number. (And because Sundin played for the Leafs.)

Seriously, you could throw out 40 percent of everyone in the Hockey Hall, and the place would only be the better for it.

>> The Steelers’ very early release of Troy Smith mostly diffuses any controversy about which three quarterbacks will emerge from Latrobe … but I can’t imagine why. It’s not as if there isn’t precedent for Charlie Batch and especially Byron Leftwich getting hurt.

Not coming close to suggesting Smith was all that. He’s bounced around for a reason. But he did start six games for the 49ers in 2010 and, if nothing else, would provide a legit No. 3 if someone else were lost.

The fourth guy now will be Jerrod Johnson, an undrafted free agent out of Texas A&M. He figures to be a practice squad guy all the way.

We’ll see if it means anything in August.

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