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Wakeup Call: The last quality opponent until …

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Brief and to the Point …

>> The Friday column strays a bit to something that’s bugged me for a long time: Why do even the very best in women’s sports feel compelled to match their achievements with the men’s brand?

I am very interested in your thoughts on this, especially from the women’s perspective.

My thanks to Suzie McConnell Serio at Duquesne and friend Sloane Martin for their input.

>> This is getting ahead of things with the Pirates, even with the four-game sweep of the Astros, but first place is first place, so … has anyone else looked ahead to this schedule after the All-Star break?

After the Giants come to town this weekend, then the break, the Pirates’ next 19 games are against opponents currently with losing records: Brewers, Rockies, Marlins, Cubs, Astros, then Cubs again. The next winning team is Cincinnati on Aug. 3.

That could make for quite the run right through the trading deadline.

>> The closer has the simplest job in baseball to explain: Take the ball and the lead you’re given, and walk off the mound with a lead.

That’s it.

However many fingernails Joel Hanrahan cost people last night, the only thing that matters is that he inherited a two-run lead and walked off with the Pirates winning.

Yes, it’s clear he’s frustrated. He’s fighting his slider, and he’s overthrowing the fastball. As Hanrahan conceded last night, “It wasn’t pretty.” But here are the cold,  hard numbers: He’s 22 of 25 in saves with a 2.45 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and .170 opponents’ average.

Let’s get a grip before blasting the guy.

>> Why does anyone, anywhere ever worry about Jeff Karstens?

How much more does the guy need to show to convince people he’s a quality starter?

>> Per a promise made on the chat yesterday, the blog will now be recommending a beat writer to follow for all our teams’ next opponent. Today, we start with the awesome Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle, longtime chronicler of the Giants who blows away the competition out there and just happens to be a really funny guy.

>> Here’s the chat transcript from earlier this afternoon.

>> I’ll appear on Stan Savran’s show on 970 ESPN, at 11:30 a.m.

179 Comments

  1. Just out of curiosity, what are your feelings on boys playing girls’ sports in the WPIAL like field hockey? It’s not always an issue of competition: I watched a Fox Chapel team of all girls trounce a Woodland Hills team with three boys.

    But a team could conceivably play 11 boys against 11 girls in a high-speed sport. That could be a dangerous situation, just because of the differences between teenage girl bodies and teenage girl bodies.

    DK: It’s a tremendous counter way to look at this, James.

    Bluntly here, I don’t like it at all. If the boy and family are that determined to play field hockey, there are options out there, from changing schools to non-school teams. I know not everyone can — or should — afford that, but if it’s not that important … hey, find something else to play.

    There ARE sports where you can have legit crossover, but not many. In the Olympics, the only one is equestrian. On the national scene … what, auto racing because of Danica? Anything else?

    They’re distinct sports, men’s and women’s. Not better, not worse. Different.

  2. Score a run, San Diego.

  3. Padres tied it in the 8th!!

  4. Very interesting column, Dejan, and one which I’ll have to ponder a little more. But before going to bed, the “short answer” is pretty simple. With few exceptions, people watch men’s sports and don’t watch women’s. Therefore, the women are trying to get publicity by association.

    Would you have ever written a column about the WNBA without the creation of PIE?

    I had heard of Tamika Catchings but wouldn’t have been able to tell you that she was the best before the publicity of PIE. I have never watched more than about 30 seconds of a WNBA game before, but if I happen to land on a game and Catchings has the ball in her hands, I might watch for a few minutes to see if she really looks more dominant than LeBron. Mission accomplished.

    DK: I hear you. And that is a point, obviously, I concede to Suzie in the column. But, as noted, it seems a short-term gain for a long-term loss.

  5. I’ve been a big believer of Jeff Karstens, he is a true pitcher and knows how to pitch. His ability to change speeds, throw multiple pitches for strikes keeps hitters off balance. He easily can be a solid # 3 in a rotation.

    Schedule no doubt sets up nicely for the Pirates considering 33 games still remain versus the Astros, Cubs, Rockies, and Padres the NL’s bottom four.

    Watching the MLB Network and the host just asked Harold Reynolds if the Pirates can remain contenders to which he responded not only will they contend but he believes the Pirates make the playoffs. He cited having superstar in Cutch and the pitching of Burnett, McDonald and Bedard as key to carrying team.

  6. That Posey commercial is great! And the “Z” doesn’t stand for Zoltan or whatever, it’s stands for MaZ.

  7. Top 9
    Phillips single
    Bruce 3-0 count
    Then 3-2
    Phillips picked off
    Bruce strikeout looking
    Frazier strikeout

    Don’t score. Huston Street narrowly avoids disaster.

    Let’s see, well find out, about a walk-off.

  8. Chartiers Valley football had a girl field-goal kicker last year and she was excellent.

  9. Dejan, first big fan. Read you daily and love your blog. Cheap shot at women’s sports. I have a 7 yr old daughter and encourage her to do her best in all things, sports included. She wants to battle the boys, go for it. This article was below you.

    DK: Cheap shot?

    Wow, hoping you can elaborate on that. Didn’t see that reaction coming at all.

    I’d appreciate it if you’d give it another try, Kevin. The only thing I can assure you of, if you do and still feel the same way, is that you’re 180 degrees off on my motivation behind this column. I have an 11-year-old daughter playing on an otherwise all-boys dekhockey team, and she just finished No. 3 scorer. This doesn’t have anything to do with that. I’m talking about comparisons at the highest levels.

  10. Padres walk-off winner!!!

    #BestSummerEver

  11. The Padres score a come from behiand win over the Reds and the Bucs now have a 2 game lead in the Central!

  12. Padres win! Padres win!

  13. I didn’t see it.. Lucas Harrell with another bunt single in the bottom of the 9th to help the Padres win.

  14. Sweet, 2 game lead in the Central. First time that’s happened since…. ah, enough of those already.

    I’m heading to the Burgh in the morning to take in the Friday and Saturday games. Will be the first time I’ve seen the 1st place Buccos play in person since, oh yea… enough of those already. :)

    Let’s Go Bucs!

  15. And as much as I love the Zoltan, there are entirely too many people in the stands (and even a couple of players, not that I want to call those guys out) who are making it Soltan. If you want to make it a Z, the left hand needs to be on top folks. Left hand on top! :)

  16. Reds blow another late lead. Marshall & Chapman may be too inexperienced to contend for 6 months.

  17. ZOLTAN Training Refresher Course

  18. Reds 3-5 on west coast trip. They beat Matt Cain. :S

    The Pirates don’t face Cain or Bumgarner. Great opportunity here to win another series.

  19. As I read it you say the girl’s can’t compete with the boys. I respect your opinion but a girl wants to get out there and compete go for it. Is any female baller going to be better than Lebron. No way. But are they better for trying? absolutely, I just don’t get your point in this one. Maybe I am looking at it more from youth sports and this doesn’t send the message that I would want a young girl to hear. All due respect.

    DK: Yeah, again, this wasn’t about that at all. Look at all the examples in there. All top level.

  20. Karstens needs to put it together for a full season to be considered a quality starter. But I do love how he works fast, changes speeds, and throws strikes – Ray Miller would love him.

    Clint Hurdle ought to be very thankful Hanrahan didn’t blow that save. Why Hurdle didnt let Karstens come out for the ninth is baffling – he was cruising.

  21. and by the way WOW buccos

  22. Agree that Karstens needs to do it for an entire season to be considered the dependable, solid rotation guy we want him to be. Still, right now, he looks to be the prize piece we received in the Nady/Marte deal. At the time of the trade, few thought that.

  23. Ever think about how many men’s programs in non-revenue sports had to be sacrificed for Title IX? I am pro women’s athletics, but in no way is it as big of an undertaking as men’s sports. Football takes up 85 schollies for the university, of which they have to make it up before keeping a men’s sport like wrestling or gymnastics. So now universities make up sports like women’s equestrian, squash and bowling.

    Where is the fairness in that?

  24. I’ve been thinking about something else the Pirates’ recent success has done: it’s eliminated (or at the least reduced) the minor-league prospecting that all of us have done for the last x years…

    Think about it–during that really awful 57-105 (or whatever) year a couple years ago, that’s pretty much the only thing that kept us afloat–the hope that our farm could produce some stars for us. By and large, it’s done a pretty good job. So tonight as I caught up on P2, it made me wonder: If Stetson Allie had gone bust as a pitcher that year and NH and the “BMTIB” had tried their conversion to 3B then, we would have had their heads. Now? Almost NO pub since the day it happened.

    I’m gonna go ahead and put that in the win column…any time we don’t have to look forward to AAA guys coming up to HELP the big-league team, as opposed to SPELL the big-league team, I’m ok with it. Marte, Owens and Locke will be good in their own rights, but let’s make them earn it–make it hard for them to find a spot, and maybe we’ll see them push their way in and make the Bucs better for it. Seems to have worked out for Will Middlebrooks and Mike Trout.

  25. DK,

    After re-reading the column, I definitely get your long-term versus short-term point.

    My next question for you or anyone is: Do you think it’s possible for a long-term plan to work for any given women’s sport, or can some sports just inherently attract attention with women playing while others can’t? What exactly is it about tennis, swimming, volleyball, and gymnastics that basketball can’t seem to duplicate?

    DK: I’ll just say this and toss the rest to the group: In tennis, it DOES work. Zero separation in popularity there.

  26. Looking at the rest of the schedule, there looks to be two key stretches:

    The month of August, when the Pirates historically wilt.

    The last 10 games of the season are against the Mets, Reds and Braves, who all look like they will be playing meaningful games down to the end.

  27. I’m going to give the column a read here before bed and I’ll leave some thoughts in the morning. But I delved into some pretty deep research tonight on a topic we all can relate to – isn’t there anyone out there better than Barmes that the Pirates could trade for? The short answer is yes, but the execution of it leaves a lot to be desired. I’ll let the post (which I posted elsewhere, too) do the talking, and I apologize for the length. I hope this sparks some debate and provides at least a couple answer.

    Those of you who want to dump Barmes, take a look at what’s out there at shortstop. I mean really look at who might be available in a trade.

    This list is sorted by OPS – http://espn.go.com/mlb/stats/b…order/true

    Shortstop is a mess with a capital M. Out of the top 16 shortstops (cutting off after JJ Hardy who has a .662 OPS), 9 play for current contenders and IMO aren’t going anywhere. Here’s the rest:

    1. Asdrubal Cabrera (.846)- Indians locked him up in April through the end of 2014. Core player, not going anywhere, though Cleveland has made curious deals in the past.

    2. Jed Lowrie, HOU (.810)- on 1 yr, $1.15 million contract. Rental player that’s available. Buster Olney on Lowrie’s trade potential – “Rival executives believe Houston is so early in its rebuilding that any proposal would be considered – but that the cost of doing business with the Astros will be exorbitant. Jed Lowrie is having an excellent year, in his first season with Houston, and if you want to pry him away, GMs think it would be very pricey.” Lowrie also hit only .215 in June, and as we saw last year Houston extremely unlikely at best to trade within division. Would cost big prospects, either way.

    3. Alcides Escobar, KC (.765) – Our old friend from MIL finally having the year everyone saw coming back in 2008 but never came even close. Signed for four years in March. Young, affordable core player, not going anywhere especially since KC should be contender next year.

    4. Jimmy Rollins, PHI (.731) – Dream on. Signed for 3 yrs, $33 million last December. PHI probably not ready to dump anyone either. If Phillies collapse in July, could be interesting situation to watch.

    5. Jose Reyes, MIA (.729) – Again, dream on. GM won’t admit mistake on that massive contract by trading him already, and really, not worth it. Has 3 HR.

    6. Willie Bloomquist, ARI (.726) – 0 HR, 6 steals, his whole game is batting average and he should decline in that category real fast. Plus, ARI needs him to help spell Stephen Drew, coming back from injury, a few times a week. Barmes coming around is just as good (or bad) a bet as Bloomquist.

    7. Starlin Castro, CHC (.725) – “Starlin Castro is the type of player we’re looking to build around. There has been no trade consideration with him whatsoever.” -Theo Epstein, 6/21/12

    Biggest name that’s blocked out there is Jurickson Profar in TEX who, really, you’re gonna deal for a rookie in AAA to immediately count on in a pennant race? Also Manny Machado in BAL, same situation as Profar, and not ready to be recalled to the bigs even the contending Orioles moved Hardy. Machado won’t be moved, Profar could because he’s also blocked at 2B with Kinsler, but I don’t see the Pirates as a good trade fit with TEX.

    Anybody with a worse current OPS than Hardy isn’t even worth considering, you might as well stick with Barmes since you’re paying him $5 million anyways, he should rebound his numbers some just through luck and track record alone, and the rest of the field promises nothing better than him anyways.

    The safest, and maybe wisest, bet is to wait out on Barmes and kick the tires on the top four guys on that list in about three weeks. By then Barmes will either have shown a resurgence or he should be benched for Mercer.

  28. Just to complete that list of contending shortstops so nobody thinks I’m being purposefully obtuse, here’s the nine guys who IMO will stay on their teams for playoff runs:

    1. Desmond, WAS
    2. Andrus, TEX
    3. Jeter, NYY
    4. Peralta, DET
    5. Furcal, STL
    6. Aviles, BOS (look at their run differential)
    7. Cozart, CIN
    8. Aybar, LAA
    9. Hardy, BAL

    I literally see none of these guys coming available at the trade deadline. MAYBE Hardy if BAL collapses (their run differential is -28 so it’s possible) and they think Machado will be ready next year. That’s a BIG if, especially since he’s in the first year of a three-year deal.

  29. If anything, I’d say that women’s (woman’s? womens? idk) tennis is more popular. I honestly don’t know a single person that willingly sits down and watches men’s tennis. AND WHY IS WIMBLEDON ON DURING JULY 4TH?

  30. @Dan1283,

    Very intelligent post. I agree with you 99.8%–I only disagree that I don’t think Asdrubal Cabrera is going anywhere. AL Central is usually up in the air between Cleveland/Detroit/CWS, and Minnesota has been strong in the past, so I don’t see him going anywhere.

    Aside from that, I’m with you–we’re stuck with Barmes unless Starling Marte learns SS overnight, or until Mercer and D’Arnaud learn hitting overnight. In years past, I’d be totally down with bringing up a kid and seeing how they do, but not this year. I have a feeling that Barmes is going to mean a lot more to this club in August.

  31. @ Boise Bucco-

    I watch more men’s tennis than women’s, so there’s one person you know, sort of. I did also find it amusing, though, that on our Independence Day, the first two ESPN’s were taken up by a sporting event in England.

  32. And if we are still in contention in September, with expanded rosters, can always hit for Barmes (like with Pedro the other day) late in game in key situations.

  33. Was made aware of some mistakes on Lowrie – he is first-year arbitration eligible after this season and won’t be a free agent so he’s technically not a rental. Also, the Astros go to the AL next year so the whole division rival thing could be totally out the window.

    Still don’t see him moving, though.

  34. I know! Baseball? Hot dog eating competition? Nooooope–MEN’S TENNIS BETWEEN A DUDE FROM SPAIN AND A DUDE FROM ENGLAND…AND ZERO MARIA SHARAPOVA (caps lock denotes seriousness). Seriously ESPN. We here at the Asylum are revoking your American citizenship.

  35. Josh Yohe tweeted last night, “Who is the best coach in Pittsburgh… Bylsma, Hurdle, Tomlin or Dixon?”

    Last time that question was presented, I offered Bylsma. Over the course of these past couple of months, I’ve changed my mind to Hurdle.

  36. Ladies Figure Skating is a premiere sport at the Winter Olympics. Way more popular than dude skating.

  37. great column again DK and I agree with most of your points.
    Just a shame how good Tamika or other female athletes are I’ll never watch em personally.
    For myself I find racing, golf, olympic events, X sports(any sports with “judges”) and all female sports boring.
    With my limited free time, when I watch sports I want to watch the best athletes in the world at what they do.
    I’m not a big fan of college sports either for that reason.

    off topic but, I wonder how many ppl in Pittsburgh when given the choice would choose :
    A. USA finishing 1st in the Olympics, World Cup, Baseball Classic etc
    or
    B. One of the 3 professional sports teams winning a championship.

    I’m guessing most would choose B like me. (I could be wrong)
    Most Koreans I know around me said they’d choose A.

    DK: No, I think you’d get pretty much 100 percent on B. But that’s true in any U.S. city. We’ve valued city pride in sports above national for a century and a half now.

  38. I don’t see anything wrong about PIE. I think it’s kinda cool to be able to compare players on an even playing field. Its like when they throw up the stat in little league baseball showing the pitch speed comparing it to MLB. (ex. 65 mph IN LL = 90mph in MLB). I think it’s just the nature of sports, similar to comparing players from different eras.

  39. JAL’s Rollin’ on the River Morning Links

    GENERAL DAILY UPDATED BASEBALL SITES

    1- MLB Transactions

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/pittsburgh_pirates/

    3 Go Buccos- Pirate News (from external sources)

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

    4 Pirates Prospects Draft Pick Signing Tracker

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012draft

    PIRATE BLOGS

    5—Pirates Prospects

    Pirates Notebook: Karstens Looking Like the 2011 Version

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012/07/pirates-notebook-karstens-looking-like-the-2011-version.html

    Prospect Watch: Tony Sanchez Homers In Third Straight Game

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012/07/prospect-watch-tony-sanchez-homers-in-third-straight-game.html

    Sanchez Homers For The Third Time In Three Games, But Indians Lose

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012/07/sanchez-homers-for-the-third-time-in-three-games-but-indians-lose.html

    First Pitch: Do the Pirates Have Depth in Their Farm System?

    http://blogs.piratesprospects.com/williams/first-pitch-do-the-pirates-have-depth-in-their-farm-system/

    Potential July/Deadline Strategy for the Pirates

    http://blogs.piratesprospects.com/creagh/potential-julydeadline-strategy-for-the-pirates/

    6 Bucs Dugout

    Pirates Sweep Astros As Jeff Karstens Dominates

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2012/7/5/3140202/pirates-sweep-astros-as-jeff-karstens-dominates

    7 Rumbunter

    Pirates Smorgasbord July 5, 2012

    http://rumbunter.com/2012/07/05/pirates-smorgasbord-july-5-2012/

    8 McEffect

    The Pirates Trade Problem

    http://www.mceffect.com/2012/07/pirates-trade-problem.html

    9 The Green Weenie

    Karstens Cruises; Bucs Win 2-0

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2012/07/karstens-cruises-bucs-win-2-0.html

    10 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Karstens completes the sweep

    http://raisethejollyroger.com/2012/07/karstens-completes-the-sweep/

    11 WHY GAVS

    Game 82: Pirates 2 Astros 0

    http://whygavs.com/pittsburgh-pirates/july-2012/game-82-pirates-2-astros-0.html

  40. NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    12 CBS Sports

    Pirates-Giants Game Peview

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/gametracker/preview/MLB_20120706_SF@PIT/giantspirates-preview

    13 Houston Chronicle

    Astros fail to offer a challenge vs. Pirates, end roadtrip without a win

    http://blog.chron.com/ultimateastros/2012/07/05/astros-fail-to-offer-a-challenge-vs-pirates-end-roadtrip-without-a-win/

    14 Erie Times News

    Are the Pirates an ‘A’ team aided by the ‘Z’ factor?

    http://www.goerie.com/article/20120706/OPINION07/307069960/Are-the-Pirates-an-'A'-team-aided-by-the-'Z'-factor%3F

    15 San Francisco Chronicle

    Column: At last, Pirates eyeing special season

    http://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Column-At-last-Pirates-eyeing-special-season-3683322.php

    16 Beaver County Times

    These aren’t the same old Bucs

    http://www.timesonline.com/sports/pirates/these-aren-t-the-same-old-bucs/article_20487617-310c-5596-aa46-69d323a47af9.html

    17 KDKA

    Rounding The Bases With Pirates President Frank Coonelly

    http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2012/07/05/rounding-the-bases-with-pirates-president-frank-coonelly/

    SPORTS WEBSITES

    18 PBC Site

    Karstens’ great start finishes sweep of Astros

    http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2012_07_05_houmlb_pitmlb_1&mode=recap&c_id=pit

    Notebook: Pirates’ patience with Alvarez has paid off

    http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20120705&content_id=34529100&notebook_id=34531026&vkey=notebook_pit&c_id=pit

    19 Fangraphs

    The Pittsburgh Pirates Offense, Reborn

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/the-pittsburgh-pirates-offense-reborn/

    20 Baseball Prospectus

    The Blind BABIP Test

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=17535

  41. Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Steelers vs. Ravens Isn’t National Holiday Worthy, Says NFL.com

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2012/7/5/3138447/pittsburgh-steelers-baltimore-ravens-nfl-rivalries

    NFL Supplemental Draft 2012: Quality Prospects Available, but Don’t Expect the Steelers to Make a Pick

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2012/7/5/3138123/nfl-supplemental-draft-2012-pittsburgh-steelers-josh-morgan

    Steelers Training Camp Schedule Begins in Three Weeks and One Day

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2012/7/5/3138432/pittsburgh-steelers-2012-training-camp-preseason-schedule-begins-july-27

    22 Steelers Depot

    - Steelers Top Five 2012 Draft Picks Coming to Virginia Soon for Signing

    http://www.steelersdepot.com/2012/07/steelers-top-five-2012-draft-picks-coming-to-virginia-soon-for-signing/

    23 Steelers Gab

    RB Dwyer Says He’s Getting More in Shape for 2012

    http://www.steelersgab.com/2012/07/02/rb-dwyer-says-hes-getting-more-in-shape-for-2012/

    24 Nice Pick Cower

    Ghosts of Steelers Past: RB R.J. Bowers

    http://nicepickcowher.com/2012/07/02/ghosts-of-steelers-past-rb-r-j-bowers/

    Pitt Blogs

    25 Pitt Blather

    Valpo May Be the Best Option

    http://www.pittblather.com/2012/07/05/valpo-may-be-the-best-option/

    26 Cardiac Hill

    Former Panther Baseball Players Headlining In Minors

    http://www.cardiachill.com/2012/7/5/3137882/former-panther-baseball-players-headlining-in-minors-league-pittsburgh-pirates-pitt

    WVU Blogs

    27 Metro News

    G&BN: The Countdown Continues

    http://www.wvmetronews.com/wvu.cfm?func=displayfullstory&storyid=53653

    28 WV Illustrated

    Healthy Alston Believes Sky is Limit for WVU Rushers

    http://www.wvillustrated.com/story/18957676/healthy-alston-believes-sky-is-limit-for-wvu-rushers

    Soccer(football)

    29 Sky Sports

    Goal-line technology approved

    http://www1.skysports.com/football/news/12010/7870900/Goal-line-technology-approved

    30 Daily Telegraph

    David Beckham cops fine and suspension by MLS

    http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/sport/soccer/david-beckham-cops-fine-and-suspension-by-mls/story-fndb5nmd-1226418551641

    31 World Soccer Daily

    10 Ten stories you need to read, July 5th, 2012

    http://www.worldsoccer.com/247/world-soccer-daily-10-stories-you-need-to-read-5th-july-2012

    PENGUIN BLOGS

    32 Pensburgh

    Revisiting Penguin wingers: better than reputation suggests

    http://www.pensburgh.com/2012/7/5/3138733/revisiting-penguin-wingers-better-than-reputation-suggests

  42. Rollin’ on the River, CCR–Reached number 2 in march of 1969 then was a hit again two years later by Ike and Tina Turner.

    Pirates were rollin’ on the river against the Astros

  43. JAL, the title song rocks! CCR is sweet!

    Dejan ~ great, great, column. No matter what your take it…creationist or darwinist…women and men ARE INHERENTLY DIFFERENT. Besides the usual physical differences…I won’t elaborate…men and women (for the most part) shouldn’t compete on the same playing field. There are rare exceptions.

    If I have my choice of sport to watch, it’s gonna be a man’s sport, hands down. That’s not taking away from women’s sports, it’s just preference.

    Besides, I prefer to watch men’s sports…lots of eye candy!

    DK: Nice to know that train runs both ways. Makes the men a little less guilty, I’m sure.

  44. Coached two girls sports for 20 years, softball and field hockey. When I started the AD at our high school told me that girls should stay to just cheerleading with a few expletives sprinkled in. My daughter was an exceptional player in SB and above average in FH.

    I have watched girls struggle to be called ‘relevant’ all those years and since. Look at ESPN, radio, TV and newspapers and where is the equality in reporting? If the reporting was equal would the sports be equal, which came first, the chicken or the egg?

    I have to wonder if this is why so many of the female athletes think they have to ‘compete’ with the males? Title IX was/is important because it made schools at least give ‘lip service’ to equality but it did not do a thing for making the sports equal in relevance to those who keep it in front of the public. You are included in this, how often do you write and editorial about girls sports!!!!!!!!

  45. A 2 game lead! Remarkable…

  46. Edgybear – more often than he writes about soccer! (BTW – did that column ever run?)

  47. diehard, nope ;)

  48. Lets get a grip? Wow. And I thought you liked your readers.

    Hanrahan does have very good stats. But, EYEballs say that he isn’t the same as last year…or even earlier this year. We watch the games too and can also see the radar gun readings. And we’ve seen it happen to other Pirate closers too (hello Matt Capps)

  49. Interesting article. The creator of PIE must have a lot of time on their hands. I agree that women should be held in their own space. No need to compare to men. But that is the times we live in. There isn’t one NBA stud to come up that doesn’t have comparison’s to other former greats. It just seems everyone wants to compare a player to someone else. They just can’t possibly be their own person. They have to be the next Michael Jordan. I always chuckle that at no matter how good a white player might be they can only be compared to Larry Bird. And I have never heard a black player compared to Bird. Anyway, probably a bit off the article topic but I feel like to value greatness these days you need to put that person/team up against a former player/team. That’s why the new video games are great. That’s the place for that

  50. JAL, looks like Beckham had a bit of a meltdown, eh?

  51. Interesting read, DK.

    As for response, bdubb stole my thunder. We live in a copy cat world. I personally think its out of intellectual laziness, but for whatever reason, we as people often default to comparing something unknown with something of clear preconceived value.

    How many times did we hear that AJ Burnett was going to be Matt Morris redux? Didn’t matter that their situations were nothing alike. Just easier to say it and move on to the next headline streaming across Twitter.

    As far as why womens sports aren’t as popular as mens, at least in the Big 4 North American sense, for me it is the same reason I watch the Pirates over the Altoona Curve. The players are just better and more exciting.

    DK: Suzie McConnell Serio was way, way more entertaining to watch play than about three-quarters of what’s currently in the NBA. But that’s just me. And there weren’t — and aren’t — many Suzies.

  52. @Jandy–if you ever visit northern Colorado, the drinks will be on me.

  53. CWalton, you’re on! ;)

  54. DK and everyone else,

    Please stop calling the Brewers a not quality opponenent. If there is one team we should respect and even fear derailing us it is them. We all know what they are capable of, we don’t need to rehash any of it.

  55. DK,

    I get this one and enjoyed it. I got to watch one of my best friends play as an All Conference field hockey player at Kent State when James Harrison / A Gates were there too. People respected her skills on their own merit, the same way people were frightened to see what James Harrison was doing in the training room and Gates was doing on the court. Different games, different skill sets, but respect was equal.

    DK: Nice.

  56. @ diehard

    I have to disagree – when you never write about either they are equal:-)

  57. I have to comment on the reader above whining about “fairness” in Title IX.

    The reader claims that schools have to “make up” womens sports and cut mens sports in order to make up for the 85 scholarships given to the football team.

    Um, am I the only one that sees the absurdity in that?

    Maybe, just maybe, schools don’t need to be giving full scholarships to the 3rd string Long Snapper.

    11 positions on both sides of the ball. I’d like to hear a logical response to why ANY D1 football team couldn’t exist on 50 scholarships.

    That difference right there saves your baseball or wrestling team.

  58. Hey Dejan
    With out looking it up, who won the PA softball titles, FH, Soccer, LAX in girls sports? I can’t, but that is because I would have to go to the PIAA site for these sports to find out since the papers really did not do much reporting on them. How about football, and boys basketball, quite a difference isn’t there?

    DK: Always a valid criticism. But which comes first, the interest or the interest generated by the media. We’ve been exhaustive, for example, in coverage of girls’ basketball. Has it led to bigger crowds?

  59. Jandy

    Beckham did meltdown. Sometimes a player who has been at top has problems as his career winds down. He was left out of the England’s Olympic team and also the World Cup team

  60. Re David.

    I agree. they’re only 8 games out. one sweep of the buccos puts them right back in the thick of things.

    of course them trading Greinke would change my opinion a good bit…

    but a soon-returning Marcum and keeping of Greinke make them a very worthy opponent.

  61. Jal, maybe it’s time Beckham retires.

  62. @NMR

    The reason football gets that many scholarships is because it brings in the money that funds almost all the other sport programs. Wrestling, baseball, etc. don’t. Not saying it’s fair to give them 85 scholarships but that is why they get so many.

  63. @NMR #52: I’ll take issue with you saying “better” in the boys vs. girls comparison for the same reason DK wrote the article. It’s not “better”; it’s “different.” Sure, in basketball, for example, it’s 5-on-5 on a 94′ court. The hoop is the same height, the 3-point line is the same distance (at least in HS and NCAA, I’m not sure in NBA/WNBA). etc. But it’s just a different game. Lacrosse may be the best example. Men’s lacrosse is based on physical, hockey like play; whereas women’s lacrosse prohibits hitting and the emphasis is on finesse. That doesn’t mean that the men’s game is better just because they can hit each other. They are just DIFFERENT.

    @Edgebear #58: being someone who is personally way more involved in women’s sports than men’s…..AMEN.

  64. A lot of people complaining about Hurdle taking out Karstens after the 8th. Must have had the Over. :-) (we won). But aside from that, Karstens said after the game that Hurdle talked to him about going out for the 9th, and they decided with a 2 run lead, probably better not to take a chance. He said if it had been a 3 run lead, then he probably would have gone back out.

  65. AW, one can’t fault the logic in that (taking Karstens out) but it would have been nice to see him get the shut out.

  66. Re Kartsy, Hurdle also said it was basically his third start of the year, yeah, lost on the ovah, but we did win the game.

    We need Kartsens to be healthy and productive

    Got no problem with him getting pulled

  67. Above Dejan points out a beneficial stat that Pirates first 19 games after All Star break are against teams with losing records. Farm reference: make hay while the sun shines!

    What he does NOT point out is that 16 of Bucs first 22 games after All Star break are on the ROAD!

    Pirates are 14 games above .500 at PNC Park, but 4 games UNDER .500 on the road this season.

    Another farm reference: let’s not count our chickens before they hatch! Pirates have yet to prove they can win consistently on the road.

    Farmer Ted (16 Candles) has spoken!

  68. DK, I didn’t see any reason for anyone to jump on you for your post about the boy playing on an all girls team……I can tell you this, is there any of you out there that would let your son do that???…..I am no caveman, but not in my house…Find another sport….I’m all for girls/women playing (my cousin was an awesome soccer player who played on the football team in her high school in CA….I believe she holds the record for longest field goal for a highschool girl kicker, 50 yards)………My daughter has girls on her softball team with better swings than some boys on my son’s baseball team…..Girls can play on boys teams, boys can’t play on girls teams, and who would want to????

    DK: Different, different, different.

  69. Loving that picture. I’m imagining a supply closet somewhere, where the faithful can exchange their pitchforks for brooms!

  70. By the way, I posted this last night on the other blog….Alan Hanson has, I believe, 15 home runs playing shortstop for one of our low minor league teams…..He weighs 152 pounds!!!!…..Scarey power there……And he’s hitting .300+………………

  71. @Adam

    The notion that all D1 football programs are huge money makers is a fallacy.

    In 2011, only 43% of them even turned a profit.

    Reign in overall athlletic spending and start with football.

    This is America. People will still watch.

  72. Groat, good ol’ common sense! We need not to take anything for granted..but …the way this team is playing, it’s still fun, isn’t it????? =)

  73. I should have said this in my first post….

    @DK: Great article. I’m still waiting for soccer!

    DK: Thanks! And not yet.

  74. Hansen has to weigh 152 pounds in the way that Miguel Sano is 195 :lol:

  75. Sorry, tmp, bad choice of wording with “better”. I do understand your point that its just “different”.

    The better comment was based on personal preference. Sure a male and female basketball player both travel the same distance and shoot at the same hoop on a fast break, but level of play, IMO, isn’t even close as an observing spectator. Give me bigger, faster, and yes, even more athletic.

  76. haha Dan, love the moving smiley face :)

  77. David (#55)

    Regarding the Brewers, are you telling us to get a grip?

    :-)

  78. @ Arriba

    Does their logic make any sense to you? So, Karstens’s arm could have handled the extra wear-and-tear with a three-run lead but not a two-run lead? Couldn’t they have applied that same strategy in the eighth too? It was only a two-run lead then, as well.

  79. Looks like we got the column originally written for the July 4th holiday edition today.

    As a former summer “Girls’ Athletic Director” for a decade, I appreciate the topic; but it’s not a grabber, is it? Many readers are missing Dejan’s point entirely, or drifting off to arguing NCAA scholarships in football.

    July 3rd, 2012 – 1:21 pm
    Dejan’s column tomorrow:

    1/ generic July 4th
    2/ response defending Rene Gayo
    3/ good-bye Jose, we hardly knew ye
    4/ something to appease fringe groups on the less-read holiday edition, like gymnastics or swimmers or the sport that must not be named

    What say ye, all?

    DK: You’re good.

  80. Did I see someone from Hawaii posting on the chat yesterday???

  81. Biz, yup, I saw that too!

  82. NMR: Completely agree on bigger, faster, more athletic. And it’s those adjectives that prove both of our points: (1) Different games based on size, speed, etc. (2) Men’s sports are globally more appealing to watch than women’s.

  83. I thought I read that Karstens said he would rather have the relievers come into the game in the ninth with a ‘clean inning’ and not come in with a run given up or runners on base.

    So AW’s logic makes sense to me. More margin for error with a 3 run lead than a 2 run lead.

  84. JAL,

    Your music is always anticipated and appreciated . . . .

    . . . . . however, this week I am drawing a star on your forehead with a Magic Marker for your great choices!

    Now that’s MUSIC!

  85. Everyone,

    Think Marianio Rivera ever had some stretches where his mph and stuff was down? Not to compare Joel Hanrahan to Mariano, but the thought process is there. You can’t throw in the towel on a guy because he lost a couple of mph or looks a little shaky in such a small sample size of time.

  86. Hanny kept his cool last night. I actually felt sorry for the Fort trying to catch some of those pitches LOL

  87. Hoss Cartwright,

    No throwing in towel . . . . . but you may give him an extra day off or not pitch him in a game where he is not necessarily needed.

    Now he is unavailable for tonight!

    After Karstens threw that 6-pitch 8th, who do you think represented the best choice to have a clean 9th inning: Karstens or Hanrahan?

  88. I see your point groat but I am going to give you the answer you don’t want to hear. I think Hanny absolutely should have come in. It was an exquisite 8th inning. But karstens was only in his 3rd start of the season and had thrown 88 pitches. his average for the season to that point was 75. Stretch him out gradually. Next time out if he’s performing stretch him to 100. but hanny usually gets teh job done and certainly doesn’t blow 2 in a row. Even if his saves are starting to look more like Mike Williams than Mariano Rivera.

  89. I too was against Hanrahan coming in to the game last night, not only because Karstens had just had another ridiculously efficient inning, but using Joel against the Houston last night made him unavailable tonight against a much better team in SF.

    Of course, you also have the argument that you don’t play for tomorrow, you play for that specific moment. Either way, we’ll take the W and hope they win by 7 or 8 tonight and wouldn’t even need Hanrahan.

  90. Groat….
    Hurdle clearly gives his reasons for going to Hanrahan last night. No need to speculate. Hurdle wanted to give Hanny a chance to bounce back after a blown save. And over the course of a season, very rarely will a relief pitcher be used 3 days in a row… this is something to learn from for Hanny.

  91. –Of course, you also have the argument that you don’t play for tomorrow, you play for that specific moment. Either way, we’ll take the W and hope they win by 7 or 8 tonight and wouldn’t even need Hanrahan.–

    We all know that Hurdle plays for the W in the game he is in. He proved that point very early last season and we were all praising him for doing it.

    You can’t even predict whether or not Hanny will be needed tonight. Seems like flawed logic to me to say “Boy this is the time I would use my closer to ensure i get a W right here. But I MIGHT need him tomorrow for that W. I guess I can risk sacrificing this one right here for a maybe chance at a W tomorrow.”

  92. Naje,

    I heard Hurdle’s presser and you left out Hurdle’s first answer to the Hanrahan question: “to give you guys something to argue about” I think were his words.

    I want to believe everything I hear, but I know comments are sometimes decoys.

    If Hurdle was so set in Hanrahan working through his last two “unclean” outings, then why was it he directly, not the pitching coach, who immediately after ball 4 went to the bullpen phone and got Hughes up? Immediately!

    Those are “nice things” coaches say after a win——because they can.

    Hurdle is there in the dugout and he has a better feel for what’s going on than I do in my living room . . . . . . . . . but I would have preferred he save Hanrahan for the next 3 games against the Giants, give him an extra day off after 2 so-so outings, albeit saves, and let Karstens finish.

    Karstens has feelings too——not just Hanny.

  93. 1) Hurdle has stated that he doesn’t want to throw people 3 straight days.
    2) Hanrahan came into the game having pitched two straight, and looked shaky doing so.
    3) The rest of the pen has looked pretty solid all year.
    4) The Astros are not good, and my fear of them being able to score two or more runs in the 9th yesterday was not terribly high.

    I get pulling Karstens, since this is basically April for him, but I would have rather seen Hughes get the ball at the start of the 9th. NOTHING against Hanrahan… He still has my full confidence.

    But hey, Hurdle’s been pushing the right buttons a lot more often than he’s been missing this year or this team wouldn’t be 10 over.

  94. Great stuff DK. Really interesting.

    Reminds me of how every season, my high school baseball team would scrimmage the girls softball team with their rules. I struck out in every at bat.

    Girls sports are different, and that’s why it’s exciting. I’m no college basketball fan, but I enjoy watching Baylor’s Brittany Griner play because of her talent. Hopefully she draws some viewership to the WNBA – not because she can dunk like a guy, but because she can dunk like Brittany Griner.

    DK: Yeah, people who haven’t tried to hit underhand pitching … give it a shot.

  95. @Evan

    Man, how could I forget doing the face baseball/softball scrimmages!

    We didn’t play actual games, but I’ve been humbled many times trying to put metal on a 60 mph softball from 40′ or whatever their mound is.

  96. Most of the crossover appeal comes from good-looking feminine girls.

  97. Groat–I’m going to guess at the answer to your question about why Hurdle and not Searage “immediately went to the bullpen phone.” I’ve seen him do it lots of times in the 8th or 9th, and you sure aren’t going to start the 9th with your normal Closer in and someone warming up just in case he doesn’t have it. I doubt it had any real meaning other than what he saw made him think they better get ready just in case.

  98. @ Groat – You bring up a good point in post #67 about road games…but one recent trend to consider is this:

    First 25 road games (April and May) the Bucs were 9-14 five below.500
    Last 19 road games (June on) the Bucs are 10-9 one game above .500

    Next four road series are Brewers (3), Rockies (3), Astros (4), Cubs (3) combined home record of those four clubs is 82-85 .491.

    If the team can keep the focus on winning series they have shot to get to .500 on road by beginning of August where they than enjoy 17 of 28 games at home.

  99. Dejan,

    On first reading your article I thought, wow is he off base here. Why shouldn’t we compare men and women on equal footing? But as I continued reading, I realized you are dead on here.

    The real danger in comparing these sports is that you eventually start comparing “what isn’t”. Look at Women’s hockey for example. There isn’t the same level of physicality, there isn’t the same level of speed. Comparing it to Men’s hockey can only illustrate supposed deficiencies in the game. However, held on its own you can recognize the merits of the sport, such as increased strategy and system play.

    With women’s sports there seems to be three levels of adoption:

    1. Dismissed (Totally ignored, it’s a man’s game)
    2. Comparison (See the women are as good as the men!)
    3. Independent Success (Hey this is good on its own merit)

    I bet historically you could map any mainstream women’s sport to these various categories over time. Even tennis, field hockey, etc.

    DK: Your “what isn’t” line is very good. Wish I’d had it for the column!

  100. DK:

    I skipped over some of the entries on the blog to answer this question from you;

    “Why does anyone, anywhere ever worry about Jeff Karstens?”

    @JRay asked me last night in the game thread blog, which I didn’t get to answer.

    Simply put: I’m a believer now. I’ve always been for the guy, there’s just something about him that I was unsure of.

    I didn’t get to see the game last night, but after looking over the stats, how can I not.

    What I like best about him pitching is his style. Remember how everyone used to get on Kevin Young about how effortless his approach at the plate was? JK is the same way on the mound. He makes it look easy. The way he changes speeds with his curveball, makes it almost unhitable. The spots he hits with the fast ball, also makes it unhitable.

    Now, if the guy doesn’t hit his spots, he’s going to get smashed. I don’t expect every outing he has to be like last nights, but if he continues to hit his spots and bend that curveball, he could have the same outcome against the better hitting teams he’ll face in the future.

    ALL HAIL JEFF KARSTENS!!!

    I’M ALL IN.

  101. Women and men are different.

    Women’s sports and men’s sports are very, very different.

    Why try competing with or comparing these two when there are enough heroines and heroes for each sex to aspire to?

    Very good piece DK.

    DK: Thanks! Very heartened by all the response to it. Surprised, too.

  102. On Hanny:

    There might be some added pressure on him right now. Would explain why he is overthrowing his FB. Same with the slider. This is uncharted waters for him.

    I have faith in the head coach, pitching coach, pitching staff, and Joel Hanrahan that he will get this all worked out.

    Long stretch ahead of us, he will right the ship.

  103. I watch women’s sports because they’re women and are far more interesting to look at than dudes.
    Same reason my wifelett watches MEN’s hockey. Eye-candy (tanks Jandylicious… clearly the epitomy of eye-candy!)

    But watching women’s sports for the sake of the sport–from this man’s perspective–is often painful. For instance watching women point-sparring in TKD just does nada for moi. Women’s fencing? Same thing. And women’s hoops? Not so much. Why? No eye-candy allure and the caliber of competition just isn’t the same as the men’s.

    Generally speaking, there is a significantly higher percentage of male spectators at top-level sporting events than female, because–again generally–the caliber of competition and athletic performance warrants moving past the eye-candy allure to the event itself. When we grow accustomed to watching that level of competition, anything less simply does not have the same level of excitement, the same “charge”.

    Female fast-pitch softballers can flat out wing that ball, but in comparison to an 85 mph slinker that falls off the table and leaves a 240 ell-bee gorilla waving a piece of lumber around like it’s a divining rod…? There’s no comparison.

    On the other hand, I don’t see much difference between the two in soccer or tennis, but then I don’t really get past the eye-candy allure either in those two sports. Women’s hockey? Ugh. Little possibility for eye-candy allure there, so it just…isn’t…interesting to me. If that makes me a sexist bigot, oh well, but it’s my viewing time and money and i’ll exercise it as I choose.

    Now lingerie-football… that’s just stupid.

    DK: Had a feeling the discussion would get really heady this morning.

  104. My son just finished up a Junior League All-Star tournament, one of the teams had a girl on it.

    At that age, most girls have already crossed over to softball.

    This girl, was a ball player. She made solid contact, had a couple of hits. Ran the bases hard and played 2B.

    It was fun to watch.

  105. Why are the Pirates being linked to Chase Headley? What am I missing there? Unless Headley plays SS, I don’t see a fit with Alvarez and McGehee, and Harrison as well, on the roster.

    They need to promote Marte and see what he can do. Shoot, he can’t be worse than Presley or Tabata, and he has the potential to be much better. If he is better, perhaps it alleviates the need to add a corner OF through a trade. And if he is not better, well, then you know you have to go get a more legit corner OF to strengthen the lineup.

    And call me crazy, but another reliever would be nice. I’ve always like Grant Balfour, now with Oakland, who may/should be sellers. But obtaining a legit lefty reliever should be something they’re looking to add. Not sexy, but it’ll pay off when it counts.

  106. So WWIII will be at my house this weekend.

    Wifey is a Giants fan. I have a lot of friends in the area that are Giants fans as well. Its going to be fun!!

    Giants have been a little inconsistant this year, though they have a similiar record.

    Melky Cabrera is hitting the cover off the ball, just like Cutch but without the power.

    Pirates pitchers have to watch out for him and Pablo Sandavol. The NL starting 3B in the All-Star game. He might put one in the river.

    They’ll face Tim Lincecum on Sunday. I’m sure you all know, Timmy has struggled A LOT this season. ERA over 6 and record is 3-9.

    Teams have been getting to him early, also. I’d love to see the Pirates get after him.

    This series isn’t going to be easy. The Giants are a very good team and a 1st place contendar.

    Very good test for the Buccos.

  107. @ Paw160

    People go to a hockey game for the of physicality and the speed.

    Are you trying to tell us that you think people go to a hockey game to see strategy and system play.

    I never heard someone say, “wow, i didn’t think he was going to get their to clog up the middle, but WOW, that was some neutral zone trap!!!”.

    There is a reason that the Mario statue doen’t show him back checking….

  108. To compare women’s/men’s sports the best example for me is basketball.

    If you wanna see a high-flying show, watch a men’s game.

    If you wanna watch how the game should be played and strategy comes into play, watch the women’s game.

    Look at what UConn women’s basketball team accomplishes every year. They go undefeated for 20 years (not literally)

    What the coach at UConn has accomplished is remarkable at any level, any gender.

  109. And I agree whole-heartedly with Groat2Maz on Hanrahan. Sure, his job is to exit the game the same way he entered it: with the lead. But, man, is he pushing it and, more importantly, not looking like the Hammer. After the past two shaky performances, I also would have sat him to rest him for the weekend. I personally hope he sits out the All-Star game to get some extended rest. The second-half of the season is too important.

  110. Ryn, be sure to put on your full metal jacket before the game ;)
    When the Buccos are winning, you may be a target!

  111. “DK: Yeah, people who haven’t tried to hit underhand pitching … give it a shot.”

    So there I was, 1994/1995, a stud on the baseball team, had a girlfriend or 12 on the softball team, talking smack as good as any other 18 year old dude does.

    “I can hit any of that under hand stuff. I’ve faced 90-95, 1st round draft picks, what’s a girl got on them?”

    Yep, didn’t come close and looked like a fool……..

  112. @Jandy

    Might wife might’ve shot a M-16 also……….this is gonna be fun!!

  113. dcpinpgh ~ I do believe Paw160 was saying that the strategy and system play is MORE a part of the women’s game…thus why it isn’t watched as much.

  114. LOL Ryan, love your story on trying to hit the softball.

  115. What I saw when I was watching Hanny on the mound last night was determination. In his eyes was Determination to see the inning thru without giving up a run. Sure, he was hot and sweaty. And fighting for control. But he looked determined to get it done. And he did. Maybe that’s what Clint was looking for when he put him out there.

  116. @Jandy

    No joke…..I’m a lefty, faced a 1st round LHP pitcher, didn’t make me look that bad. ( I did he off him though)

    My wife was a softball player/pitcher in high school as well. She loved those kind of challenges

  117. @Jandy

    I didn’t see it, but I see it everytime he’s out there.

    I would think that Hanny is unavailable today. Just for a mental/physical break.

  118. Hanny’s definitely unavailable today. He pitched the last 3 nights. At least Karsty’s outing gave the rest of the bullpen a rest, because with Bedard, they will be needed.

  119. OK, one was a day game.

  120. AW

    Doesn’t matter, he’ll be shut down today……..

    Bedard will go at least 6

    Can we NOT see Cruz though.

    If Bedard goes 6, bring in Lincoln for 2 shutdown innings.

  121. Or……..see what he can do in the 9th??

  122. A well-deserved rest!

  123. cant Grilli pitch 7 & 8 and let Lincoln close?

  124. @Ryan

    Glad I wasn’t the only one.

    Luckily, as good at softball as the girls I faced were, they looked about as pretty as Jeff Karstens in 104 degree heat.

    I would have died if the girls soccer team saw me strike out though.

  125. LOL @ Evan!

  126. Someone mentioned that not as much attention has been paid to the minors because of the Pirates success – how true. Indy Indians finally lost last night. Had an 8 game winning streak and a 16-2 record before that loss. Indians have the best record by 4 games in the IL and a 12 game lead in their division. They averaged 7.5 runs scored during the 8 game winning streak, while only allowing 3.5 runs per game.

  127. Any news on what the Pirates are doing with Leroux…I thought decision was due yesterday?

  128. And don’t think I missed the GREAT pattonbb taking over the lead for fake units!

    Congrats, pattonbb! Ryan has been eerily silent about the lines last night, ;)

  129. @dcpinpgh You missed my point. I’m saying that this is exactly why you shouldn’t compare Women’s Hockey and Men’s Hockey to each other. Women’s hockey appears pathetic when you compare it to the Men’s sport. But if you look at the Women’s game on it’s own, as an entirely separate sport, it’s not bad.

  130. RF ~ We wouldn’t EVER think you had missed anything ;)

  131. @ Jandy

    from above “However, held on its own you can recognize the merits of the sport, such as increased strategy and system play.”

    To me that sounds like well, the action isn’t good, but increased strategy and having a system IS the reason to watch.

  132. dcpinpgh ~ to me it sounds like women are more cerebral in sports,hence the strategy..men are more phsyical, hence the excitement lol.

  133. Pirates keep getting more attention from ESPN

    A-to-Z Pittsburgh Pirates bandwagon guide

    http://espn.go.com/blog/playbook/fandom/post/_/id/5837/a-to-z-pittsburgh-pirates-bandwagon-guide

  134. @BenderHeel #105 -

    When Headley first joined the Padres, he played a good deal of LF. I have to assume that if the Bucs were to pick him up, he would end up in the OF, maybe RF if his arm that strong enough to play 3B is deemed strong enough to play RF.

    Outfield of Presley/McCutchen/Headley would be my guess, with Presley becoming a 4th OF when Marte arrives (a very good role for him imo) and a pure platoon with McGeheeheehee/Jones at 1st.

  135. @ Paw…

    Oh, so what you are saying is If you take out what makes hockey watchable, it’s not the same sport….interesting

  136. buggee #104 – Female fast-pitch softballers can flat out wing that ball, but in comparison to an 85 mph slinker that falls off the table and leaves a 240 ell-bee gorilla waving a piece of lumber around like it’s a divining rod…? There’s no comparison.

    Think hitting a fastpitch softball is easy? Back in 2004 Jennie Finch struck out Albert Pujols and Mike Piazza at an All Star game event.
    And check this out…

  137. Let’s get down to brass tacks.

    How many people have been to a Pittsburgh Passion Football game? Pittsburgh has arguable the best female football team in the world. We are sports junkies enough to take time out of work to comment on a blog.

    How many people have paid to see the Passion? Why have you gone and why have you not gone…..

  138. Jeff Karstens is Pittsburgh’s “Bulldog”

  139. JAL, ESPN are losers, but that column was kinda funny…poor Karstens ;)

  140. Jandy

    I know ESPN is not thought of highly by many but they do have some good reporters writing columns.

  141. Someone also recently asked what the splits were with Barajas vs McKenry catching. Just ran across the stat

    Barajas 31-22
    McKenry 15-14

    McKenry’s numbers helped recently by subbing for Rod’s injury during this hot streak.

  142. From the ESPN column…
    “It might still be unlikely that the Pirates play deep into October, but I think we all can agree that A.J. Burnett beating the Yankees in the World Series — while still earning big money from the Yankees — would be close to the greatest baseball thing ever.”
    Yes it would be. (close at least)

  143. Here’s a poll question for the group – how many think Jones will get another start against a LHP tonight? Got his first start on Wed against a LHP.

  144. JAL,

    Good get on the SportsPickle guy!! One of my favorite sites when I am down in the dumps.

    Very creative article. He must be from around here, since he knows so much “inside” stuff.

  145. If I recall correctly, DJ Gallo (who wrote that ESPN column) is a Pirates fan who shares our pain.

  146. @RF

    I’ve been busy!!! But yea, I actually had a push last night. Lost one, missed one.

    Was a tough line. I’ll catch back.

  147. @Evan

    Not my softball team girls. I went to HS in Florida. Almost Jenny Finch like…….almost.

  148. @roberto

    he probably gets that start…because they have no other options. Gorkys isn’t going to get the nod. the only other option at this point is to put JaHay out there. Which could happen. In fact my guess is it probably will(now that I stop and think about who else was available)

    Harrison
    Sutton
    McCutchen
    McGehee
    Walker
    Pedro
    Barajas/Fort
    Barmes
    Bedard

    I can live with that.

  149. I have often thought “Who cares what ESPN thinks, the team is winning and that is what matters.”

    But the other day I was talking to a coworker and he brought up a good point. ESPN = national exposure. Potential free agents watch Sports Center. Sports Center tells them who the teams to beat are. They want to play for those teams. Until Pittsburgh is viewed as a legitimate contender on the national stage it will continue to be hard to draw free agents.

    One way to get on the national stage is to make the playoffs. More accurately the LCS. Another way s to play well enough to get your highlights on ESPN every night. Plant the seed.

    ultimately the way to draw free agents is to keep winning, but having the media talking you up sure doesn’t hurt.

  150. Barry Zito:

    Much improved over his first few years in SF. Devistating curveball, especially to lefties.

    Will be interesting to see if Pedro/Jones get the start.

  151. @Jandy

    How about Hughes in 7th, Grilli 8th, and Lincoln to close.

    Otherwise, probably Grilli close, Lincoln 8th, and Hughes in the 7th, still…

    If we avoid Cruz, which I doubt CH will.

  152. @Roberto

    I think AJS is on the money with his lineup.

    Though I would switch Sutton and J-Hay.

    Without looking at his numbers, which I will in a moment. Barmes has the most experience against him.

  153. Ryan, yeah, Cruz makes me bite my nails more than Hanny did last night lol.
    Grilli I love. Hughes will do. Leave Lincoln to close.
    Dayum, you guys have me being an armchair manager ;)

  154. Jandy

    I got ya covered…its the fun part of the game. I manage/coach through the whole thing.

  155. DJ Gallo should have used “J” for Jerry Meals. But at least the Jameson Taillon entry gave us this gem:

    “Since general manager Neal Huntington took over the team in September 2007, he shifted the team’s drafting approach to picking good baseball players. Smart move.”

  156. @diehard #136: There are exceptions to every rule

  157. My money is on Jones starting. I am 50/50 on Pedro. Barmes will be in there.

    If Pedro doesn’t start, Gorkys may get a start and McGehee and Jones move in the infield.

  158. @Ryan

    Just thought I’d yank your chain since there was some chatter about separating, but no one mentioned pattonbb – He shall return!! Lol

    I have been slowly working my way back from negative territory. Halfway there.

  159. nice read by Gallo at that 4-letter-ho-mongering-network from bristol

  160. @JAL

    Thanks for the ESPN read, that was funny.

    “Go to any Pirates game and you’ll see fans wearing T-shirts that read “Rebuilding since 1992.”

    Ha Ha, I have one of those tshirts.

  161. RF

    Its cool, please feel free to do so!! I can take it and dish it, its fun.

  162. My theory on Barmes is false, though he does have quit a few AB’s against Zito..

    Apparently this guy never really could hit.

    http://bb-ref.org/play-index/batter_vs_pitcher.cgi?batter=barmecl01&pitcher=zitoba01#gotresults&batter=barmecl01&pitcher=zitoba01&min_year_game=2006&max_year_game=2012&post=1&ajax=1&submitter=1

  163. Anyone have any news on the Leroux, Moskos, Slaten fronts?

  164. @Lucky

    Found some cool stuff on Chris Ledoux……..opps

  165. @Ryan

    I’d sit Jones for sure.

    I have more confidence in Pedro sitting back on that slow bender. My theory on Pedro’s problems vs. lefties is pitch recognition. I don’t think anyone in the park will confuse Zito’s curveball with his fastball. Maybe Pedro can sit back on a hanger and toss it into the Allegheny.

  166. They might confuse his fastball with a changeup though…s-l-o-w

    But you know, why not try Jones, see what he does, sit back isn’t something he does well though.

    He’s hot, don’t f… with a hitting streak.

  167. That curveball starts behind their backs…….reminds me of Sid Fernandez from the Mets of the 80′s.

    Only Barry is obviously more concerned about his looks. i.e. diet

  168. I agree with Ryan on Jones. Play him when he’s hot.

    BTW, there’s a cute story in the Trib by 24/7 about Hurdle and the Home Run Derby in 1999. Threw 180 pitches total to four different guys.

  169. Moskos claimed by White Sox

  170. Heard Moskos was claimed by the White Sox

  171. And with that claim by the White Sox so ends the final chapter of one of the poorest draft decisions a Pirates Front Office has ever made.

    For bypassing a power hitting catcher in Matt Wieters the Pirates received a pitcher with a final line of:

    31 Games, 24.1 IP, 29 hits, 2.96 ERA and 1.56 WHIP

    Close the book.

  172. Tonight’s Bucs Lineup:

    Harrison, Sutton, Cutch, McGehee, Walker, Alvarez, Barajas, Hernandez, Bedard.

    No Jones, and no Barmes.

  173. Gorkys!!!!

  174. Thanks JAL and Ryan.

  175. Groat2Maz2whatever,

    Grilli

  176. I’ve liked Karstens since he was a rookie with the Yankees. He has done more than enough to be considered a quality starter.

    He’s been a fine pitcher his whole Pirate career, but especially starting with his first game replacing Ross Ohlendorf in the rotation early last season and all through the year. That was what started off the whole turnaround for the Pirates last year. His quality starts began the trend. He was their best starter last year and in his last two starts he is right back to just being the normal Jeff Karstens I expect.

    Jim Tracy didn’t have a clue how to use him, or he would have been in the rotation long before Clint Hurdle thankfully took the helm.

  177. Admiring the time and effort you put into your site and in depth information you offer. It’s nice to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same outdated rehashed material. Wonderful read! I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m adding your RSS feeds to my Google account.

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