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Wakeup Call: Olympians posing as puppets

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

LONDON — Brief and to the Point …

>> The Thursday column brings the conclusion of the two-part Reporter’s Decathlon, the final five events, concluded by the one you’d least expect me to attend.

Really enjoyed this in a weird way.

>> Getting upset about a multiple-error game is akin to being mad at Jason Grilli: Makes no sense and accomplishes nothing.

The Pirates aren’t that bad of a defensive team. Goofy things happen.

But they surely would be helped by someone stepping up in the broader Joel Hanrahan support role. The apparent depth that seemed to be in place with some combo of Brad Lincoln, Evan Meek and/or Juan Cruz is nowhere to be found. It’s got to be someone on the staff.

A strong August from say, Chris Resop, would do the trick. But his consistency hasn’t been there for the better part of the summer.

>> Makes you appreciate Hanrahan all the more.

>> Trains, trains, trains.

It’s not exaggeration to say I’ve spent at least one-third of these Olympics on one train or another, Underground or Overground, old rail and light rail.

I’m hardly alone. Fans attending the Games are cramming into train cars like sardines. Most of the athletes — even the NBA guys — have used the system. Mostly because there’s little choice. Taxis are plentiful but prohibitively expensive. Cars are … well, you try driving on the wrong side of the road with the steering wheel on the wrong side of the car.

No thanks.

That said, the trains are amazingly efficient despite the overwhelming demand. You’ll almost never wait more than two minutes in the Underground. And if you do, they — sit down for this — apologize.

>> All I have left is the weekend, but it’s a huge one for our Pittsburgh athletes.

162 Comments

  1. You know we have come a long way when we complain about a sloppy win! Just sayin’ isn’t it nice!!!!

  2. Clint Hurdle just talked in his after game interview that he was really proud of his pitchers, especially Correia, because he counted 33 outs that the Bucs gave the Snakes tonight.

    There’s no way Pirates should have won this game.

    Yet they did——amazingly because of their bats: Neal Walker with a HR and 5 ribbies and Marte and Mercer with HRs.

    Fielders can go into slumps just like hitters. Pedro is in a slump on both sides of the ball!!

  3. DK,
    If I send you $600 will you respond to every single post I make for one year?

  4. Pitchers sometimes talk about gutting through a start to get a win when they don’t have their best stuff. Seemed that way for the Bucs last night. But a win is a win. Lokking forward to Day-dro tomorrow. Hope that both Jones and Pedro get the start, even though LHP Saunders is starting.

    For all the #FreeTheFort calls, The Pirates are 22-18 in games started by the Fort, and 40-29 with Hot Rod.

  5. I think Jared Hughes could be that guy. Had a rough night the other night but he’s been mostly good this year.

  6. Don’t forget Juan Cruz. He started his rehab yesterday I believe and could be back soon.

  7. ‘Tis nice having the best home record in all of baseball and it not being like April 7 or something.

    Let’s Go Bucs!

  8. Re: Hot Rod vs. the Fort. It isn’t all about offense. Just like there being something to be said about Barmes going away from first, making a great catch and somehow still throwing out the runner being a value, Rod is like having another pitching coach on the field. How many times do you see guys striking out because the chess match from earlier in the at bat had the hitter set up perfectly to chase a pitch he had no business swinging at? I’ll tell you… a lot.

    Would be surprised to see Fort out there tomorrow, even with the earlier start time. Just because of the Espanol factor and Wandy on the hill, etc.

  9. Once again another fun read, I hope you were hydrating during that decathlon, some of those events can be draining.

  10. I like Barajas. He seems to know the right time to drop in a first pitch breaking ball to an amped up hitter.

    Baltimore is calling up Manny Machado. Is J.J Hardy available? He can’t be right. He’s a good bat and a really good glove signed for 2 more years at 7,000,000. He would look great batting 7th protecting Pedro Alvarez.

    Stephen Drew. He takes pitches Barmes is swinging at out of the pitcher’s hand. Drew can hit leadoff and move Marte or Snider down.

    (Trivia: What is Drew Sutton’s first name? Stephen. His full name is Stephen Drew Sutton.)

    Or Jordy Mercer.

    If the Pirates can get a better hitting SS they can play Barajas for his D and bat him 8th. Also, he’s not so bad a hitter that he can’t occasionally come up with a big hit or HR.

  11. JAL’s Gold 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/

    PIRATE BLOGS

    4—Pirates Prospects

    Pirates Notebook: Correia Adjusts in Spot Start; Presley in Triple-A to Get More At-Bats

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012/08/pirates-notebook-correia-adjusts-in-spot-start-presley-in-triple-a-to-get-more-at-bats.html

    State College Player Reports 8/8/12: Creasy, Harlan, Crumlich

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012/08/state-college-player-reports-8812-creasy-harlan-crumlich.html

    Prospect Watch: McPherson Shines in Triple-A Debut

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012/08/prospect-watch-mcpherson-shines-in-triple-a-debut.html

    First Pitch: Manny Machado and Rushing Prospects

    http://blogs.piratesprospects.com/williams/first-pitch-manny-machado-and-rushing-prospects/

    5 Bucs Dugout

    Neil Walker Leads Pirates To 7-6 Win Over Diamondbacks

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2012/8/9/3229616/neil-walker-leads-pirates-to-7-6-win-over-diamondbacks

    6 Rumbunter

    Nuns Fire Up Pittsburgh Pirates Zoltan Sign, Minutes Later Chris Young Strikes Out, Gets Tossed

    http://rumbunter.com/2012/08/08/nuns-fire-up-pittsburgh-pirates-zoltan-sign-minutes-later-chris-young-strikes-out-gets-tossed/

    7 McEffect

    8/8 Recap | Pirates 7 Diamondbacks 6

    http://www.mceffect.com/2012/08/88-recap-pirates-7-diamondbacks-6.html

    Wednesday 8/8 Minor League Roundup

    http://www.mceffect.com/2012/08/wednesday-88-minor-league-roundup.html

    8 The Green Weenie

    Lineup, Notes, News – Locke Up, Presley Down

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2012/08/lineup-notes-news-locke-up-presley-down.html

    9 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Bucs win a wild one

    http://raisethejollyroger.com/2012/08/bucs-win-a-wild-one-2/

    10 WHY GAVS

    Game 110: Pirates 7 Diamondbacks 6

    http://whygavs.com/pittsburgh-pirates/august-2012/game-110-pirates-7-diamondbacks-6.html

  12. NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 CBS Sports

    Pirates-Diamondbacks game Preview

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/gametracker/preview/MLB_20120809_ARI@PIT/diamondbackspirates-preview

    12 ArtVoice

    Touching Baseball History

    http://artvoice.com/issues/v11n32/play_ball

    13 Chicago Tribune

    Pirates Report

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/sns-rt-bbo-pirates-teamreportmtze888eqk0rd-20120808,0,2468512.story

    14 KDKA

    Walk On Wednesday: “It Had To Happen Eventually”

    http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2012/08/08/walk-on-wednesday-it-had-to-happen-eventually/

    15 St. Louis Post Dispatch

    Bernie Bytes: Myth of the ‘tiring’ Lynn

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/columns/bernie-miklasz/bernie-bytes-myth-of-the-tiring-lynn/article_eb12cc10-e165-11e1-8459-001a4bcf6878.html

    16 Arizona Republic

    Chris Young shows his emotions during ejection as Arizona Diamondbacks fall to Pittsburgh Pirates

    http://www.azcentral.com/sports/diamondbacks/articles/20120808arizona-diamondbacks-pittsburgh-pirates-gamer-0808.html

    17 Conway Daily Sun

    Back in The Show: Locke called up for Pirates pennant race

    http://www.conwaydailysun.com/index.php/newsx/local-news/91818-back-in-the-show-locke-called-up-for-pirates-pennant-race

    SPORTS WEBSITES

    18 PBC Site

    Walker boosts Bucs with career-high five RBIs

    http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2012_08_08_arimlb_pitmlb_1&mode=recap&c_id=pit

    Notebook: Marte’s skills as good as advertised

    http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20120808&content_id=36332234&notebook_id=36332240&vkey=notebook_pit&c_id=pit

    19 Baseball Prospectus

    Snaking Up the Standings

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=17946

    20 Fangraphs

    Lyle Overbay: Sneaky Stretch Addition?

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/lyle-overbay-sneaky-stretch-addition/

  13. Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin Speaks on David Johnson’s Role in 2012

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2012/8/8/3227527/pittsburgh-steelers-training-camp-david-johnson-fullback-will-johnson-leonard-pope-weslye-saunders

    Notion of Plaxico Burress Signing with Steelers is Silly

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2012/8/8/3227523/nfl-pittsburgh-steelers-plaxico-burress-debt

    22 Steelers Depot

    -Kugler Says DeCastro Has Gotten Better Over Past Week

    http://www.steelersdepot.com/2012/08/kugler-says-decastro-has-gotten-better-over-past-week/

    23 Steelers Gab

    Report Says Steelers Won’t Consider Moving Wallace This Year

    http://www.steelersgab.com/2012/08/08/report-says-steelers-wont-consider-moving-wallace-this-year/

    24 Nice Pick Cower

    Brandon Weeden to Start, Browns QB Futility Since 2004, and the Steelers

    http://nicepickcowher.com/2012/08/08/brandon-weeden-to-start-browns-qb-futility-since-2004-and-the-steelers/

    Pitt Blogs

    25 Pitt Blather

    Get Back

    http://www.pittblather.com/2012/08/08/get-back/

    26 Cardiac Hill

    The Repackaging of Todd Graham Is Predictably A Box Full Of Crap

    http://www.cardiachill.com/2012/8/8/3228701/todd-graham-pitt-football-arizona-state-sun-devils-lies-crap-fsn-special-meeting-keith-patterson

    WVU Blogs

    27 Metro News

    New Deal A ‘Win-Win’ For Holgorsen

    http://www.wvmetronews.com/wvu.cfm?func=displayfullstory&storyid=54243

    28 WV Illustrated

    Smallwood Becomes Latest Mountaineer Commitment

    http://www.wvillustrated.com/story/19228776/smallwood-becomes-latest-mountaineer-commitment

    Soccer(football)

    29 Sky Sports

    Transfer Clockwatch

    http://www1.skysports.com/transfer-centre/clockwatch

    30 Daily Telegraph

    Liverpool increase bid to £15m for Joe Allen of Swansea

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/liverpool/9462631/Liverpool-increase-bid-to-15m-for-Joe-Allen-of-Swansea.html

    31 World Soccer Daily

    10 Ten stories you need to read, August 8th, 2012

    http://www.worldsoccer.com/247/world-soccer-daily-10-stories-you-need-to-read-8th-august-2012

    PENGUIN BLOGS

    32 Pensburgh

    Season in Review: Ben Lovejoy

    http://www.pensburgh.com/2012/8/8/3227023/season-in-review-ben-lovejoy

  14. Gold, John Stewart, 1979. Reached number 5 on the charts. Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham are on the album and song. This was Stewart’s biggest hit recording though a song he wrote, Daydream Believer, hit number 1 for the Monkees. This one for California

  15. Wow, I don’t make it last night (but I DID watch the game) and I get dissed…and I can’t even defend myself!

    Jax Buc said: Well, it’s taken me hours to refocus after Jandylicious started mentioning threesomes or some such craziness.

    “26.Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc)
    August 8th, 2012 – 6:19 pm @Jax

    Whoa, I missed that……..last night she mentioned needing a DP during the game thread……”

    Haha! Quixote Foo started that stuff, and I get the kicks for it…go figure ;)

    You guys are killin’ me, I tell ya!

  16. DK, totally enjoyed parts One and TWO of your Olympic rundowns. The humor is much appreciated, helps break up the stressful work day. It has to be tough to break it all down into so FEW WORDS, but you manage it nicely. Kudos!

  17. @Jandy
    Good morning, Jandy. I was merely stating how distracted I became after some of your comments. You have quite a following on here, and most of us guys imagine you as some sort of ideal woman who can dish it out with the guys, loves sports (especially hockey), and probably resembles our dream girl from our youth (which for my age bracket, would be Valerie Bertinelli, or Jodie Foster). I look forward to your input to this blog every day. I’ll try to behave myself.

  18. Morning All – I was at the ball-yard last evening and indeed, a sloppy game (actually a weird sort of game) in sloppy weather. I agree that we have come a long way, but as they always say…championship caliber teams learn to win in all sorts of conditions…game or weather. That is exactly what last night brought. This team overcame a lot last night and then with the Reds and Cards losing …that makes it all the sweeter. Two and one half games!

    Also, we were talking last night about the final weekend sets of the year vs. the Reds and Braves. Someone in our group reminded us that in 1990 it was the Reds that kept the Bucs from the World Series and of course it was the Braves in 1991 and 1992. Hmmmmm….do we see any sort of pattern here? Maybe, just maybe, this is the year for the Pirates and we can sort of return the favor in late September/early October.

  19. Jax, hey now, I was just dishing it back…as you said…keep it comin’! ;)

    I honestly love sports. I’m definitely not your “typical female” and I sure would hate to be!

    So don’t you DARE behave lol.

  20. @22
    Hardy is staying at shortstop.
    Orioles moving Machado to 3rd base.

  21. @robertoforever

    How many of the Barajas wins are because he is catching JMac and Burnett instead of Bedard & Corria? It’s not a perfect comparison of their body of work.

  22. RE Barajas and Fort. Fort is clearly the hot bat…play the hot bat…please!

  23. Yea, I agree…the Pirates score at least a few more runs, I think, last evening with Fort in there.

  24. -Shhh, don’t mention trains to a Picksburgh crowd. They’ll start blabbering on about tunnels to nowhere…

    I’ve enjoyed your anecdotes on the various buildings, transportation, and locations unique to this Games experience. Many thanks for that!

    -Great finish to the decathalon, as well. Hope you keep this one handy for next years nominations. Fantastic work.

  25. The sun is shining everyday.

  26. Awwww…isn’t that sweet…Milo is happy :)

  27. Not to mention traffic circles and shifting with your left hand.

  28. I’d love to see the reaction in Baltimore this morning.

    9th in ERA, 10th in Runs scored, yet somehow still in position to make the playoffs and end a streak of futility that is only overshadowed by the Pirates.

    Their playoff push? Zero trades at the deadline and calling up a 20 yo hitting .260 at AA. Wow.

  29. didn’t catch last nights game, but from the sound of it you can put this one in that middle 54 games as Chuck Tanner used to say.
    you’ll win 54, lose 54 and the other 54 are up for grabs.

  30. Jandylicious?? Whoa….wherefore hath I stumbled?

    Fooxote.

    .

  31. Fooxote, these guys are killin’ me…but it sure makes my day ;)

    You had been playing over at the other paper and missed all that fun…which is why they all had such a field day with your post about leaving the significant others at home. Glad to see you here instead of there! =)

  32. A few fun stats:

    Bucs are on a 93 win pace!

    Bucs need to go 19-33 to have their first WINNING season since 1992. I’d rather go 33-19…lol

    Bucs are now 60-1 in games leading after the 7th.

    Bucs are 1-0 in games Mercer homers.

    ============
    I love Maz, but I hope PRNW blows past his career HR record

    ====
    Jordy Mercer is NOT the SS Barmes is. But Barmes had a rough start to the season both with the glove and bat. The glove has rebounded, but not the bat. Mercer starts about every full moon. If he played everyday, he would show that he is a valid Major League SS with pop. Think Jay Bell imho.

    ===========

    We need a good game out of Wandy.

    ===========

    Cruz is coming back soon. Who goes? We also have Leroux and Morris at AAA for Sept. I am not worried about the pen unless we start blowing up on a regular basis

    ………….

    Whew….I’m tired.

    Windy Foo

    .

  33. One last thing….HEY YOU GUYS WANTED ME HERE!!!!

    It was nice of the Pirates to schedule a 4:05 start sose I can also watch the Steelers’ game at 7:00!!

    However, we need to Find Waldo Wallace.

    Black and Gold Foo

    .

  34. Everybody maligns Kevin C, but all he does is twirl (albeit ugly) quality starts and wins.

    He is the Josh Fogg of this team!!!!

    Foggy Foo

    .

  35. Foo
    We meet again!!!!

  36. Foo

    In the words of Chuck Noll . Mike Who???

  37. Foo, darn right we wanted you here! Now, who is Macchamp74???

    How can anyone complain about 7 wins? KC might not do it pretty, but he does it.

  38. Anybody who missed the Pirate Fan Advisor flap yesterday, and is interested, this is a pretty good summary, including a picture of the now defunct home page:

    http://isportsweb.com/2012/08/09/pittsburgh-pirates-piratesfanadvisor-another-coonelly-gaffe/

  39. One other big difference in this season. This team now cannot possibly lose 100 games. Not being quad deuce here either, because a few years ago, when they won #63 in late Sept. or whenever it was, they popped the champagne. No champagne now until we make the playoffs. (None at 82, either, although I may pop a Diet Pepsi myself).

  40. Lucky, I’ll take some of that diet pepsi, but please add a bit of Cap’n Morgan ;)

    AW…thanks, I hadn’t followed it and did not go to the site, but i was wondering wth was up.

  41. I’m curious to see how Machado does since he is being rushed.

    We had some good pre-draft debates on the old blog: Machado v. Jamo.

    Machado has generally been ranked higher than Jamo on most recent prospect lists, and he is now going to the show.

    I sure hope Jamo becomes an ace.

  42. AW, thanks for posting that link.
    I disagree with the author regarding FC’s role in the Sano negotiations –and that whole incident with the local tavern.

  43. Thanks for the link AW. I was a bit confused as to what was all going on.

    In the words of the great Milo Hamilton, “What a Jabroni” that guy is.

    Nomination for another Jabroni: Todd Graham.

  44. Thanks for that Wilver. I especially liked the litany of Coonelly faux pas. The Wal-Mart greeter in the Armani suit strikes again. If you go that site now, there is a letter from the con man running this scheme slamming Dejan for blowing the lid off this.

    After digesting this I get the feeling that the Pirates were in on this on some level, but after it hit the fan they couldn’t wait to throw this guy under the bus.

  45. Todd Graham…the guy has some serious mental issues going on.

  46. TC ~ you disagree? Please tell me why and I’m not busting on ya, I’m serious.

  47. Good link, AW. That guy must feel worse than a jabroni this AM. He should and so should FC.

  48. Any chance this guy posts here ? Probably not anymore.

  49. I’m as frustrated with Barmes’ bat as anyone, but if I’m Hurdle, putting him at short is my way of fielding the team that gives me the best chance to win most nights.

    While Barmes is not Ozzie Smith, he’s a pretty reliable glove out there, and there is NO other position on the field where the glove counts for so much. Mercer might get a few more hits, but at this stage of the season, no way I put him there too often. Harrison? C’mon. Nice bench guy because he gives you versatility, but the few extra hits he’d bring would not nearly compensate for what it would cost on defense. So, because there is no one on that team going to hit .280 with a little pop from that position, Barmes is the smart (albeit frustrating) choice.

    Again, not calling Barmes a junior Jeter…or Cal…or A-Rod…or…but he’s the Bucs’ best option right now.

  50. Milo–I wondered the same thing. Bunch? :-)

  51. I said it on the thread yesterday and still stand by it today.

    Either Frank Coonely is unquestionably an idiot or he knew EXACTLY what would come of giving a promotional interview for a fraud like that.

    The guy is a successful lawyer and president of an MLB franchise. Any of us jagoffs know that anything can show up on the internet these days. You cannot tell me Coonely casually gave that interview as if it was just between buds.

    Honestly, what was he thinking?

  52. Jandy,
    I thought it was NH that was in charge of the Sano negotiations, not FC

    Regarding the boycott of the Tavern, the author from issportsweb says that FC ‘randomly led a crusade against a local PGH Tavern’. I don’t believe FC led the charge. I think he stepped in it later.

    The story that is linked to says “Pirate executives caught wind of this promotion and sent an email out asking fans to boycott the establishment”. I thought it was a lower level employee (in the ticket department?) that sent an internal email alerting her coworkers of the tavern’s promotion – and telling them that maybe they should not go to that bar.
    I was always under the impression that Frank Coonelly called the owner of the Tavern to tell her that The Pirate Organization was not boycotting her establishment but he also couldn’t control which businesses his employees spend their money at. That is how I read the initial accounts. I could be wrong. But I also think the press didn’t do a great job of reporting both sides. And I also think it probably could have been handled better by the Pirates.

  53. And another question…there are certainly a few people here that have defended Coonely. What can this man possibly do for you to change your opinion? Can you name a single thing he’s done to help this franchise?

  54. NMR,
    For me….
    The team is winning
    The attendance is increasing
    The organization seems to be on much stronger financial ground.
    My guess is that with the increased winning, attendance and interest in the teams – then corporate sponsorship support will probably increase too.

    I’m not saying the guy hasn’t made mistakes. But I do think he has helped the franchise.

  55. JAL….Stewart’s “California Bloodlines” would’ve been a much better choice, altho “Gold” was more popular.

    Foo

  56. I honestly didn’t mean to dredge up this old stuff, but I gotta say a couple things:

    I agree with TC to the extent that FC had not been publicly linked to the Sano negotiations to my knowledge, but when you think about it, including that it was a few years ago, and it involved money, he at least early on seemed to be involved more than he is now, so it’s not improbable that he was involved.

    On the tavern issue (and I know because of where this is coming from it will rile some) here’s a link that would indicate that while he maybe didn’t start it, he certainly put his imprimatur on it:

    http://communityvoices.sites.post-gazette.com/index.php/sports/bob-smiziks-blog/28811-coonelly-scolded-bar-owner

  57. Thanks for the link AW, you can’t make this stuff up. Wonder how long a rope Slick Frankie has left?

    Foo – weather might hold up the game this afternoon/tonight. Lets hope it doesn’t

  58. TC thanks for the explanation, it helps a lot.
    And AW thanks for the link.

  59. Jandy…I would’ve been over a lot quicker, but I hate the way the commenting system is set up here. I feel like I’m listening to 10 conversations at once….lol

    =========

    MacChamp74………..good to see you here! I sent you an email concerning my ‘PGPlus resignation letter’. I’m liking the grit of our Nittany Lions. I’m hoping it is enough!

    =========

    NMR….I love NH, I am warming up to Clint somewhat (that’s for YOU, AW), but Frank remains a PR debacle in my eyes.

    Foo

    .

  60. Someone mentioned Pedro being in a slum p on both sides of the ball. On offesne since the first Cubs series at home in late July pedro is 10/47 with 15 K’s. That is a paltry .212 average and a ton of K’s. But just 2 more hits in that span puts him at .255. What’s disturbing is the lack of power. A guy who used to hit every ball hard no matter where it went has been hitting broken back soft liners and dribblers for about 2 weeks now. Not a single ball over the fence. I thought coming home mights snap him out of it. Maybe the day game today will prove to be fruitful.

    I would like to see the Bucs record with Fort vs Rod broken out removing starts by JMac and Burnett. The problem is when you have 2 starters that prefer Rod and they are winning you don’t want to mess with that. Then you have a third who is adjusting to being on a new club and prefers to speak spanish and you want to ease his transition, that give Rod 3 out of every 5 starts.

    I suggested the other day that it appears Bedard throws better with Rod in the game as well. If you want more offense Fort is the better choice as of right now(career wise I’d take Rod) but if you live and die by your pitching and the pitching is better with Rod calling the game then you gotta go with Rod more days than not.

  61. IMO, my trust in Slick was lost when he uttered the word dynasty ;-)

  62. But enough about that, old stuff,

    I do hope they can get this game in today (as long as we win)

  63. Scapper….Barmes did not start out the year well defensively and got better with regular playing time. Methinks the same would happen with Mercer, hence the Jay Bell references.

    =====
    AW…I, too appreciate that link

    =====

    IMHO, EVERYONE, including us bloggers, have been implicated in our failure to not sign Sano. :) :) :) :)

    .

    .

  64. Biz……WHAT? This year IS the start of the dynasty!!!!

    Wouldn’t that be kewl?

    .

  65. AJS–I agree with your analysis of the Rod vs. Fort issue. And I think the Fort deserves a tremendous amount of credit for upping his offensive game.

  66. @ JoeBucco

    “Tis nice having the best home record in all of baseball and it not being like April 7 or something”

    I hear ya. I work in an office with people from all over the country and so we’re fans of many different teams and we rib each other about our teams so I’ve taken it from them for a long time over the Bucs (of course they keep quiet during football season). I used to brag about being undefeated on the 1st day of the baseball season or about being in first place in early April. As the season went on, I’d tell them, “The Pirates will not lose today!” Its because it was an off day. So I’m thoroughly enjoying this season.

  67. Foo–lol on Sano. And it’s the issue that never dies . . .

  68. Btw, I sure enjoyed Ryan Vogelsong and the Giants blowing up Stl 15-0! and the Brewers sweeping the invincible Reds!! So much for that weak schedule of the Reds…lol

    Sweepy Head Foo
    .

  69. AJS/AW…the Fort was brought over to the Bucs based on the fact he was a good defensive catcher. He has gotten better both off and def. He should start most of the games. Plus, he doesn’t clog the bases like Rod.

    Fort Foo
    .

  70. Biz….”I do hope they can get this game in today (as long as we win)”

    I applaud you for that remark!
    :)

    ClapHappy Foo

    .

  71. Weather Report

    Day Aug 9
    PM T-Storms

    83°FHigh

    PM T-Storms

    Chance of rain:
    40%

    Wind:
    WSW at 7 mph

    Humidity:
    68%

    Partly cloudy early followed by scattered thunderstorms this afternoon. A few storms may be severe. High 83F. Winds WSW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 40%.

    .

  72. I am going to the game today. Not sure how I am getting over there…but I wouldn’t dare park at the Casino.
    :-)

  73. Might be a little early to worry, but the Buccos better lock up Walker long-term soon. Not sure of comparable stats among other mlb second basemen, but hitting about .300 with (from what I’ve seen) some pretty consistent and solid defense makes me think they really better not lose him over a contract. Any other 2nd basemen around the league playing as well this year?

  74. @pants-n-at

    Man, that sounds exactly like my situation. My two closest compadres at work are both originally from Philly and have enjoyed their last few years. The guy right next to me is a Braves fan, and we know the run they had in the 90′s. Two other longtime coworkers are Mets fans and they’ve had their moments. Last summer, I posted a copy of the standings in my office each day the Bucs were in first place (I believe that was the second day of the season, and that little run in July). I’ve often pointed out to my buddy Ken the Phillies Fan that the Pirates “didn’t lose last night” after they had an open date on the schedule.

  75. Brad,
    I thought that the club had ‘control’ of Walker until he is 31 years old.
    It does seem like a good idea to try and avoid some of those arbitration years.

    Cost Certainty!

  76. JaxBuc, none of those compadres are female are they??? ;)

  77. Around the race…

    Reds (2.5 up) headed to Wrigley for 4 games… Cubbies have lost 8 straight since trading off half their team. Can only hope the Cubs are “due” and not “ice cold”.

    Braves (0.5 up – home WC) have the day off before going to play 3 against the Mets.

    Cards (3.5 back) finish up against the Giants this afternoon, then head to Philly for 3 games.

    Dodgers (4 back) have the day off and then head to Miami for 3.

    Looks like the Bucs are going to need some wins against the Snakes and Padres this weekend. Keep winning, and the rest will work itself out.

  78. @ Brad. I agree. I think only Phillips from Cincy (haven’t checked actual stats) may be having a better year and is better defensively.

    @ Jax. yeah, a couple years ago a Cards fan says to me at the beginning of the post season, “hey, how many playoff games did your Pirates win this year?” Well, wouldn’t you know it, his Cards were swept in the playoffs! I came back at him after their last loss and said. “I see your Cardinals won as many playoff games as we did! What goes around comes around. Loved it!

  79. “I am going to the game today. Not sure how I am getting over there…”

    Heed the advice of the Blog Captain. Choo choo!

    Seriously, though, take the T over to the North Shore. If you’re coming from the east, park at the 1st Ave garage, from the south, park at Station Square.

  80. NRM,
    I think that is what we are going to end up doing. thanks.

    We haven’t decided if we’ll take it from St. Square or 1st Avenue ( I wonder if the 1st Ave garage will be filled?)

    My wife is not too keen on going via the Gateway Clipper.

  81. @ Brad #73

    Offensively:
    By OPS, Walker’s 3rd in the majors. Cano .932, Aaron Hill .823, Walker .811, Kinsler .791, then Phillips, Altuve and a few more bunched up right below.

    By OWAR, Walker’s 2nd in MLB. Cano 4.3, Walker 2.9, Altuve 2.7, Kinsler and Kipnis 2.6

    Defensively:
    He’s tied for 5th in MLB in fielding %, but around 15 – 18 in DWAR.

    They definitely should lock him up, sooner rather than later, but I wonder if the Bucs don’t feel any urgency since he’s a hometown kid and might think he’d like to stay here

  82. TC–I agree with NMR on the T. I would take a chance on the 1st Avenue garage, though. In August it’s not always filled.

  83. I will try that garage.

    I thought I heard that the lots on the N. Shore were not allowing ‘commuters’ to park there today. So they would be pushed into parking in town.

  84. Anyone going to the game today…have a great afternoon. Day baseball is still my favorite. Let’s take the series from the Snakes. Beat ‘em Bucs!

  85. I wonder what Machado’s walk to strikeout ratio is.

  86. Anyone heard a line-up yet for this afternoon fray?

  87. TC–don’t know about a 4:05 start time. That may be true. My experience is only with Noon games, where the garages/lots on the NS don’t accept gamers.

  88. On Walker again @stickyweb and pants… Anyone know exactly what his contract status is? Just remember them negotiating this offseason and not coming to agreement yet. I just really hope they don’t let him slip through their fingers. The hometown factor is nice, but I don’t think that he’ll take a huge discount to stay here. Not predicting enshrinement or anything, but just really like how he plays the game. Too bad Captain Jack didn’t get to team up with him for a few years- would’ve been some highlight reels to see.

  89. You know the Pirates are having a special season when “A place to talk Pittsburgh sports” has nary a post about the Steelers, excepting Fooster’s perfunctory mention of the start time.

    So who will be the Steelers’ Clint Barmes (as Roberto put it: everybody’s favorite whipping boy)?

    Can’t help but have some thoughts about the NFL: where I live there are only two seasons: Packers season and construction season

  90. Does that Machado call up smack of desperation or what? He’s never been to AAA and put up good but not spectacular numbers in less than a season at AA. And they’re in the middle of a playoff race. Oh yeah, they’re switching his position. He’s played 2 games at 3B in his 2+ pro seasons.

    Very strange and it would be surprising if he had any success at all, let alone help the team at this point.

  91. OshKoshB’Gosh, in PA it’s always Road Consstruction Season.

  92. Jandylicious,
    None of the baseball fan compadres are female. In fact, in an engineering department, like where I work, females of any type are quite rare. However, we have more than our share of socially awkward and sartorially-challenged individuals.

  93. Brad @ 88- Keeping Walker is a huge priority. This kid can hit and is getting to be a really nice 2nd baseman. They need to do something soon, I’d suggest.

  94. JaxBux, I feel for you…you have much to put up with lol

  95. Lineup for today

    vs LHP Saunders

    Marte LF, Harrison 3B, Cutch CF, Sanchez 1B, Walker 2B, McKenry C, Snider RF, Mercer SS, Rodriguez C

    Lineup shocks everyone as Mercer gets back to back starts, McKenry gets to catch Wandy (how will they communicate?, but really day game after a night game), no Jones OR Alvarez

  96. TC, bad news, Rivers Casino is going to charge for parking on Friday and Saturday nights.

    Curses, foiled again……

    Foo thanks for the weather report, was just worried based on comments on the FAN on the way into work.

  97. Brad

    MLBTR wrote this about Walker before the season:

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2012/03/extension-candidate-neil-walker.html

    and bucsdugout took the opposite view the next day:

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2012/3/6/2849497/neil-walker-and-bob-nuttings-money

    He’s outperformed the ZIPS projection that bucsdugout refers to and at 26 years old, can be expected to improve for another year or 2 before he levels off and then declines.

  98. Thanks for the heads-up Biz. I just called the First Avenue Garage. They got spaces available.

  99. Clemente hit .352 at age 35. Wonder how the sabergeeks explain that ?

  100. I also find it interesting that sabermetrics always just happens to predict a player’s inevitable decline to coincide with their 1st free agent year.

    Sticky – please don’t take this as a shot at you. It’s not. You just touched a nerve, that’s all.

  101. Dang Milo, I thought you were happy today???

  102. @Jandy

    The sun is shining everyday.

  103. @ sticky, thanks for the articles. I don’t want them to overpay for Walker or let him go like we have some other players. Really had no idea what control we had on him for next few years. As long as we have him for a few more years I’m content. 2B just seems to be such a hard position to fill in terms of good defense and offense together and I think Walker performs well for both. Liked his effort the other night when the DBags were whooping us. Other thoughts, liking the Lincoln trade. Hate that we lost him, but at least we dealt from a position of strength for once. Tabata seems to be a get-what-you-pay-for deal, so at least we have some decent replacement in right. Still bitter about Correia, no matter how “professional” Brown and the other announcers say he was the other day. He certainly didn’t pitch us to a W last night and his winning streak would be a fantasy without an almost skewed offensive output every time he starts. But hey, whatever works I guess. I understand his frustration, but Lincoln was in same position and didn’t say a word. I would’ve been fine if KC gave a lengthy intuitive interview stating one sentence, ‘it is what it is’.

  104. Jodie Foster + Dream Girl? URK.

    Can you imagine the Tajikistani women’s beach volleyball team?

    Dreams of fluttering shuttlecocks whizzing by overhead. I need a new reality

    Jandylicious=Rennesaince (sp?) woman.

    Sloppy win last night, fellow loonies. Still better than a pretty loss. That what she said.

  105. Foo-It’s not even about the defense. It is the handling of the pitchers themselves. I think Rod is very good at that and you can’t discount the effect that has on the pitchers. It just feels to me like the pitchers throw more strikes and give up less runs when Rod is behind the plate. And that includes Correia, Bedard, and Karstens.

    I don’t want to take anything away from what Fort has done and in most situations he would be a no brainer to get the bulk of the work. I’m just saying that in this particular scenario it is not hard to understand why Barajas continues to get more starts. If you throw out his starts with AJ and JMac I bet it is closer to 50/50 on starts over the past month than you might think.

  106. Milo,
    I didn’t look at the sabermetrics, but Walker will be older than 30 when he becomes a free agent. That is tipping point for a lot of players…and their decline.

  107. Brad

    Walker has 4 years of arbitration starting next year. He is making $500k this year.

  108. @Thunder

    I agree. I just hate all the absolutes. These are human beings. Not just names on a spreadsheet. They’re all different. They all develop & decline differently.

  109. No Day-Dro against the lefty. No Jones either. What a wild line-up. Jay Hay at 3rd. Apparently Snider is a better option against lefties than Jones? The RF/1b situation is so odd. I guess Snider has been on fire the past couple of nights though so you gotta ride the hot hand.

  110. Thanks Roberto. Glad to hear that. Slightly off subject, Tyler Kennedy being considered top 6… Heartburn developing, anyone?

  111. @Brad

    On a related note, any word on when Shane Doan will announce he’s not coming to Pittsburgh ?

  112. Milo, no word, but I’m betting it will be as soon as the CBA is in place, the Coyotes are financially stable, or Paul Martin wins the Norris, whichever comes first.

  113. Milo, I never thought Doan would come here anyway. I’m thinking he goes to the Canucks.

    buggee, my friend, I kinda like the ring of it…
    Renaissance woman…
    nice!

  114. Brad, TK is a battler, and energy player, but yeah…top six kinda makes me ill lol.

  115. Did Machado sign a MLB contract after the draft and was he on the 40-man roster? I can’t imagine any other reason he’d be getting called up so soon aside from that reason. This screams of desperation.

  116. They say Doan wants at least 30 million for 4 years, and someone has offered him that.

  117. 24/7 must have decided it was not worth the effort to battle traffic today.

    Karen Price is doing the coverage and 24/7 has decided to just retweet other journalists today.

  118. Jandy–I agree, TC is a battler, and energy player. He takes on DK and tries to defend the FO, when it’s appropriate (arguable), and doesn’t take Drew’s bait or shy away when called names. Oh . . . were you referring to Kennedy?

  119. AW lol….you tryin to keep up with Milo? Or maybe Drew ;)

    Biz…I saw that too. Still thinkin he likes the West…hence the Canucks.

    Roberto, maybe Karen Price should just take over 24/7′s job…and let 24/7 go work for Frank Coonelly.

  120. @Jandy

    24/7 and I could probably not co-exist in the same office, so I’ll tell NH to let FC know not to take 24/7′s resume, lol.

  121. Roberto, can’t say I blame you! lol

  122. Can anyone explain to me how a major leaguer can be so bad at running the bases? Garrett Jones is horrendous. He should’ve scored easily on Walker’s double to the Notch, but when the ball landed he’s standing between 1st adn 2nd. Should’ve been at 2nd at that point. His baserunning actually makes his defense look good.

  123. #FREEJORDYMERCER

    I knew that would work eventually.

    And for Jandy, your Fort one worked as well…

    Nice job.

  124. @JAG

    He was held up at third base by the coach. If I recall, there was also no one out. No sense taking a chance making the first out at home. But yes I agree, his base running leaves much to be desired.

    No game thread today??

  125. I think I’d rather see a slumping Pedro than JHay.

    I’m sorry, the guys not that good, but at least it isn’t watching him play SS.

  126. @Glass

    He was held out because he barely went halfway from 1st on the fly ball. THAT’S bad baserunning…

    A runner always needs to figure out where the OFers are playing the batter. It gives them an extra step or two in that type of situation.

    With a ball hit in the notch, Jones should’ve easily have scored from 1st.

  127. Karen Price does a good job.

  128. STL up 2-0 early.

  129. Kennedy (pig-nose) is NOT a top-6 forward. Yeesh! Whoever came up with that silliness must work for Frank Coonely.

    The Pens do not need Shane Doan, not at that price tag. Though he’s a quality player, even if he agrees to come here, I’d be reticent to sign him because I’d always wonder where his “heart” truly is; here or Phoenix.

    Can Joe Morrow play wing? How is his swing-plane? Arm-slot? Can the young man hit? Can Uncle Ray work wonders converting Morrow from blueliner to winger? I’m just askin’…

    Thanks Jandy. Was struggling with the spelling of “Renaissance”. Yer da bomb, girl!

    Milo, your posts rock man!

    On a vague sports note, and giving that I have an eye out everywhere for the absurd, there is this: A major health-insurance carrier here is Western PA has offered to it’s local employees a “Running 101″ class. Yes. A CLASS to teach people how to run (though to be fair they couch it in terms of preparing for the Great Race 5k). I wonder what the homework is…

    Fire Ray Shero. Raze it yinz shuttlecocks

  130. Milo,

    No offense taken. Believe it or not, I’m not a sabremetric geek at all, barely know what a lot of those stats represent and definitely couldn’t tell you what factors they include. I just think OPS is the single best offensive stat if your looking for the quickest measure. I also don’t trust the defensive stats (range factor or whatever else they have). Obviously PRNW makes very few errors and that is more important IMO than if he doesn’t get to one or two grounders a month. We watch every game and if his range was that bad it would be obvious to us.

    I heard those sabremetric guys have Cutch rated very low on range which I think we’d all agree is ridiculous. He might not be the best at coming in on a ball but more than makes up for it going back and especially into the gaps.

    As for the inevitable decline each player will face, it just’s a generality that players peak at 27 – 29 and then level off or decline. It applies to the majority of players, not all. Sure there are guys that break out at 22 or play at a high level until they’re 40. But it’s tough to guarantee money to somebody betting they’re the exception.

  131. Ryan, Cutch was held up at 3rd on that play. Granted, Jonesy should have been into 2nd faster.

    Besides, the 1st-base coach is supposed to coach the runner to 2nd so the runner can just burn instead of wasting time trying to ascertain defensive positioning on fly balls.

  132. Ryan, hey! Glad to help out lol.

    Actually, when Jones was on third, Barajas told him to come home on the pass ball…no way he could make it the way the ball bounces off the wall back there. I agree he should have been further along in the first place, but that tag wasn’t his fault. Just MHO :)

  133. No game thread yet……..I guess I’ll read DK’s column in the meantime.

    Not like that guys busy or anything….Just kidding of course.

    Anyone read the report of what REALLY goes on in the Olympic Village?

    Yucky

  134. Jandy

    I was referring to a different play then……..my bad.

  135. Ryan, well, my bad too I guess. There were so many mess ups last night, it was frustrating to watch. Not to mention painful.
    Hopefully they get it straightened out today.

  136. DK has today’s starting lineup in yesterdays game thread.

  137. @Jandy, Ryan and I are referring to Walker’s double to the Notch with bases loaded. Jones should’ve been at 2nd when ball landed – even if they do catch it, he gets back easily. Leyva had no chioce but to hold him, b/c Jones should’ve been 45 feet closer to home by the time he got to 3rd.
    Nothing he cuold do about the unlucky bounce on the wild pitch. Not his fault. And if a major leaguer needs a 1st base coach to tell him what to do, he’s should just retire.
    On a different note, did anyone catch that weird horse dancing sport in the Olymp? What the hell is that?

  138. I only saw the beginning of the game. Saw NW’s HR, was an awesome AB by him and seem like he was still fooled on the pitch.

    Isn’t Marte going to a be a stud?

  139. @crkkid

    Yes DK does have today’s lineup edited into yesterday’s game thread. Someone should tweet him.

  140. @Ryan

    Thought the same thing about NW’s homer….it looked as though he was just trying to make contact, instead he gives the Bucs the lead.

  141. Didn’t Jones goof up on the bases several days ago as well? I want to say it was PRNW that got caught in a rundown because the Legend was parked at 3rd on a ball hit to the outfield. He went to tag up rather than taking a nice lead off the bag.

  142. crkkid

    You’re right. DK didn’t open a new thread, just posted today’s lineup in yesterday’s game thread. That’s gonna confuse a lot of people, most importantly Playoffs for posting today’s line.

    DK: I’m an idiot. Sorry. Fixed now.

  143. Any self-respecting American would be watching the U.S. Women’s Soccer team in the gold medal match right now. Its a rematch between the 2008 Olympic Gold medal winning Japanese team, and the 2008 Silver medal U.S. team.

    Young Alex Morgan just had a fantastic kick back across the goal mouth that is put in for an early 1-0 lead for the Americans.

  144. @Buggee

    I agree with Jag7. At this stage of their game, the 1st base coach shouldn’t have to “coach” them with base running. They are just another set of eyes for the players

  145. Jag7, my double bad! Good thing I have you guys to set me straight ;)

    Yes, you and Ryan are both right. Even my hubby was yelling at him when he messed up at second…and hubby doesn’t like baseball LOL

  146. @crkkid

    Yea, I think he was a little out front of it, but that happens when you barrel the ball up and give it some lift. Normal fields, probably an out….

    I think it was Steve Blass that said, ” that’s why they built that wall, for the LH hitters.” i.e. Brian Giles

  147. @ Biz

    Jones only went about 3 steps off the bag from second from a ball that went over the outfielders head and only could make it to third….walker read the play right and was heading to third and they both ended ip there…..jones should have scored.

  148. Roberto

    How about a SPOILER ALERT warning for those of us recording the women’s soccer game and gonna watch it tonight?

    If you told me 5 years ago that I’d care about it, I would have laughed at you. But years of coaching my daughter’s soccer team changes a man. In many ways.

  149. Ha! The Limeys have DK all backasswards, that’s what happened

  150. @Jandy

    I get lucky every once in awhile.

  151. This just in:

    BRIAN BIXLER HAS BEEN DFA’d……shocking news, even from the Astros.

  152. Neil Walker’s ranking among second basemen MLB-wide, just in case anyone doubt his awesomeness (not that anyone does):

    HR: T2nd (13) — first in the NL
    doubles: T6th (25) — tied for 4th in NL
    RBI: T1st (65) — 1st in NL
    Avg: 5th (.292) — 4th in NL
    OPS: 3rd (.811) — 2nd in NL

    Not bad PRNW…still can’t believe he didn’t make the All-Star team. Next year.

  153. OMG BIX NOOOOOOO

    he had so much promise

  154. SPOILER ALERT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Ants marching………………………………

  155. @BB

    He wasn’t doing that well prior to the ASG.

    If they were to have the ASG after the season, like football, he’d be on it.

  156. OO0< OO0< OO0< OO0< OO0< OO0< OO0< OO0< OO0<

  157. lol Milo

  158. @Jag7

    The baserunning has been piss-poor all season for pretty much the entire team.

  159. @ 151 – Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc)

    What a joke this Bixler was! He was one of Littlefield’s boys, wasn’t he? Sammy Khalifa, who in his own right pretty much stunk, performed much, much better than BB when he was given a shot at the SS job in mid-1980s

  160. @Stickyweb

    apologies. forgot about the DVRing. Hope you can avoid all the other media outlets when the gold medal soccer game is over.

    SPOILER ALERT

    The U.S. Women’s WATER POLO team is trouncing Spain in the gold medal match. Talk about a vicious game. Even in a blowout, lots of bruises and gouges.

  161. Dejan:

    How were the crowds at the boxing venue? The United Kingdom has a long history with boxing both from its indigenous citizenry and its immigrant population. Hard to tell from the tele.

    Too bad about the Americans. Nice team and tremendous fighters. Hard to be an amateur fighter in the States. Lightweight Jose Ramírez is a Starbucks Barista in Central California to help pay his Fresno State tuition. Look for him in the pros.

  162. Maybe “Boxing in America is (not) a TKO. Americans Claressa Shields won a gold and Marlen Esparza captured the bronze in WOMEN’S boxing!

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