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Wakeup Call: The perils of preseason

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

LONDON — Brief and to the Point …

>> The Friday column is about Christa Harmotto, the young lady from Hopewell playing a prominent role in the U.S. women’s volleyball run to the gold-medal match Saturday.

And they’re really good. No reason not to win.

Quick pic from their three-set sweep of South Korea yesterday …

>> Because the NFL has never had a terribly strong union, the players have never been successful at getting one of their most passionate wishes for a long time now: Fewer preseason games.

The Steelers found out the hard way last night. Down went David Johnson and Mike Adams to knee injuries, Jonathan Dwyer to a shoulder injury, and who knows what else will emerge after further review?

No sport demands more physically out of fewer games than football. Having four games on top of the 16 of the regular season equates to one-fifth of the total schedule. And that’s crazy. You can say the games don’t count, but the speed and ferocity can’t get slowed down much. There’s only one way to play the game, and it isn’t by trying to avoid injury.

Cut the preseason by one, even two games. Have more controlled scrimmages, in which the starters can be better protected from a couple of the flagrant hits seen last night.

But a month of preseason football makes no sense.

>> Twenty-seven plays on the Steelers’ first two offensive drives?

Will Todd Haley even want Mike Wallace to show up?

>> Caught only the highlights of the Pirates’ loss, as well as reading the box score and stuff. That’s how it’s gone over here.

Funny, but my GameCast broke in the ninth inning. Either that, or Clint Barmes really did get summoned to pinch-hit.

>> Did the players see management as having a less-than-all-in approach at the deadline?

Sure sounds like it from Rob Biertempfel’s slice of analysis this morning. Especially from that quote by Clint Hurdle. Strong stuff. But it should be noted, too, that at least some of the dissatisfaction at the deadline was with bumping Kevin Correia and with ditching Casey McGehee. Both were popular, at least before Correia asked to be traded.

Bottom line: All need to get over it.

>> The BBC rocks.

If you ever hope to watch an Olympics televised properly, intelligently and with just the right amount of enthusiasm, get one of those dishes to tune in the world’s greatest broadcasting service.

Yes, of course, events are shown live, even if they’re a really big deal and occur in non-prime time hours. If they’re that big a deal, they’ll just show them again later.

Duh.

There’s also a real mix of sports, occasionally delving into the ones you’d almost never see back home. There’s equestrian, dressage, fencing, judo, you name it.

The broadcasters are homers. They don’t apologize for it, even if it flies in the face of the BBC’s otherwise straight-as-a-line news coverage. But they aren’t obnoxious or taunting about it, as the Canadians were in 2010.

And for real, in-depth, actual global news … let’s just say I’ll miss this channel.

Comments

  1. Dejan Kovacevic says:

    Wow. So sorry. Again. Had this all done last night, actually, then fell asleep without hitting the Publish button.

  2. Bizrow says:

    Time to come home, Dejan ;-)

  3. NMR says:

    Wait, Dejan sleeps?

  4. Jandy says:

    NMR, I don’t believe it, no way he sleeps!

  5. tdb1977 says:

    Everyone back to their cells. DK is back with a new column for today. Inmates no longer have free range of the place. Darn :(

  6. JohninOshkosh says:

    Get thee to Hollywood to play Wonder Woman, Amazonian beauty Logan Tom!

  7. Jandy says:

    OshKosh, YIKES!

  8. Turner Ward says:

    Along with everyone except football coaches, I would like to see fewer preseason games. But I’m not sure how shortening the preseason prevents a guy’s teammate from rolling up on his legs in the 1st quarter of the 1st game. A truly unfortunate situation for David Johnson and I wish him a speedy recovery, but as long as they are on the field, it is pretty much a risk everyone takes.

    Does it make his injury OK if that game actually counted in the standings?

  9. Arriba Wilver says:

    TW–I see what you are saying, but it does matter to the players, I think, since they still get paid if it happens AFTER they officially make the team.

  10. LuckyNKentucky says:

    How bad are those injuries, does anyone know yet?

  11. BenderHeel says:

    So that’s when you sleep….when you’re about to hit the publish button!

    Thanks again DK!

  12. Clarence says:

    I agree about the Olympics and it was told to me that my disgust in how NBC has manipulated the broadcast to maximize their advertising $ at the expense of the viewer was in the minority. But, for some reason, I never see anyone saying anything positive about NBC’s broadcast, only negative… I wish I had BBC. I could have taped Bolt’s race and the other Track and Field events and watched them when I wanted to, not sandwhiched in between diving and naked beach volleyball.

    My Steelers… didn’t get to see much of them living here in Baltimore county, but what I did see was not impressive, save for Rainey’s run… and if Brown can shut down the 2nd and 3rd WR for Philly with rookie Foles as QB, what is he going to do vs. Manning and the other top QBs come the season. I’m prepared to label him a bust and move on. I never though much of him as a pick anyway as I was never impressed with him at Texas… even then I thought he was middle of the road. I Hope he proves me wrong, but this is year 3… its gotta click now or never.

    I tried to tell folks, the Steelers do not start rookies for a reason. We cannot believe or expect DeCastro and Adams to make our o-line better because the talking heads on ESPN or the NFL channel say so. They’re guessing at best. Imay as well let my newborn pick draft picks… regardless, they looked just like rookies. It will take then the season to get acclamated and that’s all there is to it. I think they will be great, just not this year. Glad we signed Starkes and kept Foster… they should be the starters and not DeCastro and Adams both of whom I stolidly feel will be top linemen in this league… just not now.

    With that aside, Ben was Ben (a top 5 QB), Byron showed himself to be probably the best backup QB in the league, the RBs all looked good, Sanders and Brown looked good and surprise so did McLendon… wow! This was from the selected plays the NFL channel showed me when they stopped jocking the Brady and manning games. I’ll get really long winded about this after I review the game in its entirety thie evening. NFL channel shows it at 1pm and I’m recording it. later.

    DK: Welcome to the forum, first of all.

    If the Steelers “don’t start rookies,” then how to explain that they’ve very, very clearly entered this camp determined to do so with DeCastro and Adams?

  13. Guys! JandyGirl! Everyone! Time to worry——Dejan has been kidnapped!

    That has to be a fake Dejan who typed above . . . . . the Dejan we know never sleeps, so he can’t be real!! The real Dejan would never use that excuse!

    Call the FBI! Call the CIA! Call the SBA [Serbian Nationals Association]! Call 24/7! Call Jack Bauer!

    What have they done with the real Dejan? Maybe that “wife” in Dejan’s pictures is really a secret agent?

    If this “fake Dejan” actually finally publishes a column on The Sport That Must Not Be Named, then we’ll know he is an imposter!

  14. Bizrow says:

    Obviously there is some sort of fatal flaw in England’s Starbucks coffee, how else do you account for Dejan falling asleep?

  15. Tony Pena says:

    How do you get comments posted???

  16. Karen22 says:

    Hey—good morning, Mr. K!! And I have always maintained that you have clones!

  17. radio wave says:

    I was glad to be wrong about last nights Cubs-Reds outcome.
    Cubs starter hadn’t won in last 21 appearances, lineup includes recent mionor league callups, and they still pull it out.
    Can they do it again this weekend?
    To show how non NBA oriented the Burgh is, the Dwight Howard trade is on equal footing with the Olympics this morning, but no one here cares.
    This is a trade that will change the face of pro basketball for the next ten years.
    McDonald is off to a bad start for the second half. Tonight is a good time against a weak team to start turning it around.

  18. Jandy says:

    G2M2S, forget 24/7, if he gets held up at the airport, he’ll never make it to England…wait, if he gets held up in traffic, he’ll never make it to the airport!

    Actually I think Biz is on to something…must be the Starbucks coffee…it’s just no good.

  19. Tim says:

    Dejan……your pick for the one competition where you roll their eyes and say “I can’t believe this is an Olympic event” is………………………?

    DK: Check yesterday’s column, Tim. Answered in unfortunate detail.

  20. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Jandy,

    It’s probably the opposite. That English tea-laced coffee has effected his brain cells. That and the reporter’s decathalon he’s been doing. He hasn’t even chided us for poking fun at him lately.

  21. Jandy says:

    Yeah Lucky, I noticed that hs isn’t biting anything lately lol.

  22. RobertoForever says:

    Talking about 24/7′s column, hadn’t we seen that already in a column by Lisa?

    I have been waiting for someone to point this out, yet it has not come up. Seems directly relevant to the Pirates and the deadline this year.

    The Cleveland Indians last year had been in 1st place, and were in a close pennant race. At the trade deadline, they went “ALL IN” and traded for a big name player, Ubaldo Jimenez, while giving up significant pieces including the #5 overall pick from the previous year. Jimenez was heralded as the last piece, and there was joy in C-town, and all the columnists praised the FO.

    Except Jimenez showed up, was not pleased to be there, did not perform well, and the Indians crashed and ended up 15 games out of first place.

    Seems like a relevant parallel to discuss. Especially since they are right up the road, and have a similar revenue-market.

    DK: The two pieces have nothing in common. Rob’s was focused almost entirely on clubhouse reaction. I wrote nothing of the kind.

  23. NMR says:

    As for 24/7, I have no problem with him reporting on locker room issues, even without naming sources, as long as they’re properly vetted.

    RB loses all credibility in regards to that when opening with a line like ” Hope for the future, blah blah blah.” He clearly is looking for a story with a predetermined outcome. You’re tellin’ me Cutch is mad that the Pirates didn’t trade Starling Marte for Hunter Pence? Please.

    Once again, another writer makes two assumptions that are far from proven.

    1. The moves made won’t help now.
    2. The moves NOT made would’ve put the Pirates over the top.

    Starling Marte is putting up a .281/.311/.561 slash line since the All Star break while Hunter Pence has the lowest average in all of baseball. Please, Rob, enlighten us. How exactly does that move help the Pirates now?

    Shane Victorino has been outhit by Travis Snider. How does that move help the Pirates now?

    Shin Soo Choo would’ve require a package nobody seems willing to give, not just the Pirates.

    Headley remains the only reasonable choice, and still has no guaruntee of producing any better than Marte.

    So what exactly has Rob done other than stir the pot?

    DK: Headley’s the only one I learned of, to be more precise. Never presented that information as the complete listing of all asks and offers.

  24. LuckyNKentucky says:

    So, Roberto, are you agreeing with 24/7 or disagreeing? Is it a problem in the clubhouse or not?

  25. Jandy says:

    “So what exactly has Rob done other than stir the pot?”

    Made himself look like the mule’s butt…

  26. Arriba Wilver says:

    Roberto-I haven’t commented on it yet, but where does this “Lisa” stuff come from?

  27. Leefoo says:

    The trade for Wandy to replace KC didn’t make sense at the time and still doesn’t. Since mid-May, KC has actually out pitched Wandy. Rodgriguez is nowhere near the pitcher he used to be. Houston saw us comng! Good luck to Robbie Grossman! I love what Neal’s done, but he blew this trade bigtime!

    If they were dissatisfied with KC, bring Locke up!

    Gaby isn’t what he used to be, but neither was Casey.

    The only GOOD trade was for Snider. He has some unreal power potential. Lincoln, while I loved him, was nothing more than a reliever. NH finds relievers like nuts find squirrels, or like DK finds Starbucks!

    .

  28. JAL says:

    My morning links are are the last night’s game thread.

    DK: Sorry, Joe. Just conked out like you wouldn’t believe. With the lights on.

  29. LuckyNKentucky says:

    AW,

    Some cab thing in London long since forgotten.

  30. TJA says:

    Thanks, DK, for all your work in London. It’s been great reading. Even my wife, who is not a big Olympics fan, got in on the act this year. Now…come home. We look forward to your return to the ‘Burgh!

  31. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Foomeister,

    He better find some. The BP caved 2 of 4 in the Snake series.

  32. Naje says:

    Heard Hurdles quotes 10 days ago on a competitor’s web site, and heard them directly from the source. It’s old news. Very old news.

    Now this guy’s couching it as something that is lingering… yeah, yawn. Whatever.

  33. Jandy says:

    ::not sayin’ nuttin’ about Snider::

  34. Leefoo says:

    NMR #21…I completely agree. I like how Greg Brown said it on the broadcast about Marte: “Howabout THAT Trade Deadline acquisition?”

    Gotta admit, I wanted Victorino, but Snider has been doing just fine.

    ================

    Kinda bummed about David Johnson going down. He was an underrated part of our offense. Hopefully Adams and Dwyer are okay. Guess we’ll find out more in 24-48 hrs?

    ============

    I watched some women’s beach v’ball at a local Arooga’s. I said ‘what could be better than this?” and have watched no other Olympics. They just don’t get me fired up.

    Now LIttle League Baseball…..yes! :) :)

    .

  35. RobertoForever says:

    @AW

    While in London, DK went by the name of Lisa in order to get an earlier cab. It was a twitter thing.

  36. Leefoo says:

    LnK…all bullpens go thru this for awhile. They’re not perfect every night out. I hope they turn it around soon. But, we’re still something like 69-1 when leading after 7. Sounds good in my book. :)

    ====

    Naje….I, too, remember reading that about 7-10 days ago. Beer Temple is just trying to stir things up, imho.

    .

  37. RobertoForever says:

    Wandy Rodriguez seemed like a very solid acquisition. sub 4 ERA, strikeout pitcher, and will be here after Correia and Bedard are gone this year. Gave us two quality starts, including a SOLID start against the division leading Reds. So last night he gave up 4 runs. I like the acquisition for this year AND going forward.

  38. Bizrow says:

    No, the cabbie asked him if he was Lisa, I think a couple of tipsy folks gave him their cab

    Who is 24/7 BTW?

  39. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Foo,

    Agreed. I’m not complaining although it sounded like it. Maybe some guys are getting tired, as Grilli indicated as much. Neal just needs to maybe adjust some things within, so we can keep up the pace. Starters are building up innings, too, except Karstens who was hurt. It’ll be nice when rosters expand. The first year in a while that it’ll mean something other than auditions.

  40. NMR says:

    Quality starts since June:

    Correia 5/12
    Rodriguez 6/13

  41. Naje says:

    ‘sup foo…? Yeah, the bullpen had been trending towards some corrections to their record for about the past month or so… as the pressure increases, some of their pitches get hit hard…or some of them turn into walks…which lead to bad innings.

  42. Jandy says:

    Biz, Foo said it best, Beer Temple…

  43. Dave says:

    With the Pirates ace closing in on 40 and a free agent after next season, Bedard a free agent after the season, and getting little production out of shortstop and catcher I don’t blame Huntington for not pulling the trigger on some of the bigger names that were out there at the deadline. The teams wanted too much for them. The future is when Cole and Tallion step into the majors. This, although it’s fun, is just the beginning of the ride for the Pirates in terms of winning. I hope.

  44. Bizrow says:

    @Jandy, got it thanks, why the moniker for him though?

    I am as dense as a rock

  45. Arriba Wilver says:

    Dave–with calling AJ “closing in on 40″ when he won’t be 36 till next January, I gotta believe you are well under 30. :-)

  46. Bizrow says:

    @Dave, re #41

    I don’t know, so far this seems like kind of a magical year, there is no guarantee next season will be better than this one. Some “career” years going on right now, AJ 14-3, Cutch hitting 360something, Fort witl 11 dingers, PRNW career high in dingers, Legend is having a fair season too, and those are just of the top of my head.

    Take your shots when you get them, nothing is a sure thing tomorrow..

    Just IMO, I do understand what you are saying though.

  47. Arriba Wilver says:

    Biz–RB kind of gave it to himself by getting TO’d and saying he didn’t work 24/7 in response to some complaint that he missed something.

  48. CraigWilson'sRevenge says:

    the Biertempfel article struck me as odd coming from a beat writer. especially the “Both are making near the major league minimum and won’t hit free agency for a while. Hope for the future, blah blah blah” part.

    I just don’t understand why the fact that Wandy, Snider, and Sanchez have years of control means that the FO doesn’t care about this year.

    I also don’t understand why having Marte in left field has been called for for months, but having Snider in right field is not ok or All In. I’m just curious why it is any different. Both are heralded AAA players with upside at this point of time.

    I’m glad Marte is up. i just don’t see why acquiring Snider is wrong, but having marte up isn’t wrong to the people who are against the trade deadline strategy.

    DK: Guys, once a week, all three of our guys on the major beats are encouraged to offer something that’s a little more on the analysis end, based on their experience. It’s a much more obvious distinction in print than online, given how it’s presented in the newspaper.

  49. Jandy says:

    Biz, I didn’t know either, but from just reading everything on here…I gather he’s rather lazy…as when he was chided for not reporting to responding…he pretty much said, “What, do you expect me to work 24/7?” Something along those lines.
    Not like Dejan works 24/7, what with falling asleep on the job last night ;)

  50. Jandy says:

    CWR, you won’t hear me complain about Snider, I do believe I’m his biggest fan on this blog, and I’ve taken heat for it ;)

  51. LuckyNKentucky says:

    No soup for you, J-girl.

  52. CraigWilson'sRevenge says:

    Got ya, DK. thanks for the clarification.

  53. JohninOshkosh says:

    I like to kid Dejan a lot mostly because he has such a good nature and is self-deprecating. It’s fun to read others doing the same thing.

    But seriously, man, all props and accolades to you for your Olympic coverage. Articles, columns, blogging, tweeting-everyday, all day. Anyone who has ever tried to write knows how hard a job it is. You are the best in the business and some of these ad hominem attacks on your professionalism from a few bloggers here recently have really riled me up. Jolly good show over there!

    DK: Thanks, John. Appreciate that. Only the weekend to go!

  54. Bizrow says:

    #54 like, like, like

  55. Leefoo says:

    NMR…….those QS are just about equal. And we traded 3 prospects for a guy to give us one more quality start?

    =====

    Roberto Fooever………Wandy, at this stage of his career, is Paul Maholm redux. He’ll throw the occasional good game (see his Game Logs on BRef) but mostly, what you saw yesterday is it for him.

    He’s not bad, but not worth trading Grossman, last year’s player of the year and an ON BASE machine!

    JMHO

    .

  56. NMR says:

    I’ll second Biz. Right on, John.

    Also appreciate Dejan clearing up the Beat Writer code at the Trib.

    @Foo

    The QS stats are in reference to you stating Correia has been better than Wandy. Thats highly debateable.

    You know very well that much more than two months of stats go into analyzing the validity of a trade. You’re that confident that the Kevin Correia of, well, forever, will not show back up this season? You liked what he did in the second half of last year?

  57. RobertoForever says:

    DK,

    You say that Rob’s piece was focused on the players’ reaction? Then why did it take to the next to last paragraph to get to the players reaction.

    Sorry, Journalism 101, if your premise is not in the first 3 paragraphs, its not a strong premise.

    And it’s great to cite unknown sources. Is this bench players? Players whose PT got cut? Correia? 2 players, 3 players. A majority?

    And I didn’t even bring up what NMR brought up. A beat reporter putting “blah, blah, blah,” in his article. I wouldn’t have allowed that in my high school paper, forget one where you are competing to cover the biggest story in town.

    Maybe that’s why the “column” got cut from the paper and left to online only.

    DK: You’re free to feel about it as you wish. Rob has a blog. My sole point was that what I wrote and what he wrote were on separate topics.

    Also, nothing was cut from the paper. It ran in both.

  58. JRay3 says:

    Just for comparison’s sake….Trade deadline returns thus far:

    Wandy Rodriguez: 3 GS, 19 IP, 10 R, 20 H, 7 BB, 11 K
    Gaby Sanchez: 7-20, .350, 3 R’s, 1 BB, 3 K’s
    Travis Snider: 9-28, .321 6 R’s, 2 RBI’s, 2 BB, 6 K’s

    Hunter Pence: 6-39, .153, 7 RBI’s, 10 K’s
    Shane Victorino: 8-30, .266 4 R’s, 2 BB, 2 K’s

    A look at what we gave up:

    Robbie Grossman: .291 55 AB’s 10 BB, 17 K’s
    Rudy Owens: 3 GS, 7.20 ERA 15 IP, 17 H, 9 BB, 7 K
    Gorkys Hernandez: 1-16, .062 with Miami
    Brad Lincoln: 5.2 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 2 BB, 4 K

    Not sure of the timing of 24/7′s piece, but it really does not have much in terms of being substantiated as the pieces we have received from an offensive production have been better than the pieces other teams acquired. Maybe that is why Clint Hurdle told the players to take off their GM hat and go out and play.

    Really wish the Bucs could have gained another game on the Reds as they are in the middle of a five game slide, nice of the Cubs to end their losing streak last night.

  59. RobertoForever says:

    Actually, Bizrow, the cab was ordered for Lisa. So DK had to play the part of Lisa in order to get the cab.

  60. JRay3 says:

    Also for those of you Pirates fans from afar and without the baseball package, the Pirates / Padres game is the mlb.com Free Game of the Day.

  61. Stickyweb says:

    @Roberto #23

    I mentioned the Indians move right after this year’s deadline when the “all in” or not brouhaha dusted up. Also the Giants put themselves “over the top” last year when they sent their best pitching prospect to the Mets for Carlos Beltran, the best player available and much more of a “sure thing” than anybody available this year. Except they missed the playoffs.

    By anyone’s account, the Dodgers went the most “all in” this year and are 4-3 since the deadline with all games at home and 6 of the 7 against 2 of the worst teams in baseball (Cubs & Rockies). Meanwhile we did everything on the cheap, hoped for the future, blah, blah, blah and are 4-4 since the deadline with half of our games on the road and 7 of our 8 against the (formerly) best team in baseball and another playoff contender.

    There’s no such thing as putting yourself over the top at the deadline and it’s foolish for a professional writer to state that in an article. You pass on the ridiculous asking prices and make the moves you can to improve your team, even if that means possibly helping the future as much as the present.

    Imagine the clubhouse furor 24/7 could stir up if Snider and Gaby weren’t hitting .321 and .350 for the Bucs respectively.

  62. LuckyNKentucky says:

    John,

    Consider that a like for me, also (#54). I’m especially glad to see there are Latin scholars in Wisconsin. I think it’s good for the Big 10 and DK’s blog. E Pluribus Unem.

  63. Leefoo says:

    NMR….I’m just saying that KC has been better than Wandy since mid-May (5.35 ERA) overall and that even if you make a case for WayRod over KC, it isn’t that appreciable to have given up Grossman.

    Wandy is NOT the #3 starter he used to be. He is now a #5 starter.

    Overall, had they wanted to replace KC, they should’ve brought up Locke.

    JMHO

    .

  64. Arriba Wilver says:

    John—what “ad hominem” attacks on DK’s “professionalism” are you referring to? (I’m just asking)

  65. RobertoForever says:

    Foo

    Not interested in parsing stats, but to say yesterday is the normal Wandy seems off. Yesterday’s ERA was 6.00. Career ERA is 4.00. So what we got in Houston and Cincy would seem to be the normal Wandy. 6 IP 3 ER 2K and 5 BB. That sounds pretty good for the next 3 years.

  66. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Foo,

    Grossman was blocked to the Nth degree. Only the Lincoln trade was really tough to take and, with Snider making it look good and Jandy liking him, that isn’t even as bad as it seemed on the surface.

  67. JohninOshkosh says:

    @Lucky:

    I had years of Latin studies as Mother tried desperately and futilely to groom for the priesthood. But I loves me sleeping in on Sunday mornings.

    Latin. Sanskrit. Big fan of the dead languages.

    Go Big 10.

  68. Slick says:

    Is there a stat that shows run support for pitchers? How many runs per game did the pitcher get? Winning games 6-5 are much different than 2-1.

    Slick

  69. RobertoForever says:

    @Stickyweb,

    Didn’t remember that, but kudos to you and especially on the SF GIants example as well. I was kinda referring to the journalists in town comparing it to recent history. Seems fair to throw out both sides of the coin, or at least mentioning it. Keep the good info coming. Sorry I missed it the first time.

  70. NMR says:

    @FOO

    If you want to convince yourself that #5 starters in down years still have ERA’s of 3.91, well then thats your prerogative. Nothings gonna change your mind, and thats fine.

  71. Dejan Kovacevic says:

    DK: Hey, people, this is my email address: dkovacevic@tribweb.com

    If I ever do something that stupid again, meaning not publishing the Wakeup Call because I’ve fallen asleep, please shoot me a note. I check the phone even during sleep intervals, so I’ll see it a lot sooner than I did today.

    What I’m saying is, this was your fault!

  72. LuckyNKentucky says:

    John,

    I had 2 years of Latin in HS and all I remember is E Pluribus Unem, now, ad hominem and Wincubus Eruptum, which was the name of an album by Blue Cheer, an old metal band I used to like. I’m a fan of the dead languages, too. I spend most of my time on Greek (New Testament) and Hebrew (Old Testament) now.

  73. LuckyNKentucky says:

    DK, nothing is our fault. You should know that by now.

  74. NMR says:

    Think about the difference between Dejan’s captain meeting column last winter and what Rob wrote yesterday.

    Dejan provided clear context regarding number of sources, content, and timing. Whether you agree with him or not, its very difficult to discredit his work other than to say that he, for some reason, made up the entire story.

    Rob’s story on the other hand, provides no information on the clubhouse, which is apparently the focus of the article, other than to state at SOME point, SOMEBODY wanted SOMETHING done.

    I find it hard to believe Dejan would’ve ran with something so vague. Especially as ammunition for an opinion-based piece.

  75. Dejan,

    For some reason, I enjoyed your piece today about Harmotto the best of all your Olympic coverage. Who knows why——maybe because I watched the Womens’ Volleyball games last night. Connected?

    Any chance you will write something about Coleman Scott, the “other” wrestler from Waynesburg? He goes tomorrow morning.

    DK: Thanks, Groat. Funny how that works. The people seem so much more real when NBC shows them.

    Yes, Scott is part of a multifaceted piece I have running tomorrow about Pittsburgh’s potentially huge day at the Olympics. You’ll also find my video interview with Scott included.

  76. albatross says:

    I take full responsibility. And, while you’re in London, say hello to my sister. She lives there.

  77. Great!!

    I’ll be reading and watching.

  78. Jandy says:

    Since Dejan seems to think it’s all OUR fault that he feel asleep with the lights on, I think ALL of lunatics should send him an e-mail of abject apology right away :)

    Lucky, don’t think I missed that Snider dig, either :p

  79. Jandy says:

    NMR #76, SPOT ON!!!!!!!

  80. Jandy says:

    OshKoshB’Gosh, I like to pick on Dejan, too, since he’s so good-natureda about it. Is that an ‘ad hominem” attack??? Man I sure hope it’s not, because it’s so much fun!

  81. LuckyNKentucky says:

    You have to get up pretty early or sleep with the lights on to get one by you, Jandylicious. (I used that in honor of buggee).

  82. Jandy says:

    LOL Lucky, where the heck is that buggee anyway?

  83. Stickyweb says:

    Wandy hasn’t had an ERA over 3.91 over a whole year since 2007 and his WHIP has been under 1.30 every year but one. Correia hasn’t had an ERA under 3.91 since 2007 (though coincidentally had a 3.91 in 2009) and had a 6.05 one year and another 5.40. KC’s capable of putting a few months of decent starts together (currently and the first 2 months last year) but is so bad the rest of the time, it more than wipes that decent time out.

    Bottom line, you might as well compare Presley to Marte if you’re going to compare Correia to Wandy.

    Now whether Wandy was worth the trade is another question, but we really didn’t give up much for him (somebody was right on when they said Grossman was massively blocked) but I think it was definitely worth it FOR RIGHT NOW to take the risk. So many people complaining that we didn’t risk enough of the future for some current bats yet also complaining that we risked the future for some current pitching.

  84. Stickyweb says:

    I meant to include that KC hasn’t had a WHIP under 1.30 in any of those years since 2007 too.

  85. Leefoo says:

    I am definitely in the minority with my feelings on WayRod, but his ERA was a sparkling 1.99 on May 14th.

    Since then, in his last 16 starts, he’s pitched 95 inn, given up 113 hits, walked 36 batters and has a 4.64 ERA.

    In KC’s starts, he has gone 114 inn, 114 hits, 54 ER and a 4.26 ERA. Btw, that is only a 1/3 of a run a game worse than Wandy!!

    I would take Wandy, pre 2012 in a flash, but he is no longer the Wandy we knew and love. He is a #5 starter and not much better (if at all) than KC who has won 7 in a row, btw….he keeps us in games.

    I never thought I’d be defending KC, or even Maholm but saying Wandy is better than him (OR Maholm) is a stretch. Yeh, he’s signed for next year, but he’s only a #5 starter now….hard to get excited about him.

    And, LNK, if Grossman was blocked, then I woulda liked to see him sent for something a little better than a #5 starter! Maybe HE could’ve gotten moved in the Snider deal instead of Lincoln?? Wandy is an old 33 yr old! His best days are behind him!

    JMHO

    Foo Rod

  86. Leefoo says:

    That should read: “Btw, that is only a 1/3 of a run a game worse than Wandy’s SEASON total!!”

    .

  87. Stickeywicket,

    Good comment and very good usage of statistics, instead of geekin’ it up.

    Thus far Wandy has pitched C — C– . . . . and I expected him to pitch B+ — A–.
    However that does not detract from the fact that Wandy has a good track record and it is/was a good trade for the Pirates made by BMTIB. Good Get/appropriate Minor League exchanges (although I liked both).

    I’m hoping the Force starts to work with Wandy in his next start against the Dodgers instead of the Dark Side.

  88. Leefoo says:

    Stickyweb…the last game Wandy gave up less than 2 runs in was on May 23.

    He has been the definition of a #5 starter!

    KC is no great shakes either, but saying ‘Wandy’ is an upgrade is like saying, instead of $2.50, you now have $2.75, but you had to drive from Pgh to Altoona to get that quarter.

    You guys are thinking of the pre-2012 Wandy. That Wandy is GONE! The current Wandy is what you’ve seen so far. If he goes back to the old Wandy, I will be totally surprised!

    Foo

    .

  89. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Trader Foo,

    Good point on the Snider deal. But their needs met our needs, etc., etc. Grossman is Snider in 2014. I like the guy, even saw him play in low A-ball, but too many ahead of him, especially in center and now left.

  90. Leefoo says:

    G2M2D….we’ll see if Wandy gets out of the C- range. I would sure love it if he did, but he won’t….

    I will be shocked, i tell ya, shocked, if he does….:) :) :)

  91. Foo Man Chewing,

    Don’t discount the power of the Force. Wandy be our only hope!

  92. Leefoo says:

    LnK…I like Snider a lot…that was the ONLY deal I liked and I LOVED Lincoln.

    I loved Grossman, too, but c’est le vie. Owens and Cain are no great loss. Cain was supposed to project velocity but he never got it. Wilson and Locke had surpassed Owens.

    Gaby and Casey are interchangeable, imho.

    Qualls…meh….:)

    Hey, I hope Wandy repeats his April/May for us. I just don’t see it. He has been “C-minus” since. Maybe if he pitched against US?….lol

    Foo

  93. Leefoo says:

    G2M2S….I will be praying for the Force then!!

    To the Force and Beyond!!!!

    Foo Lightyear

    .

  94. Arriba Wilver says:

    Foo–I think you’re mixing up Star Wars and Luke Skywalker with Toy Story and Buzz Lightyear. But don’t worry, lots of people make that mistake. ;-) :-)

  95. Bizrow says:

    Don’t forget we gave up something like the 33rd pick in next years Rule 4 draft for Gaby, not to mention something like 1.5 million in spending money from the draft budget.

    I’m just sayin, its not like we got these guys for nuttin (unlike last year, but lets hope these guys do a bit better for the PBC)

  96. Bizrow says:

    @AW “Don’t stop him, he’s on a roll…” :-)

  97. Arriba Wilver says:

    I thought Wandy was a legit get (including for what they gave up), but I understand what Foo is saying otherwise. I think how much of an “upgrade” he is has been way overblown in some quarters. Tim Williams didn’t particularly care for the trade at the time, and based that largely on his numbers declining (especially strikeouts) over the last 3 years if I recall correctly.

  98. NMR says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed disagreeing with someone as much as Foo. Guy is a hoot.

    Just for kicks…

    Central Division #5 Starters Career ERA

    Homer Bailey 4.68
    Jake Westbrook 4.29
    Marco Estrada 4.71
    Chris Volstad 4.81

    Wandy Rodriguez Career ERA 4.05

  99. Stickyweb says:

    Leefoo

    Wandy’s not much older than he was on May 14th when he had that sparkling 1.99 ERA after 8 starts. Sure he’s tailed off a bit since then (he’d be a #1 if he hadn’t), but players can bounce back from a couple of months of subpar performance. Hey, Correia’s even done it several times.

    I know most of my numbers were historical and your main point is that Wandy’s currently in serious decline, but I think for him to drop to a #5 he’d have to completely fall off a cliff (figuratively of course) and I just don’t see his regression being that severe. I agree he’s at about a C- right now and we’re hoping a change of scenery and pitching in a game that actually counts after the middle of May would boost him up a grade or grade and a half. We shall see.

  100. Stickyweb says:

    Biz

    Good point that we actually did give something up for Gaby, even if that pick didn’t have a person’s name attached to it yet. You know NH wasn’t going to trade it once it became an actual prospect, right? No way!!

    Foo

    I agree Gaby and Casey are basically interchangeable (except McG could play 3B too) so I liked the Gaby trade to add depth and didn’t like the McG trade since it subtracted that depth. Though we have our new 8th inning guy in Qualls and you have to give something to get something! LOL

  101. Any guesses on Mercer or Barmes tonight?

    Mercer earned a 3rd straight start, but I’m guessing Barmes——just so Hurdle doesn’t have to use him as a pinch hitter!

    It seems weird to say it but, since I want my shortstop’s 1st priority to play solid defense, I feel a little more secure when Barmes is at short.

    3 1/2 weeks until D’arnaud arrives!!!!

  102. nate83 says:

    I honestly look at the Pirate pitching staff as not having a number 5 starter. I think most teams would take Wandy, Bedard or Karstans as their 3rd or 4th starter at worse and then Burnett and JMac as top 2 guys.

    Man we have been spoiled this year thinking that somehow a 4.1 ERA is bad. 3 or 4 years ago no starting pitcher on the team had a sub 4.0 ERA. Wandy has posted an ERA the past 5 years that would have made him our number 1 any of those years. I am very happy with this trade because there is no guarentee that Karstans or Bedard will make it through the year. Wandy has consistantly pitched healthy and above league average. Besides Burnett he may by our most reliable pitcher. If before the year someone asked you if you want Burnett or Wandy on the team I feel as if most people would have said Wandy.

  103. Hunter says:

    Foo, your love of KC boggles my mind but your love for Locke makes total sense. I never would have done the Wandy deal but also didn’t think it was awful… then I continue to see Locke pitch and start to scratch my head.

    I think they could have filled internally. I still get a feeling they do not like something about Grossman and it may go back to his suspension.

  104. Arriba Wilver says:

    nate83–comparing this year and previous years for the Pirates is a pretty easy comparison, and not too relevant in my view IF you are talking about whether you think we can make the post season THIS YEAR. And I think that’s what most people are talking about. I don’t agree that most people would have picked Wandy over Burnett. I know I wouldn’t have. What you don’t realize, probably, is that Foo would have.

  105. Stickyweb says:

    Hunter

    I agree they could have filled the extra starter internally since most of the AAA guys were having very good years. But how could they have justified sending KC to the bullpen for a AAA guy when many are complaining about sending him there for Wandy? And counting on a AAA SP to join a team for a pennant chase? People freaked out that we were doing that with Snider when we desparately needed an upgrade at corner OF more than we did at 5th starter.

  106. Hunter says:

    Stickyweb ,

    From a PR standpoint I totally get that. I also understand there was a secondary issue at hand in that they also have Wandy for next season which was probably big for them.

    As for the experience thing… I have no problem bringing up a young guy in that situation if a spot in the rotation opened up. I get why they made the deal. I just don’t like it a lot.

  107. NMR says:

    @Sticky

    EXACTLY.

    In one blog, we have people criticizing the Front Office for not trading prospects for the chance that one of the “proven” hitters produces and we have people criticizing the Front Office for trading prospects prospects for a proven pitcher that thus far has not been an improvement.

    It’s enough to make your head spin.

    Are they excepting applications?

  108. Stickyweb says:

    Nate

    Agreed a 4.10 ERA would be great for a 5th starter either this year or any past year. Unfortunately we have Bedard at 4.53 and Correia at 4.49 so it’s tough to say we’re that good. Foo’s point is that Wandy hasn’t been good for the last 2 months so HE’D call him a 5th starter, but in realty he’s our 3rd or 4th.

  109. Hunter says:

    I liked the Snider deal but that’s because I like Snider a little more as a player than Wandy. I think the team is better with those two deals I also think giving up Grossman was a little much for the player they got back. I thought the Lincoln for Snider was a great deal.

  110. Arriba Wilver says:

    NMR–people disagree? Heavens! Where’s that Pirate Fan Advisor network when you need it?

  111. Leefoo says:

    AW…I mixed them up on purpose….Star Wars and Toy Story! Glad to see you caught that! :)
    ============

    NMR….I don’t doubt Wandy’s CAREER ERA, but he is trending downward as Tim W noted on P2. Btw, what’s Overbay’s career batting avg….lol

    =============

    Biz…I agree that giving up that #33 pick wasn’t ‘nothing’, but since I was told that on the Plus blog that you don’t miss what you didn’t have’, I ignored that.
    If you remember, I hated giving that high a pick (think Barnes and Black) for a guy who has only hit .220 since last year’s All Star Game. Another guy who is trending down, but look at that CAREER batting avg….lol

    =========

    And, to make it clear….I am NOT defending KC, but the way WayRod has been pitching it ain’t much of an upgrade. I wouldn’t drive to Altoona for a quarter….:)

    May the Foo be with you G2M2S…I loved that comment.

    Woody Foobacca

    .

  112. Leefoo says:

    Sticky…I would put our rotation, in order, AJ, JMac, Karstens, and Wandy/Bedard 4 & 5 and KC 5a. I would’ve loved it if we HAD gotten a true #3 starter, but we didn’t.

    That’s all I am saying, despite Wandy’s ‘career’ numbers or his ‘season’ ERA, which as I noted is only 1/3 of a run better than KC’s was AS A STARTER!!

    Maybe Wandy’ll turn it around and he and Eric will pitch like they did in April/May, but I don’t have much optimism in that. I feel better about Barmes’ chances of hitting .275 the rest of the way….lol

    .

  113. Leefoo says:

    Hunter….#112,,,,I’m with you, man!!!
    :)

  114. nate83 says:

    Arriba what sort of trade would you have wanted them to make to make the playoffs this year? Would you have been willing to give up Marte, Cole, Hanson or Taillon to get Greinke, Dempster or Choo? I’m not so sure anything really gaurantees making the playoffs. Plenty of big name players have failed miserably to help teams make the playoffs after being traded and then a player like Cody Ross gets traded and helps a team into the playoffs and beyond. The Sabathia stories are the minority and last time I checked the Brewers did not win it all and didn’t keep Sabathia and still lost 4 prospects.

    They added players that they can control past this year and a pitcher that has a career 3.7 ERA for about 5.5 million a year over the next two years. Try finding a free agent pitcher with an ERA like that for 5.5 per year. They tried this past off season and he turned down their 33 million over 3 years offer.

  115. RobertoForever says:

    DK,

    I don’t get to see the printed version of the Trib. And Rob’s blog said his column was trimmed in the paper. I misread that to mean taken out.

    My point still stands. If you have to wait till the next to last paragraph to get to your premise, it needs more than trimming. And NMR’s comparison to your column on the C issue is spot on.

    DK: In what sense? Do you understand the comparison NMR was making?

  116. Pacfrag says:

    Foo

    Good to see you active over here.

  117. RobertoForever says:

    @nate83 on #117

    Excellent point about acquiring guys thru trade who prior to this season would not have considered the Pirates as free agents.

    And had Wandy not struggled in May and June, does anyone think we would have gotten a 3.00 ERA Wandy for Grossman, et al? Houston would have been asking for Marte +

    Wandy could certainly fall off a cliff, but I would guess when he settles in (just got to Pittsburgh Thursday as a Pirate, probably doesn’t even has his stuff here from Houston) that Wandy will be energized by the pennant race.

  118. buggee says:

    Not to be contrary to the seeming theme of this thread, but…
    >>> I personally like it when a journalist/beat writer/whatever-label-fits-RB steps out of the cookie-cutter, here-are-the-facts style of writing/reporting and introduces some of their “voice” into the piece.

    It’s one of the reason’s why I follow DK’s work (besides the quality and oft-controversy of his work); DK’s “voice” is evident throughout, and lately very much so in the decathalon DK completed yesterday. I loved it. Strong writing that evoked outright laughter over the synchronized swimming comments.

    Excellent work, DK, and I am both thankful and appreciative of your recent work.

    >>> If RB (“24/7″?) wants to interject a “blah blah blah” comment in his piece, I’m all for it. I am more than certain that many of us Pirate fans have felt the same at this line of mularkey spun out from TBMTIB.

    Make it controversial and stir the hornet’s nest. Boring writers should stay in Philadelphia. Raze it Yinz Jagoffs

    DK: Appreciate the kind words about the decathlon piece.

  119. JRay3 says:

    Tonight’s Lineup:

    Marte 7, Snider 9, McCutchen 8, Jones 3, Walker 4, Alvarez 5, Barajas 2, Barmes 6, McDonald 1

    Reds 2 Cubs 1 B2

  120. Stickyweb says:

    Foobacca

    Who are you talking about in #114 that we gave up a high choice for ad has only hit .220 since last years AS break? I’m completely missing on that one.

    I understand your point about players in decline, but then you have a guy like Ludwick. He had a bad year in a terrible hitter’s park (Petco) so we took a chance on him. You could easily have said he was in decline but the Bucs thought he’d do better in a more fair park. He didn’t so write him off and now he’s having the 2nd best year of his career. And at the same age as Wandy. I know the ballpark helps him, but he’s doing as well on the road as in the bandbox.

    Wandy has gone down some but moving into a more fair park to pitchers, it’s not ridiculous to think he could get back to a 3.50 ERA (the definition of a #3 starter) for the next year or two. I’m more optimistic than you about it and would put it at about 50-50. But I’ve always been a glass is half full kind of guy, at least until I chug down the beer.

  121. Stickyweb says:

    Homer Bailey drove in the Reds 2nd run with 2 outs in the 2nd inning. Cubs intentionally walked the guy ahead of him. RRRGGGGHHHH!

  122. buggee says:

    Thanks JRay for the lineup.
    Slots 7, 8 & 9 = OUT. Blech

    Raze the Jolly Jagoff yinz shuttlecocks

  123. Hunter says:

    Stickyweb

    Pirates gave up their compensation pick (no. 33 overall) to get Sanchez.

  124. Arriba Wilver says:

    Stickey–I’ll bet our #5 starter couldn’t do that. :-)

  125. NMR says:

    @Arriba

    $600 says my opinion is more important than yours!

  126. JohninOshkosh says:

    @ Arriba:

    I was not trying to evade your post (#66). My phone rang and I was off to extinguishing fires for most of the day (tyranny of the cellphone).

    It goes back to the PSU sanction blogs, really. Some of the posts devolved into the tired attacks that Dejan was better as a beat reporter or that he wasn’t columnist material. The other day that jabroni (my new favorite word, thanks Milo) accused Dejan of self-interest attacks on the Pirates. I just can’t stomach the attacks that accuse journalists of vendettas, self-interest and bias. Those are generally written by people who are ignorant, or choose to be ignorant, of the sacred purpose of journalism. That being said, it is deep in my soul to appreciate dissent, and many commentators here-you, Thunder, Drew, NMR, Groat, etc etc counter-argue Dejan with aplomb (my second new favorite word).

    I could copy/paste some of the posts I am referring to, but I am not your secretary. :)

    @Jandy: Saw your post, too. You kidders are some of my favorite posts! But, I did see your admission to liking UFC. Shaking my head. Boxing is an ancient, noble art. Boxing is to UFC what ballet is to square dancing. It is the sweet science. UFC is the putrid hokum. :)

    Have a good weekend all. I’m off to up north to enjoy God’s Country.

  127. RobertoForever says:

    DK,

    Sorry, my point and NMR’s point were two separate points.

    NMR’s point was about how you provide clear context vs the vagueness of Rob. I was seconding his point.

    The other point I was referencing was waiting until the next to last paragraph to address the point of the column. If all but 2 paragraphs are talking about the front office not trying to better the team now, then the column can’t be about the players feeling about it. Or if the column is about it, then it didn’t do the job.

    Funny, Rob didn’t address whether the team took Hurdle’s advice. If some did not, then there might be a good column there, if Rob’s position is that there is still significant locker room dissatisfaction. Can’t tell if the dissatisfaction was the day after the deadline, or yesterday.

 
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