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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: Sage advice from A.J.

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Brief and to the Point …

>> We open with a word — or four — from A.J. Burnett

If Brad Lincoln’s glare at Jim Thome is as old news as Lincoln himself, then I’ll take Burnett’s whiff of Hanley Ramirez — followed by a vocal “Sit the —- down!” — as a nice replacement.

Burnett didn’t pitch great. Six runs is six runs. But he was still standing out there in the seventh, still showing he was competing. You can sense the effect that has on the team, on the crowd. Intangibles do count.

And the Pirates have no choice but to keep using him every fifth day, no matter the rotation.

Here’s our full coverage from PNC Park.

>> The Friday column is about Melky Cabrera, the confessed cheater who is in an excellent position to be National League batting champion … unless Bud Selig does something about it.

>> If you haven’t been reading our daily Inside The Ropes feature from Latrobe, you’re missing out on some neat stuff from the Steelers’ camp. Here’s today’s edition.

You could fill the thing daily on Mike Tomlin-isms alone.

>> Here’s the chat transcript from yesterday, but I want to pull one answer out of there for any Penguins fans who missed it. The question was about the NHL labor mess …

My Cliff’s Notes view: Gary Bettman’s got a couple of miserable franchises in Phoenix and Florida, and he lacks the fortitude to ask the rest of the owners to chip in with additional revenue sharing. Maybe that’s because those owners see the Predators match the Flyers’ offer for Shea Weber and think everything’s fine. Maybe it’s just that they’re greedy. But they’re Bettman’s bosses, not the other way around.

So, rather than tackle a logical, rational plan from the union — setting aside the massively hard-to-digest image of Donald Fehr accepting a salary cap — for more revenue sharing, Bettman wants the players to forfeit more and more money to keep the Coyotes and Panthers afloat.

You know what would be my next proposal if I’m Fehr?

1. Move the Coyotes to Quebec. Tomorrow.

2. Pay the city of Sunrise enough cash to free the Panthers from their really long-term lease in Florida, and move to Seattle.

I know of at least one NHL team captain — don’t overthink it — who is very much in favor of seeing the NHL add another team in the northwest. Would be great for the Canucks, the California teams and the sport.

>> I’ll cover Steelers-Colts on Sunday night, but after that, I’m going to take some of that time off due from the Olympics.

Think of it as taking A.J.’s advice literally.

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