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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: It’s all about the pitching … always

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Brief and to the Point …

>> Well, that was impressive. And important.

And it came down to the one thing that will mean more than any other for these Pirates the rest of the way: Plenty of pitching.

If Wandy Rodriguez is really coming around — and this has been three good appearances in a row now, none bigger than his six goose eggs last night — then he’ll join A.J. Burnett, Jeff Karstens and maybe even James McDonald in the reliable category.

I’m going to assume here that Jeff Locke (right) will be called up to be the fifth starter, for three reasons:

1. He’s pitched very well. Nice start last night, too.

2. Gerrit Cole was promoted to Indianapolis after that team’s game late last night. No, he won’t pitch in Pittsburgh, but that does fill a hole in the playoff-bound Indians’ rotation. Locke’s absence would be that hole.

3. If the Pirates’ choice was Kevin Correia, why wait this long to tell him?

None of us can know how Locke will do in the majors. He’s pitched a total of 4 1/3 innings in Pittsburgh this summer. But you’ll take a confident strike-throwing lefty.

Locke’s not just confident. He’s an exceptionally bright kid. I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t do at least reasonably well.

>> Wandy looked pretty relaxed last night. First I’ve seen that …


>> Anyone making an issue of the Pirates’ attendance — and 19,398 was pretty lousy given the setting and breathtaking weather — should at least get their facts in order.

The team’s real problem is a small season-ticket base. If the overall base is around 10,000 — counting full-season plans as one person, a half-season as half a person and so forth — the actual number of outright 81-game plans is in the range of 5,000.

Partial-plan holders generally don’t pick weekdays. Groups don’t pick weekdays, either. So for a game like last night, you’re essentially starting from a foundation of maybe 5,000. And it means you’ve got to sell about 30,000 single-game tickets to fill the place up.

No one does that. Not here. Not anywhere.

It would be tough for the Yankees to sell out with that foundation.

By contrast, over the past weekend, all three games sold out, but I’ll bet they had to sell fewer single-game tickets each day to do so than what the Pirates sold last night.

That’s not excuse-making. Like I said, 19,000 was lame. But it’s to point out that the Pirates’ real problem here is a low season-ticket base. That’s what needs to change.

>> A chat with the Steelers’ Keenan Lewis, in advance of tonight’s preseason finale at Heinz Field …


I’ll be covering the game, but no one’s expecting much, given Mike Tomlin’s really strong hints that starters will play just a little.

>> Our weekly chat will be today at noon. Come one, come all.


  1. Dale S says:

    DK, haven’t there been weekday non-holiday games that have been 30,000+ this season? I remember a couple of those games being against below .500 teams as well. Were those games promotions, or due to the Pirates’ exceptional play at the time?

    DK: If there was a non-opening-day Monday-Friday game that drew 30,000-plus this year, I’m not aware of it.

  2. Dale S says:

    Cubs series July 23-25 is what I was thinking of, had to look it up. Arizona series in August also drew better crowds than this one, albeit in the low 20,000s. Just wondering your thoughts on why this series was so much lower than last two weekday series.

  3. Brian says:

    I think a lot of people are also overlooking the fact that kids are back in school this week. More parents are probably struggling to get their kid in bed by 9pm this week than wanting to take them to a Pirates game knowing they’ve got school in the morning. Parents also have to adapt to this week’s changes, too. There were likely more walk-ups when parents just wanted to get the family to the ballpark for something to do on a summer night. I think that fact, along with the August record, is the difference in attendance between last night and those July and early August series.

  4. Sandoval says:

    How’s marte, any idea if he’s gonna come back this year.

  5. JAL says:

    JAL’s Montana on My Mind Morning Links


    1- MLB Transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    3 Go Buccos- Pirate News (from external sources)


    4—Pirates Prospects

    Pirates Notebook: Pitching Blanks Cardinals; Weekend Rotation Set

    Brock Holt Has Three Hits as Indians Slip Past Toledo

    Prospect Watch: GCL Wins Championship; Rojas Has a Big Day

    Walker Feels Encouraged Low Back Isn’t Long-Term

    First Pitch: Five Other Altoona Players Who Could Help Indianapolis

    5 Bucs Dugout

    Pedro Alvarez, Pitching Big Again In Another Shutout Victory Over Cardinals

    6 Rumbunter

    Pittsburgh Pirates Challenge Flame Throwing Gerrit Cole With Triple-A Promotion

    Clint Hurdle on 970 ESPN with David Todd– ‘I’ve Shared My Thoughts with Joe Torre…’

    7 McEffect

    Who Should Replace Bedard in the Rotation?

    8 The Green Weenie

    Wandy, Pedro Tag Team Cards 5-0

    9 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Pirates come up big again

    10 WHY GAVS

    Game 130: Pirates 5 Cardinals 0

  6. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 CBS Sports

    Alvarez, Pirates roll over Cards

    12 St Louis Post Dispatch

    Cards go quietly in series finale

    Bernie: No Cardinal more valuable than Molina

    13 Chicago Tribune

    Pirates Report,0,7191668.story

    14 MASN

    McLouth taking advantage of a second chance in Baltimore

    15 KDKA

    Pirates Hitting Coach Impressed With Pedro’s Performance

    16 NY Times

    Pirates Seek to Swap Hope for Belief

    17 Sweetspot

    The legend of Pedro Alvarez is born


    18 PBC Site

    Pirates blank Cardinals again, take series

    Hurdle wowed by Alvarez’s power display

    19 Baseball Prospectus

    What You Need to Know

    20 Fangraphs

    Green Lights Going Wrong, Take 1

  7. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Steelers, UPMC Create ‘Don’t Hit The Head, Don’t Use The Head’ Campaign To Prevent Concussions

    Steelers Position Battle Preview: Chris Carter Vs. Jason Worilds

    22 Steelers Depot

    - Report: Jason Worilds Still Unable to hinge Wrist

    23 Steelers Gab

    Haley Fully Expects Wallace to Be Ready for Denver September 9th

    24 Nice Pick Cower

    Some Unheralded Steelers Players to Watch During the Preseason Finale vs. Panthers

    Pitt Blogs

    25 Pitt Blather

    Everybody Has to Parse Sunseri

    26 Cardiac Hill

    Athlon Ranks Several Of Pitt’s Players Among Best In College Football

    WVU Blogs

    27 Metro News

    Thompson a Two-Star Find

    28 WV Illustrated

    Austin Lands on ESPN All-America Team


    29 Sky Sports

    Bhoys success

    30 Daily Telegraph

    Liverpool to go for Arsenal’s Theo Walcott if Andy Carroll joins West Ham

    31 World Soccer Daily

    10 stories you need to read, 29th August, 2012


    32 Pensburgh

    Penguins Summer Inactivity Explained?

  8. JAL says:

    Montana on My Mind, Catherine Leigh and the Scioto River Band, 2011. They are from Ohio, song remastered at Abbey Road Studios in London and they are singing about Montana.

  9. Thundercrack says:

    “Anyone making an issue of the Pirates’ attendance — and 19,398 was pretty lousy given the setting and breathtaking weather — should at least get their facts in order.”

    I think the issue of Pirate attendance, at least here on this blog, was made by the person who wrote the headline “How Many Will Show Tonight”. So does that mean that that person ‘got their facts in order’?

    With so much local sports talk now on the radio in Pittsburgh, it seems like every Pirate game is now dissected and over- analyzed – to death. Tuesday morning the morning guys on The Fan were ripping the team and leaving them for dead. Yesterday morning the were touting that the team made a statement that they weren’t going to roll over. I have to wonder if this effects the buying habits of the ‘casual’ fan.

    And now it seems like the attendance for every Pirate game is going to analyzed.

  10. pattonbb says:

    So Mark McGuire is a little upset with his hitting protégés. He says there’s no way that lineup should ever be shut out. Actually, here’s the quote from JAL’s #12 link…

    “This offense should never be shut out,” said McGwire. “I’m all for tipping the hat if the pitcher is dealing. But these last two nights, (the pitchers) were very hittable. Getting shut out like that. . . I’m always troubled by that with this offense because our offense should never be shut out, especially by these two guys” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch).

    How ’bout shutting your pie hole Mark? Obviously your boys need to adjust their Andro intake. I’m sure you can help them with that, you bum.

  11. pants-n-at says:

    @ Brian. Good points. Same goes with visitors coming in for the summer. Now they too are sending their kiddies back to school so they are not in the area.

  12. pants-n-at says:

    BTW…best back-to-back games in a loooooong time. I hope this is a sign we’re going to get on a roll. If we did it before, we can do it again.

  13. steve d says:

    i think the attendance will obviously go up in the last home stand if they are still at this point, only 1 game back of the wild card…..some people just dont believe, at which i was starting to do the same lately, but these last two have been nice. LETS GO BUCS BABY!

  14. TJA says:

    The last two nights…the Pirates have given me a good night’s sleep. When I stay up and watch a game and and they lose, it drives me crazy. The opposite when they win. Thanks, Gents.

  15. John A says:

    DK, the July 25th 12:35 Cubs game drew over 30,000. I was stuck in the ridiculous traffic that went with it and missed two innings.

  16. John A says:

    Pretty sure the low weeknight attendance this week is directly linked to school starting. No one wants their kid up late the first week of school. They had much larger crowds last homestand.

  17. Milo Hamilton says:

    In answer to Dale S. – Wednesday July 25th vs. Chicago, the attendance was 33,935 & game time was 12:35. They also drew over 32,000 the night before.

    My question to you DK as it is to all media that make this an issue is – how much do you pay to get in ?

  18. NMR says:

    Really didn’t see Dejans attendance comments yesterday as calling the fans out, even though they have been percieved that way. Seems pretty clear to me that he’s saying nobody should EXPECT good attendence as long as those season ticket holder numbers are so low.

    Also thought that was a fantastic explanation of the No. 5 spot in the rotation. I truly didn’t think there was a clear favorite before I read that, but afterwords it seems pretty obvious.

    It cannot be understated that in the midst of this Pirates “collapse”, the team has managed to win back-to-back series against the Cardinals. Very, very impressive.

    As for The Fan, it is the sports equivalent of Fox News. Every little occurance is teased out into an epic drama sure to have disastrous ramifications. And you can absolutely bet it influences fan bahavior.

    DK: Reading is fundamental.

  19. pants-n-at says:

    @ NMR. I could say the same for MSNBC but I won’t go any further than that!

  20. NMR says:


    You know, I actually had them in my post as well but erased it because I didn’t want to insinuate any political inuendo (blog no-no). Should’ve probably just said “24 hour news” and left it at that. I agree with ya, though.

  21. bdubb says:

    Not sold on Locke or any AAA’r in the rotation. Doing that and now you are asking yet another rookie to contribute in a pennant race. Unless I am mistaken he is no David Price. And aren’t these AAA kids on a strict pitch count? As much as I don’t want it Corriea has to be the guy.

  22. LuckyNKentucky says:


    I wonder if McGwire thought Grilli and Hanrahan were “hittable”?

  23. Arriba Wilver says:

    Someone should tell McGuire to STFD! (not me, he may still be on the juice)

  24. Arriba Wilver says:

    NMR@17. That’s clear today. Wasn’t clear yesterday. If you read that into what he said yesterday, my hat’s off to you.

  25. ChrisC says:

    The Baltimore Orioles are the AL wild card leaders and breathing down on the Yankees drew a total of 35,000 for the three game set with another playoff team the White Sox…I think the Bucs did pretty well compared to them…

  26. Leefoo says:

    LnK….#21….loved that comment!

    AW….just send him a shirt anonymously. :)

  27. Jandy says:

    It’s a Foo sighting! ;)

  28. Dan k says:

    I’m not unhappy with 19k on a Wednesday night. School is back in for most families and the perception was “here we go again…” If the bucs were home this weekend–guaranteed sell out. They restored hope.

  29. LuckyNKentucky says:


    Seems like McGwire has taken Dave Duncan’s place as the most arrogant Cardinal coach.

  30. JD says:

    @ TC – I had same thoughts as you. DK was the one who made attendance an issue yesterday. It seems he gets carried away on his Twitter sometimes. He’ll chirp something out and make mention of it on the blog. This gets a lot of people riled up and generates lots of back and forth. Then he’ll come back with additional posts that seem to soften his original stance.

    It seems similar to his tiff with Cutch a few weeks ago.

  31. NMR says:

    Fair enough, Arriba. DK might’ve saved a few nasty tweets by leading with his season ticket logic. I just didn’t see it as an attack in the first place.

    I’m also a little surprised at the fans taking offense with McGuires offensive discussion.

    The pitching struggles of James McDonald and Wandy Rodriguez have been well documented. That shouldn’t be news to anyone, and certainly not to McGuire. The Cards are the best offensive team in the league. They just got shutout twice in a row during a division series in the middle of a playoff race. Yeah, you bet they deserve to be called out.

  32. 21sthebest says:

    “As for The Fan, it is the sports equivalent of Fox News. Every little occurance is teased out into an epic drama sure to have disastrous ramifications.”

    Right. MessNBC and CNN are so different in that respect.

  33. Thundercrack says:

    Maybe it’s easier to be the hitting coach when Albert Pujols is on your team.

    No wait….the Angels fired their hitting coach earlier this year.

  34. Leefoo says:

    Jandy/LnK….thx, but I won’t be on much. From time to time, I’ll post.

    Still prefer the PGPlus blog. Hard to follow conversations here. I wish you guys were there, but….this IS free! That $4 buys a lotta Starbucks stuff. lol

    Seriously, it’s nice to have a blog like that where I can go on there when I am down, (like after this weekend) and guys cheer me up. I mean, yinz are cheery, too, but…hard to follow who replies to me here.

    Plus, I have to constantly refresh this site to see comments.

    But, I’ll check in from time to time to see the ‘good folks’ here. But, if you wanna talk to me more, come on over. :)


  35. LuckyNKentucky says:


    With that lineup McGuire has, he’s right, they shouldn’t be shut out twice in a row. Of course it’s not his fault, and no credit goes to the opposition. Was every pitcher they faced in the series hittable? I just think he’s the same arrogant person who lied in court and cheated his way to the HR crown. But, what do I know? I’m a “forgivin’ and forgettin’ Christian”. (Pappy O’Daniel in O’ Brother, Where Art Thou?)

  36. pattonbb says:


    I understand why McGuire made the comments. He’s trying to shake them up. My problem with his quotes have to deal with the “not these two guys” part. He says he’s not above tipping his cap when a pitcher is ‘dealing” but he thinks J-Mac and Wandy both were very hittable. So in effect, he’s saying that he could’ve done what an entire lineup of good hitters couldn’t do. He doesn’t think J-Mac and Wandy were “dealing”? I bet Beltran and Holliday might have a different opinion.

    McGuire has the easiest job in the NL. He’s a hitting coach for a team full of good, established ML hitters. If that team wasn’t prepared for what they saw the last two games, Big Mac should shoulder some of the blame instead making excuses.

    Maybe Edwin Jackson will be more “hittable” for the Redbirds tonight.

  37. Jandy says:

    Foo, we’ll miss you, but your visits here will be sweeter :)

  38. LuckyNKentucky says:


    A double amen on #34.

  39. Leefoo says:

    “Foo, we’ll miss you, but your visits here will be sweeter ”

    Ain’t you sweet, too. :)

  40. Jandy says:

    When I forget myself ;)

  41. Jandy says:

    I want to second Lucky on pattonbb’s #34

  42. NMR says:


    I seem to remember a board full of commenters railing on and on about how abysmal the Pirates offense looked last series against the scrubs of San Diego. Can’t remember a single person saying, hey, give credit to their pitchers, yada, yada, yada…

    Seems a bit hypocritical to call out McGuire for doing the same.

    Wandy, especially in the first few innings, was hardly “dealing” last night. Cards missed many opportunities.

    Oh, and David Freese, Matt Carpenter, Allen Craig, Jon Jay, and Daniel Descalso are far from established major league hitters, yet are all huge contributors to that team. If Greg Ritchie had that kind of track record he’d be given a key to the city.

  43. TJA says:

    Just had a conversation with a buddy of mine. Good point he raised: Winning the season series from the World Champs is a big deal, but the Pirates need to win against their nemesis this weekend in Brew town. As he said “…even a struggling Brewers team OWNS the Pirates…not winning this weekend and against the Astros and Cubbies coming up…all hope is lost”. Well said.

  44. TJA says:

    I’ll add that indeed small steps have been taken this year which include a much improved record in interleague play. That said…NOW is the time to step it up. This schedule, on paper, over the next 32 games makes one drool.

  45. 21sthebest says:

    “Can’t remember a single person saying, hey, give credit to their pitchers, yada, yada, yada…….Seems a bit hypocritical to call out McGuire for doing the same.”

    McGwire isn’t doing the same. McGwire isn’t giving credit to our pitchers but instead is saying that our pitchers were hittable which they really weren’t the last 2 games. That’s not something you typically hear other players or coaches say about their opponents. They’re typically a bit more gracious.

  46. JohninOshkosh says:

    Looking forward to the college football season that starts tonight (I wonder if Aglebagel is going to the BYU game?). Despite all its warts, I still prefer it to the NFL. I’m really interested in how Paul Chryst will do at Pitt. I like what he has been doing. It is nice that he has not distanced the team from the Steelers. I always thought that was a major recruiting cookie for Pitt to put out there. That is, the opportunity to brush shoulders with the best. When he was the OC at Wisconsin he had his share of critics. I suppose that is the nature of the job, the OC is always a convenient scapegoat. However, last year he made tremendous adjustments to the Badgers offense to accommodate the uberathleticism of quarterback Russell Wilson. I think the Panthers are in for a good season.

    Go Badgers Go Big Ten Go Ohio State (for Lucky) until they play the Badgers. Hopefully, the Badgers will break the SEC’s hold on national titles.

  47. NMR says:

    How does one determine whether or not our pitchers were not hittable the last two games? Surely not only by use of hindsight, right?

    Watch the first three innings last night. Wandy was all over the plate. He absolutely was hittable.

  48. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Ditto John. The Badgers owe the Buckeyes for that lucky win OSU pulled out last year against a much better team. I like Chryst, too. Hope he does well. I see him as a real football man, not like Todd Graham in any way.

  49. 21sthebest says:

    I feel pretty confident in saying that a team being shutout for two games in a row shows that the pitching was probably unhittable. I think Wandy’s early control problems showed that he had early control problems but made good pitches to get out of jams making him pretty much unhittable. He had some luck – a couple of hard hit ball right at fielders but that’s fairly normal for just about every pitcher.

  50. densum2 says:

    @ DK

    “DK: If there was a non-opening-day Monday-Friday game that drew 30,000-plus this year, I’m not aware of it.”

    I’m not sure how to check attendance, but I’d be willing to bet some pierogies that they drew 30k + when the Cubs were in town 7/25.

  51. pattonbb says:


    I get your point, bud. I really do. Not trying to start an argument. But a lineup that includes Holliday, Beltran, Molina, Freese, Berkman (when healthy) and Furcal is a lineup of established hitters. We can split hairs all day if you want.

    I agree with your comments about the San Diego series. And I admit, I’m probably guilty as charged. But you didn’t hear Ritchie saying, “those guys we faced were very hittable”.

    McGuire’s a bum.

  52. radio wave says:

    At foo:
    Love your comments, opinions, insight. But some of us are not going back to the pg.
    At john in oshkosh:
    My sympathy to your wife and UNI saturday.
    They could beat the hawkeyes this year.
    Go ohio bobcats.

  53. NMR says:

    “McGuire’s a bum”

    Haha, and there’s the real reason everyone is up in arms. Not because of what was said, but because of who said it.

  54. buggee says:

    @DK: You gotta know that your blog opening caused at least a few more folk to go to the game last night sir.

    That wasn’t the case for me and the lil wifelett, and we avoided the all-you-can-eat slopfest (thankfully). Though the numbers were slightly better than average for a weeknight game, it a loud, boisterous crowd that was pro-Pedro, big time. Place went nuts every time one of the Boys-of-Summer flashed the “Z” sign, and I gotta admit I yelled right alongside everyone else. Stunningly, so did me lil wifelett.

    Watching these contests is fine, but no matter how good a televised game gets, it’s nothin’ like bein’ there baybee. Yeppers. Good game, Hyde Park’s filet was out-shuttlecocking-standing, the Johnny Walker Blue was the perfect apertif, and a Bucco blanking of the Birds was a fab finale.

    WWCD? “What Would Crue Do”?

  55. mmd says:

    I don’t know if I would say 5-4 in the season series “owning” but I get the point.

    DK: It was 8-7, and I’d agree.

  56. LuckyNKentucky says:


    I’m probably guilty of what you mention in #53, but I’ve had a stomach full of guys like Duncan, Larussa and the rest of them over the years. That’s my reasoning (excuse, which word I hate), but it stems from a line of it over the years.

  57. JHadar says:


    Entirely agree about not going back to the pay site.

    Glad I found this one. I knew it was here, but first time through was the wrong season and I thought it was a hockey blog.

    It’s not the money.

    The world wide web was specifically founded to make *content* available without cost.

  58. Arriba Wilver says:

    NMR–Nope, people are up in arms because he dissed OUR pitchers. You can make excuses, but he leaves out that insult and it doesn’t even get mentioned. Not saying people don’t dislike McGuire, but you’re missing the main point to try to diss another point of view. Not sure why.

  59. buggee says:

    >>> Saw a kid in Columbus OH wearing a tee-shirt that said: “I’d rather shower at Penn State than lose to Michigan,”

    Wow. Just … I’m speechless

  60. Dave G says:

    I’ll betcha Aroldis Chapman would have found Mr. McGuire “hittable,” if he ever would have had a chance to face him.

  61. NMR says:


    Now that is something we both can agree on. Especially Larussa.

    It is a d*mn good organization. In my mind, the best in the league. I suppose that kind of success can breed arrogance. Then again, some people are just a-holes…(you don’t have to agree there!).

  62. JQFreed says:

    I agree the 19k number should have been better, especially with a nationally televised game. There a number of factors–bad economy, ticket prices, school night and Pirates’ play over the past 10 games.

    What I don’t agree with is DK snapping photos from the press box on his cell phone and tweeting them, then calling out fans, basically saying “I’m here, where are all of you?” DK is there for work and didn’t have to buy tickets.

    I know I speak for a large number of Pirates fans when I say I try to get to as many as I can, and I wish I could get to more, but I can’t get to all of them. We’d all like to get paid to go, but we all aren’t as lucky.

    Stick to criticizing the Pirates’ play, not the Pirates’ fans, and enjoy PNC every night.

    DK: I’ve been tweeting out a picture of the game’s first pitch from every Pirates game I’ve covered for seven years now.

    If I expressed the sentiment you described up there — or even thought it — I’d hate me, too. But I didn’t. My being at the game for work has not a solitary thing to do with praising/criticizing crowds. I’m there for my job.

  63. TJA says:

    @ Buggee – Just when you thought you saw and heard everything. Ouch!

  64. JHadar says:


    Forgot to add that I’ll pulling for the Panthers this weekend.

    Hawks are down this year, but if it’s a typical Ferentz team, a few unknowns will show up to make them just good enough to break your heart.

    I think the Clones may surprise a few people, but that’s a tough league.

  65. NMR says:


    But was he thinking about the kids?


  66. LuckyNKentucky says:


    I don’t have to agree, but I do.

  67. JohninOshkosh says:

    Radio Man:

    Thanks. Your Bobcats will get a lot of that “national attention” this weekend with who they are playing.

    I’ll pass your sympathies on to my wife (also to my brother, a UNI alum as well). Actually, I am just looking so forward to a childless weekend with my beautiful wife. After 21 years I still enjoy the challenge of trying to woo a woman who is clearly out of my intellectual league.

  68. David says:

    I really don’t care about the attendance. I’ve said it before Pittsburgh is not a baseball town it is a football town. I don’t say that meaning to imply anything negative; it isn’t a negative thing. Pittsburgh is perfectly capable of supporting the team and that is all that really matters.

    By the way for all those saying the kids being back in school is the reason, how many people do you expect to be in the stadium right next door tonight? Its still a school tonight by the way and the game being played there tonight is meaningless.

    Again this doesn’t imply that there is anything wrong or bad about the Pittsbugh’s baseball fan base. It is just how it is.

  69. Arriba Wilver says:

    OshKosh—Woo? Yesterday you said you begged. :-)

  70. Milo Hamilton says:


    Any other suggestions on how the people of the Western PA should spend their money ?

  71. 21sthebest says:

    “how many people do you expect to be in the stadium right next door tonight?”

    Not many. And even less after halftime.

    I think Pittsburgh is a “baseball town”. I think if the Steelers went through a number of years of not making the playoffs, you’d see some changes in attendance and season ticket wait list numbers just like we did for a bit from 85-91. And just like we did when the Penguins were bad not that long ago.

  72. mmd says:


    I was referring to the Brewers edge over the Pirates this year referenced in post 43. Either way it’s not owning.

    DK: My fault. Agreed.

  73. Jandy says:

    JHadar, nice to see you today :)

  74. Thundercrack says:

    That’s why I wanted to know the local ratings from last Saturday’s practice football game and the baseball game during the playoff drive.

    People that watch Pirate games on TV are still considered ‘fans’ , right?

  75. Jandy says:

    TC, *I* watch baseball games on TV and I consider myself a fan.

  76. JAL says:

    Pedro Alvarez did pretty much own Cardinal pitching this season. As Dave Schoenfield wrote in link 17

    “Man, talk about owning a team. For the season, Alvarez hit .389 against the Cardinals with seven home runs and 20 RBIs in 15 games. The Cardinals are done with Alvarez on the Pirates for 2012 … unless the teams meet in the playoffs, of course. “

  77. JHadar says:

    Jandy —

    Thank you. Even though it’s kind of like watching a game on the radio.

  78. JaxBuc says:

    Anybody have Pedro’s splits comparing his numbers against the Cardinals to his numbers against, oh, maybe, EVRYONE else combined. I bet the disparity is bigger than his day/night splits.

  79. JaxBuc says:


  80. JHadar says:

    The whole notion of football town vs baseball town is purely subjective.

    What do you base it on?

    The football team only plays eight home games a season, so they sell out their exhibition games.

    The baseball team can draw 100,000 fans to a weekend series, edge to the baseball team.

    Everybody loves a winner, edge to the football team.

    Football televises better than baseball. Baseball is much better in person.

    You may have to wear a jacket to a baseball game, but you rarely need to worry about frostbite.

    Good topic though, arm chair managers vs Monday moaning Quarterbacks.

    I like both games, but I prefer college football to the pro game, and pro baseball to the college game.

    Can’t get into hockey, love college basketball, never watch pro basketball, follow wrestling a little — you can’t be from Iowa and not follow wrestling a little — my brother coaches soccer and I go watch his team from time to time. I have to be pretty bored to watch tennis or golf or track and field on tv, but when I do I really get into it.

    Oh well.

  81. Jandy says:

    JHadar, if you actually SAT and WATCHED hockey, you’d pick it up fast and come to love it. :)

  82. NMR says:

    Filed in the “what if” category, I just ran a couple numbers to see what you could expect if Pedro actually cut down on his strikeouts.

    If ElToro’s K% was at a “respectable” 25% from it’s current 31.7%, all other things considered equal, he’d be hitting .275 with 30 HR’s on the season.

    Thats a kid I’m going to have patience with at the plate.

  83. Jandy says:

    NMR, that’s pretty wild stuff. I know a lot of us were down on Pedro when he was running really cold. Now he’s running hot we’re all his fans again. I hope he stays fairly hot.

  84. Jandy says:

    “Column runs Monday, Wednesday, Friday. The chat runs Thursdays at noon. The blog is undying. And I’ll soon be adding a couple other Trib ventures I hope to announce next week.”

    Wow, sucker for punishment, eh?

  85. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Anytime the Pirates take a season series against the Cardinals is a great season…….I don’t care what that record is.

  86. NMR says:


    I think that part of Pedro’s season makes it all the more impressive(cold streak, not fans).

    He was hitting around .205 through the first two full months of the season. Even during his recent “cold” stretch, he wasn’t anywhere near that bad. Still drawing walks, still getting hits. Hardly the “all or nothing” Pedro that many think he is.

    All the kid has to do is figure out how to stay away from being abyssmally bad in his “cold” stretches and he’s going to hit .250 and put up 30 HR’s without a problem.

  87. JRay3 says:

    One of the funniest lines I heard last night came from ESPN Sportscenter, when after showing the highlights from the Pirates/Cardinals game Steve Levy remarks, we are now getting many calls from all the Yankees and Red Sox fans complaining about how many Pirates games we air on television.

    If that was not an eye opening statement from one of their anchors I do not know what is.

  88. JAL says:


    From the story in link 12

    Against the rest of the teams Pedro is hitting .225 with 19 homers and 47 RBI

  89. LuckyNKentucky says:


    As much as I dislike that network most of the time, I sure enjoyed the last 2 innings I got to watch last night after church. Grilli and Hanny were not “hittable”. (This statement subject to approval by MLB and Mark McGuire)

  90. JRay3 says:

    @ Lucky – Hysterical

    Maybe McGuire should put some of his hitters on some “creatin” to aid them against our hittable pitchers.

  91. redus says:

    Relax folks…it’s a long 162 season. Sometimes, even in the midst of a pennant race, there is more than just the game on the field (perhaps that was the point in making the observation regarding the crowd in the first place). It was a huge game last night and we all knew it…DK was merely pointing out that the crowd was smaller than he expected?

    Also anyone that is complaining about ticket prices…there is a website with tickets available (it rhymes with bubrub) where you can buy tickets for less than a buck…no more complaining about prices now ok…if you can blog smart remarks, you should be aware of (rhymes with bubrub).

    go bucs – somebody get that Alvarez look-alike a stipend for the remainder of the season and get him to the road games…Pedro found his muse HA

  92. JHadar says:


    Actually when I was a kid the Bruins were my favorite team. They had a six team league and four of them made the playoffs. Humboldt had a town team, too. They played in a league with teams from Des Moines and Waterloo and some other of Iowa’s lesser known towns.

    I agree that if I would take the time to sit and watch I would probably get into it. I would also generalize that that is true of most sports and competitions. We have chuck wagon races at the county fair if you want to talk about exciting.

    I have nothing against hockey and its fans. On the other hand, my plans for the weekend are to slip down to DeSoto NWR with Mrs. H and see if the drought has affected the early fall migration.

  93. RobertoForever says:


    Ask and ye shall receive

    Day—-.315 BA, .738 SLG, 1.136 OPS, 2.52 K/BB, 16 HR, 151 PA
    Night–.218 BA, .378 SLG, 0.672 OPS, 3.34 K/BB, 10 HR, 306 PA

    vs StL-.397 BA, .828 SLG, 1.289 OPS, 1.85 K/BB, _7 HR, _65 PA
    vs Oth-.224 BA, .438 SLG, 0.744 OPS 3.22 K/BB, 19 HR, 392 PA

  94. RobertoForever says:

    Elias Says: Pedro Alvarez is the first player since 1998 to have at least seven home runs and 23 RBI against one opponent in 15 or fewer games. No MLB player has as many RBI against a team as Alvarez’s 23 against the Cardinals.

  95. Arriba Wilver says:

    Lucky and JRay–you guys just don’t like McGuire. :-)

    Interesting how all the hubbub yesterday (both by our leader and the Fan–yes, I listened some) was about how we would look on national TV if we didn’t have great attendance. I think spanking the reigning World Champs the second game in a row with a shutout probably made a bigger statement.

  96. Jandy says:

    JHadar, no matter what, I can NOT get into golf UGH! Oh wait, that’s not a sport, is it? ;)
    Enjoy the weekend with your better half.

    JRay and Lucky, you guys are making me laugh :)

  97. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:


    “.250 and put up 30 HR’s without a problem.”

    completely agree with this on Pedro. I’ve been saying that all year as well.

    I don’t ever expect him to hit .300, though its possible.

  98. Jandy says:

    What I forget, and a lot of people do, is that this is Pedro’s first full season. Who knows what he can achieve???

  99. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    His defense has improved tremendously.

    I donn’t think there is a stronger arm from 3B than Pedro.

  100. JHadar says:

    I had my say on Pedro yesterday, but I liked this from the game story:

    (Quote) Garrett Jones had a different take.

    “He’s a Cardinal killer, for sure,” Jones said. “It’s fun to watch how far he can hit the ball, and he’s getting big three-run home runs and go-ahead home runs. Whenever you can get a guy that can do that and put a team farther in the lead, it takes the pressure off the rest of the team.” (End Quote)

    Otherwise, I’m surprised no one’s commenting about Cole coming up to AAA. Or did I miss it by being gone last night.

  101. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:


    Eh, I haven’t seen the Cole talk either, but I think DK sums it up pretty good.

    SOMEONE will be coming up, Locke does make the most sense.

    Unfortunetly, we won’t see Cole this year at PNC. I would love to have him come up for September and throw him out of the BP, much like the Rays did with Price.

  102. NMR says:

    ” I think spanking the reigning World Champs the second game in a row with a shutout probably made a bigger statement.”

    Yes, the 34 people outside of Pittsburgh and St. Louis that actually watched the game were impressed. :)

  103. RobertoForever says:

    Interesting note on Pedro – for all of his power and HR’s, still awaiting his first ball that reaches the river.

    Jonesy has 3 that have reached the river. Tied for the most with Nate McLouth

  104. JHadar says:

    NMR —

    There’s more than 34 people outside of Pittsburgh who comment on this blog.

  105. RobertoForever says:


    We may SEE Cole at PNC Park this Sept. The Pirates do like to bring up promising guys for next year up to PNC Park late in the season just to get some exposure to the big league club.

  106. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Well yea, but I actually mean on the mound……during a game…in a Pirates uniform.

    I did think about that as I was typing it.

  107. JHadar says:

    Ryan —

    I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets called up and gets a bit of a tryout. Triple digit pitching is still rare, and if he’s a bit wild, well does anybody remember Ryne Duren?

  108. NMR says:

    I’m taking up the attendance argument because it is approaching ridiculous proportions…

    Can anyone post where Dejan actually criticized anyone? I have to be missing something here.

    “I agree the 19k number should have been better, especially with a nationally televised game. There a number of factors–bad economy, ticket prices, school night and Pirates’ play over the past 10 games.”

    Of those four excuses, #1 #2 have already been debunked due to after market tickets being basically free. And as for #4, how exactly is saying fans are so fickle as to leave the team after 10 games sticking up for them?

    On top of that, once again, Dejan clearly laid out in this very blog entry the biggest reason for the low attendance. Spolier alert: it has nothing to do with Pittsburgh having bad fans.

    DK: Shhhhhh … you’re interrupting a fun debate, even if it has nothing to do with what I wrote.

    No, look, I called the crowd size ‘lame.’ It was. But my primary point up there — which I really thought couldn’t have been laid out much clearer — was why the attendance was down.

  109. Jandy says:

    well, EYE saw Cole pitch, and he does look impressive. Even though he walked several batters when I saw him last Monday, he held Akron to 1 run…which was scored on an error..until he was pulled in the 7th I believe.

  110. JohninOshkosh says:

    What a fun September this is shaping up to be. I would find it terrific if Baltimore, Oakland and Pittsburgh all made the postseason.

  111. LuckyNKentucky says:

    I second that emotion, John. Then we could all call ESPN and ask why more of the A’ and O’s games weren’t telecast.

  112. pants-n-at says:

    Drubflub? let me know if I’m getting close! ;-)

  113. JohninOshkosh says:


    i think ESPN just signed a deal that extended their MLB televising rights. It does not include postseason telecasts, if I remember correctly, but it did lift local blackout restrictions, I think. So in five years when they televise the Pirates again, the good people of Pittsburgh will have the option to watch ESPN over Root Sports.

  114. RobertoForever says:


    just a reminder – no lineup today since there is no game. Just in case you were waiting to take your lunch break when the lineup comes out ;)

  115. RobertoForever says:


    There is actually more benefit from lifting the local blackouts. There is this ring of people in markets outside Pittsburgh that get blacked out of ESPN, but don’t have access to Root Sports Pittsburgh. They include Cleveland and Columbus, Buffalo and Rochester NY, etc. Have a friend in Columbus who forgot about the local blackout rule and was stuck with tennis at 7pm last night instead of the Pirates national game.

  116. LuckyNKentucky says:


    The only Root we have access to here is Ginseng. I have MLB audio. Too busy to spend the money on the other pkg. Nice to see a win on there last night.

  117. JohninOshkosh says:


    I don’t mind watching the US Open, especially when it gets late and the liquored up New York crowds get a little rowdy. But not last night! Bummer for you buddy. :)

  118. JAL says:

    Story about ESPN deal in yesterday’s morning links

    ESPN Signs New Deal With MLB Through ’21 Worth An Average Of $700M Annually

  119. Thundercrack says:

    “Can anyone post where Dejan actually criticized anyone? ”

    ‘Anyone making an issue of the Pirates’ attendance — ….— should at least get their facts in order.’

    I would say that is a bit critical of someone. I’m not sure if people on the blog made an issue of the Pirates’ attendance (after HE brought it up yesterday). Maybe he is confusing us here on the blog with people on twitter and sulia.

    And maybe he needs to be clearer….

  120. Arriba Wilver says:

    NMR and DK at #110–other than # 62, who are you guys arguing with?

    Absolutely no question the topic for today was that they need more season ticket sales for attendance to increase, and that it made it difficult last night to have a good attendance. That was not part of the post yesterday, and since that’s the case, why was the attendance last night the issue yesterday. Did something change? (No need to respond, I know the answer).

  121. NMR says:

    @TC – thought it was clear that I meant criticizing fans due to the attendance, not for completely missing his point.

    Dejan’s post yesterday was an observation. People here projected it into a criticism. Thus, the defensive nature of so many posts.

  122. 21sthebest says:

    Just as an FYI, the Orioles drew 37,000 for their Monday through Wednesday three game series with the White Sox.

  123. JRay3 says:

    I read somewhere that KDKA is reporting both McPherson and Presley are being called up to team in Milwaukee and will be eligible for post-season. Don’t know if there is any other source that can substantiate.

  124. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:


    thanks for looking out……..but I did my fantasy football draft during my lunch!!

  125. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:


    I saw some twitter talk about Presley coming up.

    Cole won’t be up for a taste of the show.

  126. JAL says:

    Word is Presley and McPherson will join the team in Milwaukee, no word on who will go to Indy for at least a day.

  127. JAL says:

    Or be put on DL

  128. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    I like McPherson.

    Hope he does well.

  129. JRay3 says:

    Hmm and still speculation about Jeff Locke being a possibility for rotation spot Monday/Tuesday versus Houston when we need a fifth starter.

    McPherson could be insurance if Karstens is not ready to throw tomorrow night?

    With Snider, Tabata, Cutch as starting OF, really no bench player that is a true OF with Marte on DL….wise move to get Presley back up.

  130. JRay3 says:

    With Walker reporting that his back is starting to feel better have to think D”Arnaud maybe candidate to be optioned back to Indy.

  131. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Looked up the Indians roster for McPherson and it shows him as “reassigned.”

    Pretty good sign that he is on the way up.

  132. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    I’d like to see Duke Welker too…

    If for no other reason, his name…the 98MPH fastball is kind of nice too. Like the AAA arms out there.

  133. JAL says:

    The others will come Saturday when rosters expand. The ones who join the team before rosters expand are eligible for the playoffs, those afrter expansion are not eligible.

  134. JQFreed says:

    My comment (no. 62) was more a carry over from Twitter, where DK tweeted “You know what? On second thought, kind of nice tht it’s mostly season-tix holders/diehards here. Maybe this will be their reward.” and then a series of sarcastic tweets about fans who have given up and stopped supporting the Bucs.

    He has admitted being critical of fans as part of his job. As a non-season ticket holder I took a little offense to that, maybe I misunderstood.

    As I told him, I wish I could get to more games. Would rather read insight about the game then criticism of light attendance. That’s all.

  135. Drew71 says:

    So Dejan. I’ve been busy for the past couple a days.

    Just skimmed through. Read some interesting stuff.

    Seems you hate Pirate fans.

    Least we can expect from a guy from Winnipeg.

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