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Wakeup Call: Real games, please

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Brief and to the Point …

>> The Friday column virtually begs for real football amid 10 thoughts about the Steelers with 10 days remaining to a real kickoff.


>> Here’s our full Steelers coverage for the night.

If I haven’t said this already, we are very proud of this team — Alan Robinson, Mark Kaboly, Ralph Paulk and myself — that we’ve put together to cover the Steelers for you. We’ve had 3-4 stories a day, notebooks, collections of quotes, an inside-the-ropes feature breaking down plays and much more.

And there will be even more than that once we get to Denver.

>> I see the Cardinals extended that scoreless string of innings to 28 last night in D.C., which makes Mark McGwire’s comments late Wednesday night in Pittsburgh look all the more ill-advised.

I’d suggest the hitting coach should look in the mirror, but I understand that’s not exactly his strong suit.

>> The Cardinals not only lost badly in D.C., but also lost Rafael Furcal, probably for the season.

>> The Dodgers lost again, too.

>> The Pirates are toast.

>> Our chat transcript from yesterday is here.

>> Congrats to Todd Graham, selfless human being, world-class coach and now ravenous plunderer of Northern Arizona University.

I didn’t even know there was life in the north of Arizona, much less a school.

I’ll be covering Pitt’s opener over the weekend. The column, the Wakeup Call and all else return Monday.


  1. Pirates with a good off day, climbing to within a half game of the Roidinals.

    Now it’s off to Fonzieland to pound some Brews. Third weekend series in MKE this year. Very disappointing for a guy who spends so many weekdays in that city for work.

  2. Dejan,

    Any surprises or glaring omissions on the players the Pirates are sending to the Arizona Fall League (Cumpton, Waldron, Santos, Ngoepe, Curry)?



    Haha you can take the Asylum outta the PPV…

  4. Apparently Northern Arizona has a low octane defense.

  5. On the one hand, there is a reality to hitters being undisciplined and making a mediocre pitcher look good. I think as Pirates fans over the years, that’s something we can relate to. But for Mark McGwire to say a) his team should never be shut out and b) “especially against these two guys,” it just seems to show a lot of immaturity on his part.

    I mean McDonald and Wandy pitched VERY manageable games. And as inexplicable as the game of baseball is, for McGwire to try to make it as simple as “we’re a great hitting team that should never be shut out” … just seems really strange.

    I don’t know, is the guy running for an office of some kind? On his heels, I’d say, at the very least.

  6. The chat transcript made me realize that if the Pirates win the Wild Card Game, they’d actually be the most successful Pittsburgh team in the past year, as the Pens and Steelers both lost in the first round. One game at a time, of course, but the opportunity is there.

  7. Dejan,

    Having lived in Arizona the past six years you are truly missing some beautiful country up in Flagstaff and Northern Arizona. The pine tops, mountains, seasonal weather truly beautiful and a sight to behold.

    My wife has a few nieces and nephews that are Lumberjacks and attend NAU….very nice picturesque campus.

  8. Oh and didn’t Ben Howland and Jamie Dixon once both coach at Northern Arizona?

  9. @JRay-

    Yup, that’s what I was going to say as well.

  10. @Boise

    #3 – Let’s get him a start and then we will have something to talk about. Until Hurdle actually starts him, he will just sit on the bench and twiddle his thumbs like just about every other call up this season.

  11. Last night’s blog thread during the Steeler game only has 18 posts.
    And most of them were about the Pirates.

    Don’t Steeler fans care?

  12. Anybody else notice that Brock Holt is batting .440 in Indy after going 3 for 4 last night. I wonder if he will be called up this weekend?

  13. Steelers football matters when it counts—and counts when it matters.

  14. Now Thunder. I know where you’re going. But don’t go there.

    Cause Dejan just called. He said he’s sorry for hating on Pirate fans.

    He asked for a penance.

    I suggested he start to show a little respect for Thunder.

    He said Lousy Freaking Pirate Fans

  15. JAL’s Nebraska Morning Links


    1- MLB Transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    3 Go Buccos- Pirate News (from external sources)


    4—Pirates Prospects

    Prospect Notebook: Cole Impressed In Short Time With Altoona

    Toledo Beats Indians With Walk-Off Homer

    Prospect Watch: Polanco Hits 16th Homer; Holt Picks Up Three More Hits

    Brock Holt Named Altoona MVP; Phil Irwin Altoona’s Pitcher of the Year

    First Pitch: Wild Card Race Could Be Turning in Pirates Favor This Weekend

    5 Bucs Dugout

    The Hitting Streaks Of Pedro Alvarez In 2012

    6 Rumbunter

    The Man Behind The Cage: This Pittsburgh Pirates Coach Deserves Some Love

    7 McEffect

    Pirates Tiebreaker Records

    8 The Green Weenie

    Does Attendance = Belief?

    9 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Gerrit Cole up to AAA, more promotions imminent

    10 The Left Field Loonies

    The Quality Of The Pirates Bench

  16. NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 CBS Sports

    Pirates-Brewers Game Preview

    12 St Louis Post Dispatch

    Bernie Bytes: Cards threw a lifeline to Pirates

    13 Lindys Sports

    Pirates have renewed momentum, favorable schedule

    14 Washington Post

    Pirates 3B Pedro Alvarez keeping Pittsburgh in postseason race

    15 MASN

    For Kiko Garcia, memories of ’79 series are still fresh in mind

    16 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

    Bullpen meltdowns cost Brewers chance to sweep Cubs

    17 Sweetspot

    Ten important players for September


    18 PBC Site

    Pittsburgh officially diagnosed with pennant fever

    Castrovince: Bucs will have say in Wild Card race

    19 Baseball Prospectus

    What You Need to Know

    20 Fangraphs

    Pedro Alvarez’s Cardinal Destruction

  17. Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Battle of the AFC North: Defensive Line

    New NFL IR Rules Explained In More Detail

    22 Steelers Depot

    - 17 Steelers Battling for 7 Roster Spots

    23 Steelers Gab

    Game-By-Game Breakdown Of How the Steelers 2012 Season Will Play Out

    24 Nice Pick Cower

    Mike Wallace Returns To Steelers – Should I Jump For Joy?

    Pitt Blogs

    25 Pitt Blather

    Changing the Thought Process

    26 Cardiac Hill

    Week 1 College Football Viewing Guide In The Pittsburgh Market

    WVU Blogs

    27 Metro News

    Geno’s Never Satisfied

    28 WV Illustrated

    From The Cheap Seats: A History of Mountaineer Hype


    29 Sky Sports

    Difficult draw for City

    30 Daily Telegraph

    Fernando Torres happy with his position at Chelsea after clear-the-air talks with manager and the board

    31 World Soccer Daily

    10 stories you need to read, 30th August, 2012


    32 Pensburgh

    Pens Re-Sign Eric Tangradi, Robert Bortuzzo and Alex Grant…UPDATE: Brian Strait too

  18. Nebraska, Bruce Springsteen, 1982

  19. With Mercer and Chase already up here, and the possibility of Navarro being called up, and you already have Josh Harrison up here, I don’t see Brock Holt being called up.

    Plus he has all of 23 games in AAA….and I would bet the FO feels he would get valuable experience playing everyday during the AAA stretch drive & playoffs with Indy.

  20. Drew,
    I didn’t tell them to get their facts straight.

  21. Well. SOMEbody should.

    Or was that already taken care of, ThunderFreakingCrack?

  22. Baseball fans write more than fans of any other sport. Last two Pirates game threads here had 260 some and 360 some posts. Even during the season you will rarely, if ever, see that many posts during a Steeler’s game

  23. All the Steeler fans actually went to the game so as not to incur the wrath. Can’t blog & drink at the same time.

  24. Milo, you are in the early lead for “Post of the Day”

  25. I think everyone agrees. Everyone else just gave up and went home.

    You know. Like Pirate fans.

  26. Matt and TC,

    Doubt if we see Holt until Spring Training, but the point being is he might actually be a potential SS of the future. .440 over 23 games can’t continue in the long haul, of course, but Toledo actually walked him intentionally in the top of the 9th with guys on 2nd and 3rd with two outs after Indy had already tied the score. All my years watching baseball, I think I can count on one hand the number of times a leadoff hitting SS has been IW’d. Of course, I don’t watch the Yanks and Jeter has probably gotten a few, but that doesn’t count. Plus, the guy had 3 hits 3 nights in a row. We hear about Hanson and even d’Arnaud and others, but this guy may actually be the real thing.

  27. I really like Brock Holt’s stick but I still think he is a 2nd baseman and not a long term Shortstop.

    Just as the Bucs like to play all their prospect outfielders in Center (Tabata, Presley, Marte, Grossman), so they like to play infield guys they like at short——e.g., Mercer, Holt, Hanson.

    I think Holt projects long term better as a 2nd baseman because of range and arm. I think they rank both d’Arnaud and Mercer above Holt in the field.

    But of course Bucs didn’t rank Neil Walker as a 2nd baseman at all until Aki turned out to be a bum.

    The question really is: would the Pirate brass actually recognize a SHORTSTOP if they saw one? They are still virgins in that area.

  28. Holt has been on fast track so someone in the organization must like him. 9th round pick in 2009 out of Rice. State College (low A) in 2009, Bradenton (high A) in 2010 where he went out mid-season with an injury but they still put him in Altoona in 2011. Started 2012 at Altoona then up to Indy.

  29. They are, Groat?

    Thunder. You should work there.

  30. Appreciate the info, guys. The fact Holt projects as a 2B makes him trade bait, I guess. We have ours, hopefully long term. At least Holt can tell his grandchildren he was so feared as a hitter, he drew an IW in a meaningless AAA game.

  31. Lucky

    Or he could be a strong bench player, spelling both SS and 2b when they need a day off and as a good PH bat.

  32. Can you tell I took the day off?

    Thunder’s hoping I go back to work.

  33. Drew
    Go scout some shortstops.

  34. Other thing to remember about Holt is that he has no power. In Indy has 40 hits, 7 are doubles, 1 a homer–career has 454 hits 87 are doubles, 19 triples, 11 HR

  35. Wish I took a day off. Instead, I’m in day 4 of training. *head to desk*

  36. Good point, JAL. He has more hits in the last 3 games than some guys have in a month, even in AAA. Hope he’s not another Steve Pearce and race through the minors, only to flame out at ML level. (even though he hit cleanup for the Yanks the other night).

    Glad you have the day off, Drew. Jandy can pick on you all day and use all the emoticons available. :)

  37. Too busy cleaning up from my wife’s 13 year old incontinent toy poodle.


    i WISH i was working.

    Well. At least I found something that fits my skill set.

  38. Hey. Lucky. I saw that.

    I’m sending the poodle to Kentucky.

    By bulk mail.

  39. And I found a new kind of latte for Dejan.

  40. Send it up, Drew. We’ll take care of the dog for you. Kentuckians love poodles, if properly cooked. If not, Tennessee is right down the road, 2 miles from my house. Problem solved. (That ought to get a rise out of dog-lover Jandy).

  41. It is times like these that I actually long for the return of posts about “Is the front office all-in?”.

  42. TC,

    Sorry, you’re right. I’ll reel it in. Too much work to do anyway. :(

  43. Actually, Thunder, I see a lot of similarities between the two types of posts.

  44. Lucky, You are not the PROBLEM here….

  45. EYE think EYE know who might be. 8)

  46. As pointed out above, Dixon was an assistant to Howland at Northern Arizona, taking them to the NCAA tournament one year. Also, if you check out the ASU/NAU box score, it looks like there was a pooch punt!

  47. Hey. I can take the insults. But Ixnay on the emoticons.

    By the way, the dog was renamed in your honor, TC.

    Except the “ck” was changed to “p”

    Cause her All In is All Out.

  48. Drew71 – ThunderFREAKINGCrack? LOL!

  49. Bay. What do they do with incontinent poodles in Texas?

  50. Too bad RF isn’t around.

    Someone could ask him the same question about Oz.

  51. Drew, you’ve gone cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs! Come on, let’s go Hawaiian!

  52. Drew,

    Careful. He and Neal are around.

  53. @DK: Not to blow smoke…

    You have a gift, DK. There’s a seamlessness quality to your columns where you effortlessly blend in quotes smoothly with the thread of your story, weaving in opinions and anecdotes. It’s almost always a good read–even if I disagree with your opinion–it’s the technical aspect of your writing that attracts me.

    I enjoy reading quality writing. ‘Nuff said.

    Jonesing for some beisbhall, but Jonesing moreso for hockey. Anything new on that front?

    I’m gonna yell meself hoarse on the Fan’s afternoon “Fan Rant” today (if they do it, that is. else the lil wifelett will have to deal with me rant) about this stoopid, insipid, vapid CBA fCRAP. Puckheads revolt! No Malkin wearing some dayummed Magnitogorsk uni! Sheep-dip…

    DK: That’s very much appreciated.

  54. Lucky. They can’t be together.

    One’s in Oz. The other’s in Munchkinland.

    (Too easy? Wait til I get to the Flying Thunders)

  55. With Presley rejoining the team (seems I saw it Tweeted he’d join the club Friday, with McPherson, but at least by EXPANDED ROSTER TOMORROW), I’m wondering if he’ll be platooned with Tabata. Seems Tabby is playing harder, which is good to see, but I like what Presley brings with speed and a little more power, if he’s gettin’ straight.

  56. JAL or anybody,

    Anything official yet on the McPherson or Presley callups?

    Will they be added before tonight’s game——to be eligible for the Playoff roster? (I gasped a little as I wrote the word “playoffs”!
    Will they delay until the rosters expand tomorrow?
    Who will come off tonight if they go on? d’Arnaud?
    Will someone join Sgt. Hulka “Big Toe” Qualls on the Convenience List to give us Playoff options?

    I checked 24/7 and his Trib scribblings but he makes no mention of their possible presence or inclusions!
    Who flew to Oshkosh b’gosh Land?

  57. Wishing all the best to Penn State and Pitt tomorrow as they open their new seasons. With all that has occurred at both schools (it still makes your head spin!), just wishing the kids all the best.

  58. Groat

    Nothing more than what we heard last night. Report was from Mike Vukovcan of KDKA. If they bring them up odds are they activate them today and send d’Arnaud down as he not needed if Walker can play. As for the other spot, your guess as good as mine.

  59. What about Locke? I thought he had the inside track on starting, maybe even ahead of Correia? He best be on by today, too.

  60. DK–

    Really enjoyed the column today. Kudos to you and the rest of the Trib sports staff, because the Steelers coverage has been out of this world this summer. It’s a treasure to have this many people dedicated to doing a damn good job, especially for an out-of-towner like me. I’ve more or less switched allegiances as to my first stop for Pittsburgh sports coverage.


    Torture defined: I’m working as an SID for an NCAA volleyball team, and where do I find myself but Milwaukee (which, as we all know, is Algonquin for “The Good Land.”) They had the nerve to schedule all of our matches at the same time the Pirates and Brewers are playing.

    Look, people, I get what, three chances a year to see the Pirates live? REALLY?


    DK: Many thanks, but on behalf of the whole coverage team, Sean.

  61. Thanks, JAL!

    I checked with the newspaper across the river and, although they have a warmly interesting article up today on setting up the roster pre-September in which they quote Kyle Stark, Sarasino gives nothing specific as well.

    If d’Arnaud is sent down, do normal rules apply so that he cannot come back for 10 days? His baserunning could win the Bucs a game.

    “Sources”, Dejan!! Inquiring minds want to know!!

  62. Sean Aye Aye,

    As a doctor I diagnose a pretty severe case of Buccaneer Flu soon to overcome you.

    Call in sick, take two ballpark dogs, and call me in the morning!

  63. Kentuck Knob,

    Locke won’t be called up until next the Pirates need him as a starter, September 4 against the Astros. He won’t be on the Playoff roster——they will not need a 5th starter even if Bucs win the Wildcard game.

  64. I for one haven’t given up hope of the Bucs making a run for the division. Yeah the Reds have a comfortable lead right now, but a 5 game winning streak here and a 5 game losing streak there and things could get interesting real quick. Last year should be proof enough that crazier things have happened. Of course most of that is dependent on us getting hot this last month. Go Bucs!

  65. And you know things are going better when actually still has the standings easily visible and accessible on the site’s main page- usually by now that spot has links to stories about the Pirate Parrot.

  66. Dr. Strangegroat,

    Makes sense, but that doesn’t always abound in FO thinking. (making sense).

  67. And we do know that the Reds are still managed by Dusty Baker! Anything can happen from this point on.

  68. Just had a minute to read the column. Very entertaining and informative piece. Ditto buggee. That pix of Charlie makes him look old. He’s only 20+ years younger than me, so it must just be the pix.

  69. Juan Pierre has cleared waivers.

  70. Juan Pierre —— the only outfielder I know that makes Jason Bay’s arm look 5-tool!

    Juan Pierre —— the only frequent base stealer I know who could take lessons from McCutch.

    Juan Pierre —— who does not qualify to be a Pirate because he actually knows how to bunt.

    Juan Pierre —— Jose Tabata’s younger brother.

  71. Lucky. Had no idea you are an octogenarian.

    You look great.

  72. Good to see I’m officially the only one outside of Card Country who actually sided with McGwire. I’ve always felt I’m an excellent judge of character…

    Speaking of characters, JAL’s link #17 really got me thinking back the Dejan’s headline yesterday: “Its all about the pitching…always”.

    With all the hoopla given to the LA Dodgers, you’d think the sporting media had already booked their flights for the division series. But after Clayton Kershaw, does a rotation of Chris Capuano, Aaron Harang, Joe Blanton, and Josh Beckett really get the job done? Looking at that blew my mind. Ned Colletti, he of unlimitted resources, chose to bolster his teams rotation with Joe Blanton and Josh Beckett? Seriously?

  73. Thanks, Drew. My wife thinks so, but she has eye problems. BTW, that would make Charlie around 60. I thought he was in his late 40′s.

  74. National Mart of Records,

    My only response to you would be . . . . . Neal Huntington chose to bolster his team’s rotation this Spring with AJ Burnett.

    Josh Beckett is a Top 10 Starters in baseball talent from the neck down. AJ Burnett worked for the Buccos; if Colletti can have Mattingly perform miracles with Beckett, or Josh B can get a brain insertion (it’s empty up there!) on the Left Coast, the Dodgers could look pretty good. Beckett could be a heck of a #2 after Kershaw. And who would you take as #3——Capuano . . . . . or Wandy/Karstens?

  75. I wonder which Pirate team will be in Milwaukee this weekend. The hitting team or the strikeout team. With just a fair amount of hitting(4 or 5 runs), the pitching will get it done.
    Don’t let Braun and company get a foothold at the plate and keep Pedro going good,
    both in the field and at bat. GO, BUCS!!

  76. Luckster, the 40 year old is Charlie Junior

  77. @Groat

    With all due respect, I don’t believe you’ve been following Beckett lately.

    His stuff is nowhere near where it used to be. Velocity is down. Strikeouts are down. And he hasn’t shown the ability to adjust his style.

    He’s not even close to a Top 10 pitcher in his own division, let alone league.

    And as for the Capuano question, I would easily take both Kartsens and Wandy right now and in the future.

    Both have better ERA’s, by at least half a run, over the last two months. Capuano was a mirage.

  78. See? We CAN talk about other sports.

    And make just as much sense.

  79. There are 58 people from the church I go to attending the Pirate game Saturday after next.

    I’m thinking about asking each of them to “limp” as they enter the stadium and go to their seats . . . . . . since I learned recently that Pirate attendance is “lame.”

  80. ^He’ll be here all week, ladies and gentlemen!

  81. @Groat

    Pierre is actually 32-37 in steals this season. I ask that you kindly retract #2 from post 70. Thank you.

  82. I can’t wait until the Pirates try to convince us that the Phillies wanted a “top 5″ prospect for Juan Pierre after he’s traded somewhere else for a 25 year old A ball pitcher with a 4.50 ERA.

  83. Milo,

    I don’t know how I could ever doubt you but . . . . . . Juan Pierre is a man who has lead his League and/or the Majors in “Caught Stealing” 7 of his 12 full Big League seasons——well, I had to go to the Phils stats to check your veracity. And, of course, you were correct. 32/37! His first full time season of his career without double figure “caught stealings.”

    Of course, I should have known that anyway . . . . . . there certainly would be no “caught stealings” added to his list when he played the Pirates’ catchers.

    I hereby withdraw my #2 above: McCutch has nothing he can teach Juan Pierre about stealing bases and/or getting caught thereof!

  84. @Milo

    That would be a first, no?

    Serious question. Can you name the others?

  85. DK: Just throwing this out there to the group: I’ve created game threads for Pitt, Penn State and West Virginia tomorrow. I’ll do that for the first couple weeks, at least, to see if they get populated.

  86. Dejan

    I will be out tomorrow afternoon but would look at the WVU thread if I was home. Not sure many others would would be there but we shall see.

  87. I tip my cap – and my rubber chicken and whoopee cushion -
    to Groatney Dangerfield

  88. That’s a nice touch, Dejan.

    Goes a long way towards making up for calling Pirate fans lame.

  89. I think he’s just doing it so he can call Pitt, Penn State and WVU fans lame. (emoticon omitted so Drew won’t yell at me)

  90. I am a little worried about the slippery slope, though. If these are successful, does that mean there will be soccer threads in the future? Nah, no one would post on those.

  91. @AW

    There may be more soccer posters than there was Steeler posters last night. Would that make Steeler posters lame?

  92. Soccer stories in the morning links every day

  93. Just under the Legal Notices and psoriasis ads

  94. Geez, how is anyone supposed to attend sporting events when Dejan forces them into game blog participation???

  95. Dejan,

    As a rule, it would be great for you to create another thread to pop up on Saturdays, even when you are not necessarily here. That way, we all would not have to sort through yesterday’s trash to find today’s treasures.

    The Pitt, Penn State, and West Virginia Junior College threads will certainly certainly accomplish this for the next few weeks, until Pitt starts playing its Junior High schedule——with games on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.

  96. @Groatster re #70: splendid! Jo ‘Ta’s lil brother. I cackle loudly over that one. of course TBMTIB is considering Pierre.

  97. I tip my shuttlecock to the Groat-a-tron

  98. Official now

    Kyle McPherson and OF Alex Presley activated. Option INF Chase d’Arnaud to Bradenton and outright INF Jeff Clement to Bradenton. yes, both to Bradenton and outrighting Clement opens a spot on the 40

  99. Thanks, JAL!!! I had just been making the rounds to try and find that out.

    I should have tried Kristy Robinson and her inappropriate shoes and sundress!

    Does d’Arnaud have to stay in Bradenton for 10 days before his return? Buccos could certainly use his baserunning

  100. That’s fitting in?

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