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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: Astros, Cubs and no more in Milwaukee

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Brief and to the Point …

>> The Monday column counts the ways in which Paul Chryst has to dramatically improve Pitt before their next game … which is Thursday against the defending Big East champs.

Here’s some of what Tino Sunseri had to say late Saturday night …


>> If you missed Joe Starkey’s Sunday column on the Penn State opener, it’s a wonderful look at the overarching storyline of the day.

Can’t begin to understand why Bill O’Brien would allow Jay Paterno to be mingling with the athletes, including Matt McGloin, on game day. That’s not a knock on Paterno or his character. It’s just that he’s not on the staff anymore.

I understand O’Brien can’t control everything. If Franco Harris wants to share luxury suites with cardboard cutouts, that’s a bit out of the head coach’s purvey. But he most certainly needs to take care of football facilities and locker rooms.

>> Do the Nittany Lions have a playmaker besides Allen Robinson?

>> This was neat: Geno Smith goes 33 of 37 for 323 yards, four TDs and no picks for West Virginia, plus 65 yards rushing, and Dana Holgorsen announced yesterday that the Mountaineers’ offense player of the week was … Shawne Alston.

Alston did rush for 123 yards and a couple TDs, and the award doesn’t matter much at all. I point this out only to illustrate the potency of that offense.

I know it was Marshall. I don’t care. Of Smith’s four incompletions, one was a spike, another a clear drop.

Great way to open a Heisman conversation.

>> The Pirates’ next six games are at home, three against the awful Astros and three against the awful Cubs. They’re all of 1 1/2 games out of the wild card.

But never mind all that. The Pirates are toast.

>> Brock Holt had more intelligent at-bats over the past two days than Rod Barajas, Clint Barmes and Josh Harrison — combined — over the past two months.

Kid looks really smart up there.

By all means, sit him down.

>> I’ll make my weekly appearance on TribLIVE Radio tomorrow at noon.


  1. Milo Hamilton says:

    While watching Youngstown St. have their way with Pitt Saturday night, it brought to mind one of the all time great halftime quotes. In Dave Wannstedt’s first year, he was asked coming off the field at the half in Morgantown what adjustments he’d make. “We need to get faster.”

    I’m sure Paul Chryst was thinking the same thing last night. That defense is so slow. Not since the days of HB Blades & Clint Session has there been anything remotely resembling athleticism at the linebacker position. And those guys were recruited by Walt Harris. Unfortunately, Chryst can’t fix that by Thursday.

    DK: That’s a masterpiece of a quote.

  2. JohninOshkosh says:

    Grown men sometimes have to make difficult adult decisions that are not going to please everyone. O’Brien ought to have called the Paternos-both Jay and Sue-and politely informed them that showing up at the first game since the worst scandal in sports history is not in the best interest of the student-athletes and the program. And, according to the Paternos, isn’t that what has always been most important?

    DK: I don’t know, John. It’s a free country. The Paterno family did nothing wrong. It has no business being discouraged from Beaver Stadium. Not sure I follow your logic there.

    I do have a problem with Jay Paterno being outside the locker room talking to players. And I’d say the very same thing if it were former Steelers, Penguins or Pirates coaches doing likewise. Just not right.

  3. Boise Bucco says:

    Whatever you think of the Bucs or baseball or Andrew McCutchen, you owe it to yourself to check out this picture. This is seriously one of the best pictures I’ve ever seen. Kids only make this face for Santa Claus. Cutch, you are the man. I took the link from his Twitter feed:

  4. Reading says:

    The old adage that a football team makes its biggest improvement between game one and game two (possibly a JoePa quote) will be severely tested for Pitt and Penn State. Then again, it would be difficult to be much worse that week one.

    DK: Right. From there, factor in the compounded upgrade of the opponent.

  5. Baywatch says:

    DK, I was wondering if you or someone else around the Trib sports department might be able to find out what happened to Stetson Allie as he didn’t play the last 9 days of the season at GCL Pirates. Was wondering if it was just that he was surpassed by others on the team (he only hit .213) or if there was some other reason. His minor league baseball page doesn’t show him being on a disabled list. Thanks.

  6. Reading says:

    Agree with DK’s thoughts on Holt’s at bats, and although I am a swing the bat believer, Holt looks to have the makeup of a prototype leadoff hitter with his patience at the plate (whether he was ordered to look at four pitches on Saturday or not). Obviously, the Pirates have been without a true table setter/leadoff man all year. Since Walker is at second, then shortstop appears to be a possibility for Holt. I have never seen the guy play shortstop, but I am nevertheless dismayed that the line seems to be that he is not an everyday shortstop (as if we truly have had one all year). If that is true, then move Walker to short and keep Holt at second.

  7. zivkov34 says:

    @ Baywatch .213?? Bring him up! Beats The Killing us B’s

  8. JohninOshkosh says:

    I did not mean to suggest that the Paternos had no right to be there or that they should be banned from Beaver Stadiium. But with this game, with all the issues and emotion involved, their presence was an unnecessary distraction for the team. And making such a decision is a very tough call that ought to have been made by the coach and the Paternos jointly.

  9. JAL says:

    JAL’s Wildwood Days Morning Links


    1- MLB Transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    3 Go Buccos- Pirate News (from external sources)


    4—Pirates Prospects

    Pirates Notebook: Home Runs Hurt McDonald; Holt Gets First Major League Start
    Prospect Watch: Curry and Cabrera Make First Starts in Indianapolis

    Indians Slug Out 16 Hits As Irwin Takes His 3rd Win

    First Pitch: The Time to Play Like Contenders is Now

    5 Bucs Dugout

    Brewers Blast Off On James McDonald’s Fastball As Bucs Swept In Milwaukee

    6 Rumbunter

    The Pittsburgh Pirates Welcome Back Jeff Locke

    7 Yahoo Sports

    Brewers hit 5 HRs, outslug skidding Pirates–mlb.html

    8 The Green Weenie

    J-Mick Digs Hole Too Deep; Bucs Fall Again 12-8

    9 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Brewers bash Bucs again

    10 FAN IQ

    The MLB Watch List – Put Away Your Fantasy Draft!

  10. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 CBS Sports

    Pirates-Astros Game Preview

    12 St Louis Post Dispatch

    Frustrated Cards limp home—trip/article_7099ef61-5e3d-5460-bac5-13e0fbb1eea9.html

    13 Chicago Tribune

    Pirates Report,0,5833814.story

    14 Houston Chronicle

    Another birthday at the ballpark for Milo

    15 Altoona Mirror

    Curve finishing on up-note

    16 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

    Playoff talk spurred after Brewers sweep Pirates

    17 Beaver County Times

    Stats Corner: Alvarez hottest at hot corner


    18 PBC Site

    Eight ain’t enough for Pirates in Milwaukee

    Walker, Marte, Qualls progressing towards return

    19 Baseball Prospectus

    The Best Pitches Thrown This Week (Yu Darvish Edition)

    20 Fangraphs

    Rafael Betancourt Is Just Getting Laughable

  11. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Around The AFC North: Ravens’ Offense, Secondary Looks To Lead Baltimore Back to Conference Championship

    Around the AFC North: Can Cincinnati Bengals Build On Surprising Success of 2011?

    22 Steelers Depot

    - Reviewing My 53 Man Roster Projection

    23 Steelers Gab

    Steelers Make Roster Moves to Get Down to 53; Essex and Kapinos Gone

    24 Nice Pick Cower

    Steelers Find Future Contributors in UDFA Class Once Again

    Pitt Blogs

    25 Pitt Blather

    Pitt Will Play in ACC-Big 10 Challenge Next Year

    26 Cardiac Hill

    Pitt Vs. Youngstown State: Addressing A Debacle Of Epic Proportions

    WVU Blogs

    27 Metro News

    Column: Mountaineers Make Their Point

    28 WV Illustrated

    “Scary” Shawne Alston Carries the Load


    29 Sky Sports

    RVP hat-trick sinks Saints

    30 Daily Telegraph

    Liverpool 0 Arsenal 2: match report

    31 World Soccer Daily

    10 stories you need to read, 31st August, 2012

  12. JAL says:

    New Jersey, Wildwood Days, Bobby Rydell 1963

  13. The Gunner says:

    @ Reading – 6

    Your comments about moving Neil Walker (aka PRNW) to SS and opening up 2B for Brock Holt, though premature, is quite an interesting proposal. At least you are thinking “outside the box” unlike the WMTIB/WMTIS. PRNW is an outstanding athlete and must have a pretty good arm since he was originally signed as a catcher – he’ll need it at SS. Then, he was moved to 3B and you have to have a pretty good arm to play at the hot corner. Hey, if the WMTIB/WMTIS can play the likes of Barmes and JHey at SS all year, PRNW would be a huge upgrade.

    Looks like Jeff Locke is starting for the Bucs today – what a breath of fresh air as compared to miserable SOB Bedard. Maybe Daydro will hit 2 or 3 dingers today!

    The Bucs MUST SWEEP Houston – by Wednesday at around 10 PM, we’ll know if our wild card hopes are still alive.

  14. What a depressing weekend sports-wise!!

    JAL is the only happy camper and his win came at the expense of Marshall, where my son-in-law is the College Chaplain. So, logically, I am mad at JAL——it’s his fault!

    My lawnmower is broke.
    Gas is too expensive and rising.
    TV and news will be dominated by ANOTHER political convention.

    At least my cat didn’t die!
    Come on, Bucs! Don’t make me wait until Easter for my next hallowed experience! HE IS RISEN!!

  15. Skilliemischief says:

    The cubs & Astros coming to town, ahhh a chance to get right! (sounds familiar). If this team is serious about making a playoff push…. Well we all know what they gotta do. What a rough weekend to be a pittsburgh (& psu) fan. Hopefully this week can bring better results.
    @Boise…. That picture is Awesome!

  16. 21sthebest says:

    “The Pirates are toast.”

    Nope! My mother-in-law hasn’t sung yet!

  17. LuckyN.Kentucky says:

    Drew must still be on the beach eating salmon.

    The cat thing is not a blessing.

  18. JAL says:


    Sorry about that but Marshall was the team that wanted this series. Otherwise WVU would be beating up on a Norfolk State or some such team. Long distance from what WVU will be facing when they start the Big 12 part of the schedule.

  19. Karen22 says:

    At this point, I’m just praying for a miracle that the Pirates find their lost mojo and end on a high note, whatever that may ultimately mean. We’ve seen little sign of it for the past month, but we all know that miracles DO happen. Starting today…sail on.

  20. Derek Smith says:

    I am heading down with my parents and friends this weekend for the series against the Cubs, can’t wait! I hope they do start winning really soon, but I agree that they are still in a fine spot.

  21. Macchamp74 says:

    If the starting pitching can give a solid 6/7 innings a game this last month, Bucs have a chance at the wild card. Can’t have the JMac like performances from yesterday.

  22. pattonbb says:

    In addition to those awful teams, this month they have 6 games against the Reds, 4 against the Mets, and 3 more against the unbeatable Brewers,

    If the Cubs or Astros take those series, we’re done.

    If we lose to those awful teams, what does it make us?

  23. cosmo says:

    Have tickets for the last game on Oct 3rd. Hoping it is still a meaningful game.

  24. radio wave says:

    £14 i’m a happy camper after saturday.
    Post £16 i hope your wife didn’t see that.
    John inoshkosh: great game by uni!

  25. bobhasis says:

    There will be alot of innuendos flying, leading up to Wednesday’s season opener for the NFL – mostly from the media and over-the-hill players who like to be quoted – about the presumed incompetence of the replacement officials. Maybe deserved and maybe not, but so far I haven’t yet seen a team yet penalized 15 yards for “giving him the business”.

    I haven’t seen more or less gatherings among officials this pre-season than during last season, or more reviews albeit there are new mandates from the league to review EVERY score, turnover and many out-of-bounds calls.

    So what is the beef? I can recall way too many Monday morning mea culpas from officials who made horrendous calls – that were not reviewable in the past – which cost teams a game. The almighty NFL czars just simply shrugged their shoulders. I would hope they maintain the same blase attitude here as well.

    Usually when new officials enter the league or are put on a crew, any potential mistake he would have made was easily covered. These new guys are simply learning as a group what is required in officiating a game in front of thousands of fans, and following the script written for them by Big Brother, that being Mr. Television.

    Cut them a break; they all have officiated for many years, just not in the venue of the NFL.

    After a week or so you won’t remember that they are replacements – unless the media continues writing about it and the sacro-sanct announcers constantly refer to them as replacements.

    It’s hard breaking into The Inner Circle, The Hierarchy, The Elite in life as I see it. This will be yet another of those situations, like trying to buy property in Martha’s Vineyard.

    They will do perfectly fine I am sure!

  26. 19 Years and Counting says:

    What, no puff piece on how the Pirates still “believe” and haven’t quit? Disappointing.

    And this just in, the Cardinals still have six against the Astros as well, so at the end of the day we’re gaining nothing with our 6 games. They’re going to have to win some games against a team with a pulse this month if they want to play October baseball

  27. Milo Hamilton says:

    Jeff Clement has been recalled. The roster is currently at 31 not counting the 2 players on the DL.

  28. LuckyNKentucky says:


    No Pirate talk this morning?

  29. Milo Hamilton says:

    Brock Holt back at 2B today leading off. Snider in left, Jones in right, Sanchez at 1st & Barajas (smh) catching.

  30. bobhasis says:

    Lucky, I’m in a drying out, and am in an emotional meltdown rehab mode on them.

    I think I’m seeing the resignation to the fact – from the Wheaties fans (homers without objectivity) – that we are not what they thought we were.
    I know you were surprised, and I hope pleased to see Holt in there.

    I have other conclusions which I’ll save for now.

    Have a great Labor Day.

  31. LuckyNKentucky says:


    I was pleased to see Holt in the lineup. Anything to put a spark into that lineup. We have to make hay while the sun shines and takes these series.

  32. JAL,

    I think it’s great that Marshall and WVU play——makes it a meaningful game for both instead of just throwing a Norfolk State in there. When Marshall drove for that last touchdown, it was like they had just hit the jackpot. And, a couple years ago, Marshall almost pulled the big one.

    What a great idea for the two Division 1 schools in a state to play. I wonder why Penn State and Pitt never thought of that?

  33. bobhasis says:


    Be alerted to the name of Demetrius Louis from Ringgold. He is 6’2″ 190 lbs. and runs a 10.9 100.
    Should be at the top of the Leading Runners category this year. And like the young lad from Central Valley, do not let him catch a flat or swing pass, because you will not catch or stop him.
    Very impressive to me.

    Perhaps you already are aware of him.

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