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Wakeup Call: Pirates, meet fork

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

DENVER — Brief and to the Point …

>> My Monday column looks back at the Steelers’ offensive performance in the losing opener, which I thought was better — and more promising — than I’m guessing most did back home.

Very interested to hear your thoughts on the offense, and the game as a whole. I just really didn’t think it was all bad. Maybe that’s because I see it being even worse.

Here’s our full band of coverage from Denver, by the way, with Alan Robinson on lead guitar and Ralph Paulk on the drum kit. You’ll get much more from Mark Kaboly in the next 48 hours. (He’s on bass.)

>> It’s been tempting for a long time. Really has.

But every time I felt it was the time to stick a fork in the Pirates, there was always the standings to stop me. A game back. Game-and-a-half. The math just wouldn’t allow me to process that this was impossible, when all it would take is a good series or two to be in playoff position.

Well, forget it.

The standings still say it’s possible, but at some point or other the team’s performance has to substantiate it.

Where has it been?

Why would anyone find it realistic now, with 23 games left, that some sudden uptick is around the corner?

These six games weren’t optional.

Neither is the fork.

>> Next focus, of course, is 82, and even that looks daunting. They’ll have to go 10-13 the rest of the way, a markedly better pace than they’ve shown over the past two months.

>> Penn State is 0-2, but it’s beyond debate that the Nittany Lions are a better 0-2 than Pitt right now. Matt McGloin and Allen Robinson moved the ball, linebacker Michael Mauti was all over the field, and the offense and defense did more than their share in the loss at Virginia.

But when you have a guy miss five kicks — four field goals and an extra point — and lose by one, there can’t be much doubt where blame goes. Sam Ficken not only missed but usually missed badly.

Bill O’Brien showed crazy confidence by sending Ficken back out one final time for a 42-yarder, but that should be it. Tryouts this morning, please.

>> Wow, worst week ever?

Pirates get buried by the Cubs, Steelers lose opener, Penn State kicker misses four field goals, Pitt quarterback throws for a field goal …

What could the week to come bring?

>> I’ll lose my Monday to the travel back home, but I’ll have my usual guest spot Tuesday noon on TribLIVE Radio. And I’ll have something fun to announce on that day, too.

Comments

  1. pghboyinca says:

    Anyone who even thinks 82 is significant is delusional. This team needs to focus on acquiring good young talent and breaking through on the way to contending. Next year is going to be a step back. Who is the SS? Who is the catcher? Marte, Cutch and who else in the outfield? Who are the 5 starters? Who thinks Huntington can acquire the position players? (or draft them) No Houston next year, the AL west as interleague competition. Think the Brewers will suck all year?The the Cards will be decimated by injuries again? Who in our system is going ot make a measurable difference next year? Who thinks Burnett will pitch the first 3 months like he did this year? 82…..Who cares? How about getting a steady flow of talent in the pipeline.

  2. Drew71 says:

    So…rebuild? again???

  3. Drew71 says:

    The last words posted on the Steelers thread:

    “Maybe Tomlin needs to move on with his life’s work.”

    Nothing like calm reflection of Steelers fans.

    But not me. Nosirree. I’m too busy running the Pirates out of town.

  4. Yorker says:

    At the beginning of the season, who would have thought we’d even be talking playoffs. Progress may not be at the pace that all want/expect, but it is progress.

    82 IS significant if only to put it out of the minds of all of us so we can move on…

  5. Thundercrack says:

    I guess I am delusional.

    Wow, what a week for me. I’ve been diagnosed on this blog as being delusional and having selective hearing.

  6. Jandy says:

    What a stinker of a weekend.
    And the Buccos laid a trifecta of stinkin’ eggs.
    Ugh.

  7. Jandy says:

    TC..lol..thanks for the Stinkin’ Monday morning laugh.

  8. Drew71 says:

    Did you say something?

  9. Jandy says:

    I didn’t hear anything

  10. JAL says:

    JAL’s Arrah Go On, I’m Gonna Go Back to OregonMorning Links

    GENERAL DAILY UPDATED BASEBALL SITES

    1- MLB Transactions

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/pittsburgh_pirates/

    3 Go Buccos- Pirate News (from external sources)

    http://gobuccos.com/pittsburgh-pirate-news/

    PIRATE BLOGS

    4—Pirates Prospects

    Pirates Notebook: Evolution of Jeff Locke; Reinforcements on the Horizon

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012/09/pirates-notebook-evolution-of-jeff-locke-reinforcements-on-the-horizon.html
    State College Spikes 2012 Season Recap: Top Prospects

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012/09/state-college-spikes-2012-season-recap-top-prospects.html

    First Pitch: Death to Small Ball

    http://blogs.piratesprospects.com/williams/first-pitch-death-to-small-ball/

    5 Bucs Dugout

    The Pirates Still Aren’t Out Of It. That’s Not Optimism. That’s Math

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2012/9/9/3306165/the-pirates-still-arent-out-of-it-thats-not-optimism-thats-math

    Ridin’ With The Bucs: The Rise And Fall Of The 2012 Pirates, And What’s Next?

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2012/9/9/3306356/ridin-with-the-bucs-the-raise-fall-and-whats-next-of-the-2012-pirates

    6 Rumbunter

    Swept Away: Cubs Complete Sweep of Pirates with 4-2 Win

    http://rumbunter.com/2012/09/09/swept-away-cubs-complete-sweep-of-pirates-with-4-2-win/

    7 Bleacher Report

    Chicago’s “Cub” Pitchers Cut Their Teeth on Pittsburgh Pirates

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1328089-chicagos-cub-pitchers-cut-their-teeth-on-pittsburgh-pirates

    8 The Green Weenie

    Cubs Hit 3 Bombs, Bucs Strand 13 In 4-2 Loss

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2012/09/cubs-hit-3-bombs-bucs-strand-13-in-4-2.html

    9 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Cubs complete the sweep

    http://raisethejollyroger.com/2012/09/cubs-complete-the-sweep/

    10 WHY GAVS

    MLB.com releases its prospect lists

    http://whygavs.com/pittsburgh-pirates/august-2012/mlbcom-releases-its-prospect-lists.html

  11. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 CBS Sports

    Game Previews

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/probable-pitchers

    12 St Louis Post Dispatch

    Craig’s first walkoff hit gives Cards 5-4 win in 10th

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/professional/craig-s-first-walkoff-hit-gives-cards—win/article_f7151997-fbd3-5cc3-a06c-5fd750d38b0e.html

    13 Chicago Tribune

    Soriano’s 2-run HR in 8th lifts Cubs past Pirates

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs/ct-spt-0910-cubs-pirates-chicago–20120910,0,4880493.story

    14 Cincinnati Enquirer

    Reds drop 2 of 3 to Astros

    http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20120909/SPT04/309090039/Reds-drop-2-3-Astros

    15 Times and Democrat

    Freefalling Pirates swept by Cubs 4-2

    http://thetandd.com/sports/baseball/games/freefalling-pirates-swept-by-cubs/article_701dce34-ebab-5ecf-a3cc-9681ae0c2892.html

    16 The Tartan

    MLB Wild Card a tight race

    http://thetartan.org/2012/9/10/sports/nlwildcard

    17 Chicago Sun Times

    Young Cubs enjoying new edge after sweep of Pirates

    http://www.suntimes.com/sports/baseball/cubs/15046650-573/young-cubs-enjoying-new-edge-after-sweep-of-pirates.html

    SPORTS WEBSITES

    18 PBC Site

    Bucs complete rough homestand with loss to Cubs

    http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2012_09_09_chnmlb_pitmlb_1&mode=recap&c_id=pit

    Pirates need McDonald at his best down stretch

    http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20120909&content_id=38148744&notebook_id=38148746&vkey=notebook_pit&c_id=pit

    19 Baseball Prospectus

    What You Need to Know

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=18267

    20 Fangraphs

    Adam LaRoche’s Suddenly Elite Power

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/adam-laroches-suddenly-elite-power/

  12. JAL says:

    Not a lot of songs about Oregon. This little ditty from 1916. George Gershwin piano performance from sometime in the 1930s.

    Just baseball links today, was at the game yesterday and got back late.

  13. JAL says:

    TC

    You are not delusional, there is a psychological effect to 82. In reality 80-81-82 are about the same but psychological 82 is a great difference from 80 and 81.

  14. Maddamma says:

    Dejan , some thoughts on the Steelers offense and a question:

    -Agreed, red zone play calling was ridiculous, like some kind of homage to Arians.
    -The Steelers stuck to the run for the most part and that helped soften the pass rush. However, there was plenty of time left on that last drive and The O had two time outs. The run should have been used there.
    -Will Johnson was underuntilized. The more I see of this guy, the more I like him. He had the nice catch down the sideline and I would have liked to see what he could have done on 1st-and goal from the 4 as a blocker for Redman/Dwyer or, gasp, even a fullback dive play
    -If Rainey is not going to return kicks and only get four touches, then he shouldn’t dress. The play calls for him were perplexing, though the one unsuccessful screen play was going to be a big hitter, if executed better
    -Dwyer ran like he wants to be a #1 back. Great effort from him. He earned a start if Mendy is not ready next week
    -Miller was all but absent in the preseason, but was integral on 3rd down. Pope was a disappointment in his routes and his blocking.
    -Down the their last five guys, the OL was serviceable.
    -They were good enough to win. The D was AWFUL.

    Your thoughts on Dwyer, Rainey, and Pope?

  15. TJA says:

    I think what we are seeing in September is what some thought April, May, June, July, August and September would look like. I love what we have seen these past 4 1/2 months, but indeed the final weeks are catching up with the club.

  16. Milo Hamilton says:

    82. Never has such a meaningless milestone been made so meaningful by so many.

  17. pattonbb says:

    You know what 82 wins gets you? Instead of hearing “Losers for the last 20 consecutive seasons”, we’ll hear, “Losers for 19 of the last 20 seasons”.

    Yea, pop the champagne.

  18. Jandy says:

    It won’t be so meaningless when they don’t reach it.

  19. JMB says:

    The choo-choo to 82 would feel more meaningful if the team hadn’t collapsed in the 2nd half for the 5-10th (20th?) yr in a row.

    A team that’s progressing wants to finish strong to build towards next season.

    As many have posted, if this team had caught fire to finish at 82 — instead of collapsing, then the fans would have something to be excited about for 2013.

    Where it stands today, next season seems to have as many ?’s as answers.

    When we do our predictions for 2013, there will be everything from 90 wins to 100 losses, and everyone will have reference points/dates and stats to back up their estimate.

    I saw we have a bunch of Latin American guys on the MLB top 100 — thank goodness for Rene Gayo cuz NH’s drafts don’t look very impressive at this point.

    This off-season needs to be busy one for NH. What will it take to get Chase Headley from the Pads?

  20. Milo Hamilton says:

    @JMB

    What will it take to get Chase Headley ? A whole lot more than it would have 6 weeks ago.

  21. Karen22 says:

    Is “fork” the same as “toast?”

    Mangia bene.

  22. Karen22 says:

    It IS difficult to eat toast with a fork, though.

  23. Jandy says:

    karen, I don’t like burnt toast…

  24. RobertoForever says:

    So this is what it feels like to wake up in Cleveland most Mondays.

    Meh.

    This loss is like any other loss. But the Steelers were in it with the ball in Big Ben’s hands with just under 3 min to go. Reading here this morning, fans would rather have losses early, wins late. O-line looks the same as last year. Mediocre run, Big Ben scrambling and making plays. Only 2 sacks when it mattered. Defense with no pressure, doesn’t usually win on the road.

    Tebow show comes to town next week. Hotels will be filled with ESPN reporters.

  25. Karen22 says:

    Roberto, THAT was funny! And I’m from Cleveland.

  26. redus says:

    Don’t give up just yet…LA is NOT a very good ballclub right now…and neither are the Reds for that matter…then again, our buccos, well it was easier to watch football yesterday afternoon.

    Now, here’s what’s going to happen. Thankfully no one involved in this race wants to deliver the KO. Atlanta is trying to win one for the Chipper, so let them blow a fuse with three weeks left if they want…Bucs are trying to sneak in the back door…and rightfully so. You don’t just roll up to Heff’s mansion on your huffy wearing a starter jacket from 1996, happy that you found the place and might see something awesome. You sneak in the back, throwing vienna sausages in every direction to keep the dogs at bay. Keep the dogs at bay Clint Hurdle…throw some vienna sausages on the lawn.

  27. Milo Hamilton says:

    @Roberto

    Now you’ve gone & done it. Local news is going to have to do a story on the financial impact a Tom Tebow visit will have. Sounds like a job for John Shumway. :)

  28. Ed says:

    Season’s over folks.

    Not even gonna get to 82.

    The clock has struck midnight and the MVP and Cy Young dancers have turned into pumpkins. The cheerleader has once again shown why, save for one miracle, he has been a loser every year he has managed.

    The guillotine needs to be brought out after the season and some heads need to roll. After all, accountability is the word we hear over and over right?

    Oh well. They can find some other sucker to support this team. 20 years is enough. I just can’t do this anymore.

  29. Steve says:

    The Todd Haley offense looked a lot like the Bruce Arians’ offense in the end. Ineffective running game, stalling in the red zone and settling for field goals. A bad decision by Ben at the end of the game cost them a chance to pull it out. In a league where the rules have been tweaked to favor scoring the Steelers still can’t seem to put up points on a regular basis. I figured they needed 27 to have a chance to win. As for the defense? They looked awful. I thought Keenan Lewis really struggled in coverage. Once Denver went to the no huddle there was no pressure on Manning and he picked them apart. Troy was forced to play center field most of the game and was not much of a factor.

    Now we have to brace ourselves for the mighty New York Jets, their blowhard coach, and league darling Tim Tebow.

    Can’t believe there continues to be as much interest in the woeful Pirates as there is.

    How many people are actually engaged in the debate over whether 0 – 2 Pitt or 0 – 2 Penn State is a better team? They both stink.

  30. RobertoForever says:

    @Karen

    Gald you laughed. Actually, Cleveland has really done a good job lately remaking the downtown. The casino will continue to add to the draw to the area. Really enjoyed visiting last year when the Pirates came to town. Visited the Rock n Roll HOF, and even joined with a membership, more for the support of what they are doing, rather than a planned revisit.

    Once the full casino opens in downtown, may bring even more revenue and development to the area. I enjoyed the indoor mall that was there as well as the underground walkways.

    Hope the new owner of the Browns can bring them some stability and respectability (as long as it is at the expense of the Bengals and Ravens, and not the men in black and gold, lol)

  31. woomer says:

    @pghboyinca

    I have to disagree with you (especially with your pejorative use of the word delusional).

    I would love to have them finish at 82-80 (or better) — if only so we can finally stop hearing the endless drone about “the streak”! After 20 years, it’s getting to be like fingernails on a chalkboard listening to people talk and write about that all the time.

  32. RobertoForever says:

    Milo

    The real question is, will ESPN interns/production assistants clog up Dejan’s preferred Starbucks?

  33. Naterosboro says:

    My take on the Steelers opener:

    Offense:

    I thought played pretty well. BUT… again we see settling for field goals inside the red zone as a problem. 4 drives into the redzone, 2 TDs, 2 FGs. Thats 100% scoring, but only 50% TD conversion. So, in that area, the Todd Haley era starts similar to what we saw from Bruce Arians’s offenses. That does not make me happy.

    Defense:

    Played well early, and handed the offense great field position with the fumble, but then struggled once the Broncos went to the no huddle. It was evident that they still really miss Ryan Clark on the back end. He’s just worlds better than Ryan Mundy. James Harrison was missed last night as well, as his replacement (Carter) was mainly ineffective. Keenan Lewis and Cortez Allen need to get much better before facing the jets.

    Special Teams:

    Did their jobs. All we ask. WAY TO GO SUISHAM! That rookie punter’s not bad either.

    Coaching:

    Tomlin continues to baffle with his challenges. I just don’t get what replays his staff in the booth look at. Are they guessing? Did they not have time to see a replay as the Broncos hurried to get the next play off so they [coaches] had to take a chance? Whatever the case, the timeout they lost could’ve been huge (ended up not being as Porter took the int. to the house for the pick-6).

    Dick Lebeau will have his guys ready next week for the Jets. It’ll help to get Clark back in the secondary. Hopefully, the knee won’t sideline Harrison too much longer.

    Haley and the offense just need to keep working to get more efficient at scoring TDs. Granted, they should’ve had 1 more if Ben floats the ball to Miller on their 1st Red Zone opp., but spread offenses with the QB in the shotgun from the 3 yard line for 3 straight plays doesn’t bode well to me. Don’t over-think it. One last thing…. would it kill us to use some play action at the goalline?

    Overall:

    Not a great way to start a season, but also not the nails in the coffin. There are positives to take away from this game. Build on those. Penalties and turnovers can be corrected.

    That said, Week 2 at home against the Jets just got a whole lot more important. You don’t want to start 0-2. We’ll see if our boys can answer the bell.

    I think they can and will.

  34. Stennettorian says:

    This weekend showed why every Pirate fan feared collapse back in July. Those saying the Pirates wouldn’t collapse (and I was one of them) were living on hope–which is now pretty much gone. Even if the Bucs do make 82 wins, I don’t think there will be much rejoicing. What we thought in mid-summer was going to be remembered as a turn-around season will now be just another call for the heads of everyone not named Cutch, Marte, Holt, and maybe Jones. Alas, it has begun on this thread already.

  35. Corey says:

    I was very pleased with the offense I saw last night from the Steelers. However, I wanted BA out of Pittsburgh for a couple of years now, so my opinion may be biased. The thing that I liked is that they didn’t look like they were running a play designed for 3rd and long every single play like they did last year. The short passes really seemed to take some pressure off of the OL. Dwyer looks like a little mini-bus getting yards after the first hit almost every single run. Ben even threw a ball away when a play broke down and nobody was open! Granted, he still took a hit while he was doing it… but he didn’t just run around for 10 seconds and then get sacked… so baby steps.

    After what I saw last night, I’m far more concerned about the Defense than Haley’s offense.

  36. RobertoForever says:

    Naterosboro,

    Loved the assessment. Very well said.

  37. Naterosboro says:

    “82 wins isn’t important.”

    It is.

    It definitely is.

    The Pirates have developed a culture of losing for the past 19 years. There’s only 1 way to turn that around.

    Start compiling more wins than losses each season.

    82 would be a start.

    So don’t tell me that 82 doesn’t matter. It does. To every individual in that clubhouse. And those are who matter most.

    That said, I just can’t see it. The sweep at home by the Cubs put the nails in the coffin.

    You can…Put number 20 on the booooard….

    Disappointed.

  38. Bizrow says:

    To me, the meltdown of the PBC this season stings quite a bit more than the past 19 seasons.

    Such promise

    Wasted….

  39. 21sthebest says:

    Is it my imagination or did the goalposts get moved? We’ve talked a lot about consecutive losing seasons here for a number of years. 81 wins is not a losing season and would break the streak but it seems like the number that is getting the talk these days is 82.

    So if we only win 81, are people going to claim that the streak is still in tact?

  40. Naje says:

    More concerned about Roethlisberger’s production… seems like in every loss he throws 22-40 with at least one interception/turnover or more and is sacked at least three times. It’s pretty standard with him in games that they lose…he’s generally close to 50% completion percentage, with turnovers and sacks out-doing TD’s and positive production.

    Last season’s playoff loss at Denver: 22-40 (55%), 1 td, 1 int, 5 sacks

    Losses during regular season–

    at Baltimore (35-7): 22-41 (53.6%), 1td, 3int, 4 sacks
    at Houston (17-10): 16-30 (53.3%), 0td, 1int, 5 sacks
    home v Baltimore (23-20): 20-37 (54%), 1td, 1int, 1 sack
    at San Fran (20-3): 25-44 (56.8%), 0td, 3ints, 1fumble, 3 sacks

    When he plays poorly and misses open receivers, they generally lose. He got his series in the 2nd quarter with 3 straight passes inside the 5 yard line and 3 straight incompletes. Like the way they’re using Miller more down there as he seems to be the only guy who knows how to shake free and get open at the goal line…lots more option routes for a TE there, I know, but that was a nice play all the way around for the TD.

    Roethlisberger’s numbers are very predictable in games that they lose. He’s generally closer to 50% or 55% completion rate, low td’s throw, more turnovers than td’s and at least 3 sacks (or more).

  41. radio wave says:

    After the bucs loss, I flipped on the cards game. After the 2 strike, 2 out tying homer, I thought another gift. But it was not to be.
    I was surprised Ben threw the pick, he usually pulls a rabbit out of his hat.
    As a pats fan, I guess I need help from the steelers sunday.

  42. Arriba Wilver says:

    Add me to the delusional crowd. No, don’t pop champagne if and when it happens, don’t have a parade and, PLEASE, don’t rejoice. But 82 wins meaningless? Nah. I think there’s a bit of machoism Involved in saying its meaningless. (“Championships are the only thing that matter”). But it won’t be real satisfying the way this season has played out.

    It is nice to see Pboy agreeing with the FO on something, though (at least their public stance).

  43. Drew71 says:

    Yes you do, Radio.

    Now that the Jets are The Best Story In Football.

    Just ask em. And ESPN.

  44. Drew71 says:

    I’m delusional about a LOT of things (like I really needed to tell you that), including the Pirates and 82.

  45. Naterosboro says:

    “So if we only win 81, are people going to claim that the streak is still in tact?”

    Well…

    The .500 record would be nice (and to jump 9 more wins this year from the previous would be a good building block), but 82 (for me) is significant.

    It says they won more than they lost this season finally, after 19 years of doing it the opposite way.

    81 means we’re not losers. 82 means (albeit the most tiny of fractions) we’re winners.

    At least that’s how I see it.

  46. Naje says:

    AW….now THERE’S a macho man! (cue Randy Savage “ooohs” and “yeah” sounds and a slim-jim snap)

  47. Jandy says:

    0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
    Happy pills for everyone!

  48. Thundercrack says:

    Let’s say they get their heads out of the their butts (the Pirates I am talking about) and play just one game over .500 the rest of the way: 12-11.

    They will finish at 84-78.

    Call me delusional again, but that would be great for me and take some of the sting out of the last 6 weeks. But it also might not be good enough for a playoff spot. And that won’t make me take the bridge either.

  49. Jandy says:

    TC, I don’ care if they’re 1-22 the rest of the way, ain’t no bridge for me.
    No one is worth that, not even the Buccos!

  50. Leefoo says:

    72-67.
    23 games to go.
    since Aug 1.
    13-23 (.361 pct)
    Projects to 8 wins, giving us 80.

    .

  51. Leefoo says:

    ” Next focus, of course, is 82, and even that looks daunting. They’ll have to go 10-13 the rest of the way, a markedly better pace than they’ve shown over the past two months.”

    But, Dejan, they’re a LOCK to finish over .500. We can celebrate THAT along with the Pens’ Stanley Cup.
    :) :) :) :)

    Foo

    .

  52. NMR says:

    You guys are actually responding to pghboyinca’s drivel? Nobody has paid attention to that guy all season. Seems like that was a decent strategy.

    I, personally, still choose to believe this team is different. The fork might be in their playoff chances, but not in .500.

    No harm in having faith, delusional or not.

  53. Jandy says:

    Hey Foo! Have you and your better half been to the mall lately? ;)

  54. Leefoo says:

    Whudda wunnerfoo weekend

    PSU lost
    Pirates get swept
    Steelers lose (luckily I didn’t watch a second of it – DVR’d it and deleted it)
    Bruised my ribs chasing the cat.

    Doesn’t get any better than that.

    SarcasticalLee yours

  55. Jandy says:

    Funderful Foo,it WOULD have been better if you had only gone to the mall… ;) ;) ;)

  56. Milo Hamilton says:

    This is almost as entertaining as the Brock Holt stuff last week. Almost.

  57. Jandy says:

    Milo, Seems to me Holt is one of the only ones hitting the ball and getting on base. :)

  58. Drew71 says:

    We don’t need to get into an emoticon contest, you two.

  59. Milo Hamilton says:

    Boy, I sure hope that loss last night doesn’t hurt the Steelers chances of winning 9.

  60. Leefoo says:

    Jandy….we were supposed to go golfing….I stayed home and watched the NFL Redzone Channel.

    .

  61. Leefoo says:

    Drew…this is for yew
    :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

    Few

    .

  62. Jandy says:

    Drew, sorry! (emoticon omitted)

    Foo ~ golfing? Dear GAWD, even chasing the cat is better than GOLFING! :p

    Milo, just you watch and see, the Steelers are gonna suck this season lol

  63. The Gunner says:

    @ Eric – 72 (previous Pirate thread)

    Cutch doesn’t have a shot at winning the MVP award as his 2nd half has been below average and his team’s performance has been even worse. I was actually starting to compare him to the Great One in the 1st half and needless to say, I was quite premature in my judgment. Cutch will continue to develop and mature but he can’t carry this team by himself. Clemente was surrounded by a much stronger supporting cast than Cutch and hopefully, Pedro, PRNW, Marte & company will step up soon. Also, the BMTIB/BMTIS has got to step up but we all know what low integrity Mr. Nutsack has.

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

    @ Milo – 76 (previous Pirate thread)

    If, by some remote chance, the Bucs break the “streak”, there better not be any celebrations of any type. The ownership continues to be the problem year in and year out.

  64. Naterosboro says:

    “no harm in having faith, delusional or not.”

    @ NMR

    This sweep by the Cubs I feel like just totally demoralizes this team. Granted the cubs are not “absolute dreck” but they’re pretty bad (54-86; The Astros are 44-96 – that’s absolute dreck).

    You just cannot allow that to happen, especially when playing a bad team at home.

    Hopefully, the return of Marte and Walker can put a spark into the team and they can finish on a positive note.

    But…I just don’t see it. The tank is empty.

    Right now, we’re just coasting on fumes.

    How long until the next service station?

  65. CWalton_67 says:

    Pirates season was fun while it lasted. Kind of surprised to see them basically quit though. Thought they had a little more character than they are currently exhibiting. Seems as though the team chemistry was completely disrupted by the moves at the trade deadline. That said, chemistry is overrated, but something has certainly gone wrong.

  66. Leefoo says:

    From my buddy via email

    . In the words of Chip Diller. . .”do not panic. . .all is well”.

    In case you don’t remember who Chip was:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Lampoon%27s_Animal_House

    Foo

    .

  67. NMR says:

    @Nate

    Perhaps Lucky needs to give an explanation of the word faith.

  68. Leefoo says:

    Jandy….well….we WERE gonna go to the Kiss Outdoor Concert, but……. :) :)

  69. Leefoo says:

    Milo………
    “If, by some remote chance, the Bucs break the “streak”, there better not be any celebrations of any type. ”

    Could care less what the PBC does, but EYE am celebrating!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Streaky Foo (and I’m not talking about my underwear, either…..ewwwww)

    .

  70. Leefoo says:

    AW……# 42….agree!

    Foo

    .

  71. Milo Hamilton says:

    @Foo

    That was exactly my point. Let the diehards react as they choose. I was directing that towards that clubhouse. Gotta stop there. Gag order.

  72. Jandy says:

    Foo #68, you just had to, right? ;)

  73. Thundercrack says:

    I went to yesterday’s game. And as I watched, these two glaring weaknesses showed up to me AGAIN:

    1) Guys like the Cubs started yesterday should not shut down/control the Bucs like he did. Happens way too many times.

    2) On offense this team really needs a veteran bat who is productive (.300 hitter). Even with Walker in the lineup, too many times this year they could not get a key hit. They leave too many runners on base —usually in critical times where they could take the lead or put the game away. I really think we could have survived with Barmes & Barajas if that productive bat would have been someone within the LF/RF/1B position.

  74. Naterosboro says:

    @ NMR

    Faith only leads to let downs. I take the pessimistic view point often times (ESPECIALLY with the Pirates) as that way, if they do succeed, I feel like I’ve been surprised.

    Yes, often times I try to remain positive with my posts on the teams, but this sweep (like they couldn’t win 1 game out of 3? Is that asking too much at home against the Cubbies?) hit me hard, b/c I think like you I was holding onto that hope, having the faith if you will.

    Guess I shoulda stayed with my M.O. That way, this would’ve been expected.

  75. Thundercrack says:

    Here was a bright spot for me this weekend. I thought they lost 2-3 to the Astros. I went back and checked the schedule and found out that I was wrong. They won 2-3!

    In a few days I am going to check back on this Cubs series in hopes that it changes too.

  76. Milo Hamilton says:

    @Thunder

    That’s like finding a 20 in your jacket pocket the 1st time you put it on since spring.

  77. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Steelers: I thought the offense did OK. Moved the ball well, ate the clock even better. Was disappointed by the lack of downfield passing by Ben. But I loved the crossing patterns to both Miller and Brown.

    The defense, was horrible. The secondary was the softest I have ever seen them. #43 did his job, but the corners were just terrible. (Funny, I watched William Gay break up a game winning TD in closing minutes of his game)

    The officiating wasn’t as bad as the great (sarcasm) Chris Collingsworth and Al Michaels made it out to be. Yes, some real stupid things happened that wouldn’t have happened with the regular guys, but, all in all, I agreed with most of their calls. Even the regular guys miss calls. Raise your hand if your always yelling at the refs on a holding call of James Harrison?!

    Pirates: Nothing to say except, glad its football season. Very disappointing now. Can’t win series against Cubs, not worthy of a playoff appearance. Let’s hope the streak gets broken.

  78. Arriba Wilver says:

    TC–I agree with you on #1, and think #2 is an interesting observation. I understand the criticism of Clint with the bunts to a certain degree in the 5th, but he said after the game he was just trying to find a way to scratch out some runs. And in the context of the weekend and that game, it wasn’t like he had a lot of confidence in them putting up some big inning letting them swing away. So I disagree with Tim Williams that Clint was just managing without thinking at that point. I don’t know if it was the right strategy, but it wasn’t just “we’re going to do small ball come hell or high water.”. I think Tim’s getting a little frustrated and got that one wrong. (link #4–Death to Small Ball)

  79. NMR says:

    @Nate – I feel your pain, friend. But it will be sweet when it pays off, I’ll tell you that much.

  80. Thundercrack says:

    AW,
    Yesterday there was 5 or 6 Cub fans sitting behind me. (boy, they didn’t have anything good to say about Aramis R.)

    When Marte was trying to bunt, the guys behind me said “go ahead and we’ll just walk McCutchen and take our chances with the next batter”.

    I thought to myself, that is probably the right strategy…but the way Cutch has been going (and pressing) they may very well want to have taken their chances pitching to him, even though he did hit a homer earlier.

  81. Milo Hamilton says:

    FraudGraham Division Standings (Week 2)

    1. Arizona St. 2-0
    2. Rice 1-1
    3. Tulsa 1-1
    4. Pitt 0-2

  82. Mattygabe says:

    “Wow, worst week ever?

    Pirates get buried by the Cubs, Steelers lose opener, Penn State kicker misses four field goals, Pitt quarterback throws for a field goal …

    What could the week to come bring?”

    This was my thought as the weekend departed. Unbelievably upsetting. Not to mention that there’s a lockout looming over the heads of Pens fans, who are undoubtedly banking on this season turning their talented franchises playoff woes into playoff successes. Without a season, you can’t do that, and that’s even more disappointing than all of the losses this weekend.

    Ugh.

  83. NMR says:

    For the last two months the mantra around here has been something along the lines of “act like you’re a playoff team”. Hasn’t it occured to anyone that that is exactly what is wrong with this group?

    When the Pirates offense was at it’s lowest point, coaches and players were preaching to stay within themselves. To stop pressing. All of the sudden, hitting became contageous. They were relaxed. Not trying to do too much. And it worked.

    Nobody should’ve expected the performances of June and July to continue, but they did. Especially fans, and I believe some players, too.

    There comes a time when you have to accept the reality that this team was just never good enough to make the playoffs. The mantra turned into a self deprecating one. Players began to push instead of play within themselves. The snowball grew to the point that it couldn’t be stopped.

    Now, you’re looking at a demoralized group that is struggling to make it to the finish line. All because they got away from the kind of baseball that made them successfull in the first place.

  84. pattonbb says:

    @Ryan #77 – I watched that Arizona game. Gay got beat a couple times and was flagged for interference a few plays before he broke up the final pass. Not knocking him, it was a great play at the end of the game. I just always wondered if maybe Gay looked better because of the rest of the defense he played with here. Guess we’ll see this year.

    Peyton looked like he was targeting Mundy in the second half. Not sure how that would have played out if Clark was in there. But I agree with you, secondary looked way to soft. My biggest complaint with the officiating has to do with their incredible inconsistency. I know they have a thankless job, but I can handle a blown call over changing the way they are calling it quarter to quarter, if not play to play.

    Hope the Bucs turn it around, but haven’t seen anything close to an encouraging sign in several days now.

  85. RELENTLESS_FORECHECK says:

    I have nothing to add on the Steelers or Pirates front. I am guardedly optimistic about the Steelers going forward. Hopefully, with a few tweaks to the offense and some key players returning from injury, the team will do just fine. My optimism has all but left me for the Pirates, however. The swagger that this team exuded at midseason seems so far removed from what we’re seeing now. The fork has been positioned squarely overhead for a few weeks now, the tines are just now sinking in…

    To add to the misery this Monday, the NHL and NHLPA are still unwilling to give ground on the basic tenets of their respective proposals. The reality remains that, while the league itself is generating record revenues, very few teams actually realize any profit. Owners point to player salaries as the reason, while players insist that owners must do a better job of sharing revenues (which, at present, are drastically skewed towards about four teams). Until an agreement can be reached on this point, the discussions will not move forward.

    After informal meetings Friday, neither side met over the weekend. With the deadline looming for Saturday night at midnight, both sides are already posturing for a seemingly inevitable work-stoppage.

  86. redus says:

    25 blown saves for brewers…is that the stat they flashed when the bucs were up there? If that is correct, what would be happening in the wild card race had they only blown a handful…absolutely nothing. Braves and Brewers or Reds would have run away with it already. Thank you for John Axford

  87. pants-n-at says:

    Pirates are going to be hard pressed to get to 82 now….very disappointing. let’s see if they at least bruch back a few Reds batters today. Got nothing more to add concerning the Steelers or Pitt. Penn State? Who care….I refuse to even what they did. Oh, but they are wearing a ribbon. That makes it all better.

    Crappy Monday! :-(

  88. pants-n-at says:

    I refuse to even “watch them after” what they did. Sorry…its Monday and I’m tired! And, I meant “brush” back a few Reds! Geesh!

  89. JAL says:

    Pittsburgh Pirates ‏@Pirates
    INF Chase d’Arnaud and RHP Bryan Morris recalled from AAA; RHP Rick VandenHurk selected from AAA…RHP Evan Meek designated for assignment.

  90. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    @Pants

    Calm down buddy, your rage got ya all messed up with your typing.

  91. Bizrow says:

    Meek DFA’d, well so much for that “success” story

    Too bad, at one time the guy had a lot of promise

  92. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    @Gunner #63

    Offensively, Cutch could carry this team on his shoulders. But you’re right, he can kiss an MVP trophy goodbye. If he would have continued his success (not a .440 clip) from the 1st half into the 2nd half then yes, he would’ve probably won the trophy and the Pirates would’ve been in a much better situation than they are now.

    The biggest disappointment in the 2nd half goes to the pitching staff though. JMac, congrats, you win that award.

    But either way, this team is still going in the right direction. Every year they’re getting better and are just a few pieces away.

  93. John says:

    I hear Pedro Cerrano and Willie Mays-Hayes are still available if the Pirates care to go after them!

  94. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Nice to see Bryan Morris called up……..just in time too. Oh wait…….nevermind…

  95. Chuck H says:

    There is no hope for this Pirate team. With all those auto outs coming up to bat, we don’t even have a chance to beat any team in either league. They are perhaps, the worst hitting team that I can remember. Too damn many strikeouts and too many pop outs or too many ground ball double plays. Just not acceptable for a major league
    team. And that game where they made 7 errors, they looked like the Keystone Cops
    in a comedy skit. BOO PIRATES!!!

  96. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    I love how the BMTIB continues to act like they have a clue. After 50 years of losing and two consecutive epic collapses, at least we can look at our farm system and still say “Well, maybe in a couple years we will be good. At least this year we have a shot to reach 82.” I guess I forgot that is the major goal for a professional team. For all their talk about building a perennial contender, why don’t these donkeys work on building at least a one-year contender first: and I mean a legit one, not an overachieving half-season phenom. Sorry, but if 82 is even a blip on the radar of goals for any team, even for a team with 19 losing seasons, there’s some majorly misguided priorities going on up front. It’s a lame excuse for creating an illusion of progress so that money keeps coming in. And the players don’t deserve any more slack than Hurdle or NH. They all need to get their act together. You want fans to come out and fill the park, start playing and running the team like y’all actually give a damn!

  97. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Would be nice to see another catcher called up. Barajas starting has become disasterous.

    I was hoping with him getting pulled the other night that it was a sign or a statement. But I guess it was just “strategy”

  98. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    @Brad

    They’ve never said that 82 was their goal and I really don’t think it is.

    They do want to build a multyear contending team and doing it the only way they can.

    They can’t afford to build a one year stopper.

  99. cmat0829 says:

    Ryan:

    RIGHT ON THE MONEY…. not right to throw the baby out with the bathwater….pretty much all of us would have taken being right where the Bucs are now at the start of the season…. turns out it was a roller coaster ride… the highs of June/July were mirages and makes the crash of Aug/Sept feel that much worse…..

    that said, I’m not abandoning ship now… I have watched this frickin team every game the past 10 years and going back to 1983 as much as I could being away from Pittsburgh and I’ve just wished and wished for meaningful September baseball and I’m gonna enjoy the )*)*)((@#* out of it…. And yes, that means enjoying being bitterly disappointed to drop a critical series at home vs. the Cubs that really hurt the playoff chances…..

    LETS GO BUCS

  100. NMR says:

    Let him go, Ryan.

    No point in trying to make any sense of that.

  101. Jandy says:

    :;sigh:: what time is the game on tonight???

  102. Very surprised few folks here are dumping on Ben.

    —He had that pass knocked down to a wide open Heath Miller in the end zone. Bad play, easy touchdown with loft on pass. Settled for field goal.
    —In the 3rd Quarter, Wallace had a step and a half on the DB down the left sideline. Ben underthrew Wallace and DB knocked down the pass
    —In the 4th Quarter Denver DBs got mixed up and Wallace was 15 yards behind the defense on a post. Ben missed him.
    —The ill-advised interception, with 3 minutes and 2 timeouts left.

    22-40, with all those short passes . . . . and all those missed passes . . . . all those missed opportunities . . . . 3 minutes, 2 timeouts, possession of the ball, down 6 points. I thought this was one of Ben’s poorer games.

    How many times in a row is it now that Steelers have the last possession and don’t come back? This is the sign of a mediocre or even losing team.

    When was the last time Steelers WON a game because of Ben? The Santonio Super Bowl?

  103. NMR says:

    Doesn’t matter, Jandy.

    There is no hope, you delusional diehard. :)

  104. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    @NMR

    Who am I letting go?

  105. Jandy says:

    NMR, Hey I resemble that comment! ;)

    I’ve been called worse that delusional, trust me.

    And I will be watching.

  106. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    NMR, if you meant me, I was blowing off steam. While I respect what Ryan said about it being the only way they can build a winning team, I respectfully disagree and see it as the only way they are willing to build a winning team. Nutting could shell out a few more bucks if he really wanted to and NH could be a little more aggressive if that were the case. And my point about 82 is that whether it’s stated or not, it strikes me as a goal for the FO so they can say hey we are making progress. And yes in a sense they are, but I think we the fans deserve better than that.

  107. RobertoForever says:

    Lineup thread is up.

    Prepare to be outraged

    =======================>

  108. cmat0829 says:

    WOW, I’m speechless that someone is ragging on Ben’s performance being the reason the Steelers lost the game…. it always amazes me how he can avoid the rush, extend plays, and make something happen out of nothing… the Steelers Offensive Line has been poor for a while now and yet they keep making playoffs and Super Bowls…that is overachieving and it is primarily because of #7.

    Steelers lost a game to Denver (great homefield advantage, night game, Peyton’s first game, etc.)…let’s not overreact.

  109. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    @Brad

    Who would you want them to shell out a “few more bucks” for? Seriously?

    When Nutting opened up his books a couple of years ago, they showed a profit of $5 Million. So say they spend an additional $5mil on somebody, who would you say?

    That money won’t buy you enough to make this team a contender.

    Take the $4 mil they gave Bedard for a total of $9.

    Now who?

  110. cmat0829 says:

    Roberto?

    What exactly about the lineup will cause “exploding”? Barajas at C I assume. I agree I prefer the Fort, but it’s been a while since the Fort has contributed much offensively, so I don’t see it as a huge gaping difference at this point.

    I’m exploding more because neither Walker or Snider are healthy enough to play in a crucial playoff-type game…..

    Beyond that, the lineup is about the best it can be…. I think Clint is going for an offensive re-set after Pedro (Tabata another leadoff hitter, Barmes #2 hitter, etc.).

    What specifically would you change in the lineup? Fort for Barajas is a given…what else? OR is your “explosion” solely over which of the underperforming catchers plays?

  111. Jandy says:

    there’s that horse again ;)

  112. Jandy says:

    OO0< OO0< OO0< OO0< OO0< OO0< OO0< OO0< OO0< OO0<
    (snowmen with anntennae)

  113. RobertoForever says:

    cmat

    Talking about Barajas, Barmes, Tabata and Presley. All seem to have very vocal critics.

 
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