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Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist


  1. MarkM says:

    Would you say Neal Huntington is a good or bad GM?

  2. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:


    Regarding your columns; how much preparation do you take in order to produce them? Meaning, as you mentioned in the chat, that you have a Friday one planned so didn’t want to go into grave detail over a couple subjects. Are these things that takes time to add up and put together?

    DK: Depends, Ryan. If on deadline, as I was in Denver the other night, that Steelers column took a grand total of 45 minutes of writing. But the one for tomorrow … it’s taken days just to confirm all the information you’ll see broken in there, plus the past two days to write it. And I’m still taking one last look around 6:30 before pulling the trigger.

    This one won’t win me many new friends.

  3. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Nice… those columns.

    I think that’s why many of us have been around your work for so long. You lay it out there and give us the forum to talk about it.

    Tip of the hat, sir…….well played.

  4. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Although, they still aren’t as good of a column as when you talk to yourself……those are O-mazing!

  5. Milo Hamilton says:


    Will you be taking phone calls on your new show ? How about integrating blog questions ? Great cross promotion.

    DK: Yes and yes, in the final segment.

  6. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:


    We had a playoffs sighting on the Chat…..he’s lurking.

  7. nate83 says:


    I will always be your friend even if you call me stupid.

    DK: That’s pretty stupid on your part, Nate.

  8. Dave says:


    I know Hurdle and Huntington are getting a lot of grief for the collapse two seasons in a row, but why doesn’t anyone mention the shoe string budget that Huntington is getting from Nutting? I mean Nutting and Coonely have both said that when attendance increases the budget increases. The attendance increased last season, but the budget remained close to the norm when you consider the team had about 6 million to spend on the draft thanks to the CBA.

  9. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:


    I think that goes without saying.

  10. TCB says:

    From your few comments, it sounds like tomorrow’s column will be a must read. I look forward to it.

    DK: I think you’ll find it interesting, even if you disagree with the broader point.

    RF and TC already hate it.

  11. Arriba Wilver says:

    People can be idiots sometimes.

    DK: So can squirrels.

  12. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    Squirrels are stupid. They tear my landscaping up every year.

  13. Arriba Wilver says:

    Brad–You should say “can be,” not “are.” Makes all the difference.

  14. 21sthebest says:


    I was joking around because I didn’t think the clay pigeon shoot was newsworthy. And I don’t get the Penn State reference. I didn’t go there (thought we had once talked about being at Duquesne at the same time), have nothing against Penn State, and I believe I very rarely joined in the discussions about the scandal because I found the whole thing very sad. Maybe you’re confusing me with somebody else on that topic.

    DK: Yeah, I’m sure I am. Apologies for that.

    We’ve been over the clay-pigeon thing, so no need to revisit. I and an awful lot of people with the Pirates — 12 of them: 7 players, a coach and four staff — would disagree with you strongly on this.

    It’s funny, but the only attempts anyone’s made to refute the information in that column was the repeating of stuff handed to them from one person in the communications department that A.J. Burnett, James McDonald and Michael McKenry had a good time. They did. They also weren’t among the players who approached me about this, including some who didn’t go but were upset with the circumstance for their teammates.

  15. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Wonder what Pirates fans would say if this was our issues…

  16. Arriba Wilver says:

    Ryan–I think they would say it was stupid.

  17. Eric Bowser says:

    pure speculation here………..

    “Team official and baseball industry sources confirms Pirates had a trade agreement with San Diego Padres for infielder Chase Headley but deal fall apart due to Team President Frank Coonelly overriding General Manager Neal Huntington.”

    ………if it is something like this, I can’t wait for the reaction.

  18. 21sthebest says:

    Dejan, allow me to not revisit clay pigeon shoot as well.

    You’re talking about the information in the column and players being upset about the event. I never addressed those issues and I don’t dispute any of what you said. I only said that I didn’t think it was newsworthy.

    DK: In the spirit of further not revisiting the matter, I wholly respect your stance on that.

  19. 21sthebest says:

    Good. Now that we got that out of the way, I’m predicting that the odd way you’re going to describe the collapse is a mock discussion with Three Rivers Stadium. :-)

    DK: Nice. No, it’s a lot straighter than that, with some new information as a vehicle to broach the subject.

    Why do they remain so clueless about winning?

  20. Thundercrack says:

    DK, I wonder if I’ll call tomorrow’s column stupid.

    DK: You will. That’s a slam dunk.

    And RF will go into a seizure.

  21. Boise Bucco says:

    Sorry I missed the chat today, the only thing that I would add would be–DK you mentioned that it seemed like they were playing in fear. In the past, the players (management as well) have gone on record as saying that they weren’t responsible for the 19-year losing streak, and all they can worry about is this season and this season alone. I respected that, because seriously, what can you do? Heck I try to do the same thing honestly; I try to think about each season in a vacuum. Cutch can only worry about the years that he was on the team; same with PRNW, Pedro, Barmes, all of them. Even GFJ, who’s probably one of the most tenured Bucs at this point, that’s only really going back what, 3 seasons?

    But what if the players are indeed feeling the weight of “being the Pirates?” It wouldn’t be crazy. They’d be the first team in 20 years to produce a winning team, that’s gotta weigh on their minds, at least somewhat.

    Everybody knows the 2004 Red Sox were the team that broke their crazy 95-year Bambino curse, but wasn’t it 2003 where the manager left Pedro Martinez in too long and he ended up giving up the ALCS-winning HR or something? Maybe there’s a parallel there.

    Haha or maybe I’m overthinking it and they just bunt too much.

    DK: Didn’t say they were playing in fear. It was much broader than that. They OPERATE in fear.

  22. Eric Bowser says:

    You know, I really wish the Pirates were playing and getting beat badly…. I can’t hear another minute of Project Runway in the background as my wife is watching that madness.

    ….Project 82

  23. 21sthebest says:

    I’m not exactly sure what you mean. I think after 5 years, we should be further along although some have said it takes more like 7 years. Obviously we just need the right people in here. Neal may need to go. Hurdle has been managing like he wants to get fired, but I highly doubt that’s the case.

    I wouldn’t say they’re clueless. I think that’s a little over the top. It really is an enigma wrapped inside a riddle…..

    DK: If the GM and manager need to go, who’s left that had a clue about winning?

    Only asking.

  24. Boise Bucco says:

    Also, the suicide squeeze from last night is the front-page story on Deadspin right now…

  25. Milo Hamilton says:


    I’m worried finances are involved. I still go back to the Wandy trade. Huntington thanked Nutting for stretching the budget to allow him to make the deal. In the grand scheme of things, Wandy doesn’t make a huge buck & the Astros are paying a good portion of it.

    Especially considering they didn’t add much payroll at all from 2011 to 2012. If you take into account what the Yankees are chipping in for AJ, they didn’t increase their payroll at all.

  26. Eric Bowser says:

    @Milo – If $ becomes an issue for 2013, then they are not putting their best prospects in a position to succeed. The Pirates will probably have another $55-65 million payroll and that’s being conservative.

    The current free agent market for 2013 is really bad and not sure who could be on the trade block (Chase Headley?) due to a really big arbitration reward coming this offseason.

  27. Drew71 says:

    Dejan. Why do you remain so surprised that they – management or players – are clueless?

    Who there has won?

    Ok. One or two players mostly several years ago with other teams. And Hurdle, one of 10 years managing. (And i LIKE him.)

    Yeesh. That Dark Side thing is catching.

  28. cherokee23 says:

    I’m glad you brought up in the chat about AJ being only player over the rail. I’ve been surprised not to see more comments about that. I have avoided the “lack of heart and effort” type of comments about this team as it relates to McCutchen being hit and other issues, but this stuck out like a sore thumb the other night. No comments backing up Hughes bothers me as well. Then Hughes/Philips have the kumbaya moment, followed shortly by Philips re-accusing Hughes. I fully expected AJ to hit Philips last night……but then again he might realize nobody but Hughes would be there to back him up…..WHY BOTHER!

  29. Boise Bucco says:

    I guess I could ask why they were operating in fear, or I could just wait 2-3 hrs and read it for myself…haha sorry, didn’t mean to misquote you.

  30. Thundercrack says:

    I like AJ a lot but I thought he had no business going out of the dugout.
    Nothing was happening but some yelling back & forth and there were not Reds that came out of their dugout.

  31. 21sthebest says:

    Again, I don’t think I understand the question. Who would be left that had a clue about winning? Why is that relevant? Wouldn’t a GM bring in some of their own people?

    I wish Nutting would sell if that’s what you’re getting at.

  32. Eric Bowser says:

    Operating in Fear is a great way to put it when the team could have had Chase Headley, or teased around with Arizona for Justin Upton. The Pirates are never going to end this losing streak if they continue to value prospects and tomorrow in greater value than today.

  33. cherokee23 says:

    TC…….I was a little surprised to see AJ out there as well…..But he was! and nobody else was there to back him up! I recall in college, my brother got pissed at some other students one night and agressively got into a situation he should’nt have in defense of a friend. He knew he shouldn’t and I knew he shouldn’t, but it didn’t take long for me to not only back him up, but be in front of him! Right or wrong, AJ was backing up Hughes, yet noone else could even step to the top of the rail. Heck, Hurdle barely made it out of the dugout!

  34. Thundercrack says:

    I see your point cherokee.
    But I also ask this: back him up against who? No other players were out there from the other team.

    I do agree that Hurdle or some other coach should have jumped out there and grabbed him.

  35. 21sthebest says:

    What exactly does that mean? A.J. backing up Hughes. If Hughes and Phillips got into it physically, both benches would have emptied.

  36. Eric Bowser says:

    With Walker about to return to the lineup and very few players are actually hitting, how many here still want Holt to play SS?

    Or better yet, who would be ok with Walker moving to 1B and Jones to RF in order to have a consistent glove at SS with Barmes.

  37. Milo Hamilton says:

    The only way this is ever going to work is to have a management structure similar to Cincinnati’s. The roles of President & General Manager have to be combined. And that one person must be given full autonomy over baseball operations by Nutting. Instead of “can we make this trade ?” it will be “hey, we made this trade”. Someone in the John Hart, Pat Gillick mold. The President must be a baseball man, not a bean counter.

    If Nutting isn’t willing to do this, it’s never going to work.

  38. Eric Bowser says:

    @Milo – That’s why I’m thinking Huntington could get another season to prove himself if Coonelly resigns after the season as I suspect he will do to move back in the Commissioner’s Office in some capacity.

  39. Eric Bowser says:

    Nice to see the Chicago Bears address their issues on the offensive line to protect Jay Cutler and nice TD on the fake field goal by the Packers.

    ..ok, enough of that football talk for me, lol.

  40. cherokee23 says:

    TC & 21…….Again, never said AJ was right or wrong to be out there…….but he was………..and not one other player had any inclination to join him! All season, players have spoke about his leadership and what he has meant to them and the team. To use another blogger’s favorite adjective, I think it’s “alarming” that noone else stood up with him

  41. Patrick(RI) says:


    Fairly new around here, and it seems there is some risk in agreeing with you, but I think you are absolutely right about AJ’s railing jump being almost embarrassingly premature.The guy had rolled a ball toward the mound. Big deal.

  42. Eric Bowser says:

    Isn’t it amazing how the NHL owners want the players to go from 57% to 49% because they have about ten teams who could use the financial support to make the salary cap floor…oh you thought that was the reason for the soon to be lockout.

    No, this isn’t about Flyers owner Ed Snider or Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs finally feeling sorry for their peers with the Predators, Panthers, Coyotes, Oilers, Flames, Jets, and Hurricanes.

    This lockout is about the owners seeing how the NFL and NBA got deals for much less than 57% and the large revenue owners think their pie needs to be larger as a result of their sport having grown revenues from $2.1 billion to $3.3 billion since the ’04-05 lockout.

    The players didn’t design the current CBA, the owners did.

    The players gave their pound of flesh with a 24% salary rollback after the lockout.

    Everyone knows the next CBA is going to be 50-50, it is a matter of how they get there and how fast.

    The next CBA should be 6 years

    Years 1-3: Players get a set $1.78 billion per season unless revenues do not grow 7% year over year. This means, players would get $5.34 billion (51%) over 3 years, while at the current revenue pace, owners would get $5.27 billion (49%).

    Years 4-6: Players and Owners share 50% of revenues.

    No rollback on player salaries, forces owners to grow the revenues by marketing the sport better, and NHLPA can still say their negotiators did better than NFL/NBA players association.

    DK: Good stuff, Eric.

  43. Eric Bowser says:

    How disgusted are you, when you realize this….

    Pirates were 59-44, from August 1 until September 12, Pirates are 13-26 (39 games) for a 72-70 record.

    If the Pirates went 19-20 over those 39 games… they would be 78-64.

    If the Pirates were 78-64 by playing 1 game under .500 in the last 39, they would have a 4 game lead in the loss column over the Cardinals.

    JUST by playing 1 game under .500 over the last 39 games…. instead they are 2.5 games behind them.


    DK: Hey, hope you’ll consider re-publishing both these posts on the Wakeup Call, which will have a much longer shelf life than this thread.

  44. Thundercrack says:

    Ha! It is a nice place here. Please, don’t fear agreeing with me…or disagreeing. Lots of different opinions and views.
    Just don’t call me stupid. :-)

    Imagine if it was Bronson Arroyo who had jumped on to the field. We’d be calling him a punk.

  45. Eric Bowser says:

    By the way, if anyone is wondering what the 50-50 split would look like in years 4-6.

    Revenues would be $4.04, $4.33, and $4.63 billion. I don’t know the exact formula in % of total revenues is HRR but let’s just say 90% of total revenues is HRR.

    HRR would be $3.64, $3.89, and $4.16 billion at 50% split is 1.82, 1.95, and 2.08 billion.

    Take the player’s piece in comparison to total revenues, that’s 45%.

    I suspect that’s going to be the biggest issue for Donald Fehr and players, they are not agreeing to a 50%, they getting 45% of total revenues.

  46. Eric Bowser says:

    DK – I’ll be up, working on stuff for my day job and alternating here. LOL

  47. Reading says:

    Wow. Astros stave off Phils. Not past us yet.

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