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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Friday Wakeup Call: Dog’s still running away

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media columnist

WINNIPEG, Manitoba — Morning, lunatics …

>> The Friday notes column opens with Beau Bennett, sprinkles in a really odd thing about LaMarr Woodley, as well as some Pitt, Duquesne and Pirates.

I’m really enjoying these, by the way. Chance to touch on some things that wouldn’t usually get a full column.

>> The weekly chat included a whole lot of smorgas and a little bord.

>> Always so, so nice to be here. Here’s a shot from the plane as we were coming in for a landing at James Armstrong Richardson International Airport …

Here, because you demanded it, is Tourism Winnipeg’s official video …

And here, because … well, because I can’t get enough of it, is my own unofficial Tourism Winnipeg video starring Hotel Lobby Guy and his vanishing water trick …

>> Because I’m covering tonight’s game at the MTS Centre, I’ll be using this blog to relay news from both the Penguins’ and Jets’ morning skates.

Family arriving later today, all visiting here for the first time. If my affinity for the place is new to anyone, I explained all in a blog entry from here last month.

>> Good look at Dan Bylsma’s tenure, by our Rob Rossi.

>> The mighty Villanova football program is ticking off Pitt and Florida State.

>> Congrats to Jim Ferry and the Dukes on their first Atlantic 10 W. If you’re going to go 10 games to finally beat a conference opponent, do it like that.

>> From the classic Simpsons episode …

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

Dejan Kovacevic, a lifelong Pittsburgher, is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media covering the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, Pitt and, recently, his fourth Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also appears on WPXI-TV's 'Subway Final Word’ and hosts a weekly show on TribLIVE Radio. For 2011, he was named one of the country's top four columnists by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the country's top three columnists by the National Headliners. For 2013, he was named the state's top columnist by the Keystone Press Awards and top columnist in Western Pennsylvania by the Golden Quills.


  1. Ghost says:

    Have always been a fan of The Guess Who who were from Winnipeg. And Neal Young was mostly from Winnipeg too. Must be something in the prairie air.

  2. Dave says:

    I’ll be honest I’m skeptical of Dan Bylsma as a head coach, but I enjoyed the Rob Rossi article and it gives me a little more faith in him then I’ve had.

  3. MrB says:

    Your Just for fun Q&A turned my stomach.

  4. Jandy says:

    They make medicine for that, ya know…

  5. Thundercrack says:

    Very nice article by Rossi.

    20 head coaches in 46 years. That is unbelievable.

  6. JAL says:

    JAL’s Groovy Kind of Love Morning Links


    1- MLB Transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    3 Go Buccos- Pirate News (from external sources)

    4 Pittsburgh Pirates 2013 Spring Training Tracker

    BLOGS and such

    5—Pirates Prospects

    Spring Training 2013 Position Battles: The Bullpen

    First Pitch: Upcoming Spring Training Coverage

    Pittsburgh Pirates Early 2013 Draft Preview

    6 Bucs Dugout

    Roundup: Yankees deal for Shawn Kelley


    Travis Snider: Breakout candidate?

    8 Bradenton Herald

    Pittsburgh Pirates | Grizzled vet Grilli ready to close

    9 Rumbunter

    How We Will Try To Fall In Love With The Pittsburgh Pirates Again

    Pirates A.J. Burnett Has 2013 Resolutions: A Good Season To Die Hard

    10 Green Weenie

    Camp Drills

  7. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 Miami Herald

    Pirates begin camp with mix of questions, optimism

    12 Montreal Gazette

    A reason for Montrealers to become Pittsburgh Pirates fans

    13 Rant Sports

    Pittsburgh Pirates Shouldn’t Rush Jameson Taillon

    14 KDKA

    Jerry Sands Happy To Be A Pirate, Continues To Make Adjustments

    15 USA Today

    Offseason fantasy grades for every MLB team

    16 PBC Site

    Happy to be back, Karstens battling for rotation spot

    17 Sports Illustrated

    Winter report card: Final NL grades

    18 Sweetspot

    Yes, they were invited to spring training


    19 Baseball Prospectus

    Introducing the 2013 Playoff Odds Report

    20 Fangraphs

    A Kyle Lohse Back-and-Forth

  8. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    A comprehensive look at Steelers special teams coach Danny Smith

    Former Steelers and Ravens Dennis Dixon officially signs with Chip Kelly and Eagles

    22 Steelers Depot

    - Steelers Free Agent Analysis: Ramon Foster-unrestricted


    23 Daily Telegraph

    Roy Hodgson and Sir Alex Ferguson need to agree on what is best for Manchester United all-rounder Phil Jones

    24 World Soccer Daily

    10 stories you need to read, 14th February, 2013


    25 Pensburgh

    Ray Shero calls out Tyler Kennedy

  9. Jandy says:

    Wow. Just wow. Read the Rossi article on Bylsma. That’s impressive.

  10. JAL says:

    Groovy Kind of Love The Mindbenders 1965 based on the Rondo movement of Sonatina in G major, op. 36 no. 5 by Muzio Clementi. Written by Toni Wine and Carole Bayer Sager the Mindbenders took it to number 2 and in 1988 Phil Collins took it to number 1.

  11. JAL says:

    I am traveling hither and yon and places in between so links catch as catch can over the next week.

  12. Jandy says:

    Safe travels, JAL :)

  13. Thundercrack says:

    NH didn’t seem like he wanted to bring Pedro or Marte up when he did. And we know the story about the second baseman. So I would have predicted that Cole would either not be up this year or only at the end of the year as a Sept. call-up.

    If he’s ready they should bring him up. But I can’t help have the feeling that they will give a bunch of other guys a shot at the rotation before him (Sanchez, Locke, McPherson, Karstens, Liriano, etc…)

  14. Jandy says:

    Agreed. I was rather impressed

  15. Drew71 says:

    Turned my stomach. Now when we have the Fire Bylsma discussion after a bad power play, someone will link that article.

  16. Jandy says:

    Pepto Bismol

  17. Drew71 says:

    Snark here.

  18. Tim says:

    Yes it was. Perhaps DK could learn some patience from Bylsma the next time he has to answer a Tangradi question!

  19. Thundercrack says:

    I don’t think Rossi comes on this blog.
    The other guy likes to provide links to his stories.

  20. Jandy says:

    Hi Snark, I’m Mother Theresa :)

  21. Drew71 says:

    Thunder Bismol

  22. TJ says:

    I’ve heard that DK is lobbying for Heinz to be moved to Winnipeg.

  23. Drew71 says:

    By the way. I didn’t know the NFL Draft is dusty.

  24. Drew71 says:

    Sure. For a more colorful freeze-on-the-sidewalk trick.

  25. SeanE says:

    DK. Um. “please turn off all electronic devivices and return your seat to its upright position.”. Shame on you. :-)

  26. Jandy says:


  27. Jandy says:

    is that supposed to be snark?

  28. Jandy says:

    good one lol

  29. Drew71 says:

    D: “Honey, I’m taking you on a trip to celebrate Valentines Day weekend.”

    Mrs D: “Wonderful! How romantic! It’s February. So we must be going to Key West. Or Paradise Island. Maybe Hawaii!”

    D: “Nope. Better.” (And here’s where D earns my undying respect forEVER cause you KNOW where D says he’s taking her. In February. Had it been Siberia I’d have flown into town to give him a plaque on behalf of all men. But to be fair. It’s nothing like Siberia. Siberia has a few hills.)

  30. Drew71 says:

    Even a saint is a critic

  31. Jandy says:


  32. Jandy says:

    I’m dyin’ here lol

  33. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Nice Winnepeg video. Must have been done in July. There were people actually outside without parkas on.

  34. LuckyNKentucky says:


  35. CWalton_67 says:

    Have to disagree with Dejan regarding Bennett. Good to see the Pens giving him a chance, but Pens are not true Cup contenders without a high quality, wing who can at least create some space and finish a play or two for either 87 or 71. GMRS has to be doing work to get one or another prime year of Crosby and Malkin’s careers will have slipped away. It would be best if that player were experienced and a leader, but more than anything, this player needs to be someone who can gain the trust of both of them. Time to open that treasure trove of young d-men and use it, or dangle Letang and see what he can bring long term. The time is now.

  36. Drew71 says:

    Never knew Dejan was the new Henny Youngman.

    Take my wife. To Winnipeg.

  37. TJ says:

    What were the Pens top two lines when they won the cup?

  38. TJ says:

    Or they had already grown their full winter coat

  39. Steve says:

    Lamar Woodley just the latest NFL player to show the effects of too much helmet to helmet contact?

    Will Pitt simply pay Villanova not to play and try to pick up another FCS opponent to fill in the hole in the schedule at a later date?

    Looking forward to the Pitt b-ball game tomorrow. Marquette seems to have the Panther’s number more than any other BE team in recent history. A road win tomorrow would really solidify the Panther’s NCAA seed. Of course Notre Dame is right around the corner on Monday. Maybe the improved version of Steven Adams will be the difference in thiis game. I wonder if Nerlens Noel’s injury has Adams feeling any different about staying at Pitt beyond this year.

  40. Drew71 says:

    That’s just silly. They have exoskeletons.

  41. CWalton_67 says:

    TJ, I don’t know, I was in Iraq when they won the last Cup. But I do recall that Bill Guerin was on Crosby’s wing. On the ice, and in the locker room.

  42. gregenstein says:

    If Cole’s ready though, you find a place for him. For what it’s worth, I think Sanchez is finished, so I don’t think he’ll have to leapfrog anyone other than Locke and McPherson.

    Injuries can be a heluva thing, but you didn’t even list old salty Charlie Morton.

  43. 21sthebest says:

    Anybody else get the feeling DK doesn’t like the Russell Martin acquisition?

    I guess it’s just Neal rearranging the deck chairs on the Carnival Cruise Ship.

  44. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Never in a million years would I have linked the Mindbenders with Muzio Clementi. Of course I was 12 at the time.

  45. LuckyNKentucky says:


  46. gregenstein says:


    Any number of other guys rotated in there depending on who was healthy. Sykora, Kunitz, Dupuis, Satan, and Fedotenko all got turns with the above 3. Kunitz was hurt most of that year or he would have been listed there. Heck, it was arguable that the Cooke-Staal-Kennedy line was there #2.

  47. TJ says:

    The top 5 forwards on the cup winning team were….


    Pretty sure it was Kunitz-Crosby-Guerin, then Malkin with Fedetenko and can’t remember who else. But I would say their top 2 lines are that far off from what they had when they won the cup

  48. Pittsburgher in winnipeg says:

    It warmed up the other day and i threw on my spring coat. I got outside and the thermometer said 16

  49. NMR says:

    Bill James projects Russell Martin to be an above average offensive catcher, so I don’t know why Dejan is so upset about signing a guy who hit .211 last year.

    According to Bill James, Andrew McCutchen was just one run better than Martin, clocking in at -5.

    Bill James also says Travis Snider will slug .468 and post an .813 OPS.

  50. Pittsburgher in winnipeg says:

    I’m told the disappearing water trick is even better if you throw in some food coloring

  51. Pittsburgher in winnipeg says:

    But i’m not sure if its even cold enough to try it now during this heat spell lol

  52. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Did you go back in and get your parka?

  53. Bizrow says:

    Cole will be blocked by that “years of control” thing. From everything I’ve heard or read, he could otherwise come north with the club, based on pure talent.

  54. NMR says:

    The top two lines didn’t win the cup in ’09, the bottom two did.

    This ’12 team is nearly as deep as it was in ’09, so I think a reasonable argument can be made that they must maximize production from those top two lines even more.

  55. NMR says:


  56. Drew71 says:

    Speaking of Winnipeg, it’s 57 and overcast. Parkas everywhere.

    Lows of 40 on Saturday and 38 on Sunday.

    Can you imagine?

  57. JohninOshkosh says:

    Outstanding music link theme this week. Enjoyed learning some new stuff, Professor JAL!

  58. NMR says:

    Kinda like the talent that got Trevor Bauer into the show last year?

    Cole’s pitched 6 AAA innings in his life. Six.

  59. Bizrow says:

    Better bring in the pet geckos those nights

  60. gregenstein says:

    I like Russell Martin. He’s decent, and maybe he can rediscover his youth back in the NL. BUT…..

    If they could have taken his money, used a small slice of it on a Kelly Shoppach type of guy and the rest plus the $$ they were will to give to Liriano and use it for a real player, I would have preferred that. No, not Zach Grienke, but they could have tried to bid for Hyun-Jin Ryu or went after Michael Bourn.

  61. gregenstein says:

    To prove Bob Nutting is not cheap and also just for laughs, behold Exhibit A: Jeff Karstens’ 2013 salary:


  62. JohninOshkosh says:

    I’ve noticed the younger generation has seem to given up on wearing warm clothes. Yesterday I saw several college kids walking around in shorts in the middle of a snow shower. LL Bean must be getting worried.

  63. Drew71 says:

    They come in on their own when it’s that cold.

  64. 21sthebest says:

    Did you say hello to my son?

  65. 21sthebest says:

    I like the Martin acquisition but do you ever go back and see how some of James’ projections fared? Turns out he’s human.

  66. Bizrow says:

    And he’s worth every penny of it ;-)

  67. JohninOshkosh says:

    Nicely done, 21!

  68. NMR says:

    Ryu: $62m

    Bourn: $48m

    Martin & Liriano: $18m

  69. NMR says:

    That was exactly my point, 21.

    Seems silly to me to use any of his numbers for an argument. I’d rather hear a scouting report from one of Dejan’s unnamed executives than a made-up statistic like Runs Saved.

  70. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Did Jandy type that up? $25,000 would be more likely than $25 million except the ML minimum is around $450,000 isn’t it?

  71. 21sthebest says:

    Timing is important. You can’t sit around and wait for players like Bourn to make a decision.

  72. 21sthebest says:

    :-) Actually he’ll only wear shorts in that kind of weather if he’s just going to the gym. And it could be 5 degrees.

  73. 21sthebest says:

    “report from one of Dejan’s unnamed executives than a made-up statistic ”

    Just checking. Did you mean, “report from one of Dejan’s made up executives than an unnamed statistic? :-)

  74. NMR says:

    Ouch. Be nice, Mr. 21!

    Drew, please be advised that a pair of items used to cover and protect the hands have been dropped.

  75. Jandy says:


  76. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    “…which means that suddenly Kennedy’s spot on the third line might not be a strangehold.” From Pensburgh

    Glad to see others share my disdain for Kennedy’s performance. But what pray tell is a STRANGEhold?

  77. Jandy says:

    hey now, I resemble that remark ;)

  78. Jandy says:

    ha! A Mother Theresa typo on the Pensburgh :P

  79. TJ says:

    The Pirates do not have the luxury to pay a career .272 hitter 12 mil a year when his biggest attribute is stealing bases. He struck out over 150 times last year; just what the Pirates need.

    4 year deal for a 30 year old at 12 mil a year. If they were one player away fine go after Bourn.

  80. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    I have some differing thoughts on Bylsma in relation to Rossi’s article. (Sorry I didn’t pay to read it, DK, but it’s posted on the Pens website).

    I don’t think we should fire Dan Bylsma this season. But if we don’t get past the first round, he needs to go. He has the ability to get production out of his players. Great! He’s popular with many players. Great! He consistently records 100 point regular seasons. Great! He and Malkin have shouting matches neither of them can understand. Awesome!

    The fact is he has 2 (or more depending on your take) of the best players in the world, a more than adequate goalie setup, some pretty good D, a plethora of veteran players (Bennet and Despres are the only greens) and owners who spend to the ceiling every year to win.

    Since 2009 we haven’t gotten past the second round, reaching that point only once. Last year’s playoffs were the worst in recent memory. What’s more alarming is that none of the teams we lost to were undoubtedly superior opponents. Playoff opponents have all countered Bylsma’s system with one scheme or another that Bylsma just can’t crack. Coaching isn’t just about getting solid individual performances from your players. If you can’t adjust to the other team’s methods, be sure they’ll adjust to yours.

    I like Bylsma, but he needs to at least get us to the conference finals. Realistically, barring major injury problems, we should be in the Cup finals. He’s had 3 years to get us back and we haven’t come close. If there’s not significant improvement in the playoffs, Bylsma needs to go.

    DK: Paid? I don’t understand. How would you have paid to read something on our site? Everything is free.

  81. Thundercrack says:

    From what I have read it isn’t so cut & dry that he could come north right out of camp. Everything I read seems to lean towards him being up here sometime this year.

    Yes, I forgot about Morton!

  82. NMR says:

    Bourn’s deal also has an easily acheived vesting option for a fifth year at $12m. All Bourn has to do is reach 550 PA’s in the fourth year of his deal. He’s averaged almost 650 PA’s per season over his big league career.

    The only way he doesn’t reach that vesting option is a major injury or major underperformance, which either way would signal a bad deal for the Indians.

    They better hope they’ll be paying him $60m when all is said and done.

  83. LuckyNKentucky says:


  84. Thundercrack says:

    I believe that if we signed a ‘Kelly Shoppach” type of guy that there would still be plenty of debates here on how the Pirates didn’t really improve THAT much over Barajas.

    I like the Martin signing and I don’t have a problem with the money they signed him. And I would bet there are plenty of fans of other teams (and some FO executives) that wished their team moved faster and tried to sign Martin.

  85. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    Tyler Can’t Score Kennedy (-2) is 4th on the team in shots with 31. His S% is 3.2%, 13th on the team. Paul Martin is 11th at 9.1%. That 20 goals from 2 years ago is doing a lot for us now.

  86. NMR says:

    The funny thing is that Rod Barajas was a “Kelly Shoppach” type of guy until he turned into Rod Barajas.

  87. NMR says:

    Heads up to the poster (Dave, maybe?) who was asking about Kyle Lohse yesterday.

    JAL has a great link about him at #20.

    With all the money the Indians have sunk into offense this winter, seems crazy they aren’t signing Lohse yesterday. They’re rotation is awful and Brett Myers ain’t the answer.

  88. JP says:

    Couldn’t agree more.

    It seems to me that Bylsma has a hard time making adjustments. It’s just “get to our game.” In a playoff series, you have to adjust to what the other team is doing. The last three playoff years, I haven’t seen any adjustments from game to game.

    I’m not saying fire him right this second, either. But he has to do better in the playoffs. Period. Especially if 87 and 71 are completely healthy.

  89. Jandy says:

    Well, BigFugginUgly is back from injury for Winnipeg.

  90. Brian in Brooklyn says:

    A great write up on Shero moving Tangradi and the reasons for and against it.

    “All that matters to Shero is what Eric Tangradi can be reasonably expected to contribute to the Pittsburgh Penguins moving forward. Based on his comments, he decided that a low draft pick and the opportunity to give Bennett a look was worth more than any potential upside for Tangradi in Pittsburgh.”

    I liked the big dog but like DK said take an honest look at his production at the NHL level and it’s easy to see why he goes…

  91. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    WHOSE that?

  92. Drew71 says:

    And the comparison to Stoppach is a good thing?

    A respected MLB pitcher who played with Stoppach said (off the record but in a way that I can personally verify but want to protect) that Stoppach is the worst catcher in MLB.

  93. Drew71 says:


  94. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    I’m actually content with Shero just getting something for Tangradi. 45 games and one goal is hard to sell.

  95. Drew71 says:

    she BETTER not be talking about Dejan.

    He’s back in Winnipeg but he only dresses ugly.

  96. Jandy says:

    LOL Dustin Byfuglien. What a name and what a big guy! Love to watch him. He can skate for such a huge player.

  97. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    DK, you had a wakeup call about paying for a subscription to the trib site a while back and how the honorable thing was to pay for the subscription if one is going to read the content. I don’t pay for a subscription, and I can’t get Trib delivered here, so I don’t really read anything that’s not on the Pens site because I don’t pay for it. Nothing sinister, I just haven’t really read much Trib stuff since then because I don’t pay for it. I’ve been sticking to the blog (and the radio show) which I enjoy very much.

  98. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    I completely forgot about him. Man, if Shero could pick him up… Maybe they’ll drag him back here from the Tundra this weekend. Of course it’s supposed to be arctic in this area so I guess it’s not much of a difference.

  99. NMR says:

    Still my favorite nickname in all of sports, Jandy.

  100. Drew71 says:

    More than Cornelius??

  101. Drew71 says:

    ah. skin care products.

  102. TJ says:

    Should have sent him to the Capitals… Ray Ray may have been able to share some guidance

  103. hap2009 says:

    I thought the same thing. I’ve doubted Blysma often but that artical has me feeling a little better about him now.

  104. hap2009 says:


    For my own sake. Why is there an airplane mode if they want it turned off. It confuses me.

  105. hap2009 says:

    My generation is too lazy to put anything more on. Has not much baring on where/how far they’re going. Just a good excuse.

  106. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Zachary Levine has an interesting opening to his four-letter network insider (which I don’t subscribe to) column about how the Pirates are wasting Cutch and should trade him in his prime if they’re not going to try to win with him.

    He says he stood alone (based on WARP) in a lineup of unproven talent, disappointments and 4-A types.

    Wonder how Neil Walker, Garrett Jones, Micheal McKenry and even Barmes feel about which of those categories they fall in.

    That’s why I don’t read those guy’s columns, etc. Saw Cutch’s face and saw he mentioned the Bucs, so I thought I’d take a peek. Wish I hadn’t.

  107. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    I hear he’s busy now running the universe.

  108. Naje says:

    that’ll learn ya’, lucky…. :-)

  109. Jandy says:

    Puts a whole new meaning to skin care :P

  110. LuckyNKentucky says:

    You got that right!

  111. NMR says:

    Wait, is “WARP” a real thing or is Lucky making a joke. I laughed, either way.

  112. Jandy says:

    LOL NMR, hubby and I love saying the CORRECT nasy version of his name…we laugh like 2 little kids.

    Brad, it’s not wise to forget Bigfugginugly, he’ll make you pay! I’d LOVE to have him as a Pen.

  113. Jandy says:

    pfffft!!! :p

  114. Drew71 says:

    I recognize that we’re discussing what someone ELSE wrote.

    But it is thinking like this that causes some struggling teams to trade their outstanding assets to the Yankees, Angels, Red Sox, etc. And receive back a whole bunch of other 4A players. Or prospects who may – MAY – turn into something after three to four more years of misery.

    Only to repeat the process IF they turn into something.

    Or lock in the status quo if they don’t.

    (That’s what I love about this time of the baseball season. Hope Springs Eternal)

  115. TJ says:

    I understand he withdrew his name from contention to be the new Pope stating it would be a step back for him.

  116. TJ says:

    “Some struggling teams to trade their assets to the Yankees, Angels, Red Sox, etc.”

    By some you mean the Pirates right?

  117. LuckyNKentucky says:

    That’s what his article into called it. I’m not that creative.

  118. LuckyNKentucky says:

    It means “Wins Above Replacement Player” and he says Cutch’s was 4.9 and nobody else broke 2.

    I guess I like the old fashioned ones like BA, RBI, HR, SB and wins and losses at the end of the day.

    BTW, Gaby’s WARP was an average one in 2011. It was 2.0

  119. NMR says:

    And Marlins, Astros, Mariners, Padres, Twins, Indians…

  120. NMR says:

    Wins Above Replacement Player? I thought that was just WAR, but I’m old fashioned. :)

    I’m still using 2011 sabremetrics and not 2013 sabremetrics like Zack Levine, Bill James, and Dejan.

  121. Jandy says:

    WArp…Sounds like a Star Trek thing…Cap’n Kirk…what is Lieutenant Sulu’s WARP??

  122. NMR says:

    Perfectly stated, Drew.

    I think I get what this guy’s point is, or at least should be. Cutch is good, so poo or get off the potty.

    But man, talk about butchering the argument.

    Cutch is only 26 and is signed to a ridiculously team friendly number until he’s 31. Giving him up now for prospects would be certifiably insane.

  123. Drew71 says:

    Not intended as a shot at the Pirates. Many struggling, low revenue teams do the same. I certainly understand at times, and especially with looming free agents and fading stars. But when you see the best assets, especially those under control, being shipped off for long term or little return, you wonder who those struggling teams’ GMs work for.

    Read my first sentence again; not a Neal shot. I have PLENTY of those, but I mean this observation globally.

  124. LuckyNKentucky says:


  125. Jandy says:

    Beau Bennett will start on the third line with Sutter and TK

  126. Jandy says:

    Pirate’s management is certifiable….just sayin’ ;)

  127. NMR says:

    Speaking of the World Wide Leader, just read an article where Mets owner Fred Wilpon stated that his PERSONAL family financial troubles are over which means “that general manager Sandy Alderson has the financial flexibility to make major free-agent signings in upcoming offseasons.”

    Now before you go citing this as an example of an owner willing to sink his personal fortune into team payroll(paging Mr. Nutting), Wilpon “pointed to (family) bank debt as a primary reason for an un-New York-like payroll in recent years.”

    He continues, “That’s what made us tight. We were still getting revenues. Lots of revenues. But those revenues were going to pay off debt. That’s done.”

    Now, by no means am I a financial consultant, but to my measily pea brain he just admitted to using Major League revenue to bankroll his personall debts. Isn’t this exactly what got the former Dodgers ownership in trouble?

    Shouldn’t the MLBPA have something to say about this?

  128. Drew71 says:

    My initial Pirates concern entering the season…

    Everyone is discussing the many ???s re the rotation. I get that. Valid.

    My concern is the bullpen, which has been mostly good for most of the season for most of Neal’s years. Mostly.

    I liked resigning Grilli. But that is not an “add”. On the loss column, put Hanrahan and, from the last set of deadline deals, Lincoln, who I thought was emerging as a very solid reliever.

    I know things are not static. Hughes may be emerging. But it doesn’t alter my concern. ESPECIALLY if the rotation struggles on its back end.

    My hope (but I think it is an unrealistic pipedream) is that the rotation eventually solidifies to such a degree that Karstens can take the “Bulldog Lincoln Chair” within the bullpen. Not as a demotion but as a valuable piece. He seems to have the whatever-it-takes, anti prima donna outlook which would allow him to take a bullpen assignment without the “i’m confused about my role” crap we hear from, well, prima donnas.

    Anyway, that is my concern. Today. Before spring training. Since I attend some of Pirate City and see some games, I reserve the opportunity to pick something else.

    Cause that’s what I do. I pile on.

    I just do.

  129. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    + numeral

  130. TJ says:

    I actually like Cooke on the 2nd line. Creates some havoc.

  131. TJ says:

    And he gives a whole new meaning to “slicing” through defenders. Oh wait Ray-Ray already gave that a whole new meaning

  132. Brad, Indiana PA says:


  133. TJ says:

    I have serious concerns about the top of the rotation more than anything else. We are counting on 36 year old AJ and 33 year old Wandy to pitch the way they have in the past. If either one of them fail to start the season the way we need them to its going to be a very long year considering what follows them in the rotation.

  134. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    Beau Bennett on the 3rd line with Sutter (new guy) and Can’t Score (self-explanatory). Why am I not optimistic about this? I thought he’s supposed to fill a top 6 role, so he’s put in top 9?

  135. TJ says:

    Cooke played well enough last game to get another shot on the 2nd line. Roll with whats working.

  136. NMR says:

    Bullpens worry me every year because they’re so hard to predict.

    But I think back to the start of last season. The opening day pen consisted of Hanny, Grilli, Lincoln, Resop, Watson, Hughes, and Cruz.

    This year will most likely start with Grilli, Melancon, Hughes, Watson, Morris, and any two of Leroux/Wilson/Mazarro/Sanchez.

    I think this group is clearly more established with better options if and when any of them fail.

  137. NMR says:

    Neither of them have shown any signs of regression, but I think this is a fair point.

  138. 21sthebest says:

    The article says, “the family’s improved financial complexion also is the result of the rebound of real estate, his primary business, as well as stock-market gains and the thriving of SportsNet New York, the television network in which the family owns a majority stake.”

    NMR, you’re implying the personal debt got paid off by using Mets revenues. Wilpon could be referring to the above personal revenues as the source of funds to pay off debt.

  139. Jandy says:


  140. Jandy says:

    Cookie has earned this. I like him there too

  141. Jandy says:

    I don’t recall anyone saying he was going to be put in the top 6. I’d like to see him there too, but he should earn it.

  142. Jandy says:

    If it ain’t broke, dunt fix it!!!

  143. Jandy says:

    I hope Lurch (Hughes) emerges as you say. He cracks me up. I’d like to see him do better.

  144. NMR says:

    Good way to look at it, 21.

    I made the connection between Wilpon’s revenue quote and baseball revenue because he’s cut nearly $50m in payroll, which he says can now be restored since he’s out of financial trouble.

    But you’re right, he could’ve been using the term vaguely.

  145. NMR says:

    Better than his 2.85 ERA from last season? Tough crowd!!

  146. 21sthebest says:

    He could have been speaking clearly. The article could have been written vaguely.

  147. Jandy says:

    Truthfully, I think he has the potential. And I love his attitude ;)

  148. Jandy says:

    Oh Joy, today is Jaromir Jagr’s 41st birthday.

  149. LuckyNKentucky says:

    He did sputter in the 2nd half and had some rough outings, but he could be a top, shut down eighth-inning guy. He has the “potential”, you’re right. We lead the league in that category. :P

    I agree with NMR. I think this years’ opening day pen is better. (potentially)

  150. Milo Hamilton says:

    I wish I had more trust in the manager’s ability to utilize it properly.

  151. Jandy says:

    Pirates did a lot of sputtering in the second half, and down the stretch. That’s why I say Lurch can top his effort from last year. Play ball!

  152. Jag7 says:

    Every Simpsons episode is a classic – especially the ones with Ralph Wiggum in them! also a big fan of underrated Agnes Skinner. She’s got some great one liners: Agnes:
    “Seymore, are you looking at pictures of nakes women?” Skinner: “Oh heavens no mother!” Agnes: “You sissy!”

  153. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Totally correct on both points.

  154. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Double Amen.

  155. NMR says:

    That’s kind’ve what I was thinking, actually. Good point.

  156. NMR says:

    Just don’t tempt him with any of his coveted “proven veterans” and he’ll be fine.

    Speaking of, who would be shocked if Brandon Inge made the team over a guy like Harrison or Mercer? Not this guy.

  157. Jandy says:

    Spunky, you’re so agreeable, no wonder your wife loves you ;)

  158. LuckyNKentucky says:

    I’ve really got her fooled. She thinks I’m good looking, too. ;)

  159. Milo Hamilton says:

    Inge will make the team. And it will be over Mercer, not Harrison.

  160. pattonbb says:

    I usually don’t pay much attention to espn, but has anyone been following the work T.J. Quinn has been doing on the Biogenesis clinic? Braun’s name now appears on a new ledger. Quinn’s been doing some fantastic investigative reporting. Well worth reading.

    Can MLB or Bud Selig do a better job of ignoring this story?

  161. Bizrow says:

    Just watch em, Budmeister is a master of sweeping stuff under the rug

    You know, chicks still dig the longball…..

  162. Bizrow says:

    From MLBTradeRumors, these are the Bucs that are out of options and would have to be put on waivers to hit the minors

    Jeanmar Gomez, Chris Leroux, James McDonald, Mark Melancon, Charlie Morton, Garrett Jones, Travis Snider, Jose Tabata

    What happens if JMac implodes again this year?

  163. 21sthebest says:

    You DFA him.

  164. 21sthebest says:

    It was reported last week that MLB was to investigate.

  165. Bizrow says:

    That would be a tough 3 million dollars to swallow

  166. NMR says:

    Exactly. $3m and growing through arbitration. Neal doesn’t spend that kind of dough on middle relievers.

  167. 21sthebest says:

    I don’t think I follow exactly Biz. This was his first arb year. If he stinks you’ve essentially blown $3M anyways. They swallowed about $3M last year on Bedard and McLouth.

  168. MadTurk says:

    Your doggies pile on as well

  169. pattonbb says:

    Exactly. Hope it doesn’t come to that, but if he struggles….. “he gone”.

  170. CWalton_67 says:


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