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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 more, including 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 top four columnists in the country -- highest circulation category -- by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the top three columnists in the country by the National Headliners Awards. For 2013, he was named top columnist in the state by the Keystone Awards and second-place by the Pennsylvania AP Managing Editors.


  1. 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. 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. Your Just for fun Q&A turned my stomach.

  4. They make medicine for that, ya know…

  5. Very nice article by Rossi.

    20 head coaches in 46 years. That is unbelievable.

  6. 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

    • 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.

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

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

  11. 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…)

    • 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.

      • 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.

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

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

        • 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!

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

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

  14. 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.)

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

  16. 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.

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

      • 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.

        • 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

      • Crosby-Guerin

        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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

      • Ryu: $62m

        Bourn: $48m

        Martin & Liriano: $18m

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

        • 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.

          • 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.

      • 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.

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

        • 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.

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

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

    Lows of 40 on Saturday and 38 on Sunday.

    Can you imagine?

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


  22. “…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?

  23. ha! A Mother Theresa typo on the Pensburgh :P

  24. 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. Well, BigFugginUgly is back from injury for Winnipeg.

  28. 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…

  29. 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.

    • that’ll learn ya’, lucky…. :-)

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

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

      • 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

        • 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.

    • 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)

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

        By some you mean the Pirates right?

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

        • 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.

      • 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.

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

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

  32. 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?

    • 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.

      • 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.

  33. 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.

  34. 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?

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

  36. 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!”

  37. 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?

  38. 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?

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