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Tuesday Wakeup Call: Ladies first today

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media columnist

Morning, lunatics …

>> The TribLIVE Radio show today — 1-2 p.m. — will feature a special guest still to be determined, but our media guest, the Trib’s Ralph Paulk on site at the Daytona 500, will call up to talk Danica Patrick stirringly taking the pole over the weekend.

Should be fun, if only to hear if I Ralph can carry me through all 10 minutes of a conversation about auto racing. Pressure’s on, man.

To listen to the show, just click on TribLIVE Radio. It’s free, easy, no registration. If you’ve got an iPhone, iPad or Android, we’ve also got the TribLIVE Radio app that’s recently been upgraded.

And yes, the local Twitter legend @suckmeter will offer, in his own inimitable manner, the Suck of the Week in Pittsburgh sports.

I want you to be involved, too. Email: sportstalk@tribweb.com Or call 412-320-7925.

>> The winningest basketball team in the city took a tough, tough loss last night, with the Duquesne women falling late at No. 14 Dayton, 58-57. And not just because the Flyers lead the A-10 and the game was televised nationally on CBS Sports Network. It’s more that the Dukes were legitimately in command most of the game, only to unravel in the second half.

Progress?

Yeah, absolutely, between this and losing to Saint Joseph’s, the other conference power, in overtime in back-to-back games, it means the Dukes are getting there. But I’m betting Suzie McConnell-Serio isn’t seeing it that way this morning.

>> Wow, could Pitt play any worse than that dud against Notre Dame?

Just look at this video of Jamie Dixon afterward, courtesy of Chris Peak’s Panther Lair.

>> Monday’s curling column brought more mail than usual from women, always a welcome development in the sportswriting, and this was my favorite:

Dear Dejan,

No way. I was sweeping the snowfall on the sidewalk yesterday thinking … hmmm, I could do curling … until I got quarter of the way done — whipped. Not even 10 yards. First-down failure.

No wonder my granny could haul kids, calves, feed bags and stir two pots with the other hand at the same time. I’m a wimp. My sport: Dog walking! And reading!

Great piece. Go Pens!

Thanks ,

Lisa Reilly of Oakmont

>> Hope to hear from you for the show. If not, the podcast will be up here shortly afterward.

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.

Comments

  1. Karen22 says:

    FIRST! (Well, I’m a lady)…

  2. DK: Perfect! In fact, I respect that so much I’m staying out of your commenting area!

  3. aglebagel says:

    Just got done watching Pitt on the DVR. Thoughts:

    1. I know Jamie loves his big guys to go out and hedge out at the three-point line on defense, but in tonight’s game, it was not worth getting out of rebounding position for.

    2. Wow, how many times did I yell, “Shoot the dang ball!” Notre Dame was gift-wrapping the three-point line for us, but our guys apparently would rather ball fake to no one and drive into the teeth of the defense.

    3. Aside from being out of position, we just got flat-out out-hustled on the boards, which was more discouraging. I noticed several times a Pitt player was in prime position to make the rebound, only to see it ripped away by the opponent flying in. Our players seemed content to let rebounds fall to them; Notre Dame went and got them.

  4. Playoffs by 2012 says:

    DK,

    Loved the column yesterday. Never have had the chance to curl yet, but hey I’m still young.

    Just out of curiosity how do they resurface the ice in a curling only arena?

    Do the partitions separating the curling surfaces come up and then they run a Zam over it?

    Or do they just scrape, shovel and flood?

    DK: Again, I so glad this was asked because there’s so much fun information I left out of that piece.

    At the Granite Club, the “resurfacing,” if you will, consists of an older gentleman running backward — yes, running — with a jetpack-looking thing on his back and spraying out droplets of water. That creates a beaded or pebbled look and feel to the ice.

    It’s not smooth. I never knew that.

    But that also explains why curlers, like some golfers or baseball pitchers, actually prefer to throw the rock with a curl — hence, the sport’s name — rather than aim for anything straight. They prefer their own motion to the one the surface or air offers.

    I could do this all day. Really neat learning experience.

  5. pattonbb says:

    Looking forward to hearing you discuss NASCAR. Will probably sound like me trying to discuss hockey.

    The majority of people I know couldn’t tell you who Erik Karlsson is if their life depended on it, but they can explain in great detail what changes NASCAR made to the cars this year.

    Guess it just depends on what part of the country you live in.

    Danica Patrick winning the Daytona 500 pole is a huge story. NASCAR is the only sport that starts their season off with their version of the super bowl. To have a woman not only win the pole for the biggest race, but also run one of the fastest qualifying laps ever at Daytona, deserves a couple minutes of coverage.

  6. Jandy says:

    Karen, way to go!

  7. JAL says:

    JAL’s Moon River Morning Links

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_jgIezosVA

    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/

    4 Pittsburgh Pirates 2013 Spring Training Tracker

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/st2013

    BLOGS and such

    5—Pirates Prospects

    Pirates To Extend Hurdle Through 2014

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/02/pirates-to-extend-hurdle-through-2014.html

    6 Bucs Dugout

    Roundup: Michael McKenry trying to steal more bases

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2013/2/18/4000782/pirates-michael-mckenry-jonathan-sanchez

    7 This Is Getting old

    Pirates #Hurdled For Two More Years

    http://thisisgettingold.net/2013/02/18/pirates-hurdled-for-two-more-years/

    8 Bleacher Report

    5 Reasons Pittsburgh Pirates Will Make the Playoffs in 2013

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1533014-5-reasons-pittsburgh-pirates-will-make-the-playoffs-in-2013

    9 Rumbunter

    Kevin Correia Gets A Little Salty

    http://rumbunter.com/2013/02/17/kevin-correia-gets-a-little-salty/

    10 Green Weenie

    Around the Campfire

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2013/02/around-campfire_18.html

  8. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 Bradenton Herald

    Former Marauder McPherson looking to make big-league rotation

    http://www.bradenton.com/2013/02/19/4399589/former-marauder-mcpherson-looking.htm

    12 Rant Sports

    MLB Rumors: Kyle Lohse Is Exactly What The Pittsburgh Pirates Need

    http://www.rantsports.com/mlb/2013/02/18/mlb-rumors-kyle-lohse-is-exactly-what-the-pittsburgh-pirates-need/

    Pittsburgh Pirates: Extending Clint Hurdle Helps Pirates in Many Ways

    http://www.rantsports.com/mlb/2013/02/18/pittsburgh-pirates-extending-clint-hurdle-helps-pirates-in-many-ways/

    13 KDKA

    New Pirate Brandon Inge Excited For Opportunity With Pirates

    http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2013/02/18/new-pirate-brandon-inge-excited-for-opportunity-with-pirates/

    Colin Dunlap: Hurdle Extension Well Deserved

    http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2013/02/18/clint-hurdle-deserves-contract-extension/

    14 The Southern

    Let us not forget about Gene Baker

    http://thesouthern.com/sports/let-us-not-forget-about-gene-baker/article_061c1f94-7a5d-11e2-8f34-0019bb2963f4.html

    15 Syracuse Post Standard

    Poliquin: Jason Grilli’s long baseball road has led him to the ninth inning in Pittsburgh

    http://www.syracuse.com/poliquin/index.ssf/2013/02/poliquin_jason_grillis_long_ba.html

    16 PBC Site

    Tabata looks to earn trust — and outfield job

    http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130218&content_id=41756606&vkey=news_pit&c_id=pit

    17 New Jersey Record

    MLB notes: Brewers’ Mat Gamel tears ACL

    http://www.northjersey.com/sports/191773211_MLB_notes__Brewers__Mat_Gamel_tears_ACL.html

    18 Chicago Daily Herald

    NL Central update: Gold Glove, closers and more

    http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20130218/sports/702189757/

    SPORTS WEBSITES

    19 Baseball Prospectus

    What Really Predicts Pitcher Injuries?

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=19653

    The Pirates Gamble on Marte

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=19659

    20 Fangraphs

    Daily Notes: The Top Possible Rookies, According to Steamer

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/daily-notes-the-top-possible-rookies-according-to-steamer/

  9. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    When it comes to some long-time Steelers veterans, the time for change may have to be now

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/2/18/3998706/steelers-free-agency-2013-veterans-salary-cap-numbers

    AFC North Roundup Finale: Receivers II

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/2/18/3998986/afc-north-roundup-finale-receivers-ii-ray-rice-heath-miller-dennis-pitta

    22 Steelers Depot

    -Steelers S Ryan Clark Calls Comments Made By Anonymous Teammate Cowardly

    http://www.steelersdepot.com/2013/02/steelers-ryan-clark-anonymous-teammate-cowardly/

    Soccer(football)

    23 Daily Telegraph

    Manchester United 2 Reading 1: match report

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/competitions/fa-cup/9878122/Manchester-United-2-Reading-1-match-report.html

    24 World Soccer Daily

    10 Stories You Need to Read 18th February 2013

    http://www.worldsoccer.com/247/world-soccer-daily-10-stories-you-need-to-read-18th-february-2013

    PENGUIN BLOGS and NHL Links

    25 Pensburgh

    Pens Ups and Downs

    http://www.pensburgh.com/2013/2/18/3999392/pens-ups-and-downs

  10. JAL says:

    Moon River Andy Williams 1961 composed by Henry Mancini with lyrics written by Johnny Mercer. From the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Audrey Hepburn sang it in the film but Andy Williams is the singer most associated with it.

  11. Jandy says:

    Andy Williams…ahhhh..the memories :)

  12. TJA says:

    Indeed. I don’t think Williams got the play or recognition that say, Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin, did, but he had a fine, fine voice. Personally, I like Tony Bennett. He’s one of my all time favorites.

  13. Jandy says:

    Tony Bennett, yes a great voice. Williams was one of my Mother’s favorites. i remember watching him and listening to him sing as a child.

  14. Dom says:

    If someone asked me who I would want to win the Daytona 500, I’d say Danica Patrick. Not because I’m a fan but because I cannot name another racer.

  15. Playoffs by 2012 says:

    Very cool. I would have never guessed that was how they resurfaced. Thanks for the info.

  16. Playoffs by 2012 says:

    I’ve always felt The Beat did a great Andy Williams cover.

  17. Jandy says:

    not even Jeff Gordon? Or Tony Stewart? Or Mark Martin? or Earnhardt Jr?

  18. Steve says:

    This is a good summary. Didn’t seem like anyone on Pitt wanted to take a shot last night. Patterson passed up numerous open threes. This team is so offensively challenged. If they can’t out rebound the opponent and score on put backs or in the transition game they are in deep trouble. I never felt comfortable as Pitt stretched the lead to 19 – 3. It was obvious the Panthers were doing little offensively and with almost 30 minutes left in the game there was plenty of time for a comeback. Zanna has disappeared on offense. I would say the last two games have put to rest the Steven Adams to the NBA talk at least for the time being although his steal and 3/4 court drive were impressive.

  19. Dom says:

    I didn’t realize that Gordon and Stewart were still racing. I never heard of Martin.

  20. Patrick(RI) says:

    How about the proposition that the Big East is already a mediocre league? Pitt could not do what a truly mediocre Providence team did: crush the Irish. When they got them down, they finished them off. #20 vs #25? Pfuii!

  21. Karen22 says:

    HAHA! I just happened to see the “Wakeup Call” post as I was shutting down the computer. I couldn’t resist.

  22. JAL says:

    Martin has been call;ed the best driver never to win the championship. Been in Nascar since the early 1980s

  23. Karen22 says:

    I’m with you, Jandy. One of my favorites from that era and also one of my all-time favorite songs. It still gives me goosebumps.

  24. Jandy says:

    My brothers like him, and my sister likes Gordon. I stay neutral, if I pay any attention at all.
    I thought everyone heard of Stewart and Earnhardt Jr.

  25. Karen22 says:

    GREAT song…GREAT singer!

  26. JMB says:

    http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/can-pittsburgh-pirates-end-20-year-streak-of-losing-seasons-andrew-mccutchen-pedro-alvarez-aj-burnett-clint-hurdle-021913

    When I asked Huntington what would be fair for a Pirates fan to expect this season, he told me, “That’s not for me to decide. Our goal is to be one of those teams playing playoff games in October. Anything short of that is not something we’re looking at right now. Our goal is to win the division. Our goal is to play deep into October and do what the other 29 teams are trying to do — win it all.”

  27. 21sthebest says:

    That’s Aliquippa’s Henry Mancini.

  28. 21sthebest says:

    I have to be honest. I don’t get Tony Bennett. I think he’s vastly overrated but I realize I’m in the minority here. I’m also influenced by my Father who was a long time musician playing in big bands. He thought Bennett sucked and my Dad played with him a couple of times years ago.

  29. JAL says:

    How about the proposition that college basketball has become a mediocre sport. Shooting has become a lost art for most players.

  30. Jandy says:

    I’m not holding my breath! Don’t want to turn blue.

  31. Jandy says:

    Yeah, well a lot of people thought Michael Jackson sucked, too.

  32. Jandy says:

    That’s kinda like being the bridesmaid ;)

  33. Patrick(RI) says:

    I concur, but it must hard to shoot with all that pushing shoving going on.

  34. Jandy says:

    Sounds like the NHL, too much obstruction not being called, so less shooting and scoring.

  35. radio wave says:

    Last night I listened to the Notore Dame broadcast of the game. When it was 19-3, the ND announcers kept saying it wasn’t a blowout, and that the Irish were still in it. I thouht they were just trying to hold the audience. Turns out they were right. They complained of the physical nature of the Pitt play at that point, claiming Pitt had turned the game into “a semi wrestling match.”
    I don’t agree with their homer comments, but, there has been a national outcry about the poor shooting and low scores this year. Has the game become more physical than ten years ago? Are they allowing defenses to play differently than previously? Or is it a lack of offensive skills going back to AAU ball?
    One thing is for sure. The NCaa tournament is wide open this year. No dominent player or team. And Oshkosh, who wins tonight’s IU- Spartans game?

  36. 21sthebest says:

    Hey don’t be talking about MJ that way!

  37. LuckyNKentucky says:

    I think you hit the nail on the head with your second paragraph, RW.

    Basketball and baseball have shown it the most, but football is right in there, too.

    Fundamentals are lacking from elementary and middle school on up through college and glaringly in the pros. Emphasis from elementary forward is on winning only, not teaching. I’ve seen it first hand and we’ve witnessed it with the terrible fundamentals of the Pirates and college BB in general and, in some aspects, in football, too. Not enough teaching, only winning at all costs. No development, just win, baby.

    Can’t speak for hockey, but those other 3 are glaring. When my boys were growing up, their elementary BB coach told them to watch womens’ BB to see strong fundamentals. I don’t think you can even do that, now. Sad. My opinion only, but sad.

  38. aglebagel says:

    True. That seems to be Jay Bilas’s current crusade, and I agree with him. There are not enough fouls being called.

  39. TJA says:

    Ahh yes…Henry…well said 21!

  40. JAL says:

    I think it a combination of letting defense play rougher and lack of offensive skills. The one and done rule has an effect as the best players do not stay around. You see the lack of offensive skills when players miss wide open shots. Drives to basket have become an adventure in survival. Because of the lack of outside shooting teams pack their defense into the middle.

  41. Karen22 says:

    AND Cleveland’s: “Mancini was born in the Little Italy neighborhood of Cleveland, and grew up near Pittsburgh, in the steel town of West Aliquippa…”

    My entire family is from Cleveland’s Little Italy, and I was born there, too! Mancini’s aunt lived two doors from my Grandma, although I never caught sight of him when he visited her.

  42. Jandy says:

    Hey now, I didn’t say EYE didn’t like him. I love MJ’s music. What a waste of talent.
    Just sayin, some people have differing opinions, and it’s all good :)

  43. 21sthebest says:

    Lucky, Oscar Robertson wrote a column that appeared in the New York Times probably 10 years ago. He talked about how the 3 point shot was ruining the game, and the game was meant to be played from the foul line in. Wish I could find the article.

  44. LuckyNKentucky says:

    And free throw shooting. Has it ever been this bad in the history of the sport? Nobody on you, 15 feet away. Take your time. Unreal to me. If we missed 10 of 100, we had suicides to run. Wonder what it is nowadays.

  45. NMR says:

    @BiertempfelTrib #Pirates Karstens has sore rt front shoulder, not throwing for couple days

    This is my surprised face.

  46. 21sthebest says:

    Wonder which member of management is spreading that baloney.

  47. TJA says:

    Great story, Karen! Thanks for sharing. I trust you are Italian? I was born and raised Pittsburgh, but lived in Cleveland for a few years. Been to Little Italy in Cleveland a number of times.

  48. JAL says:

    Many many years ago I could hit 95 of 100 free throws and i had the same percent in games. It is mostly technique. As soon as the ball left my hand I knew if was going in, there was feel to good shot.

  49. 21sthebest says:

    Can’t run suicides anymore Lucky. Parents might find out.

  50. NMR says:

    Um, what?

  51. 21sthebest says:

    Oh I know it Jandy. That’s why I said I realized I was in the minority on Bennett.

  52. Kevin says:

    I have so much disinterest in nascar and sorry for being this guy. But, am I the only one who snickers when seeing Danica Patrick and “on the pole” in the same sentence? I blame Talladega Nights.

  53. JAL says:

    He has reported “tightness in his right biceps “

  54. Arriba Wilver says:

    No, you’re not the only one. Just the first one to have the guts to mention it. :-)

  55. radio wave says:

    Interesting the issue of poor foul shooting was brought up. On the Notre Dame radiocast last night, the color announcer(I don’t know his name), was critical of Steven Adams’ technique. He said his guide hand was badly positioned, and he had wrap on his right hand and wrist from an injury. I was spoiled because Calvin Murphy came from my local high school. He went on to be the second best NBA foul shooter at the time of his retirement 30 years ago. I assume he’s still in the top ten. Rick Barry with his underhand scoop technique is the all time leader. Interesting no one else uses it.

  56. 21sthebest says:

    Thank you! Fantastic!

  57. Jandy says:

    lol
    it’s all good :)

  58. 21sthebest says:

    Who has reported that JAL?

  59. 21sthebest says:

    Got it Brink.

  60. LuckyNKentucky says:

    I know. They call them “victories” now in some places. I like the idea of a positive name, but the act is the same. Run your backside off or follow technique and you can hit them with your eyes closed.

  61. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Above comment under JAL should be to your comment, 21.

    JAL is 100% correct about technique.

  62. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Link it if you do. Young people everywhere need to read it.

    The local boys’ team here lost to a team in the tourney last night that they had beaten by 20+ twice during the season. Why? All they did was shoot 3′s all night. Terrible coaching, maybe, but fundamentals rise up again to bite them.

  63. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Great. Thanks. J-girl.

  64. 21sthebest says:

    Church or JCC basketball leagues don’t count JAL.

  65. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Great article. And he stressed fundamentals more than once. The Big O knows the game.

  66. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Why not? It’s the same 15 feet? Didn’t you see Hoosiers? :P

  67. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Funny. Karstens was constantly tweeting the last couple months how much he was working out. Must have left off those biceps exercises.

  68. Arriba Wilver says:

    Pistorius’ story? He thought an intruder was in his bathroom and his girlfriend was next to him in bed. Um hum . . .

  69. 21sthebest says:

    One source is saying shoulder, one is saying bicep. Somebody needs to break the tie.

  70. tmp444 says:

    DK – I saw a stat this morning that really surpirsed me given the number of points they have each scored: Malkin is a -2 and Neal a -6. I can’t believe that this has anything to do with “early season struggles,” not when they’ve each scored about 20 points a piece. Is it a factor of not having a consistent 2nd winger? I think Malkin has been sloppy at times in the defensive zone, but nothing has really stood out to me in a negative way for Nealer defensively. Thoughts?

    DK: I know that I haven’t detected a trend visually of poor defense for that line. In Neal’s case, actually, it’s exactly the opposite.

    I’d give it time. Plus-minus is a bad stat, and it’s doubly bad in a small sample size.

  71. 21sthebest says:

    Yeah you’re right. Church league is the same pressure packed situation. :-)

  72. tmp444 says:

    Find it hard to believe that the wrapped wrist is doing anything to Adams’ FT technique. He looked just fine going coast to coast with the right hand for a layup early in the 2nd half last night….

  73. Thundercrack says:

    +1 for you 21

  74. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Sometimes more. :P

  75. NMR says:

    Each report should stick by their story.

    By the end of the spring, they’ll both likely be correct.

  76. Thundercrack says:

    I thought there was no way Karstens would re-sign with the Pirates.

    I am confused. :-)

  77. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Saw a brilliant headline by someone on the four-letter website.

    It said “Pistorius agent cancels all upcoming events” or some such thing.

    Really?

    You mean he can’t compete now?

    Shows how far the worldwide leader has fallen IMO.

  78. NMR says:

    Thanks for the link, JMB. Not a huge fan of Morosi, but I he did a good job here.

    On Huntington:
    “But if The Streak reaches 21, well, Pittsburghers have every right to grimace like Bill Cowher after a missed block and demand changes to on- and off-field management.

    Really, what other alternative would ownership have? Another plea for patience? Right. That would be about as popular locally as trading Sidney Crosby to the Flyers.”

    On Hurdle:
    “To Hurdle, I offer my congratulations. To the team, I ask why.

    While I agree that Hurdle deserves to keep his job for now, it’s another matter entirely to give him an extension. The move seems unnecessary, given the disappointing conclusion to last season. Hurdle should prove he’s capable of guiding the Pirates through the most trying months of the year before receiving a new contract.”

  79. NMR says:

    Ha, incredible.

  80. Milo Hamilton says:

    Did you know that the Mets two highest paid outfielders this year are Bobby Bonilla & Jason Bay. And you thought Bernie Madoff took Fred Wilpon broke.

  81. Thundercrack says:

    I wonder who will have a higher batting average this year- Bonilla or Bay.

  82. Jandy says:

    That’s your usual state, TC :P

  83. Scott says:

    Malkin has scored 7 points at even strength all season. Neal only 5. Their wingers haven’t scored a goal. It’s not necessarily bad defense, just simple math. There’s no way to be a plus player when you’re not scoring at even strength.

  84. Milo Hamilton says:

    Which reminds me, has Millie Bonilla found a parking place yet ?

  85. tpbco says:

    Exactly. And not only no goals, their LW du jour only has one assist and even that was questionable.

    IMO the plus /minus numbers are also reflecting the sometimes poor puck handling that Geno is also slumping with as well as not scoring. He needs to regroup.

    But the thing I’ve noticed the most is that the Pens are really not getting any bounces…and you have too, regardless of the sport, to win championships. Some of it is consistent hard work, but sometimes it looks like we are playing with the “wood puck” and the other team is playing with the “magnetic one”.

  86. NMR says:

    Enjoyed the hoop talk today, guys.

    I was once a major CBB fan, but find most games unwatchable now. Must be getting old.

  87. Arriba Wilver says:

    From Colin Dunlap in Link #13, “Hurdle Extension Well Deserved,”

    “From this vantage, here is the focus for me: The Pirates have increased their win total from 57 in 2010 to 72 in 2011 and upped that mark to 79 last season.
    It doesn’t take Archimedes to figure out that the Pirates had 22 more wins last season than the club did in 2010, the final year of the John Russell era, a man whose excitement level matched that of a broken down, 1978 station wagon.

    Even with those collapses, those second-half breakdowns, the Pirates are, indeed, still headed in the right direction on the field under Hurdle.
    But there’s more to it, much more to it. The Pirates realized 2,091,918 through the turnstiles at PNC Park last season, an average home crowd of 26,148. It was the first time the Pirates surpassed 2 million fans since the debut season of PNC Park in 2001.”

    Not to mention, the extension makes his contract length now the same as Neal’s, which I believe DK, as well as others, have predicted since Neal got his extension.

  88. NMR says:

    Milo needs to do a daily “Did you know…” to complement JAL’s links.

    You come up with some crazy/interesting stuff.

    And lots of deaths.

  89. Jandy says:

    Brian Strait broke his left ankle yesterday in the Isles’ 7-0 loss to the Flyers. He could possibly miss the rest of the season.

  90. Jandy says:

    I second that!

  91. Milo Hamilton says:

    Now that stinks. Just when he finally got his chance.

  92. NMR says:

    Dunlap nailed the reason Hurdle is so well liked…he’s the opposite of John Russell.

  93. LuckyNKentucky says:

    You mean he has a pulse?

  94. Jandy says:

    That’s what I was thinking.

  95. Arriba Wilver says:

    Murray Chass has gotten in on the Hoka Hay stuff. DK has a link to it in a Tweet.

    “A person familiar with the thinking of the team’s chairman, Bob Nutting, said, “The reason they’re stressing the mental part is because Nutting instructed them to because he didn’t want them to do the physical things.”

    “Nutting,” the person added, “wants nothing to do with that other stuff. He says ‘we’re not running a boot camp; we’re a baseball team.’”

    Wonder who that “source” was who was familiar with BN’s thinking? And I wonder if he/she ever took curling lessons?

  96. JaxBuc says:

    I’m assuming that it was Matt Cooke’s fault, because, you know, um, he has a history with that sort of thing.

  97. NMR says:

    Haha, great last line. Chass’s column was good, as usual.

  98. Arriba Wilver says:

    I agree that is a factor, including with me.

  99. Drew71 says:

    I think NASCAR has great soap opera stories. So I pay attention.

    I think the races are boring. So I don’t watch.

  100. WVStarship says:

    Guess you and Mr. Bilas don’t watch BIG 12 basketball. Last night’s WVU-K State game had 48 fouls called.

  101. radio wave says:

    Couldn’t believe the isles coach left his golie in for all 7 goals yesterday. Bush league.

  102. Milo Hamilton says:

    Repeated blows to the head. That’s the answer to everything, you know.

  103. Drew71 says:

    Maybe we can get video of Danica taking curling lessons.

    Gotta be better than watching her turn left all day.

  104. NMR says:

    That article is a laugher.

    “Or, if you truly want to side with the glass-half-empty portion of the populace, you can twist your focus onto the pair of second-half collapses that have happened under Hurdle’s command at the tail-end of the Pirates’ past two seasons.

    Certainly, there aren’t a whole lot of positive ways to spin last season’s peak of 16-games over .500 to a fall down the mountain at what eventually ended in at 79-83 and fourth place in the National League Central.

    If that’s your focus, that’s your emphasis, that’s what you extract most from the 2012 season, cool.”

    Thats worse than the apologist Pirate blogger schills.

  105. SJB says:

    Wasn’t Cooke also responsible for the murder of Reeva Steenkamp as well? I mean; he clearly wasn’t in Africa and had no imaginable motive, but as Brain Murray says: “Matt Cooke had somewhat of a history and that maybe that should be considered as well.” (say it with a lisp and it’s all the funnier.)

  106. JaxBuc says:

    I’m guessing they end up with the exact same number of RBI for the Mets

  107. JohninOshkosh says:

    Hi Radio Wave:

    Welcome back from the cruise. I gotta go with Sparty. I think they are getting focused and Izzo always seems to have them firing on all cylinders about this time of year.

    However, this is not the best year for being confident with predictions.

  108. Jandy says:

    Even TC’s confusion????

  109. 21sthebest says:

    Recently inducted into the Allderdice Hall of Fame!

  110. 21sthebest says:

    Curling yesterday, NASCAR today.

    Tomorrow I think I’m not going to be surprised if I open the blog and read:

    “My Wednesday column is about how Jai Alai would be the third most popular sport in Pittsburgh.”

  111. Arriba Wilver says:

    Read the whole article. Your last statement is laughable. He’s taking a different view than you. Deal with it as a whole, don’t cherry pick.

  112. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Certainly Pistorius didn’t do it. He was chasing an intruder with his 9. Cooke must have snuck in there and did it then.

  113. Thundercrack says:

    Smizik!!!

  114. JohninOshkosh says:

    Every time i read someone lament the sorry state of basketball, whether it be the complaints about the NBA or, as today, college’s over reliance on the three point shot, I think of that brilliant SNL skit when Michael Jordan isn’t allowed to play on the the 1930′s era basketball team. It was an insightful statement against the widespread myth that things were better in the old days.

    For the record, I agree with JAL somewhat on his assessment. However, I don’t think things in college basketball are as bleak as some think. I personally think last year’s Kentucky’s squad or Anthony’s Syracuse team are just 2 examples of recent teams that could have competed with the 76 Indiana team or the Alcindor Bruins teams. Maybe not the Walton era Bruins.

  115. Thundercrack says:

    Sorry my post (from my phone) showed up in the wrong place.

    I would be Smizik communicates with Chase

  116. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Good points, John. And you see a lot more BB than I do. I just think sports and other non-sports areas, also are sorely lacking in fundamentals and we have adjusted our thinking to winning over teaching on some of the lower levels.

    Some of Calipari’s Memphis teams may have won the National Championship if they could shoot FT’s. Last year’s Pirates were horrid at fundamentals in many areas.

    More of a blanket statement than picking on any one team or sport or profession.

  117. hap2009 says:

    Building off your’s because I’m thinking I might have finally figured out this +- stuff; you only get the plus minus during 5 on 5 right? PP and PK don’t count?

  118. Thundercrack says:

    I would BET

  119. Jandy says:

    Poor Cookie, he’s not even here to defend himself.

  120. NMR says:

    How bout his first reason: “Hurdle has done so much more — he’s changed a culture.”

    Ah yes, the culture. The last gasp of a dying argument.

    Don’t have any concrete reasons? Go with the culture!

    Did Colin sleep through the last two months of the season? “The culture” looked awfully familiar.

  121. Thundercrack says:

    I used to read Murray Chass all the time. But then I think he lost it.

    Hoka Hay happened / was reported on 3 or 4 months ago and he is just getting around to it now.

    His main point seems to always be that the Pirates and Nutting are cheap…which goes to the point that they hired Russell, NH and FC.

    I think he is too used to the ways of George Steinbrenner.

  122. JAL says:

    Had that in yesterday’s morning links

  123. Thundercrack says:

    Jandy
    What also confused me was how there were more posts about Tony Bennett and Danica Patrick taking the pole this weekend than there were about Clint Hurdle’s contract extension.

    :-)

  124. JohninOshkosh says:

    Come here for Dejan and stay for Milo. :)

  125. 21sthebest says:

    Was at the induction!

  126. 21sthebest says:

    No way. Smizik went to Peabody. That would be against the code.

  127. JohninOshkosh says:

    If I was inclined to believe in sports conspiracies, I would find it interesting that:

    1. NASCAR has spent the last week and a half dripping stories about Patrick and her budding romantic relationship with fellow rookie driver, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.

    2. Patrick has a new ride with completely different mechanical telemetry and handle yet still recorded the fastest trials without ever previously finishing higher than fourth in a NASCAR event.

    3. Patrick drives for one of the circuit’s most popular driver/owners.

    4. Ratings and attendance have been slipping in the last few years.

    5. She has exploited her looks for high profile sponsorship and media attention to build a tremendous fan base that includes women and young men-two demographics passionately sought by NASCAR executives.

    Now if I tended to believe in conspiracies one might wonder about the winner of this year’s pole position. But I’m not, so, as is said around here, just sayin’…

  128. Arriba Wilver says:

    Talk about cherry picking. You don’t even acknowledge the whole argument you’re criticizing.

    “Hurdle has done so much more — he’s changed a culture.

    OK, if you want to compromise, if you think that previous sentence is too strong, Hurdle is “in the process of changing a culture” — I’ll go with that, but I won’t bend any further. In short, things are different now.”

  129. Bizrow says:

    Smizik does remind me of Mr Peabody

  130. 21sthebest says:

    Who does Thundercrack remind you of?

  131. Jandy says:

    Thor, god of Thunder ~ BOOM!!!!!

  132. Bizrow says:

    Its slowly coming out that much like some of us bloggers felt, the air was taken out of the clubhouse when NH made the deadline trades last season

    One can argue that should not have happened, they are pros and yada-yada-yada

    But it happened

  133. radio wave says:

    Oshkosh: In 73, I made a road trip to LA to seemy school, Ohio U play at Walton’s UCLA. We lost 110-63. We sent on to win the MAC that year, and lost in the first round to Marquette. Most relaxing game I ever attended.

  134. Bizrow says:

    Thundercrack reminds me of, well, Thundercrack

    Or a snowflake, unique in their own way ;-)

    Now Drew on the other hand ;-)

  135. Arriba Wilver says:

    Grilli was surprisingly candid about that. Cutch took the other approach and said it was on the players.

  136. Jandy says:

    I believe that’s right, hap, but our resident expert is Eric Bowser, so I’ll let that for him.

  137. Arriba Wilver says:

    +1

  138. Jandy says:

    To be honest with you TC, that confused me too ;)

  139. JohninOshkosh says:

    Good story. I assume you are talking about the 73-74 season. No shame to losing to either one of those teams. Ohio must have had a good squad. Only 16 teams made the tournament then, right? Marquette lost to NC State in the national final that year, after NC State upset the great Walton UCLA team in the national semifinals. I was young, but I still remember ND ending the 88 game Bruin winning streak in January 74. My mother, I recall, was going crazy (well as crazy as she ever got). I think Pitt might have had a good team that year to. Was too young to follow it closely but I have certainly read a lot about those years.

  140. JohninOshkosh says:

    HBO had a terrific documentary about the Wooden Bruins not too long ago. Walton was a goofy hippie but, when healthy, was one of the best there ever was.

  141. aglebagel says:

    You are correct. I don’t.

  142. NMR says:

    Grilli came off like a complete baby.

    A veteran shouldn’t be worried about losing your buddies or not acquiring a certain player. He should be worried about his 6.52 September ERA.

    Nobody to blame but themselves. Anything else is a complete excuse, ad a poor one at that.

  143. Arriba Wilver says:

    A goofy hippie? Maybe the Pirates should incorporate that into their minor league development?

  144. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Was that one of the years George Green from Midland played at Ohio U.?

  145. Karen22 says:

    You trust correctly, TJA – Italian on both sides. If I sat on my hands I wouldn’t be able to talk…heh heh! But I actually grew up in “Little Israel,” Cleveland Heights. Which is why I’m a bit schizophrenic today!

  146. Nate83 says:

    You should not believe in conspiracies but you should believe that we care way too much about this average to below average NASCAR driver and that she is probably living a pretty normal life that the media just decides to report on as if it is actual news. Kind of like a real life Kardashian with moderately more talent. I say real life because I am not convinced any of them are real.

  147. 21sthebest says:

    Jason Grilli joined the Pirates on July 21, 2011. I don’t recall whose spot he took but I suppose that was one of the reasons for the 2011 collapse which was already in progress.

  148. 21sthebest says:

    I don’t care what moves are made around the trade deadline. The players have a job to do regardless of who’s on the roster. I don’t ever recall ballplayers whining about this before with the exception of Johan Santana when Luis Castillo was traded away from the Twins in 2007.

  149. 21sthebest says:

    He’s still a goofy hippie. Is there any other kind?

  150. NMR says:

    Not exactly the mentality you want your closer to have, right?

    Can’t wait for him to blame the umpire, ball boy, and left field scoreboard.

  151. Arriba Wilver says:

    Go Daddy is normal life?

 
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