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Tuesday Wakeup Call: James Robinson, Pitt point guard

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, lunatics …

>> The TribLIVE Radio show today — 1-2 p.m. — will feature special guest James Robinson, Pitt’s bright freshman point guard. Kid talks just the way he plays, fun and relaxed

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.

The Trib’s Josh Yohe will the media guest, sharing wisdom about the Penguins right after covering their skate and that of the Capitals over at Consol. And, of course, the local Twitter legend @suckmeter will offer, in his own inimitable manner, the Suck of the Week in Pittsburgh sports.

I want you involved, too. Email: or call me at 412-320-7925.

>> Here’s a bit of a chat with another Pitt freshman, Steven Adams

Have I mentioned that Adams really, really hates group interviews?

Well, he did fine with this one. It was only a couple of us there, but you could tell it didn’t faze him at all.

>> The Steelers knew Rashard Mendenhall was playing with a bum knee because he came back too soon?

And that’s Mendenhall’s fault?

>> Tough break for the Duquesne women being left out of NCAAs. Would have been a school first. And, as Suzie McConnell-Serio suggested last night, it would have easily been justified. The Dukes had a 23-7 record, better than a ton of teams, and they beat ranked teams in West Virginia and Delaware, and lost by one point to the two A-10 teams that did get chosen.

Again, that’s tough. At the same time, the Dukes knew they had to do at least something at the A-10 tournament, and going out in the quarters wasn’t it.

Maybe next year. Still mostly a younger team.

>> Gerrit Cole was sent to the minors. No surprise there, nor any cause for disappointment.

It did, however, provide another verbal gem from the GM: “Everybody’s going to speculate why he’s being sent out, and they’re wrong,” Neal Huntington said.

Good Lord. So all of you who speculated that the Pirates might send Cole to the minors because he’s not ready to be a top-of-the-rotation starter — the GM’s own description — you were wrong.


Setting that aside, let me say this again: There was no way, no how, no chance whatsoever Cole was going to open this season with the Pirates. None. They know that, and you should, too. When pitching coach Ray Searage two weeks ago was running through a list of potential fifth-starter candidates, and he rattled off five or six names without citing Cole, that’s not a clue. That’s a glaring red neon sign.

The Pirates actually made an intelligent decision and did so for exactly the right reason.

Why not just be honest about it? Or at least not get all indignant over it?


>> You make the call from this awesome footage out of the Swiss Elite Hockey League yesterday …

The puck quite literally breaks in two. Half goes in the net, the other half doesn’t. The referees, even though there is no international rule governing broken pucks, correctly ruled that it was no goal.

Any guesses as to why?

>> I’ll be flying out to Salt Lake City later tonight, but the show will come first. Hope you can check it out.

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. So I thought I’d share an interesting story with the lunatics.

    I woke up at 3am Monday morning as I normally do have a habit of waking earlier when I know I have to get up for an early flight. Flight was at 8:55 but anyone that lives in Elizabeth knows heading down 51 to head to the airport is impossible so I wanted to beat the rush. I was at the airport by 6am. Fly to Charlotte; have my 2 hour meeting and head back to the airport.

    My return flight was scheduled to depart Charlotte at 4:40pm. First it was delayed because they had trouble with the inbound flight being delayed out of Jacksonville. The plane arrives and then they have to delay so it can be cleaned; then another delay for a maintenance issue; then another delay for a security check. Finally at 630 we board the plane; only to pull back from the gate and be told we were on hold because of storms in the area. We were then told we had to go back to the gate because the delay was going to put the crew over hours and they needed a new crew. All the while its still storming outside. They attempt to take us back to a gate however the gate they chose had a tarmac that was too short to reach the plane. So they decided to take us to another gate but alas they couldn’t because the grounds crew could not work in the storm. Finally we get back to the gate and they tell us to get off the plane; only to get back in to the terminal to be told they made a mistake and we needed to get back on the plane. We get back on the plane only to be told we would be delayed further because they needed to make sure we had enough fuel. Finally after fueling the Pilot comes on and welcomes everyone on the flight from Charlotte to PHILADELPHIA. What a freaking nightmare today was….

    Now on to the good stuff. As I’m standing waiting to get on the plane I look over and who do I see; Charlie Batch. Was with his wife and daughter. Was about to approach him when another very recognizable figure approached Charlie. None other than Lynn Swann walked up and gave Charlie the bro-hug.

    I don’t know what it is about the Steelers organization but you can tell its family. I kind of feel for Batch. As much as I’d like to see him come back I think its time for him to start looking into a coaching career; perhaps with the Pittsburgh Power!

    I didn’t have a chance to butt into the conversation the two were having but I wouldn’t say that Batch was out trying to find a job having his wife and daughter with him. Just goes to show you never know who your going to see in an airport.

    I will say this; Lynn Swann looked ripped. He looked like he could put on the pads and take the spot of Sanders tomorrow. Kind of felt almost awkward about approaching Charlie. Wanted to say thank you but saying thank you was kind of like saying well your not coming back. I just kind of took t all in. Really kind of neet to see how 2 totally different generations were able to stand there and talk for a few hours.

    So despite getting in at 1015 instead of 602 I would say that seeing Charlie Batch and Lynn Swann made up for it just a little bit.

  2. Re: Cole – you may want to speak to some of your TribLIVE Radio brethren. Can’t speak for Mr. Huntington, but if the reason for his indignant response was in anticipation of the kind of uninformed BS Fedko and Steigerwald were throwing out there today, can’t say as I blame him.

    • Yes, this is correct.

      Also NH should just ignore it but when your team has lost for 20 years in a row you are going to get defensive because many are not going to be patient waiting for the best Pirate pitching prospect since Benson.

  3. I thought that they sent Cole down to the minors cause none of our #1 draft picks that were pitchers ever amount to much in the majors anyway.

    • Oh gosh, let’s hope not. Let Cole be at least a Paul Maholm, instead of a Kris Benson, or a Bryan Bullington, or a Daniel Moskos…

      And didn’t Charlie Batch used to throw to Lynn Swann? Just kidding. I want Charlie around for one more season because of not if, but when, we need someone to manage a game because Ben has gone down.

  4. No, no surprise at all that Cole was sent down. We know Neal Huntington. But that quote from him was typical disingenuous pap. And then there was “however long it takes is how long he’ll be in Triple-A.” Yeah right. So if Cole dominates his first, say, four starts — heck, make it five or six — and shows he’s ready for the next step, we’re going to see him in Pittsburgh by the end of April??? Also, all that stuff about how Grapefruit League games in March don’t compare with games against playoff contenders in May doesn’t mean anything coming from a guy who ordained that Andy LaRoche, Brandon Moss, Jeff Karstens and Ross Ohlendorf were immediate starters in 2008 when none of them was ready.

    Let’s send Neal Huntington down. To where? I’m open to suggestions. ____________

    DK: Let’s be sure to count Travis Snider on the Ordain Train.

  5. Huntington, whom I have met, gets indignant when you ask him almost anything related to his decisions or his handling of PBC matters. He is just a small minded, arrogant, imsecure guy. If you don’t kiss his arse, he gets defensive, rude and snarly. He seems to be looking for a fight/disagreement when anyone questions whatever he does related to the PBC. Not one to instill confidence; can still not understand how he got and has kept his job. He may be a great guy away from baseball……….but………

    • “He is just a small minded, arrogant, imsecure guy. If you don’t kiss his arse, he gets defensive, rude and snarly”

      So you found my wife’s wedding vows.

    • To play amateur psychiatrist with Neil…

      I think he knows he is in over his head, and loves to project the ‘I’m smarter than anyone in the room” because he knows he isn’t.

      Either that, or he’s just a frigging tool.

      • It’s the second one, John.

      • Or he actually reads the stuff by guys like DK and, you know, doesn’t like being called a moron.

        I don’t know Neil Huntington. Never met him. No idea what he was like 5, years ago. Whether or not this is and always has been his personality.

        But I think it’s far from shocking to see him get defensive. It’s human nature.

        Just listen to Jeff Luhnow speak in Houston. And he’s still in the honeymoon phase.

    • Totally predictable response from His Arrogance…that “Everybody’s” WRONG! This tripe is getting really old. 20 years of mismanagement at the top makes “Everybody” RIGHT—prove us wrong, Neal! Until you do, YOU are WRONG!

  6. GM Neal Huntington saves the Nutting Regime cashola on a daily basis.
    That is his number one duty in a Regime that has no other goals.
    He’s earned the right to be surly in his replies because he knows his job is as safe as the second button on Bob Nutting’s shirt.
    Let’s be clear….The Nutting Regime will do what they want, when they want, and there’s not a damn thing you, me or the next person can do about it.

    • “He’s earned the right to be surly in his replies because he knows his job is as safe as the second button on Bob Nutting’s shirt.”

      Now that’s funny.

  7. * THANK YOU for a great run and outstanding job with the Lady Dukes, Suzie McConnell-Serio.
    …..hoping that next year is finally the year for the BIG DANCE! Go out and win the WNIT.

  8. For everyone who expects Huntington to be more honest about Cole going down, wouldn’t it be nice to hear this from Cole: “I can’t really blame them for sending me down at this point. If I hadn’t waited until the signing deadline two years ago, maybe I’d have more than two starts in AAA under my belt by now. And, hey, since I decided to work with Scott Boras, I sent a loud and clear signal that when I do reach free agency I won’t be taking any sort of home team discount, so there’s no way the Pirates can compete with the TV money the Dodgers, Angels, and other teams are getting. So, I’ll just do my best in AAA for a couple months, I can probably kill that time re-counting my signing bonus.”

    DK: Welcome to the blog!

    • MajorDad, leet Bizrow know your location and he’ll add you to the list of DK’s Luntics’ Asylum.
      haven’t I seen you post somewhere before?

    • Wish Mario could buy the Pirates… at least make it a classy organization where people want to stay to work.

  9. As for the Swedish puck, I’d say it hit something, likely the post…and it broke. Also I noticed the goalie stopping the other half, good move on his part. Just my guesses here. But I’d like to know how often a puck breaks, I’ve never seen that!

  10. JAL’s Chelsea Morning 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

    Injury Updates: Tony Watson, Charlie Morton, Ali Solis

    Pirates Sign Two Pitching Prospects From Mexico

    6 Bucs Dugout

    James McDonald recovers from shaky 1st Pirates beat Red Sox, 4-3


    WHYGAVS Spring Training Extravaganza Day 1: James McDonald pitches like James McDonald

    8 Rant Sports

    Pittsburgh Pirates: Travis Snider Scuffling In Spring, Still Missing Power Stroke

    9 Rumbunter

     Pittsburgh Pirates 2013 Draft Wish List

    James McDonald Causes First Inning Mayhem, Then Strikes Out Six Red Sox

    10 Green Weenie

    Buc Bombs Sink Bosox 4-3

    • Chelsea Morning Joni Mitchell 1969 Perhaps the most popular Canadian singer/songwriter of the 1960s and 1970s, she has moved folk to pop to jazz. Among her songs which have been recorded by many others are Both Sides Now, Woodstock, and Big Yellow Taxi.

  11. NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 Bradenton Herald

    Pittsburgh Pirates front office has faith in starting rotation

    12 Yahoo Sports

    Will Jason Grilli Thrive as the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Closer?–mlb.html

    13 Philadelphia Inquirer

    Cliff Lee skips Braves, dominates minor leaguers

    14 NBC Sports

    2013 Preview: Pittsburgh Pirates

    15 USA Today

    Cardinals ace says baseball career may be over

    16 Orleans Online

    Impressive outing moves Bédard step closer to making Astros roster

    17 Sweetspot

    The meaning of baseball statistics
    18 PBC SITE

    Sanchez’s seventh-inning homer lifts Bucs

    Grilli shows no rust in return from Classic


    19 Baseball Prospectus

    Roger Angell and The Benefits of Writing About Baseball

    20 Fangraphs

    Five questions: Pittsburgh Pirates

  12. Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Tomlin says team ‘must add a running back,’ question is which one and where

    5 reasons why losing Keenan Lewis isn’t a bad thing

    22 Steelers Depot

    -The Terrible Podcast – Talking Emmanuel Sanders, Matt Spaeth, Steelers Interest In Free Agents & More Episode


    23 Daily Telegraph

    Former Champions League winner Edgar Davids saves the day after Barnet’s fans are stranded following defeat

    24 World Soccer Daily

    World Soccer Daily: 10 stories you need to read, 18th March, 2013


    25 CBS Sports

    Preview: Washington at Pittsburgh

  13. The ENTIRE pucks must cross the goal line, correct?

    DK: Yes. If all pieces of the puck had entered on the shot, it would be a good goal.

    • lol isn’t this weird? NMR have YOU ever heard of a puck breaking in two?
      But yeah…even if half the puck is on the line, it’s no goal. Gotta be the whole puck over the linie.

      • That rubber must have TRULY been frozen…with dry ice!

        That looked like some kind of cheesy high school science experiment.

    • That’s my guess too as to why it doesn’t count. The entire puck must cross the line.

    • Exactly, NMR. Every review of a questionable ‘over-the-line goal’ is to determine if the entire puck has clearly crossed the line.

    • So the next question is… assuming the 2nd half of the puck had remained live, if they had then scored the 2nd half of the puck, would it have counted? Or is the puck ruled dead at that point?

  14. DK, In the The Swiss Elite Hockey League video- It wasn’t a goal because the entire puck didn’t cross the goal line. Half a puck doesn’t count.. My guess anyway.

  15. I the resting points on Mendenhall. All off season Colbert kept saying it would take a year and that he would be on PUP. Then to everyone’s surprise he started early, got hurt and basically became Derek Bell. Did the Steelers mishandle him? Spring forward to Heath Miller, hopefully they learned lesson.

  16. I think the main reason Neal H. doesn’t come out and say that Cole is being sent down to save money is that he could be avoiding a grievance being filed by the union.

    Just because Cole is one of the best 11 pitchers does not make him major league ready. He has 2 starts at AAA, one of which was terrible. Why have him work out the kinks in Pittsburgh?

  17. A minor thing that caught my eye at yesterday’s game
    It was the top of the ninth and the Bucs were up by 2.

    McHenry was catching and he was busting his behind down the first base line on every ground ball to backup first base. Unbelievable hustle

    I pointed this out to my wife because he is one of her favorite players

      • Yours, Spunky, or your wife’s? :P

        Just razzin ya.

        I love the Fort as well. Always gives 110%

        • My wife wouldn’t know a ballplayer’s name if her life and the lives of our children and grand children depended upon it, J-girl.


          I like the guy because of his attitude and because he’s a Christian and not ashamed of it. He posts scripture on his Twitter page-good relevant scripture-almost daily. 24/7 even re-tweets it sometimes. I’m proud of both of ‘em.

          • I didn’t know that, Spunky, now I like him even more…

            • Yep – Fort is an unabashed Christian (I get his tweets) who lives by his principles, and if he were more famous, he’d be (sadly) slammed for it (see: “Tim Tebow”). HE is the example kids should emulate – doesn’t take his God-given gifts for granted, and you see that by his effort every game. Last summer my hubby, son & I were having breakfast in a Strip District establishment, and Fort walked in. I quietly said, “Fort!” and gave him a thumbs up when he looked over. A wink and a smile from him made my day. He’s the real deal good guy athlete. He knows he’s blessed and gives thanks every day. Glad he’s a Pirate!

    • Cracker,

      At Pirate City early in Spring Training, McKenry would stay late after EVERY day’s practice, grabbing some coach to throw him balls in the dirt, or getting off throws to 2nd.

      It’s not an exaggeration to say that no one on Pirate team works harder!

      • See?? 110%!!!

      • Groat, et al

        Have you guys given any thought as to how they’ll handle Tony Sanchez and the Fort? Seems like an inevitable conflict.

        It looks like the team will always want some kind of veteran starter, and McKenry, God love him, will never be that guy.

        As for the backup, Sanchez supposedly has a better arm and better blocking skills. And minus June and July of last year, you can’t hit much worse than he has in his two seasons with the Bucs.

        Best case scenario would certainly be Sanchez stepping up enough to hold down the starting job once Martin is gone and McKenry continuing to be a serviceable backup. Question is how do you get Sanchez enough at-bats to prove himself without carrying three catchers? Does McK have options?

        • “He” being Mckenry in my 3rd paragraph.

        • I believe they’ll be the duo of the future. Sanchez has the stuff. He and McKenry can be a solid combo back there, which is basically what you said.

          Right now, I believe The Fort is the better hitter and since Sanchez’ broken hand or wrist, whatever it was, McK has more power.

          Defensively, it’s Tony, hands down. (no pun intended).

        • If the rumors are true & they are going after Ramon Hernandez – wouldn’t that be at McKenry’s expense ? They don’t trade for a guy like that & put him in the minors. That makes McKenry the backup at Indy.

          • Hadn’t heard that one, Milo. What do you think of McKenry?

            • I like him just fine as a backup. I also wonder what their opinion is of Tony Sanchez. I wasn’t impressed in a short sample. He’s obviously in great shape but he seems to move slowly behind the plate. And he didn’t get many good swings against the minor league pitchers he was facing.

              • I agree strongly with you, Milo!

                In no drill with all the catchers, batting practice, or game at Bradenton in last 3 years have I looked at Sanchez and thought: “This guy is the best of the lot. His skills are obvious. His skills jump out at you.”

                At no time did I look and think: “This guy is an obvious 1st Round draftee. This guy is an obvious Major Leaguer.”

                I hope he makes is cuz there’s no one else . . . . but I am not confident. That’s what you get when BMTIB reaches big time at #4 pick in 1st Round. McKenry, picked up for a bag of used baseballs, deserves to be ahead of him.

          • Have you seen any reputable source give that Hernandez rumor? Seems like more baseless speculating. I can’t see the team spending $3m+ on a backup.

            My guess is they’re looking for AAA depth in case they hit a situation like the one in which McKenry ended up the 7th catcher of the year in 2010.

        • – you can’t hit much worse than he has in his two seasons –

          Barmes may be able to manage it.

      • I always root for guys like McKenry who make it through drive and hustle. I think he’ll be a Doug Mientkiewicz, a very popular role player who will find work elsewhere when more talent finds its way into the system.

  18. Tons of ex-Bucs re-assigned and released the last couple of days:

    Robbie Grossman, Ross Ohlendorf, Eric Fryer, Joe Martinez, Brandon Wood, Nate Adcock, Chris Snyder (minor league deal), Shairon Martis all sent to minors.

    Bobby Crosby, Garrett Olson and Matt Diaz released.

    Maybe our talent evaluation is getting better? Thankfully there’s no room on our roster for dumpster diving any time soon.

    • Kentuck Knob,

      The sadder thing is, except for Grossman and Ohlendorf, that any of those guys were actually Pirates in the first place.

      • 100% agree, Groaty, especially on the last 3.

        Saw Adcock pitch in low-A. I was shocked he was picked in the minor league Rule 5. Still has potential to be a major leaguer. The rest, other than Grossman, who will be a major leaguer some day (saw him in low-A, too) are marginal at best.

    • Sorry to see Ohlendorf shipped to the minors. I grew up on a farm. Most of my relatives and in-laws are in farming. Ross worked as an intern (!) for the Department of Agriculture and loves agricultural pursuits. Plus he is a Princeton guy-a true renaissance man.

      Hope he makes it back to the Bigs soon.

      • Oshkosh b’gosh!

        Above is one of the many reasons I like and enjoy you——I too grew up on a farm, and the life lessons there cannot be duplicated elsewhere. I too root for Ohlendorf, for the very reasons you spiked.

        Congratulations on the Wisconsin run in the Big 10 Tournament. I also like your West bracket very much . . . . . . obviously the weakest of the lot and Badgers can readily move all the way to Western Final and square off against Ohio State again. Oh to see that!

        On Wisconsin!! See you in the Final 4 Semis against my boys!

  19. That was a dumb thing for NH to say.

    My theory is that it is awkward way to head off the follow up question about Cole’s service time clock. And maybe trying to raise the fact that they really do think the kid would be better off starting in the minors.

    • if you’re REPRESENTING a company or organization, you should have enough tact not to insult the people you are addressing. Most people would be fired for speaking the way NH does. It’s rude and bad public relations.
      Nuff said.

  20. “He is just a small minded, arrogant, imsecure guy. If you don’t kiss his arse, he gets defensive, rude and snarly. He seems to be looking for a fight/disagreement when anyone questions whatever he does related to the PBC”

    I’ve met NH a few times and this doesn’t sound like the guy I met. The latest time was at the Q&A at Piratefest. He isn’t super comfortable in those situations and tends to talk too much….but I have never seen him be rude, snarly, or look for a fight.

    • whether it’s intentional or not, he’s rude. Just sayin’

    • Cracker,

      I agree with you. I’ve talked to him as well.

      He is not small-minded or arrogant.

      He is, however, defensive and insecure, and doesn’t like anyone disagreeing with him.
      That kind of person should not be in a public or speaking position in any organization

      • Very well said, Groat.

        He’s in a spiral at this point that feeds on itself. People criticize his actions and reactions which incites more reaction which the people criticize.

        His comments do often come across as rude, but then again so does much of his criticism.

        In the end, there is no altruistic partner in the relationship. It is broken, and it’s not ever going to be fixed.

      • I am really at the point where I don’t care what NH says, how he acts, or what mood he is in. I know the press is the connection to the fans but I am really not concerned how he treats reporters (and most of the yahoos who have radio shows)

        I just want the team to win

    • You need to read more of his quotes. His bashing of Pirate fans knowledge is pretty constant.

  21. Joey Porter is one of the many former NFL players who is having financial problems. Ditto with Daunte Culpepper. I sure hope that the major sports organizations and the NFL in particular, is taking measures to reduce this from happening. I bet around half of the NFL retirees wished they never played the game.

    • Domske,

      I feel no regret, no sadness, NADA, for those who foolishly spend/waste their money as players, then cry when they can’t maintain an overinflated standard.

      Listen to your agent. Invest. Plan.

      Or, at age 37, GET A JOB!!!! I still get up and go to work every day. They got a heck of a better start in life than you or I did!!

      Pigs never plan for the future.

    • Prior to signing that ludicrous contract in Miami (which he will NEVER see the last 2 years of) Wallace went out and bought a BENTLEY.

      He had no contract. No income. Only the speculation that someone was going to pa him a lot. Which they did, but that’s hardly reason for WASTING half a MILLION dollars on a car when you are technically still unemployed.

      Am I supposed to feel bed for him? Or any of the other jackwagon nimrods that do this kind of BS? And these are grown men. The NFL has no legal right to force them to invest an portion of their salary. Even if they could that would still be THEIR money. Even if they weren’t allowed to touch it they could still borrow against it. And you know they would.

      • Yeah, I really can’t see anyone spending that type of money until they sign the contract. Had he of bough the car after he inked the deal with Miami then it would make perfect sense.

  22. The FAN quoted NH as saying something about Cole getting “ambushed” in AAA, he got lit up his last start down there which NH noted was a “good thing”

    Don’t get me wrong, sending Cole down was the logical thing to do, and he may or may not be ready right now, but sheesh Neal, aren’t you tired of sticking your foot in your mouth all the time?

    I know I am ;-)

  23. No goal because the rule clearly states that the entire puck must cross the goal line. Not touch it but actually cross it. The half that didn’t make it in clearly didn’t cross the line between the pipes. Good call refs!

  24. Per Buster Olney:

    “In return for that international draft, union could get increased minimum salary, less service time required for arbitration, and more.”

    For the love of God, somebody get Bud Selig out of baseball before he succeeds in completely ruining the league.

    • It so curious, how he behaves with his origins in a small market-Milwaukee. Worked his butt off to get baseball back to Milwaukee. Lobbied for and successfully got public financing for his millionaire employees’ playground.

      Remember when he wanted to contract Minnesota and destroy Minnesota’s baseball fans?

      Now he is simply in the pocket of various big money interests. Sad. I wish Milwaukee would not allow him to have an office within the city’s limits.

      • he’s gone from Sometimer’s to Alzheimers.

      • At this point, his intentions are so thinly veiled that it seems clear to me he has no zero intention to support anything but a large market driven sham of a “league”.

        He actually had the balls to say that the world draft was being done as a cost savings effort for owners. Cost saving!

        Nobody with half a brain would believe that trading increased arbitration for decreased international signing costs is a net gain. It simply shortens the number of years small market teams can afford stars.

        Does anyone think that this effort coming at a time when more players are being locked up and extended by their original teams, thus keeping them away from free agency where large markets thrive, is any coincidence?

        Bud is a complete, utter joke.

        • Yet the Astros have a payroll of 30 million while openly admitting their TV deal pays them closer to 40+.

          AND they get revenue sharing.

          AND a increase in rookie pool money.

          The system that was designed to help small market teams compete is now just a system for them to siphon profits away from large market teams. How many organizations AREN’T EVEN TRYING to compete?

          You know how I feel about the whole economic system. Its sucks and is horribly broken. But I’ll say this about large market teams: at least they are TRYING to win.

  25. After the win on Sunday, Fluery now leads Pens history in shutout wins.

    • Yes, Dom, your man broke Barrasso’s record :)

      • I know you were insulting him but why did so many people dislike Barrasso? I know he wasn’t a favorite with the media but I remember a lot of people 20 years ago talking smack about him.

        • Myron, Steigerwald and Madden have all listed Barrasso as one of the worst human beings they have covered. That’s good enough for me.

          • Ahh taking the word of Steigerwald and Madden isn’t exactly a selling point for me.

            Maybe Barrasso couldn’t get through the double yoy’s with Myron.

            Steigerwald back in those days was goofy; remember seeing him doing a report on Ulf and his son from the 90′s and Steigerwald back then was like Potash today.

            • It’s all 3 of them agreeing, TJ. And Madden, for all his faults, Never goes after a Penguin. Think what you want, I’m convinced. And add in that he was a total pr*ck to his fellow goalies on the Pens.

          • Billy…. thats exactly why I have no idea why so much time was wasted on Barrasso today! LOL. Arriba; I apologize… a question was asked and a topic got started. But what a topic out of left field.

        • I wasn’t insulting him, Dom, but personally Barasso has a very bad reputation for being rude and churlish to Pittsburgh fans and especially the media. He brings it on himself.

          • Huntington like??

            Just sayin

            • No. Apples and oranges. Neal, even according to DK, is a good person.

            • Barrasso is much worse lol.
              Huntingdon is a dork.
              Tommy is just mean.

            • He trashed Myron when he was starting to make a name for himself. He also told a story about when he was a kid about a situation in an airport which made Willie look bad and Clemente look good. But on Barrasso, these 3 guys (Myron, Steigy, MM) agreed. That’s significant to me.

              • Seriously who cares? The guy helped the team win 2 stanley cups and was one of the best goalies in team history.

                How may pricks played for the Pirates and Steelers over the years? Everyone has heard stories of Ben refusing to sign autographs for his own teammates years ago.

                Bottom line is the guy never did a thing to me and if people like him not doesn’t bother me. But gosh as far as I’m concerned Barrasso would be a little further down the list of pricks in Pittsburgh sports history.

              • I sure don’t care about Tommy, but I’m happy Fleury passed his record :)

              • I was never a huge fan of Myron. Madden’s stories of Cope didn’t change my opinion of Cope.

              • Dom asked a question. I answered. But since Barrasso didn’t do anything to you, I agree, who cares.

              • Here we go. Arriba were you offended by Barrasso? Did he do something to you personally? Did you wear a Pens Jersey in the 90′s that had Barrasso is a Prick stitched on the back?

                Seriously who was complaining about the guy when they were winning games? Can’t remember one time after they won the cup thinking that prick helped us win a cup.

                You guys are acting like he’s done something to you when I guarantee you there are far worse in Pittsburgh sports history.

                I’m sorry Arriba if you had a bad experience with Mr. Barrasso that changed your whole outlook on life.

              • TJ please relax.

              • Jandy I am I promise you; just find it amusing that all this space is being spent on TOM BARRASSO.

              • Dude, TJ, you have totally gone out to lunch. What part of “Dom asked a question” did you miss?

              • TJ,

                I really have no vested interest in this either way and won’t be able to follow this today since I’m at work but here goes.

                Barrasso being a prima donna was reported on and discussed when he was with the Pens. It was even discussed while they were winning.

                Barrasso had a reputation of being unapproachable. I can’t site specific articles and don’t have time to research.

                I’m not trying to bash the guy, just saying that this is not new in regards to Barrasso.

              • Yeah What Billy Bad said

    • Not to be a noodge, but the shutout win was Saturday not Sunday. Sunday was Voky’s win 2-1 over bah-ston.

  26. Curious about some thoughts on the Steelers here… did they start sharing front office space with the Pirates?

    This whole story of the Steelers making a late push for Jake Long and then an interest in Dumervil makes little to no sense. It sounds like one of those things you’d hear from the Pirates just to keep the fan base happy for a few minutes while they eliminate one of the perogies from the race because the cost of cleaning the costumes was getting too expensive

  27. So anyone know where the rumors started about the Flyers being interested in unloading Talbot? From what I’ve seen of him there, he’s been an asset to them but then again, the Flyers unloading the wrong player isn’t exactly new.

    I was always of the opinion they signed Talbot primarily just to rub the Pens wrong. They always seem to delight in that whether it’s on, or off the ice and go through pains, whether it’s ownership, management, or players to make it happen. I mean, how many players like Talbot who are primarily 3rd line players who can be serviceable at best as a 2nd liner, get inked to 5-years deals? So maybe the novelty of signing a Pens player greatly liked by the fans, one infamous for his Shhh moment against the Flyers, and one who scored the winning goal in game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals for the Pens has worn off, just like the novelty and “Nah-nah-nah-nah-nah” of signing Jagr did.

    I do think the Pens could really use Talbot back in the fold and his $1.75 million cap hit sure makes more sense than Kennedy’s…just depends on what the Fhilthy Flyers would want for him. Is it too late to give them Kevin Stevens back?

    • No way in the world the Flyers would trade Talbot back to the Pens.

      • I’m more inclined to agree with you but I’ve seen weirder things happen. The Flyers are hurting for defensemen which the Pens have in spades and their best D-man in Timonen just turned 38 and is due an increase from $3 to $6 million next year, so they will probably unload him one way or another.

        If the Flyers were willing to trade Tocchet, Wregget and Samuelsson for Recchi at one time when they were struggling (even though it was 20 years ago), then Talbot for a defensive prospect doesn’t seem entirely out of the question either. Just saying.

        I’m just more curious if there is any truth to the Talbot being traded rumors.

        • Time will tell…pretty quickly too, as the trade deadline is coming up.

          • There are 2 sides to this; first while Talbot would be an upgrade and instant boost to the locker room and 3rd or 4th lines he’s not a guy that is worth a future every day defenseman that is already playing. And second I can’t imagine why the Pens would want to ship a every day defenseman to a team that is in their own division that they will have to face for years to come.

            Agreed; stranger things have happened but I don’t see this happening. If it did I think the entire front office would be canned in Philly

            • Problem is there are quite a few possible “future” defensemen in the Pens pipeline. I don’t think there is anyway they can realistically hold onto all of them or figure out which ones will be everyday players 2 or 3 years from now. Who knows, they might be able to get him back for a late round pick and Glass or Engelland….two players who probably fit the Flyers well.

              The Flyers FO isn’t exactly that far from being canned as it is. Who knows what thy would be willing to take to trade Talbot back to the Pens. Eventually, even in hockey, business decisions that need to be made to help the team win will outweigh grudges and petty “Ah-hah, we got your player!” tactics. It would be one thing if the Flyers were in a playoff race..they’re not. Losing Talbot (a 3rd line player who’s been there not even two seasons) probably won’t hurt them much emotionally. I think it’s more about how the fans would perceive it. Besides, they already got their kicks watching Talbot, Jagr and the Flyers oust the Pens from the playoffs last season. Their investments have already paid off what how they wanted it to.

      • Agree. His value to the team far outweighs what they could get for him in return. Unless someone *insisted he be a part of a package in a trade for a very, very valuable piece I wouldn’t move him. (See: Shero demanding Sutter).

        1.75 mil for a solid 3rd line center with grit and scoring touch, that also is one of the best PK’s in the game, is invaluable. He is probably one of the best bargains in the league really. And in 2-3 years even more so.

    • The only trade rumors I saw regarding the Flyers was Danny Munchkin Briere, but he has a no trade clause so that might prove difficult with his $6M+ cap hit.

    • They don’t *want to unload him. But his value is magnified by the minimal 1.75 mil cap hit he takes. He a phenomenal PK guy and plays the kind of hockey that wins cups. There isnt a single playoff team in the league that doesnt need him. Not one. he could play 3rd line on every team in the league. Every team.

      His low contract makes him very easily movable to. Briere would be nice to move but not many teams have 6 mil to spare. They dont *want to move him, but they might *have to if they want to salvage the season.

      • Can’t see the Pens taking Max back. He still has 3 years left on that contract, and I can’t see Shero locking himself up for that length of time.

        • They would take Max back in A HEARTBEAT. IMMEDIATELY.

          Mario would Ray Shero would drive across the state and pick him up himself if need be. He would enlist the Lemieux’s children to move his stuff back to a crappy apartment above Max’s favorite sleazy south-side bar if that’s what it took.

  28. Soooo…the Pens take on the Craps tonight.
    Any predictions?
    And no, Dejan, you stay outta this :P

  29. I’m jacked that Dejan is going to Utah to cover the Panthers. Some of the best stuff I’ve read about this Pitt team has come from our fearless leader.

    I think Pitt needs to be physical in this game. They come from a physical conference and need to remind these Kansans that they are not in Kansas anymore, and are playing with big boys. WSU has losses to Evansville, Indiana State and Northern Iowa. They can be beat. The Shockers average 38.4 rebounds a game versus Pitt’s 35.3. Pitt is a much better shooting team and more offensive boards reap more scoring opportunities.

    The teams are similar in terms of height but their 7 footer averages only 16 minutes per game. Adams will need to assert his superior talent without getting into foul trouble.

    I don’t like crying “freshmen” as an excuse. Adams and Robinson have a full year of Division I under their belts. And, quite frankly, the college basketball landscape is full of teams with contributing underclassmen. Not the same game it was a decade or more ago. That being said, as pointed out by Dejan, Woodall will be key and will need to rise to the occasion in his last dance.

    • “Some of the best stuff I’ve read about *insert any sport here* has come from our fearless leader.”

      One possibly insignificant topic to add to your list:

      When the football team traveled West to play the Utes in 2011 a lot was made of the altitude and it’s obvious effects. I haven’t heard anything this time with the basketball team.

      I think depth and conditioning will be a factor.

      • Good point NMR. Good think Clark doesn’t play for the Panthers. But since its an indoor arena wouldn’t that lessen the effect?

        Hope the altitude does not effect DK’s writing ability.

        • When I moved to SLC, they told me the altitude gets you drunk faster.

          I told them that it doesn’t matter either way after 10 beers or so. :)

          Maybe Dejan’s caffeine buzz will hit him harder than ever. Be on the lookout for rapid fire tweets.

    • I bet the rest of the writers at the Trib wish they had his travel budget.

  30. Here’s an interesting article about Moises Alou almost having another Steve Bartum experience.

    Does anyone know what happened to that guy?

    • If you are talking about Bartman, ESPN devoted one of their “30 for 30″ documentaries to him, called “Catching Hell.” The filmmakers tracked him down (literally, Bartman did not avail himself to the producers). Still in Chicago. Has lived a sad life trying to stay in anonymity. Received death threats and all the other usual deplorable reactions from idiotic fans.

      It was a fascinating. ESPN catches a lot of hell, so to speak, but the 30 for 30 documentaries have been outstanding.

  31. Actually, I think Cole IS ready to be the ace of this team, but I agree with the demotion. What does that make me?

  32. I think the Steelers handled Rashard Mendenhall the wrong way over the last few years. I’m not sure what it was, maybe something internal that we can’t see or maybe he wasn’t the power running back, Bettis replacement, they thought he might be.

    Either way, the Steelers have been a huge disappointment this offseason. I never expect them to go after high priced free agents, hat’s not their way. Keenan Lewis should’ve been #1 on that list and by letting him go, is NOT their way, not a young guy like Lewis and not a guy that stepped up like Lewis did.

    William Gay? Are you serious?

    • In the defense of the Steelers, I think the rise of Cortez Allen had more to do with the departure of Lewis than the return of William Gay. Lewis had a solid season but like Taylor, cannot make an interception. That is why I think the Steelers choose to go with Allen.

      • Bingo. I hopefully Allen picks up where he left off last year; taking a good position on the receiver and actually catching the ball from time to time.

        First Steeler CB in years that has shown any knack for the INT.

    • Also, in Gay’s defense he did have a solid season before leaving for the Cards and he will be primarily be their 3rd CB, basically used in the nickel defense.

    • By no means am I suggesting that the Steelers chose Gay over Lewis. Gay struggles in one-on-one situations. I dont mind him as a back up at all, but no way can he start.

      I also loved the play of Cortez Allen and if it came down to one or the other, then Allen was the better of the 2 picks. I find it hard to believe that the Steelers couldn’t hold on to both though. I love Ike as a cover guy, he is getting old and has NEVER been able to catch a ball. His replacement needs to be found sooner, rather than later.

  33. From the Pens’ web site regarding the morning skate:
    Letang and Cooke are absent. Malkin worked with Mike Kadar before practice, but remained on the ice for practice. He took Cooke’s place in rushes. Niskanen took Letang’s place at the point with the top unit for PP practice.

    So there is a chance Malkin might play. Honestly tho, if he’s not 100% I prefer he doesn’t.

  34. Cooke is game time decision, Letang is out.

  35. Ducks signed Perry to an 8 year, 69M contract extension. That’s one guy off the list.

    • Knew he wasn’t going anywhere, not with them challenging for the West and playing so well. They had to lock him up. Fans would burn season tickets if he walked.

  36. Just watched the video of NH explaining Cole’s demotion. I can’t really get too fired up about his comments. Basically because I expect an awkward response from him

    What he should have said was:

    “Everybody’s going to speculate THAT THERE IS ANOTHER REASON why he’s being sent out, and they’re wrong,” Neal Huntington said.

    Because the next sentence out of his mouth details the reason.

    I only bring this topic back up because I don’t follow the hockey talk here

  37. Who thinks this game has streak ended written all over it. Not trying to be a downer, but regardless of the Caps situation, they (until earlier this season) have owned the Pens at The Consol. Plus at this point, they are pretty much playing to be spoilers as they must know by now the playoffs are a pipe dream.

    Just trying to figure out what would be worse…the Craps ending it, or the Flyers. These are the kinda games against rivals that are bottom feeders as well that usually wind up in a loss.

    I won’t be too upset I guess as long as no one gets injured.

  38. I agree with the Cole decision as well. In terms of Huntington’s response, I just think he is not the best interview, and sometimes might not think before he speaks. I am sure all he ment was, ‘hey, I know some will say it is because of years of control and arbitration, but that really isn’t the reason. We want him to be completely ready and not take any chances.’ And, too, a lot of people have been talking crap about him, and a lot of it justified, but still, I do understand of he is a little sensitive to certain questions and comments. But, again, good decision. LETS GO BUCS!

    Oh, and only 13 days away to one of the best days of the year! I will be there on Opening Day for the first time! Can’t wait!

  39. Anyone know if the RMU/Kentucky game is on TV?

    • Good question, well there is a hockey game, so I know that is on Root, and I can’t remember any channel picking up early NIT games, so I’m betting not

      • Yeah, I can’t imagine that another station would pick it up either. What about something like PCNC? Is there ANY chance a station like that would? Is there any basketball channel that is a part of Comcast that could carry it? If the NCAA tournament started today, I assume they’d carry those games.

    • It’s probably on down here. Every time a KY player sneezes or Calipari beathes, it’s on here, somewhere. I could listen to it here in my office if it was on during work hours. Shame it ain’t. :P

  40. Dom-ESPN at 7:30 tonight.

    • Really? That is a surprise.

      Thanks for the info.

    • ESPN has the rights to NIT

      • I wonder if there has ever been a team to win the NCAA championship one year and then the NIT next year.

        • Doubt if it’ll happen, Dom. They’re mediocre at best without Noel. Maybe RMU can beat them. That would make up for some disappointment this season.

        • Pitt, RMU, PSU and Duquesne have never played in an NCAA title game,

          Not sure, Dom, if any back to back NCAA/NIT winners. A quick scan on WIKI looks like there has never been. But both Duquesne and Penn St have won the NIT.

          Pitt famously won the CBI last year.

          Wisconsin won the NCAA’s in 1941. lol. I think they had a kid out Sheboygan with a mean set shot that year.

      • That’s 7:30 EDT. One of the things I like about being a Pirates fan is that their home games start at 6:00 my time. Good for my old bones.

        You West Coasters have no idea how good you have it with sports. Actually Mountain Time probably the ideal.

      • Wow, thats surprising, in a way, as Lucky inferred, it must be because of Kentucky

        • I think they’re doing the whole NIT. Iowa and Indiana State tomorrow at 6 pm CST on ESPN-2. Plenty of local interest, but not much elsewhere I would imagine.

  41. Dumb sports argument I’ve had with my brother:

    Setting aside money for a moment: Would you rather have your team win the NIT (5 extra games and a trip to NYC) or go one and done in the NCAA’s?

    • I know the feelings here in this office. You can’t win a National Champeenship by winning the NIT. That’s all they care about here. I know the standard is different in other realms.

      Kind of like an 8-8 season for the Steelers is like a normal Browns’ 4-12 or 3-13 season.

    • Give me at least one win in NCAA. I’ll pick it every time over NIT Championship.

      {I changed the rules——”I don’t believe in a ‘no win’ scenario!”}

    • I would rather have my team with the 5 NIT tournaments, personally.

    • You’d rather be in the NCAA. Period.

      Once the decision is made though the satisfaction comes from winning. Purely subjective but for me it takes a couple wins in the NIT to make up for not making the big one.

      One win and the Iowa State fan in me will be satisfied for the year.

      Iowa didn’t qualify mainly because RPI doesn’t count coming close against really good teams – so it will probably take two or more to make me happy there.

  42. Sorry I’m late with this, busy trying to catch up after a week away. Here is a list of dates for top prospects, Gerrit Cole among them, for pushing back their free agency & possible “super 2″ status. I am in agreement with the Pirates starting Cole in the minors. Remember, three weeks in Indy now = one more year in Pittsburgh.

    Another thing to consider is that with Scott Boras as his agent, there will be no Andrew McCutchen like extension to buy out his arbitration years & a year or two of free agency.

    • No problem being late, Milo. Biz posted it awhile ago. I know you were away.

    • Milo the problem is that by the time Cole reaches the point of arbitration they will need to start restocking the farm and trade him for more Brandon Moss’s, Andy Laroche, and Jerry Sands types. HAHAHA.

      • Mercy. That wouldn’t be so sad if it hadn’t already happened, more than once.

        I’m still a Brad Lincoln fan. Him staring down Thome was a high point for my season last year. But we did get the Chopped Champion, Travis Snider for him.

  43. It was all kinds of fun hearing DK read my silly-azzed emails on his show today!

    Wiping is fundamental. Howz everyone doin?

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