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Tuesday Wakeup Call: Special guest James Neal

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, lunatics …

>> The TribLIVE Radio show today — 1-2 p.m. — will feature special guest James Neal.

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 Winnipeg Free Press’ Gary Lawless will the media guest, discussing not only the Eastern Conference playoff map but also the upcoming Penguins-Jets tilt here on Thursday. 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.

>> The Penguins’ new age, if you will, might or might not begin tonight against visiting Montreal, given the uncertainty of whether Evgeni Malkin or Brenden Morrow will play. But if they do, our Rob Rossi has you covered with a thorough breakdown of what it takes to skate with No. 71.

>> The hockey team’s TV ratings continue to be just insane.

>> Here’s the Trib video from Consol yesterday …

>> James Harrison, nomad. Just imagine if he comes back for less than the Steelers’ original offer.

 >> The Pirates’ leadership? Rob Biertempfel discusses a few. My choice: A.J. Burnett.

>> Robert Morris’ nice season ended last night by coming up short vs. Providence. I’m guessing that the public impact won’t match that of the Colonials’ previous game. Maybe no game they’ll ever play will.

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. Sure would be nice to get James Harrison back after all. Though he probably left a bit inelegantly, I’m sure Mike Tomlin can tidy that up and place a bow on it. Harrison and Bill Parise rolled the dice, but now they have to get pragmatic. Here’s hoping the Steelers would again extend some kind of offer. If so, while James isn’t exactly “The Dude,” if he can abide …

    DK: I’ll admit to being a fan of your first-in-line posts, my ghostly friend.

    • Oh oh. Now I have to keep it up. I’ll do one of my Ambien-influenced posts tomorrow. That ought to lower the bar again.

      • I think you scared us of with that good posting.

        I can’t even think of what to write.

        Maybe something about team leadership.

  2. Rossi’s piece today about skating with Malkin is enlightening.

    Good read.

  3. 24/7 has noticeably raised his game this year. Someone like Neil Walker must be whispering good things in his ear.

    Read his piece today that Dejan links above. He measures the immeasurable clubhouse attitude of Pirate leadership in 3 players.

    • Jack Wilson must be back.


      • I hope not. And I don’t wish the wilson-receding hairline on Walker.

        I’m not sure what there is left to write about during this time in Spring Training, but 24/7′s article this morning seemed a bit short….could have used more content.

  4. The season is less than a week away. Sanchez seems to be a lock.

    Not looking too good.

  5. JAL’s Say Hey 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

    First Pitch: Decision Day For Jonathan Sanchez

    Prospect Notebook: Hafner Having Success With New Slider; Kingham and Fuesser Pitch Well

    6 Bucs Dugout

    Rays homer 3 times off Kyle McPherson


    Do the Pirates have enough pitching to do anything meaningful in 2013?

    8 Rant Sports

    Will Pittsburgh Pirates Outfielder Andrew McCutchen Be the 2013 MVP

    9 Rumbunter

    John McDonald Highlight Videos Are Fun To Watch

    10 Green Weenie

    Bucs V Rays

  6. NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 Bradenton Herald

    Recap: Tampa Bay vs. Pittsburgh

    12 Bleacher Report

    2013 MLB Predictions: National League Central Preview

    13 Fox News

    Pittsburgh Pirates 2013 Preview

    14 KDKA

    Pirates Gear Up To Leave Sunny Fla. And Face Snowy Pittsburgh

    15 City of Champions

    Pittsburgh Pirates season preview: A look at the first basemen

    16 Fayetteville Observer

    30 teams in 30-ish or so days: Pittsburgh Pirates preview and prediction–Pittsburgh-Pirates-

    17 Beaver County Times

    Pirates’ Martin still a good catch

    18 PBC SITE

    McPherson allows three homers in loss to Rays

    Inge playing in pain in hopes of making team


    19 Baseball Prospectus

    Why Turning 30 is So Much Better if You Don’t Play Baseball

    20 Fangraphs

    2013 Positional Power Rankings: Starting Pitchers (#1-#15)

    2013 Positional Power Rankings: Starting Pitchers (#16-#30)

  7. Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    James Harrison open to return to Steeler

    NFL free agent crops don’t always result in bountiful harvests

    22 Steelers Depot

    - Steelers S Ryan Clark Not Upset That The Ravens Traded Away WR Anquan Boldin


    23 Daily Telegraph

    Costa Rica protest to Fifa over defeat to USA in World Cup qualifier in snowstorm and demand a replay

    24 World Soccer Daily

    World Soccer Daily: 10 stories you need to read, 25th March, 2013


    25 Pensburgh

    Early Returns: Shero Takes Control with Deals for Murray, Morrow

  8. A long time ago the Braves had “Spahn and Sain and pray for rain” We need a contest to come up with something for AJ, Wandy and Jmac. Did anyone ever have a 3 man rotation? Because until Cole gets here that’s basically what it’s looking like.

  9. Pittsburgh.

    - Monday April 1. Opening day. 50% chance of showers. 49 degrees.

    - Wednesday April 3. Game two. Showers gone. Sunny. 43 degrees.

    Just here to serve.

  10. Could be worse. Current temp is 0 F in Winnipeg. That’s -18 C.

    Could be better, though.

    • I liked the take by E.J. Hradek on NHL Live yesterday. Nothing like hearing the NHL’s very own Jay Leno give his wishy-washy, stuck in neutral, non-opinion on things.

    • Jandy, Big like!

      I tried to “like” it there too, but didn’t realize you have to be on face book. Having lived this long without it, I see no reason to change!

      The Pens ate instantly better, and in a really good way.


      • Thanks, Stuart :) I agree…these trades add to the team, they don’t change it.

        • YES! Best thing about these trades…

          First, Do No Harm.

          The best is the worst. Meaning, worst case scenario? Both fail, both sit, and they have EXACTLY the same team that had won 12 straight.

          (Well. Except Malkin will be back. He’s not bad, I hear.)

          So ANYthing they get from EITHER acquisition is a Net Add without any short term offsetting risk.

          I think at least one of these is just bound to work as envisioned, so yes, I think it will be a positive.

          But that’s not my point.

          My point: no risk; why NOT?

  11. Does anyone know if Costa Rica has any chance at obtaining a rematch with the US?

  12. Jonathan Sanchez has been told he has made the rotation

  13. Per Kevin from yesterday… “I didn’t see Brad post yet today. Maybe he’s hiding because TK scored the game winning goal last night. I was looking for his usual TK comment like “the penguins should trade him while his value is high”… that would solve our roster situation”

    I’m disappointed, Kevin. I’ve NEVER once put “Tyler Kennedy” and “high trade value” seriously in the same sentence. :-) It wouldn’t solve a roster situation, but it would ease my personal angst.

    I wasn’t hiding. I was giving Kennedy an off day since he scored the GWG. It’s amazing how a human can cringe and cheer at the same time.

    • TK seems like he needs ritilin at times. I just wish they would make the kid happy and send him to Carolina to be reunited with Staal.

      Anyone see that the Hurricanes signed Semin to a 5yr extension

      • I just think Kennedy is way overrated. Flash in the pan. No sense at all of how to play D. I like a shot-happy offense, but he’s beyond extreme with shot selection, meaning there is none. Plus he’s just not as effective as he used to be.

        5years?! For 8 goals and 22 assists? Wow. Rutherford’s not holding back, is he. Between the Staals and Semin that’s like 40 years of hockey in 3 guys. Not sure those are the 3 I’d invest that much in.

        • Any team that would sign Semin beyond 2 years is insane. He’s inconsistency defined.

          • Yeah, but there was that classic photo of his slogan during the Caps series in 09 from the near top of the Igloo. That alone warrants an extra year.

      • Hey guys, if you click on the link I posted just up there, it mentions TK, and not in a good light. lol

    • Ha! Well, high for Kennedy. Definitely a high point for him this season.

  14. Was listening to MLB XM on the way in this morning. They told the story that Buck Showalter was asked the other day about his starting rotation. I can’t remember his exact reply but it basically was ” I have confidence, or am comfortable, with 3 guys”.

  15. I guess the optimistic side of me isn’t freaking out about the rotation. Because I know that it won’t stay this way for the entire year. And I am trying to be optimistic about Morton, Liriano, and Karstens returning.

    I never thought that my optimistic side was my best side.

  16. I thought I read a story the other day that had reports from “scouts” that said Cole really isn’t ready yet – and NH was right to send him down. They said that he is still too much of just a power pitcher.

    If at this point we only want him to be better than Sanchez, Locke, or McPherson, then I think the bar is set too low. I can wait for him.

  17. Huntington says that Charlie Morton & Francisco Liriano will not be put on the 60 day DL. Good news for them but bad news for non roster invitees trying to make the team. They’re already going to have to boot someone off the 40 man to make room for Jonathan Sanchez. The chances for guys like Brandon Inge, Felix Pie & Mike Zagurski just got worse.

    • Just as I say that, Brandon Inge has been told he’s on the team. He might start the season on the DL. Look for trade(s). Someone’s gotta go.

      • Gabby Sanchez; if Inge and Mcdonald are on the roster Sanchez only plays 1B and is in a platoon situation I could see him being dealt

        • His name has been floating around.

        • I like Jones, but at this point, I’d rather see him dealt over Gaby. I think there’s more upside with Gaby.

          • I agree with Arriba.

            And Sanchez is not tall.

            I really wonder what happens with Inge when he gets off the DL.
            He hasn’t looked all that good

            • Exactly. He’s shown nothing other than he is old, and a ‘veteran’.

              Bring back Kevin Young, he also once played third.

          • Wilver Dornel,

            And I previously always had so much respect for your opinions!

            Gaby Sanchez has yet to hit even 20 homers in a season! He is inconsistent at driving in runs!

            Garrett Jones has twice topped 21 HRs and twice 80 RBIs. He is much better at his job than Sanchez ever has been.

            Especially with the up-and-down performances of Pedro, Garrett Jones is needed as a consistent bopper and run producer.

            • Gaby has 78 and 85 RBI years, so that’s kind of a wash. I think that while he definitely doesn’t have the homerun potential of Garrett, he is a better full time player. He does better against lefties, but the splits aren’t as drastic as Garrett’s. and he’s a better defender. I hope they keep them both, but if push comes to shove, I’d go with Gaby.

              Oh, and I took your eyes on observation of the other Sanchez to heart, and am a lot more optimistic about him, especially in light of his last couple starts. Of course, he’ll probably crash and burn today. :-)

        • And by no means am I saying that Inge or Mcdonald should be on the roster over Sanchez the way he has hit this spring

      • Good lord. I don’t know who to be mad at, the addict or the enabler.

    • I doubt Zagurski makes the team.

    • I can understand not putting Liriano on the 60 day, but what is the logic in not putting Morton on it?

  18. Because of two scheduled days off in the first 11 days of the season, they only need a fifth starter the second and fourth times through the rotation, April 10 and 19. So if they treat April 10 as a fire drill start, meaning pull the alarm and bring up whoever from Indy you set up to start the same date, you can otherwise make it through until the fourth time through the rotation before truly naming a fifth starter. That provides time to see if Karstens or Liriano can get there.

    A weather postponement, common in April, either allows you to avoid the fire drill or wait until the 24th to pick a fifth starter.

    I would name four, set up the Indy rotation to be ready if necessary to cover the 10th, and let it play out.

    • They need a fifth starter April 7th.

    • I agree Drew. I’d include Jonathon in the four. Neither Locke or McPherson impressed me. Did you see either of them pitch?


    • Thanks for laying this out.

      When you look the situation in terms of number of starts, this really isn’t terrible. The 4th and 5th starters will combine for what, six starts in the first month of the season?

      Figure the team is good enough, at best, to win about half its games and you can make a reasonable guess that this rotation mess will cost them only 2 or 3 wins in the worst case scenario.

      What will be terrible is if the guys coming off injury and out of the minors don’t end up being an improvement over the first months rotation.

      • The 5th starter alone has to make 5 starts by May 1st.

        • I prefer Drew’s math, kind sir.

          • So do I, except he’s wrong.

          • The 5th starter makes his 1st start April 7th & then can only be skipped once until May 1st.

            • la la la la la la la la la….

            • You are right. But then the fire drill (from Indy) start becomes April 7 instead of the 10th. Fourth starter goes on the 10th, and an off day follows on the 11th. And the next date a fifth starter is needed after the 7th is April 16 (I had listed the 19th earlier).

              So I was taking credit for three more days than they had to play with, but the theory still holds. The don’t need a starter on the first and third time thru the rotation. So if they handle the second time with a guy from Indy, they don’t need to name a fifth starter until the fourth time thru.

              So I wouldn’t. See how it plays out.

  19. People here think Lohse put the Brewers in the wild card mix.

    Silly people.

    • Gailardo, Lohse, Estrada, Fiers, Peralta?

      Loooootta unknown after the first two.

      • I am not impressed with the Brewers. The Cubs stink and have injury issues with their pitching staff too. And the Cardinals have some injury issues as well.

        • Agreed. The Pirates have a chance this year to seriously compete in this division. Jeff Samardzija as OD pitcher? Gotta make hay there. Gallardo is solid but I’m not sold at all on Lohse and NMR points out the huge questions in the rest of the rotation.

          I learned a long time ago, though, never to dismiss the Cardinals..

          • When you look at the Brewers they had their chances when they dealt for CC and then dealt for Greinke but were never able to get it done. That team with Fielder, Antler Sniffer and CC were their best shot to win it all

          • Agreed, John. Still surprises me more people aren’t picking the Cards over the Reds.

            Might not make sense on paper, but the Reds core has yet to show they can step up in the post season.

            • On MLB XM this morning they had on a reporter from St Louis.

              Freese has a bad back and they aren’t sure what the problem is. Beltran with a bad toe. Some questions at short stop, Motte won’t start the season. (and Carpenter is gone).
              They do have a deep farm system and I wouldn’t count them out. But I am not as afraid of them as I was before.

              I still the Reds are going to be good. They can win this division.

      • I just bought an alternative home Pirates jersey (replica, of course). Per your previous post, that makes me both an addict and an enabler.

        • Ha, I think you misinterpreted my comment, which was in response to Brandon Inge making the team.

          The addict in this case is Clint Hurdle who is clearly hooked on crafty veteraness that oozes out of guys like Inge, Chad Qualls, Hisinori Takanashi, Rod Barajas, and Clint Barmes.

          The enbaler is Neal Huntington who continues to give his manager what he wants.

          • I think the team could use a veteran or two off of the bench. Especially for pinch hitting.

            The enabler just gotta find better stuff for the addict

            • I wonder if John Vander Wal is available. No one could pinch hit like him.

            • Or you can play the younger, more athletic, more talented people you already have in the system.

              Crazy thought, right?

              • +1

                That’s like telling some of my clients here to seek employment. They just look at you like “You’re not from here, right?”

                Well, Brother NMR, you are from here, right?

              • Haha, bourn and raised, my friend. Shoulda known better.

              • Who would those guys be NMR?

                Harrison? Mercer? Presley?

              • No way Inge is a better baseball player at this point in his career than de Jesus or Mercer. Just no way.

                Tell me, Thunder, what decision has Clint Hurdle made, personel wise, that has worked out well? Why does he deserve the benefit of the doubt?

                Pedro Ciriaco riding the pine? Qualls and Takanashi over McP, Wilson, and Morris?

              • Where is the evidence Neal got Qualls and Takanashi because Clint wanted them?

              • That’s not my argument, AW.

                Neal acquired those players. Hurdle used them when better options were available.

                Thus, my comment above. I don’t know who to be mad at, the addict or the enabler.

              • NMR,
                I tend to agree with you to a degree. I would like younger guys to get a chance. I wanted Mercer to get more playing time last year – but know I think they may know something about his talent level. I would like more playing time to prove that out.

                But I am mainly talking about pinch hitting. A key spot late in the game where a hit gets you a win or ties the game up – I’ll feel more comfortable with a veteran than Mercer or DeJesus at this point.

                Hurdle is not unlike many managers – they will look towards the veteran. As much as I wanted Mercer to play more during last year’s slide, there was no way he was going to bench Barmes for Mercer. (and I’m not saying I am happy with the results)

              • I’ve always thought that winning organizations make younger guys EARN a chance…force their way onto the 25 man, force their way onto the starting lineup.

                Rather than give them a chance, make em earn it.

              • Well, I think we can give Hurdle credit for plucking Grilli from AAA Lehigh Valley.

  20. ESPN rumor central lists the Pirates as a team the Dodgers may approach about trading a SP with Karstens going on the DL.

  21. Pierre LeBrun reporting that the Pens are still very active in the Iginla chase despite Morrow and Murray additions. Perhaps even trying to make a deal before the deadline. Stated Pens see this as an all in year with the additional cap space they won’t have in the future.

    • Just a question for all you puck heads from a non-hockey expert.

      If the Pens get Iginla, does that make us last season’s Dodgers who went overboard and got great names but no results or last season’s Giants who got great names and went on to grab the big prize?

      Just asking. Maybe the answer is neither, but I hope it’s the Giants.

    • Now that’s a funny way to look at things — Neal Huntington.

    • I’ve also read that the Flames are looking for a first round pick, a top-tier prospect, and a second-tier prospect for Iginla. I’m a big fan of Iginla and have been a vocal supporter of Shero trying to bring him here, but that’s too high a price to pay for any rental that doesn’t come with a Stanley Cup guarantee. That being said, I expect Boston to pay that price… especially since they lost out on Brenden Morrow.

      I don’t think the Pens are necessarily done. Morrow and Murray are more fortifications to the lineup rather than true upgrades, providing additional depth and grit for a sustained cup run. I’m sure Shero would love to add one or two difference makers (one forward, one defense), but he may have to affect the current lineup more than he’s comfortable with just to make that happen.

      We’ll see. Shero is certainly loaded for bruin… pun intended.

      • Shero certainly upped the ante for the Bruins. I like that.
        I’m not so sure the Pens need “true” upgrades. I like what Shero brought in. Maybe a good fourth line player would be sufficient.
        Shero is making moves that fortify our weak spots. He’s not done yet.
        I can’t wait to see what the next move is.

        • I agree with you, the Pens don’t necessarily “need” upgrades…

          But, Shero seems determined to end this string of playoff disappointments. Coupled with the fact that the Pens have the cap space to take on additional salary and an enviable amount of assets to move means Shero is in a position to go big, should he desire.

    • I think thats more rumor by Calgary so they can still keep other teams interested in Iginla. The more people they have at the table the better the package they can get in return. I sincerly doubt Shero would go after TWO high price veterans that are both rentals.

      He would almost HAVE to give up despres or bennett to get Iginal. He’s already going to have tough choices about roster moves when Letang and Geno come back. I suppose he could send both back down, or try and expose Bortuzzo or Glass to waivers.

      But it is nice to think about:


      Damn thats nice.

  22. After Drew’s Wonderful Weekly Weather Update, I don’t know why we’re even worrying about 5th starters. With all these early home games we may not need one until mid-May.

  23. More from ESPN. Stating that the Patriots are likely waiting to offer Sanders a contract until the Steelers make their own moves to fill some other holes and eat into what little cap space they have which would only make matching an offer for Sanders that much more difficult. The Pats have until the 19th to make Sanders an offer.

    • I wouldn’t mind at all if the Pats signed him. I really don’t think there is much a variance between Sanders and Cotchery plus we get their 3rd round pick.

      I can’t imagine the Pats would do that as they’d end up with just 4 picks in this year’s draft and two of them are in the 7th round.

    • This is one of the deepest WR draft pools in recent years. If he goes, no worries.

    • That did make me ill.

    • If anyone is an expert on being corrupt it would be Boras

    • Just Boras explaining to his clients why they didn’t get more. Trouble for him is it was collectively bargained, so it’s the rule of the land until December 1, 2016. He can b#t%h all he wants until then.

    • Crazy how much people take this guy’s words as facts. It is his OPINION that the system reduced the market for his clients.

      Still have yet to see a single entity do some actual analysis of what his clients would’ve been expecting pre-CBA and what they actually got.

      Just because it took longer for a couple guys to sign doesn’t automatically mean it was because of the draft rules. How can people accept that while ignoring the fact that Boras was asking upwards of $45m for Lohse’s services just two weeks ago? That was insane.

      • Sure, it’s his opinion, just like it would be someone else’s opinion that they wouldn’t have gotten more. The thing that kind of supports his opinion is that the whole point of everything that the owners have done since the institution of free agency is to try to reduce the increase in salaries. And that includes the new comp rules (although probably more players benefited by getting rid of the A and B system).

        Don’t get me wrong, he’s only talking from his perspective in terms of his clients, and it’s silly to call it “corrupt” but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t affected his ability to get more money for his clients.

  24. Asking price for iginla is evidently a first round pick and 2 prospects.

  25. Red Sox release Lyle Overbay. I’m never going to get rid of that ball. :(

  26. I will repeat here what I reported 2 weeks ago——when I was in Pirate City, where you can stand 8 feet behind catcher while pitchers get their work——no pitcher’s ball had as much movement, sharp and quick and decisive, as Jonathan Sanchez. And the catcher would put his mitt anywhere, and Sanchez, even with movement, would almost always hit it. With pop!!

    I said at the time that he obviously was having trouble translating that control and movement with a live batter in the box . . . . . his last two times out he has had that Pirate City control and movement in real games.

    He could go BOOM like Erik Bedard——but I really like my good friend Neal Huntington’s signing of Jonathan Sanchez.

    Excuse me now while I close my eyes and try to walk through this mine field.

  27. The Phillies have released Aaron Cook & there are Hurdle connections there. I saw him pitch about 10 days ago against the Pirates. He only allowed 1 hit in 3 innings. I thought he threw the ball pretty well – for Aaron Cook.

  28. Red Sox going all out to keep the fans coming. Dropping the price of beer from $8.50 to $5, hot dogs are buy one get one and kids eat for free.

  29. Penguins TV ratings are insane. So glad to see a great fan response to this great organization. I remember days in the early 80′s yelling at friends across a near empty Civic Arena. The legend of Mario Lemieux continues.

    Hockey Tahn.

  30. Is anyone working today???? Is this a record for the blog?

  31. Milo; how do you win an autographed Lyle Overbay baseball? Was that like a boobie prize? You should autograph one and send it to him.

  32. Some thoughts on the Pirates as we draw closer to OPENING DAY…

    * I guess I’m in the minority (from comments I’ve seen recently), but I’m not all that concerned with our 4th & 5th starter spots. I’m more concerned with AJ & James. And not that I’m concerned that they’ll be terrible, but can they repeat the success they saw last season? Can Burnett be the anchor again? Can James pitch as he did in last year’s 1st half, all season? These are the questions that I think are the biggest for our pitching staff, and what will have the biggest affect on our W/L record…not how Locke & McPherson throw.

    * Looks like Jonathon Sanchez is the #4 (or #5, however you want to look at it) to start the season. Just try and keep the walks to a minimum, that’s all I ask. Maybe he can have an AJ-esque “bounce back” season for us, but I’m not holding my breath on that 1. He just needs to pitch well enough to keep us in ball games for the 1st month or two. By then, Karstens, Liriano, Morton, and maybe Gerritt Cole will all be ready to get into the rotation.

    * I think it serves this team better if Jose Tabata can win the starting RF job. And it strictly from the stand point that he can lead off. If there’s 1 area that GM Huntington can be criticized, it’s the failure to secure a lead off hitter for this season. Hoping that Tabata can do it, or that Marte can do it really isn’t the best plan.

    * Also looks now as if Brandon Inge has made the team. I guess he goes into the “veteran leadership” category, as well as the “good clubhouse guy”. I look at our bench guys, in the same way I look at the 4th & 5th starter spots. They just need to be OK. The team isn’t going to live and die by these players, and if they are, then that means the guys we were counting on (our starters) didn’t get it done, and then that becomes the real issue.

    * I think all of the teams in the NL Central have major question marks with their pitching staffs heading into this season. The Cubs have Jeff Samardzja penciled in as their #1 which is an unproven (he’s pitched in the majors for sometime now, but does he have the stuff to be a #1?) We’ll see if Wainwright can stay healthy in St. Louis. Past Yovanni Gallardo in Milwaukee there’s question marks. In Cincinnati, Cueto is solid and Latos pitched well last season, but what will Bronson Arroyo and Homer Bailey do? Will Chapman have any adverse effects to being moved back to the bullpen? So while we have a few issues of our own to deal with, I also don’t think it’s sunshine & lollipops around the rest of the division.

    * This team needs to win at least 82 games this season, and Andrew McCutchen has to be the horse for just about all 162. This team goes as he goes. We’ve seen it in the past that he’s the catalyst for this group’s play.

    * Prediction: I’m still sticking with my 86-76. If they do that, it probably still wouldn’t be good enough to get 1 of the 2 wild cards, so don’t think playoffs are in the stars for this season.

    * Slogan: I’m going with…”2013 Pittsburgh Pirates. It NEEDS to happen.” Sometimes a sense of urgency can spurn greatness. Let’s hope so….


  33. I come back from vacation to find Jonathan Sanchez has made the rotation not as the 5th starter but as the Pirates 4th starter?

    Karstens hurt again (I will give NH credit on this one as he stated publicly Jeff’s body not holding up), our AAAA pitchers seem incapable of stepping up when given the opportunity, Morton and Liriano signed knowing full well they would not be ready for a couple of months and our best pitcher was shipped to Indianapolis.

    Appears it is going to be a bumpy ride in April, I just hope this team can gut in out and are still playing meaningful baseball when I head out to Anaheim in late June to see them play a series.

  34. You can talk about Shero’s trades all you want but nothing, nothing will ever top the one Craig Patrick made to get Ulf Samuelsson, Grant Jennings and Ron Francis. Not only did they win the cup with them but these guys actually stayed around for a few years…..not just one and done!

    • Craig Patrick didn’t have to deal with a salary cap and had an owner that made them bankrupt.

      I’d say Shero and Mario are doing just fine considering the different circumstances.

      But yes the Francis and Ulf deal was one of the best; the one to get Tocchet wasn’t bad either.

  35. From the Pens’ site:
    Morrow WILL play tonight. Fleury will start in goal.
    All else is game time decision.

  36. Smart little girl:
    When Brenden Morrow had to decide whether or not to waive his no trade clause and come to Pittsburgh, he got some good advice from his 8-year-old daughter Bryelle…

    “I had an early flight this morning and got up and gave a kiss to my 8-year-old and said I was taking off,” Morrow said. “She handled it pretty well. We had the talk the night before. I got a text when I landed in Atlanta from my wife. She said, ‘Bryelle came into the room two minutes after you left and saw me crying. And she said, ‘Mom, it’s going to be OK. It’s only a couple months and he’s got a chance to win a Cup.’”

    • I hate to crush a little girl’s hopes, but I have a feeling that Morrow is going to stick around. I really think he’s going to have an impact: on the ice, in the locker room, and in the hearts of the fans. Morrow-Sutter-Cooke could become the best third line in hockey next season…

    • Never know, if Morrow is a good fit and the Pens win the cup – or even if they don’t – the family may be moving to Pittsburgh to join him.

      Regardless; if he winds up playing for at least a couple more years, they’ll probably have to relocate anyway, since I highly doubt he’ll be rejoining the Stars.

      • that’s a good option, move to DaBurgh…and join the best sports team around :)

        • You don’t just move to DaBurgh. You become part of DaBurgh. Just ask Bill Guerin

          • I remember once as a teen, one morning after a party with my friends the night before, getting kinda lost in the Wilkinsburg area. We stopped to ask a responsible looking young man ;) where exactly we were, and he just said: “Yo man, you in DaBuuurgh!” We just laughed and drove away…Still not sure if he meant DaBurgh as in Pittsburgh, or DaBurg as Wilkinsburg.

            • SJB, DaBurgh is Pittsburgh, it’s a “Burgh” thang ;)

              • I know, that’s why we were laughing. We were just thinking he was all about Wilkinsburg…just hoping he could be a little more specific is all. Too bad we weren’t in Wilmerding. “Yo man, you in DaDing!”

  37. 273 posts by 11:30 CDT.

    Pens must be doing good and the baseball season must be approaching.

  38. MAJOR ANNOUCEMENT regarding “The Window” for the 2013 season. Hopefully on the radio today. That is if DK takes my call…

    • “The window”? Is that a new TV series on NBC?

      • Weren’t your around here last year, Seth.

        “The Window” is playoffs alter-ego. He ran a highly addictive and popular over/under last year for Pirates game.

        Hopefully, the announcement is that he will be doing it again this year and not announcing that he is taking his talents to South Beach.

        • This new format on the site will help Playoffs immensely.

          We can help too by not giving him any hassles

          It was a lot of fun and greatly appreciated.

      • Teddy Bear, if you’re a wagering man, you’ll love “the Window”

    • DK. Take his call! I want to finish in last place, where I was heading last year before the window was closed.

  39. Sanchez gets a one-year deal worth $1,375,000, and Inge a deal for $1.25 million. The pair must be put on the 40-man roster by Sunday.–From AP

    • That is flushing $1.25 million down the toilet.

    • I don’t think 1.25 million for Inge is that bad. He has decent numbers for a bench player.

      • There have been a series, no not that series, of players Neal brings in that only cost us $1 or so here and there and all of them have been basically wasted money. Would rather save all the “change” and get some real bench players…

        Fire Neal Huntington! Had to get it out of my system.

  40. In case some of you guys have a few minutes….

    I found this story this morning on my favorite news site, and it shows that sportsmanship is still alive and well in the USofA.

  41. With all the big a$$es we have in the front office you need a bunch of TP

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