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Monday Wakeup Call: Make your pick

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

>> The Monday column looks at the Pirates’ mental state, as well as that of their surroundings, even as it offers a prediction for how they’ll fare in 2013.

Here’s a neat thing from the workout yesterday. Flicked on the video to start interviewing Jason Grilli and, as you’ll see, he pretty much took it from there …

And here’s our Pirates page, which includes Rob Biertempfel’s Opening Day feature on Grilli, weather/parking updates and all of our Sunday season preview stuff that includes fellow columnist Joe Starkey’s own prediction for the Pirates’ record as well as a full sabremetric breakdown of the entire roster. (Took up a whole page in the Sunday paper!)

Here’s today’s Trib front page …

>> To far larger stuff across the river, where Sidney Crosby was diagnosed with a broken jaw. All the details are in there, brought to you by Rob Rossi. I shared a few thoughts of my own right here on the blog.

>> How the NFL owners’ win in the last labor pact is already clear, by Alan Robinson.

>> Thoughts/prayers to Louisville’s Kevin Ware. My God.

>> Maybe Wichita State wasn’t all bad, upon further review. What is it about beating Pitt in the NCAA Tournament that propels teams to the Final Four?

Oh, almost forgot: In honor of the Francisco Liriano mention in the column …

>> I will not cover the opener. I’m off today.

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. Skip says:

    Very well done column on the Pirates. I think you nailed it.

  2. Chad says:

    Agreed

  3. Chad says:

    Two words: Hoka Hey!

  4. Bizrow says:

    I’ll be at the game, sitting next to the fellow blogger that is going to catch Pedro’s first blast over the Clemente Wall, also freezing my keister off, for sure

    LETS GO BUCS!!!!

  5. JohninOshkosh says:

    The Pirates are religion to me, so my question for 2013: Who will answer?

    Is our hope in walnut shells
    Worn ’round the neck with temple bells,
    Or deep within some cloistered walls
    Where hooded figures pray in halls?
    Or crumbled books on dusty shelves,
    Or in our stars, or in ourselves,
    Who will answer?

    If the soul is darkened
    By a fear it cannot name,
    If the mind is baffled
    When the rules don’t fit the game,
    Who will answer? Who will answer? Who will answer?
    Hallelujah! Hallelujah!, Hallelujah!

    (L.E. AUTE, SHEILA DAVIS)

    I’ll go with 82-80

  6. JRay3 says:

    Fair assessment of the Bucs as we head towards one of the most exciting days of the year, Opening Day.

    The Pirates need to see leaders emerge, I still get upset over that Pirates -Reds game from lat last season when Cutch gets drilled, he was fired up but was anyone else. The follow-up was a tip toe response, I hope more leaders emerge because there is some really good young talent on this team and a lineup that finally looks somewhat respectable. At least Midre Cummings or Brant Brown aren’t leading off and Joe Randa is not the team’s best hitter.

    The Bucs need the rotation to hold it together though the first 6-8weeks, and hope we have some reinforcements that can add to the top of the rotation when they step in.

    Can’t wait to see the team in about a week for their series out here in Arizona, and hope all enjoy the game tomorrow though the cold…..GO BUCS!

    As for the Pitt mention up top, maybe we are seeing the Panthers have had some tough draws in the tournaments, Butler as an 8 seed goes to Final Four, now Wichita ST as 9 seed goes after beating Pitt, I still hold the belief one of these days the Panthers and Jamie Dixon are going to create some breaks and will get there sometime in the near future.

  7. Bizrow says:

    Hope like the dickens,

    But you know, expect…

    Just like the government

    That is a non-party, non-anti statement about any particular party, person or otherwise

  8. Boise Bucco says:

    I don’t know who’s keeping track, but here goes–

    I’ve gone positive the last two years, no reason to stop now. DK says 76-86 so I’ll take the mirror image…put me down for 86-76, 4 games behind the Cardinals.

  9. Bizrow says:

    + 1758437 on the response to the Reds

    I think I read somewhere that the players were told not to respond to Chapmans chin music

  10. Boise Bucco says:

    @DK, I think if your prediction holds true though, we’ll be seeing the last of Neil Huntington. Hurdle stays though.

  11. Bizrow says:

    On opening day, we might get a few more lunatics to sign in

    Welcome Lunatics, if you don’t see your current location below, please add a reply to this post

    Dejan’s Lunatic Nation – at the Trib,
    Arizona – Tucson, Chandler, Phoenix, Sunnyslope, Davis-Monthan AFB*
    Arkansas – Rogers
    Alaska – Anchorage
    Austrailia – Mackay
    California – Bakersfield, San Francisco, UNION CITY, Los Angeles, Newport Beach, Hollywood, Huntington Beach, Yuba City, Solana Beach, Yorba Linda, Yuba City*, Edwards, Long Beach, Modesto, Davis
    Canada – Toronto, Winnipeg, Moncton – New Brunswick, Ontario – Muskoka
    China – Beijing
    Colorado – Ft Collins, Estes Park*, Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs
    Connecticut – Cos Cob, Bridgeport, Wallingford, Norwalk, NEWTOWN
    Costa Rica
    Czech Republic
    Delaware – Newark
    Denmark – Greenland – Thule*
    District of Columbia
    Florida – Palm Harbor, Orlando, Valrico, Gainesville, Daytona Beach, Oviedo, Tampa, Jacksonville, Sarasota, Palm Beach Gardens, Cape Coral, Coco Beach (Major Nelson and Mary Ann), Niceville (Red Neck Rivera), St Petersburg, Pembroke Pines, Ft Lauderdale, Palm Beach Gardens, Hallandale Beach
    Georgia – Marietta, Atlanta, Sandy Springs, Acworth
    Germany – Leverkusen/Cologne
    Hawaii – Honolulu
    Idaho – Mountain Home, Coer d’Aline, Mountain Home AFB*
    Indiana – Indianapolis, Burns Harbor, South Bend, Bicknell, Ft Wayne
    Iowa – Bettendorf, Humboldt
    Illinois – La Salle, Peru, Payson, Chicago, Palatine (3 inmates there), Lincoln Park, Grayslake, Algonquin
    Japan – Tokyo
    Kentucky – Louisville, Bowling Green, Lexington
    Louisiana – Slidell
    Maine – Bangor
    Maryland – Arnold, Odenton, Severn, Baltimore, Waldorf, Hagerstown, Chevy Chase, Hampstead
    Massachusetts – Boston, Tygnsboro
    Michigan – Kalamazoo, Eaton Rapids, Lansing, Ann Arbor
    Minnesota – Yinzer
    Mississippi – Biloxi
    Missouri – St Peters***
    Montana
    Nebraska – Omaha
    New Hampshire – Barrington
    New Jersey – Chesterfield, Princeton, Roxbury, Lebanon, Lincoln Park, Berkeley Heights, Somerville, Hammock, Barrington, Delran, Pennsville
    New Mexico – Mike
    New York – New York, Smithtown, Manhattan, Long Island, Nyack, Brooklyn
    Nevada, Las Vegas
    North Carolina – Asheville, Hickory, Charlotte, Raleigh, Charleston, Wilmington, Chapel Hill, High Point
    North Dakota
    Ohio – Cincinnati, Columbiana, Westerville, Green, Hilliard, Toledo, Louisville, Columbus, Perrysburg, Pickerington, Youngstown, Cleveland, Olmsted Township, Liberty Township, Warren, Oregon, Wintersville, Austintown, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base*, New Philadelphia, Powell, Canton, Salem, New Albany, Bloomingdale

    Pennsylvania – Downtown, Hopewell, Indiana, North Wales, Franklin Park, Forest Hills, Lansdale, Philadelphia, Du Bois, Reading, Crafton, Arnold, Wexford, Mt Lebanon, Canonsburg, Lancaster, Huntington, York, Boiling Springs, Philly suburbs, Morningside, Harrisburg, Lawrenceville, Bradfordwoods, Norristown, Hanover, Clearfield, Sewickley, DuBois, Plum Boro, Slippery Rock, Wilks-Barre, Sharpsville, Bessemer, Greensburg, Washington, Imperial, South Side, Duncansville, Newville, Sheppton, Grove City, Butler, Allentown, Ross Township, Blairsville, Flood City (Johnstown), Overbrook, Danny’s Hoagies, Baldwin, Economy, Sharpsville, Erie, North Huntington, Bellfonte, West Mifflin, Kennywood, Pleasant Hills, Beechview (Mad Turk, No 200), Macgunie, Mechanicsburg, Uptown, Cambria County, Mon Valley, Salisbury, Coraopolis, Emsworth, Cranberry Twp, Garrett, O’Hara Township, McCandless Township, 115 Federal Street, Bethel Park, Harrison City, Penn Hills, Kittanning, Dover, Lebanon, Upper St Clair, Rennerdale, Oakland, Scranton, Moon (RMU), State College, Erie, Penn Twp, Stowe, Elizabeth, Hermitage, Easton, Carlisle, Finleyville, Belle Vernon, Madison, Sellersville, Waynesburg, Warren, Beaver Falls, Chambersburg, Green Castle, East Freedom, Leechburg, Banksville City, Ellwood City (named after one of the Blues Brothers??), Hollidaysburg
    The Philipines
    Rhode Island
    Singapore
    South Carolina – Duncan, Longs, Columbia, Bluffton, Greensville
    South Korea – Seoul, Mike
    Sweden
    Tennessee – Smithville, Nashville
    Texas – Tyler, San Antonio, Belton, Houston, Katy, Plano, El Paso
    Utah – Salt Lake City, Provo
    Vermont – North Bennington
    Virginia – JAL, Hampton, Rescue, Richmond, Front Royal, Woodbridge, Suffolk, Warrenton, Springfield*, Virginia Beach, Fairfax, Arlington, Yorktown, Henrico, Aldie, Manassas, Newport News, Clifton
    Washington – Seattle, Nine Mile Falls, Spokane, Sammamish
    West Virginia – Martinsburg, Morgantown, Wheeling, Mt Olivet
    Wisconsin – Madison, Oshkosh, Hortonville
    Wyoming – Caspar, Lander

    320 locations represented in the blog,
    Honorary members, people that have, in our opinion, made a difference
    Beano
    Lemonade Guy
    The Gunner, Mr Bob Prince
    The Great One
    Mike Lange
    Myron Cope
    The Honorable Mayor Richard Caliguiri
    Kevin Mcclachety
    Mike Emerick
    Commander Hadfield, courtesy of the Space Station
    Fred Rogers
    Wilver Dornell Stargell, No 8
    Maz
    Mario Lemieux
    Chuck Noll
    13 countries
    45 states, plus the District of Columbia, missing 5 states, North Dakota, South Dakota, Alabama, Kansas and Oklahoma
    Two planets, at least confirmed, and the Space Station
    Honorable mention, England – London – Lisa
    Asterisks denote confirmed hero’s, military, police officers or firemen/ladies
    4/1/2013 12:30 AM

  12. RobertoForever says:

    24/7′s story is headlined “Deep Rotation…”

    Joe Starkey sees the best rotation in years, predicts a winning season.

    I definitely see improvement in several spots. Did they sign Greinke or Hamilton? No, but there is improvement.

    I see 84 wins. And like USA Today, I see competition in the NL Central.

  13. Mizery says:

    68-94 and that’s being generous. All the interviews sound the same as they did 16 years ago about really going out there and proving how good they really are, and how the fans deserve e a winner. Blah, blah, blah is all I hear. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice shame on you. Fool me for twenty years, shame on the best management team in all of sports.

  14. RobertoForever says:

    Just a side note from the Western Conference of the NHL.

    Folks always say a hot goalie can take a team along way. Just watched the Blue Jackets beat the Division leading Ducks last night. The Jackets just finished a 10-2-5 month, and Sergei Bobrovsky is standing on his head,night after night.

    They are in the 8th playoff spot today. Could easily see them climbing up to the 6th or 7th spot.

  15. RobertoForever says:

    Speaking of last year’s prediction, does anyone have the link to last years? Would be interesting to see.

    DK: Funny that you ask. Maybe when I remind, you’ll recall that I actually nailed it exactly — first time ever — at 79-83.

    Here’s guessing that never happens again.

  16. RobertoForever says:

    Maybe he put the cart before the horse on that, cause effect thingy?

    Perhaps? Maybe?

  17. Boise Bucco says:

    Glad to see them succeeding without Rick Trash. Hope they keep it up next year when they join the Atlantic Division.

  18. RobertoForever says:

    Wait, I just relooked at the blog post.

    Did that last line say there is no coverage of the opener? No yapping? No tweeting?

    I am confused. How many of the other 29 MLB markets will have no columnist coverage.

  19. RobertoForever says:

    It will be a welcome change here in Columbus. A little tired of half of the road games starting at 10pm and 1030pm. Made no sense.

    I think the new GM and the young talent that the last GM built up has created an excellent base for competing. Only 4 players on the roster are 30 or over. And 8 or 10 that are 24 or younger, I think.

    Looked really good tonight.

  20. Chris says:

    I predict 86 wins this year. After 2/3 of the season (not half…) the Pirates were on pace for 92 or 93 wins. Maybe they were playing over their heads, but I don’t think they were as bad as the team that finished the last 1/3 of the season so horrendously.

    The loss of the Astros hurts, but I think this years team is substantially better than the team we saw for the majority of 2012.

    Starling Marte played only 47 games last year and over the offseason he placed the blame of some of his struggles on the fact that he was playing through an injury. Despite this, his 162 game averages would have produced 17 HR’s, 41 SB’s and great defense. I don’t expect his walk rate to improve by much this year, but I do expect his batting average to get up closer to .270-.275 as he gains more experience.

    Wandy Rodriguez pitched 130 innings for the Astros last year and only 75 for the Pirates while putting up an ERA of 3.76. That is his worst ERA since 2007. IF the Pirates get 200 innings from Wandy with the type of production he’s had over the last 5 seasons then that is an ENORMOUS upgrade over the 125 innings Erik Bedard pitched for the Pirates last year.

    Those are the main two upgrades.

  21. Stuart says:

    Put me down for 83 – 79. But I can’t shake an ominous feeling that the pitching could implode big time.

    Stuart

  22. Ghost says:

    Yep.

  23. Reading says:

    Does winning a Cup in a strike-shortened season really count? Asterisk anybody?

  24. Ghost says:

    The season won’t unfurl in the exact same way, but it will end at 79-83 again. Last year’s team played over their heads for the first half of the season. Don’t expect that again for a long time. I’ll be optimistic and say that they also won’t tank as badly as they did in the second half. But the Cardinals remain a better team and the Reds are far better. (The Brewers and Cubs we’ll conveniently write off.) Now, could either the Reds or Cards hit speed bumps and leave the Bucs an opening? Yes, I believe the Bucs have an outside shot at a wild card spot if that (and a few other breaks) transpire. But here’s where TBMTIB would then need to step up come late July… Like I said: 79-83.

  25. Ghost says:

    This one I’ll wade into. Everyone is playing the same shortened season, no? I don’t see how this would compare to something like a single-season homerun record.

  26. radio wave says:

    Time for my annual prediction 75 wins 87 losses.

  27. Chad says:

    70-75 wins is what I’m going with and sticking with. Their rotation will break down no matter how much duct tape they use. Their hitters will be themselves: Cutch will do what he does, Pedro will strike out a gazillion times but hit 30-40 homeruns, Marte will become a decent leadoff hitter etc. Finally if the Pirates find themselves in a the midst of a chance to make the playoffs, the bunch of nincompoops in the front office will surely ruin those chances.

  28. JoeyBats says:

    Hoka Hey everyone,
    .
    As we embark on the start of another season let me echo the words of DK from the other day….
    .
    “I’m born and raised in Pittsburgh. I hate what’s become of our Pirates. If you’re fine with failure, that’s your prerogative. I’m not.”
    .
    1. I cannot be as optimistic as our Manager – no way do I see 95 wins as being possible…not in our wildest dreams.
    2. Even on opening day….when hope spring “eternal” …I can’t see this team winning 82 games. Not with this terrible pitching staff. I want this horrible streak to end as much as anyone. I can’t believe this storied franchise has gone an entire generation without playing winning baseball. Shame on you Nutting family.
    3. The best I can see for this club is this year is 76-86. Hoping that Gerrit Cole and Starling Marte develop into genuine, productive MLB players and that this season sets the stage for busting this ridiculous streak in 2014.
    .
    Hopefully, this year will bring a regime change at several levels of the organization … :-(
    .
    BEAT ‘EM BUCS !

  29. lasedog8 says:

    75-87, I’m not convinced that A.J. Burnett will be able to repeat what he did last year. I think Wandy will be an improvement over last year’s #2, but JMac isn’t the same pitcher and I believe the bottom of the rotation is going to be downright terrible.

    On top of that, there doesn’t seem to be any significant improvement at the plate. We dumped one catcher that bats .200 for another with (hopefully) a little more pop in the bat. Barmes is an easy out at short, and we don’t have a true lead-off hitter. Too many challenges to overcome.

  30. JosePagan says:

    No bench. “Help” for the starting pitching to come from one guy with a broken humerus and the other coming off surgery. A guy like Snider on the roster, let alone potentially starting in RF to see what he has this season that he did not last season. A bullpen put together by a guy who has put together bullpens, for multiple years now, that finish at or near the bottom (statistically) of the NL. No Astros.

    74 – 88

    Jose

  31. NY Bucco Fan says:

    If we have line ups like the one Hurdle put in for today, then 75 wins might be our max. I do hope he’s giving us an April fools joke.

  32. Thundercrack says:

    Astros beat the Rangers.

    I’m glad they aren’t in our division anymore.

  33. leefoo says:

    Please, please, please let Dejan’s (almost) unblemished prediction record again be proven wrong!

    The only problem is that I almost agree with him. I predicted 77 wins.

    Of course, I also thought AJ Burnett was a horrible pickup. I think my prediction record rivals Mr K’s.

    MAY BE BOTH BE HORRIBLY WRONG THIS YEAR!

    On Oct 1, I wanna call ‘em ” Broke the streak Buccos”.

    Stay warm Bucaroos.

  34. leefoo says:

    “May WE”

  35. leefoo says:

    Great minds…I just said the same thing on the Plus.

  36. Thundercrack says:

    I like Neil Walker a lot. But I hate when athletes try to measure the fans’ ‘investment’ and compare it to the players’ investment.

    “But to people who know baseball and see what’s going on, see how talented this group really is … I think they’ll be with us.”

    I’ll be with you Neil. Now can you finally explain to me how a team that was 16 games over .500 with two months to play still ended up below .500.

  37. leefoo says:

    Neil got hurt? JMac blew up?

    Ya need any more?

    :)

  38. tdb1977 says:

    The first of 162 today. I have on my board at work 62 and 100. But I really think that could be wrong. As the season now gets underway, I will go in tomorrow and change that number to 77 and 85 for the season record, with losing season 21. It will be interesting to see how this teams comes together this year. Enjoy Opening Day today, as I know I will from section 327 today. Beat ‘em down today Bucs!

  39. 21sthebest says:

    85 wins. Younger players improving as a group helps to overcome starting pitching depth.

  40. JAL says:

    JAL’s This Will Be Our Year Morning Links

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FmuswTEGF-U

    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 Notebook: Opening Day Start a First for A.J. Burnett

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/03/pirates-notebook-opening-day-start-a-first-for-a-j-burnett.html

    Pittsburgh Pirates 2013 Season Preview: The Bullpen

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/03/pittsburgh-pirates-2013-season-preview-the-bullpen.html

    Pittsburgh Pirates 2013 Season Preview: The Bench

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/03/pittsburgh-pirates-2013-season-preview-the-bench.html

    6 Bucs Dugout

    Bucs Dugout Podcast: Season preview

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2013/4/1/4169240/bucs-dugout-podcast-season-preview

    7 The Daily News Journal

    Former Blue Raider McKenry finds stability with Pirates

    http://www.dnj.com/article/20130401/BLUERAIDERS04/304010014

    8 Rant Sports

    AJ Burnett Ready to Lead Pittsburgh Pirates on Opening Day

    http://www.rantsports.com/mlb/2013/03/30/a-j-burnett-ready-to-lead-pittsburgh-pirates-on-opening-day/

    9 Rumbunter

    We Should Have Quit The Pirates A Long Time Ago

    http://rumbunter.com/2013/03/31/we-should-have-quit-the-pirates-a-long-time-ago/

    Pittsburgh Pirates Opening Day Photo Hunt: Win $100

    http://rumbunter.com/2013/03/31/pittsburgh-pirates-opening-day-photo-hunt-win-100/

    10 Green Weenie

    2013 Pirates – The Pitchers

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2013/03/2013-pirates-pitchers.html

  41. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 Yahoo Sports

    Will Clint Hurdle Lead the Pittsburgh Pirates to a Winning Season?

    http://sports.yahoo.com/news/clint-hurdle-lead-pittsburgh-pirates-winning-season-190500079–mlb.html

    12 Baseball News Source

    Pittsburgh Pirates ‘Wish’ to Contend with a ‘Wishful’ Thinking 2013 Rotation

    http://baseballnewssource.com/mlb/pittsburgh-pirates-wish-to-contend-with-a-wishful-thinking-2013-rotation/18557/

    13 Chicago Tribune

    Series preview: Cubs at Pirates

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs/ct-spt-0401-series-cubs-pirates-chicago-20130401,0,1856494.story

    14 CBS Sports

    Chicago at Pittsburgh-Game Preview

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/gametracker/preview/MLB_20130401_CHC@PIT/cubspirates-preview

    15 City of Champions

    Pittsburgh Pirates Season Preview: A look at the Bullpen

    http://cityofchampionssports.com/2013/03/31/pittsburgh-pirates-season-preview-a-look-at-the-bullpen/

    16 Centre Daily Times

    Ron Musselman | Low-budget Pirates have cornered the market on losing

    http://www.centredaily.com/2013/03/31/3560772/ron-musselman-low-budget-pirates.html

    17 Altoona Mirror

    Curve exceeds owner’s expectations

    http://www.altoonamirror.com/page/content.detail/id/570229/Curve-exceeds-owner-s-expectations.html?nav=742

    18 PBC Site

    Hopeful Cubs, Bucs face off on Opening Day

    http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2013_04_01_chnmlb_pitmlb_1&mode=preview&vkey=preview_web_home&c_id=pit

    SPORTS WEBSITES

    19 Baseball Prospectus

    Opening Day Madness

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=19979

    20 Fangraphs

    2013 staff predictions

    http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/2013-staff-predictions/

  42. JAL says:

    This Will Be Our Year The Zombies 1968 off the Odessey and Oracle album

  43. JAL says:

    Opening day, all baseball and that still doesn’t make me an apologist!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  44. Joey Mellons says:

    Joey Mellons. Hammonton, NJ. Year of the buccos. 89-73.

  45. Jandy says:

    Please! smh

  46. Jandy says:

    Here’s what FOX predicts for the Pirates:
    http://www.foxsportssouth.com/photo-gallery?gid=27501&gf=251

    Disclaimer: The opinion expressed above does not necessarily match the opinion of this fan.

  47. Chuck Snow says:

    Powell ,Ohio…Thanks…45th year as a Pirate fan..God help us all.

  48. Chuck Snow says:

    Nice article on the Bucs…If 76-86 gets Neil Huntington and company fired then im cool with that record. But is that enough? 66-96 if Cutch gets hurt.

  49. kr70 says:

    for today I predict ….rain out

  50. JP says:

    Why?

    The playoffs aren’t shortened. The playoffs haven’t changed at all.

    Every single team plays the same schedule.

    No one put an asterisk by the Devils win in ’95.

    Ridiculous to even suggest.

  51. Dave G says:

    My guess: 77-85

    Astros are gone from NL Central
    Bucs have a tough interleague schedule
    Roster not really that improved, especially on the mound
    I don’t think this team can string together a third consecutive great start to a season.

    I really wanna be more optimistic but it’s just not there for me. Not yet.

  52. I agree. And you left out 1 exclamation point.

  53. John Lease says:

    I didn’t see them improving like they did last year.

    The starting pitching is still so weak, after Burnett and Wandy it’s a crap shoot. McDonald’s issues weren’t physical, they were all in the head. I don’t think that heals that quickly. But, Cole might be the shot in the arm they need. 80-82.

  54. Jandy says:

    like

  55. Jandy says:

    exactly!!!

  56. TJA says:

    The day has arrived! Some thoughts on Opening Day:
    ____________________________________________________________________
    “There are only two seasons – Winter and Baseball” – - – Bill Veeck
    ____________________________________________________________________
    “The trouble with baseball is that it is not played year round” – - – Gaylord Perry
    ____________________________________________________________________
    “It’s like Christmas – except warmer” – - – Pete Rose
    ____________________________________________________________________
    “Good thing about baseball – It counts. It’s in the record” – - – Jimmy Rollins
    ____________________________________________________________________
    “I see great things in baseball. It’s our game. It’s the great American game” – - – Walt Whitman
    ____________________________________________________________________
    Enjoy the season!

  57. SJB says:

    The 105 morning show with know-it-all Benz and his Jim Norton wanna-be sidekick is as amazing as ever. They keep stating that Crosby is out a month. Sorry, but I never saw or heard anything reported to give a time table to his injury or his possible return date. Can someone please point me to a link that backs this up? Yeah, didn’t think so.

  58. NMR says:

    Good for you, JAL. Keep up the good work!

  59. gregenstein says:

    81-81. Half breaks the streak. NH & Co. will say they ended the losing streak while “Anti’s” will scream blasphemy.

  60. JohninOshkosh says:

    Glad you chimed in StadiumBlanketFoo!

    Happy New Year to you and the other +’ers!

  61. Jandy says:

    I believe Mark Letestu got the game winner. And assisted on the other goal Columbus had. Fire Ray Shero!

  62. JohninOshkosh says:

    +Good stuff.

  63. Like that new avi, John. Beats that devil head all to pieces.

    :)

  64. Dom says:

    I’d say 74 wins for the year.

    There is no way that we’ll finish with a superior record since the rotation will be worse at least to start the season, the bullpen is worse, and we will not have the pleasure of facing the Astros 20 or so times a year.

    I’ll also predict that we will have a completely new front office this time next year. From director of scouting to president.

  65. Drew71 says:

    Not that you care about these things.

    But nice job last year.

    Here’s hoping that you’re wrong, to the negative side; that they climb by at least six more games from your Mendoza Line.

    But I don’t think they will: 75-87.

  66. Arriba Wilver says:

    LIKE

  67. Drew71 says:

    Yes. I need more. I need a whole heck of a lot more from the Pirates.

  68. buffalo_bob says:

    We need a Doc Ellis, who wanted to prove the Pirates were not afraid of the Reds and hit Rose, Morgan, and Bench and left Perez bailing out at his first pitch.

  69. Drew71 says:

    LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE

  70. Drew71 says:

    Which makes me a proud JAL apologist

  71. buffalo_bob says:

    Coonely on the Fan this morning blaming JMac for last years collapse.

  72. Arriba Wilver says:

    +1

  73. Jandy says:

    Are you serious???

  74. TJ says:

    I’m going with 72 wins this year. I think the collapse will occur before the all-star break this year.

  75. TJ says:

    Yesterday was easter; Franky probably still had some sauce left in him

  76. Vette60 says:

    Well, it’s opening day and hope springs eternal…

    I’d really like to be more optimistic with the prediction here for the beloved Buccos, but I don’t see the lineup that will get them over the hump…

    I think that the starting pitching is a bit thin outside AJ and Wandy, the lineup doesn’t have enough pop overall.

    Tough to see that since we’re multiple years into the latest plan…last year was was wild when they were winning and excruciating when they took the nosedive.

    Bottom line – 78-84.

    I’ll be tuning in today and as much as I can through the year. Mainly listening through SiriusXM.

    Take care all and enjoy the day.
    Randy in RVA

    PS. On Sid. One of those thing that I hope he comes back in due time and we’re primed for a long playoff run. While the scoring title is nice and all, I would much rather the Pens hoisting the Stanley Cup!

  77. Drew71 says:

    Speaking of moist grass and giving off a terribly apocalyptic feel…

    Dejan predicts one more win than EYE do.

    Apologist.

    Not to be weird or anything.

    - gloom doom droo(m)

  78. NMR says:

    I think what you see in Neil and AJ are players sick of dealing with media members begging questions all offseason about the collapse and about the front office.

    How long do you want to beat this horse? How many more times do the same questions need asked?

    Nothing asked, said, or written is worth a damn at this point. The players know that.

  79. Drew71 says:

    Well. If we want to stay in theme…

    Maybe Pontius Coonlate wanted to wash his hands of all blame from last season.

    Too apocalyptic?

  80. NMR says:

    Can you write a more overly dramatic lede to an opening day article?

    Good lord. DK’s writing comes off like it pains him to follow this team.

    I have a pretty easy solution…

  81. Jandy says:

    Coonely is going too far this time. I’m JMac, I’m tankin’ it.
    Friggin peckerhead.

  82. Jandy says:

    quit?

  83. AJS says:

    My prediction:

    AJ regresses. Bad. Like, last time Russel Martin was his catcher bad. AJ does not like Martin. He loved barajas. mental state is everything for AJ.

    Wandy will go slightly better than .500.

    JMac won’t be pitching by June. He’s a mess right now. Can’t get out AA ball players? Yikes.

    Cole will be in the rotation by June. And will struglle out of the gate.

    Sanchez will be a pleasant surprise and excede expectations…of course expectations aren’t very high.

    Morton will come back and be his typical basket case self.

    In short, startng pitching will be shaky at best, and that spells 72-90.

  84. TJ says:

    Remember… DK predicted one more win than you do; that doesn’t mean he’s going to root for those wins as reporters do not root!

  85. Bizrow says:

    This is the year the 20 season streak is broken

    82-80

    Hope, its a good thing

  86. NMR says:

    What exactly did he say, Jandy?

  87. NMR says:

    Isn’t it funny that you and I rarely see eye to eye, yet come up with the same exact prediction?

    Cheers, Biz. Here’s to the best time of the year, baseball season. Enjoy the game today!

  88. Jandy says:

    Let me put it this way, NMR, to blame ONE player for “the Collapse” is just wrong.

  89. Drew71 says:

    Until they post that they nailed a prediction.

    Which doesn’t really matter to them.

    Despite the post.

  90. stuart66 says:

    THE BMTIB’s GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT:

    Lowering Fan Expectations. All of the previous entries prove this. Posters (myself included) giving lip service to hope, while predicting mediocrity.

    Hope I’m wrong, but sticking with 83-79.

    Stuart

  91. JohninOshkosh says:

    Jandy:

    No longer a rookie following the Bucs closely with us knuckleheads. What is your prediction for the Bucco’s record this year?

  92. Jandy says:

    knuckleheads, I’m know a knucklehead? Who knew?? ;)

    I went with the over on Playoff’s first wager of the season.

    So, I’m going to predict 82-80.

  93. Jandy says:

    make that NOW a knucklehead. Bad morning at the office. Sorry OshKosh.

  94. buffalo_bob says:

    They asked him what who needs to stand out this year, and he replied, “JMac, we collapsed last year because JMac had a terrible second half.”

  95. NMR says:

    Those exact words, Bob?

    Ha, I don’t know why it should at this point, but that actually surprises me.

    Coonely couldn’t pick a baseball out of a lineup with the other four professional north american sports. Why is he doing the clubs PR interviews on Opening Day?

  96. Jandy says:

    Honestly, he should have just kept his mouth shut. How unprofessional can you get? I mean, no one else dropped off the second half?

  97. TJ says:

    I have a hard time believing that FC even if he is sauced would come out on opening day after all the interviews this off season and say it was on JMac. Unless he finally opened his eyes and realizes how bad this team is going to be and figures he is done after this year anyway.

  98. Lad9 says:

    82-80. What worries me though is the possibility- maybe even probability – that we could be giving away games early with two wildly erratic starters like J-Mac and Sanchez. It seems like the BMTIB thinks that when some combination of Liriano, Charlie, and maybe Cole are pitching every fifth day that we can get those games back if those two flame out early. Doesn’t work that once you leave Bradenton – or Altoona. They ALL count now…..

  99. buffalo_bob says:

    I paraphrased it, but the intent was there, those words are pretty close.

  100. stuart66 says:

    John did you transfer to Wisconsin?

    That was a tough one yesterday.

    Stuart

  101. NMR says:

    Not so fast, TJ.

    Even Dejan has been quick to separate FC, for some unknown reason, from the rest of the BMTIS. Presumably because he’s good at the business stuff, whatever that means.

    While my heart is with you, I wouldn’t be one bit surprised if FC still has a job once the rest of the house is cleaned.

  102. TJ says:

    NMR I agree to the extent that nothing would surprise me.

    I wish that he had received a judge in his DUI case like the ones they have in Florida and slapped him with 2 years community service; the best community service he could provide would be to not work for the Pirates.

    FIRE BYLSMA!!

  103. twentytwo22 says:

    It’s interesting how the first month+ of this year is similar to last year.

    2013 with 2012 records
    3 vs CHC 61-101
    3 at LAD 86-76
    3 at ARI 81-81
    3 vs CIN 97-65
    3 vs STL 88-74
    4 vs ATL 94-68
    4 at PHI 81-81
    3 at STL 88-74
    3 at MIL 83-79
    759-699 .521

    2012 with 2011 records and W/L result
    3 vs PHI 102-60 (2-1)
    3 at LAD 82-79 (0-3)
    3 at SFG 86-76 (1-2)
    3 at ARI 94-68 (2-1)
    3 vs STL 90-72 (1-2)
    3 vs COL 73-89 (2-1)
    4 at ATL 89-73 (2-2)
    3 at STL 90-72 (1-2)
    3 vs CIN 79-83 (1-2)
    785-672 .539 (12-16)

    The teams are nearly identical. The home/road split differs by 1 game. 13H 16A (12H 16A in 2012)

    The combined records of the 2012 schedule is better than 2013.

    I remember feeling like if they held their head above water for the beginning part then they had a chance and that’s how it played out.

    I see this year being the same. I haven’t studied the schedule much but I know that May is a home month. If they play .500 in April then it’s last year all over again.

    The impact of Marte is being underplayed. LF was an abyss last year and if Marte approaches the big 4 then the offense is improved.

    June, Cole is here and Liriano at some point too.

  104. Dom says:

    I am not looking forward to this season at all. Not only do I feel that the 21st straight losing season is just about inevitable, I really do not feel like having six months of embarrassment and mockery of the national media.

  105. Sisyphus says:

    Anything from 74 to 87 really wouldn’t surprise me, but I’m predicting 83. The one thing that worries me is thinking back on the last good Pirates team in the early 90s. They were improving through the late 80s, then they fell apart in 89 when the rotation took a dive, and they dropped to 74 wins. They won the division the next year.

  106. Patrick(RI) says:

    When what is still a pretty young team faces the toughest part of their schedule early, I think that is to their advantage. My guess is that they will emerge from the first quarter at, or near(either way) 50%. I am willing to believe the hype about Cole, and predict a winning season with playoff(wildcard) potential.

  107. JohninOshkosh says:

    Ha! My tribute to our friend, Groat, ended yesterday with Duke’s defeat.

  108. TJ says:

    Did Eric Bedard really get the save last night for the Astros?

  109. Patrick(RI) says:

    3+ innings of shutout ball! LOL

  110. TJ says:

    Max Talbot out with a broken leg

  111. Arriba Wilver says:

    I’m going to follow the crowd and flip-flop my last year’s prediction and go with 80-82.

  112. NMR says:

    In a game that was won by the score of 8-2. Yeah, saves are a great stat.

  113. Pucknutz says:

    Sorry JAL, but IMHO this Zombies song is more like it… lol

    Well no one told me about her the way she lied
    Well no one told me about her how many people cried
    But it’s too late to say you’re sorry
    How would I know why should I care
    Please don’t bother tryin’ to find her
    She’s not there

    She being – My Long Lost Love – Bucco Baseball

  114. TJ says:

    I’m just amazed he pitched 3+ innings of shut out ball in a league with a DH.

    Carlos Zambrano is still a free agent… He might be a better pinch hitter than our current options

  115. Skip says:

    Can anyone tell me how one can add an avatar on this blog?

  116. Arriba Wilver says:

    Go to gravatar.com.

  117. Jandy says:

    really? or April Fools?

  118. John Lease says:

    From your lips to Bob Nutting’s ears.

  119. Pucknutz says:

    Ya Skip . a place called gravitar.com

  120. Jandy says:

    It’s easy. Follow the instructions. If I can do it, anyone can ;)

  121. stuart66 says:

    Not surprised to see silence from Groat so far. I feel his pain.

    Stuart

  122. John Lease says:

    When was the last time the Pirates Opening Day roster didn’t have one player with zero days of ML time?

  123. Skip says:

    Thank you, all!

  124. Jandy says:

    Unreal lol. I can’t say I’m sorry ;)

  125. TJA says:

    My heart and the optimistic person that I am says 83 and 79. Twenty years of losing and a messed up psyche (due to that losing) says under .500…again…

    Ok, first of the season…”Beat ‘em Bucs!”

  126. TJ says:

    does it matter?

  127. RobertoForever says:

    Yes, he was the #1 star!

    My son got to high five him as he came down the tunnel to be the #1 star. He is not a huge sports fan, but he beamed for awhile after that.

  128. TJ says:

    If you want to get technical I don’t think Josh Rodriguez had any MLB service time after being picked in the Rule V draft

  129. Drew71 says:

    I thought Dejan hand painted them all.

    At least he did mine.

    He labeled it Winnipeg Sunset.

  130. Skip says:

    Got it – thanks again!

  131. RobertoForever says:

    DK, I am aware that your season prediction was one of the few predictions you got right. Excellent job last year. I also predicted improvement, but went with the cute, 5-game improvement per year guess.

    So this year, I am guessing its the opposite for you – more in line with the majority of your predictions. I was more curious on last years predictions to see if some other folks who are predicting a step back this year, also predicted a step back last year (and the year before, and the year…..)

  132. TCB says:

    84 -78. Hope Pedro (and Barmes) start better than last year.

  133. Jandy says:

    I’m happy for Letestu. I’d love to see Columbus make the playoffs. (Seems I always root for the underdog).

  134. John Lease says:

    They don’t have any this year, and I can’t remember the last time they didn’t have anyone without any. Unless it was last year….

  135. RobertoForever says:

    I am definitely a proud JAL apologist.

    When JAL people listen (or they should, memes be damned)

    Thanks for all the hard work, JAL. Much appreciated

  136. Jandy says:

    He did an excellent job painting mine. Look how accurate he got the wrinkles ;)

  137. Reading says:

    Just having a little fun since Pirates Opening Day is today. Although, if the Pirates ever do win a World Series again, I sure hope that it is in a real season and not a strike-shortened one.

  138. Skip says:

    I think it’s a nuclear blast – which some would say is fitting for the Pirates’ opening day.

  139. RobertoForever says:

    Excellent data-mining sir. Good stuff.

    Did I miss your prediction, or did you post it somewhere else?

  140. JAL says:

    Last year Hague had no MLB experience and was on opening day roster

    Think everyone on the 2011 roster had MLB experience

    Starters: Kevin Correia, Paul Maholm, Ross Ohlendorf, Charlie Morton, James McDonald

    Relievers: Joel Hanrahan, Evan Meek, Chris Resop, Jeff Karstens, Veras, Mike Crotta, Garrett Olson

    Catchers: Ryan Doumit, Jason Jaramillo

    Infielders: Lyle Overbay, Neil Walker, Ronny Cedeno, Pedro Alvarez, Steve Pearce, Josh Rodriguez

    Outfielders: Jose Tabata, Andrew McCutchen, Matt Diaz, Garrett Jones, John Bowker

  141. Patrick(RI) says:

    Headline on front page of paper up here: A SEASON TO REGAIN FANS TRUST.

    On Sports page: CAN HOPES SPRING ANEW?

    Spoiled bastards, Red Sox Nation!

  142. TJ says:

    Matt Hague last year.

  143. TJ says:

    JAL; Rodriguez made his ML Debut with the Pirates on April 5, 2011

  144. BillyBaduka says:

    That’s a little harsh. He may be a Flyer, but he’ll always be a Pens hero. We don’t win the Flyers series without the “Shhhhhh” or game 7 w/o those 2 goals.

    I winced when I saw the replay. He’s in obvious pain.

    Maybe it’s because I’ve been laid up with acute bronchitis for 6 days, sympathetic to all not feeling their best.

  145. BillyBaduka says:

    How could it not pain someone to follow this team?

    XX and counting!

    Hoka Hey!

    How bout this for a Pirates slogan:

    It’s a Swindle!

  146. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    Based upon my non-sabermetric projections, I predict the Pirates will go 89-73 this season. They “might” slip into the playoffs, and if they do….They will make a quick exit.
    The good news is that the streak will be broken.
    The bad news is that the Nutting Regime will turn around and trade (amongst others) Andrew McCutchen three to nine months after the 2013 campaign is concluded.
    The return (Which will rid the Regime of that pesky word called “winning”) will be a freshly cut crew of “Problem Prospects” that will push the Pirate time table of competitiveness well towards 2020.

  147. CeehowUR says:

    I had a dream that they finished 80-81. One game will be rained out and not made up, since it doesn’t affect the pennant race, leaving them 1 win from .500.

    In reality, 75-87.

  148. theplanisworking says:

    But the Bucs will win at the Burger Bar and cash register ! :)

  149. NMR says:

    Daq with the Blog’s most optomistic prediction? I’ve seen it all…

  150. Ermine says:

    78-84 … Steady play around .500 all year, falling short in the end.

  151. theplanisworking says:

    I predict 75 wins.
    I predict the Nuttings winning at the $$$$$$$$$$$.
    I predict I will be long gone before I see a winning season with this owner/FO.

    I predict snow for today.

  152. theplanisworking says:

    always love the term “problem prospect”

  153. theplanisworking says:

    No, you havent seen Inge pinch-hit for the Bucs in the bottom of the 9th……..

  154. Jandy says:

    I’m mean today, BillyBaduka, I don’t feel sorry for him ;)

  155. Eric Bowser says:

    2013 Pirates

    71-91

  156. Jandy says:

    hey, no four letter words on the blog ;)

  157. theplanisworking says:

    Wins, or snow?? ;)

  158. CeehowUR says:

    I just read Starkey’s columns and I didn’t realize my “dream” almost matched one of his “scenarios”. I sincerly hope that isn’t an omen of some type.

  159. Kevin says:

    Bah, I want to talk hockey. :(

    - Kinda depressed. I put the picture of Crosby and Iginla in Canadian gold medal sweaters on my desktop, was really hoping to see that combination at some point. Now, I probably won’t see it.

    - Penguins just can’t catch a break. I was really looking forward to the new dynamic and talking about all the hockey line combinations and the Crosby injury sets everything back to mix-match mode.

    - Anyone else see that gruesome double leg break in the Louisville – Duke game. By the way, there’s no way that happens to a healthy tibia. He had to have had stress fractures or bone cysts in that shin to break like that. It’s alot more likely to have a ligament fail (aka knee/ACL/PCL damage) than bone break. Talk about bizarre.

  160. Vinny Giardina says:

    “I still get upset over that Pirates -Reds game from lat last season when Cutch gets drilled, he was fired up but was anyone else.”

    What annoyed me even more was when nobody followed Burnett out of the dugout to back him up. I’m not in favor of bench-clearing brawls, I think they’re mostly silly, but if a teammate calls out the other team like that, you have to back him up.

  161. JHadar says:

    It is April First.

  162. JHadar says:

    81-80 with a rain out.

    It’s become my traditional pick.

  163. Jandy says:

    I didn’t see it but it makes me sick just thinking about it UGH!

  164. Jandy says:

    Eric, have you heard anything at all about Kunitz?

  165. Jandy says:

    that dirty “s” word! ;X

  166. Drew71 says:

    Or for me.

  167. Drew71 says:

    Not nuclear. Just gas.

  168. Eric Bowser says:

    I haven’t

    Still at work and on a boring conference call.

  169. NMR says:

    I think Bowser got Milo’d.

  170. BillyBaduka says:

    It ok Jandy. You don’t have to.

  171. Drew71 says:

    and EYE always love satire

  172. Jandy says:

    lol…sucks to be Milo’d ;)

  173. Sarah says:

    Yeah. Really divided on Max! Wish we’d kept him!!

  174. Sarah says:

    Nada on NHL com. I don’t think there will be any repercussions. Nor should there be IMO…..

 
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