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Friday Wakeup Call: A week of absolutely nothing

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

>> The Friday notes column checks the baseball club’s pulse on its way out of town — yes, it’s got one — as well as offering thoughts on the Penguins, Steelers, Pitt, West Virginia and Duquesne.

Couple glimpses of the breeze whipped up at PNC, as captured by staff photographer Chris Horner …

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That was Pedro Alvarez’s horribly untimely hack in the ninth …

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And this was Gaby Sanchez

Here is Karen Price’s game story from the scene and, if you really want more on this — and why wouldn’t you? — here’s a video collection of Chicago pitchers taking numbers.

Below, a little of what Andrew McCutchen had to say …

And some from Clint Hurdle, too …

>> The weekly chat came live from PNC Park, and not one person raised the only subject that will matter this weekend: ‘Mad Men’ returns Sunday night.

>> Speaking of that, watching TV and lazing on the couch is the absolute most of what should be expected of me for the coming few days. I’ll be off this weekend and all through the start of next weekend.

Timing seems about right. Both the hockey and baseball teams are hitting the road, we’re still two weeks away from the NFL Draft, and nothing’s happening college-wise. You take it when it’s there.

Be good.

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. maddamma says:

    Dejan, enjoy your break.

    Kind of impressed that the Bucs drew that audience against the Pens. Too bad they had to go out and out-Cub the Cubs this week.

    Cutch is saying the right things, but I’d be peeved if I was the only guy on offense to show up for all three games. Also, I’m not sure why he has confidence in the offense coming around sooner than last year. Then again, anything shorter than five weeks would make that an accurate statement.

    Anyone else think, like me, that the Bucs are going to be at least 10 games under .500 heading into May?

  2. Ghost says:

    THAT bad? Wow. Ten games (“at least”) under five hundred after only twenty-five games? There’s no floor under how low Neal Huntington’s teams can go, but I don’t think it’ll be over that quickly. If it is, string nets under the Clemente Bridge to save lives.

    DK: Whose?

  3. Drew71 says:

    Since Dejan is officially, you know, not around…

    I’d like to thank him for Predicting that James McDonald’s start would not last as long as Thursday afternoon’s chat. On an otherwise difficult day, Dejan’s prediction, which caused McDonald’s sterling performance, was the only positive of the day.

    DK: Did no such thing. Look again, Distorting Drew.

  4. Drew71 says:

    While we’re at it…

    Dejan, before you jet off to Winnipeg, would you mind predicting for me a long and happy marriage?

    And if the likely outcome fails to materialize, would you mind predicting for me a long and happy life?

  5. Drew71 says:

    He didn’t answer.

    I guess he’s gone.

    I’m gonna miss the Hipster.

  6. Ghost says:

    Fans. The triumvirate will be blissfully fine.

  7. Ghost says:

    The Hipster is too far away to jump off the Clemente Bridge. But I will be able to jump off the actual London Bridge this weekend. My son is playing in the Baseball By the Bridge tournament in Lake Havasu, AZ this weekend. Somebody actually moved the original London Bridge there, piece by piece.
    So let me know if bodies start jumping back there. I’ll do my part out here.

  8. deb says:

    I’m not sure I agree with your comment about the “Pens not winning a series without Malkin getting his (paraphrase) mojo together. Just like last year, when he’s good, he’s very good and when he is bad, he is a turnover machine and a lazy penalty waiting to happen.

    However, unlike last year, Pens will have a strong third line with Morrow, Sutter and Cooke; and will have a second offensive weapon with Iggy on the team. These two factors, good goal tending plus (and most importantly) a healthy Sid, should win the Pens at least two series. That is, if Dan Bylsma continues to progress on his ability to adapt systems to address other teams strengths and weaknesses, and has the guts to limit the damage Malkin creates with his turnovers and penalties.

  9. Ghost says:

    Stay away from bridges, Drew.

  10. Drew71 says:

    Very cool. Almost Hipster cool.

    And spooky. Almost ghostly.

  11. Reading says:

    The 1971 Pirates, after three games, were 3-0 and scored 14 runs against the Phillies (2 games) and Braves (1 game).

  12. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    I hate to sound negative, but I’d be surprised if the Pirates left Los Angeles with one win. It’s ultra early, but things look very much like business as usual. Many talk of a lack of pitching, but it always looks to me like this is a team that just can’t hit.

  13. Ed says:

    Don’t push it, Drew.

    We all know what happened after he said the Pirates were an “absolute lock” to finish with a winning season ;)

    DK: All right, you’ve forced my hand. You’ve made me reach for the holster and bring out the link that should quash this argument for all eternity:

    http://blog.triblive.com/dejan-kovacevic/2012/10/02/wakeup-call-the-scheme-is-the-scheme/

  14. Ed says:

    Yes, they did finish with the exact record you predicted — six more wins than i predicted for last season, I might add.

    I got caught up in the moment last year just like almost everyone else did.

    Sadly, I don’t think we even have that moment this year.

  15. Ed says:

    That’s what was being said for the first couple months of last season and then June and July happened. It’s early and a long season.

    Ultimately, I still think the pitching will determine the Pirates chances this year.

  16. scapper says:

    I know this is armchair psychologist stuff, but I’ve thought all year that Geno might be in some sort of pout over Kunitz being removed from his line. 71 wins an MVP and centers the most prolific line in hockey last year, then Sid comes back and he gets Kunitz. Of course, you cede your right to pout when you’re making $8.7 mil per year and an elite athlete should be all about what’s best for the team blah blah, but human nature being what it is…I don’t know, just a theory anyway.

  17. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    ……And then August and September happened.

  18. theplanisworking says:

    Too many ifs, buts, maybes, and “hopes” for this team this year.

    Russell Martin was the “huge” signing (not that we didnt need to upgrade from Barajas), and we got a few dumpster-dives for good measure…….. (Save us, Brandon Inge!! )

    So, spots 3-5 look very bad for the starters, bullpen is a huge series of question marks, and the hitting looks very suspect. How people see a winning record out of this, I just dont know. Maybe Cutch, Kdro and Walker will carry the team. Maybe not. And Lord help us if someone gets hurt (Cutch, Burnett)

    I am praying for .500 ball for the first 32 games.
    11-21 sounds more likely.
    *Sigh*

  19. theplanisworking says:

    thats when the Pirates dropped the anchor…..literally. ;(

  20. Drew71 says:

    Dejan. I thought you just said you’d be off.

    You mean you can’t even predict your own departure?

  21. Drew71 says:

    Let’s get Dejan’s prediction, Plan.

  22. Drew71 says:

    Somebody find the Hit Bottom link from 2010.

  23. kr70 says:

    Am I the only one to notice the 2 page picture in Sport’s Illustrated of the Pirates Charities sign? What a week!

  24. John Lease says:

    They were good. You could replace McCutchen with Willie Stargell, and this team would still stink. You need more than one good position player. The 1971 Pirates had Stargell, Clemente and Al Oliver in the outfield. 2 HOF and one borderline. Bob Robertson had an awesome year at first, Hebner was an up and comer at third, and Dave Cash and Gene Alley handled most of the middle IF duties. Oh, and Sandy was catching.

    By my count, that is 4(the OF and Sanguillen) players that are top tier talent.

    This team has 1. And it pisses me off.

  25. John Lease says:

    80 losses away now from #21 in a row.

  26. theplanisworking says:

    Yes. Let’s.

    DK, what say you?

  27. TK39 says:

    DK: Wishing your mother a quick recovery, you’ll be in my prayers. I hope you get to enjoy your break.

  28. Drew71 says:

    I just read the column and holy crap, he already gave one. Boy, did he ever!

    Won’t win another game until the Mets visit May 9.

    Wow. I mean wow. 1-31.

    Gotta give it to Dejan. Agree or not, it takes courage to go way out there like that.

  29. Drew71 says:

    And then McCutchen says they won’t lose another game.

    So they sorta have a little Roberto – Daq thing going between them.

  30. Thundercrack says:

    Andrew McCutchen said all the things I was going to say

  31. Thundercrack says:

    Yeah, the Penguins registered a 10.1 rating, the Pirates 6.7.
    ——————————————————————————-
    The Pirates’ game was there second in a very long season.
    The Penguins are playing a rival in a shortened season, and just off a 15 game winning streak.

    And I didn’t realize that if Crosby doesn’t play less people would watch. Talk about fickle fans. :-)

  32. Pucknutz says:

    Agree w/ya deb. But what the heck does DB do to “limit the damage…..” ?
    Make him a healthy scratch, cut his ice time in half, bump him back to the 4th line ???
    How much influence does a coach really have on “superstar” players??
    The most I can see is DB pulling Geno aside and saying something like this. “Geno wake up out there, you know it and I know it, your sleepwalkin out there. Get you head out your a** and start playin hockey.”
    That said, I believe he will come back around to his normal stellar self.
    GO PENS

  33. Jandy says:

    I don’t care who he is, Geno, or Adams, you play professional hockey, you don’t pout. If you do , you should ride the pine until you grow up.

  34. JAL says:

    JAL’s Follow That Dream Morning Links

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7kdLUt5ktmg

    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 Stats

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AsjN0zO-DxI0dHVOMzdPYm9wUEJtdVJ0WWUzVWhFc2c#gid=0

    BLOGS and such

    5—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: Bringing the Designated Hitter to the National League

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/04/first-pitch-bringing-the-designated-hitter-to-the-national-league.html

    Seeing Similarities in the Pirates’ Two Losses

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/04/seeing-similarities-in-the-pirates-two-losses.html

    6 Bucs Dugout

    Cubs Marmol themselves, but still beat Pirates 3-2

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2013/4/4/4184018/cubs-marmol-themselves-but-still-beat-pirates-3-2

    An attempt to explain Clint Hurdle’s decisions in the Pirates’ win over the Cubs

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2013/4/4/4182604/an-attempt-to-explain-clint-hurdles-decisions-in-the-pirates-win-over

    7 WHYGAVS

    Game 3: Cubs 3 Pirates 2

    http://www.whygavs.com/pittsburgh-pirates/april-2013/game-3-cubs-3-pirates-2.html

    8 Pittsburgh Sporting News

    Pirates Notebook: Martin uses MMA to train; McCutchen keeps running

    http://www.pittsburghsportingnews.com/pirates-notebook-martin-uses-mma-to-train-mccutchen-keeps-running/

    9 Rumbunter

    Starling Marte: Poor Man’s Andrew McCutchen, Or Just A Fast Guy With A Good Arm?

    http://rumbunter.com/2013/04/04/starling-marte-poor-mans-andrew-mccutchen-or-just-a-fast-guy-with-a-good-arm/

    Is Changing The Pittsburgh Pirates Culture A Job That’s Just Too Big?

    http://rumbunter.com/2013/04/04/is-changing-the-pittsburgh-pirates-culture-a-job-thats-just-too-big/

    10 Green Weenie

    Cubs Top Bucs 3-2

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2013/04/cubs-top-bucs-3-2.html

  35. Thundercrack says:

    Courage.

    Is that what they’re calling it these days?

  36. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 Rant Sports

    Pittsburgh Pirates’ Neil Walker Should Stop Switch-Hitting

    http://www.rantsports.com/mlb/2013/04/04/pittsburgh-pirates-neil-walker-should-stop-switch-hitting/

    12 Chicago Tribune

    Cubs win, in spite of Marmol

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs/ct-spt-0405-cubs-pirates-chicago-20130405,0,2100442.story

    13 True Blue LA

    Pittsburgh Pirates series preview

    http://www.truebluela.com/2013/4/4/4183374/pittsburgh-pirates-series-preview

    14 Vidette Online

    Five things you didn’t know about baseball

    http://www.videtteonline.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=38456:five-things-you-didnt-know-about-baseball&catid=64:sportscolumns&Itemid=55

    15 Forbes

    Holy Grail Of Baseball Cards For Sale, Auction House Expects $3 Million

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/lynndouglass/2013/04/04/holy-grail-of-baseball-cards-for-sale-auction-house-expects-3-million/

    16 KDKA

    Garrett Jones Credits Wandy Rodriguez For Mental Toughness

    http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2013/04/04/garrett-jones-credits-wandy-rodriguez-for-mental-toughness/

    17 CBS Sports

    Los Angeles-Pittsburgh Game Preview

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/gametracker/preview/MLB_20130405_PIT@LAD

    18 PBC Site

    McDonald delivers gem, but late rally falls short

    http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2013_04_04_chnmlb_pitmlb_1&mode=recap_home&c_id=pit

    Martin, Wandy click in first game together

    http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130404&content_id=43848594&notebook_id=43848610&vkey=notebook_pit&c_id=pit

    SPORTS WEBSITES

    19 Baseball Prospectus

    Simmer. Down. Now.

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=20111

    20 Fangraphs

    The Astros and Braves: How Many K’s is Just Too Much?

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/the-astros-and-braves-how-many-ks-is-just-too-much/

  37. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Kiper mock draft puts Tyler Eifert, Cornelius Washington to Steelers

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/4/4/4184984/steelers-mock-draft-mel-kiper

    2013 Steelers preseason schedule released

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/4/4/4184948/2013-steelers-preseason-schedule

    22 Steelers Depot

    - Taamu Case to Be Reviewed by League

    http://www.steelersdepot.com/2013/04/steelers-nt-alameda-taamu-will-now-have-his-case-reviewed-by-league/

    Soccer(football)

    23 Daily Telegraph

    Gareth Bale’s ankle injury will not derail our season, insists Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/tottenham-hotspur/9973600/Gareth-Bales-ankle-injury-will-not-derail-our-season-insists-Tottenham-manager-Andre-Villas-Boas.html

    24 World Soccer Daily

    Sunderland’s appointment of Di Canio a huge risk on many levels

    http://www.worldsoccer.com/columnists/sunderlands-appointment-of-di-canio-a-huge-risk-on-many-levels

    PENGUIN BLOGS and NHL Links

    25 Pensburgh

    Recap: Rangers 6, Penguins 1

    http://www.pensburgh.com/2013/4/4/4182430/recap-rangers-6-penguins-1

  38. JAL says:

    Follow That Dream, Elvis Presley 1962

  39. Pucknutz says:

    Subconsciously perhaps. I just don’t see Geno that way (granted, its just what ya see on the TV interviews ect.) . But I have never gotten the feeling that he has a huge superstar ego, Maybe he does, if he is poutin shame on him.
    It appears to me to be more “frustration” than anything. When he is not playing well it seems to feed on itself and he gets worse and starts overplaying and doing stupid things.
    Also (and this is pure speculation) I suspect that that shoulder may not be 100%, just enough to be nagging and we are back to my “frustration” theory.

  40. JMB says:

    Based on the schedule, I can easily see the Pirates being 11-21 on May 6th. A record of 10-19 over the next 29 games is not beyond the realm of possibility.

    I just hope BNut’s research has him ready to fire some people if things go south quickly. We need a new GM in time for the trades of AJ, Wandy, Jones, Martin, Barmes, etc., and of course the new guy should be in to do the draft.

    ****

    I can’t believe how Ziggy Ansah has shot up the draft boards. He was our pick in many mocks, and now he is going in the top 5.

    *****

    Enjoy your break DK!

  41. BillyBaduka says:

    Lol

  42. Drew71 says:

    Yes. Magnificent, isn’t it?

  43. AL says:

    Agreed. I also think that he has a tendancy to be a little bit Jaromir Jagr-ish at times with the moodiness and pout.
    He also seeems to play better when mom and dad are in the stands though.
    I asked this on the blog the other day but no one responded and I’m still curious….are Mr. and Mrs. Malkin here this year? I haven’t seen any camera shots of them yet.

  44. BillyBaduka says:

    I hear you on Ansah.

    I was surprised to see that a pass rusher with those numbers available at 17 in early mock drafts. That didn’t last long. He probably will go in top 5.

    Not often one sees a 6-5, 270 DE that runs 4.55/4.6 and according to CBS, never ran a 40 yd dash before.

    He’s raw but if he can be taught, should be a good pass rusher for years to come.

  45. Milo Hamilton says:

    Howard Eskin is a tool. Has been for more than 30 years. But considering the Penguins history of being less than forthcoming with injuries (that’s being kind) & their complete botching of Sidney Crosby’s concussion or whatever it was, I’m not discounting anything until I see him on the ice.

  46. Jandy says:

    I don’t see Malkin as the pity me pouter. I see him as still immature and letting his frustration get the better of himself. A game sat out would help get his head out of his azz. In no way do I think Malkin pouts like Jagr. never.

  47. Jandy says:

    Al, sorry, I haven’t seen the Malkins, so I don’t know.

  48. Milo Hamilton says:

    You’re a little more optimistic than me, I’ve been saying 10-22.

  49. SJB says:

    The Pirates ratings are ONLY that good BECAUSE it’s the 2nd game and people are interested in the newness of a fresh unsoiled season. Kinda like a new pair of shoes before you step in dog crap.

    Just like the Pirates home opener always sells out and a week later they are back to around 20k, the ratings will also fall, while the Penguins will maintain its strong attendance and rating numbers no matter who they are playing, or who is playing for them. 10.1 for a hockey game is not a bad rating in any market while 6.7 is a blah rating in most baseball towns.

    And I didn’t realize that if the Penguins don’t top by a large margin anything the Pirates do, people will feel good about it. Talk about one-sided fans.

  50. Jandy says:

    isn’t he from Philly? Tool is a mild word …

  51. Milo Hamilton says:

    Yes and yes. :)

  52. TJA says:

    Spoke to my cousins in L.A. last evening. They are licking their chops at getting to our Pirates. Oh sure, they like to root for the Bucs, but not when their hometown Dodger Blue can get the weak hitting Pirates. I reminded them they (Dodgers) are 1 and 2, too. But, they reminded me who is pitching for the Dodgers this weekend. For me – weekend of “Family Feud” with the Cuzs’. Truthfully – could be ugly for the Bucs this weekend and the next couple weeks with that schedule. But, this is baseball and crazier things could happen. Maybe they’ll actually hit the ball.

  53. SJB says:

    I live out here and people in Philly hate him as well. He’s their Mark Madden, a bigoted, self-important blow hard who’s kids probably hate him as well. He doesn’t even like hockey and rarely talks about it, even if it concerns the Flyers. His only reason for saying that was to gain favor with the Penguins and Pittsburgh haters out here and to irritate everyone else.

    He and Madden need beaten with a bag of oranges. ain’t that right, Bing?

  54. AL says:

    But I thought you knew everything!! Anyway thanks for at least responding. Hey…..maybe we can all make DK’s time off special by asking questions he seems to have no patience for answering…like Tangradi.

  55. JAL says:

    Bet Phils fans felt same way when the opened last season with Pirates with Halladay, Lee, and Worley going an proceeded to lose 2 of 3

  56. Pucknutz says:

    Ya Jandy, you may be the only one around here that has the you know what to sit Geno for a game!! LOL
    In my high squeeky voice here me scream “not me, not me”

  57. Jandy says:

    haha! I find it funny that DK says “be good” when he knows he won’t be around…like yeah right ;)

  58. Jandy says:

    I would in a heartbeat. And I’d bet it would actually help.

  59. Jandy says:

    See Milo? I told you we agree on most everything ;)

  60. Drew71 says:

    Say it anyway.

    Just don’t Distort.

  61. Jandy says:

    A bag of oranges? Sheesh I’d rather use my size 9 wides on him!

  62. SJB says:

    But that will leave bruises. ;) Heck, I’d rather use my fist and a roll of quarters if I had my druthers.

  63. So JAL, what’s your prediction for the first 32?

    So far it’s:

    Milo 10-22

    DK 1-31

    JMB 11-21

    Roberto 30-2

  64. deb says:

    Word is that Malkin tends to sulk if coach is critical with him. The In the Room series the Pens posted show Malkin on the bench sulking and having words with Neal because he (Neal) shot the puck and scored instead of passing the puck to Malkin, That has to change. And I agree with you Pucknutz, benching Malkin may be the best message and would limit the defensive lapses fer sure.

  65. deb says:

    AGREED! An I also agree that Malkin has tended to pout this year. Just watch the Pens In the Room series. He is sulking because Neal scored rather than passing the puck to him. Sid makes do with whichever wingers are assigned to him. Sid even let himself be benched from the top powerplay last year to help the team…with nary a complaint.

    Malkin needs to get over it.

  66. You might be a little scant on the talent assessment for this team, John, but I agree on that ’71 team. It was great to watch. And they had pitching, too.

    Should have won in ’72 also, but we all know what happened then and later in the year.

  67. Jandy says:

    LOL!

  68. TJA says:

    Yea, that’s right…kind of forgot about that. Thanks.

  69. TJA says:

    By the way, Lucky – if I may (?) – I’ll say 13 and 19.

  70. I love optimism in the morning. It smells like— victory.

    :P

  71. Damon says:

    Maybe plugging Kunitz on Malkin’s line would spark him. All the success that line had last year could be a wake up call and get Neal going to. People are/were worried about messing up the best line in hockey (14-87-9), but you be gaining the best line in hockey again with 14-71-18, and who’s to say 9-87-12 wouldn’t be just as good when Sid comes back.

  72. TJA says:

    Or, I just have not had enough coffee yet, Lucky, and am not thinking clearly…

  73. Thundercrack says:

    SBJ,
    10.1 is an excellent rating for any hockey game in any market.
    6.7 is also a very good rating in any baseball market. Any.

    My take on it was – why would the Penguins rating drop?

  74. I think you’re thinking plenty cleary and I was serious about optimism.

  75. Dom says:

    I’d have to agree. 13-19 sounds right

  76. TJ says:

    I’m just curiuos; who are the “leaders” in the Pirates clubhouse?

    I know AJ Burnett has established himself as one. But he seems to be more of a quiet leader. Its almost like the opposite of too many chiefs and not enough indians; its like the Pirates have nothing but indians.

    Yep its only the start of the 2nd series of the season; but who last year when the team flopped stood up? I cannot for the life of me remember who is the leader. I can’t see Cutch as a vocal leader. Then who is it?

  77. TJ says:

    I’ll throw in a little optimism and say 16-16

  78. TJ says:

    And btw this has been a lousy few days to be a Pittsburgh sports fan so I’ll get it out of my system now:

    Fire Bylsma
    Fire NH
    Fire Steve Pederson

  79. Bizrow says:

    I don’t know about you folks, but I’d be pleased if we came home from this road trips with 2 wins, well not pleased, but you know what I mean

  80. Damon says:

    I’ll tell you what, if the Pirates can keep it to say 4-5 games under .500 after that stretch, then get Morton and Liriano plugged in there, they set themselves up to possibly make noise by June or July. Hitting is the key…

  81. 21sthebest says:

    A.J. doesn’t strike me as being a quiet leader. My take is that he’s vocal.

  82. Bizrow says:

    12-20

  83. I think anyone that goes to double digits in the first 32 is optimistic. It’s a tough schedule even if we’re playing well.

  84. Jandy says:

    How do we know someone hasn’t? Not picking, just asking.

  85. Jandy says:

    Yeah, someone that tells opposing batters to sit the f*gg down isn’t quiet lol

  86. Miss Jandy,

    Saw your post on the game thread from yesterday.
    I went ahead a re-checked my math and posted it.
    Just wanted to let ya know.

  87. TJ says:

    Jandy your right we don’t know if someone has or hasn’t stepped up but you usually know who is the leaders on the team.

    And my take on it is this; if Cutch were a leader and a vocal leader I believe there would have been some sort of pay back last year when Chapman plunked him and he was so furious after the game. Maybe Hurdle has a wrap on them I don’t know but I’m just asking

  88. Iceman says:

    Going to steal some of Jandy’s thunder here, but just read a good article over at Faceoff Factor about the Pens lines and the article does a good job of presenting its point. Upon reading it, I have to agree with the author regarding the Pens lines. As much as I hate demoting Dupuis to the third line, I think it will work out best for the team in the long run and Dupuis strikes me as someone who will do whatever it takes to win. I would make only one change to the lines presented and that would be to bench TK. My lines are (once healthy, Crosby moves to line one, Jokinen to fourth line wing, Glass gets scratched):

    Kunitz – Jokinen (Crosby) – Iginla
    Neal – Malkin – Morrow
    Cooke – Sutter – Dupuis
    Glass (Jokinen) – Vitale – Adams

    The article is here: http://www.faceoff-factor.com/ysite-news/4784/are-the-penguins-misusing-morrow

  89. 21sthebest says:

    Yeah Jandy. That’s what I was thinking. And also the way A.J. popped out of the dugout when Chapman popped Cutch, if I recall correctly.

  90. TJ says:

    If you scratch Glass what is your rotation on the PK? Its one of the only things keeping him in the lineup?

  91. Chuck Snow says:

    Well our line up consists of Cutch…Then used to be, followed by should be, and then could be, and finally you have to be kidding me. Good luck on the west coast Bucs. Wasted some pretty decent pitching against the Cubs.

  92. Bizrow says:

    Agree with you 100%

    9-23, though, it would be nigh on impossible to recover

  93. NMR says:

    I think Russell Martin has stepped up already as somebody who will go to battle for this team.

    I mean, the guy got tossed from a spring training game sticking up for his pitcher getting squeezed at the plate. THAT is the kind of guy who would’ve been over the rail with AJ ready to go last year.

  94. Patrick says:

    You don’t make Malkin a healthy scratch. You just don’t do that to a reigning MVP and scoring champ. If the coach resorts to that to get to a player of his caliber then he has failed as a coach.

    And you most DEFINATELY DO NOT do that to a russian. I hate to resort to a mild form of racism, but the “russian stereo-type” of petualant hockey players exists for a reason. You bench Malkin now and you might as well just trade him. You would be better off throwing a basketball at his head and shouting homophobic slurs at him.

    Russian Hockey players are an enigma. Always have been. Its why some teams simply will not draft or employ them. By in large, for the most part, they play how they play when they want to play and there isn’t a whole lot you can do about it. DB has been Geno’ coach for 4 years now, which is longer than anyone else ever has been. If there is a way to get Geno moving, he knows it and I’m sure he is trying it. Benching him for a game ain’t it.

    Giving away one or two of his shifts in game to Sutter? That’s where I would start…

  95. 21sthebest says:

    We had the same concen last year, about the first part of our schedule being the toughest. I like getting the toughest part, if that is in fact how it plays out, out of the way.

  96. Patrick says:

    This would also be a good idea. I think some of the issue is there are so many new players coming in that there isnt any consistency anywhere right now. With the forwards or d-pairings. Having one, solid, consistent line like Neal/Malkin/Kunitz would be at least something that can be counted on. I’m a fan of this idea +1.

  97. TJA says:

    Speaking of leaders in the clubhouse – When Dejan is on vacation next week – do WE have a blog leader to take over?

  98. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    I could be mistaken, but from what I remember, Sergei Fedorov seemed to be the exception to the rule on that one. But yes, Russian forwards do seem to often have some sort of performance baggage a la Semin and Ovechkin most recently.

    Agree on the benching: if DD hasn’t benched Tyler Kennedy or Tanner Glass by this point, there’s no sane reasoning for benching Malkin.

  99. Iceman says:

    Jokinen coming in can play big minutes on the PK and is the only reason why I am able to scratch Glass and keep Vitale in there. By having Jokinen on the PK, you have both Sutter and Jokinen to take face-offs on the PK. You also have two great face-off men on the fourth line to take defensive zone face-offs.

    I like the physical play of Glass, but it just seems he is out of position to often and doesn’t have a scoring touch at all.

  100. Patrick says:

    I’m still not sure how much is pouting and how much is fatigue. Lets not forget the 40+ games he played in the KHL while everyone else was resting. He certainly hasn’t been himself but I’m not entirely sold on the idea that he is upset as opposed to just worn out. The kid has played A LOT of hockey the last few years. And Sid came back and the team promptly imploded against the Flyers.

    I’m not saying that it was Sid’s fault more than it was Geno or Sid’s fault more than anyone elses. But that is what happened.

    And before we need jump on Geno for “getting over it”, try to imagine what its like for him. He WAS the league MVP last year. He did lead the league in scoring. he DID carry this team for the better part of the last two years. He was used to be THE MAN.

    Everybody should apply this to their own job, imagine this scenario in your workplace, and then tell yourself that it wouldn’t bother you at all. But again, I’m still not convinced its him “pouting” over just being worn down.

  101. NMR says:

    I might be the only one, but I don’t think it would be a bad thing for this club to start out slow.

    I mean, it’s not like jumping out to a hot start has done them much good the last two years, right? Just feels like there is a ton of angst among the fanbase/media, and judging by Cutch’s response above, the team might be feeling it as well.

  102. Pucknutz says:

    Well said Patrick.
    And just to clarify the record I was in no way, shape or form saying benching Malkin was even an option. Suicidal it would be!

  103. Jandy says:

    yup!

  104. Jandy says:

    I agree on that 100% Teddy Bear. Hurdle be darned, if someone pops my star player I’m out of the dougout and in his face. No one did anything and that was sad.

  105. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    The only problem is there’s absolutely no precedent for scratching Glass. Or Kennedy for that matter. My bet is Yolkanin and Vitale are the odd ones out.

  106. Jandy says:

    like

  107. Jandy says:

    Thanks Playoffs, I forgot how badly I did in game one. Glad i’m improving a little LOL!

  108. Thundercrack says:

    I think we need more hitters to take the lead in getting more hits.

  109. Pucknutz says:

    Well, Jandy says she would do it, but apparantly she has no fear of death being a Saint and all!
    colen right para to ya Jandy! LOL

  110. Jason says:

    I agree with scratching TK. He’s not on the PK, and is barely on the Power Play. Bylsma’s experiment of putting him on the first line as a center was ridiculous, especially when you were scratching a center to do so (Jeffrey/Vitale). Jeffrey was used on the second line when Malkin was out. Why not in between Kunitz & Dupuis? I also agree with trying Jokinen up there too. Couldn’t hurt trying…

  111. Jandy says:

    Iceman, thanks, I don’t mind you steaing my thunder ;)
    Nick Vucic is one of the newer writers over there, and he’s doing a great job.

  112. NMR says:

    Just saw the matchups for the weekend series.

    Can’t say I see much good in bumping AJ up to face Kershaw. Dude just blanked the World Champs over eight innings and we’re moving our top starter up to face that buzz saw?

  113. Jandy says:

    Yeah and there needs to be a precedent set for sitting pouting players too!

  114. TJ says:

    I would agree with that NMR. It would just be nice to see him actually be able to do and say what he means; hopefully that will come around

  115. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    2 Thoughts for the day…

    1. Only got to listen to end of the game driving to work, but there doesn’t seem to be much criticism of Hughes. I know it’s hypothetical hindsight, but if he doesn’t leave a floater up there for a journeyman to crush then Pedro and Neil the non-SEAL aren’t even part of the discussion.

    2. Pens new alternate uniform suggestion- bring back the jerseys they wore for Mario’s rookie season.

  116. Jandy says:

    Drew is ALWAYS first ;)

  117. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    That’s just the mother (Theresa) in you talking. :-)

  118. Dejan left Daq and BFD in charge, because they are always focusing on ownership!

    Then TJ will begin to talk about their mothers, and all Pirate Baseball will break loose!

  119. TJ says:

    Last mock I saw had Ansah going 2nd

  120. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    You stole Thunder? What will become of Drew?

  121. Jandy says:

    Like!

  122. Jandy says:

    ZING!

  123. Jandy says:

    She’s a pretty smart lady ;)

  124. Jandy says:

    well said!

  125. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    He scored a huge open can of whoop-as from Asham the other night.

  126. Jason says:

    Let me stress that I’m not advocating this in the least, but…
    What are the thoughts about potentially trading Malkin in the offseason to secure enough cap room for signing Letang long-term, along with resigning Iginla and maybe Murray?

  127. Patrick says:

    I’ve always gotten the opinion that “leadership” in the clubhouse isn’t as meaningful in baseball as it is in other sports. Maybe its because the dynamic of the “team” sport isn’t as it is in others (one player’s performance has a lower impact on another’s performance than it does in say, football) so each person is more or less left alone to figure things out on is own.

    But again, the finer points and intricacies of baseball are a bit of a foreign concept to me. My first guess would be AJ. And by nature of his position I would think the catcher, no matter who it is, carries a little more sway than most other players.

  128. Jandy says:

    Patrick, I’m all for sticking up for these guys. Heck, I wouldn’t want their job. But don’t forget, Geno had a mini-break too, and came back and did worse if you ask me.
    SOMEBODY has to get thru to him somehow.

  129. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    big +

  130. 21sthebest says:

    +3.14

  131. No problem.
    Remember it’s a looooong season.
    Plenty of time to make up ground.
    Just watch out for JRay3.
    He’s a shark!

  132. JohninOshkosh says:

    TJA:

    If this blog issued a Lady Byng Trophy, you would surely win it. Your kind personality definitely comes out in your posts.

    Now who gets the Bob Probert award…..

  133. Pucknutz says:

    Also like , Damon.
    When Sid returns I don’t think he will care where he plays even the 4th line as long as they win the Cup.

  134. Dom says:

    After looking over the drafts from 2006-2009 it should come to no surprise if our losing streak reaches 21 this season.
    Here are the only guys worth mentioning:

    2006
    Brad Lincoln: Assigned to AAA
    Alex Presley: Assigned to AAA
    Jared Hughes: Pirates Bullpen
    Rudy Owens: Assigned to AAA

    2007
    Daniel Moskos: Assigned to AAA
    Tony Watson: Pirates Bullpen
    Kyle McPherson: Assigned to AAA

    2008
    Pedro Alvarez: Pirates starting 3B
    Justin Wilson: Pirates Bullpen
    Jordy Mercer: Assigned to AAA
    Matt Hague: Assigned to AAA
    Chase D’Arnaud: Assigned to AAA

    2009
    Tony Sanchez: Assigned to AAA
    Vic Black: Assigned to AAA
    Brock Holt: Assigned to AAA

    IMO, it is too early to expect major league dividends for 2010 and on. In four drafts the total major league talent consists of a starting 3rd baseman and three decent relievers. Take into account we drafted no later than 4th overall in any one of those drafts.

  135. I got tepid response last season when I suggested making Kevin Correia Opening Day starter against 3 straight #1 Starters in rotation. That would have allowed our #1 and #2 to go against lesser opposing pitchers.

    No one liked my suggestion . . . . . and Pirates did OK against that worse string of great pitchers last season . . . . . so maybe moot point.

    Pitch AJ as much as possible. I like his “hate to lose” spirit.

    Remember our motto: not Spahn and Sain and Pray for rain!
    But——AJ, Wandy, and JMac; then Bucs have a heart attack!

  136. Jandy says:

    Kinda like reverse psychology, eh NMR?

  137. Milo Hamilton says:

    Rutgers AD Tim Pernetti is no longer Rutgers AD Tim Pernetti.

  138. Jandy says:

    I’ll be happy to stay in the middle of the pack ;)

  139. JohninOshkosh says:

    Yeah, I wanna go to Vegas with JRay. Dude has the golden touch.

  140. Jandy says:

    I’ma b*chslap ya :P

  141. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    Not crazy about moving him to sign Letang. KL’s injury list is like a medical version of “War and Peace”.

    If SugarRay does the right thing and DOES NOT resign Tyler Kennedy and lets Glass walk, that’s 3 mil right there. Not enough for EM or KL, but every bit helps. I have a feeling Martin would be the odd man out on the contracts. Not sure I’m crazy about that. Just a quick number based thought.

  142. TJA says:

    Is the Prez of Rutgers next? This story is so disturbing.

  143. Arriba Wilver says:

    Yes, the Big Bang Theory last night kind of reminded me of that when Sheldon and Raj were talking trash about each other’s mothers.

  144. Patrick says:

    Not sure its a great idea to start over working the most important player on the team this early either. Its one thing when its late august in a pennant race, but the second week of the season?

    Isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement for the 4 and 5 guys either.

  145. Ryan hasn’t stopped by yet. He had a nice little run last year as well.

  146. theplanisworking says:

    Like.
    Now the school Pres. has to go.

  147. NMR says:

    You know, I really want to view the whole concept of leadership pragmatically, as I am wont to do with just about everything.

    But I just can’t dismiss what happened in the Cards dugout last year down to their last three outs in game seven with a trip to the NLCS on the line. Everyone of them believed they were going to win that game.

    There didn’t seem to be any of that attitude, outside of AJ, in the Buccos dugout last year once the road got rough.

  148. TJA says:

    Thanks all. Just wanted to know who to report to! :)

  149. theplanisworking says:

    That was funny, but I didnt focus on that part, if you catch my drift. ;)

    Sad thing is, some people here dont want other people here, thats why the personal attacks. Like I said, very sad.

  150. Milo Hamilton says:

    I picture Chris Christie sitting in the Governors office requesting heads on platters.

  151. I guess the university President did not see the video after all!

  152. Served with relish and mustard!

  153. Arriba Wilver says:

    Is DK trying to pretend he didn’t later say that they were an “absolute lock” to break .500. I know I cringed when I read it.

  154. TJ says:

    Take a look at the Giants; how many elimination games they won last year because no one gave up.

    Is it a Pittsburgh baseball stigma? That once you get here its like baseball pergitory? You can say that these are pro athletes and they should do this or that but lets take a look at the Clippers in basketball for example. They spent decades out of the playoffs; drafted in the top 5 year after year and would never bring in a top FA cause of their owner. Then all of a sudden they draft Griffin, they trade for CP3 and things turn.

    The Pirates are going through the whole build from within theory which is fine but there has to be a compliment of leadership and experience. Can you imagine the excitement; the buzz the city would have if this team actually went out and signed or traded for a key player under 30?

  155. NMR says:

    Sure.

    We all said last year that if the script were flipped – if the team started off slow and came on at the end – the attiude would be completely different.

  156. Patrick says:

    In the history of the NHL no player with a Conn Smythe, Hart and Art Ross trophies has been traded while in the prime of his career. Probably a good reason for that.

    I wouldnt trade Malkin for anything less than 2-3 current NHL players and the next 5-6 1st draft picks. All of which would probably be late 1st round picks.

    Players of Malkin’s caliber come around once every two or three years. You dont trade guys like that when they are in their prime. YOU JUST DON’T.

    Last time that happened the Pens traded a guy named Jagr, but only because they HAD TOO. Anyone remember how that worked out?

  157. Dom says:

    Yep, he’s been fired. Ravens RB Ray Rice was campaigning for him to stay.

  158. Would YOU prefer Jeff Locke over AJ Burnett?!?!

    Because of off day, AJ is just working on his normal scheduled day to pitch. Getting that rhythm is more important in the early season than an extra day of rest that throws AJ off schedule!

  159. No way he can get out of that one.

  160. NMR says:

    A little hard to believe, but Zach Grienke owns a 7.58 ERA over five starts against the Bucs since 2011.

    So we have that going for us.

  161. Reading says:

    The Pirates’ hitting woes boil down to them looking at hittable pitches and swinging at unhittable pitches. It’s a by-product of their moronic “patience at the plate” mantra. A perfect example is Marte’s at bat in the 6th or 7th inning yesterday. He looks at two pitches right down the middle and then swings and misses at a low and inside unhittable ball four.

  162. Jandy says:

    Good luck if you know ;)

  163. NMR says:

    I’ll be sure to keep those poor souls in my prayers.

    Sheesh.

  164. NMR says:

    I’d prefer to win.

    Burnett vs. Ryu, in my opinion, gives the team better odds than Burnett vs. Kershaw.

  165. Jandy says:

    I agree, Patrick. While I think Malkin needs a swift kick in the behind, no way do think anyone should even entertain the notion of trading him. That’s not only sheer idiocy, it’s bad business.

  166. Who don’t want who?

    Ignore them and go on. The great thing about a blog. If you don’t see eye to eye, you can ignore them. It’s not like they’re in the next office or standing in yours.

    Be like Jandy and like everyone, but be willing to plant the size 9′s and go on. :)

  167. TJA says:

    With this crew?! Nah…we are truly a bunch of loonies…and darn proud of it, I might add!

  168. Jandy says:

    well, wonder where he is????

  169. Jandy says:

    Sounds like a plan…

  170. TJA says:

    What the heck is it with they big time stupidity some of these coaches have?

  171. NMR says:

    What “patience at the plate” mantra? Only two teams in baseball walked LESS than the Pirates last year.

    And I hate to kill conversation, but for anyone wanting to argue the merits of “patience at the plate”, only three of the top ten teams in walks last year missed the playoffs. None of the bottom ten made the postseason.

  172. Patrick says:

    I wonder if he isnt still hurt a little. Maybe he needs some home made soup from his mom or something.

    Best idea have heard so far is to get Kunitz back on his line. HAving ONE line that is a KNOWN, one line to give you the team an anchor so to speak. So many new players from so many places has the whole team kind of out-of-sorts i think. Maybe having one solid line that knows how to play together can have a calming effect.

    Or something…

  173. It’s 3 games, Mr. Library!!

    3 games played in 30 degree weather! Let’s at least let them play enough real games to allow a pattern to develop.

    Unless I am missing something, most of the boxscores across Major League baseball indicate low scoring in the early going.

    If you want to focus on a pattern after 3 games, focus on the Pirate pitching allowing only 6 runs in 3 games. An ERA of 2.00 will win Bucs a lot of games this year!!!!!! 1st Place!!!!

    Too soon!!!

  174. Maybe the term should be “pitch recognition” which should be learned in the low minors.

    Swinging at balls that bounce twice is hardly patience at the plate.

  175. JohninOshkosh says:

    With Christie, I think it would be served with donuts and Cool Ranch Doritos.

  176. Patrick(RI) says:

    I thought I heard a different sort of “mantra” from J. Bell during the in-game interview. I think the real problem is that too few of these guys can hit.

  177. JohninOshkosh says:

    Groat:

    Who is Mr. Library? You got me there.

  178. JohninOshkosh says:

    Never mind, I missed Reading above.

  179. Jandy says:

    dittos

  180. Woody Hayes, and ALL the coaches I ever had, are turning over in their graves!

    PC has certainly taken over our society (except for Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh——idiots both)

  181. Jandy says:

    Oh I read that as redding not reeding lol

  182. Jandy says:

    Makes two of us! :)

  183. Jandy says:

    Gotta love my size 9 wides ;)

  184. Thundercrack says:

    I predict the Pirates won’t lose another game.
    JMac will win the Cy Young Award. The Comeback Player of the Year, Jonathan Sanchez, will come in second in the Cy Young voting.

    The Pirates will not get out of the first round of the playoffs: too many leaders in the locker room

  185. Jandy says:

    well, BOo!

  186. Jandy says:

    ::THWAP::

  187. NMR says:

    See, I vehemently disagree with that.

    There is talent on that field. Marte, Pedro, Sanchez, Walker, Jones. You can’t tell me these guys can’t hit strikes.

    What they can’t do is hit balls that counce twice before reaching the plate. Big difference.

  188. Same here, Groaty, but it doesn’t mean that kind of idiocy is right. I am a Buckeye fan tried and true, but Woody lost it at the end.

  189. Patrick says:

    The whole draft is in a tizzy. Without the usual “next great PLAYER!” that the NFL usually is overhyping right about now the whole thing is a jigsaw puzzle:

    -No real, definitive #1franchise QB
    -or RB
    -6-7 legit #1 WRs, Which means 2-3 will be taken in the 2nd. But which ones? WR is such a homerun or strikeout pick as it is…..
    -Almost every mock draft has 4-6 defensive linemen going in the top 10. By far the most in history. And again..which one goes where?

    The whole draft is shades of gray. A few positions with almost no one worth drafting (QB,RB) and some positions with a wealth of talent (DL,WR). I made a mock draft and have the Steelers taking John Jenkins from Georgia. Defensive tackle, HUGE, strongest guy in the combine in the bench reps, not very mobile so most teams are sour on him but he fits what the Steelers need a DT to be in the 3-4. Immovable. He reminds me so much of Casey Hampton.

    LeBeau’s 3-4 needs 3 players to make it work: A DT that simply cannot be moved (Joel Steed, Hampton) a MLB that can fill any gap and plays solid zone (Kirkland, Farrior) and a madman safety that can make any play, anywhere (Carnell Lake, Polamalu).

    DK: Great stuff, Patrick.

  190. TJ says:

    I’ll have to dust off the “momma jokes” book to have ready for next week.

  191. Just so DK doesn’t ditto this, we’ll be OK, TC.

  192. I hear there’s a Taco Bell installed on the 2nd floor of New Jersey State House.

  193. Thundercrack says:

    NMR,
    I am not giving up on Pedro. But yes, I have seen him swing through plenty of strikes.

  194. TJ says:

    Groat I believe you and I had discussed that prior to the season. Seems like a waste to send your #1 out there when the other teams #1 is far superior.

  195. 21sthebest says:

    I don’t think Mike Rice is stupid. I think he has a serious problem.

  196. Cracker,

    Casey McGeheeheeheehee will be brought back from Japan at trading deadline to help chemistry in clubhouse!!

  197. 21sthebest says:

    Jumping back to this leader thing again. Is it my imagination but nobody seems to talk about PRNW as a leader. Why is that?

  198. One of the most amazing instances in sports ever——Woody hitting that Clemson player.

    Sorry his legacy ended that way.

    But I would NOT have wanted to play for him.

  199. TJ says:

    Totally agree Patrick… BUT….

    Gretzky and Jagr were both traded when they were only 28.

    Both were financially driven in my opinion but that will be the case when Shero is forced to deal Letang and/or Malkin because of cap reasons.

    Another thing to consider is their prime is when your going to get the most in return. Which is obvious but why be like the Steelers and hold on to guys till they can’t play no more and you have nothing to replace them with?

    If anyone has a chance to visit hockey reference look up Gretzky and look at the trade between Edmonton and LA. Ugly.

  200. Thundercrack says:

    Since we’re talking about Big Bang Theory does this mean the blog has officially jumped the shark.

    But it was a funny episode. And yes Plan I catch your drift.

  201. Patrick says:

    I read the ‘anonymous MLB player survey’ done by Si recently and this quote jumped out at me:

    “What the Marlins did is a disgrace…I’ve talked to other players.That will be remembered by FA’s for a long time.” Anon MLB player

    Is this kind of thing happening to the Pirates? I often wondered if even if they were willing, would a “key player under 30″ be willing to sign? Remeber how much the Nationals had to “overpay” for Jason Werth a few years ago? Or how much the Pirates had to “overpay” for R Martin this year?

  202. Jason says:

    Someone posed that question to me a couple days ago. I understand the reasoning, but really wouldn’t want to do that either.

  203. TJ says:

    Right next to Dunkin Donuts; and his doctor office that says he’s in great health

  204. TJ says:

    Depending on the university its win or be fired. And in Rice’s case I think he was simply trying to use Rutgers to get to the next big thing. Unfortunately for him he wasn’t having much success at Rutgers.

  205. TJ says:

    He should have called God; I mean Ray Lewis. That would have got him saved

  206. TJ says:

    One of the most arrogant AD’s I’ve ever heard

  207. Jandy says:

    ahhh..sanity returns lol

  208. Agree on both counts.

  209. Iceman says:

    I know there is no precedent for scratching them and I’m not saying that the above lines are what I think will happen. Just saying what I think should happen based on what I have seen on the ice the last 4 or so games. I think TK has the potential to be successful, just not here with the lineup and play style the Pens use. He will be great to have on the bench for the playoffs in case a winger gets hurt, but his inability to play on the PK hurt his chances for staying in the lineup.

    Glass has been a bust and GM, Coach, etc have to just own up to that and move on. His style of play fit what they were looking for and I don’t blame them for bringing him in, but it is time to move right along.

  210. JohninOshkosh says:

    Groat:

    That was way beyond the pale. He was throwing basketballs at crotch areas. Yelling homophobic smears at them.

    I’m sure Coach K can give a tongue lashing with the best of ‘em but I bet he’s never done anything like that.

    By the way, one of the great Americans, George Patton, was suspended by a more genteel great American, Eisenhower. That was 70 years ago. Americans don’t like their kids getting physically bullied by authority figures. It’s the physicality here that made it go over the line.

    These people get paid millions of dollars to supervise kids. The least they should know is that in the social media era, someone is going to be recording everything. Obviously, he had done before, or why else would the assistant have his phone at the ready.

  211. Patrick says:

    Well obviously, no, I would not prefer Locke over Burnett.

    I would prefer to keep AJ around all year and in good shape rather than leaning on him to early, to often. Especially in a game the Pirates have little chance of winning no matter who is pitching.

    But I honestly forgot that they had the extra day off after opening day.

  212. Jandy says:

    Can I nominate myself as a candidate??? :P

  213. John Lease says:

    A bitter, bitter memory, to be sure. I’m from Export, Bob Moose’s hometown…

  214. Jason says:

    Mine? Yeah, that was gone eons ago.

  215. Patrick says:

    And the Oilers have never been the same since. Well…except for that wierd anomoly back in 2005.

  216. Is he boycotting the blog?

  217. TJ says:

    Can’t argue with that; but you can argue with what they gave up compared to what they received. Edmonton included 2 other players for a package they should have received for Gretzky alone.

    And you can’t say that the Oilers demise since the trade is simply because they traded Gretzky. It too can be attributed to poor management.

  218. Reading says:

    The mantra that values a “quality at bat” where a batter is praised for seeing many pitches before grounding out over a guy driving the first hittable pitch he sees into the gap.

  219. Brotherhood of the Redus says:

    It is going to be fun watching Greinke lose his mind an inning at a time this evening. 10 cent head…here’s what it would sound like to be in his head later:

    “I’m a Dodger. Matt Kemp is a nice guy. Is he related to Shawn Kemp. Ooops left that one up. Is my arm just itchy or is that the platlets kicking in. I should get a haircut…I have weird hair. Prince Feilder was nice too, but Tony Plush, Tony Plush was annoying…he made me uncomfortable…like watching Jared Hughes pitch uncomfortable…like why is he breathing through his mouth uncomfortable? Focus Zach…ok do it. Crap how did he get to that? Where is my wife? Is that Larry David with a Lady of the Evening? He brings them to the game to use the carpool lane I heard. Shoot! That’s really deep. I should tell coach my arm hurts. $147 million, wow I’m rich. I wish I was playing baseketball right now. Thanks Magic!”

    See…he’s nuts. Tell your cousins to get the letters DL stictch on the Greinke jerseys

  220. Milo Hamilton says:

    Problem with Pedro is and always has been the fastball for a strike. When he’s going bad, he can’t catch up with an 87 mph fastball right down the middle. When he’s going good, he murders it. He needs to become more consistent with pitches in the strike zone.

  221. TJ says:

    Anyone seen Zoltan so far? Or have the Pirates not been on base long enough to flash the sign?

    I’m wondering what made up super hero sign they will come up with for the PBC to print on everything imaginable and sell.

  222. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    Gotcha. Totally agree. But Tyler Kennedy would be better in the seats selling peanuts than on the bench. I’d take my chances with (Meh)gna :-)

  223. Arriba Wilver says:

    I definitely catch your drift, plan. NMR, talking about ” poor souls” apparently didn’t. They looked pretty healthy to me.

    What are we talking about again?

  224. Patrick says:

    I see the same guys having the same troubles with the same pitches. Everyone knows Pedro has problems with the change low and away. Not that I expect him to hit it, but that he needs to recognize it and let it go as a pitch he cant do anything with.

    Conversely Barmes struggles inside. Wednesday he got a tough pitch low and tailing away and he pulled it for a double. For pedro thats a one hopper to 2nd.

    Every MLB has holes in their swing. Only the best hitters like Cabrera and Pujols can hit any pitch, in any count. Everyone else has to know that their swing simply doesnt work for certain pitches in certain locations. That’s not always something that can be fixed either.

    Bryce Harper had trouble with offspedd on his hands last year. He worked his *** off in the offseason. The first 2 off speed pitched he saw this year that were low/inside he hit out of the park. But then…that’s what makes him Bryce Harper.

  225. Reading says:

    Lucky, I fully agree with your distinction. I have no problem whatsoever with a batter looking at balls oit of the strike zone, but why hamstring our leadoff hitter, for example, by taking the bat out of his hands by artificially requiring him to look at pitches until they are in a two strike hole? Free the batter to swing at good pitches regardless of whether it is the first pitch. That will do more to solve the Pirates hitting problems than looking for walks.

  226. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    My guess is they’ll start stamping and printing “Pirates Charities” all over everything. Even on clay pigeons.

  227. TJA says:

    21, I’ll give you that for sure. Just like Sandusky? A serious illness for sure there.

  228. 21sthebest says:

    “Anyone seen Zoltan so far?”

    Shhhhhh.

  229. NMR says:

    Are we still talking about Starling Marte?

    We can’t be.

    He swung at the first pitch twice yesterday alone.

    Who is this leadoff hitter being forced to take two strikes?

  230. Iceman says:

    I absolutely hate the thought of losing Malkin, but I wonder how we are able to resign him and still keep a decent team built around him, Crosby, and Fleury (I’m afraid that if Malkin gets resigned, we won’t be able to resign Letang and he will move along to new pastures). I think if Malkin is willing to take a bit of a discount (Crosby has set a precedent for this team and while I don’t expect all players to take the discount he did, someone like Malkin is going to have to take at least a little bit of a discount). If the Pens sign Malkin and Letang this offseason, they just are going to have so little money to try and sign the other players around them that fill some huge roles.

  231. NMR says:

    Which, to me at least, has to be all mental.

    The guys bat speed cannot be questioned. It’s just not possible to hit a baseball as far as he can with inferior bat speed.

    When I see Pedro swinging through 88 mph fastballs like he did against Rondon Wednesday night, it tells me he’s cheating on the breaking ball.

  232. Don’t think so. He was here a couple weeks ago.

  233. TJA says:

    My Friday laugh! Thanks TC

  234. Dom says:

    Let’s cut the man some slack. He’s struggled with a weight for some time.

  235. Milo Hamilton says:

    In some cases, sure. But his problem is mostly timing which leads back to mechanics. The only reason you swing at a first pitch fastball is because you go up there looking fastball. You don’t go up hacking at the 1st pitch thinking off speed. If he’s swinging through those, it’s timing.

    But you’re so right about him and all hitters for that matter when it comes to the mental aspect. I think that’s why Jay Bell is here. Will it work ? I have no idea.

  236. Thundercrack says:

    I wonder if the manager or hitting coach ever yells instruction to them while they’re on the on-deck circle.

    -only swing at strikes, don’t chase
    - look for an early fastball
    -only swing at a pitch in your ‘zone’
    - just be sure to make contact.

    Stuff like that. It seems that the mental stuff has to be reinforced to a lot of these guys at the last possible second before they get into the batters’ box

  237. Patrick says:

    Gonchar was a pretty even-keeled guy too. Like I said I hate to be to stereo-typical about russians, but the stigma attached to them isn’t just an old-wives tale either. It exists for a reason.

  238. Patrick says:

    Well no, the economics of hockey changed greatly during that time, which was why he had to be traded in the first place. Teams payroll grew exponentially but Edmonton stayed the same. Not much has changed in 20 years either.

    But really the example is pretty solid. Whatever the motivations for doing so, trading a player of Gretzky, Jagr or Malkin’s talent is simply a bad idea.

  239. JohninOshkosh says:

    Two great losses to American culture yesterday. Roger Ebert and Carmine Infantino. I know both of them made my world a much better place.

    One of the great joys: reading Roger Ebert skewer a film:

    http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19940722/REVIEWS/407220302/1023

  240. Arriba Wilver says:

    I’m with Groat. AJ likes his routine.

  241. stuart66 says:

    Agree, here is a link to an Ebert column from the past. http://blogs.suntimes.com/ebert/2009/01/theres_a_small_cafe.html

    He also wrote a great one about nostalgia which referenced a 1957 Studebaker Golden Hawk which he purchased in 1980.

    Stuart

  242. Jandy says:

    Puckers, you kill me! Yes and i still would sit him for a game. Bet thru that thick skull of his.

  243. Arriba Wilver says:

    But what’s his won-loss record for those games?

  244. Arriba Wilver says:

    +1

  245. Jandy says:

    I was against breaking up Kunitz/Sid/Dupuis because of the way they were playing. But now that Sid is out of the equation anyway, I think it’s a good idea to put Kunitz with Geno. Either him or Morrow. Duper is a team guy and will do anything you ask of him. Maybe someone can call Momma Malkin and ask her to come and kick Geno’s butt???
    Or something..
    ;)

  246. Jandy says:

    I think he said he was very very busy.

  247. NMR says:

    Certainly could be mechanical, Milo. I honestly don’t know enough to be able to spot little things like that.

    I’ve always been of the opinion that 2011 really messed him up. I would never be able to find it, but I remember reading some stat saying that only Ryan Howard saw a higher percentage of breaking balls in the entire league. I think that really screwed with his approach.

    For a power hitter, he simply doesn’t seem to sit and attack fastballs. That timing issue strikes me as waiting on a breaking ball that doesn’t come.

  248. Methinks Mike Rice’s dad coached the same way at Duquesne.

    If I had a dollar for every time my high school basketball coach popped me in the crotch with a backhand fist to show us how to block out bigger rebounders, or called me and others a certain female anatomy part or twinkies (not the food), I’d be as rich as Dejan.

    That established, in 2013, Mike Rice Jr. is a neanderthal! Evolution allows no such thing anymore!

  249. NMR says:

    I was sarcastically referring to those under “personal attacks”.

    They seem to love playing the victim.

  250. I’m not saying Chris Christie has a weight problem (beat, beat, beat).

    But when he sits around the State House, he sits AROUND the State House!!

  251. Jandy says:

    Just saw this from yesterday:

    Milo Hamilton says:

    April 4, 2013 at 7:33 pm

    Looks like Joffrey Lupul has suffered a concussion. Those darned Hockey Gods at work again. Right Randy ?

    Gotta love it!

  252. JohninOshkosh says:

    Thanks, Stewart.

  253. Arriba Wilver says:

    You obviously didn’t see the episode. No biggie.
    Oops, there I go again.

    :-)

  254. Iceman says:

    Having suffered a concussion myself, I would never wish this on anyone and hate to see people getting injured, but there certainly is some irony here regarding Carlyle’s comments.

  255. Jandy says:

    That was my point, Iceman, and that only. I’d never wish that on any human being. But Carlyle being bitten in the butt by karma is sweet.

  256. SJB says:

    Interesting comments by the Penguins hater Milbury the other day. After Bergeron’s latest concussion, he went on to say how the situation should be treat with the utmost respect by everyone. Really DH? You don’t seem to have a problem DISrespecting Crosby’s concussion situation on a Philadelphia sports talk show and in other places, but a Bruin player needs treated differently?

    I think any player would be entitled the same level of respect in those situations but obviously the walking, talking A$$hat Milbury feels differently.

    The fact that a meteor or piece of airplane toilet ice hasn’t yet fell out of the sky on Milbury’s fat, empty head tells me there is no such thing as a “Hockey God”.

    DK: Magnificent.

  257. Jandy says:

    Don’t worry, karma will get Milbury. it’s just not his time yet. ;)

  258. SJB says:

    Can I pray the right time is when he’s walking across Grant St. in front of a PAT bus?

  259. AL says:

    Sure…..and Ulf Samuelsson will be driving the bus.

  260. Jandy says:

    LOL!

  261. Milo Hamilton says:

    So to put those nasty rumors to rest once and for all the Penguins will have a briefing with doctors present to update the fans on Sidney Crosby’s actual condition.

    Sorry, I just went completely insane for a moment. Nevermind.

  262. Jandy says:

    …for a moment? :P

  263. Jandy says:

    From the Pens’ website, Fleury will start in goal tonight :)
    That should make Dom happy!

  264. Drew71 says:

    i LIVE to mock!

    are we talking about the same thing?

  265. Brotherhood of the Redus says:

    At least they all made it up to AAA HA

  266. Drew71 says:

    Don’t forget Thunder’s 31-1, and Dejan’s 1-31.

    Put me down for a corn beef on rye, and 12-19 (one ppd to later in the season; a loss).

  267. Drew71 says:

    With doctors present?

  268. Jandy says:

    Why would Dom want doctors present?
    :P

  269. Can’t blame that loss totally on him, but he was definitely the scapegoat.

  270. Fleury will be in goal.

    The question is: will the rest of the team show up?

    Or sweat?

  271. piratemike says:

    I wouldn’t want Martin backing me up in a fight……..That dude just flat out cannot hit.

  272. The Gunner says:

    No disrespect intended here but, Cutch might have been the 4th outfielder on the 1971 team or stuck in Charleston with the Richie Zisks of the world.

  273. Kevin says:

    Yes. This is the exact combination I had figured when they drafted Morrow. Unfortunately the Crosby line was red-hot so they didn’t want to change it… now that crosby is out (possibly for the rest of the season).. I see no reason why not to shake it up like this.

  274. piratemike says:

    When you have a team with 5 players including the pitcher with BA’s of .200 it is hard to find someone that is going to follow.

  275. Patrick says:

    I need to ask a favor of sorts. Could the following please send me an email to nietchsze@yahoo. I have question sand don’t want to hijack someone elses blog….more than I already do anyways..

    Groat
    NMR
    Lucky
    and TC

    Thanks

  276. Probably the latter rather than the former. He’s too talented to be the 4th outfielder anywhere for long.

  277. Milo Hamilton says:

    Or the doctors.

  278. Jandy says:

    They better friggin show up!

  279. Drew71 says:

    Cause he also had the Pirates game on.

  280. Dom says:

    I read that Tim Pernetti was fired but it said on CNN that he resigned.

  281. Jandy says:

    Saying “I quit” after your boss fires you doesn’t count ;)

  282. Jandy says:

    ZING!

  283. Jandy says:

    And the Boss checks in!

  284. Drew71 says:

    Ah, Thunder. I see your trophy has been passed.

    Don’t be bitter.

  285. Dom says:

    Thanks for the heads up, Jandy. Fleury is the man.

  286. Jandy says:

    You betcha, Dom :)

  287. Jandy says:

    Way to break it to him gently, Drew dahling!

  288. Patrick says:

    Penguins have become the Yankees of Hockey. The Patriots, Cowboys and Steelers. They are the team everyone LOVES to hate.

    Like it or not Sid Is the Tom Brady of the NHL. He is the best player, most well known and even the best looking. I can completely envision how every other fan of the game sees Crosby the same way we see guys like Jeter and Brady: Smarmy and disingenious. Arrogant and selfish. He of course isn’t, but that’s just the way people see him.

    People are tired of the Penguins having the best player in the world and kicking the *@&# out of their team. To make things worse the Penguins have at times had not just the best player in the world. But 3-4 of the top 10 players in the world. The 1993 Penguins team was ABSURDLY talented. And so is this one.

    And Milbury was on the early 90s Bruins that got their butts kicked every spring by Mario and his merry band of Hall Of Famers.

  289. scapper says:

    An equally great joy was reading Ebert’s raves. I keep his Great Movies books handy and often re-read the review of a movie I’ve passed by or am about to watch. Been a long time since the death of someone famous affected me this much. (RIP Chuck Tanner.) Great link you provided above…thanks.

  290. Jandy says:

    “He is the best player, most well known and even the best looking. ”
    Not in MY book, he isn’t ;)

  291. Jandy says:

    Allow me to clarify that…Crosby is the best player, and perhaps the most well known, but he is NOT the best looking…just sayin’

  292. Reading says:

    If Marte swung at the first pitch twice yesterday, it almost certainly was met with a stern rebuke from the “embrace the suck” crowd and probably caused the 7th inning at bat I saw. I’ll have to check the game thread yesterday, but I’m sure any such swinging at the first pitch was met with comments about “doesn’t he know that a team only makes the playoffs when the leadoff batter sees an average of 4.7 pitches per at bat.”

  293. scapper says:

    Why Geno Better Get It Going:

    The great news that Sid has no concussion symptoms is huge. (If it’s true and accurate.) It’s also good news that his jaw should heal quickly and that he’ll be back in action this year.

    But people better realize that the chance of him quickly returning to pre-jaw break form is a stretch. This guy had invasive surgery under general anesthesia and endured some true physical trauma. I know he’s a world class athlete in supreme physical condition, but that takes a lot out of any person, even someone as otherworldly as Sid.

    That’s why it’s imperative that Geno steps it up now and bigtime and continues to be the old Geno once Sid returns. It’s going to take a while for 87 to get back to where he was last week at this time, if that’s even possible this year. Malkin will have to carry this team through a round or two if a Cup is possible.

    DK: Oh, for crying out loud, it isn’t “news” that 87 doesn’t have a concussion. That’s been clear and plainly stated from the very beginning. Amazing the damage one idiot radio reporter on the other side of the state can do.

  294. deb says:

    Patrick, you need to review history. Geno has NOT carried the team the “last two years”!!!! If memory serves, 2009-2010 folks were yelling to trade Malkin because he was so grossly underperforming; 2010-2011 Malkin was underperforming, and required season ending Knee surgery a few games after Sid was concussed; 2011-2012 was his only good year. 2012-2013 Malkin is again underperforming.

  295. Kevin says:

    Right? Just seems like a waste of good pitching if you can’t score runs against good pitching.

  296. TJA says:

    Just getting caught up from some work stuff. Thank you, John. Much, much appreciated.

  297. TJA says:

    LIke!

  298. TJA says:

    Have a great weekend, Everyone! Go Bucs and Pens!

  299. The Gunner says:

    Lucky

    The Dodgers are loaded pitching wise. Anything can happen but, I am highly concerned for the Bucs this weekend.

  300. Jandy says:

    You too, friend :)

  301. JohninOshkosh says:

    Apologies

    Stuart

  302. JRay3 says:

    @Lucky- absolutely hysterical post!

  303. Thanks. Do you have prediction? I might go with yours, as you have the admiration of John and others at The Window.

    Many more optimists below. :)

  304. Pucknutz says:

    Pray tell O Saintly one – just WHO would that be???

  305. If Crosby marries a super model like Giselle, I’m all for it!!

    It would give those Root cameras something to focus on.

    Personally, I enjoy window shopping, whether I can afford it or not!!!

  306. Drew71 says:

    There’s no crying in…

    Wait. What is it we do here?

  307. BillyBaduka says:

    If Ansah’s available at 17, Steelers have to consider him.

  308. Chuck H says:

    I have read too many blogs, singing the praises for Pedro Alverez. Forget it-he will never hit major league pitching. He swings at everything thrown by the apposing pitchers, even
    the mediocre pitchers, but seldom makes contact, And if he does make contact, it’s usually a ground ball to the second baseman. He doesn’t belong in the cleanup slot, in fact, he doesn’t belong on the team. He is an automatic out, among other auto outs on this Pirate team. If you don’t want to get rid of him, at least send him down to the minors for awhile, and bring up a hitter.

  309. BillyBaduka says:

    Agree on the draft ‘landscape’.

    Also like Jenkins as a NT pick.

    I gotta quibble on your essential 3 though.

    I’d place weak side pass rusher above the safety.

    In my opinion weak side pass rush is 1b to the NT 1a.

    They moved Chad Brown outside from inside (even though he was great inside) because the 3-4 doesn’t work without dominant weak side LB.

  310. RobertoForever says:

    You compared me to Cutch!

    I like it, the Cutch of the blog.

    I was responsible for about 1,000 of the 120k votes to be on the cover of MLB the Show.

    And I don’t even own a PS3

  311. RobertoForever says:

    Either there is another Roberto on the blog, or you misrepresented things i said (not that surely)

    I’ll take 5-27.

    DK has convinced me. This team is terrible. Fire Jay Bell, Fire Hurdle. Sell the team!

  312. Come on, you don’t mean that. What will Neal say when you bring his coffee?

  313. RobertoForever says:

    Something realistic.

    Unlike many on the blog.

    I thought your advice was to ignore people. Instead you belittle? Seems very un-’turn the other cheek’

  314. Joni says:

    The cultural differences between Russia and what I can see from North America play a part in the way the Russian players act/react. Russian hockey players are treated like rock stars in their home country and are largely known by their fellow countrymen. Not so much here. I think that North American fans have a “what have you done for me lately?” attitude when it comes to its pro athletes. What does a man who is treated like he is the greatest thing since sliced whatever our Russian brothers and sisters eat do in such a strange situation? Probably act on what they know, a.k.a. proceed until apprehended.

    Am I issuing an apology for what looks like pouty behavior on our part. Hell no! But I am curious as to what NHL coaching staffs do when it comes to acclimating players from different countries. Thank G_d that Malkin had Gonchar as a helper when he came over. It seems as if Malkin’s parents provide that type of stability when they are in town, thus Geno’s confidence and comfort level seen on the ice.

    Just a few thoughts on my end. For the record, I would love to go to Russia and see if the malarkey I imparted above is true-ish, or just a flight of fancy on my part. I would totally take Power Bars with me; I don’t do borscht :)

  315. JAL says:

    Amazing that someone who can’t hit MLB pitching managed to hit 30 HR last season. Must be a magician.

  316. Joni says:

    I think the most critical (yeah, I know) thing that DB can do is ask Geno what the hell is going on first. Then they can try to come up with strategies to counteract it.

    I would also send Geno to Wilkes-Barre sometime over the break (in between going to russia to get in shape/hang out with friends and family) to stage a clinic for people who have skills but not as nifty as his. It is important that Geno work with other adults here, not kids. Making a person feel wanted goes a long way. Something tells me that’s not how DB rolls…

  317. How is that belittling? Last season, you laughed when someone said that to you. You used to be a good sport with chain-pulling. What’s changed?

  318. As are we all, Gunner.

  319. Joni says:

    I would totally reinstitute the line of 14-71-18 again now that Sid is recuperating.

    How crappy would it be to come back to the Pens after the lockout and get a memo stating that your line was disintegrated, especially since familiarity seems to be key with Geno?

    Conspiracy theory #1 (which has been stated multiple times by others): I that Geno and Neal attempted some passive-aggressive behavior at the start of this shortened season. A little bit of “tinker with the line and see what happens!” We’ll, everybody saw what happened. Boy howdy, did it backfire! And now we see Neal and Geno flailing about as a new line mate seems to be added, or deleted, every other game. Jeez…

    Conspiracy theory #2 (which has been stated multiple times by others): perhaps Geno, in deference to Sid’s awe-inspiring skill and talent, hides a portion of his light under a bushel basket when Sid is healthy. While I think it is somewhat noble on Geno’s part to defer to Sid while he’s healthy, it is also detrimental to the team and his own self-confidence. Duh, on that one!

    Long story not-so-short, go Mr. Malkin, go!

  320. NMR says:

    Yeah but every one of them was hit when the game was already won/lost/whatever-situation-justifies-my-false-narrative!

  321. BillyBaduka says:

    Nice

  322. Chuck H says:

    Last season is over. This is a new season and he hasn’t shown me anything yet.

  323. Reading says:

    Correct, Jandy. As in Pagoda City, Pretzeltown, USA.

 
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