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Friday vacation thread

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

On vacation all week. Next column is Sunday, but I still might catch Pirates-Reds tonight.

The floor, as ever, is yours …

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

Dejan Kovacevic, a lifelong Pittsburgher, is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media covering the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, Pitt and more, including his fourth Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also appears on WPXI-TV's 'Subway Final Word’ and hosts a weekly show on TribLIVE Radio. For 2011, he was named one of the top four columnists in the country -- highest circulation category -- by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the top three columnists in the country by the National Headliners Awards. For 2013, he was named top columnist in the state by the Keystone Awards and second-place by the Pennsylvania AP Managing Editors.

350 Comments

  1. DK, if you do go to the game can you please grab me an AJ t-shirt ;)

    Thanks.

    DK: Assuming you’re serious, those don’t generally get distributed to the media.

  2. Just a typical Pirates move, with the team BA around what Alvarez’s total Ks will be this season, another offensive dynamo will be added to the roster. Besides not hitting a lick in ST, being hurt most of last year, little range on defense, and just plain being old, what did this group see in Brandon Inge?

    Another reason to wonder why Hurdle and Huntington were asked to return in 2013.

    This team may not even win 70, and i can see the team being in a “real bad place” as this month continues. If they are withing 8 games out of 1st place or wild card, i would be quite surprised.

    When Alvarez’s BA finally dips below his waist size, no problem, Brandon Inge is here to save the day!

    Good lord, this team is in trouble. It’s nice to know they will be back in the top 5 draft pick status in 2014.

    And this rant is coming from a fan of the team since 1971. What a despicable organization they have become. What a shame.

    • Tom

      I, too, remember well the 1971 team. Unfortunately, that train left the station a looooong time ago. My prediction is the 2013 Pirates will win 72 games at a max. They are just a train wreck every which way you turn. What you have is an owner who is a very good businessman and just wants to fatten the bottom line, a team president who has been extremely low profile as of late, and a GM who is a condescending, incompetent dolt-like nincompoop. The field manager is a nice guy but he has very little to work with.

      The Bucs are going to be very hard to watch this year. They’ll be lucky to win one game from Stinkcinnati this weekend.

  3. Just wanted to comment on the posts on the Pirates’ pitching depth that came up yesterday. I’m moving my family out to Austin this week, so haven’t been able to keep tabs.

    I get the idea that Sanchez could be considered option #10 or so in the rotation, and as such, it’s hard to conclude that they lack depth because they have no better option than him right now.

    On the other hand…

    They KNEW that Morton and Cole were not going to be available until June or so.

    They KNEW that Liriano was injured and a dice roll even if healthy.

    They KNEW that Karstens was an injury risk, as that was justification for their non-tender of him.

    They KNEW that JMac was inconsistent.

    They KNEW that Locke and McPherson were young and untested.

    They came into the year with two dependable pitchers … who are 34 and 35.

    Oh, and Karstens and AJ walk after this year. Morton, Liriano and Wandy walk after next year.

    Yes, I am concerned about the pitching depth, and I do hold the FO accountable.

    • The owner is cheap.
      .
      The current PREZ & GM have been on scholarship since they started their reign. They are incompetent.
      .
      The plan is not working.
      .
      :-(

    • Yep, they certainly gambled. And two times through the rotation it is not looking so great.

      • “And two times through the rotation it is not looking so great”

        Really, 10th in MLB in ERA and 6th in WHIP for the pitching staff? If the hitters were anywhere close to those rankings in ANY category (other than K’s and shutouts against), Buccos would have a winning record.

        I’ll concede that the bullpen has been better than the starters so far, but we have any combo of Karstens, Morton, Liriano and Cole available in the next month or so. The pitching will be fine.

    • Demon

      You are right, there are way too many question marks with the pitching, particularly the starting pitchers. We can all hold the FO accountable till Kingdom come but, nothing will change.

      This is what comes from an owner who only cares about the income statement, a low profile usually tanked team President who is an embarassment, and a nasty little man for a GM who is a condescending, incompetent dolt-like nincompoop. Hurdle is a decent guy but he is doomed to failure with the Bucs.

  4. Who would win in a fight, Douglas Murray or Carlos Quentin? This assumes no hockey pads, also Murray is pitching and he didn’t hit Quentin on purpose. And Quentin gets to leave his helmet on, because it obviously doesn’t matter to Murray.

    • Ya, that was pretty funny last night. The first time I’ve seen Murray smile was after going to the box last night!!

    • Crankshaft is the man. I am so excited by the Murray pickup. Might be my favorite of all the late season additions (although I have to say that right now I am pumped about all 4 of them). I can’t say that I have ever seen a player play the way Murray does. He is slow as molasses, but seems to still always be in position. It seems like half his big hits happen when someone comes to check him and he just stands up tall and the other players bounce off of him. Not to mention, he is constantly where he needs to be to clear the opposing team out of the crease. Fleury and Vokoun have to be thrilled to finally have a player that is willing and able to push anybody else out. Love it!

      • Murray IS slow so it seems he learned to play positionally, much like USS Hal Gill. I’ve watched him exclusively a lot during games, and he’s rarely caught out of position. It happens, but it happens to every d-man. All the negatives that San Jose person who posted on the blog here when we picked him up, I’m not seeing. That guy said he’d be back…has anyone seen him? ;)

  5. Oh come on, guys (and gals)………… why all the anguish over our Bucs?

    neal is the smartest man in any room…….. he knows what he is doing.
    Sanchez? Dont you all understand vets are important?
    Inge? He meets the yearly quota for dumpster-diving. ;)

    This has been a wash, rinse, repeat scenario for the past 21 years.
    What is much more maddening now, is that this GM/FO talks incessantly about building through the draft………. yet they sign washed-up veterans who are destined to fail, and trade for other organizations failed suspects…err, prospects……….. all the while failing on their stated goal.

    Wake me up when this crap is over.

    • might as well stay in bed, its going to be a long summer, in the burgh.

      What are you guys going to do when the Pens get knocked out in the 1st or 2nd round?

      Wait for the steelers to open up training camp?.

      That is a big LOL!!!.

      I am reconsidering re upping my MLB extra innings(1st year without it since 2007), just to see how this train wreck plays out on a nightly basis.
      I vowed not to renew it if Huntington returned in 2013.
      But his inevitable firing, and the way Bob Walk sugarcoats it, would be must see tv.

      Might as well do a 2008 scenario again and clean house, and reload with prospects, that may be major league ready, by 2016.
      And by all means, DO NOT offer Walker a long term contract.
      He apparently still has some type of back issue, and is not the same player he was last year before this stuff happened.

    • This is what annoys me as well. All we hear from the folks at the corner of General Robinson and Shambolic Avenue is the build from within/Pirate Way mantra.

      But yet there is a revolving door with the likes of Bobby Crosby, Aki, Inge, Jonathan Sanchez, Matt Diaz, etc passing through. And to your point about the pitching, for all of the Sabertoothed Metrical Quantum Leaping Statistical Analysis done to measure the exact second a player is ready to be promoted from Extended Spring Training, little thought seems to be given to the actual Current Level of Need and doing something about it.

      Is it too late to petition MLB to move Houston BACK into the NL Central?

      Jose

    • I don’t know, guys.

      Coming off a day in which they didn’t lose, which so far is one of the season’s highlights, I thought we’d be in a pretty good baseball mood this morning.

  6. Prospect Report: (games played thru April 11)
    .
    #3 prospect in the system…OF, GREG POLANCO is playing at high A Bradenton and has played in 7 games so far. Here are his stats: 26 AB, 4 R, 7 H, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 5 SB, .269 AVG, .333 OBP
    .
    #4 prospect ….SS, ALAN HANSON, who is also at Bradenton. Has also played in 7 games and has delivered the following line. 33 AB, 5 R, 7 H, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 3 SB, .212 AVG., .235 OBP.
    .
    Bradenton is currently 0-7 in their league.
    .
    #2 prospect….JAMESON TAILLON is scheduled to pitch his 2nd outing tonight against Harrisburg.

  7. Nice game for new players last night. Only drawback was the penalty kill. Letang skated well. Good to Crosby watching. And I think I read somewhere that Martin was cleared to start skating and will join the team. Realize the past playoff failures make discussions today moot. But I’m surprised they are playing so well with all the injuries. There are positives signs.

    • Yes they are positive signs, Poz. Was nice to see the comfort level of the new guys on the ice last night. They are really fitting in.
      Also Duper did a great job of stepping up as well. Kudos to him.
      Jokinen with a 3 point game. Love this addition to the team.
      Morrow all over the place, knocking people around.
      Murray kicking ice LOL.
      Tanger picking right up where he left off.
      This team will be scary when Sid/Neal/Martin return.

    • I like all the contributions they are getting from their trade pickups. Jokinen looked like a mad wizard out there on that 2nd goal. (like how Crosby used to look with his deflections before all the concussion business)

  8. JAL’s Why Morning Links

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-b3jLorlms4

    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

    An Early Look at Alen Hanson’s Defense

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/04/an-early-look-at-alen-hansons-defense.html

    Martin’s Role Could Be A Key to Success

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/04/martins-role-could-be-a-key-to-success.html

    6 Bucs Dugout

    Big days for Josh Bell and Jarek Cunningham, while Nick Kingham gets roughed up

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2013/4/11/4215194/big-days-for-josh-bell-and-jarek-cunningham-while-nick-kingham-gets

    7 Pittsburgh Sporting News

    Baseball is his love, but Russell Martin is no stranger to hockey

    http://www.pittsburghsportingnews.com/baseballs-his-love-but-russell-martin-is-no-stranger-to-hockey/

    8 The Green Weenie

    The Young and the Restless

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2013/04/the-young-and-restless.html

    9 Rumbunter

    A Pittsburgh Pirates Tragedy Starring Clint Hurdle

    http://rumbunter.com/2013/04/11/a-pittsburgh-pirates-tragedy-starring-clint-hurdle/

    10 City of Champions

    Pedro Alvarez: It’s time for Pirates fans to back off El Toro

    http://cityofchampionssports.com/2013/04/10/pedro-alvarez-its-time-for-pirates-fans-to-back-off-el-toro/

    • Why Fleetwood Mac 1973 From Mystery to Me, their 8th album and the last album with Bob Weston. Group for this album was Bob Welch, Bob Weston, Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, and Christine McVie singing lead. Buckingham-Nicks did not join the band until their 10th album.

      • I know she was getting old but I hated to see Christy McVie retire. She always carried me away. Especially on that “Songbird!”

  9. NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 Rant Sports

    The Pittsburgh Pirates’ Ace Isn’t Who You Think It Is

    http://www.rantsports.com/mlb/2013/04/11/the-pittsburgh-pirates-ace-isnt-who-you-think-it-is/#

    12 USA Today

    The oddest entrance video in the MLB belongs to Jason Grilli

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/gameon/2013/04/11/jason-grilli-pirates-entrance/2074993/

    13 Beckley Register Herald

    Popovich had fine major-league career

    http://www.register-herald.com/todayssportsfront/x237744158/Popovich-had-fine-major-league-career

    14 Cincinnati Enquirer

    Joey Votto: “I’m headed in the right direction”

    http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20130411/SPT04/304110072/Joey-Votto-m-headed-right-direction-

    15 Waterbury Republican American

    Price of admission

    http://blogs.rep-am.com/worth_reading/2013/04/11/price-of-admission/

    16 CBS Sports

    Cincinnati-Pittsburgh Game Preview

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/gametracker/preview/MLB_20130412_CIN@PIT/redspirates-preview

    17 ESPN

    Designated hitters for everybody

    http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/9158659/mlb-designated-hitter-spread-nl

    18 PBC Site

    Strong Pirates system doesn’t stop with Cole

    http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130411&content_id=44505964&vkey=news_pit&c_id=pit

    SPORTS WEBSITES

    19 Baseball Prospectus

    Fantasy Mailbag Be Patient with Struggling Blue Jays

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=20202

    20 Fangraphs

    The Continuing Rise in Strikeout Rate

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-continuing-rise-in-strikeout-rate/

  10. Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Possible Emmanuel Sanders departure will force Steelers to need Plaxico Burress to step up 2013

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/4/11/4211222/Steelers-Emmanuel-Sanders-Patriots-Plaxico-Burress

    Sanders spices up Patriots and Steelers situation through social media

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/4/11/4210350/Steelers-Emmanuel-Sanders-Patriots-Twitter

    22 Steelers Depot

    - Sanders Extension Not likely Even if Offer Sheet Is Matched

    http://www.steelersdepot.com/2013/04/extension-for-steelers-wr-emmanuel-sanders-not-likely-to-happen-even-if-offer-sheet-is-matched/

    Soccer(football)

    23 Daily Telegraph

    FC Basle 2 Tottenham Hotspur 2 ; agg 4-4: (pens 4-1): match report

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/tottenham-hotspur/9988112/FC-Basle-2-Tottenham-Hotspur-2-agg-4-4-pens-4-1-match-report.html

    24 World Soccer Daily

    Di Canio repents, but denial smacks of insincerity

    http://www.worldsoccer.com/columnists/di-canio-repents-but-denial-smacks-of-insincerity

    PENGUIN BLOGS and NHL Links
    25 Sports Illustrated

    Jokinen has 2 goals, Pens beat Lightning 6-3

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/hockey/nhl/gameflash/2013/04/11/30978_recap.html

  11. Why all of the negativity?
    It’s a great trinket weekend!
    Today – Free shirt Friday
    Saturday – FIREWORKS!
    Sunday – Raise the JollyRoger Flag give-away!

    What more could you ask for?

  12. Jokinen may be the key pickup this season for the Pens.

    He’s meshed well, and he’s affordable extension-wise.

    • I hope he stays, seriously. What’s not to like?

      • I think also key is the vet leadership. Something to stabilize the team in playoff pressure and hopefully avert meltdowns and loss of discipline such as we saw last spring.

        • Someone needs to tell Malkin to pay attention ;)

          • That used to be Gonch

          • Most elite hockey players are like Malkin. Skilled players overcoming rough spots is actually the norm, not the exception.
            Has anyone seen Tomas Vanek since early February? He jumped out to the lead in points but has vanished for over two months.

            Where was Ovie for the first two months?

            Anyone seen “the best hockey player in the world” Claude Giroux lately? Mmmrigght…he’s trailing Kunitz and Dupuis in Goals, Points, Wins and Cups….clown shoes..

            Why all of a sudden has Gaborik decided to play? The hotel rooms in Columbus nicer than his townhouse in NYC?

            Most superstars have a hard time dealing with adversity, mostly because they never had to before, and its hard to learn that kind of mental discipline when you are already a professional.

            Its what makes Sid who he is. His skill set isn’t unique. His mental toughness is his greatest asset.

            • Well said, Patrick, but this stuff from Malkin is getting old. The boneheaded penalties persist from last season and beyond. Time to suck it up and learn some discipline.

              • yea its one thing to not produce. To take stupid penalties is realllyy annying.

                If you arent going to help, dont hurt…

                But then he goes out and scores a goal and assists on another…

                You take the good, you take the bad,
                you take them both and there you have
                The Facts of Life, the Facts of Life.

              • In between I still give him a swift kick in the pants with my size 9 wides ;)

    • Love the addition.

      Hard to say he’s been more important than Vokoun or Eaton but its a fun conversation to have.

      And as long as all three keep up their contributions, I’m fine with whomever one wants to call top ‘add’.

      • Would be nice to see Eats and Joki resigned regardless of how far they go in the playoffs. Players like that are every bit as essential to a team’s success as the core superstars. Frankly; there’s a lot of other players I’d rather see let go after this season starting with Kennedy, Orpik and Glass…and in that order.

        • I would like to see them with the team next year too.

          I think Jokinen is under contract next year with a portion paid by Carolina.

          Should be able to keep him just by letting TK go.

          Gotta resign Duper too. I think he is FA after season.

          I gotta get to work.

          • My job, not work on Pens FA.

          • Keeping Duper is going to be a huge one to tackle.

          • Jokinen will only cost 2.1 mil next year. Very reasonable. A bargain if he keeps producing the way he is. but he is a 40-50 point penalty killer, and 2.1 mil is a good deal for that player.

            Duper will be back. Sid loves him, Duper loves Pittsburgh. There is always the chance someone throws a bag of money at him, but with the cap shrinking I doubt 33 year old wingers will be at the top of anyones wish list.

            Matt Cooke will probably be gone. I think that’s what Jokinen was brought in to replace mostly. And I have a very, very bad feeling after last night that I might see Cooke in orange next year. Just a gut feeling..

            • Ewwwww on Cookie. I sure hope not.

              But I do hope you’re right about Duper. He’s one of my favorite players, just because of his work ethic and his heart.

  13. This is taken from Josh Yo’he’s column this morning:
    Morrow had a couple of confrontations with Bishop, which led to some fireworks in the third period.

    “He introduced me to his trapper,” Morrow said. “I let him know that if I’m in the blue paint, it’s OK. But if I’m not, then I will be upset.”

    Love this guy!

    • Bishop not very smart if he thinks he’s going to get the better of Morrow. Obviously there’s a reason he hasn’t stuck with an organization yet.

  14. I know I brought this up a few days ago but I have been very impressed with Stetson Allie since becoming a hitter.

    Now, in 30 at bats, Allie has .333 AVG, .412 OBP, two doubles, and two homers.

  15. First of all, great game for the Pens last night minus the PK. This needs to be fixed immediately. The PK cannot rely on the goalie to stand on their head every PK to be effective. Vokoun had a good game last night, but the PK did not help him out.

    Second, I’m going to throw a suggestion out there that I myself find a bit crazy. Is there a possibility that resigning Cooke and Dupuis may be more important than signing Malkin? I know that both Dupuis and Cooke are getting old and Malkin still has plenty of good years left in the NHL, but Dupper and Cookie have some intangibles that I don’t want to have to replace. They are two of the top penalty killers on the team and they both play 100% all the time (I’m not entirely sure that can be said about Malkin). I don’t know if I’m sold on this suggestion yet, but it is something for Shero/HCDB to think about.

    • ehhh…I’m not sold on Malkin being traded. Period.
      I love Duper. I doubt he has a bigger fan than I am. I drive my son-in-law insane sometimes with my fan favorites. But I generally end up right.
      I called Letang, Scuderi, Malone, and Duper as being more than they were perceived to be. Letang had so much raw talent but made so many mistakes his early years. I said he’d get it straight. He still isn’t perfect, but I’d take him over any d-man in the league.
      Depres is also in that category.
      Sometimes it’s how a player is being used/not used.
      Malkin needs linemates that can play with him. Like Kunitz and Neal. Crosby simply makes anyone look better and can generally play with anyone. Malkin not so much.
      But no, no way do I trade Geno. I doubt Shero will, either.
      I’m betting Duper will make a deal but he’ll still need a raise. Cookie will make a deal. it’s all up to Shero to make it all fit.

      • By no means am I at all sold on trading Malkin. I think he and Shero need to have some serious conversations this off season to see what Malkin is thinking. If it appears as though Malkin wants to be paid what he is worth (which I’m not sure the Pens can afford), I would much rather trade him in this off season instead of letting him walk in the next off season.

        Hopefully Shero can make it work and Malkin will take a Sid like discount, but I’m not certain that’s going to happen and I’d hate to lose Cookie and Duper this year only to have Malkin walk next.

  16. Wait a minute – Mike Leake pitching on free shirt Friday ? Priceless.

  17. Suzie McConnell-Serio will be the new coach at Pitt.

  18. Suzie McConnell-Serio taking the Pitt job.

  19. If the Pirates get pummeled by the Reds, will Neil resign in disgrace?

    Oh my, my fantasy life is taking over…

    • I don’t think NH understands disgrace. Based on the lines he’s fed fans this year alone he’s proven he’s willing to do or say anything to keep his job

    • The only thing that Neil feels disgrace about is the stupid PBC fan base that knows nothing about his greatness.

      Its all OUR fault, folks, just ask NH ;-)

    • Disgrace? For what?

      The process is working! Don’t you realize how many baseball people really like what is going on in Pittsburgh right now? If only Pittsburgh fans were as savvy as Red Sox fans.

      If you have a check for 10 million, I’m sure NH will listen. It’s not like it’s the 1927 Yankees.

      THE REDS ARE WHO WE THOUGHT THEY WERE!!

  20. I know we’ve got some “footie” fans on this board, so here’s a link to an interview I did with Riverhounds CEO/midfielder Jason Kutney: http://cityofchampionssports.com/2013/04/11/q-a-with-pittsburgh-riverhounds-ceomidfielder-jason-kutney/

    The ‘Hounds make their Highmark Stadium debut Saturday night.

  21. Couple things from last night…

    Jokinen has been tremendous thus far.

    Murray… love the fact that he drops the gloves and takes off the helmet. Basically told the other guy to be a man and lets really fight. Of course the other guy didn’t take his off and good thing he didn’t cause the side of his head would have been smashed in

    TK is playing like he knows he’s going to soon be a healthy scratch.

    Morrow seems to be finally finding his game on this team. Iginla…. paging Mr. Iginla.

    I have to say this about the Pens… its funny to me that they bring in guys like Eaton and Jokinen who no one wanted and they immediately pick up their game. It goes to show what a team with a winning attitude is like; they push you. If this was the Pirates Jokinen would have put on 15 pounds and Eaton would be our cleanup hitter.

    • Not too worried about Iginla. Last week it was paging Mr. Morrow so these things even out over the season. Plus he had a pretty good one-timer last night.
      I’m just amazed at the noticeability of all 4 new guys. All 4!
      Pirates are noticeable too but let’s not go there.

      • Iginla is doing fine. He’s hit countless posts…the goals will come. He’s playing well, making room for others.

        • And speaking of room for others, I hope they rotate Vitale in soon to keep his game sharp. Same for Jeffrey. I’d like to see a few different healthy scratches once in awhile as the playoffs draw near.

          • You don’t have to sell me on Vitale. That guy gives 100% every game. He’s very good on face offs. AND he’s physical.

          • Agree on rotating in Vitale. Can’t remember the last game he played.

          • He is going to have a rreeeaall hard time getting ice time. When sid comes back who do you sit? Sutter? Jokinen? Vitale’s biggest problem is that he doesn’t play on the PK. If he could get on the pk unit he would replace Glass, I think.

        • I think thats part of the problem with Iginla (if there is one). And maybe I’m reading too much into this. But, Iginla should never need permission to shoot first… I get the feeling he was put on Malkin’s line and was afraid to step on Malkin’s big russian toes.

          I expected Morrow’s first goal to be a cleanup the garbage at the net goal like Malkin’s goal the other night or like Glass first goal of the season. Instead he scored a goal scorer’s goal.

          • I think Iginla is just a first class player and hesitated to step on anyone’s toes. That’s why as time goes by, and guys mesh, things will work themselves out.

          • As for Iginla, I think it’s understandable that when you start a new job, you don’t want to come in and think you own the place. Whether it’s hockey or the business world it would really tick some people off (like myself). It’s good to be a little humble at first and realize that you’re not in charge yet….you’re the new guy even though you might also be the oldest guy. As time goes by I think you’ll see these guys gel as linemates and this whole permission thing will be a thing of the past.

      • negotiability of all 4 new guys. All 4!

        Pretty cool ain’t it !!!

    • Regarding Murray and the fight last night – helmet off, hair out of eyes, swing away…

      But, I think there is a some sort of goofy NHL rule that if you have a visor and the other guy does not, you must loose your helmet or there’s an additional penalty…other guy should have dropped his though too.

      I might be making up that rule, but it sounds good.

      Murray is one big dude – glad to have him clearing the crease…

      Randy in RVA.

    • Murray didn’t take off his helmet to be classy. He did it because he wears a shield, and he has to.

  22. Do we re-visit the Chapman incident in this series? Does/should Burnett hang one on Phillips or Votto or Bruce?

    Though I have a long-term dislike of the Reds, they play the game well. Though Phillips is a volatile guy, he’s a player…and a really high-end one at that. He may well be a jerk/jagoff/what-have-you, but he can play.

    I’d love to see us drill a few off of Chapman, if the situation presents itself.

    • +1

      But once again, like last time, the FO will tell the club not to respond

      • That’s what happened?

      • Biz… with what happened in San Diego last night between Greinke and Quentin, I’m not sure now is the right time… stinks, I know. I also know that Chapman is a punk… and he had no business doing what he did to Cutch. But Dusty did the right thing in the game following the incident: he gave the Bucs a chance to hit someone before plunking Harrison in the top of the 2nd…and thus, both teams were warned and he protected his players.

        In the grand scheme of things, karma will get the Reds over this…just hope it comes at our hands and sometime in this decade.

        • Cutch said Chapman didn’t throw at him. Cutch also said both teams were warned before the next game, not after Harrison was plunked.

          • Well, if they were warned before the game, why didn’t the Reds starter get tossed? Harrison got plunked and then they got warned.

            • I know, it was odd. That’s what Cutch said, and he said the warnings weren’t publicized, but maybe he was wrong. I thought Gorman issued a warning after Harrison was hit and that’s why Hurdle argued. Maybe Cutch meant after the next game?

        • Yeah, Naje, you are most probably right.

          • But like I posted above I did hear/read that the FO told the club to not retaliate

            • I think the FO may have told them not to retaliate last year. They were in a pennant race. And why would you risk a pitcher getting suspended.

              And someone will have to explain to me why we need to retaliate this year for something that happened last year.

              Lets just concentrate on winning the games.

        • Harrison batted second the next day, and Dusty had Leake drill him in the first, which then brought the warning, denying the Pirates a free shot.

    • Phillips should have gotten drilled with all his BS against Hughes last year, but the meek Pirates did nothing. Get him first, then Aroldis.

      My prediction though, the Pirates will continue to turn the other cheek.

    • Phillips would be my target of choice!

    • Sorry about that guys. Should have refreshed before I posted.

    • With it being as far out from the incident as it is, I’m not sure anything should happen. If something were going to happen, it should’ve happened right away. Nothing happened, move along.

      What I would prefer is that AJ strikes out 15 in a complete game with an emphatic STFD after the game (wishful thinking and not going to happen, I know, but isn’t ok to dream?)

  23. Hate to stir the pot (yeah right), but what will be the Pirates excuse tonight when they refuse to drill Votto or Phillips or anyone for that matter ?

    • “Daddy said no”

    • Easy one is to point to the Greinke/Quentin dustup from last night… really easy. But it will come. And I can’t wait till the Reds convert that punk to a starter…

    • I think they will all be watching very closely. I’m sure AJ will pay attention to who gets pitched and how/where. Anything inside to a Pirate will probably be viewed differently than simply “trying to establish the inner half”

      • Especially with Leake. He hit 3 guys the very next night after the McCutchen/Chapman incident. He likes to nick with you a breaking pitch & then claim it just got away from him. What a weasel he is. And a kleptomaniac weasel at that.

        • Pfft. Leake. Hes as tough as the nut job playing second base behind him, and thats all. Dude has a neck like a stack of nickels. Nothing drives me crazy like guys that act as tough as the biggest guy standing in front of them.

          In some ways I wish baseball was like hockey. Not really, but it sure would put and end to this throwing at each other BS if the pitcher had to answer to the batter and him alone.

          And in case you forgot….I do umpiring :D

  24. Just for fun I’m going to pick one line combo that I really like right now and wouldn’t mind staying together.

    Dupuis/Jokinen/Morrow

    Now everyone can give their ideas on what should be the rest of the playoff team line combos based around that. Not easy.

    • I love the line right now, but I cannot see moving Dupuis off the top line once Sid is back.

      • I agree they will try putting that Crosby line back together. I just think it’s smarter to go with what’s working best heading into the playoffs, rather than reshuffling everything all over again to make it what it was, or was going to be 3 weeks ago. I guess it depends really on how early everyone can get back. Don’t want brand new lines for the 1st playoff game. Not ideal at all.

        If they move Dupuis off that line back to the Crosby line, I guess I would like to see Cooke in there in his place, but Joki and Morrow seem to be a good fit regardless and should stay together. The question is; what to do with Sutter.

  25. The lines now and the lines for playoffs will likely vary with players returning. I may be optimistic, but I see Sid and Neal returning.

  26. I cant believe the clown from TB didn’t take his helmet off after he initiated the fight. Murray was skating away and Crombeen asked for it. And then ducks behind his helmet for two minutes.

    Candy***.

    • ^uss^ was my name for him….friggin ^uss.

    • Yup. Wuss move for sure and the worst part is, everyone in the NHL knows about it now. The fans can think what they want but he’s a wuss in the eyes of his peers now. No slap on the a$$ for that limp-wristed display. Gonna have to have his a$$ handed to him like a man sometime soon to get any respect back if he even deserves it.

    • I know. I get the idea of it. Sometimes you have to stand up and prove you wont be intimidated when you are getting beat, that they may beat you on the scoreboard but they wont take your pride, too. Hockey is a macho, lumberjack, psuedo-caveman sport that way.

      But if you are going to try and show that you are going to pay a price, to send a message that you wont be pushed around in your own building, then how do you leave your helmet on? And of all people….WHY DOUG MURRAY? For gods sake Im sure Tanner Glass would have obliged, and god knows DB was sending him out there often enough to get his first point.

      I dont know…challenging the toughest guy on the other team while he is skating away is dumb. Doing it in such a manner as he did defeated the whole purpose of doing it. It didnt inspire anyone or give the fans something to feel good about. Just pointless.

  27. Have been listening to the conversation on Pens lines when Sid returns. I think it’s clear that Kunitz needs to play with Malkin and Neal. Iginla with Dupuis and Crosby. While both Geno and Sid elevate the play of line mates, Sid is clearly the more flexible player and there is every reason to believe he will play well with Iginla. Give Morrow a shift with one of those two lines occasionally. He’s the guy the Pens have needed for the past three seasons.

    • So that would have us for the top 3 lines:

      Crosby/Iginla/Dupuis
      Malkin/Neal/Kunitz
      Jokinen/Morrow/Cooke, or Sutter/Jokinen/Morrow?

      Who goes to the 4th line, Cooke or Sutter? Tough choice. I will say this; Jokinen and Morrow are looking perfect for the 3rd line and combined with Cooke that would be a fearsome steamroller of a checking line, not to take anything away from Sutter, but I’d rather see Sutter center the 4th if the choice had to be made.

      • SJB, how does your equation change assuming Neal isn’t yet back. Do you then put Cooke on the 2nd line with Malkin and Kunitz?

        • Yeah, that could screw the pooch. I think it’s easier just to assume Neal will be back. If not, probably back to Crosby/Kunitz/Dupuis, Malkin/Iginla/Jokinen and Sutter/Cooke/Morrow.

          At least it makes the most sense based on what we’ve seen so far.

        • I love a good line discussion so after last night’s game, here are my new lines. First, if Neal comes back:

          Dupuis – Crosby – Iginla
          Kunitz – Malkin – Neal
          Jokinen – Sutter – Morrow
          Cooke – Adams – Glass (I hate putting Glass in above Vitale/Bennett, but a Cooke – Adams – Glass line gives you 3 good PK players not to mention that this would be a chore of a line to play against. Imagine the number of hard checks thrown with this line).

          If Neal is not back:

          Dupuis – Crosby – Iginla
          Morrow – Malkin – Neal
          Sutter – Jokinen – Cooke
          Bennett – Adams – Glass

          I know this is not what the lines will look like in either situation, but I like them.

        • I do like the idea of my first lineup with Sutter centering the 4th line. In the playoffs, if you can roll 4 lines of that quality and depth a center when most teams are lucky to have 3 or even 2 competent lines, it’s hard to top.

          Gotta think of it in that way versus just trying to build the very best top 2 lines. Balance throughout the lineup beats being top heavy, especially over the long haul when minutes start to take their toll on teams who can’t roll 4 or even 3 lines lines consistently enough, and start to have their top lines fatigued and wear down.

          The Pens should have the talent to beat any team over a 7 games series, it’s just making sure they have the wheels left to do it over 4 total series that could go 7 games each.

      • Tough choices, but I think Jokinen to the fourth line, even given his tremendous play since arriving. Despite the lack of offensive stats, Sutter has been extremely solid and is a long term piece of Pens future. So, Morrow-Sutter- Cooke. 4th line, Adams-Jokinen-Bennett. Glass and TK sit.

        • I don’t like putting Jokinen on the fourth line…but I believe paired with Bennett, that’s a dangerous line anywhere. Bennett has the skill and the smarts to play with Jokinen. Adams can make them some room.

  28. I say they plunk Dusty Baker when he comes out with the lineup card.

    Baker has the distinction of choking with the management of three teams.

  29. No one is making any kind of a move at Augusta this morning. It’s shaping up very well for you know who.

    • I’m pulling for Sergio. If the guy could handle Martina Hingis, he can handle Amen Corner. Plus, I do regard him as the current holder of the Best Player Without a Major.

      I like Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner too. Always follow Wisconsinite Steve Stricker, another guy without a major.

  30. Does anyone know if Greinke hurt his shoulder because he (stupidly) lowered his shoulder into Quentin , or did he get slammed to the ground?

    • I think he did it pulling Quentin’s pud too hard.

    • What I saw was he lowered it into Quentin. But Quentin’s been hit more than any other player since 2008, the count was 3-2, and the Dodgers were leading. As Mattingly said, no way were they throwing at him. Not sure, though, that Greinke didn’t yell something to Quentin that set him off.

      • They have a history going back to Sox/Royals days. Sox got rid of him in part, I think, because of his attitude. Would not surprise me if synthetic substances were causing that rage, either.

      • IMO..intent or not its the third time hes been hit by Grienke. The man had enough. Would be talking about suspending Grienke if he had injured Quentin? Even if it was the 4th time he had hit him? The 6th? Grienke spot in the batting order wasn’t up till the 8th inning probably, so he knew he wasn’t going to have to stand in and face live pitching again.

        • Watching the video, I’d bet 100 Playoff units that Grienke said something he shouldn’t have.

        • And his reputation for leaning into pitches and leading the league in HBP since 2008 or even the last 2 years doesn’t factor in? Were you in favor of the Pirates” pitchers not pitching inside because they might hit someone (Ian Snell’s excuse)?

          • I watched it a few times. I dont think Quentin leaned in. And if i had to chose one side, i would think Grienke did it with intent. His body language wasnt confrontational immediately. Ive seen lots of pitchers throw at others from behind the plate. The ones that do it with intent dont turn to the side and look up in frustration. If they do it with intent they almost always immediately square their shoulders to the plate and take a wise stance. Besides that, only way he does it is if Mattingly tells him to. Grienke isnt one to do it on his own.If Mattingly wanted someone to throw at someone (presumably for the pitch thrown to Kemp earlier) he would bring in a bullpen guy, not his 14 million dollar pitcher.

            BUT…with all of that said…its still the third time he hit him. How many times has Quentin charged the mound after getting hit? Its not like he does this all the time. Ho many times should a guy get hit before he decides to do something about it? 4? 7?

            Carlos thought 3 was enough.

  31. DK: Would love to hear your thoughts (PRE vacation please) on the Grienke – Quentin rhubarb last night (and resulting Grienke injury) and whether MLB should do anything to prevent bench clearing brawls.

    I say 15 games automatic suspension for leaving the dugout / charging the mound and if a P throws a headshot (regardless of intent), he’s out 15 games as well. P’s cans till have the brush back (but not a throw to the noggin). The brawls are getting downtight ridiculous.

    • I wouldn’t mind seeing Quentin suspended until Greinke comes back.

    • Let the boys be boys.

      Let them take care of things themselves. Few ever get hurt: heck, few punches ever land.

      What happened to Grienke is just a possibility, not a probability. Heck, Liriano got hurt worse bumping into his bathroom wall! Are you going to ban ballplayers from going to the bathroom?

      John Smiley got hurt worse shutting his hand in a cab door (wink, wink). Are you going to ban ballplayers from taking cabs?

      Too much legislation and statistics just put too many uppety ups controlling a game they know little about.

      For reference: see Frank Coonelly!

    • Its impossible to determine intent. Pitches get away from guys, especially in strange conditions. When its hot and humid and the ball is softer, hands might be sweaty..it happens

      But then so do batters going after the pitcher. Like Groat say very few pitches are ever thrown, even fewer land. Most pitches that hit a batter, even intentionally, only leave a bruise.

      Only time suspensions should be metered out is for repeat offenders, severe aggression (like kicking a guy on the ground) or using the bat as a weapon. If it turns into a wrestling scrum like last nights fight…who cares…let em go. They are grown men and professionals. Ive seen just as many cases where the batter going out is the one who gets hurt.

  32. Some sporting thoughts today…

    * Big series for the Buccos this weekend. If they can take 2 of 3 from the Reds here early on, it could provide a boost to the team after their 3-6 rough start.

    * 2 of 3 from the Reds would put the Buccos at 5-7. Thats not too bad after 12 games.

    * I nominate Justin Wilson to get the spot start if Wandy cannot pitch on Saturday. He’s certainly earned it with his work out of the bullpen.

    * The “new guys” for the Pens (Jokinnen, Iginla, Morrow, Murray) have all settled really well. I initially thought that Crosby’s absence would be a big deal for this team, but they’ve been able to carry the load.

    * I think the important thing is getting Paul Martin healthy for the playoffs for the work he has done this year on the penalty kill.

    * I think I’m 1 of the strange NFL fans that doesn’t got all batty for the draft. The Steelers are going to pick someone. I trust their judgement. So the only thing really for me is to see when the draft is over to see the names of the guys the Steelers have taken. I don’t get the months and months of speculating who is going to take what players. Maybe it’s me….

    * I DO NOT WANT James Harrison to sign with the Bengals. Not that I think he’d wreak havoc against the Steelers. I just couldn’t stand to see him in those awful uniforms. Joey Porter in Dolphin colors I could take. Deebo in orange and black with stupid tiger stripes?! [an emphatic] NO!

    HAVE A GOOD DAY ALL :-)

    • Nate,
      I would bet that Wilson is one of those pitchers that can be really good facing 3-9 batters.
      After that, the wheels tend to fall off.

  33. - I think the series will tell a lot about the fortitude of this team more than the W/L record. If they lose all three, but show a lot of heart doing so, and they haven’t show much to date, I will be ok with it. I want to see some will to compete. I want to see someone throw their batting helmet after grounding into a DP. A fist pump after a big SO. SOmething….
    -Not even Shero could have predicted that all of these players could step in and play this well. Morrow is a beast. Iginla is everything I had hoped. Murray plays like he hates humans. And jokinen…well…right now there are some very angry people in Raleigh to say the least.
    -After the last 4-5 years of drafts…i no longer trust the Steelers judgment. The reason they are in such problems is they had to keep extending older players cap hits, and they had too because the young kids couldn’t step into starting roles. # of the 7 players they drafted JUST LAST YEAR aren’t even on the team anymore!
    -James in Cincy doesn’t worry me. He is a one trick pony at this point and that trick is old news to Pittsburgh. I actually hope he goes to Cincy because that will be one less player we have to worry about when we play them twice. For sentimentality sake I would prefer he just retires…but his accountant probably disagrees.

    • Murray plays like he hates humans.

      Sorry Patrick I like that one soo much I am going to use it in my next hockey discussion w/the boys. Of course I will act like I thought it up. Stealing it from ya! LOL

  34. I’m seeing a lot of complaining about the Pirates today…almost every day.

    So should they go out and find a number 1 or 2 pitcher? Wondering where they would find that unless they mortgage the future.

    This wasn’t the year they were going to compete.

    They have several pitchers coming in the next 30-60 days (Morton, Liriano, Cole, Karstans).

    The bullpen is strong, they will hit (even Alvarez) and help is on the way with the pitching staff.

    I just know what other options they have right now.

    • I agree. I don’t know why anyone would feel the need to complain and complain as much as they do. There’s simply no basis for it.

      Not unless they expect a good team and a winner that is, but that’s just fantasy nonsense. If people want that kinda pie in the sky, unrealistic stuff, I suggest they move to NY or better yet, Oz, cause we don’t take kindly to that kinda thinking around here.

      :)

    • “This wasn’t the year they were going to compete.”

      If you have that view . . . and you are OK with that, including retaining the FO at the end of this year . . . then there would be no reason to complain.

      That’s not acceptable to a lot if people, including me.

    • “This wasn’t the year they were going to compete.”

      I cannot believe how much those words enrage me!!!!!!

      Please do NOT make those kind of heretical statements here!

      Imagine if the Penguin ownership took that approach.
      Imagine if the Steeler ownership took that approach.

      The pyramids were built in a shorter time than it is taking the Pirates to rebuild this team! BMTIB!!

      • baseball isn’t hockey though… its not football either. In hockey, every team wants to win. It’s their goal to win the championship. In baseball, its complicated by the whole small market/big market baseball-nomics. I dunno.. it just seems to me that for the pirates to win, they have to catch lightning in a bottle. The yankees can just go out and buy a better team. Plus, what motivation do the pirates FO have to pump in more money and lose when they can pump in less money, still lose, but end up richer. It’s all mixed up.

      • Do you believe for a second that Steelers management in their wildest dreams see a division title coming next year, let alone a Super Bowl?

        • why not? they’re called dreams for a reason… I’ve dreamt of skating on Crosby’s line in the Stanley Cup Finals and I can barely skate.

    • I know. Who are these fans that demand a winning team once a generation? I mean sheessh…its not like their weren’t 2-3 outfielders in their prime avaiable in FA this past december or anything. And since the PBC is just SO BROKE….they had to cut their payroll back. THEY HAD TOO!

      It was part of the plan.

  35. Friday vacation thread and I need a vacation…..even though I just had one…last week.

  36. “Strong Pirates system doesn’t stop with Cole
    Righty generating excitement on stacked Indianapolis squad while Pittsburgh waits”

    I didn’t even have to read the whole article to start chuckling. Thank you, Tom Singer.

    • hey, it’s Brad :)

    • Native American wisdom from Indian Brad!

      Tom Singer speaks with forked tongue. Or possibly empty head.

    • I don’t feel like it’s very strong but Baseball America has us 7th, John Sickels at MiLB has us 5th and “improving rapidly,” Jim Calis has us 8th, etc.

      • Each one of them also talks about there being no depth in the system and it being top-heavy with talent———from drafting 1-2-3-4 so often.

        Heck, Bucs drafted #4 with Tony Sanchez (#32 ranked talent at time) and apparently screwed that up!

        Cardinals are usually drafting in the 20′s and they have the #1 ranked Minor League system, plus 5 guys from 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 on 25 man roster!

        • Well Groat, we complain when they’re ranked low, and we complain when they’re ranked fairly high. I guess that’s what we do.

          Sickels, for example, talked about the lack of depth as a weakness. He also talked about weaknesses of the teams ranked 1 through. 4.

  37. I remember the brawls the Pirates used to have, back when they weren’t the Milquetoasts.

    The brawl with the Tigers in spring training, and with the Padres during the regular season, when the Pirates had Kurt Bevacqua the second time…

  38. RIP Jonathan Winters

  39. RIP Jonathan Winters

  40. We have to find a new worst pitcher in the big leagues. Chris Leroux has been DFA’d.

  41. Morris is coming up.

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