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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Saturday vacation thread

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

On vacation until … today. Next column is tomorrow.

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, 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.


  1. Dave G says:

    Welcome back, Dejan!

  2. 21sthebest says:

    I think we need a, “What I did on my Spring vacation” essay.

  3. theplanisworking says:

    I think we need souvenirs…….

  4. BillyBaduka says:

    I bet it would be a good read.

  5. 21sthebest says:

    Hopefully a snow globe! Or some fudge! (Yuchi!)

  6. tdb1977 says:

    Bobbleheads for all!

  7. Where’s Drew, anyway? Must have slept in or is out walking “The Poodle”.

    He should have a vacation comment by now.

  8. 21sthebest says:

    He must be on vacation.

  9. He’s independently wealthy. He doesn’t have to work, so he’s always on vacation. That’s why he lives in Florida doing meteorology on the side.

    Now, if that doesn’t draw him out, he did sleep in.

  10. Big Jake says:

    Welcome back. Well deserved vacation.

    Anybody got any word on the starting pitcher for Sunday? I would love to see Justin Wilson get a shot. This is not based on last week’s performance out of the pen alone. He has a nice track record as a starter in the minors. Furthermore, he has shown electric stuff from the left side.

  11. I don’t think he’s stretched out yet, Jake. If they do start him, he’ll probably be on a strict pitch count. Besides, the way Watson is throwing, they need a shut-down lefty out of the pen.

    The four-letter network website has Irwin penciled in for Sunday.

  12. JMac will probably get bumped up because of the off day. Somebody said that, too.

  13. Big Jake says:

    Thanks, man. I don’t like to mention that sports outlet either. They make me sick in so many ways.

    Any info on Irwin. I am not familiar.

  14. Big Jake says:

    JMac on normal rest is cool with me, too.

  15. Drew71 says:

    I’m sure it will be, Billy.

    As long as he didn’t visit any talking arenas.

  16. Karen22 says:

    HAHA! He sure wasn’t far from cyber-home, was he? Tried to disguise himself with that little kid’s avatar. Can’t fool us!

  17. Big Jake says:

    How do u change your icon on here?

  18. Drew71 says:

    Fudge and taffy are not my favorite vacation eats, either.

    Though I just had chocolate covered bacon for breakfast. Brought to me by someone else who was in California for vacation.


    She also brought a pair of magenta high heels for me. Open toe lace ups, not stilettos.

    True story.

    Long story.

  19. Homegrown Neal draft pick. 21st round in 2009. 26-year old righty from Ole Miss with, supposedly, not as much upside as some in the system such as McPherson, who was rocked last night for 7 runs in 1.2 innings and took the loss.

  20. Go to and follow the instructions. Pretty simple.

  21. Big Jake says:

    Thanks! Will give it a shot.

  22. Drew71 says:

    Ah yes. “A good read” indeed. If he does say so himself.

    But little kid could also mean Thunder.

    And that would make a lot of sense.

    But not Lucky or Biz.

    That wouldn’t work at all.

    Not at all.

  23. Drew71 says:

    I’ve been busy constructing the Morning Links.


  24. Big Jake says:

    In triple A I presume?

  25. Drew71 says:

    It just hit me. Our little contest for The First 32?

    Pirates are at 4-6.

    Meaning Dejan’s 1-31 prediction? He blew another one.

  26. Drew71 says:

    Of course if they go, like, 0-22, he could win a new putter or something as Closest To The Hole.

  27. Drew71 says:

    So you all call me out and then disappear?

    Are you all snow shoveling?

  28. Drew71 says:

    Just me and Big Jake. My new avatarless friend. The big galoot.

  29. Correct. Has looked good so far this young season.

  30. Big Jake says:

    Work in progress. Gotta go for now. Thanks for welcoming me!

  31. Got to paint, mow lawn, etc. etc. No snow here. We’re in the “mid south”. It was 39 this AM, though, if you want to rub it in.

  32. Roberto’s 31-1 is out, too.

  33. theplanisworking says:

    You have to paint the lawn?
    What, do you have artificial turf? ;)

  34. I wish. :)

    We got some rain, so the grass shot up. Mowed the church lawn last night. Got to get the house today. Everyone else is working, so I can’t dump it off on them. And Drew won’t do it. He doesn’t own a mower because you can’t mow sand.

    Painted 1/2 our bedroom last week and I’ll get the other 1/2 today and tomorrow after church. Got to make hay when the sun shines (and I can open windows). Too hot in the summer here and too cold in the winter to open windows, so it’s spring or fall for painting inside.

    More saving. More doing. Home Depot. Right?

  35. Great. Maybe he can renovate our house, too. The Vanilla Ice Project hits KY.

  36. Pucknutz says:

    Tonight we have the PENS, Frozen Four, Riverhounds, and the Buccos, all about the same time.
    What to watch???? Hmmmmm…..

  37. MadTurk says:

    For me that is easy, Pens and between periods the Pirates. maybe a get an update on the frozen four during commercials. Riverhounds Blah!. The again it all depends how they are playing, could stay longer on one game then the other at times.

  38. theplanisworking says:

    When you go to the HD, you dont save. You spend. A. Lot. :)

  39. theplanisworking says:

    Pens, FF, Bucs (especially if Baker orders beanballs), and who exactly are the Riverhounds again?? ;)

  40. MadTurk says:

    Dogs by the River I think

  41. Drew71 says:

    We don’t live by a river

  42. Bizrow says:

    + 1

  43. I never go there. I just threw that in because that post was as boring as a commercial.


  44. Pucknutz says:

    Frozen Four intrigues me. Good seats available at $140 a pop. 2 seats, parking, beer,nachos, and beer prob have to drop $350…… Nah, I will watch the PENS.
    Anybody know if that game is on TV somewhere? If it is, might flip back and forth.
    Ignoring the Buccos this season so they will not be embarrassing the pretty pixels on my HD screen.
    “Football” by the Mon, Naa.

  45. I have to echo Groat’s feelings on the Riverhounds, although I don’t want to offend JAL.

    Wonder where JAL is BTW. Must be snowing in DC. Or the cherry blossoms are grabbing everyone’s attention.

  46. JohninOshkosh says:

    32 degrees with flurries here.

    -Al Roker

    Lucky, what does grass look like again?

  47. MadTurk says:

    You live by the ocean, we have 3 rivers.

  48. Arriba Wilver says:

    I didn’t hear any of the announcers comment on it, but I saw for the first time this season Garrett make one of his patented bone headed plays. I believe it was right before the home run Watson gave up. There was a guy on first and Martin threw a bullet to Garrett, who was playing in a little and off the bag. Instead of attempting a swipe tag, Garrett never moved his glove, and just turned around to look. When Garrett got the ball the runner was diving for first base, but had not reached it. Would he have gotten him if he had tried to tag him? Don’t know. But he should have tried. Martin seemed disappointed. It would have been the third out. Next thing you know, the homerun,

  49. Arriba Wilver says:

    Or a lake—Bubby Brister.

  50. Green and thick, laced with weeds. Not blue, not even here in KY.

  51. Milo Hamilton says:

    I saw some of the Twins game last night. A winter wonderland.

  52. JohninOshkosh says:

    Those shots of them taking BP in the snow shower were great images.

    It’s a great day for …. soccer?

  53. Milo Hamilton says:

    It’s not going to be that bad here today. They’ve boosted highs into the mid 50’s.

  54. Milo Hamilton says:

    I’ll bet Jack thinks Tiger should withdraw. :)

  55. Thundercrack says:

    I was listening to the radio broadcast of last night’s game and Brown & Walk were joking about G. Jones’ bonehead plays. I think it was a baserunning blunder. And then the next inning he didn’t try to make the tag at first on Martin’s throw. They both seemed to agree that it would have been very close if he would have tried to tag him.

  56. Arriba Wilver says:

    Tiger missed what looked to be a pretty routine putt on 18 to close out his day.

  57. Thundercrack says:

    While listening to the game last night I started to think about “keys” to this season.
    I know a lot of people picked JMac and Pedro as two key players that will determine success or failure of the team.

    And we all know the starting rotation is looking like a mess.

    But I think that if Tony Watson and Neil Walker regress, then it could be a very long year. They need to stay healthy and be at least as good as they were last year.

  58. Arriba Wilver says:

    That was what it looked like to me. It would have been close, with a competent first baseman. But Garrett never moved his glove. He looked. Smh

    Gaby came in as a defensive replacement soon after that, but I don’t remember if it was the next inning, or if it was connected.

  59. Bizrow says:

    + 1

  60. Thundercrack says:

    I think Gaby pinch hit, so he probably would have been the defensive replacement anyway.

    Martin seems like the type of guy that won’t let something like that go by without saying something.

  61. Arriba Wilver says:

    Oh, and thanks. I was beginning to think I was imagining it. Of course, Tim seems to be having trouble keeping the count and the score straight this year. :-)

  62. Pucknutz says:

    Hey Milo,
    What’s goin on there. Flipped the golf channel on and still am not clear on what happened?

  63. Sometimes these sluggers cost you as many runs as they knock in. I like Garrett, but he needs to hone his defense, in one position or both.

  64. Milo Hamilton says:

    I was really surprised how if finished after 15. Maybe guilt played a role ?

  65. Thundercrack says:

    Those home run calls on balls to the warning track still drive me crazy :-)

  66. Arriba Wilver says:

    Martin looked more disappointed than mad. But yeah, I think he’d say something after. i’m pretty sure Gaby came in as a defensive replacement before he hit. And he’s not listed as a PH in the box, like Harrison and Tabby.

  67. I believe Walker will be alright. But Watson, we really don’t have time to let him work things out with a key role like he has. Wilson may have to be the lefty go-to guy until Tony comes around. And Wilson has to be sharp and throw strikes like the other night.

    We can’t afford to blow a game that we have the a 4-run lead and one of our top 2 starters going. We were fortunate last night.

  68. Milo Hamilton says:

    Tiger took an illegal drop on 15 after his ball went into the water. It’s a two stroke penalty. But since the penalty wasn’t assessed until this morning, he was deemed to have signed an illegal card. Which of course results in a disqualification. Apparently the Masters committee found a loophole in the rules which allows him to be assessed the penalty yet avoid disqualification because he was made aware of it prior to his signing his card & the officials told him there was no penalty.

    Fairness, and CBS’ ratings are coming into question here. Many former champions are calling for him to do the right thing & withdraw.

  69. cherokee23 says:

    Ya, I think Walker gets a free pass sometimes from fans…..he’s a good player, but has performed a litte less each year….I know it’s only been a couple years!

  70. Arriba Wilver says:

    I like Garrett, too, but he drives you crazy on the bases and in the field.

  71. Arriba Wilver says:


  72. Arriba Wilver says:

    I think there are equal parts “pass” for being the local guy and people being tougher on him, or at least assuming he’s getting a pass because he’s the local guy when another player would get the same treatment, which kind of cancel each other out.

  73. He started extremely slowly last season, too.

  74. Arriba Wilver says:

    That’s my recollection, too.

  75. Arriba Wilver says:


  76. Milo Hamilton says:

    I so hate the gotcha thing. A rules official should walk with each group & handle such things as they come up.

  77. JohninOshkosh says:

    I bet Roberto DiVicenzo thinks Tiger should WD.

  78. Arriba Wilver says:

    шта курац?

  79. Milo Hamilton says:

    Actually the rules officials were aware of it while he was still playing yesterday. No one is questioning that aspect.

  80. Milo Hamilton says:

    Something is wrong physically with Tony Watson.

  81. Milo Hamilton says:

    Experience tells me that you don’t lose 3 or 4 mph off your fastball without physical issues. Trust me, he’s got a sore arm.

  82. Milo Hamilton says:

    It is still developing, or leaking, a skepitc would say. The club told him everything was OK before he signed his card. He had a golden opportunity to call himself on it right there. But he didn’t.

  83. Milo Hamilton says:

    Exactly. We improve ours under the guise of speeding up play. :)

  84. Jandy says:

    Woo hoo! High heels, Drew is gonna get lucky ;)

  85. Jandy says:

    I see he still hasn’t figured out what he’s missing. Now he’s missing more smh

  86. Jandy says:

    Make sure you come back…we don’t bite :)

  87. Arriba Wilver says:

    c’est quoi ce bordel?

  88. Jandy says:

    You’re never boring, Spunkster. You amaze me. I HATE to paint. When we remodeled our house, I had to paint. Ended up bumping a water shut off in the new bathroom and got everything wet…including me! Hubby laughed so hard I thought he would wet himself. I kill me.

  89. Jandy says:

    No decision! Pens first!

  90. Arriba Wilver says:

    Oh, I completely understand what Jandy is saying.

  91. Jandy says:

    and dandelions. don’t forget the dandelions

  92. Jandy says:

    Gaby would have made that play.

  93. I hate it, too. Painting a bedroom is like painting a grocery store. Move everything 16 times, then cover everything. My wife wants baseboard, chair rail and all painted. Plus 2 colors. Takes forever.

  94. Jandy says:

    You are talking golf, here, right?

  95. Jandy says:

    hey Barmes IS a key part of the team. His defense is indispensible.

  96. Jandy says:

    you have my condolences, Spunky!

  97. Arriba Wilver says:

    “Your flock must feel so safe.”

    That’s more positive?

  98. Milo Hamilton says:


    Watching Fred Ridley, chairman of the Masters rules committee. He says that while they carefully reviewed the videotape prior to Tiger finishing his round, they did not speak to him about it before he signed his scorecard. I wrongly stated otherwise in an above post.

  99. Ghost says:

    Howdy all.
    About Neil Walker and last year’s meltdown, yes, he was part of it. But he was in and out with a bad back until the team shut him down. I give him a pass — injuries happen. As long as he doesn’t start going from injury to injury like, say, Willie Colon or Jeff Karstens. As for this year, I don’t know why Walker is slumping. But the season is still just a week old and he’s only one of many not hitting. Here’s hoping he snaps out of it.

  100. Arriba Wilver says:

    Hopefully last night will jump start him with 2 hits and 2 RBI’s. His OPS after 10 games last year–.423. This year—.434.

  101. cmat0829 says:

    Good Saturday to one and all. A few thoughts from sunny and hot Arizona:

    1) Jones did make a mess of that play at 1B before the home run. He should have been standing back on the bag (the ball travels faster than a swipe tag) and he should have put a tag down. Martin reacted because he cleary had the runner but Jones doesn’t really know how to play first base. I like Jones, I really do, but let’s be honest.

    2) I think it was kind of odd that Gaby replaced Jones after he pinch hit because moving the pitcher from the 9th spot to the 4th spot really doesn’t do too much. So it is obvious Hurdle noticed Jones’ bad play also.

    3) Comments on Watson… let’s just give credit to a really good offensive team and a good offensive player (Phillips) before we start reading something into Watson that isn’t there. The Bucs bullpen is solid…better than last year and not many of us were saying that after the Hanrahan trade. Melancin is very good. Grilli in my opinion is superior to Hanny because he can “pitch” if and when he doesnt have the big fastball…note how he got Phillips out last night with offspeed pitches. Joel can’t do that.

    4) Tiger/Masters… I love that Bob Costas ripped the Masters yesterday on a radio program because this issue really shines the light on the hypocracy that the Masters is… how can people worship the ‘integrity’ of the Masters when they have such a shoddy record with treatment of minorities and women? And this ruling and the pretty embarrassing explanation by the rules committee is similar… integrity? Woods clearly had the intent to break the rules (he took an extra yard or two to make his shot easier based on distance)…and the rules officials looked at the video and ‘made a ruling’ but because they didn’t tell Tiger they ruled before he signed a scorecard he isn’t disqualified becuase they should have told him they didn’t make a ruling at that time. Isn’t the responsibility to follow the rules on the golfer at all times? And the golfer clearly knew at the time he was taking the drop that he was “taking an extra yard” and then when signing the scorecard he knew he was getting away with it….. what a joke.

  102. MadTurk says:

    If Jones turned and tried it may have been close. Trouble was he was so far away that it would have been hard to make the play. I noticed even when holding on a runner he is in front of the bag by a couple feet. Needs work for sure.

  103. Arriba Wilver says:

    I couldn’t tell how close he was depth wise from what they showed on TV. It was the fact he didn’t even make ANY attempt that got me, adding Martins reaction. He just looked behind him. I don’t even blame him for where he was standing. To me, that’s a coach’s job to catch. Not taking a swipe tag attempt, even if you have to dive, regardless? No excuse.

  104. MadTurk says:

    Oh I agree with you, just trying to put the positions in position so to speak. No attempt is not going to cut it no matter the situation.

  105. What behavior? Not following you, RF. You joked about the 31-1 prediction we stuck you with one day and when someone kids you about it again, you get offended. Why so defensive? Nothing meant by it or not meant to be “negative”.

    One day you are “one of the gang” as you put it and the next day everyone’s against you. People pick on Drew constantly and all he does is give it back. Why is it life threatening to you?

  106. I apologize if you took that as a put-down. Wasn’t meant to be. I’ve said many positive things about you. I just can’t understand why you get so offended.

    Whatever you wish, however. I won’t bother you with any more “jokes” as you put it.

    And I don’t always exaggerate. I’m not an evangelist.

  107. Ghost says:

    Good stat, AW. Didn’t realize we were already ten games in, but Walker still has plenty of time and at bats in front of him.

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