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Tuesday Wakeup Call: One of our own in Boston

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, lunatics …

>> The TribLIVE Radio show today — 1-2 p.m. — will feature Brandon Sutter of the Penguins. The Trib’s Mark Kaboly will the media guest, and he and I will debate the Emmanuel Sanders match. And, of course, local Twitter icon @suckmeter will do his thing.

I want you involved, too. Email sportstalk@tribweb.com or call 412-320-7925.

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>> Honestly, that’s about all I’ve got in the way of sports. Prayers and thoughts to all affected in Boston, as well as appreciation to the heroic first-responders and best of luck to law enforcement officials.

In the interim, a stark reminder of how close these tragedies tend to touch from one of our very own blog denizens, which I proudly share here in its entirety …

__________

Dear Dejan,

I’ve been reading your work on a daily basis for years. I had to leave the Pittsburgh area nine years ago and have missed it terribly. When you did the best-parts-of-Pittsburgh series, I teared up when I read about the “boomerangs.” Each morning I wake up, read some Scripture and have the privilege of reading your blog.

Tomorrow seems extra special. Today, I was at the Boston Marathon with my wife. We made our way to see a friend at the finish line around 2:47 p.m. We passed Exeter Street and were within 100 feet of the first explosion. I grabbed my wife and ran. We stumbled after the second explosion but made it out of the area with just a couple of minor cuts. I called my dad in Pittsburgh to let him know what happened and that we loved everyone because I had no idea what would happen next. We walked the length of the city to get a cab to take us home. We are all right considering everything.  

This really reminded me that life is a gift from God and our families are the precious jewel. Hug your wife and kids a little tighter today, and remember us boomerangs who never forget the joy of Pittsburgh!

Patrick T. Keeley
Pastor Youth & Family
Community Church of East Gloucester

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.

188 Comments

  1. I was (and still am) in favor of the Emmanuel Sanders contract matching. However … I was very disappointed in regards to agent Jordan Woy’s words today.

    Woy already drew a line in the sand for the Steelers, and was quite adamant that his client will walk at the end of the 2013 season, unless he gets a high-paying deal. Too much too soon from a money-hungry agent.

    I believe that (behind closed doors) Woy had a long-term deal in place with New England, and it was to be implemented in the months to come. Foiled by the Steelers matching, Woy did his tough-guy song and dance and promised his client he would take his toys home at the end of the year.

    Woy claims Sanders had other offers besides New England. IF he did, they apparently weren’t as high as the Patriots’ offer.

    The NFL is a “not for long” career for players, and money is the name of the game. However, it’s the common paying fan that doesn’t even get one single day to relax from comments by stuff-shirted robots like Jordan Woy.

    • I was all against resigning Sanders at the $4 mil first reported. I was 51-49 for resigning at $2.5.

      The statements by his agent are posturing for negotiations. The timing is terrible and leaves a bad taste in fans mouths. It will be interesting to see how these negotiations play out.

      One thing I am sure of is that Sanders can’t do what Wallace did and hit the jackpot. Wallace put up sub par numbers and still got a big contract. Sanders doesn’t have that kind of speed or recognition. Sanders would need a ‘breakout’ year to get anything close to Wallace money.

      That could benefit the Steelers this year but he would likely walk next year. One concern is that no matter how well Sanders performs this year the team will only go so far without improving running game and pass rush.

      Woodley may turn it around this year. I hope he does. With all due respect to him, I’m not sure this is enough. The only strong side LB that I can remember that dominated rushing the passer was Kevin Greene. This is partially caused by TE always being on SSLB side. Easier to double team that rusher without disrupting blocking scheme.

      Ever since LT, the primary rush in a 3-4 has come from WSLB. Chad Brown was effective as a rusher and against run and pass in middle and was moved to WSLB because he was effective rushing from that spot. That’s because WSLB is the primary rush spot in 3-4. Along with NT, WSLB is the most important position in 3-4.

      I still think a weak side rusher is primary importance in this draft. Maybe best part of keeping Sanders is that while Steelers still need to draft WR, there is less pressure to do that in first/early so they can take OLB if available.

  2. Thank you for sharing that letter.

    My heart goes out to everyone affected by this horrible event.

    Why must people ruin others lives just because they can’t deal with how horrible their life is?

    • Because some people convince themselves that they have a direct pipeline to “the truth” and take it upon themselves to impose their “wakeup call” (absolutely no pun intended) on the rest of us. Surely there is a sicko element involved, too. But I believe it is mainly obscene arrogance and narcissism, whether it be the Bin Ladens or the McVeighs of the world.

  3. So something IS wrong with James McDonald, health-wise. Lovely. Hope Rob Biertempfel can dig past the Pirates’ stonewalling and find out for us.

    Speaking of Biertempfel, he was a tad off the mark when he mentioned A.J. as one of the Pirates’ pitchers with “blemishes” just because he “is winless in three starts.” Burnett may not be pitching lights out, but he hasn’t been bad and the winless part is not his fault. Frankly, Burnett is doing so far about what we expected which is a moderate tail-off from last year but still serviceable.

    • Sounds like the BMTIB might not be providing full disclosure to its fans about JMac’s health. What a surprise!

      • The Penguins NEVER give full disclosure to their fans about the players’ health. The only team in town that does are the Steelers, and that’s because of Vegas.

        Plenty of legitimate things to complain about with the Pirates.

        • Hockey has a tradition of hiding players’ injuries. It’s an accepted part of the sport, one that every single team takes advantage of. That is not the case in baseball. Personally, I couldn’t care less whether the Pirates are being less than forthright about injuries, but bringing up the Penguins in this context is a faulty comparison.

          • Just because something is “tradition” doesn’t necessarily make it right.

            The practice is either right, or it is wrong. It doesn’t get to be right just because “it’s tradition.”

            Goodness, are we really arguing over this?

      • Yeah, why can’t they be open and honest about injuries the way the Pens are.

  4. Thank you, Dejan.

    Your sensitivity in sharing that letter from Pastor Keeley was just right for this horrid time.

    Life is precious. It is a ghastly and terrible thing when one loses his/her life on the battlefield defending the rights of our country, but at least he/she has chosen that life with its risks. When innocents, children or old people, have their lives taken away, whether having 70 years left or 7 years left, because of the callous and foolhardy intentional actions of others, it is a catastrophe. Whether this sick person was looking for individual fame or he/she had an agenda he/she was trying to get noticed, he/she is a blight on this world.

    We still have a long way to go before the whole world —— including our own country —— is civilized.

    DK: One thing to remind here: Pastor Keeley is one of us, if you will, every bit as much as those who comment here regularly. And the numbers show there are far, far more of those types of “Lunatics” than those of us who pipe up all the time.

    I just called a pastor a lunatic, didn’t I?

  5. A lovely, sad, poignant, troublesome Wakeup Call.

    It’s often joked here about post of the day, year, etc. No question and no joking, Mr. Keeley is entitled to that honor.

    “Dear God, sorry to disturb you, but… I feel that I should be heard
    Loud and clear. We all need a big reduction in amount of tears”

  6. Thank you for sharing the letter. I just don’t get this world we live in. I am grateful that so many others lives were spared as this tragedy could’ve been a lot worse. I pray for the victims’ families. An 8-year-old boy ran to the finish line to see his father finish the race all to be killed. For what reason? Makes no sense.

    Hard to talk sports after a tragedy like that.

    God bless.

  7. Looking at the video yesterday, one can see a normal marathon, then BOOM!

    That is how long it takes for life to change, and in this case, not for the better.

    Enjoy each moment you have, as the next one is not guaranteed. Hug your loved ones just a little tighter.

    I certainly hope the idiot who did this, is caught, and brought to a swift justice.

  8. DK,

    Thank you for sharing the letter from Pastor Keeley. It drives the point home of how important it is to appreciate life and reach out to share one another’s joys or bear one another’s burdens. Thank you once again for providing this forum.

  9. Just because it’s nice to have happier times to think back to…
    http://tinyurl.com/ct2hvws

  10. My mind is doing its acrobatics in attempt to once again process pure evil. Yes, thanks for sharing Pastor Keeley’s letter. Hugs and God’s blessings all around.

  11. DK…thank you for sharing the letter.
    .
    Pastor Keeley….thank you for checking in and penning the note. Glad that you & the family are OK.
    .
    Sports and this blog are a nice break from the “real world.”

  12. Thank you for sharing, Patrick. Pittsburgh is a state of mind, isn’t it?

    I didn’t post yesterday after the blast and I wasn’t going to post today. But your letter reminded me it is not about me.

    Times like this I go right to those familiar, comfortable words.

    We Are ALL In This Together

    We Shall Overcome

    By the way, Patrick, that boomerang takes a wide, southerly swing each spring, when Pittsburgh is Bradenton. If you and your wife ever visit, during spring training or otherwise, put a post up and look me up. I’d like to buy the two of you a soda or adult beverage or cup of coffee, even if it is one of Dejan’s dreaded ice coffees. We’ll swap Yinzer stories from a couple of boomerang-ers who haven’t quite boomer-rung.

  13. I lost a friend nearly 12 years ago, a guy I played old man baseball with. I don’t like to talk about it, but life does go on, and living your life exactly as you would is the only ‘revenge’ that is meaningful.

    I’m very sorry for the people in Boston having to go thru this, hopefully all of the modern forensic science we have available will work on finding the sick individual(s) responsible. I’d urge people not to puff up their egos by being endlessly fascinated by them if and when they are caught. Plenty of jagoffs are in prison, these won’t be an exception.

  14. JAL’s Ramble On Morning Links

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ddD9efO1Hc

    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: All of the Warning Signs are There For a James McDonald Injury

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/04/first-pitch-all-of-the-warning-signs-are-there-for-a-james-mcdonald-injury.html

    McDonald Hit Hard in Pirates Loss to Cardinals

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/04/mcdonald-hit-hard-in-pirates-loss-to-cardinals.html

    Prospect Watch: Liriano Perfect, Holmes Impressive In Shutout

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/04/prospect-watch-liriano-perfect-holmes-impressive-in-shutout.html

    6 Bucs Dugout

    James McDonald atrocious in 10-6 loss

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2013/4/15/4229178/james-mcdonald-atrocious-in-10-6-loss

    Clint Hurdle discusses James McDonald, Russell Martin

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2013/4/15/4229366/clint-hurdles-press-conference-april-15

    7 WHYGAVS

    Game 13: Cardinals 10 Pirates 6

    http://www.whygavs.com/pittsburgh-pirates/april-2013/game-13-cardinals-10-pirates-6.html

    8 The Green Weenie

    Bucs Can’t Overcome J-Mac Meltdown, Lose 10-6

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2013/04/bucs-cant-overcome-j-mac-meltdown-lose.html

    9 Rumbunter

    Pirates James McDonald Concerns/Doesn’t Concern/Concerns Clint Hurdle

    http://rumbunter.com/2013/04/15/pirates-james-mcdonald-concernsdoesnt-concernconcerns-clint-hurdle/

    10 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Cardinals 10, Pirates 6

    http://raisethejollyroger.com/2013/04/cardinals-10-pirates-6/

  15. NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 Rant Sports

    Pittsburgh Pirates’ Starling Marte a Big Part of Early Success

    http://www.rantsports.com/mlb/2013/04/15/pittsburgh-pirates-starling-marte-a-big-part-of-early-success/

    12 St Louis Post Dispatch

    Lynn staggers through five but Cards win, 10-6

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/professional/cardinal-beat/lynn-staggers-through-five-but-cards-win/article_298cb2a9-60cd-53f6-a5c6-3d73c3421bcf.html

    13 The Pitt News

    Pecyna: Cole, Allie, Taillon give hope for Pirates

    http://www.pittnews.com/index.php/sports/71364-pecyna-cole-allie-taillon-give-hope-for-pirates

    14 Birmingham News

    Critics give Jackie Robinson movie ’42′ polite applause, calling it ‘old-fashioned’ and ‘enjoyable’

    http://www.al.com/entertainment/index.ssf/2013/04/post_149.html

    15 Toronto Star

    The Bullpen: Blue Jays are panicking by trying Brett Lawrie at second base: Griffin

    http://www.thestar.com/sports/bluejays/2013/04/15/the_bullpen_blue_jays_are_panicking_by_trying_brett_lawrie_at_second_base_griffin.html

    16 CBS Sports

    St. Louis-Pittsburgh Game Preview

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/gametracker/preview/MLB_20130416_STL@PIT/cardinalspirates-preview

    17 ESPN PLaybook

    Did Reese really embrace Robinson in ’47?

    http://espn.go.com/blog/playbook/fandom/post/_/id/20917/did-reese-really-embrace-robinson-in-47

    18 PBC Site

    Rough second costs Pirates against Cardinals

    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2013_04_15_slnmlb_pitmlb_1&mode=recap_home&c_id=pit

    Notebook: McCutchen mindful of what Robinson went through

    http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130415&content_id=44863950&notebook_id=44863956&vkey=notebook_pit&c_id=pit

    SPORTS WEBSITES

    19 Baseball Prospectus

    Checking In On: Shortstops, Part 1

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=20243

    20 Fangraphs

    Are Missed Calls Bad for Baseball?

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/are-missed-calls-bad-for-baseball/

  16. Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    2013 NFL Draft: All-Underrated Team Offense

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/4/15/4189430/2013-nfl-draft-all-underrated-team-offense

    2013 Steelers Draft: Priority could shift with Sanders signing

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/4/15/4225938/2013-steelers-draft-best-player-available-pass-rush-statistics

    22 Steelers Depot

    - Scouting Report: West Virginia WR Stedman Bailey

    http://www.steelersdepot.com/2013/04/steelers-2013-draft-west-virginia-wr-stedman-bailey-scouting-report-profile/

    Soccer(football)

    23 Daily Telegraph

    Everton must take the big scalps to make top four and the Champions League, says manager David Moyes

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/everton/9996386/Everton-must-take-the-big-scalps-to-make-top-four-and-the-Champions-League-says-manager-David-Moyes.html

    24 World Soccer Daily

    World Soccer Daily: 10 stories you need to read, 15th April, 2013

    http://www.worldsoccer.com/247/world-soccer-daily-10-stories-you-need-to-read-15th-april-2013

    PENGUIN BLOGS and NHL Links

    25 Pensburgh

    Crosby, Martin, Neal skate before practice

    http://www.pensburgh.com

  17. To Patrick T Keeley

    +!

    and thank you and God Bless

  18. Here’s hoping the Bruins, Red Sox and Celtics don’t try to outdo each other in paying tribute to those killed and injured in this tragedy. Please keep things tasteful and understated. My gag reflex still kicks in when I think back to the shameless way the Yankees exploited the events of 9/11.

      • I can try to elaborate, however, I might have trouble articulating it.

        It just seems that there’s this line that too often gets crossed when sports teams do their tributes/commemorations. My ickiness radar goes off when it goes past “Let’s do a somber rememberance and then move on” to “Look at what we managed to put together. Isn’t our tribute moving?” It goes from touching gesture to dramatic performance and you can just feel the “marketing” aspect of it.

        What’s worse is if they do anything to stoke the home crowd into a frenzy like the Yanks did (and still do) with that loathsome “God Bless America.” I hope Boston has the class not to hold some ceremony during the same point in every playoff game. Then it becomes not about the victims and all about “Aren’t we great for doing this!”

        • I agree. The NFL is particularly egregious in this. Sincere tributes are welcome and useful. When the marketing people get involved it becomes cynical.

  19. I was off work and home sick yesterday when this tragedy. Made my already volatile stomach more volatile.
    God bless all those affected by this senseless mess. May the perpetrator(s) rot in hell.

    Life is short. Grab it by both hands and enjoy it.

    Hugs to all my fellow lunatics today. Just because.

  20. Nothing else to say after reading Patrick’s email. Just going to keep praying and praying…

  21. Thanks for sharing Patrick Keeley’s letter…God be with all those affected by this disgusting act of violence and cowardice.

  22. DK, thank you for sharing Patrick’s letter, and Patrick, if you ever read this, thank you for sharing your words and allowing DK to share them with us. I have a friend who was running in the Marathon yesterday and it was a terrible feeling to not know whether he was ok. I have since found out that he and his family who were there watching are fine. My prayers go out to all those who were touched by this horrible incident. My prayers also go out to all those preparing for and running in the Pittsburgh Marathon in a couple of weeks. May God’s hand of protection be over all those involved.

  23. Thank you all on this blog for sharing your thoughts today.

    East Gloucester will be added to the Nations list when I get home tonight

  24. As for JMac’s performance….he didn’t look right throwing the ball. Not an injury type thing, more like an aiming the ball rather than pitching. Arm slot, delivery, follow through… none of it looked natural, easy, repeatable, confident.

    • How long a leash do you think he has? Just until Lirano et al are ready or sooner if necessary?

      It’s one thing to overcome a 4-run first, but 8 runs in 1.2 is a little steep.

      • That’s a really good question Lucky…he looked all out of sorts mechanics-wise. Now, if that stuff gets fixed or if he shows improvement in next start, he’ll probably be in the rotation for a bit. But it is hard to justify a starting spot to someone with such wildly fluctuating results.

      • Unfortunately, the time has come for a difficult decision on this young man. It’s too bad, he seems like a pretty likeable guy (unlike Ian Snell when things started going bad for him).

        However, his consistently erratic performances are unacceptable – the BMTIB must take swift action. We savvy Buc fans have had enough of situations like this that go on for too long.

        • Pitchers break. Injuries are inevitable. HOPEFULLY that is the case with James and he can continue his career upon recovering.

          There probably isn’t any science to back this up, but the turning point for Jmac unquestionably has been his first career complete game on June 21st of last year against Minnesota during which he set a career high pitch count, over 130 I believe. Up to that point he’d notched quality starts in 10 of 13 games. Since then he’s given up three or less over at least six inning in just 5 of 18 starts.

          Ironically, Francisco Liriano, the man who may take his spot in the rotation, held the Bucs to just four hits while striking out six in 6.2 IP just the night before Jmac’s complete game.

      • He’s making three something million.

        He’ll have a long leash

        Just sayin

        • How’d that work out for Erik Bedard?

          This whole situation seems to be a matter of timing. Karstens, Liriano, and Morton would all be upgrades and are all relatively close. If Jmac can work through another couple starts until Liriano is stretched out then a trip to the CL for “dead arm” might do all parties some good.

  25. First and foremost, obviously, my thoughts go out to the victims and their families and I’m sure everyone feels that way. Lives were changed forever yesterday and I’m guessing that’s hard to relate to unless you experience something similar yourself.

    One of my thoughts yesterday that continues into today was the horror that the runners must have experienced as they progress towards the finish. I ran Boston in 2010. As a race in which you have to run a qualifying time within a year of the Boston Marathon you want to participate in, it’s extremely rewarding just to have the letters “BQ” (Boston Qualifier) by your name forever as about only the top 5% of times qualify. It’s the Super Bowl of the sport and it’s a privilege to actually participate in a sporting event in which the best in the world are there too, even though you’re nowhere in their class. Where else can us lay people, non professional athletes experience that in sports?

    The City does that day just perfectly. It’s a 26.2 mile party the whole way for the spectators and as a runner, that really carries you. Especially the co-eds at Wellesley who give your ego a big boost. You get to the big Citgo sign near Fenway Park which signals about a mile to the finish and the joy continues to kick in. You run another thousand meters or so fueled by adrenaline and then turn onto Boylston Street with the finish in site about 400 meters ahead. The street is packed with people cheering and you feel like a rock star as you head for the finish. You might start to think about meeting up with your family afterwards and partying the rest of the day and night in Boston and then all of a sudden you’re wondering what’s going on and if your family is okay. And for some of those runners yesterday, no, their family members weren’t okay. Lives were turned upside down never to be the same as they were just minutes earlier. I can’t imagine.

    Godspeed to the victims and their families.

  26. Hey all.

    Thanks to everyone for sharing today and to DK for the letter from Patrick in MA. I had that horrible knot in the gut when I saw the first blog posts here yesterday and it got worse when I saw the horrible images from on-site there.

    My wife and I kept the news off until our kids (1st grade and preschooler) where in bed…we reached out to friends of our who live in the area…got a text back that they had planned to head into town to watch the race, but something else popped up and they didn’t go, thank goodness.

    Thoughts and prayers to all impacted by this horrible event. I asked my wife last night what kind of world do we live in and unfortunately, we didn’t have a good answer.

    Take care,
    Randy in RVA.

  27. I played volleyball with Pastor Keeley at Geneva College. I am so glad to hear you and your wife are safe. God Bless you, your family and your ministry.

  28. Evil exists, but we must not allow it to flourish. Despite the overwhelming sadness and outrage at the events in Boston yesterday, there is good to be found. Americans of all colors, races, and creeds ran directly into the blast zone to help others. That is what you need to know about this country. That is why we will prevail over evil. On this day, like every other, I am proud to be an American, and proud of those who gave no thought to their own safety to assist others.

    Thanks for sharing Patrick’s letter, Dejan. Godspeed to him and all others affected yesterday.

    Drew said it well above, Pittsburgh is a state of mind. And so is America.

    • Thanks for sharing and I agree…

      +many…

    • Agree CW. I feel America is the big brother/little brother scenario. We can pick on each other, but don’t you dare let anybody else pick on them.

      Those that have done this will pay, but I’m sure glad I’m not a Boston Police detective. I couldn’t imagine the lack of clues they are finding…or not finding. Hope they succeed.

    • I lived in OKC when the Murrah Building was blown up (saw it out my office window). I lived about 5 miles from Columbine, in Denver, when that took place. My youngest daughter was at the same movie at the same time the shooter struck in Aurora, Colorado, fortunately 5 miles away. Relatives in Connecticut and just west of Boston.

      So, I’ve been as close as possible without being directly involved in all of these horrible events, but the one common denominator in all of them is how PEOPLE rose up to help, console and recover.

      God Bless America

      • My goodness. Do you stay clear of metal objects during thunderstorms?

        Better yet, it sounds like you’ve got somebody watching over you.

        Thanks for sharing.

        • I’ve gotten way too many “Are you OK!!!” phone calls and emails.

          The toughest was the Murrah Building. Maybe because it was”first”, but most of those lost were from the same litte ‘burb, Edmond, so friends, neighbors and schools were affected and my wife was tireless in relief work.

          I REALLY hope this is not a domestic act. This country is torn enough and if you’ve read any of the blogs…..just wow. I won’t read any more.

  29. Celtics/Pacers game cancelled and will not be made up. An NBA first. It’s the first time in league history that all teams have not finished season with the same number of games played.

  30. For about 10 minutes the blog format went haywire.

    I think I caused it when I used an emoticon.

  31. The more I see the images from Boston, the more it makes me think back to September 11, 2001. It just makes my stomach do flip flops. Prayers are continuing….

  32. Agreeing with so much said here – thanks for printing the letter DK. God bless you and your family Patrick.

  33. Well, that didn’t take long. Joel Hanrahan placed on the 15-day DL for his hammy.

    Hopefully for Joel’s sake it’s a quick heal.

    • The Pirates brass knew this was coming, that’s why they quickly flipped him. (just kidding)

      • I won’t claim that they knew this was coming, but I do think they factored that into the risk involved in paying one man $7m this year to pitch 70 innings or so.

        Burnett is in a contract year making more money, after all.

  34. Hello one and all…. I think the best word to use today is “perspective”, on many levels….

    1) The terror attack in Boston…. as Americans, we need to continue to be vigilant and expect that terrorists will continue to target us and we need to keep our eyes open and our loved ones close. The perspective we need is that it is impossible to fully shield ourselves in public places…either in a movie theater, a school, a shopping mall, or city sidewalk at an event. Our hearts are breaking for the victims and our thoughts and prayers to the families and to the first responders. Let’s be thankful that the casualties are not higher, the damage not more devastating…and that the responders were so quick to respond to save lives.

    2) Much less important, but on JMac… perspective is that it seems that the bigger issue is that his arm doesn’t seem to be right… his problem last year was that his head wasn’t right… but bigger concern is his lack of velocity and movement. I wouldn’t be surprised if he skips a start or goes on the DL, even though we are seriously thin at this point for starting pitchers. If it were just his head then I’d say give him a start or two to see if he can work it out, but pretty clear last night his stuff was severely lacking.

    3) Starting pitching…. can’t keep going like this for too much longer, we are killing the bullpen. Liriano wil join the rotation when ready, and they need to accelerate his trip to the ‘burgh. Tough thing is that he may need to replace JMac and not Sanchez as designed. I don’t think Karstens or Morton are viable in the near term so question for the BMTIB is what do we do for starting pitching to replace Sanchez and possibly Locke who will need replacing.

  35. I really like your “perspective” idea, cmat. So true.

    If there is anything positive to be taken from the bullpen workload its that I don’t really think the individual pitchers are being overworked. The only guys to pitch more than one inning in any outing – Wilson, Gomez, Morris – are starters who are used to increased innings. Our 7-8-9 guys, Hughes-Melancon-Grilli, are within one or two appearances to other similar relievers. Jose Contreras is also about to join the big club, it seems.

    Jmac’s injury/ineffectiveness might open the door for Locke to be given the year – or at least extended time – to figure out commanding big league hitters. I believe Karstens is in the same DL timeline as Liriano, so both of those guys seem to be up in the next 2-3 weeks.

  36. Plate discipline statistics are my new nerd outlet when it comes to baseball. I don’t think of these stats as sabremetrics, just a recording of where the ball is thrown, when the batter swings, and if he hits it or not.

    Starling Marte seems to be a great study in perception and reality. He’s got the reputation of an impatient free swinger who has found success at hitting balls out of the zone. The numbers, across the board, say otherwise.

    For 2013 the average major leaguer swings at 44.6% of pitches he sees. Surprisingly, Starling Marte has also swung at 44.6% of the pitches he’s seen. He’s been exactly average, hardly a free swinger.

    Digging deeper, he’s only swung at 55% percent of pitches in the zone which is 7% BELOW average. This obviously means he’s swung at 7% MORE pitches out of the zone compared to the rest of the league. Further dispelling the myth of the successful free swinger, Marte has actually made contact with pitches out of the zone 4% less than average.

    Marte isn’t a free swinger, he just swings at the wrong pitches. Just think how good this kid can/will be if/when that changes.

    • He has settled down a little bit from last year. Would love to see your statistical analysis of Vlad Guerreo.

      • Not sure what you mean by setlled down, but he’s swung at only 0.4% less pitches out of the zone and 0.8% of pitches overall compared to last year.

        Over Vlad’s career, he swung at 40% of pitches out of the zone of which he made contact with a ridiculous 67% compared to Marte’s 52%.

  37. I’m new to some things here, overs and unders, the + system on comments. Does + mean you like something, and the number following how much you like it?

  38. Bryan Morris sent down.
    Vin Mazzaro called up.

    How high’s the water, mama ?

    • Good grief…the parent club is burning though arms. The pen seems to be constructed fairly well, but the rotation is a mess. Liriano and Karstens can’t get here soon enough. Sanchez has to be replaced, do you start to consider making Wilson a starter considering Jmac’s issues?

      Never thought we would be looking at Jeff Locke as our # 3 pitcher.

    • It’s pretty sad when you have to send a guy down simply because he pitched 3 innings yesterday and will be of no use today. Which leads us to today’s starter …

    • Any joint in Pittsburgh make a good cannoli?

      • Strip District on Saturdays. A lady sets up shop right on the sidewalk. Right outside Wholey’s. Outstanding.

      • OskKosh – First Milo is correct. Also would recommend Jimmy and Nino Sunseri’s and Enrico Biscotti’s. Speaking of which – One of the best movie lines of all time in the Godfather “Leave the gun, take the cannoli”. Love it!

        • Great line!

        • Thanks, guys. I have literally been keeping notes on places mentioned in the blog for when I visit. Can’t wait to try some of these places.

          Great line, TJA. One of my favorite scenes in all the movies. The score playing while the reeds waive hauntingly in front of the distant Statue of Liberty. Then Peter Clemenza’s classic instruction to Rocco Lampone after the murder of Paulie Gatto and the big thug’s huge hands picking up the dainty cannoli box. Wonderful filmmaking at its finest.

          Can’t get made from scratch cannoli around here.

          • Now, you have my mouth watering for a bowl of pasta, meatballs, and gravy and, of course, a cannoli. And, to watch the movie…or at least this scene! Thanks Guys, right back at ya…

  39. Equally sad that you have to have a designated long man for each day’s stinky starter.

    • Fairly amazing that with this offense and this starting pitching this team is still just one game under .500.

      Easy to be optimistic right now as a Pirate fan.

  40. Was good to see that Sid, Martin, and Neal were all out on the ice yesterday. Means they are all making some progress in there recovery and moving toward being back in the line-up. Read somewhere that Neal looked to be playing full speed and showed no signs of balance issues, head-aches, or lack of focus while he was on the ice, which is all a good sign. Keep in mind that this is coming from someone just watching as Neal is not allowed to talk to the media per team rules and the team rarely shares anything related to injuries. Anyway, good news from the Pens camp and hopefully we can make it through the rest of the season without anyone else getting injured *knock on wood*.

    • Yes! Good news, Indeed, Iceman. Bylsma confirmed that Neal had no issues with concussion symptoms at all.

    • Maybe I am in the minority, but the injuries have had an upside…Having Neal, Crosby, Martin, Malkin, and Letang out for extended periods has allowed Iginla, Murray, Jokinen, and Morrow more time to get experience under Bylsma’s system so they can figure out strengths, areas to improve, and proper positioning in offensive and defensive situations. That is not to say I won’t be glad when all are back and healthy, but I am impressed by the way the newcomers have acquitted themselves. Ray Shero is incredible.

  41. Good article in MLB Rumors today about when players can be brought up and still get that extra year of service.

    The season is past 12 days old now, so Gerrit Cole can be brought up to Pirates immediately and Bucs will still have 6 full seasons of service AFTER this year! He is not on Bucs 40-man roster, but a spot is open.

    If Jonathan Sanchez craps the bed tonight, Gerrit Cole would certainly look good throwing those 31-pitch innings in a Bucco uniform. Maybe Ray Searage, the pitching guru, can help Cole cut that pitch count in half. I would bet on Ray and Cole succeeding together.

    Liriano had his first outing and it was good, but it was only 3 innings in A ball. Cole is in AAA. Gerrit Cole pitches tonight——let’s see what he can do tonight!!

    To bring Cole up, it would cost Pirates an extra year of arbitration, but Huntington told us sending Cole to the Minors had nothing to do with money, right? So . . . bringing Cole up if rotation keeps spinning south should have nothing to do with money!

  42. Now Groaty, he might “get his lunch handed to him”.

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