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Monday Wakeup Call: Early word on Final Word?

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, lunatics …

>> Switching things up a bit this week, Joe Starkey has the Monday column. When you read it, especially if you’re a Steelers fan, you’ll see why. Terrific stuff.

Because of the Stanley Cup playoffs, in general, my writing days are about to become a lot less predictable. I’ll be doing Penguins pretty much day in and day out for the duration of their stay.

This week, the columns will run Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.

>> As soon as we have the full video podcast of last night’s debut of the WPXI-TV/Trib debut of the ‘The Final Word,’ I’ll place it right here. I was told it should be sometime in the morning.

In the interim, here’s a way to see it in four segments on WPXI’s site:

>> We now know the Penguins will be facing the Islanders in the first round.

What are your thoughts on the matchup?

>> Jeff Locke’s back-to-back superlative starts might make for the single most meaningful event of the Pirates’ 15-win April. I’ll say it for the millionth time: It’s about starting pitching.

>> Now J.J. Moore is leaving Pitt, too?

Something we should know about going on up there at the Pete?

>> I’ll visit today with TribLIVE Radio at 11:30 a.m.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

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

Comments

  1. Ryan76 says:

    DK,

    No offense but the show should be renamed, “Late Night Buffet of Yinzers”. The social media stuff, including videos, was unbearable. The content could use some work, as well. Nothing new, unfortunately. The good news is it can only go up from here…

  2. Original Ether says:

    Pitt baseball update:

    #23 Pitt rallied from an 8-0 deficit to beat Cincy 10-9, sweeping the weekend series. (doubleheader was won Saturday by scores of 7-3 and 4-3).

    Pitt is now 32-10 overall and 12-3 in the Big East, trailing 1st place South Florida by a game.

    For the week, Pitt plays at WVU on Tuesday, hosts Akron on Wednesday, then plays a weekend series at Georgetown.

  3. siggy says:

    The local media’s love affair with Homestead Charlie is laughable at this point. The same media who castrates the current Hall of Fame QB they have under center based on rumors and accusations conveniently ignore the past transgressions of the beloved Charlie.

    It’s not right, it’s not fair, and it’s not being accurate.

    Enough!

  4. JW says:

    The Final Word looks like it wants to combine several different shows, and the result is more chaotic than coherent. Are we supposed to read the social media posts on the left side of the screen, or concentrate on what the panelists are saying? is a clock really necessary, or can the host (Alby) keep the panelists in line? And for a show that makes such a big deal of interacting with its audience, it seems odd that it was recorded before the Penguins’ opponent was known.

    There’s always room for intelligent and insightful discussion of sports topics. If that’s what The Final Word is about, it’ll be worth watching. If the show is about mashing gimmicks together, I’m much less interested.

  5. Deb says:

    The show is great concept, but I think too short to accomplish everything. Move to an hour, do panelist, read feedback via social media, response via panelist, read some feedback via tweets etc. This would blend things better. Good first effort.

  6. zivkov34 says:

    Sorry, I really hate to be harsh but the best part was the last five minutes when you guys did the segment where random people won money in a taxi cab for cash.

  7. John Lease says:

    Yes, enough of hating on Charlie Batch. Why not be positive, for once.

  8. JAL says:

    JAL’s Everybody’s Gonna Be Happy Morning Links

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S4D9VaY-q68

    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

    Draft Prospect Watch: Could Pirates Be Interested In Ian Clarkin Or Ryan Boldt?

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/04/draft-prospect-watch-could-pirates-be-interested-in-ian-clarkin-or-ryan-boldt.html

    Prospect Watch: Kingham Strikes Out 13, Morton Goes Six in Rehab Start

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/04/prospect-watch-kingham-strikes-out-13-morton-goes-six-in-rehab-start.html

    6 Bucs Dugout

    Jeff Locke, Russell Martin, Garrett Jones lead Pirates to 9-0 win as Bucs take over 1st place

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2013/4/28/4279784/jeff-locke-russell-martin-garrett-jones-lead-pirates-to-9-0-win-as

    7 WHYGAVS

    Game 25: Pirates 9 Cardinals 0

    http://www.whygavs.com/pittsburgh-pirates/april-2013/game-25-pirates-9-cardinals-0.html

    8 The Green Weenie

    Locke, Long Balls Rout Redbirds 9-0

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2013/04/locke-long-balls-rout-redbirds-9-0.html

    9 Rumbunter

    The @RumbunterPodcst Returns With Special Guest @Tony26Montana

    http://rumbunter.com/2013/04/29/the-rumbunterpodcst-returns-with-special-guest-tony-sanchez/

    Pirates A.J. Burnett Pitching Like It’s 2002 All Over Again

    http://rumbunter.com/2013/04/28/pirates-a-j-burnett-pitching-like-its-2002-all-over-again/

    10 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Pirates 9 Cardinals 0

    http://raisethejollyroger.com/2013/04/pirates-9-cardinals-0/

  9. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 Rant Sports

    Jeff Locke Making a Case To Stay In Pittsburgh Pirates’ Rotation

    http://www.rantsports.com/mlb/2013/04/28/jeff-locke-making-a-case-to-stay-in-pittsburgh-pirates-rotation/

    12 St. Louis Post Dispatch

    Cards bats silent, bullpen noisy in 9-0 loss

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/professional/cards-bats-silent-bullpen-noisy-in—loss/article_b5d69105-54b1-547c-993b-3c059acd994f.html

    13 Bleacher Report

    Pittsburgh Pirates: Prospect Jameson Taillon Still Developing

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1621491-pittsburgh-pirates-prospect-jameson-taillon-still-developing

    14 City of Champions

    Pittsburgh Pirates Power Through To First Place

    http://cityofchampionssports.com/2013/04/28/pittsburgh-pirates-power-through-to-first-place/?utm_source=FanSided&utm_medium=Network&utm_campaign=Hot%2BTopics

    15 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

    Kershaw, Dodgers blank Milwaukee Brewers

    http://www.jsonline.com/sports/brewers/brewers29-3s9o6s7-205163951.html

    16 CBS Sports

    Pirates-Brewers Game Preview

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/gametracker/preview/MLB_20130429_PIT@MIL/piratesbrewers-preview

    17 Sweetspot

    Weekend wrap: No swearing in baseball

    http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/35278/weekend-wrap-no-swearing-in-baseball

    18 PBC Site

    Bucs belt four homers to back dealing Locke

    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2013_04_28_pitmlb_slnmlb_1&mode=recap_away&c_id=pit

    Notebook: As Sanchez appeals suspension, Contreras near return

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130428&content_id=46031818&notebook_id=46032720&vkey=notebook_pit&c_id=pit

    SPORTS WEBSITES

    19 Baseball Prospectus

    This Week in Quotes

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=20397

    20 Fangraphs

    Bryce Harper’s First 162 Games

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/bryce-harpers-first-162-games/

  10. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Steelers 2013 Draft Results: Taking a look at the nine players drafted

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/4/28/4278012/steelers-2013-draft-results-breakdown-evaluation

    Mel Kiper gives Steelers draft a B

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/4/28/4279242/mel-kiper-draft-grades-results-evaluation

    22 Steelers Depot

    - Lack of Depth On Offensive Line Still Exits

    http://www.steelersdepot.com/2013/04/lack-of-depth-on-the-steelers-offensive-line-still-exists-following-the-draft/

    Soccer(football) Will T

    23 Daily Telegraph

    Robert Lewandowski? Leighton Baines? How Manchester United could line-up in the Premier League next season

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/manchester-united/10022836/Robert-Lewandowski-Leighton-Baines-How-Manchester-United-could-line-up-in-the-Premier-League-next-season.html

    24 World Soccer Daily

    World Soccer Daily: 10 stories you need to read, 26th April, 2013

    http://www.worldsoccer.com/247/world-soccer-daily-10-stories-you-need-to-read-26th-april-2013

    PENGUIN BLOGS and NHL Links

    25 Pensburgh

    Penguins Draw Islanders in Eastern Conference Quarterfinals

    http://www.pensburgh.com/2013/4/29/4280770/penguins-draw-islanders-in-eastern-conference-quarterfinals

  11. JAL says:

    Everybody’s Gonna Be Happy Kinks 1965

  12. Drew71 says:

    Thanks for lowering expectations guys. Still can’t wait to get the link. Maybe moreso now.

    After we all see it, let’s spend the morning renaming the show. That oughta kill a morning. And maybe a show.

    Ryan suggested Late Night Buffet of Yinzers.

    I like the concept but too long. Late Night Yinzers or Yinzer Buffet might work.

    Or staying with the theme, Yinzers on Parade. Or more of a stretch, Anat-omy of Sports. Yeah. WAY too much of a stretch.

    But maybe I should, you know see it first.

    PS – Dejan may have submitted his own entry yesterday. Personalities.

    So far I think that’s the clubhouse leader, anat.

  13. NMR says:

    Why would the Pirates sign a catcher who hit .211?

  14. Jandy says:

    Because they can?

  15. Milo Hamilton says:

    I was thinking of what they could have done with all that money they wasted on him. :)

  16. Jandy says:

    These Buccos continue to amaze. I missed the game yesterday (9-0 win) and was kinda pissed. I gotta make some room in my hectic schedule for baseball. Darnit.
    Thrilled AJ got the run support for a win. Guys deserves it.

    Now, to exorcise the Milwaukee demons!

  17. TJA says:

    Good Morning All – Hope everyone had a great weekend! My favorite part of the weekend was seeing the clip of Wandy Rodriguez not knowing the “Zolton” sign when he reached first base on his hit. If you did not see this: The guys in the dugout were making the Z sign and Wandy is standing on first base waving in the dugout. His ‘mates were falling all over themselves with laughter. Even Clint got into the act. That’s when you know a team is loose and playing pretty good ball when that kind of stuff happens. 15 wins in April….Hmmm… Have a good Monday everyone.

  18. Drew71 says:

    That was Locke of all people, not AJ, who won on Saturday. Locke for his second consecutive strong outing, if you can believe it. (EYE can’t)

  19. Milo Hamilton says:

    I was thinking – That Thing They Do On Channel 2 With Different Guys. Too long ?

  20. Drew71 says:

    Not if we do it Hip Hop, my fav.

    Drop the last three words and we have TT Doc2

    Lucky can do a mean beat box.
    (Should that be “do” or “is”?)

  21. Jandy says:

    My bad, AJ was the game right after the debacle game. Then Locke, of all people, yesterday. As I said, they continue to amaze.

  22. Jandy says:

    haha gotta love Juan D !

  23. NMR says:

    17 more veteran infielders!

  24. 21sthebest says:

    I was thinking the show’s title should be The View Lite.

  25. Milo Hamilton says:

    Having Richie Walsh say “dude” every other word certainly resonates with the youngsters. Oh yea, that’s really how he talks.

  26. Drew71 says:

    Yes. They are thinner than most of those women.

  27. AL says:

    One thing I noticed was dupicate quotes on the left side? And I agree it’s hard to concentrate on reading the left and listening to the speakers at the same time. I was switching back and forth between the stations but decided to stay on WPXI because the other guys happened to have a panel I couldn’t stand….a little too arrogant and hyper for me. Give me the guys that can calmly state their views without screaming at each other…..you guys did that last night which was a good thing about the show.
    I would also suggest changing the name. “The Final Word” just doesn’t sound sportslike to me. To me, it sounds more like it should be associated with news shows like “Meet the Press” or “Face the Nation”.
    Please don’t take this as any harsh criticism but rather some honest feedback. You guys were good but the format looks a little shaky as other posters are also stating.
    Thanks.

  28. SJB says:

    7 reasons the Pens/Isles series will go 7 games.

    1. It’s the Isles.
    2. The Pens are expected to go to the cup final. Word is; they already printed their Eastern Conference Champs shirts.
    3. Crosby will be thrown into the mix after being out a month and wearing a sped helmet.
    4. The Isles haven’t been in the playoffs since 1913.
    5. People haven’t had a chance to blame the goalie all season yet.
    6. The Pittsburgh media, scoreboard watchers and puck-bunnies everywhere are poo-pooing the overall importance or significance of play of the last three or 4 games (the very last period aside) and think there is “no way” this no. 1 seeded team can or will fail to brush aside easily a pesky 8th seeded team who’s best line isn’t as good as the Pens 3rd.
    7. It’s the Isles.

    It’s too early to pick a winner though, since we’ll have to wait and see how many Penguins wind up injured after the first two games to make an accurate assessment of either team’s ultimate chances. ;)

    Quite honestly, If the Pens win, I do hope this series goes 7 for them so they can have a little bit of needed humility under their belts heading into the second round. Right now, even with the injuries they had to overcome, I think this All-Star team is a tad bit over-confident and their hack play of late kinda reflects this. Plus, they will need it when they eventually play the Caps.

    Also, Bylsma needs to leave the Malkin/Neal/Kunitz line alone when Crosby comes back. Not only does it seems to be the best situation for both Neal and Malkin, I think Iginla playing his natural position on Crosby’s line will also benefit him and Crosby the most going forward. With Crosby getting comfortable again, having a HOF’er like Iginla to play with should make it easier for him.

  29. Ghost says:

    Laughable? Rolling around yucking it up because it’s so funny Charlie Batch is love and appreciated for what he does? True, Big Ben was pilloried by an incurious local media that relished taking him down on highly suspect “he said — and she said too” (until she changed her story) allegations. But that’s neither here nor there with regards to Batch. You are way off base with your disparagement of this man who justly deserves the fleeting, fond words coming his way.

  30. Jandy says:

    Then it’s 3T-IOC

  31. Dom says:

    Anyone see where the Steelers signed Mike Golic’s son as an undrafted free agent?

    He a guard so I don’t like his chances of staying with the team.

  32. 21sthebest says:

    Who isn’t.

  33. Thundercrack says:

    +1 for Milo

  34. Ghost says:

    I’m pretty ecstatic about him, myself — SO FAR. Jack Wilson once hit .369 in April. But enough of that. The offensive pop, the improved defense, and probably most of all: the leadership and spark Martin has infused the team with are all big pluses to enter into the ledger, across the board. I’m tempered by the calendar but looking forward to seeing how Martin’s full season shapes up.

  35. Thundercrack says:

    They may be thinner,but their hat sizes are not smaller than the women on the View

  36. Ghost says:

    Attempted to watch the Final Word live via streaming, couldn’t get the streaming to start. Noticed on DK’s Twitter feed that others had same issue so I will leave it at that at this early stage. Just now launched “Part 1″ from the shows five links: playback is halting; will try again this afternoon to see if I can get a smoother playback.
    All’s okay. Rome wasn’t built in one day. However, Rome did have decadent orgies. Which is my nomimation for the show title: “Orgy of Random Middle-aged Yinzers” or just “Yinzer Orgy” for short. Alternatively, “Butt-naked Bacchanalia” could catch on.

  37. TJ says:

    DK;

    What is your take on the mass exodus from the Pitt basketball team? They currently have 9 players under scholarship which includes 3 incoming freshman. So only 6 returning players. I hope Dixon isn’t pulling a Rice during practices!

  38. TJ says:

    I disagree;

    The Pens showed killer instinct over the past couple weeks even without their key players. They have guys like Morrow and Iginla that want this cup and are going to do anything in their power to get it. I see it going 5, 6 at the most.

  39. Scott says:

    A word about the Hart Trophy, since Dk was agonizing over his vote on Twitter yesterday:

    Can we please, once and for all, forget this silly notion that the Hart Trophy goes to the player who is “most valuable to his team?” It’s true that is the official language of the award, but based on the annual results, voters never seem to use that specific criteria. Nor should they.

    The award has always gone to the best player in the league, period. I cannot think of a single example in recent history where voters rewarded “most valuable to his team” rather than the best player in the league. Mark Messier beating out Mario in 1992 is the most recent example that comes to mind (possibly Jose Theodore in 2002, but I don’t recall how strong his competition was.)

    Every year, people try to make arguments for players who have no business winning the Hart (hello, John Tavares) based on this “most valuable to his team” nonsense. Stop insulting the intelligence of NHL fans with this bizarre award criteria and just give the Hart to the best player in the game for that particular season.

    This year, that player was Sidney Crosby. It would be absurd to vote for Tavares or Ovechkin or Bobrovsky instead of Crosby simply because those guys didn’t have the supporting cast Sid had.

  40. CWalton_67 says:

    +1

  41. Scott says:

    I think you’re seriously misreading this bunch. If ever there was a Stanley Cup favorite that is not arrogant or overconfident, it’s this group of Penguins. How could they possibly be overconfident when they haven’t won a single playoff series since 2010?

    This team is locked in and laser-focused. They do not need a wakeup call. Especially with guys like Morrow and Iginla onboard – guys who are just dying for their first Cup and will do anything to get it. They’re going to come out flying, and they will totally overwhelm the poor Islanders, who aren’t going to know what him them. The series will look a lot like Senators-Penguins from 2007, when the Pens were a young, fast but inexperienced team that had no idea how to adjust to the intensity of playoff hockey.

    Also, I’ve never understood why the media and fans make such a big deal about ancient history. Do people really think the fact that the Isles beat the Pens 38 years ago or 20 years ago is relevant to this series?

    Pens in 5.

  42. JHadar says:

    The Bullpen Busters are in first place, spring has finally showed up on the prairie, and I was out of town and actually got to see my first Bucco telecast of the season Saturday afternoon. The optimist is happy, and the cynic keeps crawling out from under the rock and shouting, “yes but can they go 67-70 from here on out?” Who knows, but who’d have predicted we’d be here after that series in LA?

    I just knew the mud wasn’t going to bother our relievers.

    I’m thinking it’s JMac (do we need to go with JMac and JoMac or is the context sufficient?) who needs to start worrying when all the injured starters start reporting for duty — still thinking it’s goodby Mr. Sanchez for sure, and waiting to see what Walker’s status is.

    I was thinking that Martin was “at least” an improvement on Barajas. However it plays out from here, I think he’s already put in a better season than Barajas. And tonight, I hope to see Pedro cross the Mendoza line.

    And Tabata whose name the poor St. Louis play-by-play guy couldn’t pronounce (but Hrabosky could) looks like he’s finally playing to get his job back.

    Will it last? Stop worrying about that for a few days and enjoy it while it does.

  43. Chris says:

    Sorry DK, I couldn’t get past the first five minutes of Final Word before I switched back over to the KDKA Sports show. I have no interest in the social media stuff, I don’t care what Steve from Irwin or Bob from Turtle Creek write in their barely coherent facebook posts. I’m much more interested in hearing what the panelists have to say. Having the tweets/posts/rants on the left side of the screen is distracting. I can live with Alby reading some of the stuff from viewers but I don’t want to see it on the screen. KDKA scrolled tweets across the bottom of the screen during one of their shows a few weeks back but thankfully haven’t done it since. Guess I wasn’t the only one that didn’t like it.

    Oh, and does it annoy anyone else when Rob Rossi touches his glasses when he’s introduced? He thinks he’s sooo cool!

  44. Jandy says:

    +10
    lolol

  45. Iceman says:

    I have to say that I am already sick and tired of hearing the whole, Pens haven’t beaten the Islanders in the playoffs bit. The last time the two teams played in the playoffs was what, 1993. I’m pretty sure that no one from either of those teams is still playing so the playoff history really doesn’t matter. I know it is a good story and media types feed off of things like this, but come on. I’m ok with people looking back to last year’s two losses to the NYI at the end of the season, but the previous playoff series really mean nothing for this team playing right now.

  46. Jandy says:

    Do NOT underestimate these Isles.
    That said, I feel the Pens have learned many lessons, and as TJ and Scott say, Iginla, Morrow, and Jokinen won’t let them forget to keep their focus and play disciplined hockey.
    Pens in 5 or 6.

  47. 21sthebest says:

    +100

  48. Jandy says:

    Good Lord, Ghostie, you’re on a roll! LOL

  49. CWalton_67 says:

    Pens have to jump on Isles early. If they let them gain any confidence, we could all be in for a big surprise. HCDB had better be willing and prepared to go with Vokoun if MAF stumbles.

    Pirates? One word: August.

  50. Bizrow says:

    + 1, it is encouraging so far

    Hope but expect ;-)

  51. Chris says:

    Wow there videos from social media as well? Glad I turned it off early! I’m always interested in hearing Dk’s opinion but I have no interest in what Tom from Etna thinks in 120 characters or less.

  52. Jandy says:

    Someone mentioned using Johnny Mac for “the other Mac”. I think that’s excellent.

    But yes, Please enjoy and savor these Buccos for now…live for the moment.

  53. Jandy says:

    Darn straight!

  54. TJ says:

    I agree Jandy; you can never underestimate any team in the playoffs. But I look back at the year the Pens first made the playoffs against the Sens. They had the spunk and some fire power and managed to pull out a game but they just didn’t have the experience.

    I know regular season does not matter but the Pens won the regular season I believe 4-1 and out scored the Isles like 16-5.

  55. Jandy says:

    ZI said it before…do NOT underestimate these Isles. They are a decently talented group. That would be the first mistake.
    Play disciplined hockey, get off to a hot start, and roll!

  56. SJB says:

    The player most valuable to his team was Ovechkin. The Pens proved they can play pretty well without Sid in the lineup. When the Caps were pretty much written off Ovechkin carried them to a respectable record and the playoffs. Without Sid the Pens are in the playoffs no matter what, without Ovechkin the Caps are battling the Panthers for last place. As Ovechin goes, so do the Caps. Can’t say that about the Pens and that’s what the award is about…or at least should be.

    If Crosby stays healthy he gets the Hart because of what his points total would have put him over the top in the eyes of most voters but that’s the only reason why. For the same reason someone like Stamkos really means nothing to his teams ultimate success, Ovechkin means everything to the Caps.

    Listen; I hate the Caps and Ovechkin more than most anyone else and think Crosby is the best player in the league, but there’s no way Sid gets the MVP now.

  57. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    My thoughts on the upcoming series…

    1. Once Crosby is back, there’s no sane, logical, legitimate, acceptable or remotely plausible reason that Tyler Kennedy should be involved in any aspect of in-ice play whatsoever unless it is providing peanuts to fans along the runway.

    2. I’m not ready to shower Disco with adjustment praise yet. Let’s see him do it in the playoffs when he’s playing the same team 7 games in a row. Totally different animal than a home and home during the regular season. Not saying he’s a bad coach, not saying he should have been fired, not saying every playoff series loss was entirely his fault. I’m saying that he should feel the heat if he doesn’t make it at least to the conference finals.

    Everyone that follows hockey knows the playoffs are a totally different beast than the regular season. With the exception of his 1st year when he inherited a good team that was playing badly 2/3rds of the way through, it’s a beast Bylsma hasn’t broken since.

    “…a 36-12 regular season, capped by the 8-3 annihilation of the Hurricanes on Saturday night, can’t be sculpted from skill alone….”

    I have a retort to the positive vibes we get from Disco’s undeniably successful regular seasons. His overall playoff record is 28-22. Great. BUT his record the last 3 years is 12-14. Not so great. If Shero, Lemieux and Burkle are enamored with that production then something’s not right.

    Each year he has had a team that, overall, was good enough to make a deep run. With how much time Sid and Geno have missed from injury, it’s obvious this team’s success has been built on depth for a while, not just 2 superstars. Now that he’s got a more than capable lineup (like freakin ridiculously good), there should be consequences if he doesn’t produce. He has no problem benching a rookie for a mistake or 2 and replacing them with a lesser-quality veteran (Despres-Engelland, Bennet-Kennedy). He should be held to similar level of accountability.

    I’m not Disco-Damning yet. Just saying he SHOULD feel tangible and significant heat if he doesn’t produce. This isn’t exactly his first rodeo.

  58. Pucknutz says:

    + 100

  59. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    Jagr still is… sort of.

  60. Scott says:

    The Isles do have a ton of talent, and initially I was worried about facing them. But the more I think about, this just feels so much like Ottawa-Pittsburgh 2007. Those Isles haven’t been in the playoffs in years and they have very little veteran leadership. If the Pens allow them to hang around they will only have themselves to blame.

  61. Drew71 says:

    Pens team shouldn’t sleep on ANYbody because that’s how you get upset. Not because the Isles are any good. They’re not. And not because of any inherent matchup problem. There isn’t.

    i AM sleeping on the Isles because, really, the Pens ARE that much better and my expectations are far beyond the first round.

    But I’m allowed. I don’t skate for the Pens.

    Sweep.

    Only because they are not allowed to win in three.

  62. Damon says:

    I second the post.

  63. JohninOshkosh says:

    Hi Good People of the Blog:

    Predictions:

    Western Conference:

    CHI over MIN 5 Games
    DET over ANA 6 Games
    SJS over VAN 6 Games
    STB over LAK 5 Games

    Eastern Conference:

    PIT over NYI 5 Games
    OTT over MON 6 Games
    NYR over WAS 6 Games
    BOS over TOR 7 Games

    I think we are nearing the End Days, people. The Jets cut Tim Tebow.

  64. Milo Hamilton says:

    The Angels have traded Chris Snyder to Baltimore. I thought you couldn’t make trades in April.

  65. Scott says:

    That’s why we need to eliminate this bogus criteria and give the award to the best guy in the league, period.

    I would not vote for Ovechkin on principle alone. I don’t see how anyone could vote to give the Hart to a guy who was completely invisible for half a season. But that’s just me.

    If we’re really giving it to the guy who was most valuable to his team, then Bobrovsky wins it, hands down.

  66. scapper says:

    Anyone know how the seedings work after round 1? Say all four top seeds win their series. Are the Caps still a #3 seed or do they revert to #4 based on points?

  67. TJ says:

    For some reason I’d rather have Tebow than Gradkowski

  68. TJ says:

    After first round highest seed plays lowest seed etc; they are re-seeded

  69. scapper says:

    So the Caps’s division championship is only good for one round? .

  70. TJ says:

    I think your confused with the Pirates not being able to make deals at the deadline this year

  71. Milo Hamilton says:

    You guys need to check out the Twitter war going on right now. Check DK’s & Mike Vukovcan. Very entertaining for a Monday morning.

  72. Drew71 says:

    You can’t.

    They’ll put a stop to that nonsense.

  73. TJ says:

    They are the #3 seed; if they win they will have home ice in RD 2 as well unless all top seeds win; which in that case it only makes sense that they would not.

  74. Damon says:

    Pens were up 3-0 on the Flyers last playoff opener…I realize this team is young and inexperienced, but to that point they may just not know any better. I agree with Jandy, and this series will probably go 6 games at least. The Isles are one team with speed to keep up, and Nabokov could be tough. Then again he normally wasn’t too tough with the Sharks in the playoffs. This series needs to get the Pens started on a roll by winning through their system and relentless play…

  75. Drew71 says:

    You watch. Now Thunder will join.

  76. Iceman says:

    Man did Locke look comfortable out there yesterday. He was painting the corners well and is really making a push to stay in this rotation. I was very impressed.

    Heard them talking about Cole’s last outing during the game too. Sounds like he is really starting to come along. He went 7 innings giving up only 3 hits and 1 run (the four walks is problematic still), however, they were saying that as the game went on his velocity was increasing. They were saying his fastball in the 7th was clocking in at 98 mph. If he can gain some additional control and maintain that velocity, it will be a real nice arm in the rotation.

  77. scapper says:

    Thanks. Just trying to figure out when the Pens, assuming they don’t “soil the bed” in round 1 again, might meet them.

  78. CWalton_67 says:

    Wondering about thoughts on Pens lines? I think it’s an absolute must that Kunitz plays with Malkin and Neal. Just can’t ignore that chemistry.

    Thoughts?

  79. Arriba Wilver says:

    +1

  80. Iceman says:

    Fair enough, but still…

  81. Damon says:

    Not bad although I’d say it would take the Blues at least 7 games to beat the Kings. I know the Blues are playing well of late, but the Kings have proven they are playoff-built. I’d reverse the Ducks and Red Wings too.

  82. Ed says:

    Just watched the show. I think you should get rid of the background screen saver stuff and make the viewing camera bigger so that it covers the screen along with the social commentary on the left. Too small as is. Not bad for a first run though.

    Good job of incorporating people’s opinions with the media commentary though.

    As far as complaints about the yinzer stuff, hey, it’s a Pittsburgh show. Deal with it or get your own opinions in there on the social media format.
    ————————————————————————————————————-

    This Pens team will not be overconfident like the 92’93 team was. You have many hungry players on this team that want a Cup. They will exorcise the demons of Long Island and dispatch the Islanders and everyone else in the Eastern Conference without much trouble.

    ———————————————————————————————————-

    Whew! Typing all of this with those foam gloves with the big wagging fingers was quite an ordeal but I gotta ask…..

    Dejan, what do you think of that Russell Martin signing? ;)

  83. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    lol yeah i don’t buy the we’ve never beaten the Isles stuff.

  84. Damon says:

    There would be a huge backlash if that wasn’t the Pens 1a line (not that Bylsma should worry about anyone else’s opinion other than who is employed by the Pens). That line looked soooooooooo fluid and dominant Saturday, and Sid coming back will certainly be fine with Duper and Iginla. Morrow-Sutter-Cooke is an awesome 3rd line. Jokanin-Adams-Glass/Bennett fine with me too.

  85. TJ says:

    After 3 games of having their bodies beat with hit after hit; we will see how much speed they have. Remember Bylsma loves to physically punish teams and I fully expect the Pens to come out and lay a foundation in game 1 with checks they can start cashing in the games following

  86. AL says:

    Pen’s lines? There’s no such thing anymore. So far the winning formula has been to just deal the cards as every hand is a winner. Not saying this is right but that’s the way things are turning out.
    Kunitz? Wasn’t it not so long ago that people were saying not to break up Crosby, Kunitz and Dupuis because they were the best line in hockey? That they had the chemistry? It’s going to be a very interesting series.

  87. Jandy says:

    I agree on the Wings, I don’t think they’ll go anywhere this post season.

  88. TJ says:

    Amazing that Jokenin might be relegated to the 4th line after having 11 points in 10 games with the Pens. Including a game winning goal in an OT shootout. And he’s been pretty solid on the faceoffs. I don’t see Bennett seeing the ice unless there is an injury; but then again Glass might be seeing the game from up top as it was curious to see the Pens using Kunitz on the penalty kill. Perhaps they were doing that to make a spot for Bennett and scratch Glass.

    I think an interesting series would be the Pens 1st and 4th lines vs the Pens 2nd and 3rd lines.

  89. Jandy says:

    Woah! 98MPH fastball…nice!

  90. You can only if Chris Snyder is involved.

  91. TJ says:

    To answer your question my lines would be…

    Iginla-Crosby-Dupuis
    Kunitz-Malkin-Neal
    Morrow-Sutter-Cooke
    Adams-Jokinen-Bennett

    You got a 4th line that could actually score a few goals!

  92. Damon says:

    They will beat the snot out of the Isles D with their forecheck, but the best response to that is to have a quick transition game with speed which could happen – odd man breaks. If the Pens play their system, they could win in 4 or 5 games, but I see this series as a huge first hurdle. Fleury must be huge.

  93. pattonbb says:

    Tried wadding through that, got a little confused. Maybe you can help me out -

    Did Mike Vukovcan call DK a liar, and accuse him of having the biggest ego in Pittsburgh?
    Who in the hell is Mike Vukovcan?

  94. Thundercrack says:

    Watching Locke’s other starts and in the dugout I always thought he might be too relaxed. And I listened to most of the game on the radio. I was surprised that he only had 2 walks. It seemed like he always had a runner on each inning.

    But YES, great job yesterday.

  95. Drew71 says:

    Sweep.

  96. Thundercrack says:

    That means I would have to sign up for twitter. No thanks.

  97. Thundercrack says:

    My guess is that a rerun of Cold Case or CSI Topeka would beat the ratings of both sports shows.

  98. Thundercrack says:

    +1

  99. JohninOshkosh says:

    Yes, a little help here. What is going on?

  100. Bizrow says:

    I don’t think we would face Washington till the Conference Finals

  101. CWalton_67 says:

    Agreed.

  102. Jandy says:

    smart guy….twitter is for twits ;)

  103. JohninOshkosh says:

    I still miss The George Michael Sports Machine on Sunday nights.

  104. Jandy says:

    Crankshaft will be a huge factor in wearing them down ;)

  105. Bizrow says:

    Is he the KDKA guy that somewhat banned Dejan from the Sunday night show?

  106. SJB says:

    People were saying the same thing about them last season, They were knocked out early in both previous playoffs and they had a lot to prove. They were so much better that the Flyers with Sid and Malkin back and with the great regular season they had, No. 1 PK, great offense, it was their year…blah, blah, blah…Wrong.

    Laser focused? Sorry, but their play recently is anything but and they need to get back to how they were playing 2 or 3 weeks ago for that to be the case. Lots of bad habits creeping back in and if anything, those last meaningless games should have been used as a tune-up instead of a reason to slack. It’s a 48 game schedule, no reason to take any game off or not find importance in simply playing well especially heading into a plyoffs where you are expected to win it all. They should throw up a white flag and forfeit if they only want a break and another win means nothing. What’s the point in a half-a$$ed, inconsistent attempt? How’s that benefit anyone?

    Ancient history? 20 years is ancient. I must be old. Sometimes certain teams for whenever reason have another teams number in certain situations, see; last season. Of course I don’t think the Isles should beat the Pens, but I didn’t in ’93 either. I do think this matchup could be much harder than it looks on paper and I don’t think the Pens will take the Isles for granted, I’m just surprise fans are.

    Right now the Isles are saying to themselves, we’ve never lost to the Pens in the playoffs and looking at all those previous upsets as something to instill confidence with…”Hey, if they could do it”, and you’ll be surprised what that simple mindset can accomplish. It shouldn’t be enough to win them the series, but I think they’ll probably make it harder than anyone thinks it should be. I mean; 8 seeds have never upset anyone, or even won the cup right? Seems it happens every season to one degree or another and everyone is always surprised.

    I’m just saying don’t be all OMG amazed if it goes 7 because it very well could and I’m sure if it does it will be either MAF laying an egg, the other goalie standing on his head, or an injury(s), that will be the excuse. Those are the ones people who fail to believe it could ever happen always grab on to. It certainly won’t be one team playing better than the other.

  107. Bizrow says:

    It surprised the heck out of me, for sure

  108. Milo Hamilton says:

    The way I read it is that Party A (Mike) is trying to draw Party B (DK) into the gutter with personal mud slinging. I don’t access to the numbers so I can’t speak to the facts. As far as the shows go, I can barely stay awake through Mad Men on Sunday night, and it’s my favorite show.

  109. Arriba Wilver says:

    Looks like I was wrong about his mental makeup. He looked confident out there yesterday. At least I wasn’t alone in being wrong—he also appears to have found an “out” pitch. He’s always seemed like a good, smart kid, so I’m happy for him.

    If the decision were to be made today, I think he has leapfrogged JMac.

  110. Naterosboro says:

    Pittsburgh Pirates Post Monday….

    Dedicating my thoughts today to those Buccos….

    * Since dropping the opening 2 series against CHC & LAD and going 1-5, the Pirates are 14-5, unbeaten in 5 series & winning 4 of them.

    * Jonathon Sanchez MUST be removed from the rotation and the team. He provides nothing except extra strain on the bullpen.

    * I’m not sure what options Andy Oliver has left, but if he has 1, I think he should get a nod for the spot start (in place of J. Sanchez). He’s been throwing the ball extremely well at Indianapolis.

    * Charlie Morton had another rehab start at Altoona. The important thing for him is to continue back to the majors pain free. So far, this seems to be the case which is good news for our pitching staff.

    * Andrew McCutchen is in quite the funk (1 for his last 22; BA down to .216).

    * Say what you want about his bat, but Clint Barmes plays a hell of a SS.

    * The Pirates are #1 so far in the NL in HBP (hit by pitches) with 14. Starling Marte has been hit 5 times! (according to this: http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/PIT/2013.shtml)

    * I heard an interesting tid bit on the Phillies broadcast the last JMac start. They were saying that after his start before the Phillies, AJ & Wandy took JMac into the clubhouse and played film for him of him striking out batter after batter, and saying to him basically “You have the talent to do this a lot. Now we just have to get your head in the right frame.” Seems to be a mental thing for JMac. Let’s hope Wandy and AJ can get into his head and play baseball Dr. Phil.

    * Pedro Alvarez is starting to swing the bat much better. This is not a good thing for opposing pitchers. Especially right-handers.

    * FIRST PLACE ON APRIL 29! EARLIER THAN THE LAST 2 YEARS!

    * Does the collapse happen earlier this year then?! (bad thoughts…BAD THOUGHTS!!!!)

    * I’m enjoying the mix of veterans and young players. Seems as if these Buccos are actually a TEAM, picking one another up, and a different guy stepping up each night. Also, seeing smiles is a welcome change from Pirate teams of yesterday (when they held candlelight vigils….). These guys are having fun (fun & Pirates baseball in the same sentence?!)! There’s a LONG way to go, but there’s a lot to like about this scrappy bunch. Here’s hoping they can make this last all season and take us into October.

    * Hey…it could happen.

    HAVE A GOOD DAY ALL! LET’S GO BUCS!

    :-)

  111. Nate83 says:

    I prefer Old MacDonald.

  112. Ghost says:

    The Drew made me do it. He must have laced my morning juice with something. It’s worn off. I won’t sound like Drew anymore now.

  113. Milo Hamilton says:

    And by the way, Party B is playing this perfectly by allowing Party A to look like an eight year old. There’s some obvious heat there.

  114. 21sthebest says:

    Casey McGehee leading the Pacific League in Japan with a .403 average.

  115. Naterosboro says:

    I humbly disagree.

    That being said, I’m a HUGE Twit. Don’t think there’s any need for debate there.

  116. Arriba Wilver says:

    JMac said after his last start JMac volunteered that Martin was the guy who suggested and got him to look at his “strikeout video.” (Small factual point, agree with a lot of what you said).

  117. Nate83 says:

    Agree, Locke has earned to be ahead of JMac. JMac to the bullpen for long relief is not the worse thing to happen to this team in the last 20 years.

  118. Damon says:

    Nice post…. Couple comments:
    - Just listening to Jonathan Sanchez before his last start, he doesn’t seem to think there is a problem. Any pitcher they could call up could go 5 innings and have less than a 12 ERA….and keep the opposing batters under .350. I think the try-out should be over.

    -I loved seeing Pedro go opposite field for a base hit to drive in a couple runs yesterday. Also loved seeing him hit left handers.

    -Hey, maybe they are starting their surge earlier and will build up enough of a lead that they can’t blow it in September….

  119. Chris says:

    Well jack Wilson did win the silver slugger that year!

  120. Damon says:

    If the Isles come out like a deer in headlights (like the Pens did in 2007 against Ottawa), there will be hits. O there will be hits….don’t discount Orpik or Letang either…

  121. Naterosboro says:

    Arriba

    You’re probably right, and I now remember the Phillies announcers saying that RMart was involved (altho I think they still credited Wandy & AJ with the idea).

    They’re from Phillydellfia tho. Waddatheyknow?!?!?!

  122. Nate83 says:

    JMac, and Hurdle both mentioned it was Martin who did this. Usually I wouldn’t point out the difference but in this case it shows another added thing Martin is bringing to the club. It’s unfortunate JMac needs stuff like this to keep his head on straight but it’s nice to know we have players like AJ and Martin who know what button to push to help out certain guys.

  123. SJB says:

    MVP Award = Player most valuable to his team, not best player in the league. Sorry, but if they simply awarded it to the player in the league, then Sid gets it, they don’t so…

    I have to look past my disdain and dislike of Ovechkin to be objective and in that case, he get’s it. If I didn’t, I’d be no better than an estrogen enraged, excuse making Flyers fan who hates Crosby for no other reason than he’s really good.

    I’m ok with Bob getting it, except he’ll probably win the Vezina and they usually won’t give a goalie both.

  124. Naterosboro says:

    I’m curious, but what does everyone think of Locke’s locks? So many bushy curls under that cap. Do we think he needs a cut? Or does that play into the make up of our (my term) “scrappy” bunch?

    You decide.

  125. pattonbb says:

    Me too!!!

  126. Naterosboro says:

    I don’t see it as unfortunate. It’s a confidence issue. I think JMac has that “Here we go again” (as do a lot of us fans when we watch him pitch) mentality when things start to go wrong out there.

    Everyone is different, and some people (in all walks of life) need positive reinforcement.

    JMac seems just to be one of those guys.

    And it’s great we have other guys on the team who are working with him rather than letting him go at it alone.

  127. Naterosboro says:

    I just can’t take watching Sanchez pitch anymore. Friday was the final straw for me. Getting ejected (altho not totally his fault; that ump was quite the d*ck) without recording an out?! And taxing an already overtaxed bullpen even further?!

    I’d say certainly grounds for dismissal.

  128. SJB says:

    That’s assuming the Pens come up like Ottawa did in 2007, or like the Pens did to them in 2008. So far now, three years in a row, they haven’t. A punishing, chip on their shoulder fore-check would be nice for a change. Even this season, it hasn’t been a staple of their game.

  129. Jandy says:

    Locke’s locks stay….from a feminine point of view, they are,….simply wonderful…besides you cut Sampson’s hair, he’s done…leave the locks!

  130. Jandy says:

    lol poor Joe.

  131. SJB says:

    The Isles will probably like to think so. I takes two teams.

  132. SJB says:

    The Isles and the Craps are the only two teams I didn’t want to see at any point. I hope someone can take care of the Craps but I don’t think that’ll happen. They are rolling at the right time.

  133. Naterosboro says:

    Just saw this on Facebook from the Pirates:

    “Pittsburgh enters today with a league-high tying five shutouts after the first 25 games of the season…The 1992 Pirates got to five shutouts in 20 games, which is the team’s record in the modern era and the last time they did it in 25 or fewer games (Elias).”

    I think a nice clap for our pitching staff & defense is in order.

  134. SJB says:

    I would think the Conference Finals but it’s Monday so my math skills are in the toilet with the beer I rented this weekend.

  135. Naterosboro says:

    Was his back also included in the trade?

  136. cmat0829 says:

    Me Bucco thoughts.. from the best-named airport in the land…Sky Harbor…..

    1) Sanchez needs to be waived today, and Pirates need to announce Gomez starts on Wednesday. They both have earned that.

    2) Bucs, due to days off upcoming, won’t need that 5th starter slot for a few weeks… Liriano will make the next start in that spot.

    3) Contreras will join the team no later than Friday and my guess is Mazarro goes down at that point.

    4) If Walker isn’t going on the DL, I think the Bucs recall Joshy Harrison today to fill Sanchez’s spot (would make sense to me, won’t need that starter for a while).

    5) Locke is ahead of JMac at this point, but good news is that Pirates can be patient with Charlie and not try to rush him back. The way I see it, Charlie is linked with JMac and when Cole is ready, he comes even if Locke is the one sent down at that point.

    6) Watching this team for the past 20+ years, no doubt in my mind the lineup depth is very good. Everyone can contribute.

    7) Martin is a key, key piece and so far is well worth the investment.

  137. Damon says:

    I wonder if the Pirates can refuse his appeal so they can get someone else in the rotation Wednesday (if his appeal means he can still pitch during the process)…

  138. Thundercrack says:

    And I hear the atmosphere in the clubhouse is tremendous.

  139. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    He’s done great over this stretch, started slow, but a lot do. However, its still a young season.

    I would love to see him to continue mashing, but I doubt he keeps it up. There may be some “to hell with the Yankees” motivation there also.

    Either way, he was a huge upgrade defensively over what was there and its nice to see his offense reach the hype as well.

  140. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    EYE can’t either….I’m a huge Locke basher, but can easily be convinced if this keeps up. I HOPE that I’m wrong with my arm-chair analysis.

  141. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    I don’t care what the offense does, if there’s no pitching, they don’t win. Definite round of applause is needed.

  142. Nate83 says:

    The nice thing is if Locke continues pitching well Karstans becomes a very reliable option if Liriano just has the wheels fall off. Worse case scenerio Karstans becomes long relief that we can count on to save the bullpen if a starting pitcher only goes 2 or 3 innings and also be available when someone gets hurt which happens every year to every team unless you are the 2012 Reds.

  143. Naterosboro says:

    MVP = Most Valuable Player

    This award is for the “League” MVP which is the Most Valuable Player in the NHL.

    That should go to the best player in the NHL.

    As it should in all the other leagues.

    Gotta agree with Scott here.

  144. JD says:

    Doesn’t DK have a twitter war with some other twit about once a week?

  145. casper in a-town says:

    Good post, Brad. I agree with your post almost in its entirety. However, as for whether Shero, Lemieux and Burkle are enamored with DDB, I’m going to defer to at least Ray’s and Mario’s collective hockey wisdom (no offense to Burkle, but I don’t think his role is one of hockey evaluator). If they think DDB is worthy of staying on regardless of this year’s result, I’m going to defer. They haven’t steered us wrong yet, although I have to admit I have the same reservations about DDB as you do. I guess it just comes down to me trusting Ray and Mario as to who the best coach is to lead this team.

  146. tdb1977 says:

    Now I need to go onto twitter and see this war of words taking place.

  147. SJB says:

    Wow, whoda thought those top two lines are exactly the ones I was hoping for ever since Iginla was even rumored to be on the Pens radar. Gee, go figure. ;) I guess logic trumps all after all.

    I guess Bylsma thought it better to make Neal and Iginla uncomfortable and the second line just adequate for the sake of keeping Kunitz with Crosby because for some reason, it’s better to have one great line instead of two.

    Seriously though, I think Jokinen will float between lines as situations dictate it. Critical FO’s or need for a goal might see him out there more often than a 4th liner.

  148. SJB says:

    Might make a nice Assistant GM for the Pens. Seems to know what we need. lol

  149. Dom says:

    What happens if the rotation continues rolling on and guys like Morton, Karstens, and Lariano are healthy and Cole and/or Irwin are ready for a promotion?

    Should we look into dealing one of those guys, even if it is for prospects?

  150. SJB says:

    I’d rather they surge later. Like mid-August. Early leads are hard to keep especially and obviously for this team. I also like that McCutchen is getting his late season slump out of the way now so maybe he can go on a tear later on.

  151. JHadar says:

    I continue to be impressed with the work of Mr. Searage.

  152. JHadar says:

    OTOH it’s very hard to win without scoring. Both pieces have to be there.

    But yeah, pitching has been great with one notable exception.

  153. CWalton_67 says:

    Agree on Jokinen.

    I have thought all along that Kunitz should have played with Malkin and Neal. While I believe the skill levels are the same, Crosby is clearly a more flexible player than Malkin, capable of adapting to line mates. And given that the replacement for Kunitz on Crosby’s wing is Jarome Iginla, this seems like a no-brainer.

    But, I’m just a retired paratrooper with several concussions, so maybe we should just trust in HCDB. :)

  154. CWalton_67 says:

    +1

  155. JHadar says:

    Wasn’t Sky Harbor named by a kid who won an airport naming contest?

  156. Jandy says:

    If anything, the Steelers and Pittsburgh should kiss Charlie’s feet for standing by and being a back-up quietly and professionally with no complaints. The man is first class all the way. I for one will miss Charlie. A true professional. Young players these don’t know the meaning of professional.Thank you Charlie!

  157. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    Obviously, you need some sort of offense, but it doesn’t take much.

  158. Jandy says:

    Honestly, I was ok with Locke starting this season. Saw him in Altoona, and he looked good. Hopefully the struggles were just him working thru nerves, etc. and he’s settled down. Time will tell.

  159. Jandy says:

    Oh by all means, keep up the good work, I like it :) :) :)

  160. Jandy says:

    LOL that’s priceless

  161. Naterosboro says:

    +1

  162. Jandy says:

    Or Kunitz or Glass or Adams :)

  163. 21sthebest says:

    Charlie’s 30 day rehab clock started on April 18th so they have to make a decision on him by May 18th.

  164. Jandy says:

    So they drink sake during the 7th inning stretch???

  165. Jandy says:

    nate, lol…just the name “Twitter” cracks me up. I can’t help but make fun of it. I know, I know…bear with an ol’ lady, hear? :P

  166. NMR says:

    Yeah, gotta disagree with the “unfortunate” comment as well.

    No game is more humbling than baseball. Every one of those guys in the dugout fights his own thoughts. It’s just human nature.

  167. Jandy says:

    Well said, JHadar.

  168. Patrick(RI) says:

    Anybody have stats on “range” factor when up-the-middle participants are Inge, Barmes &/or Old McDonald? I think the team has to call up Harrison, or somebody, if Walker is out very long (I admit to not sharing the view that Barmes defense is that stellar — he and Walker are merely “adequate” imho).

  169. Nate83 says:

    I apologize if that word came off as a knock on JMac. It may have been the wrong choice of words. I simply meant you would prefer that all your starters have that bulldog mentalitity. It is uncommon to have a complete staff with 5 pitchers with that chemical make up. It is nice to have guys on the team to get those players back on track and keep there head in the game.

    It was more a positive comment about Martin then a negative towards JMac who I like and I’m rooting for.

  170. NMR says:

    I can appreciate the mea culpa, but I don’t think it was needed. I still think you were spot on with Locke’s mental makeup.

    Listened to an interview after the game and the first thing he said was (paraphrased) “It was about CONFIDENCE and excecution.” First thing he said.

    Seems entirely possible that he’s the type of person that needs to see results before starting to believe in himself.

    And I also don’t necessarily think Dejan’s scouting report on the lack of an “out” pitch was different, either. I read that as lack of STRIKEout pitch, since his track record of ritiring guys in 2-strike counts was poor. Still didn’t see much change in that yesterday, BUT was managed to keep the ball in the yard. His fastball command was good enough to make everything an “out” pitch, despite lacking one in the conventional sense.

  171. Searage should have as much credit for these exemplary bullpen building projects as Neal.

    Same goes for the strong SP as you stated.

  172. Nate83 says:

    I don’t believe range is the reason any of these guys are considered good/great defensive players as much as their instincts, positioning, footwork and glovework. When and if Harrison comes up I hope it is as a back up to Inge at 2nd. Hopefully Walker is OK and won’t be out long.

  173. NMR says:

    Ah I gotcha. And I do agree that you’d prefer to see that unbeatable attitude in your pitchers.

  174. JHadar says:

    Then there was the Lumber Company — they used to win a lot of games 9-7 or 12-9 … And when they finally got average pitching they won it all.

    Just conversation, though.

  175. Nate83 says:

    I really don’t know because this team has never had that problem over the past 20 years. That is an option but injuries almost always happen to the starting staff and AJ and Wandy may or may not be back next year so they can never have too many arms in reserve.

  176. Patrick(RI) says:

    I share your hope for Walker, but it still seems to me that any combo we put out there w/o him is going to leave serious holes for grounders to slip through, and in the longer run, that is going to hurt.

  177. Arriba Wilver says:

    Patrick–are you arguing that Harrison would be an upgrade defensively?

  178. Nate83 says:

    I’m not an Inge fan by any means, but living near Detroit I can attest that this guy can flash the letter and make some nice plays and he isn’t going to botch the routine play. He may have lost a step on his range but in my opinion he is better then Harrison.

    I’m not sure about De Jesus. He may be worth a look with his good spring training and good start in AAA. He also started as a short stop and moved to second so his defense has to be at least OK.

  179. theplanisworking says:

    This is a new idea for Pittsburgh Television.

    It is very easy to sit back and say “late night buffet of yinzers”, “I hate social media”, “can only go up from here”, etc.

    These things take time. But it is something different, and people can suggest ideas, etc.

    Lets give it a while before we throw out the baby with the bathwater……….

  180. NMR says:

    There’s really only two options there if we’re talking defense and those are Barmes and McDonald. Inge is only a 2B in the sense that Garret Jones is a 1B.

    Just asking for opinions: why is Josh Harrison in line for promotion before Jordy Mercer?

    Mercer has the superior glove up the middle, strikes out less, knows how to take a walk, and at the very least has comparable hit skills with more power than Harrison.

  181. Nate83 says:

    Letter should have been leather. I’m not sure how it ended up being that wrong or what letter Inge would be flashing. I have to lay off the early afternoon drinks I guess.

  182. Patrick(RI) says:

    I guess so. I think at the least, you would see lots of “stops” and that can be critical with men on base. Since I think Barmes does not get to many balls to his left, and since Inge (on very limited observation) seems to be seriously limited range-wise, I believe we will need a bit more speed (something McDonald obviously cannot be expected to provide — It is also problematic having two guys at the bottom who cannot break .100 ba). If Walker is only down a game or two more, probably won’t hurt (such as yesterday).

  183. Nate83 says:

    Because for some reason this front office has it out for Mercer even though they drafted him and have been ripped on for not producing enough major league players.

    Seriously I think he deserves a shot. Should have gotten one over Holt last year. I personally would put Harrison behind DeJesus as well.

  184. Patrick(RI) says:

    If true, then he would be a solid choice (the “or somebody” in my original ost).

  185. Jandy says:

    “* Say what you want about his bat, but Clint Barmes plays a hell of a SS.”

    Agreed, Naterosboro….100%!!

  186. NMR says:

    IF the team finds itself int he scenario you describe, I would deal Jmac in a heartbeat. He has enough value as a high risk/reward starter to steal a usable player in return from a team desparate for pitching(and there’s always at least one).

  187. Jandy says:

    Uh-oh you got the Jandy typo disease! You’re doomed :P

  188. theplanisworking says:

    + many

  189. NMR says:

    I still don’t know how you put his playing time on the hands of the front office unless you believe they, not Clint Hurdle, run the team.

    For the second season in a row, a young shortstop was promoted and did nothing but ride pine. The first decision has turned out to be a major mistake. I hope Mercer doesn’t as well.

  190. Arriba Wilver says:

    +1

  191. Nate83 says:

    I don’t. I was saying that tongue and cheek because I know where you stand on the topic and I agree with you 100% on Mercer. Sorry for the confusion.

  192. Arriba Wilver says:

    On the strikeout pitch issue, yesterday during the game the TV crew was talking about swing and miss pitches on pitches that ended up out of the zone, and compared Miller’s to Locke’s. They showed Miller’s stats as being much much better than Locke’s. And then Locke kept throwing some pitches out of the zone that they were swinging at, and they kept saying, “OK, that’s going to up his stats.” Not sure exactly what that means going forward, but it was interesting to see.

  193. Arriba Wilver says:

    +1

  194. Arriba Wilver says:

    I became a believer in the steady, make all the routine plays, shortstop over the guy who can make the flashy plays but struggles sometimes with the routine plays, in 1979 when they brought in Tim Foli to replace Frank Taveras. And Harrison is no Taveras. JMO

  195. Jandy says:

    and mine as well… +1

  196. Jandy says:

    Just saw this on the Twitter feed above…I’m losing it! LOL

    Douglas Murray hasn’t yet eaten, looks longingly at puck @ Iceoplex at Southpointe instagram.com/p/Ysc4dVhS39

  197. Chris Snyder tried to pick up Mrs. Playoffs when we were at the Jerry Meals game in Atlanta back in 2011.
    I got to shut him down when he was chatting her up.
    That is how I will always remember him.

  198. He’s married, too. That bike rider up there was gonna whip his wife when he had a bad back and was in the back seat of the car and she almost hit the guy.

    Now, I don’t like him.

  199. Scott says:

    “Right now the Isles are saying to themselves, we’ve never lost to the Pens in the playoffs.”

    They are not saying this.

    And yes, 20 years is ancient history in the sports world. The Pirates dominated the San Diego Padres in 1993 – do you think that has any relevance whatsoever today?

  200. JohninOshkosh says:

    The NBA becomes the first North American men’s professional sports league to have an active player come out as gay.

  201. Scott says:

    “Sorry, but if they simply awarded it to the player in the league, then Sid gets it, they don’t so…”

    Actually, they do, SJB. That’s the point of my post. Despite the language attached to the award, voters consistently give it to the best player in the league – not the most valuable to his team. That’s why Sid should get it.

  202. NMR says:

    Good comment, AW.

    FWIW, he did strike out almost a batter an inning last year as well.

  203. NMR says:

    Haha, chalk that one up to me being a broken record.

  204. Damon says:

    Did you see Mike Wallace tweet he doesn’t understand how a guy could be gay with all the beautiful women in the world? Have fun with that one Miami…

  205. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    Agree on Mercer….No idea why Harrison would come up first.

  206. Jandy says:

    Sounds like some 9 Wides are in order ;)

  207. JHadar says:

    Let’s hope the letter is Z

  208. JAL says:

    Pirates knocked Rzepczynski back to the minors

  209. Dom says:

    When will these athletes learn, when in doubt, don’t say anything.

  210. Dom says:

    You mean the cards.

  211. tpbco says:

    You have to have an IQ larger than your shoe size first.

    No one has ever accused MW of that.

    Good thing he runs real fast….

  212. Jandy says:

    lol!

  213. Jandy says:

    Depends on how you look at it, Dom ;)

  214. Dom says:

    Wallace is really taking a beating on this when I searched his name on Google News.

    Months ago DK noted in his blog that a member of the Pittsburgh Passion called Mark Madden a homophobic term on twitter. Beyond that nobody else mentioned it.

    I’m not defending him and I know he is a more widely known athlete but what she said was much worse and essentially went unnoticed.

  215. Dom says:

    Oh yeah. I misunderstood what JAL said.

  216. gregenstein says:

    Except that this is the one time where the directions are clear. “Most valuable to his team.” Just because a bunch of goofballs don’t know how to read doesn’t Dejan should join them.

  217. gregenstein says:

    Perhaps they should re-word the directions, but until they do, Dejan is correct to “agonize” as you say.

    http://demotivators.despair.com/demotivational/traditiondemotivator.jpg

  218. NMR says:

    I haven’t been very impressed with what I’ve seen from Trevor Rosenthal in the two series thus far this year as well.

  219. For sure. But don’t hit his back.

  220. Naterosboro says:

    Saw a facebook picture that had a screen shot of BBTN Pundits Rankings’ and Barry Larkin had the Buccos at 2! Haha

    Some national love for the Bucs.

    Let’s keep the fun going.

  221. Jandy says:

    Here’s a good statistical analysis of Pens/Isles from FaceoffFactor:
    http://www.faceoff-factor.com/1pittsburgh-penguins/4804/first-round-statistical-analysis

  222. Jandy says:

    Nope, just the back door LOL!

  223. Naterosboro says:

    Above, someone said they don’t do twitter.

    Well, I do do twitter.

    And if you do twitter, then I suggest you follow Pirate Jesus (@PirateJesus).

    “@PiratesJesus 4m

    May Brother Wandy scorch thy Brew Crew under Milwaukeean skies.”

    Seconded.

  224. Jandy says:

    Oh Lord! I don’t twitter, but that is priceless!

  225. NMR says:

    Andrew McCutchen leads the Pirates in RBI while hitting .216 with 2 home runs and .167 with runners in scoring position.

    Further proof that good “RBI guys” are made by good on-base guys hitting in front of them.

  226. BillyBaduka says:

    There is no re-seeding. Wash will remain 3. So the earliest Pens could meet them is in Conference Finals.

  227. BillyBaduka says:

    I agree with the lines you have TJ. I’d just flip Iginla and Dupuis.

    Dupuis should be LW with Crosby and Iginla.

 
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