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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wednesday Wakeup Call: The chase begins

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The Wednesday column spins some randomly collected yarn into … well, you’ll see … it’s about Game 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs tonight.

One part is about this crazy guy, goes by Crankshaft


Another is about the Islanders’ bronzed rear ends …


And another is about this extraordinary young lady serving our nation in Afghanistan …


Like I said, it’s kind of all over the place, even the heart of Asia. Hope you like.

Anyway, we should know by late morning whether or not Sidney Crosby will play. And we should know by midnight whether or not Evgeni Malkin will be all the way back, as well.

>> Yesterday’s TribLIVE Radio show podcast featured Jarome Iginla, and the opening rant on Root Sports’ handling of the Penguins and Pirates is on video …

>> The Pirates again lost in Milwaukee, again ate seven figures to cut a player.

Jonathan Sanchez’s $1.375 million contract was purchased — and thus guaranteed — on March 27, this after he had an 8.07 ERA last season and a 5.50 ERA in spring training after being briefly set aside to deal with major mechanical issues. This season, his ERA was 11.85.

Who needs adjectives?

>> Le’Veon Bell gets the close-up treatment from Alan Robinson this morning. Kind of turned up my nose at the Steelers’ second-rounder, but staying open-minded and liking more and more of what I hear. In particular is the background of how lousy that Michigan State line was in front of him.

>> I’ll be up at Consol morning, noon and night and, again, this is how it’s going to be for as long as the Pittsburgh entry into this tournament stays alive.

Very much looking forward to it. Nothing at all like an NHL postseason.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

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


  1. Ghost says:

    Pride. Passion. Preempted.

    A comment on the game blog has me wondering: Will Starling Marte be eligible for this year’s NL Rookie of the Year?

    DK: Marte is not eligible. If a player has 130-plus career at-bats entering a season, he no longer is a rookie. Marte debuted in the majors last summer, of course, and finished with 167 at-bats.

  2. Ghost says:

    Great photo, Lt. Conroy. Thanks, and be safe!

  3. Ghost says:

    Didn’t know the cutoff number, but last year he had that many at-bats already? Shows how well I was paying attention. Thanks!

  4. Ed says:

    But what about that Russell Martin guy?

    DK: He’s not rookie eligible, either.

    Nor, for that matter, can his situation be equated to Sanchez. Sanchez is essentially done with the Pirates. It’s fair to weigh performance versus value. Martin is one month into a two-year, $17 million contract. He’s hitting very well after the slow start, now at .276 with six homers. It’s been one month, though, and the past five years indicate that pace won’t be sustained.

    That could, of course, change and he could go on to have a terrific 2013. But neither he nor anyone else can have a terrific season — much less two seasons — in a single April.

    Sanchez, on the other hand, is a total bust right at this very second, book closed.

    Have they dropped the puck yet?

  5. Ed says:

    No, they haven’t dropped the puck yet Dejan. But speaking of, for all here to see, some idiot over at BleacherReport picked the Rangers to beat the Pens in Round 2 and go on to win the Cup.

    Just giving you a little hell over Russell Martin since you so thoroughly trashed his signing, repeatedly, during the offseason. I’m not expecting a 36HR season but I do feel that his numbers this season will be better than the past couple seasons. His Batting Average Balls in Play was abnormally low in 2011 and 2012 and this is a stat that tends to even out over time.

    And besides: He’s already thrown out more runners so far in April than Barajas did all last season!

  6. Ed says:

    Best wishes to Lt. Conroy, and to all our armed forces throughout the world, no matter what team they like to follow.

  7. JoeyBats says:

    LET’S GO PENS !!

    It’s all about the next 16 victories….. :-)

  8. Drew71 says:

    Starting with the First Four.

    In A Row.


  9. Drew71 says:

    I just opened a bottle of ice tea and read this fun fact, printed on the inside of the lid.

    “The average housefly lives for one month.”

    And yet mine is going on decades and decades and…

    I’m surprised the lid didn’t add:


    Or an emoticon.

  10. Thundercrack says:

    I finally watched the opening rant. (7 minutes of my life I won’t get back :-)

    What confused my a bit was that heading with the video posted after yesterday’s show was:
    “And here’s video of the opening rant on Root Sports picking between Penguins and Pirates tomorrow …”

    But the rant wasn’t about Root choosing between the Pirate game and a Penguin playoff game.

    And you make a lot of good points. Especially that Root did the right thing, especially in regards to the advertisers.
    But I don’t think this decision by Root proves some point on how little the public believes in the Pirates or doesn’t trust them. It shows that at this point in time Penguin hockey is more popular that Pirate baseball in this town. (especially with advertisers)
    And is that ‘status’ or ‘popularity’?

  11. Jandy says:


  12. Jandy says:


  13. Jandy says:

    hush…no jinxes!

  14. BillyBaduka says:


  15. Jandy says:

    You mean like this:


  16. Jandy says:


  17. Jandy says:

    See? The Pirates can mess up anything…

  18. BillyBaduka says:


  19. Jandy says:


  20. BillyBaduka says:


  21. Jandy says:

    Iginla….just because….

  22. Pucknutz says:

    Ahhhhh….. Playoff hockey …. only a couple of things in life are better! :)

    GO PENS !

  23. BillyBaduka says:

    Status is a slippery thing to define or measure but this speaks directly to popularity:

    “the Penguins’ average rating of 12.66 for the regular season was higher than that of any U.S.-based NHL team, any NBA team and, in a first, any Major League Baseball team.” From DK’s column this morning.

    I’m not trying to bash you, TC, or the Pirates. There are plenty of fans and interest for all 3 major sports teams. Just saying the Pens popularity at the moment is measurable and it’s through the roof for NHL in US.

    LET’S GO PENS! I can’t stop typing or shouting that this morning. It’s like sports Touretts (sp?). I gotta get that out of my system before I get to work and start blurting it out in meetings.

  24. BillyBaduka says:



  25. Papa Croz says:

    Very excited about the playoffs! I’ll bet there is
    electricity in the air in the town! My beautiful
    wife is 38 weeks and about to burst, but right now
    I can’t wait for the games to begin!

  26. Thundercrack says:

    I agree with you – and DK. The Penguins are more popular.
    I think that popularity is greatly due to the team’s success. And of course the decline in the popularity of the Pirates is due to their lack of success.

    I just didn’t see the connection between Root’s decision to carry the hockey game and the public’s distrust of the Pirates.

  27. The Gunner says:

    It’s all about a starting pitcher going deep into a game and keeping his team in the game. JMac usually misses this mark big time. After a good start on April 4 where he went 7 innings, JMac performance has gone downhill big time. If you take out the April 4 performance from his 2013 stats, here is what 2 important stats look like:

    ERA – 7.30
    WHIP – 2.03

    The Bucs should have won last night’s game. JMac is to blame. Mr. Failington (aka Nincompoop), wake up from your coma and get this guy out of the rotation NOW!!

  28. SJB says:

    Lemme guess, the “idiot” is the 20-year old Philly kid who thinks he know everything?

  29. JAL says:

    JAL’s Don’t Worry, Be Happy Morning Links


    1- MLB Transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    3 Go Buccos- Pirate News (from external sources)

    4 Pittsburgh Pirates Stats

    BLOGS and such

    5—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: Hanrahan a Recent Example of Why You Sell High on Relievers

    Pirates Can’t Find a Way to Win in Milwaukee; Pitchers Not Doing Themselves Favors

    6 Bucs Dugout

    James McDonald, bullpen come apart in 12-8 loss


    Stetson Allie’s resurgence

    8 The Green Weenie

    Bucs Lose HR Derby 12-8

    9 Rumbunter

    Why Was Pirates Russell Martin So Pxxxxxx Off Last Night Against The Brewers?

    10 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Brewers 12 Pirates 8

  30. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 Yahoo Sports

    Month in Review: The Pittsburgh Pirates’ Offense

    12 Rant Sports

    Pittsburgh Pirates’ Situation at Third Base Could Be Worse

    13San Jose Mercury News

    Major League Baseball’s longest games

    14 Brew Crew Ball

    Brewers 12, Pirates 8: Sun Shining, Ball Flying Out of Miller Park

    15 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

    Rickie Weeks’ mighty blow sparks Brewers

    16 CBS Sports

    Pirates-Brewers Game Preview

    17 Sweetspot

    Are passive hitters leading to strikeouts?

    18 PBC Site

    ‘Cutch is clutch for Bucs with four hits, homer in loss

    Former Pirate Resop an expert on 19-inning wins


    19 Baseball Prospectus

    10 Players We Wish Had Stayed Healthy

    20 Fangraphs

    Stetson Allie, Pirates Press The Reset Button

  31. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Competitions will be hotter than summer sun during Steelers 2013 training camp

    Steelers offensive coordinator happy Markus Wheaton felt bad

    22 Steelers Depot

    - Steelers 2013 Draft Class Rookie Season Expectations

    Soccer(football) Will T

    23 Daily Telegraph

    Professional Footballers’ Association demand Reginald D Hunter money back following ‘offensive’ routine at awards

    24 World Soccer Daily

    World Soccer Daily: 10 stories you need to read, 30th April, 2013


    25 Pensburgh

    Pens biggest edge: Experience

  32. JAL says:

    Don’t Worry, Be Happy Bobby McFerrin 1988 Quirky song was a big hit in 1988.

  33. SJB says:

    You know Huntington, he’ll make a change when it’s all but too late, just like always and just like last season with JMac too. The logic being the more he does the more people have to criticize him for, so it’s better if he just lies low and has people thinking he’s secretively getting things done behind the scene, even though he’s just picking his nose and patting himself on the back for having a job…The one his mother thought he’d never have.

  34. JohnH says:

    We really need to pick sides on this. either they call up players too early or too late. I guess everyone wanted Marte to stay down in the minors so he wouldn’t get the 130 at bats.

  35. Jandy says:

    Hope all goes well!

  36. BillyBaduka says:


    Pens need the grit, focus and leadership Iginla and Morrow bring to pay off now and upcoming weeks.


  37. Pucknutz says:

    What really struck me was and I am paraphrasing DK here.
    “Prior to ROOT switching to the Pens game the switchboard was “lit up” with callers making sure ROOT was going to cut to the Pens game, after the switch the board went dark”
    All right, a little exaggeration there, but essentially correct.

    To answer you question, I agree w/Jandy – both.
    The public does not believe in the Pirates and does not trust them. Very low status.
    Baseball is still very popular in PGH. – just not Pirate baseball. I find that to be very sad.

    I love baseball and I love hockey and I was one of the nutz screaming at the TV for ROOT to cut to the Pens. While I am screaming at the TV I am recalling the “Hedi” rule. ya never cut away from the end of a game, but at the same time I am thinking -“Its the Pirates – get outta there”.
    Under “normal” circumstances I would have said “Pirate game to the end, go to the Pens, ah so what we miss some of the 1st period”.

    Circumstances are not “normal” – and thats where this town is at.

    GO PENS!
    (I think I am catching BillyB’s syndrome! LOL

  38. JohnH says:

    We seem to be forgetting that the Pens play half as many games as the Pirates. And have half the stadium size as the Pirates. So its easier to go to a Pirate game and not have to watch at home. The Penguins just built a new stadium that wasn’t able to accommodate all of the fans that want to go to their game. And we continue to refer to them as good business people. Also business look to spread there message over multiple venues and repeated exposure. We should really spend sometime investigating which businesses only advertise on the Pens versus the Pirates. And Boycott those companies according to our loyalties. That last sentence was pure sarcasm.

  39. SJB says:

    If it wasn’t JAL’s tireless browsing of the internet for stories, I don’t know where I’d get my Pens news.

  40. The Gunner says:

    JMac is truly a problem child and we all know Failington is a JO

  41. Jandy says:

    I was being a bit sarcastic, John. It is a crying shame, tho, that Marte does not qualify for Rookie of the Year. The kid deserves consideration.

  42. Jandy says:

    JMac needs a shrink.

  43. JohnH says:

    Not to use too much logic here but a major league player is guaranteed. about 600 thousand so huntington “wasted” about 800 thousand by signing sanchez. Either we want him to take chances or we don’t. And some things work and somethings don’t. Let’s Go Bucs! Sanchez would not have started at all if Liriano or Karstens stayed healthy

  44. JohnH says:

    Maybe he is doing better this year because of the experience of last year. He also went to winter ball. Where he was exposed to more off speed pitches and instruction on how to hit them. The Pirates need to do two things. find out who taught him that and hire him to teach Pedro.

  45. Jandy says:

    lol good idea…

  46. JohnH says:

    I thought the Pirates got in trouble for trying to work on there players mental make up. Something about Seal training for mental conditioning. Hmmm cant seem to recall what it was about. Sarcasm is all over this. Gee maybe they should hire a guy to be in charge of the mental parts. but who would want to embrace the suck of that?

  47. The Gunner says:


    The reality is JMac needs DFA’ed. I even like Tabata more than JMac.

  48. Jandy says:

    Yeah but Tabby doesn’t pitch… :(

  49. Jandy says:

    JohnH, you need to make up your mind. Everything isn’t a conspiracy theory. Relax, man, SHEESH!

  50. BillyBaduka says:


  51. The Gunner says:

    Scabby probably couldn’t do much worse than than damn JMac

  52. NMR says:

    Good lord. Get over it already.

  53. Thundercrack says:

    I think if they had a viable replacement for Sanchez they would have replaced him sooner

  54. NMR says:

    Protecting Bob Nutting’s wallet since 2007.

  55. NMR says:

    Hahaha, the guy who bashed the signing tirelessly before a single pitch was thrown is now asking for patience before judgement?

    You CANNOT make this stuff up.

  56. SJB says:

    His chances are most often limited to scouring the (s)crap heap for others junk that he think’s he can make something out of on the cheap. I think he watches to much American Pickers and Storage Wars. I’d much rather he stick to chances that aren’t such long shots, especially when it’s a team that really can’t afford to experiment no matter what the cost. I don’t care if he got Sanchez for $1.50 and a scratch off ticket, his performance has hurt the team far more than what they paid for him. Cost certainty is a concept that eludes Huntington.

    Nutting at the race track would be interesting to watch.

  57. SJB says:

    Wow, who knew? Thanks!

  58. SJB says:

    I’ve actually been saying that for a while. Sports shrinks can work wonders and I think Wandy could probably use one too. Wouldn’t be a bad idea (especially on a team like the Pirates) to have one in the organization.

    Soory, that’s Organ-eye-zation if you’re Canadian. They cost a few doolers but you get what you pay for, eh?

  59. Drew71 says:

    Ah. A fly on the wall.

  60. Dave G says:

    Bleacher Report is a joke. Pseudo-journalism.

    I made a few article contributions to the site but quickly discovered how everyone is being duped.

    The site is a select club of people make a killing by soliciting literate fans to contribute articles with the premise of rewarding them status based on article ‘hits.’ Emphasis is on sensationalism—which generates more hits—and not on credibility.

  61. Jandy says:

    I can’t argue that point lol

  62. Drew71 says:

    As a fan rather than a player, I’m allowed to look beyond an opponent. Because I don’t, you know, play.

  63. kr70 says:

    HERE WE ARE!!!! even in Afghanistan (to Megan a big THANK YOU and stay safe)

  64. gregenstein says:

    The Worldwide Leader’s simulation picked the Rangers to win the Cup over the Blackhawks.

  65. JohninOshkosh says:

    No shots at JAL’s links, please.

    He is the spinal chord of this blog. His indispensable contribution goes back to the infancy of Dejan’s blog work.

    He is the spiritual father of the blog.

  66. Arriba Wilver says:


  67. Damon says:

    Even if the Pirates lose again today (which against the Brewers @ Miller Park is like death and taxes), they will be 15-13 after the most difficult stretch of games they have this season (hardest schedule to start the season). I’m happy with that. No one expected them to have a record near that, and pitching help is coming. Don’t worry, be happy (got that from the links above)….

  68. NMR says:

    Hasn’t that guy cried about this before?

    Nobody contributes more to the blog than JAL and this guy has to b*tch and moan.


  69. SJB says:

    Just busting his b*lls is all, I’m not as upset you seem to be.

  70. SJB says:

    There’s losing and then there’s the past two games. If people are content looking at those games, or all of the season for that matter, as nothing more than win or losses, then I’m confused as to why we would care at all. You gotta be PO’ed about those losses or you have no right getting excited about a great win either. Maybe I’m dead wrong, maybe it is about the food.

  71. Jandy says:

    Kudos to the Hammer :)

  72. Jandy says:

    You don’t play? Ahem…you play to win, Drew Dahling, and do a good job of it, too! ;)

  73. Damon says:

    Every team gets pounded once in awhile in a 162-game schedule. Like I said, they are still 15-12 after those two loses, against a team that has their number for whatever reason. What were your comments when they took 3 of 4 from the 12-2 Braves? Or 3 of 4 from the Phillies and their line up? Didn’t you appreciate the pitching all season before those two games? Are you quitting already – you have every right to because its your choice, but I love rooting for a supposed underdog. I actually took some good out of last night’s game – Cutch went 4 for 5 and had a HR, they came back to make the game 8-7, several other bats are waking up. All in all, in a 162 game season you can’t freak over two games.

  74. Jandy says:

    SJB, we don’t bust JAL’s b*lls. He busts his butt doing the links.

  75. Jandy says:

    I stayed up till 10:30, but had to get some sleep. 4am comes early, ya know. But I was pullin for them…they battled hard…came up short.

  76. JAL says:

    Pirates record in Miller Park may even more unreal than the 20 losing seasons..

  77. Naje says:

    Let’s be reactionary, huh?

    They lost two games due to bad starting pitching and bad pitching in general…in a place where they’ve been historically bad. They had 14 hits… four home runs. And the giant void that is Pedro Alvarez’ bat came up empty with the bases loaded and with two runners on.

    It happens. There are 162 games. You’re going to lose at least 60 of them… sometimes it’s good to keep the blood pressure from boiling over after a loss or consecutive losses.

    Remember when they were really pathetic and sporting a 1-5 record?

  78. Patrick says:

    Yea and they used a video game to do the simulation. Because you know, the same people who make video games depicting hookers with uzis mass murdering a few hundred cops are perfectly capable of creating a video game simulator that can accurately predict the outcome of sporting events.

    I’m sure the people in Vegas are scrambling to get an Xbox and a copy of NHL13.

    Thats the WWL these days. What an absolute joke of a network.

  79. NMR says:

    Cutch made me laugh last night.

    There isn’t a single person in the world more sick of the same tired questions from the media than him.

  80. Brotherhood of the Redus says:

    Wandy had one bad start…he is not approaching Jmac territory just yet.

    Jmac talking to himself and becoming visibly undone at time last night says that he gets skipped next start…perhaps moredepending on how Gomez looks and Francisco feels. Karstens appears destined for long relief if Locke maintains.

    Jmac could end up ok, in fact he might put together a second half like last years first half if he “returns to the median” – the problem is that you have to put him out there in order to find out, and this rotation cannot afford to have another gauranteed NON-Quality start once every 5 days at this point in time.

  81. Patrick says:



  82. Arriba Wilver says:


  83. Nate83 says:

    Wow. I hardly feel this is a fair view of the situation. Yes he is a bust but laying full blame on the Pirates seems a little overboard. Teams like the Pirates take a chance on guys like this all the time. It sometimes works out. You really have no way to know with a guy like this which time it will work.

    If Karstans who is the guy you called for them to keep could stay healthy none of this would have been an issue. They are 15-12 and have some prospects off to good starts this season. Why focus on the one thing that went bad in a sport that every team has things that go bad?

  84. Damon says:

    They have to HATE the Brewers. I wish they would have moved back to the AL rather than the Astros….

  85. Arriba Wilver says:

    Jay Bell seems to be working out pretty good so far. (Or is it too early? )

  86. JAL says:

    Not too early, much better at working pitch counts and that is a clear improvement that should maintain.

  87. Patrick says:

    I hate cross-sport comparisons. Really, I do. This is more of an example is guess.

    The Steelers got kicked around by the Browns for the better part of 15 years until one game in 1970 when they beat them soundly 28-9.

    The Penguins were the Flyers whipping boy for YEARS until they finally learned how to win a game in the Spectrum.

    7-52 (or whatever it is now) in Miller Park defies almost all baseball logic. The greatest sabermetricians in history couldn’t explain that. It goes beyond playing bad, or the Brewers playing that good.

    I can completely sympathize with Cutch being tired of the same questions. But until they figure out how to win there they will continue asking them, because its more than just talent. There has to be something else there. HAS TO BE.

    Until they figure out how to beat Milwaukee….

  88. Jandy says:

    Well said, Naje.

  89. Jandy says:

    I honestly thought last night was gonna be the night…I really did.

  90. Jandy says:

    Oh, he sure is. Not too early. Heck, he even got himself tossed ;)

  91. Jandy says:


  92. Brotherhood of the Redus says:

    That’s true JAL…they are 160ish and 40is at home since (????) I believe whener said last night…over 1/3 of those wins have come against the Bucs….that is crazy.

    Guess the Brewers / Pirates Divisional series would make for an interesting over/under

  93. Jandy says:


  94. Brotherhood of the Redus says:

    Jay Bell will be managing at some point…he has the demeanor…

  95. wally says:


    Very nice column; good read. Really liked the staccato pace and perspective change.

    God bless and keep Lt Conroy.

  96. NMR says:

    Because Dejan pushes his opinion to the extreme. That should be clear to anyone who reads him.

    Does anyone really believe if Russell Martin was hitting .106 with no home runs and striking out 25% of the time Dejan would be saying, “Hey guys, come on, give it some time before judging.”


  97. Milo Hamilton says:

    Thank you again for your efforts.

  98. Patrick says:

    And I hate to be the eternal pessimist, but the Pens had a hard time with the speed of the Islanders the last few years. Aside from the one game they won 6-1 every game has been won in the third period. The Pens have hardly manhandled them the way everyone is expecting.

    I don’t think the Pens will lose this series, but it isn’t going to be a sweep. And it isn’t going to be easy. Playing a division rival in the first round is never a good thing.

  99. Jandy says:


  100. Jandy says:

    I’m agreeing with you, Patrick, definitely NOT a sweep (regardless of what Drewster thinks). But with the addition of Morrow and Crankshaft to help pulverize the Isles, I think we’ll wear them down.
    I was struck by the fact that Tavares is only 22. He’ll turn 23 in September. He has the potential to be very, very good.
    We can’t underestimate the Isles, or we’ll get burnt.

  101. JAL says:


  102. Jandy says:

    I also don’t appreciate you making me the butt of your sarcasm, either.

  103. Naje says:

    I saw a .gif posted of Russell Martin jawing with the Brewers 3B coach in the bottom of the 4th… it was a pretty direct and heated exchange. Looked like Martin was letting that coach know that he was tipping JMac’s pitches. I mean, Martin called time, stood up, took off his mask and jawed at the guy. He’s added a real fire to the team with his talent and with his energy.

    And then he came up to bat in the top of the 5th and crushed a home run, just to back up his point.

  104. JohninOshkosh says:

    I was at Miller Park last night.

    It was great baseball theater when Watson threw at Gomez and Gomez proceeded to steal 2 bases with a late 4 run lead.

  105. You’re not the rear-end of anything, J-girl.

    The Bible says you’re the head and not the tail, above and not beneath.

    I believe that about you. :D

  106. CWalton_67 says:

    Enjoyed the column, Dejan. More importantly, the next time you communicate with 1LT Megan Conroy, please tell her that LTC (R) Walton said thanks for what she is doing for our country, and Airborne All The Way!

    It’s A Great Day For Hockey. Let’s Go Pens!

  107. Naje says:

    Man, those fans get uppity over everything… like it’s their birthright to beat the Bucs for the last 8 years up there. Is it time to pull a Doc Ellis v. the Big Red Machine on them? Just kidding…really, just wishing that Alvarez’ bat would contribute something, anything to the team.

  108. Milo Hamilton says:

    Sid on the ice with Mike Kadar before the morning skate. Unless it’s a swerve …

  109. Damon says:

    Just look at the Wild-Blackhawks game one. Harding had to come in because Backstrom got hurt in warm ups, and still the Hawks needed OT to beat them… The playoffs are another animal. Fluke goals and lucky bounces are GOLD. All that said, still think Pens in 5 or 6 vs. Isles…..

  110. NMR says:

    But he hit .211 last year.

  111. Nate83 says:

    If Morton pitches well in his next two rehab starts I believe your wish will come true by the the middle of May.

  112. Jandy says:

    Thanks, Spunky.
    I enjoy the banter in here, and I can take it as well as dish it, cuz it’s in fun.
    I’d like to see things stay that way, ya know?

  113. Jandy says:

    What might they be, Puckers??

  114. Jandy says:

    Hmmm…we shall see…what time is practice?

  115. Jandy says:

    You forgot the ;)

  116. Jandy says:

    Yeah and the Ducks beat the Wings and the Blues beat the Kings last night…ya just never know what might happen.

  117. Arriba Wilver says:


  118. SJB says:

    There’s pounded and then there’s being embarrassingly b1tch owned for “whatever reason” by the same team for years now. If that doesn’t bother you, then may I ask what does, Ogilvie?

    Quitting? Been a fan longer than you and long enough to not to have rooted for the underdog the whole time. Tell you what, you can quit when they are no longer underdogs, how bout that? Isn’t that the hipster thing to do?

    What, because I don’t applaud the obvious things that after so long should be expected by now and have proven to be nothing but fools gold (especially recently), makes me less of a fan? Because I avoid the bandwagon parade playoff bus that everyone jumps on and off of all season, every season, depending of which way the wind blows? Because I refuse to get sucked into yet another season of BS until I see the real results for one stinking season makes me not appreciative when they finally do accomplish something measurable, makes me less of a fan than you? I don’t think so.

    Obviously some here don’t freak over anything, even when the team blows a 16-game lead, and I find that more bothersome than people (like me) who complain (deservedly so) about the obnoxiously bad things, but I get it…you’re passive and I’m not. I’ll bitch about the bad things and you find rainbows in everything. It’s what makes the world go around, right?

  119. Milo Hamilton says:


  120. TJ says:

    I am curious… will the jumbotron outside the arena cut to the 9th inning of the Pirates game tonight?

  121. Milo Hamilton says:

    That means he’s not playing, by the way.

  122. TJ says:

    practice? We talking bout practice?

  123. NMR says:

    Trust me, Jandy, nobody was laughing.

    Guy needs your size 9 where the sun don’t shine.

  124. Nate83 says:

    Agree, and I think you can’t even begin to put a value high enough on that point going forward. The approach at the plate is tremendous compared to the past and that alone should keep this team out of prolonged offensive slumps.

  125. TJ says:

    Maybe he could whack a brawt with his bat in Milwaukee. Reverse the curse of Simon

  126. NMR says:

    It’s a game, Sally. Relax.

  127. SJB says:

    “The Steelers got kicked around by the Browns for the better part of 15 years until one game in 1970 when they beat them soundly 28-9.”

    Yup and oddly enough, no one “bitched and moaned” either.

  128. TJ says:

    According to my version of NHL 13 for the xbox 360 he is playing in the simulation that picks the Sabres to win the cup

  129. SJB says:

    rinse, repeat.

  130. SJB says:

    Anyone taking bets on if he plays? I say he does.

  131. SeanAY says:

    I’m so glad I reached the point long ago where I stopped getting this upset over wins and losses from a team that doesn’t employ me.

    It actually makes being a fan that much more fun.

  132. Damon says:

    And the Blues needed a fluke goal – Quick misplayed the puck to lead to a shorthanded goal in OT to win that game…. Ducks got an empty net goal to make their win 3-1…

  133. TJ says:

    I really think the Pirates need to get into a good bench clear, they still act like doormats for the most part

  134. Naterosboro says:

    He [Alvarez] did hit .360 last week with 2 HRs and 6 RBI.

  135. Milo Hamilton says:

    Fine, don’t listen to me. :)

  136. SJB says:

    Just as Weeks hits a grand slam?

  137. 21sthebest says:

    I just kind of figured that stealing signs or figuring out if a pitcher is tipping his pitches is part of the game, and the result might be retaliation.

  138. Jandy says:

    Just goes to show ya…weird things can …. and do…. happen.

  139. Jandy says:

    I’m polishing ‘em up ;)

  140. kr70 says:

    The only thing and I really mean, the only thing that is good about Miller park is the girl in the front row.

  141. Jandy says:

    prolly not, unless it’s a “swerve”…

  142. TJ says:

    That sounds like something my wife would say

  143. Jandy says:

    Don’t hold your breath, you may turn blue :P

  144. Jandy says:

    Smart lady!

  145. TJ says:

    swerve? Is that a new pitch JMac was trying to throw last night?

  146. TJ says:

    Would be a great prank; would love to see the reaction of the fans

  147. 21sthebest says:

    Maybe, but only if the Pirate game lasts 8-9 hours.

  148. TJ says:

    I wouldn’t know I don’t listen :-)

  149. 21sthebest says:

    This is such a non story to me. The Penguins game came on, I turned on audio of the Pirate game, life continued.

  150. Damon says:

    Luckily the Pirates play at 1:10 today to avoid all the conflicts (Root Sports is happy). Here’s my question though – how many will be at PNC Park Friday night with at least 20,000 people attending the Pens game inside and outside the building? Then again, it is free t-shirt Friday….

  151. Naje says:

    Only problem with that Nate…

    He’s hitting 5 for 34 with RISP…his OPS with RISP is under .475.

  152. TJ says:

    Totally agree; not as if they interrupted the game where the Pirates finally clinched a winning record. But by that time the Pens will be in KC and the next biggest sports team will be the Riverhounds

  153. Jandy says:

    That doesn’t surprise me lol

  154. Jandy says:

    dunno, was just using Milo’s word from ^ there lol

  155. TJ says:

    Interesting fact; my brother in law was set to become a sponsor for the Pens. Just turned out that he signed on after they had won the cup. But the Pens knowing he was planning on being a sponsor called and asked him if he wanted to sponsor th white out for one of the games. For $36,000 he would have had his company logo on the back of the shirt and a box at the game for up to 12 people. Not a bad price if your a large company. But now you have to go to Dicks and buy the “official” white out shirt for like $20.

  156. Jandy says:

    They’ll be jammed outside the jumbo tron. Screw the free t-shirts lol

  157. Damon says:

    How awesome would a box for 12 people at Consol to see a Pens playoff game be? I heard they aren’t doing the white out anymore though, and I heard a part of something about giving out white towels?

  158. NMR says:

    You should clearly quit watching sports as your fandom is not up to par with SJB.

  159. Naterosboro says:

    Sporting thoughts today…

    * I still cant stand Milwaukee (and Braun, but didn’t want to waste a separate thought on that fool).

    * While I’m excited for the Pens to get going here, I have some hesitation. Expectations are extremely high for this group, so the lack of a deep run will create heavy disappointment. Strictly put, it’s cup or bust for this group. And if they bust….well, maybe it’s best we don’t think about that right now.

    * I want to see a Penguins v. Blackhawks finals.

    * So much wondering on the status of Sidney Crosby, but the real key is the play of Marc Andre Fleury. If he plays well, the Pens will go far. If not, well, again, best to not think of that (if you need reminding, watch highlights of last years Flyers series).

    * Andrew McCutchen must read my posts.

    * Pedro Alvarez needs to start reading my posts. He did hit .360 last week in helping the Bucs take 3 of 4 in Philly and then 2 of 3 from the Cardinals, but a .180 BA after a month simply won’t cut it for a big piece of our lineup. While he needs to play everyday, and I like having him out there, he needs to get going, consistently.

    * Why not just forfeit all of the games in Milwaukee? Would save the trip, arms & legs, and the headaches. Just food for thought.

    * The Pirates went 15-12 in the month of April. While its ended on quite the dud (began on 1 too), that’s not too shabby. Here’s to a better May!



  160. cmat0829 says:

    I don’t care what a sportswriter or anyone else on the blog says, I’ve seen enough. Russell Martin is a heckuva major league catcher and we haven’t had one of those for many, many, many years. Catch the throw-out of Weeks trying to steal? What a throw. Love, love, love the competitive fire calling out the brewers 3b coach stealing signs… he plays with intelligence, passion, and energy and is a true professional. Has been for quite some time.

    Not interested in DK or anyone else pointing out his batting average last year or anything else.

    As to Sanchez, not sure why anyone wastes any energy lamenting the approximately $700K of wasted money. Even with Buc’s scarce resources, hard to see that money making a material difference one way or the other.


  161. NMR says:

    $36k? That’s it? I know absolutely nothing about advertising prices, but that number does surprise me.

  162. JohninOshkosh says:

    I honestly would love to see a good old fashion drilling of the ribs in the bottom of the first inning of today’s game. They should do it at Miller Park to send a message that they won’t let a building imitate or dictate things. Don’t care if the benches clear. Don’t care about ejections. What’s the worst that can happen-a loss? They need to show some guts in that building.

    How about the NL Central, though. Cardinals and Reds hate each other. Pirates and Reds hate each other. Brewers and Pirates hate each other. Everyone hates the Cardinals.

    Most fun division in baseball.

  163. Jandy says:


  164. Jandy says:

    Ok where is my Hippo friend this morning????

  165. Jandy says:

    Wonder if he took Brandie to her interview???

  166. Naterosboro says:

    You’ll get no complaints from me on that. The kid certainly needs to get it fully going. But you said you wished he’d contribute “something, anything” to the team.

    Well, in going 5-2 against the Phillies and Cardinals last week, he had those numbers.

    That’s all. :-)

  167. Brandie says:

    Put a smile on my face. I hope Lt. Conroy stays safe as well.

  168. Milo Hamilton says:

    Crosby with Vitale & Jeffrey. Like I said, unless it’s a swerve, he’s not playing. To completely confuse everyone, he should take the pre game warmup.

  169. NMR says:


    Look, Dejan is a great writer. He finds great information, takes different angles, and provides thorough analysis…when he wants to.

    Other times he regurgitates the same old numbers and scouting reports to back up previous opinions, even when players have shown significant changes in their game.

    Travis Snider and Russell Martin are the specific examples I’m talking about. I can’t be the only one out there who would be much more interested in reading how both of them have drastically altered their batting profiles, and in turn have seen results improve.

  170. JohninOshkosh says:

    Good stuff, everyday.

  171. Thundercrack says:

    Didn’t Gomez get on base because he was hit with a pitch?

    If so, I don’t have problem with him stealing bases…no matter what the inning or score

  172. Brandie says:

    + 50,000 CRONKITES .

  173. Damon says:

    I just heard on Pens Radio that Sid is also skating with Kennedy on that 5th line (he switches with Jeffery)… does that mean Kennedy is a scratch? Did you hear who is skating on the 4th line?

  174. Milo Hamilton says:

    Looks like Bennett in – Kennedy out.

  175. Milo Hamilton says:

    Glass – Adams – Bennett.

  176. Thundercrack says:

    You mean you don’t listen to Mike Lange doing the games on radio?!?!? Shame on you.

    I wonder why Root couldn’t have had a small ‘box’ on the screen that showed the Pirate game until it ended.

    AND, I also wonder what would the response have been if this happened in Chicago: Blackhawks vs Cubs (if they were on the same station)

  177. JohninOshkosh says:

    I watch the Pirates games on my cable television MLB package so I get to hear the other team’s announcers for almost every game the Bucs play on the road.

    Almost to a crew, they have noted that Martin was a necessary and welcomed addition to the Pirates. Even heard Uecker the other night on the radio praise the acquisition.

  178. Damon says:

    Wow….never thought Bylsma would do it.

  179. Milo Hamilton says:

    Eaton – Letang
    Martin – Engelland
    Murray – Niskanen

  180. Brandie says:

    You and your wife are quite blessed. Boy or girl? Hope all is grand.

  181. Brandie says:

    In other words…this is a marathon, not a sprint.

  182. Naterosboro says:

    Thanks Jon. I like to make some points, but also have fun with my morning thoughts, and if I can, get some people discussing.

  183. Milo Hamilton says:

    With Sid out Bennett has become a fixture on that 2nd power play unit. Basically, all Kennedy can do is skate his regular shift.

  184. JohninOshkosh says:

    There was no doubt about it. Watson deliberately plunked Gomez out of frustration after the Weeks home run. And Gomez deliberately stole bases, in violation of baseball’s stupid unwritten rules, to agitate the Pirates. Everyone in the stadium knew what was going on.

    BTW, kr70, I go to four parks with some regularity: US Cellular, Wrigley, Target and Miller Park. The most attractive women are at Miller Park. Just an observation.

  185. Brandie says:

    You have helped to make me a more informed fan. Thanks. :-)

  186. Arriba Wilver says:

    And he’s in “the front row.” :-)

  187. NMR says:

    Don’t mean to take anything away from Bell, but how much of that is attributed to the players recently acquired?

    Gaby Sanchez, Martin, and Snider (since coming to the Bucs) were all patient hitters before Bell.

    How many Pirate players have increased the number of pitches seen or walk rate?

  188. Arriba Wilver says:

    Bylsma must be reading Brad’s posts.

  189. Naterosboro says:


  190. Brandie says:

    Interview was cancelled and not by me. Interviewer may have blood clots and was not able to travel.

  191. cmat0829 says:

    This is where it truly is difficult to be completely objective. The Pirates front office has made many many many bad moves and so what do we do in evaluating any and all future moves? Martin was acquired and is off to a good start (after an awful first week)… is it completely objective to analyze that based on the track record of acquisitions past? i.e. if Martin was off to this start for say, the Reds, would objective observers have the same “wait and see” opinions?

    Personally, at this point, I think DK’s positions on things Buccos ranges from 50/50 to 90/10 objective/subjective depending on the topic. No crime there, very entertaining and like cable news shows it pays to be provocative not totally objective in terms of generating conversation.

    DK: How is the inclusion of history into one’s thinking a REDUCTION of objectivity?

    If you think all moves/decisions should be weighed/gauged in complete isolation and THAT qualifies as objectivity, that’s sheer insanity.

    Moreover, what on earth is “provocative” about the Martin item above?

    Who is being provoked?

    Heck, never mind that. Who is being entertained?

    That’s as boring an answer as I’ve given anyone on any topic this calendar year.

  192. Arriba Wilver says:

    They have each one improved this season (so far). Could be coincidence.

  193. Jandy says:

    bummer…sorry to hear that…

  194. Jandy says:


  195. Jandy says:


  196. Damon says:

    I’m not sure why you even follow the Pirates if you seem to be so stuck on all the negatives and completely ignore any of the positives. You seem to have zero hope they will do anything – so why bother? I will be a fan of the Pirates – like I have been all my life – whether they are good or bad because they are my team, and I will always have hope because they are my team. If that makes me Mr. Positive, OK. I’m just excited in what I see so far after 27 games, just trying to maybe give you some hope too.

  197. Pucknutz says:

    Well, I knew you would be the one to ask.

    Let’s just say this – I got ice cold beer in the fridge – and if the Pens win – I got me a hat trick!! :) :) :)

  198. NMR says:

    Which players are we talking about? I was a bit vague.

    Quick look at BB% has Marte, Walker, and Jones improving with Cutch and Pedro getting worse.

    The better metric would probably be pitches seen, since a guy could work a count well and not necessarilly result in a walk.

  199. Naterosboro says:

    Starling Marte

    Stolmy Pimintel

    Jeanmar Gomez

    The Pirates have the best names of any team in the major leagues.

  200. NMR says:

    I could not agree more.

    I started enjoying Dejan much more once I realized his word shouldn’t be treated as gospel or objective or anything like that.

    He’s an entertainer. He entertains us. And he does it well.

    The only way I should care about the accuracy of his opinion is if he worked in baseball, which he obviously does not.

    DK: The next time I write — or even hint or suggest — that my opinion is anything remotely resembling gospel will be the first. Hardly my style. So I’m not sure what that means.

    But the idea that I’m offering opinion as an “entertainer” gives off some notion that I don’t actually believe what I’m writing. I’d hope by now you know better than that.

    Finally, what on earth does baseball have to do with it?

    Maybe one of every five columns I’ll write by year’s end will be about baseball. Could be less depending on these playoffs.

    Really don’t know where you’re going here, but that’s a whale of a reaction to the most innocuous observations above about the relative contract values of Jonathan Sanchez and Russell Martin.

    If you found those “entertaining” in any way, please clue me in. I thought they were a colossal bore. Just a straight answer.

  201. NMR says:

    Duke Welker – this ones for you Ryan

  202. Brandie says:

    It will be rescheduled soon. You do not want to mess with blood clots.

  203. Brandie says:

    Stetson Allie… Gift Ngoepe… Need we say more?

  204. Scott says:

    I will never understand why people get upset over a writer’s prediction. Predictions are not binding. They’re still going to play the games.

  205. TJA says:

    As today is really all about hockey, wanted to share a story regarding the Penguins and how classy an organization they are: My wife works with a woman whose son is going to do an college internship this summer with the Pens. The young man has a disability. He was told that all of the positions were filled up, but they still would talk with him. He interviewed and told his mom he thought he “blew it” and did not do a good job at all in his discussions. Needing to get an internship before school was out…the young man and his family were frantic in thinking who else they could call. Then, a few days later the Pens called back and offered him a position…one in which they created, due to all the other positions being filled. They wanted so badly to have this young man with a disability be a part of their organization this summer, that they, again, created a job for him. What a fine organization the Pens are. Wishing them all the best this post season.

  206. Dom says:

    The article DK posted about Le’Veon Bell makes me feel much more comfortable with the pick. When it was the Steelers turn to select in the second round I of course, wanted Lacy to be the pick since he was ranked the best RB in the draft.

    I didn’t know at the time that Lacy’s offensive line was going to produce two first rounds and produce another selection in the 4th. By comparison, not one Bell’s OLine from the last season was drafted.

    His speed is still of a concern for me. He certainly lacks explosive speed if he had an open field in front of him. Although, I like the pick of Landry Jones in the 4th round, maybe it would have been a good idea to also grab Johnathan Franklin in lieu of him to solidify the RB position.

  207. Dom says:

    There’s also a Bradenton Marauder named Jhondaniel Medina.

    Let’s also include an honorable mention to Nick Kingham, Adalberto Santos, Zack Von Rosenberg, and Wyatt Matheson.

    Nobody can touch Stolmy though.

  208. Iceman says:

    Awesome story. Thanks for sharing! If only more businesses were run with this type of class (and I’m not just talking athletic organizations).

  209. Jandy says:

    Wa-hoooo! ;) ;) ;)

  210. Jandy says:


  211. Jandy says:

    Oh I heartily agree!

  212. Jandy says:

    Wow, I already knew this organization was first class. This just puts icing on the cake. :)
    Thanks for sharing, TJA

  213. Naterosboro says:


  214. NMR says:

    Just saw this, Dejan.

    Never meant to imply that YOU thought your word was gospel. That’s how I treated it. It was meant as a compliment to you as so much of your work felt completely unbiased. That’s clearly not the case, as you’ve even said before. You write your OPINION, not some altruistic manifesto of sports.

    I’m not gonna get mad at you or accuse you of some kind of agenda just because I don’t personally believe you’ve given Player X a fair shake.

    I absolutely think you believe what you write, but it’s your job to do it in an entertaining way. Whether you want to believe it or not, you’re an entertainer. In all the mediums you cover.

    DK: Understood.

    You know, that kind of reminds me of something else I’ll bring up with you when we have our get-together.

    Who’s arranging this, anyway?

  215. Arriba Wilver says:

    I was too quick, too. I was in a rush. And we may be talking about two different things. I see three guys who were struggling hitting with their former teams, and not a huge difference last year for Snider and Gaby after they came over last year. This year, at least so far, they all look improved from a macro view. I don’t know what their particular stats are for pitches seen, but overall the team seems like they’re seeing more pitches, so I’m with JAL on that. Just eyeballing, though.

  216. NMR says:

    My Starbucks is Fort Pitt and Wood. Do they allow you on that side of town? :)

  217. cmat0829 says:

    DK: THANKs for the reply, boring or not, and for being an excellent 21st century sportswriter across multiple platforms. You are great at what you do. My opinions, posted above, are just that.

    I think everyone on this blog is entertained about the opinions all of us put forth, and we certainly see a lot of provocation, especially about the Buccos.

    As to a specific point, I did not make any reference that all moves should be gauged in isolation, just pointing out that the Bucs’ history seems to weigh a ton on evaluation of each and every move… if Martin were to sign with say the Reds or Cardinals, it would be hailed as another great signing and his early season stats and peformance would be offered up as “proof”. I think complete objectivity would be to talk about the performance to date (and the obvious difference Martin is making, even beyond the stats)… then if we need to filter in the “it can all go bust because he will ‘regress to the mean'” and the Pirates usually make terrible moves so this won’t last as additional tidbits.

    Thanks for provoking and entertaining me, not sure about anyone else :)

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