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Friday Wakeup Call: Ottawa Sun, bastion of journalism

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

>> There’s no Friday column because of the Stanley Cup playoffs messing with our schedules. I will, however, write a column each of the next five days, covering Game 2 tonight, Games 3 and 4 on Long Island, and everything in between.

>> The chat transcript covered pucks, plus plenty of Steelers and Pirates.

>> This hardly qualifies as news anymore, but the Ottawa Sun is just pathetic …


That’s real, not something out of The Onion.

If you didn’t see it, the Canadiens’ Lars Eller suffered a brutal injury last night that brought a pool of blood to the ice in Montreal. The Ottawa Sun not only elected to display a gruesome image of Eller after he fell motionless and face-first to the ice but also to come up with a clever play on words involving blood to denote that, hey, our Senators won!

So, I wondered, if the Trib’s sports staff ever felt so compelled as to swim around in the sewer like that, how might we have handled Erik Karlsson’s ugly injury here in Pittsburgh earlier this season.

I then tweeted out what a fake cover might look like, accompanied by a fake headline. And sure enough, reader Evan Duncan followed through with this photo-shopped gem …

Thanks, Evan. That’s magnificently done, even if only as satire.

In real life … man, unthinkable. Just can’t picture the editors’ meetings at the Ottawa Sun.

>> To me, the most striking aspect of the Penguins’ Game 1 body slam was how they not only bullied John Tavares at every turn but also how they essentially got away with it. Really, other than Matt Martin taking a couple runs — including one where he bounced off Crankshaft — nobody did much of anything to Matt Cooke, Brenden Morrow, Kris Letang or anyone else who put No. 91 on his wallet.

That’s bound to change.

Jack Capuano doesn’t have a ton of roster options, but he can get a little tougher, and he can certainly cajole a little more toughness out of the ones already in the lineup. I’ll be stunned if we don’t see both play out tonight.

Here’s a couple Qs I had on this topic for Brenden Morrow

Here’s our full coverage of the teams’ off-day practices yesterday.

>> Here’s our look ahead to the Pirates hosting the Nationals this weekend.

>> And finally, here’s video of Kevin Colbert discussing the Steelers’ draft yesterday on TribLIVE Radio …

>> I’ll be up at Consol morning, noon and night.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

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


  1. Brenden Morrow will lead, and these Penguins will follow.

  2. Not a Pens comment, but I just saw this video clip of a British chap who has what would be naive dreams of learning football and making it in the NFL. I’d dismiss his hopelessly confident — if rather polite — demeanor, except that the San Francisco 49′ers have just signed him and are using one of their practice squad spots for him. It’s hard to think of an organization that has done a better job of late at identifying and acquiring talent than the 49′ers. And the guy does happen to be a beast.

  3. DK: This is especially for our friend @Nate83, exactly the type of quality objective coverage he’d like to see of the local baseball team:


    Enjoy, my friend! You’re one click away from nirvana!

    • The funniest part of any team’s official page is this:

      “This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.”

      Makes me laugh every time.

      DK: As it should. Not every individual story is handled by clubs. Not even most. But there are general guidelines about red-flag topics, as well as a general credo to ‘celebrate the game.’ Stories or writers that violate those very much are going to hear from the clubs.

      But hey, again, that’s what some people want.

      • I had to read it twice. I thought Dejan wrote it.

        I was gonna say nice column.

        (Bold for Oshie)

      • The PBC site is about promoting the team and it should be a feel good fan forum, I think. Objective journalism in newspapers is a whole different thing. Both have their place. I frequent both, although I expect different things from both as well. I don’t want sugar coating from DK & Co. I’m Officer Joe Friday here. “Just the facts, Ma’am (or sir).”

    • I read that yesterday. I could only think to myself, “a robust lineup with 2 players below the Mendoza line and the star, #3 hitting CF hitting a whopping .230.”

      • Don’t let the numbers fool you…although that’s exactly what Huntington and the metrics worshipers at the Church of Moneyball do day in, day out.

        Sorry, I won’t bring religion into this blog again.

        • I like numbers like OPS, Zone Rating, xFIP, etc. Trouble is, none of those would lead me to conclude that this is a “robust” lineup. This is a lineup that I’d wager should be league average or slightly below by year’s end.

          That won’t be good enough if the starting pitching doesn’t start giving some quality starts.

        • I think Huntington relies on a new breed of metrics, for sure. I don’t believe Moneyball describes it exactly. Otherwise, the Pirates would try to field a team with a few more guys who get on base consistently.

    • “Sing it!” Tom Singer strikes again. If he were writing about the Black Death in 1400 he would have advertised it as the coming of the next iPhone.

      I’m thrilled they’re winning, but come on. Put a little context into it. It is still May?

  4. What’s your sense of if the new guys are feeling settled in more now, with the team and the city in general? It seems like they’re at least pretty comfortable in the team now, and I know the fans have embraced them. (Pittsburgh itself can baffle even natives, so if they’re a bit uncertain there I don’t blame them. “I have to do what to get where? How? Huh?”)

    (Apparently it’s a local thing to have someone ask for directions and to just say ‘you know what, just follow me.’ Which I have actually done in the past, but I didn’t realize it was a particularly Pittsburgh-specific approach.)

    DK: Topic addressed in a column a few days ago, Kris …

    Iginla, Morrow crave chance at Cup

    Welcome to the forum!

    • Kris, if you post your hometown, Bizrow will add you to the Lunatic’s Asylum list :)

      • Pittsburgh native. :)

        Sorry DK, thought I’d read most of your stuff recently but must’ve missed that one. (April was one of those months for me where you’re just glad when it’s over and done with. Started out May with getting to go to Game 1, so I’m hoping that sets a better tone.)

    • Having lived in Ohio, and now Chicagoland for 20 years after having been raised in Pgh, IMO the “you know what, just follow me” approach is most certainly a Burgh Thing. And I say that with great fondness. It just is not like that elsewhere, even in the so-called friendly Midwest. Everything is laid out straight and flat here, and if you miss a turn, you just catch the next one .5 miles ahead and and then another, and you are back on track. The beauty of Pittsburgh is its unique topography, and that has led to a unique brand of courtesy and helpfulness extended by the locals in my view. I have not traveled Canada extensively, but my guess is there are a lot of places like Pittsburgh up there. There’s more to it than that, obviously. But, I can’t tell you how many people I have met in my business career that look back fondly on having spent a few years living in Pgh. They often say things like, “It took us awhile to really get it, but once you move somewhere else you realize what a special place Pittsburgh is.”

      • Yeah. I lived in England for about ten years (around, but not actually in London, but close enough to go there frequently) and while it was certainly an incredible experience, I’m quite happy to be back in the ‘burgh now too. I don’t know if I’m going to stay (never know what life will throw at you with jobs, etc.) but I suspect I’ll always want to come back if I do end up leaving.

        • Were the people friendly to you in England?

          • Pretty friendly, although in a very different way than Americans tend to be. There was a lot less casual chattiness. Like here in Pittsburgh if you go to the store and it’s a slow day, it’s not unusual for there to be a bit of small talk with the cashier – moreso if it’s a local store so you see the same people. Or I go to the same pharmacy as my parents and often pick up stuff for them while I’m there anyway, so even if I’m just picking up for me the pharmacist might ask how they’re doing just to make conversation. I don’t recall ever really seeing a lot of that kind of interaction anywhere I lived in England, even though I did live in a couple of places long enough to have local shops.

            There’s also a difference between how Brits often are with each other vs with Americans, as long as the Americans aren’t being really loud and obnoxious. After I’d lived there for a couple of years I blended in (never really picked up the proper accent, but I started sounding more Canadian – definitely not American) and my dad is one of those people who will start up a conversation with anyone, so it was quite interesting to watch how they’d interact with me (sort of a polite you stay in your space, I’ll stay in mine) and then how they’d open up and be much more chatty and willing to be engaged in conversation once they picked up on my dad’s American accent.

            (I haven’t really lived anywhere else in the US long enough to know if some of the friendliness I’m used to is an American thing or a Pittsburgh thing. When I visit family in MN people are generally fairly friendly, but the aunt I stay with is also pretty active with volunteering locally, so she just plain knows a lot of people. So I don’t know if it’s how they are naturally, or because they know I’m with her.)

            It was really interesting to live somewhere else for a while, for sure. Gives you a different perspective on things. (Probably the thing most likely to tempt me to move out of Pittsburgh again for a bit would be a chance to work internationally for a couple of years, somewhere other than England. My mom has health problems so right now Canada is particularly tempting – still quite different, but close enough that I could get home fairly quickly and easily if I needed to.)

            I think I did disappoint a few people by not being more of a Steelers fan, though. I like them fine, but the NFL isn’t really a sport I’m all that into, so occasionally I’d run into someone who was interested in American football and wanted to talk about the Steelers and I’d be no use at all for any kind of meaningful sports conversation.

  5. DK,

    What is your take on Sid skating with his linemates and on the top power play at practice Thursday? Is Dan messing with the Isles? Is Sid that close to returning? Or did Dan just feel sorry for Sid and let him practice with the team? What’s up?

    DK: The only take I’ll adopt on this situation is once Sid gets cleared by the oral surgeon, Deb. Until then, absolutely nothing we see or hear means anything. Cut and dried.

    • My personal opinion is they are not going to let him play for maybe up to a week, or even more possibly. But, Bylsma wants as seemless of a return as possible. This is a bit of a risky strategy, though, if Sid does not come back very soon. You don’t want to disrupt chemistry of existing players right now in an effort to ensure chemistry at some point in the future when another player is added.

  6. Hoka Hey everyone!

    Pirates “Robust Lineup” ? ;-) ….just think how much more promising this season would look if the Buccos were playing with 8 hitters in the lineup?


    At SS…..Clint Barmes …batting .181 (with 2 RBI) ….OR, Johnny McDonald …batting .087 (with 1 RBI).

    Barmes …a waste of $10.5 million for 2 years…..but, he of the acclaimed (company line) “steady glove” :-( …. At least Manager Clint & GM Neil are happy he is here…yet, month after month we have to endure watching him flail away at the plate as follows….

    April 2012… .149 …. (10 for 67) 16 K’s … 2 RBI
    May 2012 … .189 … (14 for 74) 23 K’s … 5 RBI
    June 2012… .247 …. (20 for 81) 16 K’s … 11 RBI
    July 2012….. .233 … (17 for 73) 10K’s … 10 RBI
    Aug 2012 … .271 … (23 for 85) 25 K’s … 11 RBI
    Sept 2012 … .254 … (17 for 67) 14 K’s … 5 RBI
    Oct 2012 …. .375 …. (3 for 8) 2 K’s … 1 RBI
    April 2012… .181…. (13 for 72) 20K’s …2 RBI

    The plan (at SS) is not working. Time to go move on to Plan B……….

    • Maybe if they just sit him until August and play…and play…and play…

    • Here’s the rub. While Mercer is hitting very well in AAA, he doesn’t have the range of either Barnes or McDonald. So while you might be gaining X numbers of hit per series, you are also allowing the other team an increase of X+Y hits per series. I have never seen it effect a Pirates pitchers, when a Pirate hitter made an out with men in scoring. I have seen many of the Pirates pitchers, after their defense lets a run and sometimes a hit, effect their performance on the mound

      I agree, I would love to see Alan Hanson iron out his fielding issues and become the short stop we all want, but dealing with reality, Barmes is a great fit with this team

      • Trouble is, right now Barmes is basically negating his entire contribution defensively by not hitting AT ALL. I will concede his range is better than Mercer, though I’m not scout, but to have Mercer provide even Jack Wilson-esqe plate production with his mediocre defense would be an improvement over Barmes’ very good defense and pitcher-like hitting.

        All Barmes has to do is hit near his career norms and that argument goes away.

        • Don’t mean to be a jerk, but how do you know what Mercer’s range is?

          Do you live in Indianapolis?

          Just seems odd to me that everybody, rightfully, questions this organizations talent evaluation skills yet accepts that Mercer is a sub-par defender based on this organizations talent evaluation.

          • I do not wish to watch sub-par defensive play at short ravage this already struggling rotation and taxed pen…

          • I’m going solely on the “sabre” type numbers and good ole fashioned reading blogs and such. I admitted to not being a scout, so like most, I’m armchair quarterbacking here.

            That said, going by my eyes only, Barmes is a very good defender, and it’s not likely (though not impossible) that Mercer would be better. The so called “advanced numbers” tend to back this up, so that’s enough for me. Nothing to do with what the FO puts out there.

            No offense was taken. No, I don’t live in Indianapolis.

            I do feel that, at Barmes’ current rate of hitting, Mercer’s a better option. At Barmes’ career norm hitting numbers, Mercer’s not a better option.

            Mercer to me is not a sub par defender, but rather simply average.

            • just to be clear, I don’t have anything against Mercer. When he was playing last season, I thought he did ok. I just feel Barmes is the better fielder.

        • At the risk of enraging the masses, I believe range is overrated. How many times have you seen player X make a far ranging play, and said player Y could not make that play. Once or twice a series MAYBE? More like a few times a season. Meanwhile, how many times have we seen player X flailing at the ball at the plate knowing he has little chance to get a hit? How many times have we seen Barmes make the final out at the plate with runners in scoring position? I think he has cost the Pirates MANY more runs with his bat than he has saved with his glove.

      • I think “great fit” is an overstatement. A big one.

        I go with ‘the best of several bad options’.

        And I don’t mean that as sarcasm.

      • I agree with Drew, but if you had left off “great fit,” I agree with the rest of what you are saying.

        • No other options right now, in or out of the system.

          • That’s exactly why I’m sick of the bashing. The FO knows what Barmes is all about. So does the coaching staff. You’d think we as fans would know by now as well. Appreciate what the guy brings…and acknowledge that he plays his heart out and beats himself up after every poor AB, and move on.

      • Maybe, dcpinpgh. But, how will we ever know for sure?

    • I hear you about Barmes, JoeyBats! He is painful to watch at the plate. As a matter of fact, he is also painful to watch in the field with his one-handed stabs of groundballs and off-balance throws for no apparent reason. But, at least he tends to make the defensive plays. I really don’t get the McDonald thing. He is a Barmes clone. He fields, but cannot hit at all. Why not dump him and see what Jordy can do? Maybe Jordy will actually hit enough to make up for his perceived lack of quickness in the field. Or, just maybe as a 25 yr old, he will continue to improve both his hitting and fielding. Barmes and McDonald will not improve at this point in either area. I’d bring Jordy up and give him 50% of the starts, and see if he earns more than that. What is so bad about finding out about Jordy when the only thing you’d be missing is more starts from the worst regular offensive player in MLB? And, how frustrating is it that teams like the Brewers figure out ways to trade for guys like Segura, and we have not had a good SS in forever. I would call Texas right now and ask if they would take either Cole or Taillon for Profar.

  7. LET’S GO PENS!!!!

  8. That was a nasty hit on Eller. Eller falling to the ice prone and motionless reminds me of Kevin Stevens falling face first in 93 against the Islanders.

    Thoughts and well wishes towards Eller’s recovery.

    I hope nothing like this occurs in this years Pens v Isles series.

    LET’S GO PENS!!!!

    • I really don’t understand fans who seem to actually somehow enjoy it when someone’s seriously injured. I mean, I get team pride and all of that, but the players are still, you know, PEOPLE. Not so sure if you can apply that to those fans…

      I was a bit worried about getting the Sens in the first round because it seems to me like that series has the potential to be really nasty with all the Matt Cooke ridiculousness. Someone else knock them out so we don’t have to deal with them.

      And you know, maybe the DPS could actually start being more useful about nasty, dirty play instead of being all ‘oh, slap on the wrist for you!’ more than half the time. Of course, if they really wanted to be serious about things, they’d stop figuring in the actual injury when determining punishment. If you aim for someone’s head and they luck out and don’t get a concussion that doesn’t actually make the play itself any safer.

  9. I don’t think I’m stretching a bit by saying if that happened to a Penguins player (especially Crosby) in a Flyers game, something equally unprofessional – if not more so – would run on the front cover of the Philadelphia Inquirer..and that’s not their rag/city paper like the Sun is in Ottawa, or the Post is in NY, but the so-called “respected” paper everyone reads.

    • There isn’t a paper in Pittsburgh that comes close to the low “journalism” the Ottawa Sun prints. There just isn’t.

      • When the big one ever hits and humanity is put to the ultimate test, I think the quality of a city’s newspaper is a good measuring stick for those places you’d want to flee from and to. People of sound mind and reason in the Ottawa, NYC and Philly areas should have their bags packed ASAP. I know I will. So long NJ…it was interesting…have fun with that tsunami.

  10. The WWE of journalism.

    And good for Dejan for pile driving the Ottawa Sun.

    Hey waittaminnit.

    If it’s wrestling…

    every Ric Flair needs his Dusty Kovacevic, the Winnipeg Dream.

    Maybe Dejan is in on i…nah. Couldn’t be.

    Could it??

  11. Was watching the Sens-Habs game when that hit happened. It was pretty nasty. I’m sure I’m going to take some heat for saying this, but I’m not so sure it was an entirely dirty hit. From the replays, I couldn’t actually see Gryba making contact with Eller’s head. I’m not convinced that all the head damage didn’t come from Eller’s head bouncing off the ice. It was a terrible pass by Diaz and a terrible situation for Eller. I hope he is ok and can heal quickly.

    One thing that I find a bit ironic about this whole situation. Gryba has said that he was not intending to hurt Eller, but that it was an accident off a clean check (sounds awfully like the Cooke-Karlesson incident), and the Sens, Maclean, the Ottawa Sun, etc, are all perfectly ok with this explanation. Think they are looking through rose colored glasses?

    • Well said.

    • Ice, I watched the hit and honestly I agree with you. While the hit looked brutal, it didn’t look illegal. I’ll be surprised if Shammhan sends anything down. And like you, I feel for Eller. Terrible thing to happen.
      Also agree with you on Ottawa’s take…friggin hypocrites.

      • At least they’re not peckerheads like me. (Winking smiley yellow man whose tech script I don’t know)

      • I was listening to NHL Network Radio on the way to work today, and the host (sorry, don’t know his name but he has a thick Toronto-ish accent) said he did not have a problem with the hit. I was thinking after seeing it the first time last night that it was obviously dirty. But, maybe I was hasty in my judgment. These things are so hard to tell conclusively. Guys are moving at a high rate of speed, often in opposite directions. Your job is to nail the guy, but ensure that you do it cleanly. Maybe it was malicious, but I can see how it can be interpreted both ways.

    • Agreed that it doesn’t look malicious.

      Most of the head damage came from the ice. He was out on his way down. His arms fall, but not to protect himself.

      I didn’t see the head contact at first. NHL network did a good breakdown of it. Analyst didn’t think it was dirty either.

      Gryba makes contact with Eller’s chest initially. Eller’s head looks like it hits top of shoulder as Gryba motion continues.

      The impact and whiplash could have stunned him too/also. Either way, Eller was unconscious before he hit the ice.

  12. Is Tyler Kennedy skating on a line other than 5th today? He should be out sweeping the parking lot. No reason for him to play over Vitale if Deal is out.

    • I’ll give you the +3. Vitale wins faceoffs and can help on the PK if needed. The real questions is, what happens if Sid and Neal both are able to play tonight? If you sit Glass, you’re down to just Cooke, Sutter, Dupuis, and Adams as true PK guys. Any one of them takes a penalty, and you’re exposing Crosby or Malkin it seems.

      Can’t Brenden Morrow kill penalties? I’m asking as a bystander, not someone with knowledge of his background. Seems like the kind of guy who could handle that.

  13. Thoughts on the Eller hit? I thought it was clear that Gryba was not intentionally trying to hurt the guy–no high elbow, nor did he launch himself to create a greater impact. All that said, that hit needs not be a part of the game. Players have to understand the consequences of blind side hits.

  14. Thanks for the shout out Dejan!

    I felt a little guilty photoshopping something so classless – even in satire. No idea how the Sun justifies it.

  15. Nearly everything written about hockey in Canada is self serving and contradictory. Most of the people who announce the games don’t even put in the effort to learn how to pronounce the names of the players. The ‘journalism’ is sketchy, at best. And that goes beyond Ottawa. Kinda the way ESPN covers the NBA? *eyeroll

    Barmes is what he is. SS are a coveted commodity. 5.25 mil per year for Barmes is the going rate for SS. You can say what you want about his stats, those are obvious and matter of fact. But you can’t say he is overpaid. 5 mil is what a veteran SS with a good gloves costs. Just is.

    • Hear, hear on both points, Patrick!

    • Contradictory? You mean like how Canadians chant “Crosby sucks!” at every game soon after he was essentially knighted after giving them Olympic Gold? Yup, you can throw in hypocritical too.

      • I know. You sort of expect it from morons in Philly and Boston. But, when the best player in the world is from your country, and oh BTW, also scored the winning goal in the olympics, you would think fellow Canadians would not side with the idiots in other American cities.

    • I think it’s interesting that Pirate ownership over the years has inadvertently made fans worry about how much they spend on players in a non-cap league. Whether a player is truly worth his salary or not, why should we actually care how much Nutting spends when all we should really worry about is how good are the players they have?

      I wouldn’t expect him to spend like the Blue jays or the Yankees, but it’s definitely interesting because, as you say, 5 mil in the grand scheme really isn’t that much. Totally different scenario than for the Pens and Steelers where cap allotment is a big deal. Of course the Pirates have a self-imposed cap to do things as cheaply as possible for the most part.

      I don’t know if that made any sense.

      • sure it did

      • I understand that all teams have budgets and the opportunity lost when funds are not allocated properly.

        But this hand wringing over losing $700k on Jonathan Sanchez or paying a couple million more than Barmes is worth is too much for me.

        The Pirates situation is so dire that even if you take all those underperforming contracts and pool that money into one, you MIGHT be able to afford a guy like Edwin Jackson. Then you have to HOPE he doesn’t perform like Edwin Jackson.

        Otherwise, this is nothing but worrying about Bob Nutting’s money.

        • I think that’s my point? I wrote that and sort-of baffled myself at what I was thinking and trying to say. Think I was getting at who really cares about the money part- I’m more worried about how the guys perform than what they make. (With the exception of Tyler Kennedy because his salary could go to any number of places better-spent: cheerleaders, headlights for the zamboni, marketing for Crankshaft t-shirts, etc.)

          Barmes, for better or worse, shows real emotion when he’s upset at himself and I appreciate passion in a player. Not like Roethlisberger laughing when he throws an INT.

          Oh man. Allergies have taken away too much sleep last couple weeks. I’m all over the place.

          • Claritin D (or general Loratadine) helps with that…a lot!

            But hey, when you say Barmes shows passion and gets upset at himself is just another reason to like the guy…

            • Claritin does nothing for me. Neither does Zyrtec. Allegra gives me meh results. Benadryl knocks me out and only works for an hour or so.

              In a month I’ll be fine. But right now is just horrible for me. Of course I’m still golfing tomorrow and using Bud Light in lieu of actual medication.

        • That’s pretty much what I was trying to say about the money yesterday, NMR. Lets take money out of the equation, at least this year.

          • But then who will worry about Bob Nutting’s money?


      • It only bothers me that he wastes his money when I realize he has set a limit to how much he will waste, and we can’t add elsewhere.

      • “Whether a player is truly worth his salary or not, why should we actually care how much Nutting spends”

        Because we live in a city whose hockey team has gone bankrupt three times and whose baseball team has been close to leaving town at least twice.

        • They aren’t going anywhere for the foreseeable future. They’re profitable, for crying out loud.

          • Which begs the question why are they profitable after 20 years of losing. Why do they have a payroll that is consistantly in bottom 5-10 teams if they are making a profit. The money needs spent. It was stated it would be spent when the time is right. It’s still below where I think it should be. Martin and Liriano was a step in the right direction but counting the AJ and Wandy money towards the money out of pocket just doesn’t seem right. I’m not sure there are many business models that have 20 years of failure and still make a profit at the end of 20 years.

            • Revenue sharing guarantees profits without having to worry about making a stable consistent product. You know that…

            • I think they are able keep turning a profit because they are not in a normal business environment. They have a monopoly on all of the pro baseball related $$ in the Pgh and surrounding area. Their competitors on the field are their partners financially. A huge chunk of their revenue comes from the MLB revenue sharing of TV, internet, apparel, etc. Their only major variables, really, are the number of people through the turnstiles, and even that is fairly predictable within 15% or so per year. So, within a pretty small range, they know before the year how much money they will make. Very few businesses are able to operate like that. My issue is not so much that they are making a profit. They have a right to do that. But, it bothers me that they have not performed well, as you say, and yet they still make one of the larger profits in MLB. This is also not like normal business in the sense that the general public does not have a stake in most normal businesses. My personal belief is that although the owner has a right to make a healthy profit every year, I would personally feel an obligation to not realize a profit unless the team was doing well or at least on track to doing well in a short period of time if I were the owner. The value of this franchise has probably increased at least 5-fold since Nutting bought it. That is the case for all owners. Many of them choose to forego large year to year profits because of that fact. Our owner could easily add to the payroll just as you are suggesting, but he doesn’t. He only seems to add to it when he knows his revenue stream is already guaranteed to increase. I could go on forever on this topic, but I don’t like their payroll either. There is no reason Milwaukee and Cincinnati should be able to grow their businesses to the point where they can spend significantly more than Nutting.

        • 1975, and 1998 for the Pens. When was the third time?

          Agreed on the baseball team, however.

          But the Pirates arent going anywhere until 2031, at the earliest. And as AW said, they are among the most profitable.

    • Agree on the salary part. He does not make an outrageous sum of money for his profession. But, he was billed as a better hit than this. No one really thought he would sink to being the absolute worst offensive starter in MLB, did they? It is unacceptable.

  16. As we all know, there is not much depth or talent at the higher levels of the PBC farm system at SS.

    This time next year, we may find ourselves wishing like heck that we still had Barmes..

    Just sayin

    • I agree.

    • Can’t they just sprinkle a little more Hoka Hey on Allie and morph him into a shortstop? ;)

    • Well said, Biz.

      This may be as simple as learning on the job, but it seems like Huntington has shifted from an offensive to a defensive preference at short.

      Mercer/d’arnaud are the perfect examples. Unless they’ve lost a step in their mid 20′s, the range they have now is the range they had at the time of draft. Certainly ain’t gonna get any better. Yet both were taken before a glove-first guy like Brandon Crawford.

      Now, Mercer can’t find time on the field to let his bat play because his glove isn’t deemed good enough. That makes those picks wasted not on talent evaluation, but philosophy.

      • You think that might be due to the change in manager? Mercer and d’Arnaud were taken when Russel was around, and Barmes is very obviously a Hurdle guy. Would a GM consider his managers preference that much when making a pick?

  17. Mercer played second last night, I’m guessing in anticipation of Walker hitting the DL.

    • Why would they choose him over Harrison? His numbers have been better in AAA.

      • I would choose my butcher over Harrison.

      • I think we have seen enough of Harrison at the ML level to know what is ceiling is. Not much could be gained from putting him in. Let mercer or even d’Arnuad get a few games in. I think the experience they gain would outweigh the extra 2 or 3 hits Harrison would get over a two-week stint. This early doesn’t hurt.

        Now if this was August and it was in the middle of a pennant race it would be different…

      • I hope we don’t see Harrison again any time soon. The guy just cannot hit well enough. He’s a AAAA hitter. Mercer may be as well, but they didn’t give him the 300-400 plate appearances they have given Harrison the last couple of years. Mercer seems to be the polar opposite of Barmes. Why not find out once and for sure if the guy can hit well enough to compensate for his mediocre glove and quickness in the field?

  18. The hit on Eller wasn’t a suspend-able hit. It was barely even a penalty. I know the outcome was horrific, but that itself doesn’t make the act suspend-able. It was a 50/50 puck and the two guys came together at a high rate of speed at a bad angle.

    I don’t fault the ref for making the call, in real-time I’m sure it looked a lot worse. But I watched the hit a half dozen times and didn’t see the penalty. The hit was shoulder to shoulder and it caught just enough of his chin to knock him out. I know head contact from the side is supposed to be an automatic penalty and suspension, but really, lets face it….your shoulder is what….8″-9″ away from your chin and on the same level? In the Eller hit going shoulder-to-shoulder instead of shoulder-to-chin is a difference of about 1″.

    Gryba. Didn’t elevate. Didn’t lean in. Didn’t target the head. Didn’t use an elbow.

    • I think it would help the image of the Department of Player Safety if they’d issue a statement in situations like this if they do decide it wasn’t actually a bad hit. Nothing too detailed, just “After reviewing the footage we concluded that it was a legal hit for reasons X, Y, Z.” Maybe something PR about how it’s unfortunate that even with legal play, sometimes people get hurt.

      Might make it seem less like the entire thing is just weird Shanaban Roulette – as it is I know I really question how effective DPS actually is going to be in the long run in cleaning up the game, and I know other hockey fans who feel the same way. (It’s even something I’ve agreed on with FLYERS fans, of all people.)

      • I’ve thought the Shanahan explanations on TV with video footage have actually helped a lot. I wish the NFL would follow suit in their explanations of suspensions/fines for illegal hits. But in extreme situations (like this) the NHL could do the same thing to explain why they are NOT suspending a player as well.

        • I agree about the video explanations. It just seems like there are additional steps that could be taken – I know that supposedly they review a lot of stuff and sometimes talk to a player without it being a hearing situation, but since as fans we never really see any indication of that happening, I often end up wondering how much actually is going on behind the scenes, which is not how you create confidence in the process.

          To be fair, all we have is the perspective of the fan, so maybe it’s different for the players in terms of generating motivation to clean things up, but there is an obvious image issue for the league if the fans are left feeling like dangerous play isn’t being dealt with appropriately.

  19. Does anyone not find it odd that this stuff has been going on at the Sun for awhile now? How can someone top editor or investor or whatever not put an end to this nonsense? Are they so ignorant that they’re not aware the continent is laughing at them?

    • Its sensationalism, it sells papers

      Unfortunate, but many newspapers go that way

    • You must not read the New York Post.

    • Dom, first of all they don’t care if everybody is laughing any publicity is good publicity for rags like that.
      They probably sold a bunch more papers and generated more hits on their website.
      If we are lucky aliens will abduct them and deliver them to Bigfoot!!!! :)

  20. The one time someone other than martin tried to defend tavares, strait took a blatant interference penalty too…

  21. It is impossible to focus today with the game tonight. I am just too amped. Kinda mad that I have a softball game that I have to go to so I will not be watching the game live, but thank goodness for DVR.

    On a side note, I keep thinking about Martin going to hit Murray after the play in Game 1 and Martin literally just bouncing off of Murray. I have never in my life seen someone so firm on ice skates. I love it!

    • What’s even better is when Murray then looks at them like they’re a pesky fly LOL!

      • From where I was at the game, it looked like they were trying to pick fights with him a couple of times, also – like stupid schoolyard tactic stuff, getting up in his personal space during breaks, probably chirping something rude. He pretty much just smirked at whichever guy was getting after him in that way that he has.

        But yeah, my favorite thing about Crankshaft is the way guys often just go pinging off him when they come in for a hit. It’s like they check THEMSELVES without him doing a darn thing. It’s got a sort of cartoon quality to it.

  22. What a weekend approaching:

    1. Playoff hockey.

    2. Pirates return home.

    3. For my money, the greatest sporting event in the world, the Kentucky Derby. John Steinbeck wrote of the Derby, ” “The Kentucky Derby, whatever it is—a race, an emotion, a turbulence, an explosion—is one of the most beautiful and violent and satisfying things I have ever experienced.”

    4. Mayweather vs. Guerrero. Haven’t been this jacked for a bout since the London Olympics. Got my morning USA Today and they actually had a multiple page pullout devoted to it. I thought it was 1978 again! I will have to figure out a way to tell my wife that the only bar I can find showing it is The Tilted Kilt.

    5. I would be remiss not to mention that the first Saturday in May is also Free Comic Book day. I know the yutes are found of getting their apps and downloading comics to their mobile machines. But do yourself a favor and get a free comic for yourself, kids and grandkids, and read in the park while enjoying a spring day. An enduring memory, I guarantee. And, unlike their devices, the kids don’t have to worry about breaking their comics. Plus, I don’t care what community you live in, and despite the portrayal on the Simpsons, the local comic book store owner is usually one of the funnest guys in your town to talk to.

    6. Iron Man III opens. Robert Downey Jr owns the part of billionaire Tony Stark. That’s because he is one of our nation’s finest actors. A joy to watch him at his craft.

    So get your geek on!

    Win: Orb
    Place: Normandy Invasion
    Show: Itsmyluckyday

    Goldencents and Verrazano finish out of the money. 80% chance of rain forecast for the Downs.

  23. If I didn’t know any better, I’d think Sid’s playing tonight…

  24. Guy near me is wearing a signed Potvin jersey about 10 feet from me.

    I’m sorry. I’m just gonna havta spill my coffee. Ten feet.

    Gonna havta.

    I’ll help a brother out. I’ll hand him a broom to sweep himself up.

  25. Long day ahead here, as I get ready to sit completely exposed in the sunlight doing play-by-play for a softball doubleheader. 72 and sunny in Kalamazoo…sounds great, except I’m going to look like a freaking lobster by the end of game one.

    That said, the little lady and I are gonna catch the Pens game, then catch “Iron Man 3″ in IMAX. I used to be skeptical about the IMAX 3D experience, but I’ll tell ya, it DOES make a difference.

    • I agree about IMAX, Sean, both on the initial skepticism and that it does make a difference.

    • I feel badly for you, with the sun and all. Going to rain all day and maybe hit 55 in Chicago area. Wish I needed sunscreen.

  26. Crosby says he’s playing.

  27. For those of you not on Twitter, Dejan just posted this gem:

    “Letang, on Crosby’s return: ‘That’s a good addition.’”

    I love how Letang seems to never make a big deal about anything. Cracks me up.

  28. Sorry no links today, got caught between two places without a computer and couldn’t log in on phone

  29. DK—I know you’ll probably talk about this in a column, but I was very impressed with Jarvis Jones’ answer to whether he would start, and it sounds like overall you are impressed with the top of the class at this point.

    • DK also seeming to like the quickness of our “2 inches too short to be a first rounder” Safety from Syracuse.

      • If you’ve every been face to face with Troy Polamalu, you’d see he’s about two inches too short, too. 5’9″ at best…maybe 5’10″… but I’ll take that type of speed, playmaking and sure tackling any time.

        • I agree, and that was my point. Being 2 inches shorter means very little if he makes as many plays as they expect him to. I was trying to display how short-sighted other teams were to pass him up, and using Carnell Lake’s description to make my point.

  30. Can we find a ball with Braun’s blood on it?

    “@darrenrovell 1m

    Reds sell baseball with Jeff Samardzija’s blood on it for $130

  31. So who is this Crosby guy joining the Pens tonight? 4th line center maybe?

    • Its Bing. :)

        • Rough Crowd here today……………

          I got to meet Bing Crosby once.
          As you may or may not know, he used to be an officer with the Pirates when Mr. Galbreath owned the team.. So did a Mr. Charles Johnson, who was from my hometown.

          When I was little, they were having lunch , and my grandparents took us there, and I got to meet him.

          Small world.

          • Loooooonnngggg time ago :P

            • more years than I care to remember, Jandy.

              Off to do more job-related stuff til the Pens game.
              Where I live, I also get to see the Bucs……. I get MASN here.

              Hippo out.

          • Didn’t they find lost World Series film in Bing Crosby’s collection or was that another actor previously associated with the team?

            • Yes, that was Bing. He was said to be too nervous to watch the games live, so he had someone tape the games so he could watch later. That’s where the 7th game of the 1960 WS tape came from. What amazed me about that was that, 1: They had a center field camera shot–I thought that came much later, and, 2. There wasn’t a single strikeout in the entire game! How times have changed.

          • The Bucs were Bing’s team. If you recall, he is the guy who saved the only full replay of Game 7 of the ’60 series – which MLB Network showed for the first time in its entirety about a year & a half ago. Bing was in Europe, but had someone on his staff record it. He was said to be too nervous to watch the game live in the states, so he went to Europe on vacation. He was very very superstitious about the Bucs. Anyway, the recording survived in his wine cellar, I believe, until being found a few years ago. Neat story.

      • I actually had to stop and think about that for a second. TGIF.

        On a side note my little boy turns 4 on Sunday. He was born the year that Pittsburgh was the City of Champions having won the Superbowl in February and the Cup that spring.

        Born on Cinco de Mayo; nothing like needing an extra reason to drink on his birthday!

    • Bobby Crosby, perhaps?

  32. Brandie, you are missed.

  33. Contreras called up
    Hughes sent down.

  34. Itsmyluckyday already bet down to 11-1. Bummer.

  35. Walker placed on 15 Day DL retro to 4/27…Mercer recalled.

    • I haven’t heard any updates on Tabata today. I wonder if he is going on his annual hammy DL stint now. Walked off on Wednesday like the leg might need amputated mid-thigh.

  36. If we get a game thread for tonight’s game, could someone please re-post this for me? Thanks.

    The Pirates welcome the single worst play-by-play combo in the history of spoken language into town tonight.
    My sympathies for those of you who, like me, will be subjected to the DC broadcast feed all weekend.
    Friday and Sunday will make me envy the deaf.
    I hope those of you attending the games this weekend give Adam LaRoche the “warm” reception a player of his caliber deserves…

    Let’s open The Window…What’ll ya have? What’ll ya have?
    As always this is just for fun and entertainment purposes.

    Max “wager” is 100 units on each separate line.
    All “wagers” must be divisible by 5.
    Play as many or a few as you’d like.

    Please put your replies in this dialogue box, makes it much easier for me to “book-keep” that way.


    Line #1
    Total STRIKES THROWN by AJ Burnett in tonight’s game
    Line is 66.5

    Line #2
    Total STRIKEOUTS by Adam LaRoche against the Pirates this weekend
    Line is 4.5

    Line #3
    Total WINS by the Pirates against the Nationals this weekend
    Line is 1.5

    Anyone can play, and everyone should try!
    Thanks to all for playing and good luck!!

    theplanisworking ~ 1000
    Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) ~ 900
    tdb1977 ~ 800
    fellocolonial ~ 700
    KJX ~ 525
    RobertoForever ~ 490
    bman ~ 470
    Jason81 ~ 400
    radio wave ~ 400
    Frankie ~ 375
    EricBowser ~ 350
    JohninOshkosh ~ 350
    Keith ~ 300
    Pucknutz ~ 300
    Boise Bucco ~ 200
    JaxBuc ~ 180
    JoeyBats ~ 175
    cmat0829 ~ 150
    JUCOFan ~ 125
    PetroSteel ~ 100
    Steve J. Smith ~ 100
    Karen22 ~ 75
    Bill Born ~ 65
    mlrgenuine ~ 50
    TJ ~ 50
    tmp444 ~ 25
    Chico ~ EVEN
    DemonDachshund ~ EVEN
    Evan ~ EVEN
    JD ~ EVEN
    Joey Mellons ~ EVEN
    Nate83 ~ EVEN
    pants-n-at ~ EVEN
    TCB ~ EVEN
    TK ~ EVEN
    Ruffian706 ~ -40
    Brandie ~ -75
    absolute59 ~ -100
    Dadtackular ~ -100
    Dcpinpgh ~ -100
    Kevin S ~ -100
    kr70 ~ -100
    steelercrazy ~ -100
    stickyweb ~ -100
    OZ ~ -150
    Dom ~ -175
    JRay3 ~ -175
    blazer ~ -200
    Ghost ~ -200
    Kevin ~ -300
    cherokee23 ~ -350
    cosmo ~ -400
    Lad9 ~ -500
    stuart66 ~ -500
    Arriba Wilver ~ -525
    pattonbb ~ -600
    Jandy ~ -700
    JMB ~ -800
    Bizrow ~ -1200

    ***First Place at the end of MAY will win:***

    First Place at the end of the season will win:

    Second Place at the end of the season will win:

    Third Place at the end of the season will win:

    Fourth Place at the end of the season will win:

    Fifth Place at the end of the season will win:

    • Let’s try to go 3-3 this week, thanks for all the effort in posting for our entertainment.

      100 each on:

      1) OVER.
      2) OVER.
      3) OVER.

  37. Very, very glad to see Hughes optioned to Indy instead of Morris going down there… deserved on both fronts. I was thinking Mazarro would go but I can see the logic in plugging in Hughes as the closer in Indy and letting him work his control issues out…hope he can come back and help us yet this year…..

    So I guess when Liriano is activated, Mazarro will go; Gomez back to long relief role.

    Pitching staff is looking like this, working backwards:

    Grilli Closer
    Melancon SetUp; Closer if Grilli unavail.
    Watson 7th/ SetUp if Melancon unavail, can close
    Contreras 7th, can go a couple of innings
    Wilson Situational lefty
    Morris Middle/set-up
    Gomez Long man

    McDonald 5th Starter
    Locke 4th Starter
    Liriano Starter
    Wandy Starter
    AJ Starter

    When Charlie is recalled, I GUESS they will demote Gomez, move JMac to long relief. Possibility they will demote Morris and keep Gomez but then JMac is just taking up space on the big league roster.

    Now, just for fun, if/when Cole is READY, he comes up and probably moves Locke back to Indy to continue starting to be ready to fill in… that is IF Liriano and Morton are performing….

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