TribLIVE
Blogs | Sports | News
Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

« Font size »
Decrease | Reset |Increase

Morning Java: Why did Cole-mania sell only 8,000 tickets?

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

dt.common.streams.StreamServer.cls

>> The Wednesday column loves the night Gerrit Cole enjoyed, and even more so his level-headed response to it all. Hope you enjoy.

One thing I’m sure you’ll enjoy is how Cole carried himself afterward …

Anyway, here’s our full Pirates coverage, spearheaded by beat man Rob Biertempfel, as well as a quality photo gallery of Cole’s debut, by Chris Horner.

Two news pieces, a column, multiple pics and videos … and all it takes is a couple fact-based tweets to set the hyper-sensitive segment of the Pirates’ fan base into a frenzy.

Here they are, in order …

Attendance: 30,614. That’s 8,000 more than #Pirates projected to draw for the night before Cole announcement.

The security fiasco aside, #Pirates had four days to sell tickets for this and only sold 8,000. Not sure what’s applause-worthy about that.

Don’t get me wrong. People here clearly having a great time, and Cole didn’t disappoint. But let’s not pretend city went bonkers over this.

Oh, the humanity.

For anyone who hasn’t already had a seizure and can somehow continue reading, let’s spell this out: Before the Pirates announced or even leaked out that Cole was coming up, they had sold 18,000 tickets. That was in part due to the Groupon promotion that does surprisingly well.

According to the Pirates — important four words there — their projection was that they’d be at about 22,000 for the game with or without Cole because of the normal pace of sales.

So, 30,614 pay, which means that 8,000-plus can reasonably, demonstrably and fairly be assigned to buying tickets specifically off the boost Cole generated.

If the city of Pittsburgh had truly been gripped by Cole-mania and everything that a lot of folks were portraying, you’d better believe that more than 8,000 tickets — over a four-day span, so this wasn’t a walkup sale, either — would have been snapped up off it. Also, among the sections at PNC Park last night that were emptiest were the cheapest.

Why, pray tell, is this such a touchy topic for so many?

The Pirates have been losers for 20 years, so the public has every right to want to be patient in investing. I get that. The past two collapses undoubtedly have contributed to a current downturn in attendance of roughly 1,000 per game. I get that, too.

Where’s the fire here?

What’s the hot button I’m missing?

Someday, the Pirates will be popular enough that debates like this will be moot. With all the hype surrounding Cole’s callup, at least within baseball circles, maybe some had hoped this would be it. There most certainly was a lot of talk about ticket sales before the game.

But someone brings it up afterward, and the response is a general shriek of terror?

>> I’ll remind here, even though most will ignore it: The overwhelming majority of our coverage has nothing to do with this. Read above and you’ll see. But when people freak out over the most innocuous tweets, I felt it worth explaining here on the blog.

>> On to more pleasant topics — meaning anything other than hypersensitive baseball fans — this morning promises to shape the Penguins’ future in all kinds of ways: Our Rob Rossi spent the day with the phone attached to his head and found out Ray Shero hunkered down with Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle about Dan Bylsma’s future.

Shero, of course, meets with the media today at 11 a.m. I’ll be there.

Here’s my opening on the TribLIVE Radio show podcast yesterday about what Shero should do …

>> The continuing love story that is the new, improved Ben Roethlisberger/Todd Haley playbook took on another heart-fluttering chapter on the South Side. I was over there for the Ben portion of the interview, and he was positively glowing.

Oh, and I’ve got a story from over there I think Steelers fans might appreciate. Later this week.

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.

819 Comments

  1. You’re embarrassing yourself with the anti-Pirate stuff.

    DK: As I was saying about not actually reading anything …

    • Not sure what you mean. Anyway, you’re supposed to be a professional. You’re supposed to be objective, not carry out your personal vendettas in print. As I mentioned to you before, you should try to work for Mario Lemieux full-time instead of simply shilling for him on the Tribune-Review’s dime.

      DK: I have a personal vendetta against 6,000 empty seats?

      Correct me if I’m mistaken, anyone, but wasn’t this the individual that popped in here recently and went berserk on any commenter who dared to say they liked hockey? That’s an even bigger vendetta than the one I have against all those poor blue seats!

      Read the column, Chef?

      • Please. As I said, you’re embarrassing yourself. Your personal disdain for Pirates management has trickled down to everything that you write about the team. That disdain for those individuals who run the team might very well be warranted, but it clouds every word that you write, whether you choose to see it or not. Maybe take a deep breath, a step back, and try to come back with an unbiased take at a later time.

        DK: Soooooo you didn’t read it?

      • I’m not a columnist for the newspaper.

        DK: Nor, apparently, a reader of such things even when levying all kinds of nasty stuff regarding the writer.

        • Again, I don’t know what you’re talking about. Are you talking about writing a positive piece on Cole’s debut? For a first game in the majors, Cole was very good. That is inarguable. So that does not prove that you don’t have an axe to grind with the Pirates and their management and that you take a shot at them every chance that you get. This is not said to be ‘nasty.’ This is the way that you come across. You don’t have to acknowledge it if you don’t want to, but I’m certainly not the only person who sees it. But I guess you can just keep on dismissing us all as ‘hyper-sensitive’.

          • chef,

            You wrote 4 replies without actually citing a single example. If you’re going to go all crazy on DK, then so be it; I’m not here to stop you.

            I would like to see some links to articles of his and how you interpreted certain aspects of it though. This way, those of us who don’t see what you’re talking could potentially be persuaded to agree with you rather than believing it is you who has the axe to grind (as it seems now).

            • Greg, you’ve either read Dejan’s blog posts in the past or you haven’t. If you haven’t, the Trib doesn’t pay me enough to go back through the archives and catch you up to speed. If you have read them and you do not see a pro-Penguin, anti-Pirate bias, I am certainly not going to be able to convince you that there is one.

              • Dictionary definition of “bias:”
                A particular tendency or inclination, especially one that prevents unprejudiced consideration of a question; prejudice.

                Definition of “prejudice:”
                An unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought, or reason.

                Since 1990, when Dejan began as a reporter (or so says the interweb), here are the regular-season records of the two teams in question:

                Penguins: 875-740-121 (and 3 Championships)
                Pirates: 1,701-2,020

                It sure seems as though Dejan has plenty of reason to generally write favorably about the Pens and negatively about the Pirates. I don’t understand why that makes him biased.

          • someone’s time of the month?

  2. Stick to hockey. You neither know nor care enough about baseball to provide insight.

    DK: What if I stick to badminton?

    Kovacevic: Badminton serves tough lesson for Olympics

    Oh, and thanks for reading the column!

  3. Great night for the Bucs, great debut for Cole. Very fair column DK. Outside of Dodgers-DBacks brawl tonight, Cole biggest story on MLB Network. Pirates continue to generate some very nice national pub with their play, their draft and their continued improvement on the field.

    Playing in toughest division in baseball this team through 64 games is keeping with the top teams and holds a nice lead for a playoff spot and just whipped the defending World Series champs, lots to enjoy.

    As for the attendance issue that is constantly brought up, for a fan of the Pirates out in Arizona who catches roughly 10-12 Bucs west coast games a year, it gets old. I can’t wait to visit PNC again in July when I make a trip out that way to enjoy the jewel of a ballpark that Pittsburgh has. Baseball attendance is down across the board early this year not just the Bucs and their 1K. I think 8,000 tickets and the roughly $250,000 in additional revenue is significant, but that’s just me.

    Looking forward to another surprising arm go tonight in Liriano, he too, has been worth the price of admission.

  4. I caught the attendance discussion on twitter. Frankly I don’t really have a sense of how the additional 8,000 or so compares to other top prospects debuts–for the Pirates or otherwise. So I’m not sure how I know how to regard that number (positively or negatively).

    The security issues are obviously a problem that they need to great straightened out ASAP. I’d hope they’d take of folks who missed some portion of the game due to the lines, etc.

    That said I’m much more interested in what happened on the field than off. For at least one night we caught a glimpse of a Pirates team we waiting/hoping to see for years (a few base running gaffes aside). A terrific outing by Gerrit Cole. HR and a SB by Marte. HR and 3/3 night for Pedro along with several great defensive plays. 2/3 night for Cutch with a SB. 2/4 night for Martin as well a game well called.

    Regardless of the size it was nice to see a crowd that was so engaged. Their enthusiasm really enhanced the experience of watching the game, even though I was several times zones away.

    DK: The point was that people were describing this event as if it were Beatles 1964, and only 60 percent of the available tickets were sold, with seats left for as low as $10. That’s it.

    I agree with you about what happened on the field. Hope you had a chance to catch the column. It’s almost entirely on that topic.

    • I think the perception that it was big deal is reflective of an excitement that existed in the baseball world, those who follow the Pirates intensely as well some national outlets and writers (particularly those who’ve written about Cole as he ascended), and the engagement of the fans who were in attendance. The excitement in the city as a whole probably didn’t match that.

      PS – With regard to the column, I would agree. While a terrific young pitcher (unlike any seen in Pittsburgh in many respects) he’s not a “savior” and he doesn’t need to be. He just needs to reliably give the Pirates quality innings every fifth day and build on that.

      DK: Your first paragraph is not only well phrased but also dead-on.

    • Great stuff here Brendan. Really was a fun game to watch. Offense, defense, and pitching were a site to be seen. Shows the true potential this team has if they can put it together.

  5. The Pirates essentially got an 8,000 walk-up crowd on a Tuesday, all during a time of year where a lot of folks are on vacation. If this was a Friday or Saturday night, I’d somewhat understand your outrage and/or most recent social media troll job.

    You want to criticize? Why not rip Pirate brass for tonight’s incredibly stupid decision to begin “wanding” on the worst possible night and PR-penned response that read more like “whoops … our bad” than anything approaching true remorse.

    DK: Only heard about it second-hand. Sounds like people were really mad. If anyone else had an issue, by all means, feel free to speak up here. Trust me, it’ll be seen. All those people do is comb every syllable of this blog.

    To clarify one thing: Walkup sales mean game-day. There was four days’ notice here.

    Oh, and can you look at those three tweets up there and isolate for me the outrage? I’d appreciate that.

  6. After the Louisville-Pittsburgh merger, the walk-up for Honus Wagner’s Exposition Park debut was only 7,995.

    DK: If they’d only given out Wagner trading cards that day …

  7. Good piece on Cole, Dejan — although it appeared well after the midnight stroke that you promised!

    A great night for Cole and the Pirates franchise. He should get at least another 3-4 starts to see if he can stick. Looks like the real deal to me. He is part of the future of this franchise. Not JMac (head case). Very iffy on Morton, who I will get to see on Thursday. Wandy is probably gone after this year, maybe AJ too. Gomez dosen’t come back, unless it’s a bullpen role for cheap.

    Attendance: To get 30K on a Tuesday night game is really good for the Pirates. Perhaps a lot of people are still jaded after last season. For myself, who vowed to never follow the Pirates again (at least until April ;) ), because none of the front office got fired after last season’s debacle, I still keep a wary eye towards late season. After what happened last year, I can never be truly comfortable until it’s in the bag.

    There is so much to look forward to in the coming years for the Pirates. Once those playoff appearances start coming, tickets will be much harder to come by.

    DK: I appreciate that all-around, Ed. The column actually was online at about 11:40 p.m., but it took me forever to get home and get this blog entry done. My apologies.

  8. Yeah, why don’t you stick to soccer stadium columns!?!

    For a guy who inspired Sawchik and several others to write about the trouble he can have with his fastball, Cole threw a ton of them to great effectiveness. It seemed like he got ahead in every count.

    DK: Cole located the fastball well in the middle innings but, as the column describes, Martin needed to coax the sliders out of him to get him into a groove. That dynamic and pitch selection will be fascinating to watch, ESPECIALLY since Cole also has a good changeup.

    • Yes. I think tonight was “You haven’t seen my stuff and I’m really amped up, just try to keep up.” Hitters could catch on very quickly but I trust Martin to stop that before it starts.

      I also hope my sarcasm came thru with the soccer stadium quip.

      DK: Oh, I did. You’ll get yours for mocking the Hounds.

      • No, I loved the coverage. It just seems like people have told you to go back to baseball during football season, back to football during hockey, now back to hockey, and around and around it goes.

        DK: That’s the nature of it. There are those who think you can’t possibly immerse yourself sufficiently in just a handful of teams.

    • @DK If Martin’s game calling is indeed as good as advertised it’ll be a big asset to Cole’s develop in situations like the one you describe above.

  9. 6,000 unsold seats tonight at PNC Park; 6000 fans streaming out of a Pens home playoff game with ten minutes left in the 3rd Period. Coincidence?

  10. Okay…
    I have no idea what was going on in Twitterland (I’m like A.J. — tweets are for kids. Reporters get a pass.) But I do know that I brought up the prospect of “Colemania” here, last night (in that mentioned we need a better name for such if it takes hold). I had not claimed to see any Cole~whatever, though. Was just wistfully saying it would be nice if something like Fernandomania or Nomomania took hold. The specific reason on my mind for mentioning that was not for the phenomenon itself, but rather because I want the Pirates organization to reap the rewards of subordinating a possible economic benefit (avoiding Super2 status with Cole) to the interests of winning now.

    This notwithstanding, I watched the telecast on the Giants’ network. The electricity throughout the ballpark came through my television and roiled my living room. That was a spectacular stadium atmosphere for a midweek game in June and if anything approaching that continues in upcoming Cole starts, WE HAVE OUR COLEMANIA, OUR COLESCENCE, OUR COLLLLLLLLLLLE TRAIN (Shazzam!) And television broadcasters are going to love this kid, too. That was thrilling, October-like, baseball theater that glued me to my TV.

    Sure, we can wait out a few more starts. Make sure he doesn’t get off track like his Bruin teammate Trevor Bauer did. But if this COLE TRAIN is leaving the station, all aboard! Aand watch out down the tracks — runaway trains do happen.

  11. chef automatic. What a guy. Who took away his spoons and did this to him?

  12. 30,000 for a Tuesday night in Pittsburgh is outstanding.

    In the history of PNC Park, how many times have they gotten 30,000 on a Tuesday night? I’m guessing not many.

    I read your column, and know that it included a couple snide references to the attendance.

    8,000 people coming with only a few days advance notice IS a big deal, because it’s solely for one player, in a city that is not renowned for showing up to Pirates games.

    When the Pirates get 30,000 on a Tuesday night, and 8,000 additional tickets get sold because of one player, that’s a big deal.

    When was the last time the Pirates get 8,000 tickets sold in 4 days just to see one player? That’s why the 30,000 on a Tuesday night is a big deal.

    • Last night’s game was, indeed, “outstanding.” It also, however, was merely an unknown entity, a curiosity, to many. What could possibly get the ball rolling, in the hypothetical, might be as follows: As the atmosphere last night was positively thrilling, more and more people are going to want to be a part of that should he continue to start and continue to win. People with either continue to show up by the thirty thousands when he starts, or they’ll do the next best thing — watch Cole games on TV. The chat around the water cooler and on the call-in show between his starts will catch the fever. Primanti’s will roll out another sandwich featuring their “Cole” slaw. Things will get pretty silly, and crazy, and fun. One game, one game with an unknown entity, is hardly the end all. What it well could be is the start of something.

  13. Last post…
    Forgive me if this was shown/mentioned during the Pittsburgh broadcast (and I’m sure it had to have been), but Giants SS Brandon Crawford’s family was in attendance and was shown on T.V. There were many ladies there in the clan and some had on Giants apparel. But Crawford’s sister wore a Pirates jersey as she is Gerritt Cole’s girlfriend. Groovy cool.

  14. 8000 is a respectable walkup, and it shows a city willing to support this team, even after twenty years of losing. I also acknowledge that fans had four days to buy those tickets, and the park wasn’t full. I’m one if those fans that has been burned before, and I’m not willing to fully commit until I see proof that the Nuttings are serious about putting a winning team on the field. Last night went a long way to doing just that. I’m starting to get excited about the Pirates again. Perhaps other fans like me will start coming back, and we won’t have to talk about 8000 tickets sold, because there won’t be that many seats available.

    DK: Exactly. Well put.

  15. The debuts of the saviors- Cutch, Walker, Alvarez, Marte, and now Cole- are always exciting. We wait, for years, for these first-round guys and Dominican signees, to make the big Club. When you root for a perennial loser, it’s always the next man up. Taillon, I guess, and maybe Sanchez, are next. Someday, the draft and minor league prospects will be merely a topic of interest, not the ballgame. Maybe.

    • You’re making me a liar (as I said I was done posting, but…)

      Rookie position players rarely get the fanfare that a rookie starting pitcher does when the later takes the baseball world by storm. Bryce Harper recently did, but did his debut really eclipse Stephen Strasburg’s? I don’t know. But even if so, Harper was a once-in-a-liefetime anointed one (and I say that as a genuinely big fan.) But when a rookie pitcher catches on fire, it goes to another level. I remember when Dwight Gooden burst onto the scene in ’84. He was packing stadiums all over the country with fans wanting to see this 19 year-old phenom. Have already mentioned Fernando Valenzuela and Hideo Nomo. Even Hideki Irabu — who flopped — generated significant fanfare for a short while. I could go on and on with new pitchers on the scene who captured the fancy of the baseball world. It just a separate phenomenon.

  16. The Pirates have lost a lot of baseball fans over the last twenty years. Does anybody else remember when the not-yet-disgraced Roger Clemens made his first start in Pittsburgh for the Astros? 13,865 fans packed the place.

    http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/2005/B09190PIT2005.htm

    (Clemens lost 7-0 to Ian Snell.)

    For me, the one good thing about the Bucs’ futility is that I know that if there’s a pitcher or player I want to see, and it’s not Saturday night, tickets won’t be a problem.

    And, of course, on a night where everyone should have left the park happy, the team president had to apologize:

    http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130611&content_id=50342650&vkey=pr_pit&c_id=pit

    • “The Pirates have lost a lot of baseball fans over the last twenty years.”

      The Pirates had the second highest attendance in their history last year. Higher than any of the early ’90s teams. Far, far higher than any of the great teams of the ’70s drew.

      So much for all of those lost fans.

  17. Aside from making two outs on the base paths, our Buccos played a great game!

    • Make that three – Jones at third, Marte and Walker at home

      • Marte at third

      • Walker’s was not a bad out at the plate!

        Pirates had “go on contact” in effect to hopefully inhibit the turning of a double play. He did his job.

        Cite Garrett Jones at 3rd; cite Starling Marte foolishly at 3rd————but don’t exaggerate. It only demeans your own point.

        • Walker could have been safe had he continued to the plate. The throw was high and he had no chance of getting caught in a rundown, IMO. That’s where I think he blew it.

          • And I wasn’t exaggerating. And if I want to, I will.

            • Clemente’s the Best,

              If you follow the little lines above, you will see I was not responding to you about exaggerating; I was responding to Bobby.

              Yes, Walker probably would have been safe if he had run continuously, but his job there is to get in a rundown long enough to allow the runner on 1st to get to 3rd. He cannot anticipate that the throw is going to be high. When he saw the throw was off, he correctly tried to slide inside the line of the throw, and was tagged out.

              The luck of the game!

          • Agreed. Giants broadcast guys even talked about how safe he would’ve been had he not hesitated.

          • I question him stopping there also. I know why he did it – was figuring a long run down would move up the other runner. Tought, split second judgment call. But, as the result showed, there was at least as good a chance that a bad throw would allow him to be safe as there was of getting in a long run down.

          • So Walker screwed up by not having eyes in the back of his head? He can’t se where the throw is going when it’s behind him. He did exactly what he should have done.

            • He was out either way, Sis. I’m just saying “full steam ahead” and hope for a bad throw is another way to go.

              • It is, if you want to risk running your team into a double play. Avoiding the DP is the entire point of sending him on contact.

        • Yeas, I was there, too, and Walker hesitated after he had committed. We commented about it at the time, and I think they actually showed it on replay at the Park, but I may be mixing up what I saw later at home.

          • I was at the game too!

            And it seemed to me that Walker hesitated, kept looking back, and as my friend said “was running on his tipppy-toes’.

            • Trying to elongate a rundown that did not occur because the throw was off.

              When “going on contact,” no one beats a throw home from the 3rd baseman when the ball is hit directly to him. Therefore, Walker tries to get in a rundown. (tippy-toing)

              • I agree there but Walker had no chance of getting caught in a rundown, IMO. He was way too close to the catcher as evidenced by him quickly being tagged out.

            • Your friend sounds a little goofy.

      • Marte and Jones both laughably inexcusable.

        Say all you want about teaching fundamentals, but there are kids playing on 60′ basepaths that know not to make the 1st out at 3rd.

        Nobody to blame but themselves.

        • The base running failures drive me nuts. I attend a lot of college baseball games. I can tell you, without any hesitation, that I see more examples of poor base running from the Pirates than either of the college teams I follow.

          Somebody call Tim Raines, Kenny Lofton, or Davey Lopes and offer them a job.

          • I know what you mean, but it HAS to be a complete lack of focus by the players and lack of accountability by Hurdle.

            Marte was tagged out going to third on a ground ball hit to, wait for it, 3rd. Do we really need a new baserunning coach to tell him that was not smart?

            • Good point.

              But I can’t help to think that having a base running coach, who was also a successful base runner in the big leagues, wouldn’t help.

              • patton, I agree with you in general and the funny thing is I’ve seen 46 college games this year and my son’s team ended the year ranked and they probably set the record for most outs on the bases. Drives me nuts and I put it on the coach actually, but he coaches more conservatively come conference and NCAA tournament time.

              • Nope. The only one qualified (again this season) is Nick Leyva, apparently.

        • Correct, NMR. I don’t want to excuse Marte, but the truth is he just doesn’t have the experience level that the American kids have, and he will make a few of these aggressive mistakes for awhile. Again, that doesn’t make it ok. I just think he is getting a few of these things out of his way. At least, I hope so.

          My son is 11, and was on 2nd base for a groundout in the hole at SS. Instead of waiting a split second for the ball to go by him on his way to 3rd, he tried to outrun the ball and got hit for the 3rd out. I told him that you get to make a mistake like that once, and then never again. I think he got it. This is a few times for Marte now, and I hope he gets it. I hope a coach pulls a player aside after a bone-headed play like that and explains exactly why you don’t run on a ball right in front of you when you aren’t forced.

          As for Jones, that was awful. I can only think they were baiting the Giants into cutting off the throw to the plate. But, with Cutch flying there, they had no chance at him at home.

  18. Hoka Hey everyone!
    .
    Pirates win…Pirates win…..XXXVIII wins down …and XLIV to go.
    .
    Yes, GM Neal and Mgr. Clint ….82 wins DOES make a difference.
    .
    Beat Em’ Bucs !
    .
    .
    PS: Great pitching last night Mr. Cole….welcome to the Major Leagues. Please STAY HEALTHY…. ;-)

  19. I’m surprised that a guy with a mid-high 90s fastball AND a good change up isn’t more of a strikeout pitcher, with the change up as the out pitch.

    Not a complaint. I don’t care HOW a pitcher gets his outs.

    Loved being able to see it on TV.

    My guess: to his friends, off camera, all Cole wanted to talk about: the single and RBIs.

    I think both sides of the AttendanceGate Debate are distractions. I care about the BASEBALL. Over time, the business stuff will sort itself out one way or another based on how the team plays BASEBALL.

    One way or the other.

  20. It would have been hard to have walk up sales when the line to get in wrapped around the whole park.

  21. Wow, I came here to say I disagreed with DK’s point about the attendance, but the amount of vitriol over something so innocuous is shocking and absurd.

    Anyway, I am not at all disappointed with the turnout. The raw numbers are all well and good, but I think in this case, 30,000 vs 22,000 is an incorrect comparison. The more apt comparison would be the actual attendance last night vs. what the actual attendance would have been without Cole. Unfortunately I wasn’t at the game last night, but from what I saw from 6000 miles away on a tiny screen, that stadium looked plenty packed. I’ve been at some of the Montreal Expo-esque weekday games as recently as last year, and I was impressed.

    If you want to talk more about paid attendance numbers, it’s worth mentioning that anywhere from 3000 to 8000 seats are listed on stubhub for every single game. Those are tickets that are already included in the paid attendance, but that would be empty seats unless someone buys them from stubhub. I wasn’t watching the market to see how many of those seats sold, but it’s reasonable to say that the actual number of people who bought tickets just to see Cole was more like 10,000-12,000 instead of the 8,000 that you cite.

    And finally, 30,000 is still a LOT of people on a Tuesday night. It’s the largest crowd on a Tuesday or Wednesday since the Cubs series in late July last year. In fact, only four Tuesday or Wednesday home dates have drawn at least 30,000 since the start of the 2012 season: one was the 4th of July last year, and one was last night.

    In all, I disagree with your feeling that the attendance is disappointing. But respectfully, of course.

  22. And by the way.

    You’re embarrassing yourself with the pro-Riverhounds stuff.

  23. I’ve got to agree with the Chef on this one. After you posted the pic of the first pitch (which is always since touch), you didn’t deem anything else worthy to comment on until you could say how only 8000 people came to see Cole with 4 days advance notice.

    You bypassed these moments:

    - Cole blowing away the 1st batter he faced.
    - Cole ripping a clutch 2 run single with the bases loaded.
    - HR’s by Marte & Pedro.
    - Cole’s ovation coming off the field.

    You wonder why Pirate fans are fed up with coverage of the team??

    • I read all four of those items in, let’s see, every single other column about the game. There are a couple of other guys at the Trib who recap game coverage. Dejan has a different job.

      • I wasn’t talking about the column. It was what he had put out on twitter. I wouldn’t have mentioned it here, but he did make it the main point of today’s blog post.

  24. That should say 1st pic is always a nice touch.

  25. It should also say “fed up with your coverage of the team”

    Sorry – need to proof read.

  26. NH and CH are about as subtle as a tsunami; they bring Presley up (while wearing out his options – I presume) and never play him, they leave Mercer in the dugout, primarily because they can’t take the chance that either or both will do well, so then they wouldn’t have a logical scapegoat to go back to Indy, when Morton returns.

    They are planning to lose or purposely divest themselves of Presley, and they had better be careful with d’Arnaud or he too will go elsewhere. Mercer is being abused, in favor of a big 0, proven once again last night

    • Yeah. I feel just about the same way about stuff after an ugly loss.

      waittaminnit…

    • That’s not really how options are ‘burned’. And usually the guys who get sent back down to the minors aren’t scapegoats –they are the players that have options left, who can be sent down

      • They are scapegoats because they are not used here and should be. I frankly do not know how those options are burned, can you enlighten me.

        Mercer and Presley have been up and down more than they would like -without a legitimate shot – I am sure.

        • I believe that options may be a product of ‘years of service’. And if you have an option left that mean you can go up & down as many times as you want during that season. Going up once does not burn an option.

          Can you enlighten me as to what you mean by ‘scapegoats’?

          • Your description on options is correct, sir.

          • That is how I understand it also, Thunder. Good answer.

            I get your frustration at a lot of these moves, Bob. It can get frustrating when you see a contributor or potential contributor watching when he could be playing, or get sent down out of convenience. But, overall, I think they are handling things a lot better this year. Clint is warming to Jordy. Maybe not as fast as a lot would like, but I think he is slowly coming around.

        • This is my understanding on how options are used. You get three per player. If the player is sent down during the year, that is one option. If he is called up again and then sent down again to the minors, he still has 2 options left because you can only use up one option per year. That is why you see Presley coming and going through a revoling door right now. Also the same for a couple of the pitchers in the bullpen. Once you have used that third option, then you have to clear waivers to be sent back down to the minors. Hope that makes sense. If I’m wrong – can someone please correct me. Thanks!

        • ONE option is for ONE season.

          A player can be sent up and down 5 times/10 times in that season and only ONE option is exercised/burned.

          This is the last season that the Pirates have any options on Alex Presley. Next season to send him down to the Minors, all other teams would have the opportunity to claim him from the Pirates.

        • Presley got plenty of chances to be the everyday left fielder last year and failed. Marte is getting the chance now. Are you saying Presley shoudl play and Marte should be on the bench?

    • You presume too much, and demonstrate that you don’t have a clue how options work. When a player is sent to the minors in a season, and option is burned. Once the option is burned they can call him up and send him down every other week. It’s still one option.

      There is a reason that Presley rarely plays. It’s because has fifth outfielder talent.

  27. “Also, among the sections at PNC Park last night that were emptiest were the cheapest.”

    Those seats are also the farthest away from the pitching mound.

    And yes, that did a play a major role in the seats that I bought.

    It was a great night at the ballpark. The crowd was great. The atmosphere was great.

    22,000 on a Tuesday would have been a very good crowd.

  28. “But when people freak out over the most innocuous tweets, I felt it worth explaining here on the blog.”

    So what are the rule here?!
    We were told that tweets were totally separate from the blog and columns and radio shows. And if you get any blow-back on the blog, check out the headline of the blog.

    But if someone freaks out over something on twitter —it is brought on to the blog and we get the finger wagged at us. Who really is the hypersensitive one here?

    And who was describing this event as if it were Beatles 1964? Fedko and Steigerwald? Who?

    • Consider this post deleted…and here is the replacement post:

      June 12, 2013 at 7:12 am

      Your tweets on their own are fine in a vacuum. I think people are just tired of how you feel like you have to take little jabs or pour cold water on the Pirates every time something positive is happening. Then you throw up your hands and say “who? Me? I’m just having a conversation!” It’s tired. And for someone who blocks people that criticize him on twitter, the “hypersensitive” attack is rich. If you’re going to try to be Mark Madden, fully embrace it rather than getting so defensive.

  29. JAL’s You Shook Me All night Long Morning Links

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oa8GN5EcPpo

    GENERAL DAILY UPDATED BASEBALL SITES

    1- MLB Transactions

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates
    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/pittsburgh_pirates/

    3 Go Buccos- Pirate News (from external sources)

    http://gobuccos.com/pittsburgh-pirate-news/

    4 Pittsburgh Pirates Stats

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AsjN0zO-DxI0dHVOMzdPYm9wUEJtdVJ0WWUzVWhFc2c#gid=0

    5 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates Draft Pick Signing Tracker

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013draft

    BLOGS and such

    6—Pirates Prospects

    Cole, Alvarez Lead Pirates to Series-Opening Win

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/06/cole-alvarez-lead-pirates-to-series-opening-win.html

    First Pitch: So Many Things Are Going Right For the Pirates

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/06/first-pitch-so-many-things-are-going-right-for-the-pirates.html

    Prospect Watch: Stetson Allie Hits His 17th Homer of the Year

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/06/prospect-watch-stetson-allie-hits-his-17th-homer-of-the-year.html

    7 Bucs Dugout

    Gerrit Cole’s debut a success in 8-2 Pirates win

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2013/6/11/4421394/gerrit-coles-debut-a-success-in-8-2-pirates-win

    8 WHYGAVS

    Game 64: Pirates 8 Giants 2

    http://www.whygavs.com/pittsburgh-pirates/june-2013/game-54-pirates-8-giants-2.html

    9 The Green Weenie

    Bucs Batter G-Men Behind Pedro, Cole 8-2

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2013/06/bucs-batter-g-men-behind-pedro-cole-8-2.html

    10 Rumbunter

    Pirates Gerrit Cole Debut: We Loved What We Didn’t See

    http://rumbunter.com/2013/06/12/pirates-gerrit-cole-debut-we-loved-what-we-didnt-see/

    Gerrit Cole: An In Depth Look at His First Start

    http://rumbunter.com/2013/06/11/gerrit-cole-an-in-depth-look-at-his-first-start/

    11 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Pirates 8 Giants 2

    http://raisethejollyroger.com/2013/06/pirates-8-giants-2/

    • You Shook Me All Night Long AC DC 1980

      • GREAT selection. Love me some AC DC :)

      • “She was a fast machine, she kept her motor clean Was the best damn woman that I ever seen She had the sightless eyes, telling me no lies Knocking me out with those American thighs”

        Arguably the greatest beginning to a song ever!

        • Those guys could write it and rock it like no other!

        • Osh:

          I always thought it was “sight and size” for some reason. You learn something new every day.

          I recall a firend of mine thought Billy Idol was saying “How’s about a date?” when he was saying “Eyes without a face.” And he also thought Springsteen was saying “Tell the devil to freeze out” instead of “10th Avenue freeze out.”

          There’s a million of them. Ok, now back to baseball.

          • ‘Scuse me while I kiss this guy!”

          • Actually called Mondegreens, after a misheard lyric. My personal favorite…”I like smokin’ ice cream” instead of “I like smoke and lightning”, from “Born to Be Wild”.

            • Ellen DeGeneres got pulled over for not knowing the lyrics to Born to Be Wild. Well, her character in Ellen did,

            • Haha! And we still think we have the lyrics right even if it is not possible to smoke ice cream, Brandie. We don’t even question what we hear.

          • Jim-One day I came downstairs and my mom was singing “Wake me up and pour me cocoa” instead of “wake me up before you go go.” It was very funny because she completely thought that was the lyric and she had never previously expressed any liking or knowledge for pop music. We would laugh about it every Christmas.

        • I’d go with, “Pretty women are walking with gorillas down my street” for the best first line.

          For a whole verse, I’ll take:

          “I saw a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand
          Walkin’ through the streets of Soho in the rain
          He was lookin’ for the place called Lee Ho Fooks
          Gonna get a big dish of beef chow mein”

  30. NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    12 IS Sports

    Pittsburgh Pirates: Gerrit Cole Offers Glimpse of Future

    http://isportsweb.com/2013/06/11/pittsburgh-pirates-gerrit-cole-offers-glimpse-of-future/

    13 San Jose Mercury News

    San Francisco Giants lose game, suffer another key injury

    http://www.mercurynews.com/giants/ci_23439613/san-francisco-giants-lose-8-2-pittsburgh-pirates

    14 Beaver County Times

    Thanks to his debut, Cole won’t be one-and-done for Pirates

    http://www.timesonline.com/sports/pirates/thanks-to-his-debut-cole-won-t-be-one-and/article_f7ad5323-a4e9-52e4-b11d-c19d66ddab7a.html

    15 Bloomberg Stats

    Defense in the Desert

    http://www.bsports.com/statsinsights/defense-in-the-desert?utm_source=iContact&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Bloomberg%20Sports%20&utm_content=

    16 CBS Sports

    San Francisco vs Pittsburgh

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/gametracker/preview/MLB_20130612_SF@PIT

    17 Sweetspot

    Cole could be key factor in NL Central race

    http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/36919/cole-could-be-key-factor-in-nl-central-race

    18 PBC Site

    Top prospect Cole lives up to billing in stellar debut

    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2013_06_11_sfnmlb_pitmlb_1&mode=recap_home&c_id=pit

    Amid hype, Cole’s sparkling debut gives Bucs hope

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130611&content_id=50373086&vkey=news_pit&c_id=pit

    SPORTS WEBSITES

    19 Baseball Prospectus

    9 Favorite Extra-Inning Games

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=20550

    20 Fangraphs

    Pirates Welcome Gerrit Cole to The Show

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/pirates-welcome-gerrit-cole-to-the-show/

  31. Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Steelers play breakdown: Building on the blitz package from 2012

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/steelers-film-room/2013/6/11/4418268/steelers-defense-blitz-scheme-breakdown-depth-chart

    Character (Ac)Counts on the 2013 Steelers

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/6/11/4399586/2013-steelers-roster-minicamp-practice-preview

    22 Steelers Depot

    - Steelers Coach Jack Bicknell Jr. Says Biggest Concern Is Developing Depth On Offensive Line

    http://www.steelersdepot.com/2013/06/steelers-jack-bicknell-mini-camp-2013-offensive-line-depth-chart/

    Soccer(football) Will T

    23 Daily Telegraph

    Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney fears fans will not forgive him over Sir Alex Ferguson’s move claims

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/manchester-united/10114567/Manchester-United-forward-Wayne-Rooney-fears-fans-will-not-forgive-him-over-Sir-Alex-Fergusons-move-claims.html

    24 World Soccer Daily

    World Soccer Daily: 10 stories you need to read, 11th June, 2013

    http://www.worldsoccer.com/247/world-soccer-daily-10-stories-you-need-to-read-11th-june-2013

    PENGUIN BLOGS and NHL Links

    25 Pensburgh

    Evgeni Malkin contract negotiations: What might it take for Pens to keep him?

    http://www.pensburgh.com/2013/6/10/4414078/evgeni-malkin-contract-talk-with-pittsburgh-penguins

  32. On your Dan B piece, sure they are reviewing him, like they do every year or near the end of a contract, that is normal. What you left out was they are also reviewing others, like players. all coaches and maybe even iceburg to boot. I for one am not reading much more into it.
    Besides I really don’t care what they do, who they retain or release, it is their team and if it improves then good for me as a fan next season. If not then they lose some veiwership from me.
    Sure I have an opinion on who they should keep and who should go but I am not near the team to make those sound judgements. They are, so in being leadership of the team I will trust their decisions. I may or may not agree with some but will be around to see how it works out.

  33. If it’s true that Shero was pushing for a Bylsma extention — the Penguins should just fire him, too.

    I get not firing him if you don’t think there’s a better replacement, but why would you extend him? What has he done to deserve that? He’s lost to a lower seed four straight years, and in embarrassing fashion. Blowing a 3-1 series lead, the Flyers debacle and being outclassed by Boston. He’s been badly outcoached the last two years. He has no backup plan.

    If they’re not going to fire Bylsma — and it sure looks like they aren’t — you HAVE to fire the assistants and bring in new coaches that are fresh voices and not just recycle Penguins employees and friends of Mario.

  34. Your tweets on their own are fine in a vacuum. I think people are just tired of how you feel like you have to take little jabs or pour cold water on the Pirates every time something positive is happening. Then you throw up your hands and say “who? Me? I’m just having a conversation!” It’s tired. And for someone who blocks people that criticize him on twitter, the “hypersensitive” attack is rich. If you’re going to try to be Mark Madden, fully embrace it rather than getting so defensive.

    All that having been said I enjoyed the column.

  35. Wouldn’t a better measure of how many people bought tickets to see Cole be by looking at how many tickets were bought before June 5th? Wandy gets hurt on the 5th, Pirates don’t announce Cole as a starter until the 8th, but almost everybody felt Cole was coming BEFORE it was announced.

    So, by my terrible math, that’s three days people may have been buying tickets anticipating Cole would be announced as the starter.

    The last Tuesday game at PNC had 16,000 people attend.

  36. From the column, top pitcher in franchise history? I will add Wilbur Cooper to the mix, still only pitcher to win 200 games in a Pirate uniform.

  37. Why did anyone bite on this tasty giant piece of bait DK put out there? I know it is tempting but just enjoy the ride. He even mentioned hyper- sensitive fans only to fuel his argument when you did respond. He won before anyone responded.

  38. Not that you’re incorrect in pointing out the increase of 8,000 ticket sales after the announcement of Cole’s debut, but I don’t think that takes into account the sales on the secondary market on sites like Stub Hub. I would be interested to see how much the announcement affected those sales, because almost certainly 90% of the sales after the announcement were related to it. That’s how I purchased my 8 tickets, and I know a lot of tickets sold and prices went up after they confirmed his debut. So I think that should be taken into account when measuring excitement.

  39. I made sure to watch the game last night as I couldn’t make it to the Park and wanted to see Cole’s debut. Needless to say I was really impressed by him. Great stuff. Great composure.

    In re: “The Walkup.” I was actually getting annoyed (I don’t Twit/Twitter) during the telecast. Walk and Brown were making it sound like mounted riot police were called in to control the crowd as the walkup was “record breaking” (their term). They just went on and on about the huge walkup and by the way, the walkup was enormous and did we mention the epic proportions of the walkup?

    Now, I realize that these guys serve at the pleasure of the PBC. I get it. But good God, when Walk congratulated Huntingdon on the fine job of drafting Number Ones and bringing them to the big club, then named Cutch and Walker as two of the draftees I just groaned.

    I can’t speak for DK here (or anyone else) as I do not know what was transpiring on Twitter. I DO get what DK was writing though and did not read it as a “jab” or “slight” directed at the PBC – or anyone else. The fact is, while the walkup WAS a positive it was not record-breaking, seismic or any of those other things. Heck, the goofs at The Fan were interviewing Frank Coonelly (I did not realize he still worked at the PBC! He has been MIA…) and even he was saying that he did not anticipate, based on what had been sold through yesterday afternoon that any sort of record would be set but that sales had been healthy.

    I guess chef is going to ask him to focus on lacrosse or something as a result of his negativity towards the PBC…

    Jose

    • I guess if you’re rah-rah Pirates fanboy with a pack of scorecards in your back pocket and a season ticket package, anything not spoken in positive terms about the PBC, is a negative slight against them and you: A:) Know nothing about baseball, and B:) Are Anti-Pirates to boot.

      Here’s my opinion on the ticket sales for the Cole game: 20+ years of losing and back to back collapses in the two previous seasons have more to do with it than anything. Sorry, but there are some folks out there who wouldn’t go to a Pirates game again even if you dug up Stargell and propped him at 1st and the ghost of Clemente was scheduled to sing the national anthem.

      Gonna take more to sell tickets than a rookie pitchers first game no matter who he is…maybe like a winning season or two. A pennant would be nice as well. Winning cures all ails and until thsi boy that cried wolf officially gets there, some simply won’t go anymore and there’s no one who should blame them no matter how well they are playing at the moment. This PBC dug itself this hole and should be happy anyone cares enough to speak of it.

      Uh-oh, I guess I am Anti-Pirates like DK. ;)

  40. What Erie said.

  41. I watched the video of the Dodgers-Diamondbacks bench clearing ‘brawl’.

    Mark McGuire looked like he was going to turn into the Incredible Hulk.

    I would hate to see what happens to him when he gets an angry tweet :-)

  42. I’ve carried a concealed firearm into PNC for every game I’ve attended there. I had tickets to last night’s game but sold them as soon as I found out I couldn’t exercise my Second Amendment rights.

  43. What impressed me most of all was how quickly Cole was working. Didn’t Ray Miller (long-ago pitching coach for the Bucs) used to say… Work fast, Change speeds, Throw strikes? I was waiting to see more offspeed stuff. Maybe the Giants were too. But, hey, two out of three ain’t bad…

    • Yeah, I was impressed with his pace as well. Yet, he could still throw 95+ mph to start the 7th. Amazing.

    • It’s hard to throw off-speed stuff when you’re pumped up for your first game. The kid did great and I’m really glad he performed well in front of mom too.
      The 2 RBI single sealed the deal!

  44. Speaking of the security fiasco last night at PNC. My wife and I meet at the North Side parking garage, the one between the stadiums, at around 5:30. She drove over from work, I took the bus/subway to the game. We walked over to the ball park and saw the long lines at the home field gate. We continued to walk down to the left field gate and saw the security lines there. We continued to walk to the center field gate and found no line at all. We walked up, got scanned and proceeded into the ball park without issue.

    • tdb,

      I got there earlier than I usually do because I wanted to make sure I was in my seat for first pitch.

      Met my friend at the Clemente statue at 6:30, waited in line for about five minutes or so, got scanned and went into the park.

      FC was actually outside the gate too. He was checking out how long the line was and how fast it was moving.

      • They had been saying to get there early if you can because of the new security measures going in place tonight. With that being said, my wife and I enjoy getting there early and getting in as soon a we can. This allows us to see some batting practice – which by the way, we have not be able to catch any of the home team practice – what time do they take it 2:30 3:00?. After we catch some practice, we usually wonder around and look for something for dinner. At that point, we will then begin our slow migration up to our seats, with a usual lap around the lower concourse taking in the sites and sounds. By the time we get up to our seats, the starting line ups are being announced and we are just 20 or so minutes away from first pitch.

      • You have friends?

    • I noticed the same thing tdb. Probably because I also got off at the T stop. Strangely long line at the right field gate. I thought the line at home plate was partly for ticket buyers, but, somewhat surprisingly, the best place to get in was next to the Clemente statue right off Clemente Bridge. Maybe ’cause Frank was there. :-)

  45. Late to the best arguments (although 7:45am seems pretty early to me), and all I will add is that I am not surprised, having looked at the backdrop of empty seats on several AJ starts. I guess it is a case of “burn me once, ok; burn me twice and I’ll see you in september?”

    Oh, one other thing. The best thing that happened last night was the clean single by the second Giant batter.

  46. Who are all of these hypersensitive fans? Where are they and why do you care?

    Security fiasco? Rewind to the days after the Boston Marathon: Do you not remember devoting a lot of words to a lack of security at ballparks just two months ago? About how easy it was to get access into a stadium (I believe St. Louis) with nary a check of your press credential? About how we should embrace the wanding, security and what-have-you that comes with additional safety measures? So, long lines at Heinz Field are fine; long lines at PNC Park and the evil empire that runs them are not so fine? Ok. We get it.

    You really cloud excellent writing and observations with an edge that is not becoming of your skill and your talent; not to mention your passion for baseball. No reason to devote 300 words, let alone 30, to your agitating tweets and the responses they may get from the great unknown of twitter world in your wakeup call.

    I get up to read your columns, not your rants about some twitter argument.

    Oh, and the column was another good one… but it gets cheapened by your insistence to publish some ridiculous stuff up above. What do I remember about your work on the game? Yeah, you wrote a nice column and then you lose it in your wake up call primer based on your “fact-based tweets”.

    Whatever… sounds like you’re trying to get everyone to follow your tweets… and maybe even some folks to come to your defense. If you put it out there on Twitter, you’re expecting a response. Sorry you didn’t the responses you wanted, but here’s mine: whoop-dee-freaking-doo.

  47. What Penguin player today, will be playing for the Flyers in the next two years?

    I’m going with Fleury. Anyone got dibs on Letang or Cooke?

    You know it’s gonna be someone. That’s how the Flyers roll.

    • I’ll go with Letang.

      • I was thinking him too but only if the Pens don’t sign him this off-season and he’s allowed to simply go to the highest bidder next year before a trade can be worked out. I don’t think the Pens would be trading partners with the Flyers with a player like that.

    • If Fluery is done, it will be Fluery. Flyers have such a good eye for goalies. That’s how the Flyers roll, a never ending goalie controversy.

    • I’ll go with Crankshaft.

      • Good one. The Flyers are always on the lookout for the next defenseman to collect a paycheck long after their career has ended, along with the likes of Pronger, Hatcher and Rathje.

    • Shero said he is sticking with Fluery

  48. You should be able to sell out a game against the defending world champs when your best pitching prospect in a long time gets called up, especially if the team announced Cole was going to be the starter four days in advance. I don’t care if it was a Tuesday night game…these moments don’t come along very often.

    Either way, the crowd looked electric on TV. I hope the enthusiasm around this team builds as the season goes along. Cole certainly looks as good as advertised, especially when he hit 99 on the radar gun in the first inning.

  49. As I responded to your tweet last night DK, in the grand scheme of things, a 36% increase in expected attendance is NOT insignificant, especially for a Tuesday (83% of capacity).

    A sell out would have been preferred of course, but historically, even back in my ute, err youth (the 70′s) weeknight games (when compared to weekend games) have never been well attended.

    Baby steps folks . . . Rome wasn’t built in a day . . . it’s understandable (given the team’s implosion over the previous 2 summers) if fans are taking the “wait and see” approach.

    Looking forward to a time (hopefully in the not too distant future) when the talk of lowly attendance is the last thing on our minds.

  50. What’s worse:

    Losing in the second round of the 1993 playoffs

    OR

    Getting swept by the Bruins last week?

    • 1993.

      No question.

    • 93 for me.

    • Domske,

      You sure are “Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy!” Thanks!

      Why don’t you bring up Sid Bream’s slide into home while you’re at it?!?!

    • At least in ’93, the Pens were able to score more than 2 goals and look like they had a chance to win it. There were no Three-peat shirts rolling off the presses this season either. This season is just a continuation of the last 3. A letdown, but not entirely unexpected. More hype than anything and I don’t look for next season to be any different. This year sucked, but I wasn’t hit over the head with it either like in ’93 when it wasn’t really a question if they would win another cup, it was just expected. Bigger letdown then.

    • 1993. The 93 Pens were a more talented team than the 2013 Pens, and the 93 Isles were a much less talented team than the 2013 Bruins. Plus the Isles were without their best player for the series. The sweep was bad/shocking, but sitting in front of the TV after Volek scored and realizing they actually lost to that team was reeeaaally bad.

    • 1993, and it isn’t close.

  51. Last night was something special all around. Gate numbers be damned, this was a huge night! 30000+ on a tuesday is nuts, regardless of projections.

    Who cares if over 4 days they only sold 8000 tickets over the projection. The Bucs won! They won behind a strong debut performance by their #1 prospect, and big moments by Cutch, Marte, Pedro, Jones, and Walker. What you saw last night was quality baseball, and makes you proud to be a Pirates fan. Screw the petty ticket numbers and appreciate what we all just saw. This kid started great, and he is only going to get better.

  52. “What’s the hot button I’m missing?”

    You, Dejan. You.

    I know it’s always somebody elses fault, but the common denominator is you.

    But by all means, continue relegating the longtime readers of yours into the “25-30 Pirate blogger” crowd. It’s easier that way, I know.

    • I’ve noticed, too, the “25-30 blogger crowd” does seem to get a lot of fixation, er, attention. (Darn spell-check). ;-)

  53. DK: Just keep doing what you do, which you do very well and professionally I might add. Those who accuse you of being a Penguins’ apologist only need to read your columns over the last few weeks on their on-ice performances. In baseball parlance, keep callin’ ‘em like you see ‘em.

    Btw, the wanding / security thing was a total fiasco. There were a number of fans who did not sit down until the 3rd inning. The Clemente Bridge entrance had only 2 of 5 gates open with wanding personnel / ticket-takers. I assume the other gates were the same based just upon the incredible lines. The Pirates owe those fans free tickets to Cole’s next outing (Sunday?), not just an apology. We’ll see if they step up to the plate.

    • If fans didn’t get in until the 3rd inning it was because they were still out in the parking lot slamming beers until the 2nd.

      I left the house at 6:40 and was in my seat by 7:05.

      • Next thing we’ll hear is that some people weren’t EVER able to get in. I’ve been to “non-event” games that weren’t close to sellouts, and some people don’t sit in their seats (good seats, mind you) until the 5th inning.

        I do feel bad for the people who got there at a reasonable time, and weren’t able to get in to see Cole’s first pitch, but I had a great night at a packed ballpark.

      • Methinks you reside under the Clemente statue, NMR.

      • Sorry, but the guys in our section who missed those innings said they were on line for over 55 minutes. Others in our section (two rows of women/guys/their kids on a corporate outing) said the same thing. I think those particular fans who missed innings deserved better. But if you want to try to paint a “happy face” on all of it — for whatever your motivations — so be it.

        Incidentally, this was not a “wanding / security” issue, it was purely a staffing issue. The Pirates failed to have enough employees on hand that all of the gates (not just 2 of 5), and at every entrance, be staffed. They simply dropped the ball.

  54. After 20 losing seasons, yesterday was a great day to be a Pirates fan.

    Regarding attendance, 30k on a Tuesday is excellent, end of story.

    Remember that the paid attendance is what is annouced. I have no idea what the Groupon promotion was but I think a buy one get one counts as one paid. Watching on TV, there were more than 30k in PNC Park last night.

    According to the Trib this morning attendance is down 25k for the year. In 2012, the Pirates opened at home against the Phillies with 3 sold out games, mostly due to Philly fans making the trip west. I would argue that a bulk of the decrease is due to that opening series.

    DK, the issue that “hyper sensitive” Pirate fans have with the tweets is that as fans we have been beat down for so long. As soon as a positive sign shows up, a member of the media has to come up with a percieved negative to kick the franchise.

  55. Apples and oranges. Cole is not Strasburg. Strasburg was seen a one in a generation pitcher even before the draft. Cole was not the certain first choice, some thought Bauer or Rendon would be taken first. Cole did not have nearly the hype that Strasburg had so expecting the same reaction is not logical. Strasburg was the number 1 prospect before being brought up, Cole was not the number prospect. 30,000 plus is pretty good crowd for a Tuesday night game.

  56. Everyone – There’s a very simple solution to the twitter problem. Stop following him on twitter!

    DK – As someone who doesn’t really use twitter, I personally would appreciate twitter s**tstorms stay on twitter. I’m betting the blog logs 500+ comments by 11:00, all of them less than 160 characters.

    • This is exactly what I did last Fall.

      Dejan was by far the most annoying person I’ve ever followed on Twitter. Constant drama and bickering.

    • I have a solution for Twitter. Do away with it completely.

      • +1000000000000000000000000000000000000

      • -1000000000000000

        No need for all that.

      • +10000000000000000000000000000000000000

        :P :P :P :P

      • + many. A simple rule for this blog would be, no further mention of twitterpating allowed.

        I get it that the major goal continues to be the selling of newspapers. Not sure I would like to live in a society that gets its news from twitter though.

        Major fear – twitter replaces newspapers.

        Stuart

        • Morning Stuart :)

        • It already has Stuart (in certain respects). Where does news “break” nowadays? Twitter.

          Why?

          Everyone has a “smart” device and they get the info out in the quickest way possible, which is in less than 140 characters.

          • I have a “smart” device, but I don’t tweet…but then…why would Mother Theresa do that?

            • A lot of people don’t tweet. And there’s nothing wrong with that, but I would say that almost all major news outlets have a twitter feed, and then the reporters they have working for them have their own accts.

              Twitter has become an integral part in reporting the news.

              And, I bet if Mother Teresa was still alive, there’d be some sort of Twitter acct. for her. Maybe she wouldn’t actually do the tweeting, but it would be her “official” or “verified” (has the blue check mark) account.

              The President of the United States tweets.

              I think that should end all debate about Twitter right there. It’s here to stay.

              Until the IPO ;-)

            • And she has many, many followers without needing Twitter.

  57. I would assume that all those writing that Dejan is biased live prefectly unbiased lives as they are able to judge what Dejan writes and thinks on a daily basis. I think that Dejan is one of the best writers i have followed. Hockey, Football, baseball, kids, doesnt everyone have a golden child? I root for the Pirates team-not their management team. I think we could do better.

  58. About attendance:there’s been a drop in attendance league-wide in MLB.

    About the wanding: DK, you called for it two months ago…you should be flattered that a major league team took your advice, especially after writing something to the effect that the PBC don’t screen fans at all except for a cursory bag check when entering PNC Park.

    So they have long lines on the first night and the team President speaks out about it… long lines happen, especially the first night trying to wand 30,000 fans.

    • “…long lines happen, especially the first night trying to wand 30,000 fans.”

      Then let me ask, who’s idea was it to implement brand new security procedures WITHOUT testing on the night in which the team promotes its top prospect?

      This couldn’t have been rolled out on a Wednesday afternoon game? Should’ve seen the look in the poor woman’s eye who was “wanding” me. Completely overwhelmed.

      • Who knows the why, when, how of the wanding NMR…it stinks, yes. But the point is, DK is the one writer in Pittsburgh who has written about it. So now it happens and there were some problems. Those happen. It’s a problem. But now we want to complain about an idea proffered by this columnist that is actually to the benefit of all? Ok. Fine. Roll it out another day. Wait for a more convenient time. You win.

      • FC said that they the new security measure was scheduled weeks ago well before they knew Cole would be pitching. He said it was unacceptable how long it took and he apoligized. It sounds like they stopped the wanding process at one point because they realized it wasn’t working. I’m not defending them/him just giving the information I read on the ESPN game recap. It sounds like they should have stopped the wanding process much earlier to me.

  59. WHERE ARE THEY TODAY?
    .
    Trevor Bauer was Gerrit Cole’s teammate @ UCLA.
    .
    Picked # 3 in the 2011 draft by the AZ D’Backs.
    .
    Some say he was rushed to the major leagues ….. he pitched his first game April 6, 2012
    .
    Last year he was traded to the Cleveland Indians.
    .
    He is presently pitching for the Indians AAA team…

    http://www.milb.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?sid=milb&t=p_pbp&pid=545333

    • I really got to agree with the people who say that Bauer was rushed to the majors. I would have even preferred that even Cole would have stayed in AAA for one more start or two.

      Baseball America ranked Bauer higher at the time of the draft but I believe it was DK who said that most others thought that Cole was the better of the two.

      • Bauer clearly wasn’t ready, but I’m not so sure he was “rushed”.

        Saying he was rushed would mean that he was actually developing. He was not. Bauer hasn’t changed a bit since turning pro. Still thinks he knows more than anybody else.

        • Tell Cleveland that Bauer is the PTBNL, reunite him with Gerrit (while being mentored by AJ, Wandy, Russell & Ray) and let this rotation explode (ina good way).

          Bauer has great stuff. Just gotta fix that $0.10 head of his.

  60. “Pitching — in much the same way baseball elegantly equates life — is best gauged and grown through the prism of patience.”

    Nobody closes a column like Dejan. Nobody.

    Beautiful, my friend.

    • Just another great line that succinctly defines his argument…and it is beautiful and that’s what we should be savoring… not this twitter mess and other issues.

  61. Would Cole’s next start be on Sunday?

    • If so, Sunday’s headline: Why Did Cole Have to Pitch on a Sunday and Therefore Benefit from an Already Favorable Huge Crowd?

      • Haha.

        Where is Jim S. this morning? I’m pretty sure he was the one who called the attendance whining yesterday afternoon.

        What does it tell you when your readers start predicting your petty criticisms?

        • I’m here now, NMR. A little late this morning. I knew the attendance was going to be criticized, but I wasn’t speaking of DK at all. I just felt like it was going to come from a bunch of people because that is always the low hanging fruit of the Bucs. They have always been exposed in that area. Everyone has a right to his/her opinion, just as we do. Tonight, by the way, as attendance inevitably slips from last night, some people (not DK) will rip them again for not holding the fanbase. They’ll say last night was a rare occurrence, and all that happened was people bought tickets last night who would have bought them tonight or tomorrow. So, if you average all 3 games, there was no bump.

          The thing I will say about MLB attendance is that it does change over time in cities. The Brewers draw like crazy now, and that was not the case 10 years ago. Same for the Tigers. There are countless examples going in both directions, and there are a lot of reasons (economy, success of the club, new stadiums, etc.). I believe attendance here will explode in the next few years if the team continues to improve, as I believe and hope it will.

    • That’s what I heard on the way home.

  62. Was the game on ESPN back east? I’m in Arizona, and horrible WORLD CUP QUALIFYING was on TV here. So I got to see an 0-0 game between Mexico and Costa Rica.

    The Mexican fans threw stuff at the Costa Rican players when they had a corner kick towards the end of the game.

  63. Who cares if Dejan tweets about ticket sales? Can’t you freaks just enjoy the game and quit getting your underwear in a bunch. You sound like a bunch of teenage girls that someone made a comment about their dress. The red ‘x’ is on the upper right hand corner if you can’t handle it.

  64. Did anybody hear that the Pirates won last night and are now 4.5 games up on the final wild card spot? Great debut by Cole. I’m not to concerned about the lack of strikeouts. The Giants strike out less then any other team in the National League and it’s by a wide margin.

    I can’t remember a time when I looked forward to this many of the Pirate starting pitchers taking the mound. Locke, Liriano and now Cole are all pitchers that I can’t wait to see what they do each outing. With Morton coming up Thursday that will be another pitcher that will keep my interest. Hard to believe AJ is now the least interesting pitcher in my opinion because I already know what he is going to give us a majority of the time.

    • how about a 6 man rotation?

    • Great point about the whiffs for Cole, Nate. A week ago, I was very concerned about his strikeouts. Then, I read a story about him over the weekend. He actually said he is trying NOT to strike out so many batters because concentrating on that raises his pitch count. Even after reading that, I was wondering if he was just doing a little CYA because he was expected to whiff 9/9 innings and it was not happening at AAA. Then, I watched last night, and I have to say, I get exactly what he is saying now. This isn’t a guy with pedestrian stuff saying he is pitching to contact to get out of innings quickly. This is a guy who goes right at batters for contact because he knows 90% of the contact will be weak, even at the MLB level. What an absolutely mature approach for a 22 year old. Do you think Strasburg’s ego would allow him to do that? And I’m not picking on Strasburg because every young guy with an arm that was touched by God and filled with thunder has that approach – except for Cole. You can see how much fire and confidence he has, but obviously his ego is completely in check. He just wants to win, and he just wants to go deep. Right now, he doesn’t care what the stat line says about his K’s after the game.

      Now, having said that, he will refine his control and his stuff over time. I believe he will end up being a strikeout machine eventually, because he will figure out when, where and how to mix in the off-speed stuff to get easy K’s. Martin will help him with that. But, I really have to applaud his maturity for how he has checked his ego at the dugout steps before he goes on the mound. I don’t know what the next few starts will bring. He’s still a young guy figuring things out. But, for the long haul, I think he has the mind to be a great pitcher. And we know he has the arm.

  65. Enjoyable column. Loved the “Virgil Vasquez” reference. He sure was no Jeanmar Gomez.

  66. loved Cole 45 sign. as far as attendance are the tunnels still messed up? I live 3 hours away and I have to plan mt trips to PNC.

  67. Wandy was officially put on the DL so I have to imagine Cole get’s 2 more starts. If Morton and Cole look good who do you send down or to the bullpen when Wandy comes back.

    Locke has done nothing to deserve a demotion. Morton has been stretched out to be a starter. Cole if he looks good would seem hard to send down. All six guys will not stay healthy all year but in the short term it seems as if it’s a little crowded.

    Great problem to have if they all keep pitching well. That is a big if. None of them are guarenteed to continue pitching as well as they have or in Morton’s case hopefully will.

    • Someone said that Cole’s arbitration clock is based on service time. So, I would have to send him down.

      • I agree he is the logical choice but Wandy going on the DL more then likely gives him two more starts. If he pitches as well as he did last night in those two starts and Martin is telling the coaching staff the his stuff is top 3 on the staff how do you send him down?

        Competitively this team is at the point where it needs to field it’s best team regardless of future considerations. They still have him for 6 years regardless. The only difference is 4 years of arbitration instead of 3. For what it is worth he seems to be right at the projected cut for super 2 if he stays up the rest of the year. It’s a line that moves as the year goes along and won’t be determined until the end of the year I think.

        • Just ask yourself what the Cardinals would do and there is the answer. They have plenty of pitching but I’m pretty confident Wacha will stay in the rotation the rest of the year if healthy and be super 2 eligible.

        • I don’t even think it is determined absolutely at the end of the year.

          • I think you are correct. Wasn’t Walker’s super 2 status not determined until well into his second year.

            • Yes. And if you look at the definition, you can see why. Loosely, it is the top 22% of the players in terms of service time, with more than 2, but less than 3 years service time.

        • “If he pitches as well as he did last night in those two starts and Martin is telling the coaching staff the his stuff is top 3 on the staff how do you send him down?”

          I couldn’t justify sending him down if that’s the case but by then it might not be an issue as we could have another injury to the rotation or Cole might not be as sharp as he was yesterday.

      • You release Mike Zagurski and put Morton in the pen. If Cole got more Ks and didn’t have control issues (not talking about last night; just overall there have been control/command issues) I’d put him in the pen, but feel like Morton would throw strikes more consistently in that role.

        Whatever is done, just get rid of Zagurski. He’s this year’s Chad Qualls.

        I know he doesn’t pitch that often, but I don’t want him pitching for the Pirates anymore, at all.

        Patience be damned!

        • Morton to the pen is the easy answer, but its gonna take more than getting rid of Zagurski.

          Only two spots will be open to house Conteras, Gomez, Mazarro, and McDonald.

        • Speaking of Chad Qualls – is he with the Marlins this year? If so, I think I saw that he is 2-0 for them this season.

  68. Agreed, was a great crowd for a Tuesday. I don’t care what the “Pirates estimated ticket sales” were prior to announcing Cole. There is no way 22K were showing up for a run of the mill Tuesday night game. Alot of those tickets would have gone unused or unsold on third party sites like StubHub.

    Onto the tweet issue….I’ve got no problem with them what so ever!But come on, it does not take a PhD to be able to pick up on the snark and subtle jabs in your tweets. If you’re calling out the Pirates for a failure to put buts in seats, then own it. When your followers respond negatively to a tweet intended as a jab and you then pull the “Who, Me? Just having and innocent conversation here!” card, it gets old for some. Just IMO.

    • On Sunday afternoon there were 3,800 tickets for last night’s game available on StubHub. As of 6:30 yesterday there were zero. That never happens. Ever. As you said the great majority of those would have gone unsold. Since they were already sold, they were already counted. Point is, that’s 3,000 more people through the turnstiles in addition to the “only” 8,000 tickets sold since Sunday.

      • Wow, interesting to hear that. Good info. Thx!

      • +1

        There were also people who traded in previously unused season tickets that didn’t count in the official numbers. . Like I said below, there were a LOT of people there.

      • I always like your unique perspective on these topics, Milo.

      • It’s a good point, but unfortunately StubHub stops selling tickets 1 hour before the first pitch. The game automatically switches to “0 tickets available” at that point. Earlier this season I tried to grab seats at 6pm for a game, and they had suddenly gone from a couple thousand available to zero. I called their helpline and they explained that they stop selling an hour before.

  69. I think it’s a pretty safe bet that some in the government already know the fate of Dan Bylsma.

  70. Bylsma deserves better than this. For all the applause and back slapping given the Pens front office, they have handled this initial post season very poorly.

    A Stanley Cup winning coach deserves better treatment from his bosses.

    • Some say that the Pens will replace DB with the coach from Phoenix, if we can snatch him up. However, he won’t be available till the beginning of next month. Maybe, that’s why they refuse to announce his termination or if they decided to bring him back next year.

    • Why does he deserve better? Championship-winning coaches get fired all the time.

      The team has failed miserably the last four years. The front office shouldn’t be let off the hook for it — but why should Bylsma be let off the hook? He has been badly outcoached in the playoffs for 3 straight years.

      When you can’t “get to your game” — it’s time to have a backup plan.

  71. What is the normal walk-up crowd size for a Blue Bombers game?

  72. How much can working with Martin help Cole as a pitcher? Should this be considered when deciding to keep him up or not? Also how much can guys like AJ and Wandy help Cole? We only have those 3 guys on the team this year and next year for Martin and possible Wandy. What great mentors for a guy like Cole to have early in his career.

    • It sure should be considered. Martin would be INVALUABLE to Cole at this point in his career. AJ would be a great mentor as well. And Wandy too.

    • I think Martin and AJ are the mentors. Martin is a terrific catcher, who seems pretty astute. AJ is pretty close, stuff-wise, and expectation-wise, to what Cole is.

  73. Ah, finally get to the important stuff.

    I’m not sure what was more impressive, Cole’s pitching, his hitting or his post-game presser. He handled every question with aplomb. He was charming, confident, intelligent, relaxed, amusing, said all the right things without sounding canned or insincere. The one question I thought might throw him off was whether Clint had told him his story about Jennings, who Clint said had thrown a 9 inning shutout and hit a home run in his debut for Colorado. He paused a little, said no, paused again, and said “did he do it against the defending World Champions? “. And it didn’t come off as a smart aleck response, just a guy who was very comfortable and confident being on the stage he was on.

    Funny, I had heard some of it on the radio on the way home, and you had to see it to fully appreciate it.

    • But on the attendance. That place was packed. There were at least 30,000 people there physically. At least. Normal games I’m sure there’s less than the official attendance ##, sometimes a lot less. That place was jumping and/or electric. Great crowd, too. They came to see baseball.

    • I envy those who were at the game. I was glued to the television. Thoroughly enjoyed this game. Cole (only 22 years old!!) is an amazing person/athlete/pitcher.

    • He was interviewed by MLB Nework later in the evening and handled himself great. He got photo bombed by Cutch. It was pretty funny.

    • Excellent post AW. Cole was also interviewed during the game by Greg Brown. I detest the in-game interview, btw. Anyways, it was during Pedro’s homerun and you ca see how well composed and spoken he is.

    • Very nice, Arriba.

      Watching him last night had me wondering if the organization has him overthinking. Kid has high-90s heat, a wipeout slider, and a changeup. And all he’s talking about lately is pitching to contact.

      Why in the hell are we turning an $8m arm into a pitch-to-contact guy? I know I know, pitch counts. Please. You know what drives up pitch counts? Having good hitting teams like the Giants slap soft singles all night.

      Take the reigns of Cole and let him throw the damn ball. The more he’s WITH Russell Martin and AWAY from everybody else the better.

      • I THINK it is coming, NMR. I wonder the same things as you, though. Doesn’t seem like he is showing the entire arsenal yet, and maybe that is smart. Martin will bring it out of him. I think his approach is mature. He wants to grow into being an efficient, strikeout guy. Strasburg has not learned that yet. What I mean is, I think Cole realizes the 4-pitch K is preferred to the 7-pitch K. And he also probably realizes certain situations dictate going for the K, while others dictate a 2-pitch roller to SS or 2b. It is difficult to mount a rally against a guy based solely on soft singles. I’m not saying I know this is how it is going for Cole. But, I think he has a plan. Eventually, I think he will get close to a K per inning. The difference for him is that maybe he will also have learned how to get quick outs as well.

        • I hear ya, Jim. Patience.

          But I don’t necessarily agree about the rally part. Cole pitched in 7 innings and three times had two or more runners on base due to soft contact. All it would’ve taken is one mistake pitch and we have a whoooole different ballgame.

          When that eventually happens, I think you’ll see Cole rediscover the value of the strikeout.

          • I don’t disagree with you. I want him eventually striking people out as well. He knows he has more “swing and miss” capability than he is showing. I think he is still mastering the knee-high strike, which is fairly easy to put in play but hard to drive.

  74. Here’s Dejan, in April:

    Comment From Brian G: How much will a deep run in the playoffs by the Pens hurt the gates for the Pirates? I noticed last night there wasn’t a lot of folks at the game.

    Dejan Kovacevic: I say this all the time again and again, even if it never gains much traction: People do not make up their minds about going to see a game the day of the game. Most decisions, studies show, are made more than two weeks in advance. What you’ll see of the Pirates’ attendance this summer, for better or worse, will be based far more on season tickets and group sales and advance sales than whatever might or might not be happening across town.

    So, to answer your question, the Penguins will have very, very little impact.

    And no one will believe that.

    DK, you admit that scientific studies about behavior indicates people will simply not turn up in droves for an event like Cole. People make decisions weeks in advance. So you then take last night–which you previously argued is wholly consistent with human behavior–and use that as proof that there’s no “Cole-mania”. In reality, you’ve already conceded the lack of bump means absolutely nothing, and thus the lack of a sellout tells us nothing.

    In short: “People acted like they always do!” What great insight.

    DK: They pretty much did. And that was exactly the point. If it were some real ‘mania’ or whatever, the tickets get snapped up, certainly those of the $10 variety.

    You’re welcome!

    Look, attendance topics get people going. I get that. People don’t like having to explain why their venue of choice was lacking any more than they like explaining why fans arrive late (Steelers) or leave early (Penguins). Cole was a really big topic in the baseball world, just not nearly as much in the city. Someday, with more nights like Tuesday and more crowds as knowledgeable and enthusiastic as the one Tuesday, that’ll change.

    Tuesday just wasn’t it. Not with 6,000 tickets left on the table, some for $10. That’s nobody’s mania.

    • Pudding, have you posted your hometown so Bizrow can add it to the list of Dejan’s Lunatics’ Asylum?

    • They pretty much did. And that was exactly the point. If it were some real ‘mania’ or whatever, the tickets get snapped up, certainly those of the $10 variety.

      It sure seemed to me you’re implicitly asserting that if the city were truly revved up about Cole and the team, they’d make it a sellout. If your real point was that fans simply don’t act that way, why not state: “Only 8,000 tickets sold does not establish nor disprove anything about whether there exists a ‘Cole-mania.’” But you didn’t say that, and the fact that a large portion of your audience inferred another meaning is your failure, not theirs. If you had tweeted my proposed quote, or some variation thereof, it’d be close to impossible to divine some hidden agenda. (I’m sure some people would do that regardless, but that’s not relevant here.)

      Your second quoted sentence presupposes that a “mania” can exist (if not, why fault the team for accomplishing what you think is impossible?) Your prior citation to scientific studies regarding human behavior seemingly demonstrates that the tickets would not be snapped up, because people simply don’t act that way. In short, it’s entirely possible that legions of fans were really excited about Cole, but for whatever reason couldn’t make it to the park. Anecdotal evidence to be sure, but I know several people who wished they could have gone to the game but couldn’t for a variety of reasons: Work, family, prior plans, etc.

    • “Cole was a really big topic in the baseball world, just not nearly as much in the city.”

      What exactly would have needed to have happened in order for you feel like it was as big of a topic in the city as it was in the baseall world.?

      • Dejan has to be the smartest guy in the room, obviously.

        Can’t find a single other writer reference attendance in anything but a positive light. Dejan clearly is smartest of all.

        • I’m just at the point where I can’t even believe that attendance is this material to the entire story of last night.

          • Because some people, not all, but some, are choosing to focus on that. I, for one, am choosing to focus on, finally, the win now attitude this type of move means. Yes, that is my choice, because, last time I checked, we have the freedom and the intelligence to make choices for ourselves.

  75. Wow, see this place is blossoming again today.

    It was pretty exciting to see that performance last night.

    Lets hope we can get one in again tonight.

  76. To answer the question: Because the Pirates deserve no trust.

    Great piece on Cole, Dejan. My question for you– how much will A.J. Burnett influence this young man and is that being encouraged?

  77. Rod Woodson is to be a coaching intern at the steelers training camp.

  78. Over the past couple of seasons other teams have brought out their star rookie two in Barris the Pirates. It was nice for a change to see the tables turn and have the Pirates star rookie embarrassed the defending world champions. As far as the attendance, it will be interesting to see how much the gate increases for this young man’s next start which I assume will be on Sunday.

  79. Rossi reporting a table instead of a podium for the Shero presser. Unless he’s cloned himself …

  80. Good Day Lunatics,

    First of all…Welcome back Hippo. I hope the Pond is to your liking. We all did the best we could.

    Second, with regard to Twitter: Not sure why all the fuss? People express opinions on all kind of social media. DK is just as human as the rest of us and felt a legitimate use for the blog as many posters come here any way to check the lay of the land. We don’t always have to agree with DK and shouldn’t let anything that anyone has to say detract from the enjoyment of what has been going on with the PBC. Last time I checked, opinions are like noses…everyone has one, and, most times, they are full of boogers anyways. :-)

    Third, what a wonderful night at the ballpark for those who were able to attend, watch on TV, or listen via radio. I think we were all witness to the beginning of something special, base running gaffes aside. We can only hope that the Pirates continue to do well and, that those who have been burned before following this team (I.e. the majority of us) will tune back in to see what all of the fuss is about.

    I apologize in advance for any feathers I may have ruffled.

  81. I don’t see Hipposter??!! Where is he hiding?? In the pond?

  82. Sporting thoughts on a post-Cole-debut Wednesday…

    * The thing that I loved about the debut of Cole was watching a guy throw 95-99 effortlessly. There was no strain. No extra movements. No wild-swinging body parts. Just straight down the “power line” (a term my college coach used). Beautiful.

    * The 22 year old, former #1 overall pick rose to the occasion. Another beautiful thing from the debut. When Clint Barmes fouled out to Brandon Belt with the bases loaded, I was lamenting a wasted opportunity to get Gerrit an early lead. No biggie though. The kid laid off 2 Lincecum splitters in the dirt to then line a 2 RBI single to Right Center. Beautiful.

    * The TEAM also rose to the occasion. You could see they all wanted to win that 1 last night. Great defensive plays by Walker and Alvarez (Petey had 2 or 3; that sliding pick on the grounder in the 7th was fantastic), and the bats put 8 runs on the board. A great team victory. Beautiful.

    * The crowd. Underwhelming to say the least. Only 8,000 tickets sold?! (Pirates were reporting a walkup of 10,000 last night FYI)…I kiiiiid, I kiiiiiid. The crowd was awesome for the young man, and certainly rose to the occasion as well. They were behind him from the moment he came out of the bullpen [on his way to the dugout before his start] to when Clint Hurdle took the ball from him in the 7th. Beautiful.

    * I can only imagine what it’s like for a parent to watch their child make their MLB debut. Seeing all the hard work your kid has put in finally pay off has to put the biggest smile on a face. Growing up, you don’t think of the sacrifices your parents (and other adult figures) make for you to get you to practices and games and tryouts, etc. Also, sitting in the stands and wasting 2-3 Hrs. of their lives watching you play a sport that they may or may not enjoy. It has to be just as special for the parents too. Beautiful.

    * Monster Shout Out to the bullpen. Locking down another one. Best in baseball? Right now. Beautiful.

    * Please, baseball gods, let Pedro Alvarez be heating up. He’s the type of player that can put an offense on his back for a stretch. It would be a huge shot in the arm if Petey got fully going. Semi-beautiful (his game last night was BEAUTIFUL).

    * While we should be patient and we shouldn’t read too much into 1 start, Gerrit Cole could be a huge shot in the arm to a rotation that sorely needs 1. They’re a beaten down crew at this point. Only 2 [of the 5 that began the season in the rotation] remain right now, AJ Burnett & Jeff Locke. A B12 is needed, and it could be Gerrit. Potentially beautiful.

    * Thanks to MLB network for picking up coverage of the game last night. Even though I have an MLB.tv subscription (which I LOVE), it’s always nice to watch on the 42” plasma rather than the iPad/iPhone/CPU Screen. Beautiful picture.

    * The only thing that spoiled last night for me came from the Giants. Seeing Marco Scutaro basically know his hand was broken and knowing he’s out probably 3-6 weeks was tough. The disappointment on his face really got me. I don’t like the bad guys, but I also don’t like to see the bad guys get hurt. Not beautiful.

    Have a BEAUTIFUL day all! Beat ‘em Bucs! :-)

    P.S. – Stay off twitter. Leave that to me and the big dogs. And DK. ;-)

  83. Baseball down under? Thoughts?

    ‘@Buster_ESPN Report is that Diamondbacks-Dodgers will open the season in Australia next year.”

    • I think that is ridiculous and idiotic

    • And they’ll brawl with a kangaroo.

    • It kind of struck me in the same way as the NFL wanting to expand into Europe, playing more games there, and possibly putting an NFL Franchise in London, as in….

      Why?

      Australia plays cricket, rugby & soccer. Not sure why you play a MLB game there.

      If anything, go back to Japan, or possibly play a game in China, Taiwan, Vietnam, etc. These are places where the game really has a chance to grow. Australia…not so much.

      Another thought I had was how about a game or series in the Dominican Republic or Puerto Rico. These are places that give MLB so much, and I kind of think get the short end of the stick. I think in MLB circles that these places are looked at as “baseball factories”.

      It would be nice to show them that their contribution to the game is more than just churning out 16 year old kids….

  84. Good. I hope we play both of those teams early in the year. Hopefully the first series they get back.

  85. Two year extension for Bylsma.

  86. Bylsma back with 2 year extension.

  87. Bylsma and all coaches staying. Good for them.

    • Conspiracy!! The Pens announced this extension on the morning of Attendance Wars on twitter…. hmmmmmmm

    • Correct move.

    • Although I am not surprised, I am very discouraged. I believe the on-ice product lacks discipline and structure, and relies too much on heroic individual effort rather than any systematic approach. All too often I’ve seen the Penguins face teams that have been better prepared and better able to adapt on-the-fly to the game as it unfolds, while the Penguins keep stubbornly trying to apply the same formula to produce results.

      While Dan Bylsma gave his star players the “freedom” to utilize their natural skills, he’s cultured an environment rife with poor puck decisions, high-risk play, and sloppy fundamentals. As a result, some players have actually become worse overall hockey players or simply one-dimensional weapons. In terms of player development, Bylsma has had a notably difficult time in introducing young players into the lineup.

      In the end, though, it comes down to expectation. With the ridiculous level of talent on this roster, one trip to the Stanley Cup Finals is simply not enough. Better coaches in this league have been fired for much less, and better coaches remain available to step in and provide this team the answers that Dan Bylsma could not.

      With the changes the new CBA brings, the window of opportunity for this core to bring another Stanley Cup to Pittsburgh is nearly closed. At this point, the Penguins should be looking at how to extend their dynasty, not at so many golden opportunities wasted. This group deserved better.

  88. Great start for Gerrit Cole last night… important to have perspective and DK, that is what I appreciated about your column… you only need to look at the fate of the mound opponent last night, Lincecum, to see how “phenom saviors” can fall short of the Hall of Fame, and sometimes flame out in a few years, inexplicably. Though I suppose some scouts are fingerwagging about their doubts draft-time about Timmy and his ability to sustain his delivery, etc. But I digress.

    As to attendance-gate, I don’t read the twitter so I’m a bit annoyed that the ‘playground brawl’ gets brought over here and I’m forced to read about it. Twitter is great but gives an equal ‘platform’ for everyone to opine… some qualified and some just wanting to provoke and argument… DK, my only thoughts are that you can control the conversation…simply dont respond to crap that is beneath the community and this stuff dies faster than a fire in a jar.

    The only point I’ll make on this is that I’ve noticed that you have changed DK…. a few years ago, Garrett Jones has an incredible start and you wrote joyously about the ‘legend’ and nary a word of sabremetrics or sustainability…. in 2011, you got into a twitter-bate with national press who criticized the Pirates attendance by pointing out how it isn’t the case that game can be ‘sold out’ in a pennant race when you only have like 8k in season tickets..the season ticket base and advance sales dictate the gate. Now you seem to be taking the other side of this discussion.

    It’s cool, your opinions are yours, but not sure why it has to be such a hot topic. I don’t have hope that the ‘crazed unwashed fans’ on twitter will elevate the discussion, so my hope has to ride with you DK.

    • cmat must be one of those 25-30 Pirate bloggers.

      • :) um, sure, ok. I enjoy stating my opinions, which I think are always rational, but since they are my opinions, they would be rational to me, right? :)

        • Haha, thats exactly what some of us feel like when we criticize Dejan only for him to complain about the 25-30 Pirate bloggers or thin skinned Pirate fans as if they are the only ones out there doing it.

        • Opinions are like the morning dew–just as likely to fall on a horse turd as a rose. (Stolen and adapted from a liypttle known movie “Luvin’ Molly.”

    • Tim Lincecum’s problem right now is that he doesn’t trust his pitches. He had one pitch working for him last night and that was his cutter.

      His whole body of work right now is all jacked up. His mechanics, which everyone marveled about early in his career, to even his arm slot. They are all off.

      • Great post, Ryan.

        That first Cole at-bat stunned me. I think he tossed at least three breaking balls. To the pitcher. In his first professional at-bat.

        Incredible lack of confidence.

        • My favorite part of that AB was the Giants color man (Krukow) saying [on the 2-2 pitch] “You want to get the out here, don’t want things to get weird.”

          Then Cole lays off the 2-2 splitter in the dirt and the play-by-play man (Kuiper) says “It just got weird.”

          Foreshadowing. In a funny sort of way.

          • I heard Cole pulled Marte aside after he left the game to talk plate discipline. Developing story.

          • Wow, thats great Nate. Makes you wonder what Posey was thinking? I could’ve missed it, but I don’t remember Timmy shaking him off.

            • They don’t usually shake Posey off.

            • I didn’t see him shake off, although I wasn’t wholly paying attention to Lincecum.

              I think Posey was thinking “he’s got 2 strikes, he’s rarely handled a bat since HS, he’ll swing basically at anything here”.

              It’s a credit to Gerrit for keeping his head and rising to the occasion there.

              Also helps that Tim-may L. decided to float 1 up at his letters on the 3-2 pitch. If that 3-2 pitch is in the dirt, I think Cole swings and misses.

              Execution.

      • The only marveling I heard about Lincecum’s mechanics early in his career came from people marveling that a guy could throw that hard from a motion that wild and not have his arm separate from his body. I read countless predictions that he was headed for surgery at some point if he didn’t change his motion.

  89. Oh, one more point… I do think that Greg Brown and Bob Walk were a bit over the top on the telecast last night… I can forgive that because (1) they work for the Pirates and (2) they are fans, that is clear. Pretty much every announcing team in baseball would be doing the same thing.

    The point that is clear though is that the PIrates and their fans have waited a long time for a pitcher the caliber of Gerrit Cole to perform with the Bucs, and by every indication, his demeanor is as solid as his stuff… that is an exciting day for Pirates fans, the 30K at the park, the thousands that watched on TV….

    • The Giants announcing team were doing a little marveling at Cole’s expense as well. He deserved it. nothing wrong with that.

      But when is GB and BW not over the top?

  90. Bylsma two year extension. Surprising and disappointing.

  91. Lets see………….

    You either have to change the coach, or change all the players, isnt that the old saying?

    Well, Duck got an extension.
    So Shero is going to fire all the players??

    Welcome back to me !!

  92. Where’s Bowser ? lol.

  93. Welp . I don’t think I’d call this column EXTREMELY UPBEAT. What i got out of is the pirates haven’t had a truly special pitcher….Cole did pretty well… Let’s temper our enthusiasm.

    • As for the attendance tweet, I think the timing of it is what annoyed me. Immediately after a convincing win against the defending champs… The first tweet of yours since first pitch isn’t about the memorable hit by Cole or his 99 mph strikeout. It’s “only sold 8k tickets… Not sure what’s applause-worthy of that”

  94. Apparently Ray Shero misunderstood all the calls for “Fire Bylsma!”

    http://www.wtae.com/sports/penguins/pittsburgh-penguins-make-decision-on-coach-dan-bylsma/-/11800188/20538174/-/91jbt3z/-/index.html

    I for one am not happy about this decision. Apparently 4 massive failures equals a contract extension.

    • I guess Ray has gone to the Bob Nutting school of contract extensions. Hand out extensions for all collapses.

      • What Bob Nutting does has been business as usual for almost 17 years.
        I hardly can compare anything to him in the world of sports.

  95. I wonder if DB’s extension will weigh in on whether players undergoing contract negotiations will stay or move on to a different team? I would think twice about staying, especially if I happened to be in my 30s.

  96. By the way, I thought media attendance at the Shero press conference today was very disappointing.

    • POTD

    • Terrible walk up crowd numbers.

    • Not enough people willing to pay $10 per ticket? Oops! Right church…wrong pew!

      • I don’t want to prolong this, but I don’t get the $10 seat issue, either. Strikes me as manufactured. I haven’t seen 1 argument anywhere that the attendance problem is that seats are too expensive. But, at least for me, there have been games I have wanted to go to that I didn’t end up going to because I couldn’t get the seats I wanted, by location, not $$ (except for Lexus seats). If only $10 seats were available, I probably wouldn’t have gone last night. While there are no “bad” seats in PNC Park, I like being close to the action in the infield or in the outfield seats. If that makes me a bad Pirates fan, so be it. That section in the upper deck in left field is always the last to be filled. Always, unless there is a group.

  97. Thanks for linking Horner’s gallery in the Morning Java.

    Outstanding photojournalism.

    I’m a huge lover of photojournalism. I try to go to museums when they occasionally have exhibits and retrospectives on it.

    I posted before how appalling I find the Chicago Sun Times decision to discharge their photojournalism staff. I understand that economic decisions are made but it is, nevertheless, sad to see an art form hurting. Nice to see support of it here.

  98. Keeping Bylsma is a Steeler organization type of move.
    It’s worked out well for them in the past.
    Let’s hope it’s the same here for the Penguins.

  99. The Pittsburgh Capitals, ladies and gents.

    Yep, don’t change a thing. It’s worked so well for four straight years.

  100. DK

    I think you nailed it with the part of Cole being different than any other pitcher we’ve ever seen in a Pirates uniform.

    He did great, IMO, but still has some work to do.

    His slider looks deadly, but seems to be a little out of control.

    His fastball is unbelieveable. You mentioned that even with his velocity, he’s not a strike out pitcher. I’m OK with that. If he keeps the ball down he can be very effective but, I also think that if he elevates (above the belt) his FB, he’ll get more swing and misses as well. Not many can catch up to a 97-99MPH heater at that level.

    Overall great debute for Cole, he’s showed a glimpse of why he was taken #1 overall.

  101. Keeping DB makes me worried for Fleury.

    • Shero says he’s not going anywhere. It’s really all up to him now. If he doesn’t want pulled, he simply needs to stop more pucks come playoff time. He’s all you could ask for in the regular season. This has been him all the way back as far as juniors. It’s feast or famine with him in the biggest of games. New goalie coach too, for what that’s worth. Meloche has taken a scouting position.

    • Fleury not stopping the puck makes me worry for Fleury.

  102. Roberto Clemente, sitting on 2,999 hits on a Saturday night on the last day of September 1972, drew a measly 13,117 fans to a young Three Rivers Stadium to watch him attempt to reach baseball immortality. This was when Pittsburgh, pre-Immaculate Reception, was still unquestionably a baseball town. The Bucs had already clinched the NL East and were a year removed from a World Championship, so pennant fever would have been very high. Oh, and there were 215,000 more Pittsburgh residents to walk up and purchase a ducat on that afternoon than for last night’s game.

    Apples to oranges, maybe. But to say that last night’s walkup was nothing short of astonishing for this city, considering its history, is an extremely obtuse position to take.

  103. I like Dan Bylsma. As a coach and a human being.

    But I wanted a new voice in the locker room.

    I guess though, we could do worse.

    Tortorella is still w/o a job. Yikes.

    • I’d like new direction in the locker room as well. But I’ll keep DB, no way do I want Tortorella ::shudders::

      • I’m with you Jandy, although I wasn’t trying to imply the Pens would hire Tortorella. Just that I think there are worse coaches out there than Dan B, so I’m OK with this move.

        As 21sthebest pointed out above, Therrien was fired 7 months after he signed his extension.

        We may get a new voice behind the bench. Might just take a little bit longer. Or Danny B could get this figured out and bring us another cup.

        Either way I think the outcome suits everyone involved.

        • Who is Danny B? Daniel Briere? ;)

          Just like a zebra doesn’t change it’s stripes, coaches don’t all of a sudden figure things out. They are what they are from beginning to end. You like what you saw this season and the last few? High expectations turned into great regular season play, followed by playoff underachievement, leading to embarrassment? Well, it’s going to be more of that until there is a new coach.

        • I just hope SOMETHING gets figured out under Bylsma. I like the guy, really. I just can’t see how he does so dismally in the post season four years in a row.

          • No argument from me SJB. I would’ve liked a new coach behind the bench.

            But again, I think there are plenty worse coaches than HCDB.

            *Sidenote* – Briere is my most hated Flyer and I’ll be sad that he won’t be back next year.

    • I cant imagine anyone would sign Tortorella to be a head coach, do you? He draws in too much unwanted attention.

    • Yup, they could do worse and I think they should and could do better too. This decision just lowered my opinion of Shero. They went all out and put together the best team that money could afford them in a salary cap restricted league and still failed to reach the cup finals by a wide margin. This is status quo for the Pens now and I don’t see it getting any better for them. In fact I see it getting worse from here on out and when the consecutive sellouts come to and end, you’ll finally see them taking things seriously and maybe Shero will be looking for a new job too. Right now, it’s hugs, kisses and a lot of cluelessness coming out of that ownership and management and right now, I’m not so big a fan of them or the team.

      BTW: You don’t know Bylsma as a human being and unless you work with him and more importantly, live with him, you never will.

      • I disagree that they missed the cup finals by a “wide margin”. They were in the ECF and 1 of 4 remaining teams left competing for the “ultimate prize”. That’s not too far away.

        It just sucks they laid a giant egg in the CF.

        Credit to Boston though, they still played really well (which I think is forgotten by some in the Penguin fan base).

        It will be an interesting SCFs.

        *Sidenote* – you’re correct. I don’t personally know Dan Bylsma. But, I can inform an opinion of the man from what I read about him and what he says. So far, he’s given me no reason to dislike him, and many more reasons to like him. That’s where that statement was coming from.

        • +1 on the Bylsma comments.

          -1 on the “wide margin” comments. Being swept and only 2 goals by a team with the “best 2 players on the planet?” That’s a wide margin in my book.
          And I agree Boston played well.

          • “Wide” though? I’d agree that it was an extremely disappointing performance, but it was in the ECF, 1 step away from the finals.

            Had they bowed out in the QF against the Isles or in the Semis against the Seantors, maybe I could be with you, but I don’t see this team as being that far away from winning a championship.

            They got their butts handed to them. It (throw an “SH” in front of that) happens. Can’t win every time. Even if the paper says you’re supposed to.

            Here’s a question though: if Boston beats the ‘hawks in a similar fashion, does it change your opinion? Or do you still think the Pens are aways from a SC Championship?

            • I don’t see the Bruins handling the Hawks in similar fashion, but I think the fundamental problem, Nate, is that we can’t seem to win a series vs. teams that play sound, fundamental, defensive-minded hockey.

          • If this was the first year with a playoff flameout? You might have an argument. It isn’t, though. A 2 goal, no win performance by this team was a ” wide margin” in my book. If you want to ignore all that and say, hey, they made it to the conference finals, that’s your choice. I disagree.

      • “Maybe Shero will be looking for a new job too.”

        Man, you’re just convinced that everyone in that building is treading on thin ice, huh?

        I take it you haven’t been a Pens fan very long if you consider this utter, abject failure.

  104. I am not going to argue the point that the Pirates could have sold more advance tickets I am not sure how that trends with respect to events like this. As one who got stuck in the wanding disaster I am certain this cost them attendance. You were probably watching the game as I wish I had been. As it was I missed the first 1 and half innings. The line was backed from the Home plate entrance to the left field entrance with the crowd standing 4 abreast. Had they not stopped wanding I would have been lucky to make the 5 or 6 inning. I saw nothing like it since the Buffet concert at PNC Park years ago. My point here is if you were a true walk up, someone going to buy tickets at game time, there is no way seeing those lines you would stay and buy a ticket. Of course there is no way to tell how much that cost the Pirates in ticket sales but my guess would be plenty.

  105. What sort of gets lost is that the Pirates won another game, against the World Champions and “Let Timmy Smoke” Lincecum, no less. The Pirates are back to 12 games above .500.

    Had to work but DVR’d the game. Watched the MLB Network feed that featured the Giants’ announcers. They were showing Cole’s family and some huge guy, probably related to Cole, was sitting in front of Cole’s mom. Kuiper was saying “did they have to put her behind the biggest guy in Pittsburgh?” Then he said “it looks like they brought a linebacker over from the Steelers to sit in front of her.” It was very good stuff. Glad I got to watch Kruk and Kuip call the game. Simply the best.

    • Those anouncers clearly have never been to Pittsburgh. “That guy” = half the male population.

    • @John.

      They are without a doubt the best guys in the biz….

      On the flip side, John Miller is also a Giants announcer. He’s so terrible.

  106. “did they have to put her behind the biggest guy in Pittsburgh”

    No, actually that guy was sitting next to my wife and then me. And eating the entire time. And getting up and leaving and coming back countless times. During at bats. I should’ve charged him for rent the portion of our seats he used.

    Rant over.

  107. Message to Mr. Shero:

    If Coach Bylsma isn’t capable of making in-game adjustments after all these playoff exits/embarrassments then he never will. Games 1 and 2 called for all sorts of in game adjustments only for them to be cast aside because things were going well in game 1??? Are freakin kidding me? I’m telling you right now unless bylsma goes thru changes and evolves drastically its over…no cups for next 2 seasons. Why next 2 seasons you ask…I think most of you know the answer to that!

  108. Shero may have looked at the season as a learning tool. He Ray, you have the best freaken players in the world and you got swept. What exactly is the lesson to be learned here. Shero bringing back Bylsma just set the franchise back another two years. Perhaps I overestimated the brass and management as to making the necessary decisions on coaches and players that improve the team. Status quo is the theme of the day. Very hard to get emotionally behind this team going forward.

    • Yup. Not as bad as trying to get behind the Pirates after consecutive collapses but it’s up there. I won’t give the Penguins the time of day until they make the Conference Finals, and even then I won’t take them seriously.

  109. THE COUNTRY CLUB IS OPEN FOR BUSINESS!!!!!!!!!!

  110. Excellent article on GC’s debut by DK. I agree with him about not letting our hopes for Cole become our expectations, if that is what he meant.

    I read all of DK’s stuff, including Twitter. I do that because I think he is a talented writer, who turns a phrase well and picks interesting topics IMO. I usually agree with him on most topics, but certainly not all of them. I don’t follow him to have my opinions validated, anyway. I follow him because I feel he is a talented and creative writer – and, he loves our city as much as anyone I know. My career took me away from Pittsburgh a long time ago, and I have not found a way to get back home permanently yet. But, I am a proud Pittsburgh guy, and I always will be. I can tell you from experience that you really do learn to appreciate how special of a city we have and how great the people are when you have lived in other towns in the midwest or elsewhere. And that is not meant as a knock on Columbus, Indy or Chicago – where I have lived well the past 20 years. So, I am jealous that you all get to experience our great city and teams up close on a daily basis. I can’t wait to bring my crew for some Bucco games when 11U travel baseball season and club soccer and softball season ends this summer for my active family. I watch every game on MLB Network, just as I watch every Steelers game via NFL Sunday Ticket. The Pens seem to be on TV most of the time for free, and I watch them every time as well. The Pittsburgh teams keep me amped about our great city, and they help me fight off the evil forces of the local teams here in Chicago that attempt to infect my children and change their loyalties. This blog lets me share my love for the Pittsburgh teams with other like-minded fans, and I am thankful for that. I enjoy everyone’s opinion, whether they agree with me or not. I love to argue the finer points of the games, and I try not to offend or be offended. I believe that is truly the prevailing attitude here.

    My take on the Bucs, as I have said many times, is that I truly believe they are turning a corner. I’m late 40′s now, and I have not been so optimistic about where they are headed in over 20 years. I could be wrong about that, but it is how I feel. I think this season and next are just the tip of the iceberg about what could be. Then, again, I said the Pens would squash the Bruins in 5 or 6. So, take my predictions for what they are worth! We’ll all see how that plays out. I get that a large portion of the fanbase is not sold on the Bucs yet. Many people hung in there for a bunch of years at the beginning of this 20 year stretch, and then gave up. I think some of them are starting to come back around, and I think that is great. I also realize there will be those who remain skeptical until the streak ends, and I also get that. The final group, though, the ones who call themselves Pirates fans yet insist on finding something negative in everything they do, the ones who refuse to even acknowledge that maybe, just maybe something good might happen – those are the ones I don’t get. Honestly, they seem more like Philly sports fans to me. I don’t like the “glass is 3/4 empty” approach – not from Pittsburghers. I acknowledge what has been for this team, and how frustrating it has been on fans. But, we Bucs fans have been kicked in the teeth, not only by the team’s play on the field, but by organizational blunders now for many years. We have listened to the insults by the national media on an ongoing basis. And, in acknowledging all the mistakes and bad times, we have still remained fans who have always hung in there waiting for the better days. Now, when so many of us finally feel a glimmer of optimism, we probably do get a little testy when other people who call themselves fans continue to take cheap shots at the team because of the past rather than looking to the present and future with us. I just don’t get complaining about Dave Littlefield’s mistakes now when so many good things are available to discuss. Again, I’m not saying the past wasn’t horrible in many ways for this team. I am just saying I think it is time to focus on now and down the road. That looks pretty good to me. It is where I am focusing my Bucco energy. I hope everyone enjoyed last night!

    DK: Amazing note, Jim. Thank you.

    • Paragraphs are Thundercack’s friend.

    • Agree Jim. Well said and feel the same way.

    • woah! How do you rank, JimS? :)

    • Agree Jim especially about the fans. I have been a Pirate fan since I can remember, and have taken some withering shots from friends and co-workers for it, but I believe the corner is turned. I look down the road and see an outfield of Marte/Cutch/Polanco, an infield of Pedro, Hansen (if he can hang at SS), Neil and 1B? (convert Josh Bell maybe?), Sanchez now looks like he can handle catcher, and a rotation anchored by Cole, Taillon, Heredia, Glasnow. Bullpen featuring Morris/Wilson/Black maybe still Melancon. That team has potential. I realize not all will pan out and things do change, but we could be a nice team for a few years.
      On a side note, I was given a choice earlier this year between keeping my old job (which I loved) and moving to Chicago, or staying here for a position I didn’t really want. Never even blinked, now don’t like my job very much, but I am still home. I hope you get to come back to the best city in the world. I will buy you a Primanti’s and a few cold ones when you do!

      • Thanks for the kind wishes, Lad! I am the first to admit, I am very blessed in life in all of the really important categories. I am very thankful for that, and I realize many people are not so lucky. I just miss my hometown is all. But, that’s ok because I am close enough to visit.

        I think you made the right call. I was playing golf the other day, and the guy I was with was struggling pretty bad. Then he said, “Even on the worst day, playing golf in the sun beats working.” Pittsburgh is like that for me. Even on its worst day, it beats most everywhere else for me.

    • Cool post, Jim!

  111. Ho humm, another dinger for Stetson last night

    And another crappy outing by JMac…

    • JMac will never see PNC Park again, unless he buys a ticket.

    • I don’t think it was you specifically, but is anyone ready to join me in thinking that McDonald will not get claimed by anyone if (and hopefully when) he is taken off the 25-man roster?

      A team would have to be preeetty hard up in order to suffer with him on the roster in hopes of returning to last seasons form.

      • I’m with you NMR. The guy is a messed up head case.

      • No, I disagree. I think he will get claimed. Somebody out there thinks they can fix him and some team will take a gamble.

        Say what you want about JMac, he has great stuff.

        A team like the Marlins, has NOTHING to lose by going after him and the Pirates foot the bill.

        • No, if they claim him, they pick up his contract as well. If no one claims him and he declares free agency, then the PBC picks up his contract, minus minimum wage for a major leaguer. (minimum wage in this case is a misnomer, probably add 4-10 of us lunatic wages together to get close to it ;-)

      • Didn’t the Dodgers at least kick the tires on Jonathan Sanchez, NMR? JMac is from LA, so the Dodgers or Angels might take a flyer if we dumped him. I think his head has gotten the best of him, and it will be tough to right the ship for him. But, there are so many teams lacking in arms. Part of his problem has always been that he was not groomed as a pitcher. He switched in the minors, and so he does not have the thousands of innings of experimenting with how to pitch to get him through tough times that most guys have.

        • The Dodgers signed Sanchez to a minor league deal AFTER he passed through waivers and was released by the Pirates.

          I’m simply suggesting Jmac sent down to the minors, not outright released. Give him the rest of the season to figure it out in Indy and if he doesn’t, THEN non-tender him over the winter.

    • I hear if he gets to 30 by their break, Biz, they might jump him up to High A. Free Stetson Allie.

  112. Ho hum. Only 493 posts by 11:30 CT.

  113. Nothing like $hitting the bed with the same team and coach season after season and keep coming back with the same group of bed $hitters. Waiting for plastic sheet or Depends giveaway night at the Consol next season.

    • I don’t know what to think about Bylsma, SJB. I have always liked him, and just from the outside, he seems like a bright and competent guy. But, as Bill Parcells always said, “You are what your record says you are.” In the playoffs, his record has not been good since he first took over. I would have opted for a change to a coach with a different personality.

  114. My estimation of/respect for RS and 66 just dropped enormously.

    • They’re delegating to Shero…I think the problem is too much personal attachment blinding the hockey logic shero must not be seeing…wish I could point it out to him in detail with video…lets hope bylsma can evolve.

    • Remember we had Scotty Bowman and he left because the players were unhappy playing for him. Maybe its more important for ownership to have players happy with their coach than actually winning Stanley Cups! If Bowman stayed I think Mario would have had at least one or two more Cups to his name.

    • And I am sure it bothers them immensely

  115. Happy Dan Bylsma extension day everyone! (no snark)

  116. Presser over. Dan gets a 2-year extension.

    Shero clearly a media pro, but at the same time believable.

    Shero mentioned “players leaving”, possible trades etc. I’m thinking he tries to keep both Iginla and Morrow.

    The Penguins franchise is the best in the NHL. I have confidence that they have the BMTIH!

  117. Sounds like Dan Bylsma is planning on performing and investigation of what went wrong!

  118. I just looked at the archives for the June 2012 Wakeup Call. 196 total posts for the day.

    Good walk up crowd for today’s blog entry.

  119. Wow. The Pens did exactly what Ron Cook suggested they do. We’re doomed.

  120. Hmmm, maybe the Flyers coach was right about the Penguins when he said they are the most arrogant team in the league.I mean; it take loads of it to go back at it YET AGAIN with the same failing “game” and coach, right?

    • Yeah, because it couldn’t be the Flyers – the team that hasn’t won a Cup in 40 years but acts as though it wins every year.

  121. I am VERY happy Dan Bylsma was extended 2 years.

    All he did was go 36-12 with a team that had major injuries to its very best players during the season. He won 2 rounds in the Playoffs, making it to the Conference Finals, the Final 4. His best offensive players hit more posts against Boston in 4 games than any 10 games of the season, and did not score. 3 of 4 games went down to the wire, one overtime. His team plays a style that is fun, fun, fun to watch.

    My only regret of Bylsma’s re-signing is listening to all the Bylsma haters who will complain all during next regular season, “Wait until the Playoffs!!!”

    That complaining mantra will be as trilling and thudding to the ears as Dejan’s constant tweet complaints——complaints to us who are not responsible!

    • You obviously missed the historic failures of this team. They were….ummm…what were they again? They lost the ECF?

      #ContractThePens

      • 8-2 Game 5 worst home game loss in Pens playoff history.

        Total nbr of GA in PHL series last year most in Pens playoff history.

        Fewest GF this year worst in Pens playoff history.

        2nd in NHL Playoff history, second only to the Wild who scored 1 in a first rounder.

        Historic fail on many levels for many years.

    • Plus MANY Groat.

      I share your happiness, but know we will hear from the Chicken Littles till we win the next cup.

      Stuart

    • Who exactly has comnplained about Bylsma’s reg season record?

      Nice try for a straw man.

    • With you, Groat.

      I just wished the Pens would start doing horribly during the regular season so that fans would stop showing up and spending money (which is why the regular season is very important-if not the single most important thing to a franchise’s economic health) on what everyone thinks is the meaningless regular season.

      Then they could be playing in Kansas City’s beautiful arena and everyone would be happy.

    • Groat – I have been a Bylsma supporter. But I think I could coach this team to a winning regular season. To suggest, after this postseason, that contrary views are just a bunch of Bylsma haters is a little disingenuous. (Not to say they aren’t there). Like talking about $10 seats.

      Is the goal, having the 2 best players on the planet, exciting hockey and a good regular season record? If so, you’re absolutely right. But there are real, legitimate problems with how this team has performed in the playoffs, over an extended period. Should that be addressed, and how?

    • DB is only the winning-est coach in penguin history. Yes, he also has the two best (albeit injury-prone) players in the world.

    • Great Great Post !!!! Now other then Sarah where is Eric I am sure he will have something bore us with as well abou it

  122. There are some real works of art chiming in on the Bylsma situation.

    I keep seeing phrases that mention the historic failures of the team under Bylsma, that the team is going south fast, etc. SJB even just suggested trading Crosby, citing they could lose without him as easily as with him.

    Judging by the response, were the Pens the worst team in the league last year? Have they had numerous failures since 2009?

    Get a grip, people.

    • SeanAY, in all fairness, Sarah’s historic failure comments are referring to the past 4 years of playoffs failures. Not regular season. But yeah, I can see where you’re coming from. Honestly, I was for DB being let go, if only to get this team back on track. But, my goodness, yes, there are many very very much worse coaches out there.

      That said, I like DB…and I love the Pens. And ya know what? I won’t be dumping on them like fair weather fans. I’ll back them and root for them, just like I did while losing 4 straight to the Broons.

      It’s a Burgh thing.

      • Look, his track record in the playoffs of late hasn’t been good. In fact, I spent a little time last week illustrating that.

        It’s hyperbole that gets me. When you say, “Historic Failures,” I think of the worst losses in playoff history by any team. Now, does anyone think the Pens meet that standard of evidence?

        • Ha, we might be the same person, Sean.

          • We might just be!

            Speaking of which, if you’re so inclined, head over to Archive.org and check out the pulls from Bell’s this past week. The Great American Taxi show was utterly wild. If you can get over the fact that I had numerous tech issues with the Greensky Bluegrass show on Saturday (and as a result, have a few mislabeled tracks), you’ll find a very nice cap to the weekend.

            • Sweet! I’m gonna have to check out Great American Taxi for sure.

              Taking the little lady to see Warren Haynes lead the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in a tribute to Jerry next Tuesday. Love seeing old the old heads break out the one tie they own. :)

        • Didn’t the Pens also have some historical numbers in the positive direction during this same playoffs (GPG avg)? Just sayin’…

      • I guess I just don’t understand the idea that his teams CONSISTENTLY play through injures to key players, typically rank among the best offensive teams in the NHL in the regular season, and consistently have one of the best two or three records in the Eastern Conference…yet they need to fire the coach and blow the team up and start over again.

        Someone said if you think a few tweaks will solve this problem, think again. Personally, I think that’s all that’s needed.

        I didn’t think Iginla was necessary at the deadline. I always said my opinion was they needed more jam and sandpaper on the bottom two lines and in the defensive corps. Maybe instead of the flashy trades, they could seek those kinds of guys out.

        • The consistency aspect is what’s most troubling for me when it comes to Coach Bylsma, not the team.
          My problem with Bylsma is that chemistry does not seem to be high up on his list of things to worry about, especially during games. That is a problem which can be tweaked. Bylsma also needs to work on being less stubborn about his beloved system.
          The question is, will Bylsma understand that he needs to work on his own personal tweaks?

          • IF you are going to Bash him use real facts and thoughts. Nice post I agree.

            • Who said I was bashing Bylsma, MadTurk? I am not. Trust me, you will know when I am bashing someone!

              I just think that Bylsma has work to do on himself, as well as with the team.

              • Did not mean you on the bashing that was for others who just don’t like him no matter what. I loved your post.

              • Thank you, MadTurk! I apologize for my confusion.

                It’s hard (for me) to figure out other people’s reactions without knowing them or seeing them face to face. That’s the beauty of blogging, I guess.

                P.S. I could not find the “reply” button for your comment, so I am responding to myself. Weird!

              • :-) that happens on a long string. And my first post was not all that clear either. Bad day and some frustration on those beating a dead horse about Blysma all year. Not to say he is perfect or not in need of making some changes during the playoffs…

      • I agree, Jandy. They were a big disappointment in the Bruins series, and Bylsma needs to be held accountable for that. I probably would have sent him packing (and I have been a big supporter of his), but we don’t know what changes have been demanded of him. As the leader of the day-to-day operations of an organization, Shero had to decide if he still trusted in Bylsma enough to know if he is still the right guy. It doesn’t mean he said, “Here’s 2 more years, Danny. You are doing a great job.” But, you don’t always kick a guy to the curb even if his performance is not stellar of late. I can see both sides here.

        There is a certain other team in town not named the Pirates that seems to get a lot of credit for sticking by coaches. Just sayin’.

    • No, they were one of the best in the league…again, which makes it all the more appalling to keep going out they way they do with the mentality that just a tweak or two is all they need. They didn’t lose in 6 or 7 to a higher seeded more talented team in the Bruins, they lost to a team who lost 8 of their last 10 games going into the playoffs, and to a lower seeded, less talented team for the 4th year in a row. This “happy just to be there” mentality that some of you have is ponderous. Stop making excuses people. This isn’t the friggin Islanders or even the Capitals. This team is SUPPOSED to win, not underachieve repeatedly when it counts. People who are content with how things are can go back to watching just the meaningless regular season and turn the TV of when the playoffs come around as that’s obviously good enough for you. In fact; I’ll be turning it off come playoffs as well by for a different reason.

      Yes, they’ve had numerous failures since 2009. How is that ever debatable?

      My trade Crosby comment was just pointing out that it really doesn’t matter who’s on the team since no one wants to change anything or take responsibility. Go ahead, blame the players…AGAIN. And if it’s their fault AGAIN, then you should have a problem getting rid of them…all of them. No, then who’s fault is it?

      • ” they lost to a team who lost 8 of their last 10 games going into the playoffs”

        And a team that had also won seven of its last eight playoff games.

        I thought regular season performance didn’t matter?

        • Including a game 7 in which they were down 4-1 with abt 7 mins remaining. Boston is on a roll right now for whatever reason.

          I wouldn’t be shocked if they handle the Blackhawks in 6.

          Don’t think that will happen (as I think the Hawks win in 6 or 7), just saying I wouldn’t be shocked.

    • It’s the hyperbole that kills me, Sean.

      You read these guys and think Bylsma must have given Neal a right-handed stick and told all the defensemen to go practice bull fighting.

    • Some people just gotta pick on all the bad things. You can’t deny that Bylsma’s coached some very entertaining games over the past 5 years. As others have said, the Stanley Cup is the hardest trophy to win in major sports. Unfortunately for my point, this year is bad because either CHI or BOS will have a chance to win 2 in 4 years with different goalies too.

  123. Is it too early to pick the team that will hand the Pens their collective a$$es in next years playoffs? If they get there? I’m gonna go with the Caps, they’re due.

    I knew it would be a good day when I had to clean up a large pile of dog puke off the carpet just as I was heading out the door to work. Shoulda slept in.

  124. Sounds like shero is in full support of PM and Letang…can we keep both for next 2 seasons???

    • Martin more than likely. Unless Letang’s value plummets even more next season and he’s resigned to staying with the Pens…if they’ll still have him.

  125. 700 anyone? The Pirate thread won’t be up for a while yet.

    I wonder how many “unique” visitors there have been today. Only DK knows for sure.

  126. YAY the 700 Club :)