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Vacation thread: 6-15

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

On break all week. The full column/blog/etc. schedule resumes June 24.

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.

79 Comments

  1. The Pittsburgh Pirates are living up to the late Raiders owner Al Davis’ saying, “just win baby”. I don’t know how they keep doing it with starting rotation sitting on the disabled list and now being led by left-hander Jeff Locke but they are.

    Locke owns the 7th best ERA in baseball at 2.19 after he went seven strong last night against the Los Angeles Dodgers in front of a crowd of 36,878 at PNC Park.

    We’re talking about the same Jeff Locke that pitched in 8 games last season sporting a horrific 5.50 ERA and 1-3 won-loss record, yet he’s sitting at 6-1 this season.

    Locke could have gone deeper than his 75-pitch, 7 innings but as is customary under Pirates manager Clint Hurdle this season, he went to relievers Mark Melancon and Jason Grilli to shutdown the Dodgers in the 8th and 9th inning to nail down the teams 3-0 victory.

    Nothing like notching a majors best 11th team shutout in 67 games and 40 wins on the season.

    FORTY.

    You just can’t explain it, so don’t bother trying because as we’ve seen over the last two years, these moments can be fleeting, yet somehow, this feels differently.

    The Pirates offense can’t possibly continue to swing at the baseball as if they are trying to hit a ball the sized of those pesky gnats that invade our waterfronts in Western Pennsylvania in the summer.

    They will hit and you just hope, when they do, it can be long enough to carry the team while injured starters A.J. Burnett and Wandy Rodriguez get back to health because without them, we might be uttering something a little more salty than an Al Davis slogan.

  2. We are more than overdue to hear from Bob Nutting. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: Nutting has been eerily absent while the Bucs have been winning like it’s going out of style. Just because this year we fans don’t need to be placated with platitudes this time around, doesn’t mean it isn’t important to know what he think of this collection of players and whether he’s committed to them.

    • I must losing it, I can’t sleep, my laptop says 2:51 AM and this blog is telling me Ghost’s post was just at 10:38 PM. No wonder….

      Any-who… I would prefer the trio keep their mouths shut and stay in the background. Their actions will speak volumes when it comes to improving the team by the trade deadline.

      • While it’s true that their actions will speak louder than words — I would at least like Nutting to be put on the spot. Why, other than fear of committal, would he be so conspicuously absent from the scene in what would seem to be his most glorious days as the Big Cheese, to date?

        Perhaps he and Frank Coonelly (another conspicuously absent one) simply decided on a policy to steer clear of media attention in 2013. They’ve had their inept moment in the past, this is true. If that’s all there is to this, fine. A tip of the hat for the developing savvy. But this too, then, would be something I’d like to know about.

      • The next time you hear from Nutting will be when he announces the entire front office has been re-signed.

    • Ghost, I bet he’d say he likes this team and he’s committed to them.

  3. Hurdle was right. Locke’s performance “looked effortless.” I remember how pitchers like Kip Wells, and Ian Snell particularly, had their periods of being afraid to pitch inside. Boy, Locke has no such fear. And he isn’t even armed with the heater that those two were. Just makes the point all the better that attacking and establishing the inside really will be rewarded.

    Must be pointed out that most teams are still seeing Locke for the first time. Interestingly, the Dodgers saw six innings of him in April. Hope he fairs just as well with other teams the second time around. In Searage and Martin I trust.

  4. Quiet morning in the Asylum. Drew must be walking the beach.
    Fun win to watch last night.
    Keep it up, Buccos!

  5. JAL’s Shaking the Tree Morning Links

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z06mQT_vkkw

    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

    First Pitch: Locke’s Anti-Regression, Cumpton a Bonus, and Jamestown

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/06/first-pitch-lockes-anti-regression-cumpton-a-bonus-and-jamestown.html

    Pirates Locke Down and Shut Out Dodgers 3-0

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/06/pirates-locke-down-and-shut-out-dodgers-3-0.html

    Prospect Watch: Polanco Collects Three Hits In Altoona Debut

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/06/prospect-watch-polanco-collects-three-hits-in-altoona-debut.html

    The Book on Brandon Cumpton

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/06/the-book-on-brandon-cumpton.html

    7 Bucs Dugout

    Jeff Locke dominates Dodgers in 3-0 shutout

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2013/6/15/4432346/jeff-locke-dominates-dodgers-in-3-0-shutout

    Pregame: Mattingly discusses Bucs; Hurdle talks Locke

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2013/6/14/4431624/pregame-mattingly-discusses-bucs-hurdle-talks-locke

    8 WHYGAVS

    Forging ahead

    http://www.whygavs.com/pittsburgh-pirates/june-2013/forging-ahead.html

    9 The Green Weenie

    Locke Downs Dodgers 3-0

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2013/06/locke-downs-dodgers-3-0.html

    10 Rumbunter

    Stetson Allie Production Blowing Away Andrew McCutchen, Barry Bonds, Other Great Pirates

    http://rumbunter.com/2013/06/14/stetson-allie-production-blowing-away-andrew-mccutchen-barry-bonds-other-great-pirates/

    Pittsburgh Pirates Bringing Up Brandon Cumpton To Start Saturday

    http://rumbunter.com/2013/06/14/pittsburgh-pirates-bringing-brandon-cumpton-to-start-saturday/

    11 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Pirates 3, Dodgers 0

    http://raisethejollyroger.com/2013/06/pirates-3-dodgers-0/

  6. NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    12 KDKA

    Locke, Pirates Shut Down Dodgers In 3-0 Win

    http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2013/06/14/locke-pirates-shut-down-dodgers-in-3-0-win/

    13 USA Today

    Dodgers still feeling raw about brawl with Diamonbacks

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/2013/06/14/los-angeles-dodgers-suspension-response-brawl-arizona-diamondbacks/2425279/

    14 LA Times

    Dodgers, Adrian Gonzalez have tough night in 3-0 loss to Pirates

    http://www.latimes.com/sports/baseball/mlb/dodgers/la-sp-0615-dodgers-pirates-20130615,0,4127463.story

    15 Murray Chass on Baseball

    QUESTIONS FOR PIRATES ON COLE, DODGERS ON PUIG

    http://www.murraychass.com/?p=6261

    16 CBS Sports

    Los Angeles vs Pittsburgh

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/gametracker/preview/MLB_20130615_LAD@PIT

    17 Sweetspot

    Pirates face tough road in NL Central

    http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/37047/bucs-face-tough-road-in-nl-central

    18 PBC Site

    Grilli digs deep to close Locke’s gem vs. Dodgers

    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2013_06_14_lanmlb_pitmlb_1&mode=recap_home&c_id=pit

    Notebook: Hurdle not matching wits with Mattingly in opener

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130614&content_id=50623266&notebook_id=50622868&vkey=notebook_pit&c_id=pit

    SPORTS WEBSITES

    19 Baseball Prospectus

    This Week in Catcher Framing, 6/15

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=20948

    20 Fangraphs

    Gerrit Cole And The Star Power Of Top Prospects

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/gerrit-cole-and-the-star-power-of-top-prospects/

  7. Thanks for the links…..trib should pay

  8. A note to Jandy above:

    The reasons it is so quiet in here:

    1) Y’all are exhausted from partying in my Pond while I was away……
    2) The Bear isnt here for you to poke, so commenting isnt as fun if you cant poke the bear.

    Nothing to see here, move along. ;)

    • No worries, Plan. The Serbinator will return.

      A robotic assassin from a post-apocalyptic future travels back in time to eliminate Pirate fans, whose children will grow up and lead humanity in a war against columnists.

      The columnist rose from the ashes. His war to exterminate Pirate fans had raged for two decades, but the final battle would not be fought in the future. It would be fought here, in our blog. Tonight…


      Kyle Reese: Listen, and understand. That Serbinator is out there. It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you aren’t fans.

      Dr. Silberman: Why this elaborate scheme with the Serminator?

      Kyle Reese: It had no choice. Their losing streak was smashed. We’d won. Taking a vacation then would make no difference. Serbnet had to wipe out his entire fan base!

      Kennywood Attendant: He said there’s a storm coming in.

    • haha Hipposter…we’ll just make up for it when he comes back from Staycation. Poke him three times as much lolol

      • Hiya Jandy!

        I got out of bed today, and fell.
        Then, I poked a bear…….. for fun.
        Then, I fell again.

        Productive day, so far. :)

        • As long as you didn’t fall in doop! ;X

          I have my housecleaning well under way and my grocery shopping done, so I’m happy with my productivity so far.

          The out laws are coming for noon day meal tomorrow so I will be cooking and maybe doing something for dessert too. Stuffed shells is the main dish. Meatballs and garlic bread on the side….
          not sure on dessert yet.

          YUM!

  9. “Just because this year we fans don’t need to be placated with platitudes this time around, doesn’t mean it isn’t important to know what he think of this collection of players and whether he’s committed to them.”

    Sorry Ghosty but I don’t think it is important to hear from Bob Nutting at all.
    If he comes out tomorrow and says “I really like this collection of players”, whoop-dee-doo. What difference is that going to make on anything?

    1) For years people (here on the blog)-including me- have been saying “Why doesn’t this FO hire a PR firm to teach them what to and what not to say in public, and how to say it”. Maybe they did that. The silence is golden.

    2) Every time Nutting or FC say something in public, the parsing of every syllable begins. Especially if they mis-speak or say something dumb. And I don’t really care what he thinks of the team. I would have a good bet to as what he thinks of this: He likes it!

    3) If on Monday Nutting goes on the local sports talk shows and/or TV news, I will bet the line is set at about 30 seconds for the “Sure, Nutting only comes out when the team is winning”. Playoffs…feel free to use that for the betting line here on the blog.

    Let’s just enjoy the winning!!

  10. Do you know why Pete Rose bought a house near Wrigley Field? He wanted to get as far away from baseball as he could!

    I’ll be here all week folks. Remember to tip the waitresses. Try the veal. (God Bless Cub fans.)

  11. 212 DAYS UNTIL THE START OF PIRATE SPRING TRAINING———2 Days Since Dejan’s Clock has been WRONG

  12. I have no way of confirming this . . . . but it was on Twitter, so it must be true!

    Rumor has it that a man wearing a Ramones T-shirt, with a beautiful woman in the passenger seat and a passel of kids in the back, was pulled over for speeding this morning on Kennywood Boulevard.

    Apparently the man claimed he was trying to boost the “walk-up attendance” at Kennywood, since it has been abysmal in his opinion.

    I’m sure we will have confirmation/denial/argument on Twitter soon.

  13. Working Title: A Star is Born in Pittsburgh:

    Scene: Day time; Manager’s office in back of locker room; Office is littered with self-help books and pithy sayings handwritten on loose leaf paper taped to walls

    Knock at door (even knock sounds timid): (Ballplayer enters)

    Brandon Cumpton: Eh, Skip, you wanted to see me?
    Clint Hurdle (seated at desk in white t-shirt): Yes, son, come in and have a seat. Trust your flight from Indianapolis was good?
    Brandon Cumpton: Any flight leaving Indianapolis is good. (Nervous laughter)
    Clint Hurdle: Well, son, you are taking the bump today. We gotta lot of confidence in you. Just remember what you were taught at Indy and all will be fine.
    Brandon Crumpton: You mean that stuff about the telephone poles and downward planes?
    Clint Hurdle: Not that (expletive). Stuff about your mechanics. We’re counting on you kid!
    Brandon Cumpton: (Gets up and begins to leave; stops and turns with door half open) Oh, Skip, who is pitching for them?
    Clint Hurdle: (never looking up from motivation book and grumbles) Clayton Kershaw
    Brandon Cumpton: Oh, (pause), OK then.

    And scene.

    • oshKosh, you and Drew have made my day lol.

      You guys rock the blog :)

    • Did Crumpton’s flight get discounted by a Groupon?

    • Oshkosh b’gosh,

      So . . . . we each have reverted to writing fiction here.

      I’d say we both need to get a life!!

      .
      PS: I enjoyed immensely the USA Today article on Superman you included yesterday.
      PPS: I especially enjoyed the part where it showed the evolution of the “S” via pictures.
      PPPS: You must have enjoyed the flick, as I see it is now your identifying pic.
      PPPPS: Scene above works best with Ray Searage and The Fort carrying Cumpton out on a stretcher.
      PPPPPS: Or Dejan writing a tweet questioning today’s walk-up ticket sales.

      • so THAT’S what it is.

        No fooling…I only glanced at the new avatar (because it’s so small on an iPhone) and thought it was the lips from Rocky Horror Picture Show.

        I think that’s pretty close.

    • Great stuff, John.

  14. Zagurski DFA to make room for Cumpton

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