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Vacation thread: 6-18

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

On break all week. The full column/blog/etc. schedule resumes next Monday.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

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


  1. It’s just not the same without you, DK.

    Enjoy the rest of your time off — look forward to getting you back and everything returning to its normal, looney ways, next week.

    DK: Thanks. Not going to lie: Really enjoying this time off.

  2. The Reds have the Pirates number. They reminded mcCutch of that fact with a fastball thrown toward his head which hit him in the back.

    The umpire didn’t warn anybody, giving the Bucs the chance to retaliate. They didn’t.

    When it became apparent that they wouldn’t, Red’s hitters dug in their spikes and swung for the fences.

    Just as a reminder, the Reds later threw a fastball at PRNW’s head.

    The Reds have the Pirates number. You may not like Dusty Baker but he’s your Daddy.


    DK: Must not have been an issue after the game, Stu. Can’t find coverage of the topic anywhere, can you?

    Checked Cincy papers, too.

    • Greg Brown is reported to have called it out during the game. Twice.

      I won’t link the Trib’s local competition, but within their community blog, Smizik’s post game thread directly and solely addresses this comment.

      Brown is most telling. He is right there, knows how the game works, and is anything but inflammatory. If Brown said what was reported, then it has more meaning than when a dunderhead fan like me screams for Vengence.

    • DK, it got plenty of mention during the game as Drew related; Chapman throwing at Walker’s head, as well as Andrews plunking. Can’t help but think it was intentional, and the time last year that we didn’t retaliate, I think it had a definite effect on morale at the beginning of the belly-up slide.

      I don’t consider it an issue that no one talked about it, just that no one did anything about it.


    • Last night was probably the most heated I’ve heard Greg Brown during a game. He was just livid that the Reds have been doing this to the Bucs almost every series since 2010 with little to no punishment (he was saying that punishment needs to come from the Pirates themselves). I do not count Greg Brown as someone who would usually call for the Pirates to plunk an opposing player, but he said that if it wasn’t done, the Reds are going to continue to take advantage of the Pirates. It doesn’t belong in the game, but it is the way the Reds are coached to pitch.

    • Lead topic on “The Nightly Sports Call.” And many callers were LIVID about the lack of response…AGAIN…by Hurdle & the Bucs, as was I…and my hubby…and my son.

    • It certainly received a lot of coverage during the game.

  3. Bad game last night. Bats were way too silent. Get back at it today, boys. Best revenge is winning the series. Good morning to all.

  4. As much as I would like to see a Reds’ player get plunked, I would much rather see the Pirates beat the Reds

  5. The Bucs hit Phillips twice in the last series at PNC… and the last beanball put him out of the lineup for 4 games. Was Cutch being thrown at? Hard to point at that because Leake was up 0-2 in the count.

    Was Walker thrown at? Absolutely. And there’s no bigger punk coward in all of baseball than Chapman.

    But Phillips was out for four games after his plunkings at PNC… that’s going to get an answer and apparently did get answered by the Reds pitchers last night.

  6. JAL’s The Sweet Sky Morning Links


    1- MLB Transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    3 Go Buccos- Pirate News (from external sources)

    4 Pittsburgh Pirates Stats

    5 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates Draft Pick Signing Tracker

    BLOGS and such

    6—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: More Thoughts On Draft Signings, Promotions and Jamestown

    Reds Use Four Homers to Beat Pirates 4-1

    Prospect Watch: Pimentel Dominant in Triple-A Debut; Sanchez Hits 9th Homer

    Pirates Have Agreed to Over-Slot Deal With Neil Kozikowski

    7 Bucs Dugout

    Reds use four solo homers to beat Pirates, 4-1

    An extension for Pedro Alvarez? No. Just no


    Game 70: Reds 4 Pirates 1

    9 The Green Weenie

    Reds Ride Four Solo Shots To 4-1 Win

    10 Rumbunter

    It’s Time For The Pirates To Start Jordy Mercer

    BP: Yankees Were Sniffing Around Pirates Mike Zagurski

    11 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Reds 4 Pirates 1

  7. NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    12 Yahoo Sports

    The Pittsburgh Pirates Are Halfway to Their First Winning Season in 20 Years

    13 KDKA

    Mercer In, Barmes Out At Short For The Pirates

    14 Bleacher Report

    Can Cole and Other Top Prospects Bring Winning Ways Back to Pittsburgh?

    15 Reds Report

    Reds Bats Bash, Umpshow Crashes. Reds 4, Pirates 1.

    16 CBS Sports

    Pirates vs Reds

    17 Cincinnati Enquirer

    Reds homer four times in 4-1 win against Pirates

    18 PBC Site

    Strong effort from Liriano derailed by home runs

    Notebook: Mercer again at short, but Barmes still in mix


    19 Baseball Prospectus

    Blind BABIP Test, Part 2

    20 Fangraphs

    All-time two-first-names team

  8. Good morning, everyone! Disappointing performance last night by the Bucs.

    Well, we had to know the Toothpick Man (aka “Pick”) was going to retaliate for Brandon “Wilson” Phillips getting hit in Pittsburgh a few weeks back. Phillips missed the next series after that HBP, and that didn’t sit well in Cincinnati. My guess is Pick said a whole lot about it in the locker room after that incident, and in the lead up to last night’s game. And, I would also guess that he suggested his guys might want to make certain the retaliation was against our top player as well – just so we know it was no accident. I believe Pick thinks the Bucs are soft, and senses this week as a chance to really assert their dominance over the Bucs again.

    But, the “Tracy” Champman headhunting is getting a bit out of hand. Retaliation to the back is one thing, and throwing 100 MPH at a guy’s head is a complete other thing. I imagine a lot of the Reds players did not even like that pitch to Walker. I always found it gutless for a reliever to throw at a guy’s head because he is the one guy that doesn’t have to step into the box and face the retaliation for what he started. Kennedy on the DBacks will hopefully find out sometime soon that throwing at someone’s head is serious business, but will Tracy Chapman ever be forced to learn? I don’t think so. Will Pick pull him aside and read him the riot act? Doubtful. I believe Pick made his intentions known, and Leake followed through. Who knows why Chapman went way up and in again, but it is totally reckless.

    So, how should the Bucs respond? As to how should they respond, it needs to be Votto and early because he is the most respected guy on the Reds. He’s their leader. I would nail him hard in his first at bat – assuming the umps don’t pre-emptively warn everyone before the game. Charlie needs to absolutely retire the first 2 batters tonight first, or he can’t do it. Of course, that won’t end it. But, it might keep the Reds from being so fearless diving over the plate and taking such big swings as they did last night. Something needs to be done to put them back on their heels a bit. Otherwise, this series could become a rout.

    Will the Bucs actually retaliate? Well, I would actually not want them to throw at someone’s head because that is just crazy. It takes a certain kind of idiot to risk ending an opponent’s career and permanently injuring him. I don’t really want that kind of idiot on my team. On the other hand, if Chapman ever got in the box … But, we know he’ll never bat against the Bucs. One thing is for certain, though. The Reds think they can bully the Pirates, and nothing will change that until the challenge is met with a few well-directed pitches … and the Pirates actually win a couple games in that ballpark. I sure hope our team answers the bell tonight. We can’t have Pick thinking he owns us.

    • Very well said!

    • The mound should’ve been stormed with a FB to the head. No excuse for that whatsoever.

      You wanna hit a guy, fine. Hit in the back or the @$$. No need for head hunting.

      Leake hit Cutch in a 0-2 count, hard to say that was intentional.

      Walker’s however, was.

    • Votto or Bruce are due for one in the ribcage.

  9. Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    The few truly euphoric moments I’ve experienced as a Steelers fan

    Steve McLendon becoming the brawny boldness of the Steelers defense

    22 Steelers Depot

    - The Terrible Podcast – Talking Steelers Roster Locks, TE Depth, Bengals Hard Knocks & More Episode

    Soccer(football) Will T

    23 The Independent

    Exclusive: Cristiano Ronaldo advised to stay at Real Madrid for another 18 months before making possible switch to Manchester United

    24 World Soccer Daily

    World Soccer Daily: 10 stories you need to read, 17th June, 2013


    25 Pensburgh

    Should he stay or should he go: Craig Adams

  10. And DK’s comment is correct. The first thing I did this morning was check both Pittsburgh papers to see what was written about the beaning and, more importantly, the headhunting. I could not find anything. No one thought to cover the angle? No one thought to ask Cutch or Walker? No one thought to question Tracy or Pick? I don’t get it.

    • Wussies, the lot of them.

      • The reporters are wussies?

        • well, how do you justify not even bringing the subject up? the reporters, our guys, Hurdle, all of them.
          That ball at Walker’s head was totally ridiculous.
          And we need to do something about it.

          • Because its a silly, overplayed issue to begin with?

            • If you say so :)

            • NMR:

              Do you think what Chapman has done to Cutch and Walker (and others around the league) is silly and overblown? Doesn’t something need to be done before he actually cracks someone’s skull?

              Or, are you saying the issue of retaliating is overblown? I personally don’t like that the Pirates are caught up in this with Cincinnati, but I also think you can’t keep allowing them to hit Cutch freely. I realize we nailed Phillips twice last series. The one that injured him was an attempt to move him off the plate and caught his hand, right? Pitching inside is one thing, and the Bucs lead the league in HBP from our pitchers. We probably also are close in batters hit by the opposition as well. But, throwing at guys is another matter. Throwing at their heads is just crazy.

              • well said.

              • It’s silly and overplayed, IMO, to think that the beanings are effecting this team. And if they are? Christ. Not a single one of us should be surprised they collapsed two years in a row. Cue Michel Therrien. These guys are “soff”.

                Moreso, its completely delusional to think that retaliating is going to make the Reds stop. It simply will not happen. Anyone who believes returning the favor will get the Reds to quit has never paid attention to Dusty Baker.

                This is the equivalent of then Pens playing down to the Flyers level.

              • effecting? affecting?

                I suck at this one. Somebody please correct me.

              • It’s affecting.

              • Ugh, thanks AW. I need to look that rule up.

              • And yes, it is.

              • Effect is an outcome (noun). Affect is a verb. Right Arriba?

              • Ah, perfect explanatin Jim. Thanks!!

              • I agree with NMR on this one, except I do think a retaliation is in order. Stand up to big brother and let him know that if they hit us, we’re gonna hit you.

                If these beanings hurt the Pirates, then they are soft cry baby little brothers. The beanings should add fuel to the fire, not have them scurrying away with the tail between their legs.

                I see no fire.

          • I think Jandy is right. I think the reporters should have brought it up or at least wrote about it. It is the giant elephant (sorry, Hippo) in the room. Seems odd that everyone is acting as though it didn’t happen. I’m pretty sure Walker and Cutch know what happened.

            • Had it been the other way around, like…the Pirates’ pitchers had started this chit, and nearly missed Votto’s head, I can guarantee the Cincinnati newspapers would have been ablaze with it!

    • I must have my invisible pants on today.

      See my first post. At “1:36 am”.

      One can disparage the sources. I often do.

      My point is not that they are correct.

      My point is that they exist.

      PS. It took a six-second google search to find.

      • Greg Brown has a set. Smizik has a set.

        That’s it.

      • Smizik doesn’t have quotes from players. He is just reporting what most of heard from the broadcaster on the telecast

        • At least he SPOKE UP :)

        • The original question was “coverage of the topic”, not the sources used by the coverage. I was answering Dejan’s question whether Stu (or, i assumed, we) found anything.

          I did.

          I was not encouraging a response on the field; just responding to the Q.

          I happen to hold your opinion about the value of retaliatory plunking, at least in the context of last night’s game.

          The Ps were behind. But it was a close game.

          Don’t give away a game still in reach. If one feels that it must be addressed, deal with it later.

          • After another umpteen plunkings?

            I can respect your opinion too, Drew. But there comes a point when enough is enough.

            • I respect that, too. I just happen to think the way to deal with it is:

              1. Today, drill the first batter. In the butt or lower back. Not in the head.
              2. Ump issues warning. Now if Reds respond, there will likely be a penalty to pay. (Tossed.)

              In my book, it is not yet time to escalate (by waiting for Votto, or giving up on a game – yesterday’s.) Just send an old school message without raising the temperature and everyone can get back to baseball.

              Still leaves open the Total War option but it would force the Reds to push the nuke button to get there.

              • I can live with that. Fist batter would likely be the smartest move for the reasons you cite.
                But…will they????

              • Ok that would be first. :eyeroll: darn typos.

              • I totally agree that you should never throw at a guys head. If you are going to throw at someone, it should never be with the intent to seriously injure and anyone who can throw a ball 100 mph at another human being’s head must have zero conscience and no regard for human life.

                Regarding number 2, weren’t there warnings given in the last series against the Reds and then they went on to hit two more of our players without any penalty at all. Not saying I disagree with your suggestion, but just a complaint at the inconsistency of refereeing in professional sports.

              • I still say Votto is the guy. Hard, but in a safe spot. Votto will understand it – and he might even grab Chapman and tell him thanks for the welt on the back. The Reds clearly targeted Cutch. Hitting Choo in his butt doesn’t get it done for me. To me, that’s like saying “Is it ok, Cincinnati, if we do this? We’ll make it gentle, I promise. We have to do it or we’ll be laughingstocks.”

              • Responding to Iceman.

                Totally agree. Just listened to MLB Radio on my commute this morning, and Todd Hollandsworth was talking about headhunting. He was actually talking about how Kennedy of the DBacks is manipulating when his suspension starts to only miss 1 start. But, he made the point that if you throw at a guy’s head it has nothing to do with baseball any more. He said now you are messing with a person’s life, their livelihood, and their family all rolled into one. He said only an idiot would do that to another player.

              • Yup, we’ve established Chapman is an idiot.

              • To answer the Q pose (will they?)…

                I would guess not.

                That’s a prediction, not a suggestion.

                Remember, though that such responses are not always, shall we say, orchestrated. I could imagine a scenario where a pitcher makes his own decision.

                Again. Not a suggestion. Just raising a possibility.

                So what would EYE do?

                My suggestion was outlined in two earlier posts. To put them together:
                1. No retaliation yesterday because of the circumstances of the game.
                2. Plunk first guy, not Votto. Butt.

                (That last word was both a geographic reference as well as a personal commentary.)

              • I’d prefer the #3 hitter instead of the leadoff guy, but I’m with you.

              • Ahhh..Nor Cal is a Toughnuts too … wow.

          • I agree with that, Drew. The Cutch plunking can easily be dealt with on the field at the right time in a way that it goes away. I think 90% of the players on the teams understand that.

            As for the Chapman thing, that guy has a screw loose. He has almost decapitated Cutch and Walker from our team, and I recall other instances vs. other teams. You just can’t do that, and I blame Pick for not telling him point blank to cut that crap out. Only idiots think headhunting is part of the game.

            • What about MLB? Where is THEIR voice in this moron’s misdeeds?

              • MLB? Not a chance.

                This is the ever-increasingly ridiculous “unwritten rule” territory. You know, the magical fairy tale land where players police themselves and everyone lives in happy harmony.

              • Ok, time to break out our “police”

              • I wondered that this morning as well, Jandy. Can Torre, or Shanahan (kidding), or whomever is responsible at MLB step in and sanction Chapman for repeated close calls at people’s heads? I have no idea what the agreement is with the union, or even if this is part of it. But, I believe just about every player in the league would support this. It would just be the idiots – Ian Kennedy and Tracy Chapman – who apparently think throwing at guy’s heads is ok that want nothing done. One pitch can get away once in awhile. Twice in a game (Kennedy) or multiple times over a couple of years (Tracy Chapman) is a pattern.

                I believe the fact that Kennedy only got 10 games, and as a starting pitcher he can manipulate it into only missing 1 start, is very telling about how badly MLB screwed this up. Based on what Hollandsworth said this morning, the players would support harsher punishment to make headhunting stop altogether. Had they given Kennedy 30 days, I think that would have been totally appropriate. He would have missed 5 starts. He would never throw at a guy’s head again because even if he were dumb enough his manager would stop him.

              • Jim S. You got it. MLB IS a huge joke.

                And the fact that some people on here have to resort to snark and downright nastiness to make fun of others’ opinions is ignorant as well.

                But hey, it’s a blog and everyone is entitled to their opinion, right?

              • “And the fact that some people on here have to resort to snark and downright nastiness to make fun of others’ opinions is ignorant as well.”


  11. Mercer, #1 option at shortstop………..who knew.

  12. Pirates have signed Jose Contretas to a minor league deal.

  13. This how I hope this turns out: the Pirates are playing games in October and the Reds are home talking about how tough they are.

  14. There is a time and place to prove your point. Hopefully it’s tonight in the bottom of the 1st with two outs and nobody on. I don’t want to see anyone get hurt but Votto should get one square in the back. The Pirates have to show the Reds they will not be pushed around.

    • Amen, Nate.

    • Morton could be his usual basket case when Votto comes up. Too bad AJ or Wandy isn’t pitching tonight.

      • If AJ was not on the DL and hobbling around, he may have taken a run at Chapman last night. I’m not even sure if AJ is with the team, but I know he would have at least been on the dugout steps or bullpen chirping loudly.

    • We agree on this, Nate.

      I really don’t want it to affect the game, and I know Charlie is still getting his control back, etc.

  15. The other problem with throwing at the head early is you may lose your starting pitcher. Remember Sanchez? No warning, he was gone.

    BTW, was Zagurski the one who hit Phillips when he got hurt? I seem to remember joking about he didn’t know where the ball was going.

    • The Bucs need to take that chance, AW.

    • AW, no need to throw for the head, a hard fast ball to the back or rear will make the right impression ;)

      • And what, the Reds are just going to stop?


        Pipe dream, Jandy.

        • I don’t know, NMR, but what are we gonna wait for? One of those 100 mph balls to hit Cutch in the head? It could happen.

          • Of course it could, Jandy.

            But your solution doesn’t change that chance a bit. This guy is gonna do what he wants.

            Changing the Pirates game because of it only hurts themselves.

            • OK, so you mean to tell me if Cutch were to get hit in the head, we should just lie down and let them do what they want? I don’t think so.

              • You’re right, Jandy.

                We should get our own pitcher thrown out of the game and suspended.

                Hell, lets start one of those brawls the Dodgers have been so fond of this year. Look how well thats worked out.

                That’ll show em!!!

              • I saw that coming, NMR. I’m not saying we should go nuts on the Reds, but doing NOTHING isn’t the right thing, either.
                And I honestly think we lose ALL these games if we just meekly accept their bullying.
                Just like we lost last night.

              • Jandy, come on. If it is THAT easy to get the Pirates off their game, THAT IS THE ISSUE.

                Two guys get beaned and the rest of the team sh*ts the bed?


              • I guess we’ll see how this series goes.

              • Aside from whether to throw at the Reds or if Baker is an intimidator etc., here is the bottom line: the Bucs MUST sweep the remaining 3 games of this series.

                Winning 2 of the remaining 3 games IS NOT an option!!!

              • Won’t happen, Gunner.

              • The likelihood of taking these last 3 games is very low for sure, Jandy

              • Beating their @$$ on the scoreboard will do something.

            • Maybe, but I think he stops when one of his teammates pulls him aside and says “If I get hit in the back one more time because you are a moron, then I’m coming to see you.”

              • With Chapman? I doubt that. The guy doesn’t bat. A starting pitcher I can see this happening with, but not a guy that never stands foot in the batters box.

    • If I remember correctly it was still a two run game in like the 8th inning. I remember thinking there is no was they did it on purpose. I also would hope the Zagurski wouldn’t even be allowed to pitch in such a situation.

    • Whoops! The bat flew right out of my hands and towards the pitcher. I pick Snider for this one. First inning.

      Or take care of Votto or Chapman before the game. Start yapping at them and let it escalate.

    • Never the head for me, Arriba! And, as long as the warning does not get issued before the game, Charlie should be ok with a back shot. I truly believe Votto will understand and accept. I could be wrong, but …

      He seemed to be talking pleasantly with Cutch at 1b after Cutch’s latest beaning.

      There was talk on twittersphere last night about the Reds sending another salvo over the bough tonight by hitting another Buc in the first inning to force the warnings. No way do I see that happening, but as long as Pick is in charge you never know.

  16. Can’t type this morning that should have been way instead of was and it should have been “hope that Zagurski” instead of the Zagurski. Although I think The Big Zagurski would be a good nickname for him.

  17. Where the heck is Hipposter this morning?

  18. On another note, that catch by Marte last night was unreal. I still can’t comprehend how he covered that much space in such a short period of time.

    • +1…but he’s still got a ways to go with being a top of the line defender.

      • Agree, but with that burst of speed and canon of an arm, the potential is through the roof. Hopefully he is willing to put in the work to get there.

      • Naje & Iceman:

        Not top of the line LF yet? I have to protest that, guys. No other LF in the game catches that ball IMO. Plus, he has a cannon. I believe all of the defensive metrics (not a perfect science, I realize) are showing his range is off the charts already. And, he is still learning LF.

        • ” And, he is still learning LF.”

          This is where I think he has room to grow and this is where I hope he puts the time and work in. As I said, his potential is through the roof and that play shows what he can do on the field.

    • Not that it really matters, but not only was Marte’s catch not the number one play on ESPN, it didn’t even make the Top Ten. Do they even watch the games?

  19. Instead of looking at that first pitch of every at bat right in the wheelhouse, how about driving that pitch right back through the box- something any MLB hitter ought to be able to do. Waiting for a pitcher to have someone’s back simply isn’t going to happen.


    • Hahahaha, yep, every MLB hitter should be able to hit a ball directly at the pitcher, at will.

      • Aren’t we just the sarcastic one this morning, NMR :) :)

        • Sorry Jandy, this whole issue is just mind numbing to me.

          This has been happening in baseball for as long as I can remember and guess what, IT NEVER CHANGES.


          I already know how this one ends, and I promise it isn’t with the Pirates flying off into the sunset as conquering heroes.

          • exactly. We’re gonna lose the series. I’m betting we get swept.

            it never changes. doesn’t mean you have to lie down for it.


              Please tell me how Cutch getting beaned caused Pirate pitchers to give up four ho…you know what, nevermind.

              This isn’t going anywhere.

              • I tend to agree with you, NMR, on this one. And some of the reaction seems to be of the macho kind, especially from the ladies. (I’ll pay for that one). And probably the best response would be to beat them and not let it affect your play.

                But I saw something over the weekend about Cutch getting hit by Chapman last year, and they said Cutch went something like 0-8 or 1-8 after that beaning. And I think he had been on a hot streak. So it arguably did have some effect. Would retaliation have prevented that? Who knows.

              • Aint’ saying nuttin :P

              • Very good point, AW.

                I was giving the players the benefit of the doubt, but maybe that is not deserved. Maybe the incident last year with Cutch along with the Casey McGehee trade deadline hooey meme are both real.

                I don’t know. If this team needs to brawl as their rallying cry, I’m not necessarilly sticking my nose up and taking the high road. Go for it.

                I just think it does absolutely no good to risk injury, suspension, and most importantly focus.

              • I never advocated a brawl, and I don’t think anyone did. In fact, I think everybody wishes this was just about playing baseball. But, the Reds seem to always start this crap, and my guess is they do it because they think it intimidates our guys.

                I really believe it would make Cutch and Walker (and a lot of other guys on the team) feel a lot better if they just sent back the signal to the team with the stupid baseball head with a face logo that we are not playing Bengals to their Steelers. In the big scheme of things, maybe it doesn’t accomplish anything. But, maybe it tells some of your key guys that they will be protected.

                If it has been happening in baseball for 100 years, I’m thinking the people involved in those situations thought it had some merit to team unity.

              • Jim, really?

                You open this can of worms and you can’t control what gets out. Retaliating then hiding in the dugout only serves to embolden the Reds.

                Clear the benches and you unleash a guy like Chapman.

                Good luck controlling him.

              • NMR:

                I don’t think anyone fears Chapman nearly as much when he isn’t holding a baseball.

                He’s a fake tough guy. He throws at guy’s heads because no one is stopping him and he doesn’t have to bat. He could be stopped by: a) MLB, which apparently will never happen; b) “Pick” Baker, which apparently also won’t happen; c) a teammate or teammates telling him that he is not helping the cause.

            • Pirates should call up Steve McIntyre and Derek England.

              That’ll show ‘em.

            • Jim S –

              You mean like fighting in hockey? Because it seems to me that like beanball wars, it only happens in the regular season and never in the playoffs.

              You know, that part of the season that actually counts.

              All of this beanball stuff is macho crap. Go out and play the damn game.

          • Good thing NMR doesn’t manage the Pirates, or they’d be getting sand kicked in their faces every game. “Cutch getting drilled. Hey, no problem. All part of the game. Thank you, Sir. May I have another? Nothing we can do about the Big Red Bullies. We’re going to lose anyway.”

      • Yeah, just like they can move runners over by going the other way. Similar concept. I think Cutch could drive one back at the pitcher.

        • He’s not driving the ball back to the pitcher without that type of pitch. At least, if you want it with any authority.

    • I imagine if that were the case, there would be a lot of guys hitting closer to 1.000.

    • If every major league hitter could drive the ball back through the box at will, they’d all be hitting .400 every year.

  20. A very informative article on Kris Letang’s UFA situation:

  21. My “final word” on the beanballs.

  22. McCutchen getting hit last nite was NOT intentional.
    I love how a ball on an 0-2 count that got away from a pitcher is somehow seen as intentional, and worthy of an escalation into a game of bean-ball.

    The Pirates lead the entire league in both their batters getting hit by pitches and in hitting the other team’s batters with pitches.
    They crowd the batter’s box (as they should), and get hit with pitches.
    They pitch inside (as they should), and these things happen.

    The Reds hit 4 long-balls last night not because McCutchen got hit in the back, and not because they didn’t feel “intimidated.”
    They hit them because Pirates pitchers left pitches belt high and over the plate.
    Make mistakes like that, and they go out a LONG WAY.

    What happened with Chapman last night was no different than how pitchers used to pitch in the 20′s, 30′s, 40′s, 50′s, 60′s and 70′s.
    Walker was moving in on the plate in order to protect the outside from Chapman’s slider.

    Everyone on the Reds saw this, Chapman saw it, so he buzzed him up high to get him to move back.
    It’s called pitching, and all the good ones do that.

    I just don’t see how starting a war of beanings accomplishes anything.
    What good will a number of ejections, suspensions, and possible injuries to right now?
    If this team needs something like the aforementioned to inspire them, then they have bigger issues to deal with.

    Hitting with runner’s in scoring position and limiting base-runners is they key to winning.
    Has been since the game was created 150+ years ago.
    Learn to do that, and everything else works itself out.

    • +1

      Agree with Playoffs and TC. We need to win ball games, not beanball fests because of some unwritten rules. These sideshows are a distraction and good teams get by them.

      • I think the question is, what is the best way to get by them? I think the Pirates have the best of them right now. Reds have missed 4 games due to injury from being plunked by us and we have missed none. But I’m just a little concerned that the Pirates feel pushed around a little bit regardless. Hard to ignore plunking your best player and then Chapman throwing at Walker’s head.

        • That’s what I’m saying, 21. I’m not advocating “going all Chapman” on them. Just showing that enough is enough.

          • Agreed. What really irks me is that Leake, Baker and Chapman weren’t tossed. More liberal rules in that area perhaps could have ended this whole thing or not even let it get started.

            • Well, that’s one thing the Buccos, nor anyone for that matter, have any control over. MLB is a joke in that regard.

              • I’m thinking just let Gaby or Snider get into Chapman’s face before the game and see what happens. If one of those guys gets suspended we could survive.

                Or sweep the Votto leg John Kreese style! ;-)

            • Sounds like a plan ;)

    • Quit making so much sense, guys.

    • Most of us here would argue that Dusty Baker endorses the bean-ball mentality.

      How many World Series championships does he have as a manager?
      How many times has his team been mere outs away from clinching a playoff series, only to choke it away?
      (2002, 2003, 2012)

      So why stoop to his level?

    • My biggest issue with this whole thing is that Chapman goes at the head with a 99 mph fast ball. If he brushes him off the plate by throwing it numbers high instead, I’m still annoyed, but I say that he is just working it inside to stop the player from crowding the plate. Throwing a ball that hard at a guys head is not ok at all. If the ball were to end up hitting him in the face or neck, there is no telling what type of damage it could do.

      • But hey, we need to take the high road and just ignore it. ;)

      • I agree with you completely.
        It bothers me that certain pitchers throw up high like that.

        But if you look back in history at, say, a guy like Bob Gibson, he wanted everyone to know that he was going to own the inside of the plate.
        So you stood in there and hovered over the inside corner at your own peril, so to speak.

        He controlled the plate, and therefore controlled the games he pitched, and has a bust in Cooperstown for his efforts.
        Again, I agree with you that throwing near the head is dangerous, but it is not without precedent.

    • I think you have some valid points, Playoffs. There is definitely room for disagreement about whether the one to Cutch’s upper back was intentional or not. As you say, an 0-2 count is an odd time to hit a guy. But, then again, a guy with pinpoint control all night suddenly loses all of his control and hits our best player in the back – the 4th such occurrence in the last few years … it at least makes you wonder, right?

      Chapman doing what he does repeatedly is not something common to the game IMO. Not these days, anyway. There are ways to brush a guy off the plate much lower on his body. And I have heard a lot of ex-pitchers chime in over the past week about how you can pitch inside w/o throwing at a guy’s head. When this guy actually hits a batter in the head, and maybe the guy isn’t lucky enough to have it his helmet, I wonder what happens then. Just seems like Chapman is flirting with disaster, and he simply doesn’t care.

      The Pirates say they are teaching their pitchers the lost art of pitching inside. With that comes a lot of the harmless HBP on the bicep, rib cage, thigh, etc that we often see Marte receive. We have hit the most batters in the league, and I’ll bet we are close to receiving the most in the league as well. The 100 MPH heater past NW’s ear was something completely different, and has no part in the game just as an intentional elbow to the head of an unsuspecting player in an NHL game has no part, or a blindside blow to a QB’s head has no place in the NFL. Those things existed forever in those sports, but times have changed.

      • Well said, Jim S.

      • I agree with you also.
        Perhaps for me, I’m just not at all “outraged” by anything I saw with Reds pitchers last night.

        For me, it looked like they had a game plan of moving guys off the plate in certain situations, and they followed that game plan.

        You are completely right about Chapman and his erratic control combined with his apparent reckless abandon for pitching up high and tight.
        But then again I think he uses that to his advantage as well.
        A good closer will do that and should do that.

        In the end, the “outrage” for me is not hitting with runners in scoring position.
        Do that with more consistency and teams will think twice before putting one of our guys on base with an intentional beaning.

    • You do not move a hitter off of the plate by directing a 100 mph fastball at his face.

      I’d be inclined to agree with you that the McCutchen HBP was accidental if it wasn’t for the fact that Leake has now nailed him twice in the head area. There is little doubt in my mind that throwing at or near McCutchen’s head is part of the Reds game plan.

      • Wouldn’t surprise me if that was part of their game plan.
        But, the more runners that get hit who come around to score will change that game plan.

        • True. But you do NOT throw at the head under any circumstances, and that’s what we’re seeing from the Reds, over and over again.

  23. If doing nothing but provoking beanball wars with other teams to intimidate them is so effective, why aren’t all teams doing it?

  24. I watched some of the Mets/Braves last night. Game started at 10:52 PM ET! It was hilarious. Practically every batter was swinging at the first pitch.

    The two teams play a day/night DH today with the Metsies starting their two top pitching prospects.

  25. I didn’t see the replay of when Leake hit Cutch. But it was an 0-2 pitch. Isn’t it possible that it was a pitch that got away?

    The Reds know that their pitchers are ‘in Cutch’s head’ to start with. And maybe the book on Cutch is to pitch him inside and back him off the plate.

    Chapman’s pitch to Walker is a different story.
    But if that pitch upset the Pirates so much (because they said it was intentional) why didn’t Walker yell at Chapman, the catcher, or the ump.

    • It’s just too much of a coincidence to me that it was Cutch. And Walker probably didn’t yell because he’s a wuss. Probably be a reporter after he retires.

    • TC, it 100% did get away from Leake.
      The catcher set-up inside and gave a target that was high.

      0-2 count like that, give him something up high and tight to back him off the plate, and then throw the next one low and away.
      That’s pitching 101.

      Chapman was doing the same thing with Walker.
      Walker had moved in to try to better position himself to reach a low and away slider.
      Chapman buzzed him up high to get him to back off the plate.
      Again, pitching 101.

      Had Chapman put one in Walker’s ear, that would be a different story.
      But he didn’t.
      He moved him off the plate.

      For a bunch of fans that scream about toughness and retaliation, we seem to get all flummoxed (still love that term) when an opposing pitcher comes inside to move a guy off the plate.
      Intentional or not, it’s how you need to pitch to get outs in this league, ask Mr. Searage, he’ll concur.

      Maybe it’s us that need to toughen’ up.
      Not a sermon, just a thought ;)

      • “TC, it 100% did get away from Leake.
        The catcher set-up inside and gave a target that was high.”

        I don’t know how anyone can say that. All any of us is doing is speculating. They could be smarter than you think.

        • I think they have the phones in the clubhouse bugged. { insert government joke here}

        • True, but, how smart is it to get up 0-2 on a guy and then hit him with a pitch?
          Especially in this day or heavily monitored pitch counts.

          Logic would normally dictate that an intentional beaning would happen on an 0-0 or 3-0 count.

          • But if they want you to think what you are thinking, they’d do it on an 0-2 count.

            Just too much of a coincidence that it was Cutch.

      • Playoffs by Infinity,

        Your comments have been SPOT ON today!

        Keep preachin’, brother!

      • “Had Chapman put one in Walker’s ear, that would be a different story.
        But he didn’t.”

        It was pretty close. Are we saying that because Walker was able to get out of the way that Chapman’s intention was to simply back him away? And to actually put it on the side of his head, you’d have to have to be pretty precise, no?

        • You are right, the pitch was close to his head, but again look at the count and the situation.

          If Chapman was intentionally looking to hit Walker, why would he wait until it was a 2-2 count?
          Why not just hit him with the first pitch?

          Don’t get me wrong, I think Chapman is a punk.
          But he played the at-bat with Walker perfectly.

          Get 2 strikes on him, throw one up high and tight to move him back, then put him away with the next pitch.
          I’d want my closer to do the exact same thing.

          • He wasn’t trying to intentionally hit Walker. He was throwing at him. Whether the pitch hits him or not doesn’t really matter to Chapman.

            He’d be throwing at a lot less heads if he ever had to bat, you can bet on that.

            • Or if the guys he does came around to score more often.
              Either way it would get him to think twice about what he does on the mound.

      • The only reason that Walker isn’t in a hospital or dead right now is because he made a near superhuman effort to get out of the way.

    • BTW, Thunder, this was not directed at you, just a general reply to all as a follow-up to your post.

    • I wondered that as well, Thunder.

    • Yup….why do you hit a guy with an 0-2 count?

      And what was the score at that time?

      Do they really want to put guys on base?

  26. I can tell you this: Professional Teammate Casey McGehee wouldn’t have stood for this.

  27. Just heard about this on Trib radio….thought is was hilarious….


    I once predicted that the Fountain at the Point would be working before Dejan’s clock would be correct.

    The Fountain is now spewing beautifully!!

  29. For those who say just hit the ball, and win……….. dont retaliate, I need you to clarify something for this dumb Hippo, please……………

    Reds batters lean OVER the plate without fear.
    Pirates batters stay AWAY from the plate because Cincy pitchers pitch at their heds, or bean them whenever they come inside. Why is this??

    The issue of this is……….. Cincy started this in 2010 (as shown on last night’s telecast). Then they continued it last year, to which Hurdle was going to do something, but Baker outsmarted him and got another shot in, prompting warnings. Clint rightfully went ballistic.

    If I remember correctly, Phillips did miss some games after a plunking, but I also believe that was due to the Reds hitting one of our guys earlier in the game. So lets keep that in mind.

    Point is, yes, we have to hit, field, score, etc.
    But the Reds are headhunting, and we are cowed by it.
    It we continue to be cowed by it, it will (and already is) affecting our play.

    Do with this as you will, but something has to be done to stop it.
    And…… for those of you who say it wont stop, I present the 2011 St. Louis Cardinals. They were the victims of Reds beanballs, then in August 2011, they had enough, had a full scale brawl…………. and were never plunked by the Reds again……… to this day.

    And, they won the 2011 WS, while the reds didnt make the playoffs (after being tied before that brawl.) St Louis stood up to the bully. The Pirates dont.

    Case closed.

    • You’re right.

      The reason the Cardinals won the World Series that year was because they got in a stupid brawl with the Reds.

      I guess that means the case is closed: let’s crown the Dodgers your 2013 World Series Champions!

      • No Sean, give it a rest.

        LaRussa has said that that series was a key that year.
        He knows more about baseball than anyone here.

        If I want to return your snark…….. Lets just have the Pirates lay down consistently to the Reds, and lose every game to them. That way we always take the “high road”, and just let the chips fall where they may. Unreal.

        Notice the Reds consistently do this to the Pirates, and not other teams? Doesnt that strike you as just a bit odd? Sure, Baker has always been an ass, and they occassionally do this to other teams, but they always do it to the Bucs.

        But I guess we should just ignore this when Cuth, or someone else gets hit in the head, and suffers major damage.
        Yep, thats the ticket. Do nothing, so you can visit your teammate in the Hospital.
        Yep, thats the ticket.

        • Melodramatic, much?

          You seem to think the reason the Pirates keep losing to the Reds is because of the beanballs, and not the fact that hey, just maybe, those guys with “Cincinnati” across their chests might actually be a pretty good baseball team. One of the best in the National League, in fact. The Pirates, sadly, are not.

          You know, the Pirates wouldn’t have to worry about that if they actually just went and beat the Reds. To me, it’s ridiculous to blame the losing on beanballs and not on THE DISPARITY OF TALENT AND PERFORMANCE BETWEEN THE TWO TEAMS.

          And the whole bit about some player suffering “major damage;” yeesh, really?

          • Your viewpoint, and overall snarkiness would be different if a 98mph fastball was coming toward your head.

            Sorry I engaged you this morning.
            My tolerance for snark is less than it used to be.

            Good day.

            • Tommy Toughnuts, reporting for duty.

              • Nice one, NMR. There seem to be a few Tommy Toughnuts ready to go to battle tonight. Heck, there is even a Tina Toughnuts here too.

                Semper Fi!

            • I just don’t see how Charlie Morton plunking Votto tonight is going to magically make the Pirates hitters better. You do, apparently.

              • Who said it would magically make the Pirates better? A lot of baseball people over the decades have said that it can have a galvanizing effect on a team to stand up for one another. Plan was relaying what LaRussa said from a couple of years ago. I recall a brawl the ’79 Bucs had that they thought was a catalyst. Might have been vs. the Phils.

              • Who said it? A lot of people this morning.

                Apparently, if the Pirates just stand up to the Reds and drill their players, then the Reds will no longer disrespect the Pirates, the Pirates will be emboldened, and proceed to beat the team with superior talent with regularity.

                The goal is to win the division and the World Series, not show each other how tough you are because you dusted Brandon Phillips.

              • No one said it. All I see is a bunch of snark coming back tho.
                Remember, opinions are like a$$hole$ and everyone has one.

            • Sean:

              Do you think that 100 MPH fastball last night could not have seriously injured Walker? I do, and I think Walker does.

              • Well then the answer is simple:

                Morton needs to drill Votto in the head and knock him out. I bet if he does that, Neil Walker hits three home runs and the Pirates win in a route.

              • I don’t get your argument because you seem to have created a strawman. Maybe not intentionally, but you are arguing a point none of us has made. No one has said it would make the Pirates better hitters to drill a guy on the Reds. In fact, no one even said they should throw at someone’s head. All I am stating, and it seems to be the same point as many have made, is that you don’t let another team psychologically own you by thinking they can bully you. As in life, in every sport you need to stand up for yourself at some point. That is how it will end and they can get back to just baseball. The Reds may very well still kick their butts afterward, but you still stand up to them.

              • Maybe the Reds wouldn’t think they could bully the Pirates if the Pirates responded to this nonsense by beating them regularly.

                I’m a “Mad Men” fan, and there’s a great line from not too long ago. Don Draper is at odds with a younger upstart copywriter who has no respect for him. The young copywriter says to Don, “You know, I really feel bad for guys like you.”

                Draper responds, “That’s funny. I don’t think about you at all.”

                In essence, the attitude should be, “You guys keep playing your stupid macho head games. All we care about is winning baseball games.”

                That they aren’t winning those games is not a product of being bullied. It’s a product of not being good enough.

              • Good point Jim S. When you don’t have a good answer, just come back with snark.

                Nothing wrong with sticking up for your team mates.

                When ever someones DOES get hit in the head, and they way Chapman is allowed to do anything he wants with impunity, it’s going to be too late.

              • All I know is my father taught me to handle my own problems.

                What in the hell does Morton throwing at a Reds batter have to do with Cutch and Walker standing up for themselves?

                And Sean hasn’t even come close to creating a strawman. The argument from Jim, et al is that being bullied has caused the Pirates to play poorly. It’s only logical to assume that retaliation is meant to reverse this trend of poor play, or else it is absolutely pointless.

                That simply is not the definition of a strawman.

              • Thanks NMR.

              • Strawman or whatever you want to call it, Jim S has a point and you guys made stuff up and he called you out on it.

              • Jandy, please read my response and tell me where I’m wrong.

                This should be simple.

              • If only I actually made anything up.

                Here’s Stuart from earlier in the thread:

                “The umpire didn’t warn anybody, giving the Bucs the chance to retaliate. They didn’t.

                When it became apparent that they wouldn’t, Red’s hitters dug in their spikes and swung for the fences.

                Just as a reminder, the Reds later threw a fastball at PRNW’s head.

                The Reds have the Pirates number. You may not like Dusty Baker but he’s your Daddy.”

                Seems to me he’s saying something to the effect of, “The Reds beat the Pirates because the Pirates won’t retaliate.”

                Here’s Jim, who I admit is fairly reasonable in his first post, on hitting Votto:

                “Something needs to be done to put them back on their heels a bit. Otherwise, this series could become a rout.”

                Again, the idea is that the Reds are winning because they’re not afraid of getting beaned. The logical extension is that if the Pirates would just bean them, the Reds wouldn’t perform as well.

                Jandy, this is your comment earlier:

                “I saw that coming, NMR. I’m not saying we should go nuts on the Reds, but doing NOTHING isn’t the right thing, either.
                And I honestly think we lose ALL these games if we just meekly accept their bullying.
                Just like we lost last night.”

                Again, the implication is that the Pirates are losing because they’re intimidated and not retaliating. So the logical inverse of that would be…

              • NMR, I never said the Pirates have played poorly because they feel bullied by the Reds. I have simply tried to say that if you allow yourself to be a victim it won’t end. I also said a lot of baseball people have said standing up to this tactic can have a galvanizing effect.

                And, as for Walker and Cutch solving their own problems, how exactly are they going to do that short of charging the mound – which I really don’t want to see. If the answer is to just hit better, then great. I’m all for that. But, that doesn’t mean the beanings end.

              • And that “galvanizing effect” is intended to do what?

                Make them better buddies? Or play better baseball?

                You’re right, hitting better will not stop the bean balls. But you still have not provided a solution that will.

            • I hope you are okay, Plan.

    • I watched every pitch last night.

      I did not see one Pirate batter cowed, or horsed, or butterflyed, or hippoed.

      McCutch was even laughing with Votto shortly thereafter.

      Pirate pitchers have hit more batters than Reds pitchers have. After Watson of Pirates hit the Reds 2nd baseman, he missed 4 games.

      Fans sitting on couches, and Greg Brown——who is more a fan than an announcer——are more cowed than the Pirate ballplayers are.

      • Exactly. Its so easy to win an argument when it’s completely fabricated.

      • AMEN!

        What many fail to realize is that as I type this, the Pirates are still leading the season series against the Reds.
        Where is the “intimidation” factor there?

        This isn’t hockey, what good is escalating this into a brawl going to accomplish for anyone?

        • But how could they be doing that? I thought they were peeing down their legs every time they stepped in the batter’s box, afraid that Evil Dusty Baker (TM) was going to order his pitcher to drill them in the earhole!

          • Let me ask you then, Sean. How many pitches need to whiz by the heads of our players before we do anything about it? Do we wait until someone actually gets hit in the side of the head by Chapman? Or, does it still not matter at that point?

            I think those are fair questions. And I don’t think the answer can be “It won’t make us score more runs or give up less runs by retaliating.” I already realize that.

            I suppose the answer could be that you don’t think Chapman does this stuff on purpose.

            • I guess that works on the assumption that Chapman will actually drill someone in the head intentionally.

              It’d be great if there was some governing body of baseball teams – almost like a league with officers, and maybe someone like a commissioner – who could mete out punishment in such a situation. Maybe even a punishment so severe that it would deter players from doing that.

              • It’s there, Sean, but they are not doing anything about it. We saw what they did about the guy in AZ vs. LA last week where the fracas (great word) escalated and everyone only got their wrist slapped.

            • Jim, you never replied to me above.

              How do you propose the Pirates control the situation once the beaning happen so that it does not turn into an all out brawl?

              You seem to be worried about what a 100 mph fastball can do to a persons head, and rightfully so. Perhaps Zach Grienke can tell us what happens to a pitchers body in a bench clearing brawl.

              Seems like a lot of risk to take without a shred of evidence that it will actually get Chapman to stop what he is doing.

              • Sorry, NMR. I thought I had replied to this in other posts.

                Ok, I originally said that a Reds player needs to be hit tonight early. My vote, if Charlie gets the first 2 guys out, is to drill Votto in the back – hard, but not dangerously. Kind of like the one to Cutch last night. I believe Votto takes it like a man, the umps issue warnings, and things are relatively back on normal terms. Maybe not, but I think that is the best chance of having it end there. That sort of squarest things for Phillips + tonight vs. Cutch/Walker.

                If there is a man or two on when Votto gets up, then obviously it has to wait. Maybe there will be a more opportune time to nail him or someone else. If not, then I guess it rides to the next game. I realize this is not a simple thing to handle all the time.

                I am not a “street justice” guy and this is not a testosterone thing or whatever some who choose to mock opposing viewpoints are saying. I just think there is a time and place to simply stand up for yourself and answer back in equal terms. It should not lead to a brawl. The umps will issue warnings. If the Reds choose to prolong it past that point, then it will show that they have been thrown off their game.

                I have not advocated throwing at anyone’s head as a response to Chapman. I don’t want to see a Reds player or anyone else hit in the head, and I don’t want people charging the mound or throwing bats. That is very dangerous, and anyone who doesn’t think so has not watched a lot of baseball. The Chapman thing has to be handled by MLB, Reds Mgt., Baker or some of his teammates. I hope someone lets him no in no uncertain terms that doing this is not good. If MLB simply started suspending guys when this occurs repeatedly, I think it would end.

              • Very well said, Jim, and I sincerely appreciate your decorum.

                I don’t have any problem at all with what you’ve said.

                We’ll have to agree to disagree on whether or not we feel that solution will be effective, but hey, this is baseball talk. If we never disagreed, it wouldn’t be any fun!

          • Sean, that is SO over the top.

      • I think some folks are missing the point. You don’t retaliate because they might beat you as a result of a beaning attempt. You don’t retaliate because your hitters are afraid; these guys are major league hitters. They’re not going to be intimidated. You retaliate because, if you don’t, the Reds will continue to do the same thing over and over, and, sooner or later, Neil Walker’s reflexes won’t be quite enough, and he’ll be lying unconscious in the batter’s box with a pool of blood forming around his head. You don’t throw at the head. You don’t even throw at shoulder level. Dusty Baker sure as hell knows that. Perhaps he’s forgotten, and needs another reminder. So you remind him by plunking Votto or Phillips in the ribs or in the butt. Or you take your suspension and go ahead and charge the mound. But you can’t let this headhunting continue, or one of your important players is going to get seriously hurt.

        • Perhaps he’s forgotten?

          Are we still talking about the same Dusty Baker who just last weekend advocated NHL-style fighting in baseball?

          That guy is going to changebecause his best player being hit in the butt?


          • I keep forgetting to hit the sarcasm button when I’m using it.

            But you just don’t throw at the head, even if it’s an eye for an eye situation. You have to go under the armpits. You don’t want to risk killing somebody. Hitting Joey Votto in the butt makes Baker worry about a number of things. Maybe the next one won’t be at Votto’s butt. Maybe Votto gets his forearm in the way, and it gets broken.

    • Bahaha. Case closed. Prosecution rests.


    • I would wager the Cardinals “standing up to the bully” had less to do with their World Series win than their considerable talent did.

      As NMR said above, if getting plunked is enough to throw the Pirates off their game, they’re in worse shape than I thought.

      Which, by the way, was a position I expressed last season with Neil Walker’s comments and everyone’s insistence about the “ALL IN” nonsense. If that team was so mentally weak that it tanked because Neil Huntington didn’t get them the shiniest bauble on the market – because they felt they weren’t good enough to win without one more player – then they had already lost.

      I repeat the same this year. If this is enough to cause the Pirates to turn tail and run, then they clearly don’t have the mental toughness to compete.

    • Let’s face it folks, intimidation is real. One of humanity’s less-than-noble attributes. Still–as i so often teach kids who are victims of bullys–the most effective and efficient (though maybe not the most pain-free) manner of dealing with intimidation is to Stand…Up…To…It.

      Once an opponent see fear in the victim’s eyes, it tends to make the opponent more aggressive. Watching these performances over the last couple seasons illustrates that quite clearly to me.

      McCutch, Walker, whomever needs to drop the bat and take a stroll out to the mound and cold-cock Chapman and teach that clown what it feels like to be struck in the head with blunt-force of about 450 lb psia. Let the brawl ensue; nothing usually happens in those dopey scrums anyway.

      I contend that will change the dynamic of the relationship between these two teams and get that stupid intimidation factor out of it. And then we can settle down for some good, high-quality baseball between two highly competitive teams.

      nuff said, tanks for reading

  30. What would REALLY boil my grits would be, as 21 suggested, the reds make a preemptive strike against the Pirates in the top of the first, and in so doing, draw the fateful Warning.

    Ticks me off to even think of the possibility.

    So let’s plunk 21.

  31. I think it is wise to let reason prevail over passion when playing against Baker. Intellect will trump strength in Baker’s case because the man is a terrible manager.

      • Lucky:

        Do you get to any of the Bucs games vs the Reds in the Queen City? Or, are you too far from there?

        • Too far, Jim. We’re in south central KY, 4 hours away. Sometimes FoxSports Ohio gets the feed over whatever we have and we get a game or two.

          Got the TBS game the other day and a couple on WGN, but that’s all I’ve seen this season so far. We buy the radio feed from MLB, so we still feel at home with the broadcasts.

          • Radio is still a great way to enjoy a game.

            • The best in my opinion. You don’t have to be glued to a TV to enjoy the game.

              You can actually accomplish something while it’s on.

              Bob Prince and Jim Woods still echo through my head on a summer day.

              • Was Woods before Nellie King, Lucky? I caught the end of the Gunner’s reign and loved him. I still remember when he came back for one last broadcast many years after they forced him out, and a horrible Bucs team rallied for something like a 10-run inning as if by Divine Intervention.

                I read a study somewhere once that listening to the radio is much better for stimulating the brain than watching TV because radio forces you to paint a picture in your mind, whereas TV just hands everything to you and you don’t have to think much.

              • The Possom was before Nellie King. Nellie and the Gunner were fired in the 70′s, the Possom was the Gunners partner in 60

              • Biz–wasn’t there an overlap? I seem to remember the three of them for awhile, but, yeah, Woods preceded Nellie.

              • Correct as usual, Uncle Biz.

                And Jim, I remember that game you’re talking about. Prince could hardly talk. He had cancer in his throat or mouth or some area, but they just kept hitting in that inning and he kept talking somehow.

    • I’m trying to picture the U.S. President reasoning calmly with Nikita Kruschev while K. was pounding on his dias with his shoe!

      I’d be the last to favor passion over reason, but there are some instances where a little show of force can be helpful. In the former case, we might have missles 90 miles away in Cuba if we had not blockaded the ships bringing them in.

      No, I don’t think the Pirates will hit any better, but they might be able to “dig in” a little instead of being so tentative at the plate.


      • I guess my response is, the Pirates aren’t a good offensive team anyway. What some see as intimidation and tentativeness due to being bullied might just be that they’re not very good hitters.

      • I’m not sure it’s fair to compare the game of baseball to the geopolitical complexities of the Cold War, Stuart.

        But I understand your point on

  32. You’re right, everyone. I’m too snarky with my responses. So let me be blunt.

    I think this issue is overblown and stupid, and has nothing to do with winning baseball games, despite some comments to the contrary. I don’t believe the Pirates retaliating will have any effect on winning tonight’s game or future games. Those asking for retaliation seem more intent on revenge than winning ball games.

    • And you’re entitled to your opinion. We just happen to disagree.

      • I didn’t think you were snarky with me, Sean, FWIW. I just thought there was a bit of an exaggeration or misunderstanding of where some of us stood on the issue. But, I agree with you that if the Bucs simply play better baseball than the Reds they will win ball games.

        • Gracias, Jim. Sorry if I misrepresented your position. I think this debate brings out the worst in me.

          It could also be the fact that the AC in our office isn’t working, and it’s a toasty 83 degrees in here. But I’ll definitely blame myself first.

          • I’ll second this for myself, Jim, except my office is cool.

            I need to be a little more Jim S. and a little less smart*ss.

            • I’m seriously concerned someone could die in here. I just watched three work study kids walking down the hall with their shirts tied around their heads, asking if I knew the way to Bartertown.

          • No sweat, guys. Right back at you. I didn’t take anything personally.

      • Plus infinity.


  33. I just don’t understand it . . . . . . . that un-Ken Dryden-like Tuukka Rask threw another shutout at the mighty Chicago Blackhawks.

    I hear it is because Joel Quenneville, Chicago coach, refuses to make adjustments for his team’s approach to Rask. They should just fire that Joel Quenneville, President’s Trophy be darned! His bullheadedness against adjustments and putting guys in front of the net will cost him the Cup.

    He can’t even make the proper adjustments to get his Power Play to score against the pedestrian Rask. I’ll bet Joel Quenneville probably has someone playing on the wrong wing.

  34. Hey Jim,

    You might have already read this, but I thought it was a timely wrap-up on the nice prospect conversation you started yesterday. Jim Callis of Baseball America updated his Pirates Top 10 list:

    • Thanks for the link. Interesting stuff

      • Indeed.

        Couple things that stuck out:

        -it appears that the system will not fall off a cliff once Cole and Taillon reach the majors
        -exactly half of the top 10 will finish the year in the upper minors
        -Luis Heredia, ranked 9th in the system, just missed the pre-season top 100 in all of baseball

        • Things are definitely looking up. First it was, “There is no talent whatsoever in this system.” Then it was “There is no talent in the upper levels of this system.” Both of those things were said by me over and over, btw.

          Now, its “We are starting to accumulate a nice load of talent throughout.” Also said by me just now.

          • Haha, mark your words.

            I think it’s getting close to putting that “top heavy” meme to bed, too, isn’t it?

    • Great article, NMR! I like when people say they had a tough time squeezing certain guys into our Top 10 prospects.

      I read last night that the HS coach for McGuire said about his ability to get the ball to 2nd base, something to the effect of, “From pop to pop, he’s 1.77 seconds, which is better than most pros.”

      Obviously, he is a HS coach, and this is his pride and joy he is speaking of. So, I took it with a grain of salt. But, if the kid can get it down to 2b anywhere near as well as an average MLB catcher at this point, he is some kind of advanced defensive catcher.

      • I saw that too, Jim. Incredible. You’re almost certainly correct in that there’s probably a bit of exageration, but that is still blazing fast.

        For a bit of reference, the fastest average pop time in Major League Baseball last year was 1.87 sec shared by Yadi Molina, Matt Wieters(ugh), Kelly Shoppach, and Russell Marting(yay!).

        The second slowest average pop time was 1.97 by Rod Barajas.

        Shows what a difference a tenth makes.

      • 1.77 is an amazing time….

    • That is really a solid top ten.

      Even three of those guys are in AA or AAA.

  35. Oh Lord! What feelings have been evoked in Blog Land today.
    I would like to see the Pirates play a more consistent brand of baseball…by consistent I mean getting the bats, or offense, if you will, in gear and keeping said offense in gear. Everyone needs to make a commitment to that.

    As far as the plunking…I’m no longer sure where I come out on this. Each side makes compelling arguments for plunking and not plunking. I guess I want to see the Pirates unleash the beast (both offensively and defensively) and not be intimidated by teams such as the Reds. So far, the Pirates have more than held their own against teams that, for many years, have indeed been their betters. I just don’t see how the Reds are any different.

    Could it be that the Reds were just better than the Pirates last night and were able to take advantage of pitches that were belt high? Each run scored was from a solo home run, so it’s not as if the defense did not do it’s part.

    As for Chapman, he throws at heads. That is his MO. Unfortunately, because the MLB, like many sports authorities, picks and chooses when to enforce its own rules in a cheap attempt to manufacture more publicity. So, don’t expect Chapman to stop that or Baker to police it any time soon. It just leaves the Pirates in an unenviable position and trying to figure out what toughness really means.

    My definition…especially to bring this rambling post to a close…The Pirates must pull on their big boy pants, wake up the bats, and play the quality baseball they know they are capable of. Anything less is just weak!!!!!!

    Thank you for your time and attention.

    • Very well said, Brandy! Well worth my time and attention.

    • DK and the powers that be at the Trib should love all the hits generated by our back and forth on the beanball situation. However they measure it (new visits, unique visits, time on site, stickiness, # of posts, etc.) this is all good. DK is probably at Kennywood as we speak, having lunch with the family and marveling at the # of posts. Hopefully, he is eating those big, thick fries with gravy and cheese on them, if they still sell those at the Potato Patch or whatever it is called.

  36. To all,

    I’ve enjoyed the back and forth today about last night’s game.
    We all have our own opinions about what the Reds pitchers are trying to do against our hitters.

    But in the end it will come down to what our hitters can do against their pitchers.
    May the better team win!

    I’ve got to get some work done today, but I’ll be back later on with today’s over/under line.

    Window Out.

  37. I can’t believe nobody has talked about this yet today but what do all you guys think about the topic of if the Pirates Pitchers should bean the reds players tonight or not.

    • Nice, Nate.

      • Honestly I see both sides of the debate and respect both view points. When it comes to which one is correct that is Hurdle’s call. Only he knows if it would benefit this team to flex it’s muscles and show the Reds they are not going anywhere. I agree last night the one to Cutch was probably more just a pitch getting away just as Phillips getting hit in the hand was not on purpose.

        This goes back to last year when the Reds and MLB made fools of the Pirates and didn’t allow the typical unwritten rules of baseball to play out. We essentially got bullied right before the teacher walked in and gave warnings. This didn’t happen once but twice. I don’t think for a second that isn’t in the back of most of the players on this team mind. I’m sure they feel like there is some unfinished business to take care of and yes I do believe it can unite a team but I could be wrong. If Hurdle believes the same thing then it should and will be done.

    • Somebody got hit???

  38. I think we’ve beaten this topic into the ground. Let’s move on.

    What do you think of the Jason Bay trade? Did we give up on Joey Bats too soon?

  39. Oshkosh b’Gosh,

    NBA draft in about a week. Latest mock draft I saw had Vander Blue of your Marquette Warriors not even being drafted. Too bad! I wish he had stayed with Buzz.

    I also saw last night that Doc Rivers as coach might be traded to Clippers. Interesting! I think Doc could take Clippers to the Promised Land, especially if Kevin Garnett joins him as rumored.

  40. Hilarious picture featuring the Hawks’ Andrew Shaw hitting Brad Marchand! I almost feel bad for Marchand. Almost…

  41. PBC signs McGuire for 200k under slot, per MLBTradeRumors

  42. OK, OK, OK….

    What everyone here needs to do is go back to the top and read the posts……makes it even more funny.

    • Loved this, Ryan…”I’m still for a shot on Votto though….NOT THAT IT WILL HELP ANYTHING…I just don’t like the guy.”

      I think he’s the best hitter in the National League, but I’m not above getting a little chuckle out of seeing 95 mph to the ribs.

      • Yeah, I re-read that one also. Very funny!

        I still go back to the last time when we played them and Oshkosh went on a hilarious “I hate the Reds” rant.


    Everyone should give this a go…post scores after

    • Tough one….70%. some of the wording you may have to read a few times…Got what I thought the hard ones right, missed on the easier ones.

      • 90%. I missed the falling into the stands one but I did get one right for the wrong reasons.

        And it really was 90% as opposed to the 20% rule which is when someone tells you their SAT score, you immediately should subtract 20%.

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