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Morning Java: Special guest Mark Melancon

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> Today’s TribLIVE Radio show — 1-2 p.m. — will feature a call-in interview with the Pirates’ Mark Melancon, live from Seattle. Thanks to all concerned for making it happen.

Also, I’ll begin with a few thoughts on what the rest of this summer holds, as well as stuff on the Penguins’ big weekend to come and the Stanley Cup final. We’ll also talk some Steelers offseason with Trib football writer Mark Kaboly and, of course, engross ourselves in the wit and wisdom of @Suckmeterand Suckmeter Jr.?

To listen, just click on the link above. It’s free, easy, no signup. If you’ve got an iPhone, iPad or Android, we’ve got the upgraded TribLIVE Radio app. Also free and easy.

I want you involved, too …

Email: sportstalk@tribweb.com

Call: 412-320-7925

And you can email the show at any time, not just when it’s on.

>> Congratulations to the champions of the grandest trophy in team sports …

>> Here’s much more on the Blackhawks from the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times.

That finish was as fantastic as any in a Cup final, including those that went to Game 7. What a flourish, what drive by the Chicago forwards to pound the net, as if by force of will.

All in 17 seconds …

>> Just remember: This season almost didn’t happen.

>> The Penguins made a minor trade for a guy with a lot of majors. Josh Yohe reports.

>> The Pirates open up tonight at Safeco for another of those weird — and unfortunately inconvenient — two-game series forced upon the MLB schedule by the perpetual interleague play. Rob Biertempfel reports from the Great Northwest.

I’ll have much more on the club and where it stands in the Wednesday column.

For now, here was The Final Word’s segment on that subject …

>> Thanks but no thanks, Pitt tells Rushel Shell. Jerry DiPaola reports. Can’t take this away from Paul Chryst: The man doesn’t think in the short term when it comes to program-building. Always thinking of precedents being set.

>> Hope you can tune in today!

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.

567 Comments

  1. Just wanted to post this as a “first” to see if the blog is fixed. :)

    Excellent reading Chicago won the Cup.
    So happy Jeremy “Lockout” Jacobs didnt get his grubby hands on it.

    Paul Chryst just might have become the best coach in Pitt history by making the correct decision on Rushel Shell. As a Pitt alum, I support his decision 101%. This may cost him a couple games, but he is intent on doing things the correct way. If this prima donna Shell would have been welcomed back, Chryst would have looked foolish.

    Bucs in Seattle………. another sleepless one, eh? Wouldn’t it be nice to sweep this mini-series?

    Hippo Hey!!!!! ;)

    DK: Foolish? Really? Not sure about that. I’d be surprised if most Pitt fans didn’t immediately rationalize bringing back Shell if only because of what he could bring as a player.

    • Yes, DK, really.

      Chryst would have looked weak. The inmates would be allowed to roam free. Very happy Chryst took a principled stand.

      And most Pitt fans could rationalize all they want. Million dollar talent, 10 cent head. Brian Davis the second anyone??

      As the immortal Mike Singletary would say…………
      “Cannot play with them, cannot win with them, cannot coach with them. Can’t do it. I want winners. I want people that want to win.”

      Maybe he can play for a community college team close to home?

      DK: Good rebuttal. I can respect that.

      • Oh, and officially welcome back, now. I missed the bold replies while you were gone. I like the interaction. Now just keep your blog fixed, ok? :)

      • I think you’re both right. Chryst made the correct and principled decision. Shell has played too many games OFF the field to be playing any more games ON the field for Pitt. He has had more than enough chances to correct his immaturity issues, and has not done it yet. He’s very talented athletically, and he has 2 children to take care of. So, I hope he now grows up and accepts his responsibilites – but not at Pitt. In the long run, he’ll be better off elsewhere, and so will Pitt. Good luck to him!

        • Oops! Forgot the “you’re both right” part. DK is absolutely correct that many fans will look at his talent and rationalize giving him one more chance.

      • First person I thought of was Brian Davis….

  2. Awesome ending to an amazing series. Reposting from earlier –

    Thoughts on the MVP? Kane was a distant #2 to Krejci in scoring. Crawford wins 16, #1 in GA (playing more than 2 games), only trailed Rask in SV%, one shut out.

    In Kane’s own words, “I think [Corey Crawford] might have gotten snubbed, to be honest with you.”

    Hurt by the last two being goalies as well? I didn’t see enough of Kane to know how his all around game was, but it just seems that Crawford was outstanding.

    DK: Yeah, heard Kane say that. He’s probably right, especially in light of the performance Crawford had just delivered in this particular game.

    That said, I’ll take four straight Americans with the Conn Smythe.

    • I’ll take the four straight best players, Homer.

      Though I have no problem with Kane.

    • From what I watched, I think it was a toss up between Crawford and Kane. They both played great and certainly helped lead their teams to the Cup win.

      On another note, saw that Bergeron was playing with a separated shoulder, cracked rib, and torn cartilage and was still winning a ton of faceoffs. I’m glad Boston didn’t win, but Bergeron sure is a competitor and is walking proof that hockey players are some of the toughest dudes out there.

    • My pick was Crawford. They might still have won with an average performance by Kane. I don’t think they come close without Crawford’s excellence when needed most.

  3. Just watched the Final Word…they say the TV camera adds 10 lbs. Just how many cameras were on you, DK? Maybe it was the suit…;)

    DK: Appreciate the concern, Ryan, but I’m 6-2, 235, and can still go top shelf from the top of the circle on you any day of the week. Bring a regulation mask. :)

  4. DK, I know this was one of yesterday’s topics but I am glad that you were as wrong about
    Russell Martin as I was about A.J. Burnett. I thought he was washed up after seeing him not being able to find the plate with the Yankees. Saw him on TV a few times and he looked terrible.

    DK: I’m sure that, even as I type, readers everywhere are rushing to post links to how completely right I was about both the Burnett and Wandy Rodriguez acquisitions at the moment they were made. Or about Lawrence Timmons blossoming into the Steelers’ top defender in 2012 or Tomas Vokoun proving to be Ray Shero’s top acquisition or even a simple tweet last night when I predicted the Blackhawks’ Dave Bolland — of all people — would score the Cup-winning goal.

    No?

    Oh, well. Part of the job, right? :)

    • Sounds like SOMEbody needs a vacation

    • In DK’s defense although the Burnett and Martin situations where similar in that both had been above average all-star players that looked to be on the downside of their careers he did call the Burnett trade a good one. He calls them how he see’s them and when he get them correct he rarely toots his own horn (above post withstanding).

    • But not to toot your own horn or anything….we all get lucky every once in awhile.

  5. Justice Jackson of the U.S. Supreme Court once wrote that “a judge often must decide a case as if he were 100 per cent convinced one way or the other, although usually he is not more than 55 per cent convinced.” The Shell decision is a tough call for the Pitt coaches. Not knowing any of the facts about what actually occurred this spring, barring some egregious circumstance of which we are not aware, my inclination would be to give him a second chance.

    • Sort of like how umpires at umpiring clinics are exhorted to make their calls with utmost confidence and finality.

    • Not sure without knowing the full background/circumstances, but Mr. She’ll may have been pout of second chances.

      • In Mr. Shell’s case…..”pout” was probably the CORRECT term…… ;-)
        .
        Congrats to the Head Coach for making this call….and moving on.

    • I do not believe that these are mutually exclusive thoughts.

      - I believe in second and third chances. I hope this young man gets one somewhere, learns from this experience, and nails his next chance.

      - I believe Pitt was right in not allowing the second or third chance to occur at Pitt.

      There can be consequences AND forgiveness, can’t there?

      • Drew,

        I 100% agree with you. I believe that Pitt made the right decision in setting an example that there are consequences for your actions and choices. It is a great teaching opportunity and one that is so often missed out on with collegiate athletes. College is supposed to be a time for learning and hopefully Shell has learned something from all of this.

        That being said, I hope that Shell is able to find another place to play and be happy and that he can prove to the world that people can change and learn from their mistakes.

      • ++

        Consequences is not only fair here, but it is best for him I think.

    • Does Shell have a criminal past? Bad student? Bad guy?

      I’m not a PITT fan, don’t follow the program, but obviously have heard of Shell. From an outsiders POV, seems like the kid clearly has maturity issues. Not sure I understand why PITT is too good to give him a second chance.

      I will admit that the issue with wanting to be close to his kids is a major factor for me.

      • I am with you, NMR, on second chances. Unfortunately I think that this would have been number three.

        Shell was suspended his first game for breaking team rules, then came back to play and eventually take more time from the RB committee. That may have been his second chance from Pitt’s perspective.

        We don’t know what we don’t know. Were there other issues? Even if not, this sounds to me like it would have been Chance Three. I can live with that.

        Not looking to pile on the kid, either. I wish him well. I hope maturity finds him. I am also very comfortable with Pitt’s decision.

      • Thanks, guys. Such a sad situation.

        Hate to see a father separated from his kids, regardless of how it effects a football program, but Chryst isn’t running a charity either. Understandable on all ends.

        Just sad.

        • Yes, it is sad, NMR. Unfortunately, he chose to separate himself from his children by seeking a transfer specifically to west coast schools. Pitt wanted him to stay, so long as he followed the same rules as everyone else. In fact, they gave him time off in the spring to think long and hard about it. He decided he wanted to head west. I recall that his mother and the mother of his children then chastized him pretty seriously for running away from his responsibilities as a father.

          Maybe it has now dawned on him that he belongs close to his kids. Unfortunately, Pitt has to move on. I am sure Coach Chryst wishes him well personally, but he can’t bring him back to the team. That would set a bad tone to the other players about what some guys can get away with but no one else can.

          My hope is he will transfer to a smaller school close to home, play football, get a degree, mature and be a good father, and still get noticed by the pros in the next few years. If not, he can use his degree to start a good career. Good luck, Rushel. Please learn from this.

    • I hear you, Reading. But, I believe they gave him a lot of chances – including allowing him time off to think about whether he wanted to stay or go this spring. I am a big Pitt fan, and the last thing I want is for them to be weak on the field. But, I think Coach Chryst has been more than fair based on what I have read and heard. I wish Shell well, though. Maybe this is what he needs to grow and realize his potential, as a player and father.

  6. I just don’t get how there are still trades going on in the NHL while their playoffs are still happening. Don’t most leagues have a no-trade period while they try to find out who their champion is?

    The Pens made a minor trade but I also saw that the Kings & Leafs made a deal.

    Maybe I’ll call the internet radio show and ask the host. While I’m at it I’ll ask why harmless jokes about the Riverhounds get deleted from this blog. But I won’t make the mistake and ask what the host thinks about the new Fountain at the Point….it’s only an hour show.

    • In the NHL teams no longer playing can make trades. Pens could trade with any team not playing but could not trade with Blackhawks or Bruins

      • Well that is obviously the case – and rules – JAL.

        I just don’t understand why a league would want to allow it.

        These trades seem very minor, but why would you want a bigger trade -even a blockbuster- take the attention away from your league’s championship tournament? And shouldn’t all the teams in your league be able to participate in the designated trading periods?

        I’m starting to agree with the guy who said this is a garage league.

  7. Count me as one more Pitt fan who thinks Chryst and Pitt did the right thing.

  8. Great series ended last night. Congrats to the Blackhawks. Looked like it was going to OT, then looked like it was going to game 7 after Boston scores with 7:49 to go. Then in 17 seconds, the Hawks tie and take the lead. The second goal with 59 seconds left. What a game, what a series.

    Seems fitting that Boston’s run would end in opposite fashion of thier amazing comeback in game 7 against the Leafs in round 1. Ok, Chicago was only down 1 but to lose the Cup after being up with 1:17 to go until game 7. Shortest time between game tying and series clinching goals and latest regulation series winner in Stanley Cup history.

  9. JAL’s Fire in the Sky Morning Links

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-U-y5Wt0d0

    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: Keeping James McDonald Around Would Be the Right Move

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/06/first-pitch-keeping-james-mcdonald-around-would-be-the-right-move.html

    Prospect Watch: Willy Garcia Has a Monster Day in a Monster Month

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/06/prospect-watch-willy-garcia-has-a-monster-day-in-a-monster-month.html

    Top Performers: Danny Collins and Alen Hanson Lead the Pirates Hitters

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/06/top-performers-danny-collins-and-alen-hanson-lead-the-pirates-hitters.html

    Top Performers: Strong Debuts From Heredia, Pimentel, Dickson, and More

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/06/top-performers-strong-debuts-from-heredia-pimentel-dickson-and-more.html

    7 Bucs Dugout

    Six hits for Willy Garcia and six RBIs for Josh Harrison

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2013/6/24/4461552/six-hits-for-willy-garcia-and-six-rbis-for-josh-harrison

    8 WHYGAVS

    The upcoming pitching dilemma

    http://www.whygavs.com/pittsburgh-pirates/june-2013/the-upcoming-pitching-dilemma.html

    9 The Green Weenie

    Pirate Pitching Post-All Star and Beyond

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2013/06/pirate-pitching-post-all-star-and-beyond.html

    10 Rumbunter

    The Pirates Surprising Brandon Cumpton Should Not Be Surprising

    http://rumbunter.com/2013/06/24/the-pirates-surprising-brandon-cumpton-should-not-be-surprising/

    The Pirates Need To Part Ways With James McDonald
    http://rumbunter.com/2013/06/24/the-pirates-need-to-part-ways-with-james-mcdonald/

    11 Raise the Jolly Roger

    News, notes, and the Cole fiasco

    http://raisethejollyroger.com/2013/06/news-notes-and-the-cole-fiasco/

  10. NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    12 St. Louis Post Dispatch

    Bonus Bytes: The Pirates are armed and dangerous

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/columns/bernie-miklasz/bonus-bytes-the-pirates-are-armed-and-dangerous/article_43eff671-8976-5fe4-b911-589e3ad4f5f5.html

    Tipsheet: Pirates close in on Cards

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/columns/jeff-gordon/tipsheet-pirates-close-in-on-cards/article_c690613f-16fb-571d-a654-c602d7cd1628.html

    13 City of Champions

    Pittsburgh Pirates: Will Gerrit Cole go back to the minors?

    http://cityofchampionssports.com/2013/06/25/pittsburgh-pirates-will-gerrit-cole-go-back-to-the-minors/

    14 Charleston Gazette

    Power wastes early lead, falls 12-5

    http://www.wvgazette.com/Sports/201306240211

    15 Yahoo Sports

    Pittsburgh Pirates: Does Pedro Alvarez Belong on the All-Star Team?

    http://sports.yahoo.com/news/pittsburgh-pirates-does-pedro-alvarez-belong-star-team-141000009.html

    16 CBS Sports

    Pirates- Mariners Game Preview

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/gametracker/preview/MLB_20130625_PIT@SEA

    17 Sweetspot

    Set-up guys who would be worthy All-Stars

    http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/37360/set-up-guys-who-would-be-worthy-all-stars

    18 PBC Site

    Pirates looking like championship contender

    http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130624&content_id=51656580&vkey=news_pit&c_id=pit

    Nearly two decades later, Grilli’s hard work pays off

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130624&content_id=51627270&vkey=news_pit&c_id=pit

    Alvarez’s tear earns slugger NL Player of Week honors

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130624&content_id=51639632&vkey=news_pit&c_id=pit

    SPORTS WEBSITES

    19 Baseball Prospectus

    The Defensive Brilliance of Brendan Ryan

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=21028

    20 Fangraphs

    A Trade Target Leaderboard

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/a-trade-target-leaderboard/

  11. Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    DeMarcus Van Dyke and Isaiah Green set to compete in training camp

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/6/24/4458732/steelers-cornerbacks-punt-coverage-depth-chart-2013-training-camp

    Selling my Steelers soul for a Pirates World Series

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/6/24/4457386/selling-my-steelers-soul-for-a-pirates-world-series

    22 Steelers Depot

    - The Terrible Podcast – Talking Listeners Overrated/Underrated Steelers Players, Bye Week Fairness & More Episode

    http://www.steelersdepot.com/2013/06/the-terrible-podcast-talking-listeners-overratedunderrated-steelers-players-bye-week-fairness-more-episode/

    Soccer(football)

    23 Daily Mail

    Changing of the Guard: Bayern unveil new boss Pep as Spaniard discusses pressure of following Heynckes (in fluent German)

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2347277/Pep-Guardiola-unveiled-Bayern-Munich-discusses-succeeding-Jupp-Heynckes.html

    24 World Soccer Daily

    Face to face: Michael Laudrup

    http://www.worldsoccer.com/features/face-to-face-michael-laudrup

    PENGUIN BLOGS and NHL Links

    25 Pensburgh

    Pens trade for Harry Zolnierczyk

    http://www.pensburgh.com/2013/6/24/4460008/pens-trade-for-harry-zolnierczyk

  12. Wil Myers made his debut at the Trop last night and the Rays couldn’t draw 12,000 people to watch it. Is there a worse fan base in baseball (maybe all of sports) than the Tampa Bay Rays? Those fans should be ashamed.

    Time for baseball to leave the Tampa – St. Pete area.

    • Let me be the first to say:

      Obviously a groupon was not available for that game.

    • General,

      I started to make a comment about their terrible stadium . . . . but, NO, YOU’RE RIGHT!

      Time for the Tampa Rays to become the Charlotte Mudcats!!!!

      • Yea Groat, whoever designed and then bought off on building a dome in sunny Florida to play baseball in, should’ve been tarred and feathered a long time ago.

        Charlotte, Vegas, Indy, San Antonio, Nashville…. I bet every one of these areas could, and would, support a baseball team.

        • So-o-o-o many baseball players come from North Carolina!

          Baseball bigger than football there. I have a good friend who is the son of Digger O’Dell, who is from South Carolina.

          Charlotte fertile baseball ground. Young, growing state. Tampa Bay baseball burial ground.

          • I live in South Carolina, Groat. Went to a Greenville Drive game last night (Red Sox low A) and they had over 7,000 people there…on a Monday night!

            Baseball might be the most popular sport around here, outside of college football of course.

    • We need to keep in mind this picture………………..

      Imagine a huge dump of a stadium, built in Homewood, with no parking, a crime-ridden neighborhood, with mostly retirees as a fan base. Think the Bucs could draw well with those circumstances??

      The owners want to build in Tampa. Tampa wont fund the new stadium. Charlotte, or Mashville may get a team sooner than later.

      • Hippo Skool reject again…………… should be Nashville.

        • followed ya Hippo no worries.

        • I would welcome one in Nashville.

          I can get there in 1.5 hours. They would need a new stadium of course. Their AAA stadium is what drove the Pirates out of there. Deservedly, it’s the Brewers’ affiliate now.

          And it’s been “renovated”.

          Louisville would be another good place. I can get there in 2 hours. But it’s too close to Cincy for a ML franchise.

      • Absolutely agree Hippo. The Trop is in a bad location, it’s a pain in the rear to get to, and worst of all, it’s a stinking dome.

        But, the Rays are fun to watch. They’ve been successful. They have a great (entertaining) manager. Bring that team to Charlotte and they’d be the toast of the Queen City.

        • I think if they built a stadium about the size of PNC Park and it had a dome, Tampa -St Pete would be just fine.

          • Maybe, but there is just something about pro baseball in Florida. The 2nd worst supported team is in Miami. They built a spanking new stadium, and one year later attendance is back at the bottom of the barrel. I know they traded everyone away, but I doubt they were going to sustain attendance, regardless.

        • I checked Wikipedia and there are 32 cities in the US alone with the nickname of “The Queen City”. There’s no point to be made here, just sayin’.

    • Possibly the Florida Marlins? That may be because the ownership is bored with fielding a winning team.

    • And the Rays do a nice job on a shoestring budget with staying competitive vs. monster spenders year after year. I have been there a few times, but don’t know enough about that area of FL to say for sure. Is it heavily retired/fixed income? Is it all of the things going on that distract from baseball? Just not enough long-time residents? Horrible venue? A combination of all of the above? Whatever the case, their attendance is awful year after year.

    • Tampa can’t sell out a WS game, not too concerned about prospect watch.

      They have a lot of those games.

      • Tampa is not a place you go to, it’s a place you end up in. — Happy Endings TV Show, 2013.

        I do think the dome effect is a lot of it, but I also don’t doubt for a second that other markets would do a better job of supporting the team than Tampa does. I know the owner is very frustrated…they have built a winner, do the right things the right way, and fans still don’t bother.

        • That dome was built many years prior to Tampa getting a team. The city wanted baseball so bad, that’s what they built to try and lure a team in.

          Its a shame. The last few years they really produce a quality, winning team.

          They play the game right.

  13. I’m watching the 3rd period of last night’s Stanley Cup Final, and literally said out loud to my cat, “That’s how you close out a game with a 1-goal lead! I wish the Pens would learn that.”

    Of course, how wrong I was! Chicago never quit. Somehow Boston gave it up. “Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!” as Gomer would say.

    Chicago: Stanley Cup Champions!

    {I still wished/pictured the Pens pulling their goalie and rushing back to win! Darn!!}

  14. Does the Zolnierczyk acquisition tell us that Ray Shero believes he can’t re-sign Matt Cooke and/or Brendan Morrow? Or maybe Tanner Glass is gone?

  15. I had always thought that Keith Jones – as opposed to Mike Milbury – was a voice of reason on that hockey panel. However he couldn’t resist slamming Dan Bylsma & Co. last night, in retrospect, for not figuring out how to beat Chara, by dumping the puck behind him and making him chase it and taking on the impending check Chara was going to lay on us.

    Conversely he praised Joel Q. to the rafters for being so brilliant.

    This just proved to me that there is an unspoken animosity (last night it was spoken) against the Penguins. For whatever reason, I am at a loss to understand.

    • Hasty Bob,

      Guys who drive Chevys and Fords always don’t like the guys who drive Cadillacs and Porches.

      Pittsburgh may be a Chevy kind of town, but Crosby, Malkin, Letang, Fleury, Neal, Despres, Martin, Niskaten all are Cadillacs/Porches, led by the ultimate Lambourgini Mario Lemeiux.

      Milbury and Keith Jones are Ford Focuses . . . . With rust spots . . . . And a doughnut tire on the back . . . . With bumper stickers holding the bumper together . . . . Bumper stickers for Barry Goldwater or Michael Dukakis . . . . And, of course, South of the Border stickers.

      Welcome back, Vinnie’s Pizza Palace in Forest Hills!!!! Your old image fits right in!! (but the greasy pizza is worth it!)

      • I heard it was closed and burned – then was rebuilt.

        I used to travel that area extensively and was well aware of Vinnie’s. A little grease on the pizza isn’t bad as long as there are ample pepperoni, mushrooms, black olives and anchovies, with a slightly darkened crust.

        There I go – speeding again.

      • I’ve never been to Vinnie’s. Is that the really thick pizza?

        • No, it was moderately thin, or simply thin. It was reputed, and I will stand with the pros, to be THE BEST pizza.

          • Thanks. Anyone know of any good pizza places in the south hills?

            • Not exactly the South Hills, but Beez in South Fayette. Red Onion in Bethel Park is also good.

            • I’m not very familiar with South Hills pizza joints but the Mineo’s in Mt. Lebanon is pretty good, IMO. But not as good as the Mineo’ in Squirrel Hill which is worth driving to from the South Hills. :-)

              • I was just going to mention Mineo’s and agree with what you said, except about the drive. :-)

            • Fiori’s………….. just off Liberty near the Lexus dealer.

              Supposedly the best in the lower South Hills area………

              • Good morning, Hipposter! Never knew u went to Pitt. I am a PSU grad, so I hope you won’t hold that against me. :-)

              • Nah. Muppets go to PSU, Hippos to Pitt.
                All good.

                You should have seen the looks on the faces of students in Trees Pool when I got in…….. priceless!

              • My sister in law and brother in law live in Dormont and they love Beto’s on Banksville Road. I’ve never tried it but I was wondering if anyone here has an opinion on it.

              • You all make me want to come home and eat pizza.

              • I just remember the one Pitt game I attended…The chant, no matter who Pitt was playing was “PennSt sucks!” What is Pennst any way? Hilarious!

              • Well, with all the Pizza memories, and Pitt memories (thanks Brandie for the PennSt Sucks reminder!!) , I am off to do business, and try to stay cool.

                All have a great day!

                Hippo Hey!!!

              • Beto’s is my favorite, but not eveyone likes it. Burgh’s in Bridgeville is also excellent, with Fiori’s and Mineo’s just behind. Agree that Mineo’s in Sq. Hill is better than Mt Lebo location, but Aiellos a couple of doors up Murray Ave is even better than Mineo’s. A step down from those but still good is Luciano’s Bethel Park, and a good bar pizza is the Trolley Stop in Bethel Park. I have done much research in this area – in the interests of science of course!

            • Thanks everyone.

      • I dont like any people that drive Porches, but I hear dudes that drive Porsche’s are real DB’s. (not the Pens’ coach)

      • The BEST pizza in and around town.

    • But I mean…isn’t it true? They obviously DID have a lousy offensive game plan against Chara.

      “Critical” doesn’t always mean “unfairly critical.”

      • I agree that their strategy “sucked”. But are you another in this group who chooses to separate the fly excrement from the pepper.
        “Critical”, “unfairly critical” what’s the difference? When we eliminated Ottawa, you never heard a negative word (of this kind) spoken against them.

        Conversely, it was said we had too much trouble against an “injured” team. There is a trend of negative opinion against the Penguins, and if you are a hockey fan you surely realize we rarely receive high praise

        • No, but that’s because there was very little bad about the Ottawa series.

          I’ve been accused my some – Jandy in particular – of responding with snark too often. So I’ll be frank.

          The Penguins scored two goals against the Bruins and were swept. I think the national media criticizing the Pens’ failure, in light of the Blackhawks’ success, is perfectly legitimate.

          Why do you care if Keith Jones praises your team or not? That doesn’t win the games. I don’t know why you would take that personally.

          Unfortunately, this is a problem with Pittsburgh sports fans in all avenues, always hoping that the national media will throw them a bone and say, “Good job, guys!” There’s no championship for that.

          • Well said, SeanAY, I agree. :)

          • I am NOT taking it personally – merely pointing out a statement or two Jones made, and passing that on to you.

            Perhaps he was behind “a few Brownie points” in the Hate the Penguins Fraternity.

            It was a FYI entry!!

            • FWIW, Bob, my take on all of those NBC guys is that they are always looking for an opening to snipe at the Pens. I think Groat hit on something, maybe, in his luxury vs. non-luxury cars point. Also, there is always that east of Pittsburgh hatred for all things Crosby.

      • Everyone was saying BEFORE we started the Boston series, to dump the puck and make Chara chase it…and slam HIM before he could slam US.

        Nothing to see here, move right along…

        • So if EVERYONE knew how to beat Boston, and Chara, before the series began – including Bylsma – and we didn’t follow that strategy, is it common opinion that Bylsma deserves ridicule?

          Since he was resigned, apparently Mario and Shero disagree.

          • Not everyone agrees with resigning him. Not saying I don’t – I’m torn – but I was livid with the way the team played against Boston.

          • My hope is that, while re-signing him, they also made it abundantly clear that what transpired in Round 3 was a disaster that should never be duplicated and that the blame lies with him.

            If they really believe he is the right guy maybe they decided it was best to have him adjust his coaching methods and preparation, and get it right next year. Otherwise, I am at a complete loss as to why he was retained. They still, obviously, believe in him.

            • I pretty much said the same thing, Jim S., that Bylsma needs to be told that the “game plan” must change for playoffs. I guess we’ll see.

            • I’m pretty sure DK made it clear in his column yesterday that despite his earlier comment about Bylsma being completely safe, after the 3rd Round there were serious concerns by those above Shero. I don’t see Bylsma’s retention as a rubber stamp or approval of everything he’s done, especially and particularly in the post season. I suspect we’ll see some changes, even though the management personnel are the same (absent Meloche).

      • I agree. Also, this may be new to pittsburgh fans but… when you are expected to be the best, and you fail badly, you should expect plenty of criticism. You don’t think Chicago would have heard it if Detroit had completed the upset on them?

        Conversely, don’t expect exuding praise when you beat a lesser opponent. It’s all a function of the bar and where its perceived to be set.

    • I actually don’t disagree with Jones. During the regular season, the Pens did a great job getting the puck behind Chara and plastering him on the forecheck. I’m pretty sure that’s how they won all those games against Boston in the regular season (I think Neal alone had 6 hits on Chara in one game). In the playoffs, it seems the Pens were hitting everyone but Chara, even though it is proven that it is the way to beat the big man.

      Also, Quinenville deserves the praise he receives. Did an awesome job with that team this year.

      • Boston beat us in every way imaginable. I hesitate to say we were outclassed, but we were no match for them – in that series. Two shutouts, and we scored a total of two goals – right?

  16. Just saw that the Pens offered qualifying offers to newly signed Zolnierczyk, Jeffrey, Bortuzzo, and, surely to make Brad ecstatic, TK.

    For those first three guys, the offers are all under $1 mil so they are not huge cap hits. All three have a place on the roster, even if it is just filling in for injured players. The qualifying offer for TK comes in at $2 mil. I actually think this makes sense. Pens can either keep TK around (he does have 6 years NHL experience, has a 20 goal season under his belt, and has proved that he can bring some much needed energy in the playoffs) or they can now use him as trade bait to see what someone else may offer for him. This is much better than just letting him walk for nothing as an UFA. We shall see how this all plays out.

    • And as of right now we don’t have a 2013 draft pick until the 77th player overall in the third round. There might be a few good deck hockey players left by that time so I sure hope something is in the works for this year.

  17. OK, back to work…ugh…summer is always busiest here…

    • Being able to work while sitting my shorten your life. However, the trade off is worth it. I’ve had jobs where you had to stand, and they sucked!

    • See you in here in ten minutes, Jandy

      • Drew, I wish!

        John Lease, I may have a desk job, but trust me I don’t sit all day. I go from office to office working out things with others, and that doesn’t even touch upon the number of times I go out to the warehouse to check on stock, job materials, etc.
        I need a vacation!

  18. Looks like the ol blog is working today?

    • Decision on Jmac due today, right?

      What do you got Biz?

      • I get the sentiment, but especially with a team like the Pirates, you hate to just give away assets without a return. Don’t know the solution, but you can’t put him in the rotation IMHO.

        • Personally, I don’t think he has been nearly good enough for going on a year now to pitch in our rotation. We probably have 8 guys I’d rather see take the bump in inning 1 any given night.

          And I like our bullpen, realizing it will undergo a few tweaks coming up (Gomez, maybe Charlie, Welker going back, etc.). I think all of those options are better ones than James now.

          James might need a new start somewhere else. He’s about 2 guys below the odd man out IMO right now.

        • We’re just talking about the size assets everywhere today.

        • Speaking from an asset retention point of view, I don’t see any reason all 25 spots shouldn’t be utilized.

          IMO, Jmac will almost certainly be DFA’d this winter. That means he’s only valuable to this team for the next three months.

          If he provides more value as the 8th reliever in the pen than, say, Brandon Inge provides as the last man off the bench, then sure – Keep him.

          • I think we need the Brandon Inge spot for a position player – not named Brandon Inge.

            Are you advocating going with an extra reliever for the rest of the year, NMR?

            I know the owners are not in the mood to add salaried players, but at some point teams need to increase rosters to about 27 to accommodate the extra pitchers and still maintain some flexibility on the bench.

      • RIght now you probably activate and send Reid or Welker back down. JMac becomes the temporary long man. His future definitely gets murkier with AJ, Wandy, and Gomez about ready.

        For now I keep him.

        • John

          I agree with your plan. Reid goes down and see if we can salvage JMac

          • I think Reid has pitched better, both at Indy and with the big team than JMac has. I don’t think we have the luxury of giving a guy another shot after 20 mostly disastrous starts spread over 2 years. Not now. That was the old Bucs, who weren’t fighting for a playoff spot. We have plenty of reinforcements coming that are better options IMO, plus a whole staff that has not skipped a beat w/o him.

            I’m not trying to be harsh to James, because he has contributed in the past for the Bucs and he has a good arm if healthy. Unfortunately, his arm may be suspect and his head definitely seems suspect to me now.

            • JMac does not deserve to be put back on the 25 man roster based on his extreme lack of productivity over the last year. The Bucs are trying to play in the post season – this year’s Bucs clearly aren’t the Bucs of the past 20 years.

        • I like this theory, I do.

          But how practical is it to make a judgement based on a few relief appearances?

      • I don’t have a clue as to what they will do, but whatever it is, has to be done by midnight

  19. Not sure if anyone saw this, but good story from the other guys on Jeff Locke. Didn’t see it on JAL’s links.

    http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/sports/pirates/the-mound-is-jeff-lockes-mountain-692995/

  20. Another big series starts for the Bucs tonight in Seattle. They already have a winning road trip in the bank. But, this is where they can make a statement and bring home a possible 7-2 trip and 48-30 overall record.

    Seattle sounds easy, but there are potential land mines, as always. I was looking at tonight’s tilt, and initially Joe Saunders looked like a gimme. But, then I looked a little deeper.

    He has an overall 4.48 ERA / 1.40 WHIP, with 100 hits allowed (10 HR) & 29 BB/48 K’s in 92 innings. Pretty pedestrian numbers, overall. But, Safeco is an extreme pitcher’s park, and this crafty left is pitching fairly well at home. He has a 2.53 ERA / 1.08 WHIP at home. And, for good measure, he has pitched his best of late with a 1.82 ERA and 2 complete games in his last 5 starts. He may be Seattle’s best deadline trade bait, so he is plenty motivated to pitch well. One final red flag – Saunders beat the Bucs 2x in Arizona with the DBacks last season. Gabby has hit him particularly well in the past.

    On the other hand, Jeff Locke in a pitcher’s park vs. the Seattle lineup looks better to me than Joe Saunders does vs. the Bucs. I expect a tough, tight ballgame. But, the Bucs should have just enough offense to take down the Mariners.

    Tomorrow afternoon we face King Felix Herandez, who already bested AJ in a pitcher’s duel in PNC a month or so ago. So, it is imperative the Bucs get this one tonght and then take down the King tomorrow on Getaway Day! The heavy lifting is not over on this trip. Just keep taking care of business, boys!

    • I started writing something about the Bucs being a poor match with homerun suppressing SAFECO until realizing that PNC has been even worse this year.

      So yeah, doesn’t look good.

    • What kind of conspiracy is this? A 2-game set and we still see F. Hernandez? I hope he looks more like poop than royalty tomorrow.

      • I was thinking that also, Nater. 40% chance of seeing King Felix in each series, and we drew him both times. Does that make it a 16% chance of seeing him in both series’? If so, that 16% just came through.

        We played the Dodgers 2x, and we drew Kershaw and Greinke in each series also. They are 40% of the Dodgers staff, and we faced them in 67% of the games.

        We have not missed Smardzija yet for the Cubs in 3 consecutive series’. I know these things even out eventually, and actually we have held our own vs. all these aces.

        Harvey pitched against us. Lee and Hamels. Shelby, at least once, maybe twice. Faced Cueto 2x in 3 series. I guess there was no avoiding the Tigers’ studs with 4 straight games.

        Who cares? We’re 46-30, and it feels good. Bring ‘em on!!

  21. Cubs just DFA’s Carlos Marmol

  22. Thinking about JMac, I’m betting either he gets activated and goes in the long relief role or they trade him.

    Its that asset thingie that NH often talks about.

    But, based on my record of betting with Playoffs, I would not take this to the bank (they wouldn’t cash it anyways ;-) )

  23. Right now in Flyer-land…..

    http://deadspin.com/lets-watch-a-flyers-beat-writer-throw-ilya-bryzgalov-u-574043008

    Only 1 word…………

    FANTASTIC

    • I have great respect for media members that tell us this kind of stuff about guys while they were still on the team, not after they don’t have to deal with them anymore. I’ll let you know when I find one.

      • Randy Miller is a POS. But…yeah, it’s funny, because I can’t stand Philly.

      • “How to Suck at Player Relations” by Randy Miller

        • Here’s my thing…..

          After this, what new player will “talk” to this guy? Anybody they bring in via free agency will now know this guy will air everything if you don’t leave “according to plan”.

          The Courier is my paper. I really only look at it to see how my former HS is doing in baseball (brought home the 1st Group IV State Championship in school history this season!).

          How this guy remains on the job, only they will know. But it’s probably the “Broadstreet Bully” mentality playing out here.

          Like “Hey we didn’t like you when you were playing here so good on Randy for trashing the player!”

          Sometimes I’m not sure if it’s ficition or reality when dealing with Philadelphia sports. I’ll tell you one thing tho…

          it’s good for fun entertainment.

          Can’t wait to see how Chip Kelly handles these clowns…

      • Well played, Milo.

  24. As to JMac, why can’t he suffer another ‘injury’ and return to the DL? Is that not doable with the rules?

    • That is the old CL and the other paper noted that possibility Sunday (I think it was Sunday, well had to be, the only day I get that rag)

      • I think it is the logical option. Trade is doubtful, because acquiring team can likely just wait until he is DFA’d, also he’d have to be on their ML roster; I also do not know what value it would be to ‘hide’ JMAC in the bullpen for a month or so because you aren’t gonna use him except in blowouts (and we don’t have many of those either Win or Lose) and you have enough depth for pitching without him. I’d say either DL or DFA.

        • You would pick up his salary if DFA’d, so you would lose that if you did that or if you threw the cash to the acquiring team, might get a better bag of batting practice balls for JMac in a trade if you did that.

          There has to be some sort of controls on sending him back to the DL, last time I looked stinky pitching wasn’t one of the options for the DL

          We’ll see though

        • I don’t think anybody is suggesting he be “hidden” in the bullpen.

          He’s getting DFA’d this winter regardless, so you do it now or you see if he’s valuable in a relief role for the next three months.

          • If you are suggesting we actually use JMAC in meaningful, or as Clint would say ‘leverage’ situations in the pen over the next few months…then WOW, no thanks to that idea. I’d prefer he be used only when the Bucs are up or down 5 runs or more, in extra innings after all others have been used, and if a starter leaves in the 1 or 2nd inning due to injury or ejection. That is being ‘hidden’ by my definition.

            • I’m not suggesting anything.

              My suggestion, going back to his “injury” was to pass him through waivers.

              I’m simply contending that anybody who WAS suggesting they put him in the pen due to him being an asset wasn’t doing it with the thought of hiding him in mind.

              That doesn’t make any sense at all.

          • Here’s my thing…..

            After this, what new player will “talk” to this guy? Anybody they bring in via free agency will now know this guy will air everything if you don’t leave “according to plan”.

            The Courier is my paper. I really only look at it to see how my former HS is doing in baseball (brought home the 1st Group IV State Championship in school history this season!).

            How this guy remains on the job, only they will know. But it’s probably the “Broadstreet Bully” mentality playing out here.

            Like “Hey we didn’t like you when you were playing here so good on Randy for trashing the player!”

            Sometimes I’m not sure if it’s ficition or reality when dealing with Philadelphia sports. I’ll tell you one thing tho…

            it’s good for fun entertainment.

            Can’t wait to see how Chip Kelly handles these clowns…

  25. Do you know how many people I’ve read, heard & talked to in the last 2 days think sending Cole back for (pick an arbitrary number of) days will delay his free agency for another year ? And they’ll argue with you about it.

    A wise man once told me that a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing.

    • Ohhhh! So coming here to this blog is a dangerous thing????

    • Smh

    • Its mind boggling. The decision on sending Cole down has nothing to do with free agency or IMHO Super 2. It has to do with keeping Morton as a starter and not using Cole in the bullpen. If folks want Cole to stay in the rotation, that is fine and supportable, but it’s a package deal (sorry, DK)… what do you do with Morton? No evidence he’d be good in a bullpen role and you compound it by sending Morris back to AAA.

      • He goes to the pen & gets righthanded hitters out. Aren’t you supposed to watch the innings of a guy coming off Tommy John. What a perfect way. Works for everyone.

        • Exactly.

          No evidence?

          More like a perfect fit.

          • Chaaaaaalie would be perfect in late inning ground ball inducing situations. Against righties.

            I don’t see why Morton couldn’t help in the ‘pen.

            And I believe Cole should stay in the rotation….incase anyone was wondering.

            • Morton’s control, if you have been watching, has been poor. Not a good candidate to high-leverage bullpen situations, certainly not better than Morris, Mazarro, Wilson, Watson, Melancon, Grilli, Gomez and it is one of those spots he will be taking. Why no one wants to talk about WHO MORTON WOULD REPLACE IN THE BULLPEN is a bit frustrating to me. We seem to make him a top reliever and I doubt he is better than anyone of the top 7 ( I even doubt he’d be better than Reid or Welker but I digress).

              • Wow. Thats all kinds of extreme.

                Morton, yes even Morton, has had far more success than Mazarro or Gomez.

                And I have no idea where you get the idea that guys with poor control make bad relievers. Thats the exact opposite of reality.

              • Count me as one who feels Mazzaro has been pretty fortunate this year. He has gotten the job done, overall. But, I think he has tended to flirt with WHIP disaster a bit too often. There’s a key inning or two with his name written on it, if you ask me. I’d rather have Charlie than him.

              • ok, so you prefer to cut loose mazarro or gomez, who both have performed well in bullpen roles THIS SEASON, for Morton who I don’t think has ever performed in that role.. fair enough. I agree to disagree. I don’t think we can have it both ways.. if Cole stays in rotation because “now matters and every game counts” and Morton is kept in bullpen because we need starter insurance, then my opinion is we are weakening the bullpen and that impacts the ‘now matters and every game counts”.

                All of these thoughts are perspective because again, what I would do as GM would be to keep Cole in rotation and I’d likely put Morton in the pen just as all are suggesting…I’m just exploring the consequences of doing that as a means to give the other ideas a ‘trying on’ rather than emotionally dismissing them as having any merit…that is perspective by my definition.

              • Sounds like you’re doing a fine job of having a conversation with yourself.

                Enjoy that pat on the back.

              • I do talk to myself, but usually not about the Pirates :)

                In all seriousness, we are getting somewhere on this… most feel that Mazzaro is dispensable, Cole should stay in rotation and Morton in the pen if it comes to that. Fair enough…

              • I think you summarized my thoughts well, cmat. And I am not saying keeping Charlie and losing Mazzaro doesn’t come with risk. I recognize it.

          • Charlie is dominating righty batters.

            He would still be there to jump back into the rotation later if they find a way to keep him stretched out – of course, that is tough to do if they are also trying to do that with Jeanmar.

            In reality, I think if you move Charlie to the pen for short stints vs. righties, he won’t be a starter option pretty quickly.

              • Because if you don’t pitch long outings (3 innings, for example) you can’t stay starter ready for long. Justin Wilson cannot start this year.

              • I don’t agree with that at all, Jim.

                That may be the Pirate Way, but it doesn’t actually explain how a starting pitcher like Morton can magically lose the ability to throw 75 pitches just because he was sent to the pen.

                Guys on other teams come back from injury – not pitching at all – in three rehab starts.

                It can be done. Easily.

      • And where do you get that Morris would go back ? How about Reid or Welker ?

        • And don’t forget that Gomar is getting activated for tomorrow, thats another 25 man move coming

        • Reid and or Welker now but when all three Gomez, AJ, and Wandy are back either Morris has to go back or you chance losing Gomez or Mazzaro to another team because they are out of options I think. Not to mention JMac but I think he will be DFA’d or traded. You really can’t justify him taking up a spot.

          The also have to watch Coles innings because he only pitched like 138 last year. Someone always gets injured so it probably works itself out eventually.

          • Nate

            AGREED – the Bucs really can’t justify JMac taking up a spot. It sends a really bad message.

            • Thanks, Nate and Gunner. I was wondering why so many people seemed to advocate pushing someone out for JMac. There’s just no room.

              I don’t send Morris back. I’d rather lose Mazzaro.

              • You gotta be absolutely nuts to have a guy with JMac’s diminished skills on this ball club. This isn’t the 1971 Pirates, it’s the 2013 Pirates!!

        • Not to mention that there is absolutely no need to have Morton, Mazarro, and Gomez on the same roster.

          • I agree with Nate83 on this… I personally dont want to just lose Gomez, Morton or Mazarro to other teams at this moment. NMR you seem to think that there is no need for the 3 of them, so that must mean you are ok with losing one to another team. I disagree.

            Again, if I were GM, I’d put Cole in the bullpen, not Morton, and use him in the Cingrani role (seems like their stuff is very similar, Cingrani was reaching 95-96 last week for the Reds).

            I think the focus needs to be on, who do you keep on the staff…and the choice is Cole or Morris. Welker is likely gone tomorrow to make room for Gomez; Reid is gone when Wandy gets back. When AJ is ready, someone else has to go. Morris or Cole is the choice. You can’t keep Morton / Cole in Pittsburgh and not send Morris back to AAA. Of course this assumes we don’t just cut Gomez or Mazarro completely, which would be idiotic.

          • I apologize for the ‘idiotic’ comment. I could make my point and defend it without lashing out at others that have different views.

            • Hey buddy, no need. Appreciated, but not necessary.

            • Self-policing! Well done.

              • It’s odd but sometimes I find myself typing in a tone that is not anything at all how I feel or what I would SAY about the same topic… so I do think a little self-policing is a good thing all around.

                If i were debating these topics over a beverage, I wouldn’t call anyone who has opined anything today on the blog an ‘idiot’ for thinking what they do.

      • It amazes me how people go out of their way to argue that Super 2 has “NOTHING” to do with how Cole is treated or will be treated. Maybe there are a myriad of reasons to treat Cole they way they do and will, but to attempt to exclude before the fact the elephant in the room is laughable. Maybe they don’t get there, but that’s different than excluding it as a possibility now.

        (Note to Milo–I know what it means)

        • Super 2 would literally cost them millions over the length of his stay here.

          With this club, its got to be in their minds

        • I could be wrong, but I think the point is that Super 2, which affects when someone is eligible for ARBITRATION and therefore MORE MONEY is different than when someone is eligiuble for FREE AGENCY. I think Milo’s comment is on FREE AGENCY and therefore has nothing to do with Super 2.

          • Milo was ridiculing people who think it has to do with Free Agency.

            It clearly has to do with arbitration eligibility, and we all know that. But it also clearly has to do with how much a player makes. If Cole is what we think he is, being eligible for arbitration a year early will mean multi millions in terms of his earning potential while he is under Pirates control. If you think that might not enter in the calculation of how he is treated . . .

          • You’re not wrong. That is exactly my take.

        • You’re so right Wilver. Super 2 has EVERYTHING to do with this.

          • And regardless, the club still owns his rights for six more years starting in 2014.

            That stuff can be confusing though

          • right, milo said free agency not super 2, and they are different. I could be wrong but I believe the super 2 cutoff estimate is such that cole could stay up all year and not fall into that category… if there is a gap, it can’t be more than a few days… so not sure this is a ‘big’ deal… if they sent cole down for say, 10 days, around the allstar break and avoid him even missing one start (by reshuffling the rotation), would we villify that move at this point?

            If I were owner and it were that easy to do something to save money and not affect the games played, I’d do it in a heartbeat.

            • That’s very different than saying Super 2 has NOTHING to do with how he is treated.

              Tell me it makes business sense.
              Tell me there are also other reasons, like innings pitched over last year.

              Just DON’T tell me it has NOTHING to do with how he’s treated.

              • I agree with you. I think one of Neal’s major weaknesses is his communication approach and strategy. If I were advising him, I’d ask him to either:

                1) Say nothing. The George W Bush approach… say that “it is not our policy to comment on player decisions” and leave it at that.

                2) Be completely forthcoming, short of revealing future strategy prematurely, and never say publicly what you haven’t already communicated privately to those involved. “With Gerrit, we have talked to him about all of what goes into the decision of when he pitches in the rotation in Pittsburgh. Some of that is Super 2 qualification, some of that is his own development, some of it is how the other rotation candidates are performing and the needs of the club. Ideally, he will be completely ready for the majors and that won’t hold him back… ideally, we would clear the Super 2 deadline as that will be a big help down the road as we balance our payroll in this market…and ideally, we would be performing so well in the major league rotation that would give us a good problem in who to demote when Cole is ready”.

                If Neal were to communicate using either strategy 1 or 2, would that make you happy? Seems to me you are complaining more about what the FO is ‘telling’ fans vs. the actual treatment of the player…

              • Uh, I was talking about you saying “Its mind boggling. The decision on sending Cole down has nothing to do with free agency or IMHO Super 2.”

                Didn’t even get to the FO.

              • No response?

              • my response to this is below. Net is Free Agency non issue, Super 2 is an issue, easy enough to send Cole down for 10 days and that would be cleared…

              • I’ve never made free agency an issue, and have made that clear ad nauseum. Don’t know why you keep bringing it up, it’s a non-issue. Are you going to respond to my question below?

              • AW: I think we’re end of job on this discussion, but today, I was addressing “free agency” simply because Milo’s post was about people making free agency the issue.

            • I actually think they “should” be concerned about fiscal issues such as this for the future. And I bet we all do, to some degree, because it could affect the overall quality of the other players they might be able to sign in the future if they can ink Cole reasonably at that time.

              It’s just that they have such a bad history of not spending competitively, and trying to pull the wool over our eyes. No reservoir of credibility on fiscal issues, unfortunately.

              • FYI -different issue altogether from what Cmat and I are discussing.

              • Arriba, mindboggling to me is that folks lazily confuse ‘free agency’ and ‘Super 2′ including ‘experts’ on the TV and Internet. Free agency has nothing to do with Cole’s usage year…Super 2 does.

                The reason why I believe Super 2 is not the #1 reason if Cole is sent down is that:

                A. he likely is already clear of the proposed Super 2 cutoff
                B. If he isn’t then it is only a few days worth of time needed, easy enough to send him down and call him up in 10 days over allstar break
                C. If it is only Super 2, then he would be recalled within 2 weeks at absolute latest and they’d be right back in same boat with what to do with Morton.

                But let’s see what happens. If Cole is sent down and stays there the rest of the year, it will most certainly NOT be completely because of Super 2 and not because of Free Agency…..he needn’t spend more than a few days down in Indy to clear Super 2 and make that a nonissue.

              • Actually, I think it does but I don’t mind bowing out because my explanation would be very lengthy and I think you two are doing nicely on your own.

              • I can certainly accept that is what you are saying now, and that you meant to say #1 reason. My earlier comments were based on what you said at the time, which was that Super 2 had NOTHING to do with how Cole would be treated. I guess we can agree that statement would be inaccurate.

            • So, I guess if we’re done you aren’t going to respond to my comment below,

              “I can certainly accept that is what you are saying now, and that you meant to say #1 reason. My earlier comments were based on what you said at the time, which was that Super 2 had NOTHING to do with how Cole would be treated. I guess we can agree that statement would be inaccurate.”

              You pleading nolo contendere?

              • I didnt see that as a question, lol, probably because there is no question mark in there anywhere….

                The wording “nothing to do with Super 2″ is too strong there… I actually do think that is not ‘top of mind’ AT THIS POINT in terms of what to do with Cole after AJ and Wandy are back. In SPRING TRAINING, it most certainly was the #1 factor and in my opinion it should have an impact and be factored in.

                But now, Super 2 is not the top consideration mostly because I think he can be in Pittsburgh every day and still escape triggering Super 2 status…if not, then a few days is all that is needed.

                Now we done? :) must be something about Barmes we can discuss :)

              • We’re done, and I will endeavor to use ??? In the future. :-)

        • The real elephant in the room that is being ignored is that, of the six rotation candidates they’ll have when everybody is back, Cole has the fifth best ERA ahead of Wandy. I don’t hear anybody suggesting that Wandy be sent to the pen.

          • I’ll be 1st in line to say that if Cole is the 6th best pitcher when the time comes then he should go back.

          • We’re using three starts worth of ERA to make rotation decisions?

            Yikes.

            • We don’t have to do that. We can look at the fact that Cole can only manage to get through the lineup twice. Starting with his third trip through the lineup he gets raked. He has yet to show that he can rely on more than his fastball. Like it or not, he’s on an innings limit, no matter what Huntington says.

              We all know that it comes down to Morton vs. Cole. Morton gives up less hits and strikes out more batters. Cole walks less batters. You’ve got to remember that, whatever YOU may think of Charlie Morton, Neal Huntington thought enough of him to pay him $2M for half a season’s work. He clearly sees something there. So do I. I see a ground ball machine with a decent K rate. A 100 mph fast ball may be sexier, but it isn’t more effective, at least without another pitch or two in the mix. And the Pirates don’t have the luxury of worrying only about who gets the next start. They need to be prepared when another injury strikes, and another injury WILL strike. Wandy has been down twice this year already. I think we’ll be lucky indeed if he makes the rest of his starts.

              Neither Morton nor Cole has any history of pitching out of the bullpen. I have to wonder how Morton’s new elbow would react to pitching every other day, or two days in a row. I have to wonder if he can just step right back into the rotation in August if Wandy goes down. He’d need to be stretched out all over again. You want to be stretching him out in the middle of a pennant race? I don’t.

              This may all be moot. By the time Burnett is ready, there may may be another injury. These things have a way of working themselves out. But as it stands today, I would keep Morton in the rotation and send Cole down to start once a week at Indy. I might change my mind depending on what happens between now and Burnett’s return. Either guy might make it into an easy decision. But that’s what I’d do if I had to decide today.

        • I can see how Cole’s Super 2 status could have nothing to do with how he’s treated. Of course, I have no idea what the front office is thinking but I think it’s a real possibility.

    • Yeah, its just about everybody. I heard Jim Duquette saying on MLB Network that they should not worry about years of control with Cole, and just leave him on the major league roster. He said they were putting his free agency down the road ahead of winning this year if they sent him down. He used to be a GM, right?

      • Crazy.

      • Jim Duquette is a failed , big-market GM, so I don’t give him much credibility on this topic. Again, if he said anything about “FREE AGENCY” and not “SUPER 2″ then he is a misinformed moron who should be on ESPN and not MLB network, which I respect.

        • That’s true about him, cmat. But, this is basic GM stuff. He has to know that. On the afternoon show, Bowden didn’t exactly handle the discussion well, either. All he said was that if Cole is thought to be one of your top 5 starters, you allow him to start and not worry about money. But, he never bothered to explain what he meant about “money.” No attempt to explain Super 2, arbitration, free agency, etc. It leaves people with the wrong impression.

  26. And now here comes the crap about monitoring the starters innings. If they ever make it to the playoffs, they’ll have to forfeit October because no one’s ever pitched that far before. How about this novel concept. Pick your 5 best starters and pitch them. Are they going to get tired ? Sure they are, but you know what ? That’s baseball.

    So lets dispense with 6 man rotations cause we’re playing 20 days in a row, sending guys down to sit them out, passing guys over so AJ gets his precious every 5th day and any other outside of the box look how smart we are garbage. 5 best guys, in rotation and keep a close eye on them. Maybe some old fashioned inside the box thinking might be the way to go for a change.

    Hoka Hey.

    • that’s a forceful opinion, but against the norm, not just for the Pirates but for all of baseball. the article gives good examples of Strasberg but also Chris Sale on the White Sox. The Pirates have also done nothing or said nothing to this point that indicates they (1) will shut down any pitcher as the Nats did (2) will go with 6 man rotation…

      Neal’s comments seem to indicate to me that they will not do what the Nats did.

      But just to be argumentative, Milo, what are your thoughts on the usage – past, present and future, of Melancon and Grilli? They clearly are the “best relievers” so do you believe the Bucs should monitor and adjust their usage for later in the season now, or do like you’d prescribe for starters and let the best pitch now and October takes care of itself?

      • I think we can all find times where we disagree with Hurdle’s use of his pen. And I’m a Hurdle fan. I for one think that if 2 strong lefties are coming up in the 8th that Justin Wilson should be the preferred option. Things like that. But where we get into trouble is saying that so and so “is on pace” to pitch so many games. There is no pace, no such thing. Appearances are absolutely 100% controllable. Melancon has only thrown 8 innings this month.

        • good balanced perspective, if only more fans had that elusive thing…perspective. The first time Clint used Wilson in the 8th and he gave up a run, he’d be tarred and feathered. Geez, some in this here asylum were ready to tar and feather Grilli, the amazing Grilled Cheese, for ‘almost blowing the game on Sunday’.

        • Love it, Milo. Love it.

    • Milo is PASSIONATE about this topic!

      • He certainly is. I have said several times that Milo can get more said in about 10 words than anyone else can in 100.

        I like the old school approach you are recommending, Milo. I said yesterday that Cole is a horse who can handle more innings than your typical 22 year old. This guy was full grown about 5 years ago. He said himself that he was throwing 100 at 17. Cole = Clydesdale.

        I was actually a little heartened to read that NH seemed to suggest they would not use the “kid gloves” method with Cole because they feel they have properly prepared him for more innings than conventional wisdom would suggest. But, as usual, there was some double speakage going on and my brain started hurting from all of the self-translation I was forced to do.

          • Tom Seaver pitched 251 innings his rookie year and averaged 271 innings per year his first 11 in the majors. I miss those days.

            • +1 million

              Wonder if they had him on a pitch count?

              I seriously doubt it.

              • Yeah, I think after 9 innings the manager said, “Anyone keeping track of how many pitches Seaver has thrown in this here 1-1 game?” The pitching coach said, “No, but he just told me he’s good for a couple more innings.”

            • Yeah, well, the last time EYE made mention that some of these guys were p*ss*es and should grow a set, I was immediately maligned!

              So….you know…

              • Next time anybody pitches with their testicles wil be the first, Jandy.

              • haha! I’d love to see that tried ;)

              • Those days there were 4 starters, not 5, pitching on 3 days rest every week.

                I don’t think they’re p*ss*es, but they are definitely handled like they make millions of dollars instead of thousands.

                Bob Friend would have almost as many losses as wins every year since he finished games whether they won or lost.

              • That’s what I’m talking about, Lucky. Not literally p*ss*es, but things sure are different now. heck, if a guy was hurting, he wouldn’t even let anyone know. Things are very different now.

              • They sure are, J-girl.

                A sign of the times I’m a-feared.

                Same as any kind of job. You’d have to be half dead to miss work back in the day. Now, somebody has hangnail and they’re off 3 days.

              • So do you guys think that its purely coincidence that pitchers, overall, are of much higher quality today than back in those times?

              • How do you define higher quality NMR?

              • It would be interesting to see a study done on the phenomena of how pitching has progressed since they lowered the mound in 1967 or 1968 because of the pitching dominance of the times. How did the lowering of the mound affect the way pitchers were? Seaver, of course, was after that time, but it would be interesting.

              • That’s what they say about workers, NMR. Higher quality these days.

                I don’t see it. We used to work all day and go to another job at night. Walked 10 miles to get there, up hill both ways, sun, rain or snow, ate dirt and drank out of hoof, then tire prints and were glad to get it.

              • Women are higher quality. Not sure about pitchers and workers.

              • Just funnin’

                The Good Ole’ Days always look better to those of us that lived in em.

                Like Carly Simon sang, “These are the good old days”.

                :D

              • @21 – Better velocity and breaking pitches.

                @AW

                The higher mound gave EVERY pitcher the “downward plane” that some people choose to mock these days. I’d say the change had a profound effect.

              • This is a very good discussion we are embarking upon now. Who were better pitchers? The guys in the 60′s and 70′s? Or, the guys today?

                There are lots of ways to go with this. First off, I would say that Lucky and Jandy are correct that guys threw more pitches, more often and for more innings then. That part is obvious. As Lucky points out, part of the “kid gloves” stuff today is money. Some would say money is the entire reason for the “wussification” if you will of today’s pitchers – and I am not saying that is a truthful term, but it is a common perception today by people who have watched baseball for 50 years. If this does exist, it is the teams that have caused it more than the players. I think teams also did it because, at some point, they determined that a starter could afford to throw a little harder and better if he was able to use all of his energy over 6 or 7 innings, rather than needing to conserve some for the 8th and 9th as he did then.

                Nowadays, we have specialists coming in for the 7th, 8th and 9th innings who throw as hard or harder than the starter does. And starters already throw harder now than they did 40 years ago. So, we have now evolved to nearly entire pitching staffs of guys throwing well over 90 MPH. Seaver, Ryan, and several others threw that hard back in the day, but they were the exception then. Not any more. So, I think these bigger, stronger, harder throwing kids today are making for better pitching staffs, overall, because you always have someone throwing at their best – as opposed to Bob Friend needing to pace himself a bit. And the guys who weren’t as good as Bob Friend were still expected to go 7 or 8 innings.

                I don’t know what the answer is as to which method was better. It’s just a different game in many ways today. More pitching specialization.

              • Women are of the same high quality. It’s just being recognized more because its legally required.

              • No question, NMR. I just hadn’t thought before about how that also affected the use of pitchers. I know what happened with expanded bullpens and specialty pitchers, but haven’t seen a study of empirical evidence connecting the two.

              • That is a great idea, AW.

              • Lucky,

                I love the Bill Cosby line about how grandparents are so nice to the grandkids now because they are trying to get to heaven.

                He said, “My dad, who used to tell me about how he had to strangle a grizzly bear with his loose leaf noteboook on the way to school if I asked him for a dime, now comes over to my house and reaches in his pocket to see how much money he can find for his grandchildren.”

            • Mark Fidrych pitched 250 innings in his rookie year and 162 more innings for the rest of his career. He was washed up at 24 and out of the majors at 26 and spent the rest of his twenties getting smacked around at AAA.

              The problem with anecdotal evidence is that the other guy can use it as well. The problem with your Seaver citation is that for every guy you can name who had long, successful careers despite heavy workloads, I can probably name five who blew out their arms.

              • Exactly.

                Using Seaver or Nolan Ryan as an example would be equivalent to creating educational curriculum based on Stephen Hawking’s level of intelligence.

              • There is no problem with my Seaver citation. My only point was to say that there was a time when pitchers threw a lot more innings than they do today and that I liked those days better for a myriad of reasons. One of which was that the games were faster in those days which I also preferred, but I can hang in there with the slower game of today.

              • Not calling you a liar, 21, but I would love to see the reactions if a manager kept a guy in longer than what is now considered the point of being “finished” just for the sake of throwing more innings.

                Lowes would sell out of pitch forks.

              • The flip side of that, though, is that you don’t see a Tom Seaver or Nolan Ryan because they all get treated the same. Law of averages. That’s not a criticism. The number of Tommy John surgeries is mind boggling.

              • Careers seem longer, too, AW.

                I still think pitchers who pitched every third day got in groove. Now, they have bullpens and what not, but then, you stayed on the mound.

                I’d like to see the number of complete games nowadays vs. the 60′s and 70′s.

              • Well said, 21. I remember as a very young kid the amazing season or two that Randy Jones of the Padres had. Do you remember him? He could carve a team up in about 1:40 on a good day. Probably couldn’t break a pain of glass with his fastball – 2 or 4 seam.

              • I meant they throw bullpen sessions every whatever days.

                I know they had bullpens back in the day. Just didn’t use them the same.

              • “Not calling you a liar, 21″

                I can’t even fathom what would cause you to type that. I agree with the rest of your post and I agree with AW. I realize what MLB world we live in now and how pitchers are handled.

              • Just didn’t want to insinuate that I was telling you what you would really be saying.

                Trying to nip an argument in the bud.

              • I still don’t understand what you mean NMR. AFAIC, you could have left out the first 5 words of your liar post and the post would have read just fine to me.

              • Lucky,

                You are on the money about complete games. I believe the best pitchers in the 70′s routinely had 20+ per season. I don’t know about earlier than that, but I’m guessing they got into the 30′s per season in earlier decades.

    • It may be crap but it is reality. I imagine a large majority of teams follow the concept of ramping innings for young pitchers and monitoring innings for all pitchers. I agree with you because at the end of the day if you add up the side sessions, the warm up pitches, spring training, etc……. what is another 30 innings.

      • Not as much for starters but relievers should not be measured my innings pitched or appearences but instead pitch count. Obviously Grille’s appearence on Sunday were I think he through over 30 pitches takes a lot more out of him then a 6 or 7 pitch save. Melancon and Grille for the most part have been no nonsense get quick ground ball outs and/or 4 pitch strike outs. They don’t go deep in many counts.

  27. Jim Leyland says that these things usually take care of themselves. Somebody’s getting traded.

    • These are problems most teams wish they had.

      Somebody is definitely getting traded.

        • Hopefully, someone who can hit with some pop and play right field

        • JMac has zero trade value, b/c teams know they have to DFA him anyway. Morton would have some high value, but then we’d be back to being very thin in terms of starters if injuries pop back up again.

          • Exactly my point.

            The only two guys you “want” to trade right now if you have to are Mazzaro and Gomez.

            Good luck getting anything in return.

            • They might trade Liriano for a bat

              • Ballsy, but interesting.

                Along those lines, if Morton (and low level prospects, if needed) could bring back somebody like Mike Morse or Josh Wilingham, I could certainly be tempted.

            • Almost every team in contention are looking to add bullpen arms. I bet you could get something. Maybe a bag of balls and some sunscreen. :)

              Keep your bags packed Vin Mazarro.

          • I don’t see them getting much more then organizational filler for anyone they would trade to take care of this problem. The right fielder with pop seems to be something they would get closer to the deadline by giving up a prospect or two.

            Unfortunately the entire AL East will be buyers at the deadline and most of those teams don’t care about holding onto prospects because they just buy what they need. The yankees have a guy making more then 1/3 of the pirates payroll that isn’t even playing this year. The sad thing is you may not know which player I am talking about because A-Rod, Teixeira and Jeter all have not played this year.

          • JMac is to remain in the DL for the time being with continued issues with his shoulder:
            http://www.bucsdugout.com/2013/6/25/4464328/james-mcdonald-update

        • If we want to be ballsy, then offer Melancon to the Tigers for some offense.

    • Our excess for someone else’s excess.

  28. Morton has some pretty high credibility in the clubhouse these days based on the way he threw at those couple of Cincinnati players. Based on that, you have to keep him around and hope his productivity improves.

    JMac is done in Pittsburgh / he’ll be DFA’d.

    • Hope his productivity improves?

      On that 2.81 ERA?

      Who are we talking about again?

      • Chuck needs to go deeper into the game, he can’t get past the 5th inning. Of course, that’s a problem for most of them.

      • Agree. When it is all said and done the pitcher on the Pirate staff with the least dominating stuff may be Wandy. That sounds crazy but maybe he gets traded to a desperate team in the AL East as we get closer to the deadline. He has value if for no other reason big market team fans have heard of him and sadly those teams have to make their fans happy even if it is fools gold. That is why Soriano will go to a big market and hopefully teams like the Pirates, A’s, Diamondbacks, Rockies are smart enough to stay away.

        • Wandy is also in his walk year if he doesn’t agree to his option with the PBC

        • Wandy is also, by far, the most consistant starter they have.

          Not even close.

          His value lies in the fact that he’s a damn good pitcher, not in his name.

          • “Not even close.”

            Cool! I’ve been looking for something to replace, “case closed.”

          • In my opinion I think you would be surprised by what a name means to big market teams and their fans. I like Wandy a lot and he is a damn good pitcher but his ERA the last 3 years of his career is higher then the current starters ERA’s. I do not think his stuff is better then AJ’s, or Cole’s. I also think the current versions of Locke and Liriano we are seeing are better then Wandy. I believe his strikeouts have gone down every year for the last 4 years.

            • As have his walks. He’s adjusted.

              The current versions of Liriano and Locke are great. Not even a question. But you better be damn sure those guys are going to show up in September.

              Wandy is gonna be Wandy. Always has.

      • I think you have to admit, NMR, that he has had one very good outing, one pretty good outing, and one not so good outing. I don’t believe he has pitched 6 full yet, right? I realize Clint pulled him when he was pitching very well in Cincy. I know he may not have given up a bunch of earned runs on Sunday, but anyone that watched all those walks will tell you he did not pitch well. I don’t personally think a 2.81 is a fair assessment right now.

        He is tantalizing, as always. There are those at bats where the curve is just nasty.

        But, it always seems we are having this “Charlie just can’t catch a break” discussion with him – when he is healthy.

        • Jim, you seem to be calling for a reality check while peppering your own biased opinion throughout.

          Thanks for looking out for me, but I’ll be just fine.

  29. before we go a-trading away STARTING pitching depth, what if:

    Cole hits a wall the next 3-4 starts, teams get to him earlier than 3rd time around the order, and he proves unreliable in the rotation… OR

    Morton struggles in his return from TJ surgery, can’t get his ‘control’ back and struggles to get lefties out… teams just ‘go the other way’ to death and touch him up for 4-5 runs each start…..

    Wandy comes back but ‘forearm soreness’ returns and he shuts it down

    AJ can’t shake the torn calf muscle or whatever he has…..

    • If any of that happens and we’re left with Jeanmar Gomez or Vin Mazzaro starting in the stretch run, we’re still screwed.

    • I’m with you, CMAT, no way do I trade any one of the top six starters. I don’t trade Gomez, either.

      • Right, I guess my post was in response to those suggesting trading wandy or liriano.

        • Oops. Sorry man. Thought we were still talking about Mazzaro/Gomez.

          • DK will have an article tomorrow on ‘where the Pirates stand’ and I fully expect him to indicate that there are still many question marks in the rotation for the Pirates. MLB Rumors still links the Pirates to Astros starter Bud Norris… adding, yes, adding starting pitching at the deadline….

            I don’t expect the Pirates to be in a position to be losing any possible starting pitching depth, which at this point, in my mind, includes AJ/Wandy/Liriano/Locke/Cole/Morton/Gomez, in that order.

            If they picked up Norris, wow, he’d have to go into the rotation and then both would happen, Cole to AAA AND Morton to the pen. Wouldn’t that be interesting!!

            OR, and I hate to even bring it up, what if the Bucs went for a more established starter, perhaps Nolasco or Garza, and had to include Locke in the package going back in the deal…. it would take away a question mark and would be ‘selling high’…

            These are not my ideas or things I think they should do, but sometimes the moves that are most obvious aren’t the ones that are made….

            • Thanks for the last disclaimer, because Locke is doing better than those guys and it is extremely doubtful he would be traded given that, plus his “years of organizational control.”

              I know you are not advocating giving away Locke or obtaining Norris. Both of those things scare me. I’m sure someone will do the quick fact check. But, aren’t Bud’s numbers slipping this year? Kind of makes sense, given that he is now an AL pitcher, and rarely gets the typical #8 & #9 hitters in the AL that he saw in the NL. I believe his whiff rate is falling precipitously.

    • Hope you’re never sitting next to me on a plane. :)

  30. OR even, Jeff Locke can’t keep up the amazing 1st half pace, shoots to a 4.5 ERA in July/August and struggles a la JMac of 2012…..

    • hoping he’s not the next Zack Duke.

      • I guess we won’t know for awhile, kr. But, Jeff is giving up far less hits than innings, and starting to strike out more batters. Zach Duke always seemed to give up far more hits than innings, and couldn’t even strike out pitchers.

        Of course, there was that initial dozen or so games he pitched. I guess that is what you are referring to. I believe Jeff has better stuff.

  31. My lineup predictions for tonight……

    If I were manager:

    Marte LF
    Mercer 2B
    Cutch CF
    Gaby 1B
    Pedro 3B
    Martin C
    Sanchez DH
    Snider RF
    Barmes SS

    What I think Clint will do:

    Marte LF
    Mercer SS
    Cutch CF
    Gaby 1B
    Martin C
    Pedro 3B
    Walker 2B
    Sanchez DH
    Inge RF

  32. I wonder how much sense worrying about Super 2 status for a 100+ mph pitcher really makes during a contending season. I think (1) that he can probably put the few million dollars of revenue you’ll save into the seats if he keeps throwing like that. And (2) that kind of strain is always an injury risk for any arm — and he’s not going to be resting, he’s going to be pitching in Indianapolis.

    Right now the Bucs have seven legitimate starters. In my mind AJ, Locke, and Cole are not tradeable. MacDonald is not a legitimate starter for this club. We no longer have holes in the starting eight — but we do have positions that could be improved.

    I know what I would be trying to do if I were Neal.

  33. There appears to be a lot of sentiment about Cole’s arbitration eligibility in six years.

    Management does need to consider that, but do we not want to win NOW, while we seem to have an excellent opportunity in front of us – NOW?

    The future will take care of itself, I am quite sure.

    I’m looking forward to the future (six hours of it) and not finding Barmes name in the lineup. From this humble example, you’ll see that the future will be OK.

  34. I saw references to “elephant in the room” again today.

    As 21st said so well yesterday, we have Hippos in the room, there is no room for any elephant.

    And, as the blog’s resident Hippo, I approve that remark. :)

  35. JMac situation solved

    Pirates RHP James McDonald will remain on the DL as he
    experiences shoulder discomfort. He will see Dr. James Andrews next week.

    • Does this mean he has to be transferred to the 60-day DL?

    • These things usually take care of themselves.

    • easy, peasy, convenient list is not cheesy.

      honestly, though, I do think ‘mental issues’ should count for DL reason and is the real reason JMac is not pitching for the Pirates.

      • To be a valuable reliever, IMO there four essentials required; thick skin (i.e.toughness), great control, an excellent fastball, and confidence.

        Which of those best represents JMac?

    • Tim Williams of Pirates Prospects had speculated a couple of months ago that unexplained wildness accompanied by a drop in velocity, even without discomfort, was a warning sign of a serious arm problem on the horizon. He was not saying this would be the case, only that the warning signs were similar to what JMac has been experiencing. I have been waiting for this shoe to drop all along.

      On the bright side, at least he will know what exactly is going on now.

    • Gentlemen/Jandy/ Brandie/Other Cute Sports Chicks,

      We now see the Convenience List put perfectly into action!!!!!

  36. JMac staying on the DL due to shoulder discomfort. Will see Dr. Andrews next week.

  37. To borrow a Jim Mora voice inflection, “Six years, six years. . . . . ”

    Some day the remainder of all of our lives will be measured in minutes and seconds, but I pray that is not today or any time soon, however “six years, six years . . . .”

  38. McDonald will now NOT see Dr. Andrews due to a scheduling conflict. RG3 must have the sniffles.

    • Maybe we can trade JMac to the Redskins??

    • There is NO CL. (Just wanted to get that out of the way).

      • Is there an ICL? ;)

        • If there is, I wish they’d put Inge on it already.

          • +1.

            This is what I fear going into the second half of the season with this FO……
            What on earth is Inge doing on the roster? How can any team be taken seriously when they say “we want to win”, when they keep Inge and Barmes around.

            Just wondering here……………….

            • As to Inge, I think he should be replaced. Otherwise, that’s all I have to say about that. I have very little interest in discussions on the last position player on the roster. I’m not putting down anyone who wants to talk about it a length. That’s absolutely fine but I have no interest.

              As to Barmes, right now I have no problem with him staying on the roster the rest of the year.

            • Barmes is a decent to good utility infielder option. Until we get someone who can play defense like he can at SS and 2B, and please don’t say “JayHey” and please don’t say “Chase”…then he needs to stay.

              Inge can be gone.

              • John McDonald was brought here to be a defensive replacement for Barmes in the late innings, while Mercer was at Indy, at the start of the year.
                So how does that qualify Barmes to be a late inning replacement for anyone now? He certainly isn’t an improvement over Mercer – or Walker!

            • Inge has pretty well proven himself to be a liability. I am not a Barmes fan. He is absolutely brutal with a bat in his hand. I can live with him in the 8th/9th innings when we have a lead to protect.

          • Not a big fan of Inge myself… but not sure what the options are in AAA.. at least until Tabby (right handed bat) is ready for recall. If I were GM, I’d get a deadline utility guy and banish Inge and recall Tony Sanchez for C spot and DFA Fort.

        • There’s an ACL and MCL, hippo.

      • CL= “Crazy List” , population 1, JMAC

  39. WOO HOO !!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Pittsburgh Riverhounds striker Jose Angulo was named USL PRO Player of the Week for Week 14 after scoring three goals in two games as the Hounds swept the Harrisburg City Islanders and the Antigua Barracudas.

    PLAN THE PARADE !!!!!!!!!!!!

  40. Initially, the Pirates planned to send McDonalds to visit Dr. James Andrews, but after announcing McDonald’s condition, the team was contacted by Dr. Andrews’ staff to inform them of a scheduling conflict. The next step in his evaluation is still to be determined.

  41. As long as I’m in my corrective mode, I wanted to mention that the Bucs were not only 16 games over .500 on August 8 of last year, but also, for the first time, on July 28. Don’t know what that means, if anything, but it’s the fact, Jack.

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