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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Want ‘The Final Word’ on Pirates, Pens?

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

The joint venture between WPXI and Trib Total Media into sports TV continues Sunday night at 11:35 p.m. with the latest episode of The Final Word.

>> Who’s on: WPXI contributors will be Alby Oxenreiter and Richie WalshThe Trib will be represented by myself and Rob Biertempfel. Our topics will be led by the Pirates’ continued superb play, but we’ll also talk about the Penguins’ many looming personnel decisions and NHL Draft.

>> How to participate: Each week, we also take comments from viewers through 20-second videos you submit on The Final Word’s Facebook page, as well as comments to The Final World’s Twitter account

>> Where to watch: In addition to the regular broadcast on WPXI-TV, we have WPXI’s live online stream for Pittsburgh’s many out-of-town sports fans, as well as video podcasts available on both outlets’ Web sites.

Here’s last week’s episode.

Really hope to have you, not only watching but also joining in!

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, recently, 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 country's top four columnists by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the country's top three columnists by the National Headliners. For 2013, he was named the state's top columnist by the Keystone Press Awards and top columnist in Western Pennsylvania by the Golden Quills.


  1. Reading says:

    Tranquility Base here, the Eagle has landed. The Pirates sit alone atop the NL Central.

  2. Ghost says:

    Make that, “The Bucs have the best record in baseball.” Had I typed that a couple of months ago, I’d have been put in a straight jacket.

  3. Ghost says:

    Not to be a party pooper, but with the news today that Austin Meadows has signed and is off to Bradenton, has there been any info about any residual Hoka Hey practices still being employed down there? (Do kinda miss hearing about the mental conditioning posters and such, but enough was enough.)

  4. theplanisworking says:

    With apologies to JAL, friends of JAL, and the blog in general…………..

    being JAL is gone for the weekend, I am going to try a much shortened version of Morning links, just because I wanted to continue his “sky” theme for today to finish the week.

    I dont have the ability to do what he does, and just getting the info today on my limited scale, I really appreciate what he does every day all that much more. My links are general links, which when you click on them, lead you to different websites all from one page.

    I also cant do the fancy bold and italics stuff wither.
    And no, I am not auditioning for his job either.
    Just providing a mini-fix.

    In other words, dont run this hippo up the flagpole just yet.

  5. theplanisworking says:

    Hippo’s Sky High Substitute Morning Links


    CBS Sports General Pirates Page

    FOX Sports Pirates Links Page

    ESPN Pirates Trade Possibilities Interactive Page


    General Penguin Stuff from Faceoff-Factor

  6. theplanisworking says:

    Jigsaw “Sky High”, 1975. Jigsaw was a British Rock band in the mold of The Who, complete with smashing guitars and setting fire to the stage. In 1973, the band drastically changed musical direction, resulting in this major hit, really, their only one.

  7. tdb1977 says:

    Good morning Lunatics! This beautiful Saturday morning dawns with OUR Pittsburgh Pirates sitting on top of the entire pile of Mt Major League Baseball with the best record. 49 wins against 30 loses. Oakland did their part and beat the Red Birds last night. Today is a great day! Let’s go out and get our second win of the series against the Brewers tonight.

  8. theplanisworking says:

    Way to go bringing back a win from the ol ballyard last night!

    How was the attendance? ;)

  9. kr70 says:

    Disappointed in Starling. twice in 1 week he doesn’t run hard to 1st. I hope he isn’t getting a pass because of the great at bats the rest of the game. He can be a great one.

  10. Jandy says:

    Much appreciate, Hipposter.

    Ya did JAL proud :)

  11. theplanisworking says:

    Jandy, this is crazy! I dont know how JAL does it every day!
    And mine was a feeble attempt to do what he does.

    But anyway, how are you this morning?

  12. Jandy says:

    Thanks for the Face Off factor link, Hipposter :)

  13. Jandy says:

    I’m good, just got hubby off to work. I’m gonna stay here a few then get to work…housework ya know. Then off to look for a recliner loveseat, as thre Squatters moved out and we have them our reclining chairs lol

  14. kr70 says:

    and by the way…It’s lonely at the top!

  15. Jandy says:

    Gabby gave him a talking to last night, kr

  16. tdb1977 says:

    It was electric from the second inning on. I have a horse voice this morning from screaming and cheering the Pirates. After the game, so many people stayed around inside the park to watch the interview with McCutchen. We stood around for a while after that to let the crowd file out and all the way down the routundra, all you heard were chants of Let’s Go Bucs! There were people high fiving others as they were leaving the stadium. If this is June baseball, imagine what its going to be like if they make October baseball. Tonight should be another sell out as its a fireworks night. My next game will be Tuesday against the Phillies. Between now and the end of the first half, will be at the park 5 total times including last night.

  17. theplanisworking says:

    De Nada. :)

  18. Jandy says:

    How are you my fine Hippo friend?

  19. theplanisworking says:


    You take this nun stuff seriously, dont you? ;)

    Yeah, Saturdays used to be calm days, but now they are busy also.
    Lots of stuff to do here too.

    But there is always time for a Pirate game.

  20. Jandy says:

    nah…Squatters is the term hubby gave son and his girfriend. They moved in with us and stayed for 10 months….was just to be a few weeks until they got an apartment. I was sooooo happy to see them leave lol

  21. tdb1977 says:

    Oh, I didn’t realize that the Indians and White Sox decided to play a football game last night night instead of a baseball game. G1 final was 19 to 10 and the G2 was 9 to 8 in favor of the Browns, I mean Indians.

  22. Jandy says:

    Those Bucs are so much fun to watch :)

  23. theplanisworking says:

    Hippos are fine by nature. ;)

    Get to talk with some friends about business opps. today. That always is fun, because we joke about serious stuff!

  24. Jandy says:

    Well, enjoy and good luck!

  25. theplanisworking says:

    Ahhhhh, bless your hearts for helping them……. :)

    Hope to see you, Brandie, and others for tonights game.

  26. Jandy says:

    I hope so too. Have a great day my friend :*

  27. Jandy says:

    Great stuff, tdb, go as often as you can ! :)

  28. theplanisworking says:

    Thoughts from last nights game:

    I am glad Cole had struggles last night………….. not because I want to see him do poorly, but because it showed him there will be huge bumps in the road at the MLB level. It will also cool the talk of Cy Youngs, and HOF nominations for the kid. I especially like the fact he overcame the rough start, and settled down.

    Pirate bats hot last night, but were helped greatly by Milwaukee’s horrid defense. How the mighty have fallen………….. Brewers looking at several years of rebuilding.

    Very glad to see Gaby taking the bull by the horns and talking to Marte about his lack of hustle in the 1st. Whatever he said, it worked…………. marte had a huge game after that.

    The catch by Cutch reminded us of how good defensively he is.

  29. tdb1977 says:

    And I forgot to mention – after starting the season 0-4 (remember that, yes) I have won 3 out of my last 4 games and each one of those games have been started by Cole.

  30. tdb1977 says:

    Thats why we are all part of an asslym here.

  31. Kevin says:

    ESPN sportscenter.. showed highlights at 14 min mark. So, definitely improving. Although if you look at nothing. OH and click on the MLB tab, still nothing. Hate ESPN.

  32. Jim S. says:

    Very nice effort in a utility role, Plan! Just a teammate picking up another teammate, I guess.

  33. Drew71 says:

    Plan, thanks for the links. You forgot one.

    I went to to read about some baseball. And got a little lost.

  34. Jim S. says:

    Very nice win last night. I took my son to his game, and as we exited the car at the field the ugly top of the first had just ended. It was 3-0. I told my son, “Don’t worry. With this team losing 3-0 after a half-inning is the new tied.”

    As it turned out, when I checked my phone an hour later for the score the Bucs had taken a 7-3 lead and my daughter at home had sent me 5 texts to let me know everything was under control.

    Got home late to watch the replay, but ran out of gas in about the 4th inning. I can’t wait to watch every last play this morning.

    Great time to be a Bucs fan right now, folks!

  35. Nate83 says:

    Espn had the pirates on the front of the web site just 2 days ago with the lead column being about them.

    I hate them as well but I wanted to give them a little credit fir that.

  36. Drew71 says:

    My boss is from St. Louis. I just texted THIS link to him.

  37. Jim S. says:

    36,875 – sellout!

  38. Jim S. says:

    Was that what that was? Nice to see. Starling is a very hard worker, and a great hustler. But, he dogged that one. Greg Brown called him out on it, and it is nice to see a vet teammate let him know it had better not happen again. With Starling, I have zero worries in that department. That is one special kid.

  39. Jim S. says:

    That was a ridiculous catch by Cutch. And then, to roll over and get up so quickly and fire a strike to 1b … well, it does not get better than that.

  40. Jim S. says:

    MLB Network, on their highlight show, has been giving them great credit now for weeks. I like that show with Heide Whatley (sp?).

  41. MadTurk says:

    Link of the Day

  42. Jim S. says:

    I’m sure everyone noticed how much the youngster from the Brewers, Segura, struggled last night. He has put on a great offensive exhibition all season, but that was a putrid display of defense last night. He didn’t know when to charge, and when to stand his ground. SS can be a very humbling position. I almost felt bad for him in that 2nd inning. Almost. Then, I remembered the joy on the Brewers’ faces in that 20-0 game years ago and I resisted the urge.

    I thought Segura’s struggles last night showed that while Jordy may not be Ozzie Smith defensively just yet, and I doubt he ever will be, he’s done a pretty good job so far of making not only the routine plays but also making in the occasional gem. And, at the plate, he has been well above average – especially with RISP. He still has not completely settled in to what he can become, but I think we could do a lot worse.

  43. Drew71 says:

    I wondered if the moderator was gonna allow this link.

    Since, um, cursing is not allowed.

  44. Jim S. says:

    Oh, and then to wake up and find out that Andre the Giant and the A’s had whipped the Cardinals … perfect way to start the weekend.

  45. cherokee23 says:

    I thought capacity/ sellout was 38,000+?

  46. Arriba Wilver says:

    That’s NOT a typo.

  47. Arriba Wilver says:

    It reminded me of American Pie: The day the music died.

  48. Jim S. says:

    Yes, that is correct. I am not sure why they can get a sellout for less than that. Someone can probably explain. I don’t think it is no shows. This question has come up before, and I’m not quite sure. But, I believe it was termed a sellout.

  49. Jim S. says:

    Hey, Arriba. I figure you will know the answer to the question of how they can announce a sellout with less than capacity. I’ve seen that happen a lot. I believe it was announced as a sellout last night, with just under 37k.

  50. Arriba Wilver says:

    I don’t, Jim. At first I thought it may have something to do with season ticket holders turning in unused seats for tickets to this game, so they couldn’t be counted twice even though all seats were taken. In other words, no more tickets to sell. But I don’t know if they can do that for weekend games usually.

  51. Arriba Wilver says:

    Sure looked full, though.

  52. cherokee23 says:

    With the attendance line this weekend, it may get confusing!

  53. pattonbb says:

    ESPN is a joke. Could probably count on one hand how many times I’ve watched that channel this year. Most of that was NFL draft related.

    MLB channel has been doing a nice job this year. Not just covering the Buccos, but baseball in general. Good stuff.

  54. Lad9 says:

    Yes, Heidi is extremely….. knowledgable, yes that’s it knowledgable. :) Actually she does fine along with being camera friendly.

  55. Jim S. says:

    Yes, it did.

  56. pattonbb says:

    She has a cameo in the Dropkick Murphy’s music video for “Going Out in Style”. She’s sitting at the bar doing shots with Shawn Thornton. Pretty cool video, if you’re into that music.

  57. Bizrow says:

    + quite a few

  58. Bizrow says:


  59. Bizrow says:

    There might be something about not selling all single seats and still considering it a sellout, but am not sure of that

  60. Bob Hasis says:

    Small point to ponder; when Gerrit Cole pitches, our offense also comes to life.
    SF 8-2
    LAD 6-3
    LAA 5-2
    MILW 10-3
    IMO just further evidence that Cole must stay.

    Once again last night, I heard those same miserable words from a FO exec., one Frank Coonelley this time, and he said if Cole gets sent back it will be a performance based decision – NOT money. I am now THOROUGHLY disgusted with their value of truth.

    Not only is Cole lights out, the entire team explodes for him.

    Find a shred of non-performance in any game in which Cole appeared.

    The FO and CH especially, have a habit of using the phrase “too small of a sample” when making comparisons, but in this case they are more than willing to use a miniscule sample of Cole’s stats as compared to Morton.

    Sending Cole down would be a much dumber decision than ceding last year’s #1 draft pick for a #9 this year – knowing they couldn’t sign Appel.

    Honestly, I slept real well last, and my corn flakes weren’t soggy this morning. I am ready for today’s challenges

  61. Jim S. says:

    Cueto left the game early for Cincy last night with that same issue with his side again. That violent torque seems to really be causing major problems for him this year. Once that sets in, as it appears to have done now, I think it is hard to avoid having it recur over and over. He may have to change that delivery, and something like that really changes a pitcher. He has been a very good pitcher. It will be interesting to see what this does to his effectiveness. I guess we’ll see over the next few days but it looks like another DL stint to me.

    That probably means Cingrani goes back to the rotation, and they lose that nasty late inning lefty reliever. The Reds have hit some rough waters.

  62. Drew71 says:

    Perfect. Perfect.

    The Jester stole (our) thorny crown
    And, as I watched him at the Trib, my hands were clenched at Mister Glib
    No one from Wilberding could break that Dejan’s jinx
    And, as the flames climbed high into the night to light the Curse-acevic rite, I saw…
    Dejan laughing with delight the day the music died


  63. Arriba Wilver says:

    Biz–can you trade your unused tickets in for weekend games later in the season?

  64. Bob Hasis says:

    To try and improve on the quality we NOW have at SS would be very expensive. We have our man, so don’t waste time. If you are looking for a hole to improve on this team, start with back-up catcher (I LOVE FORT), find an injection for Cutch’s hustle and enthusiasm for Marte, and perhaps RF.

    One more; let’s search for a “magic wand” (shaped like a Louisville Slugger) to be-dub NH with the wisdom required to make the right decision on Cole

  65. It’s a Saturday, so let me be a stand-in for Dejan:

    “36,875. What a disappointing attendance!

    I understand there was less than 2000 walk-up sales on Friday, even with Gerrit Cole pitching!

    Attendance must be because of a Groupon night!”

    I cannot ‘bold’ the words, but just imagine Dejan’s voice speaking the above words.

  66. Jim S. says:

    Since your merit increase next year has no bearing on me, Biz, I say go for it.

    Kidding! I have a few colleagues at work who are Cards fans as well. I generally find them to be among the most courteous of baseball fans.

  67. Bob Hasis says:

    They’ve also hit third place and the entire Pirate nation is in mourning

  68. Jim S. says:

    The camera does seem to favor her.

  69. Drewmeister,

    Reading that link made/makes me nervous.

    Especially the guarantees!!

  70. Bizrow says:

    I’m not sure, I usually send them to Tickets For Kids

  71. Arriba Wilver says:

    Good call on the attendance last night.

  72. Jim S. says:

    Sole possession of 3rd place, to be exact.

  73. Thundercrack says:

    Regarding attendance, I think capacity may include standing room. Sell out may only mean the seats.

    But I may be wrong.

    But I am not wrong about this: we’re in first place with the best record in MLB

  74. Thundercrack says:

    Well Bob, Cole is still on the team. So they haven’t sent him down so they aren’t lying …yet

  75. Drew71 says:

    Yes, I agree with that last comment.

    – Bizdrew

  76. 21sthebest says:

    And with better footwork by Jones, I thought they could’ve gotten a double play.

  77. 21sthebest says:

    And looking at that again, I can’t even believe the way Jones took that throw.

  78. Arriba Wilver says:

    I just heard it on the radio; didn’t know it was that close at first. They were just talking about Cutch.

  79. Bob Hasis says:

    You’re being set up TC

  80. Thundercrack says:

    I’ll worry about it when it actually happens.

  81. Bob Hasis says:

    Thank you – the difference was which I could never have calculated was those 686 people speeding toward the airport and looked down and said to themselves, “hey look the Pirates are playing, let’s get off the exit ramp and catch a ballgame

  82. Bob Hasis says:

    I’m in the camp which hopes it doesn’t, but I feel it coming. I think we agree he must stay, but others have other ideas

  83. Bob Hasis says:

    Actually I guess they merely ceded a #8 pick for a #9. Am I right?

  84. Arriba Wilver says:

    I agree we wait till it happens, but I mentioned briefly yesterday Neal’s interview on the Fan. I heard it in the car and had to bang my head against the wall for five minutes when I got home to clear out my head. that interview, which was actually done very well by Starkey, etc. has to go down, even for Neal, as a jewel in the annals of obfuscation.

    Question: Can Cole influence the decision on whether to send him down by his performance?

    Answer: meandering for seemingly minutes all the factors that may go into the decision and they have to consider, and at the very end an ambiguous statement that Coles performance could be one of those many factors. Could be. (At least he didn’t explicitly repeat that Super 2 was the only factor that would NOT be considered.)

  85. Arriba Wilver says:

    On Appel? Yes.

  86. Bob Hasis says:

    So in retrospect, they made a reasonable choice on Appel which didn’t work out, and they lost virtually nothing by selecting one slot lower this year.
    I will applaud them since Appel was a unanimous “can’t miss” pick.

  87. Arriba Wilver says:

    The “experts” seem to think they got 2 good guys this year with their 2 first round picks, so I think that’s a fair evaluation.

  88. Bob Hasis says:

    Yes, yes, yes the obfuscation reeks with a stench.

    I know there is psychology in play here (they can’t merely announce it is a pre-ordained decision to send him back), but think of this;
    Without Cole’s 4 wins we’d be tied with or behind the Reds in third place, NOT reveling atop the majors with the best record.

    And YES I understand too the value of not losing Morton to the four winds by sending him back and risking a claim for him.

  89. Bob Hasis says:

    AW, we agree again. I’m starting to get nervous.

  90. Thundercrack says:

    Someone else would have started those games. We may not have ended up with the same number of wins but it also isn’t guaranteed they would have been 4 losses

  91. Bob Hasis says:

    For Jim S. above regarding your question of attendance. I think the answer is this; in today’s Trib, there are two attendance figures given – one in parenthesis being (I think) tickets sold, and the other being actual – or turnstile – figures.

  92. Jim S. says:

    Good point, 21. I just watched it again. Could have positioned himself better, for sure.

  93. Arriba Wilver says:

    You and me both.

  94. Jim S. says:


    I think even if Cole goes down it will only be for a short spell. I agree with you that he has earned his spot. But, if he does go down, I think it will only serve to make him more determined. He’ll come back spitting fire.

  95. Jim S. says:


  96. Jim S. says:

    +1 for using obfuscation.

  97. Jim S. says:

    I would not be surprised if Austin ends up a very good player.

  98. Jim S. says:

    Sole possession, at that, Thunder! My phrase du jour.

  99. Bob Hasis says:

    But the FACT is Cole started and we WON those games.

    Yes which someone else?

    TC you are now dealing in hypothesis which you hate to do. He started and we won. Everything else is hypothetical

  100. Bob Hasis says:

    That goes to AW, I was merely parroting him

  101. Jim S. says:

    Thanks, Bob. I always wondered what the number in parentheses was all about.

  102. Bob Hasis says:

    He had that sound of confidence and conviction and looked like a stud.
    With a few extra million in his account too

  103. Jim S. says:

    +2 for proper crediting.

  104. Bob Hasis says:


  105. Jim S. says:

    Yeah, good to be barely 18 and worth $3.03 million (less confiscatory taxes, of course).

    Nice start in life.

  106. Jim S. says:

    Sorry, Drew!

  107. JRay3 says:

    I could be wrong but I thought the number in parenthesis was always the stadium capacity. Some boxes will than put percentage to capacity in there with the actual game attendance number.

  108. Bob Hasis says:

    Let me say this; if I take all of my thoughts and statements, and combine them with all of the opinions expressed here by everyone, and intermingle that with statements of the FO – you have a large plate of spaghetti.
    Did you ever stare down into a plate of spaghetti, catch sight of one strand then it disappeared into the pile – and you thought, I wonder where the end of that is?

    Rhetoric, hyperbole, illusions, imagination and in most cases all sensible and logical, but there is no announced truth. It all makes for intriguing conversation right here, among ourselves.

    Going to Indy for a short spell in Coles case, is very similar to a race car driver (coincidentally at Indy) pulling in for a pit stop. The certainty which follows is he has lost his place in the race standings, and it becomes very difficult to regain his previous spot. He may not.

  109. Now that the College World Series is over, the year end Directors’ Cup standings are out.

    Directors’ Cup looks at all college sports (27 in all, I think), men’s and women’s, and gives points for finish in each for every school.

    This year’s repeat winner for having the best overall college sports program is Stanford University. Duke University, beloved by all, finished 12th.

    Pitt is the only member of the new Atlantic Coast Conference to finish out of the Top 100——Pitt finished #102. Maybe we should give the architect of this mediocre sports program, Steve Pederson, the boot and start new in our new digs. Oh yeah, Pitt just gave him an extension.

    Dejan’s daughter could have made the easy choice of tearing down decrepit Pitt Stadium, building the Pete on that site, and having the Pitt footballers share a stadium with the mighty Pittsburgh Steelers.

    Pitt is moving in with the big boys and girls now. Show us whatcha got, Steve Pederson! I fear he already has . . . . . . .

  110. Johnnie Ray III,

    Correct you are!!

  111. theplanisworking says:

    At least you didnt call him Thunder…………

  112. tdb1977 says:

    I can file in for Biz here. Any advance game that you cannot get to on your season ticket package can be traded in for any Sunday through Thursday game. If the game has already been played, it can go to certain Monday through Thursday games. My wife and I had to change in a few of our advance games as we are going to be out of town or my family is coming in. We also missed one game so we had to trade those tickets in as well. Out of our 20 game packs, we had to move around 4 of those games.

  113. Arriba Wilver says:

    That’s what I understood.

  114. Reading says:

    I have a Willie Stargell bat from Bat Day at Forbes Field in 1970 before the Pirates moved into Three Rivers about a month or so later. That might work.

  115. JohninOshkosh says:

    University North Carolina-9

  116. JohninOshkosh says:

    I’m sorry-8

  117. Naje says:

    Never enough to enjoy the wins and revel in the excellent play on the field. Got to talk obfuscation and how, by God and by golly, COLE MUST REMAIN WITH THE TEAM OR I’M GOING TO FREAK OUT ON MANAGMENT… ahh, the wonderful whiff of negativity, distrust and general dislike for anyone that may be in management or ownership that pervades western PA.

    Lord knows that Huntington, Coonelly, Nutting and Hurdle are all inveterate liars. Always. Forever.

  118. Drew71 says:


  119. theplanisworking says:


  120. Arriba Wilver says:

    Lighten up, Francis.

  121. Bob Hasis says:

    Poor Naje; I hate having to tell him there is no Santa Claus or Easter Bunny.

    The principals you mentioned created a monster by having to bring up Cole prematurely and he performed too well. We have won 4 games with him by a combined 29-10. They just can’t send him back down now without a lot of extenuating reasons to defend that move, so now comes the grandiose malarkey.

    I’m sorry you can’t see that, but unless something unforeseen occurs, Cole is going back
    and we (the Pirates) will be much the worse off. And I’m sorry that “the principals” can’t see that.

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