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Morning Java: Debating Wright and wrong

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

>> The Friday column tries, undoubtedly in vain, to put all this David Wright hysteria into perspective.

Interested in your own perspectives, too, as always.

Oh, and for purposes of being complete, here’s the Greg Brown/Bob Walk dual rant on Wright the other night, the whole thing. Thanks to reader Drew Brown for taping this for me off his laptop …

Yikes, huh?

Anyway, even with the Pirates off, they scored a win for all the local goats and chickens apparently sacrificed in the cause: Pedro Alvarez was added to the Home Run Derby. Jerry DiPaola reports.

>> The Pirates were off but still had a wonderful night in the standings.

>> The stunner of the day in sports, beyond a doubt, was Ilya Kovalchuk walking away from $77 million to leave the Devils and the NHL for a return to Russia at age 30.

If you don’t know Russians or Russian culture, you won’t understand this no matter what you read about it. Suffice it to say the bond is a hard one.

Related to that, our Rob Rossi looks at what makes Evgeni Malkin a bit different.

All I’ll add is that it’s a big loss, for the Devils and for the NHL. The Devils made a richly bold move in bringing Kovalchuk up from Atlanta to anchor their new arena in Newark, and it worked a lot better than most — myself included — thought it would. He carried the Devils to the Stanley Cup Final just two seasons ago with 19 points in 23 playoff games.

Now, with Kovalchuk’s timing having cost the Devils a chance to keep David Clarkson and, going back, Zach Parise … wow, who will score for that team?

>> The Steelers’ training camp schedule is out. Reporting day is exactly two weeks.

>> Pitt is inching toward selling out its season at Heinz Field, which is going to sound swell when it happens but still won’t carry much weight with me unless these people show up.

When you sell season tickets in this manner — low-priced and in bulk to a lot of the same customers — you’re going to have a lot of yellow. And fair or not, in college football, how your place looks on TV and in person to potential recruits counts a lot more than a little extra cash in the register.

>> Penn State sets up its post-sanctions schedule, also known as 2016-17.

>> Missed the weekly chat?

>> I’ll visit with TribLIVE Radio today at 11:30 a.m. to discuss the Wright column and more.

>> I’m headed up to New York this weekend to cover the All-Star festivities, beginning with the Futures Game on Sunday. There will be a column every day I’m up there.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

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


  1. I’ve seen so many similar accounts saying Kovalchuk is “walking away from $77 million.” Hardly. Isn’t he just simply walking towards another $77 million, only from a KHL team instead?

    Why not report that he’s “walking away (or turning his back)” on the New Jersey Devils or the NHL?

    DK: That hasn’t been established. There has been no KHL signing.

    If Ilya falls down a flight of steps tomorrow and rips up his knee, not even the wealthiest Russian oil tycoon is going to hand him the equivalent of $77 million.

    It’s a risk.

    • Pretty sure I just read that he signed with SKA St Petersburg for a nice chunk o’change.

      So let’s leave the “I just wanted to go home to Mother Russia and be happy with my family” line of reasoning by the wayside. Of course he wanted to go home, but he also knew he’d have a nice paycheck waiting for him there.

  2. Is it OK to boo Wright Friday when his name is announced? I don’t think you can compare Cano’s treatment at the All-Star Game last year to a regular-season game in Pittsburgh.

    For the record, it shouldn’t go beyond booing, but I’m sure there will also be some comments about his mother, etc. Hopefully, no batteries.

  3. Fans have every “Wright”… yeah I had to go there… to boo Mets third baseman David Wright. Those boos are not just meant to be for Wright and his stupid selections of HIMSELF and Michael Cuddyer, they’re also meant for MLB’s colossal ineptitude to even put Wright into the position.

    This, a year after Robinson Cano was lustily booed by Kansas City fans.

    I don’t think players are “not going to KC” because their feelings were hurt based on some boos for Cano. If any town knows why that exists in KC, it would be Pittsburgh. Losing baseball, bad ownership for years, and no money.

    If you are calling Wright a jerk or some other mean spirited name, that’s not acceptable. He was Captain America for Team USA during the World Cup of Baseball until well he went lame with an injury.

    I don’t think there’s a problem booing a player for his first at-bat and be done with it. I don’t think I saw anyone say he should be pelted with batteries. Those that have… well they are the scum of fandom everywhere and not just located in Pittsburgh, just look to our east in Philadelphia for those winners.


    As for the HR Derby … I’m not a fan of ESPN or Chris Berman but it was undeniable excitement and drama, when I was there in person at PNC Park and Ryan Howard won it with that HR that hit the Pepsi sign. The roar of appreciation for that accomplishment was more than just some lame skills competition.

    Don’t get me wrong, this means nothing for a team’s run to the playoffs.

    Which leads me to Pedro’s performance in the contest. Already hearing, “oh no, he’s going to screw up his swing”. Apparently, the HR Derby he does day-in and day-out during BP before the game has screwed him up so badly, it was a minor miracle he had two hits against a lefty pitcher versus the A’s the other night.


    Ilya Kovalchuk is a talented hockey player that had the size along with the skills to be a dominant franchise player in the National Hockey League but for whatever reason, he never really was able to put ‘it’ together as a winner.

    Going home or staying home for Russians would be the same situation Americans probably have going to Europe to play professional soccer. There’s nothing you can do to take away a person’s fondness to be at home, with your friends, around your family, and in an environment that makes you happy and comfortable. The national pride some players have means more to them than $77 million playing for a Mickey Mouse hockey team.

    Sucks to be the Devils but they brought this on themselves with that insane contract and having to lose a first round pick in 2014 because of the attempt to circumvent the salary cap.


    * Cardinals lost 3-0 to Cubs, so Pirates are just 1 game back for the NL Central lead.

    * Does anyone feel confident a lineup of Marte, Tabata, McCutchen, Alvarez, Walker, Jones, Martin, and Mercer can produce enough offense in the first 7 innings to overcome a horrible bench?

    * If Phillies begin to accept reality of their playoff chances, Pirates need to look at Laynce Nix (OF) and Kevin Frandsen (INF) as two options to improve their bench. They would be better bench options than what they are getting from Travis Snider and Brandon Inge.

    * Pirates could use one more reliever in the bullpen to help shorten the game and provide some back end protection in the event one of Mark Melancon or Jason Grilli would get injured or land back in reality. I’d be curious to know what the White Sox would want for Jesse Crain. He’s 5th among MLB relievers with 19 holds and sports a nasty .74 ERA (which is #1 in MLB for pitchers with 20+ appearances). I’d prefer to have Tony Watson and Justin Wilson in roles to get the tough outs late in games against quality lefty bats.

    * How is Matt Niskanen still on the Penguins with a $2.3 million cap hit with around $126,000 in cap space and still needing to re-sign Dustin Jeffrey, Robert Bortuzzo and Harry Zolnierczyk? NHL GMs have to know the Penguins are in trouble as Bortuzzo elected for salary arbitration and Penguins can’t possibly be in compliance come September so someone has to be moved. Gotta figure in the next two or three weeks, Niskanen is traded for a bucket of pucks (i.e. 4th or 5th rd pick), a little under his value (2nd or 3rd).

  4. I’d have no problem with the announcers or fans voicing disappointment that Pedro wasn’t one of the four originally picked for the Derby. Like every fan base they want to see their guy chosen and Pirates fans haven’t had a chance to see their guys do much of anything on a national stage in the last 20 years, so I get it–even if this particular stage is a skills competition. In that context a lusty chorus of boos sent in Wright’s direction when he initially came to bat would have appeared playful. A passionate fan base saying nothing personal but you should have picked our guy.

    However the kind of invective that’s been directed at David Wright is something else entirely. Boos in this context would have indeed seemed nasty and petty. You can be passionate while still putting what happens on the field in its proper context. Wright is by all accounts a good guy–certainly I’ve never heard anything to the contrary–and the details of the column reaffirm that. He was tasked with a rather thankless job, no matter who he picked there would fans somewhere equally unhappy with him. Sure Pedro had a good case to be included based on his HR numbers. But if the idea is the Capitan should simply take the 3 guys with most HR’s what’s the point of having a Capitan?

    Why not just decide the HR Derby by some sort of Fan Vote? After all that’s how the starting line-ups for the All Star Game are determined and those choices will have actual ramifications, since the ASG still determines home field advantage in the World Series (which is an entirely different conversation of course).

    • I would agree with “what is the point of a captain?” All it does is lead to guys picking their undeserving buddies, which is what Wright did. If he wasn’t going to pick some obviously more deserving players, he should not have been the captain.

      MLB should just pick the guys at the top of the HR list, and be done with it.

      • Exactly – most dingers get’s you in…that or a selection that can be justified with some BP reputation that will be found in books and digital storage devices for the next baktun….

      • Why not just let fans vote for the guys they want to see?

  5. DK, I agree with everything you wrote, right up until you tried to compare Pedro being left out of the derby (initially) to the Cano/KC soap opera. Those two things are totally different in my book. I mean, apples and oranges.

    The All Star game was held in KC last year. Cano said he would name a Royal to the HR Derby then didn’t. How do you expect those fans to react? With applause? Cano had another chance to pick Butler when David Ortiz declined to take part. Again, he didn’t.

    Those fans that booed Cano weren’t “petty, perennially last-place losers”. They were upset fans. Were they in the right? Of course not. But lets not vilify them. You say the derby is an exhibition for the fans. I agree. Last year the majority of those people in attendance were Royal’s fans. Cano should have given them what they wanted.

    I can’t help but to think the majority of those “David Wright sucks!” comments were made by kids. Most people I know don’t even care about the hr derby. Except a few friends in Kansas City. They care a lot.

    • General,

      Excellent, measured, thoughtful response.

    • Why not the hitters with the most home runs by 1 week before the game.

    • I agree completely. Don’t fans of long struggling teams deserve a chance to cheer for something/anything when it is deserved. Conversely they should boo when someone takes away that chance by passing over someone that obviously is one of the current best 4 home run hitters in the National League. It’s not petty, it’s passion that has been bottled up for years or even decades.

    • I am not a kid….David Wright sucks and his eyebrows are mystifying. Ok as an adult I feel he is probably a wonderful man and very sentimental. It was a thoughtful gesture to include his boyhood friend and so completely unlikely that he would have that chance that he most certainoly had to take the chance and include him….20 years from now, not one person will remember or care and David and Michael will have a great photo for the game rooms. It’s just as fun to find a reason to root against in sport as it is to love.

      Or have you forgotten 1990 when the race was tight and the Mets sucked! They still suck…have just been lying dormant. Hate the Mets. It was and will be fun for everyone!

  6. I think Kovalchuk was a bad fit for the Devils. They run that low scoring trap game and I can see that style be very frustrating for a playmaker of his caliber. Too disciplined to get creative. I don’t think him walking away had everything to do with family and mother Russia. It could be some of what I mentioned above.

    DK: You know, between you and Eric up there, I’d swear Kovalchuk never carried the Devils to the Stanley Cup Final with 19 points in 23 playoffs games just two seasons ago.

    It looked like a bad fit at the beginning. It certainly was not once it played out.

    • I think Kovalchuk’s production during those playoffs was a tribute to his skill more than him fitting into the system. Imagine him on a team with a more wide open style like the Kings, Oilers or the islanders. It would be ridiculous. Granted I am not talking about wins or losses here. Just offensive production. I changed my avatar just for you DK. My attention span is so short the gravatar process was attempted many times with the end result being the same. Outline of man in gray background.

    • Being grey is an old school “Burgh” thing…just ask the wonderful residents of Homestead.

  7. Dropping in before bedtime, it is refreshing to see some of the usual suspects on this blog disagreeing with DK in rational style. I used to make a living teaching how to engage in reasoned discourse, particularly, the difference between a passionate argument and invective and I nearly always see more of the former from the lunatics.

    The poor folks who think DK somehow fails to comprehend the passion of Pittsburgh fans should be put in a room with bread, water and archives of his columns. I am not a native, and I do not stay in Holiday Inns, but I think DK is Pittsburgh.

    DK: All I can say is my life won’t feel complete until you, Miz and a few others get over to and stop being the grey men in our lives!

  8. I’m glad Pedro made it in if it pleases my fellow inmates, here. Personally, I’ve never cared about the Home Run Derby. I only watched it twice: When Jason Bay floundered terribly at PNC, and the one in Detroit. Chris Berman ruined it for me for then and forever, alternating his annoying “Back, back, back” cries with incessant “That one was hit to Ypsilanti” ones.
    As for David Wright’s picks, only the Cuddyer one was suspect and hey, if he was doing it for a friend, I could care less anyway. Cuddyer probably wanted in. I’m willing to bet more than a few of the contestants each year don’t actually want to be there. One year when Ken Griffey Jr. won it, he actually had to be talked into competing because he didn’t really want to. Reminds me of the Pro Bowl — everyone wants to be selected for it, no one wants to play in it.

    Some fans are extremely vocal about these kind of things and invoke the “it’s for the fans!” refrain of entitlement. Again, I’m unmoved. No one will care about the HR Derby once the game the next day is underway. Until next year’s contestants are announced. I’ll take idle trade deadline gossip over anything remotely related to the irrelevant HR derby, any day.

  9. This Kovalchuk “retirement” was his way out of that dump in New Jersey. He’ll make a quick $15-$20 mil, and then he’ll pick his (BETTER) team.

    In the words of Bubby Brister? Write it down!

  10. Why does everyone harp on Chris Berman? He’s fun without taking himself seriously. THERE’S PLENTY OF OTHER JERKS IN SPORTS BROADCASTING TO SLANDER. Some even write for this tabloid. Why is it sports writers are more sensitive and take greater umbrage about people’s interpretrations of what they write than J.D. Salinger. Oh Patrick RI, please. St. DK is knowledgable, but please. At times, this column boarders on culthood. Or something like that.

    • Yes, there are “PLENTY OF OTHER JERKS IN SPORTS BROADCASTING.” This is true. But Berman truly is annoying and adds nothing informative or otherwise to broadcasts he graces. Just noise. Over and over again.

    • Tim, now my blog life is nearing completion, having been previously accused of lying in wait to unfairly play “Gotcha” with DK. Your point is taken. I am a fan of his writing.

    • I think Berman is great for both the HR Derby and football. If only the USGA could ban him from covering golf during the opening rounds of the US Open. That’s when he makes me want to retch.


      That’s like saying there’s plenty of other other home run hitters in baseball besides Babe Ruth.

      Berman started the whole thing.

  11. I’m going to respectfully disagree with DK’s column regarding the (now solved) Pedro Alvarez HR derby snub.
    Let me first say that the All Star game means nothing to me.
    Consequently…The HR derby means “less than zero.”
    The whole All Star game experience is like the old Trix cereal commercial…”It’s for kids.”

    As most of you know, I have been a major critic of Pirate management and ownership AKA the Nutting Regime.
    But…When the Pittsburgh Pirates are on the field, I’m on their side.
    Though I now reside in Santa Monica, CA…I was born in Pittsburgh, and will remain a Pittsburgh sports fan for life.
    I have witnessed (first hand) the disrespect that Pittsburgh sports gets from the rest of the country.
    In recent years, the Steelers have gathered a little more recognition….Only because there is a Steeler bar in every corner of Los Angeles.
    But overall…No one cares about Pittsburgh, and most couldn’t even tell you if Pedro Alvarez was a MLB player, or the mayor of a city in Orange County.

    The initial snub of Pedro Alvarez from the HR derby was not an accident.
    MLB had bigger fish to fry, and one of them was here in LA by the name of Yasiel Puig.
    Dodger RF Puig has played a little over 30 games for the dreaded blue, but apparently most big wigs here decided it was more than enough to put him along side of MLB’s best next Tuesday night.

    In the past week, I have been witness to ….. Billboards “demanding” Puig be added to the All Star team…Commercials blasting Philly pitcher Todd Papelbon (who spoke out about Puig) as the ‘biggest villian in Los Angeles’…..And a radio talk show host stating that “Puig should be in the All Star game because he is a Dodger! If he was with Milwaukee or Pittsburgh, it would be a different story.”

    I’m glad most of Pittsburgh stood up for Alvarez.
    It’s about time the Pirates get a pittance of recognition in a sport that has helped to pass them by for the past two decades.
    As for David Wright….Feel free to boo him.
    Do you think he’ll really care?
    Keep in mind….If you don’t boo him….You’ll be drowned out by Dodger fans booing Freddie Freeman the next time he comes to Chavez Ravine.

  12. I just read the chat.

    I can’t believe that Dejan said Pedro is trivial.

    DK: You know, I’d actually prefer that to the one I know I’ll get: YOU CAN’T TELL FANS NOT TO BOO!

    Even though booing gets mentioned only in the extraordinary Kansas City context.

    Even though booing happens all the time and it’s no big deal and I never mention it.

    Even though I never actually advise anyone to so anything in the piece. I simply offer what I think of it.

  13. And then Dejan went and got me fired.

    How, you ask? See, I stole his idea of the MLB box score link that he used up top.

    Sent the following text to my boss. Who’s from St. Louis. Sent it at 4:40 AM. My boss who never turns his iPhone off.

    So in other words, I just woke my Cards-fan boss with this…

    Wanted to ensure that you had seen this.

    Cards lose.
    Reds lose.

    Even when the Pirates are off, they win.

    Have a nice day.

  14. Can you imagine how truly impressive it would be if, when David Wright’s name is first announced, Pirate fans CHEER instead of boo? Now, that would be a classy response from a classy crowd. After all, whatever reasons Wright may have had for leaving Pedro off the home-run hitting team, the mistake has now been rectified. Only sore-headed and deranged type fans should still be upset. Pedro and his teammates surely aren’t.

    Moreover, this is going to be a very tough series against the Mets who are 16-9 since June 1st and are arriving from SFO where they just swept the Giants. No reason to inspire the Mets’ players that little bit more by insulting their captain.

  15. Mets head into Pittsburgh on a hot streak
    By Chris Iseman

    The Mets are playing some of their best baseball of the season approaching the All-Star break, but their final series of the first half is going to give them a true test.
    New York is 16-9 in its last 25 games heading into Friday’s series opener against Pittsburgh, but the Pirates have been one of baseball’s biggest surprises. They have remained in contention in the National League Central all season behind a strong pitching staff, which will look to shut down a Mets lineup that has been hot during the team’s recent string of success.

    New York scored seven runs Wednesday, one day after breaking out for 10 against San Francisco. As it continues to climb toward .500, New York is hoping it can finish off the first half strong.

    And the Mets have one of their best pitchers of late on the mound to help them do that.

    Jeremy Hefner is 4-6 with a 3.39 ERA this season, emerging as a dependable and consistent starter for the Mets. He has given up only one earned run in each of his last three starts. Since June 4, Hefner’s ERA is just 1.64, which is the best in the Major Leagues in that stretch.

    In Hefner’s seven starts during that span, he has 37 strikeouts and eight walks. And the Mets have taken advantage of the stellar performances he has been giving them. They have won the last five games Hefner has started. Hefner said several factors led him to this type of resurgence.

    “We made a mechanical adjustment a couple months ago, toward the end of May,” Hefner said. “I have a little more deceptiveness, and the velocity’s gone up a little bit. Playing great defense and we’re scoring runs. I’ve got a few more wins because we scored some more runs.” The last time he faced Pittsburgh, on Sept. 26, Hefner was superb. He pitched seven scoreless innings, giving up only three hits with seven strikeouts and one walk.

    • Thanks, Man o’ War, for giving us this background. Valuable.

    • It is true that they haven’t been the Mutts lately.

      I think we’ll win 2/3, and head to the dreaded break at 56-37.

      • Sweet Jimmie,

        Don’t count your wins before they are hatched.

        One of the GREAT things about baseball is that the more talented team does not always win———but instead the team that is more focused.

        The Mets appear focused right now. Their pitching is focused. The Bucs need to push hard to the tape to end this portion of the season strongly.

        At least in the previous two seasons, the Pirates have not established a history of ‘finishing.’

        • I’m with you, Groat. I “think” we’ll win 2 of 3. The Bucs don’t have the luxury of taking anyone for granted.

    • Bummed we miss both Wheeler and Harvey. Would’ve loved to see either of those guys.

      • I do not echo those sentiments. Let our lineup not have to face 2 of the better young arms in MLB, and in Harvey’s case, possibly the best pitcher in the league over the 1st half.

      • Once was enough with Harvey for this year for my liking. We got by him once, barely. I like when he pitches against OTHER teams, like the Cards and Reds, just fine.

      • I love watching pitchers of their quality do their thing in person.

        No other act in sports is lost more in TV translation than seeing what guys of their skill level can do to a baseball. Truly amazing.

        So sure, its a selfish request. But only when the good guys are at home.

  16. All the Conspiracy Theorists who saw collusion in Pedro’s snub just missed the bigger complot.

    How Pedro got IN the Derby.

    Yankees called Bud. Find SOME pretext, they ordered their minion, to get their future player into the Derby.


    Just wait for the theory about his ruined swing AFTER the Derby.

    • Watch! This will be proven true when Pedro pulls a ‘NY’ hat over his ears as he hits in the Derby.

    • I kinda wondered about this….if there was *actually something said to someone to get Pedro in or if Gonzalez know…actually has a hurt finger.

      My 2 cents: Gonzalez and Alvarez are both Boras clients. Carlos has 4 years left at nearly 60 mil remaining. Pedro is getting close to arbitration years and “Home Run Derby Winner” looks really good on a players resume’.

      But whatever…glad for the kid either way.

  17. I just read the column.

    What a shame.

  18. I think phrases like “breathing pure hellfire” or words like “hysteria” are just way way over stating this Dejan. And I thought Brown and Walk’s reaction was hysterical.

    And I don’t see booing Wright as not being classy but just a good natured ribbing. Booing is just simply the opposite of cheering. I would hope that Wright sees the humor in all of this and laughs internally at least but hopefully externally.

    I also don’t see what Wright’s background and Foundation work has to do with any of this. Completely irrelevant to this issue, IMO, as awesome as it is.

    • Laughs internally?


      Where’s his mouth?

    • Wright made a bad choice initially in not taking Pedro. I’m not sure why he should not be at least a little embarrassed for snubbing an obviously more deserving player. Fans will be a bit miffed at Wright over that. They have that right. He’s a big boy, and he’ll take it just fine.

      Can you imagine if Pedro were picking and he left some deserving NYM or NYY off the team? What do you think the reaction would be in their town? On ESPN? David Wright, himself, doesn’t even deserve to be in this contest.

    • I just hoping he can’t point at the scoreboard with a smirk on his face.

    • Dejan? Overstate? Nahhhhhhh.

    • I agree, the background or how nice of a guy he is has nothing to do with the situation.
      Booing or not, is up the he people who shows up at the game. It’s not like Mario or Sid or others don’t get booed just for being on the other team.

    • I said the same thing when DK brought up what a great guy Jeff Karstens was when the Pirates non-tendered him.

      Who cares?

      It’s nice.

      But in professional sports, it shouldn’t dictate decisions. Give me the best of the California Penal League.

      In the immoratal words of Al Davis: “Just win, Baby”

      And besides, nice guys finish last.

      Lord knows we’ve seen enough of that in the last 20…. ;-)

    • Baseball players could not care any less whether you boo, cheer or stay silent as tibetian monk. They wouldnt be playing in MLB if they couldn’t handle someone giving them a hard time….ESPECIALLY if they have been playing 3rd base in NY for a decade.

      I get what DK is saying though.

  19. ‘But again, whatever.’

    That’s my official reaction to DK’s column and his finger-wagging at Pirate fans and the Pirate announcers.

    “Take that, David Wright!” in a tone suggesting Wright had just been caught in some cave near Kabul.

    —What? And I still don’t understand why all the concern over the fans’ reaction to this. (which I believe the reaction to the fans is totally overblown).

    “He’s as polite and courteous as anyone you’ll meet, a real credit to baseball.”
    – - couldn’t that be said about OUR guy, Pedro Alvarez?

  20. Here’s how we settle this:

    Mud wrestling match between Molly Beers & Keli Alvarez.

    I just hope David Wright doesn’t get too close to the ring. I would hate if his Nobel Peace Prize got dirty.

  21. JAL’s Good Ship Lollipop and Mars Bar Morning Links


    1- MLB Transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    3 Go Buccos- Pirate News (from external sources)

    4 Pittsburgh Pirates Stats

    5 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates Draft Pick Signing Tracker

    BLOGS and such

    6—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: The New Draft System is Growing on Me

    Who Is Still Unsigned From the 2013 Draft Class?

    Prospect Watch: Shutout Pitching All Around, Lambo, Barnes and Dickerson Homer

    7 Bucs Dugout

    Barnes hits game-winner, H.Ramirez gets four hits

    8 Seton Hall Pirates

    Grilli Excelling as a Pirate Again

    9 The Green Weenie

    Lookin’ at Right Field

    10 Rumbunter

    Q&A: Pirates And Mets With Will DeBoer Of Midwestern Met and Rising Apple

    11 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Game 91 Preview: Pirates vs. Mets

  22. NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    12 Beaver County Times

    Madden: Pirates need to make a big deal

    13 Yahoo Sports

    Five Questions Pittsburgh Pirates Will Face After the All-Star Break

    14 Johnstown Tribune Democrat

    Pirates’ Locke an unlikely All-Star

    15 Washington Post

    Michael Crotta is making the most of his chance at Syracuse

    16 CBS Sports

    Mets vs Pirates Game Preview

    17 New York Times

    Who Scores Games by Hand Anymore?

    18 PBC Site

    All-Star Locke quietly opening doors to success

    Alvarez selected to replace CarGo in Home Run Derby


    19 Baseball Prospectus

    Fantasy Mailbag Getting the Best Deal

    20 Fangraphs

    Is Selig Preparing To Use The Nuclear Option?

  23. b>Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Steelers fans who have no real affiliation with the Pittsburgh region

    Cortez Allen says he’s more mentally tough than other players

    22 Steelers Depot

    - Somebody Has To Fill Harrison’s Shoes At Right Outside Linebacker For The Steelers


    23 Daily Mail

    Sky snatch early lead over new rivals BT Sport as full list of Premier League TV fixtures is released (and can you guess who has EVERY fixture between the top four teams?)

    24 World Soccer Daily

    10 stories you need to read, 11th July, 2013

  24. Agree with the column. The reaction has been over the top. Most fans don’t even remember who hit the most home runs last season, let alone who won the home run derby (Prince Fielder)

    • If Pedro wins it this year PITTSBURGH fans will remember.

      The majority of the reaction, in my opinion, is not over the top. It is the expected reaction from fans who have one of the top home run leaders on their team. Pedro got left off the team for hitters that didn’t deserve to be picked ahead of him. And the contest is in his hometown. The reaction is to be expected.

      Plus, here is another thing that happens around here.
      Sports talk show host: “Pedro Alvarez was left off the squad for the home run hitting contest. What do you Pittsburgh Sports Fans have to say about that?”

      The talk show host takes calls for about a half an hour from many fans who say it stinks.

      At the end of the half hour the Sports Talk Show Host says “Wow, fans are really outraged”. And then columnists write about it.

  25. Does Jeff Karstens still play baseball?

  26. DK said “If you don’t know Russians or Russian culture, you won’t understand this no matter what you read about it. Suffice it to say the bond is a hard one.”

    Kinda sounds like a Pittsburghers bond to Pittsburgh?

    I moved to Dallas area in ’86, having grown up and lived in O’Hara Twp all my life. Then my fiance moved in ’91, where we got married, she living in Detroit and having grown up in Purdue country. She started working for a small company that had some Pittsburgh natives working there, and knew some of my friends that were also from Pittsburgh. She made a comment at one point about all the people she’d met that weren’t originally from Dallas, the ones most wanting to return to their hometown were the ones from Pittsburgh. Myself included. To this day, living outside Philly now, I still don’t think she understands.


  27. Dejan,

    Interesting that the apparently unimportant Pedro Alvarez exclusion was worthy of a whole column.

    I would have preferred to see the column you originally wrote———before Pedro was belatedly added.

  28. I dunno, Dejan…while I’m not a fan of booing anyone as a whole, I think it’d be ok to boo David Wright because…well, he’s a Met, and the Mets deserve to be booed. (I think my Daryl Strawberry-era prejudice is showing through)
    But beyond that, no…this entire argument is getting old. The thing is, even if Pedro “deserves” to be in the derby, nothing will change until the rules are adapted to force change (like forcing the top HR hitters to take part, not that I’m promoting the idea), so watch it or don’t, but stop complaining & enjoy the 1st-place team.

  29. So I assume MLB didn’t want to handle the responsibility of picking HR Derby participants so they lay it off on their players to handle and take the redicule. Why not just put the top 4 HR leaders in the thing? Why is David Wright a captain and a participant? He has 13 hr and doesn’t hit many in his own ball park. This is all just another brilliant idea by good ol’ Bud

    BTW, Pirates are up 8 games in the wild card.

    • DO NOT talk about that Wild Card crap!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Settling for the Wild Card is like a thirsting man drinking his own urine.

      Pirates need to push to win the division and have a WHOLE PLAYOFF SERIES!!

      Pirates 1 game behind Cardinals for division lead.

      • +infinite and beyond!

      • Agreed on the wild card comment, Groat. Obviously, we’ll take that route if we have to, but I see no reason why we can’t stay in the hunt for the division all the way to the end.

        I had about 4 comments I was sifting through regarding the “urine” line, but I thought better of it. Hilarious!

      • Great Bear Grylls reference, Groaty.

        • Lucky:

          You went Bear Grylls. Nicely played. I was thinking it, but I thought no one would get it but me. He’s gladly imbibed many a cup of steaming urine.

      • 5 game series against the Cardinals at the end of July will be awesome. Who at the beginning of the year would have thought such an intense series would happen that late in the year for the Pirates.

        • I agree. To expand on that a little, the Pirates and Cardinals play each other 14 times between the end of July and mid-September. Should be fun.

        • I like the 5 game against the Cards. Not so much a fan of the 1.5 game interleague series we’ve seen so far. 2 game series and “captains” picking home run derby contestants seem to go hand in hand.

        • I still say we should get to start game 1 with a 4-2 lead. We earned it earlier.

      • I wasn’t insinuating that they should not push for the division but an 8 game lead in the wild card should be enough to make it. That being said I forgot about another fantastic MLB rule and the one game playoff. So let me change that to “Pirates only 1 game out of the division lead!”

  30. Update on the statistic that interests only me: Going 10-8 through 9 sets of 18 games results in 90 wins and 72 losses. Through the first 5 of those sets (90 games), the Pirates went 10-8, 10-8, 14-4, 8-10 and 12-6. (interestingly, the Pirates record in their first 36 games and their most recent 36 games is exactly the same, 20-16.)

    P.S. I don’t care whether Pedro Alvarez got picked for the Home Run Derby. I am pleased that he is hitting enough home runs in the games that count that folks have an opinion as to whether he should participate. (And no, David Wright should not be booed.)

  31. Who even watches this stuff? Berman alone is reason not too.

    “Not much in life is easier than finding idiots on the Internet…” This

  32. As hilarious as the Walk/Brown rant was, I really thought it was great. Did they make a big deal out of it? Oh yeah. I mean, holy crap, they were bringing the commisioner into this. lol.

    But I have no problem with it because I think they were just being passionate. I love the Pirates broadcast team, I had no problem with the huge rant. It was funny as all get up though.

    • Besides being idiots most night either will Walk’s “tips to win”, or his pre at bat predictions on what the batter will do, they made total fools of themselves during this rant.
      Sorry, stating your case is 1 thing, but spending 6 minutes bitching about it(while there was a game being played) was totally uncalled for.

      No mention of Domonic Brown getting the bone , even though he has just as many HR’s than Alvarez.
      If Wright is sticking it to anyone, its the Phillies.!

      I would safely guess, if you put a gun or an eyebrow razor up to Wright’s head, and asked where is Alvarez from, he couldn’t tell you.
      Brown and Walk are total imbeciles . Seems to me only a small group would support their rant on this matter.
      Let’s get this bench straightened out.
      How about Walk and Brown, or should i say Hekyl and Jekyl, spend a half inning rant on that some night.!

      • How many did D. Brown hit last year? I’d say he needs to do it for 2 seasons, as Pedro has. Not one good 1/2 season

  33. Dk, the brown walk comments were fine. These 2 are passionate team employees standing up for their guy. You would do the same for your fellow employees at the trib I’m sure. I do agree Wright should have been booed by Pirate fans but the amount of vitriol was over the line.

  34. My prediction is MLB will weed out its stupidity with the ASG (remove WS home field nonsense) and HR Derby (crazy idea- top 4 HR guys in each league with RBI tiebreaker if necessary) at the exact same time the NHL comes up with a logical playoff seeding strategy where teams with 27 points in 82 games don’t get a #3 seed because they won the league’s worst division.

  35. I’m going to again state my stance on this whole David Wright situation.

    1. Fans have the right to boo just as much as DK has the right to publish this article — I do agree that the degree of some of the fans statements were over the top

    2. I still believe that the biggest problem for picking Cuddyer was the reason given; not the actual choice for me. Stating he had a 27 game hit streak and grew up with him etc was a little ridiculous. This isn’t a base hit contest its a HR contest; imagine the Centruy 21 fan that gets to be represented by Cuddyer. Good luck with that one!

    3. The All-Star game and HR derby are meant for the fans; not for David Wright and his BFF’s. Honestly I don’t know why the MLB doesn’t just do like the NBA and leave it open to any hitter in baseball to be selected; not just those in the All-Star game. Its supposed to be a showcase of power; not a showcase of which all-star can have their ego stroked the most or how many times Prince Fielder can do his 15 minute look at me glare and hand shake.

    4. I think this all could have been avoided had DK stepped up immediately after the teams were announced and Pedro was snubbed. There was a great way for DK to showcase Pittsburgh and he blew it. DK you could have easily stepped up and challenged Pedro to a kick off against the riverhounds goalie. Best of five DK versus Pedro. That my friends would have been a contest.

    • It’s for the fans…but it’s fun for the players too. Wright doing something nice for a friend having a great year isn’t some grave crime. And really outside of Pittsburgh, not many fans care much about Alvarez. The majority of fans wanted Harper in, and he’s the most well known star, which was the main reason he was included. Outside of him, you have several guys like Goldschmidt, Alvarez, Beltran, Brown,(and Gonzalez) etc who all have a similar amount of HRs all of whom are probably similarly popular and who’s fans want to see them in. So no matter who is selected several groups of fans will be disappointed. It’s not like there are some official rules to HRD picks. Though I do think the whole “captain” idea for the HRD is stupid. I have no idea why they decided to implement that one, all it seems to do is give fans targets for their rage when one of their players is “snubbed”.

    • Not sure if this was always the case, but in its current form, the HR Derby is open to all hitters. You do not have to be on the All Star team to be selected to participate in the HR Derby.

      • Interesting; can’t say I’ve ever seen a hitter not on an all star roster selected.

      • I raised that question a while ago, and I do think you’re right, Nate. In trying to figure out the answer, though, it appears this whole thing is still developing and gets changed every couple of years. They instituted Captains not too long ago, and then I think the captains choosing the participants even more recently. Won’t be surprised if that changes next year. Down the road? Winning the HR Derby will decide home field advantage for the Series. :-)

      • I looked it up, b/c, honestly, I didn’t think Pedro would make the team, due to, well, we all know how he looked for most of April & May.

        But still had all those HRs.

        And I think the HR Derby should feature the game’s best HR hitters (at that point), or at least they should be offered the chance to participate before others.

  36. One more thing; I honestly believe Pedro deserved to be in the contest more this year than when Cutch was selected for it. Again a HR contest not a line drive or singles contest.

  37. This David Wright stuff reminds me of a story Amy Schumer told on a David Letterman rerun I saw recently. She was talking about her national tour, which she had just finished, and mentioned she was a Mets fan. So she was at a Mets-Phillies game in Philly, and sitting next to a bunch of male Philly fans that she referred to as meatheads. She said they were sitting on the 3rd base side and the guys were calling Wright every name in the book and telling him he sucked, stunk, etc. So she finally yelled out,”don’t listen to them, David, you’re still very good looking.” So, one of the “meathead” fans said, “Well, yeah, that’s true, I’ll give him that.”

    Maybe Pirate fans Friday can yell out “David, you’re very good looking.”

    • Only if he sneezes.

    • HAHA that’s great!

      I didn’t like it that Wright initially pick an old friend over someone that is from the New York area and capable of hitting bombs. Pedro is a good pick for baseball…..


      I do think I would like to be firends with David Wright. He showed an enormous amount of loyalty to someone he goes back a long way with, knowing that he would probably take a little heat for it. That’s also good for baseball. Good people are good people (of course I have no idea what he’s really like…he might have oversized dogs with snack trays belted to their backs walking around his house and small children employed to put his socks on every morning). Either way the guy took a shot at something coming from a good place in his heart, and that can never be a bad thing.

    • Schumer is great. I guess I won’t hold it against her that she is a Mets fan.

  38. Seriously…People upset over a home run hitting contest. Dejan you should of taken the day off.

  39. go cubbies!

    oh and go K-dro! luckily you can’t strike out in the home run derby… or can you? just kidding, I hope he hits a miles’ worth of homeruns.

  40. Whats becoming amusing now is that everyone was complaining about Pedro not being in the event and now that he is everyone is afraid he’ll pull a DK and go 0 for 10 or he’ll crush the ball and ruin his swing.

    DK: That was a 1 for 5, pal.

  41. The Window is off to make the 275 mile or so journey to PNC Park. Need one of kind souls to re-post this in today’s game thread for me. Thanks in advance.


    Max “wager” is 100 units on any single line.
    All “wagers” must be in multiples of 5 units.
    Play as few or as many lines as you’d like.
    As always, this is for fun and entertainment purposes.


    Line #1
    Total INNINGS PITCHED by Charlie Morton in tonight’s game
    Line is 5.75

    Line #2
    Total HOME RUNS hit by the Pedro Alvarez this weekend against the Mets
    Line is 1.5

    PICK ‘EM Line #3
    Total WINS by the PIRATES this weekend against the Mets
    2 (EVEN ODDS)
    3 (EVEN ODDS)

    Please Note – All games must be considered official games in order for line(s) to be valid. Any postponement, cancellation, or suspension of game(s) will void line(s).

    GOOD LUCK!!!

    P.S. – Anyone going to tonight’s game who wants to say hi is more than welcome to.
    I’ll be down in section 6.
    Just look for the guy with the slicked back hair sitting next to a Mets fans.
    Come on down near the front and yell out “HEY WINDOW!”
    I’ll know it’s one of my lunatic brethren.
    Offerings of IC Light will also be accepted ;)

  42. On our way to Rock Star Energy Festival rock concert in Burgettstown! Gonna have a blast!

  43. Booing is a traditional part of baseball, there is nothing wrong with it in the proper context. David Wright is going to get deservedly booed. He is going to smile and take it. He knows that (inadvertantly or not) he disrespected Pedro Alvarez and the fans of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

    I’m not a fan of Greg Brown, but I understand him better after reading that insightful article on him in the Trib the other day. He is the ultimate homer, who I believe actually loves the Pirates too much. His zeal may get him fired one day, but most likely not with this ownership. They probably love what he brings to the broadcast. For me it’s too over the top and I prefer some objectivity in my broadcasters.

    The “columnist” expresses concern about the perceived image of the Pittsburgh fan base if they choose to boo David Wright. He expresses concern that free agents will not want to come to Pittsburgh if David Wright is booed. He decides to quote and publicize the tweets of immature children as a credible source of information for his column. By doing so he literally selected verbal garbage from the can it belonged in (Twitter) and glorified it by smearing it on the pages of a supposedly legitimate newspaper. He clearly exaggerates homer Greg Browns excited proclamation to David Wright upon Alvarez’s HR and compares it to a counter-terrorism action. Finally, he expresses the lousiness and worthlessness of Wrights picks, the HR Derby, MLBs handling of it and ESPNs coverage of it.

    The only thing lousy and worthless was this column.

    • Mr. Belding,

      Come on: don’t sugar-coat it! Tell us plainly what you feel!

      Your paragraphs #3 and #4 were especially obtuse.

      Please set up an appointment with my secretary——we have to work on your inability to express your feelings!

  44. I think alot of the Wright stuff and Pedro to the Derby stuff is actually easier to get a handle on. We (Pittsburgh Pirates Fans) have been, much like the Pirates themselves, the laughing stock of the league. All everyone talks about is the 20 plus years of loosing. I think the outgrage has to do with fighting for our team and players and ourselves to be respected. We have a quality team with legitimate All-Stars and we want them treated accordingly. It’s ok to be upset over snubs. We have been the token All-Star for way to long. It’s time for our team and players to be noticed. I don’t think our announcers should be going on relentlessly about it. I don’t think we the fans should act disresectful to Wright or anyone for that matter but it’s ok to voice our displeasure. I think the displeasure needs to be pointed squarely in the direction of the league though. It’s such an easy fix. Regardless of whether or not you are “voted” into the game itself, the Top 5 HR leaders in each league battle it out. There…was that so hard? Furthermore, we need to take it a step further. We need skill competitions. Most accurate throw to homeplate, fastest player to 1st, pitchers could try to hit different areas in the strike zone for accuracy. Think of how much fun it would be to watch Cutch going for a triple for a skills competition. Inside the park homerun races…the skills are endless and fun.. Come on..lets make the All-Star game what it should be about the players and their fantastic abilities.

  45. Hey WINDOW…! You going to be at the game Sunday? I’ll be in sect. 115… just yell out “Naje”.

    • You’re headed to Pittsburgh while I’m headed to L’ville.

      What’re the chances.

      • Dude… totally forgot that you’re in town for Forecastle… rats. They’re all set up and raring to go. Was supposed to head east/north two weeks ago but plans changed. Enjoy the festival…where are you staying? Need/want any tips for some local flavor/fun (as if you’ll need any after the lineup of acts you’ll be seeing!)?

        • Galt House. Really enjoyed the place last year.

          I’d absolutely take you up on some local rec’s but we’re not going to have much down time this time around. Thanks for the offer!

          • Steak: can’t beat Jeff Ruby’s…adjacent to Galt House…

            Bars: several in that immediate area… walk down to 2nd and Main Troll Pub Under the Bridge… and Sidebar (GREAT burgers). Bluegrass Brewing Compay on 4th and Main; Against the Grain brewery located at Slugger Field (where, by the way, the Indy Indians play tonight… go check out Lambo and Sanchez and Presley!)

            Barbeque: Doc Crowe’s on Main near 2nd street

            Pizza: Impellizeri’s or Tony Boombozz on Main St or even Bearno’s at 2nd/Main

            Have a great time… bummed that I’ll miss the weekend, but have a great time. The bourbon tent they’ve set up looks terrific. Should be some very good weather too. Enjoy it!

            • Dang! We’re only making it out for Saturday and Sunday. Didn’t even think to check the baseball schedule!

              I don’t think I’m gonna be able to pass up checking out this Troll Pub. Right up my alley! We went to Bluegrass last year and liked it a lot.

              Thanks again for the hospitality, Naje.

      • Enjoy Moon Taxi, String Cheese, and Pimps of Joy time.

      • You should try and eat at “Kingfish” across the river on the Indiana side. You won’t be disappointed. Excellent fish and the best fried oysters and onion rings!!!!

  46. Holy cow. So many comments. Anyone notice how Pedro has made no comment on this? I hope he let’s his voice be heard through his bat and knocks the he** out of the ball to win.

    As for booing, go ahead, get it out of your lungs, and , when someone criticizes, just say “We were wooooing”.

    I am the blog’s resident Muppet, and I approve this message.

    DK: He commented, Ms. Muppet:

  47. Read the article. Well done as usual. But I did have a problem with Pedro being left out of the HR derby. I agree espn and berman are a joke with the way the derby is done. I turn down the volume. And yes it is a skill competetion. I have barely paid attention to the allstar game since I was a kid. But I do watch the HR derby. And having a player from the home town team who shuold of been an obvious selection was upsetting. Maybe my generation doesnt appreciate the actual “game” like previous ones. But I prefer the skill competetion to the “game.” If you have an event where the Fans have a say in the players involved. Each team is represented so all Fans have a rooting interest. Then dont tell me it isnt a big deal when an event that the Fans enjoy are upset because their guy was obviously snubbed is not a big deal. I dont think any one should go and boo Wright. Its not his fault mlb put him in a position to fail by letting him select the participants. That is going too far. But when the fans are made a part of an event then acting like their voice is some how wrong when they are upset about it is also wrong


  48. “If you don’t know Russians or Russian culture, you won’t understand this no matter what you read about it. Suffice it to say the bond is a hard one.”

    In Soviet Russia, road forks you! … anyway, I guess barring unforeseen whatevers, it will be penguins and rangers at the top of the atlantic again… or whatever the newly reformed division is called… is it still atlantic? don’t remember :(

  49. The more I think about this article the more frustrated I get. There are articles written all the time about the empty stadium and lack of support etc. Now that the fan base jumps behind one of its own its met with a column basically saying the fans lacked class.

    The same fans that have supported a losing franchise for 20 years lack class?

    The Pirates are in the middle of a great season and have received little national spot light and have barely cracked national headlines for anything positive for the past 20 years. So yeah when a Pirate has a chance to be showcased in front of the world we want to see it. We want people to know the Pirates have a few good players.

    Call us classless all you want; but the facts speak for themselves. Classless fans wouldn’t show up and support a team after 20 years of losing. Sure there were over the top comments but you can’t clump those few in with the masses that were going to voice their displeasure with boos.

    • I agree TJ. As I said yesterday if the fans didn’t say a peep about this there would be columns written and hours of talk radio dedicated to the lack of passion in Pirate fans and that baseball doesn’t seem to matter anymore in this town.

    • Alright, you made me break down and read the article. I had no interest, since I think the topic has been terribly overblown. I also would have no interest, personally, in booing David Wright this weekend.

      But wow, if anyone needs a bit of perspective here, it is clearly Dejan.

      Absolutely, positively wrong to insinuate that Brown and Walk encouraged the vitriol spewed on Twitter to be taken out on the field. Just plain wrong.

      Dejan spends entirely too much time on the internet. I use Twitter. I also was watching the game while Brown and Walk went on their rant. At no point did I feel they were speaking of anything more than good ole fashioned booing.

      Incredibly, he took it even further out of reality by building two of the worst strawmen I’ve read in a while.

      What a waste of a column.

      • NMR I totally agree. Its frustrating and a little disrespectful as a fan and lunatic to be told how I should think or should not think and that the author is essentially of a higher standard than us paying fans who would want to voice our displeasure.

      • You guys gotta cut Dejan a break here. Rossi already had written the “How Great Ray Shero Is” piece for the week & there are only so many soccer columns a guy can do. :)

      • Wow! And to think the guy keeps track of the percentage of my posts that are “shots” at him.


        • You’re an absolute lock to have the highest percentage.


        • Thunder I try to avoid taking shots at DK as I believe everyone has a right to their opinion however this type of column aggravates me.

          As I stated before there are columns bashing us for not attending the games and supporting the team and then there is this.

          Enough with bashing the fans and the loyal readers of this blog.

          • TJ, I agree that everyone is entitled to their opinion.
            I enjoy reading everyone’s opinion on this blog

            And I do want to want to know the opinion of the sports columnists. That is why I read them.

            But I could do with a little less of the telling readers that what they think is wrong, their opinion is wrong, and what & how to think about certain subjects.

      • Is it no longer “fun” to boo an opposing player? To me, the column took that out, almost too politically correct.

        It was fun to do the “Daryle” chant…just like it was for others to do the “Barry” chant….

        How about what is said at football games? But to be upset or call the fan base losers because they choose to boo David Wright (Who I think is an awesome ballplayer and person) is wrong.

      • completely agree… Walk pretty much said: “If you like the decision, then when Wright comes up, cheer for him. And if you dont’, don’t”. He didn’t say pitchers should aim for his head, baserunners should spike him in the face, fans should spew insults and nasty names, throw garbage, batteries, etc.

        Many years ago, in a scene you all have seen, Sam Wyche gets on the mic in Riverfront and tells fans to stop throwing snowballs, because “they don’t live in Cleveland, they live in Cincinnati”… I’m pretty sure when Cincy visited Cleveland next, Sam was ‘greeted warmly”. I didn’t read or hear of any players saying they wouldn’t sign contracts in Cincy or Cleveland because of that….

        I highly doubt the fans will diminish the pristine beauty of PNC Park by doing anything more than good-natured booing… booing happens all the time in the NBA or NHL when players leave one team in FA and come back to play in the city they left… what about what LeBron went through in Cleveland when he left…. I see where Cleveland has signed a number of free agents this offseason and nary a word about “how the fans treated LeBron who took his talents away from the Mistake on the Lake”….

    • Hey, I bet the front office didn’t want Pedro showcased off to keep his extension down…….ha ha ( I can’t do the smiley faces)

      Or get an avatar

    • TJ. Well said. + 20

  50. I just watched the entire video of Brown/Walk’s comments during the game on Tuesday re: Alvarez and HR derby. I thought they made a lot of cogent points… but like anything, they were a bit too much like “Pirate fans sharing an Iron City and debating sports” and not so much as professional MLB announcers.

    But I don’t see anything totally over the top that is outside of the ‘ homerism’ that the announcers provide…they have Pedro’s back and there is some goodness to that.

    The points I heard them make that I think are very accurate:

    1) HR Derby is a “show” and solely “for the fans”
    2) Pedro has an ability to put on a show with HRs in this type of setting
    3) Pedro is a hometown guy
    4) It would be a good ‘story’ for Pedro to be in the derby
    5) Cuddyer was selected solely because he was David Wright’s buddy

    All of this said, too much really one way or the other on this ‘show’, but MLB can’t have it both ways. They pump up the AllStar festivities and the HR derby regularly gets better ratings on ESPN than ACTUAL GAMES… so anyone in MLB, Brown and Walk included, aren’t really ‘allowed’ to just dismiss this as something completely insignificant.

    If MLB is going to put on this show, and market it as a competition worth watching/sponsoring, then AL and NL should put their best HR derby squads together, not allow David Wright to just pick his buddy…. where does one draw the line on that? If Wright’s buddy were, say, Matt Harvey, would they let him hit in the allstar derby?

    It’s great that since it is in CitiField, they let Wright be a part of the derby because otherwise he shouldn’t be. But that is the ONE ‘perk’ he should get, not to add Cuddyer because he is his buddy.

    I guess I just think that as long as MLB markets this as something to pay attention to, there has to be a modicum of integrity to the process.

    Did Walk and Brownie go overboard? Yes, but no different than the constant dribble about the auction, and many other cases where they do the same thing…. and we don’t write articles about that.

    If fans boo Wright this weekend, then good for them… they are just being fans, and showing their support for Pedro…

    • I just watched the video, and the one flaw in your argument I see, and you’re not alone by a long shot, is lumping Brown and Walk together. Walk seemed to be tempering Brown’s views for the most part, and Brown was the one who kept it going. Just defending Walk based on what I saw, and as far as Brownie goes, it was TOTALLY consistent with
      Sharkey’s “elegant” column yesterday about Brown. He’s over the top. It’s part of his charm and part of the reason he sometimes drives people crazy.

      [this message is my own personal view, and should not be interpreted to be attempting to tell other people what to think or how to act]

      • Sharkey? Starkey, Joe.

        • Arriba, yes, I agree, Walk quite a few times tried to rationalize stuff that Brown was griping about… overall, I’d much prefer a MLB announcer to have passion and to care about the home team, spare me any number of ‘robot play by play guys’ who bore me to tears and lull me to sleep…. that said, I think Brown could do a little ‘self-check’ on some of these things…. a simple insertion of “David Wright by all accounts is a great guy, teammmate, professional…and in one way, it’s kinda cool that he plugged his friend Cuddy into the ‘show’, but I’m upset and a lot of Pirates fans are upset because it robs Pedro a chance to be in “the show” in his hometown and to put on a show with his batting practice power… that would’ve been amazing and I’m bummed it isn’t gonna happen”.

          And just leave it there….

          To me it is not much different than reacting to umpire calls… it is real easy to go above and beyond, personal attacks, game is rigged, the fix is in, stuff like that… fans can do that, announcers need to stop a bit short…. but c’est la vie.. it isn’t a big deal either way.

  51. Thanks to DK his story made it on the Buster Olney column today. Nice way to show the country how some of the fans in Pittsburgh reacted.

    • Pedro Alvarez will compete in the Home Run Derby. This spares Pittsburgh the shame of vilifying David Wright, writes Dejan Kovacevic. Carlos Gonzalez is focused on the second half, not on the Derby.

    • Does Olney think that if Pedro was injured (like CarGo is) he would still participate in the HR contest and not ‘focus on the second half of the season”?

      • Thunder

        Thats not a question for Olney; he was simply linking an article that was published by a columnist in Colorado about the player and not the fans reaction to the player pulling out of the event.

        Would have never thought about writing an article on the player instead of the fans!

    • It showcases the dopes on Twitter, DK spends too much time on there. He always says he’d never use a reader suggestion for a column or interview question, but he quotes these nameless nitwits in a column.

      I’m going tonight and now I’m going to Boo.

      • Way late to the party here…….but I thought Twitter was “only for fun, and not to be taken seriously”

  52. My feeling is that if you want to make Wright aware of your displeasure, go ahead and boo him, within reason.

    That means no profanity, and under no circumstances should you charge the field, tie him up, stone him, quarter his body, and put his head on a stake on the mound. That’s just way over the top.

    • (W)Right. This isn’t soccer. :-)

    • Ah, booing…

      Professional athletes should be able to play through booing. Those who boo should know what it feels like to be booed. Case in point:

      I (a teenager at the time) was preparing for a public speaking event and asked my mother to help me. Mom explained that audience reactions will vary, but she would be there to cheer me on. That’s all well and good, but My main concern was what would I do if people vocally heckled me. As we all know, kids can be cruel. Mom agreed to flip the emotional switch the next time I performed my speech.

      There I was saying my lines (once more, with feeling!) while my mom quietly booed me. That was disconcerting, to say the least. She actually went above and beyond the call of duty by throwing a balled up piece of paper onto the pretend stage!

      I got through my practice run and afterwards, in the nicest way possible I asked her, WTF? Mom explained that folks used to boo and throw things at stage actors hundreds of years ago. I nodded my head and thanked her vocally, while I booed her mentally.

      Fast forward to the day of my speech. I plowed through what I had prepared and ended up winning the contest. I think it was because I knew the worst that could happen while I was speaking, and nicely enough, no one booed or threw things at me during my speech. Lesson learned.

      As for pro athletes and people who are in the limelight, they should have been trained by this stage of their career how to block out/deal with spectators vocalizing their displeasure during games/events. If not, my mom can totally come down there and give them the business. For a nominal fee, I’m sure :)

      P.S. My mom, my sister and I all speak for a living, so her unorthodox method seemed to work out in the long run.

      Please note: I do NOT recommend booing random folks outside the public sphere. Nor does my mother :) We much prefer taking in the event, going home and talking sh*% about players/performers in the comfort of our own home. Or on blogs with random gravatars.

  53. I wanted to add the name of Ray Scott to that list of great announcers.

    His origins were in Pittsburgh on local TV, but he gained fame and notoriety in Green Bay and Minnesota broadcasting pro football.

    You always knew the score, who just carried the ball, who made the tackle, etc. almost in a cryptic manner. He just “told the facts” without the puffery, the analysis of the play ad nauseum, the technical terminology (which most of us don’t know or will remember), of course without instant replay at that time, which now requires more and more explanation.

    I believe he is in the announcers wing of The Hall of Fame?

      • I just think the ‘modern day’ announcers, local announcers, are ‘homers’ for the most part. Like John Sterling and Susan Waldman of the Yankees. It’s part of the schtick. You either love them or hate them, but at least you ‘care’ about having an opinion. My guess is a poll would indicate we like Brown more than Neverett, which is Exhibit A. Brown is a homer and Neverett is more ‘just read the media guide, make a few jokes and explain stuff we can clearly see for ourselves on TV’.

        I like the Pirates announcers, through all their faults. I do think they need to adjust from trying to entertain through another looong losing season to calling tight games that matter, and hopefully they keep getting better focusing on the game and a little less on distractions.

        That said, there is a lot of air time and there is only so much analysis you can go through….so you’ll need to talk about the color of cotton candy or pitching in 1971 or whatever the hell Rock Wehner talks about sometimes… “goodness gracious”.

        • I would say, “explain stuff we can clearly see for ourselves on TV”, and add to that, stuff we already know, such as “this is a big pitch”, or “we need this strikeout”, or “this is an important part of this game” or “we really could use a one-hopper to short” and on and on and on.

          The boring redundancy of some comments – no matter who utters them – makes me believe those announcers feel they are above it all and are talking to young children so they can reveal how brilliant they are.

          I’d like to hear from them, just once, a simple little phrase before they make such statements, such as, “I’m sure you know. . . . . . .”

          It would tell me they are aware that they are speaking to a learned audience, as well as some neophytes, and that they are concerned about the total audience within earshot of their voice.

    • I only knew of him from PSU highlights on Sunday morning, right after Lindsey Nelson with ND. At least, I think it was Ray Scott with George Paterno.

    • I thought you meant the founder of B.A.S.S.

  54. Just want to reiterate a point on this Derby stuff… MLB can’t have it both ways, they promote this incessantly and it regularly draws WAY higher viewership than any other regular season MLB telecasts..they have sponsors that pay to promote it and I’m sure they want a smidge of integrity in terms of the participants.

    DK does a good job of pointing that out, but I think MLB may beg to differ a bit on dismissing this as something not to ‘take seriously’…

    I guess where I roll my eyes the most is on any ML player saying they ‘won’t sign in KC”, and presumably Pittsburgh, because the fans booed Cano (and presumably Wright) for snubbing their home-town favorite. (1) The minute any pro athlete doesn’t just follow the money, please alert me…(2) what kind of logic says that a team’s fans showing support for their hometown favorites and having a little fun booing someone is an indictment of what crappy fans they have?

    If booing is all the Bucs fans do this weekend, and I think it will be less than we think, then great… Obviously there should never be anything more than that, for any reason.. even for real things like games that matter and perhaps umpire calls that are blown. No reason to draw the distinction that booing over a Derby is somehow where all civilization is lost…

    • Honestly don’t know how he wrote the free agent stuff with a straight face.

      For one, KC incessantly booed Cano on a highly watched National event. How does that begin to approximate David Wright coming to Pittsburgh for a three game series of local broadcasts?

      Besides, made me laugh out loud to read him insinuate that the Pirates would ever actually pony up the cash to sign an All Star as a free agent.

      Bob Nutting, PirateFest ’14: “Look guys, Bobby Cano was our guy to get this offseason, but you screwed the pooch by booing St. David. Don’t blame me.”

      • the players and their agents are coin operated and the athletes themselves say some of the worst things on twitter ever published so I have very very little patience to give a rat’s ass about their perspective on fan behavior, especially mild booing.

    • Good point! Who would ever sign in Philly with the way they treat at least one player & usually more from any rival in every sport? Some of the most vile things I’ve ever heard were said by Philly fans at players on Pittsburgh teams.

  55. I was out of town on business and did not take the time yet to read the Brown piece by Starkey. And I am not local, so I have not heard all of the back story here. Has Greg Brown commented or clarified what he said? Has he puclicly backed off his statements? Has he reached out to Wright? Only asking because I really don’t know.

    • Starkey’s column had nothing to do with Brown’s comments.

      The only back story you’re missing is the one Dejan concocted in his head for this sensationalist column.

      • So, nothing from Brown? I did hear his comments, and thought he went a bit far. I am ok that he was pleading Pedro’s case, but I wondered if maybe he came back the next night or on a radio appearance and said something like, “Hey, in sticking up for Pedro on the broadcast, I may have gone a bit far ….”

        I’m not saying he had to do that. Certainly his and ROOT’s call. Or, that of the Bucs. Just wondering.

      • Right, Jim. I just referenced Starkey’s column because it gave the background of how Brown had been “over the top” since he was a kid, and that was helpful in getting with the Pirates in the first place. Starkey didn’t comment on this “controversy.” Probably wrote it a while ago, since I understand he’s on vacation at the beach.

  56. Ya know..I’m not an expert on the intricacies of the NHL salary cap. I’ve tried finding out the specifics, but to no avail.

    IF (big if) Kovy’s contract is truly null and void following his retirement I would think his rights would be in high demand. Like the Raiders drafting Bo Jackson “just in case”, why not inquire from NJD as to what rights to Kovalchuk would cost?

    They would have to be fairly low. Maybe a 5th round pick, and only if several teams got involved. NJ would have to be hoping to get ANYTHING back on their investment, and if you lose a 5th round pick…who cares?

    Personally…this isn’t the end of Ilya Kovlachuk in the NHL. Not even close. Like Jagr and Kovalev before him…he’ll be back when the money in the KHL dries up. They pay their superstars a lot of money. Everyone else makes jack squat. in 5-6 years when he will make more in base salary + incentives playing 3rd line in the NHL than for the KHL he WILL BE BACK.

    Is it worth a 5th-7th round pick NOW to MAYBE get the services of a 36 year old sniper in 2019?

  57. It is really awesome to be complaining about how fans react to the Alverez snub. Did anyone notice that the team on the field is doing some amazing things right now. This is why we can’t have nice things we screw it up by complaining about first the fans not showing up and then the fans being to passionate about one of their player’s.

    Boo on passionate fans within reason. Let Wright and the rest of MLB know that you are proud of this team and believe in them. Let Pedro know you have his back and even if Wright doesn’t beleive he belongs that you know he does.

  58. Gee people boo the first round pick at the NFL draft, Booed Mario, boo Sid and others all the time what’s with the no booing of Mr. got it wrong Wright if that is what people want to do? I could care less if Pedro was in the contest or not anyway.

    • Mad–although 95% of the people who read the column think DK was suggesting booing Wright over the HR Derby would be inappropriate, he says that’s not what he meant.

      At least thats my interpretation.

  59. I seem to recall that a certain someone absolutely eviscerated Neil Huntington for saying “there’s a lot of people inside the game who understand and appreciate what we are doing” as a slap in the face to the intelligence of Pittsburgh fans.

    Fast forward …. doesn’t the Pedro/Wright column take Pittsburgh fans to task for being idiots in response to Pedro allegedly being snubbed? Doesn’t the column suggest that the fans apparently don’t realize that it is a skills competition?

    I ask these two questions:
    1. Which is a bigger and more blatant swipe at the fan base?
    2. If it is so abhorrent for NH to insinuate that he “fans” don’t get it, then why is it OK for NH’s critic to blast the fan base for being ignorant?

    IMO, it struck me as inconsistent. But … that’s just my $.02.

  60. If you are still on vacation and not driving, go to MLB app, click on scoreboard, go to SF/SD highlights and it is there.

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