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Morning Java: Now that’s how to spend an off-day

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

>> The weekly chat will begin at noon, but you can submit entries into the field as soon as you see it appear here. Usually happens around 9 a.m.

>> The Pirates played a really long one to finally beat the A’s. And by finally, I’m talking 12:49 a.m., way after most folks were sound asleep. Karen Price stayed awake.

If memory serves, Starling Marte told you the Pirates would win, right?

And someone else advised giving Jose Tabata a chance, right?

Well, Tabata is now 11 for 26 with four doubles, a triple and three walks since Clint Hurdle tasked him with taking the right field job for his own.

Juuuuuuuuuuuust checking.

Here are official game highlights from

>> Announcer Greg Brown is profiled elegantly by columnist Joe Starkey.

>> The Pirates worked an hour already today, and they’ll be out on the Fox Chapel links this morning for the annual Pirates Charities Golf Classic. Here’s hoping attendance is something less than mandatory.

>> The Penguins’ signing of Matt D’Agostini puts the checking lines into focus. Rob Rossi reports.

>> Look forward to hearing from you in the chat!

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. A much needed win.

    Starling Marte backed up his words well!

  2. Yes, way back before opening day you certainly did advise giving Tabata a shot. And to think, just a week or so ago we were wondering what ever happened to him. Now he’s making hay with this last chance he’s been given. Tabby not only gave us all the runs we would need tonight, but his hustle to beat out grounders all series long had been one of the very few bright spots during the first two games of this series. It sure would go a long way towards solving our offensive woes if Tabby continues to perform.

    DK: Yes, before the season.

    And last week:

    And earlier this week right here on the blog.

    • About my last line above, what I mean is that crossing “get a right-fielder” off the “To Do List” sure would make the rest of the list more manageable.

    • I believe In Tabata but his injury history makes me think the Pirates should still trade for a viable right fielder.

      Marlon Byrd has been having a good year and is only under contract through 2013 for $700k… I am having trouble guessing what he would command in the trade market, but he might be having too good of a year to be brought in as a bench bat/Tabata insurance policy.

      • As it happens, we’ll see Byrd this weekend. Mets’ pitching is beat up. It’s conceivable they’ll fancy one of our arms we don’t know what to do with. I’d let the Tabby experiment run it’s course, but Byrd still might be a good fit as our first bat off the bench every game.

      • Tabata’s injury history frightens you? Have you looked at Byrd’s at all? Not to mention that guys aren’t noted to suddenly become iron men at age 35.

        Having both around might be a good idea, as long as you don’t have to give up anything of value to get Byrd.

    • Was it a winning prediction, or Dejan pulling for the chubby guy?

      You know. Like when he pulls for the Serbian soccer club?

  3. So I just got in from the game a little bit ago. Got to witness the first win in franchise history against the A’s. It turned out to be worth it!

    -Clutch performance by Liriano to get the Bucs out of this funk. They need to take advantage of this boost and finish strong this weekend into the break.

    -I really like how Pedro has come on as a hitter. Especially being able to go opposite field with pitches and get hits. This guy could be really scary in the years to come.

    -I like what Tabata is doing since coming off the DL. It’s just going to take me a while to be comfortable with him, given his history. I still think the team should upgrade in RF if it can do so without giving up too much in talent.

    -Marte has done well again, but he needs to quit swinging at so many bad pitches out of the zone. He’s giving too many at bats away.

  4. Seattle will be sellers. We’ve talked about Ibanez. More of a long shot, but interesting, would be Michael Morse. He’s the mirror image of Garrett Jones, physically and (this year) statistically. But his career numbers are significantly better (.290 .343 .487 .830). Morse has played injured this year and was finally was DL’ed, but is about to come back. His numbers may well return to his mean. Seattle just acquired him in January, but he’s about to become a FA so his rental price “might” be something we can afford. The guy plays 1B and right field. Surely, we’ll still need to upgrade at one of those positions by July 31.

    • Jason Bay available? :)

      • I am sure Jason Bay and his .215 batting average is available. 2012 & 2011 were very good for him either. Michael Morse looks like a better (and more expensive) option at this point in time.

        • I am sure Jason Bay and his .215 batting average is available. 2012 & 2011 WERE NOT very good for him either. Michael Morse looks like a better (and more expensive) option at this point in time.

  5. Seems it took forever to play last night. The win was well worth the wait, however.

    I was thinking about my reasons for continuing to follow this team. One reason that cones to mind is that I am certifiably nuts! Another reason is that I want to have better memories of the team finally coming together and righting the ship. I have no memories like Max hitting his home run or like the Bucs wining the World Series in 1979 as I was too young to appreciate what that meant. My greatest memories? Barry Bonds head getting bigger, the Pittsburgh Drug Trials, and Sid Bream breaking all of our hearts. I feel cheated!

    Now it’s time for this team to give “The Big Payback” to all doubters (to borrow liberally from James Brown) and create memories the players, management, and fans alike can finally be proud of.

    • Max=Maz…Auto-Correct.

    • I guess you’re in my age range then. Would sure like to see them win it all at least once in my lifetime. There appears to be a window there for, hopefully, a few years, to have at least a chance.

      It’s been a long time coming.

    • “I want to have better memories of the team finally coming together and righting the ship.”

      Brandie, it’s going to be that much greater for us diehards (including Diehard!) if (when!) our heretofore sad-sack PBC finds itself in the post-season. After all these years of being outsiders looking in at the privileged few having all the glory, WE are going to be reveling in that glory. Bandwagoneers are welcome. Make PNC Park rock! But they can’t possibly comprehend what fans like you, me and the rest of the Lunatics are sharing

      • This must be what it feels like/when the planets start to align. My apologies for the whining tone of my post and for making my Fellow lunatics relive the expansion of Barry Bonds’ head.

  6. Hoka Hey everyone!
    Pirates win…Pirates win!!! LIV wins down, …and XXVIII to go.
    Yes, GM Neal and Mgr. Clint ….82 wins DOES make a difference.
    Beat Em’ Bucs !
    PS: Great to see the offense finally awaken ….sheez! However, winning only once a week……it’s going to be tough to reach 82 victories. :-)
    THANK YOU Mr. Liriano for another stellar performance.
    Hope we play the A’s…one more Series this year!

  7. Not quite done with interleague. Bucs have to go to Texas in September to play the Rangers. It follows a trip to St. Louis. Hopefully it is not a token guaranteed three days in the lineup for Gabby Sanchez.

  8. The only thing that gives me pause, is that it appears we are stuck with Barmes again.

    But if that bum playing is what it takes to win, I’ll hold my nose and take it.

  9. Oh God, read the Greg Brown piece.

    Stick it Greg, you’re over-hyped stuff is annoying as hell.

    • +1,000,000 !!!

    • Brownie’s the absolute BEST!!! So glad we’re through with Lanny…he made those lean years even worse to deal with! Brown is one reason the Bucs are so popular! Raise it!!!!!

      • I’ll say this Mikey: it is a different era and I can see why the younger crowd connects with Brown. The Pirates need to cultivate a younger demographic to supplement their fan base. Due to the mismanagement over the past 20 years, the Bucs have lost a generation or two of potential fans.

        • no doubt, Prince was the best ever…a legend!!! (I’m in my 50′s, so I remember.)Brown seems really sincere in his over the top stuff though…I think he sincerely loves this team and has been waiting for them to win for soooo long, he just gets carried away a little. I will forgive him for that. His enthusiasm makes me really look forward to watching/listening when I cant make it to the game. And he’s not all fluff either….He actually talks about Baseball and has some good intelligent discussions about the game with whoever is in the booth with him.

          • I take the goosd with the bad with Brown. I’ll take him over Neverett’s boring schtick any night. i grew up with Lanny. Lanny was great when the team was good but when the team went south so did he.

            Does Brown go over the top at times? Absolutely. And that can be annoying. But I love “Clear the deck!” and “Raise the Jolly Roger” and his general enthusiasm is great.

            Now Bob Walk and Steve Blass on the other hand…oh boy. Ther is enthusiasm and then there is Walk and Blass. Homers to the max that have a hard time even acknowledging that even on the closest of calls sometimes they just don’t go the bucs way. Or that sometimes just sometimes the Pirates play poorly and that is why they lose.

            I’ll take brown and Rock in the booth every night.

    • I agree with you about Mr. Brownjeans. I prefer both Lanny Frattare and the legendary Gunner, Bob Prince. The other night, when he started giving the sales pitch about what a great teammate Brandon Inge is, I about puked.

      • And I thought I was the only one who liked Lanny.

        • I like Brown and think he is a very good announcer.
          Today they are all ‘homers’.

          And I think Lanny’s time had come and gone. Nice guy, but I’m glad he is no longer announcing the games.

          • We differ on this 10 million percent. The hokey names, the over the top enthusiasm for teams that blew, it was way too much.

            Other teams are all homers now though, just better and more subtle than Greg Brown.

            Lanny should have remained on radio, he was perfect for it.

        • I was ok with Lanny, NMR. Never had a problem with him.

        • Lanny was a nice guy and a very good announcer. I am sure he got sick of the losing. I had a chance meeting with him about 15 years ago while I was in the couples bowling league on Friday nights. He was really down to earth and great to talk with. In fact, I think I even drank some beer with him that night.

        • No you weren’t. Preferred him over Bob Prince too. I didn’t need to hear a drunk guy, I wanted someone who called the game.

          • I wasn’t a big fan of Prince calling a game but I loved his devotion to the Buccos.

            I especially enjoyed when he’d tell a story and you could hear the ball hitting the bat in the background and the fan reaction, and he’d keep telling his story in stride.

      • Meh. Gotta remember that he is employed by the Bucs. He’s there to do as they tell him.

    • John you have to “lighten up a bit” on Greg Brown.

      His enthusiasm is authentic, and no less sophisticated than some of the ramblings and ravings of this blog. There are times that I can agree with your opinion, but by and large he is one of us just coming from a different position, that of being a paid broadcaster of the Pirates. He surely isn’t boring, and when he calls out a trip-trip-triple or a critical home run, I feel it.

      You and I agree on many topics without me acknowledging it each time, Barmes for example. My feelings of him are well-documented here, although I am willing to concede he of late has had a better approach at the plate and defensively was pretty solid last night. But I digress.

      Greg Brown is refreshing, and when he teams up with Bob Walk on TV (or John Wehner), it makes for me an interesting broadcast.

      Have a great day

      • Nice defense of Brown. Agree with most of what you say, with the glaring exception of the “Trip, trip, trip” call which make my toes curl and my hands reach for the “mute” button.

        • I like Brown as an announcer. But I’ve never warmed up to “trip-trip-triple” or “G I Jones.” Your “toes curl” comment pretty well sums it up. But at least he doesn’t make every ball hit father than the infield sound like it might be a homerun. My two favorites right now are Brown and Wehner.

          • He can get a bit hokey at times, but I like that Brownie cares and is one of us. I am actually ok with local announcers playing to the local audience. I get the MLB Pkg, and believe me it happens everywhere.

            Now, the David Wright comments were going way too far. I assume he knows that now.

            • I think I’m glad I missed the Wright comments. Heck, Prince was criticized for being a homer at the time. Although these guys now (in general) take that to a new level. And Brown does cross a line sometimes, IMO, in being a shill for the FO. But his announcing is fine.

            • The Gunner could be hokey, too, between things like the Green Weenie, Babushka power etc. And talk about a homer, I think Prince wrote the book on that. It was all in good, clean fun & Brown is on the right track with his “Brown-isms”.

          • +1

            I think when Brown gets too excited as some people say, it’s just funny!

    • What’s your beef with Brown?

    • I don’t know what grates on my last nerve more: Greg Brown or Wooooo!!!!!!!

  10. JAL’s Big Rock Candy Mountain 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 Actual Value of Platoons

    Liriano Cruises, Pirates Bats Spark 5-0 Win

    Prospect Watch: Stetson Allie Homers For Bradenton; JaCoby Jones Hits First Homer

    7 Bucs Dugout

    Francisco Liriano helps Pirates avoid apocalypse, notch 5-0 win
    Hurdle: ‘I believe it is an offense that will self-correct


    Game 90: Pirates 5 A’s 0

    9 The Green Weenie

    Rainy Day Notes & News…

    10 Rumbunter

    Pirates Current Skid: It Hurts Now, But Just Wait

    Pirates Prospect Spotlight: Tyler Glasnow

    11 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Pirates 5 A’s 0

    • Big Rock Candy Mountain Burl Ives 1949 Song written in 1928 as a hobo’s view of paradise. Ives 1949 version was reworked into a song for children

      • I don’t know why. I see that song title and I think about soccer penalty kicks.

        • Hallucinating. Whatever you’re having, Drew Dahling, share, please!

          • Listening to Velvet Underground, wearing a Club Serbia jersey, eating mushrooms and making predictions.

            • Smokin’ cigarettes and watching Captain Kangaroo, now don’t tell me, there’s nothin’ to do.

              He’s gonna lay on that Tabata prediction until the cows come home.

              Why don’t we ever hear the term “Absolute Lock” anymore?

              • As for Tabata, DK should tout it. Much of the stuff I have read about T. on this blog went WAY beyond performance and made proclamations about his character that we, as fans, have no useful knowledge to back up. DK undoubtedly knows this man better than any of us and was willing to say he “believed” in him. A fan has a right to react to what they can see, but there is little else we can offer, and I am not trying to tell people how to be fans, just how, IMHO, to be fair. Of course, who said a fan has to be fair?

              • I’ve always respected DK for going out of his way to back up Tabata and Charlie Morton’s character knowing full well the perception they both have with fans.

                Certainly not a popular opinion to have.

              • Well to be fair, didn’t DK admit that he was wrong about Russell Martin?

                ( I am trying to get my percentage down)

              • You’re right. Should have put an emoticon with it.

              • What opinion do the fans have about Morton’s character?

              • I don’t know too many, except maybe NMR, that were right about Martin.

                I don’t mind eating crow on that one.

              • If you make enough predictions, eventually you’ll get one right. :)

              • As has been said, a stopped clock is right twice a day.

              • Predictions are our stock and trade, but fraught with high risk: my absolute worst, was claiming Jeff Wallace (pretty sure that was his name) was going to be a great pitching coach. “Best Pirate decision in a decade” I proclaimed. Whining about wasting money on Martin was right up there.

              • Never mind the question about Morton, NMR. I think I get what you were saying, and it wasn’t a question about character.

            • Sounds like what DK and I did Saturday night.

  11. NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    12 San Jose Mercury News

    Oakland A’s blanked 5-0 by Pittsburgh Pirates

    13 City of Champions

    Francisco Liriano leads Pirates over Athletics in late-night slumpbuster

    14 Rant Sports

    Pittsburgh Pirates’ Top 5 Trade Assets

    15 New York Times

    A Nice First Half, but the Pirates Know They Can Do Better

    16 CBS Sports

    Pirates shut out A’s, beat them for first time in history

    17 New York Daily News

    The forgotten all-star game: 50 years ago, baseball’s Latino legends played in Polo Grounds’ last game

    18 PBC Site

    Despite late hour, bats wide awake behind Liriano

    Notebook: Cole could head to Minors to stay fresh during break


    19 Baseball Prospectus

    Ten of Our Personal All-Stars

    20 Fangraphs

    LINK: Ryan Spilborghs Talks PEDs

  12. Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Steelers release Will Johnson “A Day in the Life” video

    <bSteelers a 'Now-or-Never' team, whatever that means

    22 Steelers Depot

    - Gil Brandt Says Steelers Facing Downward Spiral in 2014


    23 Daily Mail

    It wasn’t like this at Everton! Moyes gets first taste of madness at Man United as champions land in Bangkok

    24 World Soccer Daily

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

  13. *****ATTENTION*****
    Just a friendly reminder, especially to new posters:
    We here on this blog are proud to call ourselves Dejan’s Lunantics’ Asylum.
    If you post your hometown, Bizrow will add it to the list of the ever-growing inmates.
    Don’t be shy, we want to talk, debate, and chat with you!

  14. Here’s the link for the NY Daily News story on the Latin Legends playing at the Polo Grounds:

    Great story with some terrific pictures.

  15. Well to be fair you also predicted a break out year last year for Tabata and the only thing he broke that year was his stride after pulling another muscle.

    Honestly I have been right there with you on Tabata the entire time so I’m just joking. I have always felt like he could be a really good major league hitter and have never given up on him maturing and realizing that potential.

    • Should Jose continue to use all of his gifts and bring the effort everyday in every way, I will be the first, second, and third to admit I was wrong about him. And you can take that to the bank.

    • I think people were accurate in saying that Tabata is not someone who the team has been able to count on. That is just stating facts. He always has had odd ailments that seem to linger forever. Then, he got sent down last year and from the GM to the Mgr they basically said he needed to grow up. So, if you want to label that character assassination, then a lot of people are guilty.

      He has had a nice week or so. I’m not ready to proclaim him the next Roberto Clemente just yet. I do agree that he has talent. He needs to stay focused and continue to do his job. That is all we are asking, I think.

      A guy I have always backed, Neil Walker, is someone that I think now has to be questioned as to how much he can be counted on. He had the long layoff with his back last year, then the cut on his hand earlier this year. And, now his side has put him back on the DL. I like Neil, but he needs to get and stay healthy.

  16. 28 wins to go till the longest losing streak for professional sports in North America comes to an end!!!

    • I propose we all drink a toast when the streak is over. I, for one, will be running around my neighborhood screaming, doing my avatar proud.

      • Fully clad, I hope and your hubby hopes. :)

        I’ll even drink a toast to that. Not Brandy, but Diet Pepsi, the hard kind.

        And I will play Na Na, Na Na Na Na, Hey Hey, Goodbye all day long at the office, home and even at church if it’s a church night.

        • can Mother Theresa possibly top those two secnarios???

          I guess I could play Queen “We are the Champions” for the entire neighborhood to hear.

          • That’s a great idea. Maybe I’ll do that outside at home. Nobody around in the country to hear it, though.

            Maybe I can rent the radio station here for a day. Shouldn’t cost much. It’s not worth much.

            • lol Well I like Godsmack, but I don’t think the neighbors would like that…
              the radio station should oblige you. Just tell them you’ll pray for them :D

              • I will belly flop into my Pond from a tall rock when that occurs.

                Then, I will graze for days to make sure it is real.

                All the while, doing it naked……….. Hippos dont wear clothes, you know.

              • WOAH! A streaking Hippo to celebrate the end of the streak! Priceless!

              • Just make sure you hide the children :)

              • LOL! I am off to lunch with the Hubby. Catch you in a bit, hopefully catch most of the chat….later, my Hippo friend :*

    • Not to count the chickens before the hatch but when the streak is broken I really hope it is at home. The fans that stuck by this team really deserve to celebrate the victory.

    • I’ve made this argument to others about prolonged futility. It doesn’t excuse the Pirates streak, but helps keep it in perspective…

      The Pirates broke the Phillies streak of 15 consecutive losing seasons, but no one ever mentions that before the 15 season losing streak , they had a 14 season losing streak, separated by a single season of .506. Therefore, they had 29 losing seasons in 30 years.

      • I would also point out, Vinny, that while the Bucs have had 20 years of futility, they have somehow managed to still have an over-.500 all-time record. That sort of speaks to the quality of play from this franchise for most of their history. That doesn’t excuse anything, but puts it in perspective.

        I believe the Phils are well below .500 all-time.

  17. I guess I’m in the minority here, but I actually like Gregg Brown. Yes, he’s a little too over the top at times. But what’s wrong with that? I also heard somebody last year complaining that Brown doesn’t do enough “criticizing”. He’s a Pirate’s employee. You expect him to be critical of his bosses? If you want criticism, I know a nice blog you could join.

    Plus I think “Raise the jolly roger” is second only to “We had ‘em all the way”.

    • I with you patton.

      He does do a lot of complimenting of the Pirates.

      But I also think he does do a fair amount of criticizing of the them too. He just does it in a way that is different (milder..more unassuming ) than when he is touting him. He has questioned some of Hurdle’s pitching moves and seems to be quick in pointing out when a player is slumping. I’ve noticed that he is much more critical of them when he is interviewed on the radio (pre-game show, The Fan, etc…)

    • well said, pattonbb :)

    • I’m with you. I enjoy Greg Brown calling a game. I’ve always felt that his enthusiasm, while over the top at times, came from a real place. Was nice to read the Starkey column and have that affirmed. Real emotion from a guy that just loves this team. So what if he gets carried away. I tend to do the same thing while watching this team from my couch!

      Had a chance to meet Greg a few years back while taking the ballpark tour. Very nice guy too.

    • You want “over the top”? Put me on the air when the Buccos are playing the Reds.

      • I’ve said it before, but the Brennaman portion of the Reds crew is so over the top. There is always faux outrage from the two of them, and they have already inserted Votto, Bruce and Phillips into the HOF.

    • who was the guy that always used to end with “And there was no doubt about it”?

  18. I stand by every single thing I’ve ever said about Jose Tabata. Completely & totally unreliable. Hopefully he plays well enough before the next time he gets hurt that some poor schmuck will trade for him.

    • I’m far from a major league talent evaluator, but the batspeed he flashed again in turning around that inside fastball last night, similar to the one he smoked a couple days ago against the Cubs, was legitimately impressive. Or at least better than what I remembered seeing from Jose Tabata over the last season and a half.

      Thats not said to question your first point, but to bolster your hope that those poor schmucks out there will see more than numbers when looking at him.

      With the way retreads get passed around the league these days, it would really surprise me if nobody out there was willing to take Tabby, right now.

      • I would agree with your last sentence except that I see his contract as being prohibitive as far as a trade goes.

        I agree with your bat speed comment. I’m still concerned about injuries and his ability to give a darn for longer than 2-3 weeks at a time.

        • Forget about the extension for a moment.

          Tabby would be up for 1st time arbitration following this season. To date, he has over 1300 PA’s and owns a .275/.340/.380 triple slash line.

          Remembering that arbitrators are strictly looking at numbers, not attitude or other outside factors, what would you reasonably expect him to be awarded?

          Would, something around $1.5-2m be that far fetched? On the 40-60-80 arbitration scale, that would put him on a path to $3m his second year and $4m his third…without factoring any potential gains in production as he enters his peak seasons.

          You’re talking about $9m for three arbitration years vs. the $11.5m he is owed over those same years on his current deal. Is that really a big enough difference to make his contract trade prohibitive?

          • “Remembering that arbitrators are strictly looking at numbers, not attitude or other outside factors”

            NMR, as outlined in the CBA, the arbitration panel may consider any physical or mental defects of the player.

            Anyways, I realize what he could possibly get in arbitration. I also realize what Jeff Karstens could have possibly gotten in arbitration. But Jose Tabata is owed $11.5M for the next 3 years and considering his statistics, injury history, and concerns about his mental toughness, I’m thinking that maybe no team would trade for him with that contract. It’s a guarantted contract. The arbitration years aren’t guaranteed. A player can be non tendered.

    • You must not have been paying attention last week. Tabata is the key to this entire season.

    • I’m with you, Milo. Nothing would make me happier than to have Jose continue this streak and grow up, once and for all. But, nothing in the several years we have all experienced him up until now suggests to me that he is over the hump from a maturity or reliability standpoint yet. I need to see this continue for another few weeks at least.

  19. This could be heresy, but I enjoyed the ESPN booth for last night’s game, and I’ll certainly give them the benefit of the doubt considering the late start of the game. There wasn’t a terribly great amount of enthusiasm, but they were professional and did good research.

    The only complaint, though, is that I think Karl Ravech kept calling Jordy Mercer “Milone” for one inning.

  20. Now for something totally unrelated, except as a commentary on unrequited fandom: did you catch the bit about the.Cleveland Browns sending team jerseys to a funeral for a fan who requested 6 Browns as pallbearers, so ” they could let him down one more time?”

  21. So. Pirates win. All is right with the world.

    Well. There IS PedroDerbyGate.

    • Psh, as we speak there are poor souls being forced to endure a day of golf. For stinkin’ charity.

    • All-Star games and skill competitions are a joke any more. The NHL and NFL having captains pick teams is fine; everyone is going to play.

      Letting David Wright and Robinson Cano pick who’s going to be in the homerun derby makes little to no sense at all to me. Not even sure why David Wright deserves to be in the event. His comment about adding Cuddyer because of his 27 game hitting streak was priceless. I didn’t realize it was a 27 game HR hitting streak. It will be nice to see Cuddyer stroke those singles into the outfield during the event. Maybe they can put dots in the outfield with points awarded for every dot he manages to roll those singles onto.

      Get rid of the all-star games. They are an absolute joke; no effort what so ever is ever put into them and 10-15 players every year end up snubbed because of the everyone must have one player rule. Pirates benefited from that for 10 years but didn’t make me watch the all-star game because I wanted to see Mike Williams with his ERA over 6 pitching or not getting to pitch at all.

  22. Happy 711 to everyone btw. Free Slurpies at 7-Eleven from 11-7.

  23. I see Stetson went deep for Bradenton yesterday, struggling a bit, but the BA is up to 235

  24. It’s not looking good for Darren Dalton

    But he will be forever in my memory

    I was at the Vet with Drabek throwing a no hitter
    People were leaving early because the buccos were crushing the phils
    one guy walking up looked at me and said to his wife
    look at this guy he’s in his glory
    I was dating a Phillies usherette who was sitting with me in her costume (man she hated that I called the outfit that), had a cigar, a beer, my Pirate cap on, and I’m sure a grin the size of Texas.

    In the nineth with two outs and Sil Campusano at the plate I was sure I would see a no hitter the next batter was Dutch. I thought just dont let this guy on and bring up Daulton.

    The count went to 3-2 and I thought just don’t groove one walk him if you have to then pitch around Dutch. Drabs fastball over the plate base hit to right. I was crushed. Dutch flew out and the game was over.Game story linked

    The game in Philly is most famous not for Drabeks 1 hitter but for Von Hayes giving the finger to the fans because they were rooting for a no hitter,

    That is why Daulton will never fade from my memory
    Here’s hoping his treatment goes as well a possible

    Just thought I’d share

  25. Good morning everyone –

    Spent the past few days in Charlotte; and let me tell you trying to get back to Pittsburgh last night was a freaking nightmare with the storms all over the country. 5pm flight turned into a 10:15 flight but was just happy to make it home.

    Couple of interesting things I noticed about athletes this week during my trip:

    1. After dinner the first night I decided to stroll along downtown Charlotte to see some of the city. Its amazing how their basketball arena does not stick out like an arena; nearly walked past it without even realizing it was there. The only reason I realized it was there was due to the 7 footer out of Indiana that the Bobcats took with the 5th pick Zeller. He was walking up the street. I will say this; he’s tall. I will say this; he’s extremely thin. I will say this; unless he beefs up or has an incredible shot away from the basket I think Steve Adams has a better chance of success than him. But what stuck out the most to me was the fact that here is a 7ft tall kid walking around with his NBA 2013 draft combine t-shirt on. It kind of struck me as odd; I couldn’t tell if he was maybe missing the days of being the big man on campus at IU and just hoping someone would notice or what but I almost chuckled to myself.

    2. On my return flight last night either James McDonald was on the flight or he has someone that looked very much like him on the flight. I didn’t bother to approach him but I’m almost 100% positive it was him. Oddly enough he was wearing a Pirates hat. Its good to know that if James isn’t able to support the team with his pitching efforts he’s at least showing it by wearing the hat with pride. And call me old fashion but someone might want to check his head as well as his arm. I can’t figure out this fashion craze where men wear what are essentially a style of pants that are similar to womens capri pants where they are like 6 inches too short and cuffed at the bottom. James certainly did everything he could to stand out.

    Well thats enough about my weekly travel; next week its off to Fort Lauderdale!

    • I love Uptown (roughly the area you were in).

      I swear I saw Paul Martin at a Phish show in Tahoe one time, but like you, did not approach. Just awkwardly stared at him until we made eye contact.

  26. Best thing about Greg Brown?

    He’s not Tim Neverett.

    • What’s wrong with Tim Neverett?

    • Neverett is a pro. So he has that going for him. I don’t doubt Brown is a fan, but I want someone to describe the game, not go on and on about what gunk is being sold. And the annoying nicknames are enough to drive me insane.

      Garrett Jones, not GI
      Marte Partay make me want to put a foot thru the TV.

      But they must know what they are doing, since so many here say they like Wehner and Brown. If marbles in your mouth appeals to you, enjoy John Wehner, and if other the top enthusiasm is your bag, Greg Brown is for you.

      • When does Brown talk about “gunk” that’s being sold other than during the charities auction? I think he does a nice job of describing the action on the field, espically when working on the radio side.

      • ‘And the annoying nicknames are enough to drive me insane.’

        I feel that way about Bill HIllgrove. Usually I have no idea what or who he is talking about.

      • “Marte Partay make me want to put a foot thru the TV.”

        I’ll give you that one. Definitely. And GI.

      • “Neverett is a pro.”

        As I believe Thundercrack wrote here once, nobody reads a Media Guide like that guy.

      • Neverett doesn’t even call the game this year. He’s terrible.

    • This begs the question…Can Statler and Waldorf do any better? I know, I know. Typical Muppet response.

  27. Anyone hear the trade recomendation put out there by ESPN’s Jim Bowden? Mercer/Polanco/Kingham for Rios & Alexi Ramirez from the White Sox. Thoughts? Not sure if I like that deal.

    • As if there was ever any wonder why he was fired twice as a general manager.

      • Agreed. Naturally, 93.7 devoted a good portion on their morning discussing the validity of his idea.

      • Sounds like a great deal … for the White Sox. Jim Bowden is an idiot. I get stuck listening to him on the commute home. He takes credit for every good move by the Reds and Nats over the last 15 years. I detect a lot of veiled cheap shots at the Bucs from him. I could be wrong, but he doesn’t seem to like NH to me. Gives Hurdle all the credit. That’s fine, if you want to go that way. I just find it interesting.

    • Bowden must be working for the White Sox.

    • I’d say no to that one. Why lose a guy like Mercer to obtain Rios when we can pick up someone like Marlon Byrd and not have to give up any major leaguer. It’s counterproductive to get a guy like Rios if we’re losing Mercer.

      If Mercer’s gone then Barmes is starting day in and out at SS and that also means we need to add a SS as a backup.

      So we’re really looking at a lineup that will have Rios starting in lieu of Tabata but Barmes in instead of Mercer. We increased the quality in RF by a bit but reduced the production of SS by a lot. Would we really improve much at all?

      • Well, his trade scenario actually includes Rios & Alexi Ramirez, so you’d have a new starting SS as well. Still don’t like it.

        • Oops… I don’t know how I missed that.

          I think I’d still pass but it’s a lot more tempting. We still wouldn’t have to pay nearly as much for Byrd and we still in need of improving our bench (by replacing Inge) afterwards.

          • Agreed, Dom. It is an awful trade. We don’t want or need their trash. The Bucs will not trade Polanco, especially not for question marks. Both of those guys are question marks. Bowden will never get another GM gig if that is his level of knowledge now.

            • This is the exact kind of market that the Pirates have to stay out of.

              Alex Rios is the skinniest kid at Fat Camp.

              • Do you think we should play it safe and get someone who will require less prospects since the variance of those fat kids is so low? I apologize if I asked you this beforehand.

              • I’m with NMR on this. Alex Rios is no prize. You might get extremely lucky and catch a month of lightning in a bottle, but I wouldn’t count on it.

                And Alexi Ramirez is not really a better hitter than Jordy has been. His defense is spotty. Doesn’t surprise me, though, that Bowden would think he was great.

                Ramirez vs. Jordy is close to a wash. Rios vs. Tabata/Presley/LB is the same.

                Giving up a potential #2 in Kingham, plus Jordy, plus very possibly a star in Polanco – Bowden is nuts.

              • Dom, you can ask me the same question tomorrow, the next day, and twice next week. I always enjoy conversing with you.

                Sticking with my crude analogy, I’d go after the fat kids that fit a specific need of this team, not necessarily the kids that are best overall.

                In my opinion, the Pirates – as a team – strike out too much, don’t get on base enough, can’t hit lefties, and lack defensive flexibility.

                Addressing those specific needs incrementally will do them better than making the big splash.

  28. I must have the mute operating too often – out of necessity usually – so I am unaware of the disturbing connection of the Wooo which I do resent, and the announcer(s).

    Please enlighten me.

  29. Who’da thunk that the club is overall playing well enough, we are spending out time dissecting the announcers? ;-)

  30. How many Pittsburgh sports fans does it take to change a light bulb? Ten. One to change the bulb while the other nine tell how much better they changed bulbs 25 years ago.

    So Greg Brown is somehow able to irritate people that much? Really? A good-natured, informed announcer who keeps things light and fun during one of life’s great diversions –regular season Pirates baseball — is that irritating? Wow.

    Bob Prince…Mike Lange…Myron Cope. It’s like some mini-Mt. Rushmore of overblown nostalgia. I love(d) all three of those guys, but that doesn’t keep me from thoroughly enjoying the likes of Greg Brown and Steigy. Give me that type of enthusiastic, knowledgeable and quirky announcer over the boring, technically perfect broadcast school drones you can hear as you scan the MLB Season Ticket and NHL Center Ice broadcasts. (You relocated Burghers know what I’m talking about, I’m sure.)

    A lot of this retroactive love for the old announcers is simple nostalgia. It reminds many of us of younger days. But if Prince were announcing now, these same people who criticize Brown would be all over the Gunner for his “bug on a rug,” “we need a hoover” and “chicken on the hill with Will” shtick. And it WAS shtick. The man did the latter part of his career on auto-pilot, and commenter above made reference as to what that was. There was a reason he was fired, just as there was a reason why Mike Lange was relegated to radio.

    And while we’re talking cringe-inducing, isn’t it about fifteen years past the point where MIke Lange should have retired all those embarrassing sayings that were cool for about the first 20 years but then became something you almost make you feel sorry for him? Give me a “trip trip trip triple” over yet another forced “butcher’s dog” or “Arnold Slick” any day at this point.

    Here’s to Greg Brown raising the jolly roger for many years to come. Twenty years from now people will be griping about his replacement and waxing nostalgic about how much they loved the “Clear the deck!” call.

  31. Been away on business for a few days and couldn’t get on here. But, I was suffering through the 1-run losses with everyone. Hopefully, that is behind us now.

    I had a chance to go to Yankee Stadium on a corporate outing on Tuesday. Was fortunate to sit in a luxury box. Gotta say, I’m not that impressed with the stadium. Didn’t do all that much for me from a visual standpoint, considering they had about 25 other blueprints from the last 15 years to advise them on how best to do it. It had tons of luxury boxes, which I am sure is what they wanted. Also had tons of areas of VIP-type seating. Lots of those sections had people dressed as empty seats BTW. In fact, there were at least 20,000 people dressed as empty seats that night. I suppose, being the Bronx, they don’t exactly have a stellar view to showcase so they kept it closed off. They spent $1.5 billion on that stadium? I realize those are NYC $$, but still not good bang for the buck. The bloom is off the Yankees rose with the local folks. But, Jeter is back today so all will be right again.

    My comment/question for the day is:

    Are we seeing a different Pedro Alvarez now? Is this a more mature version? Is he growing and adapting? He sure seems to be getting a lot of hits to LC, which is great to see. If you recall, the lightbulb seemed to go on for Ryan Howard after a few years. He started going to LF/LC with power, and became a huge star. Is Pedro heading in that direction?

    Or, is this just what Pedro does during his hot streaks, and he will go back to “Pull-Dro” soon enough? Whatever it is, he has been on fire for quite awhile at the plate. I wonder what others think now.

    • Is it too much of a cop out if I answer a little of both?

      • No, not at all. This is a tough one, I think. This is a longer hot spell than I think we have seen from Pedro in the past.

    • I am 99% certain that Alvarez has moved closer to the plate over the past few weeks. I used to look at him and wonder how in the world he was going to make decent contact with a pitch on the outside corner and I am no longer doing that.

      • I agree.. perfect example was that homerun on tuesday that was actually outside the strike zone… pedro extended his arms and crushed it off the wall above the shrubbery in CF.

        • Did anyone ever hear how far that went? My son texted me while I was at the Yankees game and said it was about the longest he had seen to CF in PNC.

      • Interesting observation, 21.

        The biggest thing I can come up with is mechanical. The “money shot” of Pedro is his front foot pointed directly at the plate as the bat comes through the zone with leg locked keeping his weight balanced and hips from flying open. He seems to be reaching this point consistantly, unlike earlier in the season when you often saw that front side collapsing.

        I also think hitting more fly balls makes a huge difference for him. He’s gonna strike out a ton, whether he’s hot or cold. That doesn’t change.

        Seems intuitive that he then needs to make the most of the balls he does hit in play. It’s just too hard to consistantly beat that infield shift, which obviously hurts his average. When he gets the ball in the air, he seems able to use the left side more which opens up space. He also puts about 30% of his fly balls into the seats, which is nice.

        • 1-4 with a 3 run blast and 3 K’s is acceptable………and about right for Pedro.

          • I can deal with one of those guys in a lineup.

            Pirates problem is they have 3 or 4, and Pedro is the only one hitting homeruns.

            Also the reason I shy away from Byrd/Morse/Ibanez/Soriano as everyday right fielders for this club.

            • It is becoming a league full of those guys now. It seems just about every full-time starter whiffs 100+ times now.

            • I don’t like any of those names NMR.

              Soriano’s power numbers are nice, but his OBP sucks.

              Morse seems to be struggling a little bit this year, but that could be a.) he’s injured or b.) the transition from NL to AL.

              Byrd? better numbers than the other guys actually and a lot cheaper.

        • If he keeps doing damage to LF/LC, teams will eventually forced to play him straight up. Teams will allow sluggers to have the oppo single with no runners in scoring position. But, if that player starts driving the ball over the opposite field wall then they have to take off the shift.

          • Teams already play his close to straight up in the outfield. Just the infielders have the severe shift.

            • Good point.

              I guess they figure if he wants that single he can have it. It is one AB he won’t be going yard on them.

              • I don’t think a hitter should ever try to beat a defensive shift. Just stick with your normal approach at the plate and don’t even focus on where the infielders are.

              • It’s an interesting question, 21. But, averages have fallen for most guys since the shifts were enacted, and not every team has completely embraced them yet. How long do you not change when the other side has you completely figured out? If my average plummeted for an extended period, as it now will for predictable hitters, I’d be figuring out how to go the opposite way.

  32. & the funniest part of my trip, which is always the case in NYC, is the layer upon layer of middlemen and graft everywhere you go there. I had to catch a 7:30 a.m. flight out yesterday to get back to the office. So, I was literally leaving the hotel at 5:15. Since it is Manhattan, there were already 20 cabs lined up waiting. I was heading out the front door of the hotel when a guy jumps out from behind the front desk and says, “I’ll get you a cab.” I let him know that there were a bunch of them lined up and I didn’t think it was an issue. He still raced in front of me. I waited a minute or two while he talked to one of the drivers. Then, he signaled me over after the driver handed him a few bills. Then, he kind of hung around the cab door for a minute, no doubt expecting me also to tip him for this valuable service he had provided. So, I obliged. When in Rome …

    But, it is just so silly. He squeezed the poor cab driver for about $5. My total fare to LaGuardia was all of $42 pre-tip. So, I gave the cabby a $10 tip. Unfortunately, he had already given the guy at the hotel, who was not even dressed like a bellman, half of it in advance. I don’t mind paying people for service, but this guy provided no service. The cab driver had to give him money or he would probably never get another fare from there. It is the same way every time I go there, so I wasn’t surprised.

    My point is if you have a service industry based on providing no service whatsoever, all you are left with is deceit and dishonesty. Too many people & not enough jobs, I suppose. It is definitely always fun in NYC, but some stuff is hard to understand.

    • I hear you there, Jim, and you’re no stranger to major cities being from the Chicago area, right? Manhattan is just a different animal.

      I think it speaks to the awful income inequality in NYC. So many of the traditional “honest, hardworking” jobs don’t pay enough to cover the cost of living, yet there are enough wealthy people (and sympathetic tourists :) ) to create a demand for the services that you and I find trivial.

      Sad, from a socio-economic perspective. Guys are just doing whatever it takes.

      • You are exactly right, NMR. There is some of it in Chicago, but even Chicago is dwarfed by the enormity of Manhattan.

        It seemed seedy that one guy just siphoned money from a second guy’s income w/o adding anything whatsoever to the equation – and he did it simply because he could. That art has been perfected in NYC. If the system adds redundant jobs like that, it is not very efficient.

  33. -Seems to be a lot of people annoyed today with others’ having fun. From the way Greg Brown announces to the #Woo thing going on. ( i haven’t heard the woo myself)

    -I for one thing the “Z” thing is stupid, but if it works, fine, if the players are having fun with it and are still winning, fine. Now if they did it being 20 games back, then that’s just dumb on their part.

    Loosen up people. This is still a game and a major piece of American entertainment.

    Though I will say that I’m glad Pedro’s not in the HR derby, that way I don’t have to listen to Chris Berman’s stupidity. I choose to not watch/listen.

    • Somewhere in Bristol, as we converse on this blog, Chris Berman is being yanked out of moth balls for his appearance on HR Derby.

      • So late 90′s I’m in Cleveland for business. Used to travel there a ton. Come back late from dinner, midnight, go to the hotel desk to get a wakeup call and there’s Berman with his wife. I was suprised and said, “Chris Berman. The guys at the office won’t believe me.” Stupid, I know.

        So he turns to me and says, “Would you like an autograph?” Only he could barely get the words out. He was as sloshed as anyone I have ever seen in my life (with Roberto Clemente, Jr. a close second. That’s another story). Berman’s wife was with him and was just laughing her behind off. She was sober and very nice.

        So we’re walking toward the elevator as he asked me if I wanted an autograph and neither of us had a pen so he said I could stop by his room. So we’re talking and his wife and I are literally trying to hold him up, we get to his room and I had him write the autograph to my son and he writes:

        “Michael. You….could…..go…..all…..the……way.” And he signs him name.

        The next day I see the bellhop that I was talking to the day before. Told him my story because we were talking about baseball a day earlier, and he told me that he and Harold started drinking in the hotel lobby around 6 p.m., went to dinner at 8, and came back and kept drinking. The game they were doing was the next day.

        DK: Great stuff.

    • The HR Derby is stupid. Takes too long. Annoyingly announced. Meaningless.

      And I will watch it. Always do.

    • “He that answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame unto him”.

      Your scripture of the day, Ryan. Until you hear that Woo thing, better not comment on it. It’s as annoying as the devil.


  34. Just a head’s up…

    Due to my travel schedule this weekend, I’m going to need someone here to re-post the Friday and Saturday game lines for me.

    I’ll put the Friday one up by Noon on the Morning Java thread, and the Saturday one will be up by Noon on the Friday game thread.

    Thanks in advance.

    Also, I’m heavily contemplating moving the daily line postings over to The Bucco Blog. It would help me out a ton.
    My work and travel schedule is gonna get real heavy in the next month or so, and this way I wouldn’t have to have lines be re-posted or wait for a game thread.

    Let me know what you all think.

    DK: I don’t see why you’d have to wait for a game thread. Put it up where you want.

    Obviously, I wait for an actual lineup before the game thread goes up.

    • I don’t do the Bucco Blog…..but that doesn’t mean I can’t. I’m open to it.

    • Is there a Bucco Blog post every day?

    • I didn’t even know there was a Bucco Blog. Who writes it, 24/7?

      • 24/7 used to throw up a post per week or so it seemed.

        Travis Sawchick holds the reigns now and is much more prolific in his writing.

        • Maybe Travis will put up a thread each day in exchange for the increase in traffic. We can ask him if you decide to go that way. He does a really nice job on his blog too. At any rate, if it helps you Playoffs I am all for it. Additionally, if you need any help keeping track of the results I will happily volunteer whether you change of not.

          • Thanks Lad, I appreciate that.

            Travis, does do a real nice job, and it’s a real good read.

            The big thing for me, is that I know in the coming months, I’m going to be either swamped or unavailable to post from about 2pm til at least 6pm on most days. Weekends have become that way, too.

            Normally that is when the game threads get posted.

            But, if I put it up on the Bucco Blog, it really helps alleviate any of those issues.

    Why don’t announcers try to emulate Vin Scully instead.

    • I think they each play to their audience as best they can, Mike. As someone said earlier (Arriba, I think), different folks, different strokes.

      But, I agree with you on Scully. I’ve said it here before. He is almost 90 now, and he does all 9 innings of the Dodgers games all by himself. They switch him back and forth between radio & TV. I sometimes tune in to Dodgers games on MLB Extra Innings just to listen to him. I keep thinking he’ll stumble on at least one word some night, but he never seems to. He is truly remarkable. I’m sure the reason he stays sharp as a tack is because his mind is working hard every night.

    • There are certain voices and characters you just don’t even begin to emulate. Its like sacred ground. Like trying to be Elvis or even Mike Lange or a Myron Cope. Some voices and styles are left for what they were and who they were.

    • Scully is the all time best voice in MLB. That being said, his broadcast is also one of the most BORING broadcasts to listen too. Yes, he does the game by himself, because he doesn’t want an analyst with him.

      Charlie Steiner, formely of ESPN, also does the Dodgers game.

  36. OK, so I’m late —

    Here’s hoping Pedro’s surge of late is the result of Jay Bell’s influence and therefore permanent rather than a hot streak. And Tabata.

    I mean wouldn’t it be great if our hitting coach gets to be as good as our pitching coach?

    I have nothing to say about announcers since they left KDKA-AM and we could get the Bucs on clear nights out on the prairie. I’m old enough to remember Dizzy Dean and Pee Wee Reese on the game of the week, Mel Allen, Tony Kubek and Joe Garagiola, Bob Ueker, Curt Gowdy, and after all what’s wrong with a little nostalgia?

    I liked Prince, but just haven’t the others all that much. When I hear the Bucs these days it’s usually with the Chicago announcers, but I’m easy to please — my standard is “better than Ron Santo.” Of course you could always tell who was ahead by the first two words you heard from Santo. (Not saying he wasn’t a great player or decent human being, but he just wasn’t a very good announcer.)

    I do miss driving or puttering around with a baseball game on the radio. It was part of summer like fireflies in the evening, a tall glass of lemonade, or a tire swing in the backyard (and after all what’s wrong with a little nostalgia?).

    Can you imagine how we would feel about this team and the minor league system if baseball had a salary cap and floor?

  37. -So here’s my take on announcers;

    -They bring something to the game. Their approach should be entertaining and knowledgeable, at least the analysts should. That’s their job. I like someone that shows emotion and not a stick-in-the-mud-oh-hum type.

    -With all due respect, that’s Vin Scully. The dude is great, don’t get me wrong, but there’s no excitement.

    -I have the MLB Extra Innings package and I watch a lot of games, especially since regular TV sucks and there aren’t any good shows on anymore.

    -I also get to listen to 2 different set of local guys, both the A’s announcers and the Giants announcers.

    -For the money, the best in the business, that I’ve heard, is Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper of the Giants. Jon Miller is a member of that broadcast team, but he’s too cutesy too.

    -I enjoyed the piece of Greg Brown this morning and it makes me appreciate him even more. I like his excitement, but not his corniess…(trip, trip, etc.) and appreciate what he went through to get to his dream job. Tip of the cap to Greg.

    • You are right about Krukow and Kuiper, Nor Cal. They are very good.

    • Very good post Nor Cal!

      Krukow and Kuiper are the best in the biz today as a 1-2 combo.
      I always liked Len Casper and Bob Brenly with the Cubs as well.

      But Vin Scully, to me at least, is till the GOLD standard.
      I like the fact that there is “no excitement” in his broadcasts.

      When you’ve been in the booth as long as he has, and called some of the greatest moments in this sport (Brooklyn winning Game 7 in 1955, Don Larsen’s perfect game in 1956, Koufax’s perfect game in 1965, Hank Aaron’s 715th home-run, Bill Buckner’s error in 1986, Kirk Gibson’s home-run against the A’s in 1988, etc.) you don’t have to over-dramatize a solo home-run in the 5th inning to give a team a 1 run lead.

      That’s what I like about him.
      He calls the game, and let’s the action speak for itself.
      He acts like he’s been there before…because he has.

    • I’m glad others have been able to listen to them. To me, they should be showcased more often nationally.

  38. Best Pittsburgh announcer ever for any sport: Mike Lange

  39. Just a question for the lunatics

    When Bob Prince would come on the radio, the lead in was “The voice of the Pirates”

    They also might have called Lanny that as well.

    Do we have one of those today?

  40. For what its worth, my take on some Pittsburgh announcers:

    - The Gunner was my all time personal favorite, but I think Mike Lange is a better play by play guy and he would get my 1A ranking.
    - I was not a Lanny fan, but I didn’t hate him either. He was kind of blah for me.

    - I really like Greg Brown, love the enthusiasm, but could do without the trip-trip-triple call (and I kick myself everytime I say it, but I still say it when I am watching a game and there is a triple!)

    - Milo Hamilton (not our blog Milo of course) was my least favorite. Followed closely by Paul Seigerwald and Derdivanas.

    - Big Bill Hillgrove fan, but he is showing some age at times. Still like him a lot.

    - The most overrated announcer in Pittsburgh sports history for me was Jack Fleming. Never really liked him – he somehow came off as arrogant to me on the air.

    - Almost forgot Ray Goss, an excellent play by play man for the Dukes.

    Starkey’s column did what it was supposed to. It was well done and it got us talking.

  41. I like when the Pirates pitching staff gets a day off. I hate when the Pirates don’t play. Need my fix. I won’t enjoy the AS break, either.

    • I feel lost without a game thread to comment on.

      • Brandie! How are you today? BTW Rad Lad is fine. Certainly beats Bad, Cad, or Sad Lad. :)

        • High and dry. Good to know you made it through the flooding. Just call me Branimal.:-)

          • Brad “Animal” Lesley was a pitcher for the Reds and Brewers in the ’80′s. Then he went to Japan, where he was only know as “Animal” (“Animal” was all that appeared on his jersey, too). He was big, 6’6″, and extremely “animated.” His Japanese catcher once came out to the mound to yell at him and so Animal decked his own catcher. The Japanese didn’t know what to make of this guy. But then they realized Animal had learned to speak Japanese and the guy ended up becoming a popular television personality in Japan.
            Lesley died just this past April of liver failure.

    • You too, eh? I am actually contemplating cleaning out the garage with no game to watch. And I don’t even want to think about the break. The worst sports days of the year were always Christmas Eve and the day after the AS break, and now there are two days! At least on Christmas Eve there is always something to do though.

  42. I’m worried how we might play after the AS break. Or maybe this slide is coming in at the right time.

  43. Ilya Kovalchuk is retiring from the NHL at the ripe old age of 30.

    He’s also walking away from his $77 million contract.

    • Dom ya just beat me. Its amazing isn’t it?

      That team has lost Parise, Clarkson and now Kovalchuk in the matter of a year. Marty might as well hang them up now.

      • Since he’s 30, I guess he just wants to enjoy his golden years while he’s still mobile. Just a matter of time till he’s on the shuffleboards in a retirement home in Florida.

    • Wow! That is a lot of dough to part ways with.

      I assume he’ll play in Russia, and probably still be paid well for a lot of years. But, I don’t think he’ll make up the $77 Million.

      We won’t need to hold a benefit for him.

  44. Here is a head scratcher for ya…. the Devils have announced 30 year old Ilya Kovalchuk is retiring despite having 12 years left on his massive contract that cost the Devils draft picks for trying to circumvent the salary cap. Amazing; never saw this one coming.

  45. Just saw a thing on ESPN, Pedro is in the HR Derby

  46. Well, Pedro was just named to the NL HR Derby team, so that terrible injustice has been narrowly averted.

  47. Ha! Freddie Freeman gets the fan vote and is selected to the NL All Star team over that uber-hyped Yasiel Puig. Good job baseball fans. They made the right choice.

  48. Just back from golf & I see 2 good bits of news. YES to Pedro & NO to Puig. Gives me hope that the republic isn’t falling apart.

    Hooray for Pedro !

  49. Let’s get this right, Ilya Kovalchuk didn’t retire. He quit. And as a result Lou Lamoriello comes out smelling like a rose. And Mike Gillis is still left holding a Luongo sized bag. And to add insult to injury, Lou stole his goalie. The one he wanted to keep.

    Sometimes life just ain’t fair.

    • Milo I totally agree. Whatever happened to that agreement that the NHL supposedly had with Russian teams that said they would not poach players currently under contract.

      I also thought if the player retired before the end of the contract that the team still ended up penalized for it to keep teams from offering deals that would extend them into their 40′s etc.

      And lets not forget its not like the Devils got off completely free as they still have to forfeit their #1 pick next year as penalty for the contract fiasco with Kovalchuk in the first place. And based on the players they have lost it could very easily be a top 10 pick; when they had the chance to forfeit their pick a few years ago that was near the end of the round.

  50. Pedro is in the home run hitting contest!

    1) All is right in the world now


    2) It will screw up his swing and we’re doomed.

    • I don’t get DK’s article trying to call out the people of Pittsburgh that were upset over Wright not initially selecting Alvarez.

      The last time I checked the All-Star game and Home Run derby are for THE FANS. Not for David Wright and his childhood buddies. The fans that buy tickets to go and support their teams have a right to be upset; just as Wright had the right to pick Cuddyer in the first place.

      DK I love a lot of what you write but Wright blew this and fans have a right to have their voices heard just like Wright made his.

  51. 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 ;)

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