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A few schedule changes coming soon

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Before heading over to the yard this afternoon for the Sunday column, I wanted to share with you some small changes to my work schedule that will begin before month’s end:

>> Beginning the week of July 28-Aug. 3, my column days will switch to Sunday, Monday, Thursday, Friday. (The lone difference is that the one I’m doing now on Wednesday moves a day later. No big deal, obviously.)

This is being done to allow even more of a focus on football. I’ll explain that in greater detail as we get closer, but I’m very excited, to put it mildly. The Thursday-Friday columns can function at times as setups for the football weekend, and the Sunday-Monday, of course, will be heavy on game coverage.

I’m not talking about four football columns a week, obviously. But the schedule works a lot better with the schedules and availabilities of not only the Steelers but also Pitt, Penn State and other college teams.

>> In addition to the standard 16-game Steelers schedule for game coverage, including the London trip to play the Vikings, I’ll cover seven or eight Saturdays of Pitt and Penn State.

>> The TribLIVE Radio show will move back one day to Wednesdays, 2-3 p.m. That, too, is being done with football in mind, as Mondays and Tuesdays are zero-access days with the Steelers — other than Mike Tomlin, of course — and this allows time to shuttle fresh interviews from the South Side for the show.

>> The weekly chat also will move back one day, to Fridays at noon.

>> The blog is the blog, but even here, I’m planning on tossing in a few more thoughts in addition to the usual assortment of links and stuff.

Exactly two weeks from today, the Steelers will have their first full practice at Saint Vincent, and Alan Robinson, Mark Kaboly, Ralph Paulk and I can’t wait to bring it all to the Trib’s readership.

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.

88 Comments

  1. A few tweaks

    Actually, I think they are being made to get ready for October baseball ;-)

  2. Can’t wait for those first reports coming out of Latrobe. Football in pads and the rubber meeting the road.

    Meanwhile, the boys on MLB Network mentioned tonight how the Angels have pitching issues. Well, guess who has lots of pitching? Jeff Locke for Peter Bourjos, straight up. Put Bourjos in left and Marte in right. It would be *the* outfield for the ages. For years to come.

  3. David Wright about the reaction of Pittsburgh fans:

    “They’re knowledgeable fans, they know what’s going on and it’s cool that they’re upset and passionate about it. It made for a nice atmosphere.”

    “Passionate” is code for “Shameful”.

    I’m surprised Wright didn’t trip Pedro as Pedro trotted by on his home run, um, trot.

    • I read his comments in the Pirates Notebook section about the Derby stuff. First off, the Derby means nothing to me. It’s an exhibition that’s a small slice of another exhibition, which is the AS game itself. So, it really doesn’t matter to me one way or another in the big scheme of things if Pedro gets to take BP or not.

      That said, who is Wright kidding? Saying things like he ran out of spots, he actually hoped some guys would say no, he thinks Pedro is really deserving, blah blah blah. Hey, David – It was your call to take who you wanted. You chose badly in inviting your buddy and leaving off a much more deserving player. It’s really that simple. Maybe you could at least acknowledge your mistake at this point. It really isn’t that big of a deal to say you chose badly, and you are glad you had a chance to fix your mistake. Don’t try rationalizing your way out of it, because then your original decision only looks more stupid.

      • I don’t think it could look more stupid.

        Well. He could have picked Inge.

        • Haha! So true!

          He should either say “I picked who I picked and I don’t care if you don’t like it because it was my call to make.” OR “I chose badly, and was lucky to get a chance at a do over.”

          Personally, I appreciate when people admit mistakes. We all make them every day. But, you can’t have it both ways, David.

          Maybe Pedro will hit 3 this weekend.

  4. I just did the math on Pedro’s HR pace.

    24 divided by X, times Y, adjusted by Pedro’s monthly career history with a credibility factor of .25.

    My Home Run Prediction
    At this pace, by season’s end, Pedro will have a lot.

  5. So, it wasn’t a pretty win. But, it was another win. When your team doesn’t hit all that well, and hits even worse with runners in scoring position, you don’t score a lot of runs.

    So, we are close to the bottom of MLB in hitting with RISP. I believe I read somewhere last night that we have the fewest Sac Flies in MLB as well. I have also read that we are either at the top of the league, or very near the top in runners thrown out at home on groundballs to the infield. That’s a bad trifecta for scoring runs. I keep thinking we’ll score more runs, but it is not happening very quickly.

    Still, we are 55-36 and we keep pitching – both starters and relievers – near the top of MLB. And we keep turning more balls put in play against our pitching staff into outs than any other team. That, of course, goes hand in hand with the pitching.

    Just a couple of random thoughts from tonight:

    * Ground Chuck pitched very well, and so did the pen.
    * Marte has his plate discipline flaws, but there is something special about this kid IMO.
    * I was happy Jordy got the seeing eye hit to win it, as he’s been scuffling of late. He also played great defense at 2b.
    * I did not hear anything post game about Cutch’s hand, but that did not look good in the last inning. His hand was stepped on for a prolonged time there. Fingers crossed.

  6. Pirates scuffle for runs will tax the pitching. No question the arms race will regress to some mean and I don’t see how this existing line up as turning into some offensive machine. Doesn’t mean Walker or Cutch can’t get hot or Jones finds some HR;s in the second half, but unless a pretty big upgrade bat is added, wins be be harder to come by.

  7. Ummm, just how did Wright fix it? Gonzales is hurt (top HR hitter) so he picks the 2nd top HR hitter and Cuddyer is still on the squad. Pedro is on the squad but it was not a ‘fix’, a ‘fix’ would have been to ask Cuddyer to step aside and add Pedro. That aside, I won’t be watching it or the ASG. Means nothing as it is an exhibition. Glad for it for the players who need a break from the mental grind.

  8. JAL’s Savoy Truffle Morning Links

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ps1icvHTkk

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgpM0Zk-WQg

    GENERAL DAILY UPDATED BASEBALL SITES

    1- MLB Transactions

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/pittsburgh_pirates/

    3 Go Buccos- Pirate News (from external sources)

    http://gobuccos.com/pittsburgh-pirate-news/

    4 Pittsburgh Pirates Stats

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AsjN0zO-DxI0dHVOMzdPYm9wUEJtdVJ0WWUzVWhFc2c#gid=0

    5 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates Draft Pick Signing Tracker

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013draft

    BLOGS and such

    6—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: Reviewing the Pirates Career of Tim Alderson

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/07/first-pitch-reviewing-the-pirates-career-of-tim-alderson.html

    Jordy Mercer Breaks Slide with Walkoff Single in 3-2 Win Over Mets

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/07/jordy-mercer-breaks-slide-with-walkoff-single-in-3-2-win-over-mets.html

    Prospect Watch: Stolmy Pimentel Throws Eight Shutout Innings; Lambo Homers

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/07/prospect-watch-stolmy-pimentel-throws-eight-shutout-innings-lambo-homers.html

    7 Bucs Dugout

    Jordy Mercer hits walk-off single to key Pirates’ 11-inning win

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2013/7/13/4519840/jordy-mercer-hits-walk-off-single-to-key-pirates-11-inning-win

    8 WHYGAVS

    Pirates swap Tim Alderson for Russ Canzler in minor move

    http://www.shupirates.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=12600&ATCLID=208643661

    9 The Green Weenie

    Lookin’ at Right Field

    http://www.whygavs.com/pittsburgh-pirates/july-2013/pirates-swap-tim-alderson-for-russ-canzler-in-minor-move.html

    10 Rumbunter

    Mets Vs. Pirates Series Preview

    http://rumbunter.com/2013/07/12/mets-vs-pirates-series-preview/

    11 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Pirates 3 Mets 2

    http://raisethejollyroger.com/2013/07/pirates-3-mets-2-2/

  9. NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    12 New York Daily News

    Mets waste solid start by Jeremy Hefner, fall to Pittsburgh Pirates in their 12th extra-inning game of season

    http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/mets/mets-waste-hefner-start-fall-pirates-12th-extra-inning-game-article-1.1397728

    13 Chicago Tribune

    Stretching the Field: Are the Pirates headed for summer swoon?

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/sns-tsn-aan-clarke-column-pit-20130712,0,5571768.story

    14 Sports Illustrated

    Trade deadline watch: Possible moves to keep the Pirates afloat

    http://mlb.si.com/2013/07/12/trade-deadline-watch-pittsburgh-pirates/

    15 The Salem News

    Shribman: A summer of love at the Pittsburgh ballpark

    http://www.salemnews.com/opinion/x1912995305/Shribman-A-summer-of-love-at-the-Pittsburgh-ballpark

    16 CBS Sports

    Mets vs Pirates Game Preview

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/gametracker/preview/MLB_20130713_NYM@PIT/metspirates-preview

    17 Wall Street Journal

    In America’s Pastime, Baseball Players Pass A Lot of Time

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323740804578597932341903720.html

    18 PBC Site

    Mercer’s walk-off single in 11th delivers win for Bucs

    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2013_07_12_nynmlb_pitmlb_1&mode=recap_home&c_id=pit

    Pirates glad Alvarez will get his shot in Derby

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130712&content_id=53554888&notebook_id=53554900&vkey=notebook_pit&c_id=pit

    SPORTS WEBSITES

    19 Baseball Prospectus

    On-Field Ads and Baseball: A Better Way

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=21191

    20 Fangraphs

    Five Prospects To Avoid

    http://www.fangraphs.com/fantasy/five-prospects-to-avoid/

  10. EXTRA LINKS-an Occasional Posting

    21 Bleacher Report

    NL Central: The Second-Half Sprint Between the Cardinals, Pirates and Reds

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1699959-nl-central-the-second-half-sprint-between-the-cardinals-pirates-and-reds

    22 IS Sports

    Mariners Ideal Trade Target for Pirates

    http://isportsweb.com/2013/07/13/pittsburgh-pirates-seattle-mariners-ideal-trade-target/

    23 Augusta Chronicle

    Young players shine in first half

    http://chronicle.augusta.com/sports/2013-07-12/dodgers-yasiel-puig-and-pittsburgh-pirates-are-hot-through-first-half-season

    24 Hartford Courant

    Pirates 3, Mets 2 (11)

    http://www.courant.com/sports/baseball/sns-rt-bbo-pirates-mets-firstlede-20130712,0,3320512.story

    25 Youngstown Vindicator

    Pirates’ Locke an unassuming All-Star

    http://www.vindy.com/news/2013/jul/12/unassuming-locke-an-unlikely-all-star/

  11. If a player galloped instead of trotted after a home run, would that get him beaned?

    How about if he cantered?

  12. Anybody know there record in 1-run games this year vs. last year. The eye test tells me this is the biggest difference in this team—their ability to do what it takes & find a way to win these games. They also seem more confident, and are simply more competitive overall—haven’t lost many blowout games

  13. Hoka Hey everyone!
    .
    Pirates win…Pirates win!!! LV wins down, …and XXVII to go.
    .
    Yes, GM Neal and Mgr. Clint ….82 wins DOES make a difference.
    .
    Beat Em’ Bucs !
    .
    .
    PS: It is always, ALWAYS great to defeat those mucking Fets. You go Jordy Mercer!

  14. Since Dejan “reorganized” for football, I will oblige.

    24/7Sports’ Team Rankings for 2014 football recruiting class strength…

    Top Ten 2014 Recruiting Classes:

    - Conference performance in reverse order:

    #4, with 1 of the Top Ten: The Big 12
    (Texas)

    #3, with 2 of the Top Ten: The Big Ten
    (Ohio State, Michigan)

    #2, with 2 (higher ranking) of the Top Ten: The ACC
    (Florida State which is overall #2, Miami)

    …and…

    #1, with FIVE (5) [V] of the Top Ten: The SEC
    (ALABAMA which is OVERALL #1, Georgia, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Tennessee)

    And with three more in the next ten (for 8 of the Top Twenty), the SEC is…

    Looking good, Billy Ray!
    Feeling good, Louis!

    DK: It’s a factory with a neverending assembly line, Drew. Much like your wit and charm.

    • Go Bucks.

      I knew you loved Ohio State, Drew.

      • Who?

        Are they still on probation?

        But seriously. Wouldn’t it just be grand if Florida-Ohio State landed in the National Championship Game?

        The Urban Bowl.

        I wonder if Urban would quit again afterwards.

        Or, as with Hernandez, say It’s Not MY Fault.

        You know. With the inevitable outcome.

    • And don’t sleep on Texas A&M.

      Not just their surprisingly strong SEC showing in 2012-13.

      TA&M has by far the largest endowment in the SEC, at $7 BILLION (2011). More than double the SEC’s #2 and SIX TIMES #3. Their endowments year over year growth in 2011, at 22%, is the SEC’s highest growth rate.

  15. College’s best named mascot…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cocky_(mascot)

    Guess which conference.

    Just guess.

  16. Here are some interesting facts that EVERYbody should know…

    - On December 9, 1932, 13 western and southern members of the Southern Conference seceded and formed the SEC. Founding members were the universities of Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Louisiana State, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Sewanee, Tennessee, Tulane, and Vanderbilt. League play began with the 1933 football season. Sewanee, NEVER HAVING WON AN SEC GAME IN SEVEN YEARS (not one; NUTTING), withdrew from the conference on December 13, 1940.

    - A member of Tennessee’s first football team in 1891, Charles Moore, selected orange and white for the school colors because of the profusion of daisies that grew on the Knoxville campus. Figures. The Vols are a buncha daisy pickers.

    - Alabama got a share of its first national football title in 1925 by outscoring foes 277-7 in a 9-0 season before winning the Rose Bowl by a single point. The first conference team to win the national title after formation of the SEC was, again, Alabama in 1934, their third outright or shared title. Alabama teams were known as the Thin Red Line late in the first decade of the twentieth century and later and informally, the Red Elephants.

    • Coming soon. A compilation of SEC Fight Songs.

      • and you say I’m long winded?

        • Eric Bowser says:

          July 11, 2013 at 11:28 pm

          “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).”

    • Yes, and today, SEC stands for………

      Southern Evil Conference, or
      South Eastern Cheaters,

      Glad to see SOMEone is a fan of the conference that leads the nation in cheating, scandals and the like……… in both football and basketball.

      Makes the old SouthWest Conference look like a bunch of choirboys.
      Nothing to see here……… carry on.

      :)

      • That’s right, plansky. Drew needs to step up to the Big Ten where honor and truth prevail.

        8-)

      • Let’s see.

        The following Division I Football Bowl Subdivision institutions are currently on probation by the NCAA in one or more sports:

        - University of Cincinnati, Football, Women’s Basketball, until September 28, 2013
        - Boise State University, Football, Men’s Indoor & Outdoor Track, Men’s Tennis, Women’s Indoor & Outdoor Track, Women’s track, until September 12, 2014
        - University of Southern California, Football, Men’s Basketball, Women’s Tennis, until 2014
        - Georgia Institute of Technology Football, Men’s Basketball, until July 13, 2015
        - THEEEEEEE Ohio State University, Football, until 2015
        - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Football 2015
        - Penn State, Football, until 2017

        …and FINALLY…ONE institution from the SEC…

        - University of South Carolina, Football, until 2014

        Shall we count conferences?

        Again?

        Or should we just make things up?

        Or shall we count consecutive National Championships?

        Again?

        You pick. Any works for me.

        • (those pesky little facts)

          • Or Alabama on probation multiple times , nearly resulting in the second “Death penalty” in the early 2000′s…………

            Kentucky Basketball on probation multiple times……..

            or Florida…….

            or South Carolina…..

            =====================================

            Or such great “honorable” “Who me never cheat” coaches such as…

            Steve Spurrier……
            Nick “I am NOT going to be the coach at Alabama” Saban….
            John “please remove my Final Fours” Calipari…….
            Lane Kiffin……

            Look, college athletics are a cesspool.
            The SEC is the biggest cesspool………… they just dont get caught, hence all the “rumors” flying bout the conference………..

            But they win, so all is well, right?? ;)

      • You must be thinking of the ACC.

  17. Need one of you kind souls to re-post this in today’s game thread for me. Thanks in advance.

    SATURDAY OVER/UNDER!!!

    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.

    NEW PLAYERS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME & ENCOURAGED!!!

    Tonight’s Line
    Total RUNS SCORED by the Pirates in tonight’s game
    Line is 4.5

    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!!!

  18. Torres moves into rotation to make first start for Mets

    DK: We are absolutely not permitted to copy and paste entire articles here. Just a link, please, as well as a brief pullout. Thanks.

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