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Morning Java: Money can provide a powerful kick

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The Monday column looks ahead to the Biogenesis scandal bursting wide open — as soon as today, by all accounts — and yet, completely looks past the Biogenesis scandal.

Below is the Pedro Alvarez bomb described therein …

Here’s my question for you regarding this issue: How would you feel if one of the Pirates happened to be on the list of cheaters that emerges?

Here’s our news coverage of the Pirates’ thorough W over the Rockies, by Karen Price and Travis Sawchik, as well as a quick vid of the guy with the three-run blast …

Here’s Rockies coverage from the Denver Post.

Here are official game highlights from MLB.com.

>> Really cool story to share from the weekend …

Know how professional athletes love to downplay the importance of money?

Well, all things are relative. What A.J. Burnett or Ben Roethlisberger or Sidney Crosby earns is relative to what someone producing a living wage earns, and so does the perspective.

In the middle of last week, at a hotel in Kansas City, the ownership group of the Riverhounds — there for a league meeting — huddled up to discuss ways to help push the team into the playoffs and perhaps beyond. Owners, of course, are really limited in this regard. They can’t score goals or make saves, they really shouldn’t be making personnel decisions, and they absolutely shouldn’t be dictating strategy.

All they do is money.

So all they did in this case was offer money.

The Riverhounds’ owners, led by CEO Jason Kutney, told players before this past weekend that their win share — bonus for winning — for the Tampa Bay match would multiply tenfold, from … well, from $50 to $500.

For real.

Moreover, it wouldn’t be easy to achieve: The opponents in sum would be Tampa Bay and Orlando, two of the league’s best sides. The matches also would be on the road. On back-t0-back days. In lousy weather.

Well, what do you know …

Riverhounds 2, Tampa Bay 1

And then the next night, for good measure: Riverhounds 1, Orlando 0

Take a look for yourself, especially at midfielder Ryan Kinne’s fine header vs. Orlando …

Just like that, the Riverhounds vaulted into eighth place, the final playoff spot, with a reasonable chance of gaining their real goal of a home playoff match.

Funny how that works.

More from Kutney: “There was another bonus put on the table for qualifying for playoffs and winning the championship. The players were informed of the playoff bonus, but not yet the amount. The players now have a clearer sense of the focus of this club and the direction we are going.  We made moves to ensure our club’s sustainability and growth, and on the professional side, we have to provide Pittsburgh with a winner.”

Only four matches remain, two at Stade de Highmark.

>> On a related note, here’s a piece on Major League Soccer calling Pittsburgh one of the country’s great success stories this year. Beat man Matt Grubba reports.

I’ve told you all along: These Riverhounds people know what they’re doing, know what they want.

>> On to another football, the Steelers’ camp has a different tone, Alan Robinson writes from Latrobe. It also has, if you missed the Sunday column, a different weight to it.

>> Here are clips from last night’s ‘The Final Word’ on WPXI-TV, talking Pirates and Steelers. Rob Biertempfel and I represented the Trib.

>> I’m off the next couple days, other than checking in with TribLIVE Radio today at 11:30 a.m.

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Author: Dejan Kovacevic

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

 
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