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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

>> 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.

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. Wow. Pirate players ought to start wearing Riverhound jerseys. That’s groovy cool. Pittsburgh teams are rolling.

  2. DK,

    Is there any talk amongst player or other organizations the amount of players linked to the New York Yankees who have been busted for PED usage during their career? It seems like a good portion of the “star” players who have been busted since testing has begun have at one point in time played in the Bronx.

  3. – Re: The Monday Column, and your legitimate chastising of the national sports media therein: the sports and news media in this country are a disgrace (with a few exceptions, such as yourself). I will just leave it at that.

    – So many young faces in the stands at the Pirates’ games – really great to see.

  4. How would I feel if one of the Pirates were on the list?
    (Sigh) bummed. But not knocked out of my socks. Doping is still happening here and there. That it wouldn’t be happening at all on our much improved team is not something I’d bet my mortgage on. The MLB needs to continue its new and improved seriousness about catching cheaters and simply remove the temptation — and remove the disadvantage for those who resist the temptation — of cheating.

    Here’s hoping our dreamlike season is left alone by next week’s Biogenesis reports.

  5. How would I feel if one of the pirates were on the list? That they deserve whatever they get the same as anyone from any other team.

  6. Now that I have arrived back home and have put everything together, I seem to have a firmer grasp of my brief stay in Pittsburgh. Since I started following the Penguins, twenty years ago, and the Pirates, eighteen years ago, I’ve had the dream of going there, to watch hockey and baseball games. After learning more of the city, mostly through Dejan’s posts over the past decade or so (especially the series of “things that make Pittsburgh great”), I decided that only watching the games wouldn’t suffice. I still haven’t been able to watch a hockey game, but I’ve crossed the baseball game(s) and the city, and I definitely intend to come back.

    The city skyline is not only strikingly amazing, but also well used for attractions like the inclines. The tip of arriving through Fort Pitt Tunnel (which was given a long time ago) was perfect. Even knowing what to expect, I was blown away. Point State Park is so beautiful, that it was almost a shame that when we got there it was practically empty, on a Tuesday morning. But I don’t think I have to get into the details of my experience with the city. I just have to point out that at least two people asked what the heck we were doing vacationing in Pittsburgh. Even my wife, who has no sporting interest, loved the city and considered it the most interesting of our trip.

    I have also to thank everyone here who wished me good wishes during and after my stay, here and on Twitter. I tried to reply everyone, but on the Jul 31/Aug 1 post I lost connection just after replying MadTurk, and there was no point in replying after I got to New York, since there was a newer post and we still had to unpack. I will try to list each, but I’ll probably forget someonte: Eric, JHadar, Jandy, MadTurk, Karen22, Baywatch, Jim S., JohninOshkosh, Brandie, Ryan76, Drew71, BillyBaduka, theplanisworking, Ghost, diehard, Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan), JRay3, ArribaWilver and, of course, Dejan.

    Eric, in special, (whom I’ve known for some years, although only through the former pseudosocial network Geocities) found me a parking lot on First Avenue, which cost way less than the parking at the hotel. It was some four or five blocks away, but allowed me to stroll a little more in the city and to find the bridge with the Pirates grafitti on Grant, which Dejan had cited some years ago, but I couldn’t recall anymore where it was. As it went, it was one of my first sights while walking.

    As for the baseball part, I can’t describe the feeling of going 4-0 during my stay. I could witness almost everything at PNC Park, except a no-hitter (had to settle for three perfect innings from Liriano), an inside the park home run and a full nine-inning game (three of them ended in the top of the ninth, and one in the eleventh). Can’t complain about any. The contending experience also was unique, even though I wouldn’t have had a problem if I were watching a sub-.500 team; I just prefer it the way it was. :)

    Too bad that when the team is not contending the ballpark stays mostly empty. Don’t take for granted the fact that you live closest to the most beautiful baseball stadium in the world. I used to take for granted the fact that my soccer team plays just a few kilometers away from home and went to way less games than I wanted to, a fact that I have corrected since late last year, having attended some 90% of the home games, plus one away game. I won’t say it’s easy to get to 81 games in a season, but with easy Subway access — and free, no less, if you live close to Downtown — going to at least a few is more than feasible. (I have three subway stations very close to home, but they’re useless for attending soccer games, since the stadium here is not yet located near one.)

    In essence, that’s what I have to say right now. I’m glad the Pirates won last night and today, or else I would probably have been kidnapped by now, and, man!, I was really starving for some home cooking, like I got at my parents’: rice, black beans, farofa and “milanesa” steak — too much fast food in the US. :)

    This sounds like a fairwell, but it’s everything but. I’ll still be here (always reading, thanks to Feedly; sometimes commenting) and, of course, I hope to see PNC Park, Consol Energy Center and Pittsburgh again soon.

    Pittsburgh rocks.

    Best regards,
    Alexandre Giesbrecht

  7. Looking at players bodies now vs. the old days, I will never be shocked when someone gets busted.

    For every Balco & Biogenesis, there must be a dozen more labs due to the $$$ at stake for the “doctors” and the players.

  8. The 50-game, then 100-game (or whatever it is) suspensions are not enough. Ryan Braun still won his bet on whether or not he could get away with cheating; he’s still guaranteed $117 mil from 2014 though 2021 even if he never hits another home run. The owners shouldn’t be let off the hook (like the Yankees are hoping for with A-Rod), but the players themselves should have their salaries put in jeopardy of being forfeited (to charity) if they cheat. The union won’t agree to this on their own. Congress and the American public are going to have to grow some hair. But along with the integrity and the heritage of the game being trashed, there are reports coming out of Florida of parents marching their teenagers into Biogenesis so that they could dope.

    There is no option to cracking down on all of this.

  9. The undefeated, first place, Richmond Kickers eagerly await the Riverhounds in the playoffs!!

    (Trash talking soccer on the blog, there’s a first)

  10. A-Rod, a broken, disgraced 38-year-old mired in a legal catfight with the American League East’s fourth-place team.
    I read your column DK and I get your point. But this line really stuck out at me.
    That may be true but this is a very big story. No matter what else is happening in baseball – and yes, no matter what is happening in Pittsburgh.

    The sport is finally going to suspend someone for some serious amount of time. (and there was a threat of a lifetime ban). And that someone is one of the game’s biggest names – and once was the biggest star of the game. Alex Rodriguez. I hate that so much attention of what goes on in sports is centered around LA, Boston and New York. And there is no one happier about what our Pirates are doing than me. But this is a big story. If people want to ignore, go ahead. And DK’s right. Eventually, hopefully soon, the focus will be back on the games, the teams, and the playoff chases.

    Now excuse me while I self-immolate and boo a picture of David Wright.

  11. As much as it pains me to say, I’m rooting for A-Rod in this battle, just because I don’t want the Yankees to get off the hook for the tens of millions of dollars they still owe him.

    • Me too, though only for this same, one specific reason. The Yankees always sought out, bid up, and piggy-backed on guys like A-Rod, Clemons and Giambi. They are as reprehensible for fueling the steroid era as anyone. Now they want to claim victimization and exploit the downfall of one of the players they enabled and benefited from. There are no good guys in this story, but the Yankees are revolting.

      • Blaming the Yankees? I’m going to have to think about that one but I’m not seeing it.

        • I don’t blame the Yankees. I just want to hurt them.

          And their little dog ESPN, too.

          • Yankees to their employee Bud Selig: “There will be a little extra in your envelope, Buddy, if you can get ARod suspended for life!”

          • I definitely hold the players responsible first and I think a ton of blame goes to the owners, the Commissioner, and the Union for this entire era and for doing nothing until Congress made them which is embarrassing.

            But for this latest scandal, I don’t blame the Yankees unless they could have gone to the Just Cause clause in the Joint Drug Agreement, although assuming ARod has been randomly tested like everyone else, maybe that clause wouldn’t have helped.

            I’m not a Yankees hater. I don’t mind it when they lose at all but I’ve always said that if Steinbrenner were our owner, we wouldn’t want a salary cap either.

          • Cracking good comment!

        • Ignorance is bliss in MLB Front Offices.

  12. Is there a witch hunt being orchestrated by the sanctimonious NCAA against Johnny Manziel?

    Has anyone noticed that the St. Louis Cardinals have scored 44 runs in their last 4 games – 13, 13, 3 and 15 against two teams they must beat?

    • I’m afraid that last week’s great set against the Cards woke the beast and now it’s angry. On the positive side, the beast is taking it out on the Reds!

      • Or maybe what you call “the beast” knows that it has to lift its game with its best player hurt and out of the lineup. Like the Reds raised their game last season when Votto was hurt. Getting thrashed by the Pirates was less inspiring than humiliating.

        • Or, maybe it is just a very good offensive team having its hottest stretch of the year for a few games. The Cards have scored well all season. I don’t know that this is anything more than a nice streak where everything came together for a handful of games – just like the 7 game bender that led up to it did not mean they were falling apart.

          St. Louis looks like a 94-97 win team to me. I think the Bucs will need to win middle 90′s to have any chance at winning the NL Central.

    • After Wednesday’s game, I was hoping the Cardinals would get out of town before their bats woke up. I didn’t know how right I was.

    • Doubtful that its a witch hunt. Though I may not agree with the NCAA rules, they are still meant to be folowed. This kid is having the biggest ego trip and needs to put in place, just wasn’t hoping the NCAA would be the ones to shut him down. Stay tuned………

  13. Biz…………..

    the following is for you, in case you didnt see it……………

  14. RIP Art Donovan.
    Truly one of the funniest athletes to ever grace the field.

  15. Some math pertaining the Pirates:

    Pirates are currently 67-44 (.604)
    1.5 games ahead of St. Louis
    6.5 games ahead of Cincy
    11 games ahead of the Arizona Diamondbacks for final wild card spot

    At the current pace, the Pirates will finish with 97.8 wins
    If they play .500 the rest of the way, 92 wins
    To finish above .500 (82 wins), they need to go 15-36 (0.294)

    If the Pirates play 0.500 ball the rest of the way, Arizona would need to go 36-15 (0.705) to catch the Pirates.

    Pirates can put Arizona out of it’s misery in a few weeks.
    Still want to see how they fare against San Diego afterwards.

  16. I was thinking about this “what if” just the other day. I have always felt that baseball needed to get tough on this, and I hope I would feel the same way if a Pirates player was involved.

    The thing that infuriates me is the fact that the Yankees will be let off the hook, at least partially, on the astronomical contract they signed with Rodriguez. If MLB wants to root this out once and for all, the teams need to start paying a penalty when one of their players is using. Something along the lines of any moneys owed to a suspended/banned player still get paid by the team, but to a charity fund set up by the league for that purpose. I would think once the teams are given an incentive to make sure their players are clean, you might see a change in the way these players are dealt with. The Yankees remind me of the kids that get in trouble when one of them that committed the offfense gets it, but the kids that knew what was happening, and encourged it because it benefitted them at the time, reap the rewards and stand by smirking while the other kid takes his whipping. Just another entry in a very, very long list of reasons to hate the Damned Yankees and the entire MLB/MLBPA comedy.

    • Agree. Posted similar thoughts. We all need to demand this as frequently and noisily as necessary. Union and owners won’t do the right thing without monumental pressure brought to bear.

  17. Hoka Hey everyone!
    Pirates win…Pirates win!!! ….LXV wins down, …and XV to go.
    Yes, GM Neal and Mgr. Clint ….82 wins DOES make a difference.
    Beat Em’ Bucs !
    PS: Keep the mojo going Buccos. Thanks AJ for a great performance.
    PS: How would I feel DK if a Bucco were on the list? The same I feel about the rest of these guys….VERY HARSH penalties. Try to clean this up as much as possible. Not sure if it is possible…..BUT keep trying. Can’t let “worms” like Braun keep getting away with his brand of cheating, time after time.

  18. I laughed at A-Rod’s “pink elephant in the room” comment.

    Then I realized.

    He’s suspended. He appeals. He plays.

    HE’S the pink elephant.

  19. I rooted for every stroke of Tiger’s victory. A relevant Tiger is good for the game, even if I don’t especially care for him. So I root. When it is NOT a major.

    And in the PGA, as in every major, I will root for the field.

    Nothing would please me more in golf than if Tiger won 15 tournaments each year.

    Just no majors.

    • ditto….. 1 GAZILLION ! :-)

    • I was a huge Tiger supporter for a long time, guys. But, I just can’t bring myself to root for him. I know some people can put aside the off the field, or in this case “off the course” stuff. But, I just can’t. I wish I could, but I can’t. He doesn’t owe me anything in his personal life. But, I don’t owe him anything, either. I root for guys like Phil.

    • Amen, Drew. I’m leaving for the PGA on Wednesday afternoon, and hope to see a great few days of golf, with someone other than Tiger emerging victorious!

      • Wow. Enjoy.

      • Have a great time, Wild Bill. I caught 2 days of the Ryder Cup in Chicago last year, and have seen a few tournaments over the years. To watch these guys do what they do with a golf ball is just amazing. They are so skillful.

    • I always looked at Tigers wins with a certain amount of skepticism. It was almost like he was playing video=game golf, and everyone else was playing regular golf.

      Then, his doctor got arrested for prescribing steroids from Canada.
      Then, suddenly, without the doctors “help” he started getting seriously hurt.
      Then, his ex-wife started taking driving range lessons on his head.
      Then, Tiger stopped winning majors.

      Just as in baseball, eventually, the cheats get caught.

    • I agree wholeheartedly Drew… I love when media types talk Tiger and intimate that the public isn’t being ‘fair’ to Tiger in that we only take into account how he does in majors, and ignore how much he dominates other tournaments… well, folks, we are only following Tiger’s lead… he has pretty much said time and time again that only Majors really ‘count’ for him now, he isn’t satisfied if he won every other tournament but didn’t win one major…..

      Let’s spare the “Tiger’s back” after he pretty much carves up courses that he loves to play ( like the Bridgestone he just won for like the 7th time in 14 years I believe)…he will never be “BACK’… he may win majors again, but until he does, Tiger is failing at what he wants to do…..

  20. Any Pirate win is a good win. Now, I want another series win against the Marlins.

  21. Oh, and to answer Dejan’s question, the Pirates are hardly lily white and pure.

    You covered Giles Dejan, did you ask him then? I could tell, and I never even talked to the guy. Giles, Kendall and Kevin Young, and the guy we got from Cleveland.

    And I know that is hardly an exhaustive list. Oh, and the horrible backup catcher they got for Jose Guillen from Tampa. Plenty more.

    I’d never write a column about any player like that Dejan. Could always come back to bite you.

    • Giles and Young? Absolutely agree. First time I’ve heard a reference to Kendall (other than being a jerk). If Kendall used, he should have been able to get his money back. He LOST power. :-)

      • I have heard rumblings about Kendall as well. Some thought he used for a brief time before the $60M deal with the Bucs. I have also heard that about J Wilson. He spiked up offensively for a couple of years.

        The hard part about this is it makes us skeptical of everyone, and I never feel good about that. We know a whole lot of them cheated, but there had to be good players who didn’t cheat. I referenced Kenny Lofton. He was a great player, and he swears he never cheated. That would have infuriated me to no end if I were in his situation. Same with Frank Thomas, who also denies usage.

  22. JAL’s August 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: What Would it Take to Extend A.J. Burnett?

    A.J. Burnett Twirls Complete Game for 5-1 Pirates Win

    Alex Dickerson is the Pirates Prospects Player of the Month For July

    Kris Johnson is the Pirates Prospects Pitcher of the Month For July

    Prospect Watch: Indianapolis Pitchers Strike Out 15 In Blowout Loss

    Jamestown Sends Seven to NYPL All-Star Game

    7 Bucs Dugout

    A.J. Burnett pitches complete game in Pirates’ 5-1 win

    Neal Huntington’s weekly Sunday chat with the press

    8 City of Champions

    Pittsburgh Pirates ride Burnett, Martin to series win over Rockies

    9 The Green Weenie

    AJ’s Complete Game, Russ’ Bomb Lead Bucs To 5-1 Win Over Rox

    Tony Sanchez

    10 Rumbunter

    Pirates A.J. Burnett Magnificent, Again….

    11 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Pirates 5 Rockies 1

    • August Rilo Kiley 1998 Off the first album by the group which stayed together until 2010. Female lead singer Jenny Lewis has put out 2 albums.

  23. NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    12 Denver Post

    Rockies keep falling as A.J. Burnett gem puts Pirates past Colorado

    13 News and Observer

    Nicasio, Rockies struggle again, lose to Pirates

    14 New Pittsburgh Courier

    Former Pirate Nyjer Morgan adjusting to life in Japan

    15 South Coast Today

    Nick Tavares: Pirates aim to sink stigma

    16 CBS Sports

    Burnett tosses complete game, leads Pirates past Rockies

    17 St. Louis Post Dispatch

    Goold: NL Central contenders stand pat

    Bernie: 12 things we learned from Cards’ strange trip

    18 PBC Site

    Complete Pirates effort on display behind Burnett

    Notebook: Harrison’s improved discipline pleases Pirates


    19 Baseball Prospectus

    The Week In Quotes

    20 Fangraphs

    State of the NL Central: Pirates ascendant

  24. Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Troy Polamalu has a ‘contusion to the birth certificate’

    Maybe Jarvis Jones can trump the odds and start right away

    22 Steelers Depot

    - Mike Adams Lines Up at Left Tackle for Third Straight Practice


    23 Daily Telegraph

    Sir Alex Ferguson writes an open letter about the growing strength of the English game

    24 World Soccer Daily

    World Soccer Daily: 10 stories you need to read, 2nd August, 2013

  25. I struggle with this latest scandal of PEDs in baseball. If I knew it would clean up the sport once and for all, I’d be all for it. I certainly hope it does because an even playing field is all I’m looking for in baseball. I heard Kenny Lofton say the other day that he thinks he lost approx. $50 million because of his decision to stay clean. He lost not only better stats for himself, but he had to compete on the field and for contracts vs. guys that were putting up ridiculous stats. He felt it cost him a few seasons and a much bigger contract because of how replaceable he was at the end of his career.

    I would hope no Bucs are nailed this week, but if they are, so be it. They need to take their punishment like everyone else.

    As for teams like the Yankees benefiting, such as would be the case if they get out from under the ill-advised signing of ARod, that bothers me and I have said it here. There seem to be a suspiciously high % of Yankees that we know were juicers (ARod, Clemens, Giambi, Pettitte). I may have even left some out. There were also some other Yankees I think we all suspected as well. It is doubtful to me that they would have won as much over the last 15 years without all of the juicing by their players.

    ARod is a clown, and should lose that contract. He has lied so often about this. Talk about a guy who threw away a HOF career and reputation. But, he has and will pay dearly with his legacy for this. What about the guys who, for whatever reason, seem to get a pass? Why does Pettitte get off so easily? Does anyone really believe he just used for a very short period of time while recovering from injury? I don’t. Not with the way he handled the whole Clemens thing. Nothing out of Pettitte’s mouth ever rings true with me. A lot of other Yankees seem to just physically fall apart at the end of their careers.

    As for the team being penalized, if it can be proven that they are culpable then I think they should be penalized. If, for instance, we know they encouraged and/or allowed certain harmful elements in their locker room, then they should pay. If they gave players the indication that it was ok to cheat, then they should be held accountable. I can suspect the Yankees of turning a blind eye, and allowing this to happen on their club while it racked up dominant season after dominant season, but how do you really nail them without total proof?

  26. I went to the game Friday night with 50 of my closest friends (from church), and of course Bucs lost.

    Still a very satisfying weekend . . . . . and terrific week of Pirate baseball! Dr. Jekkyl and Mr. Tabata made a prominent appearance.

    Thanks for the good column today, Dejan.

  27. The reason Boigenesis and Arod dominate the news cycle at this point in the season is because the FANS love scandal. They love to wax poetic about the good of the game and how it once was. And deep down, they could care less how much these guys and their doping actually change the outcome of games.

    Why do I think that?

    Because they have let the Comissioner of the game drag out this investigation and series of suspensions for over a month without a peep. Barely a word spoken about how these players, known cheaters, continue playng in games that could decide playoff births. Where is the outrage there?

    • Melky Cabrera last year… without those extra two months of him playing in the lineup, not sure the Giants sniff the pennant.

      On a side note…been traveling quite a bit and wanted to catch up with you on your Forecastle Fest experience…how was it??? and hope you had a great time!

      • L’ville was wonderful once again, Naje. Waterfront Park is such a gem. They transformed it into quite an event, but also kept the city as the centerpiece.

        Tried too many bourbans to remember details, but we plan to make it back for another round next summer. Thanks for checking in!

      • Naje

        before you go ripping on the Giants and the play of Melky last season, check out how they played AFTER he got suspended. Make no mistake, the Giants were built on pitching. They played slightly above .500 for most of the season WITH Melky. It wasn’t until September where they took off and won the division by 8 games over the Dodgers. Of course Melky was having an outstanding season, no doubt and he may have contributed slightly early on, but he wasn’t a factor in the Giants winning the Pennant.

        There’s a reason Buster won the MVP.

    • Yes. One problem I have with this whole thing is the leaks.
      If MLB didn’t have enough evidence or strong enough case a month ago, then they shouldn’t have let these names get out there. If they did have a case, they should have suspended them then

      • Actually, I would have liked Sleepy Bud to wait til Labor Day to suspend these players.
        They wouldnt be able to play in any playoff games.

        As it stands now, they can sit out 50 games, and still play in the playoffs.
        That is very sad.

    • Are you really blaming the “FANS”? And what entity could possibly ever be the designated voice of the “FANS”?

      I guess we could nominate Drew – or his brother Thunder…

      • “The fans” do not need a singular entity to voice their opinion. Their voice is their wallet.

        “The mainstream media” doesn’t get together with each other monday morning and decide what they’re all going to cover this week. They cover what sells, and that is directly influenced by what the fans want to see.

        ESPN didn’t pimp Tim Tebow in every Sportcenter broadcast because he was making people turn the channel.

        • I don’t think for a second that mainstream news coverage has anything to do with what the public wants. Many of those organizations deliberately take actions that cost them viewers and money to follow their agenda.

        • Well, I do agree with you that we as fans have a say in this. So what exactly are you suggesting an individual fan do? What are YOU doing about it?

          And how are we to know which players are using PED’s? Anyone who is having a good season?

          Personally, I put most of the blame on the players and their union, ownership, and the Commissioner’s office, in that order.

          And the media may not “get together” but they generally share the same ideology, and ultimately they just simply cover the games – which is what sells with the fans. However, the media will always do so with a certain ideological slant.

          • Sorry, Skip. I thought we were talking specifically of the media coverage, not the PED use itself.

            My comment wasn’t a criticism of fans at all. Each one of us is just as entitled to follow the coverage they choose as the other. Just my opinion of WHY the coverage is how it is.

        • “They cover what sells, and that is directly influenced by what the fans want to see.”

          I agree, but you also have to realize that it’s a feedback loop. They show what they think the fans want to see, which is all the fans can see, so that’s what the fans want to see.

          A perfect example of this is the current state of movies. They’ve all become the same movie with slightly different modifications.

    • Fan have little effect on the Commissioner of baseball.

      The owners——let me rephrase that——the rich club owners, are all that matters to Bud the Schill.

      Designated Hitter, All Star Game to decide World Series, All Star ballot stuffing, Interleague Play, even extra Wildcard . . . . . . . . none of these are fan-friendly but are definitely Rich Club Owner friendly.

      • Groat… every owner is rich. Some cities have higher visibility, tradition and following so those teams in those situations can command more revenue streams.

        Rich club owners have to pay taxes on payroll and that means the slightly rich owners get extra rich dealing with the really rich.

        Rich, isn’t it?

      • Why aren’t the DH and the extra wild card fan friendly? I love the extra wild card.

      • The DH isn’t rich owner friendly. They have to pay big money for a guy who just hits. Hence why it is not in the NL.

        The PA won’t get rid of the DH b/c that takes a big money position away from their members. The DH will never be in the NL b/c owners don’t want to pay top dollar for a position that just hits.

        It’s sad, b/c the game should have 1 set of rules at the professional level, but I think you’ll see the AL and NL continue to have these different rules for sometime to come.

        FWIW, the DH should be abolished. Baseball salaries are out of whack as it is. No need for a guy to make $10+million and they can’t even field a position. Plus, it allows these aging veterans to hang in the league and pick up another paycheck, rather than having teams move on and give younger players an opportunity.

        BAN THE DH!

        • what he said!

        • They don’t always pay big money for a guy who just hits and I really wouldn’t worry about the DH increasing increasing payroll. Franchises appreciate in value pretty well just about every year and the owners make their money when they sell, not on annual operations. And I’d bet the NL has the DL within 5 years. I don’t think the DH is that bad. Watching a pitcher bat and run is awful to me and I can live without 3 innings of alleged strategy.

          • This post from you is very surprising to me 21.

            We used to be friends.

            • I figure if we were an AL city, we’d be loving the DH. We’d get used to it. And after watching college baseball live for four years with the DH, I couldn’t imagine watching a pitcher bat. I also like the idea of a starting pitcher maybe going a little longer and I hate the double switch.

              Why can’t we be friends?
              Why can’t we be friends?
              Why can’t we be friends?
              Why can’t we be friends?

              Sometimes I don’t speak too bright,
              but yet I know what I’m talking about

    • There’s a pesky little thing called due process that interferes with what we may want. And doing things incorrectly can cause outcomes to be overturned. I have no problem, at this point, with the pace of the investigation,

      • But, there are a bunch of 50 game suspension guys that are glad it is wrapping up now, with …. drumroll please …. 50 games left in the season.

        • +++++++++++++++++++

          I just posted this above.
          Suspend them at Labor day. :)

        • +++++++++++++++++++

          I just posted this above.
          Suspend them at Labor day. :)

        • So, did you want them to be suspended 25 games ago, or do you want them to be suspended 25 games from now?

          I think the first report that the Biogenesis guy was contemplating cooperating with MLB was around June 7. I love conspiracy theories, but this one lacks legs IMHO. Coordinating the 50 game suspensions, if it’s done, doesn’t make this any less legitimate. Start next season fresh. I’m not losing any sleep over it.

          • 25 games from now. That way, the suspended players cant participate in the playoffs.

            I didnt know this was a topic we were supposed to lose sleep over.

  28. “Look, I’m not so naive to think doping’s out of baseball — or any sport — and the list of players that emerges from Biogenesis will indeed be sobering. But at some point, man, the focus has to get back on amazing scenes like the latest one here Sunday with another A.J. Burnett lovefest and another Russell Martin clutch special in front of another capacity crowd. PNC Park is pure joy these days, and I’ll bet other places are, too. ”

    YES! THIS!

    THIS is what baseball SHOULD and CAN be about.
    And Pittsburgh can lead the way out of the Biogenesis mess.
    Spread the joy.

  29. Can you imagine if the NFL, NBA and NHL were ever forced to deal with this mess? I realize it looks bad for MLB. But, that is the only league doing ANYTHING about it. It may not be enough, depending on your point of view. And we would all be naive to think the problem has been solved going forward. Even if it is solved, it is likely only a temporary patch while labs and doctors are encouraged to continue to find newer ways to help willing players cheat. Too much money involved to think baseball will be able to solve and contain the problem.

    But, what about the other leagues? I keep hearing fans don’t care, but I wonder if that is really the case. What if it is found out that most players are clean, but maybe 40% of them cheat in the NFL? And, of the 40%, what if we find out that number is 80% on a handful of teams – and those teams have a great deal of success?

    Do you really think fans and players won’t change their tunes? I do. Think about the Patriots’ cheating scandal. Fans of the Steelers and other teams jumped all over that. Players were not happy, either. I think this notion that fans in other sports don’t care is only because they don’t know the scope of the cheating in those sports, and they don’t know the advantages it is providing as much as they know these things for baseball.

    • Jim, good topic. I think they care. Just not as much. Baseball is such a stat driven league. No other sport has records that are so important to the game and it’s history. There is no triple crown, hitting for the cycle, no-hitters…….in other sports. Not only is it important to the fans but it seems to be more important to the media and the media affects how we feel.

      I also don’t know if a football players using steriods is perceived as gaining a huge advantage. It is a huge advantage in my opinion but because of the violent nature of the sport it seems as if fans just think that it’s part of the game.

      • I agree on the stats aspect of baseball, Nate. In fact, after Pittsburgh this week, my son and I are going to Cooperstown for a couple of days. Stats and history are everything in baseball.

        I guess I don’t know how much of an advantage PEDs are in football, but for the strength positions on the line, they have to be a huge advantage in my mind. Also, the recovery aspect is huge. In the trenches, strength and recovery from yesterday’s beating are huge factors.

        • Enjoy your trip to cooperstown.

          I agree it is a huge advantage but the average fan doesn’t seem to get too upset about the use of PEDs in football. Or for that matter anything that happens in football. It really is forgiven for a lot of things.

  30. I am interested in seeing the evidence that MLB has and is going to use against ARod.
    To suspend him for that many games without a positive/failed drug test should be interesting.

    • I forget who on MLB Radio said this but apparently they have “volumes” of evidence.

    • I think he interfered with the investigation to the point of threatening one of the people being interviewed by major league basebal. I’ve never seen an official report saying exactly what that means but have heard it a few times.

      • I’ve heard that, too. Also the report that they have 3 times the evidence on ARod as they had on Braun, whatever that means.

        I thought all the Biogenesis names were known, including some minor leaguers, just that some aren’t big names,and some, like Colon, and maybe Cabrera, won’t be penalized further because they were already suspended for their violations based on failed drug tests. Bottom line, and I may be wrong, is that I don’t think there are any more names to come out based on this Biogenesis thing.

        • Is the Biogenesis lab completely illegal – whether it pertains to baseball players or not? I thought I heard they were ‘billing’ themselves as a ‘fountain of youth’ clinic.

          • I don’t know. But isn’t the present stuff based on the owner cooperating with MLB, which I assume, without knowing, is to curry favor with law enforcement and maybe state regulators.

    • ARod is good for all of the other players who cheated. He takes the heat off them to some degree. What I mean is they can take their suspension without too much national fanfare. No one will probably look too far into what they did and for how long because ARod has sucked all of the attention out of this story and put it on himself. They all get suspended in one fell swoop, while ARod’s situation will continue to be sliced and diced endlessly.

    • One thing I believe MLB has on ARod is that he interfered with the investigation. I believe big time. And that is what I believe was the point where he crossed the line with MLB.

      That, and he may have used after he said he wasn’t.

      • For sure. He got himself into all of this. I just think they are glad to focus the spotlight on him while everyone else just fades away into the shadows.

        • I thought I heard he was trying to buy up all the documents from the lab.

          • He apparently attempted to interfere in a lot of ways, and I too, have heard that’s what has intensified the focus on him. Probably the same news reports. Braun caving early kind of lends some support to this IMO.

  31. If Arod continues to play, then the whole situation is a joke.

  32. Interesting that Mike Adams has run as starting LEFT tackle for last 6 practices, with Gilbert moving to right tackle.

    Wonder if it has anything to do with what Dejan wrote about yesterday in his column?

    Gilbert is from the Florida Gator school of self-control and preparation.

  33. If any Pirates are accused of doping, after the last twenty years, they should get their money back.

  34. Random question that has been perplexing my family as we watch the Bucs on TV this summer. What the heck is that tattoo supposed to be on Tabby’s neck? Is that a set of lips? Is he a huge Stones fan?

  35. I think just about everyone is in agreement that doping is bad for sport. How does everyone feel about the use of HGH or testosterone for healing injuries? Is this a valid use under the care of a physician? And if not, why is this any different from any other pharmaceutical product?

    • I don’t know too much about the use of HGH or testosterone for healing injuries. But I do believe it’s the same rule for any medicine or treatment. There’s use and there’s abuse. It’s the abusers who make it tough for everyone else.

  36. I’m so tired of the PED discussions. Bud Selig turned a blind eye to this whole problem when steroid freaks Sosa and McGuire’s 600 foot homeruns brought people back to the ballparks following the last strike. Now he’s entering his last year or two as commish and he wants to be known as the guy that cleaned up baseball? What a joke.

    How does A-Rod get more than 50 games if Selig isn’t suspending him under the CBA? Look, I think A-Rod is a cheat and a fraud, but this is obviously a personal grudge. I think Selig is furious that in 2009, A-Rod admitted to Gammons that he used steroids and MLB couldn’t do anything about it.

    And really, why does anyone care if baseball players are using human growth hormones? Why does nobody care if football players use it? The NFL isn’t closer to testing for HGH today than they were 10 years ago. Where’s the outrage?

  37. Pirates are 23 games above .500 and have the best record in baseball.

    I just wanted to say that because it is awesome and I am tired off hearing about A-Rod.
    Also I don’t care how bad Miami’s offense looked during the first exhibition game of the year. I do not need a 5 minute breakdown by ESPN on why they looked bad (although the Mike Wallace drop across the middle was nice to see).

  38. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that everyone won’t be so dismissive of this Biogenesis stuff if one of the yet to be revealed names is currently on the Pirates roster.

  39. And now for something completely different.


    Two questions:

    1. If MLB issues its suspension just before their office closes today, does that mean A-Rod’s appeal can’t be registered until tomorrow? And does that mean he would be out of tonight’s game? Only to be reinstated tomorrow?

    2. If that occurred, would that be fair to those fans who started snatching up tonight’s tickets so they could express their displeasure?

    To #2, while it may be fun to tweak A-Rod, I think it is thus NOT fair to the fans to make what would ultimately be a one-game statement. I would call that petty.

    I would announce it in the mid afternoon for the evening news cycle, and let things follow their course from there.

  40. Milo, I’m not dismissing Biogenesis. I think it’s a big deal.

    Yet I do not think these suspensions will rid baseball of this stuff.

    Keep in mind that Biogenesis is already closed. Maybe some other slimeball has taken Tony Bosch’s place with other players.

    The suspensions are a look back, a punishment for historical events, not an electric fence keeping out current or future users and suppliers.

    That said, these suspensions could become the vehicle to create that electric fence.

    Seems that Selig is NOT using his commissioner-best-interest powers because the union and players will support “normal” suspensions and probably agree to open the CBA this offseason to create DRAMATIC penalties. Maybe doing something to limit $ earned from big contracts, tho probably indirectly.

    THAT would be huge.

    And if Selig gets THAT, it is much more meaningful than if A-Rod sits for one year or for life.

    And if he gets that, I would have to grudgingly admit that SELIG PLAYED THIS JUST RIGHT.

    (Man. It HURTS to write that.)

  41. By the time Spring Training 2014 rolls around the 1st drug offense will carry a lifetime ban. Not because Bud Selig wants it, because the players do.

    • Milo– I’m not following your line of thought on this, including your post about Pirate fans being dismissive. Care to elaborate?

      • I’m not sure what Milo means about being dismissive either.

        But I think I follow his thought on the players pushing (thru and with their union) lifetime bans for 1st offenses going forward. That would have to be worded just perfectly tho, in order to have it carried out. I’m sure players who DON’T use illegal substances would love to see the playing field evened out….and this is the best way to go about it.

        • They both have to agree to it. I don’t get the point of the distinction.

          • The non-users would out number the users.
            The distinction would be …. but I don’t know how these are voted on….but I’m assuming majority wins the vote?

            • I was talking about the distinction between management ‘s views and labor’s views, not the players between themselves. I think that distinction between users and non- users has been present from the beginning, and Fehr sided with the users, at least initially and for a long time. But I agree with Milo’s explanation.

      • I’ve just heard quite a bit over the weekend & read some here that ESPN is spending too much time on A ROD while the Pirates are doing so well. The typical Pittsburgh disrespect card. It’s old & tired. Who cares about ESPN ?

        And Jandy & Drew have it about the penalties. That CBA is going to be reopened this winter to toughen up the suspensions. I saw 3 players say it last night on the Phils game & a tweet by Mark Melancon this morning. There is finally momentum for this in the only pro sport actually trying to do something about it.

    • OK, I call MLB and tell them I have proof of a player using PED’s. I give them a couple handwritten receipts that show Pittsburgh Pirate’s star right fielder Milo Hamilton bought $4,000 worth of human growth hormones from me. I give them my phone records that show I talked to star right fielder Milo Hamilton a dozen times. Star right fielder Milo Hamilton has never failed a drug test. Still grounds for lifetime ban?

  42. Here’s what I am secretly hoping for. ARod’s suspension is announced today but he appeals and is allowed to play tonight.

    Tonight he goes 4-4 with a mammoth home run and 3 spectacular fielding plays.

    ESPN blows up.

    I guess my secret is out.

  43. In 1993-94, the Owners want a hard salary cap. Players refuse and strike. Buudy cancels 1994 WS. Fans driven away from the game in droves, attendance way down for years.

    Forward to 1998, the HR race between McGuire and Sosa. All is now well, record attendance, McGuire hugs Maris’s kids. Owners, players, fans happy. Well, most players. Bonds insanely jealous, Clemens, Arod, etc.

    Forward to 2001, Bonds, with a head the size of Rhode Island, hits 73 HR’s. A-Rod gets the first of his 3 250MM contracts. Clemens, who also gets a watermelon head, gets better with age, not worse. But again, Owners, players, fans happy. All seems well.

    Then the whispers start to come out. Fans suspicious, after lapping this up for all those years. Buddy and the Union start a PED dance, finally. Now, as players who cheated are eligible for the HOF come up for votes, they dont even come close to getting in. Owners, fans, other players “suddenly” outraged, vow this wont happen again. So, after everyone supportive of PED’s for years, now the coin turns.

    I have no sympathy for any player who cheated, any owner who benefited from this, or Buddy, who turned a blind eye to this for years just to get the $$$$$$$$ back in baseball. No sympathy. Those who benefited from drugs now want the game cleaned up?? Very hypocritical.

    I also think that if A-Rod is allowed to play tonight, would be fitting justice for all. It would make things a circus (more than they are already are), and it would even further prolong this crap.

    I would like to see Buddy suspend him under the “best interests” clause. Keeps him off the field. Also, how are they going to make a suspension under the “drug clause” stick without a positive test?

    And, while all this foolishness goes on, Jonny Manziel may get booted for autographs. Good stuff.

    • I don’t agree with your history lesson factually in too many aspects to list.

      One glaring example. If you think the whispers started with Bonds, that isn’t my recollection. The whispers were present at least as early as when McGuire and Sosa were obliterating the decades old Maris record.

      And MLB started to ask for drug testing way before the Union would agree to it. The Union finally caved to Congressional pressure, in my view. I think Fehr is the real villain here, if there is one, and the fact he is no longer representing baseball is evidence of that. I’m not suggesting Bud’s or MLB’s skirts are clean on this, but that the “history” listed is inaccurate as stated.

      • I always thought it was ironic that people blasted Congress for holding that initial hearing as grandstanding, but what would the penalties be today if it wasn’t for that hearing?

        DK: Good point.

        • THAT is your justification for a complete waste of conressional time?

          Good lord.

          This comes down to protecting meaningless records of a meanignless game played by adults. I don’t want to hear a peep about safety or “the kids”.

          Arod could go out tonight, get blasted drunk, and endanger dozens of lives by driving 110 mph until HOPEFULLY getting pulled over.

          And two days from now, the only thing anyone would be talking about is how many homeruns he hit while on PED’s.


          • Huh? I never thought it was a complete waste of time even if it didn’t result in penalties.

            I don’t think the records or the game is meaningless.

            And I’m not sure who you think you are to tell people what their priorities should be. That’s up to each individual.

            Good lord yourself.

            • “I don’t think the records or the game is meaningless.”

              Let’s not start with “the magic of the American pastime” stuff.

              It’s a freaking kids game that someone figured out how to monetize. Nothing more, nothing less.

              • Thanks for putting words in my mouth but I’m not one to romanticize the game.

                I think it’s a game for people of all ages to enjoy in many different ways.

              • Sorry if I put words in your mouth. I just don’t know how else to interpret, “I don’t think the records or the game is meaningless.” Implying that on some level, they are meaningful.

                It’s always been my opinion that the only “meaning” they have is the entertainment of the customer.

                Count me among those that think it’s unbelievable Congress wasted time and resources investigating the kid’s game.

              • NMR called the game and its records meaningless. I simply disagreed. You didn’t have to interpret that at all. I agree with your take that it’s entertainment. To me it’s also fun. I played the game as a kid and have followed it since so it’s not meaningless to me.

                I don’t feel like those few members of Congress that were at the hearing wasted time and resources, especially since the result was the suspensions MLB and the Union developed which I think was important.

              • It did keep them away from doing the important stuff of the nation.

                What is that again? I forget.


      • maybe there were whispers in 1998, but were swept aside due to the “feel-good” story of McGuire chasing Maris’ HR record. The whispers didnt get good traction til Bonds came along…………… if you listen to Bonds, he thinks it was racially motivated.

        The congressional hearing didnt occur til 2005………. 7 years after Sosa and McGuire.
        Maybe the Union did drag their feet, hell they did drag their feet, but there were negotiations beginning in 2003, but went no where. I believe it was because everyone was making too much money off of this.

        • I don’t disagree with your overall point here. Without putting a date on it, yeah, both parties benefitted financially for a while. Just my opinion, but I do believe that MLB, including Bud the Piñata, is now serious about this, and am beginning to think the Union is too. For whatever reason.

      • I remember whispers about McGwire and Canseco as far back as 1987.

  44. I love the coverage on the Riverhounds. These guys are passionate about playing and winning. I have way more fun at a Riverhounds game watching these guys play their hearts out than going to any other professional sporting event. Keep up the great job, Coach Evans and the rest of the management team and coaches. Looking forward to a home playoff fixture.

    DK: Welcome to the blog, Eric!

    • Thanks and thanks also for taking note of the Riverhounds. American soccer is starting to take a foothold. With Clint Dempsey going from a very successful club in England (Tottenham) to Seattle, and with Robbie Keen coming over from Ireland to play with Los Angeles Galaxy, we are starting to pay our players what they are worth on the open market. Everything in sports is driven by the economics of the sports, and soccer is finally finding their fan base who are willing to pay to see these players compete.

      Right now a Riverhounds game is around $10.00 per person. A bargain for the entertainment value. As the stadium fills up and when the tickets go to $20-$30 per game (still a bargain compared to my Steelers tickets), we will attract more talent and eventually, and MLS franchise.

      Thanks again for the coverage.


  45. I was only 12 the last time these guys were good. Is this team more accepted by the city than the Bonds-led team of the 90s?

    DK: Hm. Funny, but I was discussing that very thing with a friend last night. I have a thought, but I’d rather hear what others might say.

    Oh, and welcome to the blog!

    • Sometimes caller to The Fan, VacAttack ?

    • Dejan wasn’t old enough to remember the Bonds teams.

    • They still haven’t won anything, and filling Three Rivers was way harder than PNC obviously, and most of the ## from 1990-1992 would indicate they were more popular for that reason. But I agree with DK, and you, it’s an interesting question. So much is different now, Internet, PNC Park, 20 years (not 10-12), no drug scandal (yet), Penguins very popular. Hard to say, but the buzz right now “seems” greater.

      • I interpreted Vac’s question seperately from just attendance.

        I think this team is accepted more because of………

        team hadnt won in twenty years,
        No antagonist like Bonds on this team,
        Penguins Cup runs 1991-92………….. amongst others.

        Plus, the Pirates had just won a WS 11 years before………… not like today, 34 years out.

      • I think the biggest difference between now and then is the economic state of the game.

        I can’t say it’s any more or less accepted now versus 90-92.

      • I interpreted it different than just attendance, too.

    • ***ATTENTION***
      Newbies and lurkers of the blog, we’d love to chat with you!
      If you post your hometown, Bizrow will add it to the list of Dejan’s Lunatics’ Asylum.
      Don’t be shy, we don’t bite :)

    • My brother and I were discussing something similiar to this last night, but it was more that this team is BETTER than those Bonds led teams of the early 90′s.

      I said it over the last few years, the Pirates were reminding me of the 88 team, when the Jim Leyland team started to come around.

      To me, this team is better. I try and compare the players to that team and without looking at the actual stats, I believe this one is better overall, hell, they’re the best team in baseball right now.

      Proud to be a Pirates fan. Loved seeing the crowd over the Rockies series this weekend.

  46. Dang – 3 sweet goals from the Hounds this weekend. As of now, we are tied for 5th!

    DK: Do you know the tiebreakers, Kevin? Are Ws first?

  47. ***ATTENTION***
    Newbies and lurkers of the blog, we’d love to chat with you!
    If you post your hometown, Bizrow will add it to the list of Dejan’s Lunatics’ Asylum.
    Don’t be shy, we don’t bite :)

  48. By the way, people, it’s Shark Week.

  49. In reference to the question of whether the 1990 team was less accepted than this one, I would have to say no. That team drew over 2 million fans in an era when attendance was based on turnstile count rather than tickets sold.

    I believe that they sold 2.3-2.4 million tickets that year. Also remember that the 1980′s were a mediorce decade for Pittsburgh sports. That team was embraced.

    • And nobody came to Three Rivers because the stadium experience was so wonderful.

      • I loved youth general admission when I was a youth. A buck wasn’t that much, even in the 1970s. I don’t think they HAVE general admission anymore, youth or otherwise.

        Unless you count standing room for sell outs.

  50. How much do the players on the Riverhounds get paid? It is interesting to see that they normally get a $50 winning bonus.

  51. Some thoughts on Monday….

    * I’d like for PED use in professional sports to be allowed. I liked DK’s column in that baseball would do well to focus on the players who “aren’t” using and their achievements, rather than parading out all these users in shame. But…PEDs make the game better. They make better athletes (in the short term). Plus, the incentive to use is there for all players. You’re never going to get rid of the problem (unless you have a penalty where 1 positive test is a lifetime ban; even then I’d say some guys would take the risk due to the amount of $ you can make), so allow them to use and build a separate wing at the HOF.

    * So, with my above thought, you might imagine how I’d feel if a Pirate were on the Biogenesis list. Really wouldn’t make that much of a difference in my mind. I grew up in this era of pro sports. I want to see 450ft. HRs and 102mph fastballs with more regularity. If that means taking a substance, then so be it.

    * If Pedro Alvarez is using PEDs, then all of it is going to his thighs and butt. When they say El Toro, they aren’t kidding around.

    * I’m a bit disappointed by DK. In the above Morning Java entry, he cites the diving header by Ryan Kinne in the Orlando match (which was nice), but doesn’t mention the sick volley for the 1st goal against Tampa Bay?! I think it was #2 M Rob Vincent that hits it, again on the volley (doesn’t bounce), a screamer off the crossbar and down into the net, giving the goal keeper no chance. Hopefully in seeing that, you’ll understand why the world calls it the “beautiful” game. There’s only 1 word to describe a strike like that…I’ll let you guess what it is….

    * The Steelers were fat and out of shape last year, leading to an 8-8 record. That and a fat out of shape KC Chief landed on the QB and almost killed him (punctured his aorta! Oh, our Diva QB…).

    * NBA!

    * NHL!

    (just had 2 get those last 2 thoughts in there to represent)


    • ” I’d like for PED use in professional sports to be allowed. ”

      Two things Nate:

      1. Do you think that’s fair to the players that want to be clean?

      2. It would take an act of Congress. Literally. Over the counter sales of anabolic steroids is against the law.

      • PED’s go way, wayyyyy beyong anabolic steroids.

        Much of this stuff is completely legal.

      • To answer you questions:

        1. No. But is everything in life fair?

        2. Absolutely. And thats the only hurdle IMO. I see it as, they’re illegal in baseball b/c they’re illegal to have (altho as NMR points out, some of these substances are perfectly legal).

        • That’s a lousy answer. You think it’s right for someone to have an advantage over another person because they don’t want to put something that’s potentially harmful in their body and/or they want to do something naturally?

          Why don’t we just make stealing legal? I guess if I don’t want to acquire things that way, tough. Life isn’t fair.

          Nate, would you want your kid using steroids?

          • If the advantage is deemed that everyone can have it, then I don’t see how someone could complain about not having it.

            “Hey, but he took a substance and I didn’t….”

            “Well, you could’ve taken it, but you chose not too, that was your decision, just as said substance taker made the decision to take it, and possibly cut their life short”

            I really don’t know what you’re saying with the stealing analogy.

            As far as if I had kids, would I want them taking steroids…

            well, if they were considered legal to use in the game, and the kid weighed the options, and decided taking them was the best, I’d support him (or her).

            Sorry if you don’t like my answers. Obviously, life situations could change my opinion, but from where I sit right now, let em all do PEDs.

            As I stated before, I think it makes the game(s) better by creating better athletes (in the ST; short term, not spring training).

            Concussions and brain injuries are documented to cause major problems for players after they get done in the NFL, yet don’t see the NFL talking about stopping tackling anytime soon. Yes, they’ve taken steps for “player safety” but that is just to protect against future litigation that could come against them.

            Sports are entertainment. I want to be entertained. And I want the best product. PEDs help (IMO) in obtaining that best product. Hence, I want them legal in pro sports.

            • “If the advantage is deemed that everyone can have it, then I don’t see how someone could complain about not having it.”

              The use of steroids can have serious health repercussions according to some studies. Not to mention possible side effects.

              I also think that it’s an integrity of the game issue.

              • “Yes, they’ve taken steps for “player safety” but that is just to protect against future litigation that could come against them.”

                And to protect the player’s safety. Keeping PEDs banned protects the player’s safety.

                I don’t see how injuries (concussions) that could happen while playing the game is analagous to taking PEDs which can be harmful.

              • “The use of steroids can have serious health repercussions according to some studies. Not to mention possible side effects.

                I also think that it’s an integrity of the game issue.”

                What does that have to do with players deciding to take PEDs or not (if they were allowed)?

                So what if they can cause health problems? So can fast food, cell phones, and cars. You weigh the pros and cons of taking the substance and you make your decision. It all depends on what the individual deems “important”.

                Yes, it is an integrity of the game issue NOW, as they are not allowed, so players taking them have an “unfair” advantage. If they were legal in the game(s), that advantage would lose the “unfair” monicker.

                As far as my NFL analogy, you didn’t see rule changes until the NFL saw the possibility of losing millions of dollars in litigation to player lawsuits. If the NFL was so interested in the health of it’s players (as its sole motivation in this) why do they not test for HGH? Or why don’t they push harder for a test of HGH?

                My point with the NFL and hitting is that the game is inherently dangerous at the NFL level. You can literally be paralyzed or killed on a completely good, clean legal hit, yet no ones “realistically” talking about stopping football or the NFL.

                Yet, we’re worried about possible side effects of a substance.

              • Once again, I don’t think it’s fair for someone to possibly be at a disadvantage if they don’t want to harm their body. Let’s try to even the playing field as much as possible in this case by keeping the banned substances banned and illegal without a prescription.

                I realize life isn’t always fair but I think this is a case where we shouldn’t make a rule on purpose to make it unfair.

                People can choose to not eat health food and not be at a competitive disadvantage in sports. I didn’t know cell phones posed a health risk. As to cars, are you referring to exhaust dangers?

                I don’t think the studies and information on concussions really became better known until the past, I don’t know, 5-10 years or even sooner. I still don’t see how this is analagous to steroids in baseball.

                I’ve been outspoken on why I think the NFL has been cracking down on illegal hits and I agree with you, it’s risk management and it’s about the long-term viability of the game. But this issue is completely different to me than steroids in baseball.

                I agree that the NFL should have HGH testing like MLB did this past year.

                “Yet, we’re worried about possible side effects of a substance.”

                You’re being selective. I also said health repercussions and they can be serious. And so can the side effects.

                Football players know the dangers of the game. It’s doesn’t put them at a competitive disadvantage though.

              • “The use of steroids can have serious health repercussions according to some studies.”

                You’re talking as if all PED’s are created equal when in fact some have health BENEFITS.

                Grouping all PED’s together and outlawing them for purposes of public safety unquestionably has the adverse effect. People are ALWAYS going to find a way to get what they want.

                I’d rather have have them buying HGH from a licensed doctor than some guy in the locker room at the gym.

              • I agree NMR. Did you ever look at the list of banned substances? It’s huge. I don’t know much about them and I’m talking in general, obviously.

              • I guess what my issue is here is that somehow, this debate has gotten to be about the health of the individual.

                What I’m saying is, I really don’t care.

                I just want them to be the best athletes they can be so they can entertain me the best.

                If a banned substance can help them achieve that, well, un-ban it.

              • Nate,

                To me, if you want to talk about whether or not PEDs should be banned, you have to talk about their potential impact on the health of the individual.

                I have no problem being entertained with how the game is now. I don’t need PEDs legalized to enhance my enjoyment of what I’m watching.

              • Fair enough. I don’t think we necessarily need to come to some sort of agreement.

                But, so you know, the game you are being entertained by now, has PED use in it.

              • It apparently will surprise you, Nate, but everyone is aware of that. How does that advance the discussion?

            • I do feel the need to admit I drive way faster than the speed limit when driving. But only to the extent and when I think I won’t get caught. Sometimes I miscalculate. Should we abandon speed limits?

  52. “How would you feel if one of the Pirates happened to be on the list of cheaters that emerges?”

    It would be very disappointing if one of the Pirates were thrown into that group and if it might send this ship sinking. I would think the players/coaches would be just as disappointed and that player would probably be exiled from the locker room, as well they should.

  53. I struggle with the whole PED discussion. It would be nice if it was clean but it isn’t and never will be. People crucify some players of this era ARod, Bonds etc. but then say there is no way a player like Jeter is using. PED’s is really about recovery from injury and longevity to me. So you can’t say anybody is 100% innocent.

    Look at Bonds. Through it all Bonds hit more than 50 HR’s once in his career and only led the league twice. Maris hit 61 and his next highest total was 39. So HR’s can really just be lightning in a bottle. The fact that Bonds could still hit MLB pitching at 40 is more of an indicator.

    I heard Steve Philliips talk about PED’s in baseball the other day. He indicated that baseball was trying for it two CBA’s ago but the union wouldn’t budget on testing. MLB didn’t think it was worth shutting down over. The one thing that is good about the publicity is the union can’t take that stance behind closed doors. They have to say let’s get the cheaters. MLB has much more leverage now.

    I want the edia to express the same outrage when every year 6 or so NFL players get suspended for PED’s. Seems to happen every year with little fanfare.

    • I wish I’d kept this, but I one posted elsewhere a list of home run totals for a bunch of players and dared all comers to pick out the one who was using PEDs. The totals for each player each had a dramatic leap. Opinion was evenly divided between all of them. All of them played in the majors before WWII.

      I agree that home run totals are most definitely no indicator of PED use.

      • No indicator?

        # of HR’s hit by Barry Bonds in his prime vs. with a giant head.

        Do the math.

        • Players throughout the entire history of baseball have had tremendous spikes in home runs, totally out of character from anything that they ever did before or after. As I said, I wish I had kept my short list. You would have guessed that every one of those guys were on the juice, and you would have been wrong on every one.

  54. Here is sign of how the Pirates season is going for me…I woke up this morning and was all excitedt aht the wife likely won’t be home until late this evening opening up the entire night for me to chill out with my baby girl and watch some baseball. Then when I realized there is no game tonight I was completely bummed out.

  55. Jordany Valdespin. Gee, there’s a shocker.

  56. Greetings all in Blog Land. It’s good to be back. Good vibes to everyone!

  57. I have a comment awaiting moderation.


    In fact it’s about time.

  58. Just looked at the ESPN power rankings. Seems the Red Sox are #1 due to the 5-2 record last week and the addition of Peavy. The Pirates were 6-2 and we have Pedro at third, the Red Sox have Brock Holt. Hmmm, there would appear to be something wrong with this analysis(even though Holt is playing well)???

  59. My only comment on ARod… the people that are complaining that he will get a season and a third suspension in that he ‘hasn’t tested positive’ and ‘ this is his first offense’, I just want to say THEY ARE WRONG. ARod admitted he used PEDs in 2001-2003 I believe it was, and that is strike 1… he wasn’t suspended b/c of the CBA at the time but he is on record as admitting it. It is perfectly within the rules that this Biogenesis proof counts as use, even without positive test…so that is strike 2. The fact he will get more is because the proof supposedly is he attempted to thwart the investigation including trying to bribe people not to provide evidence.

    He is a scumbag and a liar. Why anyone wants to really passionately take his side I’ll never know. He knew PEDs were wrong, he got away with it for years… and he pursued this HGH angle with the seedy strip mall ‘doctor’ and worked overtime to cover it up…. ban him for life is my opinion, but I’m ok with a year and a third…. but please for those that want to cry about this punishment is too harsh, no positive tests, bla, bla, bla…..

    I am not a baseball player, but I have a complete set of conduct guidelines with my employer… they can terminate me without notice for any violation of a number of guidelines… things that are common sense, but if they decide to do so, I don’t get to “appeal to an arbitrator” or complain about due process…. let ARod live like the rest of us.

    • Where are these people defending ARod? It must be a VERY small minority.

      • Looked on a sports blog last night………. you would be shocked how many were supporting him…………… from the “due process”, to the “haters” talk………. was a sight to see.

        • Due process is a procedural issue. That isn’t what I interpreted cmat to be talking about. ARod, no matter what anyone thinks of him, is entitled to due process before he is punished. The fact I think that is not anywhere near the same as saying he shouldn’t be punished and he’s a disgrace. I don’t consider that as defending his use of PED’s or him for that matter. “We know what he did and he should be banned for life” is mob mentality. And, in reality, they need to follow due process to make the punishment stick. That’s reality in a situation where he has appeal rights.

          • I agree with you on this.

            I answered your original question of “where are the A-Rod supporters”. They are out there. Thats all I did.

      • There are some.

    • Say you have an employee in trouble for selling cocaine. He tells you that in order to only be suspended from work during rehab rather than terminated he tells you about five employees that he regularly sells cocaine to. Do you proceed to terminate those five employees based upon the word of some one trying to save their own bacon?

      I don’t think people are taking ARod’s side as much as the side of wanting due process. The idea of an alaytical positive is a little problematic for me. We are losing our rights every day.

      There is also the side of not wanting to let the Yankees off of the hook on the contract they gave knowing there was something going on. I am of the school if it is bad for the Yankees it is good for me.

      • I agree on the due process.

        It seems to me that there are folks out there who think that PED users in baseball should be taken out against the wall and shot. Let’s have a little perspective, people. This isn’t a huge deal. If it was, none of you would ever watch another NFL or NBA game.

    • No, that isn’t strike one, for at least two reasons.

      One, the PA agreed to those test after MLB promised that the results would be kept secret and that no player was to be punished. In fact, I’m pretty sure that it was set up in a way that MLB wouldn’t know who failed and who passed, but I might be wrong on that. In any case, MLB proved once again that it can’t be trusted at all.

      Two, you can’t take today’s CBA and make it retroactive. Whatever any player may have taken, even if he admitted to it, that doesn’t apply before the current CBA.

      Your employer cannot arbitrarily change the rules today and fire you for something you did five years ago that now violates the new rule.

      • Arod isn’t being punished under the “failed a drug test” provision, for the simple fact he didn’t fail a drug test. This is one of those “life’s little ironies” things. If he had failed a drug test they would be stuck with the drug testing penalties. He’s being punished (or attempt to punish) under the “integrity of the game” provision because the evidence they have didn’t come from a failed drug test. And the Union seems to accept this. He still would have the right to appeal any penalty to an arbitrator if he doesn’t do a “plea bargain” like the rest of the guys. And good luck predicting that outcome of that arbitration.

  60. Francisco Cervelli should ask for his money back.

    • Valdespin too, maybe?

    • No PED out there has ever improved a players hitting skills.

      • PEDs might not improve hand-eye coordination, if that’s what you’re referring to, but hitting the ball harder leads to better results.

        • Certainly.

          But that does you no good unless you can hit it in the first place.

          I know I’m in the minority, but I’ve always felt PED’s impact on baseball SKILL is highly overstated.

          • You need the skill. In many cases PED’S are used to recover from injury. Not excusing the behavior, but baseball is becoming a/what have you done for me lately sport. Depending on the depth of the farm system, there is someone younger, faster, stronger to take your place. Maybe some of those responsible felt forced to do this just to have a shot.

            Of course, there are those sneaky types who get into this sort of behaviors to see how far they can push the envelope.

          • PEDs turned WTP hitters into HR hitters.

            PEDs themselves didn’t make anybody a better hitter/fielder/pitcher.

            It did let them to play longer and recover from injury faster.

          • That strikes me as a little odd in light of the difference in what hitters were doing during the Steroid era and what they’re doing now. Sure, you’ll still have the ones with exceptional years, but during the era lots were having “exceptional” years. I don’t think it’s a coincidence.

  61. Cheating is cheating . . .

    Our high school team forfeited a game they won by about five touchdowns last year. An ineligible player got in on a kick return. The coach discovered it after the game, called all the parents and apologized, and let the other team know about it.

    If that kind of standard applied in pro baseball I wonder how far back you would go — and just based on the players caught, how many world series titles would have to be vacated, records stricken from the book, players banned, clubs disciplined, etc.

    But,. ho-hum …. everybody does it, you won’t get caught, you make the highlight reels, you’ll be a hero.

    DK asks what would we feel like if a Pirate was caught.

    Anybody old enough to remember Dale Berra?

  62. Gonna show my age….

    This reminds me more of the ’60 Buccos. The previous years were HORRIBLE, with some glimmer of hope starting in ’58 and more in ’59.

    Clemente losing his rookieness (if that’s a word), Groat, Vernon Law, Maz, the Quail in centerfield, etc came together and had the city by the…ah…er…short hairs, and it built all the way through the end of the season.

    Granted it was really the only pro sports in town at the time (the era of the SOS), but you can feel the energy of the fans now, even watching on tv. That really wasn’t the same is in the ’90s.

    Just IMHO.

    • Like I said above, I tend to agree about now as opposed to 1990-1992. Syd Thrift said it wasn’t easy raising the dead, but this would REALLY be raising the dead. But we still have to win something to make it “all the way” to the early 90′s, in my view.

      • Syd was over being a little over the top. The ’80s teams were no where near as bad as the 50′s Pirates, let alone the the last 20years. I think it’s the collective excitement of FINALLY having a team that both has a little talent but also the desire to win that has the fans going.

        That being said, I still have apprehensions after not seeing a deal or two made, because, at least the last couple of weeks (since I upgraded to the MLB DTV package) I am seeing them win games that they were a pitch or play away from losing. Over the long haul and in the playoffs the odds could start evening out and the bottom of the order gets exposed.

        The ’60 team was a little like that, hope this one can keep it going.

  63. Right now would be a good time, I would think, for the Pirates to announce they have extended Neal Huntington’s contract.

  64. Well, now, 14 players have been suspended.
    Ryan Fraud, A-Fraud, and 12 others.

    Some interesting facts have come out:

    Only Ryan Fraud wasnt Latino.
    Most of the suspended players are from the Dominican Republic.
    Wasnt there a drug scandal involving A-Fraud a few years ago with Dominican “doctors”?

    And, A-Fraud is the only on appealing.

    Let the circus begin!

  65. If the Dominican is in the spotlight, should we be concerned about Liriano?

    As has been said, Jose Canseco has been (or should be) vindicated for his outspoken posture when he mentioned this epidemic some years ago.

    He was right and most everyone in baseball including media components excoriated him with ridicule.

    Truth cannot be ignored or denied.

    With his 5-star, 5-tool ranking since he was 16 years old, ARod conceivably could have been a PED user since childhood.

    • Played against him in HS Bob. Let’s remove all wins associated with ARod since he was 16 years old.

      My ERA might drop with that ruling.

      • Yes and his success against you might have been what kept you out of the majors – as well as a mediocre fastball, “cunny thumb curve” (that’s Pittsburgh talk), non-sliding slider, and a very obvious change up.

        That was my problem too, and I never faced him.

        Seriously though, the bio on him going back that far is incredible.

      • They “defrocked” Joe Paterno of 111 wins, yes why not ARod, and you will be the benefactor, retroactively.

        • I completely agree that they should revoke some of his stats, if not all. The same for all the other cheaters as well.

          Pull Braun’s MVP.

  66. Here is a question (or several questions) I do not know the answer to: ARod’s suspension is 211 games. If he appeals, that number of games would carry over to the 2015 season. Does the suspension, in fact, carry over? If it does carry over, is ARod permitted to participate in spring training prior to the 2015 season?

    • I think those are good questions, and many will have to be worked out via the court.

      That being said, as far as spring training in 2015 is concerned, he will be social security eligible by then. Just kidding, but I think this is pretty much the end of his career.

      • So, this is his last gasp of bleeding MLB, the Yankees, the fans et al, for every dollar he can.

        I wonder if he ever got an invoice or two from that team of lawyers who hover around him?

    • I haven’t seen the report, but that’s actually kind of smart by MLB. I’m sure there is a rationale for the number of games, but at ARod’s age delaying it is also a problem for him. Since it isn’t a lifetime ban, do the Yankees get off the hook, or only for the 211 games? Of course, I don’t know how soon the Arbitration hearing will be scheduled. After now, though, I think this will be a side show, and everybody will be back to baseball. We here in Pittsburgh (and other Pittsburgh fans) never left it.

      • AW, listening to that four letter word network, some speculation is that there is so much legalese stuff to go over, it may be after the season before a real hearing can be held. But who knows, uncharted water..

        Contract wise, I think unless ARod retires, the Yanks would still have to pay him the rest of the contract, unless they use the “character/morality” clause.

        I’m betting there is some negotiation, deal made regarding the contract, what do you think?

        This will be news for a couple of days, headline wise, then the pennant race will get back in focus.

        How are things, BTW? Kids just left, a wonderful weekend from this seat in the peanut gallery, only bummer was losing Friday night

        • I agree, Biz, that there will be a fight, and they will probably come to some kind of Dave Parker type settlement, assuming the suspension sticks. But ARod appears to be pretty stubborn about it.

          Glad you had a great weekend. I’ve been traveling with my son for the last 10 days or so, visiting my dad in Florida and my daughter in Charleston, SC. Held an alligator and went kyaking for the first time. Lots of fun stuff.

          • Kyaking? We went to Kennywood Saturday, I spent most of the time in Kiddieland, but did go on the Exterminator.

            It took me minutes to get out of bed Sunday, several more to walk ;-)

            A better man than I am Gungadin….

            Holding an alligator, well, that is not on my Bucket List

            We went Friday and Val, my ticket lady did a wonderful job of getting us seats.

            If I can get two freebies, probably during the week, wanna go, Stan?

        • Biz, did you see a lunatic checked in with his location above??

          I put it in a box like this for you.

  67. My first question to Girardi:

    Why do you have to put him in the lineup ? Arn’t you the manager, the guy who gets to write up the lineup ?

  68. Wow, Alexandres post was outstanding

    I am so happy the burgh is my home

    And so dam lucky

  69. Thank God PEDs is only in baseball

    I can’t remember 1 player in football, basketball, or hockey that used PEDs

    I think the Arod thing is to disguise important players but most importantly the real issue

    A Rod an under 200 hitting 3rd baseman in the minors (Old McDonald #s)
    Acid test would you take for free Arod on the Bucs

    this whole thing is absurd
    MLB didn’t catch them the news reporters did
    it is all a sham

    the bottom line is no league cares
    they don’t care about the players
    they don’t care about the fans (as long as they are there ( and they always will be (me guilty as charged)))
    they don’t care about the children playing the game and by that I mean <16

    cant write anymore it's just POing me of the whole thing

    and I hope that no one in any sport or business will do it again but I know that is unrealistic because the end justifies the means in this day in our society


  70. In the end, everybody got what they deserved with this mess.

    The owners deserve the embarrassment, they turned a blind eye for years.
    The players deserve the embarrassment, they turned a blind eye for years.
    The fans also deserve the embarrassment, they turned a blind eye for years.

    You cant turn a blind eye for years, then have your “Come to Jesus” moment (sorry Lucky and Matt)……………. then expect people to feel any sympathy for you. Just doesnt work that way.

    I hope this circus from today goes into the offseason, and next year also. Yes I am sick of hearing about A-Fraud, but if something meaningful would have been done years ago, we wouldnt be here today.

    Enjoy the Circus!!

  71. OK, there’s the “protect the guilty” player’s union I’m used to.

    “We believe that the Commissioner has not acted appropriately under the Basic Agreement. Mr. Rodriguez knows that the Union, consistent with its history, will defend his rights vigorously.”

    This appeal will end up in Federal Court. Sometime next year probably.

    I’m going to predict, by the end of this, A-Rod gets 50 games.

  72. I am watching the Dodgers and Cardinals on MLB.TV
    The Cardinals just advertised a ticket promotion for the “Central Division Showdown” for the series involving the Pirates in a few weeks. I think last week’s series got their attention.

  73. This from the Pirates’ site in announcing Liriano being named as NL Player of the Week:

    “Liriano went 2-0 with a 0.64 ERA last week, allowing one run over 14 innings, the lowest mark among Major League pitchers who made two starts. He surrendered six hits across his two outings, holding opposing hitters to a miniscule .133 batting average.”

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