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Morning Java: It’s a great day for … soccer

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The Monday column is about the soul of the Steelers, and it’s owed entirely to the generous time — and candor — of Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark late Saturday night. Much appreciated, gentlemen.

What I hope to hear from you in the comments: How much do you think intangibles contributed to 8-8 after hearing what the safeties have to say?

Here’s the rest of our Steelers coverage, from Ralph Paulk and Mark Kaboly. And here again, for you weekday warriors who might have missed it, was the Sunday column on Jarvis Jones’ debut.

>> And now for another brand of football … or futbol

IMG_2111

Not going to lie. I had a great time over at Highmark Stadium, mostly because I wasn’t on any deadline but also because it was a beautiful day and an even better sporting environment. I snapped the above and several other pics you can find on my Instagram account: DEJAN_KOVACEVIC

It was an extra-satisfying day for Pittsburgh’s youngest sports franchise, with the Riverhounds beating VSI Tampa Bay, 3-2, to earn a USL Pro playoff berth and, maybe even more important, drawing an overflow crowd to Highmark Stadium. And I mean every inch of the place was packed.

Here’s some of what Jason Kutney, the team’s CEO, had to say just before kickoff …

There’s one more regular-season match at Highmark, Saturday vs. Richmond, and that one’s close to sold out, too. The Riverhounds are highly unlikely to have a home playoff match, so that probably will be it for the year.

As it is, they’re certainly closing the summer on a high note, and that’s a credit not only to Justin Evans and his staff but also Jose Angulo, Darren Amoo, Hunter Gilstrap, Jhonny Arteaga and the rest of the athletes who play for minimum wage but appeared to establish a genuine connection with the fan base and city. Wouldn’t be surprised to see a lot of them back next year.

Here are all three of the Riverhounds’ goals yesterday in a good-quality video montage put together by my friend Chris DeVivo for this blog …

>> The Pirates get swept by the Rockies. Rob Biertempfel reports from Denver.

Here’s the rest of our baseball coverage.

Here’s Rockies coverage from the Denver Post.

Here are official game highlights from MLB.com.

>> WPXI-TV’s ‘The Final Word’ last night included plenty of Steelers and Pirates and other stuff. Alan Robinson and I represented the Trib on the show. And at least one of us pretty much lost it in the final segment about Sidney Crosby.

>> I’m off the next two days, other than a TribLIVE Radio visit 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.

592 Comments

  1. * We have a baseball race, losing three games in Colorado shouldn’t wreck the season or trigger collapse III but it would be nice to get more offense in Denver than 1, 4, and 2 runs in those three games.

    * Cardinals didn’t exactly benefit from the three game sweep of the Pirates against Rockies as they lost twice to the Cubs.

    * Who enjoyed watching Alex Presley bat in the 9th inning down by a run? There’s no excuse for Andrew Lambo to be in AAA with Travis Snider out with the toe injury.

    * No one talks about it but Neil Walker doesn’t look like a baseball player that will get a long-term deal from the Pirates. He’s breaking down, doesn’t go to his left very well at all playing second base and his base running is sluggish. Third base coach Nick Leyva held Walker at third base as the tying run because Walker didn’t get a good jump between first and second base.

    • Hopefully all the people who enjoy Clint Barmes liked his error that ended up losing the game yesterday. I’m sure though his UZR is outstanding…

      • Clint Barmes’ error had nothing to do with a run being scored as no runs were scored that inning.

        Pedro Alvarez’ error, on the other hand, that came with two outs, DID lead to a run being scored.

        Don’t know what game you were watching.

    • I never thought Walker ran or moved well. He’s doesn’t have the protype body for second base and I thought it has always shown.

      In 2013, he has the best OBP of his career at .356 and although he hasn’t hit well, he’s .313/.390 over the past 28 days, .341/.400 over the past 14 days, and .455/.500 over the past week.

    • I enjoyed watching Alex Presley bat in the 9th. There are worse things: I wasn’t happy about any of Pedro’s at bats after the solo shot. Wasn’t happy with Pedro committing several more errors over the weekend. Wasn’t happy they pinch-hit for Barmes last night. Haven’t seen anything good lately from mr. clutch cutch either. I could probably name more things but I (fortunately or no) didn’t watch much of the games this weekend. Hoping that the fact the cubs took 2-of-3 from the cards means the the cards are struggling just as much as the pirates. Hoping also that is an (good) omen for things to come in the next series.

    • I was surprised Walker was held at third, though I thought he would likely have been thrown out had he been waved home.

  2. Dejan, you’ve said from the get go that the new ownership group with the Hounds has been nothing but class. I can only imagine that is the major difference between the franchise now, and the one I interned with several years ago while in college. That group of sad sacks was destined for failure, twiddling their thumbs at Char Valley in front of 100 friends and family in the stands.

    It didn’t take a visionary to realize that a professional football club cannot be run out of a local high school, I could have told you that. But it did take a visionary with big dreams and big ideas to get a stadium built on riverfront property in station square. It takes a visionary to get reigning FA Cup champs Wigan to pay a visit for a friendly. It takes a visionary to turn the classless enterprise that used to be the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, into something this city can truly be proud of.

    Much respect for Jason and the rest of the brain trust over there. Talks of expansion, and growth, and already thinking ahead about how to eventually bring MLS to Pittsburgh. They clearly get it, and will deserve all the success that awaits them down the road. It’s time this city finally has another proper football club, and they are clearly heading in the right direction.

    DK: Well put from front to end. Thanks for the feedback.

  3. Really interesting column DK. The tendency for us as fans is to ask why there was dissension last year, who caused it, are they gone etc. We have to be told this now – it is our birth rite as a fan! But I think the real message is that there is a strong leadership corps that is putting the ashes of last season behind them and moving forward, and I believe that is at least part of the point of the column. It will be interesting to see if if improved chemistry makes a difference

    The other main thing I took away from the column is that these are just two exceptional individuals, which I always believed and you confirmed. Thanks Dejan. . Lots to think about there. Which is why I read.

    DK: Really appreciate that, Laddy.

  4. I firmly believe a 5 year old kid could’ve made at least one of the calls that the umpire crew in Colorado could not in the past couple days.

    How these guys have a job on Monday morning is beyond me.

    Incompetent buffoons would be a compliment to this bunch of power-hungry idiots……

  5. I’m not sure if this makes me a Riverhounds bandwagoner (eer?) or not, but I’m enjoying hearing about their turnaround and their young GM’s inspired efforts paying off.

    The Super Steelers of the ’70′s won their last Super Bowl in the L.A. Coliseum with a “B” effort. They were that good. The Pirates have a weak offense, we know. They’ll need their “A” game in the post-season and at key junctures before that, down the stretch (like next week). But you can’t win ‘em all. You just need to win more than the other guys for the first 162. Then, just ‘bring it’ in the post-season. These Pirates have an “A-game” in them. Ask the Cards. I’m not worried.

    (Now, I had been worried during my stint in jail yesterday, dripping wet, sans clothing. But Brandie bailed me out. [Thanks Brandie! A friend indeed! Hippo, meanwhile, was blasting me with his shotgun, sicking his killer fish on me.])

  6. UPDATED STANDINGS!!!

    TOP SCORES IN AUGUST
    Jandy ~ 400
    bman ~ 300
    JRay3 ~ 200
    War Horse ~ 200
    Brandie ~ 125

    CURRENT PARTICIPANT TOTALS
    Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) ~ 2425
    bman ~ 2205
    JRay3 ~ 2175
    Nate83 ~ 1600
    blazer ~ 1500
    Dadtackular ~ 1400
    JUCOFan ~ 1375
    theplanisworking ~ 1300
    War Horse ~ 965
    Pucknutz ~ 900
    Frankie ~ 800
    KJX ~ 750
    fellocolonial ~ 700
    Ermine ~ 600
    stickyweb ~ 600
    Chico ~ 500
    RobertoForever ~ 490
    tdb1977 ~ 485
    Karen22 ~ 475
    Bill Born ~ 430
    Irish ~ 425
    OZ ~ 400
    TCB ~ 375
    Vette60 (Randy in RVA) ~ 350
    JohninOshkosh ~ 335
    EricBowser ~ 325
    BDHumbert ~ 300
    Jason81 ~ 250
    Boise Bucco ~ 200
    Evan ~ 200
    Hal Smith ~ 200
    JoeyBats ~ 175
    cherokee23 ~ 150
    Keith ~ 150
    A1C McG ~ 100
    Fish ~ 100
    Matt hoffman ~ 100
    PetroSteel ~ 100
    steelercrazy ~ 100
    stuart66 ~ 100
    MarkV ~ 50
    mlrgenuine ~ 50
    radio wave ~ 50
    TJ ~ 50
    Dom ~ 25
    tmp444 ~ 25
    cosmo ~ 0
    pants-n-at ~ 0
    TK ~ 0
    Ruffian706 ~ -40
    Ben ~ -80
    absolute59 ~ -100
    Brian ~ -100
    Dcpinpgh ~ -100
    John in WM ~ -100
    Kevin S ~ -100
    Brandie ~ -125
    buggee ~ -150
    Ghost ~ -150
    DemonDachshund ~ -200
    Ryan76 ~ -200
    Arriba Wilver ~ -250
    kr70 ~ -300
    cmat0829 ~ -350
    Joey Mellons ~ -400
    Lad9 ~ -400
    Steve J. Smith ~ -400
    Jandy ~ -475
    JaxBuc ~ -500
    JMB ~ -700
    pattonbb ~ -1000
    JD ~ -1375
    Kevin ~ -1535
    Bizrow ~ -4400

    ***The Most Points for the end of AUGUST will win:***
    (1) PITTSBURGH PIRATES BUMPER STICKER
    https://twitter.com/TheBuccoWindow/status/323996932466962432

    First Place at the end of the season will win:
    (1) BRAND NEW PITTSBURGH PIRATES FITTED NEW ERA 59FIFTY HAT
    https://twitter.com/TheBuccoWindow/status/323994233155485698

    Second Place at the end of the season will win:
    (1) BRAND NEW PITTSBURGH PIRATES EARTH DAY GIVEAWAY HAT
    https://twitter.com/TheBuccoWindow/status/323994373731794947

    Third Place at the end of the season will win:
    (1) PITTSBURGH PIRATES LICENSE PLATE FRAME
    https://twitter.com/TheBuccoWindow/status/323994796970627072

    Fourth Place at the end of the season will win:
    (1) PITTSBURGH STEELERS BUMPER STICKER
    https://twitter.com/TheBuccoWindow/status/323996576253087745

    Fifth Place at the end of the season will win:
    (1) PITTSBURGH PENGUINS BUMPER STICKER
    https://twitter.com/TheBuccoWindow/status/323996735837982720

  7. ‘Sidney Crosby is owed an apology’ Ha!

    And Richie Walsh saying that Sidney Crosby should go to the front of the line….well I guess that is probably one reason I don’t watch that sportscast.

    • I never read any of the articles about this incident when it happened and paid very little attention to it.

      One thing I did just learn after googling the story: the PA DMV does have a policy the ‘celebrities’ can cut to the front or make an appointment.

      I can’t wait for the reaction when Clint Barmes has to get his license renewed.
      But hey, Andrew Lambo….step right up! :-)

      • Maybe that policy is to get them in and out to avoid crowds going crazy and causing problems. Or is logical thinking not allowed? ;)

    • It is ok. I know hockey players are soff.

    • I don’t live in Pittsburgh, and I probably wouldn’t recognize him if he moved in next door. At the same time, I recognize that he is very popular. If people minded their own business and autograph requests were kept to those in the chairs on either side of him at the DMV, he should wait in line like everyone else. However, with most people having a camera on their cellphone which is attached to social media, all it takes is 5 or 10 pictures sent out on Instagram, and the generally long wait at the DMV turns into a mob scene. I think the policy makes sense.

      • You are correct on all counts. But this line bothers me: “If people minded their own business and autograph requests were kept to those in the chairs on either side of him…” You’re implying that anyone who gets up and walks across the room to politely request an autograph from the greatest hockey player on the planet would somehow be out of line?

        • Some fans think it’s wrong ANYTIME to as hockey player or other professional sports player for their autograph. That said, it puts the sports player in an awkward position in this case. As I said in my post at 7:34am (way before Tom P’s post at 9:04) the situation could easily get out of hand. :D
          Better to get them in and out.

        • Scott, I understand your point. I was trying to illustrate the point Jandy ably made earlier. I was trying to draw the line somewhere, and at the same time draw a contrast with those who might invite there friends via social media. Not being a celebrity and not being particularly interested in anyone’s autograph, I probably draw the line more narrowly than some would. Back in the ’70′s when I was a kid and the Pirates and Reds were rivals, my dad was on the same flight as Don Gullett (Reds pitcher), according to a flight attendant. I asked my Dad if he got an autograph, and he said that Mr. Gullett was entitled to his privacy. I agree that politeness counts, as does discretion. Probably because it is hard to draw the line and because each of us draws it differently, the policy makes sense.

          • Good point, Tom P. I imagine it’s hard to have any privacy when you’re doing things we always take for granted…going to the grocery store, renewing our driver’s license, etc.
            But I also admit as a fan, I’d be hard pressed to sit still and NOT ask…though in the end I’d probably just keep quiet.

            • Just think, tomorrow there is a baseball game and we can second-guess our favorite baseball executives and players rather than a group of bureaucrats we don’t even know.

  8. The statement, “I’m not going to lose any sleep over it”, has been plied here often. I wish I could make such a comment.

    I’m either an insomniac or an over-passionate Pirate fan. (The only other possible inclusion into this equation is a health plan which I’ll be forced into on Oct. 1.)

    Regarding the Pirates, I cannot get over that Hurdle. Some of the moves he makes and many of the ones he should and doesn’t make, will continue to baffle me – until we are out of the playoffs.

    The next six games – 3 at St. L. and 3 @home with Ariz. – could yield six more losses added to the three in Colo – plus we then go to feisty SD for three and the equally feisty SF for four, and our season could be over.

    Barmes is the fourth highest paid on the team, behind Cutch, Martin and AJ. When contract talks begin after the season (or sooner), his contract will be a bargaining object for the agents representing Liriano, Walker, Pedro, the magnificent bullpen, Marte, Mercer (whose salary is one-tenth of Barmes), and Locke to name the most obvious, and perhaps those top three. We’ll see, if re-negotiation isn’t discussed by some.

    Barmes incompetence, coupled with his salary are the lodestone around NH’s neck. If Barmes had any real value to this team, he would not have been pinch-hit for in the ninth inning Sunday in a crucial situation, by none other than Mercer. It’s happened before. CH’s or NH’s decision? He had a solid hit and scored a run in the third, so why the need to pinch-hit. A panic move by CH, not wanting CB to look bad in failure?

    There are no style points for striking out, but Barmes continues to choreograph his at the plate failures into something resembling a fandango – an appropriate word, though none on Sunday.

    He is way overpaid, and very much over-rated by some in this blog. He should never see the field unless an absolute emergency. Forget that once-a-week malarkey.

    I just broke the screechy E- string on my violin.

    Have a great day.

    • Bob

      I get your message about Barmes, he’s a sucker for that outside & low pitch; and he never hits it. Like The Gunner would say, “he couldn’t hit that one with a bed slat” – I know you remember that. I would be very much surprised if Barmes is invited back next year, I think he is pretty washed up myself and have thought so since last year.

      A couple other things:

      1 – This offense is deplorable and the RF situation is absolutely unacceptable. Snider has been a total bust, Presley is at best a 4th OFer, and outside of being a good bunter, Tabata is marginal. NH really dropped the ball here.

      2 – The pitching has got this far and the pitching will take us into the playoffs. The offense is too undependable.

      Otherwise, this is not the time to worry about 2014. Now Bob, the ol’ Gunner is going to go out on a limb and make a prediction: there’s a good chance the Bucs are going to strap it on the Cardinals and either sweep or take 2 of 3……………BEAT ‘EM BUCS!!!!!!!!!!

      • You said “strap it on em”, was that an old Gunner-ian slip (as in Freudian slip)”?

        I hope you are right, BUT, we will see their best available starters in St. L and you know they can pound the ball quite well.

        Ariz. is fighting for it’s playoff life, and we might be the team they need to beat out. So don’t look for any easy pickings in these upcoming 6 games.

        About our fantastic pitching; the starters are beginning to waiver a bit, so CH in “all of his infinite wisdom” must know the precise time to yank them. He may have miscalculated Sat. with AJ. This statement will be construed as a second-guess by my vulture – ian comrades here.

        One our colleagues yesterday suggested that Locke punch Barmes in the mouth (even though his error was not costly). I’m saying Locke’s agent may punch NH in the pocket book for Locke’s future services. Locke’s salary is 1/10th
        of Barmes. Who’s more valuable to this team – Locke or Barmes? That is the extent of my 2014 projection for the team. But this is just one example.

        How would you feel if you were Pedro or Walker making half of Barmes wage and him playing between them? Two more examples which will come into play.

        They are teammates and “like each other” but money is still the bottom line. Naivete thinks otherwise.

        Thanks for your analysis – and I am /will be rooting for us.

    • Wow you have then losing 9 games in a row as if it’s a forgone conclusion and saying the season could be over after then next 13 games is way over the top. We could lose all 13 of those games making 16 total and our season still wouldn’t be over. We more then likely would still hold the second wild card spot over Arizona unless they went 11-2 over those same 13 games.

      You are already throwing dirt on a a team that earlier in the year lost 5 out of 6 twice and came back strong to win a majority of their next 20 games. All teams have series like this. Take a deep breath. Since the All-star break they are 14-11 and have went from being behind in their division to being 3 up. Atlanta, Detroit, Boston, Tampe Bay…….any team in baseball has had bad streaks like this during the season.

      Barmes contract effecting others also seems off base. Every team has players that didn’t live up to contracts. Contract talks between teams and agents are almost strictly based on the worth of the players as compared to players across the league putting up similar stats and what they got in their recent contracts.

      The agent will know coming in about what his client can get if he becomes a free agent. In Walkers case other factors will come in like gaurenteed money past free agent years. He could hurt his back in one of the next two years and never cash in on free agency. If the Pirates buy out a year or two of free agency it may be worth it to him to take a little less then his market value. Barme’s contract will not even be discussed unless it is one of the 50 contacts for shortstops and Second baseman they talk about during negotiations.

      • Yeah, Nate. Bob must have been pretty melancholy when he posted his doom and gloom thoughts.

        I could care less about next year right now, we gotta do what we gotta do to win this division. Our first step is to sweep the Cardinals!

    • “If Barmes had any real value to this team, he would not have been pinch-hit for in the ninth inning Sunday in a crucial situation, by none other than Mercer. It’s happened before. CH’s or NH’s decision? He had a solid hit and scored a run in the third, so why the need to pinch-hit. ”

      One player is batting .221/.262 and the other .275/.331 and they have almost the identical number of PA’s. Which would you rather see bat in that situation? I’d also look at their more recent at bats.

      • I too would rather see Mercer – all of the time. But Clint H likes the “hot hand” especially if it’s on his boy, as in July. Which was a farcical burlesque, and CB’s supposed defensive superiority was a clinching reason of his more playing time.
        Barmes batted .298 in July, Mercer batted close to .340 for more than 2 months which included July.

        Of course, if you have been following this blog as closely as some the others, you would know I have no regard for CB.

        You didn’t need to quote me so eloquently – I would have seen your drift. But thanks.

        • I have no idea what time period you are referring to when Jordy batted close to .340 for more than 2 months which included July. The most he hit in any month was .293 which was July.

          Jordy also went 8 for 45 from July 1 to July 19 (.177) which is what I think triggered some of Clint’s playing time in July.

          • You’ll forgive me hopefully, I did not have time to check this out before entering it here, relying strictly on an announcers comment, but I heard a figure associated with Mercer, perhaps May was included where he logged a much more impressive sample avg. than Barmes fans were gloating about for July.

            If I’m flat wrong, I owe the entire Dejan Blog Nation a humbling apology.

        • Jeez, Bob. “I too would rather see Mercer – all of the time. But Clint H likes the ‘hot hand’ especially if it’s on his boy, as in July. Which was a farcical burlesque, and CB’s supposed defensive superiority was a clinching reason of his more playing time.”

          Man, you criticized CLINT Hurdle mercilessly for months NOT playing the “hot hand.” A little consistency might go a long way. Incredible.

          I stand by my comment that you don’t like, at least, baseball Clint’s.

    • I’m starting to get the impression Mr. Hasis just hates the name “Clint.”

    • Wouldn’t be a day in the blog without having to refute the numerous ‘facts’ and opinions Bob puts forth for our entertainment value.

      First stop — Barmes’ contract. I get that he hasn’t been a great SS overall for the past season and 3/4, but the Bucs pretty much paid industry value for what they projected Barmes to be. It wasn’t that outlandish, really. Did it end up being maybe a 25-30% overpay? Sure. And I’m sure you will retort that Mercer makes minimum so it’s ridiculous to pay Barmes anymore than that, but that just isn’t living in reality. But you shouldn’t start now trying to live there.

      As to other agents using Barmes contract as leverage? Um, no. They will use industry standards and leverage other teams spending habits, especially the large markets.. and they will set their price based on what they think their player would get in the open market and that’s that. It should be noted that Walker, Pedro, bullpen, Marte, Mercer and Locke aren’t in position to negotiate anything. They are under team control. The negotiations would be initated by the Pirates to buy out their arbitration years and perhaps a year or two of free agency and that will be initated by the Pirates. The sole discussion in those negotiations is the projection of the player development and what the future comparable salaries will be… there will be NO mention of a current or past contract, and certainly not for a veteran shortstop. But you do get many style points for a creative way to bash Barmes today, thanks for that entertainment.

      As to the Bucs already having lost the next 13 games in a row…whoa. By that ‘logic’ I can counter you by saying, the Bucs will go out and win 8 or 9 of the next 13 and be just fine. Or continue to struggle a bit and go 5-8 or 6-7… but in no case will the ‘season be over’. And none of it will be purely because of what Clint Barmes or Jordy Mercer does on the field.

      • Throw out Jeter, Tulowitzki, and Rollins, then name me three SS who make more. I’ll concede you Hardy.

        So your 25-30% figure, like all quoted percentages is “pie-in-the-sky malarkey.

        Your second paragraph explains how “slotting” of draft picks is done. If I’m wrong, please tell me how ARod’s agent was able to screw Seattle, Texas and the Yankees with the worst (most over-valued )contract in sports history?

        Your third paragraph matches up your conjecture against mine. I have two years of historical precedent as my back-up.

        Ironically, I agree with your last sentence.

        • I agree with it to this extent; I don’t have SS as one of the core positions on the Pirates, it is more of a peripheral position, but my”druthers” would be Mercer on all aspects of game skill for sure.

          To elaborate, we will win or lose out, based on starting pitching, bullpen, Cutch, Marte, Pedro production and Martin’s health defensively – and with some offensive help.

        • I was curious about this after you mentioned it, but here’s what I found

          1. Stephen Drew
          2. Yunel Escobar (500k less, but close enough and a headcase)
          3. Jose Reyes
          4. Alexei Ramirez
          5. Asdrubal Cabrera
          6. Jhonny Peralta (now suspended of course)
          7. Erick Aybar
          8. Elvis Andrus ( slightly less, but another good comparable.)
          9. Hanley Ramirez
          10. Rafael Furcal (on the DL)
          11. Starlin Castro
          12.

  9. JAL’s The Worry Song Morning Links

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQBHlgjgtaQ

    GENERAL DAILY UPDATED BASEBALL SITES

    1- MLB Transactions

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

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

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

    3 Go Buccos- Pirate News (from external sources)

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

    4 Pittsburgh Pirates Stats

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

    5 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates Draft Pick Signing Tracker

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

    BLOGS and such

    6—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: The Pirates Aren’t Perfect, But They Are Legit Contenders

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/08/first-pitch-the-pirates-arent-perfect-but-they-are-legit-contenders.html

    Prospect Watch: Dodson and the Marauders Flirt With No Hitter, Win on Triple Play

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/08/prospect-watch-dodson-and-the-marauders-flirt-with-no-hitter-win-on-triple-play.html

    Prospect Notebook: Consistency is the Key For Alen Hanson

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/08/prospect-notebook-consistency-is-the-key-for-alen-hanson.html

    7 Bucs Dugout

    How much do defense, high ground ball rate help Pirates win?

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2013/8/12/4613026/2013-bucs-high-ground-ball-rate-is-equaling-wins

    Pirates swept away in Denver, 3-2

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2013/8/12/4612936/pirates-swept-away-in-denver-3-2

    8 Rumbunter

    Pirates GM Neal Huntington Show Notes

    http://rumbunter.com/2013/08/11/pirates-gm-neal-huntington-show-notes-2/

    9 Rant Sports

    5 Most Irreplaceable Pittsburgh Pirates

    http://www.rantsports.com/mlb/2013/08/11/5-most-irreplaceable-pittsburgh-pirates/

    10 IS Sports

    Pittsburgh Pirates to skip Gerrit Cole’s next start

    http://isportsweb.com/2013/08/11/pittsburgh-pirates-to-skip-gerrit-coles-next-start/

    11 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Rockies 3 Pirates 2

    http://raisethejollyroger.com/2013/08/rockies-3-pirates-2/

  10. NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    12 KDKA

    Creagh: Polanco Exciting, But Needs Refinement

    http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2013/08/11/creagh-polanco-exciting-but-needs-refinement/

    13 Truthdiug

    Baseball’s Biggest Problem

    http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/baseballs_biggest_problem_20130811/?ln#13763042108511&action=collapse_widget&id=760714

    14 MLB

    Bucs, Cards gear up for latest NL Central clash

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130811&content_id=56723674&vkey=news_mlb&c_id=mlb

    15 Denver Post

    Nolan Arenado leads Rockies to sweep of red-hot Pirates at Coors Field

    http://www.denverpost.com/rockies/ci_23840857/nolan-arenado-leads-rockies-sweep-pirates

    16 CBS Sports

    Rockies sweep NL Central-leading Pirates

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/gametracker/recap/MLB_20130811_PIT@COL/arenado-rockies-sweep-nl-centralleading-pirates

    17 St Louis Post Dispatch

    Bernie: Just who are the Cardinals?

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/columns/bernie-miklasz/bernie-just-who-are-the-cardinals/article_eeb3f473-7f9c-50f7-ad7a-261355475d6b.html

    18 PBC Site

    Bucs unable to overcome miscues in finale

    http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2013_08_11_pitmlb_colmlb_1&mode=recap_away&c_id=pit

    Notebook: GM Huntington talks pitchers, catchers

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130811&content_id=56660082&notebook_id=56686586&vkey=notebook_pit&c_id=pit

    SPORTS WEBSITES

    19 Baseball Prospectus

    The Week In Quotes

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=21496

    20 Fangraphs

    75th anniversary: Connie Mack’s 3,000th win

    http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/blog_article/75th-anniversary-connie-macks-3000th-win/

  11. Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Losing a meaningless preseason game can be a good thing

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/8/11/4611662/steelers-preseason-schedule-record-depth-chart-giants

    Steelers rookie report card after 18-13 loss to Giants

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/8/11/4611224/steelers-rookie-report-card-giants-preseason-game-grades

    22 Steelers Depot

    Steelers G David DeCastro Looked Like A First Round Pick Against The Giants

    http://www.steelersdepot.com/2013/08/steelers-david-decastro-giants-preseason-animated-gifs/

    Soccer(football)

    23 Daily Telegraph

    Premier League is being left behind in scramble for stars

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/competitions/premier-league/10235269/Premier-League-is-being-left-behind-in-scramble-for-stars.html

    24 World Soccer Daily

    New man, new strategies

    http://www.worldsoccer.com/features/new-man-new-strategies

  12. Happy Birthday to the Hulkster. Hulk Hogan turned the big 60 yesterday.

    • Dom

      I figured you were a wrestling fan. Most Italians are because our grandparents used to watch it when we were kids and they thought it was for real.

      I am a fan of the Hulkster, also & hope he had a great birthday. Hopefully, he’ll get back in the ring soon.

      • I haven’t watched it since I was a lad. I can’t imagine he’ll wrestle again. I remember reading a while ago that he was having major back problems from wrestling for so long.

        I’ve always thought Pittsburgh was a good wrestling town. It has probably been that way since the Bruno Sanmartino era.

        • One of the best feuds of all time was when Bruno & Larry Zbzysko went at it in the early 1980s. It was very well staged and quite believable.

          I doubt if the Hulk will get back into the ring. He could never wrestle like Bruno or Howdy Doody Backlund but, his acting skills were impeccable.

      • Wha’dyu mean it’s not REAL!!!!!

    • I concur. And yes, I ask still in eating my vegetables and taking my vitamins. I also watched that wrestling cartoon that starred him many years ago. Fine appointment television.

    • No matter what you have to say for the Hulk today there was nothing better as a kid than the Piper/Hogan clash. Remember in Pittsburgh when they fought and Piper had a team of bag pipes lead him out.

  13. Good Morning, All,

    Great stuff from DK and Bostons Common about the Riverhounds. It looks like the ‘burgh really does have another professional sport franchise, and not a fraudulent imitation.

    With the lovely performance by the Bucs over the weekend, I thought that some of you might welcome one more entry about the PGA Tournament. (ducks flying Heinz bottles)

    Had a great time except for Friday rain. Picked out a grandstand for the weekend – literally, a corner of one right behind the 5th green. Watched the players come to us, then tee off on 6, a par three with the green right behind us. After they would putt out on 6, then we could turn the other way and watch the tee shots on 7. Great spot, and a couple of club members who were there with us told us it was one of the two best spots on the whole course.

    It sucked to be Webb Simpson. All he did on Friday morning was go out and tie the course record with a 64 in the rain, only to have Jason Dufner break it with a 63 in better weather during the afternoon. Webb never recovered, and was not a factor during the weekend.

    At our spot on Saturday, we saw Dufner try a recovery shot on 5 that was insane. He was way right into a creek on his tee shot, then took a drop and instead of pitching outings the fairway, he tried a low, long shot from under a willow tree around another willow tree and over the gallery to the green. Dang near pulled it off, but ended in the rough near the green and a pitch and two putts later, he had a double bogey. Why am I telling you all this? Besides making the point about his courage, on Sunday at 5, with a harder hole placement, Dufner made a birdie. That takes severe stones, and its why I knew he was going to beat Furyk eventually, which he did.

    Furyk is a class act, and what a great final pairing to have on Sunday. By the way, Vijay Singh has become known to insiders as something of a villain, and really could not seem to care less about that.

    Stood late on Saturday along the left side of the 18th fairway, and met a family whose son got popped by an errant tee shot from Rory McIlroy. The son was fine, the ball however, went even further left into the trees. They showed us the spot – 190 yards or so out from the green, with large oaks right out in front of him. I would have been dead there, but McIlroy just went over the trees with A Seven Iron! Made par too, I believe. I might not have gone over those trees with a lob wedge, and even then, I’d have been about 140 yards short of the green.

    Wore my white Pirates hat at the tournament, and found I was fashionable! “Buccos!” one guy yelled at me. Others told me it was cool to see the Pirates winning. Another guy said “Love your hat, man”, and then I noticed he had a Pirates visor on. A good talk ensued.

    What an army of workers and volunteers it takes to put one of these tournaments on. I have even greater respect now for what the people at Oakmont go through to make a great tournament happen.

    Caddies really earn what they get. We noticed on Saturday that while their guy was putting on a green, they were studying the spot of the next day’s hole location. Part manual labor, part coach, part psychologist – that’s the guys on the bag.

    I had a great time at the PGA, and if you’ve never gone to a major tournament – I highly recommend it. Now let’s go beat the Cards!

    • Sorry if I used a bad word, there.

      • Wild Bill: Forget the PGA, did you get to see Mrs. Dufner up close?

        • Ah, yes I did. The Duffmeister definitely married up.

          Hard to understand the angst about Barmes. He is what he is, has been and will be. There should never have been any surprise. The material issue, his batting, does not fit with this overall marginal (read crappy) offense, even though he is far and away the better defensive SS.

          Yet no mention at all about Pedro. Yes, he has 28 home runs. He is also BATTING .235 and leads the free world in errors. Any stat geeks have a reliable analysis on whether these stats offset each other?

          Best hope Marte gets back soon…

          Marte’s injury has really highlighted how weak the bench is.

          • And yet the weak bench has taken this team to first place in one of the toughest divisions in baseball and 23 games over .500

            • If Marte is out for any length of time….get back to me.

              Never said anything about the team’s success. Just pointing out that Barmes gets 10x the heat and Pedro is playing (again) at the Mendazo Line.

              • How many HR’s does Pedro have again? Get back to you? This team has gone 23 games over .500 with at least 2 players at any given time in a slump. Worse offense in baseball and you suddenly believe that if Marte is out any given time I should get back to you?

                Let me write that on a post it

              • Shoulda traded Pedro for pitching back in ’09 and went for it.

                Who cares about 2013!

          • Pedro sucks.. there I said it.

        • Didn’t see her until the Golf Channel later. I would make a general observation that pretty women like golf.

    • Was that you yelling “Baba Booey”? I love hearing that. Cracks me up every time.

      • Absolutely not, JD. Such people should, I think, be vigorously escorted off the course. In the earlier rounds, it hardly ever happens. Then, when there’s tv at every tee on the weekends, clowns like that turn out to impress their friends. They’re a lower form of life, I think.

    • . . . and if you don’t like Jason Dufner, you can’t possibly like chocolate ice cream.

  14. Too bad the Pirates offensive shortcomings didn’t manifest themselves earlier in the season so Neal Huntington could have addressed them at the trade deadline.

    • Sarcasm becomes you, Milo dahling ;)

    • Yes. But they are all set for 2015.

    • NH’s comments really pissed me off this morning.

      At the deadline he was ready to do something crazy but not insane. Now he’s using the excuse of players aren’t slipping through waivers… No crap. I was screaming that all day on the day of the deadline.

      I commend NH for getting the team to where they are. I just don’t know if he has the balls to make a deal that would ultimately make or break him. Lets say a Ray Shero dealing for Hossa type deal.

      But as long as we keep this pipeline of prospects that may or may not ever make it to the majors we should all be happy!!

      • Hey Teddy Bear, if *I* say something along this line: “I commend NH for getting the team to where they are. I just don’t know if he has the balls to make a deal that would ultimately make or break him.” Well, just say I take the heat.
        I commend you! :D

      • Sorry TJ but I have to disagree with you on this one. The Penguins won because of players like Guerin, Gill and Gary Roberts. It wasn’t the big deal that got it done but the small ones. Almost nobody got moved at this years baseball deadline. One big prospect got moved for Garza and that was it.

        • Nate you can disagree all you want. But NH doesn’t have what it takes to make moves like Shero does. Yes the small trades matter too but this team does not need a “small” trade. They have made enough small trades. And its not just this year Nate. He could have done it last summer or the summer before.

          I never said the Pens won because of the Hossa deal but Shero stuck his neck out there and made a move. How many “big” players are available every hockey trade deadline? Hossa was the biggest name that year and Shero got him.

          Tired of hearing that no one was available and now no one is slipping through waivers. Might very well be true but for every prospect that NH has acquired from other teams for his big players like Bay how many have panned out? So I don’t see what in the world the big deal is if he gives a handful of prospects for immediate help.

          • I don’t really understand comparing teams in different sports because they’re in the same city. Different rules as to roster and salary, different economics, franchises are at different points in their life, etc.

            • Not comparing sports; comparing mentality. Shero has the mentality and I don’t think NH does.

            • Laughs at your silly “balls” mentality.

              When was the last time Beane made a “ballsy” move, by your standards.

              • Gio Gonzalez was one. Signing Cepedes despite being a “small” market team was another. Do you want me to write a list of players he’s dealt in their prime while they have service time available to quickly rebuild his roster?

              • Gio Ganzalez? Seriosuly? That was a SELL!

                WHat are you even talking about right now?

              • YES IT WAS A SELL NMR; but you don’t think it took balls to see Gonzalez when he was in his prime when he knew he was going to get players that helped him into the playoffs last year and possibly this? He didn’t have to sell him

              • I wish I had a Pirate to compare to Gio but I don’t have one because they don’t have a Gio. But given the circumstances I don’t think NH would make a similar move.

              • ‘But given the circumstances I don’t think NH would make a similar move.’

                You may want to pay attention to Garrett Cole’s career as a Bucco.

                And I think the hair on your crystal ball is on fire.

              • Like if Huntington would’ve traded Cutch for a platoon catcher hitting .230 and a starting pitcher with an ERA over 4?

                Cuz thats what Beane is getting out of the Gio trade right now.

              • Well, NH did trade Joey Bats for just a platoon catcher.

                :-)

              • I’m really confused are we talking about having the “balls” to trade away a major league pitcher to get young talent because that is what the Gio trade was. That would be like us trading Locke, Alverez or Marte away right now. Or are you talking about the “balls” to trade prospects away to get a big name player because Oakland has never done any such thing. Either has Tampe Bay. Which I believe are the two teams we would want to model the Pirates after.

                Now if you want say we should have done what KC did that would be a good comparison, but Will Myers will be making all-star games well past the time Shields is contributing to KC winning games and the pitcher KC gave up was pretty good as well.

            • Yes you do NMR. Take a look at every one of my posts today. Won’t find NMR far behind. Took you long enough to look up baseball reference on the Gio trade.

      • The infatuation with testicles continues to amaze.

        May as well just whip out the tape measurer during the interview.

      • “Now he’s using the excuse of players aren’t slipping through waivers”

        Well we don’t know if that is true or not.
        And we don’t which players are slipping through waivers.

      • Who should he have traded for and what should he have given up to get him?

        • I have a hard time believe that they want a lot for him since they essentially gave away Rios last week.

          I’m guessing we might have to part with Jones and of course a prospect to obtain him I assume the Sox don’t have an adequate backup for him. By doing so, we’d be taking on a $15 million salary in Dunn but we’d be saving like the six or so I’d estimate that Jones would obtain in arbitration.

          • We didn’t have to trade anybody. We could have claimed him on waivers. Sure, those deals usually end up with a deal and some players changing hands, but at least in my admittedly imperfect recollection, it’s usually not for much more than a PTBNL. Very rarely is that a high prospect. We aren’t talking deadline deal.

            • Yeah, they wouldn’t put him on waivers if they weren’t looking to movie him, right? And you’re right they aren’t expecting to get much in return.

              • I think lots of teams put players on revocable waivers to see what the “market” is. But with what they did with Rios, it sure sounds like it would be worth a shot.

  15. Any chance the Riverhounds play a playoff game in Plant City ? Strawberries for everyone !

  16. Morning all -

    Just a quick question on the “balk” call.

    Can someone explain to me how an umpire that has a difficult time calling balls and strikes accurately from behind home plate and behind a catcher manage to see from 60 feet away whether or not the pitchers foot left the rubber or not? That movement is as quick as a pitch across the plate.

    By no means am I using that call as an excuse for the loss but as a reason for my overall displeasure with umpiring in general in their mentality of if one calls it no one overrules it mentality. Can’t show up a fellow umpire and correct him.

    • What gets me is that 3 other umps should have had a better view, and none of them spoke up. Apparently none of them were paying attention.

    • Did the ump explain ‘what he saw’ and the reason for the balk ? Walk on the telecast seemed to think that (1) Locke did step off and then throw but also (2) he didn’t have to because he was throwing to an ‘occupied base’.

      I think Walk was wrong on the 2nd point, the runner was trying to steal 3rd, he wasn’t already on 3rd, but I also don’t see anything Locke did that the ump could’ve seen from so far away, kneeled behind the catcher and unable to really see the rubber, Locke’s feet, etc.

      • Clint after the game was still very po’d about the call, and he admitted the day before the ump got the call right on second about Tulo. He was still visibly upset about this one. I trust Clint, or ICIT.

  17. aww did Jandy break the blog again? :( the above reply was supposed to be to tpbco.

  18. As far as Pedro, or Barmes, or Walker, or Tabata, etc…
    All these guys have their flaws. Sometimes they make us Oohhhhh.,..and sometimes they make us….AAwwwww :(
    When too many of them make us Awwwww :( in the same game (or stretch of games in this case), then it seems this one sucks and that one sucks.
    I just don’t suppose they can all be perfect, all the time.
    BUT MAN, IT SURE WOULD BE NICE IF THEY HADN’T BEEN SWEPT BY THE ROCKIES!!!

  19. Wow, I’m good. Everything is jumping around everywhere on here lol

  20. So my earlier long PGA report got deleted. I may be dumb about the rules. If I see that my comment is awaiting moderation, am I supposed to be the one to moderate it? And if so, how do I reenter a post already made? I just want to be a good citizen here.

  21. Obviously the large volume of comments on the Riverhounds broke the blog.

  22. All we need is a PBC win and things will settle down in here ;-)

  23. My sister called yesterday to tell me she was “tailgating before the Riverhounds game”. My initial response was, “why?”. She then went on to tell me that this thing called “soccer” was one of the most popular events in Pittsburgh. I asked her if she knew anything about soccer. She said, and I quote, “Absolutely not, but this is freakin’ awesome down here”.

    I don’t know a corner kick form a penalty kick. But, if people are getting this excited to just be there, it certainly sounds like the team is there to stay. More power to them.

    Would Pittsburgh support an NBA D-League team? Or do you just leave that to Erie?

    Buccos got swept and they still have a 3 game lead over the Cards. If they take 2 out of 3 from them, then Colorado is just a bad memory.

    Lets Go Bucs.

    • NBA D-League games are a lot of fun. It’s good quality basketball, at a family friendly price. I don’t know enough about the demand for a pro basketball option in Pittsburgh to know if the right ownership group could make it work.

  24. Hey NMR:

    Adam Dunn has been very productive this year. He’s a flawed ballplayer. Strikes out a lot (if that still matters) and is not the best first baseman in the world, to be sure. But he is hitting for average and he hits the ball a long way. Three run homers can cure a lot that ails you. I think he would be a good bat in the Pirates lineup for the stretch run.

    They could flip him this winter. I think they would have takers for him.

    Also, I just looked at Forbes and they value the Pirates at 476 million. I just wanted to make sure they had some money in petty cash. Also, Dunn was on an episode of “Top Chef.” Seemed like a likeable chap. He got along with Padma Lakshme anyway. Maybe he wouldn’t interfere too much with that over hyped locker room chemistry stuff.

  25. Oh Jeez! I was excited Terry Gregson is retiring as NHL’s head of officiating…until I read his replacement – Stephen Walkom. UGH!
    http://msn.foxsports.com/nhl/story/terry-gregson-nhl-head-of-officiating-retiring-080713

  26. Ladies and gentlemen; I give you our new RF.

  27. LET’S GO BUCS! Sorry about the sweep, but we are talking about a 162 game season. This is bound to happen. Fix the hitting so the defense sand pitching doesn’t have to carry the team and win some games so we can go back to complaining about how the team wins!

    Sincerely,

    Muppet
    (Now Testicle Free!)

  28. Got back over the weekend from an impromptu baseball vacation with my 11 year old son that took us to Pittsburgh to visit grandpa and take in the first 2 games of the Marlins series, followed by a drive up to Cooperstown for a couple of days, and a spur of the moment stopover at Niagara Falls on the way back to Chicago on Saturday.

    I am a baseball fanatic, but my son is a true baseball throwback. He loves all sports, but there is something about baseball history that attracts him like a moth to a flame. He can’t get enough of Cooperstown! We have gone two years in a row, and each time I have to practically drag him out of town. He loves it that much.

    We had a great time for the 2 games at PNC last week. I must say that I have never seen that ballpark so energized. It rivaled any baseball atmosphere I have ever experienced in Pittsburgh, and I used to go to 30 games or so per season to watch great Buccos teams when I was very young in the late 70′s. It also topped any atmosphere at any of the 20+ stadiums I have visited around MLB as an adult. Something very exciting is going on at PNC!

    My take on the Colorado series is that it was pretty much the reverse of the Marlins series. Whereas everything seemed to go right when we absolutely needed it vs. Miami, nothing went right all weekend in Colorado. The Rockies got timely hits on Sat/Sun, and their balls seemed to fall in the right places compared to ours. It didn’t help, either, that the umps made a couple of seemingly horrendous calls to really cripple our chances both games. I’m sure that has all been discussed here. The bottom line is … that’s baseball! You can’t win all the close ones. If you allow an inferior team to hang around, sooner or later you will get burned.

    The Bucs need to start hitting again in St. Louis, and I think they will. It will be ok.

    • Welcome back, Jim.

      Sounds like a great vacay.

    • Good to see you around, Jim, you were missed.

      It must be heart-warming to see your son at Cooperstown. You have to be proud of him.

      The Falls! I’ve been to both sides (American and Canadian) 4 times, and can’t get enough!

      • Thanks, Jandy. Yes, the Falls were great. I had not been there since a school field trip in about 6th grade. The Maid of the Mist brought back great memories.

    • My son’s recent bachelor party was in Cooperstown! He’s been a baseball LOON (as am I and the hubby) all his life. A very special place for dads and sons to bond…and not so coincidentally, both Dad and Dad-in-Law were invited to the party. How cool is that?!

  29. Apparently, there are rumors flying around Twitter that Lambo was called up.

    • Seems like a good time to find out if he is ready, 21. If true, this would give him some time to get acclimated and comfortable.

    • Neal is a sly dog. Yesterday on his show when Brown asked him about Lambo’s development (but studiously avoided asking him when or why he wasn’t up now), Neal explained his development (very complimentary) but then said if he was called up “immediately” or in the, I believe, “near term” he would be ready.

      It’s kind of a no-brainer with the uncertainty about Marte, though, isn’t it?

      • Agreed, Arriba. With Presley struggling, and Marte having the sore hand, and Tabata doing ok but not providing power, what do they have to lose in seeing if Lambo can provide a spark? This gives them a few weeks before playoff rosters need to be set.

        I don’t know what he would do right now. That is a tough spot to be placed in, after having been at AA until the summer. But, his confidence has to be at an all-time high right now. It is time to give him a shot.

    • That could mean bad news on Marte if true

      • I didn’t hear. Is it more serious than a contusion?

        • I’ve heard nothing more that what you have noted Jim, right now its a bruise, and he is day-to-day.

          A Lambo move would mean a corresponding roster move though, hence the thoughts that Marte may have more than a contusion

          All speculation on my part/Marte wise

      • Could be, but Neal was very honest about Marte. He said the initial x-rays were negative, but that sometimes things are missed and/or other things crop up over the next few days after an injury. He said they were hopeful, but cautious, and had to wait and see. Cross your fingers.

        • Yeah, AW, sometimes you may not see a fracture on the first x-ray

          But, again, just conjecture at this point

        • Very true. My daughter broke her hand last year in a soccer game, and because of the swelling it was diagnosed as a bruise in the emergency room. Several days later, when it had not improved, we took her back and the new x-ray showed a clear fracture.

          I’m not saying that is the case with Marte, but NH is rightly cautious about that.

          I believe Marte already had hammate surgery on that left hand a couple of years ago.

          • I had a fun experience like that too but ours turned out better than yours. But it was fun in the ER when my son was playing high school basketball when they say that the X-rays were negative but the scaphoid fracture can show up anytime in the next week. Fortunately just a bone bruise.

      • or it could mean they are just done with waiting for Elvis to hit the ball into the ground and bunting and using his speed and not hitting 280 feet fly balls trying to hit HRs. Let’s up Lambo gets his moment starting Tuesday and that Elvis has finally left the building

    • who is tweeting the rumors? reputable folks?

  30. DK,

    That was a great article on the Steelers locker room. For part II, I suggest you publish “Outakes” parts of the interview with Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark that didn’t quite make it into your story.

    Kudos to you for getting the exclusive.

    DK: Glad you liked it, SCR! And welcome!

  31. Andrew Lambo says on his Facebook page that he HAS been called up! Confirmation by anyone in the Pirates’ Org. yet??

  32. It’s great that Lambo is on his way up and Dunn is a possibility but I think our biggest need might be catcher.

    Russell Martin is still one of the greatest human beings in the history of the world but I am really concerned about his backup. Sanchez is batting well below the Mendoza line and his OBP is .233. Never thought that I’d miss the Fort.

    What happens if we lose Martin for the rest of the season? We’ll be in deep do-do. We really need to get an adequate backup before the end of the month.

  33. Dejan just tweeted the Lambo news

  34. Hey Dejan,

    I know you are not here today, but if you check in later . . . . I loved the tenor of your column today. Great off-the-field emotions conveyed. Good assessment of the two safeties, and good job getting them to share.

    This might be your best Steeler column ever.

  35. Well, Lambo is finally on his way up.

    Just tell the Cardinals and Reds to give up now, and then pop the champagne corks.

  36. Here comes the Lambo!!! Collapse III narrowly averted.

    If I had to guess, I’d say we won’t see the likes of Alex Presley around here again.

  37. Pirates sign Kelly Shoppach & assign him to Indy.

    What’s next Dom ?

  38. So, Andrew Mambo has been called up to the big time! Andrew Lambo…our baseball savior?! Shall we all take the day off from our respective jobs to celebrate the arrival of our baseball hero? Are the Three Wise Men of the blog (Drew, Milo,and Bob Hasis) on the way on donkey back with gifts of Gold Bond, Frankfurters, and Murphy’s Oil Soap to bestow upon the young man who repeated AA ball more times than I repeated kindergarten?

    Look, I agree it’s about time that he gets a shot to see what he can do, but let’s not anoint him as the second coming of anything til he laces up the big boy britches and steps onto the Big Show Porch for the first time.

    All of you bridge jumpers can step back now.

  39. The best pitcher in baseball just lost a no-hit bid with one out in the 8th. Wasn’t cheap either.

  40. Lambo just wanted to make sure he was in Pittsburgh to see the final Riverhounds game of the season.

    • Well played, Playoffs.

    • What do the Riverhounds play?

      DK: They play that silly sport that dominates the globe to such an extent that there isn’t even a reasonable No. 2.

      They also played before capacity, overflow crowds all through the second half of the season, including an international friendly vs. an elite English club.

      But yeah, go ahead and joke like it’s still 1975 on that front.

      • Un-frozen hockey.

      • I think its soccer. They don’t play the exciting 10 year old version though, with lots of goals and parents on the sidelines. The dull version has zero interest for me.

      • Who cares what the rest of the globe watches? You know what the 2nd most popular sport in the world is? Cricket.

        Am I going to get scolded for making a cricket joke?

        I think you’re a little over the top, DK. Groat makes the occasional crack about soccer. Nobody’s getting bullied or made fun of.

  41. Kelly Shoppach is a decent insurance option in case something happens to Martin or Sanchez.
    Nothing more and nothing less.

    Just look at his transaction record the past 2 years.
    The Pirates will be his 6th team since August 2011.

    He’s been picked up and released more often than the town drunk.

  42. How will the blog react if there ISN’T a Lambo line tomorrow?

    DK: Much the same, I’d imagine, as I will if this blog continues trying to discourage new visitors by mocking their favorite sports.

    Really, really wish we wouldn’t do that.

    • Like the Cosby kids (cartoon version) when they receive bad news. (Cue mass groaning.)

    • They’ll bet on whatever you lay out there, Playoffs.

      Me too.

    • I’m thinking he sits vs Wainwright. Isn’t Wainwright going tomorrow?

    • If he doesn’t start tomorrow, I look forward to the collective hernia it will cause here.

    • DK, is that directed at me?

      DK: No. It’s universal.

      • Universal seems a bit of a stretch to me. I like soccer, if that is in fact the sport being discussed. I’ve heard others comment that they like it as well.

        • By the way, 54k in St. Louis this weekend to see Real Madrid defeat Inter Malin. Same weekend as Cards were drawing over 40k each day vs. Cubs. Great soccer state, Missouri. KC loves soccer also.

          DK: St. Louis always has been kind of an outlier with soccer, you’re right. They just love USMNT in particular. Like an adopted side.

          • Meant Inter Milan.

            • I was in Milan about 2 weeks ago. I have pics of the stadium and their shirts/jersey’s or whatever they call them in soccer from a window display. Was going to send them to DK but when I try it wants me to use windows and it will not setup.

          • In 1974, when I was a wee twenty-something on my first overseas adventure with a friend who hailed from England, I attended my very first (and only) soccer match – Leeds vs. Liverpool! Now THAT was SCARY!! (But memorable. Still get chills when I hear “You’ll Never Walk Alone”).

        • Yes, lots of people like it, as DK referenced earlier.

          I still don’t see how anything that was said/written earlier is in any way discouraging new visitors from posting here.

          If someone jumps on here to write why they dislike Ray Shero or Jose Tabata or Todd Haley is that in some way discouraging new visitors from posting?

          Why should soccer / the Riverhounds be any different?

          I know my comments were with my tongue placed firmly in my cheek.
          And it looked like the other replies were as well.

          • +++++

          • I don’t see how these ‘jokes’ discourage anyone from posting. If they start a discussion and have interaction -and IGNORE any jokes- maybe there would be more soccer talk.

            But I don’t see many posts on the dedicated threads to the Riverhounds.

          • That is how I took your comments, Playoffs. And I am a soccer fan of sorts. I’m not a crazed fan, but I’ve been known to wake up early on a fall Saturday morning, and rather than try to go back to sleep for an extra hour or so I’ll flip on the TV and catch some great English Premier League.

            Thanks to soccer, my wife and I will save 80% of a B1G tuition beginning one year from next month. So, I am just fine with it.

            But, I also understand why some people don’t like it. Different folks, different strokes.

  43. Neil Huntington answered my question of who the third catcher will be in September. It’ll be Shoppach.

    I’m assuming that Presley will go down to AAA, again. But I suppose it could be Harrison.

    God help me, if it’s Clint Barmes. The weeping and gnashing of teeth will be outrageous.

    Although Barmes is certainly the one to go. He can’t hit anymore, and when he could, he wasn’t great. His ‘hot’ end of the year last year got him up to .229. Hit ‘hot’ July(.296) resulted in a whole 3 runs scored and 4 driven in. Whoot. He did manage 6 walks in July, more than doubling his season total up to that point.

    I’d rather have Mercer, whose lowest BA in any month, is .250 this August. He’s right around league average in range, and has improved from last year, not regressed.

    • Honestly, John, Im not picking on you, and we’ve both been around for a long time, but what in the heck does Mercer being a better choice at SS now (which I agree with) have to do with who gets sent down when Lambo is brought up?

      You want Harrison as the backup SS? And think Presley adds more value overall than Barmes?

    • I would have a huge problem with Barmes being demoted, there is ZERO change it will happen. Not because NH is stupid and CH is blinded by his faith in the Barmes of 2007, but because he is (1) the best fielding shortstop the Bucs have (and it isn’t close); (2) the only player other than Mercer capable of playing SS at a major league level on the roster (3) an infielder (and they are calling up an outfielder).

      The number 1 (and 2/3/4th) job of the Pirates SS is to play excellent defense.. hitting is important but less so than locking up everything on defense. Is Barmes perfect in the field? NO, but he’s superior to Jordy, he just is.

      Shoppach is the insurance C, nothing more… which is a good move in case of injury. No reason Sanchez shouldn’t continue to be the backup.

    • Harrison proved his worth on the mound Friday night.

      Lay off the guy.

  44. Happy St. Lambo Day, y’all!

  45. Everything is beautiful,
    In it’s own way.

  46. DK,

    Stellar coverage of the Steelers. I hope they can sustain the chemistry and bring the youngsters like Bell along so the elder statesman, like Polamalu can pass the torch when the time is right.

    I also want to thank you for your coverage of the Riverhounds. I do not know much about soccer, but seeing the team progress to the playoffs while still providing a first class, affordable family experience proves that affordability, profit, and on field success are not mutually exclusive with solid ownership at the foundation.

    Go Hounds!

    DK: I appreciate both, Brandie. But I’m honestly not hoping/wishing everyone reads or likes whatever I write about, much less becomes a fan of that team. (Not referring to you.) I just don’t want to see the blog shut out new visitors.

    This particular post was picked up and linked all through the soccer community, including USL Pro’s national site. Some newbies have posted. Then you scroll down to all the 1975-era soccer jokes, as if those somehow still apply. It’s a turnoff.

    The hashtag #USLPro trended in Pittsburgh yesterday when the Riverhounds clinched their berth. There are people who care. I’m including them in what I cover.

    • I think Pittsburgh will embrace soccer in time. When I was in town last week, I had a chance to see the new stadium up close while catching the Gateway Clipper over to PNC. Just another beautiful stadium in Pittsburgh!

      I look forward to the day when I come back to town specifically to see pro soccer. At that time, or shortly thereafter, hopefully Highmark will be expanded to accommodate the growing fan base. It will happen.

      • Great post Jim. Like I said, with solid ownership and commitment to team/product development, the sky’s the limit. Minus these important factors, the limit’s the sky.

      • Not a soccer fan, but I won’t come against it as a sport. Not a basketball fan either, necessarily.

        But the argument that the stadium is sold out every game is not a good argument when it holds 4,800.

        I they’d play a game at Heinz Field and sell it out, then it would really have an impact, IMHO.

        Still happy for the franchise and all that are involved and love the sport.

        • I liken it to high school football. With a much, much larger area to draw from. It’s not at all unusual for Quad A or AAA to draw that on a particular Friday night literally with friends & family in attendance.

        • That’s totally fair, Lucky. As I have said, I can see why some people don’t like soccer particularly. A lot of people don’t like baseball, hockey, etc.

          Soccer has a long way to go in Pittsburgh. ButHockey was like that at one time, I’m sure.

          I’ve always felt the folks here who post against soccer have been doing it tongue in cheek. Nothing wrong with that. But, I don’t see all the comments.

          • When I was in high school I did my homework at the Civic Arena with 6,000 of my closest friends. Early 80′s, pre-Mario.I’d sit near the top of “C” where it wasn’t so noisy.

            Milo: Mom, going to the Penguin game.
            Mom: Do you have any homework ?
            Milo: I’ll do it there.
            Mom: OK.

            True Story.

    • DK,

      I get ya. The blog was set up as an open, inclusive place and that is what it should be.

      • And that is exactly what it is.
        Tongue-in-cheek comments are made here on a daily basis.

        I don’t get how that is viewed as frightening away new posters.

        This is easily the most welcoming blog I’ve ever seen.
        That’s the only reason I post here.

        • Get lost punk.

          :-)

        • + again

        • Playoffs, I agree with 99% of your statement.

          Tongue-in-cheek comments do appear here every day.
          This is a welcoming blog.

          But let me give this as an example, and I would please like to hear how you respond to it.

          Every day on here, whenever someone criticizes the Pirates, the following occurs:

          -You’re an Eeyore,
          - You’re a Chicken Little,
          - You have your hair on fire

          and, I am not talking about the 3 or 4 trolls that come in just to cause trouble.

          Now, I dont see how that is welcoming. Also, what if a reader wants to post for the first time, and they see that type of stuff? They wont post.

          The first day I came on this blog, I was attacked by 2 posters, one of which has been banned, one of which apologized. But, it still occurred. So I agree with Dejan 101%.

          I dont personally care if we discuss Badminton, lawn darts, and jai alai.
          We should be free to discuss it, period.

          Thanks.

          • We have a bingo. Friday night. That’s when I first thought of Ray Stevens. Well said Plan.

          • Since when has anyone on here not been free to discuss whatever they want, whenever they want?

            The only exception to this that I can remember (and forgive me if I’m incorrect) was when discussions about the Pirates front office were told to only take place in the game threads.

            People disagree with each other on here at times, and yes, it can get heated.
            I can’t speak as to what happened in your case, but you still come back here, so obviously the good far outweighs the bad.

            That is the way I have always seen this place.

            But getting back to my original point…
            The soccer ‘jokes’ above were not attacking anyone.

            I see far worse take place on the other threads.
            Especially at the beginning of the Pirates season.
            Personally I wouldn’t have called that a very welcoming atmosphere for any new posters.

            But again, in my opinion, the good far outweighed the bad, and that is why I still come here.

            It just seems that soccer talk is one where everyone will have to tread lightly.
            Seems that there is some pretty sensitive, thin skin when it comes to tongue-in-cheek comments about soccer.
            I personally won’t make anymore tongue-in-cheek comments about soccer.

            I have no ill will towards the game, the Hounds, and the rest of the globe’s sporting preferences.
            Just want that on the record.

          • Since we’re giving our opinions:

            Look, I won’t talk as a soccer fan, because I’m not. But I have actually enjoyed the columns about the Riverhounds. It’s a good thing for Pittsburgh, and it is very interesting and I have the utmost respect and admiration for what Jason Gutney has accomplished. And I wouldn’t have known it except for DK’s reporting.

            On the other hand, as a long term DK blog fan, I am really turned off by DK’s overly paranoid response (in my view) to any jokes about soccer here. Admittedly, I don’t get the comments, twits and e-mails he may be receiving from soccer fans complaining. And I do get that it’s something new for the Burgh (like I say a good thing). And maybe I’m missing something. The only thing I see are the Riverhounds game blogs that get less than 10 comments. I know “hits” are the goal, but I still don’t get it how jokes about soccer (mostly benign in my view) on general daily blogs frightens people away.

            I also know that DK made a point of saying how many new people commented when the Riverhounds stadium was finished. And that those had been invited, on Twitter I think, to comment. Where are they? Are they’re not posting because of jokes here about soccer? I find that hard to believe.

            We have lots of pitched battles here, but I think one thing that is pretty universal (to the extent that’s possible on a blog) is we are very inviting of new people. (I get bored with me). We do need some thick skins sometime, though.

            At least for this non-soccer fan, but Pittsburgh fan, including for the success of Highmark’s soccer stadium and soccer in Pittsburgh, I find DK’s approach here on the blog off-putting, as opposed to inviting, to expand the soccer base.

            One final thing, if people would start posting about it, I think the people here (like me) could be drawn in. But forcing it? Nah.

            And I like Professional Golf, but not the NBA.

            • Golf stinks!
              I kid, I kid, don’t persecute me :P

            • Arriba,

              I’ve always looked at you as the main voice of reason here.
              I respect your opinions and views, even if I may not agree with them.

              Your post above is exactly why I feel that way.
              Well put and on the mark as always.

              Thank you.

              • Thanks, Playoffs. I really appreciate it and am humbled. If you hadn’t started the ball rolling, though, I know I wouldn’t have commented.

                And if you had said you always agreed with me, I would have started to wonder. :-)

              • Like I said, I see you as the voice of reason here.
                It is greatly appreciated.

          • You’re an Eeyore,
            - You’re a Chicken Little,
            - You have your hair on fire
            ———————————————-
            I have no idea how the first two got started or what they mean.

            But ‘hair is on fire’ was a joke. And I believe it was from AW to Dom. (forgive me if I’m wrong on the details). Dom got the joke. A lot of people did. Most knew what AW meant by that comment. It was meant to be a joke and was funny. And I can understand how someone might not get the joke if they missed that day on the blog. But it certainly shouldn’t scare anyone off.

            But since today is “airing of the grievances” day, you know what I don’t like and find unwelcoming: tired jokes about FC and drinking.

            • I am the one who brought up Eeyore, the donkey in Winnie the Pooh that can’t get tail (will wait for your response Brandie!) and who spins everything negative. But I was only really thinking of one poster, and it certainly was not plan. Hope you didn’t take it that way Hippo.

              • Missing the point, Lad. Plan’s complaining about it being used at all, if I get the drift, not just to him. I certainly never accused him of having his hair on fire. I don’t even think Hippo’s have hair. (But what do I know). And TC is correct, and if I offended Dom (which I don’t think I did) I’ll apologize to him. Not to plan, though. And you can’t pick out one post. It was VERY clear from the thread that it was good natured.
                Unless I’m a long haired Hippo.

              • As long as we’re having confession, I earlier had described Dom’s posts about getting someone at the deadline that he was willing to trade his grandma and DK’s mom for a marginal upgrade in right (he ‘s still posting).

                Today we’ve moved on to catcher. (Love ya, Dom)

              • I had been catching the Eeyore thing for a few days so I figured I would bring it up. Your point understood AW. And thanks!

            • It’s a Festivus miracle!!!

            • plus more than we can count

    • DK, good points… I’ve never understood the overall fascination with “it’s not a sport” bashing that happens all over, not just on this blog. Nary a radio show exists around the country when at least once a year, they have the stupid debate about ‘what counts as a sport’. They ridicule golf, NASCAR, and loads of other sports where folks dedicate themselves and train to compete and excel.

      I think it’s more than just a blog thing, it’s a weird society thing…

      I enjoy debating the topics I have an opinion of, so I stay out of any soccer talk because I don’t know much about it. I do enjoy following World Cup every 4 years and I know Ronaldo is very good and of course Beckham and Landon Donovan… I also know tons of kids play it every day across the US and soccer is now featured on NBC Sports and its cable networks, so it’s impossible not to see the uptick the sport is on in terms of ‘major league’ acceptance. The sport as a pastime for youth is already way, way more popular than any so-called major sport.

      • Totally agree with you on that society point thing. Last time I visited my in-laws, one of my wife’s cousins went totally off on me about how golf is not a sport and it is ridiculous that ESPN covers it (btw that whole “debate” about ESPN’s programming has always puzzled me as well). He knew I was a golfer and golf fan but I never get heated or riled so he sort of ranted and left the room. My mother in law actually apologized for him. Bizarre.

    • DK,

      If Pittsburgh takes to the Riverhounds, and it sounds like there are a ton of good people there, why could they not (besides from past experience) evolve into a basketball town?

      I never understood that. I like basketball about as much as I like soccer, but if Pittsburgh is on the front of their jersey’s, I’ll root for them.

    • Just my opinion, but I feel many, many other threads, posts, comments etc were far more offensive and scared off more posters than anything on this one….but what do I know?

  47. Have to admit, although I tend to think of myself as above the #FREEPLAYERX crapola, I have wanted them the give Lambo a chance for about 10 days now. Not because he is likely to have great success (the odds say he won’t), but simply because I’m tired of watching Alex Presley and Travis Snider play (and to a lesser extent Jose Tabata)… I do not have ridiculous expectations and therefore also want grab the torch and pitchforks if he fails a bit, like some folks do (without even blushing) often… see the calls now to jettison Tony Sanchez and instead play Shoppach as backup now… I don’t think it’s really ‘fair’ in love,war and blogging to do such fast 180′s.

    • Agree about Lambo’s probability of success. But we’ve already seen that Elvis and Snider are AAAA and Tabata is at best a 4th OF. Unfortunately, with Marte down you have to play some combo of two of them. All I am saying…is give Lambo a chance (cue the chorus),

      Sanchez will always have to wear the collar (resentment) of where and why he was drafted, on top of looking overmatched at the MLB level…at least for now, so the Shoppach signing makes sense.

  48. 1975!

    Those Pirates should have called up Mario Mendoza sooner and given him more of a chance.

    • Dave Augustine.

      • I saw his only MLB extra base hit at Three Rivers. It was before they moved the fences in and I would have caught it if it didn’t hit the outfield railing and bounce back for a double. Caused quite a rhubarb, but there was no replay back then.

  49. I sure like being on this coast and being late to the party. Reading through the posts really has things jumping around.

    Quite entertaining……I must say

    • this blog worth every penny in entertainment value…thanks Trib for sponsoring the nationwide conversation…and thanks bloggers for never running out of things to shoot back and forth. Though some topics are ‘fresher’ than others….

      In terms of fresh topics, I think it’s time to move Cutch to the clean-up spot in the lineup. Two main reasons… it will help stretch out the lineup in the lower half (sometimes it gets quite thin after 5) and it will also bump Pedro a spot and offer up better L-R-L flow to avoid late-inning lefties taking all of our thump away.

      Vs. LHPs, I’d go:

      Marte
      Tabata
      Martin
      Cutch
      Pedro
      Sanchez
      Mercer
      Walker
      Pitcher

      Vs. RHPs, I’d go:

      Marte
      Walker
      Jones
      Cutch
      Pedro
      Martin
      Lambo
      Mercer
      Pitcher

  50. Saw a pretty good Tom Cruise movie the other night called “Jack Reacher”. The city played extremely well in that, from the opening and driving through the Fort Pitt Tunnels, which is second to nowhere on earth, to the scenes across the river from the stadium and all the in-city shots.

    Saw the Trib sign several times and DK’s favorite, The Pirates Charities sign, too.

    Really felt like it put you there. Enjoyed the movie that much more. Good action flick if you like those types and only 1 F-bomb that I can remember.

  51. From the great timing department. Twice in the last couple weeks the Pirates got a player hurt the day after said player had 4 hits. McKenry & Marte.

  52. So is Marte definitely going on the DL?

    • Nothing for sure. Some have thrown out the possibility on twitter. If he does end up on the DL I’m going to have a big problem with them using him as a pinch runner yesterday.

      This is a very popular time for contenders to use the DL. It increases the pool of players they can use to pick their post season roster.

  53. Soccer? I looked back on the threads for Soccer and don’t see much activity? Where are these soccer people? When there is only one thread for the day even if the topic is soccer then expect baseball, football, hockey and chats to take place. Not knocking those who like soccer I just don’t see the posts on the soccer threads.
    I like playing Basketball and Golf but I don’t really care for watching basketball, and have a limited attention span on watching golf. Although I have been to a few golf opens in CA, OH and PA.
    During my recent European vacation, 5 countries and over 12 cities I even took a few shots of the Milan team jerseys and part of there stadium. Now to me that is sick thinking of DK and the soccer people while away on vacation. Thinking and following the Pirates, Steelers and Pens not so much :-).

    • To be honest… I don’t think the soccer people come here. They don’t know to come here because theres never really been soccer here before. The more it gets brought up the more you’ll see make their way here.

      This is my first time even reading this blog and it’s only because it was linked to on the Riverhounds subreddit.

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