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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Baseball, football share ‘The Final Word’

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

The joint venture between WPXI and Trib Total Media into sports TV continues Sunday night at 11:35 p.m. with the latest episode of The Final Word.

>> Who’s on: WPXI contributors will be Bill Phillips and Richie WalshThe Trib will be represented by myself and Rob Biertempfel. Our topics will by led by the Pirates-Diamondbacks series and the Steelers’ second preseason game.

>> How to participate: Each week, we also take comments from viewers through 20-second videos you submit on The Final Word’s Facebook page, as well as comments to The Final World’s Twitter account

>> Where to watch: In addition to the regular broadcast on WPXI-TV, we have WPXI’s live online stream for Pittsburgh’s many out-of-town sports fans, as well as video podcasts available on both outlets’ Web sites.

Here’s last week’s episode.

Really hope to have you, not only watching but also joining in!

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

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


  1. Drew71 says:

    Freaking Hurdle.

  2. theplanisworking says:

    Yeah, I said that every time I tripped over one.

  3. Dadtackular says:

    nice one

  4. Ghost says:

    I think the Asylum is still in the process of figuring out how to treat the Friday night / Saturday morning Final Word thread for Sunday. I think I’ll use it to fess up to something: Seventy-two wins is where I had put the Pirates for the entire season. Going in, 2013 was feeling about the same to me as 2012, regarding final results. So, hey, I’m playing with the house’s money the rest of the way.

  5. theplanisworking says:

    I personally think the Asylum is confused about the Final Word.

    First, this thread appears Friday night, for a Sunday night show.
    Second, if it was truly the Final Word, there would have been only one episode. Cant be the Final Word if it happens every week. I think a better name for the show would be “Alby and Dejan’s weekly sports chat”.
    Third, well, I dont have a third. Just wanted to put it here.

    Maybe the show can focus on sports, such as the RiverPuppies, Pitt football, etc.

    Or, they can discuss the workings of Pittsburgh Sports blogs. ;)

  6. Ghost says:

    I think you’re on to something. How ’bout, “Alby and Dejan do Pittsburgh” ???

  7. John Lease says:

    I myself had the Pirates around 75 wins.

    I feel better, but only because the Brewers did the Pirates a favor last night. Go Brew Crew!

  8. JAL says:

    JAL’s Don’t Worry Be Happy) 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: A Precautionary Tale About Living in Fear of a Collapse

    Prospect Watch: Jameson Taillon and Tyler Glasnow Dominate With Strikeouts

    Pirates Beat Arizona 6-2 to Expand Playoff Cushion, Match 2011 Win Total

    Pirates Notebook: Tony Sanchez Says “There’s Nothing Better” Than Watching Martin

    7 Bucs Dugout

    Cole, Gomez, Tabata beat up on Diamondbacks, 6-2

    Andrew Lambo discusses minor-league breakout, big-league pitching

    8 Rumbunter

    Would Justin Morneau Improve The Pirates Offense?


    Game 121: Pirates 6 Diamondbacks 2

    10 The Green Weenie

    There’s No Place Like Home; Bucs Win 6-2

    11 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Pirates 6, DBacks 2

  9. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    12 Arizona Central

    Arizona Diamondbacks open road trip with loss to Pittsburgh Pirates

    13 Martins Ferry Times Leader

    ‘Candy Man’ likes Pirates’ chances–likes-Pirates–chances.html?nav=5013

    14 City of Champions

    Pirates down D-backs at PNC Park

    15 Rant Sports

    It’s Put up or Shut up time for the Pittsburgh Pirates in Pennant Race

    16 CBS Sports

    Pirates vs Diamondbacks Game Preview

    17 St Louis Post Dispatch

    Westbrook, Cards’ offense both not very good

    18 PBC Site

    After Bucs regain lead, Cole stifles D-backs

    Notebook: Wandy feels good after 35-pitch simulated game


    19 Cincinnati Enquirer

    Chapman blows save, ends winning streak

    20 Fangraphs

    Who Wants Jacoby Ellsbury?

  10. JAL says:

    Don’t Worry Be Happy Bobby McFerrin 1988 McFerrin has won 10 Grammys. mostly in jazz, but this is his only pop hit song

  11. theplanisworking says:

    “Alby and Dejan watch Ghost get attacked by Fish, Part II”

  12. JoeyBats says:

    Hoka Hey everyone,

    Pirates win…Pirates win! LXXII down and just X to go….

    Yes GM Neal and Mgr. Clint ….82 wins does make a difference!
    PS: Playing @ PNC Park does make a difference too! :-)
    PSS: Fun to see those Cards and Reds lose on the same night.
    Beat Em Bucs !!

  13. Drew71 says:

    In yesterday’s chat, Dejan wrote regarding pitt’s “debut in the ACC, which otherwise isn’t all that loaded.”

    I have no ax to grind but thought I’d check the ACC’s preseason rankings.

    Two ACC teams are getting some love for outside chances to the BCS championship game: Clemson at #8 and Florida State at #12.

    Depth? Three other ACC teams received votes for (but are not in) the Top 25: Miami, Virginia Tech, North Carolina. And Georgia Tech is not bad, coming off SIXTEEN CONSECUTIVE YEARS of making a bowl game. Since 1997.

    That’s six pretty good to very good teams. Yeah, the other eight teams pretty much stink. And yeah, preseason polls are often meaningless.

    But pitt plays five of those six ACC teams. They get a break with Clemson, but Notre Dame is on the schedule, too.

    So is the ACC such a weak sister this year? Probably depends on those four just below the preseason Top 25.

    But how does it look for pitt? Six tough games. With a new QB who hasn’t played since 1997 and Qs at running back.

    If they sneak one win from those six, but lose one of the softies (don’t they always?), pitt is 6-6. Of the six tough games, the opponent may be favored in each.

    That kinda seems like the realistic top end for them: six wins. And I think five is more likely than seven. And that’s my prediction…5-7.

    Deal with it. Hope Is Not A Strategy.

  14. Brandie says:

    Or Alby and Dejan Present…

    “Sports N’At!”

  15. bradthedad says:

    Chapman with a blown save giving up a walk off homerun. AND he declines to be available to the press afterward. Too good!

  16. Jim S. says:

    Great line, plan! Great line. If that one has been used before, I have missed it.

  17. Jim S. says:

    It’s a tough schedule, Drew. And the conference is a pretty good in football. Maybe it is not the SEC or Big 12, but it is often better than the B1G. Pitt will have its hands full every year in this conference. I think it is a great fit in hoops and football.

  18. Jim S. says:

    I watched it live, after the Bucs had finished a great performance vs. Arizona.

    On the Reds broadcast, there was silence after the HR. For more than 10 seconds. Maybe close to 20.

    I’d say the Brewers better make sure they have their batting helmets on tight today/tomorrow, because if Chapman is called upon again he is going to accidentally thrown one up near someone’s head.

  19. Milo Hamilton says:

    There were hookers waiting.

  20. Jim S. says:

    Big win by the Bucs last night, folks, on a day where the Cardinals showed up very flat vs. the Cubbies and Cincinnati finally blew one of the close ones they have been using to get back in this race the last 10 games or so.

    First, the Bucs. Cole pitched great, except for the one rough inning. I felt the ump decided to make it tough on him vs. Goldschmidt and Hill there. He had 3 pitches to them at the knees that were strikes all night, except that inning. Unfortunately, it happens. Maybe the ump was just being a bit inconsistent. Regardless, the hitters came through. Cutch, Marte, Walker, Tabby, Pedro – all had big hits and hit the ball hard. Jeanmar Gomez was terrific again, as he has been almost all year. What a find he was. Got him for a bag of batting practice balls and a case of Yoohoo, I think.

    Cardinals looked flatter than flat. Cubs are .500 vs. Cards this year, while allowing the Reds to walk all over them. Baseball. Go figure.

    Reds blew a chance to hang at 2.5 with us. Too bad for them. Chapman blew a big save. The Reds TV team went AWOL and apparently didn’t want to accept reality for awhile. Brandon Phillips dropped a pop fly in short RC that the OF could have caught pretty easily. But, if Brandon had allowed that he would not have had a chance at an ESPN Web Gem, and we know that is the most important thing there.

    Good start to the weekend! 39,031 watched the Bucs win in the sub-38,000 capacity ball park! Bucco Nation is all in! Keep it up tonight, guys!

  21. Jim S. says:

    Your go to line never gets old, Milo. Hilarious!

  22. Nate83 says:

    Did you see Harper got hit twice more by the Braves. 15 game lead and their taking target practice on the kid and not a single pitcher from the Nats is doing anything about it.

  23. Jim S. says:

    I’m going to say 7-5, Drew. But, that is pure optimism talking. They have some players. But, they also have some holes, and a QB that hasn’t played in awhile – albeit with a rocket for an arm.

  24. Jim S. says:

    Yeah, they really hate Harper, and he hates them. That one has legs.

  25. Drew71 says:

    Nothing wrong with optimism.

    I may be wrong. I am also not a fan of pitt. So right or wrong, no optimism or pessimism involved in my prediction. Those feelings, O or P, kinda require someone to, you know, care.

    But not caring also doesn’t make it any more likely that I am right.

  26. Jim S. says:

    Yeah, truthfully, they could finish anywhere from 4-8 to 7-5 or so.

  27. Brandie says:

    Neither is “Hope and Change”,but tell that to everyone who base their daily lives on it.

    Good Morning, Drew!

  28. Jim S. says:

    We argue all the time here about how confident people are about the Bucs. Some people fear a collapse, and some say we are leading the division and have a great record. But, let’s face it, the reason not everyone is supremely confident of this bunch is the lack of dominant, convincing victories on a regular basis. Those kinds of efforts, stacked one on top of another breed confidence for the fan base and team. Last night was a great performance – the kind that really good teams have at home when they need to right the ship. It would be great if they could take the DBacks down 3 straight to the tune of about 17-5. That would set us on a good course headed back on the road.

  29. JAL says:

    for those who follow Penn State from Wall Street Journal

    How Penn State Football Survived

  30. Drew71 says:


  31. Arriba Wilver says:

    Jeanmar is one of DK’s unsung heroes in yesterday’s column.

  32. bradthedad says:

    Thanks, Jim. I like it even better now.

  33. Milo Hamilton says:

    Couldn’t have said that better myself. You are one wise muppet.

  34. Brandie says:

    Comes from being beat up by life and not giving my best at times. Just like the Bucs, I’m learning how to finish.

    Good vibes to you, Milo!

  35. Drew71 says:

    Just back from my morning constitutional.

    9,000 steps by 9 AM.

    Not sure if I’m a finisher. Probably more of a starter.

    May you all step lively today.

  36. Thundercrack says:

    Well then I’m more surprised that he didn’t give up 5 earned runs, blow the lead, and leave the game with ‘forearm tightness’

  37. Thundercrack says:

    Their longest losing steak of the year is 4 games. That builds my confidence in this team. I’m convinced they’re good.

  38. Arriba Wilver says:

    You’ve been hanging around with those dogs too long.

  39. Tom P. says:

    Well said, Jim. I used the term “margin for error” after the 14 inning loss, in part because of all the close games the Pirates play and (fortunately) win many. It was nice to have a two run lead going into the 7th, and then Tabata’s HR was icing on the cake.

  40. MadTurk says:

    Great and touching story JAL Thanks for sharing.

  41. Brandie says:

    And now… Deep Thoughts by Howdy Drewdy. :-)

  42. Did you catch the Atlanta fans giving the pitcher a standing O as he came off the field after hitting Harper with a pitch around his neck and behind him? Definitely not their finest hour.

  43. theplanisworking says:

    Wasnt this in DK’s column yesterday morning?

  44. cosmo says:

    I was at the game last night. Great win for the Bucs, and picking up a game on both Cards and Reds was gravy. Now I may or may not qualify for the OMC that was mentioned here yesterday or Thursday, but here goes.
    While I am happy that the team is doing well at the gate, another enthusiastic sellout crowd, I miss the days od 20,000 or less at the park. The constant parade of people going up and down the aisles is distracting and makes the game hard to follow. Going between innings is not a problem, but during the action is a disservice to the fans who truly are there to enjoy the game.

  45. theplanisworking says:

    No, just popped in my head.

  46. Thundercrack says:

    cosmo, I’m glad there are big crowds but I totally get (and agree with) the constant parade of people going up & down. It drives me crazy.

    When I complained to an usher last year he told me that they were told to stop people at the top of the aisle, but also keep the concourse clear of people waiting.
    Not sure how you do that…..

  47. Playoffs by 2012 says:

    BIG THANK YOU to Jandy for re-posting for me yesterday.
    Gonna need another re-post today from one of you fine folks on here.
    Thanks in advance!


    Makes my job a helluva lot easier when I don’t have to hunt to find everyone’s “wagers”

    Max “wager” is 100 units on any single line.
    All “wagers” must be in multiples of 5 units.
    Play as few or as many lines as you’d like.
    As always, this is for fun and entertainment purposes.


    Today’s Line
    Total HITS by Andrew Lambo in today’s game
    Line is 0.5
    ***This line will be valid even if Lambo does not start***

    GOOD LUCK!!!

    72 Down, only 10 more to go!!

    Anything is possible if a person believes
    Mark 9:23

    KEEP CALM & BREAK .500

  48. JAL says:

    It was but some may have missed it

  49. cosmo says:

    maybe they need to add a few true fan only sections, like the all you can eat seats.

  50. tdb1977 says:

    I’ll take 100 on the under. No way he starts what Jose hit a home run last night.

    I’ll be road tripping later this coming week. Heading up to Comerica to see the Twins/Tigers game on Wednesday evening. This is the first of, hopefully, many exciting trips to different parks around the nation. The wife and I are going to start tripping to different parks over the next couple of summers to see if we can pick up all 30 of the MLB parks, and Detriot will be park number 2, as we are officially starting this adventure with the Bucs/Snakes game this afternoon. Even picked up one of those MLB Ballpark Pass-Port books to get validated for each stadium we go to. We are pretty excited about this adventure. If time permits, we are considering a Sunday trip to Cleveland this season to pick up Progressive Field. If not, that will come off the list next summer.

  51. cosmo says:

    sounds like fun, enjoy

  52. From 24/7’s Notes: (talking about resigning McCutchen)
    “Nutting said. “We love having those guys with the club, (but), you know, in the reality, nobody keeps every player. The Yankees don’t, the Red Sox don’t, and the Pirates don’t.”

    I HATE that kind of quote!!
    I HATED it when Neil Huntington threw around his ’27 Yankees quote!

    These guys don’t EVEN ATTEMPT to compete with clubs like Yankees and Red Sox, yet they use them in their quotes when they want to make a splash.



    Bob Nutting and BMTIB get a pass because of the unexpected team performance this year (after 5 years of shoddy performance by both Nutting and Huntington———and who can forget drunken Frank and the Stroll Inn public relations coups) . . . . . . . but WINNING does not change my contempt for their defensive attempt in relations with and talking down to the Western Pa. community. More comatose John Russell?

    I am not yet a win-whore.

  53. theplanisworking says:

    Billy Groat………………

    Thank God you wrote this!
    I have always been suspicious of every move and quote from the BMTIB!!!!

    Until something happens, I NEVER give them the benefit of the doubt!


  54. Brandie says:


  55. TJ says:

    Totally unrelated to sports but related to an article on the trib; I’m a freaking weekly traveler and had no clue that the airport was logging my license plate number.

    How is this even legal??

    I looked at every parking stub I have received over the past 4 months and not one mention of tags being logged. No signs as you enter the airport.

    I’m all for the concept of its to help people find their cars when they return or help police but there is another side of this that bothers me. Who else has access to this information? And now that its public that this company logs these plates how possible is their system of being hacked? Think about a hacked data base of license plate numbers sitting at the airport. Pretty much tells you that there is a good chance that the location that the owner of that car lives might be empty.

    Really freaking aggravates me. Why not have bars do this or the Pirates and Steelers so that way they can help the drunk fans find their cars too?

  56. TJ says:

    Groat I agree;

    But he’s talking on national TV. He wasn’t talking on WPXI or KDKA to a local audience. He was speaking on a broader scale. Do you want to connect to your audience by comparing your team to the Royals or Astros or do you want to make sure they understand that even the most popular teams don’t keep all their players.

    So while I agree that if he was speaking to a western PA audience it would be a smack in the face but the fact remains he was speaking to a national audience.

  57. TJ says:

    Longest losing streak is 4 games; playoffs come around and that would be the time they find another 4 game streak!!!!

  58. theplanisworking says:

    Hi Brandimal!

  59. theplanisworking says:

    There was a reason Sherman burnt that city to the ground…………

  60. TJ says:

    Could care less about Harper or anyone else on the Nationals team. They all seem to have a stink about them that they are the next great team. Seems like every team in the DC/Baltimore area walks with a sense of entitlement…. the Ravens, the Caps and the Nats all think they are there for the world to admire.

  61. JohninOshkosh says:

    I’m just a whore!

    Seriously, excellent post, Groat.

    Two,four, six, eight, who do we appreciate?
    Groat! Groat! Groat!

  62. Brandie says:

    Hey Plan N’At! Hope all is great with yinz!

  63. JohninOshkosh says:

    Everybody ready for the Ryan Braun Magical Apology Tour ?

  64. Brandie says:

    Where’s the trick? A fake, smarmy apology makes even more fans disappear?

  65. TJ says:

    Hate to say it but with as many games as they have versus the Cards and Reds I wish he were playing!!

  66. JohninOshkosh says:

    Yeah, I’m taking the family to Miller Park tonight for big Saturday Night in the big city. Always a conundrum for me, if the Brewers arn’t playing the Pirates. It’s hard for me to cheer for the Crew, it’s just not in my DNA. Makes me a bit nauseous as I feel a tinge of betrayal to the Buccos. But tonight I will have no self-doubt. Hope Gallardo shuts the Reds down.

    Plus, have I said it before ? I hate the Reds.

  67. TJ says:

    Nice to see Chapman blow that save last night. I went to bed thinking for sure the Reds would be in 2nd

  68. Brandie says:

    Barbecue gone awry!

  69. Arriba Wilver says:

    I don’t get that at all with the Nats. The city was without a team for, what, 40 some years? And Harper would be Harper no matter where he played. Same with Werth. Heck, they don’t even like Werth all that much there. ;-)

  70. Can someone tell me what/where is the all-you-can-eat section at PNC? I’ve seen it mentioned a few times on here now.

  71. JohninOshkosh says:

    Well, Milwaukee hookers are hookers but still good Midwestern girls. They try to keep decent hours for their customers. Chapman knew he didn’t have much time so he just floated the meatball to Lucroy and got out of the ballpark as quick as he could before the “stores” closed.

  72. TJ says:

    Isn’t it RF?

  73. TJ says:

    Sections 201-205 “All you can Eat Seats”

  74. TJ says:

    Was it him that got robbed in pittsburgh?

  75. JohninOshkosh says:

    Yep. Prince of a man.

  76. theplanisworking says:

    Yes. Always love seeing an athlete making a complete ass of himself!

  77. theplanisworking says:

    The all-you-can-eat seats are a gimmick employed by many teams to sell seats when non-competitive teams play your home team.

    For $47, you get a ticket, and the ability to go to the consession stands unlimited times for dogs, pretzels, sodas, etc. This is great if you have hungry teenagers, but personally I get an upset stomach with most ballpark food.

    Its really a marketing ploy to sell some tickets……….. like everything else, it does benefit some fans.

  78. JohninOshkosh says:

    Very cool.

  79. theplanisworking says:

    I will see you later for the game thread.

    Hope you and the hubz have a special night planned….. no pun intended. ;)

  80. Tom P. says:

    Comerica is a great place to watch a game. I saw the Tigers beat the Cardinals 2-1 in 10 innings on a ground ball that took about 10 hops up the middle. Nice stadium, good food. Progressive Field is nice too, but I haven’t been there in about 10 years.

  81. Jim S. says:

    Remember their display of littering the field in the playoff game last year vs. St. Louis? Not a good moment then for Atlanta, either.

  82. Thanks Plan. They didn’t have that the last time I was there for a game. I could eat $47 worth of Primanti Bros & QSL wings though!!! I ASSume that beer is extra, since it wouldn’t take much to break the bank there.

  83. Jim S. says:

    That’s what I meant, Tom. I’m definitely of the opinion they have been a solid team all year. But, I am just thinking one of the reasons a decent portion of the fan base continues to fear Collapse III is that we live on the edge in a lot of games. So, it is easy to say a lot of our wins could have gone the other way. I’m not complaining. But, last night felt really good.

  84. Jim S. says:

    I am as well, Thunder. I was just saying I can see how some people still have doubts due to the nature of the wins. Last night was dominant, I felt. But, hey, a win is a win is a win. They all count the same.

  85. Jim S. says:

    When I came in from out of town for 2 games in the Marlins series, the ushers definitely held people from coming down until after each batter.

  86. Jim S. says:

    tdb, you are my official hero! Wish I could do that with you. I think my current list of MLB parks is 25. But, that counts old and new in the same cities. So, Pittsburgh x 2, Cincy x 2, etc.

    Great adventure for you and your wife. Enjoy!

  87. Arriba Wilver says:

    Really? What section were you in? Because that would be new. Not the normal experience from the last several years, at least, I assure you, in the seats near the field.

  88. Jim S. says:

    109 one night and 110 the other. The usher held everyone up while the at bat took place, and then let people go. I thought it worked pretty well, although as mentioned above, you have to start stacking people somewhere. So, the concourse near the aisles got a little congested.

    Reminds me of the old Yogi Berra line about the restaurant that no one goes to any more because it too popular. PNC is the place to be, but it does make for more congestion everywhere in there.

  89. Jim S. says:

    I brought my son to see the Marlins, and my brother and his son came down from Connecticut to join us. My nephew picked up 2 Primanti’s sandwiches and drinks for him and my brother. As he was walking back to his seat, he got bumped accidentally, and one of the sandwiches fell off his tray, then the tray’s weight immediately shifted, and down went the other one and the cokes. An usher was on it in under 10 seconds to clean up the mess. After he cleaned it up, he had my nephew follow him to a side door of Primanti’s, where he had the order completely replaced for free. Very nice thing!

  90. cosmo says:

    those options are not available in the AYCE seats.

  91. Nati D says:

    The AYCE seats are overrated, in my opinion. Just very basic ballpark fare. Hot dogs, burgers, peanuts, pop, etc. No specialty options like primanti’s or quaker steak. No beer, obviously. Plus, there’s a 4 or 5 item max at a time, so to get more you have to get back in line, which can be lengthy if it’s a sold out game. If you’re that hungry before the game, just do the casino buffet down the street.

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