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Morning Java: Lay it on the line tonight

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> No Thursday column this week because it was pushed up a day to cover the Pirates’ trade. The rest of the week’s schedule is intact, including a Friday column coming from the the finale with the Brewers at PNC Park.

Bill-Reilly_Cam-Newton_IMG_4695-1024x682>> It’s come to be known simply as ‘the Carolina game,’ and not exactly in the best possible connotation.

Tonight will mark the 11th consecutive year the Steelers and Panthers will have concluded their preseason against each other, this one in Charlotte. And it’s safe to say that the overall worth of all 11 combined wouldn’t fill a thimble. That’s because they mean almost nothing. Ben Roethlisberger won’t play. I’d be stunned if Cam Newton is out there for more than a series if that, based on the reporting of the Charlotte Observer. Same goes for most of the first-teamers on both sides.

So, what’s to watch?

Ask me, and it’s the offensive line. Again.

Regardless of who’s in the backfield, at quarterback or running back, the line has a good bit to gain from playing at least a few snaps, if not a full quarter. And what they do will mean something in the sense that they’re still protecting a quarterback, still opening holes for a running back, still ramping up the zone-blocking.

And this goes double for the tackles, Mike Adams and Marcus Gilbert, whose performance in the preseason has been ominously shaky.

That topic and others were addressed in this spirited talk I had yesterday with our football guru Mark Kaboly

Here’s our full Steelers coverage from Alan Robinson, who will be on site in Charlotte.

>> And here’s something else …

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The Pirates and Marlon Byrd had their way with the Brewers last night at PNC. Rob Biertempfel reports. Just a handful of Ws shy of history now.

Here’s our full baseball coverage, including more on Byrd’s arrival.

Here’s Brewers news from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

Here are official game highlights from MLB.com.

>> Tom Savage, Pitt’s rust-coated QB, talks wistfully about the opener. Jerry DiPaola reports. And for more on Savage and his progress since the spring, here’s tight end J.P. Holtz

Also on the Pitt front, Joe Starkey’s column revisits a far bigger matchup with Florida State.

>> All 240 pounds of big back Zach Zwinak should boost Penn State. Chris Adamski reports.

>> I’ll say hello to the TribLIVE Radio crew 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.

399 Comments

  1. Byrd is the Word

  2. Great to see Byrd add the offense that the Pirates desperately needed.

    On a side note, does anyone think that when baseball extended the season to 162 games that it is now creating an issue with pitchers being able to last the whole season anymore? It feels like you are seeing pitchers run out of gas all over the league, and what good are they if they are exhausted by the time the playoffs start?

    Just a random thought watching Locke Tuesday night. Would have been nice to see him at his best during the stretch run.

    DK: Pitching and pitch counts are going to wind up being something of a pendulum throughout baseball history, I suspect. Lots of noise to that effect already.

    • Baseball has had a 162-game season for a LONG TIME now, and that didn’t seem to affect guys like Carlton, Seaver, Niekro, Ryan and the like. Guys are babied in the minor leagues in this day and age.

      I would like to see the top 10 pitching prospects in AAA, and see what their amount of innings are. Can’t expect kids to throw more than 30 to 50 more innings in a single season, that they are used to, and NOT have some type of arm fatigue.

      • Yep, been saying this, myself. Limit what a pitcher can do, and you’ll get a pitcher limited in what he can do.

        • That’s right Ghost. There are guys with rubber bands for arms that could give you 6 every 3 days if they were asked

      • Didn’t seem to bother the 71 Orioles staff. Four 20 game winners. I believe they had a four man rotation for a large part of the 70′s.

  3. Nice win by the Pirates tonight. I also see it is pretty much a done deal that Vic Black is going to the Mets. After Sept. 1 it’s supposed to be announced.

    Much better lineup with the catcher (whoever it may be on a given night) hitting in the 7 spot. Martin seems to tighten up in the big RBI situations. Maybe hitting with 1 guy on , or no one on, will let him ease up a little.

    I heard also Marte was swinging a bat today, after I read he was instructed not to do so for 2 weeks. What is really going on with him?

    DK: You didn’t read anything in the Trib about Marte being shut down for two weeks.

    And as for Martin/clutch, wow, really?

    • I thought I remember reading that Martin was one of the team leaders in GW RBIs or RISP or something. For whatever meaning that stuff has over the course of several months – and maybe not much – I would at least tend to think that it doesn’t mean that Martin tightens up in RBI situations.

      What you may instead be seeing is that Martin currently is in a slump that is getting worse. In other words, ALL situations, not just RISP.

      His BA:

      - Season .241
      - Last 28 days .200
      - Last 14 days .146
      - Last 7 days .071

      • Thankfully the GWRBI was strangled in its crib.

      • Martin has a low batting avg. w RISP this year, for what it’s worth.

        • Yes except for the moments when he has been very clutch he hasn’t been clutch very often. Although this is misleading because he sometime works a walk in these situations. He is very unselfish like that.

          • I agree, Nate. He has gotten a lot of big hits this year. The definition of “clutch” is different for everyone, I think. Remember when Cutch was hitting something like .260 with RISP? Well, now he is up to .289. I guess he has been more “clutch” of late. I looked at his year by year #’s a few weeks ago when this last came up. Some years he hits over .300 with RISP, and some years he hits in the .280′s – pretty much just like he hits overall. By and large, good hitters hit well with RISP over the long haul, and bad hitters don’t. Most guys end up with similar stats with RISP vs. non-RISP situations over their careers. If it were truly controllable, great players would never have down years in these situations, but everyone does.

    • DK,

      Greg Brown said early in the broadcast that Martin was taking indoor BP before the game.

    • You people do realize that if a hitter does his job a little over 30% of the time, he’s a Hall of Fame player right? NOBODY is going to get a hit EVERY time he comes to bat with a RISP. As for Martin, he has driven in several important runs this year.

      • Martin doesn’t have to do anything at the plate for me to be happy. His ability to frame pitches, his abiilty to call games, to deal with pitchers and oh yeah…he single handedly turned the Pirates into a team that you don’t run on! Yeah…I’ll take .240 from him all day all the time.

        • well said. But his clutch RBI’s have been sweet, too :)

        • I think the original point was more that it is good now that Martin doesn’t have to bat 4th or 5th on occasion. I think that is on the money. Martin has been great on defense, and he has had a few game-winning hits. We should all be thrilled he’s here. But, overall, he is not a middle of the order hitter. Thankfully, now we don’t need him to be.

    • i read multiple places, not just here, no swinging the bat for 2 weeks.

      I HEARD yesterday, during the Pirate’s broadcast , he was taking SWINGS in the cages.

      I don’t understand your reference to the WOW, REALLY part though.
      Could you elaborate what that is supposed to mean?.

      If you think i am being too harsh on him, just check his BA with runners on base, let alone in scoring position. It is not too good.

  4. Some of you may remember my mentioning that the great-uncle of my elder kid’s high school teammate was A’s pitcher Roger Wolff (and later a former Pirate) who knocked Ted Williams batting average to below .400 on the second to last day of the 1941 season, setting up Williams historic 6-for-8 double-header performance on the final day to secure the last .400+ season ever accomplished.
    Well, tonight I just found out that a teammate of my younger kid on his fall ball team is the great grandson of Vern Law. All the way out here in the Silver State, who’d have thunk it?

  5. The importance of one HR that wasn’t THAT important to the game…

    Byrd hit a three run HR when the Pirates had a 4-1 lead and were handing the game to their nearly-always deadly bullpen. Not a meaningless HR but it wasn’t exactly a game-turner.

    Yet I would like to propose that it was CRUCIAL to the Pirates’ playoff run.

    1. How many times have we seen, with the Pirates or any team, a contending team’s playoff-chasing trade acquisition put so much pressure on himself that he stinks out the rest of the season. Only to return to form with another team the next April.

    DOES THAT HR TAKE PRESSURE OFF BYRD? We’ll never really know so this is an unprovable opinion. But there is self-imposed pressure put on guys just traded from a loser to a contender to show they can contribute.

    Well. In this case, CHECK. Now Byrd can relax and just play.

    2. Other teams’ pitchers saw that HR. If Byrd starts off well, that means Alvarez and McCutchen will see better pitches. We likely are too early for that dynamic, but it was a nice start in that direction. If it continues, it WILL happen.

    • I was thinking similar thoughts. Going back two years, is Marlon Byrd going to perform more like Derrek Lee (pretty good) or Ryan Ludwick (not so much). Time will tell, but like you, I’m glad Byrd got off to a good start.

    • + many, Drew Dahling :)

    • Plus 100

    • Good points, Drew. I was at the game, and a guy behind me said the next inning, when the Brewers had 2 or three on that he sure felt better about that with a 7-1 lead, than a 4-1 lead. Of course, that was after the fact.

    • Nice post Drew…also for anyone that didn’t here the pre-game on radio….Byrd is the definition of a pro. He took a lot of questions, was funny, direct, said all the right things, and more importantly went out and had himself a decent game to back it all up.

    • Yes, very good points Drew. Unlike Derek Lee, who homered twice in his first game that they lost 5-3, Byrd gets his first hit and its a blast… way way way better than going 0-4 his first game and having to feel the added pressure of fans and his new teammates. And its a win… no added pressure that he only went 1-4 and hit the homerun but still lost.

  6. Keith Olbermann not recognizing, and then calling Bill Mazeroski “Honus Wagner” wasn’t cool. Just sayin’

    • Good point @zivkov34

    • Did he, really?

      I recall Olbermann lobbying feverishly for Billy Maz’s inclusion to the HOF. I believe he called him the greatest fielder in MLB history at his position. Odd that he would confuse Maz with Honus, although I called my son by the dog’s name last night.

    • That’s his pseudonym for TV – his real name is Richard Cranium. He pretends to be cute, clever and funny. Unsuccessfully.

      He tried to change the political landscape on TV, and all he did was change his venue. Another unsuccessful endeavor.

      He has already proven himself – as unsuccessful.

      You won’t be getting anything different or better henceforth.

      The four letter sports station is really groping with him. Hope they have the option.

  7. Hoka Hey everyone!
    .
    Pirates win…Pirates win!!! ….LXXVII wins down, …and V to go.
    .
    Yes, GM Neal and Mgr. Clint ….82 wins DOES make a difference.
    .
    Beat Em’ Bucs !
    .
    PS: Thank you Messers. Morton and Byrd for the performances last night.
    .
    PSS: On a Steelers season ticket holder note….the pre-season games continue to be a rip-off; but, yes….a topic for a different time.

  8. With 30 games left, the Pirates magic number to eliminate Arizona is 22, to host the wild card is 27 (vs. Reds) and to win the division is 31 (vs. Cardinals).

  9. Great time at the game last night.

    I think it may have been the first time I have ever seen a player get a big round of applause for striking out. That’s what happened to Byrd after his 14 pitch at bat.

    And after he hit the 3 run homer – that was special.

  10. JAL’s Steel River Morning Links

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OgoMsc7PseY

    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 Pittsburgh Pirates Stats

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

    BLOGS and such

    4—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: Pirates Have Solved One of This Year’s Biggest Problems

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/08/first-pitch-pirates-have-solved-one-of-this-years-biggest-problems.html

    Byrd Homers in Debut, Morton Fires a Gem as Pirates Win 7-1

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/08/byrd-homers-in-debut-morton-fires-a-gem-as-pirates-win-7-1.html

    Prospect Watch: Cumpton Bounces Back; Heredia Throws Five Shutout Again

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/08/prospect-watch-cumpton-bounces-back-heredia-throws-five-shutout-again.html

    Pirates Notebook: What Now for Jose Tabata?

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/08/pirates-notebook-what-now-for-jose-tabata.html

    5 Bucs Dugout

    Marlon Byrd trade analysis: Pirates make the right ‘stupid’ trade

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2013/8/29/4670800/marlon-byrd-trade-analysis-pirates-make-the-right-stupid-trade

    Pirates fans welcome Marlon Byrd in 7-1 blowout of Brewers

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2013/8/28/4670294/pirates-fans-welcome-marlon-byrd-in-7-1-blowout-of-brewers

    6 Rumbunter

    The Pirates Have Some Negotiating Power in Justin Morneau Talks

    http://rumbunter.com/2013/08/28/the-pirates-have-some-negotiating-power-in-justin-morneau-talks/

    7 WHYGAVS

    Game 132: Pirates 7 Brewers 1

    http://www.whygavs.com/pittsburgh-pirates/august-2013/game-132-pirates-7-brewers-1.html

    8 The Green Weenie

    Bats Stay Hot; Morton Stays Cool In 7-1 Bucco Romp

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2013/08/bats-stay-hot-morton-stays-cool-in-7-1.html

    9 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Pirates 7, Brewers 1

    http://raisethejollyroger.com/2013/08/pirates-7-brewers-1-2/

    • Steel River Chris Rea 1988 Has moderate success in the US with one top 40 hit, “Fool (If You Think It’s Over)” 1978. Worth a listen if you are unfamiliar with him.

  11. NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    10 IS Sports

    Pittsburgh Pirates: 5 thoughts about the Marlon Byrd trade

    http://isportsweb.com/2013/08/28/pittsburgh-pirates-byrd-trade-10-thoughts/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+isportsweb+(isportsweb)

    11 Sports Illustrated

    Pirates fans feel the angst — and that’s a good thing

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/mlb/news/20130828/pittsburgh-pirates-playoffs/

    12 Rant Sports

    Pittsburgh Pirates Make Wise Move Optioning Jeff Locke To Double-A

    http://www.rantsports.com/mlb/2013/08/28/pittsburgh-pirates-make-wise-move-optioning-jeff-locke-to-double-a/

    13 Beaver County Times

    New deals give Pirates offensive options

    http://www.timesonline.com/sports/pirates/new-deals-give-pirates-offensive-options/article_ef3e1f90-8308-5b7b-b2a2-f22a4c0c1c3c.html

    14 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/b>

    Tom Gorzelanny throws future role with Brewers into question

    http://www.jsonline.com/sports/brewers/tom-gorzelanny-throws-his-future-role-with-brewers-into-question-b9985838z1-221586461.html

    15 Cincinnati Enquirer

    Reds rout Cardinals, 10-0, to avoid sweep

    http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20130828/SPT04/308260064/Reds-rout-Cardinals-to-avoid-sweep

    16 CBS Sports

    Brewers-Pirates Gam Preview

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/gametracker/preview/MLB_20130829_MIL@PIT

    17 St Louis Post Dispatch

    Miklasz: Homestand is solid, but finale a clunker

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/columns/bernie-miklasz/miklasz-homestand-is-solid-but-finale-a-clunker/article_2bbddc82-4249-516d-9605-3bbb52777dc5.html

    18 PBC Site

    New addition supports familiar face to generate win

    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2013_08_28_milmlb_pitmlb_1&mode=recap_home&c_id=pit

    Notebook: Byrd, Buck arrive, start ‘meshing with new team’

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130828&content_id=58789656&notebook_id=58790182&vkey=notebook_pit&c_id=pit

    SPORTS WEBSITES

    19 Baseball Prospectus

    Ten Position Players We Would Like to See Pitch

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=21637

    20 Fangraphs

    The Pirates and History Before History

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-pirates-and-history-before-history/

    Justin Morneau and the Pirates’ First Base Platoon

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/justin-morneau-and-the-pirates-first-base-platoon/

  12. Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Steelers Larry Foote and Mike Adams renew NCAA rivalry over Johnny Manziel suspension

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/8/28/4669952/steelers-larry-foote-and-mike-adams-renew-ncaa-rivalry-over-johnny

    Steelers vs. Panthers: Final audition for many first year players

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/8/28/4667590/steelers-roster-cuts-preseason-carolina-panthers-depth-chart

    22 Steelers Depot

    The Terrible Podcast

    http://www.steelersdepot.com/2013/08/the-terrible-podcast-talking-steelers-injury-report-tomlin-presser-roethlisberger-play-action-more-episode/

    Soccer(football)

    23 Evening Standard

    UEFA get tough over sheep slaughter

    http://www.standard.co.uk/sport/football/uefa-get-tough-over-sheep-slaughter-8787794.html

    24 World Soccer Daily

    Cagliari and their brief incarnation as the Chicago Mustangs

    http://www.worldsoccer.com/blogs/cagliari-and-their-brief-incarnation-as-the-chicago-mustangs

  13. And I would like to get this out of the way early and officially start the : ‘Do you think the Pirates should re-sign Byrd at the end of the season’ talk.

    You’re on the clock people.

  14. Does Charlie have another year of arbitration left, or is he a FA after this year?

    Him, I don’t let walk. He’s finally panned out. I don’t think Garrett Jones will be offered arbitration this off season though, Gabby might still be cheap enough.

    • He has another year of arbitration.

      That is why some of us thought it was a good idea to resign him this past offseason

      • Good, it should be a no-brainer that he is back next year then. The starting pitching situation for next year seems less bleak.

  15. Kelly Shoppach got let go. No September call up for him…

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

    • LIES !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      ;)

      • Mornin Hipposter, ya nut :P

        • I went back and read the APB we sent out for you last night.

          Brandie was gold……… I stunk as the “straight man”.
          Now I know how Ed McMahon felt all those years………..
          But laughter is good for the soul…….

          Man, I like the Byrd trade already. Not because of one game, but he sent a message that the 4 spot isnt being filled by overmatched players anymore………… no offense to Jones and Martin.

          Now, if they keep up the strong pitching, we are all set.

          Hi neal, what a difference a trade makes, eh?

          Hi Frank.

    • I hail from the shores of Lake Erie, as if the name didn’t give it away.

  17. What a difference a day can make . . .

    Reminds me of this –

    When Cooney died at first and Barrows did the same
    A sickly silence fell upon the patrons of the game

    A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
    Clung to the hope that springs eternal in every human breast
    They thought if only Casey could but get a whack at that
    Why, we’d put up even money with Casey at that bat

    But Flynn preceded Casey, and so did Johnny Blake.
    Now the former was a lulu and the latter was a cake
    And so on the stricken multitude grim melancholy sat
    For there seemed but little chance of Casey advancing to the bat

    But Flynn let drive a single to the wonderment of all
    And Blake the much despised nearly tore the cover off the ball
    And when the dust had lifted, the men saw what occurred
    There was Johnny safe a second, and Flynn a huggin’ third.

    ………

    Seems like we’ve had a lot of innings like that lately, guys you don’t expect coming through and then being let down by the guy you expect to clean it up. Unlike previous years where we’ve collapsed or never had anything to collapse from we’ve been in most of the games that we’ve lost — only been blown out a couple of times (instead of three times a week like a few years ago) and haven’t really won big too many times either. A big win right now, back to even in the loss column, the new guy puts one out of the park, the pitcher we didn’t expect much of settles down and the optimists come out.

    Baseball has always given its fans much to criticize, and yes we want to win it all. When we win five more games I doubt I’ll be dancing in the streets. But tell you what, I’ll probably have a celebratory glass of wine and enjoy being on the winning side of the ledger for the first time in a long time. Even now, looking forward to meaningful baseball in September, a great weight is gone. And if we happen to be in first place when we get that 82nd W . . . well so much the better

    • Pardon the many obvious typos. I can read something three or four times over, be reasonably certain that it’s correct, and then hit the submit button and somehow a whole bunch of errors pop up.

    • No apologies (for typos) needed JHadar, and it’s very good to see you, I’ve missed you.

      I’m with you, 82 means a lot, being in 1st place would make it sweeter. I’ll lift my glass of wine in a toast with you :)

    • Any predictioms on hawks vs. N Illinois, ISU vs. UNI?

      • Radio — Iowa and Iowa State. I’m hoping both will be improved over last year. UNI will be tough in its league, but I think Iowa State will be a contender in the Big 12, but not an elite team.

    • I’m with you, JHadar. We all know they are going well past 82 now. But, it is still very important and worth celebrating … Then we move on to (hopefully) even better things.

  18. With this 77th win, this Pirate team is just one away from tieing the third best record since 1992, the 4 players with 20 homers steroid laden team of 1999.

    Kevin Young, Brian Giles, Al Martin, and Dejan’s personal favorite, Ed Sprague became the first ever quartet of Pirate 20 homerers. Brant Brown of course came up small that year and hit only 16…

  19. Baseball is a strange game. The Cards beat the Reds with Latos pitching, and last night the Reds destroyed the Cards with Wainwright pitching. Then there is the talk I’m reading about Charlie Morton, Staff Ace.

    Makes it worth It to wake up each day and see what’s up.

  20. Jandy: when does training camp start?

  21. With the acquisition of Byrd, and the demotion of Locke, how much better is this team prepared to go deep into October.

    For me, its tough to see how much one batter will help, but make no mistake, Byrd is a clear upgrade over at least 5 batters in the lineup. With Locke out, we stop giving the other teams a W every fifth day. Rxpansion of the rosters to 40 will help the pitching staff, and help give players needed rest.

    In other words, I think the Byrd trade, the Locke demotion, and the expansion of rosters helps the Pirates more than the other teams.

    Just my one cent.

    • Great points, plan. And I think the Byrd trade will really look good when Marte and Byrd are our corner OF flanking Cutch. No offense to Tabby, because he is hitting better. But, Byrd has thump.

  22. With the acquisition of Byrd, and the demotion of Locke, how much better is this team prepared to go deep into October.

    For me, its tough to see how much one batter will help, but make no mistake, Byrd is a clear upgrade over at least 5 batters in the lineup. With Locke out, we stop giving the other teams a W every fifth day. Rxpansion of the rosters to 40 will help the pitching staff, and help give players needed rest.

    In other words, I think the Byrd trade, the Locke demotion, and the expansion of rosters helps the Pirates more than the other teams.

    Just my one cent.

    • Don’t count your chickens before they hatch. Locke will back Sunday when the rosters expand and could make his next start. They sent him down because his turn doesn’t come again until then. Not sure that is what they they will do but certainly a possibility

      • Who said anything about chickens? Wait, you are talking about Byrd….. ;)

        I thought Locke couldnt be recalled til the 3rd?
        Even if he can be recalled sooner ( the 1st), Hurdle wouldnt be too smart to give him his normal start, especially after his last 6-7 starts.

        And, I wrote a feel-good piece. Dont play grumpy Old Man and ruin it!!! ;)

      • Locke can’t come back Sunday. It’s 10 days or the day after his team’s (Altoona) season comes to an end. Tuesday is the earliest he can be here. Same with Sanchez.

  23. If Locke stays in the minors till September, then he wouldn’t be able to join us in the post season, right?

    • Correct, he can only make the playoff roster if there is an injury. They won’t need 5 starters in the playoffs even if they go to world series.

      • Thanks. It seems obvious as of right now that our rotation in the playoffs would be Liriano, AJ, and Morton.

      • I always defer to you on roster rules, JAL. But, I thought I heard there was some strategery to sending Locke to AA. I can’t believe they have completely given up on him for the playoffs, but I also read that he probably isn’t coming back until after Labor Day.

    • Jim

      you are right, I forgot about the flex moves. Phil Irwin, Jeff Karstens, Michael McKenry are on the 60 DL and will on the eligible list. Then they can be replaced so Locke could be put on the playoff roster

  24. Um, Rxpansion is when we drink too much the preceding day, and try to spell. ;)

  25. I have been keeping a pretty good bottle of Champagne in the refrigerator for opening on the evening of #82. Doesn’t matter whether it happens in Pittsburgh or some other city. Where I live overseas, there isn’t another Pirate fan within 50 miles. No one to share the bubbly with. So I’ll have to drink the bottle myself.

    • I’ll toast to ya, War Horse!

    • War Horse,

      I liked your story about the Berlin Wall last night. I lived in Germany in 1987-88 and spent a week in Berlin in March, 1988. I took a class that spring on the United States and the Soviet Union as leaders of their respective alliances. Nobody dreamed that the Berlin Wall would come down 18 months later. All those people sitting on the Wall was amazing to me. Prior to November, 1989, you could shoot a cannon down the length of the wall and not hit anybody. That night, it was one big party.

      • Sorry, I missed that story. I’m going back to read it right now. Thanks for mentioning it, Tom. War’s stories (no pun intended there) are always terrific.

    • I love your spirit, War! We have all stuck with the Bucs through thick and thin, but you really go the extra mile. If I didn’t have anyone next to me to share the joys and miseries, I’m not sure I could have stuck it out so long. My hats off to you, brother!

      • I have one old friend who was born and raised in Pittsburgh. He and I correspond by email, but that’s it other than you folks on this site. My wife, friend and I listened to the ’71 Series on short wave radio in London. After the final out of the 7th game, drunk as skunks, we got on my motorcycle and cavorted all over the city at 4 AM or so. Nobody else was out there celebrating.

  26. So, what did we learn recently?

    * Marlon Byrd has thump. Thump is good.

    * Ground Chuck is on a roll. There is still available space on the Charlie Morton Bandwagon, AKA the “Chuck Wagon.” He has been terrific of late. I was a doubter for a long time, but I think he may be turning a corner.

    * Marte went from MLB Network reporting he was 2 weeks from swinging a bat to swinging a bat the next day? I don’t know how much longer he’ll be out, but this is very promising. An OF of Marte, Cutch, Byrd is strong. And Tabby has been hitting well, if Marlon needs an occasional break.

    * JHay has been terrific. I was guilty of ripping this guy. I just thought he was a AAAA player. Well, when I was at the game vs. Miami when he won it with a walk-off HR, I officially changed my opinion of him. When used properly, and that means vs. LHP, he can hit. And, he’s a spark plug. I think he may be the platoon piece for Neil that we have been seeking.

    * Cutch is fantastic. He is having a historic August. Historic by MLB standards with regard to batting avg. and on base %.

    * Wainwright got lit up one start after throwing 130 pitches. See what happens when you take a new school pitcher and go old school methods with him? I think the extra 20 pitches had an effect on him.

    Win tonight, and we are tied going into the weekend. I was watching last night with my 2 younger kids (my wife and older daughter are away), and we decided right after the Byrd bomb that we had to visit Grandpa in Pittsburgh this weekend. So, we are headed home tomorrow morning to see the Friday and Saturday games. We cannot wait. As my 14 year old daughter said, “Dad, the place is going to be rocking. How can we not be there?”

    • Chuck had to prove he belonged. Might as well lay it on the line and prove the nattering naybobs wrong!

    • Jim–I meant to mention that at the game last night I saw the signs the ushers had, to ask people to not go down to sit until a break in the action. So I asked the guy about them, and he said that they did start this at the beginning of the season. First time I noticed them. I prefer the big red stop signs in DC to these little black placards that are like 6 inches across, but this is a good start. He said some people ignore them, but it still helps.

      • I remembered we discussed that, Arriba. When I was at the Miami game, the usher didn’t hold up a sign. He just politely asked people to wait until the at bat was over. Everyone complied without a word. I thought it was a good idea. The sight lines are so great that even standing at the top of the aisle, you don’t miss anything in PNC.

        • +1

          You must have been sitting in the expensive seats. :-)

        • Hockey has gottent his right for years. I have oly been to a few games at PNC and not on crowded nights so I can’t say that I remember it being a problem there. I suppose as fans less familiar with the proper baseball ettquette on crowded nights may causwe soem issues.

    • +1 It is always nice to see a person able to acknowledge misjudgments(J Hay) with grace & style. I hasten to add, most of your posts reflect these elements.

      BTW, I happened to catch the end of Major League yesterday. I had forgotten what a great movie that was. Randy Quaid was great as the ultra-negative fan (for a minute, I thought I had been transported to a video version of this blog).

    • Jim, love the quote from your daughter. That’s awesome. You’ve obviously raised them right. (although for 20 years, it could considered be a form of abuse or neglect)

  27. Oh, and I forgot to mention what I thought was one of the funniest plays I have ever seen. Did you see when JHay hit the line drive off the relief pitcher last night? The ball dribbled behind the pitcher, and as he was going for it, he stopped to pick up his glove which had fallen off. I don’t know what he was thinking. Did he think the ball was in the glove on the ground? Then, he picked the ball up while facing away from 1b, turned and winged it without looking where he was throwing about 5 rows into the seats. Harrison was practically at 1b when the pitcher made the crazy throw. Absolutely hilarious. I guess he just panicked all the way around.

  28. Someone wrote that the Mets might try to re-sign both Byrd and Buck in the offseason.

    Talk about speculation.

    Wouldn’t that be great? The Mets get Byrd, Buck, Herrara and Black.

    We win 90+ and the WS.

    Who wins the trade?

    • Byrd. He signed a one year $700k contract for this season. After this career year, and if he is a key component of a WS team, imagine his next contract.

    • The Mets GM did A LOT better than we did in a number of trades over the years. Especially in the Littlefield era.

    • Lucky, I know from previous posts that you follow the prospects pretty closely. You may not be the admitted prospect hoarder that I am (I really need a 12-step program for that), but I think we gave up a lot for these 2 guys. I really think Herrera is going to be a good MLB player, and Black throws close to 100. That was a steep price. But, even I say it was necessary in this case. The team deserved that influx of talent, and the fans deserved that influx of talent. I think it was a wise use of minor league resources, all in all. And for the NYM, they had us over a barrel and they pulled hard to get every bit of talent they could. It was a definite win for the Mets and Bucs in this trade. At least those guys won’t be in our division.

      And, if we make a deep playoff run … or, dare I say, actually get to the WS, then it is a huge win for the Bucs!!

        • Lucky,

          I dont think Byrd re-signs with the Mets.
          After this career year for him, I see him potentially going to the AL, where the DH helps older players.

          Just my one cent.

          BTW, the Bucs won this trade no matter what happens.
          Acquiring players for a pennant race trumps someone hitting .260 8 years from now.

          • I’ll never bring you over to my side on the prospects, plan. In fact, my side is usually pretty lonely. That’s ok, though. I can definitely see both sides of the argument, and you are definitely right here – we needed Byrd and Buck! Winning now is key! If Herrera ends up a great player, which probably won’t be the case anyway, so be it. Small price to pay. We’ll find another 2b.

            • I think Hanson ends up at second and has a higher ceiling as a prospect. The fact that prospects do not always pan out makes it hard to give up the depth but it was a neccassary risk.

              • I almost wrote that about Hanson, Nate. But, I still have hope for him at SS. We’ll see. But, 2b are much easier to find. They are often failed (defensively) SS, anyway.

            • I really enjoy the prospect thing, as you said, Jim, especially in prior years of hope only without results. Gave me something to assess and look forward to.

              But I’m excited about this year’s crop as much as any year. They have all done remarkably well from Rookie League to short season A.

              Position players and pitchers have looked good to very good.

              That said, that trade needed to be made. Glad to see it was.

            • Jim,

              I think it’s because so many “can’t miss” guys go missing. Remember when Louisville had the team of the future? Remember Midre Cummings, Kevin Young, a couple guys named Brown, Rajai Davis, Aramis Ramirez, Steve Pearce, Abraham Nunez, and don’t get me started on the pitchers. Ramirez was good, and Nunez became a journeyman and Young got hurt — but all those guys were in the cream of the crop.

              That said, I enjoy speculating about how good our minor leaguers might become based on the glowing reports of their feats at the lower levels — but all in all there are a few hundred guys in the system and it’s changing all the time. I don’t think Herrera and Black were among those blue chip untradeables. They’ll probably make it to the majors someday, and if they survive it will go from Bucs win/Mets lose to win/win. Of course there’s a lot of pure speculation in all that.

              • You are correct on this, as is plan, JHadar. They usually don’t pan out, and I readily agree on that.

      • I agree, Jim.. I’m not a fan of the fan approach to trades as looking at whether you “win” or “lose” a trade based on looking at what the other team got. If the other team “wins” it doesn’t detract from the fact your team “won” also. This trade needed to be made, even if Herrera and/or Black go on to be HOF. And neither is on the level of a Moises Alou, at least on prospect status. And I applaud “Bad Deal” Neal for that. (the “bad deal” was sarcastic)

      • I also need to be part of that 12 step program. That being said I’m OK with what they gave up in this instance. It was a lot but this team really needed a bat. I would have also been OK with this being what they gave up for Rios. This ends up being better in my opinion because we don’t have to take on Rios’s inconsistant bat and large salary next year.

      • What if Byrd and Buck goes on to hit .205 for the Pirates?

        • Hindsight is 20/20. They needed a bat, especially with Marte out.

        • What if Byrd RAKES the rest of the year? Will Huntington try to sign a 36-year-old to a Pujols-type contract to get him to stay? Or let him walk because we have a guy like Greg Polanco not far away?

          • Exactly . . .

          • My guess is whomever NH signs for RF next year, if they go after anyone, will be a veteran who can be counted on to hit but who will only be needed for 1 year (Polanco). Byrd actually fits the bill, but I think he will seek more money and more years. He doesn’t have AJ Burnett money.

            I think we now know we expect to be a contender for the WS next year, and they will not accept a Tabata/Presley/Lambo/Lunch Box situation again. Carlos Beltran may not be re-signed by St. L, as they have their Polanco (Taveras) read to go. I don’t know that he’d sign for just one year, but he already has his dough and might want to ensure he is on a contender. If not him, maybe someone else like him, but maybe a slightly lesser version.

          • Polanco can learn and spell him in LF for a year, it would not hurt him.

          • Possible Upcoming Milestones

            82 wins — First winning season in 21 years
            91 wins — Hurdle’s best season ever.
            Playoffs — First Since 1992
            World Series — First Since 1979
            All of the above, first for this century and millenium; my fourth as a fan 3-0 so far

  29. This is my IA meeting…

    I thought Morton’s offseason contract was dollars wasted.

    I thought Karstens’ signing at 1/3 estimated arbitration award was brilliant.

    Earlier, I thought letting Karstens go without a tender at 3xs what they are paying him was suicidally stooopid. .

    I thought JMac would rebound this year.

    I thought Martin was another bad Overbay signing, not because he hit .211 in 2012. Rather, because his numbers declined each of the past 4+ years. Just like Overbay’s and Ludwick’s before their signings.

    I thought Pedro would be finished during or immediately after this season.

    I thought the Pirates would finish below .500 and below 2012′s 79 wins.

    Hello. My name is drew. And I am an idiot. (Wait for group’s reply.)

    I haven’t had an idiotic thought in six minutes. (oops. starting over.)

  30. Don’t know if anyone else read the article on Kelvin Beachum from today (article can be found at http://triblive.com/sports/steelers/4597294-74/beachum-tackle-tight), but sounds like this guy has turned into a very good asset for the Steelers. moving all over the offensive line and even have him practicing at tight end. A player could get frustrated by this and complain that he is not getting to get comfortable, but Beachum, at least in word, seems to be taking it all in stride and doing everything he can to stay on the team and make this team better.

    He truly sounds like a real nice young man and I was impressed to read that he has both a bachelor’s degree in economics and a masters degree in liberal studies. Not too bad for a 24 year old.

    • Beachum’s the man.

      I was quite pleasantly surprised the way he handled himself in his very first start against the Ravens last year. Not too many 7th rounders could dominate like he did against a world class defense such as the Ravens.

      I wonder if he could very well be starting at some point in this season consider how disappointing our tackles have been so far in the preseason.

      • Could be, Dom. Another thing that Beachum seems to e is durable. ( Oh, please don’t get hurt tonight now that I actually said that.)

        • And that is one thing Gilbert is not. It seems he can start but not finish every game.

          Perhaps in hindsight it wasn’t a good idea to let go of Starks. If he was one starter, I wouldn’t have any reason to worry.

      • And to think of all the high picks we have invested in that line in the past 5 or so years, several of which have not paid off.

  31. Everyone’s favorite sport’s site, the bleacher report, did a piece on the greatest pitchers for every MLB team.

    The Buccos representative was Babe Adams. They note he had a 2.74 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 194 wins including three in the 1909 World Series.

    Looks like a good representative to me. Anyone disagree?

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1744841-the-greatest-pitcher-in-every-mlb-teams-history#/articles/1744841-the-greatest-pitcher-in-every-mlb-teams-history/page/7

    • He had good downward plane … with sink. Good choice.

    • Yech, they had Maddux as the best Brave. Spahn is a no-doubter.

      As for the Pirates, I’d say Bob Friend, Vern Law, Wilbur Cooper and Babe Adams are all roughly the same. I’d also toss in Elroy Face. The fact is, the Pirates have never had great pitchers. Hitting, yes, pitching, no.

      It could be Cole, he’s panned out so far…

      • Spahn vs. Maddux is a toughie. Maddux pitched in an extreme offensive era, and dominated for a long time. Spahn was before my time, so I didn’t see him. He was obviously an all-time great as well. Can’t go wrong with either of them, IMO.

        • Spahn worked his way into baseball legend in a way the Maddux didn’t.

          Spahn and Saine and Pray for Rain.

          Agree it’s a tough call, but maybe because I’m old legend trumps stardom.

      • Drabeck probably had the most success as a Pirate, but I wonder if in these days of free agency, listing all-time team greats is becoming an anachronism.

        My Team

        C — Sanguillen
        1B — Stargell
        2B — Mazeroski
        SS — Wagner
        3B — Traynor
        OF — Clemente
        OF — Kiner
        OF — Waner
        P — Don’t rightly know

        • I like your list, JHadar. But, this Wagner guy over Taveras and Khalifa? Seriously?

          • Actually over Arky Vaughn and Dick Groat, too.

            • Well, Vaughn and Groat were actual contenders. Frankie and Sammy … not so much.

              I was just kidding. I think you nailed every single position the first time, right down to not being able to choose a pitcher.

          • And what about Mario Mendoza? I mean, he has a stat named after him. You don’t hear .400 being called the TeddyBallgame line, now do you? You don’t hear 3000 hits called the Clemente plateau. Plus , he had that awesome afro and those large aviatar-style wire-rim glasses.

        • RF maybe I know its sacrilegious Parker
          and LF Barry
          or they could be on the bench
          but Baroid is one of the best hitters ever to play

          you cant hit it far if you cant hit it

          PS if Kiners playing hes playing the smallest part of the oF

    • Hmm when posted that in the morning links over a week ago it got no discussion.

  32. Just started thinking about the month of October and I got really excited. Pittsburgh has the potential to have 3 teams playing meaningful games for the first time in forever. Pirates will be hopefully be starting playoffs, Steelers season will have started, and Penguins will be playing regular season games.

    It is a great time to be a Pittsburgh Sports Fan!

  33. I didn’t read the Rolling Stone article about Aaron Hernandez, but apparently there are some very interesting allegations from family members that I read on the bottom of screen scroll on ESPN last night.

    Family members are apparently alleging that Hernandez was a PCP user, was totally paranoid that he was going to be killed by some wise guys that he had taken up with, that he carried a gun 24/7, and that he actually flew to the NFL Combine to tell Coach Bill. Sounds as though, if the story is to be believed, Coach Bill didn’t exactly spring into action with the NFL. Also, that story would indicate the Pats knew a whole lot more about Hernandez than they have let on.

    It will be interesting to see how this unfolds. It may be a completely fabricated story, for all we know, by someone trying to find excuses for Hernandez’s behavior. I just found it interesting, and wondered what others thought.

    • I heard rumblings of that right after the initial investigation. I heard former Patriot players saying off the record that everyone knew the guy was trouble and actually told management they shouldn’t sign the guy to an extension.

      Every NFL locker room has questionable characters but players usually just except it and mind their own bussiness. For players to actually tell management the guy was trouble means that he was pretty messed up. Leaving the Patriots with two legitimate options in my opinion. Get him off the team or get him some help. They chose to just turn their head the other way.

      Interesting enough it seems like the Steelers picked one way with Rainey and another way with Ta’amu. I think the decision made on both those players say how teammates felt about those guys within the locker room.

      • Or, how easy it is to replace one player compared to another. They scooped up Larod SH pretty easily. Nose tackles are a bitter tougher to find. I’d like to think that didn’t play into it, but it is a business.

        • I understand what your saying but it this case Ta’amu was not very impressive before the incident and Rainey was being talked about a lot as a very dynamic player. I have to beleive Rainey may have already had a few strikes against him and players saying the guy wasn’t putting his career first on a daily basis. My guess is Ta’amu is generally well liked and made a mistake that unfortunately for him has now happened twice in his life. Hopefully if he has a problem he is now getting help.

    • Goodell will fine James Harrison again for all this.
      Then, he will take a draaft choice away from each team to help the Cheatriots.

      Then, hopefully someone will give a concussion to Goodell.

  34. Morning, Y’all! What a night! Wife texted me while I was out delivering my pizza, about Byrd’s 3-run homer and I had to pull over and have myself a little fit! Looking forward to being off tonight, and hopefully seeing some DEFINING MOMENT in the young career of Gerit Cole – and some more hitting!

    • Right there with you, Bay!

      • Actually, Jim, in that moment on the road, GRATEFUL I didn’t have to hear Greg Brown’s PRE-PRACTICED call of his home run! How gross! Did like Steve Blass’ perhaps over the top statement as he crossed home plate “That vegetation out there will henceforth be known as “The Byrd’s Nest.”

  35. For those watching very carefully last night, you got a clear snapshot of Clint Barmes.

    He came in, and the first play was a convenient bouncer to his left, which he fielded cleanly. Any other SS would have stopped, planted and gunned a throw to 1B, for a routine out, in plenty of time.

    Since he doesn’t have a gun (for an arm), he leaped in the air off of the wrong foot and lollipopped a convoluted toss, which was high and pulled Gaby off of the base.

    It was an error which didn’t have to be; he was attempting to disguise – once again – a very ordinary arm. It was harmless last night, but who knows. . . . .

    • Preaching to the choir on that subject to me. His UZR rating though, is just fantastic…(dripping sarcasm alert)

    • I made a mental note of that as well, Bob. I had a feeling you would be mentioning it this morning. Barmes hurried an off-balance throw there, when it was clearly not needed due to a slow runner. No doubt about that, and I think you could see his frustration with himself afteward.

      Gaby might have even had time to leave the base to catch the ball and still tag it before the runner got there.

    • Barmes’ defense is about 31st on the list of Pirates’ issues. The continual adventure that is Pedro’s defense is larger, but eclipsed by his bat.

      • I agree with you Wild Bill. I feel Pedro struggles with the slow balls in front of him. He does a really good job of grabbing the rollers with one hand and throwing on the move, I’ll give him that. But, I think his quickness and mobility moving forward hinders him. I also think he makes too many errors on routine grounders.

        As you say, though, the power he brings as a 3b is pretty darn hard to replace. As a 1b, he might be a better fielder, but his offense would not look nearly as good compared to other 1b.

      • 32nd. You forgot the color of Jalapeno Hannah’s earrings.

  36. I would officially like to complain about absolutely nothing Pirates related today.
    All is good.

    That is all I have.
    Catch you all later on.

  37. Fangraphs estimates that at this point, the odds of not finishing .500 or better are 1 in 146,000.

  38. Just for Eric Bowser -

    Dan Bylsma bobblehead night is January 20th !

  39. A little lost in the discussion are Harrison’s and Gaby’s 3 for 4 nights. And, man, Harrison looks faster in person. He was motoring.

    Gaby catching the last out running towards the outfield was almost poetic justice after last night.

  40. Good win last night for our Buccos.

    Welcome to the party, Buck and Bird!

    Here’s to breaking the jinx that has been around far too long!

    Feelin’ fine like ’79 (too young to remember ’60)!

    Now, for some Sister Sledge!

  41. After 120 games. Clint is done cheerleading the guys who have under performed this year. J Hay, Byrd and Buck will have roles going forward. When Marte returns, Jones, Walker against LHers, Snyder and Tabata will see field time drop. About time.

    • Seriously, chet, when HAS Clint, this year, “cheerleaded” the guys who are underperforming. I noticed a distinct change from day 1 this year. Sure, you can come up with excuses for Inge, but he’s been pretty brutally honest, in what he’s saying and in what he’s been doing, from day 1 of this season.

      • Exactly. That was one thing I noticed from day 1 this year. CH has made some serious adjustments to how he does things in a lot of areas (earning playing time, trusting young players, looking at previous history vs. a pitcher, defensive shifts, etc.). He liked Inge, but ultimately he knew it wasn’t working.

  42. Possible Upcoming Milestones

    82 wins — First winning season in 21 years
    91 wins — Hurdle’s best season ever.
    Playoffs — First Since 1992
    World Series — First Since 1979
    All of the above, first for this century and millennium; my fourth as a fan 3-0 so far.

    Baseball reference lists Hurdle’s record as 90-73, evidently counting the 1 game with San Diego at the end of the season as a regular season game, so maybe 90-72 should be his milestone?

  43. This just came across…………

    NFL settles concussion lawsuit with former players……..

    http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/sports/steelers/nfl-to-settle-ex-players-concussion-suits-for-765-million-701255/

  44. Danny Knobler of CBS is reporting that the Bucs have been the most active waiver-claim team this August. Makes me wonder if maybe they are not done with acquisitions yet.

    • I’m still so nervous about Morneau, Jim. Could turn out to be the next Ludwick and do more harm than good.

      • Other than the 2 week hot streak right at the start of August, Morneau has not been any better than Jones. If he is not a clear upgrade, I don’t think you make the move.

    • Walk claimed last night that Neal was not done. He didn’t say he was sure he’d make a deal, but that he was continuing to look 24/7 and if a deal was there he’d go for it. He was definitely promoting the view that Neal understands the opportunity they are looking at this year (while still not forgetting about the future).

      • AW, I believe we, as fans, have been asking this for years.
        When you get an opportunity, go for it. Dont mortgage the future, but at least try.

        If what Walkie says is true, I may finally come over to neal’s side.
        It has only taken him 6 years to get it, but it is progress. :)

        • Is that an olive branch I spotted clenched between your teeth, plan?

          • Never between my teeth, Jimbo.

            I have always criticized when necessary, and given credit where necessary. I get blasted by both sides, all the time for not being on their side, Jim.
            Yes I have been hard on neal, but neal has been hard on us, too.
            I want to see him succeed, because that means the Pirates succeed.
            In my eyes, he still has a long way to go. And, I AM glad he has progressed this year.

        • Do you think they were ready the last 2 years? I definately do not think they were ready in 2011. Team proved to be better then any of us thought but they had a lot of luck.

          Based on the finish last year they obviously were not ready. However they sure looked less like a mirage in 2012 then they did in 2011. Maybe CH and NH knew that and handled it appropriately. They saw an all-in trade 3 of your top 10 prospects move wouldn’t be enough so they held off.

          The last two years they did not have a top 3-4 starting rotation to compete in the playoffs or an offense capable of competing either. This year it looks like we may have the pitching staff and the offense was still lacking.

          • Nate, nindsight is always 20/20.

            They may have not been ready, they might have been if pieces were acquired. We look back now and say “yeah…….”

            And, I never knew that 3 top prospects were ever, ever even suggested for any trade. Can you provide a link for that?

            • DK stated a few weeks ago that the Indians wanted Cole AND Taillon for Shin-Soo Choo. So top two prospects, at least.

              And personally speaking, I don’t see how last year’s team was a Hunter Pence away from staving off an epic collapse. Let’s just face it, that team was bad, and Babe Ruth himself wasn’t going to make them “ready.”

              That’s always been my point. I don’t think an #ALLIN trade was going to save that team.

              • Sean,

                obviously Cleveland didnt want any part of a Shoo trade.
                Just by asking for those 2 proves that point.
                It is easy to say, ……. “sure we will talk trade. Just hand over x and y, and we will talk”…….. knowing full well, x and y are never going to be given up.

                Guess we will have to agree to disagree on this topic.

              • KC just gave up the best hitting prospect in baseball and another one of their top 5 prospects for a number 2 pitcher in Shields. Teams do things like that. It’s not unheard of. Milwakee gave up 3 of their top 10 for Sabathia.

              • Nate, the Sabathia trade was done under different CBA.
                And, the Brewers got a top draft choice for failing to re-sign him, which softened the blow a little bit.

                And, kc has a well-rated farm system also. What they dont have is pitching, so in their eyes it made sense.

              • We could debate all day if the KC trade was a good trade. In my opinion Shields will be long gone without them making the playoffs for a long time before Meyers stops finishing top 5 in the MVP voting every year. He is a franchise player. There are 50 pitchers in the league as good as Shields.

              • Plan,

                You asked if it was ever suggested. I just gave you an instance where it was.

                I believe there was similar mention towards moving Hunter Pence last year as well. Chase Headley was also reported to need at least one of those top prospects.

              • SeanAy—Last year’s team was “bad?”

                Nate—”In hindsight for us no move would have been enough to make the playoffs.”

                No move, like there was no one out there who could improve this team this year?

                I started this mini- thread just mentioning what Walk said.

                But you guys think maybe there’s a little bit of exaggeration in those comments?

              • AW, you pot stirrer, you! :D

              • Last year’s team may not have been “bad,” per se, but I think it was built on sand. Once the starting pitching stopped performing lights out, they went down like a lead balloon.

                Last year was Burnett and one good half of MacDonald pitching, and one stellar half of McCutchen hitting. Not much else.

              • Jandy—I never exaggerate, so I think it’s fair to point out when others do. :-D

                And Nate and I have a running “relationship.” :-)

              • Jandy this is true. I appreciate when AW calls me out on exaggerations. It keeps me in line.

                However this time I think maybe it was just a slight exaggerations. Considering no player in baseball is worth more then 7 or 8 wins added over the course of an entire year no player added with 60 games left would have added more then 2-3 wins to the Pirates total.

                Yes they could have added 4 all stars and added 12 wins to give them 89. Would that have been enough. Maybe. I don’t remember the win total it took to make the playoffs.

              • I’m glad you got my joke, Nate. But you’re still going down that same path.

                “Considering no player in baseball is worth more then 7 or 8 wins added over the course of an entire year no player added with 60 games left would have added more then 2-3 wins to the Pirates total.”

                I marvel at your certainty. Here’s my certainty—what Neal did last year at the deadline didn’t cut the mustard.

                But I really didn’t want to go down this line. Let’s focus on this year. We can decide after the season if Neal is the best or the worst GM in baseball history for what he did prior to this year.

            • Plan that was just an example of what it may have taken to make a big splash. The point I was tryting to make is that maybe Clint and Huntington have the finger on the pulse of this team much better then us fans. In hindsight for us no move would have been enough to make the playoffs.

              I’m suggesting maybe it wasn’t hindsight for CH and NH. Maybe they knew the team just wasn’t ready and any big move would have been wasting prospects just to win a few more games and make the fanbase happy. Just my opinion and a differant way of looking at it. I’m not saying you have to agree with it.

              • Nate, if Clint and neal DONT have their pulse on the team better than the fans, then we are really in trouble.

                ;)

              • “The point I was tryting to make is that maybe Clint and Huntington have the finger on the pulse of this team much better then us fans.”

                The hell you say! You just crushed my world!

      • Walk needs a pie in the face.

      • Just reporting what he said. Although if Brown had said it I wouldn’t have even reported it. But . . . Lets hope, as plan said.

  45. Got a question for fellow lunatics

    At the game last night, between Woos and FBombs, we were talking about Wandy

    I want to win now, but might it not be a good idea to just shut him down for the season?

    He’s basically going to have to start like its spring training, we are on the hook for 8 million next season, we will need starting pitching next year as well.

    I guess my thoughts are, there is not enough time left for him to be able to help us this season

    • Hear you, Biz. I’d just like to see us do what’s best for his arm. If healthy, he’s an asset.

    • I think it is likely he won’t be ready soon enough, Biz. I don’t know that, and am only suggesting it because his latest throwing session caused the same pain he had 2 months ago. Is it going to suddenly go away? I hope so, but I don’t think we can count on him. I don’t see how he could get up to the #3 starter slot by Oct, either.

  46. Some interesting tidbits for this morning:

    After 132 games this season: 77-55 1/2 GB
    After 132 games last season: 70-62 10 GB

    Pirates did not win their 77th game last season until: September 29th, four days before end of the season.

    If Pirates go rest of the way:

    Play at current win % pace, .583: 18-12 or 17-13 they finish 95-67 or 94-68
    .500 15-15 they finish 92-70
    .333 10-20 they finish 87-75

    Pirates 9 games up in WC standings, and chance to move into tie for first with win tonight.

    • If they only win 3 more games this year, it will be the most wins since 1992.
      Baby steps….

      • I’m kind of torn on seeing the historic win #82 as I will be out in St Louis next weekend, but really hope the team can reach the mark before that series begins.

  47. Any word on the start time for Sunday’s game?

    Cannot believe ESPN, if they had a choice would shove the Met’s/Nat’s game down the throat of baseball fans across America.

    Do they even have the option to switch games?
    Unless they are trying NOT to get any ratings, seems kind of foolish to stick with that battle instead of 1 that has real meaning, in terms of playoff and division seeds.

  48. Anyone notice that Gaby Sanchez is hitting .313 since the all star break with a .790 OPS ? And that’s against all pitchers, not just lefties. Morneau is hitting .236 since the break.

    • I’m glad you brought that up, as I am one who has said all season he brings value to the team – defensively, certainly with how he hits LHP, probably best PH off bench, and now he seems to just have a hot bat and has added hitting RHP as well.

      If anything he is slowly becoming the starting 1B regardless of who pitches and with continued struggles of Jones.

      • You mean the .236 that is closer to his last 3 years of production then the two weeks of hot hitting that got everyone excited that he had.

        • I’ve said this before, he’s morphed into Lyle Overbay. I’d rather they look for a pitcher.

          • Dan Haren.

            • Just checked, Haren cleared waivers. His 2nd half has been remarkable. WHIP less than 1. ERA under 3.00.

              • Wow. I hadn’t noticed he has turned it around like that. His first half was a disaster. It also seems like he usually wears down the second half of the season if I remember correctly.

              • looks like he reversed his entire season…

          • Even back at the trade deadline I thought a starting pitcher would have been a good idea. Just imagine where we would be if Morton hasn’t pitched as well as he has.

            It has been the regression of starting pitching the last two years that has hurt this team more then anything.

            • You did say that then, Nate.

              Were you able to get all the tar and feathers out of your hair?

              • Luckily I am in denial of being bald. I’m holding on to a small percentage of my original hair so very little got in my hair. I’m really close to doing the Mr. Clean look.

    • In the last seven days, Morneau is batting .053 at the plate.

    • Yes. I have noticed Milo.

    • I also checked back at the deadline and Morneau hits a lot better at home vs. road. I put more stock in road performance. I think it gives a clearer overall picture.

  49. Previously, Seattle’s GM said if anyone on their team was to be dealt, they’d have to overwhelm by an offer.

    I just read that Seattle placed Kendrys Morales on waiver, one team claimed him, but no deal appears to have worked out.

    If the Mariners wanted to deal Morales, why didn’t they do so at the deadline in July?

    What is the logic behind saying a deal would have to be vastly in our favor before anyone on our team would be dealt and then place their starting 1B on waivers weeks later?

    • Imagine what our lineup would be if Seattle would have dealt Morales to us:

      Marte/Tabata
      Walker
      Cutch
      Pedro
      Byrd
      Morales
      Martin
      Mercer

    • Because the GM finally came to his senses and realized his team is not competetive and why not get something in return for a player that won’t be on his team next year.

      I guess he was hoping somebody would overwhelm him. Now it is his turn to be underwhelmed by what he gets in return which won’t be to much or nothing if Morales isn’t traded.

    • They pulled Morales back after the waiver claim.

    • He would not know an “overwhelming” deal if it smacked him in the head.

      He knows he is a goner after the season, maybe his thinking is that if the team can win around 70 games, he might get another seasons pass.

      Can’t see that happening though.

      • He signed a secret extension before the beginning of this year that just became public knowledge recently. I know that doesn’t mean he can’t be gone but it makes it less likely.

      • I think Zduriencik already has an extension, Tom. It was negotiated before the season, but not made public until a week or so ago.

        Your guess is as good as mine where they got the idea for the secret extension.

    • I think that maybe satiates some fans who don’t want to see you selling off useful players. It is an attempt to say to them, “Look, we will only move Kendrys if we get a king’s ransom. Please keep buying the nachos and beer until further notice.”

  50. O’s place a claim for Twins OF Josh Willingham and Seattle RF Michael Morse was claimed off of waivers by a mystery team. and

  51. I put in a claim for Kubel today.
    My softball team is getting crushed this year.

    I’ll only play him against righties.
    He can be one of 7 DH’s.

  52. When I was matriculating (I hesitate to use the word, “student”) at Wisconsin, a couple of my enterprising classmates created The Onion. Well, now, the freebie paper I used to read in the union is turning 25 years old. The Pirates have not escaped their satire:

    My favorite Pirates headlines:

    http://www.theonion.com/articles/pirates-sign-guy-who-successfully-jogged-across-st,17662/

    http://www.theonion.com/articles/pirates-mathematically-eliminated-from-major-leagu,17862/

    http://www.theonion.com/articles/pirates-want-everyone-in-pittsburgh-to-stop-starin,6776/

    http://www.theonion.com/articles/pnc-park-threatens-to-leave-pittsburgh-unless-bett,2003/

    It’s been a long 20 years. Can’t wait for 82!

  53. Anyone looking to buy Dejan a gift, here’s the perfect one:

    http://www.delish.com/food/recalls-reviews/starbucks-150-dollar-coffee-cup

  54. OK gotta get more stuff done…hope to pop in on tonight’s thread.
    Be good, Loonies, lest you bring on a BOLD REAMING from DaBoss ;)

  55. Speaking of matriculating, On Location thread is up.

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