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Podcast: Jumpin’ Jack on the Streak

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Here’s today’s TribLIVE Radio show podcast featuring special guest Jack Wilson, on the Streak. I’ve been blessed to have encountered a lot of great humans in this job, and this individual is one of them.

Also on the show, I ask the Tennessean’s John Glennon not only to break down the Titans this weekend but also to share a rather red-faced run through Tokyo’s red-light district we were once, um, forced to take. And the Streak is read its last rites by @suckmeter

Here’s video of the opening segment taking calls on who is most to blame for the Streak

Thanks to all who called and emailed!

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. TK says:

    Who is most to blame for the 20 year slide?

    I thought the most interesting take was Dick Caliguiri’s passing being blamed. But I do not think they went far back enough.

    Back in the late 1960’s to late 1970’s the Pirates farm system pumped out players such as Hebner, Oliver, Parker, etc. At some point during the mid to late 1970’s a decision was made to use the farm system to trade for pieces for the major league team. The Pirates traded players such as Willie Randolph, Mitchell Page, Craig Reynolds, Tony Armas, Rick Langford, etc. for pieces of the puzzle while free agency made it more difficult to hold onto their stars (see Dave Parker, Richie Hebner, etc.).

    By 1980, the Pirates biggest prospect was Doe Boyland, a first baseman in the mold of Matt Hague. At some point, a decision was made to get over-the-hill has beens (see George Hendricks, Steve Kemp, Sixto Lezcano) to try to prop up the team. While this was going on, the drug trials came along.

    I think what happened was that a kind of malaise came over the team. It wasn’t the management, but the staff. Management changes but internal staff (the people who do the day to day work) normally doesn’t. While all this went on the Galbreaths decided to sell the team. So you had people who worked there who probably felt like it was a family only to suddenly discover it’s a business.

    Don’t get me wrong. I don’t blame the day-to-day staff for the Pirates fate. But I believe that they could see the team faltering and the bad publicity from the drug trials and a new ownership group that did not have the financial wherewithal to change the direction of the club. Management changes but the internal staff does not.

    The one thing that was done correctly was the hiring of Syd Thrift (although at the time the hiring was ridiculed because no one in Pittsburgh knew who he was). He had a larger than life personality and a risk taking attitude (see the trade of Tony Pena) that breathed life into the franchise. Unfortunately he butted heads with ownership and was relieved of his duties. But the franchise lived off of his trades. Sure Larry Doughty made some trades, but he didn’t have the pizzazz of Syd Thrift. Management changes but internal staff does not.

    With each change in management, there would be a buzz of excitement followed by a concensus of “Same Old Pirates”. And, sure, internal staff changes, but slower than management. After all, you need some people to show the new people the ropes. But you also get the attitude of “Same Old Pirates” being passed down. And management focusing on five-year plans instead of building a long-term winner.

    Bob Nutting taking the reins from Kevin McClathy and saying he had the BMTIB. Sure it is ridiculed. Sure it seemed overreaching (still does). But I thing it was done with the goal of trying to instill a pride in the club and its employees. And the hiring of John Russell nearly killed that.

    Then came Clint Hurdle. Boy did I think he was way too overly optimistic. But slowly he instilled a belief factor.

    Then came AJ Burnett. The Pirates seemed to always go for the over-the-hill, he should retire players. And Burnett had some poor seasons with the Yankees. But he instilled a competitive fire in the Pirates I have not seen in a long time (and that includes the 1990 – 1992 team). His competitive nature seemed to rub off on his team mates.

    By this time you probably think I blame the internal staff. I don’t. I do think there was an attitude that was passed down. I tend to think of it as Keanu Reeves said in the movie “The Replacements” (did I just reference that actor and that movie?), “It’s like quicksand, the more you try to get out of it, the deeper you get”. The more you think about how bad the team is, the more that becomes the personality of the team and subsequently the personality becomes the reality.

    This is why I do not post often. Sometimes I just ramble when I start out thinking I have a point.

  2. Vinny Giardina says:

    Wow, I remember when I was 13 years old thinking how incredibly stupid it was to trade Willie Randolph. And then I moved to New Jersey and had to watch him win with the Yankees. It was a living nightmare.

  3. Vinny Giardina says:

    Oops, forgot to mention Goose Gossage, too.

  4. JaxBuc says:

    Wow, I didn’t think my crazy email suggesting Barry Bonds was to blame would get on the air, let alone be the first one read. I guess I just had my 15 seconds of fame.

  5. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    DK – I’ll totally agree with the assessment that G. Ogden was the single most responsible person for the streak.
    When he walked through those doors in latter ’96 as an investor, things slowly but surely deteriorated for well over a decade.
    I’m quite sure he’s not losing any sleep over it either…..

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