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Morning Java: 82 … on hold

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The Thursday column offers my view on 82, which now will have to wait at least another day until the Pirates get to St. Louis. My deep thanks to  the men interviewed — Roberto Clemente Jr., Jack Wilson, Kent Tekulve — for their time.

Hope you enjoy reading this one half as much as I enjoyed writing it. I’m embarrassed to tell you how long it was in production.

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Francisco Liriano and the Pirates laid an egg. Travis Sawchik is in Milwaukee.

Here’s the rest of our Pirates coverage. Here’s Brewers news from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. And here are official game highlights from MLB.com.

>> Ike Taylor has demons to shake against the Titans, per Mark Kaboly.

LaMarr Woodley, part-time linebacker? Alan Robinson has it.

That and more is in our Steelers coverage. And here’s Titans news from the Tennessean.

>> Someone with a strong stomach studied Pitt’s pass defense against Florida State. Jerry DiPaola takes notes.

>> Penn State’s kicker? The Nittany Lions have a kicker? Chris Adamski investigates.

>> I’ll be with the Steelers today and previewing their season opener for the Friday column. Whole lot of football on the docket, actually.

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.

563 Comments

  1. This is what a pennant race is all about, a nail biting, gut wrenching daily journey, highs/lows/good/bad

    I have missed this so much

    Beat Em Bucs

    Go like 60, trust me, the magic is there and I believe in this club

    Hey, if it was easy, it would not be so exciting??

    Liriano had a bad start tonight, but where would we be without him?

    • Welcome Lunatics, if you don’t see your current location below, please add a reply to this post
    Dejan’s Lunatic Nation – at the Trib,
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    The Philippines
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    United Kingdom – Haslemere
    Utah – Salt Lake City, Provo
    Uzbekistan
    Vermont – North Bennington
    Virginia – JAL, Hampton, Rescue, Richmond, Front Royal, Woodbridge, Suffolk, Warrenton, Springfield*, Virginia Beach, Fairfax, Arlington, Yorktown, Henrico, Aldie, Manassas, Newport News, Clifton, Glen Allen, Roanoke, Vienna
    Washington – Seattle, Nine Mile Falls, Spokane, Sammamish
    West Virginia – Martinsburg, Morgantown, Wheeling, Mt Olivet, Huntington, Parkersburg
    Wisconsin – Madison, Oshkosh, Hortonville
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    Unknown – killa_cam7*
    398 confirmed locations represented in the blog, and a couple of strange places
    Lunatic Nation Hall of Fame, people that have, in our opinion, made a difference, either thru talent or character or deeds.
    Nominations are always welcome
    Any Allegheny, Pirate, Crawford, Gray, Steeler or Penguin player in the League’s Hall of Fame, although if Jagr makes it some day, we gotta talk
    Stan “The Man”, from Donora
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    23 countries
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    Two planets, at least confirmed, and the Space Station
    Then there was that Cold day in Hell place
    Honorable mention, England – London – Lisa
    “Terrorists will always lose in America, the sooner they figure that out, the better”- truer words have never been spoken
    Asterisks denote confirmed hero’s, military, police officers or firemen/ladies
    9/5/2013 1:12 AM

    Come on, we gotta be all in

    PS, Hi Frank

    Good tidings night owls, early risers

    This season is what we’ve all been waiting for

    Rally troops

    • + many to be all in.

      Biz, gotta throw this request to you for a ruling……………..
      ============================================================

      Lad9 says:
      September 4, 2013 at 10:10 pm

      Jandy or Biz I need a ruling. My current residence is in the confirmed locations, but my hometown isn’t. Is my hometown eligible for inclusion?

      • I say yes, but I defer to Jandy

        • Discombobulated by Liriano’s third meltdown in five starts. I de-anoint him as team ace. Very reluctantly. Morton has been good recently, but not quite ready to declare him “ace.” Might be Burnett again. Or no one. Also gotta hope Jeff Locke’s worst is behind him. We’ve got a month to tidy up a number of SP issues.

          On the bright side, Byrd and Morneau are giving us real cleanup hitters.

          • +++

            This is a concern, for sure. When Frankie is on, he’s nearly unhittable. When he’s off, he appears incapable of limiting his own damage to avoid a complete meltdown. We haven’t even had a chance to climb out of the chasm he’s dug in those three games.

            Marlon & Justin – WHOOOOOOOP!!

          • Somebody should have informed Leyva that Morneau can’t run.

            Or maybe they did, and Leyva forgot.

            Or Leyva never knew the first out of an inning – especially while in a rally and behind – MUST NEVER be at third or home.

            That is the neighborhood where he spends time. I would have said works, but we all know he does little of that – Mr. Dunce himself.

            • Can’t argue with you, Bob. I would think rule #1 for a 3b coach is to never send a slow runner home with no outs. And, make no mistake about it, Justin Morneau is a s-l-o-w runner.

              In watching the replay, it struck me just how long it took Morneau to get home from 3b. It seemed like the OF still had the ball when Morneau hit 3b, then he hit the cutoff man, who turned and threw Justin out by plenty.

          • Just think how things might have changed had those two come earlier. Oh well, patience!

        • Biz, you really are so adorable! You defer to me? This is YOUR doing, your creation. YOU keep it up, keep it growing, I just help it along a little.
          If you say yes, I bow down to your yes.
          Motion is accepted!
          Add the hometown :)

    • Brian, Tony, Stan

      Got two tickes in 143 ROW C 9-10 that I can’t use on Sept 14th, I will be occupied, they are yours if you want them, Stan has my phone no and e-mail, let me know where to mail them to, should take no more than a couple of days

      They are gratis, you just have to bring home a W

      Biz

    • would humbly like to add Arnold to the list of lunatic locations

      • Thanks for checking in jefft….Biz will add you :)
        How long have you been following the pain and misery of the Bucs? lol
        This season sure is special :)

        • Alas, I’ve been mourning in silence for all 20 years. Just sitting back & enjoying every minute, although I try not to watch, as it seems like they lose when I do. Maybe that’s part of the reason the streak is ending…haven’t had much chance to watch, just admire. Hey…whatever works. :)

    • Great list. Add Ligonier to the Pennsylvania listing, please! Let’s go Bucs!

    • Hi. I now live in Monmouth Beach NJ but born and bred in the East End of Pittsburgh. I love this blog and think it is great that you are keeping a list of all where all the Lunatics are now living. GO BUCS!!!!

  2. Pitching really is everything isn’t it?

    My personal hope is that Pedro wins the HR crown so that he can be traded to the Yankees in the off season.

    Here’s hoping we retain our mastery of the Cards.

    82 comes Friday.

    Pennant race!

    Stuart

    • Pedro wouldn’t offer much of a value to most other clubs. But the Yanks do do dumb things so that’s conceivable. Here’s hoping maybe one or two other AL team’s (would have to be the AL) would consider having an all-or-nothing bat like his in their lineup. When does Petey become arbitration eligible? Next year? If I were Neal, I would certainly be trying to find out what the market is for Alvarez, this winter. Sixty HR’s over these past two seasons, close to 60 errors, and not much else. Whatever RBI he has is a function of being bat fourth all the time. Drafted number two overall in ’08, he’s sort of turning out to be the Kris Benson of position players. Though I doubt we’ll be able to trade Petey for Jose Bautista like we did with Benson.

      • And I know some are infatuated with his arm, but it’s a below average arm in that it’s wild and unreliable. No denying it’s strong, but every team has players who can make the throws from third. Heck, I see high school players with cannons on their shoulders. Don’t over-glorify Petey’s arm.

        • I think you’re underestimating his arm. There’s no way they’re trading him, IMO, even if he was arb eligible next year which he isn’t.

        • I think his arm is well above average. It’s the stone hands that can’t scoop anything that will prevent him from ever being something beyond a good fielding DH.

          • Since he struggled defensively early in August, 2 errors in his past 21 games. Not bad. Hopefully he’s improving.

          • The thing that is most frustrating to me regarding Pedro’s play in the field is that one inning he will make a remarkable defensive play that causes my jaw to drop and then the next inning he fumbles a routine grounder. I’m not sure if it’s mental or what, but some consistency would be wonderful.

            • If Pedro was consistent, then he would not be the enigma wrapped in a conundrum served in a taco shell that stirs such incredible passionate debate on this here blog.

              • Petey is Petey. gotta take the good with the bad. I know I do.

              • Like the way he got all “Yinzered Up” by calling him Petey.

              • Nice image, Brandie! HAHA!

                Define “strikeout”: What Pedro Alvarez does with a runner on third and less than two outs.

                You can write that one in stone, and I’m really, really sick of it.

              • Ms. Jandy, have you ever been on a see-saw with someone very heavy (plan is excluded from this analogy), and you are stranded in the air, well that is Pedro – it is a lopsided ride.

                In his case too much of the bad does not – I repeat does not – balance out with the good.

              • I got the “Petey” from Mystical Karen ;)

              • Mr. Hasis, that is a very good analogy. But I have to reiterate…Petey is Petey. he is what he is. I love him anyway.

            • I’m with you on this, Iceman. He has some consistency issues.

              • He is such a feast or famine player with his defense and, at times, with his bat. It is such s roller coaster ride with him.

              • If Pedro were more consistent, would we score more runs? I’m not sure exactly what we’re saying when we want him to be more consistent. Do we want his production more evenly spread out? I just think he needs to be better and not necessarily more consistent.

              • 21,

                He needs to be consistently better :)

              • 21:

                I am speaking about defensive consistency. He makes some great plays, like the incredible run down tag, followed by great throw to 2b on Labor Day. Then, he misses easy groundballs. I would give up a bunch of the great plays for him not making so many errors on routine balls. I think that can be corrected.

                As for hitting, I am convinced he is what he is. As Jandy said, you take the good with the bad. We all wish he did not strike out so much, but that’s what he is. He is our best option at 3b right now, and he will hit 35+ HR this year. But, it can be a frustrating ride with him. I like the guy, but he frustrates the heck out of me. He does a lot of good when he is going well, and he kills a lot of rallies along the way as well.

            • I understand exactly what you’re saying JIm. At 26 and with his reported work ethic, I still think he can and will improve.

              • He may somewhat, at this point, it doesn’t bother me. He does well enough.

              • Defensively, he can and will improve.

                Offensively, I hope so. I am not sure he will ever be able to develop the ability to recognize spin on pitches, or whatever is causing him to think pitches that sink below the strike zone are actually in the strike zone. It may be a vision thing. I believe a lot of guys don’t hit as well as other guys because of vision issues of some sort.

      • I’ll connect the Aramis Ramirez to Pedro Alvarez dots for you:

        Bobby Hill
        Rob Mackowiak
        Chris Stynes
        Ty Wigginton
        Joe Randa (the second time)
        Jose Bautista (before he was good)
        Chris Gomez
        Matt Kata
        Andy LaRoche

        So, it took basically 10 years to find Ramirez’s replacement, and about 10 years to find Ramirez after Jeff King moved to 1B and Bonilla left. You’re asking the Pirates to dump Alvarez in favor or whatever journeymen can be cobbled together, likely on the cheap.

        No thanks.

        • Gregenstein:

          I am in agreement with you that Pedro, taking all the good and the bad together, is a net positive. His power, for instance, is off the charts for a 3b. He would not be easy to replace and upgrade.

          But, I don’t think anyone suggested going back to someone from that list of misfits you posted just because they mentioned some of his obvious faults.

          • “My personal hope is that Pedro wins the HR crown so that he can be traded to the Yankees in the off season”

            “Pedro wouldn’t offer much of a value to most other clubs. But the Yanks do do dumb things so that’s conceivable.”
            ————————————
            Sounds to me like at least 2 people are hoping for a “salary dump” kind of trade to me, which is how we ended up with Bobby Hill.

            It’s almost as if people think guys with who get 2.5 or so WAR grow on trees. They don’t. He’s not great, probably a fringe All Star in the years to come, likely won’t get in the Hall of Fame when it’s all said and done, but he’s better than what 23 or so other teams are throwing out there at 3B.

        • +24

          It continues to amaze me that a guy with 32 HR’s, 86 RBI’s and 60 R’s is the perpetual whipping boy of many fans.

          Pedro’s career stats in four years:

          ’10- 347 AB’s 119 K’s – 34.2% K rate
          ’11- 235 AB’s 80 K’s – 34.0% K rate
          ’12 – 525 AB’s 180 K’s – 34.2% K rate
          ’13 – 478 AB’s 169 K’s – 35.3% K rate

          Power numbers:

          ’10 – 16 HR’s 64 RBI’s
          ’11 – 4 HR’s 19 RBI’s
          ’12 – 30 HR’s 85 RBI’s
          ’13 – 32 HR’s 86 RBI’s

          So Pedro’s K rate has remained consistent is whole career but he continues to increase power production and runs brought in production so he has not yet shown a ceiling on those statistics.

          Pedro is what he is, a player who unfortunately appears will strike out a third of the time but will also give you run production not many players can match.

        • We could put JHay at 3rd, right? (I miss Mackowiak :(..)

        • Gotta agree on THAT one!!

      • you had me at “Yanks do do”

  3. Great column! Glad to see at least a recognition that some think 34 is the real streak. 20 is a mere embarrassing substreak.

    DK: Thanks, Reading.

  4. After Morneau was hit by pitch and Byrd hit that double… I truly expected Morneau (who is a pretty big guy) to barrel over catcher Maldonado and was disappointed when he didn’t…. I believe that was the fulcrum of the game…

    • It is hard to ask s guy with a concussion history that is feeling right for the first time in 3 years to do that.

    • I thought the catcher stayed away from the plate to avoid a collision. Most of them are doing that these days. They don’t want “Posey’d.”

      • I was going to mention that as well Jim. Although in this case I don’t think Morneau tries to barrel him over even if he is blocking the plate.

        Never should have been sent home down by 4 with no outs and 6,7 and 8 hitters coming up. Team had momentum after home run, bench clearing incident and Byrd double. Completely took away that momentum by sending him home in that situation.

    • Morneau has a history of concussion. he won’t be barreling over anyone any time soon. And there was no reason for him to be sent from third there. Absolutely ludicrous for him to be sent home on that play.

    • Where Maldonado was and where Morneau was coming in from didn’t give Morneau an opportunity to run into Maldonado. And I’m thinking Morneau would have been tossed from the game if he did.

      I still think Morneau was safe.

  5. With 23 games left, the Pirates magic number to clinch the second wild card is 14 (vs. Arizona and Washington), to host the wild card game is 20 (vs. Reds) and to win the division is 23 (vs. Cardinals). Arizona starts a four game series with SF tonight. The Reds and Cardinals finish their four game series. The Pirates and Nationals are off.

  6. I more to go.

  7. 14 posts?

    Seems like we have an off day, too.

    • eh…that was disappointing last night.

      Still, when will Clint learn to pull a pitcher (namely Liriano) when he is just a liability?

      :sigh:

      • I agree on that, Jandy. I was watching and thinking it was so obvious that he had nothing. You have extra pitchers because of Sept. call-ups. Why leave a key pitcher out there getting rocked and throwing extra pitches? I thought he should have been pulled much earlier. That would have saved his arm for the next game. As it was, he had a couple of innings of huge pitch counts.

        • I don’t know. He left his now 15-7 pitcher, with a 2.98 ERA in THREE innings. Hard for me to find fault with that. And listening to Clint after the game, he didn’t say this exactly, but I got the impression he wanted Liriano to try and figure it out. He’s a big part of the reason we’re where we are, and he’s going to be a big part, hopefully, of how far we go. No problem with it from me. Clint’s a strategic or big picture thinker, methinks.

          • I just think sometimes it is not your day, and Clint has been great at recognizing that all year. But, not last night. I guess hindsight is 20/20, so it is easy for me now to say he should have been taken out earlier.

        • I could see him working thru the second, guys. But into the third it was painfully obvious it just wasn’t there. As Jim said, we have call-ups, use them. We want to win every game we can, the Reds and Cards are coming up.

      • AJ as well

      • Ditto. As soon as the pitches started sailing in the 2nd (BEFORE all of the damage) would have been nice. Liriano hasn’t shown in his three recent meltdowns that he can stop his own train wreck. So step in and stop him, Clint!

  8. DK, I did not “cry” actual “tears” – but all the other stuff – oh yeah!!!!!!

    Nice read.

    DK: Thank you.

  9. JAL’s September When It Comes Morning Links

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2WilM6ljUg

    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: How Tyler Glasnow Set the Bar Way Too High This Year

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/09/first-pitch-how-tyler-glasnow-set-the-bar-way-too-high-this-year.html

    Prospect Watch: The Austin Meadows Show Continues in Jamestown

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/09/prospect-watch-the-austin-meadows-show-continues-in-jamestown.html

    Is Gerrit Cole Starting to Realize His Potential?

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/09/is-gerrit-cole-starting-to-realize-his-potential.html

    5 Bucs Dugout

    Francisco Liriano struggles, Pirates botch opportunities in 9-3 win

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2013/9/4/4696450/francisco-liriano-struggles-pirates-botch-opportunities-in-9-3-win

    6 Rumbunter

    About Pirates Overworked Bullpen, Reds, Cards Too

    http://rumbunter.com/2013/09/04/pirates-overworked-bullpen/

    7 Surprising Facts About Pirates Clint Barmes

    http://rumbunter.com/2013/09/04/7-surprising-facts-pirates-clint-barmes/

    7 WHYGAVS

    81 wins

    http://www.whygavs.com/pittsburgh-pirates/september-2013/81-wins.html

    Game 139: Brewers 9 Pirates 3

    http://www.whygavs.com/pittsburgh-pirates/september-2013/game-139-brewers-9-pirates-3.html

    8 The Green Weenie

    Brewers Clutch, Bucs Not In 9-3 Pasting

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2013/09/brewers-clutch-bucs-not-in-9-3-pasting.html

    9 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Brewers 9 Pirates 3

    http://raisethejollyroger.com/2013/09/brewers-9-pirates-3/

    10 Sports Illustrated

    The 20 worst moments from the Pirates’ 20 consecutive losing seasons

    http://mlb.si.com/2013/09/04/pirates-20-worst-moments-20-years-of-losing/

  10. NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 ABC News

    Column: Winning Season Nice, but Pirates Need More

    http://abcnews.go.com/Sports/wireStory/column-winning-season-nice-pirates-20160411

    12 KDKA

    Greg Brown: Pirates Have Bigger Goals Than 81 Wins

    http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2013/09/04/greg-brown-pirates-have-bigger-goals-than-81-wins/

    13 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

    Brewers’ bats trump Pittsburgh’s ace

    http://www.jsonline.com/sports/brewers/brewers-bats-trump-pittsburghs-ace-b9990710z1-222455151.html

    14 Cincinnati Enquirer

    Adams’ homer in 16th lifts Cardinals past Reds

    http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20130904/SPT04/309040103/Adams-homer-in-16th-lifts-Cards

    15 Bradenton Herald

    Rounding Third: Pirates not done raising that Jolly Roger

    http://www.bradenton.com/2013/09/04/4698794/rounding-third-pirates-not-done.html

    16 CBS Sports

    Brewers delay Bucs from clinching winning season

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/gametracker/recap/MLB_20130904_PIT@MIL/brewers-delay-bucs-from-clinching-winning-season

    17 St Louis Post Dispatch

    Cards win on Adams’ two of a kind

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/professional/cards-win-on-adams-two-of-a-kind/article_68955284-a873-5ec0-a819-3a3cdddf263e.html

    Craig headed back to St. Louis with injured foot

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/professional/cardinal-beat/craig-headed-back-to-st-louis-with-injured-foot/article_93ba3e89-a5fd-5f54-afec-9f752cbb59b1.html

    18 PBC Site

    Liriano labors as Bucs’ winning season on hold

    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2013_09_04_pitmlb_milmlb_1&mode=recap_away&c_id=pit

    Notebook: Hurdle slots Alvarez at No. 6 in batting order

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130904&content_id=59567924&notebook_id=59568954&vkey=notebook_pit&c_id=pit

    SPORTS WEBSITES

    19 Baseball Prospectus

    Gerrit Cole, New Owner of an Adequate Strikeout Rate

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=21713

    20 Fangraphs

    FanGraphs Chat – 9/4/13

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/fangraphs-chat-9413/

  11. Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    The case for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2013: Part One

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/9/3/4682716/the-case-for-the-pittsburgh-steelers-in-2013-part-one

    The case for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2013: Part Two

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/9/4/4691176/the-case-for-the-pittsburgh-steelers-in-2013-part-two

    22 Steelers Depot

    Troy Polamalu Fits the Bill Health-Wise According to Mike Tomlin

    http://www.steelersdepot.com/2013/09/troy-polamalu-fits-the-bill-health-wise-according-to-mike-tomlin/

    Soccer(football)

    23 London Evening Standard

    In pictures: Top transfer window deadline day signings

    http://www.standard.co.uk/sport/football/in-pictures-top-transfer-window-deadline-day-signings-8794383.html?action=gallery

    24 World Soccer Daily

    Face to face: Rudi Garcia

    http://www.worldsoccer.com/features/face-to-face-rudi-garcia

    PENGUIN BLOGS and NHL Links

    25 Pensburgh

    Pittsburgh Penguins salary cap watch

    http://www.pensburgh.com/2013/9/4/4693580/pittsburgh-penguins-salary-cap-watch

  12. DK, still pushing Liriano for Cy Young over Kershaw? 3.0 WAR v. 5.9 WAR.

    DK: Please find where I pushed Liriano for Cy Young. I’ll be waiting right here.

  13. Certainly not the most significant, but my favorite line from DK’s column may just be:

    “Or John Russell mumbling the word ‘passion.’”

  14. Morning Loonies! Well, as John Wehner said in the 3rd inning: “…this certainly was not expected…”. Really, that may sum it up for last night’s contest. Still, the Brewers got one last shot in on our Pirates this season in that evil place “The House of Horrors”. Off day today…then regroup for a huge six game stretch.

  15. Great things come to those who wait. Due to the drubbing our Buccos took last night, we have to wait a little longer for 82. I am okay with that because of the changes the brain trust has made. Even with the losses, our boys don’t hang their heads for long!

    Great read this morning DK!

  16. Great column DK!
    I lived in Atlanta at the time of “the slide”, it hurt man, it hurt.
    But what was salt in the wound was a huge billboard of “the slide” for 2 miserable years.
    I had to drive past it for 2 miserable years.
    I’m scared by it all, but the scare will fade away very soon!

    DK: Thanks, Dave.

  17. I believe Pedro Alvarez would swing at a ball that was rolled on the ground from the mound to home plate. I watched about five miutes of the game. With runners on second and third and one out he swung at three pitches that must have been 6″ inside and no more than ankle height. Yeesh.

  18. Well sometimes you get the bear and sometimes the bear gets you. (although getting Morneau thrown out at the plate with no outs was an unnecessary sacrifice to the bear)

    It’s time to focus on things at the ranch, as I’d guess Hippo will do at the pond.

    Rest well Bucs, and may the Reds and Cards play an even longer game tonight!

  19. Dejan, Thank you for the column. Great summation of 20 years of pain.

    Now, it’s over. While I can’t just yet visualize the Bucs in the World Series, stranger things have happened.

    BTW, I turn on the TV maybe 5 minutes before kickoff of a Steelers game, and pay almost no attention to them from The Tuesday after one game till the day of the next. Believe it or not, there are other fans like me who will continue to focus on the Pirates pretty exclusively till well after their season is over.

    You do your best work writing about America’s Pastime!

    Just sayin.

    Stuart

    DK: Glad you liked the piece, Stu. I hope your last line is incorrect, though. I put just as much into hockey, football, Olympics and everything else.

    • i told my wife last night that it is an odd feeling to be anticipating what the Bucs will be doing on Saturday and Sunday more than what the Nits and Steelers will be doing ont hose days.

  20. Loved the article DK. Except the last line. Getting way ahead of what’s happening here, but I hope the only ending that matters doesn’t happen in Atlanta. that would mean another failure to get to teh World Series. I mean I am all for baby steps here. 82, then the playoffs, then a hosting a game, then the division, then the LDS, then the LCS, then the WS. But still, let’s not let it end in Atlanta. That might reignite to many bad memories. Sid and Meals still linger.

    • And I definitely shed some tears that night. I was 12 and my favorite player at the time was seated on the center field grass staring into space hopelessly. The game ended, I took a shower, and went to bed and cried into my pillow.

      I was talking to a long time friend of mine who I don’t get to talk to much lately. he said that sometimes he watches the Pirates now and gets a feeling of excitement and energy. he said “I have to wonder if this is what it felt like when I was 11. It was so long ago and I was so young that I will never really know.”

      My response was “I sat next to you and watched most of those games. I know this is how that felt.”

      But today I think I was wrong. I think this feels so much better. When i was 12 the Bucs had won for 3 strait seasons. Ultimately 3 strait NLCS losses and one bad memory that has lasted too long. But they were winners. I expected them to win. I took it for granted. I told my dad that there was no way that the bucs were blowing game 7 in the 9th. Not with a shut out going. Not with Doug on the mound. No way. Confidence.

      Now though, after 20 years of winning, I jump off my couch after a walk off. i pump my fist with Grilli after wach save. I savor every base hit, every, DP, every strike out. This feeling is different than anything I felt during the 90, 91, and 92 seasons.

      One thing that is the same as back then though…I hate off days. can’t wait for Friday night to see another game.

      • “Now though, after 20 years of winning, I jump off my couch after a walk off. i pump my fist with Grilli after wach save. I savor every base hit, every, DP, every strike out. This feeling is different than anything I felt during the 90, 91, and 92 seasons.”

        Ahhhh…Grilli’s fist pump symbolizes the energy and passion of this bunch.

      • I feel ya. Van Slyke was my favorite player too.

      • Slick was mine, too, followed closely by Spanky.

        • My dad worked at a car dealership. The dealer provided Spanky with a car every year in return for him coming and signing autographs for about 2 to 3 hours on a Saturday. Used to love this. Then when Spanky left town jay Bell became the guy.

          True story: The dealership was in Indiana, PA. Bell drove himself there for the signing and was running late. Turns out he got lost. He called the garage and asked for my dad by name. Jay claims he remembered my dad from the year prior. Chances are he just got his name off of the lease agreement as my dad was the F&I guy at the garage. But at the same time he didn’t have to specifically ask for anyone. he could have asked the secretary for directions so who knows.

      • I obviously meant 20 years of losing not winning. Otherwise the post makes no sense. I stink at things.

  21. For those of you who haven’t yet, go back into DK’s column and read the comment by a guy named Rico. Truly inspiring stuff there.

  22. Brilliant article, DK! You perfectly captured what so many here expressed yesterday after #81 had been secured. But, you really nailed it with the specific references to pound 20 years of ineptitude home. Jacob Brumfield, Jeromy Burnitz, Al Martin, and on and on. Oh my, has it been a long time!

    When friends and acquaintances from other cities remind me (usually politely) that I root for a perennially losing franchise, I always find myself uttering the same line: “The Pirates have not always been bad. They won 90+ games almost every year when I was growing up.” It’s true, and as I pointed out yesterday, not many franchises could endure 20 straight losing seasons and still be 200 games over .500 all-time. But, the truth is, the Pirates had become synonymous with losing. Thanks to this season, and I believe next season, and the season after, etc, etc. …. that no longer has to be the case.

    DK: Thanks, Jim.

    • Hopefully you are right about the years going forward. They seem to be poised to be at least competetive going forward for the next 3-5 years. Unlike most of the last 20 years where we expected them to lose and would be surprised if they won I think going forward we will expect them to win and be surprised if they lose.

      The organization is relatively healthy top to bottom pitching wise and hitting wise there is some nice things happening at the lower levels. Hopefully the gaps can be filled in while those lower level bats work there way through the system in 2014-2015.

      • As a lot of people here point out about the guys in the minors, the prospects are all “suspects” until they actually achieve something at the big league level.

        That is certainly true. A large % of prospects do not pan out to be good MLB players. The problem in the past was that we had so few prospects that we could never field a competitive team when the inevitable math equation of turning a prospect into an impact major leaguer became reality. We had to pin our collective hopes on just a few guys, and that wasn’t realistic.

        But, now … and this is just my personal opinion … there are so many more young players in our system with the talent to succeed at the big league level, that even with the usual % never reaching their potential that still leaves a large enough pool of players who will succeed that this winning can be sustained for several years, at least.

        The other great thing is … and, again, this is just my opinion … I think we actually have the expertise in our system to develop players properly.

        • Great observations, Jim.
          Ray Searage and Jay Bell certainly have helped a lot.

          • Jandy, I agree on Searage but I’m not sold on Jay Bell just yet. The fact that the two guys that came over in trades have two of the best approaches at the plate on the the team concerns me. Although it is very encouraging to see Mercer consistantly take good at-bats. He was kind of raw and Bell may have had some influance on his approach.

            However using that same logic Alverez, Marte and Jones all still have their fair share of horrible at bats and have not shown much improvement in that area as the year has went on. Prolonged slumps where a player just looks lost at the plate can really hurt a team. A good hitting coach would hopefully be able to limit these.

            Guys like Jones, Walker and even Alverez to a lesser extent have shown they are capable of being quality hitters at the the major league level. When they get in a funk it’s because they have stopped or started doing something that effects their swing. It is Bell’s job to get them back on track. In my opinion he has not done that enough this year.

            Pitch counts for opposing pitchers seem to be up so maybe that is a sign of good things to come in future years with Bell.

        • That is exactly how I feel. A majority will fail to reach the majors or just become bench players. It is much better to throw 25 players that project to helping at the major league level at the wall and see which ones stick then the 5-10 we use to throw at the wall.

  23. What was the “Welcome to Heck” incident that DK noted in his article? That’s the one that doesn’t ring any bells.

    • There has been a longstanding rumor that Kendall started telling that to new guys at some point. I heard on the Fan for the first time the other day that Jason Christiansen was the one who said that when they were still in Three Rivers. Don’t know if either one is true, but the Kendall one is well established in the lore.

      DK: Christiansen wasn’t exactly a nice guy, but that’s not him to do that. Kendall and Mike Williams used to chirp at everyone in there.

      • Hey, I said it was from the Fan, not exactly a real credible source. ;-)

        They did say Williams, in addition to being not very good, was one of the biggest jerks. The only thing, to me, that gave the Christiansen story potentially some credibility is that some of those years in the 90′s probably were hell, with all the uncertainties, and no money. I never really doubted the Kendall/Williams stories, just couldn’t point to anything concrete.

        Thanks for adding the credibility.

  24. No matter how things shake out tonight

    We take 2 of 3 this weekend

    We leave St Louis in first.

    Its all in our hands

  25. I forgot one. I also cried when Perry Hill left.

  26. In case it hasn’t been mentioned, Jack Wilson said the streak was over now, i.e., Win 81..

    ;-)

  27. Dejan

    Fantastic column. Reading thru all of the mistakes & debacles this franchise had to endure for the past 20 seasons, it makes you laugh, but also makes you scratch your head. You almost have to TRY to have these things happen to you. The Pirates would be a perfect fit for any conspiracy theorist.

    But then there’s this group that we have currently pulling on the unis for our club. The PBC. As you state, there are only a handful of players and coaches that understand what has been going on. And maybe it’s better that way. Also as you state in your article, you focus on positives.

    Right now, this group knows 81-58. And that’s all I want them to know. Because, you can build off of that.

    Can’t build anything off of the terrible memories of the past 20 seasons.

    We look forward.

    DK: Thanks, Nate.

  28. Biz, did you see this:

    BreakTheStreak says:

    September 5, 2013 at 11:08 am

    Hi. I now live in Monmouth Beach NJ but born and bred in the East End of Pittsburgh. I love this blog and think it is great that you are keeping a list of all where all the Lunatics are now living. GO BUCS!!!!

  29. Great article, Dejan. Had the chance to meet Sid Bream 3 years ago at a my company’s golf outing/fund raiser and truly, truly one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. As he said…the emotions of that game were incredible and the fact that he was a Pirate made it even more so. Many of us (jokingly) looked at him cross eyed and he just laughed. I suppose someone will always bring this up to Sid…he lives with it as do Pirate fans… forever. I just recall leaving the party I was at that night…going home…went to sleep…went to work the next day and this went on for a few days. I suppose it was a numbness and disbelief. I also recall not watching the Series that year. First time that happened in years.

    DK: Thanks, JA.

  30. for a change of pace…Mike Fisher “saves” his wife by catching a Chippie in their home…
    The eye candy in here is awesome ;)

    http://network.yardbarker.com/nhl/article_external/mike_fisher_bitten_by_chipmunk_while_saving_carrie_underwood/14445590?linksrc=foxrg_nhl

  31. 1992 – Damon Berryhill should’ve been called out on strikes. That was the most ridiculous strike zone I have ever seen in a championship series. Brian Hunter’s pop up then would have ended the game. That’s not even mentioning Chico’s error. Grrrr……#$&%!(^%@!

    82 wins won’t heal those wounds. And don’t even get me started about about 1991 and Alejandro Pena’s stupid circle change up.

    That poster of Sid sliding across home used to hang above the escalator leading up to the old international concourse in Atlanta’s airport. I used to fantasize about taking a pair of bolt cutters and spray paint to it.

  32. I was talking to a buddy of mine and telling him about the topic on today’s blog. He reminded me about his worse baseball moment: He was living in Boston and reminded me of the 1986 Series when the Mookie Wilson slow roller went right through Bill Buckner’s legs. Boston never recovered.

  33. Not much time today, but one little observation. If this club played as well mentally as they do physically they would be leading by about fifteen games right now.

    Sometimes it’s just hurts to watch and they win anyway. Sometimes they don’t.

    However, they are young and the future is bright.

    • I was thinking that last night. We lost 9-3, but gave away who knows how many of our own runs and gave the Brewers who knows how many of their runs.

      Tomorrow is a new day for baseball.

      • I don’t know. From a strict talent standpoint I don’t see the Pirates roster being better then the other playoff contenders. If anything it’s a notch below.

        I don’t think they give away games mentally or fundamentally. I think we just notice it because we watch every play of every game for the Pirates. Other team do just as many stupid things as the Pirates if not more in my opinion. I will say that last night it seemed as if they had more mental mistakes then usual but I don’t think it’s a season long trend.

        • It seems to me that we make a lot of errors in judgment in baserunning and pitch recognition — give away a lot of outs caught stealing and swinging at bad pitches. (Sometimes I think Clint leaves pitchers in too long when they just don’t have it that night — but I discount that because I think it about most managers.)

          In terms of pure athleticism I really like what I see when I get to see them play (not as often out here on the prairie). But on the whole they seem young and over-aggressive to me — getting away with things just enough to trick themselves into hurting themselves more than they’re helping themselves.

          It is of course an opinion in an area where there is no way to prove anything.

          • And I think they will improve as they gain a couple seasons of experience. (Especially if the young pitchers keep showing up.)

  34. Great article Dejan! I’m sitting here in tears reading it. I’ve been a Pirates fan for 40 years and the last 20 were very very long, but this team is healing alot of the pain! Now, onto the Division Title!!!

    DK: Glad you liked it.

  35. I was looking at the various October schedules and there is no possibility of the Pens, Steelers and Pirates all playing on the same day. I got to thinking that has not been a possibility for decades as the Pirates have not played in the post season and the NHL usually has a somewhat light schedule on Sundays. The Pens do not play any Sunday games in October. The Steelers do not play any Thursday games in October. Thus, no overlap.

    Less than a month to the start of the NHL season. NFL kicks it off in hours. Pirates in a pennant race. Good times.

    As usual, best summed up by Seinfeld:

  36. DK that was an awesome column. Had forgotten a few of the items in there like Al Martin not scoring. I still particularly enjoy Ronny Cedeno bunting with the bases loaded and two outs. And I think he may have even done it twice in one week.

    DK: Thanks, Lad.

  37. Lovely column today, Dejan. Arguably one of your finest.

    DK: Thanks, John.

  38. Biz…another one!

    Frank says:

    September 5, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    Middletown, Ohio

    Reply

  39. Here is my 2013-2014 NFL Playoff prediction for the upcoming season:
    AFC
    1) Patriots
    2) Broncos
    3) Bengals
    4) Texans
    5) Ravens
    6) Colts

    NFC
    1) 49ers
    2) Packers
    3) Giants
    4) Saints
    5) Seahawks
    6) Falcons

    • Wild Card Playoffs
      Bengals over Colts
      Texans over Ravens
      Giants over Falcons
      Seahawks over Saints

      Division Playoffs
      Broncos over Bengals
      Patriots over Texans
      Giants over Packers
      Seahawks over 49ers

      AFC Championship
      Pats over Broncos

      NFC Championship
      Seahawks over Giants

      Superbowl
      Seahawks over Patriots

      • Good post, Dom.

        Mine look like this:

        AFC: 1. Denver 2. NE 3. Steelers 4. Bengals 5. Texans 6. Colts

        NFC: 1. Falcons 2. Redskins 3. Bears 4. 49′ers 5. Saints 6. SeaHawks

        This is my 47th NFL season which means 47 times, including when I was an infant, I have had the Bears make the playoffs and the Packers not.

      • I never have the guts to leave the steelers out of the playoffs. I think there’s a chance the Steelers win every single game this year. Then lose in the 1st round to the Texans. Oh well.

    • You might be right about the Pats, Dom. But, if they are the best the AFC has to offer, the AFC is not very good.

      I see the Pats as Tom Brady and not much else once again. Of their three biggest offensive weapons from last season, one is in jail for murdering his friend, another one is coming off serious wrist surgery, and the 3rd one plays for Denver. Once again, though, their division will most likely be handed to them on a silver platter by maybe the weakest collection of NFL organizations clustered in any one division.

      • The best thing that team has going for them is that they have such an easy schedule.

        I see at least eight wins out of the teams they play in their division, the Steelers, Browns, Panthers, and Bucs.

        If they just go .500 with the other teams, then they’ll be 11-5.

    • Division Winners
      Giants
      Washington
      Cowboys
      Eagles

      Packers
      Lions
      Vikings
      Bears

      49ers
      Seahawks
      Rams
      Cardinals
      Rams

      Saints
      Falcons
      Buccaneers
      Panthers

  40. I just got around to reading what I thought was a very good piece from Pirates Prospects. JAL probably linked to it yesterday, since he usually does a great job of providing their stuff. I don’t think it is up there with the PP stuff today, but it is a good piece.

    Anyway, it was about how Pirates pitchers, from the very lowest levels of the minors, are taught to pitch inside. In the lowest levels of the organization, Bucs farm teams have led their respective league in HBP so often in the past 3 years that it is no accident. They are taught to pound the ball in on a hitter’s hands – not to hit the batter, but to keep batters off balance and unable to get the barrel on the ball as often, and therefore, get quick outs. And none of the individual pitchers are leading their leagues in HBP, which indicates it is universally applied by all the pitchers on the staffs.

    You hear all the time how pitchers need to “own the inside of the plate.” Well, it is a difficult skill to learn at the major league level, if you have had never really done it before. It is obviously an organizational focus that goes hand-in-hand with focusing on fastball command and keeping the ball low in the zone. The article pointed out that the HBP totals tend to drop as you get higher in the system, which indicates the pitchers are learning to command their pitches on the inner half of the plate and get comfortable with this art.

    The Pirates have a very definite plan as to how they want to develop pitchers. We’ll see how it turns out, but I think they are onto something.

  41. http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/09/pitching-inside-the-pirates-way.html

    Here’s the article I referenced, above. I hope you can link to it.

    • This is encouraging, Jim:
      “Even a couple of the top pitchers in the system are taking to the method. Nick Kingham has hit 21 batters during the last two years, yet he has excellent control. Jameson Taillon has hit nine batters in two of his three seasons and control is a strong point to his game.”

    • That is actually very encouraging. One of the things that young pitchers don’t do anymore is pitch inside because of aluminum bats. Also, I have found a suprising number of kids that I have coached are afraid of hitting a batter. So they work the outside corner almost exclusively. Good stuff.

    • We definitely need to hit more people… was kinda disappointed we did not retaliate when they plunked Morneau last night.

    • I hate to be Mr. Obvious, but a hit batsman is not a positive outcome for a pitcher.

      Low level teams leading their respective leagues is great. They’re learning.

      Upper level teams leading their leagues means poor command and more baserunners.

      • I’m thinking, NMR, that they want to start them early pitching inside, so that by the time they reach the upper level teams, they don’t hit too many. They have better control.

        • I’m sure thats what they WANT to happen.

          But the fact that even their upper level pitchers lead the league in hit batsmen tells me the command part isn’t there.

          • Good point. I would say, some guys will never get it because they just aren’t good enough. Those guys will probably wash out, whether they pitch inside or not.

            But, if Taillon gets it, if Glasnow gets it, if Kingham gets it, and if Heredia and a bunch of the new guys get it, then that will be a good thing. You have to start somewhere.

            I wonder how many organizations actually embrace this to the point of teaching it rather than just sermonizing about it.

  42. If only we had Melancon back in 1992?

  43. I know that everyone here (including myself) is excited about the Pirates and what they are doing right now, but I am reminded that hockey season is right around the corner and I am also excited about that.

    The Pen’s prospect team is playing against Ottawa’s prospect team as we speak up in London, Ontario. Sid and Geno are back in Pittsburgh doing their preseason media stuff. The first preseason game is only 10 days away. I am so pumped for October!

  44. Hey All – Meant to ask this question earlier…curious as to your answer(s): We have been talking today about how this season will start to heal 1992 and the 20 years. But, does the same thing apply with the with the “Hoka Hey” fiasco and how we all climbed all over NH and FC and BN and the like? Does winning forgive all sins?

    • Only if TBMTIB continues to improve.

    • For what it worth I actually strongly defended the FO and thought this was blown out of proportion but I do think they errored in having this style of training as part of their year round development of players.

      It’s still part of their overall body of work. I still don’t like Stark and think that it should have cost him his job. I also think it’s the biggest blemish on NH’s record. He oversaw those decisions. There is trying to change the overall culture of the organization and then there is what they did on a daily basis which was borderline hazing of the players. Waking them up in the middle of the night and having them run relays adds no value to the organization.

      • Thanks, Nate. Maybe there was more accountability in house than we know about publicly but I do agree with you. Good points.

    • Hoka hey… winning solves everything!! including the “embrace the suck” mere months ago….

    • It was very easy to believe the worst of the entire organizational management team and all team philosophies at that time because everything had gone so horribly wrong for so long. And when that fiasco came about, it became very easy to believe that it was symptomatic of every single aspect of the organization. It was easy to believe everything was in utter chaos.

      As we know now, this turnaround was already well under way. They had and have warts, but the Compound W had already started to be applied, is what I believe now.

  45. There is an amusing sports snippet on the back pages of today’s WSJ. It applies a ratio of negative to positive tweets for NFL fans to determine which teams have the most “stable” fan base. Turns out the most stable are Cowboy fans, the least stable are Oakland fans, but the second least stable fan base belongs to . . . the Steelers. And you guys think you are lunatics.

  46. As for most painful, non-Pirate moment. On the occasion of my last wager on a MLB game, when Bucky F***in Dent put a serious dent in my finances.

  47. I hate to say it.. cuz.. as soon as I do, it will probably be made un-true. Marlon Byrd, Justin Morneau, and John Buck are our 3 best hitters since they joined the team 4-5 days ago. If I remember from lunch correctly when I was perusing the MLB team batting stats on the 4-letter bastard network:

    Morneau – ~0.460
    Buck – ~0.420
    Byrd – ~0.390
    McCutch – ~0.320
    Marte – ~0.280
    everybody else sub 0.280.

    • which is why the BMTIB is great for acquiring them :)
      so, it’s not a bad thing, Kevin.

    • Yes, that would mostly be true, Kevin. Though Tabby has been hitting well. And Cutch has been hot for a while. He cooled off at tail end of August, just to get hot again in September. In Sept., Cutch is batting .400 with an on-base-% of .526.

      As for some comments made to me /about my post on Petey, this morning:

      21 — Alvarez WILL be arbitration-eligible after this season. Looked it up. Team has an option but it will be voided due to incentives.

      JRay — So what if Pedro is “consistent” in his strikeout rate? His K rate stinks. He leads the league in K’s and is tied for second in all of the MLB. That he does this “consistently” is hardly meritorious.

      Gregenstein — Even if it were true that the Pirates haven’t had a good third baseman since Aramis Ramirez, that would have nothing to do with anything except to underline what we already know: the Pirates have been inept. But Jose Bautista WAS good when we had him. He had an even stronger arm than Petey, and he had 15 HR’s before the All-Star break. But Neal benched, demoted him to the minors, then traded him away for Robison Diaz, all because Neal wanted to play Andy LaRoche and prove he made a good deal.

      None of this is the fault of Pedro Alvarez. I actually like Pedro as a person and am only trying to dispassionately evaluate what he brings to the table. And what he brings is: 32 HR’s, but at the cost of (by far) the most errors in the Majors, the second most strikeouts in the Majors, a .230 batting average (and his BA is actually below the Mendoza Line since July ended), and a whole lot of base runners and scoring opportunities left dead in the water.

      And this winter Scott Boras goes to work on getting him more money. Dealing with Scott Boras is like being in a card game and not knowing who the patsy is. What that always means is YOU are the patsy…

      • Considering Bautista only had 12 HR before being traded, I’m not sure where you’re getting 15. Baustista was also a worse fielder than Pedro and posted batting averages in the .230′s during 2006, 2008, and 2009.

        So yeah. “Good”.

        • “I’m not sure where you’re getting 15.”
          Misremembering. Honest mistake. I see that you omitted Bautista’s BA from 2007, when he batted .254. In any event, he always had a higher average than Petey’s .230 as of today. As for Jose being “worse fielder than Pedro,”
          I absolutely reject that. Jose had been used as a utility player and was only beginning to learn 3B in ’08. Sure, he looked raw at times, but he also made some Craig Nettles-like athletic plays, had an absolute GUN for an arm, and he certainly didn’t lead the Majors in errors.

          • You’re gonna call me out for ommiting the outlier batting average in Jose’s four seasons prior to breaking out but use Pedro’s CURRENT batting average to make your point? Not last years? Or 2010?

            Oh yeah, solid job of “dispassionate” evaluation.

            • Above, all I had done was list his stats at where they stand NOW. It’s not like I had compiled a list of his yearly batting stats and then declared he’s doomed never hit higher than .230 again. You’re the one who made a list but then omitted the inconvenient one.

              • Hahaha, right, I chose the convenient stats.

                Whew.

              • What are you implying? I mentioned where he is today. Nothing more, nothing less. Sorry, I didn’t realize I was obligated to go back and cite all his stats for all his other years even when that wasn’t what I was talking about.

              • So by chosing an arbitrary end point you don’t think it skews the discussion?

                Please.

              • NMR,
                Now you’re just making crap up. Nobody ever said anything about an END point except you. Same with the term “arbitrary.” Bringing up a player’s stats for the current year is hardly arbitrary and that’s all I was doing. It’s what most normal people do when they’re discussion a player’s performance. It was you who went back and made a list of Bautista’s previous seasons part of the discussion, yet disingenuously omitted 2007. THAT was arbitrary.

          • I think your description for Bautista’s defense could be cut and pasted as a description of Pedro’s defense. He has made some really nice athletic plays this year that other third baseman can’t. He’s not Manny Machado but his defense is better then the error numbers would suggest.

            • How much better is the question. But, yeah, I would agree with the thrust of your post that Bautista and Petey are/were really quite comparable. I beleive the Jays had Scott Rolen at third when Joey got there and so he became a full-time right fielder. In any event, we’ll never know how he would have turned out at third.

      • That was a teriffic post, Ghost.

        I think there will always be a debate that is hard to win on either side for a guy like Pedro, who is leading the league in HR & is among the league leaders in RBI, but who also struggles in so many key areas. He elicits debate, for sure.

      • I’m not sure what Scott Boras has to do with arbitration. He will figure out a number for Pedro to submit but he isn’t doing his client any favors if it is too high. If his number is inflated the Pirates will definately have a number much closer to what the market norm is and the arbitrator will go with that number. That would cost his client and himself money.

        • Boras is out to renegotiate a new contract. He started doing so through the media back in June.

          • And you think that’ll be with the Pirates? Pshh.

            I think Pedro will be a Pirate for two more seasons, at which point he’ll be traded heading into his final year of arb. As he should.

            • “And you think that’ll be with the Pirates? Pshh.”

              Pshh, yourself. Who else could Boras negotiate with for the next four years??

              Boras will do what he thinks will get him the most money. He announced, unsolicited, that he’s interested in negotiating a new contract for the balance of Pedro’s arb. – eligible years. Why? Maybe Boras realizes NOW is the time because Pedro, relatively speaking, is a bust.

              • Um, not to be Mr. Obvious once again, but you know there is a chance that the Pirates don’t accept said offer, right?

                You’re all over the place on this one.

              • No, you’re the one flailing all over the place. Now you suggest there’s a chance the Pirates would let Pedro walk? As if you believe that would really happen. More like you’re, well, flailing.

              • “Now you suggest there’s a chance the Pirates would let Pedro walk?”

                Chance? Try certainty.

                The Pirates are never going to be able to sign ALL of their homegrown players. That is undesputable.

                Why in the world would they prioritize extending one with the flaws you list?

              • There is a good chance that Pedro gets traded before or during the 2015 season or before the 2016 season. There is very little evidence of players his style and size being productive after 6-8 years in the league. There is plently of evidence that some stupid big market team will be willing to sign him to a six year contract for 2 or 3 good years of 35-40 home runs and would be willing to give up good prospects to get him in a trade to get 1 or 2 extra years of that production.

              • I was talking about Boras’ talking about negotiating a new contract, THIS WINTER (which is what Boras commenced doing this past June). Is that what you are talking about? The Pirates are going to let Pedro walk NOW? That’s not what you said above. You are trying to slip and slide around to get out of this.

              • Nate,
                I’m not trying to ignore you. You are actually making good points — better points than anything NMR is coming up with right now. But, alas, the squeaky wheel has been stealing my attention.
                Anyway, I have to go out and pick up my son. I will repsond to what both you guys post, after I get back, later tonight.

              • You clearly don’t have an understanding of the arbitration process, Ghost.

                The Pirates don’t HAVE to renegotiate anything with Pedro.

                Boras has absolutely no bearing on what Pedro will be making for the next three years if taken to arbitration.

              • NMR,
                You know darn well I’ve been talking about Boras broaching the subject of renegotiating Pedro’s contract, itself, TO PRECLUDE having to go to arbitration. Why you think these ridiculous ploys of suddenly pretending we’re talking about something else will do you any good is beyond me. It’s childish, frankly and I don’t get why you stoop to that.

        • Yeah, Boras has no power over arbitration hearings.

      • Jose Bautista had a stronger arm than Petey?

        • I don’t know. Bautista could fire lasers from deep behind 3rd to 1st. He also could make all the hard-charging off-balance throws with the flick of a wrist. He was rated as having the Pirates strongest arm at the time (though that might not have been saying much…). Who’s arm was stronger: Joey Bats or Petey?? Anyway, both have cannons.

          • Way above, I did say that Joey’s arm was stronger, didn’t I… I guess that’s what I’m convinced of being the case. But admittedly I couldn’t prove that.

  48. Loonies, I have to get some heavier stuff done. Don’t know if I’ll be on later, so hold the fort.
    Keep on sending the strong positive vibes for our boys. We want to win the first one in St. Louie tomorrow!

  49. “I want everybody to feel he has a chance to get into a game when he comes to the ballpark. I play guys when I want to so they’ll be ready when I have to. I don’t consider myself a motivator of players. I think it’s an insult to a ballplayer to have to be motivated.”
    - Gene Mauch

    • Was that quote from before of after the famous choke the Phillies pulled with him at the “helm?”

      • “Losing streaks are funny. If you lose at the beginning you got off to a bad start. If you lose in the middle of the season, you’re in a slump. If you lose at the end, you’re choking.”
        - Gene Mauch

  50. DK will be on Mark Madden’s radio show at 4:30.

  51. GREAT column, Dejan. I admit I cried in 92 (a little). Can someone explain the “Andy LaRoche sharing third base with friends” reference? Thanks.

    • I didn’t get that reading the column, either, lupe, but now that I see it here again I have a guess. I think it refers to Andy being brought in, handed the position immediately, given numerous chances, but he had to share it with others because he wasn’t good enough.
      Just my guess. (could also have some reference to the guy he replaced turning into Jose Bautista)

    • I had the same question. DK I think AW is right, but if not, could you clarify please? Thank you.

    • I have a different take on it.

      I recall a play were LaRoche and Cutch both ended up on third base. And both got tagged out. LaRoche was the dummy that left the base -after Cutch got tagged.

      I remember thinking “We really do stink and we may never win again”.

      And it added fuel to the fire of my hatred of John Russell

  52. taking a day off from the blog, but couldn’t resist making a quick comment or two…..

    Pedro, Pedro, Pedro. Yes, folks, he is both frustrating to watch for his high K rate and error-prone ways,but he is also, without a doubt, the best Pirates 3B in many, many years and a big part of this team for the next few years. Any suggestion that he should be going anywhere are not fact-based or credible, they are emotional rants.

    I am very, very frustrated that Pedro goes up there swinging like THE PITCHER IS GOING TO PITCH HIM FASTBALLS TO PULL as if all the atbats he has had to the contrary NEVER HAPPENED. I get it, he strikes out a lot, it’s gonna happen with power hitters. Byrd strikes out a lot too. But it’s how bad Pedro looks in striking out…like he hasn’t a prayer to actually make contact that is the most maddening.

    When will a coach or anyone get into his noggin that he needs to RECOGNIZE how pitchers are pitching him…and ADJUST. Geesh.

    Oh, and Andrew has fallen into quite the bad habit of swinging and then pausing to watch his batted balls…and then running. He did it in the lineout to CF (I don’t even think he moved from the box) and of course on the HR. I don’t agree with Peralta pitching at Morneau’s head, but that was on Cutch. Seeing where the ball is going is not required before you take off and run. If you don’t know where it is, you put the bat down and run and let the 1B coach tell you what to do.

    I love Cutch, but he deserved to be criticized big-time for that. CH and Banny weren’t exactly all smiles when Cutch got back to the dugout after the HR trot…. hopefully someone said something to him….. swing at ball, hit ball, run the bases. There is no ‘pause and see where the ball goes and decide if and how to run based on the flight path’.

    • That was one bizarre reaction by Cutch, cmat.

      I agree with everything you said about Pedro. I don’t think it is out of the realm of possibility, though, that he could be traded. I honestly don’t know if we would be better off with a 3b added to this lineup who hits for less power, but hits for a higher avg and fields better. Some days I think that would be preferred. Then, one of those days comes where he hits a ball 450 ft with 2 guys on base and I go 180 degrees in the opposite direction.

      • Two people who I am very confident know exactly what Pedro IS and ISN’T are Neal Huntington and Clint Hurdle (and I think Scott Boras knows too but that won’t stop him from thinking Pedro is Mike Schmidt).

        As to whether a trade is possible, sure, anything is possible. I would pause though because the ‘what if Pedro puts it all together’ but it is in another uniform would scare me the hell away from even considering a trade.

        If I’m Pedro, I’m spending extra time with Mr. Morneau..who seems to have learned how to cover outside and low, and even outside the zone and low, pretty well… I hear Pedro works hard and listens hard, and since all of that hasn’t had much impact, maybe he will learn more from a current player vs. a coach.

        Pedro is frustrating, because he has talent. The rest of the 3B infamy list that someone posted earlier… I can’t even get myself to be frustrated because they never had any real talent to begin with.

        As to Cutch, I think I do indeed recognize a little swagger to his game and a little showmanship… playing with an edge is what many of the greats do.. he just has to be a bit careful about how it manifests..and pausing at home plate and wondering where you hit the ball is about as bad as it gets, IMHO.

      • I think money will be what gets Pedro traded, and no, not in a “NUTTINGZ CHEAP” sense. In a value sense.

        It’s much easier to build a team around a player with his flaws when the player is making league minimum. That’s why there isn’t much downside, value-wise, to his streaks right now. He puts up the numbers in the long run and you take the good with the bad.

        But Pedro has put up the counting stats that could get him big raises in arbitration. Dealing with his inconsistancy AND allocating upwards of $10m worth of payroll seems out of character for a low budget team.

        • yep and brace yourself if the Bucs did make what would be a prudent move in that regard…. the hindsight crowd will have fresh tar made and feathers plucked at the ready…..

          No easy answers here… i lean toward keeping him and taking the flaws in stride and hope for continued improvement, but I would not bitch and moan if he were dealt, as long as it was a good trade and not a dump.

          • It’ll be similar to the Joel Hanrahan situation.

            Joel was absolutely worth $7m, just not to a team like the Pirates resources.

            Pedro and his 30+ homeruns will absolutely be worth whatever he gets in his 3rd year of arbitration, but there’s a reasonable argument to be made that the Pirates can get more value out of that money, as they clearly have with Hanrahan’s.

            Even in their “window of opportunity” years, the Pirates will still have to look at getting value back before players hit free agency.

        • I agree with that. He puts up the numbers in the areas where big money is paid out in arbitration, and there would be great demand for him in trade, I think. We just have a lot of high strikeout guys in our lineup.

          cmat makes a good point about hoping he seeks advice from Morneau. I hope that he not only does that, but that he is able to apply it. I have my doubts.

    • Cmat

      I mentioned Cutch’s lack of running on the game blog last night. Let’s hope Clint H. bawled him out about it.

      For you long time Pirate fans like me, let’s not forget that today is #9, Bill Mazeroski’s 77th birthday. What a great player and an all around good guy! Happy birthday, Maz!!!

    • “Any suggestion that (Pedro) should be going anywhere are not fact-based or credible, they are emotional rants.”

      Needless to say, I disagree, CMAT. I’ve pretty much left emotion out of it (except when directed at NMR when he becomes too silly). I just let Pedro’s facts and stats speak for themselves. Pedro is not a person who gets on my nerves. I think he’s a good kid who is out there trying to help the Pirates win. But he only does that a few times a year and the rest of the time he is a drag on team. As for him “going anywhere,” I guarantee you he will be gone within the next few years. The only question is “when” would that best serve the Pirates? By trading when we feel he has maximum trade value? Or by letting him completely play out his contract then watching him walk (like the A’s cognizantly did with Giambi and Tejada)?

  53. I didn’t catch the reaction in the dugout, but I wondered at the time, too, if you don’t know where it is, you RUN.

    • I agree but I don’t have a huge issue with this as it pertains to Cutch. For the most part his effort is exceptional. I also do not perceive him as a player that showboats.

      • +1. However, do you suppose the cover photos are starting to get to him?

      • oh the showboat is there and it’s coming out more and more. time to reign it in, get to it Russell and Justin and Marlon…Cutch is a star but it’s a bit much right now.

        And this has nothing to do with his effort, his talent, his leadership, or what he does on 99.9% of the other plays. What he did on this occasion, and I add in there the fact he didn’t move from the plate on his lineout to center, was WRONG. Flat out, no doubt about it…and it could’ve cost us a broken wrist or worse to Morneau. Not forgiving the pitcher if that were to have happened but Cutch was wrong.

  54. Here’s what I have, did I miss anyone?

    • Welcome Lunatics, if you don’t see your current location below, please add a reply to this post
    Dejan’s Lunatic Nation – at the Trib,
    Afghanistan – skeetermc*
    Arizona – Tucson, Chandler, Phoenix, Sunnyslope, Davis-Monthan AFB*
    Arkansas – Rogers
    Alaska – Anchorage
    Australia – Mackay
    Brazil – Vitoria, São Paulo
    California – Bakersfield, San Francisco, UNION CITY, Los Angeles, Newport Beach, Hollywood, Huntington Beach, Yuba City, Solana Beach, Yorba Linda, Yuba City*, Edwards*, Long Beach, Modesto, Davis, Santa Monica, Solana Beach, Canyon Country, Burbank, West Hills, Encino
    Canada – Toronto, Winnipeg, Moncton – New Brunswick, Ontario – Muskoka, Perth – home of the Ottowa RedBlacks
    China – Beijing
    Crete – Vlites
    Colorado – Ft Collins, Estes Park*, Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs
    Connecticut – Cos Cob, Bridgeport, Wallingford, Norwalk, NEWTOWN
    Costa Rica
    Czech Republic
    Delaware – Newark
    Denmark – Greenland – Thule*
    District of Columbia
    Florida – Palm Harbor, Orlando, Valrico, Gainesville, Daytona Beach, Oviedo, Tampa, Jacksonville, Sarasota, Palm Beach Gardens, Cape Coral, Coco Beach (Major Nelson and Mary Ann), Niceville (Red Neck Rivera) and a*, St Petersburg, Pembroke Pines, Ft Lauderdale, Hallandale Beach, W Melbourne
    France – Strasbourg
    Georgia – Marietta, Atlanta, Sandy Springs, Acworth, Savanna, Hoschton
    Germany – Leverkusen/Cologne
    Hawaii – Honolulu
    Idaho – Mountain Home, Coer d’Aline, Mountain Home AFB*
    Illinois – La Salle, Peru, Payson, Chicago, Palatine (3 inmates there), Lincoln Park, Grayslake, Algonquin, Chicago, Naperville
    Indiana – Indianapolis, Burns Harbor, South Bend, Bicknell, Ft Wayne, Westfield, Munster
    Iowa – Bettendorf, Humboldt, Maquoketa, Urbandale
    Ireland – Dublin
    Japan – Tokyo
    Kentucky – Louisville, Bowling Green, Lexington, Georgetown
    Kuwait – Relyks76*
    Louisiana – Slidell
    Maine – Bangor
    Maryland – Arnold, Odenton, Severn, Baltimore, Waldorf, Hagerstown, Chevy Chase, Hampstead, Elkridge, Frederick, Bowie
    Massachusetts – Boston, Tyngsboro, East Gloucester*, 617 Strong*, Medford
    Mecca – Slienmann*
    Michigan – Kalamazoo, Eaton Rapids, Lansing, Ann Arbor, Mason
    Minnesota – Yinzer, St Paul
    Mississippi – Biloxi
    Missouri – St Peters***
    Montana
    Nebraska – Omaha, Lincoln
    New Hampshire – Barrington
    New Jersey – Chesterfield, Princeton, Roxbury, Lebanon, Lincoln Park, Berkeley Heights, Somerville, Hammock, Barrington, Delran, Pennsville, Hammonton, Mullica Hills, JERSEY SHORE, Montclair, Monmouth Beach
    New Mexico – Mike, Albequeque, blazer
    New York – New York, Smithtown, Manhattan, Long Island, Nyack, Brooklyn, Buffalo, Rochester
    Nevada, Las Vegas, Henderson
    North Carolina – Asheville, Hickory, Charlotte, Raleigh, Wilmington, Chapel Hill, High Point, Winston Salem
    Ohio – Cincinnati, Columbiana, Westerville, Green, Hilliard, Toledo, Louisville, Columbus, Perrysburg, Pickerington, Youngstown, Cleveland, Olmsted Township, Liberty Township, Warren, Oregon, Wintersville, Austintown, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base*, New Philadelphia, Powell, Canton, Salem, New Albany, Bloomingdale, Powell, Howland, Grafton, Northwood, Middletown
    Oklahoma – Tulsa – OKLAHOMA CITY/MOORE
    Oregon – Roseburg
    Pennsylvania – Downtown, Hopewell, Indiana, North Wales, Franklin Park, Forest Hills, Lansdale, Philadelphia, Du Bois, Reading, Crafton, Arnold, Wexford, Mt Lebanon, Canonsburg, Lancaster, Huntington, York, Boiling Springs, Philly suburbs, Morningside, Harrisburg, Lawrenceville, Bradfordwoods, Norristown, Hanover, Clearfield, Sewickley, Plum Boro, Slippery Rock, Wilkes-Barre, Sharpsville, Bessemer, Greensburg, Washington, Imperial, South Side, Duncansville, Newville, Sheppton, Grove City, Butler, Allentown, Ross Township, Blairsville, Flood City (Johnstown), Overbrook, Danny’s Hoagies, Baldwin, Economy, Sharpsville, Erie, North Huntington, Bellfonte, West Mifflin, Kennywood, Pleasant Hills, Beechview (Mad Turk, No 200), Macgunie, Mechanicsburg, Uptown, Cambria County, Mon Valley, Salisbury, Coraopolis, Emsworth, Cranberry Twp, Garrett, O’Hara Township, McCandless Township, 115 Federal Street, Bethel Park, Harrison City, Penn Hills, Kittanning, Dover, Lebanon, Upper St Clair, Rennerdale, Oakland, Scranton, Moon (RMU), State College, Erie, Penn Twp, Stowe, Elizabeth, Hermitage, Easton, Carlisle, Finleyville, Belle Vernon, Madison, Sellersville, Waynesburg, Warren, Beaver Falls, Chambersburg, Green Castle, East Freedom, Leechburg, Banksville City, Ellwood City, Hollidaysburg, Bethlehem, Mars, Verona, Philipsburg, Phoenixville, Hippos Pond, Oil City, Verona, Hookstown, Squirrel Hill, Greencastle, Natrona, Charleroi, FREEDOM, Denver, Midland (the home of good food and many bars), Selinsgrove, Dormont, Scott Township, Blawnox, Arnold, Ligonier
    The Philippines
    Rhode Island
    Singapore
    South Carolina – Duncan, Longs, Columbia, Bluffton, Greensville, Charleston, North Charleston
    South Korea – Seoul, Mike
    Sweden
    Switzerland
    Tennessee – Smithville, Nashville
    Texas – Tyler, San Antonio, Belton, Houston, Katy, Plano, El Paso, Cedar Park, Pleasanton
    United Kingdom – Haslemere
    Utah – Salt Lake City, Provo
    Uzbekistan
    Vermont – North Bennington
    Virginia – JAL, Hampton, Rescue, Richmond, Front Royal, Woodbridge, Suffolk, Warrenton, Springfield*, Virginia Beach, Fairfax, Arlington, Yorktown, Henrico, Aldie, Manassas, Newport News, Clifton, Glen Allen, Roanoke, Vienna
    Washington – Seattle, Nine Mile Falls, Spokane, Sammamish
    West Virginia – Martinsburg, Morgantown, Wheeling, Mt Olivet, Huntington, Parkersburg
    Wisconsin – Madison, Oshkosh, Hortonville
    Wyoming – Caspar, Lander
    Unknown – killa_cam7*
    402 confirmed locations represented in the blog, and a couple of strange places
    Lunatic Nation Hall of Fame, people that have, in our opinion, made a difference, either thru talent or character or deeds.
    Nominations are always welcome
    Any Allegheny, Pirate, Crawford, Gray, Steeler or Penguin player in the League’s Hall of Fame, although if Jagr makes it some day, we gotta talk
    Stan “The Man”, from Donora
    Beano
    Lemonade Guy
    The Gunner, Mr Bob Prince
    The Great One, he stays regardless
    Mike Lange
    Myron Cope
    The Honorable Mayor Richard Caliguiri
    Kevin Mcclachety
    Mike Emerick
    Commander Hadfield, courtesy of the Space Station
    Fred Rogers
    Mario Lemieux, ditto to the Great One, he stays as an owner
    Chuck Noll
    Eddie Johnston, aka EJ
    Badger Bob
    Chuck Tanner
    Dick Groat, the best darn multi-athelete and announcer from Wilkinsburg/Swissvale
    Steve Blass
    Danny Murtaugh*
    Rocky Bleier*
    John Challis – Courage + Belief = Life
    All Servicemen and women that have been in battle, ever
    Sgt Doug Vitale
    Gary Sinise and the Lt Dan Band
    Barney Dreyfuss
    George Benson
    First Responders***
    23 countries
    46 states, plus the District of Columbia, missing 4 states, North Dakota, South Dakota, Alabama, and Kansas
    Two planets, at least confirmed, and the Space Station
    Then there was that Cold day in Hell place
    Honorable mention, England – London – Lisa
    “Terrorists will always lose in America, the sooner they figure that out, the better”- truer words have never been spoken
    Asterisks denote confirmed hero’s, military, police officers or firemen/ladies
    9/5/2013 4:56 PM

    500, literally speaking, is right around the corner ;-)

  55. Anybody else jazzed up with me to see the Crows get their first loss of the season tonight???

  56. The Cardinals are encouraged that Allen Craig “only” has a sprained foot.

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah.

  57. Tonights game, well I hope it ends up in a tie, hurts both teams

    • I hope both teams are disqualified.

    • A nice 20 inning affair would sooth the sole nicely while the Bucs are resting in St Louis. An extra long game would mean the Cardinals wouldnt get back into St Louis until early tomorrow.

      Or better, they have to ride a bus to St Louis like in the movie Major League :) That doesnt hurt anyone, just makes them super tired heading into an important weekend series.

    • Yeah, Biz – a really long game, then suspended by rain, then having to be finished on another date before the season ends!

  58. Lemire at SI is at it again, picking the Bucs as ninth in his MLB power rankings, with both the Crds and Reds rated higher. Annoying.

    • I know you read it Wild Bill, so take this with a grain of salt, please.. but is anyone really clamoring for anyone to publish “power rankings” for any sport, much less major league baseball? I do like SI for the most part, but would rather read Bleacher Report than some staffers rankings of teams…the standings do a pretty good job when they’ve played nearly 140 games.

  59. Reds in front of Cards 2-0 in the top of the 4th.

  60. A non-rain delay in a football game ? The sissification of America continues. What has happened to us ?

  61. My cable carrier is having a childish spat with the local NBC channel. So no NFL for me on TV. I’m watching East Carolina vs. Florida Atlantic on Fox Sports 1. That’s how starved I am for football. I’ve learned two things. 1. Sandra Bullock went to East Carolina-who knew? and 2. Petros Papadakis is apparently alive and working for Fox Sports-who knew?

  62. So it’s too dangerous to start the game, but not too dangerous to keep people in the stands? Yea, the NFL aren’t hypocrites.

  63. Referee: This is heads, this is tails. What’s your call ?

    Flacco: What are the choices again ?

  64. That’s a 15 yard penalty if Ryan Clark does it.

  65. Touchdown. Extra Point. Commercial Break. Kickoff. Touchback. Commercial Break. Most annoying sequence in televised sports.

  66. The Orioles won tonight. That justifies this entire mess.

  67. My computer internet crashed last night. I hope and pray it is running now. I’m in West Melbourne, Fl., so the only way I see the Bucs is on the internet. Too cheap to buy the MLB package, but I get every game anyway. Not real clear. but it works.

    I did not cry when Sid crossed home plate. I had a friend over and he stormed out of my house and slammed the door and woke my wife up. That is when I realized ya gotta have fun with this stuff. Life goes on.

    Life is fun now. Somebody let me know my computer is on line. Please.

  68. If Bill Belichick is capable of laughter, he just did.

  69. The toothpick-chomping Snakes won 6-2.

    We are up by 1 and 1/2 games.

    Now we dont have to root for the Toothpick the rest of the year, right???

  70. Cards lose. Big, BIG series coming up.. Bats and arms. Been all arms all year, but now we have The Bird Man and Justin. Confidence level is high. HIGH!

  71. Sleep tight kiddos. Big game tommorow night. Sweet dreams.

  72. Good luck with mediocrity this year, Joe. At least you already got paid.

  73. Nice CRESCENDO with the last three or four paragraphs of the column, DK … leaving no doubt that you were much more than “MUMBLING passion.” But I still believe Russell took some unfair hit, on not being passionate just because of his personality. On the other hand, it’s not exactly like he’s had a ton of manager suitors since he left here either! So we may never really know if he turns out to be a Jose Bautista in manager’s clothes.

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