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Morning Java: A.J. sees ‘lots of empty seats’ and people are mad?

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> Today’s TribLIVE Radio show airs at 2-3 p.m. More details in a fresh post closer to air time.

To listen, just click on the link above. It’s free, easy, no signup. If you’re mobile, try the TribLIVE Radio app.

>> The Pirates went down quietly again to the Padres, and they did so in front of 22,520. That’s a wonderful Tuesday crowd in any other year, but this isn’t any other year, so A.J. Burnett took to Twitter to share this …

Screen Shot 2013-09-18 at 12.20.52 AM 2

Good for him.

Some people, not surprisingly, took exception to this. Went right after him on his account.

Here’s how I feel: The next time I suggest to anyone how to spend their money will be the first, but Burnett is the leader of the Pirates’ clubhouse and, as such, is their most vocal, visible presence. When a football player waves both arms from the sideline to get the fans pumped up or on their feet, no one takes exception. When any athlete does those offseason promotional tours and says they hope to see you at the field or the rink or the court, no one takes exception.

But man, breathe one syllable about baseball attendance in this town, and tempers flare.

Which is ridiculous.

If you don’t think the leader of the Pirates has the right to challenge the city to create the best possible atmosphere at this particular point in this extraordinary season, there’s no reasoning with you.

If you’re small-minded enough to think that’s — grumble, grumble — some multimillionaire trying to take from my wallet — grumble, grumble — then you’ve been listening to too much overnight talk radio.

And, wow, if you think he was blaming the fans for dropping a couple to the Padres … then never mind all of this, drape on a white jacket with long sleeves and call it a life.

Burnett is a pitcher on a baseball team trying to help his team win, in this case by seeking support.

That’s it.

Spare everyone the whining about 20 years of losing or the Nuttings or school nights or whatever other excuses cover the long, long lists that some Pirates fans have extended even into the final couple weeks of pursuing a division title, playoff berth and maybe more. The complaints are stale, most of them no longer apply and besides, they’re so, so, so great-grandpa in tone. This is, as the song goes, a new generation.

If you like what A.J. said, go buy a ticket.

If you don’t like what he said, don’t. Nobody’s forcing anything.

And, by all means, if circumstances don’t allow you to come, don’t sweat it. I’m sure his remark had nothing whatsoever to do with you in the first place.

It’s a pennant race. Maybe everyone should start acting like they belong.

Anyway, this was Clint Hurdle last night on the latest offensive egg …

Here’s our full Pirates coverage. by Rob Biertempfel, Travis Sawchik and Karen Price.

Here’s Padres news from the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Here are official game highlights from


>> What comes next for your 0-2 Steelers? Alan Robinson lines it up.

The weekly can’t-miss Film Session by Mark Kaboly loves Ben Roethlisberger in the no-huddle. Almost as much as Ben happens to love that himself.

Don’t give up on them yet, columnist Joe Starkey writes.

Here’s the latest on the Bears from the Chicago Tribune.

>> Good luck to anyone trying to sneak onto the Penguins’ roster. Rob Rossi has the big cutdown.

Here’s our full Penguins coverage.

Here are official game highlights from

>> Remember the name Manasseh Garner for Pitt. Seriously promising receiver. Jerry DiPaola updates.

>> Penn State takes in a horror show. Chris Adamski updates.

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.


  1. Well it’s the middle series of three with the other two being on the weekend and the third one being the final home series of the year against a team we are fighting against for the division title. Did you really think they would sellout 11 straight games. It’s understandable that there would be lower attendance on a Tuesday night before the main attraction comes to town in the form of the Reds.

    • For what it’s worth I have absolutely no problem with what AJ tweeted. I was just looking at it from a different perspective as to maybe why fans didn’t come to this particular game. I feel as if the fans have been great this year.

    • That all makes sense, Nate. But like DK says, A.J. was just sending out a shout to try and round up fans. I liked the analogy of a football player turning to the fans and exhorting them cheer and make noise.

    • The SF Giants continue to sell out. Every. Single. Night.

      It’s quite ridiculous that it wasn’t a sellout.

      • which supports what Dejan says about where baseball rates in Pittsburgh with the other sports.

      • San Francisco also has 812,000 people compared to Pittsburgh’s 307,000.

        • I’m sure SF also has a larger season ticket holder fanbase as well. It’s funny how constant losing reduces such a thing. They had to sell 360,000 tickets over 11 days in a city that doesn’t even have that many people. I have no problem with what AJ said. It was an observation and I don’t feel like he was ripping the fans. I just can’t believe anybody else would be ripping these fans. They have been great all year. If you are going to pick one of these 11 home games to go to I would have to think the Tuesday night one against the Padres with Jeff Locke pitching may be on the bottom of the list.

          • ahhh well said, Nate. I heartily agree!

          • It was an observation but I don’t see how it can’t be viewed as a ‘rip’ towards the fans.

            If I went on twitter and sent a tweet to AJ that said “too many balls left out over the plate” or “tired again after 6 innings” do you think AJ is going to take that as just an observation?

            • +MANY

              AJ, stop worrying about things you can’t control (shifts, attendance) and focus on your job. I can’t stand when athletes get caught up in superfluous crap. (so much so that I broke my rule of no posting from work!)

              Anybody know when the last time the Pirates had 11 straight home games of 30,000+? I seem to remember researching attendance in the 70′s once and being appalled at the numbers…….

              • Hello Jordan, you and Thunder have a good take on this…lotta angles.

                Good to see you post…pop in once in a while :)

            • + a whole bunch!!!

          • folks in san fran have cold weather baseball clothing….folks in pittsburgh haven’t needed it in 20 years…I think that’s where the problem lies. ll bean

          • I absolutely agree… I’m 4 hours away and I’d rather see Gerrit Cole if I had my ‘druthers… ha! what the hell are druthers?… anyway, in some kinda order it would be Gerrit, Liriano, then AJ.

          • The Pirate fanbase should be given a Gold Star for their support, especially after 20 years of suck.

          • Of course they do. and I know they have a much larger population, just won 2/3 WS, etc, etc.

            My point was, they’ve been selling out since they opened the ball park. It hasn’t always been roses for this club either and this year is not shaping out too well,either.

            Still selling games out. even with their lousey play this year.

        • I happen to be in Frisco right now, and let me add that at any moment like right now, there are an ungodly number of tourists like me who are here looking for things to do. That has to add to the Giants’ attendance totals.

      • “It’s quite ridiculous that it wasn’t a sellout”

        Since when does a city, any city, have an obligation to support a sports team, any sports team ?

      • SF has won 2 of the last 3 World Series. SF has more than double Pitt’s population. I don’t think it’s a solid comparison.

  2. I don’t do Twitter (and at least as of last year, neither did A.J. — that alone made me a fan of his). I get how it can be a useful tool for media types and for celebrities/athletes to speak in live time, unfiltered, to any and everybody. But I have no interest in all the flaming and all the “Hey! Look at me! I can take potshots and famous people!” pettiness such as what A.J. had to endure today. If A.J. shut down his Twitter account tomorrow I wouldn’t blame him. And I, personally, wouldn’t be missing anything anyway.

  3. +1 for AJ & his tweet. And this is from a fan who admitted to being “bored” by the Pirate offense these past two nights. AJ is the antidote to boring baseball.

  4. How does anyone have time to go crazy over AJ Burnett when everyone should still be curled up on the floor of the bathroom over Walter White??

    DK: Finally saw that tonight. My God. Easily best TV show ever.

    • I want to start watching it but I want to start from the beginning. I’ve been going to ½ priced book store to see if they have any DVDs available but no luck so far. I could buy it at best buy or something but that’s too expensive.

  5. PNC Park and the Pirates have looked pretty dead the last two nights.
    If I didn’t know which team was in a pennant race, I sure wouldn’t guess it was the Bucs.
    Somebody needs to take charge besides Cutch.
    SD stinks.
    Put them in their place early, and they will fold up shop.
    Unfortunately ….The Pirates have a tough time doing that sort of thing offensively.

  6. Anybody besides me think our future 1st baseman may have gotten a gift from the scorekeeper on that ball that went in and out of his glove but was ruled a “hit” for Cedeno in the 4th? I suppose it may have required beyond an “ordinary effort” had he completed that putout, so maybe that ruling was okay. Or maybe not. What do you guys think?

  7. Well said Dejan. I’ve been without a job for a couple of months, so discretionary spending makes it impossible to attend games, but honestly, I thought the same thing while watching tonight. Not that I was angry or anything, just surprised, and I think AJ was too. You know, it’s good to complain about “only” having 22k plus at PNC in mid-September!

  8. Manasseh Garner transferred from Wisconsin when Chryst took the job at Pitt. At Wisconsin he mostly played defense. Now he plays wide receiver.

    This leads me to believe that Chryst and former Badger coach Bret Bielema must have had different takes on how to best use Garner. So, him playing wide receiver must be based on Chryst’s ability to evaluate player strengths.

    Looks like Chryst did well here. That’s encouraging for the future, I think.

    • Down here in Houston, my Wisky alumni buds are really high on Chryst and thought that Pitt made a tremendous move in hiring him, both from a professional and personal stand point. They all felt, that given the chance, he was a guy with great potential to built a program.

      Of course he has to to over come all the “ghosts” of past Pitt programs as well as the fanbase, which sometimes could never be happy.

  9. I applaud AJs tweet.

    In the world of social media, this is the easiest way to let your feelings be told.

    He and the Bucs should be disappointed with tonight’s turnout.

    I know fans in Pittsburgh aren’t used to a pennant race, but they’re smack dab in a middle ofone. Go enjoy it. I wish I could.

  10. Living 1100 miles away, I wasn’t in PNC Park Monday or Tuesday and won’t be there the rest of the year, no matter what happens.

    But, the past two days, I went to work, eagerly awaited the Flintstones whistle, and rushed home to watch the Pirates reduce their Magic Number on the MLB Package. Instead, what I was subjected to was pathetic baseball (being perfect-gamef for 6+ innings, no runs, etc.) and two solid losses to a bad team. Can I get those five-six hours of my life back?

    I’m concerned about the Pirates being overtaken by the Nats, and have no control over what happens, while people who can actually affect the outcome of the game and contribute to reducing the Magic Number are counting empty seats. I’m living and dying with every run the Pirates allow, and actual people in the arena are counting the spectators. How many empty seats were at Nationals Park? Didn’t affect the Nats’ outcome.

    Take care of business on the field. The people who did spend good money to attend PNC Park on Monday and Tuesday deserve a refund and an apology for the listless going through the motions loser performance by a team in a pennant race.

    • Reading, gotta disagree buddy. While the other guy was perfect-gaming us, A.J. also happened to be pitching his butt off. Clint missed his cue to relieve A.J. in the nick of time, but A.J. held up his end of the bargain in the “take care of business on the field” proposition. Separately, or perhaps inextricably linked, is that A.J. has a right to be a cheerleader, which is all he was doing in exhorting fans to turn out. He was not bean-counting spectators.

      • He lost the game. Business was not taken care of on the field. Allowing two runs was not good enough. The Padres guy took care of business, faced 27 batters, gave up no runs, won the game.

    • Wow

    • I agree with your overall sentiment, but I don’t blame AJ for the loss Monday night. I don’t even blame Hurdle for leaving him in. He only gave up two runs and pitched well.

      I blame the losses solely on the offense that has been completely invisible since the calendar switched to August. It’s very frustrating to watch one pathetic AB after the next.

    • Well said Reading….

      Hey AJ, how about making it past the 6th inning once in a while. Until you do, keep your big (twitter) mouth shut.

  11. I just went through some of the AJ Twitter stuff.

    Why are Yinzers so damn bitter, dramatic, and down right ridiculous?

    Make something into nothing. Its ALWAYS that way.

    They’re not happy unless they’re complaining about something.

    Seriously DK, I’m sure you hear a lot more than the rest of us.

    I’m thinking of a # for it. So far my best is #YinzerLogic


  12. Stated another way, if the Pirates didn’t show up on Monday and Tuesday, why should the fans?

  13. Once again the so called “Sports Media” in this town acts like unofficial P.R. Agents to these spoiled Million-Dollar Brats. The team plays like total garbage against a bottom feeder during a playoff and Division Title Race, and this nimrod is worried about how many people are in stands?!?! Well, Mr. Burnett, I’ve got a perfect solution for you; You want to see a lot of fans in the seats; Then spend some of your hefty $$$ and buy out rows and bus people in. Otherwise, shut your mouth!!

    We have people that are losing their jobs left and right in this country through no fault of their own, and I see crap like this getting headlines?!? Please.

  14. “Spare everyone the whining about 20 years of losing or the Nuttings or school nights or whatever other excuses cover the long, long lists that some Pirates fans have extended even into the final couple weeks of pursuing a division title, playoff berth and maybe more. The complaints are stale, most of them no longer apply and besides, they’re so, so, so great-grandpa in tone.”
    Right on the money, DK. Call it the Pittsburgh Malaise. Twenty years of whining is a tough habit to get over.

  15. With 11 games to go, the Pirates magic number to clinch the second wild card spot is 6 (vs. Nationals), to host the wild card game is 10 (vs. Reds), and to win the division is 13 (vs. Cardinals). This was one of the few nights that the Pirates magic number did not go down against somebody.

    If I were on Twitter, my thought for the day would be, “Anybody think that the Cardinals are looking forward to hosting the Nationals for three games next week?”

  16. “…then never mind all of this, drape on a white jacket with long sleeves and call it a life.”

    Way to call out some of the fans for going over the top.

    But, um.

    Funny thing about mirrors. They reflect. Opposite image but otherwise identical.

  17. Maybe AJ should call out some of his teammates on twitter, a few of them didn’t seem to show up for the Padres last night. Even McCutchen, who is generally a quiet leader, seemed to be trying to wake them up after his double early in the game.

    Who knows, maybe a loud crowd would wake up some of the bats that have been sleeping since the end of August (Martin, Pedro, Walker, pretty much everyone else not named McCutchen).

  18. Ghost, you wrote earlier
    ‘A.J. was just sending out a shout to try and round up fans.’

    If that was AJ’s intent, he could have used some different words and maybe have been more direct. His words made me think that he was bitching about something.

    And he can say whatever he wants on whatever social media platform he wants to. Or he can stand in front of a camera or a microphone and say exactly what he wants to say.
    But what I didn’t particularly care for was that the team in the final weeks of a great pennant race has laid an egg two nights in a row against a sub .500 team and he decides to say something about the fans.

  19. *****ATTENTION*****
    Lurkers and newbies, 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 :)

  20. There is a difference between standing on the field and waving you arms for the fans there to react or get excited for a play versus going to twitter so sound off on people not even at the game. By the way what time is the finale work on? :-)

  21. dang spell check – Finale Word

  22. I’m not a Twitter luminary like Dejan, but I’d be rather surprised if Sidney Crosby took to tweeting in late March with something like “Awfully quiet in here tonight!” and received a calm, logical response from the Penguin faithful.

    And we’re not honestly going to question what Steeler fans would do, right?


    Yinzer Pirate Fan Apologist

  23. JAL’s Carrie Anne Morning Links


    1- MLB Transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    3 Pittsburgh Pirates Stats

    BLOGS and such

    4—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: Is Going to a Live Sporting Event Better Than the Alternatives?

    Offense Lackluster Again in 5-2 Loss

    Pirates Notebook: Glasnow Reflects on 2013

    5 Bucs Dugout

    Pirates lose to Padres again, 5-2

    Pennant Race Flashback: September 17, 1992

    6 Rumbunter

    To Win NL Central, Three Pittsburgh Pirates Need To Step Up


    Game 151: Padres 5 Pirates 2

    8 The Green Weenie

    Bucs Outplayed By Padres 5-2

    9 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Padres 5, Pirates 2

    10 City of Champions

    Pittsburgh Pirates need to keep turning to Jason Grilli

  24. NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 Fresno Bee

    Fresno State CWS star Justin Wilson, Pirates are thriving

    12 San Diego Union Tribune

    Padres again beat Pirates at PNC

    13 Washington Post

    Washington Nationals keep slim wild-card hopes alive with improbable win over Braves

    14 Cincinnati Enquirer

    Leake, Bruce lead Reds’ 10-0 rout of Astros

    15 Bleacher Report

    St. Louis Cardinals/Pittsburgh Pirates Numbers Tell an Interesting Story

    16 CBS Sports

    Pirates v Padres Game Preview

    17 St Louis Post Dispatch

    Holliday enjoys his old haunts

    18 PBC Site

    Pirates’ postseason push takes hit from Friars

    Notebook: Marte back at leadoff in return to Pirates’ lineup


    19 Baseball Prospectus

    Made in Japan

    20 Fangraphs

    Worst Final Seasons, Parts One and 2

  25. Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Steelers bungle chance for redemption

    Tomlin’s Press Conference: Forget the “broad brush”

    22 Steelers Depot

    3rd Down and 9.08 Yards to go Has to End


    23 London Evening Standard

    Manchester United 4 Bayer Leverkusen 2: Rooney shakes off glaring miss to score 200th United goal in Moyes’ first Champions League victory

    24 World Soccer Daily

    World Soccer Daily: 10 stories you need to read, 16th September, 2013


    25 Pensburgh

    Pens Points Tuesday: How Cooke Almost Got Shero Detained

  26. Been a while but did the Pirates sell out every game in 1992? Just the nature of the beast in the BURG. I get what AJ is saying though,if I lived near Pittsburgh I woul be trying to get to every game I could. Gives me hope there is some life in the clubhouse after the last two games. The guy cares….

  27. Lots of crappy at-bats last night! Lots!

    • extremely frustrating to watch eh?

    • Inability and/or unwillingness to hit the ball to the opposite field.

      From the first inning on, Stultz made it clear he was going to pound the outside corner. Rarely bothered coming inside.

      • Was at the game and totally agree.

        A theme I have been harping on all year.

      • Dead on nutz there NMR. Morneau proceeded to yank one weekly just as Brown was talking about all the work he put into goin the other way during BP. Tonight will be a break out night…Did it look to you like Pedro is close to going on a tear? Stung a couple of balls nicely. Looked selective and ready to destroy…

        • He did square up a couple to 2B so a good sign.

          Now need the production.

        • Stats would seem to back up your eye, Redus.

          Pedro is striking out 10% less than his season average in August, yet has his lowest batting average of any month yet. Hits just aren’t falling for him.

          • Let’s hope so….there is nothing more frightening than facing Reds pitching (which has owned the Pirates) after losing 3 of 4 to the Padres….Irene could be getting sleepy if that were to occur. I do not think it will. I believe that this team knows that it must win tonight.

  28. Last night when Locke was in trouble in the 4th, Mazzaro started to warm up in the pen.
    With it being that early in the game and having Johnson, Stolmey, and Cumpton down in the pen – that showed me that Clint isn’t fooling around.

    The Pirates don’t have an off day at all this week. He’s got the pedal to the metal.

  29. AJ is wrong on this one. You don’t tell fans how to spend their money. Crowd in KC, 21,000, amazingly in Houston, 25,000. Player waving his arms to excite the fans, they’ve already paid their way in. We are going tonight AJ is not a factor in our decision.

  30. …or, maybe A.J. wanted to deflect some pressure/criticism away from his teammates. My family of 6 made the trek last night from an hour away to see a mediocre, dare I say tight performance by the Bucs. A scapegoat can be a wonderful thing in the middle of a slightly-listing playoff run.

  31. Even the team with the best record in baseball is not immune to empty seats:

    Does anyone else remember Coke can/dollar nights for pirates games back in the mid-80′s?

    Lurking in (but rarely posting from) Bar Harbor, ME

    • hey maddog, thanks for posting your hometown :)
      I’ll see that Bizrow sees it to add it to the Loonie’s list.

      The cold bats bother me more than the empty seats.

    • Welcome, Maddog! Good to have you with us. Beautiful part of the country you live in. Was in Bar Harbor two years ago and fell in love with Maine. Had never been there before.

    • Always love Maine / New Hampshire in the fall.
      Truly beautiful God’s Country up there.

    • *sigh* I miss being back home in NE for fall. Something was just magical about it. Can’t really put my finger on it either.

  32. Good Morning All – I was there last night and last Thursday. Will be there tomorrow afternoon. I read some comments above and heard about the A.J. comment, too. Here is my take: It didn’t seem and feel to me that last night was a “pennant race” atmosphere. There are 11 games left…11…and the Pirates are a game back in a crazy NL race. This is one of the best divisional finishes we have seen in years. PNC should be going wild (like when the Cards were here in July and August). These guys have played their hearts out this summer. They are the darlings of the baseball world. They deserve a full park and a crowd that is backing them. Fans should be cheering on an 0-2 pitch. Eleven games left!!! I can’t go this weekend vs. the Reds, but I would love to be there. For those that are going to be there…Let’s show em we love our Black and Gold! Beat ‘em Bucs!

    • G’morning TJA, happy fackin hump day ;)

    • Oh, one other thing I though of: Managers pick a good time to argue with the umpires. I thought when Clint came out to argue with the first base ump (there were some close calls indeed at 1st) he certainly was supporting his players, but I also thought he was rallying the fans, too. That would have been a good time to really get up and cheer. There were some cheers…but not enough. Just my opinion.

    • I will be there tomorrow afternoon as well, J.A. My son & daughter-in-law were at last night’s snooze-fest and will be there again tonight. I have to admit that I’m with AJ on this one. I was shocked at how many empty seats glared out from my :TV screen last night. SHOCKED!

  33. To me this is a case where people think they are more important then they are. I am not talking about AJ. He has almost 50K followers. I am guessing most of them are baseball fans. He is asking baseball fans “where y’inz at, an at”. How many of his followers do you think that tweet bothered? That’s the main question, if a creeper or creepers are offended, who cares.

  34. There must be a new edition of the handbook on how to be a sports fan in Pittsburgh.

    - we’re not allowed to boo opposing players if we don’t agree with their selections for the home run derby

    - and we’re not allowed to disagree if we feel that the ‘leader in the clubhouse’ is out of line on twitter.

    I need a copy of that new handbook.

  35. The Pirates have done very well with the past history. Building a fan base is hard when losing. Now that they have had success in September for the first time in 20 years, it doesn’t guarantee sell outs. But the Pirates have drawn near record attendance this year which is a nice base to build on. The transition from coming to see the park and coming to see the players will take time. Yes I sat for the Steelers home opener in 1969 in Pitt Stadium and maybe there were 45 to 50K there, no where near a sellout. I takes time to build to a winner, but a team can go south and lose the marginal fans in a hurry. I see 10K no shows if the Steelers continue on this path.

  36. What we need right now is one player, other than McCutchen, taking matters into his own hands and going on a 7 or 8 day tear.

    Haven’t kept track of these things precisely this year but, outside McCutchen, seems we’ve had few of these this year for a team battling for first place. In contrast, seems like other teams always have one or two of their “.240 guys” raking for a week. We need one of those, even one of ours below .240.

    Are you listening Pedro?

    • Even by Pedro standards, his current slump is ridiculous (.196 since the All-Star break.) If his history holds, he’s due for a .365 tear over the final two weeks, but I’m not holding my breath.

      And has anyone noticed that Russell Martin’s average is down to .229? With runners in scoring position, he’s hitting .189 for the season. I love Martin behind the plate, but since the All-Star break, he’s hitting worse than Clint Barmes in both batting average and slugging. Just not acceptable.

      • They really are all slumping, at the same time. We were sitting pretty close to the field/dugout last night and you could see the frustrations on their faces. It’s not like the the Padre pitchers are Christy Mathewson and Cy Young, BUT, for the last two nights they sure seemed like it.

      • Shhhhhh!!!! Martin has been clutch. At least that’s what I’ve been told in the past when I said exactly what you said. I like the guy and think he adds a ton a value to this team but the notion that he is a dramatic contributer on offense is not true. He does walk a fair amount to keep innings going or get innings started.

        Barmes has been a solid player since the all-start break. Really underappreciated in my opinion.

        • There you go again, Nate. Making up your own arguments.

          Good luck finding the last post claiming Russell Martin is a dramatic offensive contributor.

          • Yep your right. I dreamt it again. I have to stop doing that.

            Seriosly I don’t know how you and AW remember everything that has ever been posted by every blogger on here. It’s an amazing gift. He is batting .189 with runners in scoring position. That is not bad it’s terrible. There have been hundreds of post saying what a great offensive addition Martin has been. This is largely because of the the 3 or 4 walk offs hits. As an overall player he is a great upgrade but from an offensive production standpoint he falls in the middle for catchers and saying that might be a little generous.

            • No, Nate. I don’t remember everything. I read what is written, not what I want to hear.

              And it boggles my mind that somebody can cite a statistic that doesn’t even guarantee a run scored as “clutch”, yet dismiss hits that guarantee wins.

              Great logic.

              • My intial point and only point was to say that Martin’s offensive production has been overrated by some fans. It wasn’t my intention to bring stats into it.

                How did I dismiss the walk off hits? I never dismissed them. I only brought them up to point out that those 3 or 4 hits contribute to the perception of him being a “clutch” hitter as they should because it is part of it but you can’t just ignore .189. It is terrible in every sense of the word. Talk about hearing what you want to hear.

                People have said many times on this blog Martin has come through so many time for this team. He really comes through with runners on base. He has so many big hits. It’s not me hearing what I want to hear. It has been said. Most of it was back in June and July but I have been consistant on this and at that time said his overall “clutch” stats are not that good.

                I like the guy. I liked the signing. I just have noticed that for some reason he seems to be untouchable when saying something negative about him. He is almost the opposite of Tabata who no matter how well he plays people find negatives about him.

              • “There have been hundreds of post saying what a great offensive addition Martin has been.”

                Really? Let me guarantee you, Nate, that the posts, including mine, that say that Martin may be the Pirates MVP while Cutch may be the NL MVP has almost NOTHING to do with his offense.

                He’s turned a team that can’t throw anyone out to a team that other teams are afraid to run on. His defense is impeccable, and his handling of the pitching staff, even when he’s not catching, is superb. Ask Ray.

                Offense? Going in the wrong direction, my friend.

              • Dude, you have got to be kidding me.

                We’ve literally had entire conversations recently on this very blog, that you frequent on a daily basis, about Martin’s decreased production.

                And people DID say he was a major contributor WHEN he was contributing. You see, sometimes in baseball players do well, and people comment as such. And then they don’t do so well, and those comments no longer apply. And then Nate comes in and acts like the smartest guy in the room by claiming that those comments from before are wrong.

                But by all means, pat yourself on the back, buddy. We’re all impressed.

              • Again, I should have waited for the engineer.


              • Again. I wasn’t referring to anything you or NRM has posted. I understand the team MVP comments. I even addressed how valuable he was because of everything he does as a baseball player in some of my post today.

                Others not you have indeed stated how good he is offensively. I’m not sure why you or NRM want to tell me what I have and have not read on this blog.

              • Dude, do you even read my entire post. I actually covered that exact thing in my post. I said even back in June and July I was consistantly saying his overall “clutch” stats are not that good.

                Wow you worry way to much about how I feel about myself. I admit all the time I was wrong about this player or that player. You should try it sometime.

                I hope Martin gets a walk-off hit tonight. Go Pirates!!!!!!

            • I remember reading somewhere on here that Martin was a clutch contributor and that he has added offensively.

              maybe a few moons ago he did…

        • Barnes has a. .217 BA since the break. Surprisingly for him a .280 OBP, but still .671 OPS over that time.

          Martin at .212, .303 and .662 for same stats over same period.

          Pretty much the same offensively. But 178 PA’s for Martin, 104 for Barmes.

          But, no, no one’s been claiming Martin is an offensive juggernaught.

      • On Martin, he is wearing down. Would love to have a good option (not Buck) but team cannot afford the luxury of Martin not being behind the plate right now. That said, would not mind seeing Sanchez for a couple — probably the Liriano starts — just to give Russell a breather.

        • Agree completely. He visibly doesn’t have the same focus at the plate.

          • Or behind the plate.

            • Really? Any support for that?

              I agree he’s tired, but where’s the evidence he’s not the same behind the plate?

              • I won’t speak for Ryan, nor do I necessarilly agree with him, but neither of his attempts at throwing runners out at second two nights ago were anywhere near the bag. And last night he seemed surprised when the baserunner tested his arm after blocking the ball in the dirt.

                The only reason all three stuck out to me was because they were so uncharacteristic.

              • Thanks, NMR, I wasn’t aware of that.

                No question he looks tired.

    • And MARTIN…and WALKER…and MORNEAU!!!

      All around or BELOW the Mendoza line over the last two weeks!!

    • When the going gets tough, the tough get going. I question the toughness of the Pirates players, manager and coaching staff. As far as AJ is concerned, questioning the fan’s interest is OK but, what he should do is get his teammates fired up. I personally think AJ’s shtick is getting old with his teammates and as well as CH.

      However you slice it, this offense has got to wake up. Pedro has been a waste the past 3 weeks or so, Walker has been a disappointment all year long, Mercer needs to play everyday, and Martin needs some days off.

  37. SF Giants Brandon Belt had a great quote last night about a ball he hit deep that was caught at the warning track:

    He said, “I BABIPed the heck out of that ball.”

  38. “Here’s how I feel: The next time I suggest to anyone how to spend their money will be the first, but …”

    Amen. And no buts.

  39. hey DK, tell A.J. i won’t make it to PNC this year but i will definately be at Great American on Sep 29 wearing my Burnett Shirt if it gets in by then, cant wait to see the Bucs crush the Reds on the last day of the greatest season since i was a kid

  40. Dejan,
    You have hit on a good theme here and in your most recent chat – the irrational Bucco fan. There is a segment of the fan base with which a rational discussion is not possible. A good friend of mine has gone off into Greg Brown land. I guess at some point in time, their identity became intertwined with a baseball/management team.

  41. *****ATTENTION*****
    Lurkers and newbies, 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 :)

  42. If AJ really feels that way, he should have yelled at Barmes about it.

  43. Oh, and DK, thanks for the lecture. Felt like I was on twitter for a second.

  44. If the Nats run the table, the Pirates have to come up with 6 wins over the next 11 games. Take the last two from SD, 2 of 3 from CHI, and 2 of 6 from Cincy. Yeah, no problem. That’s in the bag.

  45. I was at the game last night. I had 4 seats, and I was at Sunday’s game and also had 4 seats. Would I have liked to have seen a bigger crowd last night? Sure, it was alittle disappointing. But let me point something out to you. It is a generally had held belief that Cincinnati is a great baseball town and it is. It is one of those teams that is considered a regional franchise, like the Cardinals and the Braves, that draw from a bigger area than what is generally considered the “metropolitan area”. I looked at a three game series the Reds had with the Cubs (a roughly equivalent team to the Padres) last week. The Reds average attendance was 22,174. I saw one of the games on TV and empty seats abounded. My point is, it is a fact of life in the best markets even in a pennant race. Your attendance is not likely to knock your socks off against medicore teams.
    At the same time, I applaud what AJ tweeted. It is his right, and he stated a fact which I noted while I was there. Lots and lots of empty seats. Move on. Don’t get twisted up like a pretzel over it. It is what it is.

    • Rational thinking…not allowed on this here blog ;)

      How the heck are ya Rad Lad?

      • Tired but OK Jandy. How are you today? BTW, at the game last night night, they had a nun on the Jumbotron late in the game holding a sign that said “run for the nun” and I immediately thought of you. Hee hee….

    • +1

      And I don’t have a problem at all with what AJ tweeted.

      On the other hand, DK’s been telling us for a long time that season ticket sales drive attendance. AND FC has told us they could break the record for attendance here this year.
      To try to turn this into a “Yinzer” thing seems a little overblown. Are we talking about the 48 again?

    • I was also at the last two games.

      And last night as I froze my butt off, I also thought there should be a few more people in the park. But I also thought that it was a pretty good crowd for a Tuesday night (cold) against the Padres. And I am well aware we’re in a pennant race. But in years past the crowd size would have been half. Maybe.

  46. Sure would love to have 2-3 of those “maintenance days” that were lost when Cutch and others sat out.

    • I haven’t kept track, but the Bucs WON in Texas the last time Cutch sat out… but maybe you have charted the W-L record for when regulars sit out a game… also curious which ‘others’ on the team you feel a day off is truly an issue… I can only think of Byrd sitting out the other night, which I think was also a win, but can’t remember. Other than that, Martin, Morneau, Walker, Pedro, et al all have liberal days off for lineup and performance reasons.

  47. What overnight talk radio is DK referring to above? Is there a radio host that accuses the Nuttings of keeping profits?

    • I feel we’re a better baseball town than Tampa Bay, Oakland, or Miami but there’s really no excuse for us to not be sold out towards the end of a playoff race.

      A city like Miami should have never obtained an MLB team in the first place. I feel this has created some issues as I don’t feel there are enough caliber players to go around. But, contracting them is off the table and they’ll never leave town as there are no other cities to go to.

  48. As for the game last night, I was too tired and discouraged to even post when I got home. For the first time all year, I was upset at the PBC. What I think I saw last night.

    Jeff Locke needs pulled from the rotation post haste. His command is terrible right now, and he is rarely even breaking 90 mph on the gun. He is done for this year as a starter.

    The Padres played extraordinarily well defensively and it really hurt the Pirates on several occasions.

    Russell Martin looks worn down. I think he needs multiple days off as much as I hate to say it.

    Who is wearing Ronny Cedeno’s uniform and what have they done with the real Ronny? Good lord – this version never played for the Bucs.

    The big problem last night and in general though with this Pirate team is the approach at the plate. Eric Stults has an ERA over 4.00 pitching half of his games in the best pitchers park in MLB and has lost 13 games. SOMEONE hits him. He didn’t throw anything over 88 MPH that I saw, and even had a pitch at 63. Yet the Pirate hitters for the most part were jumping at his slow stuff, were way out in front, and were hitting weak grounders. Stay back on slower pitchers! Most times you tell your hitters think fastball and adjust to anything else. That advice is predicated upon a willingness to hit the ball to the opposite field, which the Pirates simply won’t do on a consistent basis. I don’t know if you can lay that at the feet of Jay Bell or attribute it to the general stubborness of MLB hitters today, but it is painfully obvious. But the Padres and probably the rest of the league certainly have the formula. Feed the Pirates the slow stuff and watch them screw themselves into the ground.

    Oh well. Rant over. Gotta go back at em tonight. Plus Jandy, woop, woop, it is humpp daaaa-aaay! :) Go Buccos!

    • Mister you are wrong about Cedeno. He, this one, was here but they chose not to notice. In the same way they ignored McLouth and Presley, and Bautista, and the dude for Oakland (whose name escapes me as I write this).

      Go ahead and rant. BTW Lord is capitalized!

      • Brandon Moss.

      • Lord is only capitalized if you believe.
        And She prolly doesn’t mind if it’s not…

        • There is AW, the echo again.

          So is Lad 9 a SHE, or is that your way of denigrating your Creator

        • So then this entire Mother Theresa “thing” is a scam – or a parody?

          • Listen, Mr. Hasis, you’re not being very nice today.

            So, neither am I.

            This whole “Mother Theresa” thing, is really simple. It’s good, plain FUN without any friggin hangups. You have issues, sir, and I suggest you get over them. If you’re not constantly picking on someone, you’re not happy. if that’s the way you choose to be, fine, just don’t expect everyone to be unhappy with you.

            And don’t insult AW and Lad just because they disagree with you.

            I was trying to lighten things up a bit. Sheesh!

            • I am not a she, but if I were it wouldn’t matter. I would just be an awful ugly chick. And as far as Jandy using the Mother Theresa blog name, I always took it as she just said – in fun. Given that Jandy has been known to occasionally pop a cork on a bottle of wine and has alluded to other “earthy” pursuits, I suppose you could say that her blog name is kind of an opposite. Bob, it would be kind of like if you changed your blog handle to the “Secretary of State” or “The Ambassador”….

            • It’s one of his senior moments Jandy…

              Just like his touting of Alex Presley, and now the great Ronny Cedeno.

      • That Cedeno may have been here –for a 2 game stretch just like we’ve seen this week.

        I can’t wait for Bud Black’s opinion of him to change when he sees Ronny bunt with the bases loaded.

      • I saw Cedeno when he was here. I am not wrong. His offensive numbers look better when stacked up next to your favorite (tongue buried in cheek) Barmes, but they were still not good. OPS of .657 and an OBP under .300 in his two full seasons here. But it was his inconsistent effort and his maddening ability to do dumb things that I believe caused his demise here. And the Pirates were not alone. Since 2011 he has been allowed to become a free agent twice and has been released outright twice this year including once by the Astros. I would not want him to be my SS.

      • OK, I admit I’m grumpy after the last 2 losses and the lack of good offense for at least a WEEK… but give me a friggin’ break on expressing an opinion that anyone in your list other than JoeyBats was (1) not afforded EVERY chance to take everyday jobs for the Pirates (2) failed in varying degrees, but generally dismally (3) were justifiably jettisoned off of the team.

        If they ‘click’ elsewhere, like Moss, then good for him. Maybe, maybe (though I doubt it) Presley gets it going in Minny, but Cedeno and McLouth?? Why not bring up Overbay who is hitting HRs and starting in NY? Matt DI-az contributed on an ATL team that made the playoffs after being awful for the Bucs…. Pedro Ciriaco was decent for a stretch with the Sox…. come on, Bob, don’t stop there… give us the ‘told you so’ complete listing!!!

        • Cmat,
          Yes, you have seemed grumpy, recently. But yes, you are exactly right about all the players above and how they simply didn’t put it together here when they had their chance. (Exlusion of JoeyBats was also correct; he was given the bum’s rush).

          • ha ha… i was only admitting i was grumpy TODAY, but I guess “I’ll wear” the fact I have been grumpy recently… I won’t like it, but I will wear it.

        • +1

          Echo Arriba

  49. Planimal, how the heck are ya? How is the pond? Chilly this morning, any ice on it?

    • No ice………… but lots of steam.

      Supposed to be beautiful here the next few, going to enjoy it.

      Funny thing this morning, as I pulled into the grocery store parking lot……….. lots of empty spots. Maybe I need to sick AJ on this??

      • LOL..friggin empty spots anyway ;)

        It’s to be beautiful here as well. I love this…hate snow tho :/

        • Snow is fun.
          Just go sledding down a big hill.
          But that is another 4 letter word for many, so I will stay quiet.

          Bucs need to wake up……….. Nationals are closing ground…….

  50. My memory of AJB after he is long gone from this team is that he did some good things for the Pirates, but he was kind of a jackass.

    And, yes, I will be interested in and paying attention to this team long after AJ is gone and fishing somewhere in Arkansas.

  51. The Steelers much ballyhooed conversion to the zone blocking scheme has apparently already been scrapped. Reading Mark Kaboly this morning, he writes the Steelers have used zone blocking only once this season, the play that Maurkice Pouncey was hurt. They haven’t used it since.

  52. On a related note, it would certainly be great if things worked out and the Pirates clinched a WC spot this weekend when the games will surely be sell outs.

  53. Can you imagine a clinching on Sunday afternoon with a Steelers game later that night?

  54. AJ, AJ, AJ.

    Lots of empty seats? You mean like there are at EVERY other ballpark?
    You mean like there are in April, May, and September on school nights?
    You mean like in Pittsburgh, who has only ever broken 2 million in attendance a few times?

    I support AJ’s right to say whatever he wants, however he wants. But funny, I must have missed the tweets where AJ admitted to sucking up the joint, or yelling at teammates, or showing up his manager in Washington, etc………..

    Tell ya what AJ, here is a suggestion for you.
    Next time you see lots of empty seats, take some of that $16.5 million dollars you have this year (alone), and buy some of those seats and give them to underpriviledged youth, or some seniors, or just people in general. Put your money where your mouth is.

    Or, better yet, more carefully phrase your attempts to rally the fanbase.
    If you cant do that, then STFD, and STFU.

    Hi Frank.

  55. Tell AJ the play in game sold out in about 10 minutes

  56. Good chance that Texas, USC & Nebraska will all be looking for football coaches this winter.

  57. AJ Burnett ‏@wudeydo34
    Y’all, I mean YINZ, crack me up! Think I’m dogging you? No chance. Proud to be here and play for this city. believe packPNC

  58. here’s some pics to break up the tension this morning:|PIT|home

    some are pretty funny lol

  59. Who is the late night radio host you speak of? I believe there is only one in this town.

    DK: Referring to overnight callers, Tim. Not Colin Dunlap, one of my best friends on the planet. In this context, that wouldn’t make sense, anyway, since I’m plainly referring to PUBLIC reaction.

    If anything, what I kind of had in mind with that phrase was the old Doug Hoerth audience, if that doesn’t pre-date you. The crotchetiest of the crotchety.

  60. Does Trib online radio have an overnight talk show?

  61. Besides seeing a winning team for the first time in a generation,
    Here is what I’ll remember most about this season:

    Ratings, attendance figures, and Groupon.
    I’m never following a baseball season as closely as I’ve followed this one EVER AGAIN!

  62. Good morning Tattoo The Disco Hippo!

  63. Am choosing to stay on the fringes today. Wish I still lived in Pittsburgh so I could get to games. Can’t believe folks are getting this riled over AJ being AJ. He’s danged for the way he leads and if he didn’t lead or have anything to say, he’d be danged for that too!

  64. Would this be less of an issue if AJ had more wins?

    • I personally do not hold his lack of wins against him. He has pitched well enough for the Pirates this year to have 12-15 wins.

      I also don’t have any issue with his tweet. My issue was more with DK’s much stronger wording of fans making up excuses as to why not to come. 11 games, 11 nights. This was the worse game to go to considering the time of week, opposition, and starting pitcher. If I asked my son if he wanted to see the Pirates play San Diego on a Tuesday or the Reds on a Saturday I’m pretty confident he would say the Reds. But what do I know. It’s a free country and AJ and DK are free to say whatever they want.

  65. The Pirates may only be 6 games up on the Nationals, but they are only 2 games back of the NL leading Braves….

  66. Someone corect me if I’m wrong and I’m sure you will, but…

    Didn’t the Pirates have trouble selling out the playoff games in the early 90′s as well?

    I realize it’s different stadiums and seating capacity.

  67. I need to make a supplies run for some mechanics/techies.
    Hold the fort, never fear, Mother Theresa shall return…

  68. AJ needs to pitch better.

    Then, make all the observations you want. We are all living and dieing with this, in the end it doesn’t matter to them like it does to us.

    That’s why we are FANS.

    • You’re kidding, right?
      It doesn’t matter to them?

    • AJ is one guy on the team that I can say without a doubt it does matter to him. Actually it matters to all of them more then to us. It’s how they make their living and provide for their families.

      I am fortunate enough to have teams I root for win 8 championships in the past 25 years. All of those and some close call defeats after unexpected runs as well have brought me joy and happiness but do not even come close to mattering to me more then other things in my life.

    • Not gonna tell you what is right or wrong regarding expectations, John. That is a personal opinion.

      But I find it difficult to ask for much more than a career year out of a 36 year old pitcher.

      • Wow this is a career year for him. Hard to believe. There seemed to be some hype around the guy when he was young but he has never posted a sub 3.50 ERA in his career. I guess he really wasn’t a “bust” with the Yankees but instead probably just overpaid.

        • Crazy, isn’t it? We’ve truly been spoiled with pitching this season.

          People like AJ make less friends the longer they’re around a place. Trust me.

          His fire is indiscriminate. One minute you could be the one he’s defending, the next you could be told to STFD.

  69. Pirates draw roughly 100% of population with in a 50 mile radius. I believe that is tops or near the top MLB. Maybe The REDS come close to that or Milwaukee as well. But still is a nice bump from last year. My thinking is the Pirates if they can continue to be in the hunt every year can maybe go to 32K to 35K per on average as the ceiling.

  70. AJ is neither right nor wrong…just like folks deciding not to come out to the ballpark on Tuesday because they were exhausted from staying up to watch the awful monday display by the other team in town is neither right nor wrong.

    Anyone on here sell beer for a living? Are you selling more than usual this time of year because of the Pirates playing in a meaningful game every night of the week? That’s the real stat I want…not how many people set their TV to ROOT and then go do dishes and fold laundry.

  71. Dejan,

    “Here’s how I feel: The next time I suggest to anyone how to spend their money will be the first . . . ”

    Interesting comment you make above.

    Ironically I seem to remember the following quote from your column on June 27 entitled “Anyone Want To Be A Part of This?

    ——”And if you ask me, this season — no, this series and this Friday night game between the Pirates and Brewers — represents the onus finally flipping onto Pittsburghers to do their part.” Your column focused on the Pirates low attendance to that point, down 1600 per from last year.

    I took issue with you then for telling me how to be a fan and how to spend my money. Unless you were suggesting I/we not buy tickets and instead sneak into the games, it seems today’s comment by you is made with amnesia toward your own whole June 27 column.

  72. I’m not worried about attendence tonight, just a Pirate WIN!!!!!!

  73. Steelers receiver Antonio Brown demands more passes thrown to him

    Not sure if this is OK but it’s on the other paper in Pittsburgh. I wish the ESPN crew could have caught the sideline spat that reportedly took place between AB and Haley. Heck I’m just glad at least someone has some dang fire in them.

  74. Maybe this was covered already, but is there any possibility that AJ’s comment could be understood in a more neutral tone, such as, “If you didn’t come because you thought it would be sold out like the weekend, there’s good news. We have room for you and we would love to see you. So, come on down.”

    Sort of the opposite of Yogi Berra’s comment about a popular establishment, “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.”

  75. Good mooning Yinzers!!

  76. Joe Starkey just wondered if the playoff ticket buying process took place over the telephone.

  77. LETS GO BUCS LETS GO BUCS LETS GO BUCS LETS GO BUCS… this team is frustrating, but I’m more concerned that this team is FRUSTRATED… baseball, like golf and a few other things, needs to be played, as Clint would say ‘with a slow heartbeat, fast but not in a hurry’… the team is trying hard and I appreciate that. Let them relax, take a deep breath, and play tonight….

    The Padres are so good vs. Pittsburgh and in PNC in my opinion because they know how to pitch us better than most teams… maybe that is Bud Black’s influence, not sure….

    As to AJ Twittergate, which hopefully is done by now, (1) his tweet was indeed a FACT (2) he has never in his time here said anything but how much he appreciates the fans and playing in this city (3) anything in a tweet needs to be taken with the best possible tone not ‘read into’ based on the scar tissue the reader has.

    DK is right on the money to criticize the (over)reaction to AJ’s tweet. Most of it is born in old-fashioned ideas. I’ve read a lot of “play better and then you can say something” and “we’ve been losing for 20 years so give us a break” and “PNC isn’t the only stadium that is half-full” and “it’s cold, a school night, bigger games in and around this one”, etc. Stick with the facts, folks. PNC was half full last night. That’s sad. Not comparing PNC to other parks, that’s pointless and not the point. Not blaming anyone for it, it’s still sad.

  78. The post season will be sold out.

    Says a Pirates fan who could only get standing room only for the Wild Card.

  79. Game thread is up…
    OO0= OO0= OO0= OO0= OO0= OO0= OO0= OO0= OO0= OO0=

  80. No matter how badly the Steelers are at least at the end of the day we can say we’re not Browns fans!

  81. Hey, A.J.! You understand why there are empty seats now?

  82. Only thing more depressing than lackluster performance of the Pirates the last 3 days was the more lackluster support of the Pirates fans. I didn’t have as much disappointment at the 20,000 people that came to the game dressed as empty seats as I did the fans that DID show up who made less noise than my local public library.

    Who taught those guys how to attend and support a baseball team. Must be too much dramamine in the water. Next time yuns better go dahnton to Gian-iggle and pick up a shot of 5 hour energy before going to the game. Either that or ROOT better pipe in some noise from a real ballpark.

    • Oh, and I forgot…. Love AJ,… keep on Talking (though you might need to get that smile back on your face, this season seems to be getting you done). FIre Hurdle, bring back Garrett Jones. Tired of seeing Justin ending late innings with bases full. Garrett helped get us there, and is one of the family….he should be in there finishing the Job.

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