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Morning Java: Of playoffs, pucks, poor tackles

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

ST. LOUIS – Morning, Lunatics, from the city that long ago stole Pittsburgh’s Gateway to the West designation but only because we didn’t really care enough to keep it …

>> I’ll be with the Pirates for each step of the playoffs, just as I have been with the Steelers and Penguins over the years. Home, road, night, day, every game, everywhere.

The other two and the colleges will still get the occasional column, but baseball’s postseason is at center stage. And I’ll join the rest of our Trib team — Rob Biertempfel, Travis Sawchik, Karen Price, photographer Chris Horner – to bring it to you as best we can.

That said …

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>> It stinks not to be able to go all Dr. Manhattan and cover the Penguins’ opener tonight, as well.

Yeah, it’s just the first of 82, with a dash of Sochi Olympics thrown in, but I’ll find this team’s first few games to be of particular interest for the following three questions …

1. Could Marc-Andre Fleury actually blossom without the perpetual father figure as backup?

Think about it. Seems like forever that he’s had a Ty Conklin, Brent Johnson or Tomas Vokoun there as the failsafe. And in each case, those backups were seen as the wise old vets, the standup men in the locker room.

If – and I know this goes against Fleury’s mostly fluffy personality – he were to embrace being that guy, might it change more about him than his regular-season performance?

2. Will Olli Maatta stick?

I love that he’s here now, as you might have noticed. He’s 19, but he’s polished and smooth enough that he looks like that rare breed of young defenseman who can actually get better right away at the NHL level, rather than simply have holes exposed.

He’s got nine games to do that, given the junior rule, and I wouldn’t bet against him.

Tired of writing this already, but this team needs fresh legs all over the rink.

3. Grit, anyone?

Tuukka Rask notwithstanding, the Penguins can score in their sleep. Too much talent to imagine otherwise.

But can they grind it out?

If so, who will do it, particularly up front?

Craig Adams and Joe Vitale and who else?

If they aren’t going to hit anyone on the forecheck, they’d better do a ton of scoring, in their sleep and otherwise.

Our weeklong NHL preview concludes today with — who else? — the captain, by Rob Rossi.

Vokoun’s career is on hold, writes Josh Yohe, and I took this video for you of his little press gathering …

I also penned this quick news item upon learning that Jaromir Jagr’s likeness was replaced from the ring of Penguins greats in the home locker room.

Just in time, by coincidence, for Jagr to return tonight with the Devils.

Here’s our full Penguins coverage.

Here are official game highlights from NHL.com.

>> Game 1 of Pirates-Cardinals didn’t seem to be as much the focus here in the land of baseball’s self-proclaimed best fans. Rather, it was the ridiculous scene at PNC Park for the wild-card game, as in how they might translate to this series and, specifically, to Busch Stadium.

I’ve got that answer right now: It won’t.

Difference between St. Louis and Pittsburgh sports fans, in general, is that they’re a lot nicer than we are. They clap when the opposition turns a fine defensive play. We’ll boo Carlos Beltran just because he’s a name we recognize on the other team. They take pride in being classy. We take pride when some idiot jumps in the Allegheny. They view baseball as a grand old game. We view it as yet another form of competitive blood extraction, a la football and hockey.

That’s not about to change just because everyone here caught a game on TBS the other night.

A.J. Burnett + Russell Martin = ‘Charged Battery,’ our cover story by Price.

Some of what A.J. had to say at his Busch Stadium presser yesterday …

How to emulate the Cardinals’ sustained success, by Sawchik.

Jeff Banister’s day has come, by columnist Joe Starkey.

Gerrit Cole takes the Game 2 ball, by Biertempfel.

Still more on that wild-card atmosphere, by Bob Cohn and Chris Togneri.

Here’s our full Pirates coverage.

Here’s Cardinals news from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Here are official game highlights from MLB.com.

>> The Steelers made a rare in-season trade to find a left tackle, Levi Brown, who might challenge Mike Adams for starting duty.

That term might is used advisedly, as that noted offensive line guru Mark Kaboly tweeted yesterday that Brown = Adams = Guy Whimper = Don’t get your hopes up.

Man, Max Starks must have just fallen off a cliff since last season, huh?

Here’s our full Steelers coverage.

Here are official game highlights from NFL.com.

>> I’ll check in with TribLIVE Radio at 11:30 a.m. And if you haven’t bookmarked this yet, please check out the new podcasts page we’ve created. All shows all day are constantly updated so you can listen on the go.

Being totally honest here, that’s the only radio I hear anymore.

Until things get going this afternoon at Busch …

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

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

Comments

  1. JohninOshkosh says:

    If you don’t plan on using them, Dejan, may I have your frequent flyer miles ? :)

  2. JohninOshkosh says:

    Kudos to whoever does the Trib’s clever headlines. I Like “Arch Enemies.”. I really liked the other day’s nod to the Clash, “London Appalling.”

    They show the Trib’s headlines often on MLB Network.

  3. Sage Lynam says:

    A little late to the party on talking about what this Pirates playoff win means to me, but hey, better late than never (new to posting here too, but felt like I should).

    Here’s some perspective from someone born in 1993. I’m 20 years old and go to Pitt. I’m from Altoona and grew up a diehard Pittsburgh sports fan. I have more Steelers and Pens jerseys than I can count and I just can’t bring myself to root for another city. One of the reasons I can’t watch the NBA. I love Pittsburgh. I grew up loving football and hockey and i always liked the pirates, but couldn’t stand to watch the organization self destruct. I wanted to love baseball, its in my blood, but i just couldn’t stand to watch disappointment after disappointment. I wanted to understand a love for the Buccos, why my dad cringed at the name Sid Bream (and why he blames my mom for losing the game bugging him to take out the trash), and why the game of baseball means so much to so many. Ive seen a lot, myself and 18,000 people got to welcome back Sid, I was there when 65,000 people screamed at the top of their lungs when Geno scored at the Winter Classic, I ducked in standing room to see Letang beat the Caps in 09 in game 3, I watched Sid hoist the cup and I even got to see Le Magnifique score. I love the Pens. I got to watch Big Ben end the Pats streak in 04, hoist the Lombardi in 05, and I got to understand my Dad’s disappointment of Neil O’Donnel’s 3 picks with 3 Big Ben picks pf my own in SB 45; I got to watch Mr. Rooney hoist number six, and i got to meet the great steelers Rocky Bleier, Mike Webster, Mike Wagner, Jack Ham, Jerome Bettis, Dwight White, and Franco Harris. I love the Steelers, I know their history.

    But I didn’t love baseball, and I didn’t love the pirates. They were my team, of course, but I couldn’t love them because I lived in fear of them being traded away. But this team, this group, they showed me something new.

    In 2011, I was diagnosed with Guillain Barre Syndrome (a nervous system disorder) and I was knocking on death’s door, or at least paralysis. My dad stayed by my side the entire time. We fought together, along with my mom to beat it and we did in 5 days, against all the odds. It usually takes years and many people never recover. But I was given a miracle. I realized yesterday that I may have never gotten to enjoy a Pirates postseason game with my dad had i not pulled through. That story can go on and on, so I’ll keep that short.

    Yesterday, my dad asked where I was watching the game. I told him I was going to watch it at my apartment. Then I followed by saying you should drive over, i really want to watch it with you. Ive always told him i would never miss watching a Steelers Super Bowl with him. Well, for him, I knew this meant just as much. I bought him a new Pirates postseason shirt for the occasion and he made the trek over. $200 was a little steep to go so we watched on TV. I saw a glimmer in my dads eye that I don’t see often. He was getting to watch a Pirates playoff game with his son. I was born in 1993, we had to wait my entire life to do this. We’ve watched a lot of big events together, but this one may have been the most gratifying. 21 years after Sid Bream slid into home, my dad and I got to watch Jason Grilli throw his hands up and raise the Jolly Roger in the postseason for the first time in my life. I love this city, and I watched it come together, louder and more proud than ever. I watched this group of players fight and they never gave up. Clint Hurdle inspired them, and he inspired me. The Buccos had a miracle of their own. It’s something I will never forget. I know my Dad won’t either. He never said how much it meant to him or how happy he was but I could sense it.

    So I want to thank this team for giving me something I never had: a love for baseball and a love for the Pirates.

    DK: Wow. Thank you for sharing this, Sage. So much. Beautifully worded and right from the heart.

  4. Ghost says:

    “We take pride when some idiot jumps in the Allegheny.”

    I take umbrage at this. I can’t tell you the number of times I have envisioned myself being that idiot over the last 20 years. (OK, I don’t really take any umbrage. After all, in real life I have jumped, in the buff, into Hippo’s pond. I definitely take pride in that.)

  5. Konajim says:

    Poor tackles! We’d be great at 2 hand touch.

    DK: Aloha, Jim!

  6. Brandie says:

    Wow. I got chills from reading your story. If you have not posted before, welcome. Please come hang out with us Lunatics!

  7. Drew71 says:

    “Difference between St. Louis and Pittsburgh sports fans, in general, is that they’re a lot nicer than we are…They clap…We’ll boo…They take pride in being classy. We take pride when some idiot jumps in the Allegheny.”

    I like that summary of differences the Felixes and Oscars.

    I am CERTAINLY not nice. And yes, I’m an idiot.

    So, yeah.

  8. Drew71 says:

    Beautiful post. Thank you for sharing.

    Your dad is a great guy. You, too.

  9. theplanisworking says:

    This is just simply wonderful.
    Happy you could share this with us.
    Come back more often.

  10. theplanisworking says:

    You need to raise your bar, Ghost.

    Taking a jump into my Pond is no big thing.
    Survivng is…………….

  11. theplanisworking says:

    You need to raise your bar, Ghost.

    Taking a jump into my Pond is no big thing.
    Survivng is…………….

  12. theplanisworking says:

    So there is another baseball game tonight. Thanks for letting us know. ;)

    Lucky will be in heaven tonight (so to speak).
    Its another ratings debate !!!!

    I think the Bucs will get more than an 8.3, or 11.1
    or maybe not……………. for our resident Hockey Buffs………… :)

  13. Drew71 says:

    Maybe we’re being too St Louis with Sage.

    Maybe we should tell him to go jump in the Allegheny.

    It’s a compliment.

    He’s from Pittsburgh. He’d get it.

  14. Jandy says:

    Hello neighbor! Duncansville here. You put a big lump in my throat this morning…thanks for.sharing that touching story. Please join us Loonies more often. Hug.your Dad often!

  15. Jandy says:

    Konajim, a lurker perhaps? Care to post your hometown so Bizrow can add to dejan’s Lunatic Asylum? :)

  16. Jandy says:

    Hi Loonies! On our way to Fall Carlisle Swap and Car Show. Won’t be posting much today. Havee.to watch both hockey and baseball tonight. Have a grand day everyone :)

  17. Skilliemischief says:

    Awesome post Sage, that really hit home for me! My 10 year old daughter has watched a TON of pirate games with me the past couple years & this summer we made our 1st trip out to pnc for a weekend series. I’m taking a p-day Friday to stay home & watch the game & of course I said yes when she asked if I could take her out of school early to watch with me! Great sports memories are often more about where you saw it or who you saw it with than the actual game itself. I’m hoping that’s true for my daughter when she’s older and looks back on this amazing season. Thanks again for sharing!

  18. John Lease says:

    Ratings for the Pirates were pretty good.

    Who’d have thought that?

  19. radio wave says:

    A question for you Jandy. It!’s 7:00 p.m. Seventh inning, Bucs are winning. Time for the puck to drop. Do you pick up the remote?

  20. tdb1977 says:

    Awesome post. I would like to nominate this post as POTD and its only 6:00. Thanks for sharing this with the rest of us. Hope that you and your dad are able to watch each game this series with your dad.

  21. Thundercrack says:

    I posted this late last night on the other thread
    ————-
    For some laughs I decided to look at some of the readers’ comments in some of the stories in the Cincinnati Enquirer.

    Here is one of my favorites:

    ‘I made the comment here in March and was ripped for it, I made the comment on Docs blog 2 weeks ago and was ripped again, I will make it one last time…The Reds and Pirates switch managers and the Reds win 100 games.’

  22. Thundercrack says:

    I didn’t like that comparison. Maybe because I don’t know anyone or heard of anyone that was “proud” of the idiot that jumped in the Allegheny.

    Where me and DK can agree is that the person was an idiot.

  23. tdb1977 says:

    I am still cheesed that the game tomorrow is at 1:00 PM. I want to watch every Pirates post season game and now, with this game at 1:00 PM, there is just no way of doing that. I would call off sick tomorrow – but I leave to go on vacation Saturday morning. Stupid MLB for putting this game so early in the day!

  24. Jandy says:

    He!! No! Lol.turn to hockey between innings in that case!

  25. Jandy says:

    I chuckled at the Arch reference too, OshKosh lol

  26. Jandy says:

    Sorry for the Jandy typos. I hate typing on my phone.

  27. Tom P. says:

    Great story, Sage. Thanks for sharing, and welcome.

  28. Drew71 says:

    Then Cincinnati’s record would be:

    Reds 100
    Hurdle 62

  29. Drew71 says:

    Party pooper.

    Go jump in the Allegheny.

  30. Drew71 says:

    I’m taking the day off. So drunk by 2:00.

    I wouldn’t mind working, though, if I had to. Yet another reason to tune out at work and watch sports on my iPhone all day at work.

    Only difference is I’d be drunk by noon.

  31. Drew71 says:

    Felix.

  32. Tom P. says:

    A year ago today, I was at PNC for the last game of the season against the Braves. I was in Section 113, Row A, behind the Braves dugout. There were about 20,000 people there, about half of them in Braves gear to watch Chipper Jones’ last regular season game. The Pirates lost 4-0, being meekly 4-hit by Ben Sheets and a host of relievers who all pitched an inning to get their work in before the wild card game (or who were done for the year because they did not make the playoff roster).

    That performance and the roughly 53 that preceded it (the Pirates went approx. 17-37 to finish the year) played a large part in my conclusion that the Pirates would be lucky to win 75 games this year. I never would have dreamed that the Pirates would be playing in Game 1 of the NLDS today, in a series that few people would be surprised if he Pirates win.

  33. Jandy says:

    Believe!

  34. Pucknutz says:

    What she said.

  35. Drew71 says:

    My boss is from St Louis and is a fan.

    I’m throwing my Pirate shirt over my shirt and tie today and threatening to throw down.

    Did I mention he’s a formerArmy Ranger?

  36. Pucknutz says:

    So cynical you are Plan. There is no debate. They will both get their numbers,
    Buccos on at 5 – bettin a lot of people stop at favorite watering hole on the way home.
    Don’t know how they count those numbers but the eyeballs will be there.
    This resident Hockey Buff will be watching the Bucs till the end. Maybe take a peek at the Pens between innings.
    Playoffs always trump reg season.

    Its a Baseball/Hockey night in Pittsburgh!!!!
    Don’t get no better en at!

  37. Thundercrack says:

    I normally don’t root for fans from St Louis. New exception.

    I know who would be thrown down.

  38. 21sthebest says:

    I just read some of your posts and I thought you were already drunk.

  39. Brandie says:

    Hockey Hey Everyone!! :-)

  40. Brandie says:

    Bettin’ on Drew-k!

  41. JAL says:

    JAL’s Meet Me in St. Louie Morning Links

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JARDvdrAxk

    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: The Cardinals Have No Advantage Over the Pirates

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/10/first-pitch-the-cardinals-have-no-advantage-over-the-pirates.html

    Pittsburgh as Baseball Town: How the 2013 Pirates Brought Back the Fever

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/10/pittsburgh-as-baseball-town-how-the-2013-pirates-brought-back-the-fever.html

    5 Bucs Dugout

    Tyler Glasnow, Harold Ramirez rank high on prospect lists

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2013/10/2/4794366/tyler-glasnow-harold-ramirez-rank-high-on-prospect-lists

    6 Rumbunter

    Cards Adam Wainwright Will Be A Beast Against Pirates

    http://rumbunter.com/2013/10/02/cards-adam-wainwright-might-beast-pirates/

    7 Yahoo Sports

    St. Louis Cardinals Poised to End Pittsburgh Pirates’ Storied Run

    http://sports.yahoo.com/news/st-louis-cardinals-poised-end-pittsburgh-pirates-storied-211800797–mlb.html

    8 The Green Weenie

    The Morning After

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2013/10/the-morning-after.html

    9 Raise the Jolly Roger

    NLDS Game 1 Preview: Pirates vs. Cardinals

    http://raisethejollyroger.com/2013/10/nlds-game-1-preview-pirates-vs-cardinals/

    10 City of Champions

    2013 MLB Playoffs: Pirates’ moments to remember from wild card game

    http://cityofchampionssports.com/2013/10/02/great-scot-episode-27-pirates-moments-remember/

  42. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 Bleacher Report

    Best Twitter Responses to Pittsburgh Pirates’ Wild Card Win

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1795100-best-twitter-responses-to-pittsburgh-pirates-wild-card-win

    12 People

    Phil Coyne, the 95-Year-Old Pittsburgh Pirates Usher, Has Charmed Fans Since ’36

    http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20741131,00.html

    13 KDKA

    Pirates Players Appreciative Of Fan Support In Wild Card Game

    http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2013/10/02/pirates-players-appreciative-of-fan-support-in-wild-card-game/

    14 Cincinnati Enquirer

    Reds have long offseason to think about sour finish

    http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20131002/SPT04/309300062/Reds-long-offseason-think-about-sour-finish

    15 Patriot News

    Best story in baseball: Playoff-starved Pittsburgh feasts upon Pirates’ surprising success

    http://www.pennlive.com/sports/index.ssf/2013/10/best_story_in_baseball_playoff.html

    16 CBS Sports

    Pirates v Cardinals Preview

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/gametracker/preview/MLB_20131003_PIT@STL/piratescardinals-preview

    17 St Louis Post Dispatch

    Mujica on roster; Kelly set for Game 3

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/professional/cardinal-beat/mujica-on-roster-kelly-set-for-game/article_521ec275-bce2-504f-b5af-810be1f8bf15.html

    Bird Bytes: Miller or Wacha? Follow the changeup

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/columns/bernie-miklasz/bird-bytes-miller-or-wacha-follow-the-changeup/article_d4b1a2c9-b10a-5bc2-8dd4-5bc1d98e8063.html

    18 PBC Site

    Hurdle has had big dreams since first day on the job

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/pit/phil-rogers-pirates-manager-clint-hurdle-has-had-big-dreams-since-first-day-on-the-job?ymd=20131002&content_id=62351436&vkey=news_pit

    Playoff vet Burnett embraces Game 1 start

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/pit/playoff-veteran-aj-burnett-embraces-game-1-start-for-pirates-in-nlds?ymd=20131001&content_id=62308566&vkey=news_pit

    19 Beaver County Times

    Byrd can see these Pirates taking flight

    http://www.timesonline.com/sports/pirates/byrd-can-see-these-pirates-taking-flight/article_ae1de0dc-8946-5dc9-bc18-4f484e30727a.html

    SPORTS WEBSITES

    20 Fangraphs

    Pirates-Reds and the Madness of the Crowd

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/pirates-reds-and-the-madness-of-the-crowd/

  43. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Marcus Gilbert think Steelers plan for him is to stay on the right side

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/10/2/4795614/steelers-depth-chart-offensive-line-right-tackle-marus-gilbert-left-tackle-levi-brown/in/4558795

    Cardinals fans ‘rejoicing’ over the Levi Brown trade

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/10/2/4795112/reaction-steelers-cardinals-levi-brown-trade/in/4558795

    22 Steelers Gab

    Deal For Brown Shows Steelers Are Trying To Fix The Problem

    http://www.steelersgab.com/2013/10/02/deal-for-brown-shows-steelers-are-trying-to-fix-the-problem/

    Soccer(football)

    23 London Evening Standard

    Manchester City’s Micah Richards hails Bayern Munich’s midfield movement

    http://www.standard.co.uk/sport/football/manchester-citys-micah-richards-hails-bayern-munichs-midfield-movement-8854699.html

    24 World Soccer Daily

    10 stories you need to read, 2nd October, 2013

    http://www.worldsoccer.com/247/world-soccer-daily-10-stories-you-need-to-read-2nd-october-2013

    PENGUIN BLOGS and NHL Links

    25 Pensburgh

    Penguins: G Tomas Vokoun Out 3-6 Months

    http://www.pensburgh.com/2013/10/2/4794974/penguins-g-tomas-vokoun-out-3-6-months

  44. kr70 says:

    lunatics, thought you might like this one, During the game my son went to the restroom. He said the urinals were lined up 2-3 deep. The guys were yelling cueto…cueto with the crowd while waiting in line. thank goodness Smith wasn’t pitching. lol

  45. Drew71 says:

    Leftover buzz from last night.

    But really. With my posts? How would you tell the difference?

  46. Drew71 says:

    I’ll talk him to death.

    (Yeah. I know. Put it in writing. That works here.)

  47. Drew71 says:

    Like for instance. SEC anyone?

  48. NMR says:

    Sounds like a great time, Jandy. Enjoy!

  49. diehard says:

    Thanks for sharing Sage. As a dad, I’m so glad to get to share this with my kids, and to see how excited they are to get home from school today towatch the next one!

  50. Arriba Wilver says:

    +1

  51. JohninOshkosh says:

    Enjoyed this post, Tom.

    Btw, Braves are dead-they are on the cover of SI this week. Although, I think it was just an excuse to get Kate Upton on the cover.

  52. JohninOshkosh says:

    Haggling for car parts and then watching baseball and hockey. Now that is living, Jandy! Enjoy.

  53. Wonderful story. Thanks.

  54. Why wait until tonight? Let’s start the debate now.

    I say sommers tween 8.3 and 33.7.

  55. Don’t feel bad, tdb. I can’t get anything but Gameday Mini here at work. And I never have time to look at that. Starts at noon for me.

    Count your blessings. You’re goin on vacation.

    ;)

  56. You must be drunk already, Drew. You said earlier you were off today. Why wear a shirt and tie when you’re off?

    But, really, you’re off every day, right?

    :D

  57. NMR says:

    Great info on the opposition provided by JAL in link #17.

    Things that interest me:

    -Cards have been lauded in the past for their depth. Their five man bench for this series? Kolten Wong, Pete Kozma, Shane Robinson, Tony Cruz, Adron Chambers.

    Highest batting average among those players: .250

    Highest slugging percentage: .319

    Advantage, easily, to the Pirates.

    -Pirates were the best hitting team in the NL against fastballs…and worst hitting team in the NL against changeups.

    Pirates worst hitting regular against fastballs? Starling Marte.

  58. NMR says:

    To distract from the fact that he’s not wearing pants?

  59. JohninOshkosh says:

    I always think the Cardinals are beatable, or not that good, and they always win. I remember talking with you before the season about how crazy we thought the preseason predictions were with most having the Redbirds out of the playoff picture.

    This will be a tough series. I’ve said it before, I’m through underestimating the Cardinals.

  60. hockeymonster says:

    Just jumpin on to say that the pens are getting carried with keeping Maatta. Yes he was good and solid in pre season but there’s no reason to rush him. If he plays he’ll have his up and downs like any 19 year old would at a time when the pens have more than enough bodies on defense. I guess if they want to give him a look while letang is hurt that’s fine but no way I keep him past the 9 game limit.

    Zatkoff may deserve a look but wonder if pens will try to bring in someone like Theodore as well? Last I saw he looked serviceable and could probably hold his own for 20-25 games.

    GO BUCS!!!

  61. Ha! Correct as usual, Uncle Friday.

  62. Arriba Wilver says:

    +1 to both.

  63. Nancy52 says:

    A beautiful way to start the day.

  64. Steve says:

    “I am not going to lie, it hasn’t be any fun, I’ll tell you that,” Steelers first-year offensive line coach Jack Bicknell Jr. said. “We are committed to get things right. I have had teams where you look around at the offensive line and say we are in big trouble. We don’t have that feeling.”

    I wonder if Bicknell is really looking around because if he is, I think he would see they are in big trouble! It was a long time and a lot of mediocre quarterbacks between Terry Bradshaw and Ben R. Mark Malone, Walter Brister, Kent Graham, Mike Tomczak, Slash, Tommy Gun to name a few. They finally land a QB that is regularly in the conversation about top five QBs in the league. He QBs two Super Bowl victories and goes to a third. While never playing behind a great offensive line what he has in front of him this year is appalling. Shame on the Sttelers leadership for cobbling together this cast of characters. Roethlisberger won’t be around forever and it may not be much longer if he doesn’t get some blocking. Despite the success of three Super Bowls in 7 years I’m getting the feeling that when Ben retires we may look back and say, “What might have been. If only he had played behind a good offensive line for the majority of his career.”

  65. Tom P. says:

    In the last two baseball seasons, there have been 5 winner take all, one-game playoff games: the two wild card games in each league and Monday’s 163rd game between the Rays and Rangers. The visiting team won four of the five games. The lone home team to win: our very own Pittsburgh Pirates.

  66. He may say that, Steve, for sure. Ben is Ben.

    But he really has never been, in season anyway, critical of his line. He lauded them openly after both SB wins and took them to dinner pre-SB.

    Hopefully, he doesn’t burn any bridges when he retires. Lord knows, the organization has stuck behind him through some majorly bad life choices.

  67. Damon says:

    Wonderful story. Definitely better late than never!

  68. bizrow says:

    Was thinking the same thing, Jandy

  69. bizrow says:

    So tomorrows game is on MLB Network?

    I’m hoping its on TBS as well??

  70. Jim S. says:

    Enjoy, Jandy! I hope you swap for something really good.

  71. Damon says:

    My guess is that Maata will play the two games Letang can’t, then they send him back to juniors. Easy way to get a quick look at him against NHL talent, plus give him a taste of the big leagues so he isn’t too discouraged when he gets sent back.

    Theodore wouldn’t be a bad idea if they had cap room – one article mentioned they’ve already talked to him. They are just so strapped right now though, and it seems the trade market is terrible right now with about 2/3 of the teams within like $2 of the cap. Now if Zatkoff wets the bed when he gets his chance, Shero will have to do something.

  72. bizrow says:

    So I’m guessing since St Louis is classy, Busch Stadium is holding a “tuxedo” out at the game tonight?

    Not sure why the burgh is getting dissed for some moron jumped off a bridge, and not the night of the game, but the next day??

    (Although, I must admit, there were many times in the past 20 years where I had the urge to do the same thing ;-)

  73. Jim S. says:

    You stuttered some of the words, I thought. I detected a hint of the hard stuff, Drew. Just sayin’.

  74. Jim S. says:

    No, just MLB.

  75. Jim S. says:

    Well said, Tom. I think this series is a toss up.

  76. Jim S. says:

    If he’s a “former” Ranger, maybe he forgot all that training. It could happen. Respect everyone, fear no one, Drew!

  77. Kevin says:

    DVR is a wonderful thing. (for the penguins game I mean).

  78. Damon says:

    Did the Pirates re-set their roster for this series?

  79. Wild Bill says:

    The Marte stat seems really strange. The only thing that makes sense to me is that he does have a tendency to chase fastballs wherever they’re thrown.

  80. Jim S. says:

    I think the Cards are very good. You don’t win 97 games unless you are very good. But, there is no doubt in my mind that they have been monumentally fortunate with RISP. No team has ever hit .300 with RISP, and they hit .330. Here’s to seeing some serious regression in those situations!!

  81. Naje says:

    Very good stuff, NMR…

    Unfortunately, the Cards’ starting lineup hit, as a collective, one of the highest BA with RISP in the history of the game.

    Who needs a stinkin’ bench? (we know… THEY do.)

  82. Lad 9 says:

    Sage thank you. I have a friend who recovered from the same condition so I know how hard you fought. Thanks for pouring your heart out here. Great stuff. Pull up a chair every so often and join the Lunatic nation.

  83. NMR says:

    Absolutely, my friends.

  84. Drew71 says:

    I was sober for that post.

    JUST that post.

  85. Lad 9 says:

    Have fun. Hope to see you tonight!

  86. Jim S. says:

    I believe it. He gets blown away by high fastballs all day long, it seems.

  87. Drew71 says:

    Beer only. LOTS of beer only.

  88. Lad 9 says:

    They are supposed to release it after 10:00 AM

  89. Jim S. says:

    The highest ever, Naje.

  90. Karen22 says:

    GOOSEBUMPS!! God Bless and thank you for putting a smile on my face early to greet the day! :D

  91. Drew71 says:

    I fear Dejan. But only when he drinks.

  92. NMR says:

    Really surprised me as well, Bill. I know I’ve even been on record as saying I thought Marte might be their BEST fastball hitter. That was, obviously, very wrong.

    My thoughts are that Marte is still more tools than results. We see the swing, the flashes of power. We know he struggles against breaking pitches, so maybe I just ASSUMED that he must clobber fastballs. I don’t know.

  93. Karen22 says:

    Have a blast!

  94. SeanAY says:

    What really gets me, Steve, is that it’s not as if they haven’t TRIED to invest in high caliber offensive linemen. In fact, they’ve almost done it to a fault, to the point that other spots in the line-up where fresh blood would have been needed soon (safety and linebacker, in particular) became spots of near desperation.

    Tony Hills (2008 – 4th), Kraig Urbik (2009 – 3rd, was their second pick in the draft), Maurkice Pouncey (2009 – 1st, arguably the only good pick of the lot), Marcus Gilbert (2011 – 2nd), David Decastro (2012 – 1st: grade incomplete), Mike Adams (2012 – 2nd: grade, NOT A LEFT TACKLE).

    That’s five “first day” picks, as it were, plus Hills, invested on the O-line in five years. And what has it gotten them? Pouncey and (hopefully) DeCastro.

    Meanwhile, the linebacker corps is thin with playmakers, the secondary is even thinner in that regard, and the D-line is absolutely incapable of occupying blockers (of course, it looks like two first round picks in that area were also wasted).

    So that’s what’s most upsetting; it’s that they’ve actually made an honest effort to improve the offensive line and it’s still no good.

  95. Karen22 says:

    Not only that, but it’s on the MLB channel, which we don’t get!! I’m really TICKED about THAT!!

  96. SeanAY says:

    Of course, all that said, after having watched the games, I don’t think the offense is as bad as the defense this year. Not doing the offense any favors by not getting stops, not getting off the field, not making big plays. It’s pitiful.

    And I also think Roethlisberger has a good degree of culpability here as well.

  97. Jim S. says:

    There is zero thought process with Marte.

  98. Karen22 says:

    Yeah…great….MAD MAD MAD!!

  99. NMR says:

    Ha, ya know, they just might not…ok, that is an overstatement.

  100. Kevin says:

    Anyone see the news about Mat Latos’ wife being assaulted during the game on Tuesday? She is claiming she was knocked down and punched repeatedly in the head.

  101. Nancy52 says:

    It’s a he said/she said story. Police declined to file charges.
    All were inebriated, several kicked out of the Bowtie Bar and park
    and would have been disorderly conduct per the police and
    only a summons.

  102. Dom says:

    The Rays looked awfully good in their past two games. I’m thinking with that rotation that they can not only beat the sox but also win the WS! The buccso will get by the Cards in five games but lose to the dodgers in the bottom of the 9th in game 7 when Adrian Gonzalez slide is just out of reach of catcher Russell Martin.

    Here’s how it will play out:
    Rays over Red Sox
    As over Tigers
    Buccos over Cards
    Dodgers over Atlanta

    Rays over As
    Dodgers over Buccos

    Rays over dodgers in 7

  103. Jim S. says:

    I took note of that line by Bicknell as well, Steve. The entire organization is in denial. They refuse to accept the shambles they’ve made of themselves. As a result, they can’t start turning things around.

  104. theplanisworking says:

    SeanAY:

    so what do you feel is the bigger problem…………
    the drafting, or the development?

    FWIW, I say both.

  105. Jim S. says:

    I’ll go with:

    A’s over Tigers (Cabrera is banged up)
    BoSox over Rays (Rays can’t hit and their manager is weird)
    Bucs over Cards (It’s gonna take all 5 games; Cards hit .182 w/ RISP)
    Braves over Dodgers (I think both of these teams may be imploding)

    A’s over BoSox (Hey, why not?)
    Bucs over Braves (Hey, why not Part 2?)

    Bucs over A’s (In 6. Payback for losing 2 of 3 earlier this year)

    Yes, there is a Santa Claus!

  106. theplanisworking says:

    Does that mean maitre d’s for everyone?

  107. Kevin says:

    Dom, I am wondering how the long lay-off will affect teams like the Red Sox and Cardinals. It would be nice to think that its long enough to cool off the bats. Is that what you are thinking? Tampa Bay’s been playing tough competitive baseball for the past week.

    I am hoping it gives the Pirates a similar edge.

  108. Jim S. says:

    “Knocked down and repeatedly punched in the head.” I’m just letting that sink in for a bit.

  109. Jim S. says:

    Or Marte d’s.

  110. He should have left her at home in Cincy. It was a quick trip anyway, one way or the other.

    Now, they can go home and pack for the long off-season.

  111. Kevin says:

    Bucs over Braves would be fantastic. Definitely prefer that matchup to the dodgers.

  112. Jim S. says:

    I would put a “hopefully” tag on Pouncey as well. Outside of Steelerland, there is no consensus that he is anywhere near the player he was originally thought to be.

  113. Jim S. says:

    Both.

  114. NMR says:

    Yeah, seems like our fearless leader went a bit hyperbolic with the example while waxing poetic.

    Otherwise, I agree with his point.

  115. theplanisworking says:

    Easy, Tiger.

    I was just funnin’ wif Day-Hawn and Lucky.

    I will be using the remote again. :D

  116. Jim S. says:

    Good thought, Kevin.

  117. theplanisworking says:

    You early bird, you !!

    I say the ratings will depend on the Duck, and Arch. Or the ArchDuck.
    I cannot count that high, so I wont get into the debate.
    Unless beer is involved. Then it will be fun.

    ;)

  118. Damon says:

    Your prediction is just about the same as David Schoenfield of ESPN Sweet Spot – he picked the Pirates over the A’s on 7 games…

    http://espn.go.com/mlb/playoffs/2013/story/_/id/9749212/mlb-espn-predicts-postseason

  119. NMR says:

    “All were inebriated, several kicked out of the Bowtie Bar and park.”

    I know I personally love the fact that an area of our wonderful park was dedicated to the consumption of cheap beer and has resulted in the obvious consequences.

    Really adds to the atmosphere.

    Thanks Frank!

  120. Steve says:

    Denial is not just a river in Egypt! I think the silly trade for Brown is another example of denial. Yes they got him for almost nothing but at 0-4 they are noot going to turn their season around.

  121. The Justice Avenger says:

    Good Morning All! Have a question to ask that I had been thinking about and then the headline this morning “Arch Enemies” will kick this out: Since the Pirates, Cards, Reds had quite a summer and stayed close in the standings for the regular season (and last season too, for part of it) …and now are facing each other in the post season this year…Can we say that these rivalries are beginning to take on the same feel as say the Yankees and Red Sox? Can we use the words “hate” or “respect” the Cards and Reds and them to the Pirates? We know there is a long history with the Red Sox and Yankees. This was just rolling around in my head the other day. Hope everyone is having good day.

  122. theplanisworking says:

    Yep.

  123. theplanisworking says:

    +++++++

  124. theplanisworking says:

    +++++++

  125. theplanisworking says:

    I was told the other day that the Bowtie Bar was a crowning achievement for Frank.

  126. Steve says:

    Good re-cap SeanAY. After reading about the decision to keep Gilbert at left tackle based on his imrpoving performance I would probably assign an incomplete grade to him as well. You’re right that they’ve made some attempts to address the line through the draft and they haven’t been successful and now it appears to be detrimental to other areas. Like you said though, Hood and heyward haven’t exactly shown they were first round caliber d-linemen.

    Lot of rebuilding to do at this point.

  127. NMR says:

    Last night served as a perfect defense of the second wild card, as it relates to including the best teams in playoff competition.

    The Indians finished the regular season one game better than the Rays, but also were the recipient of a far easier schedule.

    WC Game gave the Rays the opportunity and they capitalized on it.

  128. tpbco says:

    If you google her, you see a whole lot of Anna Benson….

    Wasn’t there, don’t know what happened, but……

    As Arnold Palmer once said, “Quote me or misquote me – just spell my name right.”

    15 minutes?

  129. theplanisworking says:

    Respect the Cards.
    Hate the Reds.

  130. JohninOshkosh says:

    I’m generally not a fan of musicals but “Meet Me in St. Louis” is arguably the greatest musical ever made. It was released at the height of World War II, with the world in unprecedented upheaval and despair. It harkened back to simpler, more pastoral times, but had a vague, almost imperceptible, darkness to it. Even the iconic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” first performed in the film, has a slight melancholy presence to it, as sung by the great Judy Garland.

    Legend has it that Italian American director, Vicente Minnelli, who later fathered Liza Minnelli with Garland, told young child actress, Margaret O’Brien, that the young girl’s dog had just died in order to get the girl to cry in a scene.

    The film was released in 1944, the same year, ironically, that the St. Louis Cardinals beat the St. Louis Browns in the Fall Classic.

    Not sure that story is true or not, but it is almost incomprehensible to think a director would do that in today’s Hollywood!

  131. Steve says:

    Despite my Western PA roots, Lou Brock was my favoriteplayer when I was a kid. Maybe because I was a second baseman in my little league years. Guess I liked Bob Gibson too. Can’t “hate” the Cards.

  132. The Justice Avenger says:

    Earlier this week I picked the Dodgers over the A’s for the Series…I guess I have to stay with it. That being said…I agree Tampa is looking really good and may go deep. My heart wants our Bucs to go deep, too. And why the heck not? This team has continued to surprise all season…why stop now?

  133. Kevin says:

    I’m of the opinion that anything can happen… anything at all. Two of the top 3 in the NL in RBI’s can be held RBI-less. The best in the NL in on-base percentage can be held without a hit. Meanwhile, the guy with one of the lowest averages on the Pirates who has hit below the Mendoza line for all of September can hit 2 HRs in the same game.

    Mark 9:23 ~ anything is possible if you just believe!

  134. The Justice Avenger says:

    Good scripture to use, Kevin…

  135. The Justice Avenger says:

    Yep…loved Bob Gibson…was always a guy I’d want if I were starting a team.

  136. The Justice Avenger says:

    I can go with that, Plan..

  137. Jim S. says:

    I think Lou Brock was an OF, though, Steve. Cards 2nd baseman may have been Ted Sizemore or Ken Oberkfell during that time. Or, Tommy Herr.

  138. theplanisworking says:

    Dont forget Donora’s Stan Musial.

  139. Kevin says:

    she’s already had more than 15 mins as part of the MLB wives series thingy… maybe she’s just one of those attention seeker type personalities.

  140. Arriba Wilver says:

    No you weren’t.

  141. Jim S. says:

    Let me just add, plan, “And end the season for both.”

  142. Jim S. says:

    It’s true. I thought Cleveland was going to win, but the Rays totally shut them down. The Rays are deserving of a full series. They were obviously better than both the Rangers and Indians.

  143. theplanisworking says:

    One organization gave us Stan Musial, Lou Brock, Whitey Herzog, Red Schoendienst, Ozzie Smith, Bob Gibson. Class.

    The other organization gave us Pete Rose, George Foster, Rob Dibble, Marge Schott, Dusty Baker, Brandon Phillips.

    Nuff said, eh?

  144. Jim S. says:

    I hope we’re both right.

  145. 21sthebest says:

    +1

  146. theplanisworking says:

    Almost forgot before i go………
    Top of the Mornin’ to ya, Mr Reverend.

  147. Jim S. says:

    In fairness, that is the trend in parks now. They have something similar at Wrigley, and I have partied on a deck in the new Busch Stadium.

  148. Jim S. says:

    I hear they are looking at casting for the Real Housewives of Cincinnati. So, there’s that.

  149. theplanisworking says:

    Oh?

    When someone was trying to list Franks achievements?

    Gotcha.

    Now is this where I tell you to drop it like you told me last week on another topic?

    Good day, sir.
    Root on the Bucs!

  150. 21sthebest says:

    What obvious consequences? There’s drinking all around the entire ballpark. The only reason this issue became public is because of the name Latos.

  151. 21sthebest says:

    I was about to say that I wonder if the Latos’ have inked their reality show yet!

  152. Jim S. says:

    Will be cheering on her brothers, BJ and Justin?

  153. theplanisworking says:

    Hopefully, Jim, hopefully.

  154. Arriba Wilver says:

    If you’re talking to me, I have no idea what you’re talking about. Not saying I didn’t, just have no idea what you’re talking about.

    I’d like to see where someone said “that the Bowtie Bar was a crowning achievement for Frank.”

    That’s all I was saying here.

  155. Jim S. says:

    They keep a pretty set lineup. I don’t think they need many platoons because they have a team full of hitters that don’t try to do too much. They have even convinced Matt Holliday to not worry about HRs, and instead just go through the hole between 1b and 2b. They really do have a professional approach from almost every hitter on the team.

    St. Louis is definitely an organization with a plan for everything they do. Their only weakness that I can see is they put some butchers in the OF – Holliday especially.

  156. The Justice Avenger says:

    Wow…well said…thanks…

  157. theplanisworking says:

    Sorry, typed the first post to you after I stubbed my toe, and didnt give an explanation.

    A few days ago, a conversation going back and forth about Franks worthiness, and achievements. I was told about the Bowtie Bar, and how it was a big thing for Frank. The back and forth even included a link to the Bowtie Bars Group ticket policy, and how that was a good thing. Being that was one of the only things we could come up with, I took the leapo of faith that the Bowtie bar was the crowning achievement, being there werent too many others.

  158. Arriba Wilver says:

    I saw on the news last night that despite her allegation off think the Bowtie Bar was a dumb idea.

  159. Jim S. says:

    ++++

  160. Arriba Wilver says:

    Sorry, two got put together. I just meant to say I thought the Bowtie Bar was a dumb idea.

  161. Jim S. says:

    Tomlin seems to get angry and make all these rash decisions. He goes through 3 RBs 2x each in a game, pulling them one by one if they make a mistake. He has been known to shuffle WRs. Now he is doing it with the OLine. I agree that changes need to be made, but he seems to go nuts with benching guys.

  162. 21sthebest says:

    I don’t really see how it’s different from any other seat in the ballpark.

  163. Arriba Wilver says:

    On the news last night the Pittsburgh police said there were no visible signs of injury despite her allegation of being repeatedly punched in the head. Some numnuts called into Colin’s show last night who claimed he saw it, and said there were just a few slaps, trying to say it was nothing. Yeah, what’s a few slaps in the head? Smh

    Sounds like something happened, just maybe embellished a little by her.

  164. Dom says:

    I think about that every year.

    Baseball isn’t the sport where you would want a break. Even a single off day can disrupt a team’s rhythm.

    This adds to my rationale why I hate the extended playoff and especially the addition of the new wild card game in MLB.

  165. Arriba Wilver says:

    The booze is more accessible, I would assume. No waiting. I see it as very different. More like tailgating right inside.

  166. Scott says:

    The funny thing is that comment may be accurate. Dusty Baker is one of the worst managers in baseball, going back to his days in San Francisco, yet inexplicably the guy keeps getting hired.

    Can’t figure out for the life of me why he didn’t bring in Mike Leake in the wild card game once Cueto was pulled. There’s no sense going to a string of mediocre relievers at that point when your season is on the line and you have another solid starter waiting in the pen…

    Hurdle is no genius but he was clearly better than the guy in the other dugout – and he’ll be the better manager again when the Bucs face the Cardinals.

  167. 21sthebest says:

    Yeah I suppose. I’m not saying it’s the greatest idea in the world but I can’t call it dumb. But then again, all you can eat seats seem dumb to me.

  168. JohninOshkosh says:

    This is a complete fame grab. She has reality television written all over it. If she hadn’t married Latos, instead of being at PNC, she would have been performing on a stage at Blush.

    I refuse to believe the PGH PD ignored this because she was married to a Red.

    I hate the Reds. Have a nice winter, d-bags.

  169. JohninOshkosh says:

    ++++

  170. Kevin says:

    I agree… think they should just extend it to 8 teams and do two best-of-three division series. That takes away the “reward” for winning the division however. Also, why have a 162 game season if you’re just going to let in half of the teams like hockey.

  171. Thundercrack says:

    You don’t like it because FC is trying to increase revenues

    :-)

    I always looked at it as another thing the group sales department could use.

    And I would probably go there is I was trying to meet up with someone that wasn’t sitting with me. I have never been in there though.

  172. Jim S. says:

    Sounds about right, Arriba.

    You have to wonder why her group would go from the players’ family area that was surrounded by security back to a bar area that was open to the public. Something was going to be said. Something else was going to be said back.

  173. Zico says:

    Definitely went overboard with the comparison of the 2 fan bases. There was nothing wrong with how our crowd acted on Tuesday night. St.louis can clap politely, but that doesn’t mean Pittsburgh cant be loud and raucous. Poor word choices were made in the article to try to polarize the fan bases.

    And 1 foolish kid (who already said he made a poor decision) jumping off a bridge does not define everyone else. Take 5 minutes to go read any article about Mrs Latos situation, or about the upcoming series. You’ll find St.Louis and Cincinnati have the same amount of bad fans as Pittsburgh does.

  174. Jim S. says:

    Those areas are now very popular at MLB ball parks. They built one at Wrigley, and I have been to the one in St. Louis in LF. I bet most parks have them now, or are in the process of erecting them.

  175. Kevin says:

    I wish they had a bowtie bar at my workplace.

  176. Scott says:

    I would love to see the Pens embrace their youth and keep guys like Maatta all season so they’ll be ready to contribute when the playoffs get here. It’s so frustrating seeing rookies contributing all over the NHL playoffs everywhere but Pittsburgh. Bennett and Despres should have been on the roster all season last year – if that had been the case, they would have been much bigger contributors during the playoff run.

    This team is no danger of missing the playoffs. That means it’s the perfect time to give your inexperienced but high-ceiling guys extensive playing time. Maatta should play all season. If he does, I’d expect him to be better than mediocre guys like Niskanen and Bortuzzo once the playoffs get here.

    That said, it won’t happen. The Pens won’t embrace youth. Remember what Jordan Staal had to do to convince the Pens to keep him as an 18-year-old: He scored something like 4 shorthanded goals in his nine game tryout. Had he not done that, he would’ve been sent back to juniors, and the Pens’ history would have been VERY different.

  177. JohninOshkosh says:

    Don’t know if you have seen the picture, Jim, but she’s wearing a Braves uni in between the Upton brothers. As you might expect, she looks very cute in the uni.

  178. Mrevo says:

    I’m surprised by the lack of people who are offended by Kovacevic’s rant against Pirate fans. Talk about classless, you sir are a jerk. I won’t be back, waste of time any way.

  179. NMR says:

    Exactly, AW.

    I’m not going to tell anyone how to enjoy their time at a ballgame.

    I’ve had beers before, myself.

    But I have absolutely no use for entire section of the stadium dedicated to the consumption of alcohol. It is a baseball stadium, not a bar.

    You build something like that, you are inviting idiots to get wasted and beat on each other.

  180. Jim S. says:

    They aren’t all up for sainthood in St. Louis. The beer flows pretty freely in that park and that town, and there are always idiots who over-indulge anywhere that is the case. I’ve been to Cubs-Cards games at Busch, and it can get rowdy before, during and after games.

    The average St. Louis fan is well mannered and polite. They probably don’t get as excited as Bucs fans right now because this is nothing new to them. But, at their core, people from St. Louis and Pittsburgh are very similar. They don’t have the market cornered on upstanding citizens in St. Louis.

  181. JAL says:

    Aw, I just saw Margaret O’Brien two weeks ago. Didn’t think to ask her if that was true.

  182. tpbco says:

    I agree, ESPECIALLY, given the serious incidences that have occured in LA, SF and other places…

    PGH PD would not have played any games here.

  183. NMR says:

    Excellent comment, Jim.

    About the only place you’ll see them use pinch hitters is for pitching subs.

    Very impressive lineup construction…but Mozeliak seems to have sacrificed defence in the process. We shall see if the old adage holds…

  184. JAL says:

    Bit of research I did

    Pirates versus Cardinals

    They played 19 times during the season with the Pirates winning 10 and the Cardinals winning 9. Both teams had some scoring outburst with Cardinals scoring 10, 13, and 12 is 3 games while Pirates scored 9,9, and 8 in 3 games. Pirates shut out the Cards 4 times and the Cards shut out the Pirates twice.

    The Pirates hit .259 against the Cardinals and scored 85 runs, which is the most runs they scored against any team. Russell Martin led the Pirates in home runs against the Cardinals with 6 and tied with Pedro Alvarez with 11 RBI against the Cards. Pirate pitching had a 2.26 ERA against the Cards.

    The Cards hit .248 against the Pirates and scored 87 runs, compared to scoring 102 against the Reds and 106 against the Brewers. Cards only hit 3 home runs off Pirates pitching while Matt Holliday led them in RBI with 15 against the Pirates. Cardinal pitching had a 2.52 ERA against the Pirates.

  185. NMR says:

    “defence”? ugh.

  186. Jim S. says:

    I hope you’re right, Scott. But, I would not underestimate Matheny.

  187. Jim S. says:

    No, I hadn’t seen it. Thanks, Osh.

  188. A1C McG says:

    tonight we may get to hear the 2 most magical phrases in sports, “Raise the Jolly Roger” and “Its a Hockey Night in Pittsburgh.” just take a moment and think about that happening in the Fall instead of the Spring

  189. JohninOshkosh says:

    I bet you will be back Mrevo.

    I don’t get it. If you hate Kovacevic, then why do you come here? The man works hard to give us this forum, every bloody day including holidays and when he is on vacation, and you crap on it. Do. Not. Get. It.

  190. Dom says:

    Having the extended playoffs, increases the chances that a team will have a long extended wait time.

    I think it was the Clint Hurdle lead Rockies that swept their NLCS opponents and then had like a 10 day wait time as the Red Sox came from 3-1 in the ALCS against Cleveland to win the series. The Rockies’ starters had so much time between starts that by the time the WS came around they were so out of harmony that their team really had no chance.

    The more I think about it, the less playoff teams, the better.

  191. NMR says:

    I, personally, could care less about “trends” when they include sacrificing the safety and experience of fans in the name of profit.

  192. Jim S. says:

    Yeah, I guess it is hard to find a team full of Cutch’s, where you don’t have to sacrifice fielding for hitting, running for hitting, etc. Most every player is weak at something.

  193. Jim S. says:

    English spelling, I think.

  194. Iceman says:

    I’m pretty sure I missed the part where DK went on a “rant against Pirate fans.” Sure he said that St. Louis fans are nicer than Pirate fans, but I’m not so sure he was saying that as a bad thing. He said that St. Louis fans take pride in being classy, but he doesn’t call the Pirates fans classless. Actually, his previous column was all about how great the Pirates fans were during the wild-card game.

    I’m pretty sure you are taking that whole paragraph out of context.

  195. 21sthebest says:

    You can buy food at the Bow Tie bar. I really don’t see how it’s very different from any other seat in the ballpark.

  196. NMR says:

    Am I the only one who’s noticed Dejan’s writing style trend toward the extremes?

    Like I said above, I generally agree with his sentiment. The fan bases are unique.

    But my lord, could you tease out the differences any more extremely than he managed?

    Sign of the times, I suppose.

  197. NMR says:

    But you have to admit that Dejan has to be smart enough to know these are exactly the kind of reactions he has to expect when he writes something like that, right?

    I’m sure he’ll just chalk this one up to “sensative” Pirate fans.

  198. NMR says:

    Seriously, 21? No different?

  199. The Justice Avenger says:

    +1 !!!

  200. The Justice Avenger says:

    Thanks, JAL, for your work! So, does your research tell us the Bucs will win in 3…4…5? :)

  201. JRay3 says:

    Wow, what an awesome way to start the day and to lead into today’s game one. Thank you for sharing such a personal, heart felt story, enjoyed it immensely.

    Welcome aboard.

  202. Jim S. says:

    I like it, A1C. I like it a lot.

  203. 21sthebest says:

    I said I don’t think it’s very different. People drink a lot in the regular seats too. I bet a lot of us have had those people around us.

    I’ve never been in the Bow Tie Bar but I would imagine the bartender(s) is just like the bartender in any other bar and tries to keep tabs on who’s drinking too much?

    The Latos thing seems like an isolate incident to me. My son was popped for wearing his Clemente jersey in 2011. This happened behind the stands. We’re just walking and then some drunk…. But he wasn’t hurt anything.

  204. JAL says:

    Unfortunately, it tells me nothing. Past is past and the pressure is different than during the season. Cards also more experienced in post season so no result would surprise me, from Pirates 3-0 to Cards 3-0

  205. Jim S. says:

    Love the work you put in for everyone here, JAL. Much appreciated!!

    You hit on a good point. The Cards hit only 3 HR in 19 games vs. the Bucs, while Martin alone hit 6 HR vs. the Cards. Wow! The Bucs are a team that lives and dies with the long ball. St. Louis almost seems to avoid it offensively at times.

    I wonder, though, how the Bucs and Cards had such low ERAs vs. one another when they averaged well over 4 runs each in the head-to-head games. There was at least one pretty long extra inning game. Other than that, though, I don’t how that happens – unless a lot of the runs were unearned.

    I think this can be a classic series.

  206. JohninOshkosh says:

    Next time, maybe. I would love to hear what she has to say about it.

  207. NMR says:

    I feel like there were a couple sloppy games mixed in there, Jim. You might be right.

  208. 21sthebest says:

    But that situation wouldn’t change with less teams Dom. You’re talking about time between the Championship Series and the World Series. But I agree with your overall concept of less teams. I like the current setup.

  209. Reds were more experienced, too.

  210. JaxBuc says:

    WOW! I’ve got nothing more, after that deep, personal, intense, well-written post. Thank you, Sage.

  211. theplanisworking says:

    Cardinals arent handicapped by Baker…………

  212. JaxBuc says:

    Shocked that Drew has’t asked if he could get you to swap something (or someone, or several small incontinent somethings) for him at the Swap Meet.

  213. Playoffs by 2012 says:

    Lunatic Fringe….

    Did they set their NLDS roster yet?
    I need to know who will be the last bat off the bench…..

  214. Bizrow says:

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  215. JohninOshkosh says:

    Not quibbling with you, Dom, but has anyone ever statistically analyzed the effects of playoff layoffs on teams ? They bring it up every year, in almost every sport, but, other than anecdotal evidence, little is produced to support such argument.

    It’s kind of like my pet analyst peeve. Every time shadows engulf the batter, and the pitcher is still in sunlight, analysts and announcers go on and on about it. But I have never heard anyone once, ever, give me numbers to support that hitting in those situations is negatively affected. I know that it is intuitive to think so, but I’ve never heard it factually demonstrated.

  216. JAL says:

    ERA surprised me too then I saw that Pirates had 4 shutouts and Cardinals 2. then there games like the one the cards scored 10 runs but only 5 were earned.

  217. JAL says:

    Cards have announced their roster but haven’t seen Pirates yet

  218. The Justice Avenger says:

    good points to all above…

  219. Jim S. says:

    I hadn’t thought of that angle, NMR, and I generally don’t think of Dejan taking an extremist POV. But, maybe he did on this one? As I said, they don’t have the corner marketed on upstanding citizens in St. Louis. As with Cincinnati, my take is St. Louis is a city very much like Pittsburgh. There are more good people than jerks everywhere, IMO. I have spent a lot of time in all 3 cities, and I find them similar in so many respects.

    Now, if you want fans that tend to be on the edge, you can certainly go East to several cities. I’ve been to Philly and seen people get in heated arguments with the guy at the fast food drive thru. We know how they act at games as well. I have a friend who is from N. Jersey and said he stopped going to Philly for Eagles-Giants because of the bizarre, angry and dangerous fan behavior in Philly. Think about that for a minute. And, again, that is not everyone. But, I have digressed.

    It can get rough here in Chicago. I live in the suburbs here, and took the kids to see the Bucs at Wrigley (the game Marte tied in the 9th with the HR). The Cubs are horrid, which was probably the only thing that kept us from being harrassed most of the day. To be fair, the majority of fans did not look to engage us. But, I took some crap from a vendor for no reason, and some other fans made comments throughout the day. Thge vendor actually told me to go back to Pittsburgh. I told him I live in the suburbs here, and he didn’t know what to say. Believe me, I am not looking for trouble at a baseball game with my kids. The kids know to only clap politely, and pretty much just watch the game here without instigating. They are on their best behavior when we go to games because we are never rooting for the home team unless we are visiting Pittsburgh.

    I was at the last Steelers-Bears game here a few years ago. There must have been 25,000 Steelers fans in attendance, and it felt like a Browns-Steelers atmosphere in Cleveland. After the game, I just wanted to get to my car and get home. The Bears had won, and the local drunken masses wanted blood. The Bears have as unruly a crowd as I have ever seen at a football game. Bears-Packers games are legendary for unruliness.

    On the other hand, I have been to PNC 4x this year – 2 vs the Marlins and 2 vs the Cards over Labor Day (Fri & Sat). There were a lot of Cards fans in attendance, and they acted well and in turn, were treated well by all of the Pirates fans. I did not witness anyone being treated badly. In fact, some of the Cards fans commented on what a great ballpark and city we had, and how polite the residents are.

    I also think that good-natured ribbing back and forth can go on at a ball game between rival fans. But, once alcohol gets introduced in large quantities, that definitely brings out the ugliness in some people. I try to treat people in their park like I would want to be treated, and I find that usually works.

    Just my $50 AND $.02 worth.

  220. Milo Hamilton says:

    Top secret stuff.

  221. Jim S. says:

    Meant “market cornered” not “corner marketed” in paragraph 1.

  222. NMR says:

    I think the general theme touches on the idea of “momentum”, which I believe has been shown to be statistically irrelevant.

  223. Jim S. says:

    That would explain it – unearned runs. Thnx.

  224. JohninOshkosh says:

    “Bears-Packers games are legendary for unruliness.”

    You have heard what Wisconsinites call people from Illinois, that is, Chicago, haven’t you, Jim ?

    FIBs

    :)

  225. NMR says:

    Just seems to always be in a tiff with someone or some group.

    That’s a shame about your Wrigley experience. Kids are off limits, no exceptions.

  226. Playoffs by 2012 says:

    This is why I always come here first.
    You guys ROCK!!

  227. JohninOshkosh says:

    Yes. You are right. Thanks. It is essentially a momentum question, and I have seen debunking articles on that concept.

  228. Bizrow says:

    Humbly second that thought

  229. Dom says:

    That’s true but with the more team in the playoffs, the more likely it will occur.

  230. The Justice Avenger says:

    +1 on your very last line, Biz! Could not agree more…no matter what occurs this weekend.

  231. Jim S. says:

    I have not heard that, Osh. What is a FIB, if you can explain it on a G-rated site?

  232. Arriba Wilver says:

    +1

  233. The Justice Avenger says:

    +1 Best and smartest group of sports fans…anywhere.

  234. Thundercrack says:

    The beer vendors are in my section every 30 seconds.
    If I want to get drunk at the game I don’t even have to leave my seat.

    ‘entire sections dedicated to the consumption of alcohol’. It’s too late to stop that one.

    I don’t think the problem is that there is a Bow Tie Bar. It’s the idiots that go there and start fights.

  235. Arriba Wilver says:

    So you DO think it’s a crowning achievement of FC?

  236. Bizrow says:

    Being at the game Tuesday will live with me forever.

    That being said, I want more ;-)

    I want it all ;-) ;-)

  237. 21sthebest says:

    Buck on the roster and T. Sanchez off. Also Snider off.

  238. Zico says:

    Pirates left Snider and T Sanchez off roster. That’s the news.

  239. Jim S. says:

    Oh, it was nothing bad NMR. And not directed at my wife or kids. It was not a big deal. Now, had we engaged them, it could have been different. Chicago is a great place, for the most part. It really is. Just alcohol + sports can be a questionable mix.

    The usher thing was actually kind of bizarre. He was serving beer to people behind us. For who knows what reason, he decided to lean in about 2 feet from me and say to one of the guys, “Hey, wasn’t it Pittsburgh the Hawks knocked out of the playoffs before Boston on the way to our latest Cup?” I wouldn’t care, except: a) we were at a baseball game; b) the Hawks and Pens can’t play before the Cup Finals; and c) he leaned so close to me, for effect. It made the guy he was serving very uncomfortable. He wanted no part of it. When the beer guy left, the guy behind me said he lived in the next town over from us and we struck up a conversation. He ended up taking a nice picture of me, my wife and our kids on my phone. My wife is from here, and she always says she prefers the crowds in Pittsburgh to the ones in Chicago, for what that’s worth.

  240. JohninOshkosh says:

    It is usually uttered under the breath when some Chicagoan driving a German or Swedish SUV cuts off one of my fellow, salt of the earth, stop and smell the roses, cheesehead citizens!

    The Chicagoans are usually headed up to Door County for the weekend to spend time at their summer cottages.

    Not G-rated.

    Stands for: F(you know the word)ing Illinois Bast**d. :)

    We all have our regional rivalries. Heck, Western PA even feuds with their own state, Eastern PA. Just read Jandy about Philly!

    Ask your co-workers. I’ve often wondered if folks in Illinois know the term.

  241. AJS says:

    This is what I expected.

    If they truely would have had to DFA Buck which was my understanding based on a link to an article that articulated the rules that someone posted the other day then there was no way he was goingto be let off. Sanchez was still free to be sent down and called back up if necessary.

    And the other choice had to be between Snider and Jones. Jones mashes against the Cards. If it were any other team I would bet they kept Snider. Also, again based on my understanding, Jones also would have had to been DFA’d. Snider I think had options.

  242. Milo Hamilton says:

    The Cards are using 12 pitchers & the Pirates 11.

  243. Jim S. says:

    Stay healthy, Russ!

  244. NMR says:

    In defense of the Cardinals “lucky” batting average with runners in scoring position…

    For one to accept “luck” as a thing, they have to believe that there are only so many factors a batter can control. The Cards, no doubt, have benefitted from a .377 BABIP with runners in scoring position. That average is far and away the highest of any team, but not necessarily out of question for individual players. It is said that players who hit a high percentage of line drives, low percentage of fly balls, and few pop ups have the highest BABIP. So what if the Cards, as a team, do those things with runners in scoring position?

    Sure enough, they have the highest line drive rate and lowest fly ball and pop up rates in the league. Even more, they improved their rates in each category by at least two percent over their at-bats without runners in scoring position to go along with a two percent drop in their already league low strikeout rate.

    Enough evidence for me to believe they are doing something right.

  245. Jim S. says:

    I’m sure others here know what that means, Osh. And I have basically been here for almost all of the last 20 years. Except for a pitstop in Indy, this is all my kids know. But, I still consider myself a Pittsburgh guy. I probably won’t ever live there again, but that is the first thing that comes to mind when people ask me where I’m from.

    I always ask, “Do you mean, where do I live, because that is different than where I am from?”

  246. JohninOshkosh says:

    Yep.

  247. NMR says:

    Obviously the idiots are the problem…

    But does it help to facilitate their habits?

    PNC Park is a baseball stadium. Not a bar.

    The Bowtie Bar adds nothing positive to the stadium experience.

  248. NMR says:

    Considering the extremely small likelihood either Buck or Jones are brought back next year, I’m not sure I understand the need to protect their spot on the roster.

  249. Arriba Wilver says:

    Yep..And people have been saying since the break that they could not keep it up, and so far they have. It ain’t gonna be easy, but we’ll keep our fingers crossed.

  250. Arriba Wilver says:

    +10

  251. Milo Hamilton says:

    It all comes down to their approach at the plate. What are you trying to do each time you go up there. And a workable two strike approach, which seems to have disappeared around baseball. And since so many of their players are home grown, all of these things are probably drilled into them the minute they get to rookie ball. Oh, and talent doesn’t hurt either.

  252. Jim S. says:

    To your point, Osh, Harold Reynolds and Eric (can’t remember his name, former OF for Giants & DBacks) were discussing PNC Park on MLB Network the other night. They were discussing why PNC Park is a pitcher’s park. Reynolds went on and on about the batter’s eye view and the green shrubs in CF, blah, blah, blah. He was really serious, with demonstrations galore. He obviously put a lot of effort into it.

    My wife looked at me and said, “Is that really true? Don’t they take that stuff into account when they build ball parks? Could the color of shrubbery in CF 400+ feet away really have that much of an effect on hitters seeing pitches?” I said, “PNC is a pitcher’s park because 2/3 of all hitters are right-handed, right-handed hitters tend to hit the ball to the left side of the field more often than not, and the fences in LF/LC in PNC are very deep in comparison to most parks. Therefore, less HR are hit in PNC, and less runs are scored. Voila! Pitcher’s park.”

  253. Bizrow says:

    Agree Milo, the Cards organization knows exactly what they are doing.

    That being said, they can be had…

  254. Jim S. says:

    Eric Byrnes.

  255. 21sthebest says:

    Why would Buck have to be DFA’d?

  256. Haven’t had time to read through all this———working is for the birds (not Cardinals!)

    Any announcement on the Pirates’ roster for this series yet?

  257. Jim S. says:

    They are definitely on to something, NMR. They take a different approach throughout their lineup than other teams. They shorten their strokes, as necessary, and they look to hit the ball hard the other way. My point earlier about them being due to have some regression, though, is because they have a ridiculous average with RISP. .300 for a team has never been approached before, and they hit .330. They will not hit anywhere near .330 as a team next year, and I will bet anyone a whole lot of dough on that. i am not taking anything away from them. As I have said, they are the most professional hittting team in the league. But, this was an amazing accomplishment in 2013. It took just about every player in their lineup hitting well above their career norms in those situations to pull it off. The odds of repeating that are astronomical.

    I just want them to fall to about .250 in this series. And, if they want to hit .600 w RISP in one game and fail in all of the other 4 games, that would be just fine with me.

  258. Arriba Wilver says:

    I don’t buy beer from the vendors because I prefer drafts. But I really haven’t noticed a whole lot of beer being bought in the seats. It certainly is not like sitting at a bar.

  259. Jim S. says:

    People rave about the Cards’ drafting success, and they deserve that praise over the last several years. They can spot talent as well or better than any organizatio. But, I think they also take players who might not have succeeded with the training they would have received in other organizations and made them very good players with how they trained them.

  260. Patrick(RI) says:

    +1. All their hitters, even their power hitters, are willing to slap the ball when appropriate. Holliday(sp) is the best example, Carpenter just hits, and hits, and hits, no matter what the situation.

  261. The Justice Avenger says:

    That champagne tasted pretty good. huh?

  262. The Justice Avenger says:

    Do they want Buck for his defense? I think I’d rather have Tony for his bat.

  263. The Justice Avenger says:

    :)!

  264. Sage Lynam says:

    Just wanted to say thanks to everyone for all the responses! I really appreciate it and I’m so glad so many people read it. The story means a lot to me and I knew everyone here would appreciate it. I’ll definitely be back more often!

  265. cmat0829 says:

    Is Descalso (sp) a starter now? or did they leave him off the roster?

  266. Arriba Wilver says:

    Jones over Snider and Buck over Sanchez .

  267. Thundercrack says:

    You should go back and read our exchange from the other day. Your memory might not be so good Plan.

    I was talking about revenue streams. I mentioned the Bow Tie Bar as an example and the link explained how it can also be used for group sales.

    Never said it was a crowning achievement. Never made that leap of faith

  268. NMR says:

    I absolutely agree, the Cards are very, very, verrry unlikely to hit .330 with RISP next year. (Certainly wasn’t trying to take a shot at you, buddy)

    Not only is that number, in general, historically impressive, but going back 20 years, the furthest any team has outhit its overall batting average is 27 points. The Cards have doubled that.

    The point I was trying to make, and I think you agree, is that the Cards are MAKING their “luck”. This isn’t just coming from nowhere. I see that term thrown around by some saber types and it bothers me. Very dismissive, IMO.

  269. The Justice Avenger says:

    If the Pirates get the NLCS…can roster changes be made again?

  270. JRay3 says:

    Pitchers – AJ, Cole, Morton, Liriano, Morris, Mazzaro, Wilson, Gomez, Watson, Melancon, Grilli

    Catchers – Buck, Martin

    Infield – Walker, Morneau, Barmes, Alvarez, Harrison, Mercer, Jones, Gaby

    Outfield – Cutch, Tabby, Marte, Byrd

  271. cmat0829 says:

    My guess, if it is true Buck would have to be DFA’d, is that you keep Buck on the active roster and Tony on the 40 just in case you have an injury to Buck or Martin and you can call up Sanchez as replacement.

    Again, I’m not clear on the facts but that is I think the supposition here.

    Martin is pretty much gonna catch all the games, so I think the Bucs go with Buck for experience but it’s really close probably in who they’d rather keep.

  272. The Justice Avenger says:

    thought so, but just checking. Thanks, J.

  273. NMR says:

    Ah, so injury purposes more than anything.

    I suppose that means they don’t have another catcher on their 40-man.

  274. cmat0829 says:

    Re: rosters… only real questions going in would be Jones/Snider vs. another bullpen arm and Buck vs. Sanchez.

    I prefer Tony to Buck, but Buck is the veteran and Martin will likely catch all the games anyway.

    I think Jones is definitely the position player to keep if nothing else he can play 1B if needed in a long game…. I tend to agree to going with 11 pitchers because of the short series, but I think we may go back to 12 for the NLCS.

  275. The Justice Avenger says:

    Well, except for a few changes…this core group won 95 games…need 11 more!!

  276. NMR says:

    Very much agreed about the development.

    Also think drafting strategy feeds that, though. The Pirates seems to always take guys with the biggest “tools”, despite how well they can actually, you know, play baseball. Seems like they have far more work to do in order to produce a sound, fundamental ballplayer.

    On the other hand, the Cards seem to always pump out quality players, mostly from college, who go largely unheralded.

  277. 21sthebest says:

    If you have to DFA Buck, how is his situation different from A.J. who was left off the wild card game roster?

  278. Lad 9 says:

    He would definitely not have to be DFA’d. Would stay on the 40 man.

  279. JohninOshkosh says:

    Patrick Roy has been on the job for one official game and already he is up to his old tricks.

  280. cmat0829 says:

    You are spot on… they almost take a slow pitch softball approach, they hit balls directed at holes… very rare in today’s game to sacrifice power so much.

    Holliday is pretty much Tabata at this point…always wants to go to right field. The Bucs have to bust him inside and make that hard for him to do.

    All of this said, you need to avoid any free passes, and make this team string hits together to beat you. Take away walks, and they don’t hit a ton of HRs, so make them do it the hard way, multiple hit strings. They can do it, but that’s the best odds to success.

  281. Bizrow says:

    No, its still on ice,

    Sitting there, waiting ;-)

  282. Drew71 says:

    I walked into my St Louis native boss’s office wearing my Pirates shirt.

    He later walked in on me with the HR VP, holding a pink slip and big black plastic bag for personal effects.

    All in fun.

    I think.

  283. Jim S. says:

    I think we are in total agreement. They are hitting historically well w RISP, but they are also a team that is built and trained to hit well in those spots. It’s just that they are doing it extraordinarily well, even for good hitters. They may lead the NL in hitting w RISP again next year, but I don’t think it will be anywhere near .330. If they do, then they have cracked the code, and they should bottle it. Even better, they should apply the newly cracked code to all their other ABs as well.

    And, the more I think of it, I am not really even saying they are getting lucky this year. They are just executing at an unsustainalbe level. Hopefully, they will fall to earth in the next 7 days or so.

  284. Naje says:

    ++++ (all the sabermatricians who call it luck)

    The Cardinals veterans place a far greater value on getting the ball in play and extending innings than they do on personal glory. A walk’s as good as a hit… a single can score a runner from 2B just as easily as an extra base hit or a home run… extend a pitcher… extend an inning so the lineup turns over as much as possible and gives the best players a chance to get more at bats.

    And teams have not been able to stop them… the bloops, the bleeders, the seeing-eye hits, the dying quails, the bug-on-a-rug….all of those add up and all of those make a contribution.

  285. cmat0829 says:

    GAME ONE. Always important in any series, and definitely so in a 5-game NLDS. Bucs coming off of a high — incredible wild card atmosphere and victory — Cards getting their first postseason swings in today. Let’s hope AJ brings it today…would be HUGE to get game 1 and put the pressure on the Cards on a short turnaround.

    Let’s hope the offense gets it going in a big way… I agree with Byrd in that they are about to get on a roll….

  286. Milo Hamilton says:

    I thought this was interesting. The Pirates PR department today put out a statement criticizing the various cable companies that do not carry the MLB Network. Not exactly sensitive to fans that won’t be able to see the game tomorrow & possibly Monday.

    If my recollection is correct, while TBS is available to about 90% of homes the MLB Network is accessible to only about 60%. That’s a huge difference. And that doesn’t even take into account the people that choose not to access it because it’s on a more expensive tier of cable.

    Can’t wait for the day the Yankees or Dodgers are farmed out to MLB. Oh yeah, right.

  287. The Justice Avenger says:

    LOL! Outstanding, Drew. Yea, all in fun…

  288. Jim S. says:

    Great post, cmat. That is the key. Make them get 3 hits to score a run, 4 to get 2, etc. They have been able to do that a lot this year, but it is the only strategy. Try to limit them to singles, turn the DP when it is available.

    Bob Walk has shown great stats on ROOT a couple of times on Holliday. There is a very clear distinction in how he performs when he pulls vs. going the other way this year. He hits for a much higher avg. going the other way, but his power and slugging % are much higher when he pulls the ball. It is obvious to me that he designs his approach based on the situation.

    As Milo said, this is an art that is largely lost these days. Did anyone see the AB for Swisher last night, key situation late in the game? I think it was 2 on and none out. He was absolutely trying to hit a HR with an 0-2 count. He swung (and missed) from the heels. That was selfish, IMO. You would not see many of the Cards doing that.

  289. theplanisworking says:

    Surprised??

  290. Jim S. says:

    And the more I think of Holliday, his approach vs. the Bucs, especially, should be to go the other way. Our staff is an extreme groundball staff. So, it is fruitless to try driving the ball out of the park to LF. He could maybe do it occasionally, but he is showing that he’ll have far more success going the other way for singles.

  291. theplanisworking says:

    Long wait, eh buddy?? ;)

  292. Jim S. says:

    Please tell us you wore pants to work, Drew.

  293. cmat0829 says:

    no reason MLB can’t allow local broadcasters in the PIT / STL markets carry the game the way ESPN does for MNF and I believe NFL Network does for the Thursday Night games. I mean there is a reason, they want leverage to get their coverage up from 60% to 90%, but if they want to do something for the fans, they can easily do so. Given the local ratings, I think Root or even a network affiliate would jump at chance to carry the game in PIT and STL if given the chance.

  294. theplanisworking says:

    + many.

  295. The Justice Avenger says:

    Re: “Game One” – Especially on the road. I will feel a whole lot better going into Game 2 up a game.

  296. Jim S. says:

    Carpenter would be my 2nd choice (after Cutch) for NL MVP.

  297. Jim S. says:

    Yep.

  298. Jim S. says:

    And his defense. If Tony were 5 years older, with the same skill set, he’d be on the roster. But, every MLB manager is pretty much the same in this regard. They almost always trust vets intuitively.

  299. 21sthebest says:

    I think that’s a good analysis by NMR but the fact is that the Major League batting average this year was .253 and with RISP it’s .254. Also a one point swing in 2012 and 2011.

  300. Kevin says:

    Nobody has said anything about Matt Adams yet. We haven’t seen him right? And by that I mean, he hasn’t seen pirate pitching.

    The only I’ve seen so far is that Allen Craig being out for the series is a positive. I also see a story floating around on MLB about Matt Adams, a PA resident and pirates fan about playing against his childhood favorite team.

    Anyone else have any input on him? Could he possibly be an x-factor?

  301. lupesanchez says:

    Nice post. Must be something in my eyes, dammit.

  302. Drew71 says:

    Of course.

    I needed something to drop when I mooned him.

  303. The Justice Avenger says:

    Anyone getting a bit excited?! Our Pittsburgh Pirates are in the NLDS! Wonderful…just wonderful. We got the first home “w” in the playoffs in 20 years, now let’s get the first road “w”…. tonight. Have fun tonight everyone! Beat ‘em Bucs!

  304. Jandy says:

    Lol yinz make me smile :) got a distributor for the ’77 highboy plowtruck. And an intake for it too. Also got a power brake booster for the ’68 Chevelle. We done good! Profitable day. Enjoyed the sunshine and the Smokie Sausage sammich :)

  305. NMR says:

    Solid approach, simple swing, some power. Actually has been outhitting Allen Craig in his absense.

    But, IMO, Adams was an x-factor when he was coming off the bench. Huge asset as a pinch hitter. As a starting first baseman? I wouldn’t say he’s much more than average for the positon, on top of the fact that it shortens the bench.

 
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