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Sunday column: Nutting lit this cauldron

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

>> The Sunday column pinpoints one pivotal move by one pivotal figure a year ago that pushed the Pirates to where they are today.

Here’s our full Pirates coverage, headlined by a Francisco Liriano feature from Travis Sawchik and stuff on Marlon Byrd’s future by Karen Price.

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

Here are official game highlights from

Photo gallery by Chris Horner.

I’ll be back at PNC Park to cover Game 3, then much later appear on a live edition of WPXI-TV’s Subway Final Word that should start around midnight. Depends on when the NFL ends.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

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


  1. likeabugonarug says:

    Man, what a “tease”. Would love to know what happened, but we sure see the results.


  2. bizrow says:

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    10/5/2013 4:47 PM

    The PBC will win em all at home

    Go like 60, 71, 79 and 13

    Folks, Cards have just left the burgh

  3. Jandy says:

    Good stuff Biz!

  4. bizrow says:

    Thank you


  5. Don Hodge says:

    Arizona – Lake Havasu City

  6. Baywatch says:

    To all a good night! Should be back with y’all for the game tomorrow!

  7. Joseph says:

    I was at the unveiling of the Bill Mazaroski statue when Bob Nutting was booed unmercifully (and, considering the occasion, in poor taste) and to see what has become of the team and the perception of its owner is simply amazing.

  8. bizrow says:

    Welcome Don

    Thanks for logging in

  9. bizrow says:

    Yup, I did not like NH or Nutting, but both have showed skills and character

    They just might have more to show us

    I might have to practice doing cartwheels


    What a beautiful thought

    Thank you NH, Bob Nutting

  10. Ghost says:

    There are owls living under your famous bridge.

  11. Don Hodge says:

    Win, lose, or draw. They, every blessed of them from the minors up through the owners, are OURS !

    NOW the rest of the sports world WILL KNOW OUR PASSION – and LOYALTY !

    We have their back.

  12. Ghost says:

    Nutting finally did… what he should have done long ago, then.

    I know many an organization actually has a lot of dysfunction beneath the surface, but if this off-season was ‘different’ only because “people who couldn’t stand each other… exchange(d) meaningful ideas toward that common goal,” what on earth were they doing all that time before? Nutting was inept to have allowed such dysfunction to prevail.

    I think the Pirates turnaround is due to multiple factors. But if I had to limit myself to just two, they would be:

    1) Neal Huntington finally realized he could no longer play Kick-the-Can-Down-the-Road
    2) And Neal also finally got past the learning curve when it came to appraising outside talent. His improvement in this area has been truly incredible, laudable, and can’t be overestimated.

    Bob Nutting probably loomed large in Factor #1.
    I doubt he had much to do at all with Factor #2.

  13. kr70 says:

    Wish we hand Wandy for this series, Cardinal kryptonite has been left handed pitching

  14. scapper says:

    It’s so nice to have hockey back. Nothing like savoring the beauty and greatness of the Two-headed Monster. I refer, of course, to Kobasew and Adams.

  15. Drew71 says:

    I thought you were going with Dejan and Eric.

  16. meglasdad says:

    Clarksburg, West Virginia

  17. meglasdad says:

    Clarksburg, West Virginia

  18. JAL says:

    JAL’s Feeling Groovy Morning Links


    1- MLB Transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    3 Pittsburgh Pirates Stats

    BLOGS and such

    4—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: Can Home Field Advantage Be an Advantage Again?

    How PNC Park Can Change In October

    5 Bucs Dugout

    Pirates, Cardinals diverge on defensive shifts

    6 Rumbunter

    Pirates Send Duke Welker To Twins To Complete Justin Morneau Deal

    7 Baseball Nation

    MLB scotches Pirates’ nod to Willie Stargell

    8 The Green Weenie

    Firsts and Factoids…

    9 Raise the Jolly Roger

    NLDS Game 3 Preview: Pirates vs. Cardinals

    10 City of Champions

    Pittsburgh Pirates’ series with St. Louis Cardinals comes home

  19. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 USA Today

    Francisco Liriano, Pirates enjoy dual rebirths

    12 KDKA

    Pirate Fever Spreading As Bucs Prepare For Game 3

    13 New York Times

    In October, Showcasing a Thriving Sport That’s Not Football

    14 Cincinnati Enquirer

    Was Reds’ Bob Castellini all-in too far?

    15 Detroit Free Press

    Drew Sharp: Tigers’ bats need to wake up before it’s too late

    16 CBS Sports

    Pirates vs Cards Game Preview

    17 St Louis Post Dispatch

    Pitt of despair: Cards need a win at PNC Park

    Miklasz: Liriano only human and can be defeated

    18 PBC Site

    Resilient Pirates refuse to be kept down

    Notebook: To Hurdle, mentality key to Pirates’ chemistry

    Pirates’ recent shift in strategy paying off big

    19 ESPN

    Francisco Liriano: The winning ticket


    20 Fangraphs

    Two Big Innings Early in Oakland’s Walk-Off Win

  20. Dom says:

    Great article DK.

    I have always found it a bit troubling over the years when someone would blame Nutting for stealing the profits and being apathetic about a winning ball club when there has been not evidence to support either thought.

  21. Drew71 says:

    Interesting sentence structure from Rumbunter…

    “He went to the University of Arkansas, but always struggled to find a third pitch.”

    That third pitch struggle must be common to Hogs.

    Cloven hooves or something.

  22. Eric Bowser says:

    As I said when playoffs were clinched, thank you to Nutting, Coonelly, and Huntington but I’m not going to celebrate as if this is some unique and historical performance.

    A leader doesn’t have a fractured organization and waits to unite when everything looks on the verge of imposion, much like it did in September 2012. Embarrassment of poor leadership and terrible management was public knowledge with Hoka Hey and Collapse II having been complete.

    It is sad that Nutting had to do what he did, which should have been an indictment of him and the people under him.

    Again, let’s be clear – I’m thankful of them finally able perform like a good baseball organization – … but they did it. They took a dire situation by their own creation and did something this franchise hasn’t been able to do in 21 years.

  23. JohninOshkosh says:

    Florida St. beat 25 ranked Maryland 63-0. Pitt’s season opening loss to them doesn’t seem so bad.

    Ohio State grinded out a tough road win at Evanston to keep its title hopes alive.

    Ole Miss got beat. Karma is a wonderful thing.

  24. JohninOshkosh says:

    The Athletics/Tigers game last night was a thing of beauty. One for the ages.

  25. Dom says:

    I meant to say “no evidence support” instead of “not evidence support.

  26. Patrick(RI) says:

    JAL, I am was expecting the Rolling Stones “Pain it Black,” with its “I see a red door and I want it painted black . . .” opening line. Seems to fit! Maybe Monday?

  27. JRay3 says:

    Waking up here in Jefferson Hills, PA to the DK article and talking Pirate baseball with my Dad and John “Hoppy” Mitruski. Will be headed to stadium here shortly to put together a football style tailgate.

    I heard the other day that in Best of Five Series it is the crew chief of the umpiring crew that gets the home plate assignment because Jo Torre feels it is the most pivotal game, either a team can sweep of it pivots the series into a decisive advantage for one team.

    John Jay has come out and called today a must win for the Cardinals, hope Liriano has something to say about that.

    Wearing my Pirate black and ready to witness this extraordinary event today in the “Burgh.

    Let’s GO BUCS!

  28. Patrick(RI) says:

    sorry about the a.m. typos: delete the “am” after the I and, obviously the word is “paint ” in the title, though the Stones bring pain to some.

  29. JRay3 says:

    A great pitching duel, with high drama, enjoyed that theater immensely, October baseball at its best.

  30. paul maggio says:

    wesley chapel, fl.

  31. Nate83 says:

    Enjoy the game JRay. I’m so jealous.

  32. JAL says:

    It fits, just never saw the stones as Sunday morning band. I try to go mellow for Sunday morning links.

  33. Patrick(RI) says:

    How about a Black Sabbath song? Just kidding.

  34. JohninOshkosh says:

    Have a blast at the Bucco playoff games, JRay!

    Very jealous but very happy so many great Pirate fans like you and others on the blog will be there!

  35. Patrick(RI) says:

    So, you will be the loud guy, dressed in black?

  36. KenKopp says:

    As always, Awesome Column. I love Column Days. Morning Java is how I start my day, but Morning Java + Column is better.

    C.mon Frankie, be on tonight baby.

  37. Arriba Wilver says:

    Next to DK’s column, at least on my iPad, is a picture of Cutch at a Penguins game in a Pengins jersey. Pretty neat. Looks like a Malkin jersey. (Probably has more than one). :-)

  38. Arriba Wilver says:


  39. Arriba Wilver says:

    Enjoy the game with your Dad, JRay.

    That’s interesting about the umpiring crew, but as to the rationale, with these two teams this year, I think anything could happen.

    Bring home a Winner!

  40. Drew71 says:

    I prefer gin

  41. Drew71 says:

    With blue cheese olives, please

  42. kensnits says:

    Grayson, Georgia. Finally posting!

  43. BFD says:

    This post-season is exciting and long overdue. I am even enjoying it, but this backslapping of Nutting going on in the papers and on the FAN is nonsensical.

    The FA’s brought in in the off-season and the trade deadline deals obviously have been outstanding and I applauded them at the time of the deals and obviously, now. This is what should have been happening for the 17 previous years under Nutting rule, instead of continuously plugging in cheap, stop-gaps and players who had no business being on a big league roster.

    The “plan” that I have seen touted as having worked is the “plan” that many of us have been begging for years to be implemented. Go out. Spend a couple dollars and bring in legitimate, proven, big league talent so there is legitimate talent at EVERY position. As far as I can tell, the plan that worked and was implemented this year is the plan of the many fans who were fed up with the cheap, incompetence of the owner and management team…… otherwise know as the ‘anti’s’ – not this plan management has been claiming to be working on for 7 years. They thankfully strayed from their plan and implemented the fans plan and it resulted in a play-off birth!

    Go Bucs!

  44. Tim says:

    Tell Starkey he’s a mutt. If that qualifies as good journalism, it’s no wonder that newspapers are going out of business. Who’s gonna buy that crap.

  45. Arriba Wilver says:

    Must be sensitive local baseball fan.

  46. Miss Inga Molar says:

    “Just don’t forget where — and with whom — it all started. ”

    I’d rather believe it started with the fans, but that’s just the sentimental realist in me.

  47. Papa Croz says:

    I prefer my olives and blue cheese swimming in
    Hendricks, on the rocks!

  48. bradthedad says:

    Sigh. Not just here but it’s far too common everywhere that the response is ‘Yes, but…’ – why can’t it just be ‘Yes.’?

  49. Naje says:

    Yep, the anti’s did it, in the conference room, with their pocket full of brilliance.

  50. Thundercrack says:

    Nice insight from DK in today’s column.

    It show me a couple of things. One is that Nutting is serious about the team and winning. His trip to the World Series and asking for the opinions & views from outside the organization.

    It also showed me something about his management style. I think a lot of owners would have taken the quicker knee-jerk reaction and fired people. That seems to happen a lot in sports today. But Nutting wanted to evaluate everyone and see if his plan and the people were still best for what he wanted to happen. He let his employees state their case, give their opinion, and maybe in some instances make a case for them to keep their jobs.

  51. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    I don’t want to go crazy about this on the day of a home playoff game but….
    That’s exactly right…..This could’ve been done sometime between the time G. Ogden Nutting walked through the doors in latter ’96 and now.
    It should not have taken till 2013…..Period.

  52. Thundercrack says:

    ‘People openly wanted others fired.’

    Interesting. But I can’t remember hearing or reading that one member of the team/FO opening said they wanted someone else in the organization fired.

    Does anyone else?

    Because that is the way I read it. I didn’t think it to mean how DK wanted some to be fired.

    DK: “Openly” within their world. But you knew that’s what I meant.

  53. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    Yeah….The Pro’s did it with their spreadsheets, slide rules and reverence to Bucs Dugout.
    The upper crust of a kids game called baseball….

  54. theplanisworking says:

    Very well said, Ghostie.

    Just because it took Nutting over 6 years (I believe since 2003) to get it right, he does deserve some credit, but not as much as he is getting. This should have happened after 2010, you know, the year of 105 losses…………………………. or the 2011-12 offseason, after Stroll Inn and Franks DUI and Collapse One.

    Glad Nutting got it right.
    Just took way too long for it.

  55. Lad 9 says:

    I think it had been posted before in this forum, but a book starting on that horrible night in in October of 1992 and rolling forward to the end of the streak would make for some compelling reading. Providing the author had access to what happened behind the scenes in the front office. Would just love to hear the true stories that lead to such things as the Aramis Ramirez trade for example. I know that DK has no interest in that, but who would be a good author to take that project on?

  56. theplanisworking says:

    Hear! Hear! BFD!

    The “plan” they were working on from 2007-2012 was a meandering one. They did a partial teardown, not a complete one. They acquired bums in the place of the people they traded. The Jason Bay deal set the franchise back at least 3 years.

    Now, we get a column that says Nutting “lit the couldron” for success.
    Nutting also lit the cauldron for failure during his oversight of the club from 2003-2012.

    If I was a , say plumber, and I did an awful job for 5-6 years, then in the last year, I finally did my job correctly, would I get any “employee of the year” awards? Would I be told I was crucial to the success of the company………… for finally doing my job?? Doubt it.

    Look, I have said i am happy that Nutting, and neal have done so, so much better this year.
    As DK’s column points out, they HAD to after Collapse 2, ans 20 years of ineptitude.

    GO BUCS !!!!!

  57. theplanisworking says:


  58. theplanisworking says:

    Stephen King.

  59. Thundercrack says:

    Honestly I did not know what you meant. That’s why I asked the question.

    I wasn’t trying to light the cauldron.

    DK: Understood. I think we’d all recall if someone publicly called for a fellow employee to be fired.

  60. theplanisworking says:

    Man, I woke up, finally got on here, and saw no Penguins coverage for their win, no coverage for the Nittany Lions awful loss.

    Kobasew( Kobawho) looks like a good acquisition so far.
    Jacques Martins defensive changes have really helped the Pens so far ( I know it has only been 2 games against offensively challenged teams)………… leading to fleury almost getting 2 shutouts.

    Didnt see the Penn State game, but losing by 20, to INDIANA???? Yikes !

    Even with these oversights, I am happy that today is Game 3 of the NLDS………….. something no Pirate fan could have expected back in February.

    GO BUCS! Bring home a W !!

    DK: Tons of coverage of Pens and Penn State on our site. Loads of it. I don’t do the full-scale Morning Java setup on weekends.

  61. Thundercrack says:

    If the “Employee of the Year” award was based just on the past year and not the previous 5-6 years, then YES, you could get the “Employee of the Year Award” if you deserved it.

  62. theplanisworking says:

    So waht you are saying is that someone can stink for 5 years, finally get competent, not great, and win the award?

    Either you have low standards, or all the other employees stink also.
    Achieving competence is different from achieving greatness.

  63. Playoffs by 2012 says:

    Mrs. Playoffs and I are headed over to the North Shore in a few minutes to grab some lunch and then take in Game 3. I need a helper to post today’s line for me. Thank you in advance.


    The Window will continue throughout the duration of the playoffs.
    September and October will be combined and all winners will be announced at the conclusion of the playoffs.

    Makes my job a helluva lot easier when I don’t have to hunt to find everyone’s “wagers”

    Max “wager” is 100 units on any single line.
    All “wagers” must be in multiples of 5 units.
    Play as few or as many lines as you’d like.
    As always, this is for fun and entertainment purposes.



    Today’s Pick ‘Em Line
    What Will Francisco Liriano Get in Today’s Game?
    Win (EVEN ODDS)
    Loss (DOUBLE ODDS)
    No Decision (EVEN ODDS)

    GOOD LUCK!!!

    Anything is possible if a person believes
    Mark 9:23


  64. Drew71 says:

    Fire Thunder.


  65. JAL says:

    See BFD is still needs a math class, Nutting became principal owner on January 12, 2007. 2013-2007 is 6, not 17.

  66. Arriba Wilver says:


  67. Lad 9 says:

    LOL Perfect!

  68. Thundercrack says:

    Well that is certainly out in the open now.

  69. Thundercrack says:

    So waht you are saying is that someone can stink for 5 years, finally get competent, not great, and win the award?

    Yes. That is what I am saying.
    But not if it is the “Employee of the last 5-6 Years” Award.

  70. Thundercrack says:

    If NH wins the “GM of the Year” award that he shouldn’t get it because he stunk the previous 5 years?

  71. theplanisworking says:

    I think you said everything that needs to be said.
    You are admitting a competent, not great employee deserves an award. We agree that it isnt the “pst 5-6 years” award…….. that was never in question.

    But you just admitted a competent employee deserves the award over a great employee. Just wow!

    If it was a “comeback” employee award, then I would agree. But i would never give an award to an average employee over a great employee.

  72. theplanisworking says:

    1) If he wins it, it will be because he did well this year.
    2) if he wins it, an average GM wont win it above him, as you claimed above, when you said an average employee should win an award over a great employee.

  73. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    17 since G. Ogden walked in the door JAL….17 years ago.

  74. Thundercrack says:

    This is fun.

    If a competent employee becomes good enough that he deserves “Employee of the Year” (not ‘Employee of the last 5-6 Years), then yes – he deserves to win the award. I never said he should win it over a great employee. The most deserving employee should win it. And the award, employee of the year, should be based on that year, not the previous 5-6.

    But I don’t think anyone in the Pirates organization should win “Employee of the Year” over Clint Hurdle. This year or any other.

  75. theplanisworking says:


    I have to dispute this.

    The “1996” timeline is when a Nutting come on board as an owner…… not the principal owner. On this we agree.

    I firmly believe that Nutting was “Principal Owner” sometime in the 2002-2003 offseason. I say this because the Nutting family got over 50% control of the team, and the Aramis Ramirez “trade” ……………………………… McClatchy said he had too run the trade past Nutting……… if McClatchy was indeed the Principal owner, he wouldnt have had to do this. I also believe the Nuttings left McClatchy stay as the “face” of the franchise due to his efforts to get the All-Star game to Pittsburgh, then they kept him in that role trhu the actual game.

    In January 2007, the Nuttings “clarified” the ownership position, stating McClatchy was the “face” of the franchise, due to their respect for what he did, but they were the actual owners.

    So while I think he had control since 2003 (but I cant concretely prove it), I believe 2007 was a “window dressing” news conference.

    It was all a part of the 20 years of suck………………… ugh.

  76. Arriba Wilver says:

    Glad you’re getting to see one in person, Playoffs.

  77. Arriba Wilver says:

    There is no question they did some things this year that took them over the top. To pretend that they didn’t have things in place before this year that contributed to it is silly.

    And read DK’s column. The first two points he mentioned that BN concluded were (1) he had the right plan, and (2) the right people.

    And no one can legitimately “accuse” me of being an FO fan.

    DK: It’s equally silly to confuse “right plan” with “right execution.”

  78. theplanisworking says:

    I really dont think many are “pretending” they didnt have some things in place that contributed to this years success.

    But you raise an interesting point. Are you wanting success in theory, or success in results? They did have some things in place that resulted in success this year, but they didnt have results before this year. So I would classify that as success in theory. They got over the top this year, so that is success in results.

  79. theplanisworking says:

    I really dont think many are “pretending” they didnt have some things in place that contributed to this years success.

    But you raise an interesting point. Are you wanting success in theory, or success in results? They did have some things in place that resulted in success this year, but they didnt have results before this year. So I would classify that as success in theory. They got over the top this year, so that is success in results.

  80. theplanisworking says:

    Darn double posting……… knew I shouldnt have mentioned Stephen King!

  81. Drew71 says:

    Somebody tie Thunder to the spit.

    I’m lighting the cauldron.

  82. Miss-IngA Molar (A Crosby Tribute) says:

    So Dejan, you’re advocating that we should should be saying…

    “Thanks for Nuttin(g)?”

    I just can’t bring myself to say that yet…again.

  83. Sisyphus says:

    Asking a lot, considering that he Kevin McClatchy controlled the Board of Directors until at least 2003.

    I guess even seeing a good team on the field can’t get around your Nutting hatred.

  84. Arriba Wilver says:

    I agree, DK. And just like that’s not what you were saying in your column by mentioning it, that’s not what I was saying, either, by mentioning what you said.


  85. theplanisworking says:

    I know.
    I was just poking the bear, DK.


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