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Morning Java: And so it ends … or does it?

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

ST. LOUIS — Morning, Lunatics …

>> The Thursday column from Busch Stadium and … well, you know.

The game story, by beat man Rob Biertempfel.

Some of what Pedro Alvarez had to say …

Contact is critical, and the offense had precious little, by Travis Sawchik.

Adam Wainwright is really good. Karen Price has that.

Photo gallery by Chris Horner and Chaz Palla, including this Horner shot of Neil Walker

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Here’s our full Pirates coverage.

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

Here are official game highlights from MLB.com.

>> Ryan Clark sure is bombastic for a guy playing on a defense with zero takeaways. Alan Robinson reports on Clark’s latest kerfuffle, as well as Ben Roethlisberger’s reaction.

Some video of Clark …

Here’s our full Steelers coverage, including the return of Stevenson Sylvester.

Here’s Jets news from the Newark Star-Ledger.

Here are official game highlights from NFL.com.

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>> Olli Maatta is damned good, by Josh Yohe. I know a guy who concurs and who feels very strongly this kid is ready to play in the NHL — full season — right now. But if I identified that guy, I’d be kind of piling on, since all this guy does is talk about Maatta.

Here’s our full Penguins coverage, including updates on Kris Letang and James Neal.

Here’s Panthers news from the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel.

Here are official game highlights from NHL.com.

>> Pitt’s opposing coach, Frank Beamer, is Jerry DiPaola’s topic.

>> Allen Robinson leaving Penn State for the NFL? Chris Adamski examines.

>> I’m going home, then up to State College for the Michigan game, then  across to East Rutherford for Steelers-Jets, and very much looking forward to it all.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

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

471 Comments

  1. As promised, here are the final standings.
    CONGRATS to all the winners!
    Your prizes will be mailed out sometime within the next 10 days.

    Dom & JUCOFan please contact me via email at BUCCOOVERUNDER at GMAIL dot COM

    We finished the season with 86 total players!!
    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, YOU GUYS ROCK!!

    CONGRATS to bman our First Place Winner, you win:
    (1) BRAND NEW PITTSBURGH PIRATES FITTED NEW ERA 59FIFTY HAT
    https://twitter.com/TheBuccoWindow/status/323994233155485698

    CONGRATS to JRay3 our Second Place Winner, you win:
    (1) BRAND NEW PITTSBURGH PIRATES EARTH DAY GIVEAWAY HAT
    https://twitter.com/TheBuccoWindow/status/323994373731794947

    CONGRATS to War Horse our Third Place Winner, you win:
    (1) PITTSBURGH PIRATES LICENSE PLATE FRAME
    https://twitter.com/TheBuccoWindow/status/323994796970627072

    CONGRATS to JUCOFan our Fourth Place Winner, you win:
    (1) PITTSBURGH PIRATES BUMPER STICKER
    https://twitter.com/TheBuccoWindow/status/323996932466962432

    CONGRATS to Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) our Fifth Place Winner, you win:
    (1) PITTSBURGH PENGUINS BUMPER STICKER
    https://twitter.com/TheBuccoWindow/status/323996735837982720

    CONGRATS to Dom for having the Most Points in SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER, you win:
    (1) PITTSBURGH PIRATES BUMPER STICKER
    https://twitter.com/TheBuccoWindow/status/323996932466962432

    TOP SCORES IN SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER
    Dom ~ 950
    TCB ~ 475
    bman ~ 425
    Bill Born ~ 350
    RobertoForever ~ 250

    CURRENT PARTICIPANT TOTALS
    NAME ~ POINTS
    bman ~ 3130
    JRay3 ~ 2375
    War Horse ~ 1865
    JUCOFan ~ 1325
    Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) ~ 1125
    blazer ~ 900
    Irish ~ 875
    TCB ~ 875
    Dadtackular ~ 850
    Bill Born ~ 830
    KJX ~ 750
    RobertoForever ~ 740
    Dom ~ 725
    fellocolonial ~ 700
    Chico ~ 600
    Ermine ~ 600
    Nate83 ~ 575
    stickyweb ~ 500
    JohninOshkosh ~ 335
    EricBowser ~ 325
    cherokee23 ~ 300
    OZ ~ 300
    A1C McG ~ 200
    Boise Bucco ~ 200
    Evan ~ 200
    Hal Smith ~ 200
    Damon ~ 195
    Big B ~ 150
    theplanisworking ~ 150
    PetroSteel ~ 100
    steelercrazy ~ 100
    mlrgenuine ~ 50
    Fish ~ 0
    MarkV ~ 0
    pants-n-at ~ 0
    Ruffian706 ~ -40
    JoeyBats ~ -75
    Ben ~ -80
    Alexandre Giesbrecht ~ -100
    Brian ~ -100
    Dcpinpgh ~ -100
    John in WM ~ -100
    Kevin S ~ -100
    kr70 ~ -100
    Tom P. ~ -100
    PittMI ~ -100
    buffalo_bob ~ -150
    Ghost ~ -150
    Matt hoffman ~ -150
    tdb1977 ~ -165
    DormontGeorge ~ -200
    Ryan76 ~ -200
    TJ ~ -200
    tmp444 ~ -225
    Drew71 ~ -250
    Frankie ~ -250
    Patrick ~ -250
    buggee ~ -300
    Steve J. Smith ~ -300
    toochca ~ -300
    absolute59 ~ -350
    stuart66 ~ -350
    Vette60 (Randy in RVA) ~ -350
    Joey Mellons ~ -400
    DemonDachshund ~ -450
    Pucknutz ~ -500
    Rick in Crete ~ -500
    The Gunner ~ -500
    TK ~ -500
    Arriba Wilver ~ -550
    BDHumbert ~ -575
    radio wave ~ -575
    cmat0829 ~ -650
    JaxBuc ~ -650
    Jason81 ~ -750
    Keith ~ -800
    pattonbb ~ -1050
    cosmo ~ -1100
    Jandy ~ -1125
    Brandie ~ -1225
    JMB ~ -1350
    Karen22 ~ -1500
    Kevin ~ -1885
    JD ~ -2275
    Lad9 ~ -2750
    Bizrow ~ -5500

    • Biz, your motto at the Window should have been “Go like 2010!” You were downright lovable. Lad, I don’t know what to tell you except that you got doubled by a one-of-a-kind warrior.

    • Playoffs, just want to thank you for making this memorable season even more fun with The Window. Sure hope it’s back next season. THANK YOU!

    • +++ thanks for a great season! Nothing beats placing a unit or two on Pirates throughout the season. I will email this AM. Henrico, Va address

    • Playoffs, despite my putrid effort (and I was break even in August I think so I finished like Glue Pot in the fifth race at Aqueduct), I enjoyed this immensely. Thank you so much for doing this. It is an extremely cool thing!

    • Wow, I was definetly the Jeff Locke of the second half.

      • Thanks for putting up with me Playoffs ;-)

      • No you weren’t – you stayed near the top all season. I claim Jeff Locke status. Stayed in the upper third in the standings until the last three weeks. Finished in Epic Collapse fashion close to the bottom of the barrel. Ah well…it was fun anyway!

    • Thanks much Playoffs. Ya had some great lines Hermano!

      Of course I was the Johnny Cueto of The Window; i just dropped… the… ball!

      This is why me mama always told me, “Neva neva gamble ya big BUG. Ya just aint smart enuff.” (I think she told my lil wifelett to say that to me too–not the gambling thing, the aint-smart-enuff thing)

      Raise it (or something). And how about that spetacular job done by Jay Bell? Man did that guy DEE-liver or what? Dominos aint got nuttin on the ole Bell-ringer! Lots of plunked fish from all those taters hammered out of the park by buc’s bats (please note tongue firmly in cheek)

      Anyhoo, my sincere gratitude goes out to the Team on Federal Street. it’s been uber-entertaining over the past 2 seasons. So let’s all hoist it while we watch (somewhat detachedly) as the Stillers/Housewives of Pittsburgh flounder about, and the Pens quietly round themselves into major favs for Lord Stanley’s beverage vessel.

      sayanara y’all. check ya tomorrow

  2. “All this will be there again in exactly 172 days.”

    Can’t wait.

  3. Outstanding-eth column-eth, Dejaneth.

    Really well done. Thanks for capturing the spirit of the team for us. It was much bigger than the parts that made-eth it.

  4. There’s def hope for next year, but there are no guarantees.

    The Nats thought they would be right back this year.

    This season was enjoyable, so I hope it’s the start of yrs of championship level baseball.

    • Last week some of us heard a guy cite Dr. Seuss when the retirement of Todd Helton was brought up. The Seuss quote was, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” The guy citing Dr. Seuss was Helton’s former manager, Clint Hurdle.

  5. Nothing but pride. Waiting my whole life for a season like this from the buccos. I still want a championship but what a way to end the streak.

  6. Petey got hot for us at a great time. I admittedly didn’t count, but it seemed to me that even when he wasn’t getting RBI hits this post-season, he was striking out considerably less than what we’ve been used to and that includes even when he would get hot during the regular season. People complain that Morneau didn’t hit home runs for us. But what he did do is hit .292 in the playoffs and get on base a lot for Byrd and Petey (thankfully, since Marte and Walker slumped horribly). But I’m doubting we can re-sign Morneau. He’s still a good all-around player and another team is going to offer him more years and more money than we will be able to. You guys don’t want to hear it, but I’m telling you Petey should go to first. The “he is what he is” take on him many here have only applies to his fielding at third base. He’s played that position his entire professional career as well as, I believe, all through college, too. That he “works hard and puts in lots of extra practice” actually bodes poorly for him. Fact is, there just isn’t much more a player can do to fundamentally improve what he is at defense. I now do NOT believe that applies to Petey’s hitting. Even before the post-season started, it seems his approach in the batter’s box had noticeably improved during the last six weeks, or so. Again, I didn’t count, but it seems less K’s. More home runs to straight away center and even one or two to the opposite field. He also started driving balls into both gaps better. Sure, teams still employed the radical shift on him and he still is a pull-hitter. But not as much as before. Same with the K’s. I now see a light at the end of the tunnel with Petey. The light is bright. Put him at first and set him free.

    “Third base?” you ask? There, put Jordy. And set him free, too.

    • “That he “works hard and puts in lots of extra practice” actually bodes poorly for him. Fact is, there just isn’t much more a player can do to fundamentally improve what he is at defense.”

      Fact is, he has improved. 4 errors in his last 49 games.

      Jordy Mercer will never be our third baseman.

      • Gotta agree with 21here. Jordy will be fine at SS, at third? :shudder:

        • I’m really unsure about Jordy at short.

          • I think he can/is average.

            But every ball he boots will be magnified….especially here on the blog :-)

            • His errors don’t even bother me. His fundamentals are good enough, IMO. I just feel like he’s a little deficient everywhere else – arm strength, range, quickness, diving for balls. I don’t know if he can improve the way I think he needs to. But I do like his bat.

              And I wish he’d stop going to the Josh Harrison school of sliding. That was unacceptable last night.

            • I think you nailed it there with Jordy.

              He won’t be spectacular. His effort is very good.

              His bat is average also.

              That being said, its still better than what the PBC has had in years.

              I don’t think many will complain about .280/10/50.

              I think he should become the fulltime SS starting next season. If it doesn’t pain out and the Pirates are on another run for the division, then trade to get a guy.

              This season should teach us all about the patience of baseball.

    • It makes a huge difference with Alvarez when he makes contact. His strikeout rate was actually about the same during the post season (.309 regular, .350 post – but only 20 AB’s), but when you hit .300 vs. .233 it doesn’t sting as much.
      Personally, I think Pedro would be a disaster at first. He’s got one defensive skill – his arm. His footwork – absolutely essential for 1B, is awful. Really, really awful.
      If he can figure out how to hit .265-.270, his defense at 3rd will be okay.

    • Depending on how long youthink they can keep Petey in town once he is due to get paid, and haing the mega agent he has, moving Petey to first to make room for Stetson Allie at third in a couple years might make sense. But mercer…no.

    • Mercer at third?!?!?! ACK!

  7. Disappointing end but overall, a great season. I’ll really be looking forward to Spring Training 2014.

    Pittsburgh Pirates baseball is truly alive again.

  8. Man how i hate it when there is no more Pirate baseball for the year. it is like a kick to the gut to have it end like this. Have to admit that back in the spring when asked how I thought the Bucs would do this year I replied that I thought they would have a worse record than last year. Liriano? what do they want him for? Burnett will regress. Morton is coming off surgery. Karstens is hurt. Wandy might have a decent year. Sanchez and Locke… not much to chose from there. No pitching and weak hitting make for a lackluster year. So glad I was so wrong.

    Thank you Pirates for such an exciting fantastic year. Cant wait for it to all start again.
    To have Cole for the whole year and see Taillon come up in the summer. Marte keep improving and Cutch keep being Cutch. Hopefully we will be raising the
    Jolly Roger even more than 94 times next year and a lot farther into October.

  9. Hell of a season Buccos!! I honestly couldn’t have asked for much more. Thank You for making this season so memorable!!

  10. Sad but not disappointed.

    How could I possibly be disappointed in that wonderful season?

    As many of you know, I’m a spring training junkie. Not just games. PRACTICE. My favorite part is Pirate City in the weeks before the games begin.

    In recent years, my love of spring training has been about, well, spring training. This coming year, it will be at least about WHAT’S NEXT.

    Sad, yes. But I’m so NOT bitter about the last night. SO not.

    Besides. We have to focus now. We have a job to do…

    Let the Who-Plays-First-Base-Next-Season debate begin.

  11. Thank you Buccos ….2013 was one great PARTY! The team exceeded the expectations of most of us (well at least…..MY expectations) for this year.
    .
    It appears that with the core group coming back & the potential of JAMO and Polanco on the horizon….the future is bright. I’d like to see the Buccos continue to be aggressive in the free agent market…and hopefully this great year buys the franchise more credibilityin pursuing those missing parts we need to compete withe Cards & Dodgers.
    .
    Thank you Andrew, AJ, Jason, Francisco, Pedro, Marlon, STAR-ling, Gerrit, Neil, Russell, Mark and everyone else….for the great ride, the joy, the excitement that you gave the fans this year. Proud of all you!
    .
    BEAT EM BUCS!

  12. A good year, an enjoyable year.

    It’s over now though, on to the offseason.

  13. Thunder’s burning his lucky hat.

    Which is really great cause it’s still nailed to his head.

  14. It’s a bit of a long shot but it wouldn’t totally surprise me if Barmes becomes the relatively low paid veteran defensive backup SS.

    Several stars would first have to align.

    1. Mercer is essentially designated the starter. Not necessarily publicly, but the two guys know it’s Jordy’s to lose.

    2. Barmes tests free agency looking for a starting position for reasonable money.

    3. (Here’s where the stretch starts) Barmes finds neither a starting job nor reasonably big dollars. He realizes that he’s gonna back up somewhere.

    4. So late in free agency, AFTER Barmes has figured out MLB’s perception of him, the Pirates make a play for him.

    5. Barmes figures: if I have to back up somewhere, may as well be somewhere with an unproven starter (long term chance to start), a very reasonable chance to win, someplace where I’m comfortable, where maybe I don’t have to move (no idea where he lives), and for a manager who I like playing for.

  15. JAL’s My Way Morning Links

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9y5d1bjlhc

    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: 2013 is Just the Beginning for the Pittsburgh Pirates
    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/10/first-pitch-2013-is-just-the-beginning-for-the-pittsburgh-pirates.html

    Jameson Taillon and Alen Hanson Highlight Arizona Fall League Preview

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/10/jameson-taillon-and-alen-hanson-highlight-arizona-fall-league-preview.html

    AFL Recap: Dickerson Reaches Base Three Times in Loss

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/10/afl-recap-dickerson-reaches-base-three-times-in-loss.html

    The 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates — A Success Story

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/10/the-2013-pittsburgh-pirates-a-success-story.html

    5 Bucs Dugout

    Let us be grateful for the 2013 Pirates

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2013/10/10/4822748/we-should-be-grateful-for-the-2013-pirates

    6 Rumbunter

    The Best Post-NLDS Pittsburgh Pirates Tweets
    http://rumbunter.com/2013/10/10/best-post-nlds-pittsburgh-pirates-tweets/

    7 WHYGAVS

    NLDS Game 5: Cardinals 6 Pirates 1 (and so much more)

    http://www.whygavs.com/pittsburgh-pirates/october-2013/nlds-game-5-cardinals-6-pirates-1-and-so-much-more.html

    8 The Green Weenie

    Pirate’s Dream Run Ends In 6-1 Loss To Cards

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2013/10/pirates-dream-run-ends-in-6-1-loss-to.html

    9 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Cardinals 6, Pirates 1

    http://raisethejollyroger.com/2013/10/cardinals-6-pirates-1/

    10 City of Champions

    2013 MLB Playoffs: Pirates can’t handle Wainwright as season comes to an end

    http://cityofchampionssports.com/2013/10/09/2013-mlb-playoffs-pirates-cant-handle-wainwright-season-comes-ennd/

  16. NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 ASAP Sports

    Clint Hurdle Post Game Interview

    http://www.asapsports.com/show_interview.php?id=93333

    12 LA Times

    Hits, but mostly misses, are in the cards

    http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-c1-trading-night-20130926-dto,0,5310745.htmlstory

    13 Rant Sports

    Be Proud, Pittsburgh Pirates Nation

    http://www.rantsports.com/mlb/2013/10/09/be-proud-pittsburgh-pirates-nation/?utm_source=RantSports&utm_medium=Recirculation&utm_term=MLBImgPittsburgh%20Pirates

    14 ESPN

    Adam Wainwright’s moment

    http://espn.go.com/mlb/playoffs/2013/story/_/id/9799312/adam-wainwright-powers-st-louis-cardinals-nlcs

    15 San Jose Mercury News

    Photos: Pirates vs. Cardinals in NLDS game 5

    http://photos.mercurynews.com/2013/10/09/photos-pirates-vs-cardinals-in-nlds-game-5-2/#1

    16 CBS Sports

    R.I.P., 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/eye-on-baseball/24057997/rip-2013-pittsburgh-pirates

    17 St Louis Post Dispatch

    Waino goes the distance as Cards finish off Pirates

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/professional/cardinal-beat/matheny-carpenter-guilty-of-caring-too-much/article_592eab30-b1f1-5079-b786-9379880af289.html

    Bernie: Consistency is what sets Cards apart

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/columns/bernie-miklasz/bernie-consistency-is-what-sets-cards-apart/article_94d40f02-2fa5-5ee8-be90-afc1898b870b.html

    18 PBC Site

    Stifled behind Cole, Bucs eliminated from postseason

    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2013_10_09_pitmlb_slnmlb_1&mode=recap_away&c_id=pit

    Season ends, but Pirates’ revival just beginning

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/pit/season-ends-but-pirates-revival-just-beginning?ymd=20131009&content_id=62768570&vkey=news_pit

    For McCutchen, little opportunity to play hero

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/pit/phil-rogers-andrew-mccutchen-not-given-chance-to-save-pirates-in-nlds?ymd=20131010&content_id=62760690&vkey=news_pit

    SPORTS WEBSITES

    19 Baseball Prospectus

    Dollar Sign on the Muscle Excerpt

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=22014

    20 Fangraphs

    Gerrit Cole and Adam Wainwright and Curveballs

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/gerrit-cole-and-adam-wainwright-and-curveballs/

  17. To the best sport I ever knew…

    Happy Birthday, Dad.

  18. This quote says so much about these guys:

    “There’s no crying in baseball,” Grilli said through a small smile. “We’re a family in here. We’ve got each other’s backs right now.”

    Read more: http://triblive.com/sports/dejankovacevic/dejancolumns/4850816-74/baseball-eth-pirates#ixzz2hJhV5PKG
    Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

  19. Early Christmas wish list:

    To Neal Huntingdon: The ability to see the difference between a team that can pitch and a team that can pitch AND hit. And the chutzpah to do something about it.

    To Neil Walker: A better hitting coach

    To Pedro Alvarez: The ability to remember and duplicate his plate approach of the last two weeks.

    To Starling Marte: a bit of patience and an injury-free year.

    To Clint Hurdle: The ability to rein in his eternal optimism in game situations. When the parking lot attendants can see a pitcher has no control, pull him, don’t expect a miracle recovery before the next .300 hitter.

    Congratulations on breaking the streak and rest easy Bucco Fans, There’s not another like it in the future.

  20. Dejan, Anze Kopitar 2 assists last night in King’s win over Senators 4-3
    :)

  21. As is true for many posters here, this season exceeded my fondest hopes, given what the Pirates had achieved for the last 20 years.

    Now I’d like the offseason by the front office to do the same thing. Future success is not guaranteed. Like DK, I think the championship level isn’t far away, but the Bucs are not there yet.

    I’ve really enjoyed reading all that so many of you have posted this season. You’ve been so much a part of the fan experience for me. Thanks to you all and to DK, of course.

    Now it’s on to the Steelers (shudder) and to the Pens (smile).

  22. This is for the inverse 1st place winner in Playoffs Window………… Biz.

    David ………. Cambridge Ohio.
    Terry Haines………… Alexandria Virginia.
    Chris Snyder………..Bloomsburg Pennsylvania.

  23. It’s been a total blast sharing this magical season with all of you. Baseball is my sport…my passion since I was a little girl. I toted mitts and bats around…not Barbie Dolls. These 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates reminded me over and over again why I love it so. THANK YOU for the summer smiles that extended, at long last, well into the waning light of October. NO crying in baseball here. None.

    “All this will be there again in exactly 172 days.
    Count-eth on it.”

    So will I. Count-eth on it!

  24. Cole, Alvarez, and McCutchen all had pretty good postseasons. Russell Martin too.

    It was fun. Hopefully a foretaste of the feast to come.

  25. It’s a shame can’t have a gathering at PNC on Saturday to thank the team for the wonderful ride this season.

    Kevin

  26. 2 runs in two games. What moer can you say?

    Ryan Clark must be auditioning for his next job. Maybe he should focus on his performance in his current one.

  27. Went to the 3-letter website today, and it was a Cardinal lovefest, and barely a mention of the Pirates. For as much as the Pirates succeeded this year, they have a long way to go in gaining national respect, which is a shame, because the best story in baseball this year happened at PNC Park.

    But since this isnt Boston, LA, St. Louis, etc…………. well, you know……….

  28. Sorry, guys. Can’t be here today.

    Baseball is not just a sport for me. The Pirates are not just a “baseball team out there.”

    The loss is too raw. The pain too acute. I tried reading above, as folks looked forward, and I could not take it.

    I will recover. I will be back. But not today. I am still too invested in this season . . . . . I am still hurting too much over what was and what could have been . . . . . I see no roses, I feel only thorns.

    I love the Pirates. The Pirates are now dead. I cannot yet say, “Long live the Pirates.”

    But I will . . . . . . . . . .

    • The Pirates are NOT dead! >:<

      • I agree with the Groat, the pirates are totally dead and not merely mostly dead. They will not play any more games in 2013. They live only in our memories and that’s where they’ll stay.

        Peoples grieving process is different. I didn’t think I would want to even listen to anymore baseball. I turned the game off before I could even watch a glimpse of the celebration last night. Too painful. I don’t want go to ESPN well not usually but especially now with their gaudy cardinal coronation. And I won’t watch anymore postseason baseball.

        I prefer to move on immediately and think about how this team can recapture what they wrought in the past season. That interests me and keeps me moving forward.

    • Groat, I find it amazing how ALL.SEASON.LONG we’d lay eggs like this here and there – and still come out with a great record: First part of the season, light’s out pitching, timely hitting – but just scratched out. Got on a roll … here an egg, there an egg, but not EVERYWHERE an egg, egg on our farm. Second part of the season, pitching lagged some, .500 ball, more eggs. Then we rally at the end of the season, through the wild card a nice two games in this series, then two more eggs.

      Does it all come down to good pitching will keep you in this thing? And good pitching with better, Cardinals-type hitting AND playoff experience will get you THROUGH this thing?

    • Hang in there, Groat.

  29. Hipposter! How are you this chilly Thursday morning?

    • Cold, but satisfied……… I cleaned up a few more Lunatics. :)

      I am not one who is disappointed this morning about the Bucs.
      No one, except a few pollyannas ever saw this type of season unfolding.
      No one saw a playoff berth for this team. Most experts, and most people on here predicted 76-84 wins, no playoffs. So how can one be disappointed with an overachieving team that made many strides and good memories? How can one be disappointed in a GM that finally did what any fan could ask for……….. dramatically improve the team? How can one be disappointed in a team that has a bright future, as long as correct decisions are made?

      This loss last night feels absoBucnlutely nothing like 1972, or 1992. This loss feels like an opportunity lost, but a valuable learning experience for the Bucs moving forward.

      This team was a joy to watch, and maddening to watch………….. but they grew up, so to speak, in front of our eyes. Now, the real work begins………… will they continue upward, or be like 1989, and fall back? Right now, I am just gald to be associated in a very small way thru here with a team that finally broke off the shackles of 20 years of sludge. And for that, I am grateful.

      • Well said, my friend.
        I, too, am happy and satisfied with this season.
        Sad we lost last night, but not a bitter sad…more bitter sweet.
        :)

        • +2

          I couldn’t have said it better myself. What a season! Thank you Pirates for making Baseball so much fun to watch this year.

        • Well said Jandy. So proud of this bunch. And on top of it, there isn’t a single one of them I dislike. There are no Bonds or Bonillas that I can see on this squad. 172 days, eh? Will enjoy our Pens, Panthers and hopefully the Steelers until then.

          And the endless speculation on the 1B and RF situations will be a blast. And let me beat Mr Hasis to it: the Twins have this guy named Presley that could probably be had for a reasonable price….. :) (kidding, kidding)

          • Mr. Hasis will be all would up, thanks to you and 21sthebest LOL.

            Hope we see our very own Brandecita sometime during the course of the day. Miss her lively little self.

            :D

      • Perfect words, sir!

        Kevin

      • Well said plan.

        “This loss feels like an opportunity lost, but a valuable learning experience for the Bucs moving forward.”

        Summed it up perfectly. I am disappointed, but not about the season, just that its over.

        I can’t wait until spring training and beyond. This team is going to be very good for the foreseeable future.

        Of course, NH’s work is not done. I wouldn’t think a GM’s job is ever complete.

  30. Been holding my breath since March. At some point here soon I will exhale. And it’s gonna be great !

  31. I agree with DK that this team is not like 1992, but I am wondering if it is like 1988. That team overachieved all summer, and chased the Mets all summer. Because there was no wild card, there were no playoffs.

    There were high expectations in 1989, but early injuries doomed any chance at a pennant. Then we know what happened from 1990-92.

    I would not be surprised to see a regression next year. (See Nationals, Washington). If I am wrong, it certainly won’t be the first time.

    Thank to DK for creating and maintaining this forum, and to all of you for making it an interesting place to share facts, opinions and everything in between. I looked forward to the blog almost as much as the games themselves.

    • As a commenter on DK’s column noted, the Cardinals are the real team on the rise. Ten rookies on that club! And not just any rookies, but studs like Michael Wacha, Matt Adams, Trevor Rosenthal, Shelby Miller.

      I’d love to see the Bucs become perennial contenders, but you have to be realistic about 2014. Guys like Liriano, Burnett (if he returns), Grilli and Melancon are unlikely to duplicate their magical seasons. Locke will not pitch like an all-star for half a season again. Cole could become one of the league’s dominant pitchers… or he could deal with a sophomore slump.

      Hopefully the team fixes up its first base and RF situations, perhaps with a free agent signing or two, Taillon pitches well when he arrives in mid-season, Tony Sanchez and Mercer successfully transition into starting roles, Pedro and company cut down on the strikeouts, and the bullpen is able to repeat its 2013 performance. But it’s asking a lot for all of that to happen.

      • The Cardinals were, are, and will be the team to beat. There should be no doubt about that.

        But the little part about the bajillion rookies narrative that doesn’t get mentioned is that they have exactly one above average bat under the age of 30, Matt Carpenter.

        They clearly have the smarts and the resources to replenish the offense, but it will absolutely need to be done in the near term.

        • AGREE EMPHATICALLY. Cards are an outstanding organization, they are most certainly stocked with young pitching… and no doubt they will be the team to beat for a while. That said, they have holes..they are not unbeatable. And the Pirates are in a great position to compete as well.

          To me, the Reds will take a step back (or two) and the Brewers and Cubs are still building. It will actually be better for the Pirates if the Brewers and Cubs get better IMHO because the way the Pirates play (low scoring, close games) they won’t be able to dominate the weaker teams the way the Cards can. Better for the Cards to be tested more often as they play within the division.

          Oh, and the Cards are due for a major regression in RISP (already started with this NLDS)…we’ll see how they do against the Dodgers.

        • Agree 100%.

          To me, the Cards are the best organization in MLB and have been or quite a few years.

  32. Oh, and as to “clubhouse leader” Ryan Clark…………….

    Ever notice since he became a “clubhouse leader” the Steelers have regressed? He talks way too much, has a punk attitude, and is a part of the problem, not part of the solution.

    And, just remember, Clark proudly led the Steelers to be the only team that didnt ratify the CBA, bragged about it, and made the team look foolish as a result.

    Memo to him, be a REAL team leader………… shut up, improve your play, and mentor the rookies coming up.

  33. “Counteth On It!” I was reading down through your column and KNEW you were going to end it that way, DK! Guess it’s like Wainright’s curve: Knew it was coming, and STILL nothing I could do about it! LOL! Another good column: AbsoBUCCNlutely! (And I guess we’ll be saying that around here AT LEAST as long as we did “We Will!”)

    Morning, All!

  34. Good column putting everything in perspective. The one thing I took away from last nights game is that Cole is the real deal and he will be a starting pitcher unlike any we have seen in this organization in a long time.

    Next year brings us the excitement of what they may do to fill a few key needs at 1B and RF during the offseason. It could and probably will bring us the debut of Taillon and Polanco in the majors. It will see the continued progression of Glasnow, Kingham, Heredia, Hanson, Bell, Medeows and Maguire among others. Most importantly it bring the expectations of more then just a team the crawls over .500.

    Last of all DK predicted an AJ Burnett return so I would like to be one of the first people to thank AJ for his two years with this team because he is definately not coming back.

    DK prediction = SI cover jinx

    • I don’t much see AJ coming back, either. And, honestly, I wonder if they really are gonna want to bring him back. His ERA most of the season does indeed reflect that of a tough-luck, no-run-support pitcher – but he showed some signs of his tank capacity dwindling. Then when Taillon gets here at mid-year, somebody’s gonna have to move over.

      • Problem is Locke isn’t a lock to repeat his first half season.

        • we’ll find out if he has a prayer come spring training.

        • Concerning Locke I agree with you. I do like what I saw from Stolmy Pimental and there is nothing wrong with fielding a 5th starter like Cumpton who looks like he can give you 6 innings and keep you in games. There are a lot of bad 4th and 5th starters throughout the league. Cumpton seems like he could be steady.

          Don’t forget we wasted about 15 starts on Jmac, Sanchez and second half Locke where the team had little to no chance of winning. If Kevin Correia or Jeff Karstans take those starts you have a chance of winning. Those kind of pitchers are valuable for the backend of the rotation. Maybe we can get Karstans for next to nothing.

        • I am hopeful that Locke has gained stamina from his first full MLB season. He is definitely not a Cole type physically so time will tell. Locke really needs to cut his walks down by trusting that outs will be made on pitches in the zone. His 4.5 BB/9 is just too high for a guy that doesn’t have a huge KO rate.

          I hate to compare him to Glavine but they are physically similar. If you look at their stats from their first full season Locke compares very favorably. So the hope is there that he turns into Glavine and not JMac.

  35. OK Jandy, you told me to come back tomorrow after my Cards win…here I am :)

  36. I was listening to MLB radio on Sirius/XM this morning. They were talking about the pirates options at 1st base among the free agents and they came up with 3 possibles (based entirely on affordability and “fit”)

    1. Justin Morneau
    2. James Loney (age 29)
    3. Adam Lind (age 30)

    They were convinced Konerko won’t leave the White Sox. Kendry Morales was way too expensive. And Euchalys too injured. Everyone else was labeled either too old, too expensive, or just not an upgrade over Gaby Sanchez/Garret Jones.

    All that said, I haven’t done a ton of research yet on the 2 they mentioned but wanted to lay it out there for discussion. Do you think they’ll bring back Morneau?

    • by the way, this was all predicated on the idea that Morneau was more likely to be brought back then Byrd. Byrd is looking for a multi-year deal, is 36… eventhough he seems to have found his swing, he would be a bigger risk. Morneau is only 32 and they thought he could possibly be bought cheaper, he also comes with the experience and could be the veteran guy in the dugout. And for people like me that would like to kiss GI Jones good bye, it makes more sense. We also have Polanco to look forward too in right field.

    • I would like James Loney myself. Solid all around player that won’t hurt you. Morneau would be OK at the right price but I think he goes back to the Twins. Adam Lind is not anyone I would be interested in. He is a slightly better version of Jones. Much to inconsistant.

      I’m not sure how they know what is too expensive for the Pirates. This is the first time in something like 9 or 10 years we will be able to see that for ourselves. It has always been said the money would be spent when the time is right and based on what Nutting did at the end of this season I believe that. We have never been 1 or 2 key pieces away from a complete puzzle. Now we are. They may make a 3 or 4 year commitmentt to a good free agent like Morales especially at first base. Right Field can be patchworked until prospects come up. I wish Byrd could play first base. I really like what he brings to the table.

    • I thought we have moved past Lyle Overbay type signings?

      Morneau will not be worth whatever he gets paid for being good three years ago.

      • they did mention Lyle Overbay as an option… and quickly dismissed as not being an upgrade to Garret Jones.

      • I agree. That is kind of what I was saying about how can anyone know what is too expensive for the Pirates. They have never been in this position during MLB having this kind of free agent landscape. The Hinske, Overbay, McGahee days should be gone. There is a nucleaus of players in place and a couple of obvious holes. Sticking a finger in those holes no longer makes sense because we are trying to win playoff series not a few more games. The holes need to be repaired and filled with difference makers not retreads or lottery tickets.

      • I agree. He was worth the risk for a month.

        But he’s no Lyle Overbay, either. I like Morneau. I really think Lyle punted while he was here. But I don’t see signing him.

    • Isn’t there a Cuban player, I think Abreau was his name that they were interested in? He doesn’t provide immediate help though, which is the original post was intending.

    • OK with Loney.

      But the wild card is the Cuban Abreu. 26. Actually dripping with power, its muggy down there.

      IF there is no upgrade, no reason to sign somebody to sign somebody. Some else will be available when they are needed.

      Gaby and Jones put up what? 23 HRs? Average was low, still decent power production from a predominant power position.

  37. Do we resign AJ in the offseason? Is he going to retire? Does he even want to come back?

    I can certainly see the argument against it. If we’re going to spend that type of money we should obtain someone who will be in the lineup every day.

    W/o AJ we still have Liriano, Cole, Morton, Locke, Rodriguez, and eventually Taillon.

    Meanwhile, we have big holes at first and right field. If we’re going to spend like $15 million, I think it should be in the field.

    • Wandy’s no sure bet to be healthy. That arthritis diagnosis is pretty scary.

      • Last NH show he said it was a flexor tendon and made it sound like he just need time off. So now I’m confused….

        • I thought Dr. Andrews said it was arthritis. (Neal always confuses me).

          • You’re correct, on both accounts, AW.

          • Well, there’s this:
            Updated: September 14, 2013, 6:17 PM ET
            ESPN.com news services
            PITTSBURGH — Wandy Rodriguez has been shut down for the remainder of the season by the Pittsburgh Pirates because of continuing pain in the left-hander’s pitching arm.

            Rodriguez has been on the disabled list since June 6 with stiffness in his left forearm, though he was also found to have arthritis in his elbow when examined by orthopedist James Andrews last month.

            “Wandy has worked diligently to return to action but despite all Wandy’s and our medical staffs’ work and efforts, he has not been able to return to pitch without pain,” general manager Neal Huntington said in a statement. “We have decided that it is in Wandy’s best interests and the Pirates’ best interests to allow more time for the injury to the flexor tendon in his left forearm to heal and to shift our focus from a return in 2013 to having Wandy ready for Opening Day 2014.”

            The Pirates made the move Saturday.

            Rodriguez made 12 starts for the Pirates this season, going 6-4 with a 3.59 ERA.

            The 34-year-old Rodriguez can become a free agent at the end of the season but also holds a $14 million player option in his contract to return in 2014.

            Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

            • The ARTICLE is confusing, too! Maybe he has arthritis AND a flexor tendon injury? Maybe they are synonymous? Maybe Neal said “flexor tendon” because real YOUNG men don’t pitch with arthritis?

              • HELLIFIKNOW!
                lol

              • Isn’t arthritis what ended Sandy Koufax’s career?

              • This from Wikipedia:
                The 1965 season brought more obstacles for Koufax. On March 31, the morning after pitching a complete spring training game, Koufax awoke to find that his entire left arm was black and blue from hemorrhaging. Koufax returned to Los Angeles to consult with Kerlan, who advised Koufax that he would be lucky to be able to pitch once a week. Kerlan also told Koufax that he would eventually lose full use of his arm. Koufax agreed not to throw at all between games—a resolution that lasted only one start. To get himself through the games he pitched in, Koufax resorted to Empirin with codeine for the pain, which he took every night and sometimes during the fifth inning. He also took Butazolidin for inflammation, applied capsaicin-based Capsolin ointment (called “atomic balm” by baseball players) before each game, and soaked his arm in a tub of ice afterwards.[54]

              • this as well:
                Koufax’s 1964 season started with great expectations. On April 18, he struck out three batters on nine pitches in the third inning of a 3–0 loss to the Cincinnati Reds, becoming the only National League pitcher to have two nine-pitch/three-strikeout half-innings.[39] On April 22, however, he felt something “let go” in his arm. Koufax ended up getting three cortisone shots for his sore elbow, and missed three starts.

                On June 4, playing at Connie Mack Stadium against the Phillies, Koufax walked Richie Allen on a very close full-count pitch in the fourth inning. Allen, who was thrown out trying to steal second, was the only Phillie to reach base that day. With his third no-hitter in three years, Koufax became only the second pitcher of the modern era (after Bob Feller) to pitch three no-hitters.[52]

                Koufax jammed his pitching arm in August while diving back to second base to beat a pick-off throw. He managed to pitch and win two more games. However, the morning after his 19th win, a shutout in which he struck out 13 batters, he could not straighten his arm. He was diagnosed by Dodgers’ team physician Robert Kerlan with traumatic arthritis. With the Dodgers out of the pennant race, the book was closed on Koufax and his 19–5 record.[53]

              • Koufax did. He did OK, even if he had a short career.

          • then there’s this:

            News: Pittsburgh GM Neal Huntington said Rodriguez (forearm) was shut down mainly because of a strained flexor tendon in his left arm and not arthritis, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports. (Sun Sep 15)

            Spin: Huntington expects Rodriguez to be ready for spring training. “Our best approach is to give it significant rest,” Huntington said. “Wandy did everything he could (to get back this season).” Rodriguez holds a lucrative $13 million player option for 2014 which he will almost surely exercise. “We’re hoping he will,” Huntington said. “We’re operating as if Wandy will be a Pirate next year and we’re looking forward to it.”

            Here’s the link:
            http://espn.go.com/mlb/player/_/id/6286/wandy-rodriguez

            No wonder yinz are confused!

            • another link:

              http://sports.yahoo.com/news/pirates-lhp-rodriguez-214018331–mlb.html

              The Sports Xchange September 14, 2013 5:40 PM The SportsXchange
              .
              The Pittsburgh Pirates announced Saturday that they are shutting down injured left-handed starter Wandy Rodriguez for the rest of the season.
              In a press release, the Pirates said they “have decided to shut down Wandy Rodriguez due to continuing pain and discomfort in his left forearm. Wandy has worked diligently to return to action but despite all Wandy’s and our medical staffs’ work and efforts, he has not been able to return to pitch without pain.
              “We have decided that it is in Wandy’s best interests and the Pirates’ best interests to allow more time for the injury to the flexor tendon in his left forearm to heal and to shift our focus from a return in 2013 to having Wandy ready for Opening Day 2014.”
              Rodriguez has not pitched since June 5. He went 6-4 with a 3.59 ERA in 12 starts this year. He has a $13 million player option for next season.

          • Chief Wild Eagle: Neal speaks with forked tongue. ;-)

    • We also have Stolmy Pimental. I think the kids shown he’s here… should get consideration if not a mid-season call up like Cole.

    • Don’t forget Cumpton. He looks like one of those guys who just puts you in a position to win start after start…

    • Any chance Lambo becomes our right fielder?

      • He difinately is an option. With Polanco waiting I think they address first base and maybe starting pitching instead of right field. Tabata played well enought that between him and Lambo they may just roll the dice.

      • Lambo would replace Garrett Jones as my lefty platoon with Gaby at first base.

        Spend the money on a plus arm like AJ, not a subpar first baseman like Morneau.

        • I’d be OK with that. Has Lambo been used at first base in the minors at all?

          I agree more pitching wouldn’t hurt. Locke and Wandy are definately not sure things next year. The quickest way to have a season go south is to only have 3/5 of a starting rotation. Can’t win if 40% of your games have ERA’s of 4.50 or higher.

          • I believe so, Nate. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not expecting big results.

            I just don’t think it is smart for low payroll teams to spend big money on first basemen. Just don’t get much value outside of the bat.

  38. I know everybody loves Neil Walker despite his perfectly average career stats cuz hes from the Burgh, but he has to be called out today. What an unacceptable performance all series long.

    • There’s no such thing as clutch. Did you see the picture of Neil on here? I think he knows it.

    • Yes him and Marte had horrible post seasons. Hard to say it’s part of who they are or if it was just a bad streak at the wrong time. Really can’t tell if a player becomes small during big games based on one post season. Hopefully we can make it to the post season next year and find out.

      • See Willie Stargell in WS 1971.

        On kind of the opposite note, did Pedro come up big BECAUSE it was the post season or was it just a coincidentally perfectly timed Pedro hot streak?

        Hopefully we’ll get more data over the next couple of seasons. ;-)

  39. Anyone know what the trib reporter asked Gerrit Cole post game?

  40. After watching Cole, Liriano, Wainright and Wacha, aren’t we glad we didn’t have to move Taillon, Kingham and glasnow?

    Future looks bright. Personally, I would go after Morneau. Remember when James Neal first came to the Pens? Nothing special at the end of his first year, but in his second, he blossomed with Geno. I could see Morneau doing the same, and adjusting to the clemente wall.

    I can see why Byrd wants a longer term contract to finish his career. But with Polanco in the wings, can’t see us giving Byrd a long-term contract. I would like to see a year with a year option for Marlon, but that might be wishful thinking.

    I’m thinkin everyone here in the lunacy academy will be ready for spring training.

    Thanks to Dejan for keeping it interesting. Also many thanks to JAL for the excellent links, including his musicality.

    Stuart

  41. Just can’t get into Hot Stove now.

    I’m with Groat. Too painful. Playoff appearances, especially in baseball, are hard earned with no guarantees. Not sure when the Pirates get back as we all fight what Roger Kahn called the “intractable enemy of time.”

    Though not Jewish, I admire immensely the millennia old custom of Shiva.

    I now begin my 2013 Pirates Shiva.

  42. DK, I’m going to go against your best wishes that we not complain about minutae. I just thought it fitting that our offense is what came up short even when our pitching was strong. Almost identical outings from both Morton and Cole in terms of the result. A 2-hr homerun was all that was allowed in both games… and what was all that was needed to beat us in both.

  43. “No one, except a few pollyannas ever saw this type of season unfolding.”

    Who wants to let Daquido know that he’s a pollyanna?

  44. A couple thoughts this morning…..

    Running The Window all season was a grind, but it’s the nice comments like I read above that make it all worthwhile.
    I am truly humbled by the kind words you all have for me this morning.

    Congrats to all the winners!
    Make sure you contact me via email (BUCCOOVERUNDER at GMAIL dot COM) if you already haven’t, so I can get your prizes shipped out.

    Not really sure if I’m going to bring The Window back for next season.
    Honestly, I’d like to pass it on to someone in here, so I can place some “wagers” myself.

    Finally, I’m not going to be in here much fr the foreseeable future.
    Not really much of a Steelers, Penguins, NHL, or Winnipeg Board of Tourism fan.

    So I’ll head out for the most part this winter, and return when the baseball team heads to Florida.
    It’s been a helluva season, here’s to 2014 looking even brighter!

  45. Maybe Byrd goes back to Mexico this off season and plays first?

  46. I’m sure we’ll all have perspective on this soon and just making the playoffs, just ending the streak, will feel good. But right now it hurts. Alvarez swinging at the same three pitches out of the strike zone to end the game hurt. Morneau not being moved from the cleanup spot hurt. Hurdle’s ridiculously stupid move to put in Jones, who swung at the first pitch, instead of moving the runner over in a 2-0 game hurt.

    http://adamperrywrites.wordpress.com/2013/10/09/cinderella-cant-score-nlds-game-5-cardinals-6-pirates-1/

  47. With all of the discussions I’ve seen about contracts, extensions, etc., I don’t recall seeing anyone mention lately Chuck who is approaching his last arb year. I’d bet he gets extended this offseason into 2015 at least. Maybe even a 3 year deal including 2014. I just get the feeling that he and the organization have a very close relationship.

  48. “I know a guy who concurs and who feels very strongly this kid is ready to play in the NHL — full season — right now. But if I identified that guy, I’d be kind of piling on, since all this guy does is talk about Maatta.”

    No way you could be talking about yourself here, right?

    Maatta has been fantastic, but if they don’t trade Niskanen, I think he has to go back to juniors. There is no other spot for him in the lineup and I don’t want him in the pressbox. I also don’t want Bortuzzo in the pressbox either. They both need to be playing.

    • I agree. Nothing is accomplished with either Maatta OR Bortuzzo in the press box. Both have to play. And Nisky has played well the first 3 games, increasing his value and making for a tougher trade.

      I think fantastic is a little over board regarding Ollie, he has played well – especially for a 19 yr old, but as HCDB pointed out, with the first 3 games at home, they have been able to pick their spots for him and he has not played much, if at all, against any of the top two lines AND the first three teams aren’t offensive threats to begin with. Carolina could be, but not right now.

      Tough to see the scenario where Maatta doesn’t get sent back to juniors.

    • I know I am jsut spinning my wheels but I would love to see Orpik moved over anyone else. His $3.75 coming off the books would be huge plus in my opinion I would rather see the youger guys in the lineup. No way they bring him back for 2014/15 anyway.

      I know the fans like him but it is time tomove him if you can find a trading partner.

      • Don’t disagree…just don’t see the Pens trading Orpik or Martin. Their public stance is that they are playing for the cup (as it should be) so it precludes trading vet Dmen for draft picks and it’s hard to see a trade for an exising forward, for what either would bring, that didn’t make their cap issue worse.

  49. Who has a better chance at winning?

    Houston who are home against the St Louis Rams.

    OR

    Cincinnati who are at Buffalo.

    • Houston… eventhough Buffalo just lost EJ Manuel, I still think they have the stuff there that they can win any given day.

    • Cincy over Buffalo – Thad Lewis is starting for Buffalo at QB. Cincy has a decent run defense, so chances are this game not being close.

    • I think Houston.

      Always easier to win at home for one thing, but also (since I live there) I am familiar with their lineup.

      In a lot of ways Houston remind me of the ’90′s Steelers under Cowher. Schaub is not a franchise QB, but is surrounded by a pretty salty lineup. They can win a lot of games – like Cowher’s teams did, but can’t get over the hump in the playoffs – again like Cowher’s teams…unit they drafted BBR. This year they have had some key injuries, like their probowl LT which has really hurt their pass protection and their running game. They now also lost their TE, Owen McDaniel, who is a lot like Heath. Finally so far this season thye have been playing the game of “everything that we try is wrong”. Most of Schaub’s Pick 6′s, he was running for his life (sound familar?). Obviously 20-20 hindsignt says he should have taken the sack or tried to throw the ball away, but then he would be skewred for that too.

      Regardless, I can see Houston’s D forcing a win and dragging the offense with them. Cincy, I just am not impressed overall and Buffalo’s D seems to be playing pretty well so far.

      I think both will win. IMO, Houston is the safer bet (both straight up and against the spread – hate giving that many points on the road).

      Please take this opinion with a shaker full of salt.

    • ZERO chance STL wins in Houston. Their offense is putrid and Houston needs this game desparately. Its’ the type of “get well” games the NFL schedulemaker is pretty good at setting up.

      I also think Cincy will beat Buffalo, but road games in the NFL with a team that doesn’t score a lot of points scares me off of that one.

  50. It’s Thursday morning PDT and my emotion remains “anger” that the Pirates were ousted by the Cards.
    Again…Not angry at anyone with the Pirates.
    It was definitely an extremely good season, and all effort was put out to win.

    I felt the Pirates were the better team (I know that sounds stupid when you lose) BUT….They just didn’t hit consistently enough.
    Three losses in the series, and all three resulted in one run scored.
    That’s not going to get it done in the playoffs.
    I said all year that this team had trouble hitting many, many pitchers.
    It was the death of them.

    As for the Cards, they can go battle it out with the Dodgers.
    They should be wearing long faces by mid next week.

  51. I might add (in regards to DK’s column)….This is totally different than ’92 to me.
    No tears, no sadness, no extreme disappointment….Just anger.

    As for feeling that “next year” will make up for this….I count on nothing.
    When you’re in a position to win it all, you have to win it all.
    Going to the playoffs guarantees you nothing for next year.
    The Nats were in the same situation last year, and you see what it did for them this year.

    • I think the organization went for win-it-all this year, without robbing the future. No complaints. Keeping Cole once he came up will cost millions, just for one example,

      JMO

    • Daq:

      I am with you, the Bucs have stated over and over again their goal is to win championships and to continue to compete at this level….so yes, this year had lots of successes but was ultimately a failure.

      That said, it isn’t like the other teams in the playoffs (1) aren’t damn good (2) also are going for a championship…. so I don’t always view a series loss like this as something the Pirates choked for example, I just think we fell short to a better team. And no doubt the Cards 2013 are a better, more complete team than our Pirates.

  52. After several lengthy discussions with his wife, I understand that AJ Burnett has decided to disrupt his complicated routine & has made himself available to take his kids to school tomorrow.

  53. Hey asylum…. tough morning in Bucland, always tough when a season comes to an end, especially this magical one. I do note that the ‘season is over’ is a true statement on October 9th, not the many, many times it was declared on this blog, as in:

    1. After last season’s collapse
    2. After a weak hot stove period, especially not enough pitching depth signed
    3. In Spring Training
    4. After opening day loss to Cubs
    5. After sweep in LA and 1-5 start to season
    6. After every loss in April and May
    7. Every game that Clint Barmes started
    8. For sure after the (fillintheblank) road trip
    9. When they actually play the better teams
    10. After the trade deadline
    11. After Grilli went down with injury
    12. When they lost the home games to SD and Cincy by blowing 9th inning leads
    13. In Cincy without every getting to host a playoff game
    14. For sure, will be ‘one and done’ in the wildcard game
    15. After game 1 of the NLDS.

    So yes, fans, the Pirates season is indeed over. TODAY and not all of those other times. I look forward to 2014 and all of the times our new season will be “over”…and for this team to prove (some of) us wrong, over and over again.

    Plenty of time for hot stove to begin. I agree with NH that “I’d like to keep this team together for 2014″ but time will tell how possible that is.

    • That’s a really weaselly post IMHO after the season we just experienced. (I’m sure there’s a better description, but that’s all I could come up with)

      To each their own. If bashing other posters is where you’re at today . . .

      I’m looking forward to next season.

      • Don’t say that. i LIKE weasels.

      • to each their own, indeed. my post was factual and was not intended to bash any particular poster. It was a recap of our roller coaster season and praise for a team that proved us wrong over and over again. but they did have to do it on the field, to prove they could do it, and they have to do it all over again in 2014. There are no guarantees and you start each season with 0 wins. and every single one of the wins — and losses — are earned by that team at that time.

        • “Was not intended to bash any particular poster.” Nope, it was more broad-ranging than that.

          Thanks, Bill. And thanks for the education, Professor.

          • That was a War Horsian list. :)

          • so, i guess we are saying that on an opinion blog, not all opinions are welcome, including broad-ranging recaps of certain blog comments that are a matter of record?

            sorry if my post was at the least ‘unnecessarily educational’ and at the most ‘offensive to other opinionated posters’.

            I guess I see this as an opinion blog… we all bring our opinions…some we have huge conviction on, some we lean one way or the other but shrug our shoulders either way. All of it is entertaining. My opinion is that too often this year, people buried this team, thought they were finished. And the team proved them wrong. That’s all. If folks that posted those opinions can’t take any post that declares those opinions to be wrong, then I guess I wonder what this blog and any blog is for.

            This isn’t the Wall St Journal, page is it? And if it is, there is way too many Buc Nation mentions…..

    • Of course you realize that your “15 reasons” are largely due to the previous 20 years AND the yinzer mentality that unless the team of choice wins every game and the Championship is won, everybody sucks and should be DFA’d or fired, right?

      I definitely agree with you (and to some degree with Daq above) that this offseason will tell alot about the PBC and its agenda going forward. Cinderalla stories don’t aways have Cinderalla endings…the curse of having to live in the real world. Teams like the Cards maintain strong organizations so are expected to be there every year. The PBC still has to establish that they can and will do that or maybe will and can. This we will find out.

      To me the most critical element is can Pedro raise his BA to the .260-.270 range? If not, he can not move up in the batting order and you have to find a 4 and 5 hitter, which ideally fits with the needs at 1B and RF. Would like to see Byrd resigned (2 yrs?) as a I was impressed with his whole game. I think there is more flexiblity at 1B

      The other concern is the bullpen. Can Grilli get those 2 or 3 mph back on his fast ball? If not….. Melancon was not the same pitcher the last month. What’s up with him? I did not want to see him against the Cards lefties and (unfortunately) was right. May have to reshuffle the Shark Tank.

      Oh well, fuel to cuss and discuss until next Feb.

    • So, let ne get this straight……………..

      you are complaining about posters opinions of you, after you list 15 things that you complain about other posters opinions?

      Gotcha.

  54. Nice tweet from Bernie of the St. Louis Dispatch

    Bernie Miklasz ✔ @miklasz

    If any Pirates fans are following me, I mean this sincerely: you have a helluva team, a hardball-playing team, a likeable team and a team that hopefully will form a great baseball rivalry with the Cardinals for years to come. Congrats on a great season.

  55. I’m over my hangover and looking forward to tonight’s Game Five.

  56. Isn’t there a Cuban player that plays 1B, I think Abreau was his name that they were interested in? He doesn’t provide immediate help though, which is the original post was intending.

    I also remember the Pirates were interested n Mark Trumbo of the Angels at the trade deadline. Rumors here in Angel territory is that they would now listen to the possibility of trading him. The angels need pitching though and I’m not sure they want prospects.

    Highlight for me from the 2013 season was watching my 10 year old son become an Pirate fan and taking him to his FIRST Pirate game in San Diego.

    Low point was watching him cry last night. :(

    • That’s awesome, tooch. Been fun having you around.

      The scout-turned-writer or writer-turned-scout types seem to think Abreu can step in immediately for a big league club next season, fwiw.

      I’m leaning toward something along the lines of your second option, though. I think this club is done with the washed up free agents, but know they can’t land the high priced ones either. That leaves the trade market as the place to upgrade.

      • I thought that I heard Abreu has trouble with hitting fastballs or the offspeed stuff. I can’t remember which. But some were wondering how he would handle those pitching is the majors.

        • I’ve read that his bat is slow. At least relative to major league power pitchers. He’ll crush the back end starters but struggle with qualit pitching.

          And he’s worthless in the field and on the bases. American League guy all the way. Pirates won’t come close, nor should they.

      • Thanks NMR!! Been great “getting to know” everyone here!! All have made me feel welcome.

        Well OK most. I was called “illusional” by one!! I’m atteding his SS camp this summer so maybe I can learn to play my own position finally and I’m only 50 so maybe..

    • No chance they sign the Cuban, since the Met’s and others have already showed interest.

      With all this extra revenue they received from the 3 sold out playoff games, they hopefully will spend it wisely, and not even consider keeping the team payroll the same .

      If you want to play with the big boys, you got to anty up, once in a while.
      I really don’t want to see Morneau back, he did very little, and 0 hr’s and 3 rbi’s was down right pitiful , especially from a guy in the clean up spot.

      Make an offer to Byrd, but i doubt he comes back.
      Burnett won’t be back, after getting snubbed for the game 5 start.

      Need to find a solid 1st baseman, whether he is a Right or a left handed bat., The main thing is i hope the guy can produce, like a 1st baseman should.
      No more Gaby Sanchez, he just isn’t worth the cost.!

      • If the team doesn’t go with a platoon at 1B, then Gaby is gone. If they do, you’re not gonna get a guy who hits lefties any cheaper…or better.

        I’d take a run at Corey Hart.

  57. OK, here’s my dilemma going on 40+ years… when your team loses in the playoffs, do you:

    A. Do the classy thing and root for the team that beat your team
    B. Do the petulant thing and root for their opponent(s), for as long as their run lasts
    C. Root for whichever team wins your League’s championship
    D. Sulk and root for no one
    E. Hope that Detroit wins so you can root for Jim Leyland

    • Being a 40 year fan, I’m going with E.

    • I think Jim Leyland is a very good manager and I like him a lot.

      But if he doesn’t make it to at least the WS this season I will begin to wonder if he isn’t just a tad over rated.

      Still very good, but maybe not as great as I thought

      • I’m rooting for the Cardinals and the A’s hoping the A’s can finally win a World Series.

        I have a love/hate thing going with Leyland. Leave a job once, okay. But three times is a bit much for me. But I really like his passion.

    • F. not watch much, if not any, of the remaining postseason because there is no compelling reason to watch.

      If I can’t have F, then I want:

      G. Root for Oakland, because I want an underdog to win and someone new

      If I can’t have G, then:

      E. Leyland is a class act.

    • F. ANY American League team (Except maybe Boston)

    • I choose D, but I strongly disagree with your description.

      Of the remaining teams, i have no interest in any of them.
      I know Bud hopes for a StL-LA, and Sox-Det final 4, but I like none of those teams.
      I also have hockey to look forward to, and see how the Steelers turn out.
      I certainly am not “sulking”, as you describe it, I just know MY team is out of the playoffs, so I move forward…………….regardless of your over-the-top description.

      • I was exaggerating for effect. I’m not actually sulking. It’s a good thing I didn’t go with “get suicidal”… someone might have called the cops.

    • My baseball season ended last night. I may watch a game, but i won’t be making my plans around them, or making sure my DVR is recording them.

      This blows!. What a tough way to end it all, 2 runs in 18 innings, was down right pathetic!!!!.

    • Ha! B for me, my friend, but I’m not petulant, I’m vindictive…
      it’s not nice to fool Mother Theresa
      ;)

    • definitely rooting for the winner of the Detroit/Oakland series… Oakland’s the last of the “small market” teams left. And they’ve been knocked out early the last 3 chances I believe… so wouldn’t mind seeing them go the distance.

    • That’s a tough one for me this year. Normally, I’d root for a team I have a vested interest in for some reason. Lived in Detroit for six years and went to the World Series with them (literally – only Series game I’ve ever been to) in 1984. So you’d think I’d be rooting for the Tigers. ALSO, a sister of the Red Sox third base coach is a friend of mine. So you’d think I might also be rooting for the Sox.

      But I am sick to death of the big market disparity in baseball. So I’m secretly rooting, as I normally do with no vested interest, for the underdog. That would be Oakland (payroll close to that of the Pirates). I don’t know diddly about them. Go A’s!

  58. Sigh….nothing worse than telling your 3 year old daughter that the Jolly Roger flag won’t be raised again until April, and hearing a response of Why daddy did the bad guys win? Did they have better bats? I won’t be able to do my Bucco dance until April? :(

  59. Today so many people at work have asked me if I am upset or depressed because the Pirates lost and are out of it. Absolutely NOT.

    I have come to realize that it is all about managing your expectations and not getting too caught up in the ‘snapshots’ during the season. I didn’t let a 3 game losing streak be a snapshot that drove me crazy.

    My expectations coming out of ST were that I wanted & expected a winning season. Got it!
    Then expectations can change. Sure I wanted them to win the division. Yes I wanted them to go further in the playoffs. But as someone who is more than just a casual baseball fan, I could see the holes/weaknesses in this team. And they went farther than I ever had thought of. I went to the Wild Card game. I have never experienced a sporting event like that ever in my life.

    And I guess I am not one of those fans that thinks “if you’re close to the playoffs you have to go for it every chance you get” or “once the playoffs starts every team has the same chance”. I love baseball but I don’t view the game that way. There will be another Pirate baseball season next year, and the year after that.

    So I feel great today. But I do expect to be cursing Wacca & Wainwright all winter long.
    And I can’t wait for Spring Training so I can buy a new Lucky Hat.

    • I agree. It’s all about the journey. It would been great to move on, but what a season.

    • +++many to all of yinz!

    • “My expectations coming out of ST were that I wanted & expected a winning season. Got it! Then expectations can change. ”

      Wait a minute……………. last month when I said expectations can change after our initial expectations coming out of ST, you said I was wrong.
      Now today, you are saying that is a correct viewpoint.
      Which one is it? Or does it matter who is the person saying it?

      Help a brother out here, please.

      • Not sure what you mean, plan.

        But maybe I wasn’t clear in what I wrote. For some people, their expectations can change throughout the season.

        My expectations didn’t change. After they got the winning season everything else was gravy to me.

    • “My expectations coming out of ST were that I wanted & expected a winning season. Got it! Then expectations can change. ”

      Wait a minute……………. last month when I said expectations can change after our initial expectations coming out of ST, you said I was wrong.
      Now today, you are saying that is a correct viewpoint.
      Which one is it? Or does it matter who is the person saying it?

      Help a brother out here, please.

    • Well said, TC, am right with you on these thoughts

  60. Think Leyland and his Tigers are moving on to the NLCS?

    I think the A’s will put an end to their season tonight.

  61. So is everyone present and accounted for?

    “Every happy ending needs to have a start” – Moody Blues

    Ladies and Gentlemen of the Lunatic Nation, we have ignition

    We ain’t seen nothing yet ;-)

  62. All you deeply saddened Pirates fans should be heartened to know that Mike Tomlin has banned all table games from the Steeler’s locker room. Surely this move will turn things around and we’ll soon be focused on the Steeler’s playoff seeding, thoughts of home field advantage, Stairway to Seven, etc. etc. A nice diversion until April rolls around and the Pirates can pick up where they left off.

  63. I’ve been busy all day and did not have a chance to check in. I’m sure I am reiterating what so many of you have felt and said already. Last night was hugely deflating. I thought we had a good chance to win, but the fact is the Cardinals snuffed out a potential rally in the 2nd when Pedro’s liner to RF was snagged by Carpenter and turned into a DP. From there, Wainwright and the rest of the Cardinals took over.

    They were the better team this year, but not by much. We took them to the wire in this series, after battling them tooth and nail all year head-to-head and in the standings. I have said all along that I don’t view this as a one and done thing. I realize you never know what can happen, and nothing is for certain in future years. Prospects may or may not pan out. But, this is the best I’ve felt about the Bucs in over 20 years. I know that. And, I have thoroughly enjoyed discussing it with all of you all season. I can’t wait for next baseball season.

    • hey Jim, good to see you today. Hope to see you around here thru the winter, too. Buccos will be fine next Spring. :)

    • “Cardinals snuffed out a potential rally in the 2nd when Pedro’s liner to RF was snagged by Carpenter ”

      Man I thought that was huge. If we could have gotten a lead there, maybe a completely different ballgame.

      • That and the Cards giving us 5 outs in an inning and only scoring 1 run. If Pedros ball doesn’t hit the bag does Fatty get it?

      • Ironically, there was an article (before the game) on how the Cards generally did not believe in defensive shifts…and without this shift that hit was a solid single to right.

        To me the difference was a very fine line.

        In game 4, they get a walk then a HR…we get a HR then a walk – and lose 2-1.

        In game 5, IMO Cole was as good or better than Wainright, but left one breakiing ball up…one bad pitch and it changed the game, the series and the season.

        It was that close.

      • I agree totally.. that was probably the biggest play of the night for the cardinals. Otherwise, its 1st n 2nd with no outs in the 2nd and anything can happen.

      • It sure was. Give St. Louis credit. They learned from leaving that hole open and having it cost them on Sunday night.

  64. Gotta get some stuff done. Mr. Night Janitor, take care of things, friend.
    Catch you soon! :*

  65. So Tomlin has banned all table games from the Steelers locker room. Guess the slots will have to do.

  66. Test

    Bold

  67. Today sucks but I think that is do more to the fact it has been raining none stop here for the past 48 hours.

    I just hope this wasn’t are one shot window. I was 7 years old since the pirates last made the playoffs and really wondered if I would ever really get to see pirates postseason baseball(I have no memory of that game 7 it was probably past my bed time).

    Talk about salt in the wound though, my pirates postseason shirt that I ordered a few weeks ago came in the mail today.

    • Sucks to be us, huh?

      At least we can play table games.

      • They still play table games? I’ve played Monopoly, Jeopardy, Yahtzee, Trivial Pursuit et al for years in their video game versions. Were they playing Candyland and Chutes and Ladders? No wonder they’re 0-4.

    • Save it and savor it

      The best is yet to come

      We have hope and we expect

      That is a beautiful thing

      Oh, crap though, we have crappy draft picks next year ;-)

  68. Mike Tomlin has just ordered the shark tank removed from the Pirates clubhouse.

  69. Where’s the Blackhawk-Montour thread ?

    • Blackhawk lost to my alma mater last week, 46-42.
      My alma mater isnt good enough to score 46 points.

      Where has the D gone?

  70. Three weeks from today, Halloween, I will turn in my badge, my choice, after 37 years of working at Beaver Valley Power Station.

    I missed Monday’s game and many others because I had to work

    No mas

    Now I gotta see the Pens at Consol and the Steelers at Heinz to fill my bucket list

    Oh yeah, one more thing, and the biggest, another WS title for the burgh

    First two are up to me

    Last one, its gonna happen, and soon

    I believe

  71. Let’s go Bears !

    Who will win first ? Giants or Steelers.

    Melissa Starks looks like she’s on Star Trek. Odd look.

  72. Just rewatched the end of the Cubs game where they clinched. Had totally forgotten about the play at the plate ending. Awesome “surprise” while reliving the events of the last weeks.

  73. 2013. The year defense died in the NFL.

  74. Baseball’s glass ceiling is at work again. Teams like the Pirates, A’s or Tampa can never have pitchers like Wainwright or Verlander at this stage of their respective careers. Verlander 7 years/$180 million. Wainwright 5 years/$97.5 million. The Pirates and A’s are forced to throw rookies, talented rookies, but rookies nonetheless.

    • $180 million is perfect through 5. Sonny Gray is a cute little story. Sound familiar ?

    • You know guys, I was thinking of this when the Pens opened their season last week.

      Sports leagues have to make a choice, do they want competitive balance, or do they want $$$$$. The NBA, and MLB want $$$$$$………… as evidenced by the big markets ruling the rrost in MLB, and Stern wanting Miami to win almost every year.

      The NFL and NHL want competitive balance, knowing the more teams having a chance to win, the more $$$$ they get. Thats why almost every team feels they have achance in those leagues, and 50% of teams in the NBA and MLB are eliminated from day 1.

      The only thing I dont get is that MLB’s system works…………. MLB has great revenues, while 50% of teams cant win. Go figure. Just cant wrap my head around some teams willing to lose players to bigger market teams, shrugging their shoulders and saying “thats baseball”.

      Thats why I am the night janitor of this blog……………. ;)

      • I can’t figure out the NBA. They have a cap, sort of. There are so many ways to circumvent it there may as well not be one. The Larry Bird Rule, the mid level exception.

        In baseball, the haves give just enough to keep the have nots happy until they start to complain again. Then they’ll give just a little more.

        • Yeah, something is wrong in Denmark.

          I havent followed the NBA labor pact, but I thought I heard somewhere they eliminated the Bird provision……. but maybe not.

          In MLB, Selig made sure the “big boys” w ere taken care of in regards to the draft……… punishing teams for spending overslot, which used to benefit the small market teams.

          This is why I get a headache trying to figure it out………. and I just watch the games…….. knowing some teams can never win……… and the league wants it that way.

          Back to sweeping floors………

  75. Verlander walks a man but still no hitting the A’s through 6.

  76. I think Verlander got sick of everyone talking about the kids.

    If this holds, second straight year he has won decisive game in Oakland.

    Still a no no through 6 1/3

  77. TBS’s Pitchtrax is meaningless. I have no idea why they show it when they ignore it. Just take it down.

  78. I grieve – yes grieve – that we failed after coming so far. I would say we over-achieved greatly. Whoever said “you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear” was wrong.

    Despite numerous unqualified individuals in a variety of places, we gave it a damn good run.

    I look forward with strong confidence, that the necessary reparations will be made where we lacked.

    Perhaps the players were the culprits this year – perhaps not – but I am beating the drum and blowing the bugle (at the same time) that the front office has used up its last “get out of jail free card”, and for next year IT ALL RIDES ON THEM!

    AMEN to a fun season

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