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Morning Java: Thank you, Pirates fans

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The Friday column will be the last one on baseball for a good while, so I tried to collect a whole lot of concepts and thoughts into one place.

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>> Here on the blog, I’d like to take the morning to thank readers who are fans of the Pittsburgh Baseball Club, and I’d like to do with the deepest sincerity.

It’s been a wild ride, but part of the wildness is that it began amid the dubiousness of two Epic Collapses, the owner investigating his management team, a couple of free-agent signings that were risks from either the financial or health standpoint and, of course, all the ancillary stuff from last fall.

All of that turned into the sport’s story of the summer, as well as that of our city.

It was stupendous.

And along the way, I heard from countless — and I genuinely mean countless — readers who poured out their hearts. The correspondence was as powerful, as passionate as what I’d heard or seen from fans of any team anywhere. One fan wrote just a couple days ago that she had a “headline you just have to use” in the event that Gerrit Cole won Game 5. Said it came from her 9-year-old daughter. Never mind that it was some 15-worder that involved Cole crushing the ball into a diamond or something to that effect. It was the thought that the reader wanted to send it this way.

What a summer it was in that regard.

Right here on the blog, we’ve got our own collection of baseball fans, of course, and their input and feedback are the lifeblood of our discussion here. But we also saw a rate through the summer of 26.7 visitors to the blog being total newbies on a daily basis.

Between that and all the new followers on social media that came for baseball, I’m grateful.

So thank you.

Thank you for that trust, for that understanding that the critical coverage of last fall comes with the same hand as that which couldn’t find a syllable of complaint the other night in St. Louis. The principles behind them are one and the same. When the subject matter stinks, you write that it stinks and try to find out why. When the subject matter excels, you try just as hard at both.

Some understood that, and the unfortunate few that rely primarily on a small but especially noisy group either didn’t understand it or didn’t want to because the narrative made for greater entertainment.

Infinitely more meaningful and lasting will be all the emails, all the connections made through this blog or other social media and … hey, did you know people still write by hand?

Check this out …

photo

That’s from Mrs. Emily Spadaro of Mt. Lebanon, and it came on a card with a Rockwell painting on the front, a cupcake recipe on the back.

That matters.

It matters to me that I’d heard in recent weeks from people inside the Pirates who thanked me for the critical coverage last fall. No one got specific about why, and I didn’t ask.

It also matters to me that, all through the years of losing, I’d written repeatedly that Pittsburgh was a sleeping giant in the baseball context, ready to explode — if you’ll recall the phrasing — if the Pirates would only not suck. Well, they went beyond that, and so did the city. I saw support coming. I didn’t envision anything like this.

But most of all, it matters to me that so many became so invested. And how it happened. That matters, too. I heard so, so, so many stories of father-son bonding over these past few months. Dad always loved the Pirates, the boy always loved the Penguins, and it wasn’t until this year that the boy could figure out what dad’s problem was. Loved this stuff.

So again, thank you.

>> Also, one last time, thank you to Bob Nutting. He gets it.

>> More season-ending stuff in today’s Trib …

Doormats no more, by beat man Rob Biertempfel.

Gerrit Cole aces every test, by Travis Sawchik.

Late-season additions would be happy to return. Karen Price has that.

Here’s our full Pirates coverage.

>> The Steelers are becoming like a Saturday Night Live skit. Alan Robinson reports on — I kid you not — Mike Tomlin taking away the players’ toys.

Skit or not, it won’t top this “Obviously” mash-up from the geniuses at Benstonium …

Here’s our full Steelers coverage, including the return of Will Allen.

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

Here are official game highlights from NFL.com.

>> We’ll finally get a look at Jeff Zatkoff on the Penguins’ two-game Florida swing that begins tonight in Sunrise. Josh Yohe sheds a little light on Marc-Andre Fleury’s backup.

Here’s our full Penguins coverage.

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

Here are official game highlights from NHL.com.

>> Pitt braces for a whole lot of Logan Thomas at QB. Jerry DiPaola examines.

>> Penn State braces for a whole lot of Devin Gardner at QB. Chris Adamski examines.

>> In a change of plan, I will not be going to State College for the Michigan game, but I still will be in East Rutherford for Steelers-Jets.

>> I’ll check in with TribLIVE Radio at 11:30 a.m. and, shortly thereafter, we’ll open up the weekly chat at noon right here on the blog.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

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

Comments

  1. Baywatch says:

    May I be the FIRST to say how much I liked your column, DK! Very fun! And really nice touch above in sharing Ms. Spadaro’s note. Just REALLY the little things in life still make it pretty doggone special.

  2. Dejan,

    Thank you.

    Your column today touched so many areas that are still bruised for me. But it also touched areas that reminded me that there is more to Pirate baseball than just the crushing loss I feel.

    You reminded that there will be Pirate baseball again and I will love it then as much as I hurt and love it now.

    The thrill, the risk, of playoff baseball is the possibility of feeling as low as I did this morning . . . . and knowing there will be another Spring Training just around the corner.

    Baseball is an every day investment. I’m glad.

  3. Playoffs by 2012 says:

    While the vocal minority may get your goat when it comes to Pirates coverage, please always remember that they do not speak for the overwhelming majority of us that appreciate the coverage that you provide.

    We wouldn’t be here day after day, we wouldn’t read your work, and we wouldn’t actively engage with you if we didn’t appreciate what you do. So thank you.

    See you in 2014.

    DK: They aren’t getting my goat or any other animal. I’ve blocked around 70 of them on Twitter — out of nearly 34,000 followers — and it’s gone stone silent. Tells you a lot about how noisy they are relative to their actual numbers.

    Since that blocking, which I should have done long ago, all I’ve heard from readers is FAIR assessments, including criticism, some of it vicious but at least grounded in the actual subject matter rather than being personal and/or outright lies.

    It’s a lesson learned about allowing a tiny, tiny percentage of people affect anything that you do inordinately.

    Thanks for the kind words to you, Groat (not goat) and Bay.

  4. Playoffs by Infinity,

    I don’t play your game . . . .

    . . . . so I can unbiased say——good job!! You did an excellent job of coming up with stuff and keeping interest to an eclectic group of followers. You are valued.

  5. JohninOshkosh says:

    I really appreciate you thanking us but all thanks should come from our side. The only reason some yahoo from Boondocks, Wisconsin would ever have the opportunity to meet fellow sports fans, and Pirate fans at that, is because of your efforts here.

    I know your thank you is in context to the Pirates season, but I’m very glad you write about the other sports and provide this forum for views on other things other than baseball.

    Some day I’ll have to meet some of these people I hold in such high regards.

  6. tom says:

    really wish you could experience the Penn State/Michigan game. I’ll never..ever.. forget my first big PSU game.

  7. JohninOshkosh says:

    Duke basketball opens practice a mere 7 days from today, my friend.

  8. OldSoldier21 says:

    DK – Thank you, too. Your time on the beat and blog in the other paper earned my respect. I think most of your followers are here because of that work. Of course, I could be wrong.

    Baseball is a unique sport that evokes strong emotional responses in people because it is a daily part of their lives for a significant portion of the year. I often think of the James Earl Jones monologue from “Field of Dreams” and why it speaks so directly to people:

    “The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It’s been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good, and it could be again. Oh, people will come, Ray. People will most definitely come.”

    This magical season reminded us of what was good. Nostalgia was alive and this summer in the ‘Burgh. Well, you built the asylum and they came. Well done sir, well done indeed……

  9. JoeyBats says:

    Good stuff DK…..don’t agree with all the items & thoughts in the article…but thanks for the memories &, as usual, exceptional work!
    .
    Always look forward to reading your columns. Can’t wait for the 2014 Bucco season to get started and see where that journey takes us.
    .
    Beat Em Bucs !! :-)

  10. Pucknutz says:

    DK,
    Nice recap. well done.
    Don’t agree w/all your points, but minor quibbles only.

    “, thank you to Bob Nutting. He gets it”
    I certainly hope you are correct.

  11. Thundercrack says:

    Dad always loved the Pirates, the boy always loved the Penguins, and it wasn’t until this year that the boy could figure out what dad’s problem was.
    —–

    Nice.

    And yes, a lot of us have a Pirate problem

  12. Drew71 says:

    “The Streak is at one.”

    Nice.

  13. Drew71 says:

    Freaking Thunder.

    I guess we’re a couple of the less vindictive bloggers up on the blog.

    Did I say less?

    Must still be drunk.

  14. Thundercrack says:

    I’m just glad that DK didn’t show the hand written card I sent him asking that you be blocked. I hope he enjoyed the Starbucks gift card that I included.

    #bribery

  15. kr70 says:

    loved your article today, will never forget Cuto dropping the ball and the reaction following. Later talking to my son, I said, “I have never experienced anything in sports like the wild card game. ” He said the only thing close was a PSU-Ohio state white out night game. I’m so glad we got to share this game, long after I’m gone he will fondly remember sharing it with his dad. If you have children I hope that you can have “take a kid to work day” God Bless for all you have done for Pirate fans everywhere.

  16. kr70 says:

    +1
    really nice

  17. Thundercrack says:

    Regarding the goodbyes, yes I think Garrett Jones is done. (what happened to him?)

    I am also wondering about Michael McKenry. He really had a terrible year and all of his weaknesses/deficiencies were really glaring this season.

    I thought it was cool when he got introduced during the pregame of the Wild Card and playoff games. He got a very big ovation. But there was a small sense of sadness too. His knee injury prevented him from running down the line….he had to walk.

  18. Jandy says:

    Rivalry of the year:

    Drew vs. Thunder

    To be continued…

  19. Jandy says:

    “Regarding the goodbyes, yes I think Garrett Jones is done. (what happened to him?)”

    He got married!

  20. Drew71 says:

    I wish I had written that

  21. Thundercrack says:

    I should have seen the signs.

    Good call Jandy….hurry up and send that to Jay Bell. He can include it in his year end report. It might save his job. :-)

  22. Jandy says:

    :D

    I am honored….approval from yinz is awesome lol

    Who has jay bell’s cell phone number? Anyone???

  23. Jandy says:

    I think just made elite level status on the blog!

  24. JAL says:

    JAL’s Million Dollar Bash Morning Links

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cAWDj31AKIQ

    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: Pirates Need to Stay The Course
    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/10/first-pitch-pirates-need-to-stay-the-course.html

    Pirates Off-Season Preview: Burnett, First Base, and the Walker Problem

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/10/pirates-off-season-preview-burnett-first-base-and-the-walker-problem.html

    AFL Recap: Tough Day at Plate For Hanson, Benedict Strong in Relief

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/10/afl-recap-tough-day-at-plate-for-hanson-benedict-strong-in-relief.html

    5 Bucs Dugout

    Pittsburgh Pirates All-Time Top 100: 1. Honus Wagner

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2013/10/2/4796282/pittsburgh-pirates-all-time-top-100-1-honus-wagner

    6 Rumbunter

    Report: Mixed Opinions on Justin Morneau Returning To Pirates

    http://rumbunter.com/2013/10/10/opinions-mixed-return-justin-moreneau-pirates/

    7 Bloguin

    End of Season Post-Mortem: 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates

    http://www.bloguin.com/theoutsidecorner/2013-articles/october/end-of-season-post-mortem-2013-pittsburgh-pirates.html

    8 The Green Weenie

    Summer To Remember: Part 1 – Opening Day to June

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2013/10/summer-to-remember-part-1-opening-day.html

    9 Global Post

    Pittsburgh Pirates – PlayerWatch

    http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/131010/pittsburgh-pirates-playerwatch-0

    10 City of Champions

    2013 MLB Playoffs: Pittsburgh Pirates’ postseason ouster leaves mixed emotions

    http://cityofchampionssports.com/2013/10/10/2013-mlb-playoffs-pittsburgh-pirates-postseason-ouster-leaves-mixed-emotions/

  25. Jandy says:

    Dejan is blessed with children :)

  26. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 Bleacher Report

    Next Steps: Complete Offseason Guide, Predictions for the Pittsburgh Pirates

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1794674-complete-offseason-guide-predictions-for-the-pittsburgh-pirates

    12 Sporting News

    Pirates’ 2013 success shines over shadow of NLDS loss

    http://www.sportingnews.com/mlb/story/2013-10-10/pirates-cardinals-score-nlds-pedro-alvarez-results-adam-wainwright-pittsburgh

    13 KDKA

    2013 Pirates Made Fans Fall In Love With Baseball Again

    http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2013/10/10/2013-pirates-made-fans-fall-in-love-with-baseball-again/

    14 Oswegonian

    Remember when the Pirates were good?

    http://www.oswegonian.com/2013/10/10/remember-when-the-pirates-were-good/

    15 Chicago Tribune

    Former ‘King of Memorabilia’ admits scamming customers

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-memorabilia-fraud-guilty-plea-20131011,0,7686120.story

    16 CBS Sports

    Time for pride, Pirates fans

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/eye-on-baseball/24063114/the-morning-after-time-for-pride-pirates-fans

    17 St Louis Post Dispatch

    Bernie: DeWitt is ahead of the times

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/columns/bernie-miklasz/bernie-dewitt-is-ahead-of-the-times/article_783b05c3-58d4-5a53-bb97-7efd4a5fe004.html

    Cole: Freese clobbered ‘bad pitch’

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/professional/cole-freese-clobbered-bad-pitch/article_c1bf2762-0c7e-5b82-a7e2-7c1498208d05.html

    18 LA Times

    Dodgers will throw their best stuff at Cardinals

    http://www.latimes.com/sports/baseball/mlb/dodgers/la-sp-1011-dodgers-kershaw-greinke-20131011,0,7038409.story#axzz2hPSiPGzu

    SPORTS WEBSITES

    19 Sweetspot

    Rookie starters in do-or-die games

    http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/41405/rookie-starters-in-do-or-die-games

    20 Fangraphs

    Can the Pirates Do it Again?

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/can-the-pirates-do-it-again/

  27. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Steelers re-sign Will Allen, another player they let walk in the last year

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/10/10/4824118/steelers-sign-will-allen-roster-depth-chart-safety

    Steelers consumers vs. Steelers fans: two different worldviews

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/10/10/4822218/steelers-consumers-vs-steelers-fans-two-different-worldviews

    22 Steelers Gab

    Steelers At Center Of PBS Documentary About Former Players Dying Of Brain Damage

    http://www.steelersgab.com/2013/10/09/steelers-at-center-of-pbs-documentary-about-former-players-dying-of-brain-damage/

    Soccer(football)

    23 London Evening Standard

    In pictures: From Gunnersaurus to Hammerhead, every current Premier League mascot

    http://www.standard.co.uk/sport/football/in-pictures-from-gunnersaurus-to-hammerhead-every-current-premier-league-mascot-8868148.html?action=gallery

    24 World Soccer Daily

    10 stories you need to read, 10th October, 2013

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

    PENGUIN BLOGS and NHL Links

    25 Pensburgh

    What Happened to the Check Line?

    http://www.pensburgh.com/2013/10/11/4826460/what-happened-to-the-check-line

  28. JAL says:

    Song Million Dollar Bash Fairport Convention cover of a Bob Dylan song

  29. Drew71 says:

    Dejan, I enjoyed the column. But your count is wrong.

    It doesn’t start with the cubs. Certainly not the cubs.

    It all begins again on the most glorious day of the year with the most glorious phrase in sports.

    “__#__ Days Until Pitchers and Catchers Report.

    That’s when it all begins.

  30. scapper says:

    Yes indeed, that is The Line of the column and probably of the year. I welled up j(yet again) just now when I read it. The playoffs were a nice bonus, but getting win #82 was one of the great moments in my many years of loving Pittsburgh sports. It’s over.

    And Cutch is accurate in his assessment of this season’s place in the city’s sports lore. Remembered “forever” indeed.

    Great column.

  31. Drew71 says:

    Gregg Ritchie

  32. Jandy says:

    Cue Groat!
    :)

  33. Jandy says:

    That doesn’t help me, Drew Dahling…

    sigh

  34. Drew71 says:

    I’m not arguing the point. Just answering the question.

    Who improved under Jay Bell?

    Tabata 2013: BA .282, OBP .342, SLG .429, OPS .771
    Tabata 2012: BA .243, OBP .315, SLG .348, OPS .663

    Marte 2013: BA .280, OBP .343, SLG .441, OPS .784
    Marte 2012: BA .257, OBP .300, SLG .437, OPS .737

    The Marte comparison to the far fewer ABs in 2012 may be less meaningful than to note:

    1. He stuck. He proved his readiness. He was a solid contributor. There were some Qs going in.

    2. Look at the 43-point improvement in OBP, a critical stat for a lead off hitter. That amount of improvement over a long season is usually not accidental.

    Not saying it was because of Bell. Not saying it wasn’t. Just answering.

  35. Excellent stuff DK!
    I’m torn on the how the last game ended.
    Two of the Pirates that stepped it up the most, take the most unwanted final distinctions…Cole the losing pitcher & Alvarez the final out of the year.
    I’m torn because both Cole’s & Alvarez’s efforts and production in the playoffs deserved better than their fate. But it may be a blessing and they both come back even better and more determined next year…isn’t that what the great players do?!?!

  36. All of us childish folks here!!!!

  37. I’m calling Pirates today to find out the date Spring Training begins.

  38. Stuart says:

    That comment, which is what many of us believe, is so much better coming from a woman! Thanks J. Having a beautiful and seemingly intelligent wife, could clearly have been a distraction to GI.

    I think it’s part of growing up to go back to work after a honeymoon.

    I don’t think he will be back, and my early plan for next year would be to platoon Gaby with Lambo.

    Stuart

  39. I spent some of my “sad” time yesterday reading up on the Devils.

    You should be a doctor——you have prescribed the right medicine.

  40. Wild Bill says:

    Yesterday I said thanks to DK and to all on the blog, but I want to say a bit more this morning, spurred on by John’s comment. This blog community makes things a lot more fun for those of us whose lives have taken us away from the ‘burgh.

    Here in central Pa., I’ve been in Phillies and Eagles and even Ravens country for a long time now. That reeks. It’s fun having fellow and sister fans with whom I can share, even if we sometimes don’t see things the same way.

    Thanks, DK, for your writing and for making the blog possible.

  41. Jandy says:

    LOL Stu, I figured yinz guys would enjoy it coming from me.

    :)

  42. Jandy says:

    Dr. Oshkosh from Boondocks, Wisconsin, at your service
    ;)

  43. Marc from Norwalk says:

    A real shame you can’t make it up to Beaver Stadium for the game tomorrow. I can guarantee the environment and crowd will be exponentially better than the home opener you attended a few weeks back and a college football experience you will never forget.

    Go State!!!!

  44. To Foo, Nutting Hostage, Billy Kidd, JAL the Commander-in-Chief, and other missed long-timers:

    It sure was a great ride this year. Hope you were along!

  45. Jandy says:

    seconded!

  46. Drew71 says:

    Usually not released until after the Series.

    Last year: second Monday of February, Feb 11. Nothing to see on Report day; First practice was the next day, Tues 12th.

    If the next season follows the pattern, Report day will be Mon Feb 10, 2014; first practice on Tues 11th.

    But don’t start your count just yet. In two of the prior four seasons, Report days were a Thursday and a Saturday. (Didn’t check the other two years).

    So it is not a pattern.

    My guess: they first find out or determine their exhibition and travel schedule, get input from Hurdle and development staff re needs, then count backwards from first exhibition game to determine the Report date. So that would mean, as it has, it varies.

  47. Wild Bill says:

    On a different subject this morning, my wife and I will be attending the first game in the Pegula Ice Arena at Penn State tonight. With another couple, we bought season tickets to the new arena and will see the first year of the Big Ten hockey league.

    There’s a nice article about all of this in SI.com today. I’ll try to post something about the event tomorrow.

  48. Thundercrack says:

    Mercer was good at the plate

  49. pattonbb says:

    Thirded!

  50. Drew71 says:

    Maybe at the end of the upcoming spring training, the Pirates will host the phillies at PNC Park in early April for a coupla final exhibition games. This time with the phillies playing the part of the Washington Generals.

  51. Wild Bill says:

    All true, Marc.

  52. JAL says:

    I know Foo and I were along, no idea about Billy and Nutting Hostage

  53. Wild Bill says:

    Nasty, Drew. Fun, but nasty.

  54. Just re-read Dejan’s column. Even better at 8:00 AM than it was at 1:00 AM.

    My favorite: Best Single Play. What a way to clinch!!!!!!

    Complain if you must about Morneau (who tied Byrd for the most Pirate hits in the Cardinal series) but he will always be at the center of that crucial, special, appropriate play in my mind.

    Least favorite thing about Dejan’s column: the Title

    When I saw “Dangerous Curves” I excitedly expected to find a picture of Kate Upton.
    At the very least an attractive picture of the disarming-to-the-Legend Mrs. Jones.

    Alas!

  55. Drewmeister,

    Didn’t they come in a week early this year because of the World Baseball Classic?

    I’m guessing report date will more be toward February 17 – 20.

  56. Jandy says:

    JAL, please tell Foo I said Hi, whenever you ‘see” him, please?

  57. NMR says:

    Considering over half of Marte’s OBP improvement came from batting average, his success in that category moving forward will be tied to whether or not getting hit by an inordinate number of pitches is a controllable skill for him.

  58. Jandy says:

    Have fun Wild Bill! I hear that Arena is beautiful!

  59. Drew71 says:

    How bout this?

    Picture (or listen for) the next time Cwayyy-Towww pitches in PNC Park.

  60. Didn’t Russell Martin improve from .211 to .226?

    Trouble is, Cutch went down 12 points and Pedro 11, but who would say either of them had bad seasons?

    Put that on your resume:

    “One guy improved from near the Mendoza line to nearer the Dave Kingman/Carlos Pena line, but he had great clutch hits, except in Game 5 of the LDS. Our two bona-fide superstars dropped a few points, but one had a great second half and the other led the league in homers.”

    Makes your head spin.

  61. Drew71 says:

    See also, Shin-Soo Choo

  62. Wild Bill says:

    Excellent.

  63. And add Walker only dropped 29 points in BA alone.

  64. Wild Bill says:

    The word “excellent” awaits moderation? How about “cool”?

  65. JAL says:

    On AJ, according to AJ, the decision in game was not his. He did not refuse to b ready for relief, he was told to do his normal throwing session to be ready for Game 1 of the next series if Pirates won. Liriano was the pitcher ready to go if Cole faltred early.

  66. Drew71 says:

    Yes. This past season was earlier than usual.

  67. Wally says:

    Small vocal minorities making noise entirely out of proportion to their size….

    Hmmm. Sounds like gay pride march in DC to me.

  68. Drew71 says:

    I have a post in moderation.

    About time, huh?

    It’s a totally innocuous post.

    Weird. I’ve had so many others which were so deserving of moderation.

  69. NMR says:

    Exactly. Choo’s career high of 26 is about double his full season average. I’m more confident Marte can make it work now than I was in May, however.

    Bigger question will be whether or not he can knock another 3% off his k-rate and/or maintain a super high batting average on balls in play. No sense talking about walks at this point.

  70. JohninOshkosh says:

    I’m really looking forward to the inaugural Big Ten Hockey conference, Bill. You should have a good time as it’s a quality league. Sixty three players on NHL rosters to start the season were from Big 10 schools. The games are really fun.

    I’m looking forward to the Badgers showing the Nittany Lions how college hockey is played ! :)

  71. Jandy says:

    YIKES!!!!!

  72. Jandy says:

    Someone broke the blog again.

    It’s been slow and sluggish most of the morning.

    Now it’s moderating innocuous posts.

    Hmmmm….

  73. Dom says:

    The depressing thing about the A’s losing last night was that this will be yet ANOTHER year where the low payroll teams in the postseason are eliminated before they get to the World Series. In fact, this will be the fifth consecutive World Series that did not include a team with a low payroll. Furthermore, this will be the tenth consecutive year that a World Series winner didn’t include a low payroll team.

    All the low spenders in this year’s divisional playoffs (Rays, A’s, Buccos) were defeated by the large spenders. In the case of the A’s, they were nearly outspent by $90 million or by 2.5 times their opening day payroll as they were barely outgunned by the Tigers.

    If baseball had adequate revenue sharing, maybe we wouldn’t have been eliminated so early.

    It’s kind of depressing how this continues to be an issue year after year and it’s even more depressing that there will be no end in sight to this issue.

  74. Jandy says:

    hey now! :P

  75. You might add basketball to that teaching session, John.

  76. Jandy says:

    dang..I said hey now! :P

    and it’s being moderated.

    :sigh:

  77. Arriba Wilver says:

    He told that to Smiz, right? It could also be why he was “ducking” talking about it. Sounds like he cares about what the people of Pittsburgh think of him, and it was kind of a no win situation for him if he responded publicly.

  78. Arriba Wilver says:

    +1

  79. NMR says:

    Walker’s season, on the whole, was arguably his best offensively. Most power, lowest strikeout rate, and highest walk rate.

    In reality though, he was wildly inconsistant.

  80. JohninOshkosh says:

    Jandy done busted the blog again.

  81. theplanisworking says:

    “Cyber Attackers targeted this website”.

    Culprit was seen wearing a Green Lantern T-Shirt, holding a giant Starbucks mug, with an Adam West autograph………………………

  82. theplanisworking says:

    DAD!!!!!!! Tell them to stop !!!!!!!!!!!!

  83. kr70 says:

    you did that with your 1st post

  84. Jandy says:

    YIKES!

  85. Jandy says:

    hey now, I’m innocent this time…

    Will the REAL culprit please stand up????

  86. The Justice Avenger says:

    …And, a huge thanks to you, Dejan for providing this blog and the terrific reporting and writing this summer! Your articles went to family all over the country via the click of a button. You talked of father-son bonding….well mine was mother -son. My dad is football and basketball mostly …and indeed learned lots there, but mom is the die hard baseball fan and learned the sport from her! I followed you over at your former employer…then a year or so ago…stumbled upon this blog. What a treat I was in for. Which leads to my fellow “Loonies”..you guys and gals are truly outrageous…and pretty darned special! What therapy I have gotten this summer to read some of these exchanges. Yikes…who needs a doctor when we have the Loonies (and I am in the mental health field professionally…seriously) It is laugh out loud stuff you write sometimes! I’ll be checking in from time to time, but, indeed, I am one of those mostly baseball fans, top of my list, then everything else comes later. Wishing you all a good rest of the year and continued best and good health to each. ~ Tom

  87. Dom says:

    Weren’t you kicked off this blog?

  88. theplanisworking says:

    DK :

    While I speak for many when I say we appreciate you thanking us, that is not necessary.
    We should be, and most of us do, thank YOU every single day we get to come here and read what you have put up for us. Whether it is your coulumns, blog, “specials”, all of it makes us think, and learn. Your hard work, dedication, and passion in your writing is truly a treat for us. The many subjects you cover, the depth of your work, and the insane time constraints it puts on you is truly amazing, and we benefit from it.

    Your coulumn gives hope for the future. Many people, myself included, were worried about a “lost generation” of Pirate fans, due to the 20 years of sludge. But the overriding love of the team came thru this season…………… and bonded families together.

    Being able to share stories, and read others’ experiences was wonderful.
    Met many great peoples here……………. and you, sir, were the reason for it.

    Here is to another great season next year, and also here is to those posters who come here every day, even after the Pirate season ends.

    Thank You, Sir.

  89. theplanisworking says:

    Read next post……………………… ;)

  90. Jandy says:

    hahahaaa!! Priceless!

  91. toochca says:

    He’s touching me!!

  92. Jandy says:

    Tom, please pop in now and then to say Hi!
    :)

  93. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    DK – No question that you did an “over the top” job on covering this incredible Pirate season.
    It’s simply amazing that in this day and age, I can live in California, and receive endless amounts of information on Pittsburgh sports teams.

    Though I’m still angry that the Pirates were ousted (and my anger is not pointed at anyone on or with the team), it was definitely a season to remember.
    I’m just not so sure what next year will bring at this early juncture.
    That’s exactly why they needed to seize the moment from a Cardinal team that was not exactly exceptional.

    Regarding the AJ controversy….I think it’s somewhat of a moot point, as he wasn’t even needed to pitch.
    If Cole had folded early, this would be a real controversy.
    Myself….I don’t see AJ (Or Byrd or Morneau) back next year.
    There’s no way they are going to pay a guy his age the kind of money he will demand.
    Believe it or not….I won’t disagree with that decision.
    Burnett played a big role in turning this team into a winner, but I don’t think he’s got too much left in him.

  94. Lad 9 says:

    I have been trying to get in for several hour and finally did. DK, thank you for so many things. Your excellent writing; your outstanding reporting (they >i/ib/b< were a huge piece of why this was such an enjoyable season – my favorite ever. Thank you so much.

  95. NMR says:

    Sounds like he and Bob had a nice little chat last night…

  96. Lad 9 says:

    I got about half of that to post. Will try later

  97. Arriba Wilver says:

    The Cardinals were 14th, the Pirates 19th and the Reds 12th. We didn’t lose because of revenue sharing,

  98. Jandy says:

    Lad Man, you need to go the other way with the lol
    The site is OBVIOUSLY (to use a word from Mr. Tomlin) having issues.

  99. Arriba Wilver says:

    Now, the Dodgers are a different story.

  100. BreakTheStreak says:

    Great work DK!! I was a newbie this year to the blog and really enjoyed it. Way to go Buccos and to all the wonderful fans.

  101. Jandy says:

    All I can say ism, that man better make sure Peterson doesn’t get near him, cuz he’ll likely kill him.

  102. Jandy says:

    my reply is “awaiting moderation” WTH?

    All I said was
    “hahahahaa! Priceless!”

  103. NMR says:

    Think about this one…the current contract value of the three Game 5 starting pitchers to oust the Rays, A’s, Buccos: $394 million.

  104. Jandy says:

    well that would explain the blog problems today…

  105. Jandy says:

    that hurts my head, NMR

  106. Dom says:

    Your figures are different from mine:
    http://www.usatoday.com/sports/mlb/salaries/2013/all/team/all/

    The Buccos are 20th at about $80 million and the Cards are at #11 with $115 Million.

    That particular series, weren’t the best example but Tigers/A’s and Red Sox/Rays are embarrassing to the league’s credibility as the poor team, who are much better ran, lost to the big spenders.

  107. NMR says:

    Well that 19th ranking assumes all of AJ and Wandy’s salary, which is incorrect.

  108. NMR says:

    Regardless of ranking, I have a really hard time believing that a $30m advantage meant nothing during a series between two teams that were obviously evenly matched.

    Matt Holliday isn’t a Cardinal if that team had a $70m payroll. He had a pretty big hit, from what I remember.

  109. I have a dog named “sludge”.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++

  110. Arriba Wilver says:

    We played them even in the yearly season, including playoffs.

    I just don’t like the payroll excuse. We done good.

    But you do have an excellent memory. ;-)

  111. Bizrow says:

    Dejan, you are the best.

    That is why so many of us followed you here and would pretty much follow you about anywhere ;-)

    Thank you

  112. Arriba Wilver says:

    Think of it as revenue sharing.

  113. NMR says:

    Gotta agree with you on AJ.

    I don’t really think one year contracts of any amount are especially “bad”, but I don’t think it is a great idea to push your luck with arm in their upper 30’s.

  114. Arriba Wilver says:

    Not sure what it was. My understanding is Bob had posted something critical of AJ for allegedly taking himself out of the 5th game consideration. AJ contacted him, by what means I don’t know, to “set the record straight,” and Bob posted something apologizing based on AJ’s communication.

  115. NMR says:

    I can definitely respect you not liking to use it as an excuse, but to tell Dom it didn’t matter seems dubious at best.

    The fact that all three of these teams played their series so tightly DESPITE being at a substantial competitive disadvantage would seem to add even more credence to his claim that had the playing field been leveled, the results may have been different.

  116. Baywatch says:

    Afternoon, Y’all!

  117. Wild Bill says:

    That’s mean, Reverend.

  118. toochca says:

    Also does it make financial sense to pay a #3 or #4 starter the kind of money AJ may want?

  119. Jandy says:

    Spunky doesn’t have a mean bone in his body …

  120. NMR says:

    Pretty sure a tweeter sent AJ a link to Bob’s blog yesterday, at which point AJ called Bob and civilly discussed the events leading up to Game 5 before turning their attention to the debt limit, foreign films, and the preeminent artists of the abstract illusionist era.

  121. Wild Bill says:

    Holy cow, all I did was tell Drew that his comment about harassing Cueto next year was excellent, and the blog’s been a mess almost ever since.

    We’ll have to go back to being mean to each other.

  122. NMR says:

    It absolutely does, if he pitches like a #1 or #2 as he did this year.

  123. theplanisworking says:

    What a shock Smiz would post something erroneous……….

  124. Arriba Wilver says:

    I said “We didn’t lose because of revenue sharing.”

    I really don’t want to go down this wormhole right now.

    I expressed my opinion. I’m content with that.

  125. theplanisworking says:

    Ask the Cubs and Mets how a high payroll works.
    Payroll may or may not be an excuse, but it definitely matters. So does using it properly………

  126. Wild Bill says:

    At the risk of being moderated, Hippo, that was great!

  127. Jandy says:

    Can’t do facebook from work :/

  128. Wild Bill says:

    Are you messin’ with me, DK?

  129. Jandy says:

    Jandy says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    October 11, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    Lad Man, you need to go the other way with the lol
    The site is OBVIOUSLY (to use a word from Mr. Tomlin) having issues.

  130. theplanisworking says:

    Its a picture of a Roberto Clemente jersay, with writing thanking the Pirates for bringing excitement back for the first time in 21 years.

  131. toochca says:

    Well… There is that!!

  132. theplanisworking says:

    Awaiting moderation.

    Looks like the Cyber terrorists are having a field day here.
    Or, Dk’s Thank You did it. ;)

    See whoever is brave enough to venture into the Pens thread tonight.

  133. Jandy says:

    Jandy says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    October 11, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    Tom, please pop in now and then to say Hi!
    :)

  134. Jandy says:

    Haven’t seen 21 on here at all today.
    he must be celebrating early…

  135. Jandy says:

    Thanks Hipposter…that’s cool. I’ll check it out later on from home. :*

  136. Jandy says:

    Howdy BayMan!

  137. Jandy says:

    Yup and the comments are jumping around out of order too.
    Friggin Blog Terrorists ;)
    Hope to catch you later on…

  138. Jandy says:

    Only you, SPunkster lol

  139. Dom says:

    It does unfortunately seem true.

    Multiple sources are saying that the poor child is on life support.

  140. Dom says:

    celebrating what?

  141. Sorry, WB.

    They’ve beaten my Buckeyes in football enough over the years. They don’t have to play basketball well.

    I live in a state where they play national championship basketball and HS-caliber football. Can’t understand why.

  142. Dom says:

    DK will be on Mark Madden’s radio show at 4PM today!

  143. Jim S. says:

    Thumbs up to AJ for handling it diplomatically. I have been critical of his on-field behavior at times this year, but I sure hope he gives us one final season in 2014. This team is much better with AJ than without next year.

  144. Ed Fleming says:

    With a few days to let the sting of the Buccos loss wear off, just let me say this. As Pittsburgh fans, it’s easy to get spoiled. In my lifetime, I’ve seen 6 Super Bowl wins, 2 World Series titles, and 3 Stanley Cups.

    We’ve had the luxury of watching Mario, Sid, Geno, Maz, Roberto, Willie, Lambert, Greene, Swann and Ham – heck, we’ve watched half the roster in Canton it seems like, not to mention Marino, Fitzgerald, and Dorsett at Pitt. If you wanted to put the Mt Rushmore of Pittsburgh althletes on Mt Washington, you’d have a heck of a time narrowing it down.

    On Sunday, I sat with my son in the best ballpark in America, overlooking the beautiful skyline and the boat-filled rivers. The fountain was sky high, and heck, we even have the Duck going for us. After all the heroics in the stadium we joined the happy crowd crossing the Clemente Bridge, and it made me think. With apologies to Disney, after two decades, Pittsburgh might’ve been – at that moment – the happiest place on the planet. And that’s pretty cool, right?

    So thank you for Buctober, Clint, Andrew & Company. Let’s do it again next year.

  145. Jim S. says:

    Thank you for thanking bloggers on this blog, DK!

    And to my fellow Bucco-crazed loonies, thanks for letting me crash your party day after day all season long. We got past the 20 year losing streak together, and it didn’t matter when everyone truly started to believe in this team. It didn’t matter that we all had to learn to let go of the 20 years of baggage in our own ways, in our own time. The fact is, well before the season ended, everyone here knew something special was happening. Everyone was on board. And it continued well into October. Everyone felt the pain on Wednesday evening because everyone pinned his or her hopes on this team by season’s end. I hope the same thing happens next year … except that it continues a few more weeks next year.

    I’ve had so much fun reading what you all have to say, and learning a little about your lives from the snippets of information everyone parcels out a little at a time. I don’t care that we don’t all agree on the best course of action for the Bucs to take, I only care that we are all pulling for the same outcome. I have said it before, but I learn a lot about baseball from everyone here – including people that I often disagree with the most. I try to appreciate everyone’s input because I know an awful lot of experience and an awful lot of feeling goes into your posts.

  146. Jim S. says:

    I’ll do that as well, plan. Very cool.

  147. Jim S. says:

    I believe board games should be suspended for the blog admin. team until they stop making our comments “await moderation.”

  148. Jim S. says:

    Echoing those remarks here. I think he was a 1.5 this year, and I want him back.

  149. Jim S. says:

    Thank you for thanking bloggers on this blog, DK!

    And to my fellow Bucco-crazed loonies, thanks for letting me crash your party day after day all season long. We got past the 20 year losing streak together, and it didn’t matter when everyone truly started to believe in this team. It didn’t matter that we all had to learn to let go of the 20 years of baggage in our own ways, in our own time. The fact is, well before the season ended, everyone here knew something special was happening. Everyone was on board. And it continued well into October. Everyone felt the pain on Wednesday evening because everyone pinned his or her hopes on this team by season’s end. I hope the same thing happens next year … except that it continues a few more weeks next year.

    I’ve had so much fun reading what you all have to say, and learning a little about your lives from the snippets of information everyone parcels out a little at a time. I don’t care that we don’t all agree on the best course of action for the Bucs to take, I only care that we are all pulling for the same outcome. I have said it before, but I learn a lot about baseball from everyone here – including people that I often disagree with the most. I try to appreciate everyone’s input because I know an awful lot of experience and an awful lot of feeling goes into your posts.

    And, I apologize in advance for when this comes through a 2nd time. I got tired of awaiting moderation and copied and pasted it to send again. Of course, it may get caught in awaiting moderation status again.

  150. buggee says:

    Mine included a recipe for Mai-Tai-Me-Up.

    Raise the Jolly ShuttlePuck.

    Have a meat-snacking weekend y’all

  151. buggee says:

    it might be the same as the necrophiliac-phone-sex line

  152. Jim S. says:

    I know it is so very early, but here is my off-season take:

    1b – We need to sign an honest to goodness full-time starter at 1b. The Cuban, Abreu, seems like a worthwhile investment but I expect to be outbid by a wealthier team. If we end up with a platoon again, I pray that it does not include Justin Morneau. His days as a productive hitter at an “offense first” position are over. The last 6 weeks proved that. I agree that he was an ok gamble at the time, but it didn’t work. Oh, how it didn’t work.

    SS – I am ok with what we have, if need be, but would love an upgrade. I think it is truly time to allow Mercer to take over 75% of the starts. Barmes can field, but he cannot hit. Jordy may not be the long term answer, but we need to find out. If we can get someone like Steven Drew (BoSox) for a tandem, go for it. He would get 70% of the starts and Jordy 30%. I’ll sign up for that. I think there would be heavy competition for Steven Drew, though.

    C – I’m comfortable with Sanchez backing up Martin next year. I’d like to see Russ sit a few more regular season games to keep his legs fresher in Sept/Oct.

    RF – I would love to see Marlon return, but I think he is going to want 2 years and we would only offer 1 with Polanco coming at some point next year. Tabby is a solid extra OF.

    P – I am very concerned that Wandy won’t be able to give us much. If AJ also leaves, that hurts. Jeff Locke needs to get his mojo (and control) back. We may see Taillon before too long next season, and Kingham may not be that far behind, either. If we cannot sign AJ for one more season, I have been reading that Josh Johnson is a great bounce back candidate. That might be worth a shot. I like Stolmy to start the season in the pen, and possibly move to starter if needed. This staff does not need help in the pen IMO.

    I trust NH to find another gem in free agency. Keep in mind as well that we have now reached the point where a veteran F/A would consider the Bucs as a 1 year destination. That was never the case before.

  153. Dom says:

    DK suggested Kendrys Morales at first and hoped to resign Byrd for right.

    Resigning Morneau or picking up Corey Hart would be a good option too in my mind.

  154. NMR says:

    Welp, here goes my afternoon…

  155. Jim S. says:

    Holliday and Beltran both.

  156. Jim S. says:

    Haha! We have all winter, my friend.

  157. Jim S. says:

    But, Dom, didn’t we see enough of Morneau? I’m sure he’s a wonderful guy. But, I think it is time to flip his last name and call him “No More.”

  158. Dom says:

    I dont know what type of contract in terms of years he’s due for but I’d take a gamble for one or two years if the other 1bman are signed.

  159. Kevin says:

    +1 I resemble this comment… also being in the central PA area and having to deal with philly and bird fans.

  160. Jim S. says:

    I think I would rather see if Alex Dickerson is ready to take a chunk of at bats. Or, teach Andrew Lambo to be the next GIJ – hybrid RF/1B.

    I guess if it has to be a platoon, I’d be ok with Gabby as the RH portion. I know he would get a nice raise in arbitration.

    0 HR in about 100 at bats from Morneau was enough for me.

  161. Jim S. says:

    In case anyone missed this today, it was on this date in 1972 that the great Roberto Walker Clemente played his last game for the Pirates. RIP, Roberto!

  162. NMR says:

    Speaking strictly from a free agent standpoint, even though I’m sure I’ll tease out better moves from potential trades this winter…

    1B – Most big time first basemen are bad values since they contribute little on defense and the basepaths, which is why you don’t see they A’s and Rays spend money on them. No way Kendrys Morales is worth the 1st Rd draft pick and $10m/yr minimum salary he’ll require and Jose Abrea is simply too big of a risk for a player you know will only POTENTIALLY help at the plate.

    Give Corey Hart one more year than the Brewers are willing to go, and make it hurt. Other wise, give Lambo a shot to platoon with Gaby Sanchez. (This is an area where I’m sure I’ll come up with a trade that won’t happen and probably would end up sucking anyways)

    SS – Is Biogenesis the new market inefficiency? Johnny Peralta’s value could drop into Bucco range.

    RF – My problem with Byrd and/or another veteran is that the obvious improvements are going to want multiple years, and Gregory Polanco shouldn’t wait on anyone. Kid should be up by the All Star game. I’m fine letting Tabata keep right field warm or taking a shot at Mike Morse bouncing back from injury. Hart could fill in here as well.

    P – If Jeff Karstens arm is still attached to his torso and functions properly, he’ll be a steal in some depth capacity. Don’t pass him up. Then do your homework and figure out which of Gavin Floyd, Josh Johnson, and Dan Haren is healthy enough and willing to buy into the Searage School of Pitching Well After You’ve Sucked for a Minute. Get one of them.

    Most importantly, stay flexible. Don’t get players that Hurdle feels tied to for any reason other than what is happening on the diamond or that are being paid too much to sit on the bench.

    And tell Mr. Walker that a three year extension is waiting for him at the end of the season, provided he gives up switch hitting and proves he can play 145 games healthy.

  163. NMR says:

    Bingo.

    When no sure options are available, stay flexible.

    I’d rather let Lambo/Dickerson/Gaby/cheap left handed platoon fight it out than drop 10% of the payroll on a marginal full time 1B.

  164. Dom says:

    I was thinking that AD would not be available till the season after next. Hopefully, I’m wrong.

  165. NMR says:

    Personally, I’m not sure if he’ll ever be ready to be an above average, full time 1B. But he seems to get as hot as anybody for extended periods.

    I don’t have a problem seeing if one of those streaks can play up at the big league level given the dearth of other options. A James Loney/Yonder Alonso/late-career-Todd-Helton type hitter wouldn’t surprise me.

  166. Karen22 says:

    J.A. (Tom)—

    I’ve really enjoyed your thoughtful posts. I, too, am primarily a baseball freak, and mostly will check in to read the blog banter until spring training. I’ll be watching the Pens and…what’s that other team in Pittsburgh?? But probably won’t post much. It’s been such a special season made even better by sharing it with those linked by a common bond. We may be strangers, but we sure do “get it” (like Nutting, I suppose) on this blog.

    Cheers!

  167. Jim S. says:

    Bingo right back at you.

  168. Jim S. says:

    Can’t disagree with much … especially on a “Feel Good” Friday.

    I don’t think it would be easy for Walker to just stop switch hitting, though. I think he is what he is when he bats right handed.

    And I don’t want Corey Hart, with or without his sunglasses at night. I think it is a dramatic offensive transition from Miller to PNC.

    I forgot about Karstens. He can help.

    Drew or Peralta are ok by me. Drew had a nice season and hits lefty.

    Have a good weekend!

  169. Karen22 says:

    Ditto to what you said, Jim!

    :D

  170. Jim S. says:

    :-), Karen.

  171. rvfcprez says:

    Great work DK! I appreciate all of the work you do with the blog and with your columns. I don’t post often but read every day and have really enjoyed this baseball season. Hope it’s even more fun in 2014!

  172. Thundercrack says:

    Corey Hart missed the entire year due to an injury.

    I would not give that guy a multi-year deal. I would maybe give him an invite to spring training and make him prove that he can actually still hit the ball.

  173. Bob Hasis says:

    This is an interesting entry, to which I would like to reply – even though it may never be read. In inverse order;
    Neil Walker will not be a HofFer, but he is a damn good baseball player. If you can tolerate Pedro’s incompetence against lefties and his inconsistencies in the field, and if you can afford to pay the hapless Clint Barmes 10.5 million for two years on a trial look-see basis, then back off of the criticism of Walker. Pay Walker and be quiet. Instruct him that opposite field hitting is a weapon, as had been shown to us on so many occasions.

    I agree completely with your evaluation of Karstens – and the Hurdle stubbornness on Barmes and overall inflexibility.

    The Byrd “gamble” proved to be worth it. Keep him IF his demands are reasonable. The gambles on Morneau and Lambo were pie-in-the-sky failures.

    Forget Peralta.

    First basemen are made or created; they are not born. The easiest position on the diamond to solve. Don’t fret over who mans the spot. Platoon if you must.

    Forget about Corey Hart. I too await Polanco. Keep Tabata happy in some way while daily igniting a fire under him and his seeming mood swings or ennui.

  174. Reasonable post, Robert, but I disagree on 1 item.

    Not all first-baseman are created equal, if created at all. It might be the easiest position on the diamond to solve, but not all puzzle pieces fit.

    I give you Jeff Clement and Garrett Jones.

    I, for one, was glad to have Morneau there for the stretch run.

    Otherwise, very interesting reading.

  175. Bob Hasis says:

    Lucky, I wasn’t singling a particular person who was the answer, but rather intending that while we may not have found HIM, he is there or will be created. People here have said quite often that Pedro is the answer; but is he? He still has to face left-handed pitching, and we lose the strongest third base in the majors.

    I had less love for Clement than Jones, but yes, they were overall failures.

    We brought in Morneau with high expectations, but he was essentially a failure. My man Presley had more HRs in the last month – and RBIs

  176. I was there!

    And if you listen to others, 150,000 were there with me!!

  177. Bob Hasis says:

    third base ARM. . . .

  178. Arriba Wilver says:

    Congrats, Groat. You were one of the 13,000.

  179. Hasty Bob,

    I agree with every word you wrote above!!!

    (Except, of course your one subordinate clause where your intractability about Hurdle and Barmes sneaked in. However, you can’t help yourself, and it was only a “subordinate” clause!)

    Write this date down!!!

  180. Bob Hasis says:

    . . .and Morneau is a slower – by far – runner than Giancarlo Stanton.

    So what value were we seeking in Morneau? I say just another failed shot in the dark at an over the hill player.

  181. Also attended Willie’s last game at Three Rivers——many tears around me as he circled the field in a convertible——and the last game at Forbes Field.

    I have a metal scoreboard # hanging in my living room absconded from the field that day, plus a bullpen chair that at times had Elroy Face’s butt cheeks on it.

    Dang, I must be getting old.

  182. Bob Hasis says:

    Write it down that YOU agreed with me?

    I mentioned Hurdle only as a response to the original entry of Hurdle’s inflexibility, and in the process of doing that, it must be mentioned of his (Hurdle’s) insistence on putting a .211 avg. into the lineup over a .285 avg. with (if at all ) a minimum of defensive value.
    I mentioned this the other day, but think about it; how many times is there in a game where Barmes will be able to make a play that Mercer couldn’t, and how times are 4 at bats of a .285 hitter likely to be of more value over a .211 hitter?

  183. But a “shot” that was appropriate to be made after his 9 HRs in August.

    Despite Morneau’s leading the Pirates in hits during the St. Louis series, few will see him as the answer for 2014 and beyond.

    I, with you, agree that Pedro is NOT the answer at 1st base in 2014. This is where a good GM will get creative and get the Bucs a hitter who can also dig Pedro’s and Mercer’s throws out of the dirt. Let’s see if Pirates’ GM can do his job.

    “Making” a new 1st baseman with the erratic nature of Pedro’s and Mercer’s arms would not be a good idea.

  184. I’m a Mercer guy, too, Bob, but he had some real defensive lapses at key times that really stuck out like sore thumbs.

    I’d like to see him start and Barmes back him up next season.

  185. Well, just to use your figures, Mercer gets 7 more hits every 100 ABs.

    #8 batter tends to get 4 ABs a game, minus sac and walk #s. So 25-30 games to get 100 ABs give or take.

    That probably means Mercer would get an extra hit over Barmes once every 7 or 8 games.

    I sort of think the opportunity for a shortstop, the most important defensive fielder, to make a difference in the field might be more than once every 7 or 8 games.

  186. Arriba Wilver says:

    Batted .292 in the playoffs. Defense was superb since he got here.

  187. Bob Hasis says:

    Pure supposition which I will not debate. Give me the offense all day long.

  188. Bob Hasis says:

    He had 15 errors and CB had 13. And his range and quickness were noteworthy – to me at least

  189. Bob Hasis says:

    And remember I said “make a play where Mercer couldn’t”

  190. Bob Hasis says:

    You’re old if you can remember the swagger, the strut, when that 5’8″ dynamo strode in from right field, and you knew he was going feed the batter fork balls only – and the batter was helpless.

  191. I would have to go elsewhere to look up the stats, but I’m guessing Barmes played twice the innings at short than Mercer did.

  192. I worked for a time as Manager of a car store and sold the Baron of the Bullpen a used car once——a used, tan Buick Regal, I think——and we talked Pirate baseball.

    I asked for his autograph, of course, (not just on the finance contract) which hangs in my bedroom.

  193. Arriba Wilver says:

    I agree with everything you’re saying, Groat, but Barmes played 804 innings at SS and Jordy 594. Doesn’t change the point. Bob just doesn’t like the “way” Clint plays short.

  194. Arriba Wilver says:

    I used to be a Face fan, but my enthusiasm cooled considerably after reading that he was the one guy in the clubhouse that wouldn’t accept Clemente because of his race. Maybe that’s inaccurate, but that’s what I read.

  195. Thanks, Wilver Dornel!!!

    So Barmes played 35% more innings at short than Mercer and made 2 less errors.

    However, I agree with you, Wilver Dornel: Hasty Bob’s argument is more about style than substance.

  196. Maybe that was true . . . . I sure hope not.

    But when I met him, he was a carpenter at Mayview State Hospital and he had a black guy, a co-worker, come with him to help pick out his car.

    If the first story is true, things musta changed.

  197. cmat0829 says:

    Plenty of time for hot stove talk, but just a quick two cents… just because we sign, say, Marlon Byrd to a 2-year deal does NOT mean that he blocks Polanco. What it would do is ensure we don’t rush Polanco to ‘fill a need at the ML level’, which is almost always a bad idea… and when Polanco is ready, he gets his spot. Byrd can easily be traded at that point.

    I have always thought the Bucs should be more aggressive in that extra year to veterans because we can always make trades if need be to make room. The Dodgers, for example, before the injuries, were in position to trade one of their outfielders (Ethier, Kemp or Crawford) to make room for Puig. And those contracts are way bigger than what Byrd would command.

  198. Bob Hasis says:

    AW is wrong – again! He conveniently overlooked the 188 innings that Mercer played at other positions (178 at 2B where he made 3 errors, and 10 innings at 1B and 3B). Twelve E’s @ SS.

    Mercer totaled 782 innings and showed he was more versatile than CB.

    You call it style, I call it correct procedure. Barmes arm is the weakest in the majors. (my opinion)

    There were only 6 SS’s that batted higher than Mercer considering #of AB’s. There were ZERO SS’s who batted lower than Barmes considering #of AB’s

 
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