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Vacation discussion thread 10-17

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Here’s a discussion thread for the day. I’ll be back from this five-day break with coverage of Steelers-Ravens on Sunday from Heinz Field.

Game posts will continue to go up as usual, resuming with Penguins-Flyers tonight.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

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


  1. Interesting thread this morning.

  2. Riveting thread, indeed.

    Heading up to Philly this afternoon from the DC area for the game. Okay, mainly for a Tony Luke’s or Pat’s cheesesteak, but the game should be fun, too. Hope the crowd is extra loud and passionate when they start they start sending Sid their love with that eloquent chant, as the worse it is the better he seems to play there.

    And happy anniversary to the last two Pirate World Series game 7 victories.

    • Now THAT’s interesting.

      Enjoy the game. And bring home a win.

      Or we’ll blame you.

      • Have been at the last two games when the Pens ended 10+ game winning streaks. Hoping the Scapper Black Cloud has been lifted.

        • Borrow Thunder’s lucky hat. (He has to have some redeeming characteristic. Doesn’t he?)

          Not the new playoff hat. Obviously.

          You gotta wear the old greasy one.

          And be careful when you wear it.

          Don’t stand too near open flames. Or wild animals.

  3. JAL’s The Chamber of 32 Doors Morning Links


    1- MLB Transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    3 Pittsburgh Pirates Stats

    BLOGS and such

    4—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: How the Pirates Can Benefit From a New Minor League Team

    Pittsburgh Pirates 2013 Season Recap: First Base

    AFL Recap: Tyler Waldron Throws Three Shutout Innings in Win

    5 Bucs Dugout

    GCL Pirates season review

    Bucs Dugout Podcast: Looking back at 2013

    6 Rumbunter

    Wandy Rodriguez in 2014: Rested or Broke?

    7 PBC Site

    Pirates add rookie-level Appalachian League team

    8 The Green Weenie

    Pittsburgh – Catching 2014

    9 KDKA

    Walk On Wednesday: Things Are Pointing Up For The Pirates

    10 Bleacher Report

    The Best Major League Baseball Announcers of All Time

  4. NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 Minneapolis Star Tribune

    Hartman: Free agent Morneau will look for a winner

    12 Baseball America

    2013 Draft Report Cards: First Impressions Of The Draft Classes

    13 Beaver County Times

    Leyland: Pirates had ‘heckuva year’

    14 Detroit Free Press

    Mitch Albom: With a text, Austin Jackson finds himself, Detroit Tigers tie ALCS

    15 Boston Herald

    Tigers pound Jake Peavy, Sox to even series at 2

    16 Allied News

    EXTRA INNINGS: Happy for past season; happier for seasons to come

    17 St Louis Post Dispatch

    This was one Redbirds let get away

    Cards miss early chance, lose to Dodgers

    18 LA Times

    Dodgers put on power display in 6-4 win over Cardinals in Game 5,0,5006990.story#axzz2hyWKNru4


    19 Baseball Prospectus

    11 Dollar Sign on the Muscle Excerpt Scouting Makeup in 2013

    20 Fangraphs

    Less Premature Statistical Report on the Arizona Fall League

  5. Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    5 Burning Questions on the Steelers

    Antonio Brown unsure whether alleged altercation with Todd Haley increased his production

    22 Steelers Gab

    Win A FREE “100 Things” Steelers Book By Guessing Sunday’s Steelers-Ravens Score!


    23 USA Today

    Mexican soccer owes a big thank you to the U.S. national team

    24 World Soccer Daily

    the stories you need to read, 16th October, 2013


    25 Pensburgh

    Remembering to celebrate Sidney Crosby

  6. JAL ~ thanks for the hockey link! I recommend it to everyone…Sid is indeed a special talent.

    • On pace for 200 points this season.

      Living in Chicago, I can tell you that Sid envy extends beyond the East Coast. People here who claim to be hockey fans often say things like, “Crosby is a jerk.” Or, “Crosby’s a whiner, a baby.” Or, the worst of all, “Crosby is overrated.” They actually think guys like Toews and Kane are better than him.

      My response? He may outscore Kane and Toews TOGETHER this year. Anyone who thinks he is not the best player in the world, get set for a show this year. I think he may lead the league by at least 20 points this season.

      • These same people who call him Cindy and knock him, if he were to come to THEIR team, would be his #1 fans. lol.
        It’s the nature of an average hockey fan.

        I hope with the league cracking down on bad hits, he has a WHALE of a season and shuts up ALL his detractors.

        • I think hockey is a sport that is so infectious to watch that it is finally starting to draw a lot of local sports fans, at least in Chicago, who get excited that their team is good. A lot of people have no idea what they are watching, and they really don’t understand the game except on a surface level. But, the team is great and they love watching it. So, they think they know what they are talking about.

          Maybe that is a good thing because, ironically, what hockey has always lacked is casual fans. At least, that is what the media experts always tell us. Maybe the league is turning a corner in that regard. Ok, I’m off on a tangent. Anyway, I think there are a lot of surface fans who just parrot what the jealous fans of other teams say about Sid. It is very easy to just say he is a punk if you don’t have to actually get challenged on it. I know that happens with athletes in all pro sports. They often get mislabeled by fans. But, in Sid’s case, it seems to me that people could not be more wrong than to trash this guy. Not only is he the best player in the world, but he seems like one heck of a great young man off the ice. Just my $.02.

          Unlike other sports, though, even idiot national NHL commentators join in the ripping of Crosby. They take subtle cheap shots on the air, and all that does is fuel the idiot fans in other cities. I don’t think they do that for other pro sports. No one in announcing for the NFL rips Tom Brady, for instance.

          • Jim, you’re spot on. Casual fan is what I meant by average fan. It’s all fun and games to rip an opponent’s star player, but what they don’t realize is that they look like idiots doing it. Numbers don’t lie. The unfortunate thing is, Sid brought the Cry-baby/Whiner names on himself when he came into the league. he DID do a lot of crying to the refs. He was a kid. He’s matured into a rather admirable young man and a wonderful human.
            As far as the NHL commentators, most of them were hockey players, and they’re jealous! lol

          • I hate being mislabelled.

        • WHALE of a season?
          Hartford doesnt have an NHL team anymore………… ;)

          • haha Hipposter! :P

            How are you this wet Thursday?

            • I am good.
              Saw Brandies dirge last night……. really hope she is ok.

              Well, Philthy, but you get my drift………..

              Hope to see you here today, popping in and out, not a big fan of watching vacation slides, ya know……….

              Hope all is well in your world, J-Girl. Try to catch ya later.


              • Yeah I saw Brandie’s confession.

                She’s a good girl, she’ll be fine. Just gotta take it one day at a time and do what she has to do. I just want her to remember to do what she needs to do for herself, mainly. No one else can do that.
                Sending prayers and good vibes her way.

                I have lots of work to get caught up on, so i’ll be in and out too. Enjoy the day, Hipposter :)

              • I have been mostly out lately, so I didn’t hear anything about Brandie. But, I hope she’ll be ok.

          • And because of that fact – I will never follow hockey again. Took my heart when they left. Haven’t cared to watch a game since.

        • sing it loud and proud jandylicious!!!

      • Oops! My math is wrong. He is “only” on pace for 164 points right now. But, he is on a tear now. That will increases.

        • LOL he’ll have his slumps like every hockey player does, Jim.
          But yeah, He’s tearing it up, glad to see him healthy.

        • Remember, Crosby is injury prone.
          I want him healthy, dont really care how many points he scores.

          Just sayin’

          • Well, once you have a bad concussion, I’d say you are prone to other bad ones. So, he has to be careful about that.

            But, I’m not sure he is injury prone. The shot he took in the jaw was just an unlucky deflection. It is true that it put him out of the lineup for a long time. But, that would have happened to anyone.

            I don’t think he has injuries that are a sign of his body breaking down. Does that make sense, plan? I think there is a distinction between a guy being injury prone because his body is breaking down and a freak injury. Not disagreeing that he has missed a lot of time the last few years. I guess I’m just saying that I don’t think it points to him missing a lot of games in the future.

            • I follow ya, Jim. And no, Sid is not breaking down, he’s strong as a horse.

            • I dont know if his body is breaking down, but he does get injured a lot, it seems. Lower body injuries, that jaw thing…….. look, when a player has a lot of injuries, even if they are “freaky unlucky” injuries, that player is injury prone.

              And, Jandy, I know Sid is in good shape, but that makes the injuries even more perplexing. And, dont forget Game 7 of the 09 Cup Finals……. Franzen checked Crosby, and he was done.

              • yes, that’s the one that clearly sticks out beside the multiple concussions and jaw thing. Franzen checked him hard into the boards… I dunno what happened there. Anyway, not sure of any other injury.

              • Hipposter, there aren’t a “lot” of other injuries. His main problems have been concussion-related for the puck to the mouth thing.
                Letang deals with more injuries by far.

              • bah yes. Thanks Jandy. I’m having trouble completing my thoughts today. My point was besides the concussions and jaw thing, what else is there? Or is the concussion thing alone enough to make him injury prone… I would probably argue that it does… atleast moreso than another hockey player with no major history of concussions.

              • It’s all good, Kevin. :)

            • Do that again Jandy! Wait a sec til my rubber mask is adjusted please.

              Looks like Dupuis is breaking out. I think he’s going to have a monster year.

              “Roll call for Brandan Sutter… Mr. Sutter? Where are you Mr. Sutter.” Tanner Glass and Craig Adams have mo’ goals that Brandan Sutter. What’s this world coming to?

              That was a fun game against Edmonton. There’s so much frikken talent on that team that if they ever get it together as a team they’re going to be a juggernaut.

              Raise it and call Edmonton a bunch a wet-behind-the-ears jagoffs and then give ‘em a slice of chip-chopped ham

            • buggeeee! You’re a sucker for punishment, friend. :)


              Edmonton has a lot of young talent that will be lethal next season.

              Sutter is just fine, he’s playing great…

        • Um, that’s Maxim not Ian. I never thought of Ian Lapierre as a cheap shot guy. Ian fought and played with an abundance of grit but I thought he was a good hard nosed forward, the kind of guy every team wants at least one of on thier roster, “tough to play against”.

      • Crosby is easily the best player in the game and fun to watch.

        As far as the backlash against him, I think that is more a facet of the hype when he was coming in to the league than anything else.

        I hope Gretzky never names another teenager the “Next One”. I’m not saying this is all Wayne’s fault by any means but any kid anointed the “Next One” will face backlash.

        • I think that is where it started, Billy. But, the people doing it in NHL studios know better now. The evidence is very clear about his ability, his leadership, and that he is a great guy. They are just doing it now out of spite – nothing more, IMO.

          • Agreed. I like to think that it wouldn’t have reached this level without that start and the hype of the first few seasons.

            • You are definitely right about that.

              • And, my point about other pro sports is they would not put up with unprovoked “shots” about their stars. No one in a NFL booth will ever utter anything bad, not one word, about Peyton or Brady. For goodness sakes, they never even said a bad word about Ray Lewis. They will occasionally criticize other guys who cause their own problems, like Ben. But, if a guy is a star and does nothing off the field to harm his own image, nothing but great things will be said about him from inside the league. That carries over, IMO, to casual fans.

            • Sid brought a bit of this upon himself, when he was “young and stupid” coming into the league. See my comment above. But for anyone to keep harping on that old tired stuff, it just shows how immature “they” are.

              • I agree that Sid did not help his case with some of his behavior in early seasons.

                Agreed that the continued harping on it says more about the speakers than subject at this point.

              • True, when he was 18 or 19.

                The Bradys of the world, and I know I keep using him as an example, get to whine at their coaches, their teammates, and the refs all season long, and they are “fiery leaders.” And they don’t even get to the league until they are 22.

                It’s just one more example of why the NHL doesn’t completely get it yet as far as marketing itself. Honest criticism is fine. Carrying a grudge for almost 10 years after it was true is not.

              • Well said, Jim!

        • um, not to be contrary.. but who are the other people you would consider in “running” for the best hockey player in the world? I am also assuming you are limiting it to just forwards otherwise we’d have to include Jonathan Quick. Obviously Datsyuk is on the board. I’ll let others reply and then I’ll give my opinion.

      • So, I admittely don’t know much about hockey, but I do know Sid is the best in the world.

        I was watching the NHL Network the other day and one of their commentators was saying how Sid looks like pre-concussion Sid again.

        Again, I dont know much about hockey. Who should play this line or that line, but I can see who the fastest dude on the ice is and game in, game out, its Sid.

        I honestly give hockey a go, but then something stupid happens that I can’t get into.

        The sport is actually one of the most exciting sports to watch, edge of your seat type dynamics, perhaps its the soccer style scoring.

        • Ryan, as much as you know about baseball, you could be an expert on hockey in months. Maybe you prefer not to? ;)

          • Ha! Oh I could pick it up, I try.

            Maybe its all the foreign names I can’t pronounce.

            So I assume the lines are to make the best match ups. Since the players don’t play every minute, you want the lines to provide the best match ups against the other guys stuff.

            Similiar to relief pitching match ups?

            • very much like it.

              As far as the names, I can’t pronounce a lot of them anyway. I butcher them in my own way and provide hubby with countless laughs lol

              It’s so fast, it’s never boring. It’s a lot of fun to try to watch everything all at once, as it happens so fast.

  7. Catching a little of the Cards and Dodgers and thinking that if the Bucs just had a better plan vs. Wacha in Game 4, they might be the ones who are up 3-2 on the Dodgers right now rather than St. Louis. A lot of people speculated at the time that they should have done something to get him off his pace during the game. Step out now and again, anything to interrupt his pace.

    Oh well, you don’t get to replay games. The Bucs were very close, though, and the fact that the Cards now have 2 chances at home to close out the Dodgers after struggling to fight off the Bucs shows how close our team was to making a World Series run. Hopefully, we can shore up in a few areas over the winter, and make another run next year.

    Baseball America just announced its draft rankings for 2013. I know it doesn’t assure us of anything in the future just yet, but the Bucs were thought to have the best draft in MLB in 2013. Meadows and McGuire in Round 1 look like really good picks right now, and they appear to have grabbed some other nice players all throughout the draft. The only way to sustain success is to have solid drafts, year after year.

    • woulda coulda shoulda.

      I want them to do well next season :)

    • I’m going to act like a lawyer and give both arguments re the BA ranking and leave everyone befuddled with my inability to take a stand.

      1. Why the BA 2013 ranking doesn’t matter much if at all.

      A. It has only been four months since these guys were drafted. Two or three since they signed.
      B. These rankings tend to follow overall perceptions of the franchise. Pirates trending up? That helps rankings about ANY matter. Sounds cynical but I think it is human nature. For instance, and although it’s not a ranking thing, it’s sorta why Wade Boggs got so many ball calls on borderline pitches. Or strikes for Maddox. Doesn’t mean that a team that deserves a ranking of 24 will get #1. But since it is totally objective, the difference between 1-2-3, or between 23-24-25, might be influenced by other, franchise perceptional issues.

      2. Why the BA 2013 ranking DOES matter.

      A. Sure, it’s not crucial, but isn’t it better than being ranked 10th? Or 24th?
      B. Isn’t the answer in 1B an argument FOR it’s value? So #1 might be easily or fairly ranked 1, 2 or 3 or so. But NOT 24. Isn’t it meaningful and positive simply to be Top 3?

      I keep flip-flopping between Who Cares?…and…Better Than The Alternative.

      • Just hit me to ask…can it sorta be both?

      • I think #2 is accurate, Drew. The rankings don’t mean much right now. But, the fact is, the guys the Bucs grabbed in round 1 pretty much tore it up in their first short season. Doesn’t mean they will be future stars. But, there is a lot better chance of a kid becoming a star if he has success right away than a kid who doesn’t. Kids who don’t have immediate success are not necessarily doomed for failure. But, the chances of them becoming impact MLB players are less than the ones who succeed right away. That is just logical.

  8. When other teams’ fans say they just don’t like Sid…fair enough.

    When they say he whined and cried too much at first…fair enough.

    When they say it just irks them that the league has used him as the face of the game when they could have spread it around more and used more of the other stars? Again, I hear ya.

    But when they say he sucks, is overrated, is soft…goodbye credibility.

    I know a number of Flyers and Caps fans who don’t like him but admit that he does not, in any way, suck. I use the same argument for Ovie. I don’t care for a lot of what he does, and his game has its weaknesses, but c’mon, as pure goal scorer? He’s simply thrilling. I’ve seen all the great goal scorers for a long time, and this guy is as deadly as any of them from ANYWHERE on the ice. Does he “suck”? Um…no.

    • Exactly. At some point, you just look foolish when you try to say a guy isn’t any good when he is tearing up his sport right before your eyes.

    • Well said. As a Pens fan living in Flyers country, I have this conversation many times a year. In fact just had it a few minutes ago with a new guy at work where I was introduced as “one of the Pittsburgh people”. With the game tonight, it went straight to Crosby. To the new guys credit after a few of the pat lines about Crosby, he did admit Crosby is a great player. He just hates him because he’s on the Pens and plays well against the Flyers.

      Lets go Pens!!!

  9. Gotta catch a plane home. Have fun talking! Go Pens!

  10. Vandergrift native & former big leaguer Rudy Minarcin has died at 83. Rudy pitched 73 games in the major leagues & served his country honorably in Korea. His career highlight came in 1955 while pitching for Cincinnati when he pitched a 1 hit shutout against the Pirates at Forbes Field.

    Rest in peace Rudy.

    • I just looked it up. The hit was a 2nd inning single by Dale Long.

    • RIP Rudy.

      I never heard of this guy, Milo. Thanks for bringing his story to our attention :)

    • My father fought in Korea. Was evacuated out of the Pusan Perimeter and was involved with the Inchon Landing. Never spoke of it. I had to learn about it in history books.

      A remarkable generation of Americans. Korean war vets are disappearing.

      • My ex has an uncle that in the Korean War. He’s messed up in the head. Seriously. He mentally abused his daughter for years. I intervened a lot, taking her to my house for as long as 3 -4 weeks at a time. After she graduated high school and went away to college, he got some help. He’s on medication to control his mood swings/anxiety issues. He actually realized how bad he had been and apologized to his daughter.
        Sad, sad stuff.

      • So true. When I was a little boy and I would go to parades with my grandmother, there were still WWI vets marching. Where did it all go ? Now I’m depressed.

  11. How bout that there Matt Cooke? Reaching out to Patrick Kaleta to help him learn the non-goon hockey style.

    • oh yeah, not only does Cooke not have any penalty minutes this year, he also LEADS the Wild in scoring. How awesome is that.

    • Cookie is a good human being and a very good hockey player. I miss him!

      • and this too!. He’s a much better player since he changed from goon-headhunter cookie to responsible-mindful cookie. It’s also clear to see the early cookie wasn’t any better than a 4th line grit player whereas now he might be a top 6 forward.

      • Cooke really turned around his entire life when he changed the way he played. He became much more of a family man and a contributor to the community. In the league, he will forever carry the stigma of being a dirty player and he earned that label. I think he will be the first to admit that he made some mistakes in his life and on the ice and he cannot change those things.

        I miss having Cookie on the team and wish him all the best in Minnesota. I also truly respect that he is reaching out and offering assistance to players on other teams. It shows he cares more about human life and the game of hockey in general and this is a great thing.

        Keep up the good work!

    • Minnesota Wild rule!! :)

      I predict Parise captains the United States Men’s National Hockey Team in Sochi .

      Dang, that team is going to be strong with Quick in goal.

  12. As for players who are amazing and universally liked, Pavel Datsyuk comes to mind. I have yet to meet a person who speaks negatively about “the magician”. Appreciating stars on other people’s teams is possible. We know that. I wish Sid’s naysayers knew this, too.

    • Here is my problem with Datsyuk (and it has absolutely nothing to do with him). Detroit fans and Datsyuk fans in general are almost always some of the biggest Crosby haters. I understand them being upset that Crosby gets so much attention while Datsyuk kinda flies under the radar, but hearing Datsyuk fans talk about it is so annoying.

      That said, Datsyuk is one of best (if not the best) two way player I have ever watched. Not only is his puck handling skill out of this world, but he is a backchecking fiend as well. Great player.

      • Iceman,

        Just curious… When you say hearing Detroit fans talk about “it”, do you mean hating Crosby in general, or Wings fans talking about how fantastic Datsyuk is and how other people do not acknowledge his skill because of Crosby? Or both?

        All the cool cats believe and understand that talent should be celebrated, regardless of their team. Except when it comes to the Flyers.
        and yes, I understand that I am not a cool cat because of that last sentence. :)

    • I agree with you that there are players that you can respect. They just play their game. On the other hand, people can find plenty of reasons to dislike a certain player. For example, ottawa senators fans and Matt Cooke. Or penguins fans and Chloe Geeroo. When part of their game style is to get under the other teams skin (which… im pretty sure is the flyers MO when playing the penguins), it doesn’t take much to develop a very great dislike for a certain player.

      I can also see that with Sid. He plays with some edge and, atleast in the early years, complained to the refs to get calls. He’s the captain though so that’s part of the job.

      So, while I agree with you, its not just that so-n-so is the proclaimed best player in the world. It’s playing style too and whatever they can pick out. There’s not alot to hate about datsyuk, he’s just really good.

      • One example, did anyone see in the game the other night… I think it might have been panthers. Some guy delivered a “cheap” hit on Kunitz (I think) and Crosby went over and subtly took his legs out. Obviously (to me), he’s just sticking up for his teammate. I didn’t like that play so obviously a panther fan REALLY would not like that play.

  13. Just checking in

    Any more lunatic sign-ins?

    As slowly getting into retirement mode, even here ;-)

  14. Will be hopping a commuter flight to Filth-a-delphia in about an hour. This visit to The-Biggest Armpit-In-The-Western-Hemisphere should be great fun for 2 reasons:

    1. How could such a colossal dump come up with something so frikken good as that cheesesteak?!?!?! (nobody does it better than Tony Luke, but hey Tony, go easy on all the onions please)

    2. To bask in the trainwreck that is the Flyers. I still laugh at this absurd comment: “Claude Girioux is the best hockey player in the world!” Brings a tear to me eye it does it does.

    remember to be exceedingly rude to each other but smile so it eases the pain of the knives going into each other’s backs ‘n’ ‘at. Raise It and Smoke It. You’ll find IT in your local hookah shoppe

  15. See some peeps (relatives of the Duck) on the Pens thread tonight.

    I would like to wish everyone a Happy Four Prunes Day, and a Happy National Pasta Day.


  16. Engelland playing right wing tonight. Now there’s a creative way to hang on to an extra defenseman.

  17. Yesterday’s love for Robert Bortuzzo has now morphed into today’s for Dustin Jeffrey. Let’s see, THEY BOTH STINK. That’s all. :)

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