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Morning Java: Who’s your Steelers MVP?

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The Thursday column rewinds four whole days to fully appreciate an individual performance that, as you’ll see why, couldn’t have been fully appreciated at the time.

I mean this when I say thank you to Nate LoCascio and the Steelers’ staff and those involved for their help in putting together this piece yesterday on the South Side. Above and beyond.

Here’s some of what Lawrence Timmons had to say in our good talk …

Let me hear from you: Who’s your Steelers MVP to this point?

Some other randomness from the South Side yesterday: Cam Heyward stood for the entire opening half-hour media session and handled wave after wave of interview requests, all with a smile, all with comportment. That included this annoying session, too. For a guy who for so long  sat quietly at his stall without anyone asking him anything, you could tell he’s enjoying being a real part of this defense at last. … Great answer by Ben Roethlisberger when asked about being rated the NFL’s fourth-most hated player in a pointless Forbes poll in which QBs took seven of the top 10 spots: “I think a lot of people don’t like us because we’re usually the ones who help beat their team.” He meant QBs, not the Steelers. And he’s right. … Remember that huge tackle-for-loss Steve McLendon had Sunday to kill a Baltimore drive? He asked me to give full credit to D-line coach John Mitchell, who had stressed to him all week “to have my feet moving with my hands at all times. It’s all about technique.” Mac took exactly that approach in blowing through the Ravens’ line. Little things. … Because Timmons already has been cleared to play in Oakland, I didn’t bother much in the column with a status update on his hand. But Timmons did tell me the hand felt “good” and “a lot better” than when injured. He was wearing a soft cast. … Jarvis Jones didn’t sound all that pumped about being inactive against the Ravens, given a late rejection by the Steelers’ medical advisors regarding his concussion. But hey, I’d rather have that than risk this kid’s future. Let’s hope it becomes a common refrain in the NFL.

David DeCastro comes with guarded optimismAlan Robinson reports.

Shaun Suisham is really good at kicking. Mark Kaboly reports.

Terrelle Pryor retells a draft encounter with Mike Tomlin.

Roethlisberger talks about Oakland’s environment and other stuff …

Here’s our full Steelers coverage.

Here’s Raiders news from the San Francisco Chronicle.

Here are official game highlights from

>> Kris Letang’s skates are sharpened for a Friday debut, by Josh Yohe.

Here’s our full Penguins coverage.

Here’s Islanders news from Newsday.

>> The Sabres are a sad joke. The firing of Lindy Ruff has only been compounded by the embarrassing performance and behavior behind the bench of Ron Rolston, who might be fired by the time you read this.

And if you haven’t seen the thug John Scott’s latest cheap shot, look away now.

Brendan Shanahan had better top the 10-game threshold for that one. If not, the infamous 17-game suspension meted to Matt Cooke will continue to be more and more of an outlier.

The franchise needs to start over, top to bottom. All there is to it. The guy who should have been fired was Darcy Regier, not Ruff. One would think that’s imminent, too.

>> Roger Staubach looks back at an epic Pitt-Navy clash 50 years ago. Jerry DiPaola writes. Good stuff from the Dallas legend on what makes the academies’ games more special than ever: “The good news is the American people are really helping and supporting veterans today. They didn’t do a lot of that after Vietnam.”

>> Jordan Lucas is cornering confidence for Penn State. Chris Adamski writes.

>> Really nice preseason showing for Pitt’s Steven Adams for the NBA’s Oklahoma City franchise: 11 points, seven boards, two assists, two steals. Right decision?

>> I’ll be with the Penguins out at Southpointe this morning, and I’ll check in with TribLIVE Radio at 11:30 a.m.

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. For now on, let’s refer to Buffalo’s hockey team as the Buffalo Jokes… that team, what a mess and embarrassment. Preseason incident involving John Scott trying to go after Toronto’s Phil Kessel, Patrik Kaleta’s 10-game suspension for a hit to the head and now tonight’s blatant shoulder into the head of the Bruins Loui Eriksson by Scott.

    The NHL will never take the step it could easily make by continuing to employ goons and cultivate the culture of acceptance for these incidents. This isn’t just the league and owners, I’m talking about the cowardice of the players and the NHLPA leadership.

    If Donald Fehr wants to get some real bonafide CBA improvements, let’s see him and his constituency come out and support stiffer fines and suspensions for hits to the head and elimination of fighting.

    Let’s remember, it was the big bad Bruins with all their tough guys in the lineup that have seen Matt Cooke nail Marc Savard and now tonight’s hit on Eriksson, so to say fighting stops those hits or protect the stars is a bunch of hogwash.

    • Think they regret letting Lindy Ruff go?
      Be careful what you ask for……………. speaking of which, I dont which team is worse……… Buffalo or Philthy.

    • There have been SO MANY hits to the head, suspensions and fines dished out, but it’s STILL happening ridiculously often. And we’re only about 10 games in. These morons targeting the head need stiffer fines and longer suspensions. I love a good, fair hockey fight, but these hits are cowardly and dangerous.

    • Seems like we get one of these videos every day. 10 games – heck, I say 20 or 30. That guy skated all the way across the ice at Eriksson and elbowed him in the head. Period. Only way to stop it is to take players’ money away with a nice long suspension.

    • Not to condone it, but if you also read the blog comments some folks are saying it was payback for Lucic nailing Miller, and the lack of punishment for it. I vaguely remember that play.

  2. Until I see more consistency out of other players on the Steelers roster, I’ll stick with Shaun Suisham as the team MVP and this comes from someone who thinks the NFL needs to make some radical changes about the kicking game.

  3. Speaking of football, excellent column. Adrenaline or no, a broken hand and still makes 6 more tackles. The man’s a ballplayer, that’s all there is to it.

    • Like I said yesterday, can Timmons skate? Sign him up for the Pen if he can, he’s one tough mofo :)

    • I believe he started to realize all of that potential last year, and now he has turned a corner toward true stardom. Sometimes I forget that he was 20 when he arrived, and even though he was solid pretty quickly, I always thought there was more. Good for LT.

  4. Sorry DK…let’s get to a .500 record BEFORE we talk about an “MVP” on this awfull 2-4 team…..sheeesh !!
    A bunch of “self-absorbed” under-achievers and excuse makers….for the past 2 years on this roster.
    My vote for Steelers MVP is _______ . :-(

    • On the flip side it is nice to see Pitt’s Steven Adams have some success in his pre-season games with OKC…..he’s played in in 6 pre-season games and is averaging 8 pts., 8 Rbs, 1 Ast, 1 Blk per game so far. Yes….it is pre-season….but at least holding his own….averaging 28 minutes a game so far.

      • Thanks for that update, Bats. I wish he had stayed one more year at Pitt, but I guess he did what he felt he had to do. I’m glad he is doing well so far.

  5. They’re not even at the half way point in their season so it’s too early for me to think of a Steeler MVP. (plus I didn’t watch all the games – EYE am still caring about baseball).

    And it is too early in the day for me to look up the definition of ‘comportment’. But I did.

  6. Timmons is a beast. Guy Whimper foir MVP.

    • Brandie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Hope you’re hangin in there, sistah <3

    • Mornin’, ladies! :)

      • Hey Temptress! Good to see you :)

        • I’m around…always lurking & watching all sports Pittsburgh (well…pro, anyway…not much into college). Mostly comment on baseball, though…like: should have been US pummeled by the Sox last night! Sigh…


          • the Sox wouldn’t have pummeled us THAT bad ;)

            • HAHA!! Maybe not at all! Cards sure helped by imitating the Bad News Bears. Yikes!

              • yeah so I heard lol. I was rather happy about that.

              • On my son’s 11 year old team this year, the head coach made a rule about the pitchers not being allowed to catch pop-ups. I told him it was going to backfire. About a week later, with 2 outs and runners on 2nd/3rd the other team hit a soft pop right back toward the mound. Our SS and 2b came charging at the ball and could not get there in time. It dropped right on the mound as the pitcher stood and watched – just as he was instructed. 2 runs scored. The next day, the head coach said, “Ok, that’s not a rule any more.” Haha!

              • Big of the coach to overturn the rule LOL

              • Yeah, he took it in good fun.

            • Either of our SS could have made those 2 plays. And I think our pitcher would have caught the pop right to him. :-)

              • I was thinking the same thing Jim, then I wondered where the SS would’ve been positioned.

                I also felt that Pedro would’ve gotten that ground ball that got by Freese as well.

                Again, hard to compare any of that, because of the how the Pirates position their fielders.

                Nice to dream though…….if only they could’ve gotten to Wainwright like the Sox did.

              • I was really just being snarky about the Bucs making those plays the Cards didn’t make, Nor Cal. I think there were some first game road jitters at work. It happens, even to the great Cards apparently.

                If you recall, the Cards had a blow-up game in the field vs. the Bucs (Game 2), and one where they had a Keystone Cops revival in the OF vs. the Dodgers as well. They bounced back the other 2 times. We’ll see tonight.

              • Yea I know. Still wondered if the Pirate guys could’ve gotten to those though.

                If only they could’ve gotten to Wainwright, me might’ve found out.

                Oh well.

  7. Tomlin for MVP.

    Like all great coaches, he brings out the best in columnists.

  8. NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 Boston Globe

    In World Series opener, Jon Lester excels as Red Sox roll over hapless Cardinals

    12 WDVE

    AJ Burnett 10.23.13

    13 Rant Sports

    Pittsburgh Pirates Should Target Kansas City Royals’ Billy Butler

    14 Chicago Tribune

    World Series Interest Declines, But Baseball Is Healthy,0,4744665.story

    15 Boston Herald

    Borges: Jon Lester again comes up big, outclassing Cards in Game 1

    16 LA Times

    The Dodgers’ A.J. Ellis breaks down the World Series matchups,0,7703851.story#axzz2iXYDcmun

    17 St Louis Post Dispatch

    Bernie: Cardinal Way? Game 1 was the wrong way

    Strauss: Shaky start, Beltran injury put Cards in a hole

    18 Baseball Nation

    The Perfect Game


    19 Baseball Prospectus

    Dollar Sign on the Muscle Excerpt

    20 Fangraphs

    Jon Lester Good, Cardinals Not

  9. Still not working right–1 through 10 and 20 through 25 failed to post

  10. With a 2 – 4 record there is no MVP on this team. All can share equally in the poor start to the system. Timmons has been solid though and I think he’s an outstanding player. Nice to see the arrow is pointing in the right direction for David DeCastro and Cam Heyward too. Maybe things aren’t as dire as they seem.

  11. Not often that in 2013, you get a Jon Kitna reference in a column.

  12. I would echo everyone’s Steelers thoughts. This team is 2-4, after having played a not so tough schedule so far. I don’t see any MVPs yet. They need to get above .500 before I want to discuss that.

    But, who has played the best so far? I’ve only seen 3 of the games. But, I would point to the obvious ones – Timmons and DeCastro. The offensive line has been a hot mess most of the year, but DeCastro seems to be getting it. He doesn’t commit penalties, and he doesn’t give up sacks. Both are rarities for members of this OLine. And, now they are running behind him. That’s a good sign. Now, they just need to patch the multople holes on that line.

  13. My offensive MVPs are
    #3 AB
    #2 Big Ben
    #1 Fernando

    On D
    #3 Woodley
    #2 Timmons
    #1 Ike

    On special teams I’ll go with Shawn Shaun Suisham but I know I’m going out on a limb on that one…

    Thus far the team MVP is…

  14. I’d have to give my MVP nod to Shaun Suisham by a hair over Timmons. Kicking has been the only consistent, if not outstanding part of this Steeler season (so far).

    The Cards weren’t ready for Fenway. If Wacha doesn’t win tonight, it’s over. Don’t see Bucholtz or Lester losing, regardless to where they’re playing.

    • Tonight is obviously huge, patton. I don’t think there are many locks among starters now in this series, except for Lester and maybe Wacha. Wainwright got shelled. Kelly and Lynn are questionable. For the Sox, I believe Peavy doesn’t have much left in the tank, and Bucholz has a “dead arm.” Lackey has pitched well, but it is not as if he has been lights out the past few years. He could implode. This is far from over. It will be interesting to see which starters step up big here.

      Also, if Beltran is done, that really hurts the Cards offense.

  15. Driving in to work this morning, as I was listening to MLB Radio I heard a chorus of whining and complaining from the Cardinals Manager and their fans. You have to be kidding me, Matheny! I don’t get why you went out to argue a call that the umps got RIGHT after talking it over. If you are going to argue that call AFTER they fixed it, what would you have done if you were the Red Sox Manager and they had never fixed it? I’m pretty sure he would not have just accepted that horrible call. So, he wanted it both ways. He just looked silly at the time, and even more silly after the game saying it was “hard to swallow” 3 hours later! If you are fair-minded, there is nothing at all “hard to swallow” about a blatant mistake being fixed – whether it went against your team or not. Right is right.

    Mike Matheny was out of baseball a few years before he came to the Cardinals organization. While he was out, he was a youth coach on his son’s team (I think). He sent an open letter to the parents talking about his faith, and about doing things the right way. The Manager of my son’s team got a copy and sent it to all of the parents on our team before last year. We all thought the letter set a great tone for everyone about how we were going to go about coaching the boys and expecting them to act the right way. I guess things change when you get back to the big leagues. In the big leagues, it is apparently ok to whine about umps getting the call right IF it goes against your club. Maybe I’m overstating it, but I thought Matheny looked very small still complaining after the game was over.

    • “You have to be kidding me, Matheny! I don’t get why you went out to argue a call that the umps got RIGHT after talking it over.”

      He had to, IMO. He had to go out there and ask why the call was overturned by umpires who were far away from the play when DeMuth was about 5 feet away from the play. I think you are overstating it.

      • But, 21, he didn’t just ask and walk away when presented with the answer – which is what I believe Hurdle would have done FWIW. He continued to complain about it. Then, after the game, his very words were “That was hard to swallow.” He called it “unprecedented.” I don’t think it was. It happens all the time now that umps get together and try to fix mistakes.

        What is hard to swallow for me is a coach that actually believes bad calls are ok as long as they go in his favor. And, how dare the umps make it right immediately?

        I know bad calls are part of the game. But, the umps did the right thing and caught this bad call ON THE SPOT.

        • I said below Jim that I think he could have chosen his words more carefully.

          What he was referring to as unprecedented was that exact play – not that umps get together which of course at one time not that long ago rarely happened if ever.

      • Agree 21. Whether the call was right or not. ANY manager would go out and ask the question.

        Had to be done. Should probably shut up about it though.

    • Whine?
      He was sticking up for his team. And he was getting an explanation about a call that was overturned against his team.

      And as the announcers said, he was probably asking what type of plays were the umps going to get together and have talk over —because that type of play usually isn’t that type of play that they get together and confer on.

      I had no problem with it. I had many problems with John Russell as our manager and never got off his butt to discuss calls with the umps.

      • Ok, fair enough. I thought he argued a lot more vigorously than that. But, I’ll accept that explanation. But, his team then played 8 more horrid innings, which totally proved that one play had no bearing on the outcome, and after the game he still called it “hard to swallow” and “unprecedented” in his post-game press conf. It was definitely not unprecedented, and after 3 hours I don’t see how correcting a call that he knew was wrong is hard to swallow.

        • I think he could have chosen his words a little more carefully but I don’t think it was that bad. Plus, I don’t want the umps conferring every single time a manager comes out to argue and I kind of liked the message Matheny was sending.

          • What? That’s it’s a good idea to b*tch so next time they DON’T set the record straight and correct the call?


          • In the WS, on a blatant missed call that everyone saw but one guy, you have to confer and fix it.

            • not according to some people. The guys who finally got something right are the bad guys. Ok :)

            • I personally dont care if they have to confer 20 times a game………. the object is to get the call right.
              I really didnt think there was this much to talk about…..

              • I’d rather they not confer 20 times a game, but I get your point.

                Like the NFL, they say what can be reviewed and what cannot be reviewed. I wonder if there are plays, besides balls and strikes/balks, that the umps can’t talk about?

                those are the only ones that I can think of….

              • I believe they can get together any time they feel the need.

            • Unfortunetly the one guy that didn’t see it was the one closest to the play.

              that’s the one I can’t figure out. How does he not see that there was no exchange?

              Oh well, they got it right.

        • He was already choking on his own bile after the performance his club put on for the world to see

        • It probably was hard to swallow. Wainwright giving up 5 (3 earned) in two innings was probably hard to swallow, too.

          And don’t tell me their bullpen is a shut down pen like ours. They have some fine arms in there, but once it was 5-0, it was bleak for them. And hard to swallow.

          Their ace in the hole helped put them in the hole. Tonight is huge, like you said before. They’ll need to sweep at home and still go back to Boston.

          • Maybe some alka seltzer will help ;)

          • Wasn’t it great when they brought the lefty, Kevin Siegrist in to face Big Papi and Buck did the obligatory big Cardinals lead-in, with how we was a steal of a 41st round draft pick, he throws 96, and he has been lights out, blah, blah, blah. If he had come through, we were going to hear how the Cardinals get every draft pick right.

            First pitch was sent 400 ft to RC.

            • We hit him, too, a couple times, but you’re right, Jim. Very enjoyable.

              I don’t mean to be “hateful” as they say here in the Bluegrass, but I hope the Cards are swept and the Bucs get a good view of it for inspiration for next year.

              Not that they need any.


              • And I was criticized by some on here for my criticisms of the announcers. Actually, I was mocked by a few, saying there should never be any announcers.

                But, as I say to Jandy all the time, what do I know?

              • I hope they lose, but I sort of hope they make it a decent series. BTW, that was the first homer vs a lefty batter Siegrist had given up this year. Papi has a habit of doing that. Runs in my mind that he did that earlier in the playoffs against someone else.

                I’m one of those players who doesn’t put much stock in “clutch” players. I believe more in “clutch” moments. But, Big Papi is definitely the exception in my book. He is special in tough situations in the postseason.

              • You know more than you let on, Hipposter…but that’s ok, you don’t fool Mother Theresa ;)
                I think some people like to disagree just for the sake of argument ;)

              • Someone say argue??

                I’m game, but I can’t argue the terrible voice/announcing of one Joe Buck…

                ug……and McCarver’s stories of the 60′s….He must be the Tommy Chong of baseball.

              • well, I did say argument…does that count? ;)

              • Sure does..

                Bring it on……although I don’t have much to argue in this thread.

                I agree with most of the points on here, at least the ones that I’ve actually read.

              • LOL! You’re killin me, Ryan!

    • It was ok to ask DURING the game. Since it was obviously the call was wrong to begin with, and corrected. Ask. Sit down. Shut up.
      Whining about it afterwards was indeed very small.

      • My point, exactly. Thank you for being far more breif than I was, Jandy.

      • Here is his entire comment after the game.

        “That’s not a play I’ve ever seen before, and I’m pretty sure there were six umpires on the field that had never seen that play before, either,” Matheny said. “It’s a pretty tough time to debut that overruled call in the World Series. Now, I get that trying to get the right call; I get that. Tough one to swallow.”

        • I don’t think I mis-stated Matheny’s position, if that is what you are implying.

          He never saw that play before? You buying that, 21? If you use a strict interpretation, just about every play is unique in some way.

          It was handled flawlessly together by the 6 umps after the mistake. The ump clearly told him that “the other 5 of us saw it clearly and got together to get it right because that is our job.” He came out, got his explanation, then continued to complain about it after the game.

          Can you imagine if that play had been allowed to stand, and the next guy made an out and the Cards had gone on to win? Would that not have been a travesty? Matheny would have been just fine with that result – except if the shoe were on the other foot.

          • “I don’t think I mis-stated Matheny’s position, if that is what you are implyiny.”

            No. I thought Jandy did.

            “He never saw that play before? You buying that, 21? If you use a strict interpretation, just about every play is unique in some way.”

            I believe him when he says he never saw a call on a ball exchange play of that nature overturned before. That’s how I read the entirety of the quote.

            I like that the call was corrected. I just think that Matheny didn’t want to be viewed as a pushover, especially in Game 1. I think after the game he was asked questions about it so he answered them.

            • Awwwww now 21 is saying I’m picking on Matheny …how nice :D

              • Not that you’re picking on him Jandy. I just think that saying he whined about it afterwards doesn’t consider the entirety of his quote and that he was asked about it. I thought he could have chosen his words better as I said but overall, I just don’t see his respose to this as a big deal.

              • I guess there is no clear right and wrong here, 21. Your intrepretation may be right. Things just jump out at me sometimes, and Matheny still stewing about that call 3 hours later just seemed wrong to me, given that his team played 9 awful innings AND that call was actually fixed.

                I think I’m like the kid on the commercial playing the basketball game, where the ref misses a foul call on him and he tells the ref to change the call. The coach is mad at him at first, then tells him he was right for doing that. I’m not saying I actually ever asked a ref to change a call to the advantage of the other team, nor would I advocate my players doing it. But, I was always a guy who called fouls on myself in a pick-up game. I fight like crazy to get bad calls that go against me corrected, but I see it as disengenuous to argue when bad calls that go in my team’s favor are corrected.

              • I always felt that managers argue disengenuously fairly often, including Hurdle, because they’re trying to make a point and/or establish themselves. Also the need to support a player, coach or the entire team causes them to run out of the dugout when they have no case. Just part of the game to me.

              • Leo Durocher always said he argued knowing he couldn’t win that argument, but he would make the umps think and it would be to his favor the next time.

                And he argued a lot. Some of you older folk will remember that.

                Hard to say how this one will play out.

              • I’m going to opine that nothing Matheny said about that play will help his team – nor will it hurt his team. The umps know they handled it properly. They don’t feel they owe Matheny or the Cardinals anything.

              • Agreed, Jim.

                And all Durocher ever did was make the umps think he was an idiot, not make them think the next time.

                And he guest-starred on the Beverly Hillbillies to prove it.


              • Leo the Lip.

              • In “41″ I thought they made Durocher look pretty good as a manager (morally not so much). Rickey called him in the middle of the night to say he wanted to make sure he treated Jackie fairly and Durocher said something like he’s going to take the best guys no matter what, and he would cut his own brother if he wasn’t one of the best. It was all about winning. And when Rickey told him about the ” mutiny” by the players not wanting to play with Jackie, he took care of it.

                And it was pretty neat to see Wojo from Barney Miller play Durocher’s more mild-mannered replacement.

                End of commercial.

              • Yeah, I liked his more mild-mannered replacement better than him.

                And I haven’t seen “41″ yet.

              • “I just don’t see his response to this as a big deal.”



            • I think he couldn’t wait to get into after the game. He could have just said, “I didn’t like it at the time, but they got it right and that is what they are supposed to do. And, then we continued to play horribly the rest of the game, which was why we lost.”

              He didn’t do that.

              I don’t like games being held up, either. But, this was kind of important and worth 2-3 minutes of delay. Instant replay will be doing that all the time next year, anyway.

          • If you’re buying, 21, that is! :-) :-)

        • It is game one of the World Series. Matheny should have just sat on the bench with his legs crossed.

          When he was asked about it after the game he should have replied “You guys have too much time on your hands”

    • If I were the Cards, I’d be more concerned about the Beltran injury and the lack of solid 3rd and 4th starters about now. Beltran has been money for them in the playoffs, as he usually is.

      Shame Wainwright couldn’t have sucked for a couple innings against us. Or Wacha, for that matter.

      Should be interesting tonight. I had to tune in for a few pitches last night. After all, it is the WS, even as hard as it is to take with the Cards there. Or those bearded wonders.

      • Good point, Lucky! I think the Red Sox did a great job of not swinging at the Wainwright curve. If you watch, he doesn’t usually throw it in the strike zone. The Pirates said they wanted to lay off it, but I think that is easier said than done. I think the spin of that pitch must be hard to detect. The Red Sox are just more patient than the Bucs, and it paid off with Wainwright.

  16. Hands down Antonio Brown for so-far MVP. Imagine what he’d be doing WITH a speedster complementing him?

  17. Absolutely wonderful read by Jerry DiPaola about the Pitt/Navy game 50 years ago. Thanks for bringing it to our attention, Dejan.

    If you are interested in reading about sports at the service academies, I recommend John Feinstein’s “A Civil War.” One of the better sports books out there because, like all great sports books, it’s really not about sports.

    They just don’t make men like Roger Staubach anymore, do they ?

    “On the fields of friendly strife are sown the seeds that on other days, on other fields will bear the fruits of victory.”

    ― Douglas MacArthur

    • Great comments, Osh! Didn’t Wannstedt insist that his players always show some sign of respect to the Midshipmen in the stands after the game? I don’t remember if they walked to the endzone and clapped for them or what it was. But, there was some gesture he insisted on every year, and I thought it was very classy. I’m sure other schools do things like that as well.

      I know ND has said they will always keep a spot for Navy on their schedule, purely out of respect.

      • And a cupcake win no one will complain about.

      • Wanny had them stand at the 50 yard line, and stay on the field, helmets off, and listen to the entirety of the Midshipmen sing their songs after the game. I remember one game, the cameras stayed on that in its entirety, and the announcers commented that it was one of the few times they could remember an opponent showing that type of respect.

    • The thing that stands out about this, to me anyhow, is “The good news is the American people are really helping and supporting veterans today. They didn’t do a lot of that after Vietnam.”

      I just got an email showing me all the available places that either are providing free or discounted services on Veteran’s Day. Pretty sure that didn’t take place back then.

      There are plenty of men and women in today’s military much like Roger Staubach, except without his football ability, that people do not get to see or hear. He is a great ambassador for the Navy. They need all the help they can get…..squids. LOL

      I’m allowed to say that…….most are not.

  18. DK – nice radio show this week. Listened in the car this AM. You ever give any thought or been approached about doing more than 1 show a week?

  19. My $0.02


    DeCastro (rated the 5th best guard by PFF)


    Troy (doing a lot of playmaking that’s not as obvious)


    Suisham (if he remains so at the end of the year…prob bad news)

  20. Don’t be suprised to see the Steelers end up as the team the get’s increasingly more potent as the year goes on…I have no other reason to back this up than to say that anyone denying that there is talent on both sides of the ball is simply too emotionally attached to how poor they’ve performed early.

    The Steelers took a couple of “flyers” on the offensive line and they haven’t paid off…that does not mean however that tey’ve missed on everything they’ve signed for that position. Lineman usually come out of nowhere and succeed for one reason….they work the hardest with what they have…pedigree rarely translates on these guys.

    I know Baltimore isn’t where they were last year offensively in terms of pounding the ball and opening guys up deep, but even the beleaguered Steelers defense looked quite stout…so much so in fact that just the eye test tells me they are about to turn a corner. No facts or stats to back that up….just a few years of watching the game tells me so…in fact I will put my money where my mouth is and take my own “flyer” on the Steelers D in my fantasy money league. Santa lives and dies by this league in my house….turnovers are on the horizon folks.

    • I sure hope you are right, Redus!

    • If they crawl back to .500 I’ll start to think there is hope but if they lay an egg against the Raiders yet again they will be all but irrelevant for the remainder of the season. Not mentioned in today’s discussion is that Heath Miller’s return seems to have coincided with winning a couple of games. Maybe he is the MVP.

      • Disagree.

        I know it’s sacriledge, but Heath has NOT been Heath to this point. His fumble the last game was huge, the previous game he gave up a sack and took at least one penalty. Very unHeathlike. This is not unexpected, due to his injury. We are fortunate he is even playing.

        The issue, IMO, was that after the injury to Spaeth (not that he was going to be gr8) they had nothing but marginal FAs…so almost any kind of legitimate NFL TE would look good by comparison.

        Heath still could be MVP from this point forward.

      • Good call on Heath. He is always in the running for team MVP.

    • I would partially disagree with your comment on OLineman. Generally (and duh) those taken in the top 10 work out pretty well, with some notable exceptions (ie Tony Mandrich) those below that are increasingly higher risk. This is where the Steelers picks have been. I know of no evidence to suggest that they have done any worse (or better) than the league as a whole over the years (Tom Rickets, John Reinstra).

      Still my opinion that the Steeler draft results are not significantly different than they have been. What has changed is that their salary cap issues have not allowed them to fill holes, not filled in the draft, with FA guys like James Farrior, Kevin Greene, Ray Seals, Jeff Hartings, Ryan Clark, John L Williams, etc. so the draft disappointments are a lot more visible.

      While I did not expect the record that they have at this stage, anyone who thought this was going be a strong “out of the gate” team this season was unrealistic (still trying to be PC). Then with the significance of the first game injuries to BOTH play callers on OLine (which was going to be tough anyway) and Defense made it an order of magnitude more difficult and more importantly delayed any positive momentum. So I agree that his team should be expected to improve over the course of the season.

      Will it be enough, dunno. Now they need injuries, bounces and calls to go their way…as well as play “above the line”. Won’t be easy.

      • Agreed….I guess I could clarify too that in regards to drafting for O-line, every year there are tons of undrafted guys that put in solid work and stick with teams for extended runs. I agree 100% that the top ten guys that are “supposed” to dominate, generally do.

      • The other thing this current rotation up front has going for it is that bell might not be making them look as bad as the other contingent had been….

  21. You know, I am still in mourning regarding the baseball season. Yes, it was a great year, but a missed opportunity.

    I refuse to watch a WS game till Black and Gold is playing ;-)

  22. Steeler mvp ic kicker Suisham

  23. The Penguins have made it official that they are keeping Olli Maata. I believe we had that.

    • Yes, you did.

      I will not be a hypocrite now. I still disagree with the decision (depending on another move being made), but hope it works.

      • As always, I respect your opinions. I just don’t see the downside in this case.

        • There isn’t much, if any, downside. Just don’t know how necessary it is, unless the rest of the young Dmen aren’t where we’ve been led to believe they are. That couldn’t be possible, could it?

          Likely another decision point at game #39.

          I do hope it works now, for both the Pens and Ollie.

          • I think the elite players often develop best playing against the best. I think Maata needs this competition to develop fastest. Gerrit Cole comes to mind as another example.

            • As much as anything i think pens believe other injuries will happen soon enough allowing them to shuffle dmen around. Dont think they want bortuzzo sitting around either. Personally i probably would’ve sent him down and told him to take charge in london and work on his skating simply cuz he probably hasnt played more than 55-60 games in a season and not sure how much they’ll use him late in the season and playoffs. Overall i dont think much has actually changed…was thinking they’re playing it by ear while letang was out and now they’re thinking other injuries will happen and they can get him experience upto game 39 then re-evaluate.

    • Pens also called up Megna and put Bennett on IR. My guess is Megna will play Friday, then gets sent down when D’Agostini is available for Saturday’s game.

      • Nice to see Megna get a cup of coffee. I sure hope Bennett comes back soon, tho. Also looking forward to seeing what D’Agostini can do.

        • I think Bennett’s IR is retroactive to 10/12, so I think he would be available for the Carolina game if he’s ready. I too am curious to see how Megna and D’Agostini looks. He’s hoping the latter clicks with Sutter since Kobasew seems to have tailed off some.

        • Some info on Megna from the Pens’ website:

          “The 6-foot-1, 195-pound Megna has excelled on the penalty kill, as he leads the AHL with two shorthanded goals and three shorthanded points. Megna, who has been a plus player in all six of his games, is also tied for the AHL lead with two game-winning goals”

          “Megna’s father, Jay, played in the National Football League (NFL) with the Miami Dolphins and New Orleans Saints. His younger brother, Jaycob, was drafted by the Anaheim Ducks in 2012.”

    • Is it just official that he is staying until that 40th game, Milo?

      • No.

        His staying now just means his rookie contract starts. After game 40, he accrues a full season and that then starts his clock towards free agency.

        He can be returned to London anytime before game 40 w/o that kicking in, but can’t come back until after London’s season is over. Given London’s talent, that would include a deep playoff run.

    • Yes we did. And I am glad they made this decision and made it final :)

  24. I understand that Suisham hasn’t missed yet but he is only the kicker.

    I cant see how he would be the MVP over someone like Timmons or Woodley.

  25. Dominican League update that may not really mean much in the big scheme, but is good to see nonetheless:

    Gregory Polanco has now played 5 games. He is hitting .500 (10/20), with 3 HR & 8 RBI. He also has a .565 OBP.

    Like I said, it may not mean much since the level of competition is not what it will be in AAA to start next season, and certainly not what it will be in Pittsburgh. Still, I’m assuming the fences are just as far away in the Dominican Winter League. The word has been that his power is a few years away. But, 3 bombs in 5 games is promising.

    • It may be better in some ways than AAA, Jim.

      Good report. JAL’s early links have been giving him trouble and that report is usually in those.

      • Last night, Polanco went 4-4, with a HR, 2b, 2 singles and BB.

        • Saw a replay of his first HR in the opener. He’s bigger than I thought he was.

          That explains the comparison to Dave Parker, I guess.

          Makes you lick your chops for ST.

          • I think he’s 6’4″ and runs like a deer. I’ve only seen clips here and there. They say he still has to smooth out a few rough edges in the OF, and is still getting acquainted with RF. He will occasionally take a bad route to a ball and miss it as a result. But, Cutch did that occasionally until this year.

            I have read that he will actually exceed both Marte and Cutch in the field, and should be a better hitter than Marte due to much better plate discipline. Maybe not as much power as Cutch, at least for a few years. But, he’s big and strong, so maybe the power will come. Potential ideal leadoff hitter.

            Usual disclaimer here. Most prospects don’t work out. I don’t know that Polanco will become a star as a hitter. But, there is a decent chance it happens.

            There is, however, a 100% chance that when he arrives we will have one of the best defensive OFs in recent MLB memory.

            • The outfield of Marte, Cutch and Byrd was the best defensive outfield that the Bucs have had in decades and one of the reasons I would make an effort to resign Byrd.

              I was really impressed overall with Byrd’s game, wasn’t familiar with it.

              • I like Byrd as well, tpb, and would be ok with re-signing. Polanco will not come up before late June/early July, and even then only if they feel he has earned it. But, when he gets here, he will have every chance to become their full-time RF for most of a decade.

          • Also, in the AZ Fall League, Alex Dickerson is hitting .323 (10/31). Alen Hanson, who turned 21 this week, had a walk-off single last night. He is not hitting for a high average there at this point, and has continued to have fielding consistency issues at SS. Seems to make some outstanding plays, then boots routine balls or makes bad throws.

            I am trying to recall, but I don’t believe Dickerson has homered yet, and Hanson may have one.

          • Holy crap, why did I think he was smaller?

          • One last tidbit. Omar Moreno turns 61 today. Feel old?

  26. MVP how about the water boy/girl or ball boy/girl? They seem to be the only ones that showed up every game.

  27. Happy National Balogna Day!!!

    After seeing the highlights of the WS game, and reading about it here, I feel this is the most appropriate holiday ever!

    Glad Olli is staying. He forced them to keep him. Good for him.

    As to the Sabres being a joke, I would add the following………… many franchises are a joke this year. After the new CBA went into effect, I wondered how many teams would deal with cap issues, and restructure their teams. Looks like we have found out who did well, and who didnt. I also gladly see some of the “not so well” teams are in the Penguins division.

    Excellent read on the Pitt-Navy game. Shame what happened to that Pitt squad. Something similar happened to my high school way back in 1970. Team was 10-0, outscored opponents 550-70, only one game was competitive. Didnt make the playoffs. This led to the WPIAL completely changing their playoff structure, adding classifications, etc.

    Steve Adams? He made the right choice. Why stay in college, and risk injury, when you can sit on the bench in the NBA, and get paid for it? And, there will always be a place for a 7-footer in the NBA. Cant teach height.

  28. Although surprised Erickson didn’t see scott coming on that hit I hope shanahan and nhl office goes ape poop on Scott. Beside the fact that a knuckledragger like Scott and risk the career of a talented player actually worth watching like Erickson, you cant have players skating their shoulders into heads. Plenty you can do to avoid that hit…removing scrubs like scott would almost make it worth while to outlaw fighting.

  29. Just returned to the Gulf Coast. 67 degrees. Freezing.

    Luckily I have a jacket. But I’m still cold.

  30. PIAA overturns WPIAL ruling on Washington High case 5-0. Shocking. Actually it’s not.

    • Just another day, eh?

      PIAA has overturned so many decisions since 1993 New Castle case. An opening of the floodgates, so to speak.

      • I don’t get the impression they’re too disappointed about this one in Greentree. Classic case of good cop / bad cop. In the end, probably the just result. I just wish common sense would occasionally enter the WPIAL’s thinking. They’re better than they used to be, but still have a long way to go.

        • Yeah, it did seem heavy-handed of them to punish the current team for something happened 5 years ago. And, common sense is not allowed in most sports regulating agencies……… see WPIAL, PIAA, NCAA……….

    • What’s this about?

  31. Todd Haley for MVP! …waitaminnit… fire Haley!

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