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Morning Java: The art of the shot

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The Do-It-Yourself Tuesday feature seeks out your help, as I have in the past, in paring down columns that get submitted by the Trib for contest entries. This isn’t to say these are all awesome or anything like that. I have no doubt they aren’t. But I have to get it down to five, and any input you can offer would be wonderful.

Here they are, in chronological order …

Feb. 10: The Paternos’ sad, squeaky reply

Feb. 12: Wrestling isn’t down for count yet

March 16: Crosby vs. Lemieux? Beyond compare

March 21: Dixon has questions to answer

June 7: For Penguins, a stubborn failure

Aug. 1: Can Pirates grasp what they’re doing for our city?

Sept. 4: No more Buccaneer tears

Sept. 29: Chaotic Steelers a bloody mess

Oct. 2: Hey, baseball, can you hear us?

Oct. 10: Don’t dare bury these Pirates

This is asking a lot, I know, but try to assess independently of what might be a favorite topic or even whether or not you agree. It’s really based on quality of the actual column — or lack thereof — and nothing else.

And thank you very, very much in advance.


>> The Penguins’ newest callup does in the Ducks. Josh Yohe has the game story from Consol.

Here’s some of what Brian Gibbons had to say …

Random randomness from the event: I was at Consol, too, albeit not writing off the event. … There aren’t many things more unfathomable in the NHL than a team of the Penguins’ pedigree nearly going a full first period without a shot, but it nearly happened. Beau Bennett needed, of course, a breakaway to try the first, and even he nearly whiffed wide. … That said, sure was funny how, as soon as the club began shooting and going to the net and all that other new-wave stuff, the goals came in waves. … Mentioned to Marc-Andre Fleury that, when he’s playing with this much economy of motion, he makes his saves look almost boring. In particular, I cited that great blocker stop on Andrew Cogliano that’s pictured above. “It’s not always as easy as it looks,” Fleury came back. “It’s important that you don’t go all over the place, but there’s a lot that goes into it.” … Man, Ben Lovejoy played a terrific game for Anaheim. Just saying. … Really didn’t understand Bennett moving up with Crosby, mostly because I saw the first line maintaining good pressure with Pascal Dupuis up there. Didn’t see anything last night to change my mind. … James Neal needs a goal something fierce. Really pressing. … Classy of the Penguins to recognize Teemu Selanne with the scoreboard tribute halfway through the first. Also classy of the more knowledgeable hockey fans in the crowd to warmly applaud for No. 8.

Here’s a not-to-be-missed Selanne interview by Yohe. You’ll like this.

Here’s our full Penguins coverage.

Here’s Ducks news from the Orange County Register.

Here are official game highlights from

>> It has to be encouraging for the Steelers that Ben Roethlisberger was sacked only once Sunday. Alan Robinson reports.

The indispensable Steelers Film Session by Mark Kaboly tracks the patchwork O-line.

Here’s our full Steelers coverage.

Here’s Browns news from the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Here are official game highlights from

>> Pitt football is set for change going into Syracuse, by Jerry DiPaola.

Here’s what we had to say about the Panthers on WPXI-TV’s Subway Final Word this week …

>> The Pirates promote a hitting coach from within, by Travis Sawchik.

>> I’m off today. Back at it tomorrow with the radio show.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

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


  1. Ghost says:

    I was HOT when wrestling was dropped from the ancient games. It was such an insult to the traditions and heritage of peoples all over the globe. I found a lot of solace in the wrestling piece, in it’s mince-no-words style and laying bare the absurdity of the tragedy (“I don’t know what wushu is, either, but I’m guessing Socrates never had season tickets.”)
    Thankfully, there was to be a happy ending to this story. Enough people slammed the table angrily and wrestling was reinstated.

  2. Pucknutz says:

    ” economy of motion” – like that DK.
    I have been saying the Flower looks much calmer in the net – but I think I like the “economy of motion” much better.
    Thats why they pay you the big bucks. lol

  3. JAL says:

    I’m a Believer Monkees Written by Neil Diamond

    JAL’s I’m a Believer Morning Links


    1- MLB Transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    3 MLB Important Dates

    BLOGS and such

    4—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: Russell Martin’s Deal is Looking Great Right Now

    Winter Leagues: Ramirez and Polo Come Up Big in Win

    5 Green Weenie

    Hot Stove, Top 10 Prospects, and House Cleaning…

    6 Rumbunter

    Pirates Make Coaching Moves, Curiously Still Have Position Open

    7 City of Champions

    Pittsburgh Pirates promote from within, name Jeff Branson new hitting coach

    8 Rant Sports

    Pittsburgh Pirates: Top 5 Offseason Needs

    9 Bless You Boys

    Nate McLouth is known for speed and defense, but does he fit on the Tigers?

    10 Baseball America

    2014 Pittsburgh Pirates Top 10 Prospects

  4. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 Santa Cruz Sentinel

    Former MLBer Casey McGehee reflects on championship season in Japan

    12 Portsmouth Daily Times

    Rickey Bible to be displayed at Welcome Center

    13 Racine Journal Times

    Dyer to manage new Kenosha baseball team

    14 Bleacher Report

    Blueprint for a Small-Market MLB Team to Score a Strong Offseason

    One Player from Each MLB Team Who Could Emerge from Shadows in 2014

    15 WCBS

    By The Numbers: 20 Baseball Trivia Questions To Stump Your Friends

    16 Baseball Nation

    Maybe it’s time to give up on non-Papi DH’s

    17 St. Louis Post Dispatch

    Shortstop Bytes: the puzzling situation with J.J. Hardy

    18 Cincinnati Enquirer

    Bronson Arroyo says he hasn’t had any offers yet


    19 Sweetspot

    Offseason joy: The Bill James Handbook

    20 Fangraphs

    Phillies Re-Sign Carlos Ruiz. Don’t Mock Just Yet.

  5. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Brown and Cotchery score, Wheaton contributes to all around solid game from Steelers receivers

    Steelers vs Lions: A tale of two halves

    22 Steelers Depot

    Dare We Dream the Impossible Dream


    23 US National Soccer

    Elite National Teams Tour North America in November

    24 World Soccer Daily

    The redemption of Roberto Baggio


    25 Pensburgh

    Memorable Moments: The Not So Mighty Ducks

  6. Pucknutz says:

    Aug. 1: Can Pirates grasp what they’re doing for our city?
    Oct. 2: Hey, baseball, can you hear us?

    Hockey nut that I am I still gotta go with the above baseball stories.
    The Pirates were the Pgh. sports story of the year. I think you captured that in these two.

  7. Joni says:

    I thought Ben Lovejoy played a great game, as well. It’s nice to see people thrive when they could not (for various reasons) reach their potential with the Pens.

  8. Joni says:

    Josh Yohe reports that Teemu Selanne believes Olli Maatta deserves a spot on the Finland Olympic team. That is fantastic times four!

  9. Jandy says:

    High praise, indeed.

  10. BillyBaduka says:

    Bad link – “Chaotic Steelers a bloody mess” links to “No more Buccaneer tears”.

  11. CoachWard says:

    Hey Baseball, Can You Hear Us?

  12. pattonbb says:

    1. Can Pirates grasp what they’re doing for our city?
    2. Dixon has questions to answer
    3. Hey, baseball, can you hear us?

    But all 10 are top notch.

  13. The Justice Avenger says:

    I agree w/Coach…in light of the Wild Card victory. A special night and special column. My second choice would be August 1st…”Can the Pirates grasp…” This to me was a turning point taking 4/5 for the Cardinals. Have a good Tuesday, Everyone!

  14. BillyBaduka says:

    “Hey baseball can you hear us” is tops for me. Felt like I was there.

    Other picks (in no particular order)

    Crosby vs Lemieux? Beyond Compare
    No more Buccaneer tears
    Chaotic Steelers a bloody mess
    For Penguins, a stubborn failure


  15. Wild Bill says:

    Sept 4 – No More Buccaneer Tears and Aug 1 – Can Pirates Grasp What They’re Doing For Our City?

    My thinking is with Pucknutz. The events themselves elevate the stories, which you handled well, DK.

    That was a “hold your breath” ride in the third period last night. Very entertaining, but pond hockey is not good for us in large doses. Had to feel good for Gibbons.

  16. 1. October 2nd. Hey, baseball, can you hear us?

    2. Sept. 4th. No more Bucanneer tears.

    These two were the most enjoyable for me.

  17. @suckmeter says:

    None of them suck, but this is my order:
    1. Can Pirates grasp what they’re doing for our city?
    2. The Paternos’ sad, squeaky reply
    3. No more Buccaneer tears
    4. For Penguins, a stubborn failure
    5. Dixon has questions to answer

  18. Sarah says:

    Nice to see how young players develop when they actually get to play.

  19. Sarah says:

    So Beau got himself demoted after about 1 period last night.
    Had about 5 mins of IT in the 1st, then I think 2 shifts with Sid in the 2nd.

    Less IT than ADAMS who I think got more shifts than Sid.

    And Borts continues to sit. And when playoffs roll around and Engo will be getting destroyed, it’ll be “he’s not ready”….

    And Geno actually looked energized during the brief time he got with Kunitz.

  20. hockeymonster says:

    Fewer stretch passes = more goals

    All 3 goals off zone time we got not by stretch passing and chasing but by puck support and moving puck up ice as unit then chipping to corner with numbers. Malkin swoops in on 1st goal n makes gibby look like brownie. 2nd n 3rd goals similar situation along with traffic in front. Fancy that…

    P.S. ya i copied and pasted from last night…feeling a little lazy this morning :)

  21. strakagirl says:

    I pick the following:

    Feb. 10: The Paternos’ sad, squeaky reply–an honest and passionate response to a news event
    March 16: Crosby vs. Lemieux? Beyond compare–this shows the depth of your knowledge about hockey
    June 7: For Penguins, a stubborn failure–great analysis about what went wrong during the Bruins series
    Aug. 1: Can Pirates grasp what they’re doing for our city?–because this explains why 2013 was a big deal
    Sept. 4: No more Buccaneer tears–because they did it!

    Generally speaking, my favorite columns are the ones where you are able to combine your love for all things Pittsburgh with solid analysis and reporting.

  22. Darrell27 says:

    In order:

    1. No More Buccaneer Tears (The standard on ending the futility, a must read for all Pirate fans of every generation)

    2. Crosby vs. Lemieux? Beyond Compare (Another article that should be required reading for the “new generation” Penguin fans)

    3. Hey baseball, can you hear us? (A cannonball launched across the bow of a national media that virtually, with good reason, ignored this market for 21 years)

  23. JohninOshkosh says:

    1. Dixon has questions to answer
    2 The Paternos’ sad, squeaky reply
    3. Can Pirates grasp what they’re doing for our city?
    4. Crosby vs. Lemieux? Beyond compare
    5. No more Buccaneer tears

  24. Jim S. says:

    1. Crosby vs. Lemieux? Beyond compare
    2. For Penguins, a stubborn failure
    3. The Paternos’ sad, squeaky reply
    4. Can the Pirates grasp what they’re doing for our city?
    5. Dixon has questions to answer

  25. Jandy says:

    I hope Jeffrey does well with Dallas

  26. Joni says:

    I thought the same about Geno and his brief stint with Kunitz. Geno seemed to relax a bit, which is always helpful. Malkin’s performance during 3rd period was lovely to behold. I had all I could do not to hug my TV (what can I say? I am easily excited!).

    The question is: will DB acknowledge that Malkin was back to 2011-2012 form when he was working with Kunitz last night? And more importantly, will DB give the Kunitz/Malkin/Neal line more than a few shifts together in the future? Probably not, but it is fun to speculate.

    Engo looked tired/hurt to me last night. I hope nothing is wrong with him.

  27. Joni says:


  28. Jim S. says:

    I thought the entire ESPN organization was going to come crashing down last night. The Patriots lost on a last second pass attempt in the endzone. A ref behind the play tossed a flag for interference, then determined that Gronkowski had no play on the ball and picked up his flag. I don’t even think Gronkowski made an attempt to catch the ball, which was far short of him.

    The whining afterward, from Gruden and Tirico, to Steve Young, Trent Dilfer and Stuart Scott went on for the better part of a half-hour. Who knew these objective professionals would have so much invested in this game.

    Brady screamed at the officials the entire way off the field, but he seemed to come to his senses in his press conference later and admitted that it was a poorly thrown ball that was not catchable. That didn’t deter his cheering section at ESPN from continuing to fight the good fight long into the night.

  29. Joni says:

    #1 choice = March 16 “Crosby vs. Lemieux? Beyond compare”

  30. theplanisworking says:

    ESPN used to be a good network.
    Now, they are just shills for their favorite teams.
    One doesnt see that many paid cheerleaders on a football sideline, let alone a TV studio.

    They even had a retired referee describe the play, that the ruling was correct, but that didnt stop the fanboys from screaming. Sickening.

  31. Jim S. says:

    Pot stirrer! :-)

  32. Sarah says:

    yeah they jumped the shark ages ago

  33. theplanisworking says:

    Mornin’ Sarah!
    Hope your heart is better after last night. :)

  34. theplanisworking says:

    Mornin’ Sarah!
    Hope your heart is better after last night. :)

  35. Sarah says:

    Not sure what is more gross on ESPN now….

    Anybody talking about Brady.

    Or Stephen Smith talking about anything.

  36. Sarah says:


    Well when Adams started getting numerous shifts with Crosby, my joke lines at the start of the thread actually came true!!

    WHat began as a bad joke became reality!

    Only Disco can do that.

  37. Sarah says:

    I wish Engo no ill…but if he keeps playing over Borts my head will explode.
    We need to develop our young players so they can help at playoff time instead of sit in the press box while the vet muckers get destroyed and Letang has to play 45 minues and his brain stops working.

  38. hockeymonster says:

    Bylsma must have forgotten that we’ve already seen engo late in the season and in playoffs…maybe he liked what he saw…

  39. theplanisworking says:

    Top 5 columns?

    Is this a cheap version of Letterman?? ;)

    Or, is this where we say ” we cant choose the “best”, that would be like favoring a certain child over the others” ? ;)

    Ok, ok, here I take a stab at this………….

    5) Can Pirates grasp what they’re doing for our city?
    4) Wrestling isn’t down for count yet.
    3) For Penguins, a stubborn failure.
    2) The Paternos’ sad, squeaky reply.
    1) Hey, baseball, can you hear us?

    The top two were especially good, and captured the subject matter on point.

  40. Sarah says:

    And re Disco ackowledging ANYTHING…..or shifting Kuni with Geno (which has a history of tearing up the league)…

    Sadly, no.

    Be interested in everyone’s thoughts re this notion:
    DB seems to have a preferance for “try hard” guys…..
    He often likes to join “try hards”/less skilled/bottom 6 guys with his skilled players….witness the revolving door of bottom 6ers on Geno’s less wing (at the expense of Kunitz) and Duper on Sid’s right, upon whose stick all of Sid’s wonderful passes go to die.

    Minimal lines of skill + skill – such as the 6 shifts BB got with SId (where I thought they did some creative give and goes in the 1st) ….which don’t last long and give way to Adams playing with Sid or Glass with Geno.

    And what happens is when the skill gets focused on and shut down (as it will) the Try Hard guy can’t make up for it.

  41. Iceman says:

    I know we need Malkin to score goals, but I am sick of people saying that he is playing lousy. Malkin looked great last night. One thing he seemed to figure out is that if he shoots the puck, it will open up other things for him. Because he was actually shooting, he was getting played differently. This is what I believe opened up the extra space for Gibbons on his goal. Keep shooting Malkin and keep playing strong.

    Letang looked much more composed last night. Did not see nearly the dumb decisions from the past few games. I think part of that comes with the fact that they weren’t playing down a goal. Letang seems to take more risks (aka stupid decisions) when the Pens are down. I also thought it was his best game on the PP. He was in good positions and took shots from the point in good places/times.

    Also, kudos to Gibbons. Nice game for his first NHL time.

  42. theplanisworking says:

    I thought you smoked…………….. nevermind. ;)

  43. theplanisworking says:

    I thought you smoked…………….. nevermind. ;)

  44. theplanisworking says:

    Or Jon Gruden being alive………

  45. Jandy says:

    bat lol

    I never did take up that nasty habit…

  46. hockeymonster says:

    Thought game changed when our breakouts did in the 3rd…something looked different to me a few minutes into the 3rd…

  47. Jim S. says:

    Is there an echo in here? Haha!

  48. Jim S. says:

    + a million, Sarah.

  49. theplanisworking says:

    No, you just picked up that 9 wides thing, didnt ya?……………

  50. theplanisworking says:

    Yeah, its my 1978 Commodore 64 computer, run by 3 hamster power, and an itchy trigger mouse. ;)

  51. Jandy says:


  52. Iceman says:

    As I was watching, I was thinking the same thing. I’m not sure if it was less stretch passes or if it was that when they were doing the stretch passes, there was someone moving through the neutral zone with speed so the forecheck could actually be productive. I also thought the puck cycling below the net was very good, especially for that fourth line. Fourth line also was hitting hard and often and I think that was productive for the third period. I think it definitely had an impact.

  53. Damon says:

    One answer for the try-hard guy thing is that a try-hard guy will listen to Bylsma more and stick to his system. Not saying I agree with that notion or that try-hard guys should play over more talented guys, but just a thought….

  54. Damon says:

    Just got on the blog, and I was going to post these 5 as well….pretty much the same order….

  55. Jim S. says:

    This is just a harmless little baseball tidbit that I culled from a Trib article regarding Branson’s promotion to hitting coach. The Pirates were actually #10 in MLB in on base % + slugging % (OPS) last season when adjusting for park factors. In other words, when you take into account that PNC is a pretty extreme pitcher’s park, especially for LHP, our offense was not as bad as it appeared and our pitching was not as great as it appeared. The Bucs had pretty good power #’s considering the difficulty of hitting balls out of LF and LC at PNC.

    I’d still say pitching was a strength of the Bucs last season, but maybe not to the degree originally thought. In road games, which provide a more realistic picture due to all the different parks included, the Bucs had a pretty good offense. I believe most analysis also concludes that they had an above average defense as well. It all added up to 94 wins, and that’s what matters. But, I just find it interesting that maybe things are not always as they seem with baseball.

    And, PS, Sid was great last night. How many incredible scoring chances does he provide teammates on a nightly basis? We need better finishers for him.

  56. Jim S. says:

    I’m sure that Commodore 64 is a “Brick House.” :-)

  57. hockeymonster says:

    I actually hit the trusty rewind button on dvr…They only stretched passed when necessary…for most part and on all 3 goals they moved puck up ice as unit. And on gibbons goal i believe nisky even jumped up from weak side to give winger outlet then when he got to blue line he made a soft chip into corner where forwards where able to regain possession with numbers instead of just watching ducks d move puck right by them. Prior to sutters tip and crosby’s goal pretty much same thing happened.

  58. theplanisworking says:

    Brick is something that should never be near this computer, for obvious reasons……..

  59. Damon says:

    Ultimately I think the players stuck to their system/game plan even through that first period. They looked more like they did in the first 10 games. They play like that, and I think they can beat any team. They could have had 5 or 6 goals if they didn’t pass up shots, miss the net, hit posts or miss a wide open net (Jokinen). It seemed like as soon as they got a goal and went up 1-0, they exhaled.

    Malkin was starting to look like the dominant Malkin of old – taking over the game. Can only be good news. Neal is starting to look more comfortable. I thought Gibbons’ goal was very nice and very timely, but so far I’d rather see Megna. I’ll still give him a few more games.

    Wednesday’s game should be like old times against Washington….Sid, Geno and Ovi all going all out. Just hope Ovi doesn’t resort to cheap shots like he tends to do against the Pens….

  60. Damon says:

    I think the Pirates hit as many HRs in Cincy’s ballpark than they did….and Cincy is supposed to be a slugging team.

    Great point about Sid – he could have had 4 points the way he was setting a myriad of players up like Adams, Jokinen, etc.

  61. Joni says:

    Too right on your last line, Sarah.

    I am all for people who go all out (the try hard guys), but at some point a soft spot for the “try hard” guys becomes if not detrimental, at least foolish. And DB’s rewarding the older “try hard” guys is nice, but how about the younger “try hard” guys? That’s how a young player gets experience. Obvious to us, but a far out concept to DB.

    The insertion of the “try hard” guys is yet another example of Bylsma’s belief in his precious system, as opposed to line combos based on level of skill and/or youth.

    On a different note – I would love to be a fly on the wall during the Pens’ coach meetings. How does one bring up possible corrections, or even new ideas, with Bylsma at the helm? Especially if you as an assistant coach value your job? Poor Jacque Martin. He is probably biting his lip (regarding the Pens’ possibilities and opportunities) so hard that it’s bleeding :(

  62. Jandy says:

    Agreed on Megna :)

    I say we bring up Pierre L3 for Wednesday’s game ;)

  63. Nancy52 says:

    In no particular order

    Hey, baseball can you hear us?
    Can Pirates grasp what they’re doing for our city?

  64. Jandy says:

    +many to Jim S for the COmmodore brick house reference ;)

  65. hockeymonster says:

    Agree that defensive structure was good throughout. But breakouts definitely changed for the better in the 3rd. Stretch passes are useful and necessary at times but only when puck becomes hot potato in neutral zone and dmen and forwards have separation. If our D has clear possession of puck our forwards need to come back and generate speed up ice with dmen in close puck support. IMO ice really tilted in the 3rd when we began to do so.

  66. theplanisworking says:

    : thwap :

  67. Jim S. says:

    Bucs offense:

    Home: 69 HR, 309 runs, .386 slugging %
    Road: 92 HR, 325 runs, .406 slugging %

    Bucs pitching:

    Home: 37 HR, 267 runs
    Road: 64 HR, 310 runs

    Sid: Equally good at home or road. :-)

  68. Jim S. says:

    Thanks, Jandy! I thought Lionel Ritchie might be reading the blog today, and wanted to give him a stealth shout out.

  69. theplanisworking says:

    Mybe Greg Ritchie……..

  70. JeffInPlano says:

    Avid reader, first time commentor, dis (or mis?) placed in Plano, TX, and proud Yinzer. I re-read (I read all your work almost in real time as it’s posted) each piece, and imho your Oct 2nd piece “Hey, baseball, can you hear us?” just knocked it out of the park. Several others are worthy of honorable mention, but that piece captured the essence of the fan’s pent up frustration, the gravity of the game’s importance to all yinzers, and the pure joy of the crowd’s enthusiasm. It was great reading on October 2nd and it was a great re-read today! Terrific work!!

  71. Damon says:

    I’m sure Mr. Engelland will introduce himself if need be…and I’m sure Ovi will want no part if that.

  72. tpbco says:

    March 16: Crosby vs. Lemieux? Beyond compare
    Sept. 4: No more Buccaneer tears
    Oct. 2: Hey, baseball, can you hear us?
    Sept. 29: Chaotic Steelers a bloody mess
    Feb. 10: The Paternos’ sad, squeaky reply

  73. Jim S. says:

    Or, ex-Pirates pitcher, Todd Ritchie.

  74. Vinny Giardina says:

    I couldn’t agree more. Go with the hot hand.

  75. Wild Bill says:

    Welcome, Jeff. It’s always good to have another ‘burgh spy in Texas.

  76. theplanisworking says:

    Or Richie Cunningham. ;)

  77. Wild Bill says:

    Oops, to be clear, I live in Central Pa. My avatar could make you think I live in Texas, too.

  78. JeffInPlano says:

    Thanks for the welcome Wild Bill!

  79. Jandy says:

    Oh Lord!

  80. JRay3 says:

    DK – As to the input you requested up above, these would be the columns that either moved me, forced me to think a bit or ones that stood out to me from an enjoyment standpoint the most:

    1- Oct 2 – Hey, baseball, can you hear us?
    2- Aug 1 – Can Pirates grasp what they are doing for our city?
    3- Feb 10 – The Paternos’ sad, squeaky reply
    4- Mar 21 – Dixon has questions to answer
    5- Sept. 4 – No More Buccaneer tears

  81. Jandy says:

    Biz, we have a Lunatic in Plano TX :)

  82. Jandy says:

    Jeff, welcome to Dejan’s Lunatic Asylum. Bizrow will add Plano, TX to the list :)

  83. theplanisworking says:

    I believe the correct word is………… mercy! ;)

  84. Jim S. says:

    What’s up, JRay?

  85. theplanisworking says:

    Careful, Jeff. Jandy bites new people, but she swears she has had all her shots…….

  86. Jim S. says:

    You have one of the top names, strakagirl!

  87. Sarah says:


    Ask DK about Smith’s rant on hockey ties and the Hawks last year.

    Classic stuff.

  88. JRay3 says:

    Just living the American Dream Jim S. Waiting for the Pirates to find their first baseman, Pitt football to get bowl eligible and the Panther hoops squad to crack the Top 25 and headed out Thursday evening to see the Avs under Patrick Roy take on the red hot Coyotes here in Phoenix.

    How have you been? Hope all is well!

  89. Jandy says:

    That works better!

  90. Jandy says:

    I do not bite! I kick ;)

  91. Stuart says:

    1. Hey Baseball, can you hear us?

    2. Crosby vs. Lemieux

    Hockey can be a strange game. You could see most of the game in just 4 consecutive minutes. I’d like to see more cutting through the slot.


  92. Jandy says:

    I’m a sucker for their music…what can I say ;)

  93. Sarah says:

    Yep…and if you’re a coach and you see Gladams with Geno or Sid or whatever….you just double team the Skill and watch Gladams fumble the play.

    I think DB likes Duper’s speed on Sid’s wing, but the guy’s hands are just inconsistent to awful. If he’s open and Crosby hits him with a perfect pass, I can hear it clank off his stick from here.

    If I’m on D I’ll go to Crosby and let him pass it 100% of the time.

    Duper will take care of the rest.

    But if it was Bennett over there instead of Duper, different decision for the D (and the coach) now….

    Not saying it will work, but might be experimented with for more than 5 mins of ice time (after no practice the day before)…..

  94. hockeymonster says:

    Sarah, set you up for one-timer regarding stretch pass issue…you gonna pull a geno and not take the shot? :)

  95. Joni says:

    “Gladams”… Teeheehee!

  96. JohninOshkosh says:

    Looks like the Mets are very interested in Robbie Cano. Their suits had dinner with his suits (not sure if that includes Jay-Z).

    Jay Z is determined that New York City remains the center of the universe, I guess. I would be shocked if Cano doesn’t stay in NYC-either with the Yanks or Metsies.

    Beyonce and him did name their kid Blue Ivy, after all. Mets fans ?

  97. Jim S. says:

    Similar list for me, JRay. Hoping the Steelers continue to improve, waiting for the Pens to get dominant again, and hoping Pitt finds some consistent outside shooting this season. Would like to see who the Bucs get at 1b. I’m thinking it will be a lefty-hitting platoon partner for Gaby. Getting a bit antsy about AJ returning. I’m starting to think he won’t be here next year, and that means we need to replace him with a stable producer.

  98. Jim S. says:

    They had some good stuff!

  99. JohninOshkosh says:

    Speaking of the Mets, my brother is a big fan and he told me that they are shopping Ike Davis.

    Anybody interested in trading for him ? Maybe a change in scenery guy ? Has put up some decent power numbers in the past, but last year was horrible. Might be able to get him via trade at minimal prospect costs, I suppose.

  100. Jim S. says:

    I think he’s kind of intriguing. But, I’ve also been told his swing is so technically bad that he’s a total shot in the dark.

  101. Jim S. says:

    I always liked Graham. I thought his shiftiness and toughness might make up for most of his lack of speed. But, he didn’t exactly distinguish himself with Houston. I wonder what they are thinking – maybe a Felix Jones replacement?

  102. Jim S. says:

    I remember that rant.

    Smith also seems to have a penchant for using a certain ugly term on the air, and, amazingly, keeps his job.

  103. Damon says:

    Probably. Felix hasn’t played well when he gets in there. Plus I’m sure they watched Graham at Pitt and saw his potential. It’s just a try out now, but we shall see. I wonder if they can add him to a practice squad…

  104. Jim S. says:

    How about Natrona Hts. native, Micah Mason of Duquesne for a continued “feel good” story after getting NCAA approval to play this season? 32 points in 3 games, with 8/15 from 3-pt range, 9 rebounds and an 8:1 assist: turnover ratio. According to Coach Ferry, he has graded out as the best defender on the team so far. I didn’t realize he had led the Missouri Valley in 3-pt shooting accuracy as a freshman. 3 years of eligibility for the Dukes. Good for Micah!

  105. 21sthebest says:

    The Duquesne/WV game followed the Steelers game Sunday so I was able to catch it. He just squares up to the hoop so perfectly.

  106. NMR says:

    Dejan, all jokes aside, you’re doing yourself a disservice not including the April 13th column.

  107. buggee says:

    Hey DK (and loonies).
    — First, I think it’s tres’ cool that you seek our opinions on these pieces you penned. Few columnists do that with a small, select audience, let alone an entire blog population. Kudos DK for the gutsiness.
    — In reviewing these pieces, your “voice” has remained consistent throughout, as has your writing style, thus determining which of these pieces were better written became an exercise in differentiating minutia…
    — In light of that, I choose the pieces that are most memorable to me, personally. First was the piece on “Crosby vs. Lemieux”, with the “Hey Baseball, Can You Hear Us?” a very close second.
    * I chose the “Crosby vs. Lemieux” piece because the depth of analysis into the two men’s games was strong, yet concise, and wordsmithed effectively. Much of that verbiage–and moreso, the visuals those words evoked, remain with me today. Well done on that one DK.
    * Anyone with a pulse in this city can immediately connect with the “Hey Baseball, Can You Hear Us?” piece. I feel that piece captured in words the sheer simple joy, the exuberance everyone had for the Pirates. This was also a strong piece DK.
    — Rounding out my top 3; “The Paternos’ Sad, Squeaky Reply” If there was anything that could have been written to put that mess of a response to the Freeh Report to bed with grace and dignity, I feel you did so with that piece.

    I do have a style point to make (and please forgive my presumptiousness for this critique good sir); the endings of these pieces. They often feel as though they’ve been chopped, perhaps in an effort to get the piece in under the word limit. I know it’s difficult to wrap a piece up well, but in these cases it almost seems as though it’s not your hand (DK) that’s crafting the final line or two. Just an observation.

    I thoroughly enjoy reading your work DK. Please keep ‘em coming!

  108. JohninOshkosh says:

    ++++Thank you.

  109. 21sthebest says:

    “By the way 21…I’ve seen you do it, so you’re quite aware of what I’m speaking of.”

    Daquido, I have never sent a tweet ever. To be clear, I have zero tweets to my name.

  110. JeffInPlano says:

    Thanks for the welcome Jandy!

    I’ve been a lurking loonie long enough to know to protect myself at all times cause biting, kicking, and eye pokes are all fair game… ;)

  111. NMR says:

    Baseball America released their 2014 top prospect list for the Pirates, linked by JAL above.

    Spoiler alert: its good.

  112. Jandy says:

    Ahhhh…a true Lunatic at heart…you’ll fit right in, Jeff :)

  113. Jandy says:

    Indeed, it is good. Link #10

  114. radio wave says:

    According to broadcast reports today, he was there. Are there tolls on the RFK Triborough bridge? Sounds like he will be doing a lot of traveling between Queens and the Bronx. And I see UW is doing well in both fball and hoops.

  115. radio wave says:

    From what I’m hearing, my Pats may have been ripped off last night. I know this is a hate the Pats blog, but I’m curious as to what folks saw.

  116. 21sthebest says:

    I saw a call that could very easily go either way.

  117. Jandy says:

    I didn’t see it, but from what I read, the pass wasn’t “receiveable” or “catchable”, so it’s a moot point.

  118. 21sthebest says:

    That is the point though Jandy. Could Gronk have come back for the ball if he wasn’t interfered with / held.

  119. Milo Hamilton says:

    Yay ! Prospect list ! Yay !

  120. hockeymonster says:

    Thats my line..thank you very much

  121. Milo Hamilton says:

    Remind me, someday I’ll tell you about him scoring 64 points in high school.

  122. Milo Hamilton says:

    Just catching up so if this was already mentioned, sorry. But Josh Johnson is choosing from 3 of 4 teams & the Pirates are one of them according to his agent.

  123. toochca says:

    Was worried the Pirates would miss out on him while waiting for AJ.

  124. JohninOshkosh says:

    Yes. The program is going well down there in Madison.

    I’m sure you are aware of this, but your Ohio Bobcats football team is on ESPN2 tonight against Kent State (Kristy Robinson’s alma mater, I do believe).

  125. Milo Hamilton says:

    Me too but it shouldn’t be an either or situation. It should be both.

  126. Jandy says:

    I couldn’t say 21, I wasn’t watching.

  127. Jandy says:

    + many

  128. JohninOshkosh says:

    Beware the “Mystery Team.” They always have a spectacular off season.

  129. Thundercrack says:

    I have only heard that SD and SF are at the top of his list

  130. 21sthebest says:

    Come on now. Andy Laroche was ranked 19th overall by BA two years in a row.

  131. Arriba Wilver says:

    I saw Travis’ report. That was good to see. I know he’s had some troubles, but he used to be dominant.

  132. 21sthebest says:

    Makes his home in Vegas.

  133. Milo Hamilton says:

    I’m going to guess the Giants are out since they signed Tim Hudson. I think it’s obvious what he’s thinking. One year contract in a pitchers park.

  134. NMR says:

    These things seem to get far more attention when they’re bad than good.

  135. Milo Hamilton says:

    But my feeling has been all along that they don’t want AJ back.

  136. NMR says:

    Speaking of guessing, do you know anyone who gets the Beaver County Times?

    I heard John Perrotto managed to leave GM meetings with three potential trades, including Jeff Samardijza.

    I could use a good laugh.

  137. Arriba Wilver says:

    I agree, Milo.

  138. Milo Hamilton says:

    The next one he gets right will be the first. I’ll see if I can find it.

  139. Arriba Wilver says:

    I’m not sure Clint wants him back.

  140. toochca says:

    Barmes? LOL

  141. NMR says:

    One thing I think worth pointing out is that he and his agent don’t seem to even be trying for multiple years.

    Those two guys know more than anybody how healthy that elbow is after last season.

    Can’t imagine it would make much sense to prefer one year over multiple years of security if that join isn’t stable.

  142. Arriba Wilver says:


  143. The Gunner says:

    I don’t think either Clint H. or Clint B. are big fans of AJ

  144. Milo Hamilton says:

    Lindsey Vonn crashed today. In other news, it will be dark tonight.

  145. Jim S. says:

    I thought the same thing. If there truly are 3-4 teams vying for his services, I would think they would push for a 2 year deal from someone.

    He’s a monster at 6’7″, 250. Can you say downward plane?

    Seems to be injured every other season. Only 1 bad year since 2009. Of course, that was last year. He never gave up many hits or HR per inning pitched, then boom last year happened. 81 innings, 105 hits, 15 HR. I think it was a combo of not being completely healthy and moving to the AL and a notorious HR park.

    I think this would be a nice addition, regardless of the situation with AJ. But, if we sign him I think it likely means AJ has told them he’s not coming back.

  146. TK says:

    1. Oct. 2: Hey, baseball, can you hear us?

    Related the electricity of the night in a way that anyone who wasn’t there or watching it could feel as though they were.

    2. Feb. 10: The Paternos’ sad, squeaky reply

    Great reply to a weak report trying to defend Joe Paterno’s role in the Sandusky case.

    3. Feb. 12: Wrestling isn’t down for count yet

    Relates the incredulousness of wrestling not being in the Olympics while rhythmic gymnastics and synchronized swimming are considered “untouchable”.

    4. Aug. 1: Can Pirates grasp what they’re doing for our city?

    Another good column on Pirates and if they can relate to what was happening.

    5. Oct. 10: Don’t dare bury these Pirates

    Good column about players finding a silver lining in a playoff elimination loss

    6. June 7: For Penguins, a stubborn failure

    Post playoffs wrap-up column about what was wrong with Penguins.

    7. Sept. 29: Chaotic Steelers a bloody mess

    Captures the frustration of an 0-4 start and the offensive line problems

    8. March 16: Crosby vs. Lemieux? Beyond compare

    Stock column about who is better. Forgot to mention Lemieux saved the franchise the first time by taking it from a bad team (in its first 17 years it was at best a good team, see 1974 – 1977) and creating a winning tradition and then saving it again (by being owner) from being moved. Crosby will probably never do that.

    9. Sept. 4: No more Buccaneer tears

    Another Pirates column about the excitement of a winning season. Dislike the headline.

    10. March 21: Dixon has questions to answer

    Honestly, for someone who is a drive-by Pitt basketball fan (I watch and root but don’t have a deep attachment to it), this seemed like the # 6 column only it was a subject I did not care about.


  148. tpbco says:

    My take on it, which was supported in SI, was that it was not pass interference but defensive holding. That being the case, the catchability (if that’s a word), is a non issue as it occured prior to the pass being thrown.

    Not a pats fan by any means, but, IMO, they did get jobbed.

  149. Jim S. says:

    Yep, it could have gone either way. And, it went against them. The ref called it initially, and then it was decided it was not catchable so he picked up the flag. The defender had his arms on both sides of Gronk, but he was not holding him back as far as I could tell. Gronk made no attempt, in my opinion, to come back for the ball and had no chance at it.

    For his part, Brady admitted it was a terrible under throw in the press conference. That didn’t stop him from b*tching the whole way off the field to the ref, of course.

    I hope Steve Young, Trent Dilfer, John Gruden, Mike Tirico and Stuart Scott all had some warm buttermilk before they went to bed. Otherwise, I don’t think they got any sleep. This really upset them. Levy and Van Pelt seemed visibly shaken as well to start SportsCenter. ESPN’s home team lost!

  150. Jim S. says:

    +++, Milo. Pirates might have a tiebreaker with their recent pitcher reclamation project success.

  151. 21sthebest says:

    There’s no way the “holding” occurred prior to the pass being thrown.

  152. Jim S. says:

    Good stuff, buggee. I’m still a little scared of your avatar, though. :-(

  153. Jim S. says:

    I’ve leaned that way as well, Milo.

  154. JohninOshkosh says:

    Awww, and her PR machine had just hit full gear for Sochi.

    (Hope she is OK, but what an unlikeable athlete).

  155. Thundercrack says:

    I was thinking that the Pirates should look at Ryan Vogelsong.

  156. Jim S. says:

    Oh yeah, it was you that told me his swing is a total mess.

  157. 21sthebest says:

    You didn’t think the defender was holding him back Jim? Check out this still.

    I thought, from watching video from behind the end zone, that Gronk tried to stop himself and come back for ball but the defender was holding him back. But as I said, I don’t blame an on field ref for calling that either way. It’s just happening so fast and a very close call anyways.

  158. Lad 9 says:


    I would pick:

    1) Wrestling isn’t down for count yet

    2) Hey, baseball, can you hear us?

    3) No more Buccaneer tears

    4) Don’t dare bury these Pirates

    5) Can Pirates grasp what they’re doing for our city?

    It was like picking from a gourmet smorgasboard though! :)

  159. Jim S. says:

    Not a bad thought. I read that SF is hoping to bring him back on a cheap, incentive-laden deal.

    He really struggled for the Bucs. But, you have to give a guy credit for sticking with it, believing in himself and overcoming disastrous results.

  160. Jim S. says:

    They seem to attract one another, apparently.

  161. Jim S. says:

    I guess he wrapped him up very briefly, 21. I think that happens on a lot of plays and no one says much about it. It was not an extended thing.

    Mostly his arms were “bracketing” him without holding him. I also think it is silly that people are saying he held Gronk back. No one holds that monster back. I didn’t really think he even impeded him much. I honestly didn’t see Gronk make much of a move to the ball. If Gronk had forced the issue, like trying to bowl him over, there is no way the Panthers defender could have gotten out of the way. In that case, I think the two players would have tumbled to the ground and the ref would have left the flag on the field. Gronk did not do that.

  162. Milo Hamilton says:

    The return of Duke Welker.

  163. NMR says:

    Voglesong is the anti-Pirate project. Pitched way better than his peripherals in between sucking.

    Assuming Dan Haren is too expensive, I’d like to see Roberto Hernandez (Fausto) mix with Wandy and Locke for the last spot in the rotation.

  164. NMR says:

    In exchange, the Pirates will also take back Alex Pressley.

  165. Jim S. says:

    And, as I said above, I thought it could go either way. Gronk just needed to force the issue, and he didn’t IMO.

  166. Milo Hamilton says:

    Not sure who is going to Minnesota. Now that is a rental.

  167. Milo Hamilton says:


  168. Jim S. says:

    You’re kidding. Did he end up being damaged goods? This can’t be the Pirates’ choice.

  169. Jim S. says:

    Cue Bob H.

  170. JeffInPlano says:

    Radio Wave, no pats fan here but here’s what I saw last night and then read this morning. Pass was intercepted in front of Gronk, which obviates a pass interference call because the ball is un-catchable (by Gronk who was behind the defender who caught the ball). A defensive holding call could be called and would have given the pats a first doen and one more play even though time had expired (game
    can’t end on a defensive penalty).

    I read this morning (sorry I don’t have a reference) the call on the field was pass interference. This was from the head official explaining why they picked up the flag.

    Imo the call on the field could have been interference or holding. I think they could have easily justified either call. But the flag was thrown for interference… uncatchable… game over…

  171. Milo Hamilton says:

    Minnesota gets LHP Kris Johnson.

  172. NMR says:

    Terry Ryan found out how hard Duke can throw and immediately vomited.

  173. Milo Hamilton says:

    40 man rosters need to be set Wednesday. The shuffle is on.

  174. JohninOshkosh says:

    What is the full trade-you guys joking about Presley ?

  175. NMR says:

    Hahahahahaha, so Terry Ryan.

  176. JohninOshkosh says:

    Never mind, just saw 24/7’s tweet.

  177. Milo Hamilton says:

    Unless Welker’s arm is about to fall off, what’s not to like here ?

  178. Sarah says:

    Oh dear monster – my bad!!!

    Of course you’re right…..but I’m not saying stretch should never be used….there are times it can be exploited vs slow D, as long as speed of play is maintained…..but you’re spot-on too often we thow a 60 footer to a F standing still, he chips it in, and the bad guys go back and get it. (See NJ)

  179. Agree with you on that, Milo.

  180. Jim S. says:

    I don’t know why they would want Johnson. But, Duke Welker isn’t exactly destined for stardom. He will be 28 in Feb. He throws hard. Walks a lot of guys. I think I’d rather have Welker, but he looks like Hughes revisited to me.

  181. hockeymonster says:

    She shoots n scores :)

  182. CeeHowUR says:

    Oct. 2: Hey, baseball, can you hear us?, or any of the Pirate columns. As someone else stated, they were the story of the year.

  183. radio wave says:

    Is she Tiger”s girlfriend? Or is it someone else?

  184. Thundercrack says:

    I think Vogelsong is a good ‘bounce back’ candidate.

    I like him a little better than Haren.

    And Jim, Vogelsong struggled for the Bucs…many years ago.

  185. Thundercrack says:

    Neal Huntington re-acquired a David Littlefield guy.

    No wonder he didn’t win the Executive of the Year award.

  186. Tom Chismar says:

    Oct. 2: Hey, baseball, can you hear us?…One of the best Kovacevic articles EVER….Made me proud to be a Pirates fan and put MLB on notice!!!!

    DK: I’m going to confess right here: I HATED that column, other than the final four paragraphs. That was it. But I also can understand and appreciate that some might have sentiment for any and all descriptions of that game and that night. I just don’t think that did it, certainly not to my satisfaction, at least not until the stuff at the end.

    In fairness, it was on deadline, so I had all of 45 minutes to write. But still …

  187. Great column and you hated it.



  188. JohninOshkosh says:

    An artist or writer’s opinion about one of their creations or works is irrelevant once it is released upon the world. It belongs to the people who will experience it. The obligation of judgment falls upon them.

    DK: You are right.

  189. scapper says:

    No More Buccaneer Tears.

    Got to me again re-reading it just now. That laundry list of all the crap from the past 20 years and the Cabrera stuff…whew. THAT nailed why last season was one of the greatest sports memories ever for this Pittsburgh sports fan.

  190. Brandie says:


    I really enjoyed Hey Baseball, Can You Hear Us! Made me feel like I was in the middle of the action. Sorry you did not like that column, but I thought it was a beautiful piece of writing. I hope you don’t regret it like Sir Mix A Lot regrets his ode to heavy bottomed women “Baby Got Back”!

    The Paterno article got my blood boiling. It helped me clarify who the real victims were that everyone who loved and respected Joe Paterno kept forgetting about…those young men who were taken advantage of by Mr, Sandusky and those shameful individuals who lied by omission and commission to cover up those heinous acts.

    The column about the Steelers being a chaotic bloody mess and the column about yet another Penguins post season failure are tied. I like the fact that you were brutally honest and spared no one from these two sacred cows when providing your assessment (based on black and white facts).

    Thank you for the opportunity to help choose the article for submission. Keep ‘em coming! :-)

  191. Brandie says:

    I want to thank you all for teaching me about hockey. Team needs grit and not to put it on the “try guys” to bring home the wins. I am all for giving players the opportunity to prove they belong, but, constantly using the Rudys of the hockey world as your go to’s does not put your team in the best position to notch many wins. Coach Crylsma, this and a plethora of stretch passes are not sustainable with regard to your long term employment prospects!

  192. Dan1283 says:

    It may be too late already, but I figured I’d better cast my vote and speak now or forever hold my piece. For several of these, the difference is so small it’s like trying to pick my favorie street downtown, but here goes:

    1. Baseball – can you hear us? October 2

    2. Crosby vs Lemieux. March 16

    3. Wrestling. February 12

    4. Do these Pirates know what they’re doing? August 1

    5. For Penguins, a stubborn failure. June 7

    The column that captured my first vote stood out like more than the giant yellow duck, because it really captured everything that needed to be captured that night. The game result, the emotion of the crowd, the history of the moment, the optimism going forward…it was all on full display. Everything else was a strong, but distant, second place. My second vote though, for Crosby v. Lemieux, is based on the depth of analysis that only a true Pittsburgher who had witnessed both careers up close and in person could display. I really think that piece should be required reading for anyone who wishes to compare the two, and anyone who saw both play for a long period of time, and views them objectively, knows that each point is dead on the mark.

    The Paterno column misses by a hair, as I thought there was a stronger case to make, but that’s such a deep and complex issue that it’s hard to do in one brief column. It also was hard to leave off the Buccaneer article from after win #82. However, I think the five above are the best representation of your work from this year.

  193. Dan1283 says:

    Oh, and I took time to re-read all ten, so put that check in the mail!

  194. cosmo says:

    Hey baseball can you hear us

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