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Morning Java: Two stages Worilds apart

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

CLEVELAND — Morning, Lunatics …


>> The Monday column from the frozen tundra of FirstEnergy Stadium offers credit where due to a coach who never allowed his team the time — or inclination — to sulk and/or quite on the season.

Here’s what Ben Roethlisberger had to say afterward …

And Antonio Brown

… and Jason Worilds

Random randomness from the event: Leave Worilds alone. I already made this point — or at least began to — in the Sunday column, but this game yesterday made it infinitely more stronger than any words could. Worilds was a force. He was relentlessly in pursuit of the quarterback, forcing incompletions, causing pain, you name it. I don’t care how much money LaMarr Woodley makes or what he achieved in another life. When Worilds comes back, he has to be on the left side. … Jarvis Jones earned staying at his spot, for that matter. … If the aim in challenging Le’Veon Bell all week long was to get him to hit the holes harder and keep his feet longer, it worked. The challenges continued into the game, obviously, with Felix Jones spelling him early and Jonathan Dwyer being used for those two — failed — short-yardage situations. … Ramon Foster, upon hearing Roethlisberger say down the stretch it was time to run: “We love it. I’m telling you, we were fired up.” … Enjoyed this from Ben when London was brought up: “You know what? It doesn’t matter. That’s irrelevant right now. That’s looking back, and I’m not looking back.” … Willie Gay said the secondary adjusted to all those crossing routes Cleveland had been connecting on early, but the biggest change there was getting pressure on the QB. … A lone negative here: Ike Taylor was savaged in the second half, and Josh Gordon wound up with the Browns’ record for receiving yards at 237 on 14 catches. Some of that was in garbage time, but Taylor continues to show wild swings. … Can you believe Brown already has 80 catches, with five games to go? … This is getting fun. Thursday can’t come soon enough.

The game story looks at the playoff picture, by beat writer Alan Robinson.

How about all those takeawaysMark Kaboly reports.

OK, then, how about AB taking down Joe Haden? Ralph Paulk reports.

Here’s our full Steelers coverage, including my game balls, turning points, injuries.

Here’s Browns news from the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Here are official game highlights from

Here’s our Steelers photo gallery by Chaz Palla and Chris Horner, including this gem of Heyward …


>> The Penguins move on to Boston, and they do so with a confident goaltender and goaltending coach. Josh Yohe reports.

Here’s our full Penguins coverage.

Here’s Bruins news from the Boston Globe.

Here are official game highlights from

>> Pitt hoops gets its first real test tonight in Texas Tech. John Harris previews.

>> Tyler Boyd has done it all as a Pitt football freshman. Jerry DiPaola reports.

>> Penn State will wrap up in Wisconsin. Chris Adamski reports on the special teams.

>> Lloyd McClendon earned his second chance in Seattle. This was Joe Starkey’s Sunday column.

>> 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, 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:

    Still not convinced about the 2013 Steelers, but this is no time to be a party pooper. It’s undeniable that they never quit when it seemed like all the wheels were coming off. They’ve got themselves right back into the thick of it and they’ve earned it the hard way. Bravo!

  2. Ghost says:

    Has St. Louis added the final piece by signing Jhonny Peralta? Maybe. Maybe not. Last year and 2011 saw big spikes in his batting average, but I’m going to attribute that to PED’s. That the Cards DIDN’T acquire Troy Tulowitzki strikes me as the bigtakeaway, as far as the Pirates are concerned. That is, unless Peralta is moved to 3rd and the Cards get Tulo anyway. Some say Carpenter is going to 3rd and Wong is taking over at 2nd. We’ll see. If I were the Cards, I’d still go after Tulo in a heartbeat.

  3. Brandie says:

    We all know that what is earned through hard work, grit, and determination is the sweetest and most satisfying. Count me among those who left these Steelers for dead after 0 for September, but there is a great deal of fight still left in this dog! Bravo indeed. Thanks for the words Ghost!

  4. Drew71 says:

    “Starkey: McClendon earned second chance” but not in Detroit.

    “McClendon figured he might be in line to replace the retired Leyland, but…” the Tigers didn’t.

    I’m pulling for Lloyd. Seattle just became my second favorite.


    What did Detroit think of McClendon? And why?

    The team that knew him best passed him over. Not for a 10-year manager who could lead a veteran team.

    For a novice.

    So what DID Detroit think of McClendon?

    But that question aside, I hope Lloyd proves them wrong.

  5. Drew71 says:

    “couldn’t find a loose football in a toy store”


  6. Drew71 says:

    Bowl matchup predictions by Brad Edwards, listed first, and Mark Schlabach…

    Little Caesars Pizza Bowl
    (MAC vs. Big Ten)
    Ball State vs. PITTSBURGH

    Military Bowl Presented By Northrop Grumman
    (C-USA vs. ACC)
    Marshall vs. PITTSBURGH

  7. Paul J. Raspa says:

    We are Looking like the Steelers of Old!!. Guys starting to step up Like Worilds, Vince Williams, Timmons and the whole O-LINE… just to name a few…. NEED TO PLAY MISTAKE FREE FOOTBALL and I do think Ben is now on the same page as Haley.. The way the “O” looks and with how fast the ball is coming out it seems like they both found common-ground.
    GO STEELERS AND EATEN raven bird for Thanksgiving!!!!

  8. JoeyBats says:

    Jason Worilds was AWESOME yesterday. He has to start the rest of the season — on the LEFT side… (IF, he can remain healthy)…instead of “brittle L. Woodley.” Which raises a number of questions ….

    1. Where was THIS Jason Worilds the first 3 and 1/2 years of his Steelers career?
    2. Can he only play the LEFT side
    3. Is this another guy that is MOTIVATED only by playing for a contract?? (see Keenan Lewis)
    4. OR…does it just take a series of reps & consecutive game starts….for it to finally take it to “kick in”; Jason has been injured & nicked up so much — is he “Cam Heyward + 1 year” ??

    It will be interesting to see how the Steelers play this contract negotion in the off season.

    Speaking of Keenan Lewis….I decided to look up how he was performing down in N’awlins as one of their starters and compare his performance against “Big Play” Willie Gay – some surprising numbers:

    K. Lewis (11 games) — Tackles 31 (8th on team)….Int’s 3 (leads team) ……Passes Defended 8 (2nd on team)

    Willie Gay (11 games)– Tackles 47 (4th on team) …Int’s 1 (2nd -Tied) …..Passes Defended 7 (Leads team -Tied)

    While Kevin Colbert has been skewered, roasted, tarred and feathered for many of his decisions this past off-season (NOT giving Lewis the BIG $$$$) ; this is one that seems to have worked out.

  9. Drew71 says:

    Remember when the Steelers were 7-5 and had to win out to win into the playoffs?

    In as the sixth seed and then, well, you know.

    Yeah. I know. I’m not confusing this team with that one.

    But still. Owning ones own destiny time. Again.

    Here we go, Steelers. Tied for the sixth seed. Ok, with five others. But they play two of them over the next two weeks.

    Feel like the playoffs are starting early? In a manner of speaking, they are.

    Thursday night, 8:30. ThanksFreakingGiving.

    Cue John Facenda. Pittsburgh at Baltimore on a blustery November night with the playoffs on the line.


    Let’s not tell John their records. That would just spoil the imagery.

  10. Drew71 says:

    Where’s Thunder? We need him to ask about some unknown prospect on the 40-man.

    So he can be boldly told to move on.

    I wonder if Thunder is on his 63-man.

  11. Jandy says:

    Count me in this group. I didn’t think they’d get this far…

  12. JoeyBats says:

    PS: …oh, let me add — I was one of those skewering, roasting, tarring & FEATHERING Kevin C for letting Lewis go & not signing him. Imagine how much worse their CAP would be if they would have done that! :-(

  13. JAL says:

    Here Comes the Sun Richie Havens

    JAL’s Here Comes the Sun Morning Links


    1- MLB Transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    3 MLB Important Dates

    BLOGS and such

    4—Pirates Prospects

    Week In Review: The Slow Off-Season Put in Perspective

    The Reality of How the Pirates and Cardinals Build Their Teams

    inter Leagues: Big Day For Paulino, Jackson Continues Shutout Streak

    5 Bucs Dugout

    The other reason free agency is such a bummer for the Pirates

    Quiz: Every Pirates catcher since the Jason Kendall trade

    6 Rumbunter

    Pirates Rock Star Andrew McCutchen Cowboys Up at American Music Awards

    7 Green Weenie

    11/24: Bob Friend, Al Martin, Doug Drabek, Million Dollar Arms, Zach Duke…

    8 Rant Sports

    Pittsburgh Pirates Can’t Compete In This Free Agent Market

    9 NBC Sports

    Japanese baseball officials will try to resolve posting issue in New York

    10 Halo Hangout

    Addressing Baseball In the Middle Of Football Season

  14. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 Beaver County Times

    Three Thoughts: Location Pirates’ latest challenge

    12 Staten Island Advance

    Collecting column: Baseball Hall of Fame voters have lots to do

    13 Survey Monkey

    Ballot for the All-Star Game, to be played Tuesday, July 11, 1922 at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh, Penna.

    14 Bleacher Report

    5 MLB Free Agents Who Need to Sign ASAP

    15 Chicago Sun Times

    Former Cub Bill Mueller to return as hitting coach

    16 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

    Brewers might move Braun to right field

    17 St. Louis Post Dispatch

    Bernie: Peralta was right player at right price

    18 Cincinnati Enquirer

    Adding Schumaker and Pena could be upgrade


    19 Baseball Prospectus

    The Week In Quotes

    20 Fangraphs

    Jhonny Peralta And The Importance of Four Years

  15. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Steelers vs. Browns final score: Four takeaways highlight Steelers 27-11 win over Cleveland

    Are the Ravens hungry, or are they “too hungry” to lose to Steelers?

    22 Steelers Gab

    Mike Tomlin’s Post-Game Press Comments Following The Win


    23 Soccer Nation

    Women’s Soccer News: Sydney Leroux Scores Twice as U.S. WNT Defeats Brazil 4-1 in Orlando to Complete Undefeated 2013 Campaign

    24 World Soccer Daily

    The stories you need to read – November 22, 2013


    25 Pensburgh

    Memorable Moments: Montreal Typical

  16. Drew71 says:

    Don’t feel bad. I recently wrote that Pitt would lose BOTH of its last games and the 1-4-5 SEC is fading.

    I’ll go for trifecta…

    Presuming Winston is not charged and suspended, Florida State, not Alabama, is the best team in the country. And it’s not even close.

    And while I was at it. Russell Martin was another terrible, faded Overbay signing. Just ask me 10 months ago.

  17. hockeymonster says:

    Sill and ebbett instead of megna and harry z???

  18. The Justice Avenger says:

    14 degrees out this morning/4-6 inches of snow on the way….I MISS BASEBALL….

  19. Karen22 says:

    Moi, aussi!! :)

    “Cleveland Clinic” – I used to work there.

  20. Karen22 says:

    I’m with YOU, J.A.!

  21. Dcpinpgh says:

    When talking about steelers management. Keep I mind, the only reason AB is A steeler is because Mike Wallace said ‘No’.

  22. Wild Bill says:

    I’d be feeling really good about the game against the Crows if Ike were looking a little better. Gotta know that Flacco is gonna heave it as far as he can three or four times on Thursday. Those have to be covered, and without an interference penalty.

    Neither team had a real tough game yesterday. If we can handle the long bombs and check downs to Rice, I think we can score enough to win. Being th home team in a holiday game might not be an advantage – distractions.

    Let’s go Steelers, history awaits.

  23. 21sthebest says:

    They also passed over Lamont who wanted the job.

  24. Steve says:

    Not convinced this team is doing anything more than moving down the draft board:

    Allowed 237 yards of receiving to a guy catching balls from Jason Campbell and Brandon Weeden. Can Ike Taylor play any further off a receiver than he was yesterday?

    Still can’t run the ball effectively. That inability to convert on 3rd and 4th and short was pretty bad. So much for Dwyer being the hammer.

    Ben is carrying the team right now. Brown, and Miller are playing great. Even Sanders got in on the act. Cotchery had a quiet game but has also really contributed.

  25. Drew71 says:

    True dat

  26. Thundercrack says:

    Did Lamont interview for the job.

    This is just a guess on my part but I think they wanted to break away from Leyland’s crew.
    Fresh start with a younger guy.

  27. Botherhood of the Redus says:

    Detroits wheels are falling off too…that team is not what it was 2 years ago. They are dropping tons of weight (literally, they moved Fielder didn’t they)

  28. theplanisworking says:

    The Steelers have definitely played better the past 3 weeks. They have a quality win against Detroit, and two wins, against Buffalo, and Cleveland —— 2 mistakes by the Lake. I am happy with the improved play, but still dont know how good this team really is. Come on, Buffalo and Cleveland.

    There are 9 teams fighting for the last wild card spot. This does not mean there are 9 good teams fighting for the last wild card spot. Wont even try to get into the tiebreakers, as the Steelers play both Baltimore and Miami head-to-head, which will go a long way to determining their fate.

    The recent improved play has me wondering…………….. what the h**k took them so long? And, some subs are playing netter than the starters. Why? More personnel goofs? Where was the Jason Worilds that we saw yesterday the past 3 and 1/2 years? Some serious questions have to be asked in the offseason about Mr. Woodley’s inability to stay on the field, for his $$$$$.

    Pitt getting a test tonight. Tonight and tomorrow night will tell much about the Panthers ability to play against non-creampuffs.

    So Lloyd gets another chance to manage……… but not in Detroit. Have to wonder what Dombrowski saw that made him bring in a rookie in Ausmus. Loved Lloyd’s quote about donkeys and thoroughbreds. I wish him well. His tenure wont be boring, that’s for sure.

  29. Arriba Wilver says:

    I agree. The message may have been getting old.

  30. Arriba Wilver says:

    MAC vs. Big Ten?

  31. Thundercrack says:

    We tend to ask ‘why didn’t he get the job’? Maybe it was a case of ‘why did he (Ausmus) get the job’

    I had read that Dombrowski was seriously considering giving the job to Lloyd, but Ausmus had really great interviews with them.

  32. Steve says:

    Looking forward to watching the Panthers tonight and tomorrow. Should be a much better indication of just what this team has this year.

  33. Jandy says:

    Newbie and lurkers, we want to chat with you!
    If you post your hometown, Bizrow will add it to the list of Dejan’s Luantics’ Asylum.
    Don’t be shy, we don’t bite. :)

    (Pay no mind to theplanisworking, he knows I just kick, not bite)

  34. Jandy says:

    Good perspective, TC

  35. theplanisworking says:

    Father Teresa…………..

    years ago, I had to hire a chef for my restaurant. I was “wowed” by a certain candidates interview. I was going to promote our kitchen manager who had done a good job, but I chose Mr. Interview. Long story short, he wasnt such a great hire, and i lost the kitchen manager too.

    Moral of the story: stick with your first instincts.

  36. Drew71 says:

    That was a good move. Got out from under a long and “fat” contract on a player they were reported to fear was fading. And maybe freeing money to try to sign Scherzer. And at least move Cabrera to First where he belongs.

    If they extend Scherzer, a big if, I think the team is set for the future.

  37. Drew71 says:

    Which opens the Q, Thunder, why they wanted to break away from the Leyland crew. Especially since McClendon is a relatively young guy himself.

  38. 21sthebest says:

    Sounds like Russ Grimm and Tomlin a few years ago.

  39. theplanisworking says:

    Today is your lucky (no, not you, Spunky) day.
    I just got a piece of mail delivered by Lloyd’s donkey, of course, that says you DID get all your shots, so everyone is safe!! ;)

    New people, lurkers, and others……………. stay awhile, make yourselves comfy, and if you wish, tell us where you are from. Bizrow the Retired, the blog’s stenographer, will mark your location down in a list he compiles for us. It is over 400 locations strong, and 3 planets also listed.

    So even if Jandy bites you, there is nothing to worry about.

  40. Drew71 says:

    That’s their contractual tie in but not required under certain circumstances. For instance if the next up Big Ten team is not bowl eligible or on probation, etc.

  41. hockeymonster says:

    Jandster, u see pensburgh link for 1st quarter grades n metrics? Interesting read there. Especially player summaries at bottom.

    And I’m outta town this week so you, Sarah n iceman are on disco stretch watch. :)

  42. 21sthebest says:

    I totally agree. Not sure if Lamont interviewed (or if he really needed to) and I can’t find anything that says he interviewed for the Tigers job. I did hear Lamont interviewed on MLB Radio and he wanted the job or a job in baseball as a manager. But as you probably know, he’s staying in Detroit as bench coach.

    Also, Lamont finished second to Bobby Valentine for the Red Sox job a couple of years ago and Lamont wanted Ausmus as his bench coach.

  43. 21sthebest says:

    I’m thinking that maybe you have a roster/organization comfortable with a group of coaches and you want the players to get out of their comfort zone a bit. That’s one of the reasons why I didn’t want the Pirates to hire McClendon when they did.

  44. 21sthebest says:

    I think as often is the case, we’ll see a Panthers team morph over the course of the year. I’m really not sure if tonight and tomorrow will be an indication of a whole lot. Dixon often uses the non conference games to figure out his rotation before the conference games start.

  45. Thundercrack says:

    Well if you believe the comments that you read on blogs, not all of the Detroit fans were in love with Leyland…especially the last two seasons.

    Lloyd is 54. Ausmus is 44. So you are right, Lloyd isn’t that old.

    And maybe it is just the matter of fact that they weren’t super, super impressed with LM’s work as hitting coach. At least not enough to make him manager. And as AW alluded to, maybe they felt they needed an entirely new message.

  46. Thundercrack says:

    That moral may apply – a lot of times.

    But I guess I should look deeper into this. Just to make sure that their first instincts were to hire Lloyd.

  47. Arriba Wilver says:


  48. Drew71 says:

    That’s fair, Thunder. But, in my opinion, weird to turn a competitive, veteran, playoff team over to a relative novice.

  49. Jandy says:

    I will check it out Monster Mash, thanks for the heads’ up :)
    Safe travels to you!

  50. hockeymonster says:

    I’ll be checkin in…may even make appearance at upcoming road game. But which one? :)

  51. Arriba Wilver says:

    Except they haven’t been getting over the hump despite having a huge payroll. And 21’s comment that Lamont wanted him as his bench coach a couple years ago if he had gotten the Bosox job must mean it’s more than just being a good interviewer. The Cards turned to Matheny.

  52. Jim S. says:

    I had them dead and buried as well. Glad to see the resurgence. They have given themselves a chance still at the playoffs. Wish they had not dug such a deep hole that left little room for error now. But, after what it looked like a month ago, I’ll take it.

  53. Jim S. says:

    Exactly. Maybe they thought Lloyd or Lamont would just be, essentially, the same voice (Leyland) speaking to the team again.

  54. hap2009 says:

    I said 6-10 before the season and finally they’ve given me a glimmer of hope they might beat that. I just hope if they do, they end up in the playoffs or it would be wasted draft spots. Still plenty of terrible teams left on the schedule.

  55. Jim S. says:

    You prefer William Gay to Keenan Lewis, Joey Bats?

  56. Jim S. says:

    They need to roll Texas Tech, which is generally an also ran in a top heavy conference. Better competition than Pitt has seen so far, yes. But, I think the Panthers need to win by 15.

  57. JohninOshkosh says:

    The biggest injury of the weekend did not occur on the gridiron. My girlfriend, Giada De Laurentiis, sliced her finger on the Food Network’s live Thanksgiving show. I normally see that show each year, you know for the recipes, but I missed that one. Hope she is OK, and I am glad to see someone who knows their way around a kitchen can still mess up.

    Looking forward to the holiday weekend. For the first time in several years, I am not preparing the meal for my large extended Catholic family. I am making fudge, though. I tweaked my recipe to include Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Creme because Brandie referenced it the other day on the blog. So, if it sucks, it is on her!

    Maybe, I’ll set out an empty plate for Andrew McCutchen, a la Elijah, just to celebrate the Pirates year and rub it into my brother, the Mets fan. A weekend of football, basketball and Dewars. Ah, the holidays!

    Will be watching Pitt tonight in Brooklyn. The Barclays Center is quickly becoming one of my favorite basketball venues.

  58. Jim S. says:

    I believe Mike Tomlin’s interview was so good that it vaulted him to the top of the list of candidates for the Steelers.

  59. Jim S. says:


    GB with Rodgers is a good team at home. Without him, they are what we have seen the last few weeks.

  60. Bizrow says:

    Thanks for keeping things going Jandy ;-)

  61. Jim S. says:

    That’s pretty bold to say FSU is better than Bama, and that it is not even close, Drew. You might be right. It would be quite the match-up if they played in the championship game. Winston would be, by far, the best player on the field. I’m not sure FSU would have many other advantages. But, maybe that is all it would take.

  62. Dom says:

    How ‘bout those Pats yesterday? Down 24-0 and came back to win. Pretty impressive. I’m thinking that they’re the favorites in the AFC. Their remaining schedule consists of all teams with losing records so they’ll probably end up with the #1 seed.

  63. Jandy says:

    Marshmallow crème makes fudge better!

  64. Jandy says:

    I try, Biz, I try :)

  65. I like that. Bizrow the Retired. Sounds like a name from Lord of the Rings or something like it.

  66. JohninOshkosh says:

    I hope so. Last Christmas, I was disappointed. Thought it was too dry. Hope this gives it a boost. :)

  67. Jim S. says:

    It was an impressive comeback, Dom. All Denver had to do in the 3rd quarter was hang on to the football and keep running the ball. But, of course, after they gave up the first score, they ran Moreno 4 straight times for 24 yards and 2 first downs and then decided to throw a side screen into traffic. Fumble. Comeback in full swing. Manning in panic mode. Once NE gets rolling at home, they are virtually unstoppable.

    Peyton Manning has zero arm strength in the wind. He looked like a really old man(ning) for most of that game.

    I wish the refs had called a few of the blatant pick plays by NE on crossing patterns. Or, maybe call Gronk for running straight at a defender, pushing off, then turning and catching pass after pass.

    I’m guessing no one at ESPN will have the coronary this week that they had after the under-thrown ball was not ruled interference for the company team last week.

  68. 21sthebest says:

    Memories of the old SNL skit with Dan Aykroyd as Julie Child. Except that Gina is a tad more attractive than Aykroyd.

  69. Milo Hamilton says:

    I just read 2 separate stories(JAL link #5 is one of them) saying that the Pirates have difficulty in free agency because of where they’re located geographically. Funny, I always thought it was their inability/unwillingness to actually pay for these guys.

    I guess since the “nobody will come here because the Pirates stink” excuse is out the window they just have to invent another one.


  70. Jim S. says:

    It’s good to be an ex-catcher, apparently.

  71. 21sthebest says:

    Don’t the Indians sometimes sign decent free agents?

  72. Arriba Wilver says:

    I thought that was a little strange, too. The other one was in JAL’s Link #11.

  73. Milo Hamilton says:

    I was under the impression that we signed one of our own just last winter.

  74. Arriba Wilver says:

    John Russell agrees with you,

  75. Drew71 says:

    Just left my orthopedic surgeon (nothing serious) and I have to share.

    By way of background, as I may have previously shared, he’s a team physician for an MLB team (spring training) NBA team, and serves in a similar function for the LPGA.

    First, the signed pictures and magazine covers are just amazing. His teams and others, as the home team physician serves for the visiting team as well.

    Bobby Cox getting tossed by an irate umpire who is the real star of the shot. Barry Bonds and Pete Rose on a wall that the doctor calls his Wall of Shame. Frank Robinson as manager looking as stately as always. Stephen Strasberg looking goofy with his odd goatee and bulging eyes as he uncorks. Bryce Harper looking young and small. Prince Fielder wearing a nasty brewers uni. Several players wearing champaign after winning the series. Paula Creamer looking good.

    All the pictures and magazine covers signed with a personal note to the physician.

    Better than the pics are the stories. The doctor found out in my first visit that I’m a baseball geek. His first clue was that he entered the exam room to find me snapping pictures of his pictures.

    So we swap stories, but mostly me listening. He tells a great story of Bonds, on an exhibition trip to Puerto Rico with the Giants to play the Expos, and the doctor was brought over for the exhibition series. Too long of a story to share, but Bonds was gruff, almost nasty – but huge hearted in the story.

    He tells of sharing some scotch with Bobby Cox in his last season. Cox was as over the top in everything, evidently, and the story is fun, very fitting, and while in no way immoral or illegal, propriety won’t let me share. Perfect.

    He told me of guys who made millions from their bodies, but wouldn’t exercise. In fact, when injured, many wouldn’t do their therapy (even today) and injuries would linger, hurting careers and even paychecks.

    And then the opposite…

    Blue Jay Roger Clemens, playing in the doc’s team’s city, skipping the team bus back to the hotel and having a taxi wait for him around midnight so he could lift weights, alone in the clubhouse except for the doctor. Who as he left still heard Clemens clanging away on the weights from outside.

    I shoulda gone to med school.

    I shoulda been smart so I coulda gone to med school.

  76. Jim says:

    Worilds was an absolute wrecking ball. Him and Hayward are working hard to shed that bust label. And it looks like they have been successful. I agree Woodley does nothing 90% of the time and scares nobody. Its time to move on from him no matter the cap consequences. Or perhaps he can learn the inside LB and be the second coming of Levon Kirkland.

  77. 21sthebest says:

    I’ll take a win. I don’t care how many points they win by.

  78. JohninOshkosh says:

    I had totally forgotten that bit. Good call, 21.

  79. 21sthebest says:

    Thanks for that Drew. And I have heard stories of baseball and basketball players who do their weightlifting after games.

  80. Jim S. says:

    That concerns me a bit.

  81. Nate83 says:

    Thanks for sharing Drew. Very interesting stuff.

  82. 21sthebest says:

    I have a great memory for useless information.

  83. Jim S. says:

    Obviously, but my point is that beating Texas Tech tonight, unless they do it handily, doesn’t tell me much about this team because Texas Tech is generally nothing special.

  84. Jim S. says:

    Nolan Ryan, I believe, was legendary for it – which may be why Clemens took it up.

  85. NMR says:

    AJ Burnett has something to say about this.

    Amazing how some willfully “forget” the recent past.

  86. JohninOshkosh says:

    A row of zeros at the end of the paycheck takes care of geographical concerns, I would think.

  87. Wild Bill says:

    If a team is having a seemingly unproductive free agency period, then – for public consumption – a reason has to be found…devised…contrived…invented…etc.

  88. Wild Bill says:

    Good stuff, Drew.

    Roger had so much juice in him near the end, he just had to find ways to burn off the rush.

  89. Jandy says:

    What a bunch of hooey!

  90. 21sthebest says:

    I guess what I’m saying is that I don’t view tonight as telling us much about this team regardless of what happens. We still have a pretty small sample size from which to go on, IMO.

  91. 21sthebest says:

    If the Pirates are already have an unproductive free agent period, so are about 18-20 other organizations.

  92. Wild Bill says:

    This is gonna get really interesting. Seems we have two players for one position, and if I were Woodley, I’d be a little nervous right now.

  93. Jandy says:

    Thanks for the lift on this cold, miserable Monday, Drew Dahling :)

  94. Drew71 says:

    If anybody wants to come down to spring training and break an arm, I’ll hook you up with him.

  95. Wild Bill says:

    I think it’s still too soon to say, and that’s why this stuff is so goofy.

  96. Drew71 says:

    73, overcast and very windy.

    I hope I don’t get sick.

  97. Jandy says:

    14 this morning at 6am. 24 now at 11:30am. heat wave….sheesh!

  98. Wild Bill says:

    Your forecasts are making me sick – with envy!

  99. Dom says:

    I’m thinking we should attempt to bring back Worilds and keep Woodley.

    Keeping Woodley isn’t a question. Regardless how he’s been playing isn’t the issue when considering keeping Woodley for another year. If we were to release him at the end of the season, we’ll lose an ADDITIONAL $580K in cap room. I’d say there is no alternative but to bring him back.

  100. Milo Hamilton says:

    All excited to see Derrick Rose & the Chicago Bulls in Cleveland Saturday night. Oh.

  101. 21sthebest says:

    Are you seeing him for your beer mug elbow?

  102. Jim S. says:

    I believe last year’s flurry of activity by the Bucs had not even started at this point.

    The Martin signing happened in very early December, right? Then, Liriano was signed later in Dec., and Hanny was traded after that. I don’t think we even had Jeanmar yet.

    That said, I’m as anxious as anyone to fill some holes.

    It will be interesting to see how everything St. Louis did plays out. I think the Bourjos deal was a good one. But, he is not a proven hitter. In fact, he has been a worse hitter than Jay in his short career. I will say that I tend to agree with the people who say Bourjos just needs a full shot and he may take off. He will definitely be a big defensive upgrade.

    Was Peralta a good signing? The consensus seems to be that he is average, at best, defensively. On again/off again hitter with a PED past. Far from an automatic at SS for them.

  103. Milo Hamilton says:

    If we add today & tomorrow together we can come up with 73. Maybe.

  104. Wild Bill says:

    What a shame. Rose is one of the few NBA players I’d pay to watch.

  105. Wild Bill says:

    Good stuff, Jim. There is a high risk/reward to what they’ve been doing.

    Also have to give them credit for trying hard. Maybe they feel the division will be really tough again, and they have to get better to hang near the top.

  106. Wild Bill says:

    How much might we be paying Woodley to sit on the bench, or to alternate?

  107. Jim S. says:

    Peralta last 3 years:

    2011: XBH – 25/3/21; .299/.345/.478/.824
    2012: XBH – 32/3/13; .239/.305/.384/.689
    2013: XBH – 30/0/11; .303/.358/..457/.815

    FWIW, I read that he hit an extremely high .374 on balls in play this year vs. a career avg. of .312.

    I assume he decided to cheat for a reason. Maybe we’ll find out who the real Peralta is now that he has his $$.

  108. Jandy says:

    Not here…

  109. Dom says:

    His base is $8 million and about $5.5 million in Bonus

  110. Jim S. says:

    I can practically see the July pre-camp stories about how Woodley is visibly thinner, and in the best shape of his career.

  111. Jim S. says:


  112. NMR says:

    I know it is a coping mechanism to hope, but the Cards got better, undeniably, at their weakest position.

    And they did it within budget and without giving up a single draft pick or prospect.

  113. JohninOshkosh says:

    I think his career is over. Sad. Still get to see Irving, though.

  114. Bizrow says:

    Me too

  115. Wild Bill says:

    Did you mean Rose’s injury, or my remark, Jim?

  116. Drew71 says:

    Very nice. A repetitive motion injury.

  117. Jim S. says:

    Or, it could be that Peralta is not that good even though anyone would be better than Kozma. I’m glad they didn’t sign Drew. I think he’s a better player.

    Their real upgrade will be Wong, IMO. He struggled this year, but I think there is every indication he will be a terrific player. Carpenter should be significantly better than Freese at 3b, although Carpenter may have just had his career year.

    If Taveras is as good as advertised, he will be a great fit in RF. But, I heard he still has ankle issues. I even heard one report that Alan Craig is going to RF and Big City is going to 1b to start the year.

  118. Drew71 says:

    And by the way. I’ve been shot up with and now taking orally all kinds of steroids. Really nothing serious.

    But give me three months and I’ll be a muscled up 300 pound freak of nature.

    And that’s just my Barry Bonds head.

  119. Dom says:

    Aren’t we supposed to get 3-6 inches of snow from tonight till Wednesday in Pittsburgh? We might even get some ice pellets tomorrow. Hopefully the roads will be okay tomorrow night.

  120. theplanisworking says:

    For one billion dollars, it better be.

    And, that would buy a lot of the Jet-Puffed stuff. ;)

  121. Jim S. says:

    Milo’s comment that he had tickets to go to Cleveland to see D Rose Saturday night.

  122. Jim S. says:

    Ok, got it.

  123. Wild Bill says:

    A major bummer.

  124. Naterosboro says:

    Some thoughts on the Steelers (and save the last thought for The Arsenal)….

    * Credit to the team for not quitting after an 0-4 (and then 2-6) start.

    * It’s no secret they’re winning ball games because they’re now winning the turnover battle. You keep the ball away from the other team, and take it away from them usually equals more points than your opponent.

    * For all the draft decisions that we’ve killed Kevin Colbert for recently, looks like he (and the Steelers) made the right call in letting Mike Wallace walk and resigning Antonio Brown.

    * Jason Worilds must be an avid reader of this blog. LaMarr Woodley, not so much.

    * I still love reading that the O-line loves run blocking. I’m glad they love it so much. Now, if they could get better at it……

    * 0 sacks on Ben Roethlisberger? In a NFL game? Whoa…I know they don’t like it as much as run blocking, but could the O-line be getting better at pass protection? Or is this just a product of finally getting a steady 5 on the field? Or the Cleveland front-7 not having a great game?

    * I know, at 5-6, the team is in a virtual tie for the 6 seed in the AFC (which speaks volumes about the quality of the AFC (and NFL in general)), but does anyone seriously believe this is a “championship” caliber team? Essentially what I see them doing is making a futile push towards the playoffs, only to fall short, and end up with the #19 pick in the draft, which helps nothing. Sorry to say it, but this fan is actually unhappy with these recent wins.


    * If anyone wants to watch a real football team, The Arsenal in London are leading the Barclays Premier League by 4 pts. after 12 games (9W-1D-2L), and play Marseille in the Champions League this Tuesday (a win will certainly guarantee progression to the knockout stages)! Come On You Gunners! Up the Arsenal!

    Take it easy everyone.

  125. Wild Bill says:

    Having been at the Penn State / Nebraska game, the obvious conclusion was that special teams did State in. The Nebraska special teams give every sign of being very well coached, from the way they deploy to the line to what they do at the snap.

    The Steelers, as I mentioned in yesterday’s game blog, could look hard at their punter, and the place kicker was also very good. It’s fun to see a well coached unit execute, even at my alma mater’s expense.

  126. Jim S. says:

    ++ on the Wallace vs. Brown comment.

  127. Jim S. says:

    On the bright side, he’ll still be in Cleveland on a Saturday night in late November. :-)

  128. Wild Bill says:

    Looking at the standings and our remaining schedule, there are eight teams already likely to draft ahead of us, and a bunch tied with us. Chances of a top ten pick are not good unless we choke the rest of the season away.

    Given that picks after the top ten are usually lesser players, I’m happy to beat the Crows now and make something of this season, Nate.

  129. radio wave says:

    How can the guy pick Ball State? Northern Illinois beat them and lead the MAC west. the winner of Buffalo vs. Bowling Green wins the east and faces NIU for the league championship. So even if NIU gets a better bowl, how does Ball State get picked over the east winner and championship game participant?

  130. radio wave says:

    I hate to admit it, but I shut off the Pats game at halftime last night. Shocked.

  131. Thundercrack says:

    Andy Van Slyke has been named the first base coach for the Mariners.

    I will set the line as 1.5 seasons on how long he will last there

  132. Jim S. says:

    Feels like 8-8 or 9-7 to me now. That won’t get us a high draft pick. I always want them to win, but I admit that I would like a higher draft pick.

  133. Jim S. says:

    Zdurienic has gotten to hire 3 managers there, I believe. There is no way he sticks around for #4. Lloyd may not last longer than your assessment of Andy if they don’t win right away.

  134. JAL says:

    Word is Pirates traded Alex Dickerson to Padres for Miles Mikolas and Jaff Decker

  135. Milo Hamilton says:

    Back where it all began, 50 years ago.

  136. Jim S. says:

    I know nothing about Padres prospects, JAL. What do you think of that trade? What kind of value did they get in your opinion?

  137. NMR says:

    And also DFA’d Garrett Jones and Kyle Mcpherson.

  138. JAL says:

    Pirates designate Garrett Jones and Kyle McPherson for assignment

  139. radio wave says:

    Your girlfriend was on the Today show this morning. There is a Today show app if you have a smart phone where they have video clips.

  140. NMR says:

    Neither guy is a prospect.

  141. JAL says:

    That’s a tough one, never know about prospects. Both have limited MLB experience. Milolas has been a reliever and Decker did some PH.

  142. Milo Hamilton says:

    This reminds me of the trade they made with KC last winter. Vin Mazzaro & the first baseman whose name I already forgot. Robinson I think.

  143. Bizrow says:

    Wow, Good luck, Legend

  144. Thundercrack says:

    The guys on MLB XM said that there were teams interested in Mikolas

  145. Jim S. says:

    I guess that would tell us what they think of Dickerson.

    There must be something somewhat intriguing about the pitcher. At least, I hope so.

  146. Milo Hamilton says:

    The same teams that Pitt beats out for recruits.

  147. theplanisworking says:

    Yeah, then Tomlin can cut him for Fred Whipplesworth, LB, State Podunk Polytech University.

    Then, 5 weeks later, he will bring Woodley back.
    Sound familiar?

  148. theplanisworking says:

    Milo, Derrick Rose isnt that old………. ;)

  149. theplanisworking says:

    With that team, they wont win right away.
    That would be a shame to saddle Lloyd with a bad team, and expect him to work miracles.

  150. theplanisworking says:

    + so many this morning !

  151. Milo Hamilton says:

    It’s that time of year so let’s do a quick primer.

    Jameson Taillon – Prospect.
    Chase D’Arnaud – Minor Leaguer.

    Gregory Polanco – Prospect.
    Jerry Sands – OK, that’s a bad example but you get my point.

  152. Jim S. says:

    I’m not a fan of the Cleveland sports teams, but I have some good friends in Cleveland. I had some good times there in my early 20’s.

  153. Jandy says:

    OK so far so good, Milo.
    Now, where’s the Beer Leaguer??

  154. Wild Bill says:

    Watch him come back with another team and hit one in the river on us.

    Still, can’t complain with the decision.

  155. NMR says:

    Dickerson is six months of AAA baseball away from being Matt Hague, so I guess you gotta get what you can.

  156. theplanisworking says:

    You lost me at “primer”.

  157. Jim S. says:

    I’m just thinking the owner must have told Jack “No more mulligans for you! This one had better work.” So, I think they are both a bit on the hot seat because Managers don’t usually last through the GM getting fired.

  158. Playoffs by 2012 says:

    Garrett Jones was the best Pirates player since Alex Presley.
    I hope both go into the Hall of Fame with Pirates caps on.

  159. theplanisworking says:

    Sadly, You are correct.

  160. NMR says:

    These moves were going to happen eventually, and don’t be surprised if both players are Piates next April.

    McPherson is out of options and out of baseball until he recovers from Tommy John.

    Jones was not going to be tendered a contract through arbitration and so designating him just gets it over with and allows Jones to seek employment elsewhere while still talking with the Pirates.

  161. Jim S. says:

    I think he’s Lambo-lite, if there is such a thing.

  162. NMR says:

    What to make of guys sent and received in trades.

  163. NMR says:

    Sure there is. They’re called non-prospects.

  164. Jim S. says:

    That’s asking a lot. I just hope they go in, Playoffs! :-)

  165. Jim S. says:

    Jerry Sands sounds like a Vegas warm-up act. I think he used to open for Joey Bishop.

  166. Jandy says:

    It’s a Playoffs sighting :)

  167. Jim S. says:

    Yeah, I think you’re right about Lambo. But, there’s something to hitting that many HR in one season. He could become something. He won’t be a star, but he could be a decent platoon player, I think.

  168. Playoffs by 2012 says:

    I love the fact that we now have a dude named JAFF on the team.

  169. Jim S. says:

    Whatever could you mean?

  170. Milo Hamilton says:

    And married to Nancy Sinatra.

  171. NMR says:

    Just to be clear, I was speaking of your figurative “Lambo-lite” description.

    To me, that’s Andrew Lambo without the power which equates to a poor defending, strikeout prone gap hitter.

    Lambo’s still a prospect in my book.

  172. Milo Hamilton says:

    Sawchik: Decker was once Baseball America’s #82 prospect (2010).
    Me: Then they moved him up to AA.

    This stuff is so predictable.

  173. Jim S. says:

    Seems like the kind of guy the Pirates have a knack for finding that ends up better than projected once they work with him. Not unlike the Vin Man, as Milo said above. He throws 92-95, and occasionally touches as high as 98. Throws lots of grounders. Could end up in our bullpen this year.

    I don’t see Dickerson as a big loss for 2 guys that each seem to have as bright a future as him. Lefty OF for Lefty OF. Jaff might have more pop.

  174. Jim S. says:

    One of these days these boots …

  175. Jim S. says:

    Now, I’m not disappointed any more that we didn’t get Josh Johnson, or NMR’s pet choice, Dan Haren.

  176. 21sthebest says:

    I’m old enough to remember her when she was cute. Now she reminds me of Ernest Borgnine.

  177. Playoffs by 2012 says:


    MLB Network: The Dodgers have agreed to terms with Dan Haren for $10 million.
    PT Barnum: There is a sucker born every minute.

  178. Milo Hamilton says:


  179. 21sthebest says:


  180. theplanisworking says:

    AJ thanks him.
    He is now worth at least $19 million, thanks to the Haren deal.

    It was just inevitable that teams would throw that new TV money around.

  181. NMR says:

    Haren will be one of the best signings this winter.

  182. radio wave says:

    I pose the same question as I did a week ago.
    Concerning AJ:
    Does he return to Pittsburgh?
    Does he retire?
    Does he sign elsewhere for more money?

  183. Jim S. says:

    Could be. I don’t think he had any interest in signing with a team that was not in the Pacific time zone.

  184. Drew71 says:

    Based on what I’m used to, Earnest looks pretty good to me.

  185. Jim S. says:

    Loved her in McHale’s Navy.

  186. Drew71 says:

    I’ll take the Under.

  187. Jim S. says:

    Got ya’ on Lambo, NMR.

  188. Jandy says:

    Crap. Tanner Glass out for the Bruins game tonight.

  189. Jim S. says:

    But, is she “Ernest Borgnine hot?”

  190. Jandy says:

    And not just tonight. He’s “longer-term” like Bennett

  191. NMR says:

    None at all.

  192. NMR says:

    Thought DK nailed this one in his chat last Friday.

    Actually thought DK nailed every Pirate question in the chat.

  193. Jim S. says:

    D*mn surfer dudes.

  194. 21sthebest says:

    I didn’t think those questions were very challenging to say the least.

  195. Have to fill up those minor league rosters somehow. Two guys for one, all with low ceilings. How can you go wrong?

  196. theplanisworking says:

    Haren may, or may not be the best signing.
    One thing is for sure………… as each new contract is signed, AJ’s value continues to go up. This is why the whole no qualifying offer thing makes little sense.

  197. NMR says:

    The qualifying offer is a non-factor, as I see it.

    The only benefit, for the Pirates, of giving AJ a qualifying offer would be to get draft pick compensation IF he signed with another team. That team would then lose their first round draft pick for the right to have AJ Burnett pitch one year for them at a salary somewhere above $15m. Considering the geopgraphic limitations on his market, the chances of that happening were slim to none.

    A qualifying offer would’ve literally only done one thing for certain, and that is put the cost of the Pirates signing AJ Burnett at $14m to start.

  198. NMR says:

    And yet Dejan answered them succintly and plausibly, by my estimation, which is more than can be said about most baseball talk this time of year.

  199. Dave G says:

    Forbes lists the Penguins franchise value at $485 Million, 8th in the NHL.

    #1 is Toronto at $1.2 Billion

  200. theplanisworking says:

    Good points, but now AJ’s contract will be way above $14 million after the Johnson and Haren deals.

    Just a sticky situation to be in.

  201. Thundercrack says:

    I agree with you NMR

  202. The Justice Avenger says:

    Just to share a laugh for a Monday afternoon: Since the Joney’s news just came out…my mom (she is 85) is seriously bummed out. All the “cute ones get released or traded” she says. Biggest baseball/Pirates fan ever…learned everything about baseball from my mom.

  203. Jim S. says:

    Jaff might be battling it out with Lambo for a lefty-hitting extra OF spot on the 25 man to start the year. Could possibly platoon with Tabby until the inevitable happens. I think his upside is extra OF – same as Dickerson. Got a righty middle reliever who they probably think they can get more out of than San Diego could as well.

    I would say the most likely position add at this point is a lefty-hitting 1b. I still say Loney is a good bet.

  204. Thundercrack says:

    Haren is going to make $10 million, correct? And Johnson signed for $8 million.

    How does that drive AJ’s price to $19 million?

  205. Jim S. says:

    Nice story, Justice! Happy Thanksgiving to you and mom!!

  206. 21sthebest says:

    I’m trying to figure that one out too.

  207. theplanisworking says:

    AJ had better numbers.
    AJ led the league in K/9.
    AJ had a $16.5 MM contract last year.

    After having one of the better years of his career, you honestly think that AJ would take less than $16.5 MM? Really? After Hudson, Johnson, and Haren……. 3 pitchers worse than AJ got the money they got, AJ will be in the $19MM range with the past 2 seasons he had.

  208. The Justice Avenger says:

    Thanks, Jim. And from our family to yours…Happy Thanksgiving!

  209. NMR says:

    AJ realistically has trimmed his market to about three teams, given his geographic demands.

    The Orioles will not pony up that kind of money, thats for sure.

    The Nats are the only realistic competitor for his services, and I’m not even sure if they’re interested.

    Huntington hedged his bets on AJ being a fit at home playing with his kids or on the mound pitching in Pittsburgh. Market rates do not apply.

  210. JohninOshkosh says:

    That puff piece reads like a Neal directive to Singer to help Pirates fans cope with AJB not returning.

  211. JohninOshkosh says:

    + Good stuff.

  212. NMR says:

    “Clearly, the Pirates won’t go to eight figures for any one player, which would take an inordinate bite out of their payroll even if it reaches a record $90 million.”

    In 2013, the Pirates paid AJ Burnett $8m of their roughly $70m payroll. That equals 11%.

    Eight figures, or $10m, of a $90m payroll equals, you guess it, 11%.

    Math is really hard, guys.

  213. Thundercrack says:

    I think the only way AJ signs a deal in the $19 million range is if a really big market team has a starter that gets injured before the start of the season.

    I don’t think AJ will get that type of contract.

  214. 21sthebest says:

    If my Mom were still here I feel pretty confident that she wouldn’t care if we had 25 guys that looked like Ernest Borgnine as long as they could hit or pitch.

    Just wanted to get in two Ernest Borgnine references in one day. Has to be a sports blog first.

  215. Milo Hamilton says:

    Hi Frank.

  216. Jim S. says:

    My mom was a huge Bucs fan also. Miss her a lot during baseball season.

  217. Jim S. says:

    Toronto could probably sustain a 2nd team.

  218. pattonbb says:

    No way Free Shoes University is better than Bama. If Famous Jameis doesn’t end up in prison, he’ll win the Heisman, but FSU offense will get swallowed by Bama defense. Ohio State is the only offense that might get Bama.

  219. pattonbb says:

    Too bad Lewis isn’t starting on the other side of the field from Gay. Ike has become a liability.

    I saw Lewis play against Dallas. He looked great matching up with Dez. Hadn’t paid much attention to him this year until then. He looked really strong.

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