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Morning Java: Do-it-yourself Tomlin, Zatkoff, O’Brien

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The Tuesday write-your-own-column feature poses the following three questions for your consideration:

1. Would you consider Mike Tomlin’s sideline affair to be embarrassing for the Steelers, regardless of the NFL’s punishment?

2. Is Jeff Zatkoff to be taken seriously as an NHL backup behind Marc-Andre Fleury?

3. Bill O’Brien’s second season at Penn State ended with a bang in Madison to finish 7-5 overall, 4-4 in the Big Ten. Can that be considered an overall success?

To repeat the rules: Please submit all entries down below in the comments section. If it’s your first time here, it might take a bit to post, but it will. Choose only one topic, and limit the entry to 100 words. No more than that. Yes, that forces you to be tight, but anybody who’s ever done this job knows that’s by far the hardest part of it.

One winner for each category will be published in tomorrow’s Morning Java. If you want your name attached to it, by all means include that in the entry.

>> The Tomlin sideline saga is covered by Alan Robinson.

The O-line needs more bandages, please, by Mark Kaboly.

Here’s our full Steelers coverage.

Here’s Dolphins news from the Miami Herald.

Here are official game highlights from NFL.com.

And here’s what the cast of WPXI-TV’s Subway Final Word had to say about Tomlin, as well as the Steelers’ playoff hopes …

>> The Penguins talk Zatkoff, by Chris Adamski. They’ll play tonight on Long Island.

Here’s our full Penguins coverage.

Here’s Islanders news from Newsday.

Here are official game highlights from NHL.com. including every single Metro Division team going down … again.

>> Pitt and Penn State tip off tonight at the Pete for the first time in what seems like eons. Kevin Gorman covers.

Below are a couple questions I had for Jamie Dixon on this topic …

>> Three quality all-ACC honors for Pitt football, by Jerry DiPaola.

>> The Pirates switch backup catchers, by Travis Sawchik.

>> Back to the dentist for me today. And yeah, I know I wrote that in yesterday’s entry, but I showed up at the office all ready to be drilled and filled, and I was politely reminded my appointment was for Tuesday, not Monday.

(Groan)

Let me know how the Tomlin goes. I’ll be focused on more needling matters.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

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

416 Comments

  1. No. 3. Bill O’Brien and the Penn State Nittany Lions pulled off a huge upset over Wisconsin. On the arm of a freshman QB, this was a huge win to top off a successful season. This should be used as a recruiting tool throughout the state and surrounding areas and will put this program back on the map, setting up successful runs after the sanctions are lifted and separating the program from the horrors of the past regime.

  2. No. 2 I cannot take Zatkoff seriously until the sample size is larger and he performs — and wins — against the better teams on a consistent basis, rather than just the isolated game.

    Although he’s bigger than Fleury, there just seem to more “holes” in his stance. And he’s a bit of a flopper and thus slower to react/recover after an initial stop. For those reasons, there have been many ripe second chance opportunities right at the doorstep where he is either flat on his back or otherwise way out of position. Fortunately for him, most of those to this point have been cleared or swept aside by our d-men and forwards being in the right place at precisely the right time.

    All of that said, still giving him the benefit of the doubt to this point. On the plus side, he seems to be a very bright kid and he has certainly improved since early outings. He just has a long way to go yet before I would regard him as a solid second option.

    • Missed new 100 word limit, so abridged version:

      Cannot take Zatkoff seriously until sample size is larger and he wins against better teams on a consistent basis, rather than the isolated game.

      Although bigger than Fleury, there are more “holes” in his stance. He’s a flopper and slower to recover after an initial stop. Consequently, there’ve been many ripe second chance opportunities where he’s flat on his back. Fortunately, most have been swept aside by teammates being in the right place at precisely the right time.

      He’s a bright kid who’s improved since early outings. But he still needs to prove he’s a solid second option.

    • Agreed DJ. Zats has done ok, but it’s the weaker teams he has played against. And up until the Panthers game, the team had shielded him. Winning has been a huge boost to his confidence, which is good, but I want to see him do well against a higher caliber team. I’ll keep an open mind, tho, and see how it goes.

  3. Mike Tomlin’s little “sideline leap” means nothing to me.
    I feel absolutely zero embarrassment towards the Steeler organization.
    If Raven kick returner Jacoby Jones was using his head, he would’ve run into Tomlin and been the recipient of a free TD.
    When one looks closely at the tape, he didn’t even do his “minor cut-in” till he was past Tomlin.

    In a league that has specialized in revered LB’s assisting double murders, head coaches that major in cheating, and rotund bullies in the locker room……I think Mike Tomlin is about 100,000 miles below the embarrassment line.

    • I think Jones was using his head and didn’t want to risk seriously injuring Tomlin.

      • Really? Jacoby Jones, humanitarian.

        I think Tomlin should be embarrassed for not paying closer attention, at the very least. If he did it on purpose, then this is a serious matter that should result in a large fine to him and the organization. I don’t think he would do such a thing on purpose, but I guess I am not 100% certain.

        The Steelers should not lose a draft pick, regardless. And, if it comes to that, the league has totally lost its way.

        • I think Tomlin is embarrassed and I think that’s what his smile was all about. A smile is a perfectly normal reaction in that situation. And I don’t think Tomlin did this on purpose.

          I didn’t say Jones is a humanitarian. I was trying to say that the suggestion that he should have run over Tomlin is cruel, IMO.

          • I know, 21. I was just kidding about the humanitarian part.

            I actually believe it is possible to have the presence of mind to bump into MT there. He didn’t need to plow Coach Soundbyte over to get the TD call.

      • A Baltimore Raven uses his head for one thing…..Killshots.
        Example in point….Le’Veon Bell.

    • I don’t think that a football player is really going to make the quick decision during the run back to purposely run into Tomlin and get a free TD. The play just happens too fast.

      And the player probably doesn’t know the rules.
      The refs might not even know the rules. The player shouldn’t chance it.

    • Does that mean Tomlin minors in cheating?

  4. Back to the dentist for me today. And yeah, I know I wrote that in yesterday’s entry, but I showed up at the office all ready to be drilled and filled, and I was politely reminded my appointment was for Tuesday, not Monday.

    ……
    DK…..DOESN’T ANYONE FROM THE DENTIST OFFICE READ THIS BLOG? ;-)

  5. 1. The most embarrassing element of TomlinGate was how ineptly unathletic Tomlin looked when he did his little bunny hop. Shouldn’t a former (air quote) athlete know how to, you know, move?

  6. WOW, this is very sad:
    http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/pittsburgh-pirates-minor-league-prospect-evan-chambers-dies-at-age-24-120213

    Pirate’s prospect Evan Chambers died in his sleep…24 years old… :(

    • JAL’s link #4

    • It is very sad, Jandy. 24 year old guys are not supposed to be dying.

      If you didn’t catch the nice note that TC posted yesterday late afternoon about his family’s experience meeting Evan and his family awhile back, go back and read it. Very heartwarming. Evan was obviously a terrific young man. RIP.

      • Thanks for the heads’ up, Jim. I hope TC doesn’t mind…I brought it forward to share it:

        Thundercrack
        December 2, 2013 at 5:36 pm

        That is so sad.

        I believe that I have told this story before here on the blog.

        Two years ago I went to a spring training game. It was Bucs vs Rays at the Rays park. Me and my family stayed after the game and went to the gift shop. When we finally made our way through the parking lot we were walking beside a ‘kid’ with his parents. The kid had a duffel bag with a bat sticking out. So I asked “are you a Pirate”. He said that he was and his name was Evan Chambers. His mother piped up “Did you see that throw he made from right field?!” I said that I did and then I proceeded to tell him that I knew he was a high draft pick, etc…..
        When we got to our car I wished him luck. His mother yelled “We’ll see you in Pittsburgh in a few years!”.

        I always followed his stats. He had some tough years at the plate.

        That summer I was at a Q&A session with NH. I asked him if Chambers was a prospect and told him the story. He said that Evan and his family were the nicest people. He said that Chambers walked too much and is still learning that he may only get one good pitch to hit in an at-bat and that he has to take advantage of it to be ready to hit it.

        My condolences to his family.

        DK: Appreciate your sharing that, TC. Never heard a negative syllable about Chambers from anyone at any level of the Pirates.

  7. Oh what a Night, December 1963 Four Seasons
    JAL’s Oh What a Night, December 1963 Morning Links

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cI59cpkFxPo

    GENERAL DAILY UPDATED BASEBALL SITES

    1- MLB Transactions

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/pittsburgh_pirates/

    3 MLB Important Dates

    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/schedule/important_dates.jsp

    BLOGS and such

    4—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: The Big Lesson Learned in 2013

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/12/first-pitch-the-big-lesson-learned-in-2013.html

    Pirates Tender All Eligible Players, Including Travis Snider

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/12/pirates-tender-all-eligible-players-including-travis-snider.html

    Evan Chambers Passes Away at Age 24

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/12/evan-chambers-passes-away-at-age-24.html

    5 Bucs Dugout

    Pirates tender Travis Snider and others, sign Chris Stewart

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2013/12/3/5169356/pirates-tender-travis-snider-and-others-sign-chris-stewart

    6 Rumbunter

    Pirates Grab Pitch Framing Chris Stewart from Yankees

    http://rumbunter.com/2013/12/02/pirates-grab-pitch-framing-chris-stewart-yankees/

    7 WHY GAVS

    Non-tender deadline: Remaining Pirates get offers, plus interesting non-tenders

    http://www.whygavs.com/pittsburgh-pirates/october-2013/non-tender-deadline-remaining-pirates-get-offers-plus-interesting-non-tenders.html

    8 Green Weenie

    12/1-2: Cookie, Matty, Maury Wills, The Baron of the Bullpen, The Cricket, Danny Murtaugh, Bobby Bo…

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2013/12/121-2-cookie-matty-maury-wills-baron-of.html

    9 City of Champions

    Travis Snider tendered contract by Pittsburgh Pirates; Chris Stewart signs with team

    http://cityofchampionssports.com/2013/12/02/travis-snider-tendered-contract-pittsburgh-pirates-chris-stewart-signs-team/

  8. NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    10 Pirates Site

    Pirates mourn passing of 24-year-old outfielder

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/pit/pittsburgh-pirates-mourn-death-of-minor-leaguer-evan-chambers-24?ymd=20131202&content_id=64344446&vkey=news_pit

    11 Call to the Pen

    2013 Season in Review: Pittsburgh Pirates

    http://calltothepen.com/2013/12/02/2013-season-review-pittsburgh-pirates/

    12 MILB

    Pirates’ big year extended to Minors

    http://www.milb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20131202&content_id=64197072&fext=.jsp&vkey=news_milb

    13 NY Times

    Yanks Trade a Catcher to the Pirates

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/03/sports/baseball/yankees-trade-catcher-chris-stewart-to-the-pirates.html?_r=0

    14 CBS Sports

    Doug Fister trade gives Nationals the best rotation in baseball

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/eye-on-baseball/24315601/doug-fister-trade-gives-nationals-the-best-rotation-in-baseball

    15 Baseball Nation

    Making sense of the Twins spending spree

    http://www.baseballnation.com/2013/12/2/5165360/twins-free-agent-contracts-ricky-nolasco-phil-hughes

    16 USA Today

    Baseball’s Jim Abbott inspired one-handed Nick Newell

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mma/2013/12/02/baseballs-abbott-inspired-one-handed-newell-/3827225/

    17 MLB

    Intriguing non-tendered names join open market

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/mlb/intriguing-non-tendered-players-across-baseball-join-free-agent-ranks?ymd=20131203&content_id=64348120&vkey=news_mlb

    18 St. Louis Post Dispatch

    Cards decide not to offer Axford a contract

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/professional/cards-decide-not-to-offer-axford-a-contract/article_c806b654-5464-5d9b-938b-77527f16fc3a.html

    SPORTS WEBSITES

    19 Rotographs

    MASH Report (12/2/13)

    http://www.fangraphs.com/fantasy/mash-report-12213/

    20 Fangraphs

    Nationals Steal Doug Fister From Tigers

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/nationals-steal-doug-fister-from-tigers/

  9. Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Angle from KDKA video shows Tomlin take a full step toward field

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/latest-news/2013/12/2/5166704/steelers-video-tomlin-kick-punt-return-sideline-step-nfl-fine-penalty

    Kelvin Beachum seen limping in parking lot during practice

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/12/2/5166656/steelers-injury-report-status-kelvin-beachum-week-14-depth-chart-offensive-line

    22 Steelers Gab

    Has Worilds Done Enough To Push Woodley Out The Door?

    http://www.steelersgab.com/2013/12/02/has-worilds-done-enough-to-push-woodley-out-the-door/

    Soccer(football)

    23 US National Soccer Players

    The Anxiety of the World Cup Draw

    http://www.ussoccerplayers.com/2013/12/the-anxiety-of-the-world-cup-draw.html

    24 World Soccer Daily

    Hull City owner in deadlock with fans over Tigers name change – World Soccer Daily

    http://www.worldsoccer.com/247/hull-city-owner-in-deadlock-with-fans-over-tigers-name-change-world-soccer-daily

    PENGUIN BLOGS and NHL Links

    25 Pensburgh

    Penguins November Ups and Downs

    http://www.pensburgh.com/2013/12/2/5167872/pittsburgh-penguins-player-rankings-jeff-zatkoff-evgeni-malkin

  10. I always want to know how the Tomlin goes. Who wouldn’t?

  11. You ask us to write if this season was a success. It is just a part of the whole. Bill O’Brien came to Penn State before the sanctions were imposed. The members of his team could leave with no penalties. He had to re-recruit a team that didn’t really know him as a coach or person. He had to convince incoming recruits to stand by their commitment. He had coaching staffs on his campus actively recruiting his players. He could have played the last 2 seasons with 50 walk-ons. He was 8-4 and 7-5. Last year he won numerous coach of the year awards. In my mind his accomplishments deserve legend status. He has led PSU through its darkest hours and the light is at the end of the tunnel. If he leaves tomorrow Penn State should be ever grateful for what he has done. Some men raise to the occasion, this is one.

  12. Mike Tomlin’s “gaffe” shouldn’t be a national embarrassment as much as it should be an internal one. To use one of his own “Tomlinisms” – “the standard is the standard.” If the players are held accountable for their actions, then he, as their coach, should also be held accountable for his actions. He should set the example, and set the bar high.

  13. Well. Woke to find that New Orleans was Toothless in Seattle.

    Or was that Dejan?

  14. MT presser today:

    “Obviously, my little crow hops — ‘Ravens hops’ if you will — were laid down on my tape. I’ll take full responsibility for that. Questions?”

  15. Tomlin: Its definitely embarrassing! But lets not look at it as an individual action. Dont look at it as TOMLIN pulls a little bush league stunt against the Ratbirds. As an individual act we would forget about it quickly. But lets look at it for what it really is. More Pittsburgh Steeler coaching Staff Chaos. While other teams have players who make the news for reasons unbecoming, it seems with the Steelers its always the coaching staff. From KC sucks Napkins to MT’s bush league acts makes it hard to see it any other way. Chaos!

  16. #2 Zatkoff

    So far, so good.
    The Penguins proclaim that Zatkoff is a very vocal goalie. This is a good thing because Fluery made several plays behind the net in games past that resulted in goals against. This phenomenon can be traced back to lack of communication between the goalie and the defensemen.
    And it isn’t just the defense that has provided support for the rookie goaltender. Forwards are reminded that they must also play defense.
    The question is, can the Penguins maintain this level of support for the entire year, and not just when Zatkoff is in the net?

    • I have noticed this about Fleury forever, Joni. He is a nightmare behind the net handling the puck. I don’t feel like he has gotten much better in this regard since he was a rookie.

      • I hear ya, Jim.

        I cringe whenever Fleury tries to play the puck behind the net. Martin Brodeur, he ain’t!
        Someone must have told Fleury that he needs to work on this skill of handling the puck and knowing where all of the players on the ice are located.
        As for the communication aspect, fleury may need to amplify his outside voice. I don’t know about you, but I look forward to raising my voice in as many situations as I possible can :)

        • I have wondered why he doesn’t seem to get better at handling the puck behind the net. You would think there would be extra emphasis placed on it each off-season, at the very least. And, maybe they have done that. It just seems to my eyes that it gets dicey behind the net with him way too often.

    • It should read “Fleury” above. Weirdly enough, my spell check allowed the above incorrect spelling of MAF’s last name. Shame shame, I know spell check’s name! And can spell it. Usually :)

  17. #2.

    Yes, Tomlin’s incident is definitely an embarrassment. All coaches and players know to not be in the white painted area. Especially troubling is the fact that the NFL reminded all teams about this on Tuesday of Thanksgiving week. For Tomlin to be anywhere near the sideline is incredible.

    One doesnt have to be near the sideline to see the Jumbotron, you can see that thing all over the stadium. For a coach that always preaches accountability, “the standard is the standard”, etc., this was an embarrassment. One that was unfortunately, self-inflicted.

  18. Anyone hear how Evan Chambers passed away? When the Buccos weren’t a playoff caliber club I would check how the prospects were performing every day and remember seeing his name.

  19. I probably shouldn’t be, but I’m a little surprised Travis Snider was tendered. They expect he will make about 1.4 million in arbitration.

  20. Nationals got Fister from the Tigers by giving up really not that much. Fister is probably going to make about 7 million next year in arbitration. This seems like the kind of move the Pirates should have been interested in. 7 million is nothing compared to what lesser pitchers then Fister have been getting in free agency.

    • I was waiting to hear from you on this one. WTF?

      • I’m not sure what the Tigers are thinking. They just weakened their bullpen by moving Smyle back to the starting rotation. They gave up a player that that doesn’t hit free agency for 2 years and has almost just as good of WAR as Sherzer over the last 3 years. Fister was only going to make 7 million next year and they didn’t get much of anything that help immediately.

        I have heard rumors of them trading Austin Jackson as well and getting Jacoby Ellsbury in free agency which I think would be a good move for them but the 7 million saved hardly seems like it would be to free up money for Ellsbury who will probably get north of 6 years 120 million.

        • I think the one thing they did get, Nate, was bullpen help. Both of the guys coming back are 22 year old LHP. But, I agree with you that they got nowhere near enough back. This was a silly trade by the Tigers – sillier than sending Fielder and a boatload of cash to TX for Kinsler.

          • Neither can help immediately like Wilson could have. The Fielder trade will look better as time goes on but it didn’t make any sense the throw in 30 million in cash. They essentially paid 80 million for 2 years of Fielder.

            Dombrowski has a good track record with the Cabrera trade the Scherzer trade, the Fister trade and even the Austin Jackson trade to an extent but I’m not really sure what he’s been doing the last 2 years. He seems to have pushed the panick button and made some desperate moves and now he’s in recovery mode maybe.

            • Thought he did a great job shedding Fielder, but I give him zero credit considering he’s te one that signed him to an awful contract in the first place.

              Nobody pats me on the back for fixing a project I already f’d up.

        • Is there another GM in baseball that makes putting together a half decent bullpen look so damn hard?

          Lord.

    • It is pretty amazing. Not only the Pirates, but I would think about 10 teams would have offered at least this much for Fister. Makes it seem like Dombrowski didn’t pursue this trade very vigorously. I can’t imagine that would be the case, though.

      • With the value put on starting pitching and so few quality starting pitchers available in free agency I have to imagine he made it known Fister was available. Heck he should have put a billboard in every city that has a baseball team saying have quality starting pitcher will trade to top offer.

      • If Dombrowski calls the Pirates I wonder if he starts off by asking for Watson or Wilson.

        I would probably still listen.

        • I’m sure he would have asked for them, and maybe he did. Who knows? And I would have given one of them up to get 2 years of a reasonably priced Fister back. Either of those guys are worth more than the 2 unproven, 22 year olds they got from Washington, I would think.

          Fister has been one of the better pitchers in mlb for the last few years.

          The one lefty, Ian Krol, went to our local HS and played for the same baseball club that my son plays for. He was called up last year by the Nats and did well for a young guy. But, he doesn’t have a Watson or Wilson arm. And the other guy they got was their #5 prospect. I heard that he may not be able to stick as a starter because he has bad splits. I assume that means he can’t get righties out. Either that, or he doesn’t stretch enough before games. :-)

    • What is Dombrowskis motivation for blowing up his team?
      First Fielder, now Fister.

      makes no sense to do this with an unproven, rookie manager…..

      • Fielder was addition by subtraction. Shed his contract, allowed them to finally end the insanity and move Cabrera to First Base, and filled a hole at Second Base with Ian Kinsler.

        Trading Fister allows them to move Drew Smyly into the rotation, but I can’t honestly think of any manner in which it actually improves the team.

        • I thought the owner was more responsible for signing Fielder.

          • Illitch certainly enabled the contract, but I’ve never read anything that said he directed Dombkowski to go sign Prince Fielder, specifically, at all costs.

        • But, did they really shed his contract? Kinsler’s contract is not as big as Fielder’s contract. But, they sent at least $30 million to TX, didn’t they? I guess they knocked off some of the Fielder contract, but it is not as though they got rid of all of it.

          • $76m in total contract savings while also receiving a top 10 2B in all of baseball.

            I can’t imagine a better outcome than that.

            • That’s true. Kinsler is a good 2b, but he makes something like $14M per for a few more years, I think. As you say, though, he probably did make the best out of the situation he had gotten himself into with the Big Vegetarian. I’m hoping that nickname sticks, btw. Fielder should embrace it.

            • Yes as time goes on the trade will look better and better. In the short term they paid 80 million for 2 years of Fielder and as you said he shouldn’t be given any credit for cleaning up his own mess no matter how well he cleaned it up. Fielder didn’t do himself any favors by gaining 30 pounds last year but he got his payday so good for him. Apperently you can have your cake and eat it to.

              • I don’t think Prince did himself any favors at the end of the playoffs when he said it wasn’t a big deal and he was going home to play with his kids.

              • Did he really say that, TC? Ouch! That’s one of those things you keep to yourself.

      • I wouldn’t exactly call it ‘blowing up’ his team.

        And there is still a good amount of time before Spring Training starts.

      • Hey, he re-signed Neil Walker’s brother-in-law.

        • Good for Don Kelly. For awhile there, I was thinking he and Neil’s sister were going to have to move into that basement once Neil finally vacated it. Don Kelly owes a lot to Jim Leyland.

      • I think maybe it is necessary adjustments to keep Scherzer and Verlander. Just a guess!

        • 7 million just isn’t enough of a savings. Even if it was for a pitcher of Fister’s level they could have got a much better return and made their bullpen much better. Their bullpen today is weaker then it was at the end of last year because Smyle is no longer in it and now they have Porcello and Smyle both starting on the back end. Not horrible but not exactly great.

          • That $7m will be needed when they inevitably over pay for a “proven closer”.

            • Jim Johnson, proven closer extraordinaire, is now off the market. Hanny’s available, I think.

              • The more I think about it the Pirates should have made this deal even if it cost them Wilson and Kingham and then signed Burnett for 14 million and then call it a day. 21 million for 2 very good pitchers added to Liriano, Cole and Morton. I wouldn’t even care if they didn’t pick up a first baseman.

              • Nate,
                I think it is going to take more than $14 million to resign AJ

              • If ittakes more than $14m to sign AJ, he won’t be playing baseball next year.

            • “Not everyone can get those last 3 outs.” – Mitch Williams

              He should know. He often couldn’t get them.

              Every current closer or aspiring closer in MLB owes a great debt of gratitude to guys like this for perpetuating the myth that there is something mystical about protecting the lead in the 9th inning to start an inning vs., oh say, coming into the 7th inning w runners on 2nd and 3rd and 1 out with your team leading by a run. Even some GMs still believe it.

              • I can’t really see the BMTIB paying AJ $14 million. But, anything is possible. Maybe AJ is willing to put some skin in the game with a 1 year contract that provides a $10 million base salary, another $4-6 million in performance incentives, & an option for a 2nd year.

                Sounds like the framework of my old sales commission plan except my base & performance incentives were a much, much lower number.

  21. #3) Expectations in Happy Valley were low following sanctions levied by the NCAA. The sanctions certainly handicapped the Lions, but not nearly to the extent the PSU faithful feared. O’Brien has done a terrific job keeping the program together and should receive an extreme amount of credit for it. However he should be judged on actual results; not the worst fears of the fans. There were some disappointing losses and surprising wins for PSU this season. Add it up and 7-5 seems just about right for the Lions this season for those not willing to blame it on the NCAA .

    • Well said, all around, Rich.

      I give O’Brien a bit more credit considering there was no way in heck he should’ve been able to land a recruit like Hackenberg, and this season could’ve gotten ugly without him. But your overall point, especially on the micro level, still stands.

      • It is starting to look as though O’Brien may perform the best of all of the coaching offspring of the Evil Genius in New England. Who’d-a-thunk-it?

        • Oops, I think I forgot about Nick Saban – although I think he was a coach for a long time before being on BB’s Cleveland staff.

      • You’re right that it is impressive that O’Brien has continued to get the recruits he has. My judgement of him has been more on what he has done with those recruits. I think Penn St. tradition is recruiting the kids as much as BOB though. Some kids are always going to want to play for Penn St. no matter the circumstance. O’Brien has done a really nice job of reminding kids that if you wanted to play for Penn St. before you should still want to play for Penn St.

        • I can actually see them rising up again as a program in the next few years. I don’t just mean 9-4 rising up. I mean, competing for B1G titles and Top 10 in the country type of rising up. They are still one of the largest and most recognizable schools in the Northeast. From that standpoint, they may not have as much football competition as larger schools in other parts of the country. And, they definitely still have all that football tradition. They had been gradually slipping under the old man, but O’Brien seems to be rejuvenating things.

      • When you put the transformation of McGloin next to Hackenberg, that’s some good stuff.

  22. Tomlin should be benched for, how he likes to say, “not being on his details”. Jonathan Dwyer should be laughing.

  23. A pleasant surprise this morning, was supposed to be 28° this morning, but it’s actually 53° as of 0630.

    But I’m a half hour late to the gym.

    That makes me crankier than a Mike Tomlin hater.

    Seriously, the sideline thing is blown out of proportion and started by everyone’s favorite announcer, Cris Collinsworthless.

  24. Zatkoff has been decent so far (other than his first start). What he needs to work on is staying in his crease after making the initial save. He sometimes comes across to make a save and leaves the net wide open because he can’t seem to stop himself – he winds up out of position against 2nd and 3rd chances. The D and back-checking has bailed him out a number of times. Still he shows promise, and if Fleury can learn a few things from Conklin and Vokoun in his travels, maybe Zatkoff can learn some things from Fleury. Also it’s promising that he can go a couple weeks without a start, yet still perform well.

    • The biggest weakness I see in Zatkoff is in his inability to move quickly from side to side. maybe Mike Bales can help him out on that one.
      As I said above, he has played against the lesser teams. I want to see how he fares against a quality opponent before I pass judgement.

      • Thing is, I doubt he will see the better team on a back-to-back (since that is the only time he seems to get it).

        Here’s something to think about – say Fleury gets hurt, do we still feel confident? I guess I’m not sure I can say that yet. Not saying he couldn’t carry the goaltending for say a month and do OK (with the team paying extra attention to back-checking and clearing rebounds), but it would be scary going through it.

        Then again….I think it was Lalime that went 18-0-2 to start his career filling in when the Pens needed him….

  25. JMO, but based on reading posts here and elsewhere for the last couple of months…

    The only ones “embarassed” by Tomlin’s gaff, intentional or not, would be still be toasting Bill Cowher if he did the same thing. And he did come close at least once, I don’t remember the exact game or circumstance, but it was on a defensive return against, when he came close to a “Woody Hayes”.

    • Um………….

      Steelers at Jacksonville, Monday Night Football.
      Game-winning FG blocked, ran back for a TD for Jacksonville.
      If Cowher had interfered, I would have supported any punishment the NFL would have meted out.

      Pretty broad brush you have there saying people would cheer Cowher but are embarrassed by Tomlin. I would have been fine with a punishment of both.

      Smh.

    • Perhaps I should rephrase and say “MOST”, not ALL the ones embarassed….

    • Cowher had his share of critics while here. And would on this blog. There are certainly some who seem to be relishing in it because it’s Tomlin, but hardly to the extent you seem to be saying. You can be embarrassed by it without being a Tomlin hater.

  26. The tomlin issue is being so overblown. The media will not let it go. If he was on the field illegally, fine him. I know sports writers have to make a living but the nonstop coverage of this is why I don’t read most of the sports columns or watch sports shows lime espn.

    • Im going to play devils advocate here – what happens if it was Antonio Brown running back a kick off. Head coach of team B (fill in ANY other team) standing in the same position as Tomlin, does the same thing as Tomlin, Brown makes a small move back to the inside and is tackled, when he is clearly going in. How would the reaction be then? You know it and I know it, people will be calling for that coach to receive the maximum from the league.

      • I don’t think anyone here is saying don’t punish him. But, what is the maximum (your words), tdb? A hefty fine to the team and coach makes sense to me. Potentially losing a draft pick makes no sense, especially since, short of having Tomlin admit it, I don’t see how you can prove it was more than a stupid mistake.

  27. #3…Bill O’Brien

    At some schools, going 8-4 and 7-5 in back-to-back seasons can get you put on the chopping block. But with a reduced number of scholarships, having to keep other coaches from swooping in and taking his players, to helping reunite a fractured fan base, Bill O’Brien’s tenure has to be considered a success. With some scholarships being returned early starting next year, expectations will no doubt be higher. It will be interesting to see moving forward if O’Brien can start to win some big games or games his team shouldn’t with more scholarship players available to him.

  28. Ross Ohlendorf signed a deal with the Orioles for $1.25 million. No word on whether there’s a clause about him working in DC in the off-season for the Agriculture Department.

  29. #2
    Zatkoff should be taken seriously as a backup, nothing more. Sure his game has flaws but the Pens aren’t counting on him to evenly split the workload with Fleury. With the long Olympic break this year, there is no reason Fleury can’t play over 60 games this season. I think that this situation is great for Fleury because for the first time in his career, he is the veteran goalie of the two. Maybe this is exactly what Fleury needs to help mend his wounded pysche. If so, that is bad news for the rest of the NHL.

    • This gets my vote for #2. The Pens will hoist the cup only if MAF rises to the occasion.

    • Well said, Chad!

      • Thanks everyone! We’ve all seen what Fleury can do in the playoffs, but recently he hasn’t performed well at all. A change in goalie coach, playing him a ton, and him being a mentor might be just what he needs. We shall see.

    • I agree, Chad. Flower is 30 now. It is more than time for him to not only be the starter, but for him to be the Man of the goalie position. If he can’t handle it, them move on. But I think he will handle it, and the break for the Olympics will indeed help.

  30. An upset victory over heavily-favored Wisconsin and a winning season do not mean that the 2013 Penn State Football season was a success.

    Not even close.

    However; not even close would describe the end result of embarrassing losses versus Indiana, Minnesota and Ohio State (although the latter was expected). A home loss to UCF is also unacceptable.

    Sure, the cupboards are nearly bare, but this team did not consistently compete with the “toughness” that Bill O’Brien often mentions.

    7-5 is good enough at most schools. Not at Penn State. Sanctions be damned. The feel-good story of 2012 is over, and success is once again measured by wins and losses.

    -Erik Raney

  31. So who’s left on the FA market SP wise?

    • There’s Karstens, Biz. :-)

      • And Paul Maholm!

        Serously though, nobody wants Paul Maholm?

        • We should want him back at this point, I think. I trust him more than Jeff Locke. PM has sort of slipped under the radar. He is pretty durable.

          What do you think Maholm gets, NMR? I’m not that good at judging these things. His WHIP did blow up pretty bad last year. It was over 1.4.

          • Higher WHIP was almost all BABIP, but thats always been Maholm’s MO. Guy is just very hittable.

            Does not necessarilly mean he was hit harder, though. One could argue that he may benefit from the Pirates defense, but he did just have Andrelton playing behind him.

            Interesting to note that in his last three seasons with Pittsburgh he posted a HR/FB rate around 7.5%. Last two seasons outside of Pittsburgh that rate was about 12.5%.

            As for contract? Certainly didn’t help himself out last season, but league average lefties with good health find jobs. I’d say you could get him for the $6.5m he made last year, or maybe go for value and talk him into $10m over two years.

            • Pitch to contact…..Wouldn’t mind as a #5 starter though.

              • I’d have a much stronger opinion if Wandy were either healthy or not on the team at all, but I don’t think Maholm improves the CURRENT 25-man roster. Him and Locke seem fairly interchangeable, at least in terms of actual 5th starter impact, and Jeff is free.

                I’d rather see the artist formerly known as Fausto Carmona signed for the back end.

                Burnett, at this point, is higher priority than all other signings combined, IMO.

            • I think he’d be worth it for $6.5M for one year. I bet PNC had a lot to do with that HR rate being low until he left.

              I don’t see a problem with having Paul back. Wasn’t he a good guy? I don’t remember him causing any trouble at all.

              Did he kick Frank’s dog on the way out of the clubhouse?

          • Well he went on the DL last year with a wrist injury and had an MRI September 11th on his elbow which showed no structural damage. Two starts after that though. That’s enough to scare me off. And I wouldn’t take him back anyways.

            • Jeff Locke’s 2nd half performance should have been enough to at least put a bit of a scare in all of us, don’t you think? I would like to see another lefty starter.

              If I knew Wandy was going to be good for at least 20 starts, I would not consider Maholm. But, I have serious doubts about that.

              • Speaking personally, no, not really.

                Jeff Locke isn’t as bad as he was in the second half, nor is he as good as he was in the first.

                And I don’t anticipate him being in the rotation at all by the time he wore down last year.

          • I have a prejudice against former players coming back. Nice to have known you, Paul.

            Who was the last retread to work out? John Candelaria?

    • Nice of Biz to particpate in the conversation, btw. :)

  32. 3) O’Brien’s work in year 2 was even more impressive than the last. The obvious team leaders graduated. The number of scholarship players shrank even more to 61. A freshman had to play quarterback. The defense was lacking in speed. The alumni continued to fight with each other. In this environment, the Lions won seven, two as big underdogs.

    In any realistic appraisal, O’Brien’s work was magical. And the biggest bit of magic was, with the restrictions still in place, he continues to recruit incredibly well. By two seasons from now – three at most – the Lions will truly roar.

  33. New PSU developments: Penn State has dismissed Fisher (quarterbacks) and Vanderlinden (linebackers and special teams) from the football coaching staff.

  34. 1) While I don’t necessarily agree with Tomlin’s explanation, I do agree the whole thing is much ado about nothing. Two officials are running in behind Jones and they could have thrown flags, yet chose not too. I realize officials miss things or get things incorrect but they were right there. The league will fine him, as they should since there is a rule in regards to where sideline personel can be on the field.
    What is most troubling is two fold – 1) the amount of attention this silly thing is getting in the press and 2) the vitirol toward Tomlin. To each their own I guess.

  35. Yes, Zatkoff can be taken seriously as a backup in the traditional sense of filling in for 15 or so games during the regular season and the utilizing his chattering nature to cheer Fluery on during the playoffs. But the answer is No, if he would have to assume the role Vokoun did last year, which was to take over the starting job in the playoffs. In a sense, the decision to keep Zatkoff in the backup role might say more about the Pens level of confidence in Fluery producing in the playoffs than Jeff’s ability.

  36. #1: Tomlin steps on the field and ESPN hemorrhages . Days before, an NBA coach spills a drink to stall the game. Taken separately, these create only minor embarrassments to the teams. But if we could blow Tomlin’s misstep out of proportion sufficient to restore more sanctity to the playing field, all sports could improve. For example, NCAA BB could give the ball and a basket to the other team every time a coach steps on a live court. An improvement like this would make Tomlin’s small step a giant leap for all sports fans.

    • The thing about basketball, though, is that the area for a coach to stand is pretty much right up against the out of bounds line on the court. Every college basketball coach goes over that line all the time. It is almost unavoidable, isn’t it? Tomlin and NFL coaches have that restricted area for a reason.

    • Disagree.

      I’d find sports much more entertaining if coaches were fair game.

    • Looks like someone was reading ESPN yesterday……..so Jason Kidd got fined $50,000 for dumping his cup over and delaying the game.

      Do you really think the NFL won’t fine Tomlin for the same, if not more?

  37. For a coach who benches players for the smallest infraction on the football field, this should be an embarrassment not only for Coach Tomlin but the Steelers organization as a whole. Basically what we have learned from this personal gaffe from the coach is that accountability only exists with the players and coaches are exempt from retribution for poor performance/decisions. Coach Tomlin knows the rules, was reminded of the rules before the game and still proceeded to break the rules. Whether this was intentional or not is irrelevant, he should be punished by the Steelers as well as the NFL.

  38. Is Tomlin’s sideline affair embarrassing for the Steelers? I can’t think of a more loaded question than that. What has been called America’s favorite sport for decades now has sports writers all over the country using microscopes to find any negative story to write about the NFL players and coaches. Whether they are writing about the violence of the game, the locker room antics, or the back and forth talk that goes on during a game, the sport is being written out of existence. Because of all that, I must say that Tomlin’s sideline affair is embarrassing for the Steelers.

  39. Not sure if anyone else read this article about the pens potential problems.

    http://sports.yahoo.com/news/crosby-malkin-nhl-scoring-lead-penguins-problems-remain-154300331–nhl.html

  40. # 3, O’Brien. When he had nothing (Post NCAA sanctions) dumped into his lap, he showed his ability to suceed. It would be easy for the team to lay down and play with out any determination, however Coach O’Brien very convincingly showed his belief with those he had and made him more determined to succeed with less than possible. It’s hard being a Penn State supporter here in the heart of Duck football, Eugene. Yes, He is successful!

    • Welcome, Dale. One of my favorite memories is a party held at my house at the time of the PSU – Oregon Rose Bowl. Fans of both present, and the Oregon fans put ducks all over my television. About 30 people present and a riot of a good time – made better by the Lions winning.

  41. Lost in all the debate about Tomlin’s actions is this………….

    Why are they threatening to possibly take away a draft pick from the Steelers? They havent done that in the past to other teams. Not for Bountygate, or when the Jets special teams coach DID interfere with a Miami player.

    Just another head-scratcher………

  42. Tigers signed Joe Nathan to a 2 year contract. Apperently they think a closer is greater then more then likely the best 4th starter in the league who would be a number 2 on some staffs. Pizza sales must be down if they can’t afford both.

    • By the time this offseason is over, I think the Tigers are going to be better positioned to win the World Series than they were at the end of last season.

    • Apparently they don’t want to go through another season with their bullpen the way it was in 2013. And they picked up a quality closer to help fix the problem.

      And they have the depth at starting pitching to do it

      • The question is whether or not they needed to make their rotation worse in order to improve their bullpen.

        • Nathan as closer + Smyly as replacement for Fister in the rotation > Fister in the rotation

          • Still assumes the Fister salary dump was necesarry, which is ridiculous, IMO.

            Could’ve traded Porcello, a worse pitcher projected to make more money, and still threw a bunch of money at Nathan.

            • Doesn’t assume anything. It’s merely a statement of what is.

              Are they better? If they could have been even better is a different question.

              • It’s not a question if Smyle + Nathan is better then Fister. It is Porcello that is the 5th starter now. Smyle would have taken Porcello’s spot anyway. The team just gave 30 million for Fielder to eat donuts elsewhere. They can’t afford 7 million for a pitcher that is worth upwards of 15 million if he was a free agent? He is 15 WAR pitcher over the last 4 years. Those guys don’t just fall into your lap. Oh wait they do. He fell into the Nationals lap.

              • Of course it assumes trading Fister was necesarry, since his statement includes Fister being traded.

                My question was whether or not it was necesarry to make the rotation worse in order to make the bullpen better.

              • It seems that people are assuming that trading Porcello is easy.

              • You’ve seen what starting pitchers are making on the open market, haven’t you.

                It is not an assumption that trading Porcello would be easy. It is fact.

              • My original post said nothing about Nathan being a bad signing. The last sentence specifically ask why both could not be afforded. They just literally threw 30 million in the garbage. Can you imagine if the Pirates did that? They spent 30 million which is more then the entire Houston Astros team and got nothing in return.

                I can’t imagine NH walking into Nuttings office and saying you know that guy we have paid 50 million to over the last 2 years….well…..I want to trade him to the Rangers and give them 30 million. I then think it would be a good idea to trade Fister for practically nothing to save 7 million when most teams would fight for him like he was the last cabbage patch doll on the shelf in 1985.

              • By the time this offseason is over, I think the Tigers are going to be better positioned to win the World Series than they were at the end of last season.

              • I almost think they could have got the same return for Porcello as they did for Fister. That is how rediculous it was to not only trade Fister but to get that return for him.

              • Nate
                The Pirates aren’t the Tigers.

                Yes they traded Fielder, but the got a good player back for him and freed up future money.

                I like Fister. And maybe they could/should have gotten more in return for him. He’s good. But I am not going to go overboard on how good he is.

              • “Nathan as closer + Smyly as replacement for Fister in the rotation > Fister in the rotation”

                Reading is fundamental. Putting your own internal interpretation on those words is not . . . fundamental..

              • Smyly was not replacing Fister. That is fact. Fister was currently with or without Smyly in the rotation a top 5 starter for the Tigers. The equation is not accurate. It would be Nathan + Porcello > Fister in rotation. I personally think the answer to that quesion is no.

              • My original question was whether or not the rotation needed to be downgraded in order to improve the bullpen.

                His answer was “Nathan as closer + Smyly as replacement for Fister in the rotation > Fister in the rotation”.

                Either he didn’t answer my question, or he assumes Fister needed to be traded in order for this improvement to happen. There is no interpretation.

                You’re wrong – and snarky – which is…wait for it…embarassing.

          • Comparing what the Tigers do financially with what the Pirates do financially is . . . well, ridiculous. Might as well compare the Yanks, Bosox, Philly and LA to the Bucs.

            • Fine compare them to the Yankees who are not even willing to eat money on A-Rod. It wasn’t the overall point I was trying to make but that is fine.

              The overall Fielder move from the day they signed him to the two years they had him to the trade a few weeks ago is not a good move by any GM in any market. The Fister move makes no sense at all. You are correct financially you can’t compare the Tigers to the Pirates and that is why it makes no sense for the Tigers to money dump 7 million when it is actually a player playing to a level well above that amount.

              • “I can’t imagine NH walking into Nuttings office and saying you know that guy we have paid 50 million to over the last 2 years….well…..I want to trade him to the Rangers and give them 30 million. I then think it would be a good idea to trade Fister for practically nothing to save 7 million when most teams would fight for him like he was the last cabbage patch doll on the shelf in 1985.”

                That’s what I was responding to.

              • I’m thinking the Tigers end up with Choo or Ellsbury.

              • I know what you where responding to. I’m not sure what part of my response implied I didn’t understand that. The overall point of the post was not to compare the Pirates to the Tigers. It was to point out how odd this move is by Dombrowski. A team willing to spend 88 million for 5 years of Anibal Sanchez surely can afford 7 million for Fister who before Sanchez’s breakout year this year had better stats then Sanchez.

              • 21 I have heard Ellsbury connected to them. He actually would fit with that team perfectly. If the money saved on Fielder is used to get Ellsbury I think it’s a good trade off.

              • Nate,
                But Smyly is on the roster and he can replace Fister.

                So to me the option is you keep Fister. Or you have Smyly in his place in the rotation and add Nathan to the bullpen, as the closer that they desperately need.
                ( and a Tigers fan told me he was happy that they got a lefty reliever back in the deal)

                I don’t think you add Nathan without without trading Fister ($$).
                And if he can resign Scherzer……

                I hope the Pirates make a move soon. I’m tired of talking about other teams.

              • ‘A team willing to spend 88 million for 5 years of Anibal Sanchez surely can afford 7 million for Fister who before Sanchez’s breakout year this year had better stats then Sanchez.’

                I know it is monopoly money, but maybe these moves show that they can’t afford it.
                And that you have to factor other moves that the want to make (Ellsbury, resign Scherzer)

              • I don’t buy it Thunder. A team that is going to spend 120 million on Ellsbury and already gave Sanchez way over market at the time and also gave Tori Hunter way over market can’t find room in the budget for 7 million. It would make sense if he wasn’t playing up to that 7 million but he has played way above that level.

                It still doesn’t explain the horrible return for him. I sit next to many Tiger fans at work and they are not happy with the return at all. They are happy with the Nathan signing as they should be but don’t understand why Fister had to be dumped to achieve it. Almost every Tiger fan I know thinks very highly of Fister.

              • Nate, you don’t seem to be counting the money they have to pay for Prince not playing on their team and the money they have to pay Kinsler. And whether the deals for Hunter and Sanchez are/were above or below market doesn’t matter. All that matters is their total payroll commitment and whether the have to make deals to reduce it – in order to make other deals such as signing Nathan (and maybe resigning Scherzer).

                And I agree that the return for Fister doesn’t seem right. It looks low.

              • I’m very aware of their situation because I live in that area. One of my first post today maybe even the first one said that maybe this is because of bad decisions made over the last 3 years by Dombrowski. I do not think their pitching is deep enough. Especially if one of the big 3 get hurt. Maybe they did have to save 7 million but I question if trading away a player that is playing well above that amount is the right move. Even if it is why get such a bad return.

                I’m not a huge WAR fan but I believe they say you start at 60 wins and 5 million buys you another win. Fister is 15 WAR over the last 4 years thats an 18.75 million value per year. He was performing at a level 11.75 million above his pay. How do you make that up? You usually don’t trade players that are giving you that much value. If you do then you make sure the return is something special. They didn’t do that in my opinion.

        • I talk to a lot of Pirate fans here. They aren’t too happy with the lack of activity by the Bucs so far.

          Is that significant?

          • I don’t know you tell me because I have a feeling no matter what I respond you will miss the overall point and make an insignificant point of your own that does little to actually stay on the original topic.

          • And I can’t agree or disagree with that overall point without looking at the facts and logic used to arrive at it.

            I’m not convinced, especially when any questions about it are met with hysterical responses that I’m missing the overall point.

            • BTW, I think Dombrowski is one of the sharpest GM’s around.

              • I would have never guessed…

              • I did as well until 2 years ago when he signed Fielder and then last year when he outbid himself on Hunter and Sanchez. I think feeling like he had to go all in has changed his normal way of operating and some bad moves have been made. I could easily see them becoming the Phillies in 3 or 4 years.

            • My main point was made at 9:39 this morning. Anything after that has been directed by what others have said and I responded to.

              As far as the “hysterical responses” I don’t know what to tell you. If anything I said has been more offensive to you then some of the things you say then I can’t help you. Your comment dripped with irony.

              • Wait I have a new main point. It’s the same main point but made by somebody else. Please go read Travis’s post on Bucco Blog. It is essentially my main point but posted by somebody who does it for living.

          • I’m just ignoring NMR. He’s the one who’s taking the real potshots.

            • Nate—I was focusing on how you arrived and supported your point. It’s what I do. If you don’t like that, well . . .

              I don’t care that much about the Tigers now that Leyland is gone. But I understand your “overall point.”
              You’ll have to talk to Groat about whether Travis agreeing with you is significant.

            • Hahaha, that is precious!!!

              Remind me which guy said this: “Reading is fundamental.”

              You know what, nevermind. Let it be known that Arriba is correct and rightious on all counts. Lord knows this isn’t gonna end until somebody says it.

              • What’s your problem, Dude?

              • You’re just an innocent observer, aren’t you? Again.

              • Still have no idea where you’re going . Why don’t you quit talking in code. Just spill it out.

              • It’s not like we’re married.

              • NMR, seriously, what is your problem, or points?

                I’d suggest you eat some fiber, but you seem to be good at crapping on folks

              • 2 can play.

              • AW I don’t mind discussing (debating) things with you. I actually enjoy it most of the time. Sometimes the tone becomes a little condensending and then it is no longer fun. Instead of giving points and counterpoints it becomes trivial defense of something that was opinion that you seem to take as me saying is fact . Who cares if I commented that people I work with that are Tigers fans didn’t like the deal. Why would you call that out as not mattering by making a snide comment. It matters to me and it actually was only brought up because Thunder mentioned what one of his friends thought of the deal.

                The discussions on the Bucco Blogs the last month has been great. It’s been open minded. Everyone has treated the topics as not being black and white and they give their opinion and then listen to others opinion. They may not agree with the opinion but they respect it.

                Calling my comment hysterical or rediculous is a very poor way to have a good debate and it’s the opposite of the good discussion I’ve been experiencing on the other blog. I’m just giving my explanation as to why I got frustrated this particular time. Maybe it’s just me and that is my issue to deal with.

              • Nate–I appreciate the response. Seriously. And I thought we were having a good discussion (maybe you don’t agree, which is fine.). I have no problem with you whether we agree or disagree.

                NMR decided to insert himself in our discussion, which would be fine, except when asked to explain himself he went turtle. That’s a different story to me, based on his comments.

                I apologize if I insulted you in some way. It was not intentional.

  43. I didn’t get a chance to come on yesterday, Im sure there was some discussion on Chris Stewart that went over well.

    Stewart used to be Buster Posey’s back up in SF.

    One of the 1st things you might notice about Chris is that he does not look like a typical catcher. He’s rather tall and lanky for the position, almost looks more like Jordy Mercer with a Jason Kendall goatee.

    He is very good defensively and I like the pick up, though I wonder what that means for Tony Sanchez. Either way, it’s not an expensive deal and can probalby either trade or cut him later in the season if need be.

    His offense makes Rod Barajas look good, but if you’re signing/trading a back up catcher, is your primary concern his offensive ability? Shouldn’t be.

    Sorry to see The Fort go, but he lacked any sort of defensive ability and it’s time to move on. Can’t criticize his work ethic or “want to.”

    • Thanks for the info Ryan. I think it simply means that they want Sanchez playing as much as possible next year and getting better from reps. Playing 30-40 games next year would slow down his progression. Having him play everyday in AAA will be good for his development. If Stewart is just so bad offensively it isn’t working then they can always switch back to Sanchez. They currently had very few options at catcher. Unfortunately Stewart is out of options but you can’t be too picky when trying to feel a void. He seems like a safe bet to be an adequate defensive backup catcher.

  44. #1
    Ain’t technology grand?
    Mike Tomlin explained to the world that he was trying to get a better view of what was happening on the field of play during last week’s Ravens-Steelers game. So, naturally, he stared at the stadium’s “Jumbotron.” If only it was in 3-D, it would have seemed like he was right there.
    Oh, wait…he was right there.
    Performing this stunt to “help” his team did nothing of the sort. The fact that it happened on national, prime-time television makes the Steelers look like just another “win at any cost” team of the NFL.
    Whew…96 words.

  45. Fake SportsCenter on Twitter just named Tomlin AFC Defensive Player of the Week.

  46. Anyone notice the “WILSON” chants last night on Monday Night Football?

    Best entrance music ever if Justin Wilson ever becomes the Pirates Closer.

    http://www.relix.com/blogs/detail/seahawks_fans_chant_wilson_during_monday_night_football

    • Just unbelievable, right?

      Not even in my top 10 of favorite Phish songs, but I mean…it’s like it was written to be chanted in a stadium, isn’t it?

  47. Brian Wilson is expected to sign with the Dodgers. Anyone who actually thought that guy was going to sign outside of Cali must have been smoking something. Quintessential Californian.

  48. #1 This should only be mildly embarrassing for the Steelers at worst. Tomlin made a mistake, and was very apologetic. The NFL should give him a small fine, and a stern warning and move on. If you want to talk about embarrassments or the integrity of the NFL, look at Miami’s bullying scandal, racist or homophobic remarks from players, or brain trauma from former players, not a respected coach who accidentally stepped on the field.

  49. More new exclusive Mike Tomlin video. This one places him on the grassy knoll the day Kennedy was assassinated.

  50. #2

    After some initial jitters, Zatkoff’s performed well so far, though the “sample size” is still quite limited. He had by far his best outing against the Panthers on Saturday. Unlike many of his other starts, the Pens often left him out to dry and he really came through.

    Can Zatkoff do the back-up job well all season? Can he replace Fleury like Vokoun did in the playoffs last season and win two series? If I had to guess, I’d say probably not. If Vokoun will miss the season, trading for an experienced back-up goalie would be prudent.

  51. Some interesting games in Big Ten basketball tonight. Indiana travels to Syracuse. Notre Dame is at Iowa. Michigan goes to Cameron Indoor to take on Groat’s Dukies and Penn State will be at the Oakland Zoo. A lot of channel flipping tonight.

    Oh, and tomorrow night my alma mater plays Arriba’s alma mater.

    DK: Yeah, but what’s that got to do with an American League bullpen? That’s what I want to know.

  52. 70 DAYS UNTIL PITCHERS & CATCHERS REPORT TO PIRATE CITY FOR SPRING TRAINING

  53. I don’t know anything about lefty pitcher Brett Anderson other than the fact the A’s are hot to trade the guy. Considering Oakland is looking for bullpen help and I fully expect the Pirates to trade Grilli or Melancon this winter, could we have a match here ?

  54. The only thing that is ‘embarrassing’ (if that’s the word) about the Tomlin sideline incident is that it takes focus away from the mere fact that the Steelers may miss the playoffs for the 2nd year in a row. The reality is that people that don’t like the Steelers see it as intentional and you are never going to change their opinion. IMO it’s water under the bridge, move on.

    • I was going to nominate this as the best in this category, but you ruined it by stating that people who disagree with your conclusion that it was unintentional just don’t like the Steelers.

      That ” logic” is always a loser with me. It’s a lazy, inaccurate response, in any sport, but the Steelers? This ain’t Baltimore.

  55. According to Buster Olney, some team offered Carlos Beltran 3 x $16M = $48M. Speculation was Mariners, Royals or Yankees. He can still hit, but he’s 37-38-39 under that deal, if it happens. He can’t do anything else but hit now.

    • I think ESPN reported Mariners are after Cano.

      That FO needs to make a splash

    • Probably explains why the offers are from AL teams.

      • That’s Ortiz money – for three years – and a draft pick.

        Insane.

        • + many, NMR.

          • Holy crap, the ROYALS are apparently the team with the offer?

            That can’t possibly be correct.

            • They’re taking turns with the Twins this off-season, I think.

              Do you wonder if it ever crossed the Royals minds: “We had Will Myers, and he was this close to being on our club for about 7 years. And, we took 2 years of Big Game James Shields instead?”

              I have nothing against Shields. He’s a fine pitcher. But, c’mon KC! Get your act together.

      • True, Arriba. I gotta believe he’s strictly DH material now. I read Buster’s write-up on MLB Trade Rumors. He pointed out that Beltran’s defense was deteriorating (as well all saw quite often last year) and his plate discipline was slipping.

        I would also say if it is those 3 specific teams involved, they seem to have one trait in common right now: Desperation.

        • Well, I did see his arm first hand, that helped us win game 2 in the playoffs

          I don’t want him in our outfield, inspite of the stick

          • Check that, Game 3, 2nd win

          • Agreed. I said many times that I thought that Cardinals OF was a defensive nightmare last year. They hit like crazy, and really mashed with RISP. But, I believe the Cardinals agreed. No range from any of the 3. They have already solved 1/3 of that, and even Craig has to be an upgrade over Beltran’s balky knees in RF.

          • I agree with you Biz.

            But I wouldn’t mind Beltran in RF at PNC Park for a year.

            • The way clubs seem to be spending, a one year deal won’t happen.

              Plus the draft pick you lose.

              Do you know if we get that competitive draft pick this year?

  56. I just saw Anderson’s contract. $8 mil this year & $12 mil next. They won’t even pay a good pitcher that. Nevermind.

  57. Evening, Y’all (Well, it’s still afternoon out here in East Texas, but out of deference …) I almost start crying every time I read through and see you guys always come back around to baseball! That’s crying for joy, now! Happy Holidays, YINZ!

  58. Hey, Milo!

  59. Per Ken Rosenthal: Nathan deal with Tigers is in 2/$20M range.

  60. Mariners said to be offering 8/$200M to Cano. Yankees, per Wallace Matthews, do not want to go above 7 years. Their current offer is in the 7/$160 range, and the thinking is they could go as high as 7/$175M but probably not any higher. They are citing their own history of bad deals as rationale for not offering more than that.

    Ok, so if I have this straight, the Yankees acknowledge they have a history of bad long term deals. That’s good so far. But, then they don’t consider 7/$175M for Robinson Cano a “bad long term deal?” Well, I suppose if your barometer on whether it is a bad deal is that the Mariners are offering even more …

    You can’t make this stuff up. Ok, you can. But, I didn’t. I promise.

    • Yanks are the one that owe ARod,

      You never know….

    • Cashman is acting like the jaded guy who won’t commit to a long term relationship after his last girlfriend left him.

      They’re all bad!!

      Losing Cano over one year is dumber than giving him eight.

      • The luxury tax supposedly makes the Yanks sweat

        Even with that sweet TV pact,

        That the PBC can’t even sniff

        Hi Frank, remember that designated driver thing ;-)

  61. I gotta run. Was invited to a luxury suite for the Blackhawks game tonight. I’ll graciously accept the free food and drink, while silently rooting against the home team.

  62. # 3- Is Bill O’Brien a success?

    Yes, he has brought honor and integrity into a situation that had none such before he was hired. He has brought stability. He has been successful on the field. He has not lost the kids that stayed and has improved the skills of those that chose to continue their dream at PSU.

    I do not think they could have done better.

  63. DK: This judging thing is taking a lot longer than I’d thought. Have to navigate through 200-plus comments on the state of the Tigers’ bullpen.

  64. On Zatkoff – I’ve seen him only 4 times, so, grain of salt but…
    If I had to judge now, I would say NO he’s not NHL caliber at this time and come playoffs the Pens need someone better.
    He seems to have a cool head and is analytical, all good, but IMO his fatal flaw is poor skating. Someone mentioned he is a flopper – disagree, though he sure looks like one at times due to his poor recovery causing him to flail about trying to regain position. If your footwork/skating skills are poor you cannot compete at the NHL level.

    For extra credit, our Loons can recall Jim Carey of the Caps….trained by Bill Howard i believe, who had some strange ideas about movement. Carey could not move laterally with coverage, which the Pens exploited in playoffs. Zatkoff would meet the same fate, IMO. Though without quite as much stupidity in his HC as Carey had to deal with. Which is saying something.

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