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Morning Java: Tomlin’s mea culpa

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The TribLIVE Radio show today — 2-3 p.m. — will feature fresh interviews from the Steelers’ locker room, as well as the Trib’s Penn State beat writer Chris Adamski in studio.

Call me at 412-320-7925 or email sportstalk@tribweb.com

To listen, just click on the link above. If you’re mobile, try the TribLIVE Radio app.

>> The Mike Tomlin sideline saga is covered by Alan Robinson. All that’s missing now is the actual NFL punishment.

Tomlin’s press conference is analyzed in Joe Starkey’s Wednesday column.

Out of respect to this being Joe’s column day, I’ll limit my own reaction to that topic thusly: I didn’t think on Thanksgiving that Tomlin did anything wrong intentionally. I didn’t think it after seeing the first video, second video, Zapruder video, All-22 video. And I didn’t think it after hearing the man yesterday.

Fine him for being on the field during play. That’s it.

There is a lot that I don’t appreciate about Tomlin. Some of that’s been in print. Some of it hasn’t. He isn’t particularly likable, to put it mildly. But I’ve never for a second questioned his integrity, and it’s stunning to me the number of people willing — no eager — to do exactly that.

Here’s our full Steelers coverage.

Here’s Dolphins news from the Miami Herald.

Here are official game highlights from NFL.com.

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>> The Penguins get a statuesque goal from Sidney Crosby in overtime against the Islanders, by Rob Rossi in lovely Uniondale.

If you missed the goal, that’s OK. The Islanders did, too.

Here’s our full Penguins coverage.

Here’s Islanders news from Newsday.

Here are official game highlights from NHL.com.

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>> Pitt rises up to a physical challenge from Penn State, by Kevin Gorman at the Pete. That’s 8-0.

>> A financial breakdown of the Pirates’ roster, by Rob Biertempfel.

>> Here are this week’s three winners in the Write-Your-Own-Column contest …

Patrick from Rhode Island on possible embarrassment in the Tomlin sideline aftermath:

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, the NCAA could give a basket and the ball 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.

DJ on Jeff Zatkoff as the Penguins’ backup:

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 Marc-Andre Fleury, there are more holes in his stance. He’s a flopper and slower to recover after an initial stop. Consequently, there have been many ripe second-chance opportunities when 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.

Wild Bill on Bill O’Brien being a success at Penn State:

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.

>> Hope you can tune in today! And call!

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.

386 Comments

  1. So, regarding the setup man in the Tigers’ bullpen …

    DK: Oh, I’m sure this will disintegrate into that before long.

  2. Very nice article by Joe Starkey

  3. DK – I agree with you on this ridiculousness with Tomlin. I think that those who are overreacting didn’t like him in the first place anyways and are just piling on.

    The AFC is weak and the Steelers are still alive. Let’s see what happens.

    DK: You mean like those people who can’t get through one sentence about Tomlin without citing the Rooney Rule?

    Those people?

  4. To pull that off on purpose Mike Tomlin would have to be a psychic! He had no clue that was all coming! Coaches like to be in there in case they need to argue a play I really am surprised this doesn’t happen more!

  5. If the Steelers had won that game, there’s a chance (a very small one) that Tomlin’s blunder may have determined which team from the North got the wild card berth. There’s absolutely no way his actions were on purpose, but does that absolve him of any wrongdoing? Of course not. He’ll get fined. The Steelers will get fined, and the world will continue to spin.

    You can’t expect the NFL to have a sense of humor about this. He deserves to be punished. He will be punished.

    • Let me remind you (and anyone else that cares) that we are almost six days past the Steeler-Baltimore game, and the NFL still can’t release their long awaited, horse-brain decision on Mike Tomlin.
      This is how Roger Goodell and henchmen work.
      He has milked almost a week of publicity out of this, and we still await his royal decision via court jester Ray Anderson.
      All this and more from the guy that (supposedly) burned the cheating evidence on Bill Belichick and announced a guy that was mixed up in a double murder as….The Great Ray Lewis.
      Keep feeding Goodell’s power hungry, selfish mind.
      He’s loving every minute of it….

    • I’d certainly hope that Coach Tomlin didn’t cheat intentionally since there are those who think he should be fired if that were proven to be so, and, naturally, only Coach knows for certain.

      • The only thing more ridiculous than losing a draft pick is suggesting he should be fired over this incident. (Not saying you are, but the people you referred to.)

        The 2 knee jerk responses to something people don’t like are “fire ‘em” or ” put ‘em in jail.” I guess Tomlin should be relieved no one’s suggesting the latter.

  6. I hear Goodell is growing a handlebar mustache so he can twirl it when he laughs.

    It’s just too bad he doesn’t own a piece of the Pirates. That would be perfect.

  7. Maybe we’ve become blasé…hey, nice play by Sid. Nice is what happens a dozen or more times a night. Watch the replay – this ain’t peewee hockey. The Isles had 5 men on the ice and he beat all 5!

  8. Back to December Taylor Swift

    JAL’s Back to December Morning Links

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUwxKWT6m7U

    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: Should the Pirates Be Involved in This Free Agent Market?

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/12/first-pitch-should-the-pirates-be-involved-in-this-free-agent-market.html

    Pirates View Mike Napoli as the Perfect Fit at First Base, But…

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/12/pirates-view-mike-napoli-as-the-perfect-fit-at-first-base-but.html

    5 Bucs Dugout

    Rockies to overpay Justin Morneau

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2013/12/4/5173434/rockies-to-overpay-justin-morneau

    6 Rumbunter

    As Pitching Market Heats Up, It’s Time To Get A.J. Burnett Deal Done

    http://rumbunter.com/2013/12/03/starting-pitching-market-heating-bucs-burnett-might-next/

    Pittsburgh Pirates Make Smart Decision With Travis Snider

    http://rumbunter.com/2013/12/03/pittsburgh-pirates-make-smart-decision-travis-snider/

    7 Bleacher Report

    10 MLB Hitting Prospects Tearing It Up in the Winter Leagues

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1875324-10-mlb-hitting-prospects-tearing-it-up-in-the-winter-leagues

    8 Green Weenie

    12/3: Jerry Lynch, Chico Lind, Barney Dreyfuss, Billy Southworth and Deacon White…

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2013/12/123-jerry-lynch-chico-lind-barney.html

    9 City of Champions

    Can Pittsburgh Pirates maintain depth advantage in 2014?

    http://cityofchampionssports.com/2013/12/03/can-pittsburgh-pirates-maintain-depth-advantage-2014/

  9. NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    10 Pirates Site

    As Meetings approach, Bucs consider options

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/pit/corner-bat-the-pirates-focus-as-winter-meetings-approach?ymd=20131203&content_id=64354632&vkey=news_pit

    11 Hardball Times

    The end of the bench

    http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/the-end-of-the-bench/

    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 Philadelphia inquirer

    Phillies Notes: Phils trade Kratz for Jays pitcher Lincoln

    http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/phillies/20131204_Phils_trade_Kratz_for_Jays_pitcher_Lincoln.html

    14 Denver Post

    Kiszla: Rockies’ trade is a salary dump, pure and simple

    http://www.denverpost.com/kiszla/ci_24649758/kiszla-rockies-trade-is-salary-dump-pure-and

    15 Asheville Citizen Times

    Hot Stove League heating up

    http://www.citizen-times.com/viewart/20131204/SPORTS/312040029/Hot-Stove-League-heating-up

    16 Baseball Nation

    Jacoby Ellsbury signs with Yankees for a long, long time

    http://www.baseballnation.com/2013/12/3/5172760/jacoby-ellsbury-yankees-contract-signs-free-agent-deal

    17 CBS Sports

    Creating baseball’s perfect starting pitcher

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/eye-on-baseball/24319479/creating-baseballs-perfect-starting-pitcher

    18 Fast Company

    The Evolution Of Major League Baseball Was A Hot Mess

    http://www.fastcodesign.com/3022139/infographic-of-the-day/the-evolution-of-major-league-baseball-was-a-hot-mess

    SPORTS WEBSITES

    19 Baseball Prospectus

    A Non-Tender Bender

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=22338

    20 Fangraphs

    Astros, Rockies Bet on Different Kinds of Potential

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/astros-rockies-bet-on-different-kinds-of-potential/

  10. Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Seahawks QB Russell Wilson ties Ben Roethlisberger’s wins record

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/12/3/5170306/seahawks-russell-wilson-ben-roethlisberger-wins-rating-record

    Breaking down the Steelers’ playoff chances

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/12/3/5165930/afc-playoff-picture-standings-scenarios-seeds-nfl-week-14

    22 Steelers Gab

    Banged Up Steelers Look Ahead To Miami

    http://www.steelersgab.com/2013/12/03/banged-up-steelers-look-ahead-to-miami/

    Soccer(football)

    23 US Soccer

    World Cup by the Numbers: USA Holds Winning Mark Against CONMEBOL in Group Stage
    http://www.ussoccer.com/news/mens-national-team/2013/12/131203-mnt-wc-by-numbers.aspx

    24 World Soccer Daily

    World Soccer Daily: the stories you need to read – December 3, 2013

    http://www.worldsoccer.com/247/world-soccer-daily-the-stories-you-need-to-read-december-3-2013

    PENGUIN BLOGS and NHL Links

    25 Pensburgh

    Sidney Crosby’s goal lifts Pens over Islanders in overtime

    http://www.pensburgh.com/2013/12/3/5173088/sidney-crosbys-ot-goal-lifts-pens-over-islanders-in-overtime

  11. I saw that play! He beat all 5 like they owed him money! That is pure talent! Let us not discount the teriffic play by Malkin and Fleury!

    Take care Loonies! Go out and Scire lots!

    Good morning Jandy, Eric B, 93.7, Ther Plan, and everyone!

    DK, Hope Root Canal 2, Electric Bogaloo went well!

  12. I will say one thing about this crowd…you made me realize that I was descending into the land of believing that Tomlin’s move was intentional instead of just careless. Hadn’t quite gotten there, but was getting close.
    Anyway, I’ll have to try harder to win next week. Better yet, I’ll just come up with a de-comment-inator to eliminate all competition from the Tri-State Area!!!!

    • LOL jeff. Good to see you coming back for more lunacy! Have you logged your hometown in with Bizrow to be counted as part of Dejan’s Lunatics’ Asylum? I ask because I can’t remember, I have sometimers ;)

      This is a rough crowd at times, but we’re a lot of fun too :)

  13. Congrats t DJ and Rhode island Red as well as The Wild One (I congtatulated him ^^ there) on their winning entries.

  14. Last year when Sanders was faking an injury and the NFL fined him and the Steelers. Was it ever reported if:
    A) Sanders faked the injury on his own accord
    B or 2) was told by a coach to do it? If so what coach and what does that say about the integrity of the coaching staff, or more to the point. The integrity of the head coach?

  15. When is the NFL going to make the decision on Tomlin? Why are they prolonging this? I would have thought that they would have wanted to sweep this under the rug just as much as the Steelers do.

    • They seem to be having some doubt about Tomlin’s explanation, and that is not a good thing for him.

    • Maybe they’re trying to determine exactly what the punishment should be. There have been incidents that have been somewhat similar to this one but not quite the same. It is sort of unprecedented in a way.

      Unlike helmet-to-helmet hits, which happen every week.

  16. I just wanted to throw out there this morning that it looks like the Yankees organization has gone completely bye bye if the reported Ellsbury deal is in fact correct. They just love being behind big contracts, and at this point it almost feels as if players are aware of that and taking advantage of the poor Yankmees…hahaha

  17. My favorite moment in last night’s game was after Malkin threw John Tavares on the ground (which rightfully resulted in a penalty). Malkin leaned down and said something to Tavares, who may or may not have understood what Malkin was talking about. Long story short, Tavares looked scared. Which he should be. Earlier in at same shift Malkin threw another Islander on the ice. Yay for gritty play!

    • I wasn’t happy about the penalty, but I was happy to see Geno sticking up for himself. About time :)

      • Y’know I’d be even happier if our other so-called Gritty players stood up for Malkin. And Sid.

        Really, if someone even looks sideways at our 2 stars, they need to be pulped at the next opp.

        Think McTavish and Gretzky way back.

        When I see Sid getting punched in the mouth and nobody does anything, all kinds of bad thoughts come into my head.

    • Geno is prone to some mental lapses but that was one sequence I didn’t mind. He was getting hammered just prior to that.

      Also nice to see Tavares leaving town up ice before Sid swooped in to pick off the pass (I think from Vanek) and take it back the other way, splitting the d-men for the score. All in the blink of an eye.

      Tavares did not look happy leaving the ice.

    • One thing that hasn’t been mentioned most places is that before Malkin slammed Tavares to the ice, Tavares speared Malkin in his man parts. Malkin does take some stupid penalties, but I’m fairly certain I would’ve had the same reaction if I was in his shoes.

      On a side note, some of the worst reffing I’ve seen in a hockey game last night. Both teams were getting away with some ridiculous crap. It is fortunate that no one (Islanders or Pens) got seriously hurt in that mess.

  18. Tomlin looks likeable when he’s at a Pirates’ game.

  19. I liked Tomlin a lot for several years. I thought he was great at relating to veteran guys who were self-motivated, proud and goal-oriented. He knew how to push their buttons to get the best out of them. They were a confident, veteran team and the coach got the best out of them. He took them to 2 Super Bowls, winning 1.

    Now, the team is quite different. The guys that are still holdovers from Tomlin’s early years, with the notable exception of the QB, are slipping in performance and aging. I don’t think the team is doing a very good job of replenishing the talent or coaching up the talent it has. I don’t think this coach’s skills are particularly strong in building up a new group. At least, it does not appear that way to me from what I have seen the past 2 years. I lay the failure of the team’s transition from the previous group to a successful new group on the GM, the Head Coach and ownership.

    Tomlin did a really dumb thing on Thursday. He should have been paying more attention. Given the amount of room a coach has to roam the sidelines in the NFL, he should never approach the field. It is nothing like basketball coaches, btw, who are situated practically on the field and have a much more difficult time manipulating the distinction between the sidelines and the court.

    So, Tomlin should be punished for what he did. He should be fined significantly, and so should the organization. That should be the end of it. This was just a dumb mistake on his part and should play no part whatsoever in whether or not he retains his job. There is plenty to see on the field and with the make-up of the roster to decide the fate of both Colbert and Tomlin in my opinion.

    • I just can’t imagine that any coach would think that they could get away with that and Tomlin never struck me as someone who would try a stunt like that. I think it’s perfectly reasonable that he totally lost track of where he was in relation to the play. Maybe he thought the play was going along the other sideline or in a different direction. I totally buy his comment that he was disoriented. And I don’t know how the play was moving on the Jumbotron which maybe also crossed him up. Also, would he really subject himself to maybe getting leveled by Jones? As far as the smile goes, that’s a perfectly normal and nervous reaction when someone is embarrassed.

      I’d fine him $75k.

      • I think you are right about the smile being a normal defense mechanism. He was embarrassed is all. Who wouldn’t be? And, I don’t get the people who say he should have known where Jones was the whole time by looking at the Jumbotron. I think that totally mesmerizes you, and you lose track of anything else. You can see the point when Jones comes into the picture, and he jumps out of the way.

        I may not love Tomlin as the coach of a rebuilding team, but I think this was just a dumb mistake.

    • Jim,

      Insofar as rebuilding with a new group, I think Tomlin is capable but the talent is now considerably thinner. I put that on our drafting but don’t exonerate Tomlin because it’s my sense he has a huge hand in that as well. And so a good number of the younger players he might have otherwise “coached up” are no longer here.

      The two things that bother me about Tomlin — one nit-picking that has no bearing upon team performance and the other which has impacted the team in several instances — are these:

      1. The way he treats the local media.

      My perception is that’s changed from the day he first got the job. These are professionals who are just striving to do their jobs. Some do it much better than others. But there’s no need to be impolite or disrespectful. Are there some inane questions? Sure. Are some media members better prepared than others? Of course. But roll with it, even have some fun with it if that’s what is called for. But there is no need for making the questioner feel as if he or she has absolutely no reason to be there or that they are not worthy of a response. The media helps stimulate national and local interest in the NFL teams that ultimately pays your and others’ substantial salaries. Sometimes I think that correlation is forgotten.

      2. Game/clock management.

      No need to detail. And coincidentally the area where Tomlin gives his shortest shrift to the media, as if he’s infallible and beyond challenge.

      • I think your points are well taken, DJ.

        One thing I will say is that I believe all of these coaches have large egos. I think that is unavoidable when you rise to the level they have in a very competitive environment. So, as you become more and more successful, I believe there is a tendency to begin to treat reporters who are just doing their jobs with a bit of derision. Sort of like, “Who are these people to question me?”

        The key is, does the coach stay grounded as he becomes more successful? Does he learn to keep his ego in check? Does he continue to respect others? Some do it better than others. I think it is a tough thing to manage your ego, while meeting the rigors of your job as Head Coach in the NFL. Bill Cowher was often accused of the same thing, as I recall. He was not lacking in the ego department, and he seemed to have plenty of occasions where he lost patience with members of the media. Chuck Noll took some of that same criticism at times. Good reporters don’t let it cloud their judgment when doing their jobs.

      • I can’t really think of any NFL head coach who prefers local media to national media. In fact, I think most tolerate local media, at best, while others have outright disdain for the locals.

        Tomlin’s a guy who clearly will have a future in some NFL studio show or booth when he retires. I foresee his Tomlinisms (which I’m finding increasingly irritating) being spouted for many years to come after he’s no longer an NFL head coach.

  20. I watched the Blackhawks and Stars from a suite in United Center last night. That was a fabulous game, with the Stars somehow winning although being out shot nearly 3-1.

    I, of course, kept close attention to the fate of the Pitt Panthers and my beloved Pens during that game. Following on my phone, I was able to see the replay of all the Pens goals. The game winner by Sid was just a case of the best player in the world taking matters into his own hands. Quite simply, no one else can make that play. He back-checked to steal the puck, quickly wheeled and beat not 1, not 2, but 3 Islanders then the goalie to win it – in OT no less! I’m certain the scream I let out when I watched that replay was a little startling to the Hawks fans in the suite. What can I say? I’m a Pittsburgh guy. As good as the Hawks are, they’ll never be my team. I did appreciate the free food and drink, though.

    • the free food and drink did it for ya, huh? ;)

      • I ate the food and drank the Heineken while keeping tabs on the Pens and Panthers.

        I will say, though, in case you have never been to a Hawks game in United Center, if you ever get a chance – do it. No one here complains about the acoustics of the arena not being conducive to a loud atmosphere. No one complains that the atmosphere is too “corporate” to be as loud as the old days. I believe the old Chicago Stadium was louder, but the United Center is pretty raucous from start to finish.

        And the thing about that place which sets it apart, and this may sound a bit odd since it happens before the game, is the National Anthem. DK can attest to this. There is nothing in pro sports like the National Anthem at a Hawks game. It gets so loud toward the end of the anthem that you feel like the roof might blow off the place. It sends chills up your spine.

    • Did you happen to bump into Pat & Edzo ?

      • I did not, Milo. I don’t run in those circles. But, if anyone rivals the great Mike Lange in the world of NHL announcers for me, it has to be Pat Foley. I think he’s terrific.

        • Last spring, I was invited to a Bulls-Heat playoff game in a different suite and Magic Johnson was a couple of suites over. He wasn’t working that night, but he was there for some reason. After the game, my son and I were leaving and Magic was leaving at the same time. It caught my son off guard when he saw Magic, and he said, “Hey, it’s you!” Magic said, “Yep, I’m always me.” I thought that was a great line, and he delivered it perfectly with his trademark smile. Then, he patted my son on the head as we all filed out.

          Magic is one large man. When he was coming out of the suite he had been in, he practically took up the entire doorway.

          • Was never a Lakers fan but I always respected Magic Johnson. What he could do with the ball for his size was absolutely incredible and incredibly entertaining. The best passer I have ever seen.

            Have always loved his positive attitude and his treatment of people. Ran into him in our hotel in NYC in his early years. He was with Isiah Thomas at the time (pre-rift). Magic had an ear-to-ear smile and a “How are you?” expression on his face and Isiah had a surly “Don’t even think of bothering me” expression on his.

        • I’m in the same boat, I love Pat Foley. Joe Bowen from Toronto is another favorite.

  21. Ken Rosenthal annoys me, but he has a very good article out today. Lots of good info & insight – - especially about Billy Beane and the A’s. (maybe the Pirates should take notice)

    http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/hot-stove-jacoby-ellsbury-scott-kazmir-jim-johnson-craig-gentry-luke-gregerson-a%2527s-orioles-tigers-rockies-rays-120313

    • Thanks for sharing Thunder. Good information. It’s interesting to note that Beane waited until after the second playoff failure to make the moves. I don’t remember them doing much last year. I assume they try and drop Andersons contract to make the Johnson deal work. They will probably have to take on some of Andersons contract unless they get hardly nothing in return.

      Next year with Wandy, Liriano, Martin and maybe AJ coming off the books the Pirates will be forced to make some moves via trade or free agency. I still think we see the Pirates payroll end up 80-90 million this year. I’m not sure how but it just seems like it has to happen. The A’s just did it through trade and I’m starting to think that is how NH accomplishes it.

      • It would be nice if Taillon solidifies his position in the rotation for next year the way Cole did last year, Nate. I don’t know that I see it happening quite so perfectly, but that would be nice. Some say we may see Kingham this year as well. If one of those 2, or both in a perfect world, become fixtures in the 2015 rotation that would ease some of the expected departures.

  22. 69 DAYS UNTIL PITCHERS & CATCHERS REPORT TO PIRATE CITY FOR SPRING TRAINING

  23. Hated bloated former Bucco, Eric Hinske, named first base coach for the Cubs.

    I’ve said this before. He is from this area (and a legendary high school player), and I know his sister. Every time I have seen him while he’s back home it has been while I was at the food court at the mall.

  24. The Rangers have signed Henrik Lundquist to a 7 year $60 million extension. The Rangers should be trading Henrik Lundquist. This is good news for the Penguins.

  25. I’ve never been a fan of Tomlin, always found him verbose and hollow, but I listened to the press conference yesterday and believed his remarks to be genuine. I thinks he’s a great example of the Peter Principle. He’d probably be a great defensive coordinator, but he’s been in over his head as the head coach from the beginning.

    On another note, I listened to a few minutes of the “Ike Taylor show” on TribLive Radio yesterday and was appalled. The man is barely literate, and curses during the show. I can’t believe the Trib puts this guy in the air, or that anyone would listen for more than 30 seconds.

  26. Hello All — I know there are a lot of passionate Pirates’ fans on the blog. I’m going to make the following offer to anyone interested:

    I am a season ticket holder and I just received 4 tickets to the PirateFest at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Season Ticket Holder Event. The date and time is Saturday, December 14th from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Also included were 2 VIP tickets for the PirateFest, each valid for one day only, for Saturday, December 14th from 12:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. OR Sunday, December 15th from 12:00 p.m to 5:00 p.m.

    I cannot make it to the PirateFest on either day and wanted to offer them, FOR FREE, to anyone who might be interested. While I prefer that the tickets go to someone with kids, there are no rules or restrictions. I WILL DIVIDE THE TICKETS (i.e., the 4 tickets and the 2 VIP tickets), if necessary. If anyone is interested, please respond to this post. I will give these away on a “first come, first served” basis.

    I apologize in advance if this is inappropriate, but I’d rather see these tickets put to good use. And, I assume if I’m violating any blog rules, the moderator will tell me so and not post this.

    Thanks and have a great day!

  27. Much ado about nothing. I’m with you, never believed it was intentional. Don’t know the man, but I’m a big fan of his. Especially his vocabulary. I do double-takes on some of the words. Not sure if they are actual words, but they sound great. Refreshing to hear intelligent people speak in sports. Directly, without the glib.

  28. I was really sad to see that Robert Morris University announced the elimination of 7 sports effective the end of the 2013-14 calendar year affecting 80 student-athletes although their scholarships will be honored. The women’s cross country team survived which I was glad to see as their best runner and the daughter of close friends of ours will be a senior next year. The men’s cross country team was axed though.

  29. Tomlin fined $100,000.

    • The league reportedly still is considering stripping the Steelers of a draft pick. And no X-Box for a month for you mister.

      • If this were 20 or so years ago, I have no doubt the Soup Nazi would also say, “No soup for you – 1 year.” Just saw that episode over the Thanksgiving break.

      • A draft pick would be absolute overkill.

        Any belief that Goodell might be assessing a draft pick because of his Dan Rooney connection, so there is no public impression of favoritism? Maybe Goodell wants to see how the fine is received before deciding if that’s enough. Let’s hope he has enough sense to leave it at the fine.

      • I thought he was going to get $250K.

        If we do lose a draft pick, I’d assume it would be a 7th rounder. Usually the league awards us a few extra 7th roudners. Could they decide to award us one less b/c of this?

        • It’s clear to me they have a draft pick or picks in mind, and I think it will be high.
          Never under-estimate the wrath of Roger Goodell’s empire.

    • I’ve been having some fun with this because let’s face it, it is funny. But if I can be serious for a minute, the league should throw him off the competition committee for a period of time. It’s a very prestigious position & I think that would get everyone’s attention.

  30. Well….There it is (almost a week later).
    A $100,000 AND STILL possible draft picks forfeited.
    Isn’t it nice (and good for publicity/discussion) that they would keep that hanging in the balance?
    A direct slap in the face to the paying fan.
    One of the lowest things that the league has done in awhile…..But then again, they are the pit of everything rotten.

  31. Absolutely agree with your sentiment on Tomlin DK.

    I have never gotten the impression that Tomlin had an integrity issue. To believe that he’s a liar, cheat, etc. etc. is as rididiculous as him being hired because of the Rooney Rule.

    My guess is, the ones that bring up that rule, truly don’t understand it.

  32. 100K fine, a little high if you ask me, but fine. Get it over with.

    Can we PLEASE move on from this topic, seriously?

    Like the Tigers’ BP concerns.

  33. In other news, the Yankees continue to throw money down the drain.

    • Speaking of that, when is the ARod decision due?

    • Maybe their agenda is to raise the market for free agents so high that it gets to the point where only they can afford them

      That or they might just be stupid.

      One of the two.

      • Stupidity is a definite factor in this signing.

        I bagged the Giants last year for signing Angel Pagan to $10+ a year, that looks like a great deal now compared to that one that Ellsbury just got. Except for the Pagan was only played about half the season. Similiar players, IMHO.

        • I noticed the Yankees have carefully avoided the minefield of free agent pitchers while rebuilding their team. I know they lost Hughes.

      • I don’t think it’s stupid. They apparently have the money to spend and they did what they had to do in order to get the player they wanted.

    • Yeah, remember when they said they couldn’t afford to do that this year.

      I believe I read yesterday that 45% of all free agent money spent this off-season was done by the Yankees. And, they have even’t gotten to Jay Z’s client yet.

  34. Rossi’s Chipped Ice is excellent today, especially love his take on James Neal. He’s spot on about Fleury too:
    http://blog.triblive.com/chipped-ice/2013/12/04/rossi-a-satisfying-and-perhaps-pivotal-victory/#axzz2mWh9jzOG

  35. As Milo, and others commented above, Tomlin fined 100K. Sounds about right. No suspension. Sound about right. But there is still the possibility of either losing a draft choice, or having it “reassigned”, which could mean swapped with another team? or round?

    I wonder if the NFL “got their panties in a bunch” when deciding about the draft pick? After all, that’s what was insinuated here yesterday………..

    With this decision, Goodell has almost ensured that it will be talked about for a long time. Dont know the criteria that will go into the final decision, but this issue will be talked about a lot more, being it could affect the draft.

    • It was no insinuation, Plan. Said it flat out.

    • I’m now going to assume they are taking the Steelers #1 pick (and probably giving it to Baltimore).
      It will make for great publicity and debate AFTER the season is over…..And before the draft starts.
      We’re the lab rats…..And we pay money.

    • Here’s a legitmate question I have for you on the subject plan.

      Draft pick asside, do you think what Tomlin did was in comparison to what Jason Kidd did of the Nets?

      In case you don’t follow basketball (I dont really, found this funny though) Kidd had one of his players bump in to him to dump is drink on the court. When that happens, it’s an automatic stopage of play, saving the team a timeout. He was fined $50k for that.

      Tomlin, IMHO, accidently steps on the field and possibly makes the returner slow down or get tackled easier, whatever anyone wants to call it.

      To me, what Jason Kidd did, though funny,(apparently has been going on in basketball for years) caused more of an issue that Tomlin losing track of where he steps.

      BTW, footbal coaches at EVERY level, go passed the dreaded “white line.” Even when players do it, it’s usually a warning before it becomes a penalty.

      Overall, I think the fine was a little ridiculous.

      • IMO it may have been assessed due to these points:

        MT is a member of the Competition Committee….

        The league had just sent a memo out to teams regarding this issue just before last week’s games…

        It happend during a national telecast…

      • What Tomlin did could very well have effected the outcome of the game…and playoffs.

        Not sure if Kidd’s action could have done the same.

        • ‘affected the outcome’

        • Sure it could have. Kidd got an extra time out without having to use one. Tomlin made the runner side step.

          I personally think it’s a good comparison.

          • It is worth comparing. But what was the score of the basketball game. Would the NBA determine that the extra time out really made as big difference.
            I don’t like what Kidd did and he should be fined. (Not as much as Tomlin).

            If the Ravens don’t score there and end up losing the game and missing the playoffs, that is really bad. It would be even worse if the Ravens missed the playoffs and the Steelers got in because of that victory.

            • Nets were down 2 with 8.3 seconds left and no timeouts. As they were cleaning up the spill, a Nets assistant called the team over and he was drawing up a final play.

            • Kidd got fined $50k. It was toward the end of the 4th quarter. No idea of score, but I’m sure it was close.

        • I didn’t say a word.

      • If one is accidental and the other intentional, they should not be treated equally. MT’s intent is the key thing here. How can they know that, short of him admitting it? I guess they could just go by what the “Great Ray Lewis” said.

  36. Word is that if a draft pick is stripped, it may be awarded to the Ravens…wow…

  37. In regards to JAL’s link #2 above, who does everybody want to see the Pirates go after for 1B………… Lind, Moreland, or Loney?

    In related news, Justin Morneau got 2 yrs/$13 million last night from Colorado.

    • Or, we could always talk about the Tigers bullpen again. ;)

    • While the Buccos sit idly by and let other teams improve……..I don’t like any of those three choices. I think they may need to upgrade through a trade.

      • Agree. There isn’tmuch out there on the FA market that would help. I don’t think anyways….

        Trade is best option.

      • I wonder which first basemen are available via trade.

        That may be why the Buccos are idling regarding that position.

        • No clue of course. Who thought Prince Fielder was available?

          IMO, everyone is available for the right price.

          I’d like Trumbo, but he’d probably cost Gerrit Cole + 1.

          Not a fan of that

    • Good for Morneau…get it while you can.

    • At least the thin air might help out his WTP.

      Good call on his part.

    • I think we need a lefty to pair with Gaby, plan. A lot of people here might not agree, but I’d take Loney. I know his #’s are not eye popping. But, he’s a better fielder than we have had at that position in a long time, and I believe a platoon of him and Gaby could do a nice job there. Here’s what Loney hit vs RHP last year, and what Gaby hit vs LHP:

      Loney: .299/.352/.446/.798
      Gaby: .333/.448/.539/.987

      If you like some of the missing conventional stats, as a strict platoon they would have combined for 497 AB, 37 doubles, 0 triples, 14 HR, 68 RBI, 55 BB. As you can see, they would have hit well over .300 with on OBP approaching .400.

      And, last year was not far off their career #’s. They both struggled in 2012, but the years before that were fairly close to their 2013 production.

      This combo will hit and field well. I’m having a hard time finding how it would not be good for the Bucs to sign Loney.

      • Interesting comparison, but, dang, that is a low HR total from a “power” position.

        • Ribbies, too.

        • True. You get defense and OBP. Power slips a little. As far as hitting goes, it becomes a reverse Pedro. Loney puts the ball in play, and we could use that.

          • I’d take Loney in a heartbeat because I don’t see a power bat with a good OBP on the horizon.

            • +++.

              Some fans just don’t like platoons. I get that at key defensive positions, where continuity is important (for turning a DP, calling pitches, etc.). But, 1b is ripe for platoons. If both guys can field, and it looks like we’ll have a .300+ hitter with good gap power and good OBP, I think this lineup can live w/o the extra HR Jones hit vs. Loney last year. I think Loney is better in every other way than GIJ besides HR. Jones gives you the added benefit of RF, but I think we can handle that with Tabata/Lambo/new guy from SD.

              • I don’t think Jones is the bar. He’s gone.

              • You’re right that Jones is not the bar. But, at this point, there is not a lot available unless we swing a trade. I’m just going by available F/A. I think Loney is the pick of the litter right now.

          • The other thing is, when you add up the ABs + the BBs, that still only gets you to 550 plate appearances. We still have another 100 or more to dish out if it is strictly those 2 guys next year. There would be 2-3 more HR at the same production rate, and another dozen RBI.

      • Jim, you make a good point, but I just dont know about any of those 3 choices I asked about.

        I really dont know what is even available by trade, as teams arent willing to trade good 1B, except Fielder, which was a $$$$ consideration.

        Stinks the Oirates have holes that there isnt a good market for…….. 1B, SS, and if they dont setttle the AJ thing, P.

        • Should be “Pirates”.
          Curse you, Jandy!!! ;)

        • I’m OK with Jordy at SS on an everyday basis going into the season. Would like a steady back up though.

          If he struggles over the long term, make a deal at the deadline.

          I’d rather have a power bat in either RF or 1B. My preference would be 1B.

          • I think Jordy is how they are planning to go. I still find it odd, though, that CH switched to Barmes for the playoffs if they were not going to re-sign him. Of course, he has not been scooped up yet. So, we could see CB back again.

        • I think it just comes down to accepting a platoon again. I think 1b is tailor-made for platoons, as it isn’t a middle infielder where DP is affected. It isn’t catcher or CF – other important defensive positions.

      • We’ve talked about Loney before Jim. If I remember right (not always the case) Loney batted exactly .299 against both LHP and RHP.

        Who needs a platoon with that BA?

        Dump Gaby too, save another mill or 2

      • Jim I agree this would be an ideal pairing. It would be an improvement over last year. Lind has been rumored as a target as well but he would cost prospects. He would give us more power and be affordable over the next 3 years.

        • Yes, I read that as well Nate. Lind definitely has more power. Same with our friend in TX (Moreland) who is suddenly expendable.

  38. BTW.

    26 days until I am eastbound and down………..

    RIP Jerry Reed.

  39. Im guess that since the NFL will determine whether or not to strip the Steelers of a draft pick till after the season, then we probably will lose a late round pick.

    • Did they say they were waiting? (My panties are starting to itch).

    • I ‘ve read that Tomlin said that godell and anderson told him that they reviewed other tapes which showed MT in the same position on other kickoffs/returns. If so, why no prior warning, at least, or no prior punishment? Was it because it almost affected the return? If so, okay, then the fine probably fits the “crime” (ESPN reported that it was, based on Mt’s salary, equivalent to about $1000 to normal people)…but it should end there.

      I’m not sure what the NFL’s agenda is at this point, but I sure won’t listen to anymore BS about how the league favors the Steelers anymore.

  40. Was a great night for me last night, sports-wise.

    Pens won, with that Mario-like goal in OT. Wonder if Sid’s statue will be of that play? Geno (finally) sticking up for himself, with that picture I posted above a great moment for him. And Fleury overcame a horrible start to shut the Isles out for the final 2 and 1/2 periods.

    Pitt won a hard-fought game, but was its own worst enemy for much of the game. For the second consecutive game, the Panthers had a horrible shooting night, and committed too many turnovers, but Talib Zanna was a beast in the second half. You dont see too many centers steal and strip a guard of a ball, run the floor and get the basket.

    And Penn State lost.
    (Apologies to Brandie, and Wild Bill). ;)

    • Is PSU any good at basketball?

      Have they ever been?

    • Sid probably hasn’t made the play that will ultimately be his statue…he’s only 26 and getting better every year.

      Geno, agree, but don’t want him doing anything stupid with the streak he’s on.

      MAF, second goal was soft, but he was screened a little bit. First goal – on #58, again, sigh.

      Good to see Pitt face a little adversity and overcome it, even better because of who they were playing.

      Aaron Donald voted ACC Defensive POY, cudos to him.

      • The first goal was on #14…Kunitz turned the puck over. let’s stop piling on Letang when it’s not always him.
        That is all :)

        • Jandy, your Tanger love-drool is gettin outta hand. ;)

        • Not to pick nits, but while Kunitz turned the puck over, Tanger was out of postion (too far up ice ahead of the puck) and then ran MAF trying to recover.

          I really do want this guy to reach his potential…. I still say a valium before every period.

      • Nice honor for Donald.
        Chryst is going to have trouble replacing him next year.

        Geno to Taveras last night………………… I’M SCORE !!!

        • Donald (if he were Russian): “I am beast.”

          Wouldn’t he look nice in a Steelers uniform?

          • Funny you mention that because I was thinking the same thing at the Pitt – UMiami game last Friday and mentioned it to my sons. I’d take him right now over Steve McLendon.

            I don’t think the Steelers would pick him in the first round however, and doubt he would be there for our pick in the second.

            • I dunno…most ratings I’ve seen place him in 2nd – 3rd round, just due to his (lack of) size – heart not included. Unfortunately he appears to best fit a 4-3 DT.

              • He is listed at 6′ and 275 lbs, don’t know how up to date that is….

                Levon Kirkland, anyone?

              • Other than the weight, which those guys can easily gain, he sounds like a NT in the 3-4.

                I’ll be honest, I have not seen him play. I don’t follow Pitt.

              • I’d put him at nose and not worry about the position for the next 10 years. Casey Hampton was listed at 6’1″ but I doubt he was taller than 6′.

                Donald has incredible strength, especially in his lower half. There were plays where he was triple-teamed in the Miami game . . . and he wasn’t going backwards.

              • DJ, Hampton had 100 pounds on Donald.
                Just sayin.

              • So, you’re saying maybe we’ll be able to get him with our 1st pick. :-)

          • Big Snack weighed anywhere from 320 – 350 lbs (depending on whether it was before or after lunch) and had the frame to support it. Not too sure Donald could get close to that without giving his quickness up.

          • What’s the point, Plan? That if Donald put on another 50-75 lbs they would need to quadruple team him? Hampton wasn’t the same weight coming out of Texas as when he retired.

            I realize it’s College v. NFL and much of this is projection. However, Miami’s entire offensive line looked to be 6’5″ and 325 lbs right down the line . . . minimum. And yet I did not see the kid driven backwards the entire day.

            Isn’t that what you’re looking for in a NT?

            • The point is, it is easier said than done when talking about putting on weight. Yes Donald can put on weight, but will it slow him to a crawl? Will it harm his knees?

              Hampton was at least 320 coming out of college…… he didnt have to put on so much weight.

              Donald would be miscast as a NT, in my opinion.

              • Again, projection. I think Donald would do just fine playing at 300-310 or thereabouts.

                Snack put on at least 65-75 lbs after Texas, had at least two knee operations I believe (maybe one more in college) and he worked out okay.

                I’m not pushing Donald as a first-rounder just yet since I would like to see how he fares at the combine. However, if someone told me today we could get him in the second round, I’d sign on for that right now.

  41. Yahoo reports that Loney is looking for something in the range of $27-30MM over three years

    I would be inclined to give it to him.
    1) There is not other first baseman in the minor ready anytime soon
    2) You can always trade him later

    • Any teams listed?

    • I just saw Rays and Pirates…….I would approve this signing as well for TC’s reason #1.

      Not that they need my approval.

      • I think if it really is the Rays and Bucs, I don’t think we need to go 3 years. We just need to offer a little more per year. Loney doesn’t have crazy money yet. A couple million $$ extra still means a lot to him.

        I can’t believe I typed that last sentence. But, it is true nonetheless. These guys live in a world where a couple million $$ does not mean much to a whole lot of them.

        It would be nice if we could snag him for something near 2/$15M.

  42. Shouldn’t be long for James Loney. Looks like the agent is in “one more year, one more dollar mode”.

  43. One of the classiest things in sports in this article.
    Something similar is done in Hershey at Bears games. (last year I think 14,000 at Hershey).

    http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2013/dec/03/26000-teddy-bear-toss-calgary-hitmen-pavel-padakin

  44. So, this $100,000 fine for Tomlin has only ever been eclipsed by the $500,000 fine to Belichick for spying? If memory serves, the esteemed Robert Kraft quickly stuck his thumb in Roger Goodell’s eye by completing a huge contract extension for his coach that essentially wiped out all memory of his fine. Or, am I mis-remembering?

  45. Very entertaining discussions today!

    I was a prisoner of a Bartolo-scope today & enjoyed it greatly. (The discussion, not the Bartolo)!

    Nice to see hot-stove heating up!

    Stuart

    • Stuart,

      Were you around yesterday? The hot stove was engulfed in flames regarding the Detroit Tigers.

      DK: MORE PLEASE!

      • TC No, I was prepping for my Bartolo. If it was about the Tigers pen, I’m glad I missed it.

        Stu

      • Now DK, Sarcasm ill-becomes you!

        Many of us, though fans of other sports, had our appetites whetted by last year’s Bucs, and are hungry for more. I will admit that an in-depth discussion of the Tiger’s pen can be much ado about nothing.

        To paraphrase: The world will little note what has been said about the Tiger’s bull-pen, but what they DO this year will be long remembered.

        America’s game, baseball. Interesting that no one has yet come down on either side of the question as to whether Jacoby is worth 22 million dollars a year.

        Always a fan,

        Stuart

        • Stuart,
          I would say that yesterday’s discussion could also be classified as a ‘hot stove’ discussion as opposed to a ‘tiger bullpen’ discussion. We were talking about money in baseball and the Fister trade. Hot stove components.

          People may have been scared off from discussing Elsbury’s deal because of the sarcasm and bold type yesterday and today.

  46. Looks like Ryan Clark could not resist taking a verbal dump on Goodell right at a time when keeping quiet would have been useful.

  47. Watched DK’s podcast; I’m not nearly as sure as Chris Adamski that Allen Robinson will declare for the draft. He was quoted as saying that he has things to work on, like his speed. He’s projecting as bottom of the first round now, but with another season of catching Hack’s passes and developing further, he could go really high in a year.

    Feeling like State is still too hamstrung by the NCAA to do well could push him the other way, however.

  48. As far as the inane possibility of adjusting the draft order as part of the Tomlin punishment. Points are NOT a tiebreaker for draft order. I’ve heard this all over the place today from people that should know better.

    • Isnt it opponents winning %?

      And how would they “adjust” it? Place the Steelers at the end of each round? Only one round?

      I am so confused………….

      • Yes, it is strength of schedule to break those ties.

        I heard this from Mort, who should know better. He says the Ravens should have had a TD giving them 4 more points. #1 – it wasn’t going to be a TD. #2 – The Steelers would have kicked an extra point instead of going for 2.

        Now, the thinking (I use that term loosely) is that if the two teams end up tied & it goes all the way down the line to points, the Ravens should be compensated. This too is completely screwed up because …

        IF THE STEELERS MADE THE PLAYOFFS ON TIEBREAKERS BECAUSE OF THE POINTS THE RAVENS WERE “CHEATED” OUT OF … WAIT FOR IT … THE RAVENS GET A HIGHER DRAFT PICK ANYWAY.

        And, if neither make the playoffs, points are not a tiebreaker in draft order.

        • Thanks for the headache Milo.

          Sounds like the BCS

        • Less than a day after Tomlin’s “crow/raven hop” happened several posters here wanted to put the whole saga to bed. Most others here knew that could/would never happen in spite of the sentiment.

          Well, it’s now officially that time.

          Really, can’t the NFL execs occupy their days with something more productive . . . like overseeing the design of a better, safer helmet?

          • I’m sure they’re not spending all their time on this issue……

            but you never know.

          • Actually DJ, not sure if it is even possible to design a safe helmet. The problem is that when a human is going fast and suddenly stops, the brain inside the skull continues it’s forward momentum. No helmet can stop that.

            I’m afraid that nothing short of two-hand tag would solve the problem. But not to worry, boxing, for instance, is still going on and having a major resurgence in fact. Not many pro-football fans would admit it, but at least part of the motivation in watching a game is like that of some of the race car fans who (I’m told) are subconsciously wishing for an accident.

            The best pro-football “hit” I ever saw was one delivered by Andy Russell Steelers LB, on the Kansas City Fullback. Andy hit him in the midsection with his shoulder. It stopped the runner cold, and it was a game-changer at the time. I remember the roar of the crowd after that hit. It happened at a time when the Stillers were emerging from doormat status.

            Stuart

  49. Just read this headline on MLBTRs

    D-Backs Looking To Trade Market For Ace, Power Bats

    My response: Join the club. Good thing they traded a power bat in Justin Upton.

  50. Happy 40th Birthday to Tyra Banks today.
    That is all.

  51. Can we claim that Tomlin has already given a draft choice away already? (I would have used the word forfeit, but not sure of the spelling)

    That punter, Daniel S, a 3rd rounder???

  52. Jim Bowden, on an ESPN Insider post sez that NH is gonna make a splash in Orlando.

    Jim Bowden predicted it, sigh…..

    • Interesting.

      Bowden is the one who said the other day that the Pirates have talked to a lot of free agents, but they are not really into it. ‘soft / lowball ‘ offers.

      Thanks for the insider info Biz

      • He says the Bucs only need “one big bat” for right or 1B, makes no comment about SS or SP, although he notes we are waiting for AJ to take a low ball offer. Notes one move will make us lunatics happy and believing. Then says NH will not fail (my words there)

        Yes, its still early, yes, NH brought things together this past season, Yes I am giving him a pass due to last year.

        But I am nervous, I’m a lunatic and I want it all.

        Another October ;-)

    • He’s going to dive into the pool ?

  53. I give ESPN some credit: Doris Burke is a solid analyst.

  54. The Bucs are interested in David Price?? Per MLBTradeRumors

  55. The Mariners, Dodgers, Angels, Pirates, Rangers, Diamondbacks and Blue Jays all have interest in David Price and believe they could put together a strong enough package to convince the Rays to deal him,

    Must be NH’s sweetie

  56. Got The 50 Greatest Games in Pirates History for my birthday. Ain’t it great that it’s already outdated. That Wild Card game certainly ranks.

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