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Pigskin, pucks to dominate ‘Subway Final Word’

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media


The joint venture between WPXI-TV and Trib Total Media continues Sunday night at around midnight — after NBC’s Sunday Night Football and the local news — with the latest episode of The Subway Final Word.

>> Who’s on the panel: I’ll be joined by Rob Rossi, the Trib’s Penguins beat man, and Mark Madden, top-rated radio host of 105.9 the X. The host will be WPXI-TV’s Bill Phillips.

>> What we’re talking about: Steelers, Penguins, Pitt hoops and more.

>> How to participate: Each week, we also take comments from viewers through 20-second videos you submit on The Final Word’s Facebook page, as well as comments to The Final World’s Twitter account

>> Where to watch: In addition to the regular broadcast on WPXI-TV, we have WPXI’s live online stream for Pittsburgh’s many out-of-town sports fans, as well as video podcasts available on both outlets’ Web sites.

Here’s last week’s full episode, and here’s one clip from that show about the Pirates’ offseason to date …

Really hope to have you along, not only watching but also joining in!

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

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


  1. So now that Napoli has resigned with the Red Sox, is there a VIABLE first baseman they could go after? I’m not so sure that James Loney would even be an upgrade over Garrett Jones! At least he’s never shown me much.

    • I think if you look at the year both just had along with their ages and defense, Loney seems like a much better choice to me.

      • Agree. Upgrade on every level except power. But I’ll take the consistency for the loss of the power.

        In fact if you look at his entire eight year career, you see a very consistent player. Six of the eight years were statistically (and weirdly) bundled at almost the same level. Of the six consistent years: BA between .299 and .267, HR between 13 and 10.

        (The two outlier years: 2007 with .331 and 15, and 2012 with .249 and 6.)

        Puts ball in play. Not a huge about of Ks (good). Only two years with more than 80; all below 100.

        With the notable exception of his 2012 off year and 2007 breakout year, his OBP is also remarkably consistent: .357-.329. That is, as noted, almost weirdly level for baseball.

        He also can play against righties and lefties. Sure, there’s a dropoff against lefties but not Jones-like.
        - Against R: .295 BA, .351 OBP over 3000+ plate appearances
        - Against L: .256 BA, .308 OBP over 1000+ plate appearances

        Not a terribly wide split, meaning Sanchez can move from below average platoon mate to above average bench player. So in a way, Loney would strengthen two positions.

        Bottom line: Loney is unusually predictable, solid, certainly not spectacular; mainly he’s CONSISTENT. Not old, expect it to continue. Add to that better-than-Jones D and that’s fine.

        I wouldn’t yet buy my World Series tix yet but I would accept it as a reasonable, solid baseball move and then hope they move on to starting pitching depth and SS.

  2. 1. I would like them to find a way to get Kendrys Morales @ 1B.

    2. They certainly have enough $$ to retain AJ. (…whether the DESIRE is there…is another matter) :-(

  3. I think SOMEbody’s necktie was too tight.

  4. Once again I had some time this morning (very dangerous), so I sat down and calculated the Pirates current payroll for the 40 man roster. I used published figures for guys with contracts, estimates from people who know these things for arbitration guys, $500,000 for all the 0-3 year guys (that’s high), and $100,000 for the 15 guys in the minor leagues (that could be high also).

    Right now they stand at $58 million.

  5. Unless I missed the reporting…. I guess it is acceptable journalism in this town for a superstar’s injury to not be disclosed. The ‘lower body injury’ line from the Penguins is old and frankly pathetic.

    Does anyone think this Pirates team is anywhere near competitive in 2014 as currently constructed? Next week’s baseball meetings are going to be quite important.

    Had to laugh when I saw Steelers PR guy Burt Lauten send out a tweet about Ben Roethlisberger’s numbers against the Miami Dolphins. That guy has the easiest PR job in the NFL.

    Is PITT ready for ACC play after their cupcake schedule?

    If you want to watch some good football today, don’t bother watching the SEC championship… unless of course you like to watch video game action as the defenses are on their Penn Dot-esque breaks.

    Did I mention the Pirates have done nothing to improve their roster?

    43 days until I will be Disney World… right now, Huntington might want to return from his vacation.

  6. ‘Does anyone think this Pirates team is anywhere near competitive in 2014 as currently constructed?’

    Because they are currently constructed on December 7th.

  7. “I guess it is acceptable journalism in this town for a superstar’s injury to not be disclosed. The ‘lower body injury’ line from the Penguins is old and frankly pathetic. ”

    EB, I agree with you that they way the NHL handles/discloses injuries is pathetic. But I don’t think that disclosing them is up to the journalists. Shouldn’t that come from the teams…to the journalists, then to the fans?

  8. Sometimes when I read comments on blog, especially about the hot stove in Nov & Dec, I remind myself that I need a will.

    And that is after reading some of my own comments

  9. I hope that DK will join us today and explain to Eric and the rest of us what ‘acceptable journalism in this town’ really is. He is a journalist.

    And he already explained the difference between twitter/blog/columns/radio/The Final Word to us.

    DK: If I know for a fact where, when or how a player was hurt, I’ll report it. Plain and simple. Did that with Beau Bennett already this season. The difference with the NHL — in addition to having no standards for injury reporting, unlike the NFL — is that they culture itself shuts down on that topic. Teammates won’t discuss it. Coaches certainly won’t. Agents absolutely won’t.

    That’s all really changed just over the past 10 years or so.

  10. Glad to see that pesky salary reduction goal hasn’t slowed the Yankees.

    Now they have six OFers at $90M.

    That’s the cost of a whole team around here. And then some.

    But remember Moneyball. Defense doesn’t matter.

    One at 2nd. One at 3rd. There you go.

    And one ready to fill in at SS for Captain Medicare when he goes DLing. Again.

  11. DK
    I am the one that agrees with you and Eric (the one that attacked local journalism) is the one you call friend?!?!




    • Yeah! Right! Like talking about “lower body injuries!”

      I guess, for you, the anticipation of having sex for the first time was no big deal.
      ——the anticipation of driving a car for the first time provided nary a thought
      ——the anticipation or excitement of seeing your first bi-line never entered your mind
      ——the joy of approaching your first Olympics to cover never arrived until you boarded the plane
      ——the excitement of covering Sochi won’t cross your mind until you stuff your bag in the overhead
      ——2nd child coming? No big deal: I’ve already done this. I’ll await the actual birth.

      Imagination/anticipation/joy/excitement/hope are the parts of life that enrich life. The condiments of life!!

      One NEVER should live in the past OR future so much that they miss the present:
      but anyone who ignores that future joys or excitements can begin in the present and are built on the past is a sad soul.

    • SOMEbody doesn’t get the concept of the looking-forward-to thingee with the countdown.

  13. Waitin on hubby’s van to be ready…yinz guys cracke me up! I’ll be $900+ lighter in the wallet when I leave. Ball joints, rotors, brakes. And he says *I’M* hard on brakes!! Smh

  14. Rofl…ya’ll are killn me

  15. Looking forward to UNLV and Arizona today. Khem Birch averaging 11 and 10 with almost 5 blocks which is 2nd in the nation.

  16. Looks like it’s cold in Pittsburgh today.
    I hope it’s alot colder tomorrow.
    I hope it’s so damn cold in Pittsburgh tomorrow that it freezes Mike Wallace’s bills to his wallet for the next week!
    It isn’t the fact that the guy left for bigger money (and warmer temps)…It’s the fact that he laid an egg ALL of last year.
    Without question the biggest “non-effort” I ever saw from anyone that has ever worn the Steeler uniform.

    • Do you hate everybody? I don’t think I ever seen you write anything nice about anybody.

      • In general….People tend to vent what they “don’t” like on blogs.
        Just FYI…..I like whomever is wearing the uniform of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Pirates (though that doesn’t include the FO and ownership) and Pittsburgh Penguins.

        When you watch the game tomorrow, check and see how many people are cheering for Mike Wallace versus voicing their disapproval.
        I’m quite sure my view will be in the vast majority.

        • But is that all you do is vent? I understand that fans love to boo. As an example when Cano plays in Yankee stadium he will be booed but if you asked any Yankee fan if he blames Cano for taking 240m they would answer no. That is good natured booing. What I see from you is pure hate. Freud (sic) would have a field day with you. I just hope you don’t have a carry permit and I don’t live close to you.

          • Quit letting your Pro-Nutter feelings get the best of you.

            • I’m 71. I hope I have gained enough knowledge not to blindly follow anybody.
              All I know is that from day one Nutting said that he was going to rebuild this team through the minor league system. That is when I got on board.
              Do I think that every move they made is correct ? No.
              Do I think every draft was correct? No.
              Is NH the best GM they could have gotten’? I don’t know.
              There is nothing wrong with questioning the FO or the owner but give me something tangible to hang my hat on. Give me irrefutable proof that Nutting is the evil person that I should also hate. Not just your opinion but real proof.
              The thing that gets me about you is that you don’t limit yourself to the Pirates FO. Look at the posts above. do you see hatred in any of those posts. No. Only you.

              • So…Let’s go back to the original post.
                Would you like to defend Mike Wallace?

                Remember….I’m not attacking him for the money he got.
                I’m attacking for his lack of effort last year.

  17. Can’t wait for the SEC Championship thread.

    • We’re only interested in teams that probably will qualify for the National Championship game!

      • Pretty good, competitive championship games going on right now. Within one score. None of them are going anywhere but another bowl game. Sometimes good games are just, you know, good games.

        • I have a strong feeling that my Dukies are NOT going to be in a “good game” tonight.

          • I would agree re Duke. But no matter what, a real step-up season.

            And by the way. Technically, UCF at SMU is not a championship game. But if UCF comes back and beats SMU (trailing 13-10 in Dallas), they win the conference outright. But don’t sleep on the Stangs in Dallas.

            OK St-OK is also competitive, 17-10 State. I’m pulling for OK only because that makes it a Double Header championship game. Because if State wins, they are the champs and get the BSC bowl bid. But if OK wins, then the Game Two winner shares the B12 championship. That matches #25 Texas against #9 Baylor, an intriguing matchup, and the last game at Baylor’s old stadium.

            So. If OK wins Game One, Game Two matters for more than bragging rights. If it’s Baylor, they get the BCS bowl bid, assuming OK St loses. (A big assumption.) If it’s Texas, then it’s a hot mess, and the polls will come back into play.

            And Mack Brown, with a win, probably saves another of his nine lives.

            • I’m for Baylor and Okie State.

              Texas and Oklahoma have been there too long. Their insistence on keeping revenues sent Nebraska to the Big 10 and blew up the Southwest Conference, a great football conference. Mack Brown is a dodo bird.

              Where do YOU think Nick Saban will be coaching next season?

              Go DUKE!

              • If you are for Baylor, then pull for OK in game one, then Baylor in game two. That way Baylor shares the crown but gets the BCS bowl game.

                And by the way. OK is cooperating. Down 17-10, they first tied it, then just went ahead 20-17 on a field goal.

          • UCF, up 17-13, missed a short FG. Now SMU has the ball with less than two minutes left, trying to pull it out. But fourth down.

        • Guess you aren’t watching the Mac championship.

          • I was. I have a mild rooting interest in BGSU. And I lived in Perrysburg Ohio during the height of the MAC QB Central days. Saw many good games at the Glass Bowl.

          • Back when Gary Pinkel, now Missouri, was coaching Toledo and Urban Meyer, now Hades, was coaching Bowling Green.

  18. Flyers goon Zac Rinaldo should soon be the feature actor in a Brendan Shanahan film.

    1:15 into first period against Stars, Rinaldo was penalized for 2-minutes holding, 5-minute major for boarding, 10-minute misconduct for illegal check to head, and 10-minute match major for kicking.

    27 minutes in penalties on a four second shift.

    Yet, teams and media wanted to take shots at the Penguins for Matt Cooke.

  19. Yep, the next 66 days in Pittsburgh sports are going to be downright thrilling.

    - The Steelers will be playing to figure out where they draft next year.
    - The Pens will be playing to figure out where they’re seeded in the part of the year that actually matters.
    - Pitt football may or may not be playing in the Meineke Compass Care Fil-A Bowl.
    - Penn State football… won’t.
    - Very few care about college basketball until March. I’ll admit I’m the exception, but even I won’t really care until Pitt’s ACC schedule cranks up.
    - The Olympics, though really, other than the hockey tournament I have very limited interest.

    Most years I’d agree that there isn’t much call to talk about the Bucs this time of year, but… Yeah, it’s kinda dead right now, and after the past season I’m not surprised people would be excited.

  20. I agree with DK.
    There ARE many interesting sports things until Pirate Spring Training.

    If one doesnt like any of the sports choices until then, that’s their choice.
    If one doesnt like the choices, then dont watch.
    But dont tell another sports fan that there isnt anything interesting.

    college basketball,
    football — even thought the Steelers arent in the mix, there still is the Super Bowl, the most watched event of any sport every year,
    NBA basketball,

    If one doesnt like the above choices, simply hibernate until Spring Training.

    • Why can’t someone be interested or excited about the start of spring training? And be interested about other sports?

      • I never said that no one could be interested in Spring Training!
        Reading IS fundamental!!

        I was merely pointing out some other sports that could be interesting to a sports fan until then.

        If someone doesnt like those choices, I merely said not to tell other fans there arent things to do/root for!

        I like the above mentioned sports AND am looking forward to Spring Training, so I am not sure what your point is, if you even have one………….

        • I was responding more to DK’s original opinion that there is


          Some people can feel that the start of ST is interesting – without getting a finger wagged at them

  21. There ya go.

    Oklahoma pulls the mild upset just because i asked them to, which turns the B12 Championship into a Double Header.

    Groat, you were pulling for Baylor? If they can handle Texas, they take the B12′s BCS bowl bid. Which would be pretty cool.

    Saturdays like this and last week are why I find Sunday football to be, by comparison, dull.

  22. And by the way. Why are you guys getting worked up about Dejan poo-pooing baseball. And baseball fans? Again.

    That would be like getting worked up about the weather.

    So. Anybody want a weather report?

    • Go ahead and give me a weather report and Monday morning I’ll let you know what Billy Joel seats I get.

    • Yeah, that’s a real snore when he does that. But I see his point. He gets sick of hearing about it when us baseball people hog the blog.

      I’m interested in the Pens, Steelers, Pitt and the Buckeyes, too, so no problem for me. More power to the Nittany Lions, River Hounds, Dukes and Colonials.

      • You forgot the Bud Bowl. ;)

        Personally it doesnt bother me that “baseball people” hog the blog.
        The Tigers bullpen discussion this past week was over the top, IMO, but, I guess its better than doing this ………………….

        sjlDzklfbh9e75yjxfbejkrth4w7p5yjfrhu56w7y5v9g ;)

        • It really was a discussion about the business of baseball. The Tigers bullpen, not so much.

          • Yes 21. Reading can be fun and is fundemental

            • Silly me. Of the over 200 posts about the Tigers bullpen, although some claim it was more about the business of baseball………. I guess I completely made up the 75 or so posts talking about jettisoning Fister, moving Smyly, and going out for a closer. Yep, all a fignewton of my imagination. I guess I need to take medication for that…………

              Yes, reading if fun, and fundamental, unless one has other motives……………

              • I recommend going back and reading those discussions. I think your take is way off base.

              • And I recommend you stop responding to my posts, as DK has told you.

              • For the second time, that’s not what he said.

              • Yes it is, but only in your mind do you not see it that way. First time he said you could respond to “sports discussions”. Second time, he said not to respond at all.
                But you told him that no one would ever tell you what to do, even saying you didnt care if he banned you.

                Now do what he said, and dont respond.

              • DK: How about we just keep it to baseball?

                If anyone wants to go after someone personally around here, go after me. At the same time, as 21 says, anyone is free to respond to anyone about actual content.


                DK: I’m saying let’s limit the personal stuff to bashing me.

                DK: Baseball, guys, baseball. If you want to debate personal stuff, there’s always email. Thanks.

              • That was the first time, as I admitted.

                There was another time after that.
                Again, nice try.

                I really dont understand your sick, twisted perversion to responding to me, arguing with me, etc.

                Just do as I do, dont respond.
                Your statements that no one will ever tell you what to do, and telling DK to ban you are proof you have a problem.

                Dont respond. You just keep causing trouble until I repsond, even after ignoring you. You need help. You really do.

            • I’m not arguing. I just thought your take on that discussion was way off base.

        • I wasn’t in on that discussion. Too busy at work. I dislike the bidness, as they say here in the Bluegrass, of baseball or any other sport. It gives me a headache.

          I’ll leave it to all your more intelligent and well-read folks.

      • There ya go. All we need is a little balance. If the Bucs do something, I’m all ears. Otherwise, real games are interesting, too.

  23. Wow.

    Awesome ending to the Colorado-Kansas college basketball game!

    Good thing there arent any exciting or interesting sports until Pirate Spring Training……………

  24. I’m sitting at an outdoor barbecue pit. Of a brewpub. Cooled off. To about 76. Live band playing 70s rock.

    Watching football.

    Life is good.

  25. My condolances to Lucky.

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