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Morning Java: Pitt’s ‘elite passers’

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The TribLIVE Radio show today — 2-3 p.m. — will feature you. Again. We opened last week’s show with a ton of calls, and really good ones at that. That’s how I’d like to get started every week, by hearing from you and having a conversation about any topic at all.

So do it. Call 412-320-7925.

Feel free to email sportstalk@tribweb.com if you can’t call. But I’d really rather hear from you.

What’s more, at 2:30, we’ll try to figure out what the Pirates are hoping to accomplish this offseason with Trib beat writer Rob Biertempfel. I’ll catch you up on the latest from Consol after covering the Penguins-Canadiens morning skate. And, of course, more wit and wisdom from our @SuckMeter.

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

>> Pitt completely crushes Clemson despite both teams entering with 4-1 ACC records and despite Clemson having some superlative defensive numbers, by beat writer Kevin Gorman.

I was up there, as well, and here are some postgame questions I had for Talib Zanna, Jamie Dixon and Clemson coach Brad Brownell

Random blogginess from the scene: Brownell described Pitt as having ‘elite passers,’ which isn’t a term you hear much in basketball. He actually used it twice for emphasis, and he singled out James Robinson and Lamar Patterson. Found that striking. Maybe it’s because we see them regularly or take what they do for granted. But Brownell isn’t the only one to make such an observation. Some include Zanna in there, too. … Here’s the thing: Someone’s got to be doing something at an elite level to shoot 27 of 48 from the field and to have — get this 24 of those field goals attached to an assist. Brought this up in the Pistol Pitt column last week, but this team creates plays unlike any college team we’ve seen in these parts since … I don’t even know. … Josh Newkirk coming up with 10 points and three assists is as dynamite a development from this game as any. Durand Johnson’s absence was going to demand that someone step up sooner or later, and I’ve pegged Newkirk all along. … One ultra-cool play that summed up the game: Clemson’s coaches were freaking out on their guys during a Pitt half-court set. Brownell’s yelling and pointing. Another assistant doing likewise. A third assistant, too. And not one of them noticed Cam Wright sneak behind everyone for a back-door layup off a Patterson assist. Should have seen those guys just shut up and sit down. … One tiny negative? I really am not sure what Dixon is trying to get from Michael Young, but it’s got to be more than watching everyone else play. Young wants no part of the offense. … Wonderful crowd. My goodness, if you’ve never seen hoops at the Pete, whether you’re a grad or not, just go. Nothing like it in town.

Oh, and on a football note, the ACC will release its 2014 football schedule today at 3.

Here’s our full Pitt coverage.

>> The Penguins got a pleasant surprise from Tomas Vokoun, by Josh Yohe.

Here’s our full Penguins coverage., including all you need to know about tonight’s visit from the Habs.

Here’s Canadiens news from the Montreal Gazette.

Here are official game highlights from NHL.com, including Winnipeg — of all teams — ending Anaheim’s amazing 22-game season-opening home winning streak.

>> The Steelers granted permission to running backs coach Kirby Wilson to interview for the Ravens’ offensive coordinator vacancy, by Alan Robinson. Remember, Wilson was very much in line to replace Bruce Arians before his accidental burning. The granting of permission alone would strongly suggest management is feeling good about Todd Haley these days.

The NFL as flag football? Far from it, writes columnist Joe Starkey.

Here’s what Ike Taylor had to say about fellow NFL corner Richard Sherman on TribLIVE Radio

>> Pittsburgh’s Olympic field finally appears set: Tom Wallisch, the Chartiers Valley grad and world champion freestyle skier, failed to make the U.S. Olympic team yesterday, Karen Price reports. That leaves our region with nine Olympians, the seven Penguins plus Rochester’s Lauryn Williams in bobsled and Robert Morris’ Brianne McLaughlin in women’s hockey.

>> Really hope to hear from you today. The more callers, the more topics, the livelier the show. And thank you in advance.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

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

Comments

  1. michael DE Pitt says:

    Q)what the Pirates are hoping to accomplish this offseason
    A)Nothing

  2. michael DE Pitt says:

    DK et all
    Best band with NO bass player ever

  3. michael DE Pitt says:

    cant embed vids any more?
    Bad or i’m missing someting

  4. michael DE Pitt says:

    mission accomplished

  5. Pitt was favored by 12 points and the Panthers won by 33 and it’s on to Maryland and Duke. And if Pitt really and truly justified its 20 ranking, then last night’s game was well worth it.

  6. Ghost says:

    Hope this wasn’t the answer to your question. Not only did the B-52′s have bass player, but she was a darn cute one at that! (Just check out the official vid for Love Shack.)

  7. Kevin Leary says:

    This is my 10th year going to games in the Zoo (grad school can last forever). This is, without question, the best passing Pitt team I have seen. An even less objective observation: This is the smartest Pitt team I have seen, too.

    DK: It’s a fun, entertaining brand of basketball, for sure.

  8. Anyhow, it’s good to see Tomas Vokoun back on the ice since his surgery, and, hopefully, he’ll be able to perform again for the Pens soon.

  9. Matt says:

    Good for Tomas, he’s a great locker room guy for the Pens. Question is, do we *want* Vokoun back this year? Him staying on LTIR provides cap relief for the Pens to make a move AND if he came back we would have to put Zatkoff on waivers…

    DK: You’d rather have idle cap space than the goaltender who carried the team to the Eastern Conference final?

    And how many teams do you think would claim Zatkoff?

  10. AZBucsFan says:

    Definitely The Doors, although Ray Manzarek certainly did craft some low-end magic on his keyboards.

  11. Matt says:

    Fair points! :-)

    I just don’t envision him coming back and performing like he did last year. I’d be content to ride the Fleury train and use the cap space for other roster holes. Just my crazy opinion.

  12. Ghost says:

    That Manzarek did. But the Doors did have a bass player on some songs. L.A. Woman, for example.

  13. Scott says:

    If Vokoun gets healthy, you probably have to put him back on the roster given his experience and past success. But it’s a legitimate question to raise. Certainly there’s at least one team out there that would take a chance on Zatkoff if he was placed on waivers.

    Plus, the running theory about why Fleury has been so good this year is that he’s not looking over his shoulder at a veteran ready to take his spot, so he can instead relax and mentor the young guy. Now we’re going to upset that balance and go right back to the 2013 formula.

    Look at the big picture: The Penguins aren’t winning a Stanley Cup with Tomas Vokoun in net. He can get you through a round or two, tops. So if Fleury falters in the playoffs, the team is done, no matter who the backup is.

  14. 21sthebest says:

    In response to your comment Ghost, I’ve thought about it. And researched it. Maybe you could explain it.

  15. Ghost says:

    Oh, Tedious 21… Keep on a-thinking. Maybe it’ll come to you if you just try a little harder.

    http://www.wisdomenough.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/blog-winnie1.jpg

  16. 21sthebest says:

    I think you just gave me my answer.

  17. Jandy says:

    he isn’t allowed contact, so it will be awhile.

  18. Jandy says:

    excellent points all around.

  19. JAL says:

    JAL’s 3 Fine Daughters of Farmer BrownMorning Links

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0YSXkHpOig

    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

    4 Pirates Prospects Spring Training Tracker

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/st2014

    BLOGS and such

    5—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: The Difference Between the Haves and the Have-Nots

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/01/first-pitch-the-difference-between-the-haves-and-the-have-nots.html

    Pittsburgh Pirates 2014 Top Prospects: #9 – Luis Heredia

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/01/pittsburgh-pirates-2014-top-prospects-9-luis-heredia.html

    Winter Leagues: Polanco’s Hustle Not Enough in Escogido Loss

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/01/winter-leagues-polancos-hustle-not-enough-in-escogido-loss.html

    6 Rumbunter

    The New Instant Replay Rules Fall Short

    http://rumbunter.com/2014/01/21/new-instant-replay-rules-fall-short/

    7 WHYGAVS

    Projecting ZiPS projections

    http://www.whygavs.com/pittsburgh-pirates/january-2014/projecting-zips-projections.html

    8 Bucs Dugout

    Frank Coonelly messes up Yankees’ plans

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2014/1/21/5330448/frank-coonelly-messes-up-yankees-plans

    9 Pirates 101

    The Controversy That is the Pittsburgh Pirates’ TV Deal

    http://www.sportsmedia101.com/pittsburghpirates/2014/01/21/the-controversy-that-is-the-pittsburgh-pirates-tv-deal/

    10 Green Weenie

    Snow Day

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2014/01/snow-day.html

    11 Saber Bucs

    Projection #10: Charlie Morton

    http://saberbucs.com/blog/2014/01/21/projection-10-charlie-morton/

  20. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    12 Columbia County News Times

    Cumpton’s jersey retired

    http://newstimes.augusta.com/sports/2014-01-22/cumptons-jersey-retired

    13 Rant Sports

    Pittsburgh Pirates Should Not Pursue Kendrys Morales

    http://www.rantsports.com/mlb/2014/01/22/pittsburgh-pirates-should-not-pursue-kendrys-morales/

    14 Pirates Site

    Hughes eager to work back into Bucs’ bullpen

    http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/news/article/pit/pirates-reliever-jared-hughes-eager-to-reclaim-role-in-bullpen?ymd=20140121&content_id=66905446

    15 The Statesman

    Metal detectors at big league ballparks by ’15

    http://www.statesman.com/news/ap/top-news/metal-detectors-at-big-league-ballparks-by-15/ncw8r/

    16 Fangraphs

    Where Closers Come From

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/where-closers-come-from/

    17 San Francisco Chronicle

    Baseball can only fantasize about equivalent of Super Bowl

    http://www.sfgate.com/sports/shea/article/Baseball-can-only-fantasize-about-equivalent-of-5164310.php

    18 Baseball GB

    Offseason so far: NL Central

    http://www.baseballgb.co.uk/?p=17608

    19 Baseball Prospectus

    Ten Late-Offseason Moves That Made a Difference

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=22627

    20 Baseball Nation

    The blown calls in baseball history that instant replay wouldn’t have fixed

    http://www.baseballnation.com/2014/1/21/5331852/instant-replay-blown-calls-baseball-history

  21. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Steelers 2014 Roster Projections: Inside linebackers

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2014-steelers-roster-projections/2014/1/21/5329292/steelers-2014-roster-projections-inside-linebackers

    2014 Senior Bowl: The pads are on and the evaluations are underway

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/steelers-nfl-draft-prospects-scouting-video-2014/2014/1/21/5329724/senior-bowl-day-2-recap

    22 Steelers Depot

    2013 Draft review- Leveon Bell

    http://www.steelersdepot.com/2014/01/steelers-2013-draft-class-review-rb-leveon-bell/

    Soccer(football)

    23 Bloomberg Stats Insight

    Premier League Big Chances: Suarez, Soldado & Rodriguez

    http://www.bsports.com/statsinsights/football/premier-league-big-chances-suarez-soldado-rodriguez

    24 The Telegraph

    Premier League Transfer Talk

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/football-transfers/2432939/Premier-League-Transfer-Talk.html

    PENGUIN BLOGS and NHL Links

    25 Pensburgh

    Tuesday Pens Points: Pens Lose a Clunker. Melnyk Still on Cooke’s Case

    http://www.pensburgh.com/2014/1/21/5330670/tuesday-pens-points

  22. Jandy says:

    From the Pensburgh link above:
    “Prepare to be entertained: Senators owner Eugene Melnyk and GM Bryan Murray met with the NHL yesterday to continue his crusade against Matt Cooke over the Erik Karlsson injury. Apparently he presented whatever “evidence” his forensic team has gathered, and apparently this is not a joke. I’m not typing this with a straight face. ”

    Eugene Melnyk needs to go away. Moron.

  23. 22 DAYS UNTIL PITCHERS & CATCHERS REPORT TO PIRATE CITY IN WARM/HOT BRADENTON FOR SPRING TRAINING

  24. JAL says:

    This Saturday is SABR day, chapters across the country are meeting but you don’t have to be a member of SABR to attend. Pittsburgh Chapter meeting in PNC Park (Pirates provided meeting room). Suggested donation $5. If interested contact George Skornickel, georgeskornickel@gmail.com

    Guest speakers include former Pirates pitcher Bob Friend; Bob Recker, the team’s batboy from 1959-61; Marty Billson on the Texas Winter League; presentations by Sam Reich, Steve Silverman, and Eliza Marone Richardson.

  25. JAL says:

    Program runs 9:30 to 3:30

  26. JAL,

    I was a virgin in reference to experiencing the group “Eddie from Ohio.”

    Never heard that song before either, and did not pick up on your reference.

    Fill us in, please.

  27. Milo Hamilton says:

    Gene Collier on the Browns efforts to find a head coach: They’ve called in the Ohio National Guard with coach sniffing dogs.

  28. So took a look at the Coach Disco Team USA bobblehead, looked at the bottom of the box and what does it say? “Made in China”….Son of a……at the risk of sounding like a protectionist…aint that a b#@*&

  29. Bart Dawson says:

    SO Kevin, Your a professional student. Good Luck ,

  30. I have a confession to make about that incident…

  31. Jandy says:

    :covering ears and eyes:

  32. Can you guess what it is?

  33. Arriba Wilver says:

    9:30 till 3:30. ?!

    I hope they’re giving out Pirate pocket protectors at the door. ;-)

  34. Mini Ulf getting it done..

    http://citizensvoice.com/sports/penguins-samuelsson-adding-firepower-to-stay-at-home-game-1.1620506

    In the 20 games he and Despres have both been in the Penguins lineup, Samuelsson is a plus-15. In the 18 AHL games he played while Despres was away, Samuelsson was a minus-1.

    Good stuff on Harrington:

    http://citizensvoice.com/sports/harrington-exploring-offensive-side-1.1619026

  35. Jandy says:

    Don’t wanna…

  36. Jandy says:

    Interesting stat on Samuelsson and Depres….

  37. Milo Hamilton says:

    Professor Tanaka has chosen the Yankees. 7 years / $155 million.

  38. The Pitt Panthers football team has replaced Florida State, which tore them up but good in the opener last season, with Boston College on its schedule next season, so I suppose that after that encounter with Jamies Winston, they’d prefer to have someone on their schedule they think they can handle.

  39. Oh great, as if anyone would’ve expected anyone else to be able to sign that Japanese phenom, who was 24-0 last season.

  40. Jim S. says:

    Attended my first game at The Pete last night. Great venue to watch a game! That atmosphere was outstanding. The Zoo is everything you want in a student section – and more! I graduated from the University of Dayton, and UD Arena is recognized as one of the best atmospheres in all of college hoops. The Pete is on a par, no doubt! About the game:

    * Belaboring the obvious, Pitt may be the best passing team in the country.

    * James Robinson continues to grow up before our eyes. He is everything you want in a PG – and much more. Enjoy him, Pitt fans. Two years from now … heck, maybe next year … he will be the best PG in the country.

    * Zanna and Patterson will be tough to replace next season.

    * The ACC is down, down, down right now, I think. Clemson is not a good team if last night was any indication, and they are 4-2. They looked poorly coached and totally unprepared for this game in this atmosphere.

    * The season is young. There are still teams in every conference who right now don’t look like national contenders that are going to get a lot better between now and March Madness. I hope Pitt continues to get better. They can beat teams a lot of ways on both ends of the court. I like where they are headed.

    * Jamie Dixon has not proven to be the greatest recruiter in his time at Pitt, and has been criticized heavily for that. He knows what he wants in a player, and that doesn’t always work out for the best in March. But, the guy can flat out coach. Teams do not move the ball like this by accident. Only very well coached teams ever pass like this. It may not add up to a deep NCAA run, though. The NCAA champion is probably not the best coached team every year. But, the Panthers are a pleasure to watch for my money most nights.

  41. I Hate the Yankees!

    Nay, I hate the Yankees’ money!

    How can Pirates compete with all that cash?

  42. Jim S. says:

    What do you think put them over the top, Milo? Was everyone else at 6 years? Or, just the Yankees mystique and NYC?

  43. NMR says:

    Glad you enjoyed, Jim.

    I’m not a PITT alum nor am I a big basketball fan, but I love catching games at the Pete.

  44. JohnS says:

    Will Mr. Fuji be joining him?

  45. JAL says:

    Don’t know about pocket protectors but “The Pirates are donating the space, coffee, and items for the silent auction.”

  46. Milo Hamilton says:

    His first match will be against Bruno.

  47. Jim S. says:

    Yeah, very fun.

  48. Arriba Wilver says:

    I really like JRob, but after seeing Freshman Ennis it’s hard to project JRob as the best.

  49. Jim S. says:

    Jumping Johnny DeFazio will have to wait patiently for his shot, as will Dom Danucci.

  50. Milo Hamilton says:

    All of the above plus they probably put the full court press on him with Matsui. He’s very well respected by young Japanese players & I wouldn’t be surprised if the Yankees enlisted his help.

    Need I remind everyone of Hideki Irabu & Kei Igawa ? These things don’t always work out.

  51. Jim S. says:

    Agreed on both points, Kevin.

  52. Milo Hamilton says:

    I just wish the Pirates organization cared as much about winning as the Yankees do (obvious financial differences aside).

  53. Jim S. says:

    They are a little different type of player, I think. JR is not yet a guy who can always free himself for a good look, or get to the hoop at will. But, he is stepping up his scoring of late. Ennis is very talented, and there are others. Taking in the whole package of what a PG is, in the purest sense, I do think Robinson is on track as a senior to be as good as anyone in the country.

    But, you make a good point, AW. Ennis took over the game on Saturday. That is a rare skill for a freshman.

  54. Milo Hamilton says:

    I’m trying to figure out how the suits at The Fan think that Ron Cook yelling at Andrew Filliponi for 4 hours is good radio.

  55. Arriba Wilver says:

    I love Shark Tank and Mr. Wonderful.

  56. JohninOshkosh says:

    For you Pittsburgh folks: putting aside what might be your favourite sport and just concentrating only on the overall experience it provides, which Pittsburgh sports venue do you enjoy going to the most ? the least ?

    Perhaps, a HS venue. Doesn’t have to be pro digs.

    -A curious outsider.

  57. Arriba Wilver says:

    And JRob has really improved over last year (and he wasn’t too shabby then), along with Zanna and Patterson.

  58. Jandy says:

    From the Pens’ website:
    BEAU & GIBBONS SKATE
    Vokoun wasn’t the only player to get on the ice in the morning before the Pens morning skate. Forwards Beau Bennett (hand/wrist) and Brian Gibbons (lower-body) worked with strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar.

  59. Arriba Wilver says:

    Hey, they fired Vinnie instead of Cook. (I haven’t listened yet to one minute, although not intentionally). Cook’s going to yell at anyone for 4 hours.

  60. Jandy says:

    Oshie, I haven’t yet been to Consol, but I absolutely loved the Civic Arena.

    PNC park is beautiful and a wonderful experience.

    Heinz Field is fun, but not as fun as PNC Park.

    Haven’t been to any HS Games in DaBurgh.

    When I get the chance I’m going to try Consol.

  61. I truly enjoyed DK’s tweet after the game last night. Something of this nature: “It’s a final-Pitt 76, Bethune-Clemson 43″

    The man can think on his feet. Or he spent the whole game thinking that up, one or the other, but I’d say the former.

    On the Tanaka thing, who cares? They’ll figure him out in a couple years and he’ll be another Dice-K.

    Besides, Ryoto Igarashi was shocked at the news and that’s really all that matters.

  62. Milo Hamilton says:

    I really don’t like Heinz Field at all. It’s functional, that’s about it.

    Love PNC, Consol & The Pete. First class facilities.

  63. 21sthebest says:

    They don’t care about good radio. They care about radio that people will listen to.

  64. 21sthebest says:

    Yeah but have you sat up high in Consol? Did you like those seats?

  65. Milo Hamilton says:

    Top row once. Loved it.

  66. Wild Bill says:

    Saw Pitt last night on the ACC network broadcast, which has an affiliate on my cable system. Really enjoyed the first half and a little more. Clemson was surprisingly non-competitive. Think Jim’s comments above and those that followed were right on, along with Dejan’s.

    Unselfish basketball with good passing skills is as rare as it is beautiful. Only the lack of competition kept me from watching the whole thing. Can’t wait to see more vs. better teams.

  67. Damon says:

    I was getting ready to type something similar – agree totally.

  68. 21sthebest says:

    I felt like I was going to fall forward! Really really small seats too and I’m a buck forty five.

  69. theplanisworking says:

    Larry Zybysko on line 1, Jim………….. ;)

  70. 21sthebest says:

    +1

  71. theplanisworking says:

    The ACC makes the conference schedule. They rotate the teams, because they have too many members for a true round-robin format.

  72. theplanisworking says:

    Jim, not only are they 2 different types of players, their coaches do different things with them. Dixon has his point guards in a very structured offense, Boeheim has always allowed his point guards much more freedom to ad lib, or playground style of ball. The two would always be different in that regard,

  73. theplanisworking says:

    Saw DK last night pleading with Starbucks to put one in Sochi. They told him that the NBC tent will have one, but only NBC employees and their “partners” will have access to it.

    Poor DK is gonna be one heck of grumpy over there……..

  74. Milo Hamilton says:

    You & me both. I liked it because they were really steep & I could easily see over the guy in front of me ! Plus with the concourse up top, easy access to concessions & the bathroom. I’m not saying I want to sit there all the time.

  75. Arriba Wilver says:

    PNC. Even getting there is the most enjoyable with the Clemente Bridge shut down to traffic. To me.

  76. tpbco says:

    Thanks
    My reply would have been a little less politically correct.

  77. theplanisworking says:

    Mr. Oshie……..

    I am sucker for the old venues.
    Loved the Civic Arena. It was a dump, but it was a dump with character!
    Loved the old Fitzgerald Field House……. maybe it was because I saw so many Pitt upsets there…….

    And, of course, I am partial to my old high school gym……… one of the nicest high school facilities around.

  78. I would certainly hope that Dejan won’t become a terror victim while attempting to cover the Olympics in Sochi in two weeks.

  79. Jim S. says:

    Tell him I’m discussing an issue with George the Animal Steel and the belt buckle he chewed up, plan.

  80. Arriba Wilver says:

    I have to admit I haven’t been to Highmark. I’m waiting for Groat to invite me.

  81. theplanisworking says:

    Any post that has Winnie the Pooh in it, is a winner in my book!
    Now, what was the question? ;)

  82. theplanisworking says:

    One can criticize Pitt football for many things, but that was a bit much.

  83. Jim S. says:

    He showed some great moves in the lane last night to free himself up for a few short jumpers. And, nailed up a couple of spot up 3′s. I get the impression he is a kid that just keeps working. He adds to his game a piece at a time.

  84. Wild Bill says:

    A day game at PNC between May 15 and June 15, before the weather gets real hot, is the best there is.

  85. tpbco says:

    Tag team with George “the Animal” Steele and Chief White Owl.

  86. tpbco says:

    You , obviously, typed faster…good one.

  87. tpbco says:

    Agree.

  88. Jim S. says:

    It’s true, plan. Boeheim likes a guy who can go one on one in a jam or at crunch time. Jamie relies on the overall game manager.

    I lamented on Sunday that Pitt never has an Ennis-type, who can get to the hoop almost at will. But, the truth is, JRob is very close to a complete pkg right now, and he has 2.5 more years to continue to develop.

  89. Jim S. says:

    I catch them via Tune In Radio app on occasion. Cook does seem a might angry … someti– … er, all the time.

  90. Jim S. says:

    I have not been to Consol yet, Osh. But, I absolutely love PNC, as I’m sure everyone here knows. I thought my first experience at The Pete last night was awesome. Heinz is just ok for me. It’s the same as most other NFL fields.

  91. 21sthebest says:

    +1

  92. 21sthebest says:

    Ghost contends that eliminating the extra point increases revenue for the NFL. I didn’t understand his explanation.

  93. Jandy says:

    uh oh!

  94. 21sthebest says:

    +1 on the PNC comment.

    Also, Consol Energy Park in Washington, Pa. is pretty sweet but so are most minor league type parks, IMO.

  95. theplanisworking says:

    Here is a picture of the grounds crew at MetLife Stadium yesterday getting ready for the Super Bowl………….

    https://scontent-a-iad.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/q71/1545707_10202784752442443_1917617759_n.jpg

  96. Jandy says:

    Oh Lord!

  97. theplanisworking says:

    I always try to figure out why Cook is on their payroll…….. he must be the “character actor”, who does things just to get ratings……. Cook can’t possibly be that angry all the time, can he?

  98. theplanisworking says:

    Its the new FieldTurf they ordered for the game……..

  99. Scott says:

    Haha, that does sound like the most horrible pairing ever. But then again, I remember when Mark Madden and Stan Savran were teamed up for the Steeler post-game show. I thought it would be a train wreck, but they were really good together. So who knows.

    With Cook-Filiponi, they’ve taken the two most unlistenable broadcasters are put them in the same time slot. I almost want to tune in out of morbid curiousity.

  100. buggee says:

    a lower payroll. sobriety for Coonelly. 3-million in attendence. greater profit margins for Nutting. a strategic investment in shuttlecock manfacturers located in XioXang (the shuttlecock capital of the world). Stocking up with players who can actually fight. Just a wild guess or two…

  101. Arriba Wilver says:

    I hate to admit it, but I have never been to CEP. But that does remind me that the experience at the Altoona park is tremendous. But not better than PNC, as long as you factor out price.

  102. Jandy says:

    buggeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Good list ;)

  103. Jandy says:

    The Curve’s park IS great. I love it there. It’s People’s Natural Gas Field now.

  104. theplanisworking says:

    Geeto Mongol on line 2, fellas……….

  105. buggee says:

    What else can they do with Vokoun except keep him on LTIR or re-activate him? At this point in the season I just don’t see him adding much value to the team as far as on-ice. Off ice might be a different story, but as we’ve seen there is no shortage of seasoned voices in that locker room.

  106. Jandy says:

    I usually ignore James’ posts for the most part. I wonder how many hits he had today?

  107. 21sthebest says:

    Loved it there. Went a few years ago and we were front row right by the on deck circle when Pedro and Tabata were there. Had a blast. Gorkys had a great game and my son developed a man crush on him. Oh well.

  108. SuperMario66 says:

    Dejan,

    Loved your column the other day regarding Peter Gammon’s comments about hockey. Now comes word that the Yankees, and their massive YES network just paid huge money for Masahiro Tanaka. In and of itself, this doesn’t bother me much. A team like the Pirates cannot mortgage their future to get into this bidding war, and when I saw the list of teams that actually placed bids, it was the same old cast of characters, the ‘big money clubs”, and again, its not the end of the world. The Pirates last season proved that a wise spending, build from the inside club can win in this league, while the free spending Yanks finished out of the money.
    What bothers me more than this though, is the uproar raised by these so called ‘big money clubs, including Mr. Gammon’s beloved Red Sox, when a team like Pittsburgh dares to be aggressive in the draft, and goes over the slot in order to secure talent. It’s okay for them and their ilk to drop 155 million on one guy, but they throw a fit, want to assess penalties and take away draft choices because another teams dares outbid them for young talent. Talk about bush league. I’d love to see you call these free spending clubs the hypocrites that they are in only the way you can. Seems to me that if you can spend 155 million (or 22.14 million per year) over 7 years, then paying a ball player a third of that in a signing bonus to get him to come to Pittsburgh, or Cleveland, of Kansas City ought to be just fine. Lets see if the commissioner, who was a small market owner has the heart to stand up for the smaller guys and put an end to the non-sense that the big market clubs are trying to pull in order to hold on to an unfair economic advantage

    Thanks for the great columns. I enjoy them each time I get on line and read my hometown paper.

    Chris Mason
    Somerset, KY

  109. Jim S. says:

    My sister and her family live in Boalsburg, Jandy. The kids love the Altoona park.

  110. Jandy says:

    Small world, Jim. Boalsburg is maybe a half hour from here.

  111. Jim S. says:

    Glad you brought up Highmark, AW. Looks like a great venue.

  112. theplanisworking says:

    Need I remind everyone that 25 of the 30 teams will never, ever even have a sniff of a chance for players like Tanaka under the current system? (Let alone Fuji)…….

    ;)

  113. Milo Hamilton says:

    The long range is 47 and sunny.

  114. SuperMario66 says:

    It’s horrible radio. I used to listen on radio.com down here in KY, but now I’d rather listen to Cowherd from 10-1. Not the local flavor I want, but I never liked Cook in the first place, and putting another outsider who doesn’t seem to understnad the Pittsburgh fan base seemed rather short sighted to me

  115. Jandy says:

    Wow, Dejan will need sunglasses to watch the curling in Russia…

    http://globalnews.ca/news/1097669/poll-norways-curling-team-and-their-crazy-pants/

  116. theplanisworking says:

    Lets hope so, Milo.
    I have heard temps from anywhere from 26 to 47, chance of rain, or sleet, or snow, and windy.

    Personally, I am hoping for snow and wind. :)

  117. Jandy says:

    47? I am envious. it was -4 at my house this morning. Now it is +4. High might be 8 today. Dang.

  118. The Pirates’ ownership, especially Bob Nutting, will hopefully come to understand that no athletic team these days can hope to contend on the cheap.

  119. Arriba Wilver says:

    You may want to check with Jerry Lynch, Milo.

  120. bpn8pitt says:

    Money aside, im surprised any pitcher would choose to pitch in the AL East, with all those decent lineups, DH and bandbox stadiums.

    The Yankees just got a pitcher whos only pitched once a week, yet has logged more innings at his age than anyone in MLB has in 35 years.

    To me that guys mileage makes him 30.

  121. theplanisworking says:

    Regarding JAL’s link #9 above………

    Would the Pirates even be allowed to break their TV deal with Root, without a substantial penalty? Or they locked in until 2019?

    Hi Frank!

  122. theplanisworking says:

    Your wish #2 will be a tall order……..

  123. JohninOshkosh says:

    Bahahahahahaha!

    My stomach hurts, I’m laughing so much.

  124. I tend to listen more often to Tribune Live Radio because they sometimes read the emails I send them, although at night, I have listened to Colin Dunlap on 93-7 the fan since he’s a most interesting radio personality to whom I’ve also sent emails in response to his articles. Actually, I’ve found Cook and Filliponi entertaining enough as well when I’ve listened to them, although Filliponi is more entertaining when he covers the Pitt basketball warmups with Julius Page.

  125. JohninOshkosh says:

    Thanks for all the input, Lady and Gents.

    Interesting stuff.

  126. Chris Mason says:

    And that is fine. I didn’t really Tanka in the first place. I would like my scouts and other evaluators to be able to restock our minor leagues without the hypocrites in Boston and NY crying about it, then wanting to take thier ball and go home

  127. Chris Mason says:

    I’m not certain that the ‘cheap’ label applies as much as maybe before. Paying Cutch, Morton and Martin kind of answered that. Lets see what happens with Walker and Pedro

  128. 21sthebest says:

    I loved going to games at Fitzgerald.

  129. Sarah says:

    How did TV get here from FL?
    Was he allowed to fly?
    That would be big.

  130. Jim S. says:

    $22 million for 6 years, and $23 million for the 7th. Thank goodness for that. I couldn’t live with myself if the Tanaka deal did not have a total that ended with a 0 or a 5. Don’t you love symmetry?

    Let’s not also forget the $20 million, up front fee of $20 that goes to his former Japanese employer.

    I don’t blame the Yankees at this point. If they didn’t make this crazy offer, Tanaka would have accepted the crazy offer of one of several other teams.

    MLB really needs to update its revenue sharing. I believe there are the large markets (aka the “haves”), the medium markets (aka the “have somes”), and the small markets (aka the “have nots”). Will the small and medium markets decide that they are both losing ground very quickly, from a revenue standpoint, and band together to ensure changes are made?

    From a competitive standpoint, I don’t believe they have a choice.

  131. Jandy says:

    Hey it’s Sarah!
    I dunno…maybe Dejan knows?

  132. Jim S. says:

    On a fun note for Bucs fans, Polanco beat out a grounder to 2b in the Dominican League finals on Monday. It was a bit of a high chopper, but was still a pretty routine out for a 2b. If someone in MLB beat one out like that last year, I didn’t see it.

    He blasted a HR last night. His team is down 2-0 in the best of 9 series. But, Polanco has had very few AAA ABs so far. It will take awhile for him to get to Pittsburgh, but he continues to impress.

    Hopefully, he can be putting up a Cutch-type slash line right about the time the Bucs need to trade Cutch to the Yankees or Angels.

  133. theplanisworking says:

    Jim, see 2002 Labor Negotiations………. where the small and medium sized markets caved for “revenue sharing”.

    Look for a few more $$$$ thrown their way, so the boat doesn’t get rocked too much.

  134. Jandy says:

    Good stuff Jim!

  135. NMR says:

    Don’t worry, plan. I just read that Frank Coonely is fighting for the little man by taking on the big bad Yankees.

    That’ll show ‘em, Frank!

  136. NMR says:

    Did you see the GIF of Polanco’s blast last night, Jim? Ho-lee-crap.

  137. Jandy says:

    maybe one of yinz can post it? :D

  138. theplanisworking says:

    Oh, thank you for bringing humor to my day!

    What do we have to fear now?

  139. 21sthebest says:

    I would think they’ll make any adjustments to the revenue sharing formula when they negotiate the next CBA without much issue.

  140. Sarah says:

    Did the rpt say he was OFF blood thinners?
    My brother has had the same thing and says if its your second event, as it is w TV, it’s 6 months min, and often for life.

    Was that confirmed?

  141. Jandy says:

    here ya go Sarah:
    Bylsma said that Vokoun has been off blood thinners for approximately one week. When his blood levels return to normal, the goaltender should be able to face shots in a practice setting.

    Read more: http://triblive.com/sports/penguins/5448111-74/vokoun-penguins-bylsma#ixzz2r9aIPo1V
    Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

  142. Zico says:

    Go to ESPN front page to see the Tanaka headline. Below it, a link to another article with the headline reading ‘What does this mean?’

    Without clicking the link, I am guessing it means the Yankees have more money than anyone else to waste on FA talents.

    Silly ESPN

  143. July, 2014. In stadia near you.

    Rated MS (Must see)

  144. buggee says:

    Military transport

  145. Jandy says:

    indeed!

  146. I might drive to Cincy or Atlanta to see that outfield when he gets there. Between our outfield and pitching staff, should be worth a few highway hours.

  147. Jandy says:

    It would definitely be worth the trip Revvie.

  148. Jim S. says:

    +++, AW.

  149. Jim S. says:

    They like that area, Jandy. Good people, beautiful country.

  150. Jim S. says:

    I’ve speculated that often here, plan. If they do not have a renegotiation clause, I would hope they would still approach ROOT if the deal is lopsided in favor of ROOT. I think there is something to be said for both parties wanting a long term relationship. If that is the case, both sides have to feel it is fair. It is worth it for the Bucs to investigate at some point, I believe, if they truly feel this is the case.

  151. Jim S. says:

    That is definitely the history, plan. I agree. But, they need to grow a collective set and stand up to the big boys or this only gets worse.

  152. Jandy says:

    Yeah Jim, I’ve bee n to Boalsburg a time or three…and enjoyed it.

  153. Jim S. says:

    Yeah, they’ll make adjustments, 21. But, we are talking about mammoth adjustments here. Do you really think the Steinbrenner boys, the Dodgers and a few others are just going to say “Hey, you are all our partners. We want a level financial playing field for all teams.” Those teams do not agree that they have an advantage simply because they have more fans.

    I think they will need to be forced to make changes. It can be done, though. There are a lot more teams on the losing end of things here.

  154. Jim S. says:

    Yeah, NMR. There is a whole lot of talent in that kid. I hope he realizes it.

  155. Jim S. says:

    Me, too. Great childhood memories.

  156. Jim S. says:

    Forecasts are, what, about 95% accurate 11 days out? :-)

  157. 21sthebest says:

    I think they’ll adjust enough to keep about the same level of revenue/payroll disparity that exists today. You can’t level the playing with just revenue sharing, IMO. That would take away a ton of revenue from the larger teams. You’d have to have a salary cap too to level the playing field and that’s not happening. Small markets don’t have near enough leverage.

  158. NMR says:

    Would if I could, Jandy! Came across it somewhere on Twitter, but I’ve since lost it to the internet abyss.

  159. NMR says:

    I’ve heard Alfonso Soriano comparisons, but that swing had a ton of Robbie Cano in it. Just dirty.

  160. tpbco says:

    The small market teams can’t fight both the big’uns AND the player’s union.

    They would have to, to make any meaningful change.

    So instead, they go along and keep their mouths shut, so that they can keep receiving their “luxury tax” scraps.

  161. Jandy says:

    bummer!

  162. Jandy says:

    Dirty…what an expressive adjective…I like it!

  163. Jandy says:

    Here’s one of the infield grounder to second he beat out..
    http://fromforbestofederal.com/watch-gregory-polanco-beats-grounder-second-baseman/

  164. Jandy says:

    the homer is on the same page :)

  165. Jandy says:

    dirty swing, indeed!

  166. buggee says:

    thank you jandy! nice to see you, beautiful!

  167. Jim S. says:

    Polanco is #3 and Austin Meadows is already #9 in mlb.com’s list of Top 10 OF. That is all.

  168. Jandy says:

    :D
    Awwww you’re making me blush, buggee, my friend

  169. Jim S. says:

    Yanks designated David Huff for assignment. He’s the inevitable casualty from the Tanaka signing. When you add payroll, I guess you need to cut it elsewhere ….

  170. NMR says:

    Good work!

  171. Jim S. says:

    His plate discipline is far beyond anything Soriano has ever displayed.

  172. theplanisworking says:

    Pitt Football Schedule just released — games against 8 bowl teams

    August 30 — vs. Delaware
    Sept. 5 — at Boston College
    Sept. 13 — at FIU
    Sept. 20 — Iowa
    Sept. 27 — Akron
    Oct. 4 — at Virginia
    Oct. 16 — Virginia Tech
    Oct. 25 — Georgia Tech
    Nov. 1 — Duke
    Nov. 15 — at North Carolina
    Nov. 22 — Syracuse
    Nov. 29 — at Miami

    Florida State replaced with Virginia Tech.

  173. buggee says:

    the Con. Always a full house, always rockin’ unless the Pens are getting skunked, and even then it’s really weird to see a place with almost 19k fall to a deathly silence.

    The Pete get’s a close second thanks to the Zoo.

    But the most memorable was PNC against the Sensornasty Deads in that 1-game playoff last year when that pitcher dropped the ball. Even listening to the DVR recording I have of that moment still sends chills down my spine. That was flat out fantastic!

  174. buggee says:

    There’s an article about how coonelly effed up the Yank’s aim to stay under the luxury tax cap. Yay Frankie, first round is on me bub!
    Then a scathing write-up on the absurd TV deal Frankie put together with Root. Second round is on you bub.

    bipolar business dealing.

  175. Jandy says:

    I saw that, it’s all over AOL and MSN. Heart tugger for sure.

  176. NMR says:

    Sorry Jim, I meant in swing alone. Should’ve clarified.

  177. Arriba Wilver says:

    The current CBA expires Dec. 1, 2016. 2016.

  178. 21sthebest says:

    Well, I wish I could say they were childhood memories for me. Late teen, early 20′s.

  179. michael DE Pitt says:

    Ghost your right about the video
    I didn’t know that
    No Bass on the LP credits

  180. michael DE Pitt says:

    Forgot about the Doors

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