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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Morning Java: Broncos by 11

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The weekly chat will begin at noon right here on the blog. Once you see the post, which is usually 8-9 a.m., you can submit entries. Just please be sure to do so inside the actual chat field and not on the blog comments.

>> I’ll take the Broncos, 31-20, and I won’t overthink it.

Seattle’s defense is a statistical match for Denver’s offense, at least in numerical rankings, but no defense is a match for this extraordinary level of Peyton Manning we’ve seen all year. You know, the one with 55 touchdowns and 10 picks. And double that factor when Manning gets two full weeks to prepare himself and his receivers for any single opponent.

Sorry, but barring injury, I’m not inclined to go a whole lot deeper than that. Manning is one of the great quarterbacks of all time, and this will cement that legacy — and silence his critics — with his second Super Bowl ring.

Enjoy the show. That’ll be a master at work.

Our Alan Robinson is covering the Super Bowl, and he wonders this morning if the Seahawks’ offense can keep up?

The NFL had a concussion drop, by Robinson.

Here’s the Trib’s Steelers page.

Here’s the NFL’s official Super Bowl page.

>> The Penguins were stirringly efficient in burying the Kings very late last night, thanks in large part to three rapid-fire points from Jussi JokinenRob Rossi reports from Los Angeles.

Here’s our full Penguins coverage, including a fun feature on the Kings’ Dustin Brown, a player you might love in a couple weeks.

Here’s Kings news from the Los Angeles Times.

Here are official game highlights from

Oh, and here’s the cover of today’s Sovietski Sport, Russia’s premier sports section, with a familiar face out there …

>> The Riverhounds’ 2014 schedule opens where the last one ended, Orlando, and it’s got a Highmark Stadium opener of April 12. Matt Grubba looks ahead.

Here’s the full schedule from

>> The Sochi Olympics are only six days away, and I’ll have an extra-length column Sunday previewing the Games from all major angles.

>> I’ll check in with TribLIVE Radio at 11:30 a.m. The chat will follow shortly thereafter.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

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


  1. DJ says:

    If you saw that cover quickly, you’d mistake it for an old USSR uni.

    The color red and the USSR are so ingrained, it’s hard to get accustomed to the white-blue-red of the Russian Federation flag.

  2. Ghost says:

    Anticipating that the running joke around here about DK’s prognostications and how the smart money should now be on Seattle is soon to restart.
    Myself, I have no idea. The weather and wind for Sunday in East Rutherford doesn’t look to actually be that bad, so Manning should be able to do his thing. Except that Seattle’s D is stouter than New England’s and pretty much everyone else’s that Manning had to face this year. And Marshawn Lynch isn’t a beast — exceptional beasts are Marshawn Lynches. All I can say is that this is a terrific match up and I can’t wait.

  3. David R. says:

    When reading your blogs, I’m often left wondering about this apparently omnipresent source of risk – overthinking. :)

  4. Drew71 says:

    Or in this case, the lack thereof.

  5. Drew71 says:

    Leaving aside the usual “Dejan’s Predictions” schtick, I’ve often noticed a couple of big game football trends:

    1. When a great offense meets a great defense, both betting money and predictions more often follow the O.

    2. And yet Big D often beats Big O. Which is why I wrote in the lead up to the college championship that D is undervalued by bettors and betting lines.

    Looking at both teams in their entirety, I think seattle is the better team. But I also think that Manning’s greatness is a leveler.

    So I’m predicting a tie.

    Seriously. Overtime.

    At least I hope. When I don’t have a rooting interest, I pull for:

    1. Whoever is behind and…
    2. Overtime

  6. Drew71 says:

    3. But never the ravens. Or brewers. Or yankees. Or…

  7. tdb1977 says:

    Its on to many Starbucks that causing the overthinking to take place.

  8. Well, the Pens scored three first quarter goals and beat the L.A. Kings 4-1 and now it’s on to Phoenix for another pre Olympics warmup game. And that after I saw Robert Morris beat Bryant on ESPNU and the Pitt women’s team beat Boston College.

  9. Drew71 says:

    Yours was probably the first post ever, on this blog, to mention Bryant University.

    So I looked them up. And to my surprise, they’re not bad. 13-9, 5-2 in conference play, winners of four straight before the loss to Robert Morris.

    Ok. I’ll probably never post anything again about Bryant University. Not even quite sure why I did it now.

  10. Jandy says:

    And don’t discount the Kovacevicajinx factor.

    It’s in full effect…

  11. Jandy says:

    Pens don’t play quarters, they play periods :D

  12. Drew71 says:

    Ok. So what are we complaining about today?

    Richard Sherman?
    Neal re AJ?

    I need to know the theme.

  13. Drew71 says:

    Quarters work. He was talking about beer.

    At least to me, EVERYthing is about beer

  14. cherokee23 says:

    I think Seahawks have a defense better equipped to beat Manning/Broncos than any we’ve seen. when Manning has struggled through the years is when a team can press man to man, and get pressure on Manning. I see Seahawks controlling line of scrimmage on both sides & time of possession, and beleive pressure will cause Manning to make a couple of mistakes.

  15. Jandy says:

    have one for me, Drew! (beer, you know…beer)

  16. Jandy says:

    We’ll have to complain about that damn rodent that WILL see his shadow Sunday.

  17. Drew71 says:

    It’s 6:53 am. I’m well past one.

  18. Jandy says:

    I always thought that D won games, if everything else was close….even when it isn’t.
    But what do EYE know…

  19. Jandy says:

    I’m generous, drink a few for me then :D

  20. JAL says:

    JAL’s Witch Doctor Morning Links


    1- MLB Transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    3 MLB Important Dates

    4 Pirates Prospects Spring Training Tracker

    BLOGS and such

    5—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: Are Teams Really Spending the New TV Revenues?

    Pittsburgh Pirates 2014 Top Prospects: #2 – Jameson Taillon

    6 Rumbunter

    Is A Neil Walker Breakout Coming in 2014?

    Mark Madden’s Views on the Pittsburgh Pirates Prove He Should Stick to Hockey


    There’s plenty of interest in AJ Burnett

    8 Saber Bucs

    Unnamed, Unseen, Unknown “Source” Reports on Burnett

    9 Green Weenie

    1/30: Matt Alexander, ’60 Trade, Highpockets, Pokey, Paul Maholm, Eric Hinske…

    10 Bucs Dugout

    Pirates should be willing to pay for A.J. Burnett’s production in 2014

    11 Pirates 101

    There’s No Way Around It, the Pittsburgh Pirates Screwed up the A.J. Burnett Situation

  21. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    12 Bloomberg Sports Stats

    Swing Batter-Batter: The Best Pitchers at Getting Batters to Strike Out Swinging and Looking

    13 Yahoo Sports

    No. 12 Pirates: Lack of moves doesn’t mean lack of progress–12-pirates–lack-of-moves-doesn-t-mean-lack-of-progress-195325088-mlb.html

    14 City of Champions

    Pittsburgh Pirates Rumors: A.J. Burnett Coming Back To Bucs After All?

    15 Philly Com

    Who’s at fault, A.J. Burnett or the Pirates?

    16 Fangraphs

    The Strike Zone During the PITCHf/x Era

    17 Rant Sports

    If He Signs Elsewhere, Pittsburgh Pirates Fans Should Not Hate AJ

    18 St. Louis Post Dispatch

    Bird Bytes: Happy trails, Lance Berkman

    19 Baseball Nation

    Lance Berkman and the Hall of Fame: an argument based on ignorance

    20 Baseball Prospectus

    The BP Wayback Machine Which Players and Teams Look Best Over the Next Half-Decade?

  22. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Steelers Heroes of the Past: Carnell Lake was Troy Polamalu without the hair

    Super Bowl XLVIII will include the two best teams–a rarity of late

    22 Steelers Depot

    The Salary Cap And The Decline Of The Meritorious Contract


    23 Bloomberg Stats Insight

    Which EPL managers make the whole greater than the sum of its parts?

    24 Evening Standard

    Patrick Barclay: Applause for Tottenham boss Tim Sherwood but his audience expect so much more


    25 NHL

    Penguins shut down slumping Kings

  23. scapper says:

    Oh, I’m sure a few of the regulars will rail against Disco Dan because the Pens didn’t win 6-1 last night.

  24. Jandy says:

    eww eee ewww ahh ahh ting tang walla walla bing bang…

  25. JohninOshkosh says:

    But, Scapper, you know “Disco” can’t put together his 15 through 18 lines. Or coach a proper PP. Or beat a SC champion calibre team like the Kings. Or….

  26. Double amen on this post and the one above about Predictocevic. He just guaranteed a Seattle win.

  27. And now, well see if Jerome Bettis makes it to the Football Hall of Fame tomorrow since that’s what they’ve been arguing about all week on 93-7 the Fan.

  28. Jandy says:

    After reading some reviews of the game last night (I slept peacefully thru it) it seems Jussi Jokinen is on a tear. And Bortuzzo made the most of his chance to play. And Niskanen once again calmly stepped up when Letang was out. It’s games like this that show you who your priorities should be. Get Jussi extended. Give Borts more time. Make sure we keep Niskie.

  29. Wild Bill says:

    Very rare thing last night – a ref had the stones to call two separate penalties on the Kings at the same time and put both guys in the box. Pens converted both. Most of the time, if a ref has his hand up to call one, the penalized team gets free whacks until the whistle is finally blown. Sutter (the coach) had a hissy, but it was the right thing to do.

  30. Wild Bill says:

    Another great thing last night – the Pens got a lead and then put the puck in the freezer the rest of the game.

    Don’t let the moms go home!

  31. Wild Bill says:

    They all played well, Jandy. But the whole team came out on fire in the first. Malkin was like a bull seeing red. Gibbons was flying. Might have been the best first period of the year.

  32. likeabugonarug says:

    My sentiments exactly!


  33. Jandy says:

    Great…now carry that thru the Olympic break and come out flying again :)

  34. Brandie says:

    The Kovacevic Doctor.

  35. Brandie says:

    Good for the Pens. Last night’s win was quality. Being defensively responsible and playing with offensive balance should be this tesm’s identity.

  36. Jim S. says:

    Good point, Wild Bill. Seems like a lot of guys that know they are headed to the box will take another shot at someone before the play is whistled dead. Errey was saying that on the broadcast vs. the Canadiens last week. I think it was Suppan he was referencing, but I could be wrong.

    I didn’t see the game last night, but was still following on my phone and NHL Network at that point. Seemed to me that was the difference in the game. 1-1 went to 3-1 so quickly.

    I always think it is tough for an Eastern team to go out West and play well, for some reason. I know LA has been struggling, but that’s a tough place to win. I don’t think the Pens had ever actually won in that place.

    Good for Zatkoff! Good for Jussi! And, I’m glad the moms got to take it in. If it is like at my house with my wife, the now Pens moms were the ones most responsible for getting them done with homework, fed and off to practice and games all those years. I’m glad the Pens appreciate their role.

    Quick? Oops! Not so good in front of DB.

  37. Wild Bill says:

    Oops indeed. Sutter pulled Quick at the end of the first period.

  38. Jim S. says:

    I have been thinking Seattle will win Sunday all along. I was telling myself that it was a matter of weather, and that if Peyton had a dry track he would get it done. But, as time has gone on, I am still thinking Seattle. I think that team has “it” this year – whatever “it” is.

    I’ll still be rooting for Peyton and Denver, though. He has had a season for the ages, and I will happily be wrong about my prediction of Seattle 23-20. I’d like to see Peyton deserve more credit for how great he has been for so long.

  39. Jim S. says:

    My #$%&@ typos! Meant “I’d like to see Peyton get more credit for how great he has been for so long.”

  40. Jandy says:

    haha jandy typo disease strikes again ;)

  41. Thundercrack says:

    Disco Dan had the nerve to start the back-up goalie last night.

  42. Wild Bill says:

    I’m having trouble reading this game, Jim. Two teams with very contrasting styles. Peyton’s offense – the irresistible force, vs. Seattle’s D – the immovable object.

    How Denver’s D does against Seattle’s O is not often discussed but could be the deciding factor.

  43. Jim S. says:

    In the MLB Trade Rumors article that JAL posted (Link #2),’s Tom Singer suggests the Pirates sign AJ for $17, with $10 million paid immediately and the rest deferred.

    1) I find it very doubtful the Pirates would offer anything near $17 million to AJ or anyone else – even for one year.

    2) Deferred compensation seems to always end up in disaster for teams. Ask the Mets about that Bobby Bonilla deal.

    Does he even know what team he is writing about in saying that? Maybe he has the Steelers and Pirates confused.

    I think some of these MLB writers must have to attend a different sort of “fantasy camp” in order to earn their stripes.

  44. Jim S. says:

    It’s a tough one for me, Wild Bill. I have this feeling Seattle will come out very loose and just get after it, while Denver will be tight.

  45. Jim S. says:

    I am similarly affected on a regular basis, Jandy.

  46. You and DK are now two backing Seattle, Jim, you directly and DK indirectly. I’d like to see Denver win, too, but all I can predict are 2 things:

    1. Pain

    2. “There Will Be Blood”

    Those are safe predictions. ;)

  47. Jim S. says:

    And, Tanner Glass! Are you kidding me, man, with that backhand? Talk about putting a game away. That was a ridiculous shot.

  48. Jim S. says:

    I haven’t followed the discussion closely, James. But, I’m thinking no. The MLB guys are a disaster at this whole process, and they have actually gotten worse at it over time. The NFL is better, but I just don’t think there is a perfect process. I think they will keep Jerrome out for awhile simply because they have decided there are too many Steelers in there. Don’t the NFL voters all get in a room and collectively decide who goes in? You have to make a case for your guy? I’m not sure that’s the best way to do it, either. But, it usually comes out better than what MLB does, for sure.

  49. 21sthebest says:

    It’s actually not a terrible idea but I wouldn’t say it’s likely. And Bonilla’s $1.2M annually is peanuts.

  50. Jandy says:

    I feel for ya, Jim :D

  51. Jandy says:

    Spunkster, I’m backing Seattle. I can’t stand Peyton Manning!

  52. Jandy says:

    He’s playing like his job depends on it…and it might!

  53. Jandy says:

    hey friend, did you take care of your red wine inadequacies? ;)

  54. Jim S. says:

    I know there are accounting advantages to it. But, this team has a lot of talent coming up, arbitration costs are hard to always pinpoint down the road, plus possible extensions, free agent acquisitions, possible changes to the contract with players that affects all that, etc. I think all of that makes it hard to gauge your payroll in future years.

    Sounds like peanuts, then you do it for 2 guys, 3 guys, 4 guys. Pretty soon it starts coming due and you don’t have enough to pay current obligations.

  55. Jim S. says:

    My problem is I often write something, then make a small change before posting, and for some reason I don’t catch the mistakes all the time.

  56. Jim S. says:

    That backhand looked like something from Sid. That’s a lost art.

  57. Jandy says:

    easily figured out, Sistah :)

  58. SeanAY says:

    I would think they would be more likely to leave Jerome Bettis out because of his career 3.9 yards per carry mark, or the fact that he scored just 91 touchdowns in 13 seasons.

    Obviously his career rushing total stacks up with the best of them, and the dude was workhorse for years, but I could see some arguing what he was never all that “special.”

    At least, I buy that argument more than, “Hall of Fame voters are opposed to electing more Steelers.”

  59. Jandy says:

    Indeed. I didn’t see it, but I read about it several times lol.
    it had to be “a thing of beauty”

  60. 21sthebest says:

    :-) That’s a good question Jandy. I’ll have to email the CEO. She always keeps track of our red wine inventory heading into the weekend. And I think it’s pasta tonight and I have to have red wine with pasta.

  61. Jandy says:

    Glad I reminded ya ;)

  62. 21sthebest says:

    Oh I know and I agree Jim. And it possibly sets a dangerous precedent. But I would say that given A.J.’s age, projected production, it intrigues me a little. I’d probably never do a deferred deal for a younger player but I could see this being an isolated case. I’d rather do more up front and less deferred.

  63. Jim S. says:

    Thank you for clarifying, 21. Jandy seemed to be intimating something completely different.

  64. Jandy says:

    Not I, James, 21 and I discussed this yesterday in the daily chat for everyone to see :D

  65. Jim S. says:

    Me, too. I know the idea would be to set money aside now, and that it should not be touched for any other purpose. But, that takes a lot of discipline.

    I wouldn’t expect the Bucs or some other team to handle it nearly as well as, say, the Federal Govt does with our Soc Security contributions. We know those all go in a lock box, and are 100% spent for only that purpose down the road. :-)

  66. Jim S. says:

    I remember that, Jandy. Just me being me on a Friday. :-)

  67. Damon says:

    I’ve been thinking the same thing Jim – Seattle will hold Denver to FGs instead of TDs, and they pull out a 21-19 win. Lynch will get the MVP with 2 TDs.

  68. Damon says:

    It bodes well for the Pens that they seem to bring their best efforts vs. good opponents (for the most part). Not too many teams chase Quick after one period. Just wish I could have seen it….I fell asleep at 10:15, woke up at 1:30… D’oh….I guess I am more rested for it today at work.

  69. Jandy says:

    no worries!

  70. Jim S. says:

    That’s what I’m thinking, too. But, we’ll see.

  71. Jandy says:

    I wanna know why the SS money is spent, but not the money set aside for food stamps and the like?

  72. Jim S. says:

    It was, for sure.

  73. Jim S. says:

    I think there is logic to what you are saying, Sean.

    I also think guys use statistics in a lot of different ways. One guy might say, “If he has over 12,000 yards he has to be in, period. Look how many years he had 1,000+ yards. Every guy with more yards is in, and a lot of guys with less yards are as well.”

    The next guys says, “But, he does not have a lot of signature moments and his yards per carry were too low. He didn’t score 100 TD’s. No way he gets in.”

    For borderline guys like Jerrome, I absolutely do think the “too many Steelers” argument will get used. I didn’t invent that. I hear it all the time from local writers over the years, who participate in those conversations. If they are in a big room going over this stuff, do you not think that can be a factor for a guy?

    For me, Swann and Stallworth getting in – deserved or not – are making it harder for guys like Dermotti and Jerrome. It is easy to simply point to their career stats and say they were dwarfed by many other receivers who are not getting in. Hines may have issues down the road as well.

  74. Arriba Wilver says:

    I’ve asked for years (going back to the PG blog) how a general partnership can set aside funds (realistically) for the future and have never gotten an answer. I know it’s “possible,” but Uncle Sam wants his cut every year, so the partners would have to pay tax on money they aren’t getting in their pockets. At least that’s my rudimentary understanding.

  75. Nate83 says:

    Deferring the money makes sense for this team because Liriano, Wandy, Martin and in this scenario AJ will be coming of the payroll next years and 3 of those players will be replaced with minimum pay, cost controlled players (Sanchez, Taillon and likely Kingham). They may need to sign a free agent starting pitcher but they may also have internal solutions in Stolmy and Wilson if one of them shows they are ready.

    I’m still not convinced the money isn’t already there for them to just pay the guy 14-15 million this year but if it makes them more comfortable I could see them giving him 10-12 million and deferring 3-5 million. I don’t think they would go much above 15 million. I just don’t see them thinking he is that valuable or breaking their 18% rule.

  76. Nate83 says:

    I do think someone will offer him more but hopefully he values staying with something familiar and staying with the Pirates for a little less. If other teams offer more years and that is what he is interested in then I would think the Pirates are out in that case.

  77. 21sthebest says:

    So what exactly is your question Arriba?

    If the general partnership has earnings, they have to pay taxes on those earnings whether or not they are distributed to the general partners. I think you already knew that but that’s just for general consumption. And it’s customary to make distributions to partners to pay their share of taxes since the taxes aren’t paid by the partnership like they are a corporation.

  78. pattonbb says:

    I’m with you, Jandy.

  79. bpn8pitt says:

    I like Denver. I read that Manning has completed more passes than Wilson has attempted all year. I believe I also saw that Wilson has only attempted more than 30 passes in one game all year and that was Week 1.

    Denver gets up early by two scores and makes Wilson throw, I like their chances. Marshawn Lynch has to have a monster game for Seattle to win, and Denver’s D wasnt too shabby the last month.

  80. Jim S. says:

    My suspicion is also that the money is there now, Nate. It just seems logical from all the reporting of increased TV revenues, plus the expected increased attendance & concessions revenues.

  81. Jim S. says:


    Sadly, there are more US people on food stamps right now than ever before.

  82. Jim S. says:

    Once he opened it up beyond the Bucs, Nate, I think Baltimore’s odds went way up. They say they are “all in” and I still think the opportunity to drive home after half the games will be a big factor for him.

    I hope the Bucs will give him a competitive offer, and then we’ll see if he really wants to pitch for them.

  83. SeanAY says:

    My counter to the “too many Steelers” argument is that the Steelers don’t have the most players in the Hall. They just have had more lately.

    Bears – 26
    Packers – 21
    Steelers – 18
    Giants – 18
    Redskins – 17
    Browns – 16

    Like I said, it’s been that more Steelers have gotten in lately, as all of those franchises probably have a number of players from pre-1970. But I don’t think you hear anyone saying, “There are too many Bears in the Hall, so we’re going to leave so-and-so out.”

    I think Bettis will make it eventually, but it may take a while. I think Ward is a long-shot; he played in an era of offensive explosion, especially for receivers, and I don’t think the “best blocking WR ever” narrative is going to carry much weight when you look at the raw numbers of his contemporaries, like Randy Moss or Marvin Harrison.

  84. bpn8pitt says:

    I was gonna post about this yesterday. The misconception out there about this national TV money and the Pirates increase at the gate; the Windfall so to speak…you cant just directly transfer that too increase payroll. Which to most means “free agents” or in business speak “new hires”.

    There’s a number of guys on the Pirates, Walker, Alvarez, McCutchen making more money than they did last year. Add to the fact they will probably all make MORE next year in addition to Morton’s contract and whatever happens in arbitration.

    There’s also the cost of doing business. Think about it. The other companies that do business with the Pirates know they just got an increase in funds. You know there fees, services went up. Add the Pirates Charites, facilites in Bradenton, the Dominican, what Rene Gayo’s pool of money is…whatever they had to fix at PNC from the increased foot traffic. Upgrades for this year.

    A good chunk of that extra revenue, whereever you think it came from, had to go to a lot of different areas. Payroll, was just one. It couldnt have been that much. I think a lot of you are making it out to be more moeny than it actually was.

    Im not defending the BMTIB. Just in my experience with business finance, things are never simple.

  85. Milo Hamilton says:

    This is in response to bpn8pitt and his post above detailing where the Pirates increased revenues have been used. I don’t know how many times I have to say this but I guess I’ll just have to keep pounding it home.

    THEIR 2014 PAYROLL IS LOWER THAN THEIR 2013 PAYROLL. Sometimes it is just that simple.

    And by the way, I hope you’re right about the Super Bowl.

  86. Karen22 says:

    I have to have red wine with everything…but especially with pasta!! ;)

  87. Jim S. says:

    Keith Law’s Top 10 Bucs’ prospects:

    1. Polanco
    2. Glasnow
    3. Taillon
    4. Meadows
    5. Kingham
    6. Hanson
    7. Bell
    8. McGuire
    9. Ramirez
    10. Heredia

    He also listed his next four:

    Clay Holmes, JaCoby Jones, Jaff Decker (yep!), and Wyatt Mathisen.

  88. Jandy says:

    Oh I know, Jim. But why is SS depleted, when WE put the money in it, and it should be there for US when we need it? But there’s money for food stamps and the like? THAT infuriates me! >:<

  89. Jandy says:

    I stocked up over the weekend, hubby and I are having some tonight ;)

  90. Jim S. says:

    “Their 2014 payroll is lower than their 2013 payroll. Sometimes it is just that simple.”

    I think it needed to be said again.

  91. Milo Hamilton says:

    Nothing I enjoy more than Prospect List season. Do you open your gifts on Prospect List Day or Prospect List Eve ?

  92. Karen22 says:

    We had two cases of red delivered to our door last week from our favorite wine distributor in New Jersey. I don’t know why they can finally ship to PA (the black hole of liquor laws), but they can. AWESOME!!

  93. Jandy says:

    Milo said

    Jim S.
    January 31, 2014 at 11:29 AM

    “Their 2014 payroll is lower than their 2013 payroll. Sometimes it is just that simple.”

    I think it needed to be said again.

    Preach it, brothers!

  94. Milo Hamilton says:

    They got to within 1 game of the National League Championship Series and then chose to sit out the off season. Incomprehensible.

  95. Jim S. says:

    Sorry. I misunderstood, Jandy.

  96. Jandy says:

    We have a local winery – Oakspring Winery – so it’s easy for us :)

  97. Karen22 says:

    No way will the Pirates offer AJ a contract in that range. They just won’t. He’s a goner, because another franchise will.

  98. Jim S. says:

    +++. Talk about taking your patrons for granted.

  99. 21sthebest says:

    I’ve tried to roll forward from the leaked 2009 financials and I feel like payroll in the range of $85M – $90M is reasonable in that if the team stinks this year, it’s not a financial setback if, as a result of the team stinking, attendance goes down next year. But I don’t think it’s as simple as comparing opening day payroll 2014 to actual end of year payroll 2013.

  100. Jandy says:

    No need for sorries, Jim, I was just ranting…
    back to the regularly scheduled blog :)

  101. mannitto says:

    the pirate payroll will not be complete until October. if they need a 1st baseman in july they will have the money and trading chips to get someone then instead of spending foolishly now.

  102. NMR says:

    Thank you, Milo. Sheesh.

  103. Consider another option for the Penguins: Colorado’s PA Parenteau. He’s a talented, though a bit undersized, RW who has proven a consistent scorer at the NHL level. He’s under contract for two more seasons, so he would be attractive to Shero as more than just a rental player. His cap hit is an even $4M, so the Penguins would have to gauge his acquisition with potential cap room to sign upcoming UFAs. Still, he’s a proven upgrade that takes some pressure off of Bennett to jump into a top line role right away.

    From the other side, Colorado is deep at forward and has a lot of players producing so Parenteau has seen more time in the press box this season then he’d like. There has been a lot of scuttlebutt involving a swap between him and Montreal’s Rene Bourque, but that deal is pretty much dead. There’s no certainty that the Avs are trying to move him, but I am sure if the right deal came along to relieve themselves of an odd-man out, they’d do it. Especially for some defensive help.

    I’d offer Simon Despres for PA Parenteau.

  104. Damon says:

    I still am keeping hope alive because the season doesn’t start for another two months. Maybe Huntington gets that lefty first baseman and pays a cheaper price. Maybe he makes another move once he sees how Wandy and others look in camp.

    That said, I am getting more and more worried….

  105. Arriba Wilver says:

    Ok, so how would deferring $3-7 million make any sense? You pay out to the general partners, which reduces revenue, which reduces the savings from deferring it, right? Or does that just reduce cash on hand or cash flow. You can tell I’m not an accountant, but I have been a general partner in a partnership.

    Just pay the man, Shirley. We’re talking a ONE YEAR deal.

  106. NMR says:

    I highly doubt Milo, or any of us, intended for that to be a comprehensive statement on the Pirates revenues and expenditures. Of course it isn’t that simple.

    But it’s a hell of a place to start.

  107. Jim S. says:

    I’ve been thinking $90 million all along – given the reported increase in national TV money, the fact that they are ahead of pace in ticket sales, they are charging more for those tickets, concessions will increase, gear sales will increase, etc.

    Just seems to me that they could have actually raised payroll by $15 million and still made the same or larger profit. There are other expenses that rise along with the revenue increases, as bpn pointed out. But, there are also other revenue sources that increase as well.

    I could be off on the revenue. But, putting forth the same payroll as last year does not pass the smell test.

    I want to believe that they will still make a trade for a 1b, and that Huntington is simply not willing to pay what the Mets, Mariners, Rangers, etc. might be asking for in terms of talent right now. I also want to believe AJ is not 100% out of their plans, but the odds of signing him now look pretty long to me.

    I gave up on an upgrade like Steven Drew a long time ago. I’m just looking for them to show they do respect the paying public enough to at least put the increased revenues into the roster. I don’t think anyone asking for that is asking for too much of ownership.

  108. 21sthebest says:


  109. Jim S. says:

    Depends on whether we go to Midnight Mass or not.

  110. Milo Hamilton says:


  111. 21sthebest says:

    I think it’s disrespecting the fans if they don’t resign A.J. unless it comes out that A.J. wasn’t coming back here no matter what or if he gets something close to $20 million, or if he gets a longer than 1 year deal. I don’t think it’s disrespecting the public by not signing Loney or Drew, as examples.

  112. scapper says:

    But they still gave up a goal! On the powerplay! Because Shero can’t draft and Disco can’t coach and Sid can’t lead and Orpik can’t skate and I can’t wait until this franchise returns to glory and starts winning some games!

  113. Damon says:

    The Pens would be buying low (although still competing with other teams), but he was excellent last year. His speed would fit well with the Pens and Sid’s RW.

  114. Apparently my guy Chris Stewart is available.

    If stewart can be had and ends up with the rangers…i will not be happy!

  115. 21sthebest says:

    Deferring money to players makes sense if it makes business and financial sense. Has nothing to do with income taxes or anything else.’

    Making payments to the general partners for their share of the taxes on partnership earnings reduces partnership cash flow, as would making distributions to partners for their share of the earnings.

    Did they drop Norm Chad in the other paper? I forgot about him. Love his columns.

  116. Milo Hamilton says:

    I think it’s disrespecting fans when no moves are made to improve a team that was close to a championship. I do know one thing, their apparent strategy of subtracting from a team that wasn’t quite good enough doesn’t seem to be going over very well with the fan base. But they’re amazingly tone deaf so I don’t think it will have any effect on whatever their “plan” is.

  117. Damon says:

    Stewart could be a Tocchet-style get, but as a Blues fan (very distant second to the Pens), he can be frustrating for long stretches. When he get hot though, he is a beast. Maybe playing along Sid those long stretches would be much shorter….

  118. Stewart = real deal part deux

  119. Milo Hamilton says:

    All this being said, considering the offer they made to James Loney I think they’re willing to go to about $80 million.

  120. 21sthebest says:

    I think we have a really good team that could still improve and there was nobody at first or right that thrilled me although I would’ve gone 3 years on Loney. I’d feel like it would have been disrespectful to fans if they didn’t make moves last year.

    Ticket sales are up and if things aren’t going over well with the fan base, I think winning takes care of that. I’m not even sure what the implication of things not going over well with the fan base means at this point.

  121. I agree Stewart would be a beast, but what can the Penguins offer in return? The Blues have a wealth of defensemen, so it makes sense they’re looking for another forward like Ryan Callahan in return.

  122. I think Parenteau would do well on a team that lacks depth on the wings just as much as I believe that Despres would improve tremendously on a team that needs young defensemen who can log minutes. Plus, Colorado isn’t going to keep $4M of cap space in the press box for long…

  123. I’ve been wondering about that for last couple seasons when pushing for a stewart trade. Dont think blues need PM which is why i usually ended up suggesting a 3-team trade where we part with a dman that goes to another team and the blues get the forward they seek.

  124. Wild Bill says:

    Not sure the Avs would want to trade him – only 3 right wings on their roster. Might depend on what they have in the minors.

  125. Wild Bill says:

    That’s Parenteau I’m speaking of.

  126. Really not enamored with parenteau, especially at 4M for 2 more years. Would rather save a few bucks to re-sign jussi.

  127. Jim S. says:

    That is a good question, 21. I think a large % of fans are irked at exactly the things Milo and you (and a lot of us, for that matter) have brought up. Basically, how do you do a little less going into the season when the expectation is you would, should and certainly can do more?

    As far as that translating into lost revenue among the fan base. I don’t know. People are probably still excited enough about the team that most people will still buy their tickets, and still anticipate a fun season. I don’t know how many will refuse to support the team, even though they are angry and frustrated with ownership. That would probably only happen if the team tanks the first 50 games.

    I’m sure I will still come to see them at least a few times, as I did last year. My kids are excited about the Bucs all the way out here in Chicago, and even though I think the team is cheaping out on us, that is not enough to make my kids tell me to not plan any visits to PNC. I feel like they sort of have me over a barrel.

  128. Thundercrack says:

    The Pirates do not play a game that counts for two more months.

  129. Thundercrack says:

    Regarding revenues from the rise in attendance in 2013.

    I wonder if it wasn’t applied towards the 2013 payroll.

    But the results from 2013 went a long way towards selling a lot of tickets for 2014

  130. theplanisworking says:


  131. Jim S. says:

    Good to see you back, TC.

    I assume the revenues from the 2013 attendance spike was applied to the expenses from the added deadline deals.

    There should be a significant increase in revenue from attendance increases and ticket price hikes again in 2014, right? I think it should be applied to 2014 payroll, since, unlike 2013, they already know they will have this increase in 2014.

  132. theplanisworking says:

    That was directed to Milo’s 11:57AM post.
    Blog out of order again…….

  133. JohninOshkosh says:

    Anybody care to link or suggest a decent SB snack recipe ? Having folks over. I’m making the usual stuff-wings, meatballs, etc.

    Looking for something out of the ordinary, I guess. I’m fearless in the kitchen.

  134. 21sthebest says:

    Jim, I’m not even sure a large percentage of the fans follow the offseason.

  135. Milo Hamilton says:

    No major league team needs to borrow to make a $74 million payroll. A 2012 survey showed the Tampa Bay Rays gross revenues of $167 million was dead last among the clubs. I think people grossly underestimate how much money even the poorest franchises make. Why do you think there is so little noise about the obvious disparity of the system ?

  136. Damon says:

    Did DK really take a question on his chat from “winky sniffer”?

  137. JohninOshkosh says:

    Oh, I think I had this months ago:

    Minnesota Wild, Zach Parise named captain of the US men’s hockey team.

    USA! USA! USA!

  138. Milo Hamilton says:

    He still plays ?

  139. Thundercrack says:


    It is the final day in January and the Pirates current payroll is lower than it was in 2013 and you are asking for a snack recipe for your SB party.

    How could you? :-)

  140. Arriba Wilver says:


  141. JohninOshkosh says:


    Madison Wisconsin’s own (and another Wild) wears the “A”.

  142. JohninOshkosh says:

    Ha, forgot to type Ryan Sutter. lol.

  143. JohninOshkosh says:


  144. JohninOshkosh says:


    I give up!

    Have a good weekend, all. I’m going now to shove this stupid smart phone down the garbage disposal.

  145. Milo Hamilton says:

    Ah yes. The Mild.

  146. theplanisworking says:

    So you are saying there are clubs being cheap?? ;)

    The Pirates payroll for 2014 is less than their payroll for 2013……. this with roughly $30 million in new revenues.

    Hi Frank !

  147. Jandy says:

    What is Jussi’s cap hit now?

  148. Jandy says:


  149. You need sausage balls, brother.

  150. Avs have the depth at forward, which is why Parenteau has been a healthy scratch.

  151. Arriba Wilver says:

    DK on Letang in the chat:

    “I keep emphasizing this, though: You aren’t trading a player because he’s defective or you hate him or as punishment. No matter how many fans interpret it that way, that isn’t the motivation. The concept is to trade something of value at a position of strength for something of value at a position of weakness. That’s it.”

    Calling Dr. Hockeymonster. Calling Dr. Hockeymonster.


  152. pattonbb says:


    My wife got a recipe for clam dip off one of those Food Network shows a couple years ago. It is always the first empty bowl when we have friends over. It’s not very exotic, but everyone seems to love it.

    Puree 2 cans clams with 8 ounces cream cheese, a handful of parsley, 1/2 cup cottage cheese, 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1/2 chopped onion, 2 tablespoons clam juice and 1/2 teaspoon celery salt. Add the zest and juice of 1 lemon, and a few pinches of salt and pepper. Chill in fridge for one hour before serving. She serves it with plain tortilla chips and veggies.

  153. Jussi Jokinen is a cap hit of $2.1M, but I believe some of that is still retained by the Carolina Hurricanes as part of the deal that sent Jordan Staal the other way. Regardless, Jokinen is a UFA at the end of the season. Considering Jokinen’s performance this season (he’s putting up his best numbers since 2010) and the market rate for top-four wingers, he’s going to command a significant increase on that salary. It would be great to retain Jokinen, but I think he’s going to look for a similar salary to Pascal Dupuis ($3.75M). So, ultimately, Jokinen may not end up costing much less than Parenteau… if he re-signs in Pittsburgh.

  154. 21sthebest says:

    That $167M estimate struck me as being low given that the Rays had $161M in revenues (that’s actual) in 2008. Upon further review, attendance has dropped 500k over the past 5 years and maybe revenue sharing is down too.

  155. 21sthebest says:

    I’ll make a suggestion if I get an invitation.

  156. If you take away Kris Letang, all of a sudden the defense is no longer a position of strength.

    Can we please stop the silliness of trading Letang before the deadline? At the very least, the Penguins need to figure out where they stand with Matt Niskanen at the end of the season. If the Pens trade Letang now and Nisky decides to walk at the end of the season, that “position of strength” looks like a house of cards.

  157. Dom says:

    I am going with the Seahawks!


  158. Wild Bill says:

    Ryan Getzlaf had a Gordie Howe hat trick against the Flyers last night. My new favorite non-Penguin.

  159. Nate83 says:

    One of my favorites. Easy to make as well.

  160. Jandy says:


  161. Jandy says:

    Thanks Relentless, something to think about.

  162. Thundercrack says:

    I may start another account for this blog. One where I do nothing but bitch & moan about everything the Pirates’ owner, FO, and manager do. And I will spin the occasional conspiracy theory and package deal trade rumor.

    My new name will be Sausage Balls
    Wait until you see the avatar.

  163. Arriba Wilver says:

    Calling Dr. HM, Calling Dr. RF, calling Dr. HM.

    Thanks, RF, I needed that other Dr.


  164. theplanisworking says:

    ESPN had a fun factoid about NYC this weekend……..

    With the hosting of SB 48, New York City joins only a handful of cities that have hosted all of the following……..

    -A Super Bowl,
    -A World Series,
    -A Stanley Cup Final,
    -An NBA Final.

    Off the top of my head, the only other cities that I can come up with that have hosted all of these is Los Angeles, Miami, Detroit, and Minneapolis.

    There are other cities that have held NFL Championship Games (Chicago, for one example)…….. but the 5 listed above are the only ones I can come up with.

    Thought I would contribute to Super Bowl week with this……

  165. He’s making 3M with pens on the hook for 2.1M. If he wants to stay he’ll have to accept something similar to the 2.1M he’s getting now. Dont think there will be a huge market for a guy that was on waivers less than a year ago. But with cap going up i could be wrong.

  166. Per usual Dejan makes a great case for trading a top 4 dman…

  167. Sorry AW, in partial retirement so not on as much :)

  168. Arriba Wilver says:

    You can thank the Rev.


  169. Drew71 says:

    AJ by Pure Prairie Cheap
    Don’t you think the time is right for us to find
    The qualifying offer that we could have made in time
    And can you see
    Which way we should turn, to drop you or to keep
    I can never see what’s right or what is cheap
    (cause it’ll take too much to sign)
    AJ what you wanna do?
    I think I could stay with you
    For a discount, cause 8 Mil will have to do
    (Acoustic solo)
    Well now.
    AJ what you wanna do?
    I think I could stay with you
    For a discount, cause 8 Mil will have to do

  170. 21sthebest says:

    I really like beer too btw! And not that light stuff.

  171. Drew71 says:

    Falling payroll I do love, not you
    Falling payroll I do love, not you
    Falling payroll I do love, not you

  172. 21sthebest says:

    That sounds strange and unusual.

  173. Arriba Wilver says:

    You better watch out for Sausage Balls.

  174. Drew71 says:

    Something tells me I should scroll up and read what THAT’S all about before making the obvious reply

  175. Jim S. says:

    Is NYC the only city that gets credit for hosting a SB that takes place in another state?

  176. Drew71 says:

    I looked, but I couldn’t find the original reference.

    Does it have anything to do with ThunderBalls coming back?

  177. Jim S. says:

    But, if we trade Letang, maybe we can better afford to keep Nisky.

  178. Jim S. says:

    Didn’t he make a decision last offseason that doesn’t appear to have worked out so well?

    Hmm … Trying to recall.

    Oh yeah, he decided to sign with Minnesota and fade off into oblivion …. or, Bolivia (as Mike Tyson would say).

  179. bpn8pitt says:

    Milo, is it possible that some of the money you have earmarked for AJ went to Charlie Morton?

  180. Milo Hamilton says:

    I really do give up.

  181. Milo Hamilton says:

    James McDonald has signed with the Cubs. Chicago has also retained the services of Dr. Phil.

  182. bpn8pitt says:

    Really? I thought it was just that simple?

    And Jim they sold 150,000 more tickets in 2013 from 2012. Its not that much more in revenue.

  183. Bizrow says:

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  184. bpn8pitt says:

    I’m really confused. For the last two plus years I was told constantly on this blog and the other, that the Pirates needed to constantly invest in young talent, sign that young talent to team friendly contracts, and always seek years of control and upside. Now those same people want to blow a wad of cash on 37 year old pitcher for one year. Who they couldn’t drive any runs in for.

    Even WITH Burnett that rotation is suspect.

  185. Bizrow says:

    I think we want to experience another October.

    At least I do.

    Money limits on the draft and LA signings, so, what do you do?

  186. Arriba Wilver says:


  187. Arriba Wilver says:

    And 643,463 more than in 2010. That’s a lot of revenue.

  188. bpn8pitt says:

    Didn’t the Oakland As just let Bartolo Colon walk?

    I heard the Rays have interest in AJ, but just think that’s highly unlikely.

    Those are two Oct teams, Biz.

  189. Arriba Wilver says:

    Goin’ to Virginia-Pitt Sunday, Groat.

  190. Sausage balls at the concession? If not, stay home.


  191. JohninOshkosh says:

    Thanks Patton and Lucky. Great suggestions! I’ll make both.

  192. JohninOshkosh says:

    Oh, 21, feel free to pop in!

  193. Arriba Wilver says:


  194. Arriba Wilver says:


  195. pattonbb says:

    Michael Young’s retirement announcement was dripping with class. Stats like that are hard to replace. People like that are almost impossible to.

  196. theplanisworking says:

    Ahhhh, forgot one.


    Easy to forget with the Cowgirls and all……

  197. Shame the other state isn’t Hawaii.

    The Weather Channel is calling its broadcast day “The Weather Bowl” in honor of the SB and Phil’s prognostication.

    Wonder how the fans and players will feel about that at game time. Temps are supposed to be in the 30’s and not a lot of wind.

  198. pattonbb says:

    Now that made me laugh.

  199. 21sthebest says:

    At your age I’d be hoping for February.

  200. JohninOshkosh says:


    Heard him on MLBN today. Classy guy.

  201. bpn8pitt says:

    Not as much as you think…I give up.

    You guys are trying to spend money that Nutting doesn’t have.

  202. Jim S. says:

    165,000 increase from ’12 to ’13, bpn. Plus, 3 playoff games that, I think, were all over 40,000 with higher prices. Yeah, I think that was a lot of revenue.

    I would not be surprised if they approach 2.5M this year if they are in the race to the end.

  203. Eric Bowser says:

    This A.J. Burnett madness is old… this franchise isn’t going to spend $14-18 million on a one-year deal for a pitcher closer to 40 than 30. The starting rotation in April looks like Liriano, Cole, Morton, Volquez, and Locke with Rodriguez possibly being an option and guys like Cumpton and Gomez competing for that 5th spot as well. All of which is just talk because by June, Taillon should be here. If you sign Burnett… where exactly is Taillon pitching in June? They didn’t spend that money on Volquez to that deal to have him moved to the bullpen.

    A.J. is gone!

    Want to complain, talk about the gong show at first base with Sanchez and Lambo. If that tandem hits 15 HR, I’ll be shocked.

    Look at the joke for interim solution in right field with Tabata and Snider.

    Think shortstop is good with Mercer and Barmes?

    The offseason failure is about the offense…. their strength was on the mound. All this does is put a tremendous amount of pressure on Polanco to get here and produce immediately.


    Denver vs Seattle…. will be rooting for Seattle since they’ve never won and prefer to see a game in which the QB isn’t playing like a video game.


    Love watching 1st line right wing Brian Gibbons…. I’m sure Ray Shero does too.

    Leafs are looking to move Nikolai Kulemin…. could see a move in which Pens get Kulemin to play LW with Malkin and Neal and then decide to move up Jokinen with Crosby and Kunitz.

    If I trade Letang, I want a talent back like a Taylor Hall (EDM), Gabriel Landeskog (COL), James Van Riemsdyk (TOR), and Blake Wheeler (WPG).

  204. Bizrow says:


  205. Bizrow says:

    And two clubs with a record of knowing what they are doing

    Just sayin

  206. Bizrow says:

    Good thinking Biz, nobody bitched

    Rocco has been added to our HOF

    Downside is no one noticed

  207. theplanisworking says:

    Biz, we are just reduced to hoping that TBMTIB knows best.
    This offseason so far has been a series of head-scratching moves.

    They appear to have the money to get some upgrades, but Volquez and the backup catcher just won’t cut it. What is their plan? Do they have a plan? Will they just wait until Taillon and Polanco come up? Will DK’s “season of bargains” near the end of ST bring help?

    Milo, and others have correctly pointed out 2 things:
    1) payroll is lower, and
    2) downgrades were made.

    What I hope is not occurring is TBMTIB trying to outsmart everyone, including themselves. After finally breaking thru 20 years of suck last year, I would hate to see a regression based on ego, or finances.

    Just my humble opinion………

  208. theplanisworking says:

    I saw it was added right away. At least when I checked the list.
    You did good, Biz.
    And thanks for doing your blog service.

  209. Bizrow says:

    Mine too, Roger, Mine too

  210. Bizrow says:

    Dogs rule, loyalty, honor and integrity, and if they do bad, they cannot lie, as Rocco showed, trust

    BTW Hi Frank, whats on your resume??

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