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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Morning Java: Glove story

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> I’ll be taking off this afternoon for Sochi, so you won’t see activity on here until things get settled over there. That means no Morning Java on Wednesday. Just impossible. I’ll be in the air or transferring planes for a minimum of 18 hours. I’ll have pre-timed game posts go up for the Penguins and Pitt hoops, but that’s it.

Once coherent, I’ll be doing a column a day, all the usual blog fare, the weekly chat on Fridays, an audio report every weekday for TribLIVE Radio and, in something I hadn’t mentioned before, a daily segment for Channel 11 News. The latter will come in minute-long segments that will air on their evening newscasts, and they’ll be … well, whatever random thing happens to hit that day. They’re looking more for experiences than hard news or reports or other stuff that the NBC parents will deliver.

Those segments also will be made available on our site as video clips, and I’ll be sure to include them right here on the blog.

Should be fun. Never tried anything like this.

Anyway, if you missed it, the Sunday column served as our Olympics preview. Hope you have a chance to check it out, as it’s aimed primarily as a broad primer for the Sochi Games as a whole.

Here’s the Trib’s Olympics page.

Here’s the official Sochi 2014 page.

Here’s the official U.S. Olympic team page.

And here’s NBC’s Olympics page with all the videos and highlights.

>> But never mind all that. Did you see Marc-Andre Fleury’s save?

If not, better sit down first …

I know, right?

And do yourself a favor: Watch it again, this time just tracking Erik Karlsson for the most priceless reaction you’ll ever see to a shooter getting robbed.

Anyway, James Neal scored in OT to beat the Senators and all that, as Josh Yohe reports from Consol, but this was about one moment and one moment alone.

Here’s the Trib’s Penguins page.

Here’s Senators news from the Ottawa Citizen.

Here’s Sabres news from the Buffalo News. They’re next.

Here are official game highlights from

>> Lauryn Williams calls making the U.S. Olympic bobsled team ‘bittersweet’ in an interview yesterday with Karen Price.

>> Pitt’s getting more from Jamel Artis of late. Kevin Gorman reports.

Here’s the Trib’s Pitt page.

>> Are the Seahawks’ the NFL’s new future? Alan Robinson wraps up the Super Bowl.

If you missed it Sunday night, our panel on WPXI-TV’s Subway Final Word tackled how far away the Steelers are from the Super Bowl champs …

And I’d be remiss if I didn’t share the professional and informed debate that John Steigerwald and John Fedko have every week on TribLIVE Radio, this one on the Super Bowl as well …

>> I’ll check in as soon as possible. Be sure to take out the trash.

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. Tom says:

    Why are there no other Final Word videos on the WPXI website this week?

  2. Dejan,

    Your excitement is palpable. Enjoy the heck out of each day!

    I’ll be suffering in Bradenton at Spring Training while you’re gone.

    You’re happy——I’m happy!

  3. diehard says:

    Didn’t notice Karlsson’s reaction before. That’s awesome.

  4. Jandy says:




    Put THUNDER down, he’s NOT the trash!!!!!

  5. Jandy says:

    I screamed when Flower made that save! Poor Shelby, she jumped and gave me looks that could kill lol.
    I woke hubby up too. I said, DID YOU SEE THAT?!!??
    He was like, No, but I HEARD it!

    I also saw Karlsson’s reaction, and laughed at it. :D

  6. JAL says:

    JAL’s Suddenly Morning Links


    1- MLB Transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    3 BFFL’s 2014 Pirates Stats Spreadsheet

    4 Pirates Prospects Spring Training Tracker

    BLOGS and such

    5—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: Great Moments in Buying a Contender

    6 Bleacher Report

    Finding the Best Consumer-Value Baseball Experience

    7 Yahoo Sports

    No. 9 Reds: It’s all about pitching … and a particular former pitcher–9-reds–it-s-all-about-pitching-and-a-particular-former-pitcher-163723429.html

    8 Saber Bucs

    A.J. Burnett Projection

    9 Green Weenie

    17 Pitchers for 12 Spots

    10 MLB-Pirates Site

    McCutchen helps hometown with youth clinic

    11 XN Sports

    2014 MLB Free Agents: Markets for A.J. Burnett, Bronson Arroyo Developing

  7. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    12 Sports Illustrated

    Winter Report Card: Pittsburgh Pirates

    13 Reviewing the Brew

    Ranking Starting Rotations in the NL Central

    14 Financial Times

    Amitabh Bachchan, Scarlett Johansson and the art of the celebrity endorsement

    15 LA Times

    Goodbye, Super Bowl, hello … baseball? In dead of winter? Well, yeah,0,4659761.story#axzz2sLu1mOrr

    16 Fangraphs

    The 2013 Season In Inside Home Runs

    17 Baseball Nation

    Russell Wilson taking spring training with the Rangers seriously

    18 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

    Bob Uecker says he will cut back on workload

    19 Baseball Prospectus

    Reintroducing PECOTA, the Depth Charts, PFM, and DraftAid

    20 Fox Sports

    Young’s confidence was gift to teammates, baseball

  8. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    AFC is there for the taking in 2014

    Monday Takeaways: Super Bowl edition

    22 Steelers Depot

    The Terrible Podcast – Talking Super Bowl, Seahawks Defense, Franchise QB Era & More Episode


    23 Bloomberg Stats Insight

    Premier League Top Scorers: Suarez leads – is the race for second?

    24 Evening Standard

    Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho shrugs off title talk despite victory at Manchester City


    25 CBS Sports

    Pens extend home dominance; Neal beats Senators in OT

  9. JAL says:

    Song Suddenly by Anna Calvi


  11. Karen22 says:

    Dejan, your enthusiasm and excitement over heading to Sochi is palpable. Have a great time covering the Olympics…have a great time, period. Safe journeys!


  12. What got into sutter last night? Why doesn’t he skate like that all the time? Good thing we didn’t trade flower, eh?!?!

    Safe travels Dejan! Stock up on mini bottles of vodka in case you need to bribe your way in or out of mother russia! If that doesn’t work send me an email…i’ll talk to the guy about the thing….

    Will be interesting to see how the KHL players hold up for russia against the NHL rosters canada, us, and sweden will throw at them. Russia got smoked last olympics when they took a bunch of KHLers but dejan whatever you do…dont suggest they trade kovalchuk for depth wingers. ;)

  13. Jandy says:

    woop woop~~!!

  14. Wild Bill says:

    Safe trip, and Enjoy, Dejan! And remember, we’re all waiting to know what the Russian female curlers REALLY look like.

  15. Jandy says:

    I hope Pyatt is ok…I like his big body in front of the net.

  16. Wild Bill says:

    Over at SI, Corcoran takes a major shot at the Pirates for having done next to nothing to improve the major league roster this off season. Wonder if he’s been reading this blog?

  17. Wild Bill says:

    Just in front of the net, Jandy?

  18. Wild Bill says:

    A post mortem to last night’s conversation – “bisons” is a double plural.

    I didn’t want to ruin a perfectly good digression by mentioning it then.

  19. Jandy says:

    Yup, but he isn’t bad looking, either ;)

  20. Jandy says:

    lol that was good times last night…Brandimal started a good one!

  21. 21sthebest says:

    Godspeed Dejan!

  22. Ex-Pat Pittsburgh Girl says:

    To say that I’m jealous you’re heading off to another winter Olympics would be an understatement. I’m insanely jealous. I spent two weeks at the Salt Lake games in 2002 and have been itching to get to another winter games ever since. Spent three days at the curling matches, saw the medal round of men’s halfpipe, men and women’s hockey, the ski jump. Spent evenings at the medal ceremonies just soaking up the experiences and meeting so many fantastic people from all over the globe. I’m still good friends with the couple from Sweden who patiently answered all of my questions about curling and in touch with many others that I either sat with or shared a table with for a meal. Looking forward to these games and the coverage. Enjoy every second.

  23. JohninOshkosh says:


    Don’t carry any bags or packages if anyone requests you to do so…

    Say “Hey” to Savannah Guthrie for me.

    Safe travels and have a blast!

  24. pattonbb says:

    Safe travels, Dejan. Looking forward to your coverage.

  25. Zico says:

    Not sure if it has been mentioned, but I saw an article yesterday that showed there was a Pittsburgh bar in Sochi. Dejan, maybe if you feel homesick there is an option for you?

  26. Brandie says:


    Have a wonderful time in Russia. Looking forward to reading the tasty tidbits from all of your adventures.

    PS…Beware of Improbable Heaving Bison’s.

    Inside joke…Dang Typos!

  27. Damon says:

    Agree about Sutter – he was flying around everyone, and if Anderson wasn’t on last night, he’d have 2-3 goals. Hope he keeps that up – Pens need that from their 3rd line.

  28. Jandy says:


  29. 21sthebest says:

    Blue Jays and Angels received A’s last offseason. :-)

  30. Jandy says:

    Yeah, but what about Detroit’s Bullpen??

  31. Brandie says:

    Sometimes improbable heaving bison’s are big enough to earn the title of double plural!

  32. buggee says:

    We’ve got it on dvr so we can watch that sweet save over and over. Absolutely stunning save by Fleur-Bag. Sometimes that man moves in ways that aint human.

  33. buggee says:

    howdy doody jandy! don’t you wish you were heading to Sochi?

  34. Damon says:

    One thing about last night’s Pens game – Ottawa could have been called for about, say 40 obstruction or interference calls, tackling Geno two or three times….I was getting really ticked. If the refs would just make the calls, the game would open up more. Ugh….that better not happen in the playoffs…..

  35. Wild Bill says:

    And a few other titles as well.

  36. buggee says:

    EYE candy again?

  37. Jandy says:

    NoooO!!!! No Sochi for me! I would prefer to keep my feet planted on American soul, buggee, my friend!

  38. Jandy says:

    errr soil.
    Brandecita is giving me back the jandy typo disease…

  39. Jandy says:

    something like that ;)

  40. Jandy says:

    Don’t hold your breath, Damon, you’ll turn blue!

  41. Wild Bill says:

    It was bad, Damon. I wonder if the league has decided that if they start calling those more, half the league’s players won’t be good enough to remain in the NHL?

  42. Brandie says:

    That is a great name for this here blog…A Perfectly Good Digression.

  43. theplanisworking says:

    Be safe, Dejan!
    Don’t do anything irrational just because there are no StarYucks over there!

    And, please don’t predict the US to win the hockey gold………. that will guarantee they will lose!!

    Looking forward to seeing what you send back to us.

  44. theplanisworking says:

    Only in Lewisburg…………. ;)

  45. theplanisworking says:

    You mean the baseball discussion that wasn’t a baseball discussion? Forgot about them…….

  46. theplanisworking says:


  47. Sarah says:

    That will be what happens in the playoffs and is becoming part of the Beat Pens blueprint.

    Actually, it will be worse in the playoffs.

  48. Sarah says:

    Yikes. I swear I didn’t write this, Peeps.

    Kind of stunned that anybody actually went there. In the media, I mean.

  49. Sarah says:


  50. Stuart says:

    Aptly named Brandicious one!


  51. Brandie says:

    Laid the situation bare. Ouch!

  52. Brandie says:

    Greetings Big Stu!

  53. Sarah says:

    Yup….I fear for Brooksie on that huge Olympic ice….where will he be in the 6-7 D rotation? Top pair w Martin? Who knows….

  54. Wild Bill says:

    Owww. That was harsh – but maybe accurate?

  55. Wild Bill says:

    As heard several times on the Ottawa team bus while en route to the airport last night: “That (bleeping) Fleury!”

  56. Jandy says:

    wow. blistering.

  57. Sarah says:

    I think it’s been more than 12 months actually….really noticed decline after his hernia surgery I think 2+ seasons ago…?

  58. Jim S. says:

    That will be the MO vs. the Pens, I fear, as we near the playoffs.

  59. Jim S. says:

    Enjoy yourself, and have safe travels, DK!

    Bring back Bob Kraft’s ring, please. I hear there’s a reward.

  60. Jim S. says:

    Is this another unfortunate typo, Brandie?

  61. Damon says:

    The NHL needs to drop Bettman, and get a strong leader who knows how to advance the game – a Pete Rozelle type. I’m just hoping the Olympics will be an awesome display of hockey at its purest form, and somehow the NHL will want that to carry over to the regular season & playoffs by keeping the game open via penalty calls.

  62. Brandie says:

    Et tu, Jimster?

  63. Jim S. says:

    Sometimes the information age is great. I was following Twitter last night, since the Pens were not available to me on TV. The Pens themselves tweeted about the Fleury save almost instantaneously, as did a bunch of others. Instinctively, I knew to switch to the NHL Network. Within minutes, I had seen what you all saw live. Tremendous save!!

  64. Brandie says:

    Your mind is getting all kinds of Schmutzy!

  65. tpbco says:


    Under the heading of dead horse beating…

    From Zeise’s blog, Pitt in the final 5 minutes of each of the three losses, was 10-22 from the foul line and in the final 9 minutes of those same three games scored exactly 3 FG’s.

    It ain’t the defense, Pitt’s or Duke or ‘cuse or UVA.

    Sure hope they take the rebound trainer of the hoop tomorrow nite.

  66. 21sthebest says:

    You’re incorrect. It was characterized as being primarily a bullpen discussion. I didn’t think that was accurate.

  67. Jandy says:

    Now you see why I screamed…

  68. tpbco says:

    Which Pens, the ones in the Press box?

    Kinda surprised not much mention of it from our resident experts.

  69. Jandy says:


  70. Milo Hamilton says:

    The first game I saw in person this year was against Fresno St.. I had one question then & it still hasn’t been answered. Who’s going to score ? And it’s going to continue to be a question as long as Dixon insists on playing this way. No supremely talented offensive player is going to come here just to be smothered by the coach.

  71. Sarah says:

    Especially mind boggling cos he came across w glove fairly low, and actually tracked the puck and raised the glove….that’s just filthy.

    Even oldsters like me can make a similar save whilst sliding laterally, but believe me there’s no tracking, you just flail the glove and somebody conveniently buries it in the string.

    MAF actually reacted to that shot. Mind-boggling!!!!!

  72. The article is fairly honest in assessing Orpik’s current abilities and questioning his effectiveness on the international ice surface, but to suggest Orpik would command $6M per year ruins any validity the article could have had. Even in their prime, physical shutdown defensemen with very limited offensive abilities do not command $6M.

    Ideally, Brooks Orpik is no higher than a 4/5 defenseman. As the article pointed out, he gets exposed against speed and is too much of a liability to lineup consistently against the opposing teams best lines. He can still be effective if used judiciously to physically wear down the opposition, especially over the course of a playoff series. Age and a punishing brand of hockey have taken their toll on Brooks, so his durability is a concern as his ability to play big minutes every night. Still, he’s a veteran leader in the locker room and an intimidating presence on the ice.

    I think his market value is realistically $4M. What the Pens would be willing to commit to I am not sure. With a lot of young defensmen coming up, with Matt Niskanen looking for a bigger role (and salary), and with Rob Scuderi locked in for the next four years, Brooks Orpik may not figure into the Pens plans over the mid or long term. I’m sure he could find a team willing to pay him $4.5 to $4.75M with some sort of limited NMC.

  73. Milo Hamilton says:

    When the groundhog saw his shadow the other day it also signaled 6 more weeks of the Pirates doing absolutely nothing.

  74. 21sthebest says:


  75. Poole says:

    What do you guys think the Pens could get in return for Orpik? Does he really have much value as a UFA?

    Also, do you believe Shero values his own integrity/reputation enough that he would stray away from a move and let him walk in free agency?

  76. theplanisworking says:

    Now, now, Milo, that isn’t exactly true.

    They are preparing for tryouts at Spring Training, getting ready to bring that warm weather north with them, and someone is polishing the glasses at the Bowtie Bar.

    Who needs a 1B?
    TBMTIB will be just fine.

    Hiya, Frank !!

  77. Jim S. says:

    I usually find that FT % for a team comes down to who is shooting the free throws, tpb. If James Robinson and Lamar Patterson are shooting a high % of the team’s FTs that is a good sign. That happens a lot in the last few minutes of games where Pitt is protecting the lead. In games where they are not closing out a win, you get more of a mixed bag of guys shooting free throws, and Pitt does not have a lot of other guys who shoot well from the line.

    I was excited about this team about 2 weeks ago, and they have not given us much to smile about since. They are not shooting field goals well. They are not rebounding consistently well at either end. Even though they often hold teams down somewhat in scoring, I really don’t believe they are playing defense all that well for a Pitt team. Their big guys can’t finish. For as much as Zanna has improved over his 4 years, he does not take the ball strong to the hoop against defenders that are his size. Patterson is just being taken out of games right now. Wright does some nice things, but he is not a consistent shooter.

    It looks to me like they will play a little better than .500 in the remaining ACC games, maybe get to the Semi’s of the ACC Tourney, and then get about a #8 seed, and lose in Rd 1 or Rd 2 of the NCAA Tourney again.

    Of course, I hope for better. But, that is what I see right now. I honestly don’t know who will be stepping up for this team next year. I think it will be a tough couple of years after this year. Patterson will be a huge loss.

  78. Jim S. says:

    + many, Milo. You can only have so many Cameron Wrights on your team. You need some CJ Fairs.

  79. Jim S. says:

    That could be.

  80. Milo Hamilton says:

    I’m thinking about taking my glove down. I’m probably too short for 1st base but I’ll work cheap.

  81. theplanisworking says:

    To add another point……….

    with the number of “1 and dones” in college basketball, no top player if going to come into a system that preaches discipline, and staying around 2-3 years to see any benefits.

    Freshmen want to play immediately, and be free to showcase their talents for the next level.

    Pitt will never get that type of player.

  82. Milo Hamilton says:

    Al McGuire used to talk about free throw % in crunch time, the last two minutes. He always said you’d be surprised how often the numbers from the first 38 minutes don’t match those from the last 2. When he coached he had those broken down so he knew who to foul & which of his own players he wanted to have the ball.

  83. Milo Hamilton says:

    And when he did get one (Adams) he had no clue what to do with him.

  84. theplanisworking says:

    Then you will be a perfect fit !!! ;)

  85. theplanisworking says:

    + many, Milo.

  86. tpbco says:

    Obviously, you have forgotten about the Matt Hague deal.

  87. tpbco says:

    Thank you Sarah.

    I was kinda refering to you.

  88. Baywatch says:


  89. Thundercrack says:

    They’re not going to sign/trade for a right fielder.
    Plenty of arms still available – including AJ. A lot of those deals may not get done (by any team) until it is closer to ST – or during.

    First baseman like Ike Davis or Smoak probably won’t be available until during ST or at the end. (unless Seattle signs Nelson Cruz or resigns K. Morales).

  90. tpbco says:

    Nah, I did play first AND led the team in Hrs, my senior year – so maybe they’d pick ME.

    Bad news is that it was 40 years ago.

  91. Jandy says:

    hey, hey, it’s Bay :D

  92. Jandy says:


  93. Baywatch says:

    Hey, Milo! We could give the Pirates a hometown discount, and me and you platoon! I don’t care … you hit right, I’ll hit left! Morneau couldn’t pull anything either! :-)

  94. Baywatch says:

    Hey, Jandy!

  95. Milo Hamilton says:

    HEY BAY !

  96. Wild Bill says:

    Unfortunately, I don’t think anybody trades for Orpik until after they’ve seen him play at the Olympics, and then there isn’t much time to get a trade done. If he plays well, there will be a market, and if not, the Pens may be stuck with him until FA.

  97. JohninOshkosh says:

    Many teams go deep without any players that will leave school early. Can’t recall a Badger leaving after 1 or 2 years and the Badgers have made the second weekend several times.

    I would say that if you are not the perennial historical powers, then your recruiting goal should be the 4-5 year players.

  98. Baywatch says:

    DK, forgive me if you’ve already mentioned your itinerary here, but I just now got interested in just WHERE Sochi is, and looked it up. How in the world do you fly/drive into there? Safe travels!

  99. Wild Bill says:

    If you guys all go for a tryout, I’m coming to watch!

  100. Milo Hamilton says:

    Here’s one for you Thunder. Last winter Neal made some really nice under the radar acquisitions like Jeanmar Gomez & Vin Mazzaro. Both of those guys were solid contributors to a playoff team. I wonder if a guy like Jaff Decker eventually falls into that category ?

  101. Thundercrack says:

    They seem to have better ‘luck’ with pitchers than position players.

    I just think there is still a lot of time to add to & improve the club.
    I doubt it will be a major signing or trade at this point.

  102. JohninOshkosh says:

    Speaking of middle age men, anybody here ever gone to a fantasy camp?

    Saw some footage of the Brewers fantasy camp on the news-looked really fun.

    My neighbor has been to a few of the Steelers fantasy camps.

  103. Wild Bill says:

    Fantasies should not be about baseball or football.

  104. NMR says:

    Travis Ishikawa goes to the Marlon Byrd school of “swing changes” and takes 1B platoon from Andrew Lambo by May.

  105. Jandy says:


  106. Baywatch says:

    Just did a little research. Sochi has an international airport! LOL, why is it I just assume that age 60, if I haven’t heard of a city in the world, it would be like working out your travel to Butler, Pennsylvania!

  107. Milo Hamilton says:

    Is that the “clear” swing change, the “cream” swing change or the “gummy” swing change ?

  108. Wild Bill says:

    What??? I was referring to a golf trip to Scotland. Now that’s a fantasy!

  109. Baywatch says:

    Even the fantasy guys in Brewers camp are on steroids … or pull their shirts out when they scratch out a single, or something!

  110. Jandy says:

    Silly you, Bay!

  111. Jandy says:

    ahhh. silly me ;)

  112. Baywatch says:

    I was hoping you’d just tell me to STFD, Jandy!

  113. Jandy says:

    Andrew Ebbett returned to WBS.

  114. Jandy says:

    Nah….why would I do that? We don’t see you often enough as it is :)

  115. Wild Bill says:

    Maybe your favorite guy in front of the net isn’t too badly hurt, then.

  116. JohninOshkosh says:


    Part of the camp includes lessons on syringe use on buttocks cheeks.

  117. Baywatch says:

    Hey, It’s LAMBO’S TIME! He’s going to make everyone forget about … well, at least Jeff Clement! Seriously, I think Lambo has a lot of nice confidence, is healthy and will bring some major bombs into play for us this year. It’s wait and see time, but … I love my Lambo! Lambo, Lambo, he’s our man, and if he can’t do it … me and Milo can!

  118. Jim S. says:

    Yep, about 10 years ago, Osh.

    A couple of really funny things happened, one the year I was there and one the year before when I didn’t attend but heard the story from colleagues. These were corporate deals. Some of the oldtimers the year I went were Yogi, Killebrew, Brooks Robinson, Moose Skowron, Fred Lynn.

    First story regarded Fred Lynn, who was our team’s coach. We lost the morning game the first day, with an afternoon game to follow – separated by lunch. Guys were ready to eat after the game, and started heading from the field to lunch.

    Fred Lynn says, “I guess you could go stuff your faces, if you are satisfied with losing. Those of us who are interested in winning this afternoon are going to take some BP instead.” We stood, frozen, for about 5 seconds, expecting him to smile and say he was kidding. He never did. Everybody skipped lunch and took BP. He was a lot more fun away from the field than on the field.

    Second story, as related to me by friends who attended. is pretty funny. I work in the auto industry, and we had a contest among our dealers, with the Sales Managers of winning stores attending. Anyway, one of the Sales Managers apparently thought he was going to be cute, and attempted to bunt a pitch by Jack Billingham (former Reds pitcher), which went foul. Billingham supposedly buzzed the guy’s chin area with the next pitch at a high rate of speed. The guy hit the dirt to avoid it. Billingham looked in and said to everyone, “So, we’re all agreed there won’t be any more bunting, right?” Everybody nodded as the guy got up and dusted himself off. The oldtimers have a lot of fun, and they take it easy on the campers. But, if they sense you are trying to show them or someone else up, they’ll let you have it. At least, that was my impression.

  119. theplanisworking says:

    Bunch of thugs. ;)

  120. Jim S. says:

    Gotta admit, I’d have a hard time avoiding the gummies.

  121. Jim S. says:

    I am intrigued by Decker myself. I think that was a good deal. He may be a contributor.

  122. Jandy says:

    I’m hoping!

  123. JohninOshkosh says:

    I know it is irrational, but a part of this Cold War era child is not excited in the least about the artist formally known as the USSR hosting the Olympics. Just like my older Jewish co-worker who can’t hide his glee when the Germans lose in the World Cup, they will always be the Ruskies to me and I hope they
    flop in the medal count.

    If the US men do not win hockey gold, then I guess I hope the Swedes do (as this Norwegian American gulps).

  124. JohninOshkosh says:

    Awesome story, Jim. Thanks.

  125. NMR says:

    Tim Williams once again pens a fair, balanced article examining all sides of an issue in Link #5.

    The 2012 Marlins and 2013 Blue Jays are perfect examples of how offseason spending – something the Pirates just so happen to not be participating in this winter – does not produce contenders. A plethora of his minions follow with responses about how you can’t buy your way to a championship.

    None of these people, apparently, actually watch Major League Baseball or else one would think the World Champion Boston Red Sox, spenders of $127m last winter, would’ve surely deserved a mention.

  126. NMR says:

    Didn’t Keith Law have him ranked as the Pirates #13 prospect or something like that?

  127. Wild Bill says:

    No love for the Canadians, John?

  128. JohninOshkosh says:

    Be prepared, NMR, those Blue Jays and Marlins will be referred to in perpetuity.

    Has any team not in the top one third of team payroll ever won a World Series ?

  129. Drew71 says:

    Worst four words in Florida:

    “I’m driving to Miami”

    Well. Except in 2010. When the worst four words were:

    “First Baseman Jeff Clement”

  130. Jandy says:

    It’s the Drewster!

  131. Jim S. says:

    I thought he made a good point that the so-called experts at SI & ESPN automatically equate “big splash” spending with being successful in the off-season and how that leads to predictions of a great season to follow. He didn’t say it, but I think you can throw in the MLB Network as also sharing that belief.

    He actually praised the BoSox in the article for all their mid-level moves last year that added to their existing roster. Ironically, though, very few experts picked them to get to the playoffs last year.

  132. Drew71 says:

    Think about 2010. I coulda gone several directions with that, huh?

  133. NMR says:

    The Blue Jays added Josh Johnson, Mark Buhrle, Jose Reyes, and RA Dickey.

    The Red Sox added Victorino, Drew, Gomes, Ross, and Napoli.

    Who would you have said did better? People said the Blue Jays had a better off season than Red Sox because they signed better players, not because they made bigger “splashes”.

  134. JohninOshkosh says:

    Outstanding music theme this week.

  135. That article about Orpik is a joke. Whoever wrote that is a hack…hockey writer my azz. I couldn’t even get thru half of it.

    Orpik’s play has declined into having the pens in 1st place by a mile or 2 while carrying PM on his back. He’s a plus player on a 1st place team while playing the toughest minutes. Oh and he’s been dealing with the ice tilted his way due to lack of depth in bottom 6 and injuries.

    Thats all folks. Back to retirement i go…

  136. Jandy says:


  137. Jandy says:

    You and Sarah disagree by a country mile on this one, Monster Mash.

  138. See my post above re: Orpik’s market value.

    As for Orpik’s trade value… I wouldn’t trade him until the offseason. Rugged shutdown defensemen are a valuable asset for playoff teams, but those teams aren’t going to give up much more than a mid-tier prospect or draft pick to rent him. From the Penguins perspective, I’m sure they’d much rather have that depth defensively for the playoffs than they would any prospect or draft pick. They can still decide to move his rights after the season, should it become clear they can’t come to terms.

    I think Ray Shero has already planned for the eventuality that Orpik may sign somewhere else. Rob Scuderi was signed in the offseason for four years at a very attractive price, and Scud’s fills a similar role to Orpik on the Penguins blueline (and in the locker room). The Penguins would miss Orpik’s physical presence initially, but there’s plenty of young defensemen in the system (big ones, like Bortuzzo and Dumoulin, at that) that would have the chance to step in and play a bigger role. Plus, I think that Shero is going to need that extra cap space to give Matt Niskanen a significant raise.

  139. bpn8pitt says:

    Some of the offseason report cards I saw slammed the Mariners or didnt even mention them. I really didnt get what they did. I only hoped the fallout would somehow land the Pirates Smoak.

    Wonder when the first Lloyd Mclendon meltdown will be?

  140. Baywatch says:

    Wild Bill! Come on DOWN!

  141. Jim S. says:

    A big chunk of those experts said the Blue Jays would make the playoffs – 35 of 43, which is over 80%.
    A very small amount of those experts said Boston would make the playoffs – 4.

    I thought his point was that the so-called experts are always attracted to the splash acquisitions, rather than the team that actually systematically improved its club. The Blue Jays sucked and the Red Sox won the WS.

    I keep hearing how the Yankees are going to make a run at the World Series because they added Ellsbury, McCann, Beltran and, now, Tanaka. More shiny objects for the Bronx faithful. What those people don’t notice is they have a hobbling old SS, no proven 3b or 2b, their 1b is coming off a major injury, and they lost the greatest closer ever and a possible HOF 2b. We’ll see where that gets them.

  142. Jim S. says:

    What the Mariners did doesn’t make any sense to me, bpn. Spent a ton of money on one great player, then added guys like Hart and Morrison who won’t add up to much. Then, they abruptly stopped. I guess they ran out of money.

  143. buggee says:

    a woman with heaving bisons got on the elevator with me this morning. “She” certainly caught my attention. she said “Press one please.” So I did.

    That’s all I remember

  144. Jandy says:

    will the price (ever) be right???

  145. NMR says:

    Sounds to me like Tim trying to be the smartest guy in the room. Shocking, I know.

    Is it a fact that those writers picked the Blue Jays because they made the biggest splash, or because they got the best players?

    You still haven’t answered me that one.

  146. Jag7 says:

    Was at game last nite, and I lost track of all the blunders Orpik made. His puck-handling and passing are abysmal. Also, Flower’s save left me speechless, but it wouldn’t have happened if Scuderi was actually, you know, covering someone instead of trying to play goalie 2 feet in front of Flower like he always is. All those talented Dmen can’t get in the line-up b/c these 2 are vets.

  147. Jandy says:

    Karlsson was to be covered by Sutter, he admitted he lost his guy…

  148. theplanisworking says:

    When these writers write their gibberish, they seem to frequently overlook if the players acquired are actual improvements over what a team had.

    Look at Pirates last off-season, they got martin, Liriano, Gomez, etc……. not one single “splash”, but all were upgrades over what previously existed.

    Look at the Pirates this off-season, Volquez, Hughes, etc……… they are NOT upgrades over what they had. The Volquez signing, and AJ non-signing appear to be one replacing the other, which is a huge downgrade. I know the BMTIB will say they didn’t replace AJ with Volquez, but on the surface, it appears that is what will be.

    As for Tim, he just needs to keep concentrating on scoring those “private chats” with Frank and Neal.

  149. NMR says:

    I’m fairly confident that all those players the Marlins and Blue Jays got were serious improvements over what they had.

  150. Jim S. says:

    Because they equate “big splash” with automatic playoffs. I don’t think there’s any question about that.

    Conversely, did any of those writers praise the Pirates for their intelligent moves last winter? Plenty of us felt they made some really intelligent acquisitions last year, and it turned out we were right. But, none of them were sexy moves. No shiny objects to distract Morosi, Heyman, Buster, Rosenthal, etc.

    You started off by saying the BoSox were not mentioned for their spending last winter, when, in fact, Tim mentioned them as a team who added intelligently but got no credit.

    I think his article was less about defending teams that don’t spend as it was about pointing out that teams get automatic credit for big splashy spending. I think he was saying a lot of the analysis is lazy, and I agree on that point. The Red Sox and Pirates proved that. Tampa proves it all the time.

  151. bpn8pitt says:

    Sometimes an order comes from higher that says ” Spend, win or else.”

    I think sometimes GM’s are forced to make moves or decisions they normally wouldnt. Some of the stuff Brian Cashman did last offseason as opposed to this year is a prime example.

    The Mariners and the Dodgers with their new TV deals.

    One of the best things Boston did was get rid of Valentine and get Farell back. Hard to believe people around here wanted Bobby V to run the Bucs awhile back. Wouldnt that have been a disaster?

  152. buggee says:

    would the NHL consider heaving bisons worthy of an obstruction call?

  153. NMR says:

    “Plenty of us felt they made some really intelligent acquisitions last year, and it turned out we were right.”


    Seriously, Jim?! Plenty of people here expected Russell artin to be a 4-WAR catcher, Frankie Liriano to be a legit Cy Young candidate, and Mark Melancon to be one of the best relievers in the league?

    Boy, I’d love to see those posts.

    Same thing with the Red Sox. Who was predicting those performances from Victorino, Napoli, Lester, Lackey, Uhera, etc?

    All Tim has done is show that EVERYBODY sucks at predicting baseball, including him, you, and I.

    And considering the title of his article was “Great Moments in BUYING a Contender”, I’m pretty sure there was a heavy price component involved.

  154. buggee says:

    Karlsson is world class talent too. Scuds is good, as is Sutter, but neither is a Norris trophy winner. Sutter blew the coverage, but there are 2 teams on the ice and talent of that level is tough to shut down.

    Unless the Pens employ a tactic which most fans I know despise; New Jersey-level obstruction!

    Gotta tip your hat to Karlsson for that play, and ya gotta GIVE your hat to Fleury for making that ridiculous save.

    For a few games there Fleury was in the process of reclaiming the nickname Me Lil Wifelett and I had coined for him; 3-Goal-Fleury. That save was nothing short of memorable!

    Way to go Picket-Fence Teeth! ETCH IT!

  155. Milo Hamilton says:

    I know I didn’t expect Russell Martin to be a 4 WAR catcher. Mainly because I have no clue what that is. And I plan on keeping it that way. :)

  156. JohnS says:

    I don’t think the article says anything all that challenge worthy up until they talk of $6M per or trading him. There is no way the Pens trade him. He has restricted movement (8 teams of his choice) and he is an UFA next year. I also can’t imagine a 34 year old stay home Dman getting $6M per year. If there is someone who wil pay him that I would say good luck Brooks. We appreciate your servce. Nothing he does or doesn’t do in Sochi will change that.

    Having Scuderi and Orpik take up over $7M in cap space next year just seems like a non-starter to me.

  157. buggee says:

    my whole life is a fantasy camp

  158. Jandy says:

    Raise the Jolly Shuttlecock!!!!

  159. Jandy says:

    And your lil wifelet is the Fantasy Camp Director ;)

  160. Wild Bill says:

    Keep on bringing it, hm! I like the argument.

  161. Karen22 says:

    Hi, plan! :D

    Still a “positive” kinda guy, eh?!

  162. Karen22 says:

    LOL! :)

  163. Jim S. says:

    Well, I don’t think I started posting here until May or so. But, I liked the Melancon deal a lot. I felt his 2012 was an aberration, and that Hanny was due for a fall – although I had no idea Hanny was injured.

    I liked the Liriano deal as well. I always thought his talent far outpaced his stats, and that he had a chance to be pretty good. He still performed far better than I expected, of course.

    I loved the Martin deal, and any true observer actually should have known how good his defense has been for awhile now. But, that got no headlines, kind of like when we acquired AJ the year before. When the Yankees give up on guys, the conventional wisdom is that the guy must not be any good. Turns out the Pirates are currently a lot smarter than the Yankees and they fleeced the Yankees of both of those guys.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying I am happy with the Pirates this off-season. I’m definitely not, and I said that all last week. I think they are cheaping out this off-season at this point. I think they should be in the $90M range, and it doesn’t look like they are heading there. That issue is separate from the Williams article.

    I just thought he made a good point about the instant analysis from the pundits in that article.

  164. Thundercrack says:

    I would say that the trade the Blue Jays pulled off last year was both: A Splash that contained a lot of good players. And one of the reasons it was a splash was because it had a lot of good players and it was just the year before that the Marlins signed all those players

  165. Double amen to Milo 4-War.

  166. 21sthebest says:

    Just looking quickly and using payroll at the beginning of the year:

    2008 Phillies
    2006 Cardinals
    2005 White Sox
    2003 Marlins
    2002 Angels

    2010 Giants snuck into the top third by $300k.

  167. NMR says:

    Milo’s a 4-WAR commenter.

  168. NMR says:

    Phillies and Cards both ended the season in the third, fwiw.

  169. NMR says:

    *top third

  170. JohninOshkosh says:

    Well, thanks, guys, that is very interesting. Much obliged. I thought I had heard that, but I must have been dreaming of WAR. Thanks, for the research. Check is in the mail.

  171. The Sochi Olympics are said to be the most corrupt and expensive in history, and it’s been said that the melagomaniac Russian leader Putin selected this place for the Olympics because it’s his favorite vacation spot as well as being that for rich Russians, and that Putin consigned development of the Sochi Olympics complex to his cronies and they’ve made a mess of it since 7 of the ten media hotels weren’t ready at last report, some of the Olympics complex wasn’t ready either, and they’ve been painting over the slums and shooting all the stray dogs in the streets. And, naturally, there’s the ever present terrorist threat. And so, one can only hope that the Olympics will go off without a hitch.

  172. Also, the Russians had to call in an expert from Finland to manufacture snow and ice because instead of snow falling in Sochi recently, they’ve been having flooding rains.

    DK: But on the bright side …

  173. Sarah says:

    Need more than that HM. It’s easy to be plus when your team is on top of the standings by a squillion points.

    Give us some arguments…..or refute the points in the story… you really think Orpik is strong net-front/good lateral or backward skater/maintains proper gap….and so on?

    Do you think he’ll be top pair w Martin?

    Do you really think he won’t be exposed on that big ice? If not…why?

    All due respect…what in particular about the article do you refute?…..

  174. Meanwhile, my message to Chris Letang is: Get well soon, and the sooner the better.

  175. pattonbb says:

    Freddie Freeman signs an extension for 8 year that will pay him between $110m and $130m. Wow. I like Freeman, a lot actually…but wow.

    You’re right Milo. Absolutely zero chance that Pedro gets re-signed.

  176. Pitt is always losing top football and basketball prospects to the pros or to other colleges anymore, and I would like to know why and when it’s going to stop.

  177. bpn8pitt says:

    If you’re talking about the 3 star QB that went to Vandy over Pitt, I don’t see that as the end of the world. This is Voytik’s team for the next two years. Plenty of time for Pitt to get another Qb.

  178. Arriba Wilver says:

    Average approx. $16 mil per for ages 24-31. Pretty sweet deal for both sides. And a smart deal for the club.

  179. theplanisworking says:


  180. Thundercrack says:

    Maybe Pedro will be that $100 million deal that FC talked about.


  181. No wonder that Dejan would want to look at the bright side concerning Sochi, since there is actually a Pittsburgh Bar in that resort town.

  182. Sarah, i made reference to pens being in 1st with the contribution of Orpik not in spite of him. I think we’re seeing orpiks game thru different prisms. And your wording suggests that PM is carrying orpik while i believe its vice versa. My belief is that you and others are drastically underestimating his skating ability. I know he’s not 27 anymore but he’s still very very mobile while playing against top competition. And some of those clips in the article that i recall from yesterday were a joke. If i remember correctly they showed clips of orpik hung out to dry after PM messed up. Maybe we’re just focusing on different things and seeing the game a little differently.

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