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Morning Java: Raising the bar

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

SOCHI, Russia — Morning, Lunatics …

>> The Thursday column is about exactly what you thought it would be after that one Instagram picture of Sochi’s Pittsburgh bar went viral earlier in the week.

Here’s the video I shot for WPXI-TV that aired on the Channel 11 News last night …

I’ll be doing such reports regularly, by the way. Hope they’re at least half as much fun as this one was.

Couple additional items on the bar, since it’s clearly piqued so much interest: Those four pics I took accompanying the column, that’s pretty much it. I think maybe some readers were expecting a Pittsburgh bar in the purest sense of the term, like something related to the Steelers. Not the case. In fact, there’s nothing at all about sports. It’s about images of our city. It’s not a big place, and the shots I gave you capture it fairly.

Basically, take this shot and multiply it by 3 1/2 …

One more time, since travel caused me to miss a Java — in more ways than one — here’s the package of Olympics links:

This was the Trib’s Olympics preview column that ran Sunday.

Here’s the Trib’s Olympics page, now modified, as this blog was a while ago, to accent mobile performance.

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.

>> Sidney Crosby’s slump is no more. Josh Yohe counts up all the Penguins’ goals from Buffalo.

Here’s the Trib’s Penguins page.

Here’s Sabres news from the Buffalo News.

Here are official game highlights from NHL.com.

>> Pitt and Miami either resulted in an OT win for the Panthers, or it’s still going on in some other netherverse. Kevin Gorman clarifies from Coral Gables.

Here’s the Trib’s Pitt page.

>> Duquesne can’t catch up with George Washington, by David Driver in the capital.

>> All the Signing Day news for Pitt, Penn State and West Virginia is wrapped up on the Trib’s college page.

>> I’m nine hours ahead, by the way, which means I’m actually writing Morning Java in the mornings now. Weird.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

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

206 Comments

  1. Great stuff DK!
    I learned a long time ago that nothing opens one’s eyes up like seeing how the rest of the world lives.
    Enjoy it!….

  2. Wonderful first piece after just touching down and not sleeping for over a day. Can’t wait for all that follows, but the “I’m *from* Pittsburgh!” moment will be hard to top. I can see it playing out just as you described. An instant classic.

  3. Awesome video, Dejan…thanks for that after the flight and no sleep…

    • What she said. This is why I like Dejan. He is such an “Every Guy” who happens to be a sports reporter. Made me feel like I was there! Can’t wait for more.

      • Ditto those sentiments, ladies! So very cool!! Looking forward to feeling “like (I’m) there” over the next couple weeks!

        :D

        • That was a neat piece.

          Question for you, DK, if you get a moment: are the instances of “hacking” really as bad as the reports indicate or are the threats overstated? I watched one national news outlet’s report that urged travelers to leave their electronic devices at home or keeping all internet access turned off. They went to a local coffee shop, jumped on the wifi, and were compromised in less than a minute. The impression I got was that Russia was the Wild West of the Web.

  4. Pens had a nice win last night…after I worried about them playing down to their opponent…

    HEAVE THE HEFTY BISON!!!!!

  5. JAL’s Midnight Glories Morning Links

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNZayhMqT9E

    GENERAL DAILY UPDATED BASEBALL SITES

    1- MLB Transactions

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/pittsburgh_pirates/

    3 BFFL’s 2014 Pirates Stats Spreadsheet

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AsjN0zO-DxI0dDNkaWxFNWIwNDVUQzEwYXp5SlpGNkE&usp=drive_web#gid=0

    4 Pirates Prospects Spring Training Tracker

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/st2014

    BLOGS and such

    5—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: Why is Defense Still Underrated?

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/02/first-pitch-why-is-defense-still-underrated.html

    Baseball Prospectus Releases Their Top Ten Pirates Prospects

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/02/baseball-prospectus-releases-their-top-ten-pirates-prospects.html

    6 Rumbunter

    Again, Baseball Prospectus Predicts Doom for Pittsburgh Pirates

    http://rumbunter.com/2014/02/06/baseball-prospectus-predicts-doom-pittsburgh-pirates/

    7 Bucs Dugout

    Orioles sign Evan Meek

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2014/2/5/5384048/orioles-sign-evan-meek

    8 Saber Bucs

    Wasting Starling Marte; Torturing Jose Tabata

    http://saberbucs.com/blog/2014/02/05/wasting-starling-marte-torturing-jose-tabata/

    9 Green Weenie

    2/5: The Tiger, Barney Dreyfuss, Ted Simmons, Steady Freddy…

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2014/02/25-tiger-barney-dreyfuss-ted-simmons.html

    10 MLB-Pirates Site

    Amid ice, snow, Pirates truck packed, off to Florida

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/pit/amid-ice-and-snow-pirates-truck-packed-bound-for-spring-training?ymd=20140205&content_id=67486590&vkey=news_pit

    ‘Million Dollar Arm’ Singh aiming for Major Leagues

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/pit/barry-m-bloom-million-dollar-arm-rinku-singh-aiming-for-major-leagues?ymd=20140205&content_id=67480206&vkey=news_pit

    11 Battling Bucs

    All Era Team: Pre 1900

    http://www.pghsportsforum.com/forum/showthread.php/16715-All-Era-Team-Pre-1900

  6. NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    12 Rant Sports

    5 Questions Pittsburgh Pirates Must Answer During Spring Training

    http://www.rantsports.com/mlb/2014/02/05/5-questions-pittsburgh-pirates-must-answer-during-spring-training/

    13 Pirates 101

    Who Should the Pittsburgh Pirates Take in the 2014 Draft?

    http://www.sportsmedia101.com/pittsburghpirates/2014/02/05/who-should-the-pittsburgh-pirates-take-in-the-2014-draft/

    14 Redbird Rants

    St. Louis Cardinals to have lower payroll in 2014

    http://redbirdrants.com/2014/02/05/st-louis-cardinals-lower-payroll-2014/

    15 Chipped Ham Sports

    Pirates Notes: The Inventive Career of Edinson Volquez

    http://chippedhamsports.com/2014/02/04/pirates-notes-the-inventive-career-of-edinson-volquez/

    16 Fangraphs

    Pittsburgh Pirates Bullpen

    http://www.fangraphs.com/fantasy/pittsburgh-pirates-bullpen/

    17 Allied News

    EXTRA INNINGS: Keeping up with Joneses not easy for frugal Pirates

    http://www.alliednews.com/sports/x1280775817/EXTRA-INNINGS-Keeping-up-with-Joneses-not-easy-for-frugal-Pirates

    18 Lebanon Democrat

    Analytics: Going behind the numbers in baseball

    http://www.lebanondemocrat.com/article/sports/332336?topstories=

    19 Baseball Prospectus

    Entropy and the Eephus

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=22758

    20 Sweetspot

    Ranking the teams: 18 through 13

    http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/44067/ranking-the-teams-18-through-13

  7. Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Richard Sherman is proof that passing isn’t impossible to stop

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2014/2/5/5381980/richard-sherman-is-proof-that-passing-isnt-impossible-to-stop

    Moves have been made addressing the offense, now it’s time to improve the defense

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2014/2/5/5381162/steelers-defense-2014-depth-chart-roster

    22 Steelers Depot

    Offseason Priorities: Putting Safety First

    http://www.steelersdepot.com/2014/02/steelers-offseason-priorities-putting-safety-first/

    Soccer(football)

    23 Bloomberg Stats Insight

    Bundesliga Column: The Obligatory Bayern Article

    http://www.bsports.com/statsinsights/football/bundesliga-column-obligatory-bayern-article

    24 BBC Football

    Robbie Savage: How Mourinho’s tactical triumph sank Man City

    http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/football/26025948

    PENGUIN BLOGS and NHL Links

    25 Pensburgh

    Recap: The beatings will continue until morale improves..Pens win

    http://www.pensburgh.com/2014/2/5/5384812/recap-the-beatings-will-continue-until-morale-improves-pens-win

  8. Well, the Sochi games are officially underway today. It’ll be interesting to see how everything turns out. Since Tampa’s Stamkos won’t be going for medical reasons, James Neal might go in his place, although others are being considered as well.

  9. It’ll be interesting as well to see what Steelers games will be featured in that CBS/NFL package next season.

  10. And then, there’s that Pitt game which the Panthers won in overtime since Lamar Patterson finally came out of his scoring slump and Pitt overcame sloppy play and lack of scoring against the Hurricanes, which are near the bottom of the ACC.

  11. Dejan, the bartender in your report said that the bar was opened after the owners visited pittsburgh and really liked the city and enjoyed their time here.

  12. DK – great article and report on Channel 11. That place needs some Terrible Towels, Jolly Roger flag and a Geno jersey to hang up to get the full effect.

  13. Great column, Dejan. One thing we can always count on is that even when you leave Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh never leaves you!

    • Ditto Jim. Excellent column. Puts you right there.

    • So true, Jim. So true. There is just such a crazy bond that brings us folks together and you seemingly can find a piece of home not matter where you are, even as far as Sochi, Russia. How crazy is that…

      Great stuff DK, and looking forward to the coverage throughout! Need to work to get all the “Pittsburgh” Olympians to the Pittsburgh bar for a group photo out front – would be priceless!

      Take care.
      Randy in RVA.

  14. STARLING MARTE, STAN MUSUAL, SMOKEY BURGESS (6) DAYS UNTIL PITCHERS AND CATCHERS REPORT TO BRADENTON FOR SPRING TRAINING

  15. Caught NHL Tonight. Interviewed Genoa after last night’s win. Got my smile on. Hilarious!!!!!!!!

  16. Interesting night last night.

    Pens won, but there is an excellent article by Yohe about the clutching and grabbing. Pens are not going far in the playoffs, due to team m akeup, and refs refusing to call obstruction penalties, which hurts the Pens.

    Pitt basketball again tried to set basketball back 100 years last night.
    Just painful to watch.

    • Pitt now looks like a 8/9 seed to me, plan. I did not see last night’s game, but I followed it on the ESPN app. I had a pretty good feeling going into the game that this was going to be another “throwback” game. Miami is not good, but they do keep opponent scoring to one of the lowest amounts in the ACC. So, that told me they would be lucky to crack 50 points.

      I could just apply my criticism of NHL playoff hockey to ACC basketball now. Everyone thought Pitt was going to need more athleticism and guys who could push the ball when they got to the ACC. Well, it turns out VA, Miami, Syracuse, Pitt & soon Louisville are all teams that are more than willing to play the style of basketball Pitt thought it was abandoning in the Big East. Half the teams in this league want the score in the 50′s, it seems.

      • I watched the second half and overtime. It was painful quite frankly. Miami’s defense deserves a lot of credit. Pitt had great difficulty finding the holes in their match up zone defense. Miami out-rebounded Pitt but some of Miami’s shots were so off they resulted in ridiculously long caroms of the rim. I wish Pitt had been able to get a better shot off at the end of regulation. Lamar Patterson carried the day for the Panthers. They need some others to produce more consistently on offense as well.

        I’ll be at the game this Saturday. Looking forward to my weekend in Pittsburgh and hopefully a Panther victory that includes a little more scoring and a better pace of play.

      • Totally agree with you Jim, not sure it is Pitt that is setting the game of basketball back as it is the style of play by teams like Miami, Virginia, Clemson and Syracuse like to play.

        There are four teams in the ACC in the top ten in scoring defense.

  17. Thank you, NBC Sports channel. Pens at Sabres was shown nationally.

    * The goals by Sid and Geno were amazing. Fleury played great. Excellent goals by Z Man, Adams and Nealer.

    * I didn’t really see the point of the Engelland fight, but he looked like a child next to that behemoth at 6’8″ and 259.

    * One of the guys in the studio after the game (after Roenick and whats-his-name had left) asked the question, “Who can realistically stop Pittsburgh if Sid and Malkin are motivated and playing like this?”

    I think we know the answer. Just about any team can stop them if the old “clutch and grab” is AOK with the NHL by the 2nd round.

    The NHL is such a beautiful sport, and the players are so amazingly gifted when they are allowed to display their skill. I’m sorry if NJ and a few other teams don’t have players that can do anything creative, and don’t like talent to be put on full display. I believe all fans – casual or die-hard – hate when players like Sid are wearing another player on their backs all night, or are interfered with every time they get a head of steam in open ice. The popularity of the sport will explode if the game becomes more wide open, especially in the playoffs. 2-1 games, with 40 total shots on goal don’t excite the public much IMO.

    • Engelland looked like Rocky vs. Drago. From what I understand, Engelland went after Ott after his hit on Harry Z, but Ott refused, and then the Sabres sent out largehumanonskates. Weak. Engelland didn’t back down though.

      I was also surprised Milbury defended Sid for going after Ott after how showed how Ott took a cheap hip check in front of the net.

      Megna and Gibbons looked great on Sutter’s line. They were hounding the Sabres all night, getting some steals. Their speed is awesome. Makes me think if Shero doesn’t do anything that Bennett is slotted for Sid’s RW.

      Fleury was awesome, but it made me think last night – I hope Fleury isn’t rusty coming out of the break like he usually is starting seasons. He’s on a roll. Octobers aren’t really his good month….

      • Gary Bettman could take a page from Engo and grow a set :D

      • Thanks for the info. on the Engelland fight, Damon.

        I agree wth you on Milbury regarding the Sid skirmish with Ott. Milbury was right on that, but it was odd to me that he actually sided with Sid. I’m surprised he didn’t go completely in one direction or the other on that:

        * Sid should have just turned the other cheek.

        OR

        * Sid is a wimp for not automatically dropping his gloves immediately.

        Milbury surprised me there.

  18. And now, the feds are warning travelers on direct flights to Russia about terrorists possibly hiding bombs in tubes of toothpaste during the Olympics. Anyhow, here’s hoping that half this nonsense will fade away once the games get underway.

  19. In regards to JAL’s #13 link, I think the Pirates should consider 3B in the draft, early. Off the top of my head I cannot think of 3Bman in their system that is rated highly. Its probably time to start investing in Pedro insurance…A left handed powerbat at 1B would be nice, too. Been screaming about that one since 2001.

    • Unless they can find a 3B that absolutely mashes, I’d rather take a shortstop considering few of them actually have the chops to be a big league caliber defenders. A move to 3B should then be easy, while still giving the chance of actually developing into a shortstop. By my count, at least four of the top ten minor league 3B prospects for 2014 took this path.

      As for 1B, exactly one player in all of the Top 100 prospect lists released in the last month combined called 1B his primary position. These guys just simply aren’t worth 1B draft picks unless they’re absolute, no-doubt studs.

  20. Marty St. Louis makes team Canada. Glad Neal didn’t make it so he can rest and avoid getting hurt. Glad Giroux didn’t make it because…..I don’t like Giroux.

  21. It was Salami from the White Shadow, wasn’t it.

  22. Some thoughts after last night’s road win for the Panthers, a big one considering Pitt had lost in its last six visits to Miami.

    Firstly, I was not surprised, disappointed or thought that this game would somehow be an offensive battle or that Pitt would snap out of it against one of the best defensive teams in the country. Miami is 10th in the country in points allowed at 59.5 a game, they make it hard on everybody. Miami lost to #1 Syracuse 49-45, and I think most believe Syracuse is just fine. This is still a Miami team that owns wins at North Carolina, and Arizona State two tourney teams, and is well coached.

    Pitt is 19-4 and just to run down their losses:

    Lost to #7 Cinci by one point on a missed shot and put back at the buzzer in a neutral court game, which easily could have resulted in a Pitt win,

    Lost to # 1 Syracuse by five points in a game they led by 3 at the Carrier Dome only to falter in the closing minutes. Certainly a game the team would like to have back but easily could have won with better execution in final 3 minutes.

    Lost to #20 Virginia in a game that was never separated by more than 4 points on a last second three point shot. Bennett has coached this way at Washington State and continues this methodical approach at Virginia. Had Artis after gaining the rebound pulled the ball out with :10 and looked for better shot or just finished at rim, Pitt easily could have one this game.

    Lost to #11 Duke – only game this year where things truly got away from Pitt….it was close for 20 minutes, Duke just dominated in the second half.

    Really no shame in any of those losses, and quite honestly Pitt easily could have won 3 of them, a play here or a play there. Pitt does not own a bad loss this season.

    Pitt is tied for third in ACC play at 7-3 with Duke and three of their remaining ACC games are against Virginia Tech, Boston College and Notre Dame the bottom teams of the 15 team ACC which all should hopefully be gimmes and two others against teams Pitt has already defeated in NC State and Clemson.

    Some how some way, this team has a RPI of 24, a BPI of 10, is ranked in both human polls and has a real shot to finish in the top four of the ACC in the first year of a new conference and qualify for the NCAA Tourney for a 12th time in 13 seasons.

    Now the way this team as constructed does not lend itself to much hope of a deep March run, but really not sure that was the expectation going into this season, as Pitt was not even a ranked team to start the year. I think this team is exceeding expectations especially considering they are playing the majority of the league schedule without their first guy off the bench in Johnson.

    • I hadn’t realized going in that Miami was that good defensively. Also, sounds like Zanna’s still a little hampered by that sore ankle.

      • I wouldn’t have thought that Miami was that good defensively either, or that would take a double overtime to beat the Hurricanes since while Pitt is now 19-4, Miami is now only 11-11.

      • I noticed that yesterday afternoon, and came to the conclusion it was going to be a game where Pitt would be lucky to win.

        Part of it, I think, is just about everybody important from last year’s great Miami team graduated or left for the NBA. So, I think they are pretty young. Maybe Coach Larranaga figured he had to clamp down defensively this year because it was his only chance to be competitive. I think his teams are usually good defensively, but they are really playing low scoring games.

        I really hope this is not a trend that will be growing in the ACC.

        • At the beginning of the game the announcers said (I thought) that it was all freshmen, but turned out Brown was their big player, and he’s a senior. Adams also seemed like a pretty good player, but I’m not sure if he’s a freshman or not.

  23. Another player from my trade wish list is apparently available:

    http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=443145

    Hint…its not gagne.

  24. Wow, just heard today was the last Tim and Bob will host the X morning show. Tim is going to be the sports director for the clear channel stations in Pittsburgh plus having a show on 970. Bob is going to be Mark Madden’s show director. Too bad, I liked their show in the mornings on the way to work…now I need to find another morning show. I used to listen to Mike and Mike, but they advertise their advertisements, plus I got sick of all the Jets questions and commentary.

  25. Whatever bad we’ve been all hearing lately about Sochi, I just know you will all love that interview Dejan had at the Pittsburgh Bar and Restaurant in that Russian resort town which I just saw on Facebook.

  26. Milo:

    I jumped off here for a bit. Thanks for offering info on Pirates Spring Training. I have never been to it before, and I think my kids would really enjoy it either next year or the year after. I was wondering what is the best week to go down? Any advice on where to stay, places to eat, other activities. That sort of thing.

    • Mixon’s. That’s all I know, except I know Drew likes Pirate City before the games start.

      ;-)

    • First and foremost. make Anna Maria Island your landing spot. Places to stay fill up fast for March so you’ll need to get on it in the fall. If you wait until Christmas to book, it’s probably too late. It’s absolutely beautiful. it’s quiet & it’s slow. You’re about 10 miles from McKechnie Field, leave yourself about 30 minutes for all the traffic lights at the various strip malls in Bradenton proper (DK’s favorite). I’ve been going the 2nd week of March, schools are usually out then for spring break.

      • That pesky spring break thing might be a problem. I think ours is later here – usually very close to the start of April.

        Thanks for the info., Milo. I’m going to keep al of that in mind.

        • Sweet Jimmie,

          1/ If you can schedule any time, go right when players report in February. All the big league players are at Pirate City, taking batting practice, infield practice, outfield practice, catchers pop-up drills, pitchers fielding practice on 4 full fields and two infields. You can choose who and what you want to watch. You can be just 10 – 15 feet off the fields behind cyclone fence and you feel like you are right there. You can hear the coaches give instructions. You can hear encouragement the players give to each other. You can hear them rag on each other. On one field you can even go into the parking lot in right and catch batting practice homeruns——I got 2 last year from Garrett Jones and Pedro.

          2/ You can also stand right behind the catcher when the pitchers warm up, 4 at a time, in the bullpen.
          Each pitcher throws every other day and you can soon figure out the schedule of who you want to see. You stand right behind the catcher 7-8 feet behind him, separated by cyclone fence again. It’s so neat to watch the movement on those pitches and hear the pop in the glove!

          3/ All this is going on at the same time. Bunting practice, throwing to 2nd, outfielders throwing to bases, cutoffs, blocking plate, pitches in dirt, sliding practice, batting practice in groups of 4 (3 groups), with other 2 groups in field, double plays, Searage working with individual pitchers . . . . all this is going on at same time. Pick and choose: it’s so great! Watch Cutch and Marte hit batting practice, then watch Pedro field grounders, then watch Martin, Sanchez, and Stewart block pitches, then watch pitchers bunt.

          4/ Practice runs from about 9:30-10:00 to 12:30-1:00. It’s even fun to watch the different groups come out early to do calisthenics and loosen up. If you ever doubted that AJ was the leader of that pitching staff——the rest of the pitchers when loosing up follow him around like puppies.

          5/ If you choose to come back in the afternoons, you will find the young Minor Leaguers working with completely different coaches. It’s fun to watch the Hansons and the Polancos and the Josh Bells. However, memorize their faces to look for them, because there are no names on their uni’s.

          6/ Anna Maria Island is the place to stay if possible. You are right on the beach. I run on the beach to invigorate myself when the sun rises, then go to practice. It’s so great! Then I go back to the beach after lunch and practice, to read and roast and watch the sights and be inspired by the waves. (Disclaimer: few college girls on the beaches in February!) Such a relaxing time. It’s worth spending the $$$ for Anna Maria Island if you can.

          7/ If you cannot go in February, then later in March would be best, as many cutdowns would already have occurred and you get to see the actual Pirates instead of non-roster guys like early in Spring Training. McKechnie Field is a nice little Minor League ballpark and you will feel very close to the action. If you don’t spring for the best seats behind home plate (still reasonable), then sit in the right field bleachers. There is a warm up area behind the right field wall and indoor and outdoor bullpens where pitchers work behind the foul stands in right field, so you can be attuned to when actual players are working out and get up close. And the Pirates bullpen is right there in the open at the foul pole.

          8/ I go early because I like talking to the players, and they will talk more at the beginning of Spring Training when there are less people pulling at them. I’ve had some great conversations with Jordy Mercer, Clint Barmes, Neil Walker, Garrett Jones, and The Fort. But even McKechnie Field is great, and Clint will engage you in conversation sometimes. Plus you can catch players walking between bullpen and clubhouse in right field.

          9/ With McKechnie games in afternoon (one a year at night), it will take up the big part of your day . . . . another reason I like going to Pirate City. But . . . IT’S ALL GOOD!!

          10/ Spring Training is my “Time of Refreshment” each year. I feel close to the Pirates, I take no work with me, I am inspired by God at the greatness of the ocean and the power of the waves, I catch up on my Sports newspapers, I read mystery novels, and I solve the problems of the world. It would also be a great family time for you.

          11/ Eat at the Cairo Fish Works, I think it is called. It’s at a fishing pier at the end of the Cairo bridge going onto Anna Maria Island (the southern of the 2 bridges to the island). Its an outdoor restaurant and you feel that the fish were swimming that morning. And it’s not cheap, but inexpensive. Good pizza joint right near there also. And a breakfast restaurant, all in that section near Cairo Post Office.

  27. News flash.

    The NBA’s Cavs have fired their GM.

    There. That’ll fix everything.

  28. “Ryan Clark says NFL players, including some of his teammates with the Pittsburgh Steelers, turn to smoking marijuana for a variety of reasons, especially as a means to relieve pain and manage stress.” – espn

  29. Ralph Kiner has died.

    • I saw that. 91 years old.

      My dad used to tell me, “Ralph Kiner would hit 2 homeruns every Lady’s Day.” That was back when there was such a thing as Lady’s Day. I don’t know if there was any truth to it at all. But, every time Kiner’s name came up, like clockwork, my dad would trot out that story.

      The man had a shortened career due to injury, but he was a monster at the plate. He hit 40+ HR for 5 straight years, twice going over 50. He had big slugging %’s, and his OBP was often over .400. If he were doing that in his prime today, he would be making $25 million per season.

      I guess Branch Rickey didn’t like something about him, but it sure could not have been his hitting. Maybe he was a butcher in the OF. I think he had a bad back.

      I loved Kiner’s Korner after Mets’ games on TV as a kid.

      RIP, Ralph Kiner.

      • So, I just looked up his career stats. How about this career slash line:

        .279/.398/.548

        10 year career, 369 HR, 1,015 RBI, 1,011 BB. Pretty easy to divide those career #’s by 10 and see what he averaged per season.

        I have heard some people actually try to say he did not deserve to be in the HOF because his career was not long enough. He could have tacked on 5 mediocre seasons, with better health, and still made it.

        • Good stuff, Jim. My Dad loved Ralph Kiner, talked about him, just like your Dad did :)

          • As did mine. Things like this always make me think of him.

            • And that’s a good thing, Milo. I will forever be thankful to my dad for teaching me so much about the oldtime baseball players.

              As a result, I pass it on to my 12 year old son. And, he has badgered me into taking him to Cooperstown the last 2 summers after his baseball season ended.

              When he gets home and reads my text to him about Ralph, he’ll be bummed – just like me.

              • Ha! No sooner did I finish typing that, and I got a text back from my son:

                “Aww, that’s really sad. One of my favorite players ever.”

      • “We finished last with you, we can finish last without you.”

        Kiner’s salary demand was the only thing Rickey didn’t like.

        I don’t think there’s any truth to the rumor that Neal is a descendant.

        :-D

    • Here’s an obit written by Marty Noble. Check out the very end for some “Kinerisms” and a good laugh.

      http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/pit/baseball-hall-of-famer-ralph-kiner-dies-at-91?ymd=20140206&content_id=67508988&vkey=news_pit

  30. Tim McCarver and Ralph Kiner doing a post-game wrap-up:

    McCarver: “…because like General MacArthur once said, ‘The prepared man wins the day.’”

    Kiner [drily]: “Well, he also said ‘I shall return,’ and so shall we after these words.”

  31. Sorry to hear Ralph Kiner has passed.

    My favorite Kinerism was this………..

    “Hello, everybody. Welcome to Kiner’s Corner. This is….uh. I’m…uh”
    He, and Yogi Berra, were way too funny.

  32. May Ralph Liner rest in peace. He was entertaining enough as a Mets announcer, and quite a ballplayer. He will be missed.

  33. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says he still opposes pot use although he’s also said that he wouldn’t object to pot for medicinal purposes before backing off. Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to get around drug tests administered only twice a year at training camp time. Meanwhile, Ryan Clark is nearly done as an active pro football player so what has he got to lose.

  34. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says he still opposes pot use although he’s also said that he wouldn’t object to pot for medicinal purposes before backing off. As for Ryan Clark, well. his pro career is almost done so what has he got to lose.

  35. As for Brett Wallace who was released by Houston today. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

    Sorry, my finger must have gotten stuck. :)

  36. Sweet Jimmie,

    I left you a lengthy response above about Spring Training.

  37. The Steelers’ official response to Ryan Clark is that they support the NFL’s drug testing policy. And that’s that right now.

  38. Ryan Clark has just sworn up and down that he doesn’t use drugs or smoke pot himself, although he also, like other players, says that the NFL is fighting a losing battle against drugs in pro football.

  39. Regarding Ryan Clark’s revelations today on why Steelers smoke pot, somebody wittier than me should comment on how they relieve stress and recreate over at 115 Federal. (Hi, Frank.)

  40. 2/6/2014 4:39 P.M. ET
    Statement from Pirates President Frank Coonelly on passing of Hall-of-Famer Ralph Kiner
    “All of us at the Pittsburgh Pirates have heavy hearts upon learning of Ralph Kiner’s passing. Ralph was one of the greatest players to ever wear a Pirates uniform and was a tireless ambassador for the game of baseball. He was a treasured member of the Pittsburgh community during his seven years with the Pirates. Our heartfelt sympathies, thoughts and prayers go out to his children, grandchildren, other family members and many friends. He will be missed by all of us at the Pirates organization.”

  41. Rossi with more No News on Letang. Upper body.

    I can only think its that elbow infection back. Would explain him up and about seemingly OK. But you can’t put the pads on. Hmm. Just guessin tho.

    • My thought too. And my concern. Lingering internal infections that are not responding to treatment (at least the first one) could be a lengthy recovery and serious health risk. Certianly hope neither are the case and he’s back on the ice soon.

      • Yeah….infections can be funny…get “embedded”…. Hard for your immune system to knock down. Good luck to Letang, hope he’s 100 pct soon.

  42. The Pens don’t believe Chris Letang’s illness to be serious, yet a final diagnosis hasn’t been made yet.

  43. For all the criticism that Letang receives for his inconsistent play, one would think there’d be less concern over why he’s out and when he might return.

    Maybe they’ll place him on LTIR when it’s determined he’s contracted Zimbabwean Fungal Bloom and be able to use the cap savings to trade for a winger for Sid and then figure out the cap situation in the off-season.

    Or maybe not.

  44. ESPN’s David Schonfeld’s take on the Pirates for 2014:

    http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/44067/ranking-the-teams-18-through-13

  45. Believe it or not, Kiner was before my time

    My grandfather used to tell me, folks would stay at Forbes till his last at bat then leave

    91 and still productive last year is pretty cool

  46. According to the Penguins, Chris Letang’s condition is treatable with blood thinners and not career threatening. He’ll be in treatment for 6 weeks, then reevaluated.

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