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Morning Java: In search of a hero?

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

SOCHI, Russia — Доброе утро, Lunatiks …

>> The Wednesday column is about Ray Shero, Dan Bylsma, their relationship and how the together with the rest of Team USA’s management they’ve carved an encouraging identity for the Americans here.

This was not what I’d planned to write about for the day. But good material like this will trump the best of plans.

Bode Miller and now Shaun White have bombed out, and some others bowed out to injury. Can the U.S. find a hero?

The Sochi Hockey Notebook looks at Brooks Orpik moving up, Evgeni Malkin talking, line combos and more.

Here are all five videos for Channel 11 News so far, including the latest about palm trees vs. snow …

I’m also doing weekday reports for TribLIVE Radio, and the Tuesday podcast was comprised of questions I had for Sidney Crosby, Chris Kunitz and Jeff Carter of Team Canada.

Here’s the Trib’s Olympics page.

Here’s the official Sochi 2014 page.

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

Here’s the official NHL Olympics page.

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

>> What, you didn’t believe me about the palm trees and snow?

Shot that a couple days ago. Crazy, huh?

That long thing on the left is the speedskating oval, by the way. That’s where I’ll spend most of today.

>> Collecting pins has traditionally been a favorite pastime at any Olympics – I’m no exception — but it isn’t an option here.

Oh, they exist. One can find them online, including at the Sochi Games’ official site. But there are none at Olympic Park, not even the IKEA-sized main merchandise store. The usual independent merchants are trading pins, but even they have nothing from Sochi.

It’s reached the point where Sochi spokeswoman Alexandra Kosterina was asked about it during one of the daily briefings. She expressed surprise but had no answer.

I’m pinning my hopes on an answer soon.

>> Back home, there’s another chance for Pitt to knock off No. 1 Syracuse, this time at the Pete. Kevin Gorman reports.

>> Pitt is eyeing a former USC quarterback, by Jerry DiPaola.

>> Joey Porter’s back? For real?

Oh, a great chance to resurrect this …

But seriously, Porter is now a defensive assistant, by Mark Kaboly. I dare say from seeing that video again, the current Steelers could use a bit of what some of the gentlemen pictured brought to the table.

>> There will, of course, be a Pitt-Cuse game thread up later.

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.

497 Comments

  1. That Steelers/Joey Porter video is hysterical….lol….Hysterical AND an attitude that is sorely needed by the current Steelers.
    We’ve seen some nice coaching moves so far this off season.
    Let’s hope they back it up with some personnel moves that make a real difference…..

  2. • • Welcome Lunatics, if you don’t see your current location below, please add a reply to this post

    Dejan’s Lunatic Nation

    Afghanistan – skeetermc*
    Arizona – Tucson, Chandler, Phoenix, Sunnyslope, Davis-Monthan AFB*, Lake Havasu City
    • Argentina, Buenos Aries
    Arkansas – Rogers
    Alaska – Anchorage
    Australia – Mackay, Gold Coast, Geelong, Sydney
    Brazil – Vitoria, São Paulo
    California – Bakersfield, San Francisco, UNION CITY, Los Angeles, Newport Beach, Hollywood, Huntington Beach, Yuba City, Solana Beach, Yorba Linda, Yuba City*, Edwards*, Long Beach, Modesto, Davis, Santa Monica, Solana Beach, Canyon Country, Burbank, West Hills, Encino
    Canada – Toronto, Winnipeg, Moncton – New Brunswick, Ontario – Muskoka, Perth – home of the Ottowa RedBlacks
    China – Beijing
    Crete – Vlites
    Colorado – Ft Collins, Estes Park*, Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs
    Connecticut – Cos Cob, Bridgeport, Wallingford, Norwalk, NEWTOWN
    Costa Rica
    Czech Republic
    Delaware – Newark
    Denmark – Greenland – Thule*
    District of Columbia
    England – London
    Florida – Palm Harbor, Orlando, Valrico, Gainesville, Daytona Beach, Oviedo, Tampa, Jacksonville, Sarasota, Palm Beach Gardens, Cape Coral, Coco Beach (Major Nelson and Mary Ann), Niceville (Red Neck Rivera) and a*, St Petersburg, Pembroke Pines, Ft Lauderdale, Hallandale Beach, W Melbourne, Melbourne, St Johns, Wesley Chapel
    France – Strasbourg,
    Georgia – Marietta, Atlanta, Sandy Springs, Acworth, Savanna, Hoschton, Grayson, Newnan, Macon
    Germany – Leverkusen/Cologne, Ramstein*
    Hawaii – Honolulu
    Idaho – Mountain Home, Coer d’Aline, Mountain Home AFB*
    Illinois – La Salle, Peru, Payson, Chicago, Palatine (3 inmates there), Lincoln Park, Grayslake, Algonquin, Chicago, Naperville
    Indiana – Indianapolis, Burns Harbor, South Bend, Bicknell, Ft Wayne, Westfield, Munster, Jasper
    Iowa – Bettendorf, Humboldt, Maquoketa, Urbandale
    Ireland – Dublin
    • Israel – Ginot Shomron
    Japan – Tokyo
    Kentucky – Louisville, Bowling Green, Lexington, Georgetown
    Kuwait – Relyks76*
    Louisiana – Slidell
    Maine – Bangor
    Maryland – Arnold, Odenton, Severn, Baltimore, Waldorf, Hagerstown, Chevy Chase, Hampstead, Elkridge, Frederick, Bowie, Sykesville, Columbia
    Massachusetts – Boston, Tyngsboro, East Gloucester*, 617 Strong*, Medford
    Mecca – Slienmann*
    Michigan – Kalamazoo, Eaton Rapids, Lansing, Ann Arbor, Mason, Battle Creek
    Minnesota – Yinzer, St Paul
    Mississippi – Biloxi, Ocean Springs
    Missouri – St Peters***
    Montana
    Nebraska – Omaha, Lincoln
    New Hampshire – Barrington
    New Jersey – Chesterfield, Princeton, Roxbury, Lebanon, Lincoln Park, Berkeley Heights, Somerville, Hammock, Barrington, Delran, Pennsville, Hammonton, Mullica Hills, JERSEY SHORE, Montclair, Monmouth Beach
    New Mexico – Mike, Albequeque, blazer
    New York – New York, Smithtown, Manhattan, Long Island, Nyack, Brooklyn, Buffalo, Rochester, Albany, Lewistown
    Nevada, Las Vegas, Henderson, Reno
    North Carolina – Asheville, Hickory, Charlotte, Raleigh, Wilmington, Chapel Hill, High Point, Winston Salem
    Ohio – Cincinnati, Columbiana, Westerville, Green, Hilliard, Toledo, Louisville, Columbus, Perrysburg, Pickerington, Youngstown, Cleveland, Olmsted Township, Liberty Township, Warren, Oregon, Wintersville, Austintown, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base*, New Philadelphia, Powell, Canton, Salem, New Albany, Bloomingdale, Powell, Howland, Grafton, Northwood, Middletown, Dayton, Cambridge, Martins Ferry, Akron
    Oklahoma – Tulsa – OKLAHOMA CITY/MOORE ,,
    Oregon – Roseburg, Eugene
    Pennsylvania – Downtown, Hopewell, Indiana, North Wales, Franklin Park, Forest Hills, Lansdale, Philadelphia, Du Bois, Reading, Crafton, Arnold, Wexford, Mt Lebanon, Canonsburg, Lancaster, Huntington, York, Boiling Springs, Philly suburbs, Morningside, Harrisburg, Lawrenceville, Bradford Woods, Norristown, Hanover, Clearfield, Sewickley, Plum Boro, Slippery Rock, Wilkes-Barre, Sharpsville, Bessemer, Greensburg, Washington, Imperial, South Side, Duncansville, Newville, Sheppton, Grove City, Butler, Allentown, Ross Township, Blairsville, Flood City (Johnstown), Overbrook, Danny’s Hoagies, Baldwin, Economy, Sharpsville, Erie, North Huntington, Bellfonte, West Mifflin, Kennywood, Pleasant Hills, Beechview (Mad Turk, No 200), Macgunie, Mechanicsburg, Uptown, Cambria County, Mon Valley, Salisbury, Coraopolis, Emsworth, Cranberry Twp, Garrett, O’Hara Township, McCandless Township, 115 Federal Street, Bethel Park, Harrison City, Penn Hills, Kittanning, Dover, Lebanon, Upper St Clair, Rennerdale, Oakland, Scranton, Moon (RMU), State College, Erie, Penn Twp, Stowe, Elizabeth, Hermitage, Easton, Carlisle, Finleyville, Belle Vernon, Madison, Sellersville, Waynesburg, Warren, Beaver Falls, Chambersburg, Green Castle, East Freedom, Leechburg, Banksville City, Ellwood City, Hollidaysburg, Bethlehem, Mars, Verona, Philipsburg, Phoenixville, Hippos Pond, Oil City, Verona, Hookstown, Squirrel Hill, Natrona, Charleroi, FREEDOM, Denver, Midland (the home of good food and many bars), Selinsgrove, Dormont, Scott Township, Blawnox, Arnold, Ligonier, Wells Tannery, Swoyersville, St Mary’s, Titusville, Shippingsburg, Sharpsville, Brookville, Mountain Top, Mt Joy, Bloomsburg, Portage, Carnegie, Homer City, Allepo Township
    The Philippines
    Rhode Island
    Serbia – Subotica
    Singapore
    South Carolina – Duncan, Longs, Columbia, Bluffton, Greensville, Charleston, North Charleston
    South Korea – Seoul, Mike
    Sweden
    Switzerland
    Tennessee – Smithville, Nashville
    Texas – Tyler, San Antonio, Belton, Houston, Katy, Plano, El Paso, Cedar Park, Pleasanton
    United Kingdom – Haslemere
    Utah – Salt Lake City, Provo
    Uzbekistan
    Vermont – North Bennington
    Virginia – JAL, Hampton, Rescue, Richmond, Front Royal, Woodbridge, Suffolk, Warrenton, Springfield*, Virginia Beach, Fairfax, Arlington, Yorktown, Henrico, Aldie, Manassas, Newport News, Clifton, Glen Allen, Roanoke, Vienna, Alexandria, Lynchburg
    Washington – Seattle, Nine Mile Falls, Spokane, Sammamish
    West Virginia – Martinsburg, Morgantown, Wheeling, Mt Olivet, Huntington, Parkersburg, Clarksburg*, Grafton
    Wisconsin – Madison, Oshkosh, Hortonville
    Wyoming – Caspar, Lander
    Unknown – killa_cam7*
    448 confirmed locations represented in the blog, and a couple of strange places
    Lunatic Nation Hall of Fame, people that have, in our opinion, made a difference, either thru talent or character or deeds.
    Nominations are always welcome
    Any Allegheny, Pirate, Crawford, Gray, Steeler or Penguin player in the League’s Hall of Fame, although if Jagr makes it some day, we gotta talk
    Stan “The Man”, from Donora
    Beano
    Lemonade Guy
    The Gunner, Mr Bob Prince
    The Great One, he stays regardless
    Mike Lange
    Myron Cope
    The Honorable Mayor Richard Caliguiri
    Kevin Mcclachety
    Mike Emerick
    Commander Hadfield, courtesy of the Space Station
    Fred Rogers
    Mario Lemieux, ditto to the Great One, he stays as an owner
    Chuck Noll
    Eddie Johnston, aka EJ
    Badger Bob
    Chuck Tanner
    Dick Groat, the best darn multi-athelete and announcer from Wilkinsburg/Swissvale
    Steve Blass
    Danny Murtaugh*
    Rocky Bleier*
    John Challis – Courage + Belief = Life
    All Servicemen and women that have been in battle, ever
    Sgt Doug Vitale
    Gary Sinise and the Lt Dan Band
    Barney Dreyfuss
    George Benson
    Phil Coyne
    • Tony Dorsett
    • Vince Lascheide
    • John Barbaro
    • Art McKennan
    • Steve Dirt Denardo*
    • K9***, Rocco
    First Responders***
    27 countries
    46 states, plus the District of Columbia, missing 4 states, North Dakota, South Dakota, Alabama, and Kansas
    Three planets, at least confirmed, and the Space Station
    Then there was that Cold day in Hell place
    Honorable mention, England – London – Lisa
    “Terrorists will always lose in America, the sooner they figure that out, the better”- truer words have never been spoken
    Asterisks denote confirmed hero’s of any species, military, police officers or firemen/ladies
    • 2/12/2014 3:04 AM

    Did your Starbucks connection guy come thru Dejan? Couldn’t tell by the tweets

  3. “They shot me in Denver”

    Now THAT’S a line.

  4. So when do pitchers and catchers report?

    I haven’t heard.

    • I know you don’t like to listen to your wife, Drew Dahling, but you MUST take the earplugs out of your ears to hear when pitchers and catchers report :*

  5. JAL’s Waiting on a Friend Like You Morning Links

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

    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

    irst Pitch: What If Teams Weren’t Restricted From Spending on Certain Players?

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/02/first-pitch-what-if-teams-werent-restricted-from-spending-on-certain-players.html

    Pittsburgh Pirates 2014 Spring Training Preview: The Outfield

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/02/pittsburgh-pirates-2014-spring-training-preview-the-outfield.html

    Pittsburgh Pirates 2014 Spring Training Preview: The Infield

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/02/pittsburgh-pirates-2014-spring-training-preview-the-infield.html

    Pittsburgh Pirates 2014 Draft Preview: College Hitters

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/02/draft-preview-college-hitters.html

    The Cost of a Draft Pick is Probably Greater Than You Think

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/02/the-cost-of-a-draft-pick-is-probably-greater-than-you-think.html

    Pittsburgh Pirates 2014 Draft Preview: College Pitchers
    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/02/draft-preview-college-pitchers.html

    6 Rumbunter

    Why Jordy Mercer is the Pittsburgh Pirates Shortstop of the future

    http://rumbunter.com/2014/02/11/jordy-mercer-pittsburgh-pirates-shortstop-future/

    Starling Marte, The Pittsburgh Pirates Jekyll & Hyde Effect

    http://rumbunter.com/2014/02/11/starling-marte-pittsburgh-pirates-jekyll-hyde-effect/

    A.J. Burnett Watch: The Final Hours

    http://rumbunter.com/2014/02/11/j-burnett-watch-final-hours/

    7 Bucs Dugout

    Bucs Dugout Podcast: Preparing for spring training

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2014/2/12/5403636/bucs-dugout-podcast-preparing-for-spring-training

    8 SB Nation

    Pirates’ volatile rotation needs A.J. Burnett

    http://www.sbnation.com/mlb/2014/2/11/5401816/pirates-rotation-aj-burnett-free-agency

    9 Forbes

    Here’s How The Yankees And Angels Are Disrupting Baseball’s Secondary Ticket Market

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/jesselawrence/2014/02/11/on-cusp-of-mlb-spring-training-the-yankees-and-angels-continue-campaign-to-disrupt-baseballs-secondary-ticket-market/

    10 Saber Bucs

    Still Not Sold on Starling

    http://saberbucs.com/blog/2014/02/11/still-not-sold-on-starling/

    11 City of Champions

    Pittsburgh Pirates Pitcher Wandy Rodriguez Ready For Spring Training

    http://cityofchampionssports.com/2014/02/10/pittsburgh-pirates-wandy-rodriguez-ready-spring-training/

  6. NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    12 Fox Sports

    Pete Rose: Using PEDs is worse than betting on baseball

    http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/pete-rose-using-peds-is-worse-than-betting-on-baseball-021114

    13 Rant Sports

    Pittsburgh Pirates Spring Training Profile: Jameson Taillon

    http://www.rantsports.com/mlb/2014/02/11/pittsburgh-pirates-spring-training-profile-jameson-taillon/

    Projecting Pittsburgh Pirates’ Depth at Third Base

    http://www.rantsports.com/mlb/2014/02/11/projecting-pittsburgh-pirates-depth-at-third-base/

    14 Pirates Site

    Pirates ready for 2014 with spring in their step

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/mlb/pirates-ready-for-2014-with-spring-in-their-step?ymd=20140211&content_id=67641508&vkey=news_mlb

    15 Baseball Prospectus

    Ten Prospects Who Could Make Cases for Call-Ups This Spring

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=22792

    16 Fangraphs

    2014 Top 100 Prospects

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/2014-top-100-prospects/

    A Suggestion to Improve the Qualifying Offer System

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/a-suggestion-to-improve-the-qualifying-offer-system/

    17 Providence Journal

    Free agents left to swing in the breeze

    http://www.providencejournal.com/sports/red-sox/content/20140211-free-agents-left-to-swing-in-the-breeze.ece

    18 St. Louis Post Gazette

    Rosenthal is warming to Cards’ closer role

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/professional/rosenthal-is-warming-to-cards-closer-role/article_52201b23-e128-5ab4-b0c4-9b33821be4d2.html

    19 USA Today

    Baseball’s 100 names you need to know: Nos. 26-50

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/2014/02/10/mlb-100-names-you-need-to-know-numbers-26-50/5373577/

    20 Philly Com

    Roy Oswalt set to retire from baseball

    http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/Roy_Oswalt_set_to_retire_from_baseball.html

  7. Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Free Agency 2014: Making the case for Sanders

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2014/2/11/5402072/free-agency-2014-making-the-case-for-sanders

    Joey Porter an excellent emotional counterpart to an otherwise controlled defensive coaching staff

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2014/2/11/5401220/steelers-coaches-joey-porter

    22 Steelers Depot

    Joey Porter Will Look To Put A Chip On The Shoulder Of Jarvis Jones

    http://www.steelersdepot.com/2014/02/joey-porter-will-look-to-put-a-chip-on-the-shoulder-of-jarvis-jones/

    Soccer(football)

    23 Bloomberg Stats Insight

    Football Dynamics: Inter, Chelsea & Monaco vs. PSG

    http://www.bsports.com/statsinsights/football/football-dynamics-inter-chelsea-monaco-vs-psg

    24 BBC Football

    West Brom substitute Victor Anichebe scored a late equaliser to deny leaders Chelsea a vital win at The Hawthorns.

    http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/football/26027975

    PENGUIN BLOGS and NHL Links

    25 Pensburgh

    The NHL World Cup of Hockey is Coming for Your Olympics (Tuesday Slew)

    http://www.pensburgh.com/2014/2/11/5400344/the-nhl-world-cup-of-hockey-is-coming-for-your-olympics-tuesday-slew

    Song: First Snow in Brooklyn Jethro Tull

    25 Pensburgh

    Pens Points Wednesday: A Very Penguin Christmas

    http://www.pensburgh.com/2013/12/25/5239634/pens-points-wednesday

  8. Canada vs USA Women’s Hockey…Gettin’ bi$”hy up in here.

  9. Now that DK has let us see how close Dan and Ray truly are, Plan will want to FIRE SHERO!

  10. Candles are being lighted all across the ‘burgh for Pitt’s game tonight. Might be their best weapon against the Orange.

  11. “He also won’t be timid about meeting with his coaches, even challenging them.”

    Lets hope that means keeping the disco stretch to a minimum and minding the neutral zone…for this tourney and the one in a few months.

  12. http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/ron-cook/2014/02/12/Ron-Cook-Eddie-Olczyk-s-goal-is-to-return-to-NHL-as-a-head-coach/stories/201402120045

    Helping the Crosby assimilation was much harder for Olczyk. A lot of the Penguins — Lemieux aside — didn’t exactly welcome the kid with open arms. Jealousy was a big part of it. The Crosby treatment was so bad that Olczyk felt the need to call out a veteran, both in the hallway and in his office, after a game Nov. 27, 2005, in Tampa Bay.

    “It was a one-sided conversation,” Olczyk said. “I knew when that player walked out of the office and went back to the other veterans that my time as coach would be short.”

    The Penguins lost that night to Tampa Bay, then lost six of their next seven games. Olczyk was fired Dec. 15. The team was 8-17-6.

    “I would do the exact same thing again,” Olczyk said. “I had to make sure that kid was protected. I knew it was the right thing for the future of the organization.”

    Exactly what right did that squad have to be jealous of crosby? They all should’ve felt fortunate to not be working a drive thru window at taco bell. Good for edzo…tearing into recchi back then couldn’t have been easy.

    • It was Camp Pittsburgh back then. Awful leaders + awful talent usually translate into awful, petulant, weak-willed team that has no room for the best 18 year old on the planet.

    • Jealousy is an ugly thing. Lots of young superstars have had to deal with it in every sport. Surprising, though, that Edzo hasn’t had more of a chance to coach over the years.

    • They were very jealous I think.
      And the organization did not help matters by giving Crosby the C when he was still a teenager.

      That was just an idiot move. No matter how good he is nobody that young would be able to lead a team of vets. It put Crosby in an awkward place and didn’t help matters in the room. In fact I think Sid tried to delay it for awhile….cannot recall.

  13. Watching the hockey girl fight. The ice looks huge. Speed teams will have so much more room. Wish we could bring this ice to the NHL.

  14. My wedding day, the day each of my children were born, graduation day from Duke, TODAY . . . . AS PITCHERS & CATCHERS REPORT TO SPRING TRAINING.

    Off to the car right now———next stop Anna Maria Island!

    Someone feed my cat!

  15. Seems like these refs are missing a lot of penalties in this US-Canada game. Seven Canadiens on the ice… a few prominent hits. Odd.

  16. Brandon Weeden wants to leave the Browns.

    http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap2000000325234/article/brandon-weeden-wants-to-leave-cleveland-browns

    Mostly, fifty of his teammates wants to leave the team as well.

  17. 1-0. USA

    Get pucks to net and good things happen. Simple.

    PP goal.

  18. DK, just wanted to chime in here and say every article you’ve written from over there has been A1, prime, triple word score, plus the foul. Great reading every day….

  19. Ah yes, the two most magical words in the midst of the frigid winter: “PITCHERS & CATCHERS”!

    Can Spring be far behind?

    Stuart

  20. And sounds like DB is going with Quick over Miller. At least for the first game.

  21. Mike Milbury is just about the last thing I need to see at 9 o’clock in the morning.

  22. To answer DK’s rhetorical question at the top – Can the US find a hero – I nominate Erin Hamlin from last night. First US Luge medal ever. She had some clutch runs.

  23. Today is the opening of spring training. Let’s hope that the Pirates, who’ve lately been boasting about how great their minor league system is, will do better than than they’re currently projected to this season.

  24. Now 2-1 Canada with controversy!

  25. If there is on franchise the Pens want to model themselves after, Nashville is not my first choice. Stability and a great working relationship is so over rated in professional sports. Think Scotty Bowman gave a rats a** about who the GM was? My fear is looking like it is Shero and Bylsma from here to kingdom come. And I don’t mean Rodger Kingdom.

  26. Awaiting first reports of visa problems.

  27. US women have, at times, looked like the Pens in the playoffs: shoot at defensmen repeatedly rather than getting shots on goal. Like the grit late in the game though… 3-2 with 1:05 to go.

  28. Ok, let’s see… that’s one, two, three, four, five… yes, SIX! Tweet tweet… finally!

  29. Looks like Olympic officiating has a long way to go to catch up to the players. Was a good game, though.

  30. The good news is that watching the game online was very easy & now I’m all set up for the men’s tournament & the rematch of these two.

  31. Baffling error made by the US Right-D on that breakaway goal.

  32. Czech and the Swedes play later.

    Sweden always plays well, internationally. They are a real threat for Gold. Not a cupcake at all !

  33. Sarah will love this:

    By Dejan Kovacevic

    Published: Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, 10:36 a.m.
    Updated 10 hours ago

    SOCHI, Russia — Brooks Orpik moved up to the United States’ third defensive pairing along with Paul Martin, his regular partner in Pittsburgh, on Tuesday in the Americans’ second practice.

    Orpik and Martin have had injury-riddled, inconsistent seasons, so neither was seen as an automatic for inclusion.

    In the first practice, Orpik was with the fourth pairing, which is where the healthy scratches go.

    This time, Cam Fowler and Justin Faulk were the odd defensemen out.

    “We have Brooks and Paul together five-on-five and on penalty-killing,” said Team USA coach Dan Bylsma, their coach with the Penguins. “There’s a lot to be said for familiarity in a short tournament where you don’t have a lot of preparation.”

    The U.S. opens Thursday against Slovakia.

    Read more: http://triblive.com/sports/olympics/moreolympics/5575966-74/team-kunitz-malkin#ixzz2t7VEay64
    Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

  34. Liriano has reported. He was on my short list. It’s usually someone like a non-roster invitee catcher.

  35. Just read that article you linked yesterday, Milo, about the partying at the Olympic village. Gee, who would have figured the Curlers would be the biggest partiers? I thought they trained rigorously about 8 hrs per day.

    I loved when the anonymous female athlete from 2010 said she was still drunk when she went to visit the White House. She said she was so close to VP Biden she could have licked his nose without moving. He had to have smelled her breath.

    But, I can’t get the image of her licking Joe Biden’s nose out of my mind.

  36. You all have likely heard that NBC’s Bob Kostasis out with a double eye infection, and we’ll thus be missing his Olympic commentary.

  37. Jandy in response to your post earlier I’m in St. Peters MO… (From PGH) and I’m already on the list!! : )

  38. oh well.
    Time for a break. Need to go check on my dog.

    Later Loonies :)

  39. NMR, what did you think about Josh Hamilton putting on weight? Think its a little risky, given his injury history. My first thought is that he would DH but I imagine Pujols is going to see more time there.

    • Ha, first I’ve seen of this. Thanks for the heads up.

      Generally speaking, I think I do’t think bulking up is very beneficial to baseball players. Fast twitch, explosive muscles are needed for baseball movements, and doctors say heavy weight training actually makes these worse. But I also don’t think it is likely, if even possible, to naturally put on 25 pounds of lean muscle in four months. I’m guessing a lot of that gain is fat.

      Hitting is so much about muscle memory and body control that I suppose it is possible Hamilton actually is more comfortable at this higher, “normal”, weight.

      Certainly isn’t going to help him in the field, though. Now that the Angels have traded Morales and Trumbo in subsequent years, isn’t Pujols the only 1B left on the roster? They also picked up Raul Ibanez who is the definition of a DH.

      • I remember Ruben Sierra did the same thing along time ago and it killed his career. Whether it was legit or PED helped, is probably now a good question.

        Id like to think Hamilton banged out a lot of squats and deadlifts but who knows? Definitely not helping him in the field.

  40. And now, while Michael Sam’s father is wishing him well in the NFL, he’s also old school and isn’t comfortable with his son’s gay orientation and doesn’t want the grandkids to be raised in that environment.

    • Way to support your kid, Dad. Yeesh.

      • Honestly.

        I have a brother, who has a son and two daughters. hubby and I were at my brother’s for one of the niece’s high school graduation party, when my brother came to me with this dead serious look on his face. He said he had something disturbing to tell us. I looked him right in the eye and said, “We know about Nick, and it’s ok with us, he’s still your son, and our nephew, and we love him and you too.” He wept. Seriously. He thought we were gonna be upset and leave. If you can’t count on family for support, who can you count on?

    • From my understanding they werent close, but I think when you tell an immediate family member that, you do it in person, not via text…That report was very contrasting to what Sam had said in his interview when the story broke Sunday. This story is going to have legs for years. I hope for everybody involved Sam maximizes his ablities and destroys a lot of stereotypes.

      Heck I wish Jason Collins had come out sooner, instead of waiting until 36 when he wasnt the same player.

      Maybe I am wrong but I want those guys to succeed on the field too, not just in the locker room. It will break down the stupid barriers faster.

    • James, I understand your intent, but “old school” is not synonymous with bigoted.

  41. Philly paper (Matt Gelb) reporting Phils reached an agreement on a 1 year deal with AJ Burnett

  42. Just saw on twitter – AJ to the Phillies on a one year deal

  43. Yep…Burnett to the Phillies for $16 mil.
    I’m SURE the Nutting Regime will use all that cash left over from Burnett to get “at least” one hitter….Right?!?!

  44. I had them #2 behind the Nationals. I had the Pirates #5 behind retirement.

    • All I know is that either Mike Rizzo made a serious offer or AJ has a friggin’ great agent.

      The Pirates clearly weren’t coming close to matching $16m.

      • No they weren’t. And you’re 100% right about the qualifying offer. The Pirates didn’t extend that offer because they were afraid he’d take it. That said, I think this situation is about a lot more than money. I think they decided a long time ago they didn’t want him, but still went on with the PR game so as to not upset the fan base. Now we sit back and watch the fallout.

    • Boot-A-Boomp, Milo!

  45. Back in November, I stated that AJ wasn’t going to sign with the Pirates.
    I thought he would sign with the Nationals, or Orioles for about $18 million.
    Of course, I was told I didn’t know what I was talking about. Told AJ wouldn’t sign for anywhere near that number. Told the market was depressed for AJ. Told my logic for a deal such as that for AJ wasn’t sound.

    So today AJ signs with the Phillies for $16 million.
    I didn’t see the Phillies as a landing spot.
    But AJ got close to that $18 million huh?
    Guess I wasn’t so dumb after all………………

  46. I am not bashing AJ Burnett. This seems like a money grab, and he is entitled to it.
    It also seems to fit his criteria of playing close to his home.

    I wonder how he will do there in Philly. Their defense doesn’t impress me. Either does their bullpen.
    And even though AJ is considered a ground ball pitcher now and gets a lot of swings & misses – - doesn’t the ball seem to fly out of that stadium?

  47. Not in the division at least. For some reason, I thought the Cardinals might come out of nowhere. I usually don’t buy that “close to family” bit. Usually comes down to $$$.

  48. There was as much chance of AJ Burnett returning as there was Barry Bonds…..
    No chance!
    The sick thing is that all that money is still sitting there.
    Some in Edinson Volquez’s wallet, and some in somebody else’s wallet.

  49. I’m just glad he didn’t sign for 10M/11M. I’m not as upset with the Bucs now. Although, they probably could have had him back for somewhere in the 12M/13M range. Buy AJ. We enjoyed having you! But, not for that number at your age.

  50. I’m in the minority here, for sure, but I like the Phillies as contenders if, as the proverb goes for all teams, they can stay healthy. Aging, yes, but talented nonetheless.

    • Are they? Or WERE they?

      Utley is the only guy who showed he had even close to the same level of skill last year. And Cliff Lee. Cliff Lee will never stop pitching.

      • That’s the half billion dollar question, NMR!

        I mean, I think they could tank big time. But, I might risk $20 bucks on them in Vegas and take the odds.

        • Oh you’re absolutely right on that.

          Ryan Howard still mashed righties last year. If Dom Brown and Marlon Byrd can maintain their huge power peaks, the Phils are going to hit bombs.

      • Yeah, I just think they are counting on too many guys to stay healthy and get productive again. I don’t even know if Byrd will hit like he did last year.

    • I agree John.

  51. Funny tweet by Tim Williams:

    I’m shocked that Burnett signed a one year deal with the Phillies. At his age, I would have thought they’d give him 3 years.

    BOOM!

  52. Had this forwarded to me from mother russia:

    http://www.liveinternet.ru/users/tantana/post310026889/

    Thought you guys would like to see.

  53. Best wishes to AJ. Hope he wins 20, improbable as that would seem at his age. I do think he will miss the infield D here.

    Still, Good Luck to him, I wish he was pitching for our team.

    Stuart

  54. Good grief, the Swedes and Czechs already look tired.

  55. Do you all feel what is happening to that extra $25 million the buccos got? Are they going to extend Pedo? Are they pocketing it?

  56. Dom, I wanted AJ back in the worse way but not for that kind of money. Looking at this deal and this deal alone. They can’t give a 37 year old pitcher that kind of money when they have exciting young players on the team and many more on the way. This deal just did not make sense for the Pirates.

  57. Wow, the only thing that drives this much traffic is the Riverhounds.

    • Allow me to take a page out of your book and request that any of the local writers do some actual digging and confirm Perroto’s $8m offer scoop.

      That should prove once and for all that the Pirates never wanted AJ back.

      • Oh you just wait. Watch how much stuff comes out about this guy now that he’s officially gone. These guys will sit on all they know while they guy is still around, but the minute he’s gone they’ll start singing like birds.

      • Don’t you trust scoops from Perroto. :-)

        Has a local reporter reported that AJ had signed somewhere else yet?

  58. Well, at least this part of the AJ soap opera is over

  59. So when should we have the “Should we boo A.J. when he comes to town over the 4th of July” discussion?

  60. In an interview after last night’s game, Le Bron James said that he’ll likely go down as one of the top basketball players of all time and that he belongs on the Mount Rushmore of basketball greats.

    • Gotta love a humble guy…

    • Nothing about that comment by him is incorrect. Jordon felt the same way. Kobe Bryant also feels the same way. Bird and Magic as well. I heard about this comment but I have no idea what context it was in. If he was asked a direct question asking him if he felt he was one of the best of all time I have no issues with him answering like that. LeBron is under a microscope more then any athlete except for maybe Tiger Woods has ever been. The guy for the most part has kept himself out of trouble and handles himself great. There are way worse role models in the world of sports.

      • Completely agree, Nate. LeBron was unjustifiably ripped on his move to Miami. The USA is forever indebted to his unselfish play in Beijing and London. He’s a gentleman and the best player I have ever seen play in person. That includes MJ.

        • I don’t know have an issue with LeBron making these comments, however he was the one who said this in 2010.

          “I got a goal, and it’s a huge goal, and that’s to bring an NBA championship here to Cleveland,” James said. “And I won’t stop until I get it.”

          • Well, he did carry a dog of a Cavaliers team single handedly all the way to the Finals.

            • John, did you catch the interview Jordan did recently on ESPN talking about having O.J. Mayo in his basketball camp among other things? It was gold.

              • Did not catch it, 21.

                I’ll keep an eye out for it.

              • It’s on YouTube John. Also on YouTube is the actual video of Jordan at his camp when Mayo was in high school. It’s pretty funny after you hear the back story.

    • I believe he said his Top 4 all time were Jordan, Magic, Bird and Oscar Robertson. He says he now has to be in the Top 4. I think he said Oscar was #4, so that means Oscar has to go. Sorry, Oscar! LeBron has spoken. He never saw you play … but, he had to draw the line somewhere.

      No mention of Kobe (and all his rings) by LeBron.

      The thing is, LeBron, you are starting to rack up the rings. ESPN is a non-stop pub machine for you. Everybody who cares about basketball knows how good you are, and where you are likely to be at the end of your career.

      It reflects so much better on a current player when the player allows others to say these things about him rather than him saying them about himself.

  61. Thinking about this, feels like a 32 million dollar bet between the Pirates and Phillies, with Byrd and AJ.

    Be interesting how those guys do, and where these teams finish in the Standings. Hopefully youth is better served.

  62. What a complete disaster of an off season this has been for the Pirates.

    • Smartest guys in the room . . .

    • Yeah, I think so. You were right, before. 94 wins, best season in 20 years and they lower their talent and payroll. I hoping there is something I dont see or a silver lining.

    • Disaster. That’s a bit dramatic for my taste. They are no better, but they are also no worse.

      • They lost 2 first basemen, their right fielder & their opening day pitcher. And replaced them with the worst starting pitcher in the National League. Oh, they’re worse.

        • Both first basemen stunk and the right fielder was only with them for a month.

          AJ is the only appraciable loss, and I’ll take full seasons from Morton, Liriano, and Cole to make up for it.

          One of these days we’ll all learn that ERA is a bad judge of “best”. Apparently AJ, Liriano, Melancon, Gomez, and Mazarro weren’t enough evidence. :)

        • Except in their bank account ;-)

        • Not to mention that their top closer lost 3 -5 mph off his fast ball, post injury, and is 38. If the mphs don’t come back, he’s done and the other other one (Melacon) imploded in the playoffs. Wandy, who I watched in Houston and was unimpressed with for anything more than a 4th or 5th starter, and Morton now almost have to perform above the mean.

          And they need to find a 4 AND 5 spot batter…one that has a BA over .235, regardless of how many HR’s he hits.

          Ya, a wee bit of work to do just to get back to even with last year.

          • Good points tpbco. Melancon was hit a little bit too towards the end of the year.

            Liriano being a two-time Comeback player of the year is kind of worrisome too. You dont get those awards without a big falloff.

            What a cold Winter. Smh

          • There are probably 20 reasons people can list of things that could happen that would make the Pirates worse this year. There are also 20 reasons you can list of why they will be just fine and improve in some areas.

            Maybe Grille did come back to early and actually will be more like his pre injury self for the entire year this year. It’s actually a chance for improvement over last years team at the end of the year if you look at it that way. That is just one example of how the same situation could be looked at in a positive way or a negative way. I personally have seen too many paper champions end up being horrible and too many perceived bad teams surprise and compete to try and guess which of the two scenerio’s will play out.

            • I with you Nate. But all this stuff is starting to add up. Going with this Lambo/Sanchez platoon and Snider/Tabata in RF (with Polanco on the way), reminds me a lot of 2011 when they started with Presley in LF and Tabata in RF.

              I mean didnt we swing the deals for Morneau and Byrd because those 4 couldnt cut last year?

              Pirates were playing with house money at the end of last year. They’ve risked it all and then some so far in 2014, the more I look at it.

              • I’m definitely underwhelmed by what they have done so far this off season but when I look at what they barely missed on (Johnson, Lonely) it really doesn’t stand out as difference making type players that they should have overpaid for. AJ really is the only player they legitimately went after that would have seemed to immediately make a difference and he doesn’t come without question marks himself. There really wasn’t much available free agent wise that fit their needs. Almost everything was marginal improvements over the current team. Free agency is the worse way to add value to the team on the dollar. Players rarely outperform their contracts.

                I’m OK with them passing on AJ. They have had all of 1 hour to move on and maybe spend that money on something else. They have kind of been held hostage by this entire situation.

        • As the team currently stands they are not as good as the end of last year but I do think the team looks better on paper then it did at the beginning of last year and if Wandy is healthy (I know that is a big if) there is no reason he can’t give the same production as AJ.

          They didn’t get a full year of Liriano, Morton, Wandy or Cole last year. They patched together a starting rotation with the likes of James McDonald, Jonathan Sanchez and Jeanmar Gomez. They have some options if Volquez is just horrible. Locke, Gomez, Stolmy and Taillon coming in mid season. The two first baseman didn’t put up any better production then what we will probably get from whoever ends up platooning with Gaby. It’s not like we lost much value there. It’s a problem that’s still a problem not a new problem.

          Last of all the team could look completely different when we get to August. I’m not ready to panic before the first spring training game is played. If they finish the year with 84 wins and payroll doesn’t increase from it’s current amount I will be very disappointed because they didn’t give this team which was competitive their best chance of winning.

        • This isn’t defending them, mind you.

          Best case scenario they get a competent pitcher out of Volquez, which they would’ve had, if not more (likely), in Burnett. And I still think they end up with a first baseman that will stink jut as much as the guys they lost.

          Disappointing and underwhelming, sure. But disaster? I just can’t get that worked up.

  63. Watching some of the Czech-Sweden game and three thoughts:
    1. Man there is so much room to move out there….Geno and Sid should have field days.
    2. The refs actually call penalties.
    3. Shots from the point wide open with all the space….Dman going to be a key (Karlsson has two goals today).

  64. Johnny Oduya is pretty good.

    That is all.

  65. I’m glad it’s finally over. I will wish AJ all the luck and thank him for two great years. 16 million seems too high to me. Hopefully with this issue settled they can use whatever money they may have been willing to spend on AJ whether it’s 8 million or 12 million to improve the team either before the season or during the season through trade or free agent signings. The teams and it’s fans deserve a team that has spent appropriately to field the best team possible. They should not have a payroll equal to last year with everything we think we know about revenue increases.

    Sadly it was Cole Hamel not being ready to start the year that made Philly panic a little and get back in. It really shows the difference between the market sizes. I can’t imagine if tomorrow the Pirates found out Wandy won’t start the season they would be willing to shell out 17 million and I’m sure most other small market teams wouldn’t have either.

    • If they haven’t already planned for the possibility that Wandy may not be ready, they are dumber than I think.
      I don’t see the 2 situations as being comparable.

      • Especially since, at best, Wandy, while penciled in as the #3 starter, probably is a 4 or 5 on a good staff.

        • You really need to take a look around the league and adjust your expectations to reality.

          • No, I actually watched him pitch for 3 years in Houston. In virtually every start, he was literally one pitch away from the showers, pitching from the stretch almost every inning. Some games he made the pitch, some days not.

            Where would he be on the Cards staff or Cincy’s? Gotta start there, IMO. I think the better comparison is other playoff teams, not the rest of the league. Particularly given that this team has to have very good starting pitching, from opening day on or neither AAA hopefuls or some pickups at the trade deadline may not help in 2014.

            That’s assuming, of course, that this orgainzation is “all in” for 2014.

      • It really wasn’t the point I was trying to make but if you want to use Liriano or Cole instead for the example go right ahead.

        I believe it was NMR that has asked if AJ pitched last year for another team would we have expected the Pirates to persue him or be upset that the Pirates didn’t sign a 37 year old pitcher with his stats to a 16 million dollar contract. It’s just not something teams in the bottom 1/3 of payroll or even bottom 1/2 do.

        • The $16 mil contract is a dodge regarding this argument. They could have had him for less.

          • OR gotten a comp pick.

          • I don’t think you extend the QO if you aren’t prepared to pay it if the player accepts it.
            The Pirates weren’t prepared to do that. At least I don’t think so.

            • That’s fine. But that doesn’t make “they weren’t going to pay $16 mil” the relevant figure. But it will be used to support what the Pirates did. Was he worth $14.1 mil? My answer to that is yes. And the fact he got $16 mil supports that more than it justifies ” they weren’t going to pay $16 mil.”

              • No, the relevant figure to the Pirates was $14 million. They weren’t going to pay him that.

                It would be interesting to find out where the Phillies started with their bidding for AJ.

              • There really is so little we actually know including how much they actually value the guy and what the eventually did offer.

                I personally do think they should have made the QO that being said AJ wasn’t ready to make a decision at that point so I’m not sure what he would have done. I guess he could always accept it and then still retire but then the Pirates would have assumed he was in the fold and not went after any other starters. I’m sure 14.1 is more then they wanted to pay him but it really can’t be argued that amount isn’t fair market value for him. Going higher then you are comfortable with on a one year contract for a team that is competitive really can’t be considered hindering any future moves. I don’t mind them missing out on him but they had an asset that could have brought back a draft pick and they failed to do that. Who know maybe having the Phillies pick would have allowed them to now sign Ervin Santana or Ubaldo Jiminez.

              • Do you sign Volquez for 5 million if you have an offer of 14 mm for AJ? If not, you are paying 9 mm more, not 14

              • @Biz

                I like where your head is at.

                The only way I can imagine that money actually factored into the QO decision is that because the Pirates already had an offer out to Josh Johnson (reportedly eight figures). Huntington might not have thought he had the budget to spend upwards of $24m on pitchers alone.

              • I agree with you, Nate.

  66. I’m not sure I’ve heard him talk before, but Jonathan Quick did not sound terribly confident in that interview with JR.

  67. I’ll betcha Dejan is glad he’s over in Sochi right now, regarding the AJ topic ;-)

  68. I still don’t know what to make of the AJ thing.

    With the news on Hamels, it certainly appears to me AJ had them over a barrel. And, since, in my opinion, they have an idiot for a GM, he was willing to pay pretty much whatever was asked by AJ and his agent.

    I don’t see the Phillies contending this year. They just have too many old, often broken down players to expect them all to have good seasons. And, it will pretty much take all of them (Utley, Howard, Rollins, Ruiz, Byrd, Hamels, AJ, etc, etc. ) having solid seasons, IMO, in order for them to contend. Lots of luck, btw, with that defense behind you, AJ! I hear they might use some shifts this year! Maybe he can gesture angrily at Jimmie Rollins at some point on the mound.

    If it was a case of $16 million vs. an $8 million offer by the Bucs, who am I to tell him not to take it? He already has a lot of money, but another $8 million beats a sharp stick in the eye (with apologies to Bob Costas).

    Did he have lingering resentment from Game 5 last year, and then felt the offer by the Bucs was a double snub?

    If he loses his first 2 games, those “fans” in Philly will turn on him so fast the end of the season won’t come fast enough for him.

    Easy to say the Bucs should have offered him the $14.1 million QO now. But, I don’t think anyone else was going to offer AJ this much money, and circumstances changed quickly in Philly. As Milo has been saying all along, the Bucs probably did not want AJ back all that much and they felt he might just jump at $14.1.

    • I thought they should have offered it then. JMO

    • I was hoping that if he was leaving the Pirates that it would have been for Baltimore. Could’ve been the best manager/player dugout arguments since Billy Martin and Reggie Jackson.

    • Good points Philly, Jim.

      One things certain. The expectations in Philly are much, much higher. Byrd and AJ had no where to go but up here. There, its a much different fan base.

      Huntington and Ruben Amaro had about the most opposite GM offseasons you could possibly had.

      Im gonna try to go July 4th. Military appreciation, the holiday, Phillies-Bucs, AJ-Byrd. Absolutely fascinating series now.

  69. The Swedes should have just sent the Detroit Red Wings as their national team to Sochi.

  70. Na na na na, na na na na, AJ-ey, goodbye
    Na na na na, na na na na, AJ-ey, goodbye

  71. Jeter announced this is his last season

  72. No truth to the rumor that the Pirates asked D. Jeter to announce his retirement today in order to take the heat off of them for not resigning AJ Burnett.

  73. It has begun. Joe Starkey is on the air repeatedly calling AJ Burnett a jerk (not for leaving but just for the way he treats people). Here it comes. Funny how this just happened to come up today. Trust me, this is only the beginning.

    • Good call Milo!….Sounds like it might get ugly !!!

    • I was 99% sure this is the type of spin you were referring to above. So yeah, I agree even more.

      May as well write the “beer and fried chicken” stories in advance.

      • We’ll soon get details on the blowup after Game 4. The Pirates will make sure of it.

      • Sadly this is not how AJ’s time should end with the Pirates. He gave 2 great years and definitely contributed in a positive way much more then a negative way. I wish all media and fans can appreciate him for what he was and look at the man in his entirety instead of picking out a few instances he may have been “difficult”. I’m sure many of us wouldn’t be proud of our worse moments.

    • Ron Cook was on earlier mentioning that AJ didn’t treat clubhouse staff all that great.

      And he went back to the blow-up at the end of the season too.

      DK: A.J. Burnett was as popular and universally loved as anyone from the Pirates I’ve covered. I’m not responding to anything. Sharing my own observation.

    • Why do I have the feeling that the local sports media will try to out-do each other with the bad AJ stories?

      Hats off to both Milo, and Daquido for calling this a long time ago.

      • Isn’t this they type of thing the media does all the time? Stories come out after a player leaves.

        And I’m not sure how much I blame them.

        I think there might be a certain type of etiquette in regards to reporting things that happen in the clubhouse.
        (except maybe they witness a fight between players/coaches).

  74. When will Frank Coonelly release his statement on the Derek Jeter retirement ?

  75. The Phils
    made AJ an offer that was too good to refuse and he naturally took it. And now, you tend to wonder why the Pirates didn’t ever make a similar offer, especially if AJ meant as much to them as so often claimed.

  76. Sad he won’t be logging-fun -to -watch innings & worried that a pile of starters who would have semi-bulletproof are now . . .?
    I hope all the promising talent in the minors will stop the next streak at 1 year.

  77. I thought I read that the Phillies had a decline in attendance of 500K+.

    But of course they signed a new TV deal that gets them $100 million per year

  78. Pirates made the decision to not bring AJ back last year. That’s their right. But I guess it’s asking too much to hope they actually made a baseball move to replace AJ instead of playing this ridiculously fake “will we or won’t we re-sign him” soap opera.

    Here’s how I think this plays out. Taillion makes the team right out of spring training. Don’t laugh. He makes the team and then Neal & Co. can say, “We expected this to happen..blah, blah….Jameson’s performance helped us make the decision to not offer AJ a qualifying, blah, blah, blah…..We don’t care about Super 2 status, if he’s ready to pitch in the big leagues, he’ll pitch in the, blah, blah, blah…..We’re not cheap!!!!!”

    Good for AJ, by the way. He pitched his butt off and saved his career in Pittsburgh. His stats don’t lie. He earned his payday. I think Philly was the leading candidate from the beginning. One of AJ’s best friends and neighbor is Phillies assistant GM Scott Proefrock. Doesn’t take a genius to figure this one out.

    Anyone care to come show me how to shovel a 250 ft long driveway? Can I use my lawnmower as a snow blower? Is there a specific time to start sipping hot toddies? This snow etiquette stuff is very confusing.

    • We proudly welcome the state of Georgia to winter.

    • Just wait till it melts ;-)

    • ++ for the baseball stuff. Hand your wife a shovel for the rest.

    • The Phils made AJ an offer he naturally couldn’t refuse. And now, you’ll tend to wonder why the Pirates didn’t make him a similar offer, especially if he really meant as much to them as so often claimed.

      • NH was pretty consistent saying they wouldn’t spend 18-20% of their payroll on any one player. I assume that would be an elite player so the chance of them spending anywhere near that for a 37 year old pitcher is very unlikely. He also said they would not be able to offer AJ market value. With him signing for 16 million it shouldn’t be a surprise it wasn’t the Pirates doing the signing.

        I’m sure they valued him but a team with 160 million payroll can more readily give 16 million to AJ then a team with 85 million payroll.

        • Thirded.

          (Second Lawrence Welk post today).

          • That was to TC’s POTD nomination.

            Nate—tell me how $16 mil is relevant to whether the Pirates kept AJ, or got a comp pick.

            (I’m going to keep bringing this up because you do).

            • You are trying to have a debate where there isn’t one.

              I think they should have made the QO so we agree on that one.

              The mention of 16 million and the Pirates signing somebody, anybody (not AJ specifically) is only being mentioned by me in comparing small market and large markets.

              I don’t know what the Pirates offered, nobody does. I also don’t know what amount would have been enough to keep AJ. Only him and his agent knows. Maybe it would have taken 13 million. That is still a big chunk of 90 million. Based on everything NH has said it’s probably more then the Pirates would be willing to pay. I’m not saying I agree with that. It being a one year deal and them being competitive this year I think they should have overpaid.

          • I keep waiting for Bobby and Sissy.

  79. I have not had a chance to read all the posts, but I will say this: No matter what has been said about AJ and this off- season and the back and forth of retirement and so on…AJ, I maintain, was one guy that made it cool again to wear those 7 letters across the front of the jersey. He was the one guy that maybe started this turnaround in earnest. Clint, yes. Andrew, yes. But AJ was different. Those young pitchers sponged up what he said. I wished he was a Pirate today, but he is a phillie (notice the small”p”). Still, I thank him for a couple enjoyable summers at PNC. Let’s move forward…

  80. Probably sounds stupid, but I think AJ leaving affects Locke. Not the mentor thing, just in the dugout. Locke struggled towards the end of the year anyway, I know. But they looked close. Id say if they lowballed AJ, it rubs Locke the wrong way. Just an observation.

    • Not stupid at all, bpn As I said…those young pitchers listened to him….

    • If that rubs Locke the wrong way – who cares?
      He should worry about his own business, and find someone new to sit by in the dugout. And he should worry that the dugout he is sitting in isn’t in Indianapolis.

      • Locke is out of options, so it won’t be Indy ;-)

        • Biz,
          I thought so too, but I think it was later determined that he does have one left.

          • I’m pretty sure he has one option left.

            Locke and maybe Mercer should be more motivated to succeed then anybody else on this team. Based on their ages and moderate success last year they have a chance to make this baseball thing a career. I would hope losing AJ would have zero effect on Locke’s performance this year. I would question his emotional make up if he can’t overcome something like that and put his best foot forward in what for him amounts to a crossroads for his career. He should be eyeing cashing in like Morton did in a two years and not thinking about how many friends he has left on the team.

          • Thats good news, I think he’s gonna need it

            • I do as well unless Wandy opens the year on the DL. I don’t see him beating out a free agent that signed for 5 million. He really is better insurance then what we had last year if somebody gets injured or stinks. Everyone forgets we started last year with Locke, McDonald and Sanchez all starting.

      • Who cares? We should all care.

        • We should all care if AJ leaving affects Jeff Locke? Why?

          Locke is a professional. If he isn’t mentally strong enough or mature enough to get over the fact that his ‘mentor’ isn’t going to be beside him, or how AJ was treated by the Pirates then that says a lot about him.
          At this point he should be more concerned about how he pitches in ST.

          I think Locke will be just fine.

          • I assumed bpn was mentioning it affecting Locke on the field and not just hurting his feelings.

            Which makes it pretty obvious why we should care.

            I’d like Jeff to pitch well.

            • I would like that as well because he will be needed at some point this year. Limiting his innings could really give us a better version of Gomez from last year and that was adequate if not better.

              Most seasons you will have 7 or 8 starting pitchers give you at least 50 innings. You need about 800 innings from your starters and the Pirates have nobody that is a proven consistent 180 inning guy not to even mention a 200 inning guy on their staff.

      • You preachin’ to da choir now, TC!

    • I think he’ll be fine, bpn. He pitched very well for 1/2 the season last year. He just needs to keep improving, like all young pitchers. He has plenty of support. If he lets that affect him, then he has stupidly turned his career over to someone else.

      • I hope so. I believe someone above or before said he was out of options.

        Rather amazing, in the middle of last year before Wandy got hurt, it seemed the Pirates had a nice assortment of arms with more on the way. While I still think they could be okay, they no longer are as deep. Things change pretty quick, no?

  81. I agree with you on that, Patrick. AJ made it cool to be a Pirate again.

    That being said…Thank you AJ.

    Now, AJ..move it along….

  82. Ronny Paulino suspended 100 games for steroids. Further proof that if you stink, even PED’s can’t help you. Thought that might brighten things up a little bit.

  83. AJ was here, and now…let some members of the Pittsburgh sports media continue to vote him him Most Likely To Bail!

    AJ had the right to go where he could get the most value for himself and his skill set. He knows the window is closing, especially with the Hamels injury and the retirement of Roy Oswalt.

    Let me thank you AJ for the thrills, chills, and tats.

    How does one take PED’s and still suck? Guess there was never any performance to enhance. Time for Mr. Paulino to get on with his life’s work because it sure ain’t Baseball.

  84. And now, the comic Sid Caesar has just passed on at 91. May he rest in peace. He will be well remembered.

    • Those of us who even recognize the name are becoming fewer and fewer, though. I remember him from Hollywood Squares when I was a kid. His prime was, of course, already past. Just yesterday I was trying to buy a watch battery and neither the clerk at the store nor my own son ever heard of a Swatch watch. I remember when Swatch’s first came out and it doesn’t even seem that long ago. Now, like Hollywood Squares and Sid Ceasar, just a name from the past…

    • 91years is way too young. Funny, funny man. :(

  85. LOL

    A.J. Burnett to Phillies…..

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