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Morning Java: Go where the food is

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

SOCHI, Russia — Доброе утро, Lunatiks …

>> The Friday column is about Olli Maatta. I’ll assume that’s all I have to type at this point to get the click. Pittsburgh’s got a special kid. And now, so do the Finns.

The daily Sochi Hockey Notebook looks at Sidney Crosby passing a ton,  Paul Martin being promoted and more.

Here are all seven videos for Channel 11 News so far, including the latest one on the gorgeous venues of Olympic Park …

I’m also doing weekday reports for TribLIVE Radio, and the Thursday podcast sized up this weekend’s U.S.-Russia tilt. This morning, we’re going to try a call-in segment with Ken Laird. Wish us luck.

Here’s the Trib’s Olympics page.

Here’s the official Sochi 2014 page. This has all the schedules and results.

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.

>> There’s probably not anything wrong with Russian food. It’s just hard to find in the Adler region of Sochi, where the Games are being held. There are very few indigenous stores, even fewer restaurants. So the only real options are those provided by the Olympic organizers.

In a nutshell, that means meat, potatoes, broccoli … and more meat, potatoes and broccoli. Oh, and salmon. All kinds of salmon here, presumably because of the Black Sea. All you ever hear about as it relates to Russian food is borscht. I still haven’t seen it, still don’t really know what it is. But I’ve got meat, potatoes and broccoli.

(And Chicken McNuggets, but that’s between us.)

>> In Bradenton, A.J. Burnett’s decision surprised some of the Pirates. Rob Biertempfel reports.

Gaby Sanchez sees opportunity. He also talks about it on this video …

Here’s the Trib’s Pirates page.

>> Late losses are damaging Pitt’s tournament cred, by Kevin Gorman.

>> We’ll have our weekly chat, as always, at Friday noon Pittsburgh time. All Olympics, of course. As soon as you see the post go up here on the blog, feel free to submit an entry.

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.

300 Comments

  1. Let’s see what trouble I can get into today.

  2. I hope valentines day had nothing to do with the morning thread being so late.

    I don’t even want to THINK about what that could mean.

    DK: I was busy staying up all night reading about baseball to satisfy you.

    • Good. Did you learn anything?

      DK: Nah. Fell asleep right away. But what I do know is that we have a full-time baseball blog. And two talented full-time baseball writers. Feel free to explore their work and the forum. This is old, man.

      • You mean old since my post of yesterday? Or old since you baseball response to my valentines post this morning?

        If you don’t count my AJ joke posts of the past month, in which I’m needling the overkill AJ discussion and thereby making YOUR point, I have written far far far more posts about college football than baseball for months now.

        Because it, not baseball, is my favorite sport. And because it was, at the time, more topical.

        But you knew that, didn’t you?

        If you’re telling me want me to go to another blog, I’ll accommodate.

        But let’s be honest about it. I p*ssed you off yesterday. That’s why.

        I’m not one of the Twitter 60 who hounded you. I haven’t tweeted in more than a year.

        I haven’t email-bombed you, either.

        And more to the point, I’m not one who has posted on baseball all winter. In fact, I had hoped that my focus on, and rather detailed college football analyses added to the discussion flow around here.

        So let’s be honest about why you are suggesting I blog on the other site, or play my baseball posts over there, or whatever.

        Because, in reality, this started yesterday. And yet I still think it is old.

        • Drew. I know this is a late response but nobody cares about baseball right now. The Olympics are on, the Pirates haven’t made any moves with the extra Tv money and they are going to ride out the fans loyalty to higher profits with an inferior product. I don’t care about Chris Stewart or Edinson Volquez reporting. There is 9 months out of the year to talk about the Pirates, and only 2 weeks every 4 years to talk about the Winter Olympics. Get your priorities straight. I love the Pirates as much as the next guy but a lot of blog followers can’t go a day without bringing them up, and aside from last year their hasn’t been anything positive to talk about.

          • I was going to stay out of this, but that is such a misinterpretation of what’s going on here, it’s comical. “Get your priorities straight?” You’re joking, right? I know Drew is, for the most part. If you reread your post, it sounds like your opinion of the Pirates influences your opinion. No one is stopping anyone from talking about the Olympics. And, if you’re paying attention, Drew prefers to talk about SEC football.

            NO ONE is trying to force anyone to talk about anything. Well, except NOT to talk about baseball.
            NO ONE is insisting people talk about the Pirates. It just seems to garner the most interest. Maybe a rule should be proposed, and see what happens.

          • I care about baseball right now. Why do I have to chose between baseball and the Olympics? I can’t post about both?

            This started between Drew and DK. Why do you feel compelled to pile on? Seems pretty troll-like to me.

  3. Maybe valentines day had nothing to do with it. Maybe he was just asleep at the switch.

    (Where’s Arriba to write
    That’s what SHE said)

  4. Though I’m much more of a college football than basketball fan, I get excited around tournament time.

    Love the early round upsets.

    So I’m gonna start a new type of tourney pool. Which small conference team will knock out pitt THIS year?

    Another pitt trend…

    Every year. pitt strings together a few midseason wins. A respected opposing coach says something about pitt being the best team he’s seen in the entire history of the game. Or something.

    That’s the sign.

    Immediately, from that point,
    stumble, bumble and lose.

    Every year.

    • The small conference team that got them last season was the Wichita State Shockers, no pun intended, who went on to the Final Four, also knocking out my Buckeyes and a few other pretenders and still undefeated and number 4 as we type.

      Nothing to be ashamed of.

      This year, no way.

  5. DK

    any of the other reporters giving you the stink eye, when the American coach, the Canadian Captain, and one of the Russian’s alternate captains talks to you before them. Not realizing that you have a personal relationship?

    DK: Russia’s alternate captain is only speaking with the Russian media, so that theory is blown up quickly. And actually, no, there’s something of a deference as it relates to Crosby, Kunitz, Bylsma and the rest. They’ll actually want me to go first. And the reason for that isn’t courtesy but, rather, they get that the best chance for a good quote ALWAYS is one someone is comfortable with the interviewer. Trust me, I do the same thing in reverse situations.

    Good question. Wish you’d have asked it in the chat.

  6. Nice column on Olli.

    Would love to see the Finns take the bronze, behind USA and Canada.

    DK: Thanks, DJ.

  7. Not one Mention of the 7-1 shelling team USA put on Slovakia?

  8. Malkin on the second PP unit is amusing.

    Clearly, the Russian coach is rewarding KHL’ers for sticking in their country. We saw how that turned out in 2010 and we’ll see how long that lasts in Sochi.

    Looking forward to tomorrow’s USA-Russia game. The place will be rocking, I’m sure.

  9. JAL’s Another is Waiting Morning Links

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2LndPQw0-lA

    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: An Important Part of Every Team That Rarely Gets Discussed

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/02/first-pitch-an-important-part-of-every-team-that-rarely-gets-discussed.html

    “We’re always going to rely heavily upon developing our own talent”

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/02/were-always-going-to-rely-heavily-upon-developing-our-own-talent.html

    Pittsburgh Pirates 2014 Spring Training Preview: The Bullpen

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

    Pittsburgh Pirates 2014 Draft Preview: Prep Pitchers

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/02/pittsburgh-pirates-2014-draft-preview-prep-pitchers.html

    6 Rumbunter

    Tony Sanchez Talks Pirates on RumBunter Podcast

    http://rumbunter.com/2014/02/13/tony-sanchez-talks-pirates-rumbunter-podcast/

    Yankees Poised To Screw Small Market Teams Like Pirates, MLB Yawns

    http://rumbunter.com/2014/02/13/yankees-poised-screw-small-market-teams-everywhere/

    7 Bucs Dugout

    Pirates offered A.J. Burnett $12 million

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2014/2/13/5407818/pirates-offered-a-j-burnett-12-million

    8 Green Weenie

    2/13: Pete Castiglione, Cool Papa, Nellie…

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2014/02/213-pete-castiglione-cool-papa-nellie.html

    9 KDKA

    Grilli Reflects On Magical Season, Looking Forward To 2014

    http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2014/02/12/grilli-reflects-on-magical-season-looking-forward-to-2014/

    10 Saber Bucs

    How Not to Build a Winner: Welcome to Philadelphia

    http://saberbucs.com/blog/2014/02/13/how-not-to-build-a-winner-welcome-to-philadelphia/

    11 City of Champions

    Pittsburgh Pirates: Can Francisco Liriano Keep It Going In 2014?

    http://cityofchampionssports.com/2014/02/13/pittsburgh-pirates-can-francisco-liriano-keep-going-2014/

    • Song is Another is Waiting by the Avett Brothers

    • Is it true the Pirates offered AJ $12 million? If so, why didn’t we just offer him $2 million more so we could obtain a draft pick?

      • Timing, Dom. The $12 million offer, from what I understand, was just made recently in an effort to keep him when they knew he was going to seek other offers.

        The QO needed to be made at a point where they didn’t feel comfortable laying out that much money on one guy, and they thought AJ’s intentions were “Bucs or retirement.”

        Doesn’t mean this is all true, but I believe it is what has been floated as an explanation.

      • Check out Travis Sawchick’s Bucco Blog, Dom. He has a great explanation.

  10. NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    12 Batting Leadoff

    Estimating LOB%

    http://battingleadoff.com/2014/02/13/estimating-lob/

    13 Rant Sports

    How Much Will Pittsburgh Pirates Miss A.J. Burnett?

    http://www.rantsports.com/mlb/2014/02/12/how-much-will-pittsburgh-pirates-miss-a-j-burnett/?utm_source=RantSports&utm_medium=HUBRecirculation&utm_term=MLBPittsburgh%20PiratesGrid1
    14 Pirates Site

    Burnett’s arm gone, influence remains with young Bucs

    http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/news/article/pit/aj-burnetts-influence-remains-with-young-pittsburgh-pirates-pitching-staff?ymd=20140213&content_id=67730334

    15 USA Today

    Pirates savor the moment, but ‘now’ is the buzz in camp

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/2014/02/13/pittsburgh-pirates-2014-spring-training-playoff-drought-jason-grilli/5449143/

    16 Fangraphs

    So What Does a Mike Trout Extension Look Like Now?

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/so-what-does-a-mike-trout-extension-look-like-now/

    17 KMOV

    State of the Division: The Pittsburgh Pirates

    http://www.kmov.com/sports/State-of-the-Division-The-Pittsburgh-Pirates-245430831.html

    18 St. Louis Post Gazette

    New coach David Bell: Cards play a different game

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/professional/new-coach-david-bell-cards-play-a-different-game/article_815a1914-fe3b-59fe-9917-979b2e607ab6.html

    19 Baseball Prospectus

    Point/Counterpoint Derek Jeter’s Retirement Plan: Classiest, or Most Classless?

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=22810

    20 Bloomberg Stats Insights

    Mapping Out A Giancarlo Stanton Contract Extension

    http://www.bsports.com/statsinsights/mlb/mapping-giancarlo-stanton-contract-extension

  11. Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Roethlisberger eighth among active quarterbacks on former GM’s list

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/latest-news/2014/2/13/5407838/roethlisberger-eighth-among-active-quarterbacks-on-former-gms-list

    2014 Draft Prospects: Florida State FS Terrence Brooks is rangy, athletic

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/steelers-nfl-draft-prospects-scouting-video-2014/2014/2/13/5403408/2014-draft-prospect-terrence-brooks-film-video-breakdown-highlights

    22 Steelers Depot

    Colbert Looks Forward To What Porter Can Add To The Pass Rush Of Worilds And Jones

    http://www.steelersdepot.com/2014/02/colbert-looks-forward-to-what-porter-can-add-to-the-pass-rush-of-worilds-and-jones/

    Soccer(football)

    23 Bloomberg Stats Insight

    The EPL’s Deadliest Duos: Suárez & Sturridge, Agüero & Silva, Lambert & Rodriguez

    http://www.bsports.com/statsinsights/epls-deadliest-duos-suarez-sturridge-aguero-silva-lambert-rodriguez

    24 BBC Football

    Brendan Rodgers: Liverpool ‘may be chihuahuas’ in title race

    http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/football/26166448

    PENGUIN BLOGS and NHL Links

    25 Pensburgh

    Minor Distractions – AHL All-Stars

    http://www.pensburgh.com/2014/2/13/5408272/minor-distractions-ahl-all-stars

  12. Nice to see Bob Nutting replacing AJ’s salary and stats…. a 31 year old career minor league Japanese player – Yao-Hsun Yang…. way to go Nutting.

    Thus fare, the offseason has been a smashing (or should I say slashing) success for the Nutting wrecking crew. Cutting payroll (and therefore skill) every way they can and making lemmings believe it isn’t their fault every step of the way. Keep buying the BS and tickets Bucco fans

  13. I just heard of the death yesterday of Jim Fregosi, who was briefly with the Pirates before leaving them in 1978 to manage the Angels. He was 71 and he was a stroke victim. May he rest in peace. Also, Ralph Waite, the patriarch on ‘The Waltons’ died yesterday at 85. That was a pretty good family show. RIP also.

  14. Baseball is back! Being that we are in the worst winter in years…here are some Spring Training thoughts to warm us up:

    * “Spring Training should last one day only. We should have our golf outing and then head north” – John Kruk

    * “The days baseball is different. You come to Spring training and get your legs ready, your arms loose, your agents ready and your lawyers lined up” – Dave Winfield

    * “Spring is the time of year when the ground thaws, the trees bud, the income taxes fall due and everybody wins the pennant” – Jim Murray

    * “That is the true harbinger of spring – not the crocuses or swallows returning to Capistrano, but the sound of the bat on the ball” – Bill Veeck

    * “The highlight of my career? In 1967 with St. Louis, I walked with the bases loaded to drive in the winning run in an inter-squad game in Spring Training” = Bob Uecker

    * “I am small part of a wonderful game that is a tremendous part of America today” – Eddie Matthews.

  15. Can’t wait for USA/Russia tomorrow. Wife is even letting me have buddies over at 6:00 AM.

    Interesting how international rules and ice area tweaks the game. Some of these defensemen have really showcased their phenomenal skills.

    I think it was Milo who said he had no problem rooting against Canada. I feel the same way. I hope they lose every game from here on out. That doesn’t mean I don’t love their country.

  16. Got a chance to read Travis’s Bucco Blog. Neal says “he wouldn’t do anything differently”. Well, that means he likes getting nothing.

    Still baffling about not doing the QO. A QO has NEVER been accepted in MLB history. By offering that, Bucs get a pick. If it would have depressed AJ’s market so to speak, that would be a good thing……. it means AJ signs for a lower price than the $14MM.

    But lets say AJ would have accepted the QO ( a first in history). Neal said he was looking to spend approx. $17 to $19MM. AJ signs for $14MM, then you try for Loney at 3 years, $7MM per year. That’s $21MM, just barely above Neal’s projections. Then, you have an offseason where you target the best pitcher on the market, and the best 1B on the market (but that isn’t saying much).

    Besides, AJ, if he signs the QO……. it’s only a one year deal !!
    Neal outsmarted himself……… and ended up with Edninson Volquez.

    But, now we just have to wait and see if he can pick up a bargain at the end of ST, and pray Searage can help the pitchers……. Locke, Wandy, Volquez. If not, Neal won’t be the smartest man in the room by a long shot.

    • I don’t see how “he wouldn’t do anything differently” means that he likes getting nothing.
      Right or wrong, they didn’t want to pay AJ $14 million. And I think AJ could have turned down the offer (because he hadn’t made up his mind yet if he was going to retire or not) and still ask for $14+.
      And I wonder if the Phillies still don’t sign Burnett and give up their draft pick – because of Hamel’s injury. They might think that one year of AJ is worth more than that second round pick.

      And they didn’t want to give Loney a third year.

      And the offseason isn’t over yet.

      • After this offseason has blown up in his face, he shouldn’t have said he wouldn’t do anything differently. He should have said nothing, or said maybe we could have gone a different route………

        I understand they didn’t ant to give Loney a third year but they COULD have. Now it’s Lambo, or one of the remaining drecks available………. significant downgrade.

        One year of AJ at $14MM, or Volquez. Another significant downgrade.

        Offseason isn’t over yet — I said that in my last sentence. I don’t know what your point of repeating that was………….

        • And you really think Loney would’ve signed the same exact deal as Tampa offered him to come here?

          Wishful thinking.

          • We don’t know if he would have or not.
            But since a third year was never offered, it’s moot.

            Can’t sign someone if you don’t offer a similar package, can you?
            Bottom line, is they should have attempted. They didn’t.

            • OK, that’s nice.

              Now you’ve changed your own hypothetical situation to one where the only likely improvement is getting AJ back.

              I guarantee you would’ve been b*tching if that was the only result of this winter.

              • First, I haven’t changed anything. I have said from the beginning that the QO should have been made, and AJ should have been re-signed. How is that changing anything?

                Second, you are going to guarantee that I would have b**ched if that would have been the only result of the winter? Care to explain how you know what I would have, or would not have done? Care to explain how you could “guarantee” anything?

                You are 101% wrong on this.

              • Because you’re still b*tching about not getting a first baseman, and you just admitted that your scenario above where the Pirates could get AJ and Loney for $21m was likely to actually happen.

              • I can’t continue to respond to you, because you are telling me COULD and LIKELY are the same thing.

                Re-read what I said……… I said it could have happened. I didn’t say it was likely to happen, only Neal would know that.

                This is exactly why I don’t like to engage in baseball talk on here……….. words twisted, different words given same meaning……….. don’t understand why you and others feel the need to do this. But since I disagreed with the group’s opinion, well that isn’t allowed to happen.

                Oh, by the way, I am not the only person complaining about the lack of a 1B on this blog. I still say the position was a downgrade. But, I know, I am wrong for that also.

              • “This is exactly why I don’t like to engage in baseball talk on here…”

                Real easy solution to this one, buddy.

              • NMR……..

                “Real easy solution to this one, buddy.”

                Why should I have to not talk about baseball just because I don’t go along with the group??

                Maybe another easy solution is for people to not twist words and insult, like you did down below. Food for thought.

                I made the wrong assumption this was a blog where ideas and opinions could be exchanged. I am not trying to change your, or anyone else’s mind, but I shouldn’t have to take crap just for expressing and defending my opinion.

              • Never, ever did I say you shouldn’t talk baseball on here.

                But you seem to be the only one who repeatedly issues these woe-is-me statements about how bad the conversation is and how badly you’re treated.

                If it is so bad here, then why put yourself through it?

              • Then do you care to explain what “real easy solution to it” means?

                And, again, it isn’t a “woe is me” at all………. you are the one insulting, not me. Maybe you should up your maturity a bit, and not insult and cause trouble for a person who dissagrees with you?

                “If it is so bad here, then why put yourself through it?”

                I never knew that one defends their bad behavior by asking someone else why they accept such bad behavior. I don’t accept the bad behavior.

                Was there a need to insult me today? Just because you disagree with my opinion? If you really disagree with me that much, why insult? Just skip over the post, or, repsond without insults. But that doesn’t seem to be an option, huh?

                Absolutely ridiculous.

              • NMR – That is the safest guarantee on the blog. He always finds something to b*tch about.

            • JD, all you do is b**ch about me.

              The next time you say something intelligent on here will be the first. You are just another of the “old guard” that attacks those who don’t agree with your groupthink.

              Go away.

              • Waaaaaa! Nobody likes me.

              • The reason no one likes you, JD, is because you contribute not one single thing to this blog, except to attack me. Nothing of value of all.

                Here you are throwing insults almost 2 full days after this thread started. I re-read the threads, simply because you and your group always do this……… you go back and start even more crap.

                I will respond to you and your stupidity each time.
                You will never get away with this.
                But keep showing your stupidity by constantly doing this.
                Game on, troublemaker. :)

        • If you realize the offseason isn’t over yet, why the constant doom & gloom about the offseason?

          I think it’s fine to analyze moves/signings as they happen – but I prefer to give out a final grade of the offseason when it is actually over.

          • The doom and gloom is based on the fact that the offseason has been a bust so far. It COULD get better, just like it MAY NOT get better. And, as others have pointed out, the chance at an upgrade at 1B is slim…….. the remaining 1B’s available have been widely panned on here.

            • I think there was plenty of panning of Loney on here too.

              I like him. But I do think that if he was offered 3 years from the Pirates and 3 years with Tampa (which is what he got), I think he picks Tampa. And I don’t think they should have overpayed for him.

              • I don’t think anyone has said they should have overpaid for Loney. I made mention of a third year. By not even offering a third year to Loney, they weren’t trying in my opinion.

              • “but I prefer to give out a final grade of the offseason when it is actually over.

                TC, do you know where the Angels and Blue Jays display their 2012-2013 Offseason Championship Trophies?

      • And A.J. seems to be ranked anywhere from 5 to 8 as best free agent pitchers going into this offseason.

    • Thought a lot about the AJ aftermath. Even with him, I think they were/are bound to take a step back next year. Makes me wonder what else they could do with 12-16 million long term as opposed to right now.

      I really think the situation was unique, with AJ’s preferences and the Phillies situation.

      Reading a few Philly blogs late last night, had Aj required a pick, even a later one, I dont know if they would have done it then. Their system is a mess, from what I read. A lot of smart, intelligent responses on the Enquirer’s blog, still though Pittsburgh was the better team, and a lot less expensive.

      Either way, its going to be neat to watch AJ/Byrd in Philly and Garrett Jones (for me anyway) in Miami. Woulda Coulda Shoulda? :)

    • I loved the approach Huntington took this offseason and hope he uses the exact same logic moving forward.

      • Can you please explain why you feel that way?
        I see Neal’s approach as being afraid. I am not saying go crazy signing FA’s, but his approach feels like he doesn’t want any risk at all……….. hence he won’t get any rewards.

        Maybe my view is skewed by the TV money coming in, but this offseason was not good.

        • Some would say giving Loney a third year would constitute ‘going crazy’ signing FA’s

        • Oh Lord, afraid? Dude, what he did ws the OPPOSITE of afraid and risk averse.

          He identified a pitcher in Josh Johnson that profiles as a top of the rotation arm primed for a bounce back season that could be obtained for less than AJ Burnett. He was correct on that, as Johnson signed for only $8m. He also identified his top 1B target in James Loney and extended a fair offer that was beaten.

          Two targets that could’ve had a big impact for roughly the price of Burnett alone.

          The “safe” route would’ve been simply extending the QO, making all you guys happy, and settling on only getting AJ back as the only move of the off season.

          He went for big impact, and I have absolutely no problem witht that.

          • If you think the Pirates had a chance at Josh Johnson, that is wishful thinking. He was going to be West Coast all the way. Pirates had no chance…………. easy to appear to make an offer when you know it has little chance of being accepted.

            Offer for Loney was fair? Maybe you think so. But he sent out feelers that he wanted a 3 year deal, and Neal offered a 2 year deal. Again, wishful thinking if you think that was fair.

            And again, YOU are the only one saying AJ would have been the ONLY move. He could have attempted to get AJ AND Loney.
            Why you insist that getting AL would have been the only move defies logic.

            Neal “tried” to spread the $$$, and failed. That isn’t bold by any means. Bold would have have been offering more to Johnson to make him want to consider going off the west coast. Bold would have been offering Loney a third year. Neither came close to happening.

            • He did offer more to Johnson, plan.

              And you would still be in the same position Huntington is now with Loney if you offered him three years.

              It’s so easy to sit back and pretend every move you WANT to happen actually would in real life.

              • I never heard he offered more to Johnson.
                I heard he offered the same, and his decision was an easy one to go to the West Coast.

            • Well now I’m telling you.

              • Is this yet another “guarantee” from you, just like you know what I would or would not complain about?

                :D

  17. You know, it is no wonder Pitt fans have an edge to them.

    Since 9:30 Wednesday night, an endless loop of the Ennis shot has been shown on every sports highlights program. Biden texts Ennis (I know he is a Syracuse alum). Almost every blog rips Dixon for calling the timeout, and holding the ball the last 2 minutes.

    Then there is Drew’s 5:47AM post above.
    One can always tell when there is no Steelers, Penguins, or Pirates activity.
    It is open season on Pitt.
    Pitt played a good game against Cuse. Should have won. Played that last shot as well as could be hoped for. But it’s open season on Pitt.

    Good Times.
    Carry on.

    • I still believe Jamie made exactly the right call on that last timeout, and his guys defended well. There were 4.4 seconds, and they forced a guy to make a ridiculously tough shot. The fact that he made it does not make the strategy by Jamie a bad one.

      I think if he didn’t call that TO, Ennis would have gotten the ball and taken it close to 94 feet through a Pitt defense that had no plan to stop him.

  18. So I’m watching the Olympics last night. Skeleton. They’re nuts. Katie Uhlaender, turns out she’s Ted Uhlaender’s daughter. I was all in for her until they said she’s wearing his 1972 NL Championship ring (Ted died in 2009). That of course made me think of Bob Moose and suddenly I wasn’t rooting so hard anymore. 42 years later & I’m still not over that.

    But anyway, Go Get ‘Em Katie ! Hope you get the silver behind the Pikus-Pace !

  19. A shout-out to Jim S. today, becasue I didn’t see posts addressed to me from yesterday…………………..

    Jim, I can only remember winters like this in the mid 70′s. I can only remember one winter this bad in the past 35 years, 1996. I love snow, but I am so over this winter. Really. I can’t wait for summer…….. and i won’t complain one bit about the heat. :)

    I saw you and Oshie talking about Subaru’s one day, so I got confused about who was who. I have friends who all drive Subaru’s, and then trade them in for another Subaru. Truly a loyal fanbase so to speak. And a well-built car.

    Agree with your points on the Bucs yesterday. I am not going to call them deliberately cheap this offseason, but with all the extra money coming in, one has to wonder where it is going. It certainly isn’t going into payroll. Can’t go into the draft, that number is pretty much locked now. Will be interesting to see how the Bucs do in the draft this year, as they are picking like, 23rd? And drafting that low means even less $$$$$$ to spend.

    Only 2 places I could see all the new revenue going to………. paying down debt, or keeping profit. Not begrudging, just can’t see anyplace else it could be going to. Being Nutting and Cooooooooooooooonelly said payroll should go up (not a guarantee), someone isn’t telling the truth, or someone should have shut up.

    Pirates offseason in one word: stinks.

    • Worst winter in Chicago since ’79, they are saying. We were fortunately spared yesterday, but that is about the first time we’ve been spared this year, plan. I think we are already in the 65-70″ range. Contrary to what most people think, we don’t usually get a ton of snow here – except near the lake.

      I think Osh mentioned he owns a Subaru when it came up awhile back, plan. I think that was why you thought of him.

  20. Did you all hear that Jason Worilds is asking for $8 million a year?

    Is there any chance that he’ll get that much?

    I really don’t see that Steelers paying that much, nor should they.

    • 8 million huh? Are we going to get into more messes with qualifying offers?

      Wait a minute…that’s baseball. My bad.

    • I think that sort of demand makes it easier for them to wave goodbye, which is what I believe they plan to do, anyway.

    • He’s gonna get it too. Best OLB after Orakpo in the class, and two years younger.

      While I have my doubts about how he holds up since he’s had only one productive, healthy year…Kenan Lewis played really, really well for the Saints. Wouldnt surprise me to see him go somewhere else and rip off 10-12 sacks next year.

      Kind of a damned if they do, damned if they dont situation. They have so many problems to address though, they arent addressing them all in one draft and offseason.

  21. Wandy is throwing a bullpen. Light a candle.

    • Throwing an entire bullpen sounds heavy. Better light a torch.

    • Huntington said this morning that they’re going to see if Gaby can be an everyday first baseman again.

      Light a candle for Daq.

      • I’m sending up Ave Maria’s!

        • Better send up more that that Jandy.
          This 1B thing gets worse by the day. First Lambo gets a scholarship for the platoon, now Gaby could be the everyday 1B.
          Clement is still in the system, right?

          Boy, I am sure glad the Cards didn’t do anything to improve their team this offseason…………. waitaminnit……..

          • No, it doesn’t.

            The 1B situation is no worse than it was yesterday, or the day before, or last October.

            • Really?

              Gaby is strictly a platoon player, now might ne the full-time 1B, and that isn’t worse?

              Can’t agree with you at all on this.

              • plan, the only movement in the Pirates 1B situation this winter has been made up in your own head.

                The situation today is exactly the same as it has been all winter.

                Nothing has changed. At all.

              • “plan, the only movement in the Pirates 1B situation this winter has been made up in your own head.”

                Thanks for the cheap shot. I haven’t made anything up at all.

                “Nothing has changed at all”.

                Technically true. But since the remaining 1B targets are a hodge-podge of disappointment, I would say the situation HAS gotten worse. Feel free to disagree with me all you want to.

              • “First Lambo gets a scholarship for the platoon…”

                Completely, utterly, fabricated.

              • NMR………..

                “Completely, utterly, fabricated.”

                Want to tell me how that is the case, when I read on here, and in the papers that Lambo was going to be tried at 1B for the platoon role?

                So how was my statement “Completely, utterly, fabricated.”?

                I honestly do not understand your insulting attitude today.
                But I won’t continue to take it.

              • “Tried” at 1B does not mean “scholarship”, unless that definition has changed once again.

              • I think Lambo’s production in the minor leagues makes this not a scholarship scenario.

                But I think a lot of us have different definitions of ‘scholarship’

            • I agree with you NMR regarding regarding first base. There is room for improvement but I don’t think the production would be much worse than last year.

              • Thunder, remember, Clement had really good numbers in his minor-league career also. He had some ok numbers at Seattle once upon a time too………… and he got a scholarship.

              • schol·ar·ship noun 1. Less money out of my pocket.

          • Plan, i dont like what the Pirates did this offseason. But I understand it. I dont want them to spend just to spend. There should be some kind of plan.

            I dont know if you saw the movie Argo, but I liked the line ” There are no good options, only bad ones. You have to pick the best one”. Thats kind of how i feel about first base for the Pirates. Maybe something else will prevent itself down the road.

            AJ? Im with Jim, just not sure Philly is gonna be that good…I heard another alternative last night, that AJ says no to the qualifying offer, then waits around till after the draft to sign with somebody else (maybe even an NL Central foe if he were willing). That thing could have gone a lot of different ways.

            This team still has a lot of promise and good days ahead.

      • I am a Gabby Sanchez fan.

        And I will light a candle.

      • Saw that coming a mile away. Lambo was never getting 75% of at-bats just because he’s left handed.

      • Gaby hit ok vs. RHP awhile back, but has been abysmal the last 2 years. I think it is sort of like NW batting righty in PNC. They just don’t have the power to pull it off.

        On the other hand, Gaby has continued to hit LHP very well. Let him do what he does well.

        I think maybe NH is trying to take a little pressure off Lambo, knowing that there is a very good chance Lambo is not ready for 450 ABs, while still hoping Lambo is ready for 450 ABs.

        I hope Gaby hits like crap vs. RHP from day 1 in ST. Please get a legit 1b, Neal! We know the money is there to take on a little salary. And, we know you have some extra arms in the pen.

        • Wandy might need an extra arm in case his falls off.

        • Come on, Jim. You know exactly who is out there available.

          Who makes your list of “legit first basemen”?

          • I know there are not any great, everyday options, NMR. We have all pored over all the options, and none of them are stars.

            I wanted them to make a play for Loney, and I think they did that. He chose to stay where he was comfortable for a similar deal to what the Bucs offered. I didn’t think he was worth 3 years, so I had no issue there. It’s disappointing to me that we didn’t get him, but I thought they made an intelligent effort.

            Kendrys made the biggest mistake of his life by not accepting the QO. I don’t know that he can physically handle 1b for 120 games, so that is a big question. If he can, I think he would be an upgrade. I have no idea what he would cost at this point. As I have said, maybe they plan on checking back in with him when the draft pick compensation is lifted – assuming Lambo/Gaby, or whomever, is not getting it done vs RHP at that point in the season. Maybe that idea is a longshot.

            Realistically, I hope they are still pursuing Smoak/Davis/Moreland during spring training. Maybe the asking prices drop to a more reasonable level – possibly a couple of decent bullpen arms. I would be more comfortable this season with any of those guys vs. RHP than I would with a rookie or Gaby. I know they are not sure things, but I think they are better options.

            I know the silver bullet is not out there via trade, but I think there are alternatives. I have hope that Lambo will hit ok, but I’d like more experienced options on a team that is planning to win 90 games.

            • Forgot to add, “legit 1b” maybe was not a great choice of words. But, I still think there’s time to upgrade the platoon. I also believe they will do that.

              Huntington and Hurdle are probably putting the best possible face on the situation now. Maybe that is because Huntington continues to try to pry away one of the oft-mentioned likely suspects, and doesn’t want to seem too desperate which would keep the price high?

              • Ok, I gotcha now. I strongly disagree, though.

                I think the best scenario, without a doubt, is that Gaby returns to hitting RHP just like he did over +1000 PA before getting hurt.

                That Gaby Sanchez would give the Pirates a league average 1B without spending another roster spot on a positionally limited player. 1B only platoons are a suck on roster construction.

              • Agree, IF Gaby could do that. I don’t have your faith that he can, though. Not in PNC. I’d much rather have a lefty hitting against RHP there than what I am expecting of Gaby.

            • Jim, in your 2:39 post, I think you hit a good point. A lot of the concern about 1B would not be there IF we had faith in Gaby to be an everyday 1B.

              Now, the usual suspects are available…… Davis, Morales, etc…. not much of an upgrade. Their prices would have to really bottom out to even make it worthwhile.

    • 28 pitches for Wandy. Reports are his arm is still attached.

  22. When did snow become such a national story in this nation ?

    NYC gets snow and ice and it’s the lead story. You know what we call days like that here? Thursday.

    Nice to see ST beginning, though. Yesterday, on the USA hockey telecast, Doc Emrick noted that Sochi was warmer than Bradenton. Doc is the best. Wish he did the Pirates games.

    • I have often wondered that as well, Osh. We never have “storms of the century” here in the midwest. Pittsburgh never gets credit for them, either. We all just get up and go about our business.

      • We had one here in Pittsburgh March 13, 1993. I remember them using those exact words on the Weather Channel two days before it hit. I remember it well because I was supposed to go with a client and our wives to their Miami Office that weekend and we had tee times at Doral. I think we ended up getting 25 inches Friday into Saturday.

  23. Sorry to have missed the earlier discussion on interesting Pa. town names. As anyone who has spent much time in Lancaster Co. knows, one must leave Blue Ball and pass though Intercourse to get to Paradise.

    A worthwhile travelogue.

  24. I’m sure to be in the minority on this blog, but I can’t get interested in the Pirates at all until the Olympics are over. Just love ‘em, and don’t get much done at home from watching all the time. That skeleton event scares the crap out of me; have no idea how they can control the sled. Love that and the related bobsled events, in addition to hockey.

    PSU goes for two in a row tonight, hosting Michigan State at the Pegula Ice Arena.

  25. And now, the independent investigator says that Richie Incognito was the instigator, and that he and two others did harass and bully Jonathan Martin and another Dolphins player and an assistant trainer. And so, the truth about that is coming out.

    • That certainly took long enough.
      A trainer? Hmmm, that’s different.

      Now I wonder what fallout, in terms of fines and the like will come out of this?

  26. Great to see everyone survived Snowmageddon. Hope Groatmeal made it to Florida.

  27. Blog is starting to harsh my Valentine’s Day mellow.

    Happy weekend to all.

  28. Magnificent offseason for the Nutting family once again. They don’t even have to make excuses for not spending money they promised to spend or for making the team worse than last year……. People do it for them! Brilliant!

  29. The whole Finnish team rides bikes around Sochi and to their games? I now have a real rooting interest in Olympic hockey. That’s just the greatest.

  30. Sheesh….winter storm apocalypse of the century has come and gone. Decided to not shovel anything. Made snowmen with my young daughter all day. Glad we did. It’s 55 and sunny today. Good bye snow.

    It would be so much easier for me to like some of the things the Pirates are doing if Neal Huntington never spoke another word about anything associated with the Pirates.

    The Braves handed out another long extension. This time to Julio Teheran (6 year, $32M). Now there’s talk that they are trying to ink the best shortstop in the game (Andrelton Simmons) to a monster 8 year deal. I wonder what their tv deal pays them annually.

    I love Joey Porter back as a coach. Everyone has their own favorite JP story. Mine is when he grabbed Warren Sapp by the throat when Sapp tried to dance through the Steelers pre game stretch lines. I think Jason Gildon was involved too.

    • I think they are planning on a huge increase in revenue, especially when they get in the new stadium, patton.

      Good for your daughter and you enjoying the snow. She can’t get many opportunities like that in SC. Glad you took advantage.

      • They are, Jim. The new stadium by most accounts, will be exactly what they should have built before moving to Turner Field. That place is horrible.

        We had 7 snowmen in the back yard. For some reason, they all seemed to have “spooky” faces (according to my daughter). My wife called it “The Frozen Dead”. We had a lot of fun.

        • I like it. I used to love making snowmen with the kids when they were little. I’d probably love doing it with them now, except they would think I was weird.

          I think the current stadium was built for the Atlanta Olympics. They probably had no choice on location. Baseball was an Olympic sport back then. I think it was replaced by Synchronized Dog Paddling, or something similar.

          • Jim, you are correct.
            It was the Olympic Stadium, which was built right across the highway from old Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.

            Yet another case where the dreaded multi-purpose stadium is never a good idea.

            • + many.

              I have a feeling Braves attendance is going to explode when they get to the burbs.

              Sox should have done that here when they built the new stadium. Opportunity lost. Of course, if the Sox had done that, a lot of people were going to wake up with horse’s heads under their sheets.

              • And, I say that about the Sox because they will always be the step child of the Cubs as far as attention, $$, clout, everything as long as they are in the city.

              • Hahahaha!

                Always wondered where all the horses go to, like in my hometown.

  31. Yet another reason why Jaromir Jagr has made me smile with simply joy more than any other athlete. Dude is the greatest. Great gif.

    http://www.sportspickle.com/2014/02/video-jaromir-jagr-enjoys-good-rub

  32. I preferred Costas, even with the gooey eyes, to Matt Lauer. As long as he is not doing Cardinals broadcasts, I am good with BC. I heard Meredith Vieira will also fill in.

  33. Wandy says he got through pain free. Heard that one before. Let’s see how he feels tomorrow.

  34. Thanks to everyone for comments about Pennsylvania towns. Really enjoy that kind of stuff. Odd, I know.

    This blog has caused me to consider Pennsylvania my adoptive state. Maybe someday I’ll buy an RV and retire there. Does Intercourse, Bird in the Hand or King of Prussia have an RV park? :)

  35. Wandy’s session is yet another point I have brought up about this offseason of s**k. He may, or may not pitch for the Pirates in 2014. If he doesn’t, and has to have surgery, I think the Pirates would get his salary covered by insurance.

    So the rotation is as follows………

    -Liriano, who had a great 2013, but has struggled for most of his career,
    -Morton, who pitched well in his 1/2 of 2013, but is only one year plus removed from surgery,
    -Cole, who had a great 2013, but we have to watch out for a “sophomore jinx” type of year,
    -Locke, who pulled a JMac type implosion the second half of 2013,
    -Volquez, yechhhhhhhhh……..
    -and Juan D, who still can’t pitch, and we don’t know if he will.

    Pirates have an assorment of Gomez, Taillon (if he makes it this year), etc.
    I don’t feel confident about that at all.

    As Bizrow the Retired always says………
    “Expect the worst, but hope for the best”.

    • Not sure if I agree with Liriano and struggling ‘most of his career’. Inconsistent some years, yes.

      But the picture you paint of the rotation is ugly. Not even adding AJ Burnett to it makes it look much better.

      I may cancel my cable and 20 game plan.

      • Sure, you can do whatever you please. ;)

        I am just trying to be realistic. Too many things have to break the right way. Not saying it can’t happen, of course. But when your pitchers are injured, coming off surgery, or a head case (Locke), that doesn’t lead to much optimism.

        But, you never know.
        Searage is very good.
        I trust him to keep the troops going.

        • Let’s go through these one by on, shall we…

          -Liriano: improvement came due to mechanical change. Unless he plans on going back to his old mechanics, what evidence is there to believe he’ll go back to being horrible?

          -Morton: pitchers are often stronger the year AFTER coming back from Tommy John surgery.

          -Cole: “sophomore jinx” isn’t even a real thing. If so, half of St. Louis’ pitching staff is in trouble.

          The other three are absolutely question marks, without a doubt. I’m just glad they are filling out the back end of the rotation.

          • Could you point out where I said Liriano would be horrible? Anywhere?? I said he had a great 2013, but has struggled many other years. Does struggled equal horrible today? Are you guaranteeing he will do as well this year as last? Wow! Just can’t help yourself, can you?!

            So you say pitchers are stronger after TJ surgery? Go tell that to Mr. Strasburg. I am not a doctor, so I won’t try to argue with that info, but I do know I see many pitchers that struglle after the TJ surgery. I don’t know a % that have to have it done again.

            You are also going to “guarantee” Cole will do as well this year? Many rookies go thru a “sophomore jinx”, both pitchers and fielders. personally, I hope St. Louis’ players go through it.

            Sorry my original post dares to disagree with the eternal optimism of the group today. I pointed out a scenario……… that’s all. I am not Nostradamus…….. I have no crystal ball…… just pointing out a cause for concern with the pitching staff.

            • My guess is that if you did have a crystal ball it would have nothing but dark clouds in it

              :-)

              • Good one TC. He is always “preparing to be underwhelmed”. It must be a miserable way to look at the world.

              • Look, anotehr of the “group” comes around just to tgake jabs.
                Hi JD, good to see you can still contribute absolutely nothing except attack me. You want to tell me where I referenced you at all? Just another one of the group that can’t stand I don’t share your viewpoint, so you take your usual cheap shots.

                You all should be so proud.
                But funny thing is, JD, you are another one that tries to bully me away, and it doesn’t work for you either.
                Wish you would grow up. I know, I ask a lot there, right?

            • Whats funny about NMR’s reply is both Liriano and Morton I think qualified for sophmore jinx in their careers.

              Neither one in their career have been the model of consistency.

              He’s probably been the only on the entire blog to back Volquez, and i was stunned he listed him as a question mark at the end.

              Let it go, Plan. I get what your saying and so do others.

              • No, Morton did not have a “sophomore jinx”. And neither did Liriano.

                There is just as much science to support the “sophomore jinx” theory as there is to support the theory that if you mention the word “no hitter” during a no hitter the batter will get a hit.

            • Horrible was my word for Liriano, not yours, because that accurately describes his PAST performance. The point I have a physical reason for believing he can maintain an elite level of performance.

              And it still boggles my mind that you don’t seem to understand that when others disagree with you, THEY are simply sharing THEIR opinions as well. Every time, man. No where did I guarantee anything or say you were definitely wrong. I responded to your post with facts, and that somehow offends you.

              • NMR,

                How would you feel about the rotation if they appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated before the season starts?

              • 21
                I kinda like the rotation that is pictured on the 50th anniversary issue.

              • 21,

                Terrified. But not as scared as I’d be if they all fit on the front of a video game. The horror!

              • Facts or opinions?
                You didn’t list any facts, you listed opinions.

                You don’t seem to understand that when you insult people and come after others, that is what constitutes a problem.

                But I know, I dared disagree with you and your group.
                Get over it. I really don’t know what your insults and bullying are trying to achieve……… but you won’t force ne away, so quit trying. But let me guess……. you never said that.

          • Mat Latos of the Reds has an injured knee.

  36. Watching the Canada hockey game a bit ago, and they mentioned that with a recent gift made, Sidney Crosby has, over time, outfitted 6,000 Pittsburgh area little kids to play hockey, from head to toe, including skates. They pointed out that many of those kids would never have been able to afford the equipment and would not be playing hockey otherwise.

    • +++++

      Many Pittsburgh athletes in all sports do things similar to this, if not as big in scope. Many athletes retire to the Pittsburgh suburbs. They literally put down roots in the communities.

    • I have read that also, Wild Bill. Sid is a special young man, and not just for his on-ice talents. From everything I can tell, when parents have a son they hope he grows up like Sid has. I know I hope that for my son.

  37. The Pirates just got even worse offensively – Jake Westbrook retired.

  38. * Could care less about the Pirates right now…. blah offseason, call me on opening day.

    * Miami Dolphins are a joke and the NFL needs to come down hard on the franchise and players involved.

    * Darren Sharper facing rape charges…. more disgusting news from NFL realm.

    * Jim Fregosi was reported dead last night, then he wasn’t, then he was again. Love standards of some journalists.

    * Olympic hockey
    Czech Republic 4 – Latvia 2 (Jagr scored a goal, Nedved with an assist)
    Sweden 1 – Switzerland 0 (Lundqvist 26 saves, Zetterberg out of tournament w/ herniated disc)
    Canada 6 – Austria 0 (2 games in, Kunitz is already getting blasted by Canadian media)
    Finland 6 – Norway 1 (Maatta 1 goal and 2 assists, the kid is on top of the world, LEGEND)

  39. Did anything happen today?

    What’d I miss?

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