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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Vacation thread 3-1-14

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

On break until March 10. Please feel free to use this post as a discussion thread, as always.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

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


  1. Eric Bowser says:

    * Penguins lost 6-5 in a shootout to Montreal at home and I’m not worried about it. Game was about knocking off the rust, getting the legs moving, and whatever other catch-phrase you want to use to satisfy your excuse-making desires. I’m not worried about Fleury with the way the team played in front of him. He could have been better but this is probably a Penguins 5-4 win in regulation if it isn’t for the terrible 5-minute major and game misconduct assessed to Tanner Glass for his check on Canadiens defensemen Alexei Emelin. A joke of a call confirmed by the NHL’s decision to rescind the major penalty.

    * But let’s not lose sight of tonight’s game in Chicago at Soldier Field. It is a barometer game as the Penguins will get a great test and validation on what their strengths and weaknesses are as the team heads to the March 5th trade deadline.

    * Oh… nice shootout attempt…. Sid. I guess skating with speed and going backhand where mother hides the cookies is only good enough for special games with all of Canada watching the puck on your stick.

    * You thought I was going to rip on Malkin didn’t you? That was bad though.

    * If there’s any truth to the rumors about the Penguins interest in Canucks center/right-wing Ryan Kesler, I don’t understand the desire to always have the big name. Don’t they have enough? Don’t they need a cheap winger for Sid, two third line wingers, and frankly, better offensive talent on the fourth line than Glass, Joe Vitale and Craig Adams? What exactly is Kesler going to do for the Penguins as a winger for Crosby if it costs them Derrick Pouliot, Brandon Sutter and a draft pick? They’ll have even more crap on the third line. I think Kesler ends up in Philadelphia since they tried to acquire him years ago as a restricted free agent but Vancouver matched the offer sheet.

    * Letang sounded like a guy that isn’t ready to admit where his career is headed…. not many athletes can. Penguins have Orpik, Niskanen and Engelland scheduled to be unrestricted free agents after this season and Martin after next. Letang’s health and all that depth about to go away in the next year and some change would be reason enough to hold onto Pouliot.

    * I’ve come a long long way. Engelland is a better player than Adams…. there I said it. Now Bylsma needs to admit it and move on from the worst NHL forward. Engelland is worth more to this team as the fourth line right-wing as he can provide more of what the team needs out of the 18th skater than Adams. And please, anyone that says… no… not Craiggy Adams… yes… Craiggy Adams. The PK time on the ice is a joke. Maybe instead of watching Adams skate as if he’s in mud, wouldn’t it be wonderful to see Malkin forced into a role that requires responsibility. What a little accountability wouldn’t do for his sometimes selfish boneheaded penalties. If you expect greatness out of someone, then demand it. Don’t accept mediocrity.

    * Speaking of….

    * Gregory Polanco has nothing left to prove in the minor leagues. Nothing. He needs to be on the opening day roster. There’s no excuse to give. None. The Pirates need to field their best starting eight on a consistent basis and if that means guys like Travis Snider and Jose Tabata are your 4th and 5th outfielders, so be it. The offense is going to be so poor, wasting two months on those two stiffs while Polanco is bored in AAA because of some stupid free agency clock just means less runs, bad defense and more losses than wins.

    * Seems like an everyday occurrence with Richie Incognito confirming his reputation as a psycho. Yet, teams care to ask players about their sexuality? Roger that….

    * I feel better about the NFL and humanity, Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper thinks banning the ‘N’ word is a good idea. You know what I think….. I could care less what a white male thinks about the use of the ‘N’ word and I’m not talking about Cooper… no that’s aimed at Roger Goodell. If you think banning an offensive word is important for your brand… then what in the world are you doing avoiding everything possible as it relates to the Washington Redskins. My goodness NFL, wake up. I think we’re too sensitive of a nation today but if you are going to puff out your chest, let’s not ignore league sanctioned bigotry.

    * For those of you like myself that don’t watch the orange ball game played by professionals, you might have missed the return of Bane….. the masked man formerly known as LeBron James.

    * Mel Kiper has Pitt’s Aaron Donald on his Big Board at 21 after not having him ranked at all. You’ll be interested to know after Donald is everyone’s favorite Steelers pick prediction, Louis Nix.

    * Not really all that impressed by the return for Buffalo as they traded Ryan Miller and Steve Ott to St. Louis for 1st Rd pick, 3rd Rd pick, Jaroslav Halak, Chris Stewart, and William Carrier. Hopefully, Buffalo flips Halak and Stewart for more picks and younger players and there’s been talk about them trading Matt Moulson and Christian Ehrhoff.

    * Rangers sign Dan Girardi, so where does that leave Ryan Callahan? He wants term and big money. Not sure many teams are going to pay him the money he wants.

    * Can the snow and ice storm predicted to hit Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and New York City starting Sunday night through Monday just be one of those patented weatherman follies? On Monday, I need to fly into Philadelphia, then into Newark, and finally a shuttle into NYC for a business conference. I really have no interest sitting in the Pittsburgh or Philadelphia airport for hours. OK, I really want to get some time Monday night and Tuesday night to try Junior’s Cheesecake for a light ‘snack’, possibly a slice of pizza at Lombardi’s, and most importantly, a trip to the 9/11 memorial. That day changed my life, otherwise, I’d probably be a miserable drunk living in Spokane and married to a psycho. No laughs on the miserable part!

    * Yeah, I’ll be traveling back home from NYC to Newark to Philadelphia to Pittsburgh on NHL Trade Deadline. What was I thinking?!?

    * In honor of Dejan’s Olympic sized break, this post’s musical selection is… Enjoy the Silence by Depeche Mode.

  2. The NFL salary cap is now a record $133 million, and only the Steelers at $138 million and the Dallas Cowboys at $150 million aren’t in compliance. Meanwhile, Richie Incognito is in a psychiatric facility undergoing evaluation, and after recently smashing up his car with a baseball bat, that’s where he definitely belongs.

  3. At least the Sochi Olympics are over now so we can now concentrate on what’s going on in the Ukraine.

  4. Pucknutz says:

    Ya Eric, agree w/ya on Kesler.
    Engo does look pretty good as that fourth line winger does he not? :)

  5. JAL says:

    JAL’s “Ya Got” Trouble Morning Links


    1- MLB Transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    3 BFFL’s 2014 Pirates Stats Spreadsheet

    4 Pirates Prospects Spring Training Tracker

    BLOGS and such

    5—Pirates Prospects

    Pirates International Players Who Could Make the Jump to the US in 2014

    Pirates Top Prospects Photos and Notes From Minor League Camp

    6 Bucs Dugout

    Pirates lose 4-2 to Blue Jays

    7 Rumbunter

    Wandy Rodriguez: Nine Months Later, Pirates Pitcher’s Big Day Is Here

    Pirates Will Not Be Undefeated in Grapefruit League

    8 Green Weenie

    2/28: Jud, Double Trouble, Drug Trials, A-Ram, Jack Wilson…

    9 Pirates 101

    What Will It Take to Keep Pedro Alvarez in Pittsburgh Past His Arbitration Years?

    10 Saber Bucs

    Pirate Hitters in Order of Offensive Production

  6. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 NY Daily News
    A good day for NY Mets’ Ike Davis, but hard to believe this is an even competition for first base job

    12 Cincinnati Enquirer

    Intensity is always Tony Cingrani’s specialty

    13 Rant Sports

    Pittsburgh Pirates’ Andrew Lambo Has Some Competition at First Base

    Pittsburgh Pirates’ Internal Options for Possible Third Base Platoon

    14 Pirates Site

    Cole, Taillon look solid in spring debut vs. Jays

    15 ESPN

    Cole, Taillon give Pirates pair of top guns

    16 Baseball News Source

    Pirates Stockpiled Arms Before Rule Change On Slot Draft Picks

    17 KDKA

    Pirates Pitcher Charlie Morton Talks Spring Training

    18 St. Louis Post Gazette

    No. 3 The Shift In Philosophy

    19 Fangraphs

    The Significance of Pitching to the Park

    Talking About Early NL Outfield Tiers

    20 SB Nation

    Pessimism and the 2014 Red Sox

  7. Eric Bowser says:

    much better than what we’ve seen out of Adams.

  8. Eric Bowser says:

    Omar Khan and Kevin Colbert…. great work men.

  9. Eric Bowser says:

    It is absolutely insane the lack of coverage and understanding by the United States media with regards to Ukraine and Russia.

  10. Sarah says:

    I saw some stats on Adams that wee simply embarrassing…..I’ll have to look me up. He is, literally, the worst player in the NHL…..and he gets solid PK minutes and is out there protecting 1-goal leads. One more reason to fire…..

  11. Sarah says:

    ….as is our lack of understanding of many things in re ourselves v other countries. We think we have good health care for example. And a good standard of living…..but it’s Saturday and I won’t get started….

  12. Pioulot for Stewart! Sameulsson and a 3rd for Boyes and Goc!

    DO IT!!!

    Wake me when its done! :)

  13. +++

    Mind boggling indeed. Between what the senators and media are saying i wonder if they even know how to spell ukraine.

  14. chethejet1 says:

    No way I trade DP with Letang’s condition. I don’t care who is on the other end of the deal. Shero will learn from last year and not just make deals that Bylsma has no intention of replacing his favorite grinders for, Pens need an upgrade at RW for Sid and Sutter is not in any deal unless he isn’t coming back next year although he is a restricted free agent. Meaning the Pens may trade him as they don;t see him as the best third line center. Me I like him and give him better wingers and he is worth signing.

  15. Adams seemed to regress a bit this year…but if we dont win the cup it wont be cuz disco stuck by adams. I like engo as much as anyone at RW but there are times his lack of experience in the dzone shows when he’s on the boards trying to control the puck and make a play. In the ozone he’s actually one of our better power forwards when it comes to protecting the puck.

    Agaynst the likes of chicago in the final i can see it being better to scratch adams and go with a megna on 4th line. And when disco has a hissy fit about the PK, how bout telling your team NOT to take stupid penalties.

  16. DJ says:

    Stewart? Trade to Buffalo? Don’t think that will happen.

    Now if we could package Harrington and Samuelsson, I’m with you.

  17. 21sthebest says:

    It’ll be interesting to see the comments if 22 year old Polanco makes the major league roster and struggles after hitting . 263 in Altoona last year.

  18. JAL says:

    If you know the history of that part of the world and look at the pictures you can see elements of 1940 or 1914 or even earlier.

  19. DJ says:

    If Ray let’s Pouliot go with Letang’s recovery in doubt and Martin gone after next year, I’ll lose a lot of respect for him.

  20. Thundercrack says:

    Gregory Polanco has nothing left to prove in the minor leagues. Nothing. He needs to be on the opening day roster. There’s no excuse to give. None.
    And you know this after 3 spring training games?

  21. For who? Dont think buffalo will mind flipping stewart. They could use the high end prospect in pouliot and there will be competition to get stewart out of buffalo. Pouliot is not around the corner from helping us. Buffalo will want something juicier than harrington and samuelsson IMO. Enter Pouliot.

    Harrington is one of my untouchables. Between him, despres, dumoulin and Maatta we can live without pouliot if it means sid has a Rick Tocchet like RW. Out of my untouchables i may be ok trading dumoulin since he seems to be injury prone. But then again who hasn’t been injury prone?

  22. DJ, i promise you that pouliot isn’t ready to help next season and maybe not even the season after that.

  23. 21sthebest says:

    It’s on the front page of the paper I’m looking at.

  24. Thundercrack says:

    What will Polanco’s WAR over Tabata be for the first two months of the season?

    Would it really be a big difference? Enough to screw the kid’s free agency clock (which is not stupid)?

  25. There are fascist and extreme right wing elements that are trying to hijack the revolution. Russia, US, and EU all need to tread carefully when deciding who to help and with how much money. As of right now i’d be hesitant to give a single dollar in aid. Humanitarian aid yes. Financial aid NO WAY! Not till after elections. I hope people understand that russia MUST protect the Russian population from the ukrainian nationalists who want to purify ukraine. Ugly and messy situation.

    If you guys want a laugh just consider that Crimea was transferred to the Ukraine after Khrushchev had a few too many and was in a jolly enough mood to gift the strategically located Crimea to the Ukraine. Now Russia has to defend the russian population there so i hope Obama and the EU understand this isn’t some kind of politically motivated invasion.

  26. 21sthebest says:

    Yup. And generally speaking, I don’t like skipping levels. Has he really seen much major league caliber pitching yet?

  27. Thundercrack says:

    For some reason last night I couldn’t sleep and I found myself watching the rebroadcast of the Cubs vs Angels ST game.

    The one thing that kept me from turning the station was when I saw JMac on the mound for the Cubs. He’s still a mess. His first inning he retired the Angels 1-2-3, but he had some command issues and I think all of his outs were fly balls. Which made me think “that ain’t gonna play well in Wrigley”. In his second inning he completely fell apart. It included 3 walks, 6 earned runs, and 2 home runs – – including a grand slam to Trout. (it was smashed). JMac didn’t make it out of the inning. I felt bad for JMac. I always liked him. And I am no scout but it seems to me that after all this time he still hasn’t progressed from a thrower to a pitcher.

    I didn’t feel so sorry for JMac’s replacement….Jonathan Sanchez out of the pen. He lasted 2/3 of an inning and gave up 3 runs. He walked 2 batters and had all kinds of control problems. He looked awful

  28. Wild Bill says:

    NHL announces that they’ve “rescinded” the major penalty on Glass from the other evening, whatever the (bleep) that means.

    In related news, the NHL also “rescinded” the goal the Habs scored on the power play and their victory over the Penguins – – – not!

    I guess we have to just feel better about Tanner not being fined.

  29. Wild Bill says:

    Always has been too many moving parts in J. Mac’s delivery, Tc. Great guy, but it’s not gonna work for him.

  30. Wild Bill says:

    Lots of good stuff here, Eric. I can’t see the Pens doing much at all, given the injury depleted depth and cap issues.

  31. DJ says:

    I know that’s your opinion. All I’ve got to say is this:

  32. Wild Bill says:

    Is that directed at me, DJ?

  33. DJ says:

    I know that’s your opinion. All I’ve got to say is this:

    Derrick Pouliot: 51GP, 17G, 46A, 63PTS, +31

    I also remember last year you thought resigning Orpik at $5-6 million per year for three years was a good idea. Let’s just say I’m glad you’re not running the franchise.

  34. DJ says:

    No, WB, my glitchy computer. Full post up above.

  35. Wild Bill says:

    Ah, gotcha.

  36. Andrew says:

    Player development people say thebiggest jump for hitter is from A+ to AA, but I agree a larger sample against upper level pitching would be helpful. That said putting Polanco on the opening day roster is a fireable offense for the Pirates front office.

  37. Thundercrack says:

    Very interesting article by RB in today’s Trib. It is about Doug Wilk’s playing for a team in South Korea last season.
    [ Wilk is a non-roster invitee this spring. Lefty out of the pend ]

  38. DJ says:

    Scott Harrington: 56GP, 3G, 14A, 17PTS, +2

    Untouchable? Hardly.

  39. Whoa whoa whoa…i NEVER…let me repeat NEVER said to sign orpik at 5-6M per. NEVER! I said similar cap hit as now for 3 years. And i stick by that now too.

    And i’m well aware of pouliots stats. But Portland has always ran a free wheeling system suitable to inflated numbers. Joe Morrow put up sick numbers too. Believe he’s still a depth dman…in the AHL. Just reporting what i’m seeing with my eyes. And last few times i’ve seen pouliot my take away was much different than when I saw Maatta and harrington at similar stages.

    If i was running the franchise, we would’ve signed mason raymond over kobasew this past season and our issues with bottom 6 would’ve been fixed by trading PM and his 5M cap hit. Not cuz he’s a bad player but cuz he would have value. Similar reasons Dejan outlined for trading tanger.

  40. JohninOshkosh says:

    Are they going to play that game tonight? I currently have a wind chill of-5. Can’t believe it’s much warmer in Chicago.

    March comes in like a lion indeed.

  41. DJ, its not about stats with all dmen. Remember scuderi in his prime? Harringtons ceiling suggests he may be an upgrade over that.

  42. He’s WB’s shutdown dman and was for team canada as well. He and maatta were tremendous in london as well.

  43. Jim S. says:

    Under 10 AAA at bats. 22 years old. Did not grow up playing against the best of the best in the US. A little time won’t kill him.

  44. Jim S. says:

    I assume you are not talking about Catcher, Chris Stewart, monster? We already have him.

  45. Where in the world is Drew?

  46. DJ says:

    Don’t make me dig up old posts, HM.

    Trading Letang would have been a great idea. Was all for it.

    And did I tell you that I saw Maatta when he was 10 and thought he was going to be a star. Well, if I didn’t, it was just an oversight.

  47. The NBA has told LeBron to quit wearing that black mask during games and so, while he’s appealing the order since he happens to like the mask, he’ll be wearing a clear mask during tonight’s game.

  48. Jim S. says:

    Yeah, I’d be surprised if JMac ever got it together enough to pitch well in MLB again. He had a short run where he was a solid pitcher. He got paid well for awhile. I hope he is managing it well. It is really hard to go from position player to pitcher while already being paid to play. Usually, that only works for guys with a gimmick or trickery of some type (Wakefield knuckler). JMac proves pitching is a heck of a lot more than having a great arm and good movement.

    I still hope he turns it around, though.

  49. Jim S. says:

    So, that tying goal by Montreal never happened and we got a W. Yeah!

  50. DJ, PLEASE go ahead and dig up posts…i urge you to do so. But you wont like what you find. :)

  51. DJ says:

    On stats, of course not.

    The Pens would be deadly with Maatta and Pouliot 1-2 on the PP units. You’re grossly selling Pouliot short.

  52. Actually i gotta run out for a bit…but in the mean time if you go back to last summer you’ll see precisely how consistent i’ve been. Look forward to our trip back in time when i get back. :)

  53. Like i said before, he’s butter with the puck and toast without it. Be back soon.

  54. Eric Bowser says:

    And you know he isn’t?

  55. Thundercrack says:

    Miguel Sano is having TJ surgery and will miss the 2014 season.

    That stinks.

  56. Jim S. says:

    It was actually warm last night, Osh. I had to work late, and got home a little past 9. It was actually 31 degrees when I got home. I looked out this morning, and we had a light dusting. It is high 20’s right now, with a “real feel” of about 18 in the area. Snow supposed to start mid-afternoon. It will be 18-20 degrees during the game. Will definitely feel a bit colder, though. Winds seem pretty steady all day/evening at 13-15 MPH. All in all, could have been better but unless something changes, not as bad as predicted earlier this week. Up to 5″ of snow.

    But, then again, this is Chicago. Everything could change fairly quickly.

    I’ll try to set up shop on various tall buildings in Chicago during the day and give updates to Pens peeps. I know people like their weather up close and personal.

    Ok, no I won’t. But, if I give an update, just pretend I’m doing more than looking outside and checking my phone.

  57. Jim S. says:

    Yeah, I saw that. Sort of odd for a non-pitcher.

  58. Sad story, TC. For both of them. Never cared much for Sanchez when he didn’t want to traded here a few years back, but it worked out for him, pitching well in the WS.

    But JMac is a good guy. Hate to see him end his career in such a mess.

  59. JohninOshkosh says:

    The smart play, both financially and from a baseball perspective, is to bring Polanco up in June. Preferably, when the Buccos are on the road against a mediocre team, so as to lessen the pressure.

    For every Jose Fernandez is probably 5 kids that initially struggle under the spotlight.

  60. JohninOshkosh says:

    ****Thanks, Jim Roker!

    Seriously appreciate the report. Now, if you just looked like Ginger See…..

  61. JohninOshkosh says:


  62. Jim S. says:

    Sadly, I don’t.

    On a positive note, I don’t look like Al Roker, either. :-)

  63. Thundercrack says:

    I don’t know this after 3 ST training games – – and a good showing in winter ball.

    But I know I wouldn’t say:
    Gregory Polanco has nothing left to prove in the minor leagues. Nothing. He needs to be on the opening day roster. There’s no excuse to give. None

  64. Jim S. says:


  65. Milo Hamilton says:

    I second that.

  66. Milo Hamilton says:

    Xavier Nady is all I can come up with..

  67. Milo Hamilton says:

    And apparently a second period.

  68. Thundercrack says:

    Interesting note from ST Louis columnist Bernie Miklasz :

    ‘What a sight, to see the more slender Ty Wigginton pounding a double and running the bases for the Marlins on Friday. But you’d think the dude would have felt the same obligation to get in shape after signing a two-year, $5 million deal with the Cardinals before last season. Guaranteed contracts can be a joke.’

  69. Well, Putin has just gone to the Russian senate for permission to send in troops, and we all know what will follow, and so…

  70. Jim S. says:

    I agree about that jump to AA, Andrew. Some even think the jump to High A is a big one.

    The young pitchers with real talent are usually at AA. But, a lot of times there is more polished competition at AAA, I would say.

    I tend to agree with Eric that Polanco is probably ready. But, I say letting him ease into it this year is not the worse option. 200 ABs at AAA won’t hurt him, and could just make him that much more confident and ready to produce in Pittsburgh.

    This is their strategy with top notch talents. It worked well with Cutch, then Marte, then Cole. I know they do it for financial reasons. But, it also seems to be working from a developmental standpoint.

    I’m not sure a young guy like Polanco would do better in April/May/June in Pittsburgh as Tabata. If anything, this should be lighting a fire under Tabata and whomever else might be planning on some early season ABs in RF. I know it would p*ss me off and stoke my competitive juices if I kept reading stories about the hot shot kid at AAA who is coming for my job if I finished off last year hitting as well as Tabata did.

  71. d says:


    I really enjoy reading your posts. You consistently give unbiased, factual, and thought provoking insights. I think you do a much better job of this reporting thing than DK…just sayin! This unfortunately is something that is frowned upon on this site. Please, just stick to the hometown party line that the local sports teams and their coaching staffs and ownership groups can do nothing wrong! And keep spewing the same excuses for our underperforming athletes. It makes the masses feel much better after not making the playoffs (Steelers) and another early playoff exit by the Pens. Remember Penguins fans, it is the goal as stated by THE GREAT, ALL IN, Ray Shero every year to win the Stanley Cup, not bow out in the first or second or third rounds.

  72. Polanco only hit .262 at AA Altoona and has only 8 ABs at AAA.

    From what I saw of his batting practice, he had real troubles adjusting to the curve, even when he knew it was coming. He was always the weakest of the 3 hitters in his group when the hitters moved to curve throwing pitching machine.

    He is obviously a great talent and he is/was so much better this Spring Training over what I saw of him in Minor League camp last Spring Training. He will be excellent for Pirates at right time.

    Let him cook!! Make him force his way up.

  73. Very true. And he doesn’t have to hit .400 in AAA to be called up. They called Pedro up in the midst of a 1-21 slump and he was hitting around .240 or .250 if I recall.

    But the scenario is different now with a winning club. I believe he’ll be ready and he’ll be the real deal when the call is made. Should be a lot of enjoyable baseball with that outfield and pitching staff if they remain healthy.

  74. Jim S. says:

    I say throw in Tomlin. He’s in on the roster discussions, I’m sure.

  75. There is no better incentive than being without a job!

  76. Jim S. says:

    Last paragraph, first line should have said “than Tabata.” My proofreader is off today.

  77. Milo Hamilton says:

    They’ll probably send him to minor league camp as soon as it opens like they did with Cole last year. Ne sense getting everybody’s hopes up. I can’t wait to see him.

  78. Jim S. says:

    Well said, Groat!

  79. Jim S. says:

    Yep, he needs to earn it.

  80. Milo Hamilton says:

    Think anybody’s told him he can’t kill the catcher anymore ?

  81. 21sthebest says:

    Let me get this straight Eric. You know he has nothing left to prove. Nothing. So anyone who disagrees with that assessment is clearly wrong?

  82. Oshkosh b’Gosh,

    Enjoyed your “God’s creation” comment yesterday about the girl in the pink boyshorts.

    She was smuggling silver dollars under that wifebeater. God done good!!!

  83. Jim S. says:

    Most of the things I read about Dominican League is that the closest approximation is AAA. So, he faced some guys who actually pitched in AAA, and even a few who have been in the bigs. Plus, some journeymen. He did tear it up, but let’s see how well he does when he knows he is on the cusp of fulfilling his dream. I like a couple months at AAA. This is a kid that everyone says has great potential, but he’s not Ken Griffey, Jr.

  84. He is impressive looking, especially hitting against coaches.

    Yet he was the only outfielder who consistently overthrew the cuttoffs . . . showing off his arm. He still has some “schooling” to accomplish both at bat and in the field. He is worth waiting for.

    Josh Bell also hits the ball a LON-ON-ONG way, but his swing is unrefined still. He’s a ways away. Missing that whole year did not help. However, it is impressive when he connects.

  85. Jim S. says:

    Good to hear about Bell. I have been saying that lost year was a big one. I think he’ll get here eventually, possibly as a power hitting 1b. The kid is mountainous, right Groat? I’ve only seen video of Bell, but he looks huge.

    And Polanco looked like he was standing next to his little brother with Cutch. They come in all sizes.

  86. JohninOshkosh says:

    The best young outfield combination I ever saw, in terms of power, speed, arms and exciteability, was the Expos with Dawson, Cromartie and Valentine.

    The Pirates outfield will be better.

  87. Wilk is the guy I wrote about last week . . . . the guy who had Clint Hurdle AND Ray Searage AND Neal Huntington all gather at the same field——twice——to watch him pitch live batting practice against lefty batters.

  88. Bell looks like a linebacker. Huge shoulders. Built like a V.

    I’d move him to 1st Base immediately; however, he some work to do on his swing mechanics I think. Impressive from both sides of the plate still.

  89. Thundercrack says:

    I remember that Groat.

    Can’t remember where I read it but someone thinks if they trade Watson or Wilson, this guy would be the new lefty in our pen

  90. DJ, I’m back. What you find? :)

  91. What a sec…bucs are talking about trading wilson and watson? Why?

  92. pattonbb says:

    Ask DK.

  93. I’m recording yesterday’s Pirates exhibition game from the MLB Network so I’ll at least see an entire Pirates game for the first time since last October.

  94. I know he got a bold reaming or 2, but he’s had those before. They don’t normally bother him. Has he been on Smizik’s blog or anywhere else?

  95. 21sthebest says:

    Nady had TJ twice.

  96. 21sthebest says:

    I’d be shocked if he doesn’t debut in Pittsburgh.

  97. JohninOshkosh says:

    He most certainly will. I just don’t agree with it. That’s just me.

  98. Jim S. says:

    That one was special, Osh. And, Raines followed.

  99. Jim S. says:

    I remember growing up and tinkering with hitting from both sides of the plate. I was great at it when it was just me and my buddies in a pickup game. Or, in co-ed softball in college where they made the guys hit opposite handed. But, when a pitcher was on the mound in a real setting, I knew I could not pull it off.

    It is so difficult to become a good hitter that I decided early on I didn’t want to try to tackle it twice. The Mantles and Roses and Murrays were special hitters. And, there were more really good switch hitters. But, the landscape is littered with guys who could not pull it off. Sometimes, I think, they don’t reach their full potential from either side of the plate because they are always struggling from one side or the other. It really takes a special player to pull it off.

  100. Jim S. says:

    + many, Lucky.

  101. Jim S. says:

    Carl Crawford, maybe.

  102. Jim S. says:

    11 a.m. weather update from Chicagoland … keep in mind, I live 35 miles SW of the city.

    High 20’s here, with not much wind. It would be very comfortable tonight if it stayed like this. I know the temps will drop 10 degrees or so by game time, but I think that would still be manageable as long as the wind doesn’t kick up.

    The real factor, though, is the snow. We’ll know more about that as the day goes on. It is supposed to start snowing by mid-afternoon, with 3-5″ mabye. No sign of it so far today, after a dusting overnight.

    Back to you in the studio with an update on the Pirates Spring Training and Gregory Polanco dilemma. :-)

  103. Milo Hamilton says:

    Rossi says he’s done some digging & we can officially start the Kesler Watch. The Pens are interested & they’re on his list.

  104. Jim S. says:

    People speculate. I don’t see Wilson or Watson being traded. Maybe for someone like Ike Davis?

    Stink, Jr. is also a lefty. Isn’t the Asian pitcher they recently signed as well? None are as good, in my opinion, as Watson or Wilson.

  105. So kesler to philly?

  106. NMR says:

    It was a ridiculous comment to begin with.

  107. Ya those 2 were as automatic as it gets…IMO.

  108. NMR says:

    Cliche, cliche, cliche, Im right, you’re wrong.

  109. Milo Hamilton says:

    Come to think of it, yes. :)

  110. NMR says:

    Wandy Rodriguez still has a left arm. Update coming at 1:30.

  111. theplanisworking says:

    Dennis Bowman lives !!!!

    The original Goof on the Roof. :)

  112. Maybe if kesler wants to stick it to VAN he’ll come out with a narrow list and we can get him on the cheap. But does he really want to be 3rd line center here? Or are we getting him to play RW with sid occasionally? If we can somehow keep sutter AND get kesler i would view things differently. But if we get kesler to play center we’ll need to upgrade his wingers in bottom 6 regardless. If we can manage to get kesler and goc for bottom 6 then stewart or boyes to play RW then we’ll really have something cookin.

  113. 21sthebest says:


  114. Eric Bowser says:

    d – I probably should have committed to the journalism thing, I love to write, ask questions, demand answers, and provide a strong opinion. Dejan is a friend and mentor, so I’m biased about his ability to write, report, and provide an opinion but thanks for the note, appreciate it. Don’t worry, I chose my words purposefully with regards to Polanco, I knew the company line reaction it would get.

  115. Jim S. says:

    Didn’t you know everything is black or white? There is no gray when it comes to prospects.

  116. Thundercrack says:

    Opinion is different than facts. And so is how you present them.

    I’ll bet that even his friend & mentor doesn’t know that Polanco is ready right now for the majors

  117. theplanisworking says:

    You didn’t specify if it was still attached………

  118. Jim S. says:

    Nothing gets past your watchful eye.

  119. theplanisworking says:


    Preparing for the Pens game tonight……..

  120. NMR says:

    We’re all Nutting Lemmings!

  121. JohninOshkosh says:

    Eric, I really like your posts a lot, but I don’t get this company line vibe, particularly on this bog. Almost everyone here both supports and criticizes Pirates management. I know I disagree with them on many things, but I also support some of their decisions, like regarding Polanco.

    Same way I am politically. :)

  122. 21sthebest says:

    You demand answers? Exactly who do you think you are?

  123. 21sthebest says:

    Apparently, we’re all supposed to have the exact same opinion regarding Polanco’s track to the majors. I think if this is the way someone in journalism want us to think, they’ll have a very brief career in journalism.

  124. Thundercrack says:

    He sounds like Elliot Ness

  125. 21sthebest says:

    Thank you for your non biased opinion.

  126. NMR says:

    Incredibly self-important.

  127. NMR says:

    He probably has like 157 Twitter followers, after all.

  128. Jim S. says:

    Even Groat, apparently. And, I’m quite sure that would be news to him.

  129. DJ says:

    I’ve got a good memory. You can locate the post if you’d like and post it below with the date.

    Orpik for three more years? Seriously?

    Very silly.

  130. DJ says:

    I don’t know if Kesler can play RW but that was the first thought I had as well.

    I like Kesler a lot, just don’t think this is what they need at this time. Seems we’re more concerned with the big splash every trade deadline now rather than building four lines.

  131. DJ says:

    Then again, if Sutter is part of any deal, as mentioned, RW is not a possibility.

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