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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

On location: Pirates 6, Phillies 5, exhibition

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

BRADENTON, Fla. — Looking ahead to first pitch …

Game: Pirates vs. Philadelphia Phillies, exhibition

Time: 1:05 p.m.

Site: McKechnie Field

TV, radio: None.

Here’s the official live box score.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Pirates page. And here’s our Bucco Blog with all the pitching matchups, lineups, etc. Travis Sawchik, photographer Chris Horner and I are on the scene for the Trib.

If you missed it this morning, here was the Friday column on Clint Hurdle’s plea to put away the past, as well as the accompanying video …

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. Brandie says:

    Excellent! First!


  2. Jim S. says:

    We have our choice of seats today.

  3. Brandie says:

    That’s Right JimRocka!

  4. Jandy says:

    Good view….unobstructed :)

  5. Jandy says:


    “Mr. Negative:
    I understand everyone is entitled to some vacation time, but to do so during the NHL trade deadline is unusual for a person in your profession. That would be similar to my accountant taking vacation for the first two weeks in April. Next time, skip covering the Olympics and come back fresh for one of the most exciting Pittsburgh sports days of the year. With that being said, I hope you the vacation was nice for you and your family. “

  6. Brandie says:

    Dude is catty and entitled!

  7. Jandy says:

    yeah, and that too ;)

  8. Jim S. says:

    Only way to view a baseball game.

  9. Thundercrack says:

    And us Pirate / baseball fans get the bad reputation.

  10. Jandy says:

    I’d like to :thwap: that jack-w*pe!


  11. JRay3 says:

    Don’t know if this has been mentioned or not, but Chris Stewart has an injury and will be out a minimum of 6-8 weeks and possibly all season, will know more next Wednesday.

    Have to wonder if this news will change the plans of sending Tony Sanchez back down to Indianapolis or not?

  12. 21sthebest says:

    Where did you hear that JRay?

  13. theplanisworking says:

    If I sat in front of you, your view would definitely be obstructed……………… ;)

  14. JRay3 says:

    Just received a text about it from his rep and friend of mine.

  15. 21sthebest says:


  16. pattonbb says:

    Any word on when or how it happened? That’s pretty big news.

  17. Jandy says:

    well that stinks big time :(

  18. JRay3 says:

    No did not get that but the injury which I don’t want to really get into will require surgery. Hoping the best for him as from a defensive standpoint he was going to be really sound and that would really be of aid to this pitching staff.

  19. Was that e-mail address from Federal Street?

    Hi Frank!

  20. Nate83 says:

    Thanks for the info. That is definitely a big lose. I think he added a lot of value to the team. Having a great defensive back up catcher that played 120 games last year is a nice luxury to have.

    I like Tony Sanchez and think he will do fine but I’m not sure playing 25-40 games this year is the best thing for his development.

  21. 21sthebest says:

    I could see Tony playing more than that both for his development and to give Russ more rest. Depending on how Tony does defensively in the first couple of months.

  22. Chris Stewart is a really nice guy. I got to talk to him when I was down at Pirate City.

    He stuck around after practice and his wife brought his two kids out onto the field where Stewart played “ball” with his son. Boy was about 4 and daughter around 18 months, running around the grass in diapers. Mom just looked like a loving, great Mom.

    Chris would roll the ball in the infield grass to his son and his son would throw it back to him. His throws went every which way but back to his Dad. That brought back great memories of my throwing catch with my daughters and son. Stewart was so patient with his son. I talked to him two straight days after practice and the 2nd day he introduced his wife. Really, one of those “perfect families.”

    I am sorry as a Pirate fan and I am sorry for Chris Stewart the man.

  23. Look for Huntington to pick up a waiver-wire catcher for 6-8 weeks.

    Tony Sanchez needs to play. If after 6-8 weeks Stewart is going to be out for the year, then Sanchez may be brought up.

  24. theplanisworking says:

    Reading about the Chris Stewart injury brings up a very interesting point.

    Last year, the Bucs were fairly healthy.

    Not too many major injuries to speak of. If the Bucs were to sustain a major injury to say Cutch, or Pedro, it could capsize the season. I hope Stewart isnt seriously hurt……….. but just goes to show that things can change in an instant.

  25. What about the Omir Santos’s of the world? Anyone else on our roster who could slip in there as a once-a-week guy?

  26. “In the twinkling of an eye”.

  27. NMR says:

    Pedro would be better off on the diabled list for large chunks of the season. I’ve heard other people state that an injury to him would be devastating but I just can’t come close to seeing how.

  28. theplanisworking says:

    I have a feeling you might be right.
    Chicks dig the longball, but Pedro’s overall hitting and defense wouldn’t be missed.

    I should have really placed Cutch and Martin as the 2 players.

  29. Thundercrack says:

    They were pretty healthy last year – in regards to the position players. But I think everyone in the starting rotation missed multiple starts or was on the DL. Then there was Grilli.

    Did Walker ever end up on the DL?

  30. theplanisworking says:

    I think he was put on the 15-day once, but being it was retroactive, it only ended up being 5-6 games.

    I was talking more about a serious injury, like Wandy’s, that caused a major chunk of time.

  31. Bizrow says:


  32. Bizrow says:

    Where is Fort?

  33. Nate83 says:

    I generally would agree about Pedro except for the fact that they have zero depth at the position. Pedro does not do enough well to be considered elite. He is valuable but losing him for a large portion of the year would not be any more devastating then losing Walker. In my personal opinion there are probably 5 or 6 guys that I see as being higher on the list of guys that would hurt the overall performance of the team if they got hurt.

  34. Brandie says:


    I have not read of Bucco Chris Stewart being injured but I have read of The Buffalo Sabres Chris Stewart being injured and possibly out for the season.

  35. Somewhere in the Rockies, I believe.

  36. 21sthebest says:


  37. Clint Hurdle really liked that Carlos Paulino guy who was just sent down. I watched him talk to him 3 straight days, after both hitting and catching. Paulino caught the Big Guy pitchers with Martin, Stewart, and Sanchez. The other two catchers (Arroyo and Nestor, If I remember right) caught the lesser pitchers in bullpens.

    I heard Hurdle be very complimentary of Paulino both to him and to another coach. Maybe if Stewart goes on the 60 day, Paulino is added to the 40 man, if another catcher doesn’t pop up on the waiver wire.

  38. Jandy says:

    ahhh../that is interesting…

  39. You Bible quoting Dude!!

  40. Jandy says:

    Biz, did you see the two new Lunatics today?

  41. 21sthebest says:

    Agree Nate. I also think Pedro is very good defensively and that would be missed. He cut down on his errors at third big time over the last two months, hopefully that trend continues, and we all know that his arm strength gets outs.

  42. Brandie says:

    Very bad knee injury. There may be a case of mistaken identity here.

  43. I give it my all, bro.

  44. 21sthebest says:

    TC, Walker missed 11 games between July 6 and July 23. We went 5-6 during that period, FWIW.

  45. Fine Girl,

    If you are right about the wrong Chris Stewart, I owe you a big kiss!!

    Please be true!

  46. . . for Chris Stewart’s and the Pirates sake, of course!

  47. Bizrow says:

    No, what thread are they on?

    My wife has been using the computer a lot lately due to getting an offer to go back to the Nuke plant as a contractor. She got laid off from the utility in Sept.

    The nice thing is that the contractor called her due to recommendations from folks in the plant

  48. Pirates went 22-24 with Starling Marte on Disabled List.

    No Convenience List there.

  49. 21sthebest says:

    Biz must be really enjoying retirement!

  50. Thundercrack says:

    I was listening to the game and they were telling a story about Stewart (how he became a catcher) and they never mentioned an injury. Maybe they didn’t have the same sources as JRay :-)

  51. Sure will be nice to have the house to yourself again, won’t it Bizzy?

  52. JRay3 says:

    Not a case of mistaken identity here. Bucs C Chris Stewart has the injury and will be out a minimum of 6-8 weeks and possibly all season.

    Do not have this mixed up with the hockey player that shares same name.

  53. JRay3 says:

    Heard it from an individual that would have that information, I assure you.

  54. I’ll kiss you too, Cracker!

  55. Probably an upper body injury. Whoops. Wrong Pgh. team.

  56. 21sthebest says:

    FWIW JRay, it was announced yesterday that Chris Stewart of the Sabres may miss the rest of the season.

  57. Nate83 says:

    He is the only player I find myself both defending when he is going bad and then saying he isn’t all that great when people get excited about him. It’s very odd. I guess at the end of the day I know he is going to bat .250 and hit 28-25 HR’s and strike out a ton. So I don’t panic when he bat’s .200 for a month and hits only 2 home runs.

    If he lowers his strike out rate and increases his batting average to .270 he becomes a completely different player but until he proves he can do that I will just assume he’s a valuable player that offers something not many in the Pirate line up can. I think going forward into 2015-2017 the Pirates can win without a guy that hits 30 HR’s. They will have enough speed and gap power on the team as well as 10-25 HR guys to put up some runs.

  58. Jandy says:

    This morning’s Ultimate Highlight one, Biz. I’ll see if I can find them

  59. NMR says:


  60. Brandie says:

    Wow. Wouldn’t that be something…both Chris Stewarts out due to injury.


  61. Jandy says:

    here ya go:

    Todd Strieter
    March 14, 2014 at 7:54 AM

    Stony Point, New York


    March 14, 2014 at 9:23 AM

    Claridge, PA!


    there ya go :)

  62. Bizrow says:

    Thanks Jandy

    Groat, I’m thinking her being at work will get old quickly

    Might be time to pull out the fishing pole ;-)

  63. tdb1977 says:

    Just wanted to give a little update on today’s game…

    Heading into the 5th inning tied at 2 against the Phillies. McCutchen with a blast in the first tied the game after Philly took a 1-0 lead in the first half of the inning. Bucs scored a second run in the 3rd when Barmes and Walker hit doubles in the inning. Philly tied it back up at 2 in the top half of the second inning. Today’s starter, Brandon Cumpton went 4 strong, giving up 2 runs, non earned while striking out 2 and walking 1. Cumpton is the first Pirates pitcher to go 4 innings this spring. Melancon is now in pitching for the Pirates. Other notables from today’s game is Travis Snider has gone 2 for 2 with a double and Starling Marte hit a bunt single with the 3rd baseman playing in on the grass.

  64. Jim S. says:

    Tony is definitely playing today.

  65. Jim S. says:

    If only we could pick and choose those chunks.

  66. Bizrow says:

    Thanks for the update

  67. 21sthebest says:

    Went 16-9 when both A.J. and Wandy were on the DL at the same time.

  68. Jim S. says:

    That was me who said Pedro would be a gigantic loss.

    He might hit 40 bombs this year. If he gets injured, we either play some combo of Harrison and Jordy at 3b, which gets Barmes an uncomfortable amount of ABs. Or, we put the guy from the White Sox, who can’t hit a lick in as the regular 3b.

  69. NMR says:

    Ha, you got my point.

  70. Jim S. says:

    Walker had a hand thing.

  71. Jim S. says:

    I joined this little sidebar late. For a minute there, I thought I had stumbled into the Twilight Blog.

  72. Jim S. says:

    Tony Montana is catching today.

  73. The Gunner says:

    Fort is a nice guy with some pop in his bat but, his defense leaves a lot to be desired. He won’t be back with the Bucs.

  74. Jim S. says:

    Phils just creeped back ahead with a run off Melancon.

  75. Jandy says:

    No problem, Boss Biz ;)

  76. NMR says:

    If only we had a stat that combined a player’s value in all three phases of the game!

    Then we could actually have empirical evidence as to how much his loss would hurt.

  77. Bizrow says:

    Its ok, still have dreams about work though ;-)

  78. Jim S. says:

    And if you could somehow then compare that number to, I don’t know, an average player who would need to replace him if he wasn’t in the lineup … then, I think you might have something.

  79. Brandie says:

    Lunatics…totally off topic but I have received an offer to interview to be trained to sell GM cars at a dealership not far from my house. Thoughts?

  80. theplanisworking says:

    I would talk to some people who already sell cars.
    I have heard it is a tough gig, but if you are good at it, it is rewarding.

  81. Long hours and commission income could be negatives. But you would excel at it. At least until something in your field opens up.

  82. Nate83 says:

    Thanks for the detailed update. Nice to see Cumpton being stretched out and pitching well. There could definitely be a need for him quickly this year if Volquez struggles after 5-10 starts or someone gets injured.

  83. Fine Girl,

    I worked selling cars for a decade and I even advanced to being Manager at a GM Car Store, with 29 Salesmen working for me.

    Bad hours, worse respect from most Managers, especially for women. Salespeople are considered disposable. Must have a very thick skin to succeed.

    If you are desperate for the $$$, go for it. However, I would only move that direction if you think nothing you enjoy is panning out. It is a rough and frustrating profession. That’s why so many salespeople resort to lying to sell cars.

    Sometimes money can’t buy peace of mind. Frequent 50-hour work week.

  84. Nate83 says:

    My brother-in-law manages at a very large dealership with 7 lots. He works a lot of hours and does go through a lot of sales people that also work long hours. I don’t know your background but the financial people stay longer with the company and make good money but also work long hours. You can make good money doing it if you are good at reading people and don’t have a problem with a little BS’ing.

    I also know by talking to him that like almost all fields of work there are good dealerships to work for that treat employees better then others. I would do your homework on the dealership you would be working for.

  85. Thundercrack says:

    I forgot about Marte’s injury last year.

  86. Jim S. says:

    Great advice, Nate.

    I work on the manufacturer side of the auto business, and have since getting out of college. I have been with 2 import manufacturers, but never one of the domestics.

    Groat and Nate were very realistic with their comments, Brandie. Retail car sales is not easy, and the hours are rough. Most dealerships are open late several days per week, and always are open on Saturday. In some places, though not many, they even have Sunday hours. But, it is not a 9-5/40 hour work week.

    There’s money to be made if you work hard and know your stuff. I would also say that women tend to do well if they are serious about it because both men and women tend to trust women more when buying something from them. Who knew?

    Someone who is good with people in general (which I bet you are, judging from your comments here) and has a positive, helpful disposition can do well because selling cars really is about developing a rapport and trust with clients.

    What Nate said about there being differences from store to store is very accurate. Some are great places to work, and some are nightmares where they turn their sales force over and over. If you are interviewing, ask them how long their other Sales Consultants have been there. That will tell you a lot about the work environment. Overall, though, there are good and not so good people working at dealerships – just like any line of work I am aware of.

    Different brands have different clientele that buy their cars. GM tends to have an older buyer, so you should think about things like that. Will you have enthusiasm selling a particular brand of car and dealing with a certain demographic of customer? Make sure if you interview at the store you are interviewing them just as they are interviewing you. If you really want to get into that line of work, openings exist at a lot of places all the time. So, pick the place you want to work.

    You have to be a self-starter. You will make very little money unless you want it very badly. But, if you do want it very badly, and you are competitive by nature, there is money to be made. Treat your customers well and you will increase your sales through word of mouth over time.

    I hope that helps. Good luck whatever you decide.

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