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Morning Java: Let’s dance

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

ORLANDO, Fla. — Morning, Lunatics …


>> The Thursday column on Pitt’s two terrific seniors, Lamar Patterson and Talib Zanna, wasn’t really written by me. It was written, essentially, by the Cam Wright interview that preceded it.

And just so you don’t think Wright was the only one piling praise upon those two on the eve of the NCAA Tournament’s tipoff, here’s James Robinson on the same topic, though this couldn’t fit within the column’s space: “They’re our fifth-year seniors, so we know they want it more just for themselves, this being the last go-round. So as younger players it’s our duty to make sure we leave it all out there for them. They’ve taught us a lot. They put the team on their back many times this year. They’ve been great leaders for us. This is our last opportunity to show them how much we appreciate them.”

Only in college sports. Wonderful.

Tipoff for Pitt-Colorado is 1:40 p.m., and beat man Kevin Gorman has the preview.

The Panthers must cope with a different brand of ball, by Gorman. And this isn’t about styles. It’s about the actual ball. Interesting stuff.

The battle of the big men could be pivotal, by Greg Auman.

Here’s some of what Patterson and Robinson had to say before the Panthers’ shootaround yesterday …

And here, from back home, is yesterday’s opening of Pitt uber-insider Chris Peak’s new TribLIVE Radio show …

Here’s TribLIVE’s Pitt page.

Here’s Chris Horner’s photo gallery from the scene.

Here’s Colorado news from the Boulder Daily Camera.

Here’s the NCAA’s official March Madness page.

>> Maurice Jones-Drew in the house? Awesome. Is it still 2011?

I kid, I kid!

Hey, he’s only 28, and he’s been a premier talent most of his career in Jacksonville. No question he’d be a fine fit in a support role with Le’Veon Bell. In fact, he could be everything Todd Haley had hoped he was getting from LaRod Stephens-Howling or Felix Jones. Bear in mind that MJD made all 43 of those catches last season without a quarterback.

I kid, I kid!

Here’s TribLIVE’s Steelers page.

>> The Pirates will be without backup catcher Chris Stewart only about a month after his knee surgery yesterday, Travis Sawchik reports from Fort Myers.

That’s much less than it could have been, and it bodes well for Tony Sanchez sticking. Or not. The next few days will tell a lot about how management really feels about Sanchez, I think.

Starling Marte wants to keep swinging, by Sawchik.

But hey, never mind all that. Have you seen Andrew McCutchen doing these batting stances, including even Roberto Clemente?

The one that floored me was Albert Pujols tilting his head back. Fabulous.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Pirates page.

Here are official game highlights on

>> They’re calling young Connor McDavid the ‘next Sidney Crosby’ up in Erie. Josh Yohe drove up I-79 to take a look at McDavid’s impact on the sport and on the northwestern corner of our commonwealth.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Penguins page, with more on tonight’s game at Joe Louis.

Here are official game highlights on

Here’s Red Wings news from the Dallas Morning News.

>> I’ll call in to TribLIVE Radio, live from Amway Center, at 11:30 a.m.

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. How was Disney World?

  2. DJ says:

    Cutch mimicking the batting stances of premier players is hilarious. Used to do the same thing when we were kids.

    DK: I can still do a mean Willie.

  3. Arriba Wilver says:

    You’ve been traveling too much. Don’t you mean northwestern, not northeastern, part of the state?

    DK: Fixed. With thanks!

  4. theplanisworking says:

    I put out an APB for Playoffs and Drew last night.

    Maybe Drew is disguised as Edinson Volquez??
    And Playoffs as Frankie C.?? Nah.

    And, DK wasn’t allowed to visit DisneyWorld.
    No cheering in the press box, remember?

  5. Devon says:

    I know Pitt are prone to disappoint at anytime or anywhere, and could against Colorado…but Florida is a de-facto top seed, not a juggernaut. Their win streak, while impressive, begun at home against a sloppy Kansas (24 turnovers sloppy). Since then, they beat Memphis at home by 2 and beat the same team (UK) three times, plus Tennessee. Really, that’s it. In between, wide gaps versus peons in a conference that is trending towards mid-major. They played two tough out-of-conference road games (UCONN, Wisconsin) and lost both. Yet the ESPN national bracket has people giving them a 4% chance, less than any other 8/9 matchup. There is definitely a better chance than that.

    I’m not saying Florida isn’t good, or they didn’t deserve what they got, given the parity this year and all the wins. But there are no clear-cut favorites, and it would make for quite the story if Pitt sent #1 packing, especially the success-spoiled U. of Florida. Pitt fans should embrace the opportunity.

    DK: Here’s guessing the coaching staff isn’t discussing Florida just yet. But if they were, I’d be surprised if they didn’t feel they were good enough to win that matchup Saturday.

  6. Wild Bill says:

    Time for Lambo to worry about Ishikawa yet?

  7. Mizery says:

    Just finished my bracket and I am getting stoked for tip-off in 12 hours. I think PITT will beat Colorado but even if I thought they had a chance against Florida, their tourney history is pretty bad. I have as much doubt about them playing Tulsa as I do about a top ranked team. I just don’t expect them to win anymore no matter the opponent. Still love the fact that they make it to the tourney every year though.

    MJD? That would be a tremendous pick up. Injury concerns sure, but as a complimentary piece? I would sign him yesterday.

    Here’s good luck to all those trying to win a billion dollars from Warren tomorrow.

    DK: MJD might not have a choice. Musical chairs get filled in a hurry when there are only 32 of them in the world.

  8. Dave Devine says:

    Man – its bad enough that the Britishism “gone missing” has established itself in US usage, and how we are taking people “to hospital?” Give hospital its article back, please! Next thing you know we’ll be getting soccer coverage here ;-P

  9. Dave Devine says:

    Great – I go language cop and write “how” instead of “now.”

  10. Damian Panek says:

    Thanks for the Erie Otters story! It has been a great season.

  11. kr70 says:

    Thanks for the cutch piece. The more I know about him the more I like him.

  12. bpn8pitt says:

    I had no idea there were so many different kinds of basketballs getting used. Pitt has Spalding. Colorado uses Nike. And the tourney uses Wilson? And ACC teams alone use EIGHT different types?

    At the end of the day, they are all the same size, but I could see what the players were talking about feel and maybe just a little bit of weight.

    Why not just use the one they use in the tourney? Meaning why have a contract with Spaulding if in the postseason your using Wilson?

    Neat story. Guess its like golf, where in the end it comes down to operator. Lol.

  13. radio wave says:

    Too early to worry about Florida. Pitt track record not good recently in Ncaa’s.

  14. JAL says:

    JAL’s Single Girl 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

    First Pitch: Thoughts on Wandy, Volquez, Sanchez, and Depth

    The Edinson Volquez Experiment Isn’t Looking Good Right Now

    6 Bucs Dugout

    Pirates get good news on Chris Stewart

    7 Rumbunter

    For Pittsburgh Pirates, Hope Springs Eternal. Finally…

    Changes Coming for PNC Park

    8 Green Weenie

    3/19: Paul Smith, the O’Brien Twins, Jose Castillo, Bill Landrum….

    9 SaberBucs

    Team Batting Line and xFIP Projections

    10 Pirates 101

    Some Trade Options Involving Pittsburgh Pirates’ Jose Tabata, Vin Mazzaro

  15. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 Altoona Mirror

    Rodriguez strong for Bucs in victory

    12 WTAE

    Right field still question mark for Pirates

    13 USA Today

    The Least Valuable Player For All 30 Teams In Major League Baseball

    14 Pirates Site

    Wandy strong over four; Ishikawa ignites bats

    15 Minor League Ball

    Pittsburgh Pirates Organization Discussion

    Gregory Polanco…Devourer of Worlds

    16 Beaver County Times

    Pirates have decisions to make with their crowded bullpen

    17 NESN

    Red Sox-Pirates Live: Aggressive Baserunning Helps Pittsburgh Win 4-2

    18 St. Louis Post Gazette

    Adams is focused on big chance

    19 Fangraphs

    2014 Positional Power Rankings: Catcher

    2014 Positional Power Rankings: First Base

    20 Baseball Prospectus

    Understanding the Umpire-Manager Arguments of 2013
    A Lipreader Deciphers the Second Half’s Angriest Exchanges

  16. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Dollars can’t be the issue between Steelers and Maurice Jones-Drew

    Celebrating LaMarr Woodley’s prolific sack pace


    22 Bloomberg Stats Insight

    World Cup Countdown: Real Madrid’s Jese out for the season

    23 BBC Football

    Manchester United: David Moyes denies rumours of rifts with players

    24 World Soccer

    Is the dirt about to hit the FIFA fan at long last?


    25 Pensburgh

    March Sadness: Pensburgh Edition – The Worst Penguins Bracket

  17. Jandy says:


  18. Jandy says:

    RE: Aroldis Chapman. I don’t wish injury on anyone, and especially not when it involves the face, but man, karma is one beyotch.

  19. hockeymonster says:

    You guys remember that Dman with a wicked hard shot from Umass-lowell I mentioned the other day, Christian Folin? Scroll down to the bottom of the article, read what it says about him then check out the 1st few seconds of the highlight.

    Unless that net if defective, he just pulled a Shea Weber! I’ve said it before and i’ll say it again…Bring me Folin!!!

  20. theplanisworking says:

    I dont know about you, but Chapman had walked 4 batters that inning, and yet the Reds manager kept him in there. I understand its’ only ST, but 4 walks in an inning? Leaving him out there was just inviting trouble, especially with a pitcher that wild at over 100mph.

  21. Jandy says:

    How soon can the Pens sign him?

  22. Jandy says:

    I don’t like him, so I don’t want to say too much. He’s an ass.

  23. hockeymonster says:

    Believe right after his season is done if he wants to…would be good insurance policy in case Orpik and/or nisky price themselves out.

  24. Jandy says:

    He should start in WBS, no? I’ve read a lot about that kid, and Connor McDavid too. Like what I read :)

  25. theplanisworking says:

    Are you sure you aren’t confusing him with Dustball Baker?

  26. hockeymonster says:

    Well ya, I’m sure he may need to start in WB but on the other hand I remember last season Buffalo signed another Dman from Umass-lowell and looked pretty good pretty quick. I believe this Folin kid is better than the kid buffalo signed. McDavid will be tremendous for whoever hits that lottery.

  27. Dcpinpgh says:


    That’s needs to be seen not read about…..

  28. DJ says:

    Ha! Be careful not to tip your coffee cup.

  29. Jandy says:

    One’s as bad as the other

  30. Jandy says:

    I really enjoyed watching tat video. Cutch has them nailed lol

  31. DJ says:

    The year no one expects anything from Pitt is going to be the year they slay the dragon and take down Florida.

    Etch it!*

    *Borrowed from Buggee or BillyBaduka or whoever uses that phrase on here.

  32. theplanisworking says:

    Great article about the Erie Otters. Erie has a wonderful improv comedy club downtown……. JR’s Last Laugh. Close to the stadium, and arena, and good food too. They have an amateur night, so some of the blog peeps could try out…….

    Josh took I-79 to Erie…….. between the construction, and snow, it probably took him 3 days to get there. But it is always nice to read feel-good articles, especially ones so close to home.

  33. hockeymonster says:

    Since we’re on the subject I’m gonna list the 2 CHL players I believe to be attainable and would like the Pens to shoot for in the draft:

    Nikita Scherbak:

    Russian LW and import playing in WHL with speed, grit and decent hands. Looks like he could either be a Kunitz type player or maybe when he fills out he could be a smaller Lucic but with more speed and without the fighting. Either way based on the current rankings I’m seeing he should be attainable. Ideal winger for Geno and Real deal cuz of his willingness to muck it up on the boards to establish possession and long term can be replacement for Kuni in top 6. Worst case he plays a 3rd line role but I view him as a top 6 player. And it wouldn’t hurt Geno to take on a Gonchar type role too. Can see him being NHL ready a year or 2 after leaving juniors.

    Alexis Vanier: 6’5 225lbs dman. Do I need to continue?

    Ok I will. Good skater considering his size and stage of development. Good defensive awareness and already knows how to use his size. Looks like he wants to be positional 1st and physical 2nd but considering his mobility and presence he would be a great addition to our system. Currently ranked and projected as 3rd round pick so if we can acquire a 3rd round pick after trading it away and get him there, that would be great. Maybe we can draft Oskar Lindblom with the 2nd pick but I’d be ok drafting Vanier in 2nd round as well just because I view him as an NHL stay at home dman who can make crisp passes down the road.

  34. DJ says:

    He really has opened up the last year or so. A sign of maturity which translates to leadership as well.

    I feel he’s going to take his game to new heights this year. That’s assuming, of course, he keeps driving the ball to right center — Ha!

  35. DJ says:

    Pet peeve but hate Nike basketballs.

    The Nike swoosh is so huge and slick that it’s like trying to grip a block of ice.

  36. hockeymonster says:

    Oh and for the record…I’d take Ekblad over Reinhart 100 out 100 times. Usually I’m biased towards centers but in this case no way do I take Reinhart over Ekblad. Last season I couldn’t believe Jones was ranked ahead of Mackinnon and Drouin after seeing memorial cup but this season, Ekblad, 6’4 216lbs is not only younger and bigger than Reinhart but controls the game better than any 17 year old dman I’ve ever seen. I view Reinhart as a Spezza type center but Ekblad reminds of Pietrangelo defensively with elements of letang cuz he can rush the puck too. No way I pass on Ekblad!

    Why do I have a feeling Mr. Shero will want to trade up to get Julius Honka?

  37. Jim S. says:

    Actually, they have won more tournament games than they have lost since Howland/Dixon. There are several Sweet 16s and an Elite 8 that was within a few seconds of a Final Four. They’ve won their first game a few other times since then as well.

    But, I guess that’s not the narrative.

    Colorado, on the other hand … I can only imagine what their fans must be saying. They don’t have much of a history at all in this tournament.

    I’m pretty sure someone has to win this game.

  38. DJ says:

    Who said we were on the subject, HM? Just bustin’ ya.

    I agreed with you the other day the Folin kid is intriguing. Let’s take up a collection to sign him, the proviso being we — the eminently qualified blogsters — decide how to use him, not Dan.

  39. hockeymonster says:


  40. Jandy says:

    That would be buggee….he of the shuttlecocks ;)

  41. Jim S. says:


    * I think Aroldis Chapman may be out awhile. Fractures and psyches take time to mend. I don’t like that he is pretty free and easy with pitches up around the heads of opponents – Cutch, to name one – but, I would never wish something like what happened to him on anyone. He could have been killed. I hope he does come back 100% at some point, and I hope he maybe learns something about how short a baseball career can be for him or his opponents.

    * I was glad to hear that the emergency thyroid tumor surgery for the 13 year old son of Iowa coach Fran McCaffery appears to have gone well yesterday. I’m praying for a speedy and total recovery for him. 13 year olds and their families should not have to worry about things like that.

    * Great job by Wandy last night in going 4 solid innings vs. the BoSox. I didn’t see the game, but Cumpton must have also pitched well in 4.2 innings. I did see the replay of JHay on the bases. Ugh! Nice hit, though! JHay’s bat is growing on me just a bit.

    * So, now we know the extent of the Chris Stewart injury. Doctors cleaned up some miniscus, and the hope is he could be back in as short as 4 weeks, with up to 6 weeks also being in the normal recovery range. That was a very nice break for the Bucs. I would like to see Sanchez come north with the big team for April. That will still give him plenty of time in AAA this year, as planned. He seems to be hitting a lot of line drives when I catch snippets of video.

    * I believe we had an Andrew Lambo sighting last night. He was caught on video, apparently, doing a positive baseball thing. Good thing for him. Travis Ishikawa is lurking. :-)

  42. Jim S. says:

    He had been throwing a few 2 inning stints previously as well, plan. It sure seemed like they were stretching him out for some reason.

  43. I believe you mean the Detroit Free Press vice the Dallas Morning News, DK.

    Must’ve been coffee-starved, I understand… ;)

  44. 21sthebest says:

    I really feel bad for Chapman and agree with you 100%. Hoping for a successful and speedy recovery.

  45. Jim S. says:

    If anyone saw the ESPN 30 for 30 special Requiem for the Big East this week, there was a funny part about basketballs. By the way, I would highly recommend that particular 30 for 30 for college hoops fans – although I think 30 for 30 is what ESPN happens to do best regardless of the topic. But, I digress.

    They talked about an early endorsement deal on a particular basketball (McGregor, maybe) that Rollie Massimino and a couple of the older coaches had first been approached about for all of the coaches in the league. Massimino, in true Massimino fashion, wanted just a little bit more $$ for himself, Carnasecca and, I think, Boeheim and Calhoun. Anyway, he told those guys that they all deserved more money because they were the top dogs, so to speak. Boeheim decided to mess with Massimino and Pitino, who was the young punk of the group at that time. So, Boeheim told Pitino that he should bring up in front of all of them that they should share the endorsement money equally to be fair. It was a pretty lucrative deal at the time – almost $700k for the top guys. But, they were only talking about a difference of a few thousand dollars more for the top guys under the Massimino plan.

    Anyway, Pitino stands up and complains about it, as Boeheim urged him to do, and Massimino apparently went beserk. Boeheim just sat back and laughed at all the trouble he started over a couple thousand $$. Carnasecca tried to calm things down. He said, “Guys, leave the chandeliers.” In other words, he saw that there was plenty of money for all of them in this new league and they didn’t need to be greedy about getting every last dime.

    If you loved the old Big East, that 30 for 30 is a must see about how it all began.

  46. Milo Hamilton says:

    As far as Aroldis Chapman goes, Karma’s a funny thing, ain’t it ?

  47. Jandy says:

    hahaha Mye-lo, I basically said the same thing ^^ there.

  48. Jim S. says:

    You never know how this will affect someone mentally. We’ll see.

  49. Jandy says:

    Hopefully, it makes him a bit more human.

  50. Milo Hamilton says:

    Great minds, or something. :)

  51. theplanisworking says:

    Nice to see that the Reds hired one goof to replace the other goof as manager.

  52. Jandy says:

    Whatever you’d like to call it ;)

  53. Arriba Wilver says:

    I know some people don’t care for him, but I’ve always liked Boeheim.

  54. theplanisworking says:

    Too bad something didn’t happen to the Toothpick.
    THAT would be some karma……..

  55. Baywatch says:

    Hey, Milo! Morning All! It’s a great last two hours to fill out my last three brackets! I need PLAYAS in my “Bucco Bloggers” group!

  56. Jim S. says:

    Yeah, in my opinion, he has tended to be careless and reckless a lot when he’s pitching. We’ve discussed it a million times here. There’s nothing wrong with pitching inside. In fact, you pretty much have to do that. But, inside up around the head of your opponent on purpose does not have to be done, ever.

    Like I said, I hope he comes back 100% – but, with a different appreciation for what a baseball can do to a person at a high rate of speed.

  57. Baywatch says:

    The Lambo Sight/Ishikawa Lurk is a good thing! Hey, I think I may be onto a new dance here!

  58. Jim S. says:

    Hey, Bay!

    What’s the Buccos Bloggers group? Is that a March Madness bracket that you put out? Is it on-line?

  59. Dom says:

    Anyone know if Dusty Baker retired? I’m pretty sure he is still w/o a job.

  60. Jim S. says:

    Maybe you need to go “on holiday”, Dave. :-)

  61. Milo Hamilton says:

    Hey Bay !

  62. Jandy says:

    He’s an ass.

    Now he knows first hand, up close, and personal just what a ball traveling at high velocity can do to one’s face.

  63. Baywatch says:

    Jim, Yes! I set it up thinking about us, obviously. Just go to espn, and fill out a bracket, then in the group search field type in Bucco Bloggers. Just a fun thing.

  64. Baywatch says:


  65. Jim S. says:

    From what I understand, he is nothing off the court like he appears to be on the court. He seems like a real whiner to me on the sidelines. But, I always hear he is nothing like that away from the court.

    The man can coach. That much is for sure.

  66. NMR says:

    It may have just been me, but Pedro looked enormous last night. Not in a particularly fat kind of way, to my eye, just a big, large man.

  67. Jandy says:

    hey good morning Dave Devine. I don’t recall seeing you hereabouts, and if you had been, you must have “gone missing”. Did someone take you “to hospital?”

    Have you posted your hometown so Biz can add it to Dejan’s Lunatics’ Asylum?

  68. Jim S. says:

    If that is the case … no complaints here.

  69. Jim S. says:

    Ok, Bay. Great!

  70. Thundercrack says:

    I don’t think trying to get Chapman to throw more than one inning is goofy at all. The guy can be dominant. I like the forward thinking of trying to maximize the talent in your team if you can.

  71. Jandy says:

    You mean like he’s filling out his frame? Wow. Maybe more home runs :)

  72. NMR says:

    I just googled images of him at Vanderbilt next to images of him in 2014 sprig training. No doubt more robust in the mid-section, but even moreso in the shoulders and legs. Dude is a big, big man!

  73. Jim S. says:

    According to MLB Radio, Brandon Phillips is tweeting this morning that Aroldis will be ok. Thankfully, Dat Dude BP is on the case. With Al Haig having passed away a few years ago, there was no telling who might take charge in this situation.

  74. Thundercrack says:

    Chapman may throw inside and has hit batters. But never in the face. And you may not like him.

    But the guy could have been killed last night – and who knows his career may be over.

    I’m surprised that people are making jokes about that.

  75. Jim S. says:

    I’m not sure he sees it that way, Dom. But, I think you are right that he does not have a job in MLB.

  76. NMR says:

    Hasn’t the ship sailed at this point, though? This is what, the fourth spring in a row where they’ve tried to make this starter thing work?

  77. theplanisworking says:

    When walks 4 batters in one inning, and is as wild and dangerous as Chapman has been in the past, it certainly is goofy.
    Try the experiments on a night when he isnt as wild.

    Now, there will be plenty of time to rest and think about this………. Chapman may be out a bit, especially where facial and head injuries are involved.

  78. NMR says:

    So just because batters have been able to avoid the ball when he clearly aims it at their head it’s ok?

  79. Jim S. says:

    Dare I say, “Best shape of his life”?

  80. theplanisworking says:

    Good point, NMR.

    At some time, I foresee Chapman having Strasburg-type injuries if they keep the goofy stuff up. He is good for an inning, 2 max at 100MPH. Why disrupt it?

  81. Jim S. says:

    I could not type those words quickly enough. He pitches very high and tight too frequently.

  82. Arriba Wilver says:

    At the risk that a post mentioning both Tim Williams and Edinson Volquez could cause a conflagration, JAL’S 5b Link is an interesting look at the Volquez situation (by Tim Williams).

    Even though it starts out with a totally Pollyanna view of the AJ situation.

  83. NMR says:

    Ha! Something like that…

  84. theplanisworking says:

    Maybe Dustball is writing more of Brandon Phillips racist statements for the next meltdown? Or would he be laughing in the corner?

    Dustball might have burned some bridges.

  85. NMR says:

    Guy impresses me with his lateral movement at 3B. I’m sure he isn’t at the top end of 3B agility, but his size makes it play up.

    Kinda like the fat guy in your pickup basketball league that always somehow beats you to the hoop.

  86. theplanisworking says:

    Ask Cutch his thoughts on Chapman.

  87. NMR says:

    Absolutely excellent summary of the entire Volquez situation, IMO.

  88. NMR says:

    FWIW, I innitially thought the Chapman talk was a bit off color as well, until you guys made the point about his own actions on the mound.

    Sometimes the bully needs punched in the mouth to realize what he does to others.

    Wish him a speedy recovery, but also hopes this teaches him a lesson, as a man.

  89. JoeyBats says:

    Good luck to the PITT Panthers today in Round 1, errrrr, is it Rd #2……BEAT those Buffaloes :-)


  90. Thundercrack says:

    I’m not saying make him a starter. I’m saying make him pitch more than the 9th inning.

  91. Jim S. says:

    It is Round 2, Joey. Apparently, we were all fooled when they changed the name of the Tues/Wed round from “Play-in Games” to Round 1.

    Plus, if Pitt loses today, they get to say they made it to Round 2,

  92. theplanisworking says:

    Yes, this was a good review of the situation.
    2 things stand out:

    1) That Tim Williams even dared say a non-glowing thing about the Pirates. He is normally effusive and over-the-top in defending every single thing the Pirates do, in my humble opinion.

    2) The failure to mention that both AJ and Liriano came over from the AL. Many pitchers that switch leagues have success……….. AJ had success in Florida, while struggling in Toronto and NY. I felt at the time that AJ’s chances of success were good coming to the NL. Liriano benefitted also from switching leagues, as hitters hadn’t seen him before.

    Volquez already has been seen by many NL hitters, and has been lit up like a Christmas tree. Lets hope Ray can work a miracle.

  93. theplanisworking says:


  94. Thundercrack says:

    I don’t like intentionally throwing at heads either. ( and I don’t want to get too far off topic but how many were aimed at the batters head and how many were high & tight?)

    But I also wouldn’t joke about a guy almost getting killed.

  95. Arriba Wilver says:

    Thought so, too.

  96. NMR says:

    I know it makes sense logically, but does the whole switching leagues narrative really hold up? At least as a significant factor?

    AJ was better his second year through the league, after all.

  97. Arriba Wilver says:

    The thing that stood out to me, in that I hadn’t considered it, was the fact that they had longer to work with AJ and Liriano because of their injuries. And, out of the limelight. Not that it was mentioned as an excuse, but it is factual.

  98. cosmo says:

    just joined, thanks

  99. theplanisworking says:

    I just seem to recall many pitchers who switch leagues, especially coming to the NL, do well, at least at first. After a few years, the familiarity factor comes into play.

    AW, good points about their injuries giving Ray more time to work with them. Maybe Volquez needs some time on the CL ? ;)

  100. theplanisworking says:

    I also think in AJ’s case, he regained his snarl and swagger. That might have helped in his second year.

    Can’t wait to see how he reacts to Philly fans, and the media there. Won’t be a honeymoon like it was here……..

  101. Jim S. says:

    I think you are definitely right about the transition of leagues from AL to NL, plan. AL Pitchers coming to the NL always have the benefit of getting to face a pitcher rather than a DH. So, that is a big boost right there. And, the NL teams tend to look more “defense first” for middle infielders than “hit first,” which I think is historically a bit more prevalent in the AL. Pitchers usually don’t get many breaks vs. AL lineups from top to bottom, while NL lineups have some built in outs.

    Think back, about 10 years ago, to when a little guy like Pedro Martinez was dominating AL lineups where even the SS was often hitting 30 bombs, the catchers were more offensive-minded, a big chunk of guys were on PEDs. For several years, he was one of the best pitchers of all-time, IMO.

  102. Jim S. says:

    He has some really old guys tasked with chasing the balls opponents put in play against him.

  103. Jandy says:

    I didn ‘t see anyone making any jokes about it.

    All I said was he’s an ass and karma is a Beyotch.

    And I stand by it :)

  104. NMR says:

    The article was mostly focussed on mechanics as the place for improvement, but I think sequencing could go a long way toward making him at least palatable in the first month or so of the season.

    There’s a big difference, IMO, between working on pitches and command in a spring training game and having Russ Martin play chess with batters when it counts.

  105. Jandy says:



  106. theplanisworking says:


    Thanks for the backup. :D

  107. NMR says:

    Great point.

  108. I can summarize the Volquez situation with one word. And Milo knows it. He may even have coined it.

    I hope to be proven wrong.

  109. Arriba Wilver says:

    I think you are mixing up who they are facing with how they are throwing. And there has to be some aspect of both involved. Has to be. But it’s a fact that they both changed how they were throwing and at least AJ got a lot more ground balls and the defensive shifts were new (even if he didn’t like them). All I’m saying is I’m not sure how you can quantify it.

  110. Andrew says:

    I was looking for an article/analysis on this the other day when someone brought up the impact of switching leagues. This is the only thing I found. AL to NL, -0.41 in ERA, + 0.57 K/9, minimal change in walks.

  111. NMR says:

    In 2013, the league average for Designated Hitter was .253/.318/.396.

    I think the present day NL advantage is heavily skewed by historic views.

  112. NMR says:


  113. Jim S. says:

    I believe both AJ and Liriano made adjustments when they arrived with the Bucs. No doubt about that. I didn’t mean to leave it out. AJ went back to his 2-seamer, at the insistence of the Pirates.

    I was just pointing out that taking a Clay Buchholz out of a lineup and replacing him with a David Ortiz is a big deal for the opposing pitcher, too.

  114. theplanisworking says:

    Would that word be “stinks”, or “ornery” ??

  115. Damon says:

    I entered a bracket….thanks!

  116. NMR says:

    Except that there is one David Ortiz in all of baseball and nobody else even close.

  117. 21sthebest says:

    NMR, google most players when they were 21 and then again 6 years later. I’d say it depends on the body type.

  118. Jim S. says:

    That’s a pretty decent slash line these days. What is the NL slash line for pitchers?

    There are a lot of factors for AJ. A lot of HR get hit by lefty batters in Yankee Stadium is another benefit of leaving there for a RHP. The Yankees have stated that one of the chief reasons for signing McCann and Beltran is the short porch in RF/RC.

  119. 21sthebest says:

    “Sometimes the bully needs punched in the mouth to realize what he does to others.”

    Okay. But a line drive in the face?

  120. 21sthebest says:


  121. Arriba Wilver says:

    The CL crossed my mind, too.

  122. NMR says:

    Chapman throws as hard as that ball was likely hit.

    You may not be an “ey for an eye” guy, and I certainly respect that, but I don’t see how the analogy doesn’t apply here.

  123. 21sthebest says:

    Barry Zito did poorly when he switched to the NL. Obviously there will be cases when that switch didn’t work out.

    But also when a pitcher switches leagues, aren’t they older and more experienced too?

  124. Arriba Wilver says:

    The title of the article is “The Edinson Volquez Experiment Isn’t Looking Good Right Now.”

    Some peacemaker. :-D

  125. NMR says:

    As did Erik Bedard. And Kevin Correia didn’t bomb in the AL. We could go on and on with both sides.

    I’m sure there is SOME statistical relevance to changing leagues, but it would be nearly impossibly to account for all the other factors that contribute to a pitcher’s success or failure.

  126. Andrew says:

    Biggest trend in baseball, rise in strikeouts and the associated decline in offense. Despite what John Wehner says the strike zone has expanded.

  127. Jim S. says:

    My bracket is in, Bay!

  128. Arriba Wilver says:

    I thought he retired 3 years ago.

  129. NMR says:

    Players, and apparently engineers. Or maybe thats just me. ;)

  130. Baywatch says:

    Alright, Cos!

  131. Baywatch says:

    Damon! YESSSSSSSS!!!!!

  132. Jim S. says:

    How could the biggest factor not be that you get to pitch 2-3x a game to a guy who hits .100 with no power vs. a guy who hits for a living?

  133. Baywatch says:

    Cool Beans! Nice to see some Ye Olde Bracket Action!

  134. 21sthebest says:

    I think it’s more likely that someone would die from a line drive to the face than a punch.

    And correct, I’m not an eye for an eye guy.

  135. Jim S. says:

    Every pitcher stinks at hitting. Every DH gets paid to hit.

  136. Brandie says:

    Spoke to my uncle. He and I talked for a bit. He is going to help me out as I need all kinds of help. Thanks for all of the kind wishes.


  137. NMR says:

    I think you’re missing the point, Jim.

    Nobody is saying that facing a hitter over a pitcher isn’t a factor. The question is how much?

  138. theplanisworking says:

    Hang in there, kid.

  139. :D

    Thanks for the opening, AW.

    “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.”

    Meek in the Greek is “gentle”.

    Brandiskaya will concur that I’m “gentle”.

    BTW, it was a good article. I just think Volquez stinks. I don’t care for Tabloid, either and I’m very glad when they prove me wrong.

  140. Damon says:

    Glad to hear you have someone to lean on – best of luck!

  141. JoeyBats says:

    Hey Jim (or anyone?) …what’s the fascination with playing ALL of the Rd.1 games IN Dayton? (what a DESTINATION spot …LOL)

    … one of the COMMITTTEE members an “owner” of the field house? ;-)

  142. Damon says:

    Time running out to join Baywatch’s Bucco Bloggers ESPN bracket group! Say that fast three times…

  143. Nate83 says:

    It’s just not the pitcher hitting it also allows you to pitch differently to the 8th hitter. I believe historically the AL has a team ERA that is .30 to .50 higher but I could be wrong about that. AJ shaved 1.5 runs of his ERA so there was a little more to it then just changing leagues. Instead of looking at RAW numbers it may be more prudent to look at where the pitcher falls ranking wise within the league they pitch.

  144. Jim S. says:

    Actually, I don’t think I’m missing the point at all.

    It seems like I’m the only one who thinks the most signficant factor is that 11% of the pitcher’s job gets a whole lot easier going to the NL.

    I have not seen other comment agree with that.

    The fact that pitchers hit in the NL changes the way the game is played from scoring-oriented to defense-oriented. There is more bunting in the NL, right? Pitchers love, love, love when the other team hands them an out. It isn’t just pitchers who bunt in the NL. Some teams have other guys bunt, too, on occasion. I don’t know if it is still the trend or not, but NL teams tended historically to steal more than AL teams. That actually cuts down scoring, I think. It takes a lot of potential big innings and turns them into 0 o 1 run innings. When you start to concentrate more on run prevention, you tend to find room for more guys like Barmes, Cozma, Mesoraco (spelling butchered, admittedly!) in your lineup. Those guys are the poster children of low ERA for the opposing pitchers.

    I just believe all of these things go hand in hand to make a NL pitcher’s job easier than an AL pitcher’s job.

    And, I’m not saying the Pirates did not make real mechanical and pitch selection adjustments with AJ and Liriano. But, those things are greatly enhanced by getting to face NL lineups.

  145. You’ve got your Uncle Revvie, too, any time you need him. You can have my e-mail address any time you want it.


  146. NMR says:

    Yes, Jim, you’re the only one on this blog that realizes pitchers facing ptchers is easier than pichers facing hitters.

    Teach us your ways, oh Master.

  147. Jim S. says:

    Hey, Joey! Be careful there! I’m actually a UD grad. Ok, just kidding! Good question that I think I can answer.

    I believe the thing with Dayton is that, and I can tell you from experience, they love their basketball there. There’s not a ton going on in that town. Not big enough for any pro sports. But, they always fill the place close to capacity for even the crappiest of games on the UD schedule, and they have hosted the most NCAA games of any school all-time. So, when this thing started awhile back and there were just 2 games, and the 2 games were between small conference schools, UD Arena volunteered to host it when not many places had any interest. And, it was still close to full for those 2 games.

    The NCAA didn’t think it could do any better than that at any other locations, and since UD Arena already had hosted the most NCAA games of any school, they knew it would be run smoothly. The NCAA just didn’t think people in a lot of towns would come close to selling out an arena to see Albany State vs. some other school almost no one had heard of. Being able to have that assurance every year actually allowed the NCAA to add 2 better games each year and keep it at UD Arena. Now, that teams like Tennessee, Xavier, NCSU and Iowa are playing in 2 of the games, I’m sure a lot of arenas are raising their hands. But, Dayton is the place that made the play-in games work in the first place.

  148. Baywatch says:

    Kinda crazy: I was looking to join one more group, real randomly, with the last of the TEN brackets I filled out. Wanted a sports bar … saw one with just a few people in the group, joined and it turned out to be in Mt. Pleasant, looks like about 45 minutes southeast of the Burgh, south of New Stanton. Bar owner probably already thinks I’m a goof ball! :-)

  149. Baywatch says:

    Yeah! The more the merrier! Thanks, Damon!

  150. Arriba Wilver says:

    Look at it this way, Jim. If you’re right, then they’d have been much improved no matter which team in the NL they went to, and even if they made no changes in how they pitched. I can’t believe the league (read DH) is the biggest factor there.

  151. Jim S. says:

    :-) :-) Brandie.

  152. Arriba Wilver says:

    Good info, Jim.

  153. Arriba Wilver says:

    And do you think AJ will have as good of luck in Philly? Just asking.

  154. Always wondered that, too, Jim. Thanks for that info. I’ve lived in Ohio a high percentage of my life and only made it to Dayton once, mainly because it was on the other side of the state.

  155. NMR says:

    I’m like 95% on your side with this one. Chances of Chapman actually changing are probably slim, which makes the injury more vindictive than anything.

  156. Jim S. says:

    So, NMR, you told me “You’re missing the point, Jim. Nobody is saying that facing a hitter over a pitcher isn’t a factor.” I told you that I didn’t feel I was missing the point, and then stated my case. And, as always, you have to stoop to the kind of condescending, insulting crap you always do. You know, the kind of crap you wouldn’t say to someone’s face because they wouldn’t put up with it. The kind of crap that a lot of us let slide for the sake of being courteous here. It really gets old, though.

    All I was pointing out is that I am the only one, from what I can tell, who thinks the biggest difference for those guys was coming to the NL. That’s fine. We don’t have to agree. We can completely agree and still be civil. In fact, Arriba disagreed completely, and guess what, he was able to do it without making it personal. I appreciate that.

    If I offended anyone by strongly stating my case, I apologize. That wasn’t my intent.

  157. Have to root against your Flyers, in a few minutes though, Jim. Sorry.

  158. Jandy says:

    We all need help some time or other…and it’s awesome you have your uncle to stand in there. I’m here for you anytime, I gave you my e-mail addy. Will send up lots of prayers for you, and sending lots of good vibes your way, Sistah. <3

  159. NMR says:

    You know what I think is old and condescending, Jim?

    Your five paragraph posts on basic baseball principles like I’m your 12 year old kid.

    Difference is I’ve never gotten all Dr. Phil on you, being that is this a sports blog and all.

  160. Jim S. says:


    As you said and I really never meant to refute this point as much as I just wanted to make another point, there are a ton of factors when pitchers change teams. When a guy switches leagues, my belief is it is easier to go from the AL to the NL. Generally speaking, more runs are scored in the AL, I believe.

    As for AJ, that one is not a factor this time. Even with these factors, there are still a million other things going on. As all the SABR guys will tell you, luck probably plays a big part in every season for every player. Some years more balls fall in than others. So, you can’t account for everything.

    But, I would say he is going to a team that is just starting to use advanced defensive shifts. I would say that hurts him vs. staying with the Bucs. He is also going to a team without Marte, Cutch and Tabata/Snider/Polanco in RF this year. Seems logical to me that would hurt him as well. I don’t know for sure, but I don’t believe the Phillies infield, especially with the advanced ages of Utley, Rollins, Howard, Ruiz is as good defensively as the Bucs will be. I also think, historically, the stadium in Philly tends to yield more offense. Plus, AJ is a year older. I think there are more things working against him than for him in this move as far as his personal stats go.

  161. Arriba Wilver says:

    He’d have found out sooner or later anyway, Bay. No harm, no foul. ;-)

  162. theplanisworking says:

    Hey, Jim,
    I believe I started this whole thing about pitchers changing leagues way up there ^^^^^^.

    It just makes sense that a pitcher facing another pitcher is going to be much easier than facing another position player (unless it Barmes). ;)

    I just hope that ray can work magic with Volquez, the way he did AJ and Liriano, for a myriad of reasons listed above.

  163. Jim S. says:

    Completely understood, Lucky!

    BTW, I will be rooting against the Buckeyes in that one. But, I think you knew that. ;-)

  164. Can’t blame you. I wouldn’t bet on OSU to start with the letter O, even if I was a betting man. Good shot for your boys to advance.


  165. Jim S. says:

    You didn’t start anything, plan. You just offered an opinion. I think that is the point here.

    I have heard a lot of pitchers state exactly that point, which has always been my belief. It seems logical to me.

    But, there are a lot of other reasons, as everyone else brought up. I was never trying to deny that. But, I think I made my point too forcefully. I regret that. I don’t like offending people here just because we might disagree.

  166. Jim S. says:

    Thanks, NMR.

    It’s Thursday btw.

    Now, you can tell me that it’s Friday in the Far East.

    Let’s just agree to not respond to one another going forward. You will be the only person I need that agreement with. Can you say the same?

  167. Thundercrack says:

    Reading an article in the local paper about The Rays, I was surprised to learn that Erik Bedard is still getting serious consideration for the #5 spot in their rotation.

    What doesn’t surprise me is when I read the reaction from the laid back Bedard. (Paraphrasing) “there are a lot of pitchers getting hurt so there are probably a lot of spots open on other teams throughout MLB.” He makes it sound like if he can’t make here he can make it somewhere else.

    I like it better when players fib and say “this is a great group of guys. I like the manager and coaches a lot too. I want to be a part of this team and help them win”

  168. Jandy says:

    You didn’t offend me, Jim. What offends me is the nit-picking that constantly goes on here. Some days you can ignore it, other days (like me on Monday) it just p*sses one off.

    I said it before and I’ll say it again, Jim. You’re the nicest, most courteous person on this blog.

  169. Jim S. says:

    Not always, Jandy.

  170. Jandy says:


  171. Jandy says:

    Revvie doesn’t count, he HAS to be nice ;)

  172. NMR says:

    Ha, didn’t Bedard pull himself from a start last year with a no-hitter intact because he thought his pitch count was too high?

    Different cat, that is for sure.

  173. Baywatch says:

    +++ and WAHOO WA!

  174. Baywatch says:

    Group of high school kids over in Bedford County pulled out and left me with the group after they learned I was an outsider, just wanting to compete in their bracket. The NERVE! LOL!

  175. Is that bull excrement, J-girl?


    NMR hasn’t had a day off since Christmas. He’ll be alright.

  176. Jandy says:

    Sure is, Revvie ;)

    I know he’ll be all right. NMR is a good sort too, and I like him.

    Don’t like to see Jim upset, tho.

  177. Jim S. says:

    Interesting side stories to this tilt, Lucky.

    Jordan Sibert of UD transferred from OSU.

    Aaron Craft very nearly went to UD, but got a late offer from OSU and took it instead.

    Close game so far. Hope we can keep it that way.

  178. You will, trust me. Good info. I didn’t know any of it.

  179. Arriba Wilver says:

    I used to enjoy his post game conferences just because they were so different from the norm.

  180. NMR says:

    You guys will take in anyone if you take in me!

  181. NMR says:

    The kids in State College are getting feisty!

    Twitter lede: “Jay Paterno should start off Lieutenant Governor campaign by doing more than “just enough”.”

  182. 21sthebest says:

    I’ll never forget the press conference when he signed in Seattle.

    Bedard: You have 5 questions.

    Media: Erik, why only 5?

    Bedard: You have 4 more questions.

  183. Sarah says:

    Which of these guys could knock Engo or Gladams out of the lineup??

  184. Andrew says:

    Somewhere up the blog there was a discussion of Burnett in Philly, the guys at Baseball Info Solutions predict his ERA would have been 5.13 if he pitched in Philly this year with that defense. So I do not think it is all about the league in which you pitch.

  185. Jandy says:

    We’ll take you in, buddy :)

  186. Hayden Fry used to be the football coach of the Iowa Hawkeyes. He was the coach who patterned the Iowa uniforms after the Steelers, because he wanted the Hawkeyes to be Tough and Winners.

    Fry quoted Jesus’ beautitude: “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”

    Then he said, “I’m sure the words of Jesus are true, and if these are, then my offensive linemen are going to be land barons!”

  187. hockeymonster says:

    Patience Sarahichka :)

  188. Dave Devine says:

    Touché, Jim!

  189. Dave Devine says:

    Hi Jandy, I’ve been around since the PG days – PgherinLev was my name there. I am indeed listed on the asylum roster as being in Leverkusen/Cologne, Germany :-)

  190. Good quote. He and John McKay had a way with words.

  191. Thundercrack says:

    I am currently .8 miles from McKechnie Field.

  192. Jim S. says:

    Thanks, Jandy. I mean that. But, trust me, I’m fine.

  193. Randy says:

    Dear Mr. Kovaevic,

    Several months ago you wrote a very intesting article about Steeler draft and personel decisions that were in large part culpable in the last two 8-8 seasons. You intended to speak with Kevin Colbert about many of the teams draft and personel decisions which lead to the current state of affairs, Ziggy Hood being a wasted first round pick and letting Kenaan Lewis go are two of the most egregious examples. Your questions were ones you, I and many Steelers fans would have enjoyed seeing Colbert answer. In the end, the story also became one about the very strange Steeler policy of Colbert not being availible to interview during the season since you denied access to him.

    Now that the season is over, the draft on the horizon and with the Steelers making some free agent signings was well as letting players go, it would be interesting for you to revist that article and visit Colbert to get closure on that nice article and finally ask the questions so many Steelers fans would love to have asked of him.

    Just a thought.


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